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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Three Weeks Left!

As I titled this post, I found that I have another post with the exact same title, from back in December. "Three weeks until the end of the semester, halfway through the year!"

Now I'm three weeks from the end of the year! Hard to believe.

The past week in my teaching has been heavily reflective in some ways. We had Friday off to celebrate not taking any snow days over the winter, though it was not something to celebrate at the time. Still, I was exhausted by Thursday morning. My brain is slowing down; I am slower and slower at planning, and I am less and less able to teach on weakly sketched out plans. Thursdays we have block classes, with students in our room for an hour and thirty minutes. My students are starting to say, "When will this class be finished?" In my math lab classes I've never really been sure about what I was doing. Now I'm finding that the class starts and I literally have no plan. I think about it for twenty minutes while my students sit and chat, complaining about how boring it is. Then when I start to pitch something for them to do, they complain about having to do something. Who is at fault? Me. Definitely. Do I still want to throw them out the window? Oh yes, Lord help me, I do.

I've also had some pretty good lessons. I put together one on tessellations that the kids really picked up on and enjoyed. I showed it to Jackie, our building learning coach, and she called it "a grand slam lesson," straight out of Marzano, a demigod of modern education.

I'm not doing too bad at teaching algebra. Did a fun lesson using a cooperative learning strategy (Quiz-quiz) that I picked up at a district training Unfortunately, there is no chance at all that I will be teaching it next year. My chances are better for the following year, but it still feels like I invested a lot of time in something that will be in limbo for a while.

This year I had four different classes. Two of them I made do for most of the time with a computer program that the students studied on. I tried occasional forays into serious lesson plans with them, but mostly just let them self-study. In hindsight, I did not give them enough help establishing good learning habits. Some of them learned well anyway, but some of them faked their way through the whole thing.

In other news of the past week, Horyon's sister, Chaeryon, came to stay with us for the past week, making a total of five adults and two kids in this 2-bedroom house. She came last Saturday and left this past Saturday. Last Saturday was a day of bad weather, both and in Chicago, where Chaeryon had a layover. I got to the airport just in time to get a call from her saying that she was stuck in Chicago. I drove over to Legends, having forgotten that Zona Rosa is just 10 minutes from the airport in the oppositte direction.

Tornados sighted in Lawrence, and warnings all over northeast Kansas. There were thunderstorms in the area, and wind strong enough to cancel the races at the Legend racetrack. Lots of fun. And my cell phone battery was dying.

So I went to Nebraska Furniture Mart and bought a cell phone recharger for my car. Made my evening much better, as did dinner at Wendy's. (The Wendy's here in town are not that good, so when I leave town I like to go.) Chaeryon eventually called me to say she was in Kansas, so I headed for the airport. In the dark and rain. The first part of my drive was through parking lot, not very well labeled, but I managed.

Mom had surgery a few weeks ago. Ordinarily, this would have been at the front of my mind a large percentage of the time, but I had too many other things crowding it out. She came through OK, and was able to come to Lawrence last Sunday for Quinten's baby dedication ceremony at our church. Along with Grandma MaryLou, and Tom and Debbie. It was good. I've posted the pictures I had. I don't think we got any pictures of everyone lined up in front of the church, but I'm sure pictures were taken later at our home before or after we ate fried chicken.

And lastly, we have a new arrival! I bought a netbook--a smaller, less powerful, and lighter version of a notebook pc. It is a bit difficult to type on, but very portable. I'm hoping that it will let me be productive at school when I don't have easy access to a computer, and perhaps at home as well. It's made by HP, and feels pretty solid. I just composed the previous three paragraphs on it while keeping Maxine company as she watched a video.

Horyon's parents will be with us for less than two weeks now. It's going to be tough to adjust when they go--they are very helpful with Quinten. On the other hand, the house will feel much less crowded.

No pictures. I just don't feel like messing with them. I need to go to bed, and if I stay up any later than this I will be hurting tomorrow. I'm already not planned at all for the day.

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.