Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today, and a plan!

Here's what's on the to-do list for today:

1. Enjoy a delicious Cinnabon for breakfast (back to the diet tomorrow)
2. Wear my Olympic jersey for luck
3. Start working on the laundry
4. Mark Geography unit tests
5. Finish my report cards
6. Finish the laundry
7. Clean up around the house
8. Watch Canada win gold in Olympic Hockey!

I'll be back later with my progress!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Productiveness of Saturdays

Sometimes I feel like I am a huge nerd. A loser. A geek.

Why you ask? Well, I'll tell you. I like using my Saturday to get things done.


In case you don't believe me, check out this post


Even if I have had a super busy week, like this one, I like to use my Saturdays in the most productive way possible. I like when I have all the time for me and I get to make the decisions about when I do it, how much I do, in what order I do it, etc, etc.

There is something freeing about getting to make all the decisions about the work that you do and when you do. I try very hard to be as productive as possible during the week at work but it's very hard when there are 25 bodies in the room that need their questions answered (May I go to the washroom?), their behaviour reprimanded (Sit down and complete your work!) and their every thought listened to (Did you watch the hockey game? Yes. They won you know?! Yes, I just told you I watched it!) As much as I love my little friends they do make it difficult to get anything done.

Saturdays.

It's like having an entire day's to-do list available and at the ready for me to cross off one by one!

Now it should be said that I don't have children, and due to the Olympics my husband has been at work all day so I had all the time to myself. My sister came over this afternoon because she didn't want to sit home alone, but I basically went out about my business and she watched the Olympics (more gold for Canada!) My report cards are due on Monday and I still have a bit to do but today was awfully productive and I got a huge chunk done. Good for me!!


How do you like spending your Saturdays?

The Saturday Network

Head on over the Books at Midnight to participate in the The Saturday Network and find some great new blogs to read!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Heart is Full

Two years ago I heard about a new movement and a student-centered program that would teach kids to feel empathy and about the lives of children around the world. Last year I took 4 students on a trip to start the program at my school This year I took 13. 


Today we reached our goal!!!


My Me to We team has built a school in Kenya. That means in a total of 16 months we raised $8500.00 to build a school in the Masai Mara region. According to the Free the Children website:


The Maasai people have little access to education and health care services. Maasailand also has the highest primary school dropout rate in Kenya, a direct result of poor educational facilities, the need for children to tend to cattle and goats, and the lack of educational and health support. Many of the Maasai children who do go to school start their education late because schools are too far away from their communities.


People may ask why these schools need to be built? Well,


Free The Children believes that education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and end the exploitation of children. By providing primary education to underprivileged girls and boys, Free The Children’s Free The Children's Education Projects are contributing to meeting the goals of the “Education for All” initiative agreed upon at the World Forum for Education in April 2000 in Dakar, Senegal. At this forum, the international community committed itself to providing, by 2015, free primary education to the 130 million of the world’s children who cannot go to school because of the circumstances of their birth. Nearly 60% of these children are girls.


I am so proud. And happy. And excited. And tired! Our final event that pushed us over the edge today was a fantastic Olympic Winter carnival. We had a motivational speaker into the school from Free the Children, then the afternoon was spent outside in the snow playing all sorts of games, selling hot chocolate, and our version of "beavertails"! It was great but exhausting...and now I can say we did it. We built a school in Kenya!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WWW Wednesday

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-mbachu



It is for my school board's review committee and is a pretty interesting book. It is set in 2070 when the Earth has gone through a big change. magic has returned to earth, there are metahumans (mutants) that have special powers and connections between Earth and other worlds. 


I am not really sure how I feel about the book yet but I know it intrigues me. The two main characters are very powerful women who have already defeated a man...always cause for celebration! Go Feminism! I really want to keep reading and find out what happens but...Canada is playing Russia in the quarter-finals!


I just finished reading Steve Berry's The Paris Vendetta which I thought was amazing. I love books where I get to learn something, there is a little mystery, thrill and intrigue. It just keeps me on my toes! I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good book and is a fan of Dan Brown and that sort of story.


Next, I am going to read...I am not really sure of the titles but I know I have a few more books to finish before my review committee meeting on March 9th! Not to mention all the reviews to write....woe is me! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teachin' Tuesday and a little link love


I thought for this week's edition of Teachin' Tuesday I would share some of my favourite sites to visit when I am looking for inspiration, ideas and lessons.

