Thursday, May 29, 2008

Katie's Rules

Apparently there are some definite DOs and DON'Ts at my house and in my presence that are somewhat unspoken, but helpful if known. Emery and Brian are helping me produce a list of rules of conduct that I expect people to follow while with me. This is a work in progress, so my list may be updated and added to. If you have any suggestions of rules that should be included, leave a comment and I may add them.

•You must use politically correct terms and proper grammar.
•No tickling, and no requests to be tickled.
•Never wear ugly red shirts - you never know who you might meet that day.
•No talking about personal hygiene in the kitchen.
•Do not talk to Katie right after she has woken up.
•Never throw surprise parties. Ever.
•Only positive self-talk.
•Never talk about The Great IPTA. Ever.
•Only church music or mellow music may be played on Sunday.
•Do not insult Katie's blanket.
•No cutting hair in the house.
•Use extreme caution when touching Katie.
•Do not sit on the couch pillows.
•Do not insult Katie's piano.
•When Katie wants to dance, you dance!
•You may not complain if the ice maker (or anything else in the house) is broken unless you intend to pay for it to be fixed.
•Never refer to Katie, or any other teacher, as "rich" or "loaded".
•If Katie covers up her head, it is best to move on to a different topic of conversation.
•It is often necessary to disregard mean, strange, or intimidating facial expressions.
•Stinky cheese is not allowed. But, if stinky cheese must be had, a warning is appreciated.
•Squash should not be left in the oven.
•Cooking S'mores should not result in the fire alarm sounding.
•You may not complain about the size of the television unless you intend to buy Katie a larger television.
•The light brown blanket is designated as Katie's back blanket.
•A laugh from Katie can have a variety of meanings.
•Certain words are prohibited:
fart (You may say 'toot' or 'sparkle'.)
crap (I can't believe I even just typed that!)
Oriental (unless you are referring to rugs)

I hope you find these rules helpful and informative. As I said, be sure to add any rules or forbidden words you can think of. And check back to see what has been added to the list!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This morning Emery and I met Brian and Derrick for breakfast at Dee's. It was fun to spend time with them. After our meal, as we waited for Derrick at the cash register, in walked President and Sister Monson! (Over a year ago I had thought that I had seen President Monson at the same Dee's as I drove by, so he must frequent the restaurant.) Emery said good morning and President Monson said good morning as well. He said he was just trying to remember what country he was in today. "I think I'm in Salt Lake again," he laughed. "We're here to enjoy some breakfast... or is it lunch? What do you call it when it's between breakfast and lunch?"

"Brunch," I replied.

He laughed again and said, "Yes! That is the word for it, isn't it?"

He motioned for his wife to sit down on the benches while they waited for a table, then looked to see if we were in need of sitting on the benches. We motioned for him to go ahead and sit. "Well, you're young, I suppose. You don't need to sit down, do you?"

I told him, "Oh, we're on our way out anyway."

"Oh don't say that!" he replied. "That makes it sound like you're on your way out of this life!"

I laughed and said, "I'm not ready for that yet!"

"Well, no! You just got here!"

We all laughed again.

When Derrick was done paying his portion of the check, he turned around to realize what was going on. He was hesitant to interrupt Pres. Monson's conversation with some other Dee's customers, but he clearly wanted to shake hands with Pres. Monson and meet him. With some encouragement, he waited for a pause in the conversation, then Pres. Monson reached out his hand and shook Derrick's hand, then mine. He commented that Derrick was wearing his high school colors. "West High." he said. "She (pointing to his wife) went to East High, and I went to
West High. My school was finally honored as being Utah's best high school this year. It's always been her high school that won, but finally my high school did."

It was fun to see the president of the church in such normal, every day circumstances and remember that even with the great spirituality and responsibilities that come with being the Lord's prophet, he is also just a person. I have met him once before when I worked at Aspen Grove and he came to do a fireside. He is very tall, and very friendly. I thought today he looked particularly vibrant and happy. He has a fun personality and sense of humor and is loving and kind and patient. What an enjoyable experience.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Things Kids Say...

