Friday, October 31, 2014

The Hat?

T.C. Steele painted this.  Recognize this spot?
Today's the Halloween Party!  Today's the Halloween Party!  Thirdlanders are fairly jazzed up. I waited too late to work on my costume.  I wanted to get a doctor outfit so I could be a real Dr. H., but I sadly could not track down the needed items yesterday. While I was looking over the meager accessories at box store last night, I saw one of my fave kids with her mom.  That fave kid wants to be "thunder" for Halloween.  Cool?  Yes, I believe so.  Cool kid's mom made a big puffy cloud out of tutu material, strung little lights inside it, and then the kid carries marbles inside her trick or treat pumpkin, producing a rumbling sound as she walks. Let's keep this idea on the back burner for next year. I'll get my friend One Woman on it.  She can make anything.
As it stands, I'm wearing all black and I sent out a mass email requesting a witch's hat.  As I told my colleagues, I have a big head, literally but not figuratively, so a kid hat isn't going to make it.  Let's cross our fingers that I get a hat this morning so I can feel especially festive at the party.  If I do not get the hat, I'll be fine.  It's the inner witch that counts on a day like today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

Laura Letinsky
There's a fine exhibit of Laura Letinsky photographs at the Grunwald Gallery on campus.  If you want to know about her photographs, I think you should read the following quote.

She has begun a new series of photographs, still-lifes that explore the formal relationships between ripeness and decay, delicacy and awkwardness, control and haphazardness, waste and plenitude, pleasure and sustenance. 

That series of dichotomies basically sums up the struggles of my day to day, so that's why I like Laura Letinsky quite a bit and I give her art a 5 on a fist of 5. Husbandman says he enjoyed the exhibit but he gives it a 3.  I have no idea what's going on with Husbandman and Letinsky.  This artist works at the University of Chicago, so she's kind of a big deal.

On a lesser creative note, I'm thinking of having the Thirdlanders teach their First grade buddies to make these Frankensteins:
Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap once again.  Stunning photography on exhibit right here in our town.  Frankenstein Halloween craft that might or might not be made today.  Game on

The Pirates

 We have a friend who sings sea shanties.  I popped in one of his CD's yesterday at the end of the day and the Thirdlanders flipped out.  We were singing along by the second line.  Thirdlanders were up out of their seats stomping like sea travelers of yore.

I'm starting to think that we may have been pirates in our earlier lives.  I was probably the head of the pirates because I appear to have a knack for getting these pirates to do my bidding most of the time.  You may think this all sounds pretty far fetched, but if you saw the transformation in Thirdland when the sea shanty started up, you would probably think I'm on to something.

On another note, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but come to find out, Halloween night is going to be cold and rainy.  Teacher pals, it's important to do as many fun Halloween things as you can this week since our beloved students might not have the best trick or treating experience.  I for one intend to look at Halloween ads with the thirdlanders to analyze how our choices are shaped by capitalism.  Thirdlanders are going to get a kick out of that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#TwinTuesday

Bandaid with Halloween decor.  Bet you didn't see that coming.  MM, you asked about how the items are chosen.  You'd be surprised how many texts were shared with ideas for this #twinTuesday.  We spend a lot of time on this, people.

Moving kind of slow at the junction today, but dinner with Mitzker at Tallent with the tasting menu and wine pairings makes it all worth it. Blastorama.  I highly recommend heading to Tallent with a pal for the tasting menu and the wine pairings as soon as you possibly can.  You're going to be tired the next day when you have to work, but you'll have no regrets.


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Math

  Yesterday I was determined to map out the standards and get more organized with curriculum.  After 3 hours of sorting through standards and putting them in boxes and checking which were considered critical and which were just kind of important, I got in a bad mood.  An anxious mood.  One might even say I was in a state of panic.  I've waited too long to introduce perimeter and area.  They'll never get it now.  I've hardly done any two step word problems and that's going to have serious repercussions.  Come to find out I'm not the math teacher of your dreams and I want to issue a sincere apology to everyone who has ever had me for a math teacher.  I feel like I'm doing my best, but the plain fact of the matter is my best isn't good enough.  I need to do more and I need to start rocking the socks off the math curriculum as of this instant.  I'm heading back to school for a master's in math education next year.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Gathering


We invited the 2 other third grade classes into our room yesterday.  That added up to about 70 kids, which was kind of a lot.  We read some poems and we sang a song.  We drank juice and ate fruit roll ups.  It was hot and noisy in the room, so that wasn't too good, but on the flip side it was pleasant to have the clans of Thirdlandia gathered together in celebration.

