Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Slice of Life 6/25/13

School ended a little over a week ago. First there was the push to wrap up the year. Exams needed to be graded and final grades submitted. Then there was the classroom cleaning and the summer mailing to prepare. After that was all done, I took a couple of deep breaths, read a book or two, and have hit the ground running.

One night a week at the library volunteering, painting at the "new" house so we can move in, tutoring 3 students once a week. This week I am teaching two staff training sessions at Camp Cedarbrook, so there is preparation for that. Teachers Write! started yesterday. I really need to spend time writing. I miss writing. I need to write to be a better writing teacher. But writing takes time. I don't have time to sit with my notebook and let my mind wander into my story.

My major focus every summer is preparing for the next school year. Our program is still very much in the building stage. I'm excited that we have hired a history teacher for next year and that I get to focus on English (my dream come true!). I have all four years to develop. It's a double edged sword. I have so much freedom to create my curriculum, yet that freedom is overwhelming at times. I kind of imagine it is like standing on the prairie with wide-open land and sky as far as the eye can see. I am fortunate to have some amazing collaboration partners through Twitter. Amie (@amiet731), Jen (@petzuk), Beth (@Beth139), and Kate (@KtBkr4) have already been planning up a storm in an East Coast meets West Coast collab-party while all I've been able to do is check in occasional as I get Twitter-bombed. I really want to engage, but have not had the time to really start thinking about my curriculum.

Then there is my poor, neglected Beloved Husband. He works 4 10-hour days doing production work (hey, someone has to build those fancy boats for the 1%) and comes home exhausted. But we need his steady paycheck and medical benefits. I wish I made enough and had benefits so he could retire and build custom furniture (he's extremely talented). I want to be a good wife- do my share of the housework, share the cooking responsibilities. But housework and cooking have never been a priority for me. I've never liked doing them. My dear mother tried to teach me, tried to instill in me those values, but I just didn't care. I know that it honors my husband when I get the dishes done- especially when I said I would do them. I know he appreciates coming home from a long day and not having to cook supper. I guess the bottom line is, I need a house keeper and a cook!

So I've been feeling pretty stressed this week. I keep reminding myself that there are still two more months of summer ahead of me. I hope these two weeks are not indicative of what my entire summer will be like. Once we actually get moved, I hope some of the pressure will lift and I will feel the freedom to sit and read, to gaze blankly at my writer's notebook, to allow myself to fall into story.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 6/24/13

This is my first attempt at a "It's Monday, What Are You Reading?" post. I've looked at some other blogs, and am feeling a bit overwhelmed at how inadequate my blog seems, and how much has changed in the past year that I've been neglecting blogs. So these are my stumbling first steps. I may not get all the attributes or links right, but I'm learning.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.
It was originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, but Jen & Kellee put a Picture Book to YA spin on it.

Since school ended on June 14, I've been trying to do #bookaday. Between wrapping up school and trying to get ready to move, I've not had the time to read that I would like during vacation. I keep reminding myself that it is only June and I still have two months ahead of me! My strategy for summer reading is to alternate between books I need to read for school and books I want to read for myself.
Clicking on the book's title will take you to it's page on GoodReads.

What I read last week:

Graphic Novels

William and the Lost Spirit by Gwen de Bonneval and Matthieu Bonhomme

Mercury by Hope Larson


Secrets of Truth & Beauty by Megan Frazer


MG/ Picture Book

Giant Squid by Mary M. Cerullo and Clyde F. E. Roper

Currently Reading/ On Deck:


Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

The Island of Lote by Emily Kinney

Professional Development

Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst

Adult/ Curriculum Related

The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

What else is going on? 

For my second summer, I am participating in Teacher's Write, an online writer's workshop for teachers and librarians hosted by Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles, and Jen Vincent. It's a fabulous community! Click here for more information.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm Still Breathing

I'm going to try to resurrect my blog over the summer. That is one of my writing goals. We'll see how it goes along with the painting, the house repair, the packing, the moving, the lesson planning, the course creating.

I keep reminding myself it is only the start of summer, I still have two months ahead of me. But I have yet to feel the freedom to slow down. There is getting the house ready. Then there will be the packing. Then there will be the moving. After that comes the unpacking. In between, I need to do a whole lot of reading and unit writing, as I design four English courses. At least we were able to hire a part time history teacher for text year so I don't have to teach history! I'm so excited to be able to focus much more on English. That is where my passion lies.

Oh yes, and I tutor once a week; important income because I don't get a paycheck during the summer. I  find that I am already worrying about money. A little confession here. I always worry about money and I struggle with being envious of people who get to do things, who get to take vacations and who own their own homes. I don't want to be rich, I just wish things were a little bit easier. I wish I could make enough that my husband could quit his job and build furniture (he's very talented). I wish we had the money for me to attend conferences such as NCTE and to get my Master's degree.

So time to get moving. Get down to the house and get going on the cleaning and the priming so that we can paint. Once the painting gets done and the shower gets fixed so that the water can be left on, we can start moving. At this point we've put enough of our own money and sweat equity into the new place to get the first month rent free. Hope the owner sees it that way! It would be nice to get this done and not have to pay rent on two places at once.