Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sub plan doodle pages.

Not too many ideas for sub plans inspire me to blog... but Miriam Badyrka's doodles on her blog, The Doodler, make for awesome print-outs that could be part of a sub plan packet. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You can take the teacher out of the classroom...

...but you can't take the teacher out of the bridal shower.

Picture of me at a bridal shower from earlier in the month. 

You better believe I locate children at parties, engage them, then can't work my way out of playtime for the majority of the adult event. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Second year, second day one.

Day one: done. Exhausted, but probably not as exhausted as last year.

This year: August 27, 2012
Last year: August 29, 2011
I purposely tried to stand in the same pose / location as last year, but I did not purposely wear almost the very same outfit. Oops. Guess my early-morning-closet-scan yields similar results, under similar circumstances. And look at that tan ("tan")! Evidence that I actually made it out of my apartment this summer, instead of spending hours upon hours of frantically preparing for my first year.

Things that feel really good:

Marveling at how kids grow, both physically and emotionally.
It is so awesome to know the majority of my returning students. As I've mentioned before, I teach at a huge school with two specialists in art, music, P.E. So while I do not get to have all the same kiddos as last year, I still feel like I know the majority, and I'm truly excited about getting to know the students I didn't have last year. It's such a boost to see my returning students remembering and reflecting on my art room rules, routines, and expectations. They're definitely helping me to set the tone for the new and new-to-me students. And everyone is bigger and more mature! It's my first experience seeing this leap in growth (in all ways) from June to August. I'm definitely reflecting on where my students were last August compared to this August. It's surprisingly emotional to see the students that I first met as kindergarteners (they were brand new, I was brand new-- if I stay at my same school, they will be the first round of students that I learn with and teach with through their whole K-5 cycle). They're these confident first graders now! Sniff sniff, they grow up so fast!

Having a better understanding of my school's population.
The elementary school I taught in during student teaching had an entirely different population, so I had some assumptions about (all) students (everywhere) that were incorrect. My current students need a little more than those students did, which makes me want to work even harder to provide all that they do need. But because I didn't know my population at the beginning of last year, I was a bit stingy (not intentionally) with many essentials: structure, discipline, thorough, clear, decisive teaching, and unconditional love love love.

Not being the newbie.
Not being the newbie is a double-edged sword. On one hand, I absolutely love it. I could move through pre-service week so much faster. I didn't have to attend a myriad of new teacher meetings and trainings on top of the mandatory meetings and trainings. My classroom set-up was easier because I knew how and where to locate materials throughout the building and in my own classroom and closet (which I spent all year rearranging and making my own, down to the storage closet and cabinets, which are now in much better shape than I found them in last year). The obvious downside to not being a newbie: no more excuses. And that's probably healthy and appropriate :)

My MAEA proposal was picked up.
More on this later... completely flattered and proud that my proposal was accepted... but am simultaneously terrified at the prospect of public speaking. Have been wondering why someone who is terrified of speaking in front of crowds (me) has decided to do just that... ?

In closing, here's a picture of a painting of a donut that I found in my apron pocket. It then lived in my purse for a week:

Made by Indigo.

I absolutely love finding reminders of teaching in my personal belongings and on my person, particularly after hours and away from school. Distracting bracelets left on my wrist, paintings in my pocket, beads in the bottom of my purse.
It's all in the small joys :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012


A little sad this weekend as I bid summer adieu. On Monday we're back for our pre-service week. August 27th is our first day of school. Trying to treat this Saturday and Sunday like a typical, school-year weekend: running errands, purchasing food for packed lunches, making visuals, and wrapping up some cleaning and laundry.

As a second-year teacher, you know school is starting back up again when:

1) You switch from a small, summertime purse to the large school-year purse, complete with extra room for a lunch bag, water bottle, children's books, planner, seating charts, random art supplies, and even more random odds and ends. (And if you're like me, you carry an additional bag for... everything else.)

The size difference doesn't look so notable here... but the one on the right carries a ton!

2) It's time to start wearing a watch again.  (I am not typically a watch-wearer-- at the beginning of summer I took it off and there it sat on my dresser for ten weeks. Time to dust it off, strap it on. My Baby-G served me well last year-- durable, waterproof, digital, and the kids think it's super-cool for reasons that escape me. Time for Round Two, little G.)

Photo taken on August 18th, 2012 at 3:06pm.

3) You need to dig out the lunchbag and reassess your Ziploc baggie / Tupperware situation.

4) You may or not may not get your sleep schedule back on track before Day 1.

5) You wonder where the time has gone... (and in my case, try not to have any regrets).