Teaching 6th grade provides a lot of interesting experiences. Kids really do say funny things sometimes. Some things they say to me are sweet, some are cute, some are harsh, and some are just strange. This BLOG entry is dedicated to some of the crazy kid quotes I've heard over the years.

After calling a student by their first and last name, another student said, "Wow. How do you know everyone's last names?"

Student: "How old are you?"
Me: "How old do you think I am?"
Student: "You don't look a day over 22. So how old are you?"
Me: "30."
Student: "30?! Oh! You need to find yourself a husband!"

One year I had a boy in my math class who thought it was very entertaining to respond to everything I said with, "Are you sure?"
For example:
Me: "So, the answer to number five is 32."
Boy: "Are you sure?"
Another example:
Me: "Your homework tonight is the worksheet I gave you in class."
Boy: "Are you sure?"
You get the idea. One day in class I had had quite enough of his "Are you sure?"s, so I said to him: "If you say, 'Are you sure?' one more time I'll send you to Think Time!"
Boy: "Are you..." and he quickly slapped his hands over his mouth.
I admit I couldn't help but laugh.

Ancient Egypt test question: In at least one paragraph, explain why the Nile river is often called the 'life-blood of Egypt'.
Student Answers:
  • It could be because it meant every thing to them. It would give them water. I gave them water for there plants. It gave them the ability to travel faster and cary hever things that they would trade. It expeshally helped them for wars and other things like that.
  • They used it to live, for irrigation, and for their cows. They drank the water, grew crops. And fed their cows who gave milk. Which left them with strong bones to get more water from the Nile.
  • The Nile river is called the life-blood of Egypt because it provides water. A nother reason why is it grows plants like the reed plant other nowen as papyrus. And it helps grows food. the farmers use it to grow there crops. It helps ceep animals and the Egyptians alive and usually fish live in water.
  • The Nile was how the Egyptians survived, it was used for irrigation, building, water, the animals needwater so the Egyptians could have bacon ect.

Student: "You don't dress like a teacher."
Me: "Well, I wear jeans on Fridays because it's a short day for students and I have to do things around the room once you're gone, like clean up and climb on chairs. I can dress more formally if you think I should."
Student: "No, that's not what I mean. You just don't wear weird sweaters and apple pins."
Me: "I can wear apple pins if you want me too."
Student: "No! I don't want you to wear an apple pin. I like the way you dress. I just mean you dress better than most teachers. I mean, you wear things from American Eagle. It's cool."
Me: "Oh. Well, thank you."

Student: "If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?"
Me: "A Broadway star."
Student: "Oh ya. I can see that happening because you're so pretty."
Me: "Thank you!"

Student: "Do you want to buy my school pictures? I know you said you like them, but my mom doesn't. So, do you want to buy them?"

My first year of teaching, the day before we went off for winter break, I stood in front of the class opening Christmas gifts the students had given me. One girl gave me a ceramic figurine of two snowmen - a girl and a boy - snuggling close together in the cold.
Me: "This is a perfect gift because I don't have..."
Boy in class: "... a husband."
Me: "Ahem. I was going to say, 'very many Christmas decorations.'"

Following are two excerpts from student essays about the extinction of a dinosaur called the Coelophysis. They first read a story giving a lot of possible causes for the death of this group of dinosaurs. Their assignment was to decide which theory they thought really happened and give supporting evidence for their answer.

  • I think the reason why they all died in the same place is because they ran out of food and water supplies. Or, there might have been a big fight to the death, and after they died they ate each other because they were cannibals.
  • I think a drought struck and all the water dried up. Then the Coelophysis laid down and died, some of them in puddles.

While out helping the students who were on Safety Patrol duty, I noticed one student who was yelling at the other children to try to get them to stop running.
Me: "You shouldn't just yell at the kids to walk because..."
Student: "I know. I know why. It hurts their ego-system."