On another note, did you know that the Delaware tribe consisted of three clans:  the turtles, the turkeys and the wolves?  Here's another neat fact.  Back in the day, a Delaware dad didn't raise his kids.  He raised his sister's kids.  I told Husbandman this fact and he responded,  "They just had to be different, didn't they?"

We're going to see the new Bill Murray movie today.  I'm extremely jazzed about this.  Bill Murray spent a couple of days in Bloomington a few years ago.  We all rode bikes on the B-Line trail together.  I got to know him pretty well.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Elation

Oh man alive, life is good. Sitting here, wearing my school spirit shirt, blogging on my wonderful computer.  Just like the good old days. KR, as I've commented earlier, will from this day forward be referred to here as Miracle Worker, an appellation he has clearly earned.  The gratitude I feel can not be adequately described.  Let's just say you get a big fat 5 on the fist of 5 right now.

It's Friday and I've invited 50 kids in to my room to eat fruit roll ups and read poems. Send good vibes around 3:00 central time.

Thirdlanders continue to amaze me.  Yesterday I told them, "I have such glorious days with you and then the last 5 minutes of the day are such a headache.  I am asking you to make dismissal a pleasant time for Dr. H. so I don't have to go home and tell Husbandman about how I had to raise my voice again during a horrible dismissal."  With their typical earnestness, they responded sympathetically.  Peppy Kid piped up, "You don't want to end your day with nagging!"  We were all clearly on the same page. I put some music on.  The kiddos just buzzed along quietly, cleaning up, packing the book bags, acting funny and sweet.  Weekend, here we come!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Blame Game and then Thursday Creativity Share



Come to find out, I am probably the one to blame for my computer not working any more.  I kept getting messages about "disk" problems and I ignored them.  Now KR has my computer and he's not really making any promises about it. He actually refused to venture the fist of 5 indicating his ideas about the probability of my computer getting repaired.  His refusal to communicate through fist of 5 really upped my anxiety.  Not going to lie.

 Don't be like me, my friends.  Do the right thing and respond to computer warnings.  But, in my defense, I think the computer people should give a deadline like, "You have 2 more warnings and then your computer will shut down," and "Okay this is it, we're about to shut down the next time you log on because you ignored all the warnings." That definitely would have helped.  The good news is KR and Nance were very nice and invited me over last night and Nance and I chatted while KR stared into my blank computer screen.

Thursday Creativity Share.  The guy in this video talks and writes about sketchnoting.  Yesterday we read an article about whether or not we should learn to code in elementary school.  Then we sketchnoted.  I'm now a big sketchnote fan.  You probably should be too.  If you want.

Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap.  Sketchnotes. Neat stuff. I've done it again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Seizing

I'm still using Husbandman's computer.  So I'm not too happy.  I don't know why this kind of thing has to happen to me.

We saw Fury this weekend.   I'm wondering if I would be brave enough to jump on a grenade in order to save others. Probably, because I like being noble, but I'm not positive because sometimes it takes me a long time to make decisions and jumping on a grenade requires rapid-fire,  nearly simultaneous thought and action.

You should see Fury if you want to.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#TwinTuesday

This week we've got a turtle and some piano keys. Certainly something to ponder as we all travel through this wide open Tuesday.

We've also got a serious problem, my friends.  My precious computer is on the fritz.  Lo, this very computer on which I blog, belongs not to me, but to honored Husbandman.  This isn't good news for anyone, I know.

I'm stymied, miffed and flabbergasted, but holding up as best I can.  Despite obstacles, #twintuesday is here for everyone to enjoy and contemplate.