Jim Burke's blog: The English Teacher's Companion is a great source for inspiration and ideas. It makes me feel like I have chosen a great profession!

The English Companion Ning is a wonderful place to connect with other English teachers, share ideas and learn from each other. This ning is facilitated by Jim Burke.

The Media Awareness Network is fabulous source of lesson plans for teachers. Canadian teachers can browse by provincial expectation, subject, grade level etc and find all sorts of useful stuff. Most of the lessons included the handouts, overheads and necessary materials. 

Read Write Think is a necessary resource for all English teachers!! I love coming to this site for lesson ideas and sometimes whole mini units. They even have a bunch of student interactive games and publishing tools. If you teach Language Arts, you must check this out. 

Teaching That Makes Sense is a great site for resources that relate to reading and writing. I especially love the 5 Facts of Fiction and Read like a Reader, Read like a Writer. 

Hope this helps someone out there. If you have any great sites to pass a long, please do.




Monday, February 22, 2010

Stories from a Grade 8 Classroom- it's been awhile

Actually, not all of these stories are from my classroom but they made an impact on me today.

I held a simulation activity to represent all the trade concepts we have been study (trade agreements, trade bloc, embargoes, tariffs etc)...so anyway. The kids were put into groups of 3-4 and were assigned one of the following roles: trade ambassador, supply and demand co-ordinator, and engineer. I explained that they would be given a bag of "resources" in order to manufacture a product. They would have only 20 minutes to trade amongst the other groups and build their product.

Now, before i go one I should let you know that the "product" that they would be manufacturing was a marshmallow man! Fun, right? I was very strict about the fact that they could NOT eat any of the items until after we were done. 20 minutes passed, we did the trade simulation and everything was going fine. I announced that they could start on their manufacturing reports and if they wanted they could now eat the marshmallows- why anyone would want to eat these marshmallows after they had been traded around the classroom is beyond me? But they did. About 5 minutes after we had transitioned to this I heard my name and turned around. This is what I was confronted with...

Student- "Teacher, why were there extra cookies in the bags that we didn't need for the marshmallow man?"

Me- "What? There weren't any extra cookies in the bag."

Student- "Yes, there were. They looked like bones and paws."

Now.... before we continue, I should tell you that I wanted my students to recognize that some countries are wealthy in certain resources but unless someone wants to buy them they don't hold any value. So I put in non-valuable resources that weren't needed for the marshmallow man.


Me- "You ate those?"

Student- "Ya, they weren't very good though."

Me- "Umm, ya, they are dog biscuits. Didn't the bone shape tip you off?"

Student- "Oh, no."

Another student- "You ate dog biscuits? I want to try too!"

Ohhhhh great, here come the phone calls from the parents.


My second story comes from the gym today where I filled in for my teaching partner as he was away and couldn't coach his team during their basketball game after school.

I know nothing about basketball, other than it involves people running up and down the court and throwing a ball at a basket. So I was pretty much a warm body sitting on the bench providing supervision.

Now, my teaching partner is intense when he is coaching, sometimes intimidating, but from a bystanders point of view his players respect him and play their best for him. They did not play their best today.

There was no real reason for them to lose as badly as they did except that they gave up. They gave up on themselves, they gave up on each other, and they just plain gave up. It's a sad thing to see 13 year-old kids have the attitude that they can't, or worse, that they won't. One boy walked off the floor, without having a substitute and said, "I'm done. I don't want to play." Wow. About three of the boys were giving their all and trying so hard to get the other boys back into the game and I could see their frustration. The three boys on the bench wanted to be on the floor so bad, just to give it a try. Maybe if I knew more about basketball I could have helped with some specifics, but my only advice to them was to talk to each other, trust each other, slow down and communicate more. Which is, I believe, the most important aspect of any team sport regardless of the  type.

It's heart-breaking, frustrating, aggravating, maddening to see such young buys give up on themselves and each other. Life is such a long and difficult road. What will they do when the hard stuff actually comes along?

Now I just have to tell my teaching partner tomorrow....sigh.



Menu Plan Monday

I have been thinking for a while now that I should plan my meals because I hate coming home and having to decide what to cook...so this week I am starting Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie and introduced to me by PeetSwea.


I actually did my menu plan on Saturday night because I went grocery shopping on Sunday Morning so Sunday's meals are included in this week's plan.

