Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving to WordPress

Time for a change. I have migrated by blog to WordPress. Check out the new "Thing" of the Month here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Persuasive Essay Writing

I have recently started the persuasive writing unit with my class. After months of writing responses to literature, they have been very excited to finally write about personal topics. However, traditionally, teachers give students a few school-related topics to choose from-- gum and dress code being the most popular. Because I wanted their writing to be more authentic, we spent an entire day brainstorming problems or issues that were important to them that might make good essays. I really wanted them to have a personal connection to their compositions. Although there were some unique ideas like prohibiting children from being forced to compete in beauty pageants and forcing the government to literally print more money so they can pay elective teachers (keep in mind they don't take economics until high school), most students picked school topics like allowing personal electronics at school, dress code and gum chewing. I was completely surprised by this because, when discussing cell phone use at school, I informed them that if their phone is confiscated, teachers and administrators have the right to look through their text messages, etc. To say they outraged would be an understatement. I was certain they would want to write about this issue, but apparently the ability to rot your teeth while simultaneously giving yourself TMJ is more important than fundamental privacy. In their attempt to support their position, they cited sound evidence like "Who doesn't like gum?" and "It helps us think." How to argue with that! One student, however, admitted that students would probably spit it out on the floor and walls, but did not see this as a negative side effect. He wrote, "If you have different colors of gum and you stick them everywhere the school gets more colorful." Sounds like someone might have a future as decorator.

It is their silliness that keeps me energized. And obviously I am going to need the energy to help them with these essays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ah College Memories

I am still working on my M.Ed. writing. Not even close to being done.

I decided to try a little writing music. I opened iTunes and randomly selected a Genius mix. It turned out to be mostly The Postal Service, which I have not listened to in forever. Suddenly, I had the most vivid memory of a Campus Events Commission retreat in Big Bear. The Postal Service happened to be very big at that time, especially with hipster crowds like the CEC. Naturally, there were 30 of us staying in a cabin that was intended for 9 at the most (but when they calculated that number they didn't include floor space and other sleepable surfaces like pool tables...poor college students are so resourceful). On that particular trip my unit director decided that it would be great for team bonding if we all slept in the same room. Three people slept on the full bed and the rest of us slept on the floor around the bed. My sliver of the room was so narrow that if I laid on my back,  half of my body would be actually under the bed. In all, there were about 8 of us squeezing into that tiny bedroom. Thankfully no one had to pee in the middle of the night or it would have been like a large-scale version of those tile puzzles-- the ones where you have to slide all the tiles around to get a single piece from one side to the other without removing any. Oh memories...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I swear I'm not just procrastinating.

Tomorrow is technically the final day of my10-day writing challenge and while I have not been blogging all 10 days, I have been busy writing. In three days I must submit the fist version of the first chapter of my M.Ed. inquiry. I should be locked in a room somewhere trying to finish but I am experiencing a bit of writers block. I know what I want to say but just can't get my words to reflect that. What a terrible time for my brain to stop working. I thought that perhaps a little personal writing would help but I am feeling no more eloquent or inspired than when my break started. 

Oh no. I am stuck again. Now I can't even write blog posts. Perhaps I should try something else to jump-start my brain.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

WAGS Against Bad Unis: Butt Sweat

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am beginning a new segment called WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) Against Bad Unis. Being married to the sports-obsessed man that I am, I spend a lot of time watching EPSN. We watch all the sports (I really mean all of them) as well as shows where other people talk about the sports we just watched. Sometimes, we even listen to podcasts of people talking about the sports and the shows of people talking about sports. Inevitably, my attention gravitates to the uniforms. It's hard not to notice them, honestly. There are just so may bad ones out there.

Today's issue, butt sweat! This seems like an appropriate place to start since visible butt sweat is at the top of my uniform pet-peeves. Allow me to illustrate:

Pay special attention to number 77's derriere. Who wants to see that really?

Not all football pants are made the same. Some specific types of spandex and some colors are worse offenders than others. As you can see in this picture, yellow should not be used for football pants. Although, I could have predicted as much. Other colors that should be banned from football pant production are silver, gray, red and most other light colors. Furthermore, specific fabric blends should be tested for their ability to repel liquid (as opposed to absorb it).

