Monday, March 29, 2010

Wow. Just Wow.

Yes, I have been stressed many times throughout my past few years in college, but I'm not sure I've ever reached the level I am at right now:

*The husband just accepted a job in Texas. He will be moving in 3 weeks; the girls and I will finish out the school year here and commute on weekends. Enter a trillion tiny (and not so tiny) things to add to my to-do list.

*My professor is coming to observe this week.

*Evident ally, our graduate portfolio presentations begin next week. I wasn't aware of this! Good news...I was one of the first to discover the online sign-up sheet, so I chose the latest presentation date possible. Now I have an entire month to finish. Whew!

*My large collaborative project with the first grade must be finished up tomorrow. Not only do I have to prepare their books for a contest entry, but I also promised them that I would make and laminate copies to add to our library circulation. That means, I have to scan, print, paste and laminate 20 books. All this is falling two days before my professor comes to observe!

*Did I mention we are moving? Packing? Picking out paint colors for our new home?????

Please...send chocolate ASAP!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Real World Application

You know how kids always whine about, "When will I ever use this in the real world?" Well, here's a couple of snapshots of my schooling in action!

Here I am teaching first graders about the elements of a story. I wore my best apron and created a "story stew" in my big pot. We also read "The Story of Ferdinand" and picked out the elements of that story.

Then, we got started brainstorming ideas for the stories they would write on their own. I must say, kids seem to have a tough time with creativity these days. I'd like to blame part of it on television and part of it on a shift in our education system away from creative teaching methods and instead focus on how to make our kids good test-takers. Still, the kids came up with some good ideas! It's always interesting to peek inside their little brains and see what's going on in there. :)

Actually applying my studies has been the best part so far. Sure, I love learning--being in a classroom, discussing theories, etc.--but I also love to be in an environment where I can help others and witness progress. I had to pre-test and post-test these kids for my practicum project, and I'm excited to report that they all showed gains on their post-tests. One kid even made 400% gain on his post-test! Now, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

52 days and counting....

Let's just skip over the part where I give all my excuses for not blogging lately, shall we? ;)

52 days until I have my master's degree! I just counted them and, while it actually sounds like a rather large number, I can totally see the light at the end of my tunnel. In fact, I feel like I'm aboard a freight train traveling at startling speeds through that tunnel because there's so much to do!

I feel rather liberated from homework since my winter intersession class finally wrapped up in early February. It was rather time consuming work (writing curriculum plans and creating a lot of lessons), but I was able to "kill two birds with one stone" and use some of those lessons for my practicum hours. Speaking of which, practicum has kept me pretty busy. I started a pretty intense collaboration project with our 5th grade Social Studies class, but due to many uncontrollable events (snow days, state testing days, etc.) we still haven't finished it. I was feeling like the project should be on the Fail Blog so I decided to start up another one! So now, I am helping first graders write and illustrate stories for a young author's contest while trying to get the 5th grade project done. I think one of the main lessons I have learned in my practicum hours is "it will always take longer than you think" and/or, "there are never enough hours in a day." Of course, what mom doesn't already know the latter?

In addition to my collaboration projects, my regular job (library aide), and my homework (from my "Techniques of Research" class--ugh.), I also have been trying to put together my portfolio. Right now I am thanking the heavens that one of the teachers during summer school had us set up the "skeleton" of our online portfolio using Google sites. Now, all I have to do is plus in the artifacts and reflections. I'm sure I have some "spiffing up" to do, but the biggest chunk of work is already out of the way, and for that I am very thankful.

So....we're all caught up for now. I promise to do better...especially since there's only 52 days and counting before I leave the title of "University Mama" behind!