Sunday: Cream of Cauliflower soup/ Sante Fe Chicken Fajita Soup (freeze leftovers for lunches)

Monday: Mac Attack mac n' cheese from the LooneySpoons cookbook (changed to frozen pizza because I ended up coaching basketball until 6pm! More on that later)

Tuesday: Mini Muffin Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies

Wednesday: Chicken and Rice Casserole with Vegetables

Friday: If you don't go out for a friend's birthday, I'll cook the Mac Attack this night

Saturday: Hubby's turn to cook (he just doesn't know it it! LOL)

I have also decided to try one new recipe a week in order to expand my culinary repertoire (doesn't that sound cool?) so if you have a family favourite I would love for you to pass it on. We aren't super adventurous- not too spicy, or too out there, but I'm willing to give most things a whirl.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Charity Change

This might be my favourite new blog! The author is highlighting one organization a week (52) for the entire year by changing her t-shirt for change..wow!! This is exactly the type of thing I want my students to be aware of.

Charity Change will have brought attention to 52 causes by the end of the year and will have sparked untold moments of change. "be the change" was never so simple! Change your shirt for change...wow!

The Sunday Salon-February 21st

After being out of Blogger range last Sunday (no, my parents still do not have the Internet, my mom says she has no "interest" in it! crazy, I say)  I am happy to be back with this week's Sunday Salon.



I feel that my reading is slowing down somewhat. I am not sure why? I am obviously spending time reading blogs, which is new to me since the summer. The Olympics are on and I love watching them. It's report card time, which I have just started. I am in charge of organizing a school wide winter carnival on Friday...fun times!

I am currently reading Steve Berry's new book The Paris Vendetta. I have yet to be disappointed by any of Berry's books, but I do wish that he would stop pretending that the main character, Cotton Malone, is retired from the US Justice Department since he ends up on a mission for them IN. EVERY. BOOK. I mean really, if I say I am retired and then teach everyday am I still retired? I do enjoy Steve Berry much more than Dan Brown. I loved Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code but then it was such a loooooong wait for the next book. Steve Berry's books come out much more frequently and are just as well written in my opinion.

I have finished Wilma Tenderfoot and the Case of the Frozen Hearts and very throughly enjoyed it! I think this would be a great book for any young girl who likes mysteries. I think boys would like it as well, but seeing as the main character is a girl there might be other series they would enjoy more. I really liked how the vocabulary in the books was advanced and the characters would often explain the meaning of the words they used in their conversations. Quite a neat trick from a teacher's perspective!

As far as my Sunday has gone, I have been very busy! I woke up early and did my grocery shopping. I have decided to start planning my meals out by the week and will be posting that tomorrow. Today I made two pots of soup, cream of cauliflower (my fave) and a new soup- Sante Fe Fajita Chicken- from the Kraft.com website. I do not recommend it. I used to love a chicken tortilla soup made by the chef at the restaurant where I worked and I have been on the hunt ever since! So if you have a recipe for a similar soup- it had a tomato base, lots of veggies and was a little spicy- I would love to have it.

I spent a HUGE chuck of the day prepping reports card- calculating marks, creating comments- and some lesson planning. Normally, I have all my learning skills done (you know, the comments at the end like "So-so plays well with others. Is encouraged to complete their homework more frequently" etc, and then I scrambling to get my marking done. This term it's the opposite. I have the marking done and have yet to start on the learning skills! Yikes...it's not so bad I still have a week. I could do 5 everyday and get them done in time. I'll probably start to tomorrow while I am watching the kids work, I think better when I can see the kids I am writing about.

Now I am off to, hopefully, finish my book and maybe watch the Canada vs. USA hockey game. I get so anxious though...I just want us to win so bad. I don't think it's healthy to have this much anxiety about a sporting event! I hope everyone else has had a fabulous Sunday and weekend to boot.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review- The Book of Negroes

As I stated in an earlier post, I LOVED The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. It is the first book I have chosen to read for the Chunkster Challenge. I normally choose books based on length, I am such a fast reader that I often need to have a long book so that I don't finish it in a night!

Review

I enjoyed this book from both an historical point of view and for reading enjoyment. I almost wish that this book could be used in the Intermediate classroom! After 5 years of teaching the American Revolution, Loyalist migration and the history of the Underground Railroad, I throughly enjoyed reading this book and having such a wealth of background knowledge to bring to the experience. However, I think Hill's writing is so well-detailed and descriptive that any reader could have an enjoyable experience with this book.

