Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weight loss update

It's been about nine months since I started losing weight and I'm now about five months since breast reduction surgery.

The weight is still coming off slowly, which is good. I'm keeping up with diet changes and regular exercise. The university has a wellness center and I plan to spend time exercising up there before class. 

I've dropped 40 lbs. I am hoping to drop another 10 before the end of the year. That's about two pounds every month. 

And this is me now... Totally loving the sassy new hair, too!

The crazy making part is I still look in the mirror and see a fat girl. But, when I look at the before and after pictures, I'm shocked at the difference. I just don't know how to get my brain to see the new me in the mirror.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thanks-a-lot S'mores

Let's be honest, who really has Girl Scout cookies left?

I know mine were G-O-N-E within a few days of buying them from Leelee's friends. I bought an embarrassing number of cookies. The whole situation was made worse when I subbed her friends' classes and they had cookies with them...

Last week, I had a nice surprise in the office. A student brought me an end of the year gift and included the most appropriate Girl Scout Cookies: Thanks-a-Lots!

As if there's any way to make the cookies better...I decided to use these short bread and chocolate yummies in place of chocolate and graham crackers for our holiday S'mores

It was a great way to wrap up the school year with the kids at home. The older ones finished finals and began summer a few days before the younger kids. 

We needed to celebrate!

It's so hard to separate s'mores from camping. The kids begged D to set up the tents in the back yard and soon enough, we had a very nice camp out happening behind the house. It was pretty authentic, complete with screams about spiders and complaints about mosquito bites. In the last week, they've slept outside more than inside. 

I've lost any traces of optimism about actually getting on a real camping trip this summer. School has made it completely out of the question for me...unless we camp somewhere with WIFI. Honestly, that defeats the purpose of camping for me. When I camp, I want to get away from it all.

Maybe I can talk the husband in to taking the kids camping and I'll just stay home and do schoolwork...

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Picasso Lesson

Things are winding down with the school year. I'm finishing my last two weeks in the Spanish class. I'm really going to miss these kids!

The kids, for the most part are so D-O-N-E with learning vocabulary.

To change things up, we are learning, instead of about famous Hispanic artists. We looked at art from Salvador Dali to Frida Kahlo. But, we're mainly focusing on the prolific work of Pablo Picasso.

These are grade school kids, so we aren't going heavy in to his art and what it means, but we are looking at a few awesome pieces. This is also a great time to discuss naming customs in Spain. Picasso's given name is pretty long and it brought up a lot of questions from the kids as to why or if Picasso got in trouble, his mom had to yell out the ENTIRE name!

I created this grade school friendly Picasso Power Point. It includes guided questions and instructions for creating our finished art projects.

I couldn't do a lesson on artists without the kids creating their own art. The instructions are very basic.

Lesson: Learning About Piccaso
Grades: K-5
Time: 25 minutes for 5 days
Objective: Teach children about Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, introducing them to cubism and surrealist art and Spanish culture.

Day 1: Dropping in on Pablo Picasso Video
Day 2: Getting to know the World's Great Artists: Picasso and begin power point
Day 3: Finish Power Point. If time allows, continue discussion of other Hispanic Artists: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Salvador Dali.
Day 4: Pencil Sketches
Day 5: Oil Pastels on Cardstock

The first day of drawing, the children create their self portraits in pencil. Just a basic sketch. The younger kids may need help. For the kindergarteners and first graders, it works best to trace their profiles. Many of the older kids preferred to work this way, as well. We started with a profile first, then completed the front view. Next, the children outlined the pencil in black. Since I only have 30 minutes with my classes, this is as far as we got on the first day of creating.

On day two, students chose five colors to work with and colored, with crayon, very carefully (you know how some kids like to rush!) their drawing on the white paper.

Day three, students used their draft on white paper as a guide to recreating their portraits with oil pastels on construction paper.

In addition to the power point, we also spent a class watching Dropping in on Picasso. It's definitely geared towards the younger set, but it was a nice way to review for the older kids and introduce Picasso to the younger ones.

The big task next, for me, is to find a way to adapt this whole lesson for the secondary set and tie it in with modernist literature. That ought to be fun ;)

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Life is what happens...

You know the saying, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans"?

Life has certainly happened around here.

Very unexpectedly, I have found myself in a long term substitute teaching assignment! I have been in this class for the past three weeks and will be there until the end of the school year.

Most surprising to me, is how much I am enjoying teaching in a grade school. If you would have asked me nearly 25 years ago, if I'd ever use the Spanish and French classes I was taking in high school and college, I probably would have laughed. I certainly never expected to be teaching Spanish vocabulary to grades K-5! My plan continues to be earning my Masters in Education with a certificate in Secondary English/Language Arts. Part of me wonders, however, if maybe I ought to change it to elementary education.

I really wish I could stay on as the Spanish teacher. It is more fun than I imagined!

One thing is for certain, I do know I want to teach.

At the end of our unit on seasons and weather, the students put together this project I found here.  Part of our unit even included listening to "Verano" from the Frozen soundtrack. 

Next, we tackled El Cuerpo. I was inspired by the Roll a Monster project.

Students in small groups, created their own monsters. The students had to name their monsters, give it an age and tell where it was from. In addition to the basic statistics, the kids had to list three things their monster liked.

When it came to drawing the monsters, each group had to label a certain number of body parts.

The kindergarteners and first graders did the project a bit differently. I called out a color, number and body part in Spanish and they had to draw it on a blank piece of paper.

We also sang several songs including Mi Cuerpo Hace Musica and Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pie. The older kids were less than impressed with the songs, but that sort of goes with the "almost out of grade school" territory.

This week, we are learning Classroom Objects. And next week, we are doing an Artist Study Unit on Picasso. That should bring us to the end of the school year. Phew! Just in time for me to start my graduate classes!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Garden in bloom

The year spring forgot is finally allowing some color in my garden! 

In those few days I haven't been working (and I've been working 5 days a week subbing!) I managed to get some tomatoes, herbs and strawberries planted.

One little ripe strawberry and the little girls were fighting over it. Definitely need to plant a few more. I did two plants in a container just to see if they did better in premixed soil. Last year we had some issues with the berries... And I'm not sure if it's my bad gardening or the soil. I'd lay money on my black thumb :)

I somehow ended up with a gorgeous amaryllis on the side if my house near the gas meter. It's a little hidden treasure I get to see when I come inside through the back of the house.

Danger Girl planted these knockout roses last year and two of the plants have grown quite a bit. The third hasn't bloomed. Not sure what's going on with that. I'm giving it one more season to see if it blooms.

I'd love some advice on these pesky roses!

The storms that blew through this week knocked the petals off most of the roses. Danger Girl had planned to give her teachers roses for teacher appreciation... Now we need plan B.

Meanwhile, I start my grad classes at the end of the month and I really can't wait!

Big changes happening all around.