World War II Test Question: Name the Central Powers.
Answer: Friendship, Love, and Caring
World War II Test Question: Name the Axis Powers.
Answer: Team Work, Hard Work, Niceness, and Happiness

Kids... you've got to love them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Classes

This semester in grad school I am taking a Multimedia class and a Web Design class. I'm excited about them. In the Multimedia class we will be learning to use Adobe Photoshop and Flash. So far we have just been practicing different tools in Photoshop. To see my assignments, you can go to my EDPS 6560 blog. In my Web Design class we will be learning to use DreamWeaver and Fireworks. There's not much there yet, but you can visit my EDPS 6447 blog too.

The last few days have been somewhat gloomy here. We went from 95 degree temperatures on Monday to rain and COLD weather again! Tonight it looks like the clouds are clearing away, so I'm hoping tomorrow will be a perfect Spring day. I'm looking forward to going on my morning runs/walks again. It's been too cold! Here's hoping for sunshine!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Break! Sort Of.

I finished off spring semester of grad school two weeks ago. I earned A's in both classes again. (Yay!) And I finally got a bit of a break. Well... at least a two week break from grad school, but teaching school has been plenty busy. I will get another break from teaching when I go off track this Friday. Well... at least a break from teaching, but grad school starts up again Tuesday. At least one thing at a time is better than everything at once.

So I know you're wondering how things went with my class performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I left everyone hanging for a while, and I'm sorry! It turned out very well! I did end up wiring Oberon to help him with his lines, but by the last performance he only needed me for a couple of lines. Vast improvement.

Between running the spot, the lights, the sound, and feeding lines, I was running out of arms to do everything, so I asked Brian to help out with lights and sound. He was a huge help! I'm not sure he loved all the adults assuming he was a parent volunteer, and he probably didn't love the 12-year-olds asking him if he "likes" me, but he was a trooper. I couldn't have done it without him.

Brian was also hooked up to the radio with a wire in his ear so I could give him lighting and sound cues. This made for some interesting moments. When I first read Oberon's lines to him, Brian responded with, "What?! I don't know what you said!" while Oberon stood on stage looking around very puzzled. And when Brian said to me over the radio, "Your wish is my command," Oberon found it very amusing and asked if I remembered that he could hear everything we said. The secretaries in the office could hear everything we were saying too and were shocked at what sounded like risqué phrases. They didn't know what to think of lines like, "I'll put love potion in your eyes" and "I must be thy lord" being whispered over the radio.

Puck was most definitely the star of the show. She was a fantastic actor! She had to be one of the best Pucks I have seen. She worked hard to get her lines down and followed my direction so well, but also added a lot of her own character and ideas to the part. In rehearsals her efforts to remember her lines were quite comical at times. One day while practicing the scene where she tricks Lysander and Demetrius into following her through the woods she accidentally shouted, "Come, thou coward! I'll smite thee with the Iron Rod!" She stopped and looked confused for a moment, then she and I both laughed so hard we cried. Between the bursts of laughter and the gasps for air she managed to explain that she had learned about that in church the previous Sunday. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

The Workmen of Athens did a wonderful job with their "play within a play" at the end of the show. Very funny. Pyramus hammed up his acting and Thisby used a hilarious high-pitched voice. I loved the way Wall performed her part too.

We only had a couple of disasters:
Oberon skipped two entire pages of the script in one show, but Puck was determined to say her favorite lines, so she went back two pages when she came on stage! It didn't completely make sense. But then, what 4th and 5th grade audience members can really tell what Shakespeare is saying anyway?
In another show, Hermia fell down the stairs in the dark just before the last scene. A fairy came running across the stage to inform me. I saw a teacher from the audience go back stage to see if she was alright, so I waited an extra minute. When all seemed well again, I turned on the lights. Hermia came limping on stage with tears in her eyes (ironic since her character had just been married). I later learned that her fellow thespians had said to her, "Get up! The show must go on!" and inspired her to continue. :)

At the end of the last performance, as Puck finished her famous ending monologue, before I was able to turn off the lights I heard Puck say, "But wait!" I was terrified of what she was doing - she can be just as mischievous as her character - and apparently my face showed my fear. She continued, "We would liketh to thanketh our teacher for directing our play." A fairy ran on stage with roses and I was waved onto the stage. It was a very sweet, fun presentation.

So, despite the stress the preparations for our performances caused, I can now say "All's well that ends well" after the production of our play.