The story is told from the first-person point of view of Aminata Diallo, an African woman who was kidnapped from her land and taken to America on a slave ship. My best friend felt that having a women's perspective told by a male author was awkward in parts, but I didn't get that feeling as I read. I appreciated how Hill's writing is able to grab your attention and make the reader a part of the action. My heart went out to Aminata time and time again as her life was being ripped apart. I would recommend this book as a Chunkster to anyone who is looking for a great book to read and who enjoys historical fiction!

Thoughtful Thinks...for Brian.

This post is for my friend Brian, one of the most awesome people I have ever had the honour of knowing. We "knew" each other for a short time over a couple of summers but have managed to keep in touch through time and space, and I am a better person for knowing him.  


I am feeling better! Not great, but better. I slept the whole day yesterday...and it was amazing. I did watch some previous episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice I had saved on the PVR, but other than that it was a day of blissful sleep. I really needed it. I mean, if you can sleep for an entire day with really trying you must be tired and drained. 

I had a moment last week where I could feel a panic attack coming on because of al the things I have on the go and need to complete. I know I take on too much, I know I need to learn how to say "no" more often, and I am working on not feeling guilty about it. The problem is that I love my job and I really like doing stuff that goes along with it- coaching, being a staff advisor, creating the yearbook, researching new lessons, etc...but at some point I need to take time for me.

I think a lot of good people out there feel like this a lot of the time, and for the most part it's because they are very caring and compassionate people. They take on the problems of others and actively look for ways to help them because deep down inside they know they are strong enough to take care of themselves and the others around them (Brian, this is YOU!). There will come a time when they start to feel beat down by the stress of other's problems and emotions but they will always plough through because they have an emotional toughness, a caring tenacity, a passionate drive to be a good person and to spread that joy to those around them.

So even if you are feeling down and stressed right now know it is because you are such a great person that you feel like this. If you didn't care as much, try as hard, love as deeply- you wouldn't be you. And that would be a loss for the rest of us.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympics: Sports vs. Journalism

I. Love. The. Olympics. (I have also noticed that I like writing my sentences with a period after every word)


Up here in Canada the CBC has been the host TV network for Olympic coverage for the last 30 years, however, this year CTV is the providing the coverage. In true Canadian fashion people and complaining, griping, bitching and just plain missing the point. Yes, maybe some of the TV personalities they have on the air aren't the best - Jessi and Dan from MTV are an interesting choice as journalists for the Olympics. pairing TSN sports anchors with serious journalists from the nightly news is a strange twist- but the Olympics are about the athletes not the journalists.

My husband works for CTV so I do get a bit of an inside view of things and I know that complaints are pouring in. Things like: there is too much coverage of Canadian athletes (for real?), the morning shows aren't covering enough sports (ummm, when it's 9am in Ontario it's 6am in Vancouver...hello???), etc, etc. Maybe it's not perfect but they are 30 years out of practice hosting the Olympics on their network give them some time to get their feet under them.

As far as the athletes are concerned, people in Canada LOVE to cheer for the winners and are quick to kick an athlete when they are down. My question is: When is the last time you devoted yourself to being that good at anything? I wish people could see the beauty of the Olympics, even with all its faults. It brings people together.

Maybe having MTV personalities on the air was designed to get younger generations watching? Maybe having the TSN personalities with new anchors was designed to appeal to more than one demographic? Maybe the athletes are trying their best? No one woke up in the morning and made the choice not to win.

People need to take a breath, calm down and appreciate this time when the world pauses to celebrate young people who, for the most part, are only acknowledge every 4 years.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sick...sick...sick

I have a full on body-ache, sore throat, sinus full sick. I blame it on three days in Ottawa with my students, not enough sleep, stress over report cards and organizing a Winter Olympics Carnival. I am taking tomorrow to sleep, sleep, sleep...and maybe write some learning skills. This time of year is so bad for the blahs, and feeling dreary that I think it's possible to actually talk yourself into feeling sick. February. I . Hate. You.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WWW Wednesday


This weekly meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I am currently reading Wilma Tenderfoot and the Case of the Frozen Hearts. 

This is one of the books I need to read for my review committee at work and it's a pretty cute little mystery book so far. I think a lot of junior girls would really get into this series.
I just finished "reading" Three to Get Dead by Janet Evanovich (audiobook actually). Always a fun red, or listen, cute, easy and comfortable. It was great for the three hour drive home from my parents.
Next, I have 2 more books to read for my review committee. I want to finish the new Steve Berry I started and get going on Catcher in the Rye...meanwhile, report cards are due in two weeks. And. Off. We. Go.!  