That's just how I roll.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Birthday


In the LIVING VICARIOUSLY department, I feel compelled to share these two photos taken yesterday by others.  Early in the day #1 Son met Jonathan Banks, one of our favorite actors. Later, he met Jay Leno, a man who told many fun jokes last evening.  Both celebs and #1 Son make fascinating hand gestures in their fan photos, it would seem.  That's probably something I'm going to start doing now.  We probably all should.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Relief

We're closing in on the weekend, my friends.  We're closing in on the weekend.

This week has been harrowing with report cards, portfolios, parent teacher conferences and sub plans.  But though I worry constantly about everything, the report cards are done, the portfolios are beautiful, the parents are splendid supporters, and the sub plans allow me to attend a 2 day International Baccalaureate workshop.  Go IB!

And now tonight we're going to hear #1 son play bass with his pals as the opening act for Jay Leno at the Musical Arts Center.  And another thing, my sister's coming in to town to see him too!  And one other thing, tomorrow's my 54th birthday.  Three cubed x 2 once the old clock hits midnight.  I'm so excited. I told Husband this morning that if he can't get me an electron microscope, my second choice would be a really expensive diamond necklace because I think it would look nice on me.

"How about a bag of circus peanuts?" he responded, continuing to read his email.  That nut.  He knows I despise circus peanuts.

Off to the learning.  Let's do this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

So KC once again cues me in to something cool.  It's called Sketchnotes. And as per usual right after she tells me about it, I am at a meeting where we watch this sketch note presentation of my uncle Sir Ken Robinson's talk about creativity and education.  Here's a teeny video about visual note making.  There's a book about sketch notes.  Sure, I'll read it. Why wouldn't I?
Thursday Creativity Share.  Get the sketchbooks out peeps.  Dust 'em off and start taking notes while you read the newspaper in the morning.  I'll take some sketch notes today as I learn about International Baccalaureate Schools.  KC has turned me on to sketch noting right in the nick of time. One can only call this a life changing event.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Looks

I'm not sure why but lunch count ends up being kind of a hassle every morning.  There are three choices and I ask Thirdlanders to stand for the choice they want.  Inevitably when it's all over, Thirdlanders want to change their order, or they tell me they forgot to stand up, or they ask me again what's for lunch.  I'm not sure why this has to happen each and every day, but it's just how it is.  Who am I to question?  Last week, I instituted a new procedure that doesn't really help with the problem, but it does make lunch count more entertaining.  I ask the Thirdlanders to strike a certain expression when they stand up for their lunch order.  If you're getting a grilled cheese sandwich, please stand and give me a grouchy glare.  If you're getting a veggie burger please stand and raise your hands with vim and vigor.  If you're getting spaghetti, please stand and stare at me with serious suspicion.  You get the picture.

Thirdlanders look around at their classmates with that familiar "This teacher is bonkers" kind of look, but as usual they accommodate my request and somehow the emotive lunch orders keep me cheerful as I fill out the lunch order form and then fill it out again.  And sometimes again.   Welladay.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#TwinTuesday

A nickel and a corn chex. There's not much more to say about this, except.... INCREDIBLE.


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Chance

I met this small kid on Friday night.  He is 13 months old.  Can't stop thinking about the guy.  I feel like buying him a bunch of toys.

On a connected theme, this morning Husbandman asked me if I had any birthday wishes.  "What about that microscope I mentioned earlier?" I asked him.

"The electron microscope?"

"Yes. The Electron Microscope by Hitachi."

"I'll look into that and let you know how it turns out."

So the good news for Monday is the electron microscope is a distinct possibility. Husbandman's on the case.

Sidebar:  People are saying happy birthday to me on Facebook, but my birthday's not for 5 more days.  The system's gone haywire over there and I don't know how to set it straight.  Now I won't get as many birthday wishes on my actual birthday, which is in 5 days.  I've considered addressing each well wisher individually to request that they repeat their wishes on Saturday, but I just don't have the time right now.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The News

Here's the scoop.  Maureen Dowd enjoyed Gone Girl and doesn't think people should complain about it too much.  My perspective is that I also enjoyed Gone Girl but I don't care if people have their own opinions about it.  Critique is AOK in my book, but don't go overboard with it when you're talking about me or my actions and we'll both do just fine.