In an attempt to attract more female viewers, the NFL wears pink on certain days in support of breast cancer research and those suffering with the disease. Some also suspect the recent crackdown on helmet-to-helmet contact in another effort to woo concerned mothers. I, however, think the women's vote could be won by paying more attention to uniform details. Surely I am not the only woman who notices these things.

Unrelated but relevant:
Last night, E and I had a friendly wager on the outcome of our bowling adventure. In the first game, I was crushed by over 50 points. However, in the second round, on a double or nothing wager, I lost by only 2 points. This would have been devastating had E not arrogantly given me 10 points-- meaning I covered the spread and beat him at his own game. Victory!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Challege Day 2: Christmas Shopping

E and I spent the day downtown shopping for Christmas gifts. How I miss living downtown. He wagered that before entering our second store, I would be completely annoyed with crowds and lose my cool. I am proud to announce that I shocked him by making it to four stores before spiraling down into grumpiness. Although, I knew as I entered the going-out-of-business Borders that the mass of people crowding into a hot store for their chance at cheap books was going to put me over the limit. Plus, that particular Borders must not believe in air conditioning because it is always insanely warm in there. My advice for any Borders shoppers is to avoid standing near the computers. People assume that if you are using one that you must work there. I politely told 5 different customers that I was just a shopper. Actually, by the fifth person, I wasn't being quite as polite. We did get some great new comics for 40% off. So, I guess it was worth it.

I am also excited that I found gifts for over half of the people on my list. I hate being a last minute shopper, but I usually am. This year, I am breaking the trend and hope to be completely done by the 20th. I like to set arbitrary goals for myself. It then gives me a feeling of accomplishment when I meet them.

Tonight, E and I will be bowling at his department's holiday get together. The smack talking has already started.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Challenge

I have been working on blogs projects with my students. After a short lesson on blogs and a crash-course on iWeb, they are now making blogs for the characters in The Outsiders.  I have been trying to encourage them to write frequently and I think learning about blogs may provide them a platform to do so. I, however, feel like a total hypocrite. Looking back at my postings and the dates in my physical journal, they are spotty to say the least. So, starting today, I am issuing myself a 10-day challenge to write every day. I could cite all of the research I have been looking at that explains the benefits of daily writing and/ or reflecting, but I will spare all 5 of my readers the trouble.

Challenge Day 1: Becoming a Cat Person?
I used to like cats as a child. I was terribly allergic, to the point of asthma attacks, but I enjoyed being around them and having one as a pet. Somewhere in my adolescence, I began to hate them and became "dog person." Perhaps it was because my dad's mountain-lion-size cat, Sam, frequently sank his giant teeth into my leg for not petting him on command. Perhaps it was because my grandmother's cat would sit on top of the fridge and threaten to pounce if I tried to get a glass of milk. Or perhaps it was because of the neighborhood cats that would poop in my herb garden. In any case, I am just much happier being around dogs.

When E told me that we would be house-sitting for some people who had a cat, I was a bit hesitant but I am a good sport. I must say, to my own surprise, that I have fallen in love with an old tortoiseshell named Detelina. True, my eyes get a bit puffy and I have trouble breathing through my nose when I come into contact with any furniture she has been on, but she is so sweet. She loves to cuddle and, at night, she burrows down into the covers and sleeps against my legs (thankfully far away from my face). She has a great disposition and doesn't even try to bite or claw me! We are staying with her for another few days and I am already sad about leaving.

Is it possible that I am really becoming a cat person or am I just getting desperate for a pet?

In other news, I will soon be starting a new blog segment called WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) Against Bad Unis. Being married to the sports-obsessed man that I am, I spend a lot of time watching EPSN. We watch all the sports (I really mean all of them) as well as shows where other people talk about the sports we just watched. Sometimes, we even listen to podcasts of people talking about the sports and the shows of people talking about sports. Inevitably, my attention gravitates to the uniforms. It's hard not to notice them, honestly. There are just so may bad ones out there.

Be on the lookout for the first installment of WAGS Agaist Bad Unis: Butt Sweat.