Awards!

I received the Bliss (Happy 101) Award from Ms. Martins Teaches Media. Thanks so much...I needed it this week!




I am supposed to make a list of 10 things that make me happy...


1. seeing my husband and my puppy cuddling
2. shopping with my mom
3. hearing my dad laugh
4. Canada winning a gold medal at home
5. listening to my students read their own poetry and seeing them getting excited about poetry
6. picture books
7. taking yearbook photos
8. 86 days left of school
9. chocolate chip cookies
10. friends


I am going to pass this on to:


Brian at The Zoey Blog
SB at not too serious I hope
Kristi at PeetSwea
Molly at my cozy book nook
Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea 


I've also received the Beautiful Blogger Award from Kristi at PeetSwea. Thanks so much. It means a lot to me that people out there are interested at all in reading what I have to say once, let alone on a daily basis! I truly, truly appreciate it!



Here are the rules:

  • Thank and link to the person that gave you the award.
  • Pass this award onto 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and think are fantastic.
  • Contact said Blogs and let them know they’ve won
  • State 7 things about yourself
15 is A LOT of blogs to list here so I will just do the ones I have found most recently:




And finally, 7 things about me that you may not know:

  • My great-uncle founded the newspaper in my hometown and my father built the first all electric house there!
  • I have a major purse fetish. I rarely return from a shopping trip without one.
  • I still call my dad "Daddy" most of the time, and I have never been able to get mad at him for more than a few minutes.
  • I cry at almost everything- Olympic medal ceremonies, phone commercials, books.
  • I love the drama of the Olympics. Love. It.
  • I rarely do only one thing at a time. I am a serial multi-tasker. 
  • It is my dream to be a librarian someday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleeping...

One would think that after the last 6 days I would be tired...well, actually I am tired but I can't sleep. It's one of those nights when I can't seem to turn my head off. I can't stop thinking...about reports due in 2 weeks, the Olympic Winter Carnival I am running in two weeks, the books I need to finish reading and review in two weeks...I might be dead in two weeks.

When I can't sleep it leads me to thinking, thinking and wishing...

I wish there were more hours in the day.

I wish more people would stand up and offer to help.

I wish more students could see the long term consequences of their choices.

I wish I knew if I would regret not having kids when I am older.

I wish my mom and my sister wouldn't fight all the time.

I wish my dad wouldn't work so hard.

I wish I could have a 2nd dog.

I wish more of my friends lived closer to me, or I to them.

I wish I hadn't lost touch with some people, and I am sad that I am glad I lost touch with others. Because really, what does that say about me?

I wish there was more time for reading.

I wish I had unlimited funds for my school.

I wish people would grow up and leave 10th grade.

I wish people cared more about others and less about celebrities.

I wish I was asleep.

Teachin' Tuesdays...back with a vengence

Role on the Wall

I am loving this new strategy I learned from the resource teacher at my school. Before I get into explaining it, here are some links I found online- go here, and here

This is a great way to get students to think about perspective and the influences life puts on people. You can use this to develop characters when the students are writing, or when they are creating a drama. It also works very well for a reading strategy to get students to think about the characters as real people. 

I started my lesson by giving a group of 5-6 students this picture.



To start with, we didn't discuss the picture at all, I just asked the students to recreate the picture in a tableau exactly as they saw it.  I walked around and helped groups as needed. The groups practiced freezing and maintaining their concentration and then we had a gallery walk where each group remained frozen while the other students walked around and checked them out as if they were statues.

As a class we discussed what the picture could be about and most of the students understood that it was supposed to be Harriet Tubman leading a group of slaves to freedom. We then talked about each person in the picture and what their role might be. As the students froze back into their tableaus I walked around and did a "tap in" tableau- I would tap a student on the shoulder, they would come to life and I would ask them a questions that they would answer in role. I asked things like, "What are you feeling?", "Where are you going?", "What are you thinking about?"

Don't worry!! We are getting to the role on the wall strategy!