We saw The Equalizer last night. I loved Denzel Washington taking down a whole string of baddies in creative ways.  Denzel knows what he's doing, so you really don't have to worry about anything when you're watching that movie.  Bad will be wiped out.  Good will prevail.  The Equalizer.  If you want to see it you definitely should.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Reassurance

I'm spending a good portion of my fall break figuring out report cards.  I haven't been a classroom teacher for the past 5 years so this is trickier than it sounds.

Come to find out, there's a whole new fangled way to fill out report cards.  I'm slowly getting the hang of the new system, but it's taking a lot of hours.  At least I'll be better prepared next quarter because I'll kind of know what I'm doing I think probably.

Yesterday I felt like the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a School.  The place was dark and quiet. I had materials spread all over the room.  I was wearing comfy work out clothes and drinking perrier in the splendid slim cans.  I was glad for Hairy the Tarantula's company and talked to him from time to time about my wishes (for an electron microscope) and my dreams (of winning the MacArthur).  "Hairy," I told him. "It's not super fun being here on fall break, but the important thing is that we're making some progress.  We're moving forward, focusing on the next right thought and the next right action."  Hairy nodded and actually spoke, saying, "Aye.  You speak the truth, Woman."  That was the first time I've ever heard Hairy speak our language so I was a little taken aback. But his kind words of reassurance gave me the strength to persevere.

PS.  I just read over the Little Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe poem to use it as a possible link.  That woman sounds like a nightmare.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The Break

Last night we went to a wedding.   We've known Bride since she was in first grade and Groom since he was in utero.  We actually met Groom's mom in our LAMAZE class right before 20 Something appeared on the scene.  You know her as well, as the amazing One Woman.

I have pictures of the marrying splendids at 20 Something's birthday parties over the years. I have pictures of kids wrapping Andy up like a mummy at the Halloween themed party of 2nd grade. I have pictures of Liz shooting silly string at the kick back, hang out and watch movies party in 5th.


So come to find out, these 2 children grew up, fell in love and got married.  I couldn't think of anything to say when I hugged Andy in the receiving line.  I started crying and finally just blurted out, "You're too little."  which probably seemed kind of weird.  Little or not, we wish them happiness, costume parties and tons of silly string in their future.  Thanks for a fabulous fun fall evening, dolls.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

Sometimes I want a tattoo, but I always fear that my tattoo and/or its story won't be interesting after awhile.  I enjoy reading the tattoo stories of others. Lucky for me, and all of us,  there's a new book of tattoo tales called Pen and Ink. You can read some tattoo stories here from the book if you want. I think they're brilliant.

I'm reading The One and Only Ivan to my class right now and I wish everyone who hasn't read that book would start reading it today.  If they feel like it.  Anne Hoppe is the editor of the book and she talks about helping Katherine Applegate create a new picture book about Ivan the Shopping Mall gorilla.  I love the interview because it shows how bound the editor and writer are to each other.  That's what I'm writing about right now, so when I see articles like this, I get the energy to push on.

Today is John Lennon's birthday.  If I were in school, I'd be reading John's Secret Dreams to my students.  I love that book.  There are song lyrics woven through the story and my students love to hear me sing the songs as I read the book.  I love and miss John Lennon. Thinking about John is making me a little sad, so it's time to wrap it up, bid farewell to my beautiful Bakehouse booth and go off to school to work on report cards.  Not fun, but I'll get it done.  Today I'll work, and not shirk.