I did a lot this summer, and I would do myself a disservice to overlook what I did accomplish / experience, even if most of it was personal and domestic. For my own record:

I taught Drawing and Sculpture to 3rd-5th graders for one week.
I got a haircut.
I got my nails done once.
I went to the dentist.

I went to two Weight Watchers meetings.
I played tennis three times.
I went to the gym about twenty times.
I switched gyms.
We had six dance lessons.

I donated several bags of clothes and other things to Good Will.
I got my classroom rug professionally cleaned.
I got the brakes on my car repaired.
I had three dresses altered.
I got my favorite boots refurbished and repaired.
I thoroughly cleaned the bathroom and kitchen.
I sold my old computer.

I got my engagement ring checked and cleaned while N. looked at wedding bands.
We got engagement photos taken.
We booked a wedding venue.

I went to one bridal shower.
I went to one bachelorette.
We went to my cousin's wedding in Michigan.
We went to a local July wedding.
I went to an August wedding near Los Angeles.

I went to the local county fair.
I picked blueberries.
I went to three professional baseball games.
We went to a pro lacrosse game (my first).

We vacationed in North Carolina.
We spent the day in Ocean City.

And that's just some of it!

Speaking of that August wedding near Los Angeles, here are a few pics (borrowed from Facebook, hope you don't mind, RDR) from August 12th & 13th.


Love of my life, my wife.

With the beautiful bride!

Morning-after brunch.

It was so incredibly good to see all my long-lost NYU girls. Until the next wedding!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thirteen days of love, sixteen to go.

N. proposed on January 27th, 2012, and spurred by that recent development, I set to task on an ambitious birthday present which started on February 1, 2012, N.'s 27th birthday. I decided to paint a little watercolor for every day of 2012's leap year February, illustrating twenty-nine reasons why I love my man. But I have to sheepishly admit that... I came nowhere near completing this present. I started strong and had made several a few paintings in advance. Then it came down to painting one every day... then I inevitably fell behind. Perhaps twenty-nine paintings in so many days is inadvisable during one's first year of teaching?

As if the birthday present-fail wasn't enough incentive, posting the thirteen I have completed, with an emphasis on the sixteen I have not, should be even more reason to crank out those little labors of love:

My take on a Daniela Henriquez illustration.

Fumbling through it.

Figuring it out.


Jeopardy nerds.

Rothko nerds.

Inside joke.

Pineapple pizza is the best pizza.

Lyrics from Hesitating Beauty.

ADHD love.

Dino love.

Our combined (and my new) initials.

Proposal site.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Managing the mundane, er, I mean, microfiber.

I have pinned and pinned on Pinterest, and now I'm finally coming around to using some of those ideas and suggestions, particularly when it comes to the thorough apartment-scrub before school starts. Last week I cleaned out the microwave using a (get this) microwaved water-vinegar mixture, and that worked great. Today it was time to tackle our microfiber dining chairs. Thrilling stuff, I know.

I like how I haven't blogged about the weddings I've been to, or the summer classes I taught, but I'm blogging about this. I think I'm truly going stir-crazy with only Jonesie to keep me company during the day.

Jonesie was overly enthused about tackling this chore.
When we inherited our dining room chairs (figure of speech-- no dining room in this apartment :) from a good friend, we were so eager to have somewhere to sit while we ate that we overlooked the minor stains and water marks on the microfiber cushions. As we further destroyed the built-in cushions, it became harder to ignore. In vain, I tried to rub out some of the stains using water, but that only made the stains spread. This was quite the conundrum until Pinterest rescued me with this link on my main page:

Aw yeah. So today, in a fit of pinspiration, I ran over to the local Rite Aid to pick up a bristle brush and appropriately-colored sponge. The above article recommends that you use a sponge that more or less matches the same color of your microfiber so as to reduce the chances of color transfer. Our local Rite Aid is pretty much the only store within walking distance that was going to even carry sponges, let alone a white or beige-colored sponge. And I only had pink, purple, and blue sponges in the apartment.  So I took a risk with a yellow sponge and guess what? That was totally fine-- no color transfer. I also had to trim down the blue bristles on the only scrub brush they sold.

Here are the dirty culprits:

Here's what I needed to get through it:
Thank you, Starbucks iced coffee.
Sprayed the microfiber down with rubbing alcohol, scrubbed with sponge, let dry.

Polished N.'s dress shoes while I waited for the cushions to dry. 
I might not cook, but I do a lot of other things, eh?
Once the cushions were dry, scrubbed 'em with the bristle brush. Et voila! Clean cushions for our tushies.

Then I operated the web cam on my computer for the first time ever and took this awesome, celebratory picture with Jonesie. It's all kinds of summer vacation glamorous. Chores, errands, and the beginning of procrastinating on lesson planning, oh my!

What do you think, Jonesie? Jonesie?!