I had the groups sit back down and displayed an outline of the picture we had used for the tableau. As a class we worked together as I first modelled the role on the wall strategy. Here is what we did together:


I highlighted the central, Harriet Tubman, figure and on the inside of the character we wrote down all the ideas that reflected who that character would be as a person, their characteristics, values, etc. According to www.bbc.co.uk a role on the wall diagram can include:
  1. how the character feels about him/herself
  2. how the character feels about other people
  3. what other people think about the character
  4. his/her likes and dislikes
  5. his/her history
  6. his/her dreams or regrets
This information can be very detailed, or just jottings of single words that describe your character.

On the outside we brainstormed all the things that affected the character, outside influences, societal pressures, etc. I think it turned out rather well. Here is the example from my 2nd class. It's always interesting to me that that same activity can produce different results from 2 classes...fun.


The next step was to give each group an outline of the picture but with a different character highlighted!








I had the groups pass around their pages so the other groups could add ideas to it as well, and to get a look the ideas others had brainstormed. Then I took all the ideas and put them together on a single chart to display in the class for the rest of February and Black History Month.


I can't wait to use this strategy again! The possibilities are endless.

Whew...life got crazy there for a minute (or 6 days, however you look at it).

So...February 16th, eh? Day 5 of the Olympics? Two weeks until report cards are due? Wow, where has the time gone? In good news...only 4 weeks until March Break and a wonderful week off in Florida! Road Trip!

It's amazing how time can fly by when you fill it up with stuff. I'm not a parent so I can't even imagine what time must feel like to them but I imagine it's a scary prospect. You want things to progress, and grow and change...but it goes so fast!! It seems like yesterday we were having planning meetings, and collecting down payments and here we are- the Grade 8 Ottawa trip is over and done. Before I know it I will be handing out diplomas and watching 13 & 14 year-olds dance the night away at Grad. le sigh

To give you an idea of the last 6 days of my life I will outline the places and things I have done:

Wednesday, Feb 10th
6:45am- my teaching partner picks me up
7:30am- the bus departs for Ottawa 
(Note: everything from here until 7:30pm on Friday involves 50 grade 8 students!)
11:00am- lunch in Kingston
2:00pm- skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
4:30pm- check in to the hotel
6:00pm- buffet dinner 
7:00pm- walking tour of downtown Ottawa
10:00pm- tape the children into their hotel rooms
(Note: we tape the doors once the students are inside so we will know if they have left their rooms in the night!)


Thursday, Feb 11th
6:30am- wake up call for staff and students
7:30am- breakfast in the hotel
9:00am- Canadian War Museum tour and free time (awesome!! I can't wait to go back in the summer and spend a lot more time in the museum)
11:00am- tour of Canadian Parliament
12:30pm- lunch at the Rideau Centre
2:00pm- Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau, Quebec (Winterlude is a yearly winter festival and Snowflake Kingdom is like a theme park but with ice slides, ice mazes, and ice sculptures)
4:00pm- back to the hotel to get ready for dinner
5:30pm- buffet dinner
7:00pm- 5 bowling in Gatineau, Quebec
10:00pm tape the children into their hotel rooms


Friday, Feb 12th
6:30am- wake up call for staff and students
7:30am- breakfast in the hotel
8:30am- collect keys and check students out of the hotel
9:00am- 45 minute walking tour of the Ambassadors homes (boring!)
10:15am- National Art Gallery tour (I am also very excited to go back here in the summer and spend some time wandering through and looking at the art works!)
12:00pm- lunch and shopping in the ByWard Market of Ottawa
1:30pm- board the bus and head home
7:30pm- arrive at the school from Ottawa and wait for all the students to be picked up
8:30pm- at home sitting on the couch attempting to watch the Opening Ceremonies without falling asleep


Saturday, Feb 13th
9:00am- leave to drive home to visit my parents
11:00am- stop for lunch with my parents
12:30pm- stop to grocery shop with my mom
1:30pm- arrive home and finally have some time to just sit....SIT!!!
This day was relatively quiet and relaxing.


Sunday, Feb 14th 
10:00am- leave for shopping in Michigan with my mom and aunt
10:00-4:30pm- SHOP!! We are super hardcore when it comes to shopping and I got some awesome stuff, including black and polka dots rain boots, a new comforter and sheet set for my guest room, and a yellow leather Liz Claiborne purse, le sigh...!!
5:00pm- meet my dad and uncle for dinner, it was my aunt and uncle's 41 year wedding anniversary, they were married on Valentine's Day
7:00pm- return home to watch Alexandre Bilodeau win Canada's first gold on home soil! Amazing!