Thursday Creativity Share's a wrap.  Tattoo stories. Conversation with a creative editor about a new book about a gorilla. John Lennon's Secret Dreams explored in a beautiful picture book.  I guess you could say I've outdone myself once again.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Possibilities

I'm thinking I want an electron microscope for my birthday.  Hitachi manufactures a tabletop electron microscope for home use. The great news is you don't have to coat your samples to use this microscope.  Your samples are good to go.  Every day I think about all I will do with my new electron microscope. I'm getting fairly pumped up about the possibilities.  If you want to use it, you can.  Just come on over. The new TM3030 is "compact and portable, with incredibly simple operation." Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

#TwinTuesday



It's #TwinTuesday.  This week, we've got a dog and a flashlight. You may want to think about dogs and flashlights today as you go about your daily routine.  Check out the twin photo over at Word Savvy. We're quite delighted with these twin photos and we're sure you are as well. You are, right?

On a sadder note, my parents are heading home today.  They're taking Lupe.  You can imagine how I feel about this.  Lupe, I'll miss you, but I'll see you at winter break.  Let your light shine, Lupe.  Let your light shine.  

Monday, October 06, 2014

The MacArthur

Peeps, huddle up.  I've got something important on my mind.  I'm thinking I would really enjoy getting one of those MacArthur Fellowships, like Alison Bechdel.

I know Alison Bechdel has obviously done more to deserve the MacArthur than I have, but hear me out.

The MacArthur people give money to people who have exceptional creativity, and as you've read here on alittleleeway, that describes me well.  They're also looking for people who have exceptional achievement.  That's not me per se, but obviously not for lack of effort. Here's the kicker.  Emphasis is placed on finding people for whom the award would relieve limitations that inhibit them from pursuing their most innovative ideas. 

In other words, this award would allow me to take a little break from teaching and writing and focus on helping this blog reach its highest creative potential.  

Here's the thing.  People have to be nominated by special nominators, who are secret.  I'm thinking someone out there (yes, possibly you)  knows one or two of these nominators and can surreptitiously direct them to this blog.  I think it would be a thrill to be the first blogger to win the MacArthur.  Let's try to make this happen.  Keep your ears to the ground and ferret out the nominators, my friends.  

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Dice

I've been having some trouble with bibliophobia lately, so it's my great news to report that I finished a book called Summer of the Gypsy Moths yesterday.  It was a true delight.

It's Casino Sunday today peeps.  I'm heading down to the Casino to gamble away my life savings.  I'm going to play the slots until every single cent is gone.  I may try some blackjack as well.  I've never played blackjack before, but I've heard it's easy.  I'm trying to summon up the gumption to play some of the dice rolling games.  I want to make up some dice rolling rhymes on the way to the casino.  Give me threes, before I sneeze!   Give me ones, or you'll see my guns!  Now hand over some fives or I'll open the bee hives!

 I'm also working on some slot machine songs.  Those aren't ready to roll out yet.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Parents

Mom and Dad are here with Lupe.  I can not tell you how taken I am with that sweet, smart dog.

Today is the day when we venture into Brown County in search of the perfect fall photography.

Mom and I are trying to have a pleasant conversation and Dad is shouting from the other room, "Don't agree with anything she says, Annie!"  So, you can see what we're dealing with here.

Dad's on for the Notre Dame game at 3 and then Mom and I are heading out to find a covered bridge.

Fall Break.  Let's do this thing.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share: Sendak


This is a page from We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy.  Every time I read this book I am amazed by it.  It's probably the most creative book ever written.  Our tableau about this book were nothing short of inspired.  Well done, Thirdlanders.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Maurice Sendak masterpiece.  That's all we have this week.  But you really can't do better.  Maurice Sendak, I'll never forget that time we went out to brunch and we sketched in our sketchbooks together.  Great times.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Invitation

This week ended the nine days of Navrati, an important Hindu festival.  President Obama had some tensions around this festival because he invited Mr. Modi, the prime minister of India, to dinner.  Mr. Modi fasted and drank warm water while my favorite President had a fine meal. But what are you going to do?

I was in the same situation earlier this week when a thoughtful thirdlander signed up at morning meeting to talk about Navrati.  "I invite all of you to join me in not reading books today because the goddess of learning needs to rest."
Everyone was quiet and finally I said, "You know what, Kiddo? I think the rest of us are going to continue with the reading."

I really felt a connection with President Obama.  This was a tight spot to be in.  I want to support, not thwart.  My favorite President, like me, had to make some tough decisions on the fly.