Monday, Feb 15th
Sleep-in, hang out with my mom, mark geography tests, health quizzes and drive 3 1/2 hours back home..whew


That's a crazy 6 days, eh? Now I am home and looking forward to some quiet time..well as quiet as it gets this time of year. Sometimes I like to just sit and reflect on how we fill our time and the choices we make about what we have to do and what we need to do and what we want to do. I try to spend as much time with my family as possible even if it means the long drive home and a tired Tuesday morning when I return to work. I hope you were all able to spend the majority of your weekend doing what you wanted to do!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Favourite Pics from Ottawa

Peacekeeping Monument




Headstone from the tomb of the unknown soldier



War museum











Parliament Hill

The Peace Tower

I am off to visit my parents for Family Day weekend. See everyone on Monday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just Visiting

I am off in Ottawa, Canada's capital, with 50 13 year-olds for their Grade 8 trip. Pray for me! J/K...I wrote a few posts ahead of time to keep up with my blog while I am away. 


I've started to branch out and do some visiting. Just who am I visiting? Why you all, of course. I've decided to go back, waaaaay back in some cases and visit posts from when some of my favourite blogs were first created! Fabulous, right?


Since I am relatively new still to this whole blog thing (not yet been blogging a year), I wanted to see how the pros got started.

Some interesting things I found:

Both Book Psmith and Bibliophile by the Sea started out with enviable lists of books read and reviews. I have no idea how you get all that done? I thought I was a prolific reader, but I have nothing on so many of the people here in the blogging community.

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages seems to have jumped right in and started posting fabulous stories about teaching. Ms. Mimi is beyond hilarious and does it all while wearing awesome heels. I love reading her blog everyday and that she frequently links back to older posts so I can catch up on the stuff I missed before I found her.

my cozy book nook outlines Molly's happy discovery of book blogs and reading challenges and reads as if I wrote it myself. When I first discovered this fascinating world of blogging, and blogging about reading I was awed. There are people like me...people who LOVE TO READ!! Maybe this is why my cozy book nook is one of my favourite places to visit everyday.

Nat the Fat Rat is my ultimate. I love how she words the things she writes about. I love the way her mind works and I wish, wish, wish I could meet her for coffee, just even once! Her blog jumps right in with a post on her love of "the Target". Ohhh, I wait for her new posts....

The Zoey Blog...my inspiration for starting my own blog. I am super intrigued to travel back in time with my friends and discover how Zoey's name became Zoey when by my understanding of the first few posts she was called Ella pre-birth. I love me a new mystery, and of course Brian's wonderful writing style. I am counting down the days until I can go to Chapters and buy many, many copies of anything he has written.

It's been a fun trip down memory lane!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

1st Morning in Ottawa

Well, we survived out first day and night in Ottawa and at 6:41 am of the first morning, I have made the rounds to the rooms on my floor to make sure everyone is up and am patiently (tiredly) waiting to shower after my fellow chaperone.

Yesterday, we skated on the Rideau Canel, the world's longest skating rink, took a tour of Ottawa after dinner and ultimately had a good day. My face feels a little wind burnt after being outside so much, which won't be helped by today's trip to all the Winterlude sights...but what can you do? We have had one incident of behaviour, a boy snuck out to the convenience store last night, and the 5 of us discussed the punishment for today and will be handing down our verdict at breakfast- no bowling party tonight for the perpetrator and the entire room will get taped in without free time. We tape the seals on their door at night so we know if they have opened the doors or left at all.

Today we are off to the Canadian War Museum, Snowflake Kingdom, and the Rideau Centre for some shopping. Hope everyone else is having a great time doing what they are doing. Here's my favourite picture from the trip so far!

Kahne- The puppy with a thousand faces

I am off in Ottawa, Canada's capital, with 50 13 year-olds for their Grade 8 trip. Pray for me! J/K...I wrote a few posts ahead of time to keep up with my blog while I am away. 




I love my dog like he was my child, and probably spoil him too. Perhaps it will all change of my husband and I decide to have children, but for now he's my baby.



Sad face. Used when he wants something, like a treat.

Happy face! He also does happy ears, which get pushed back and look like elephant ears but we have yet to capture that on film.

Sometimes Kahne likes to sleep in the oddest places.

Sleepy face...he had just woken up and I stuck a camera in his face. Oops.

Look at me! This is his "sit pretty" trick. Sometimes I'll glance over while I am cooking and he is sitting there is this position just hoping something will come his way.

Kahne likes to help me mark my student's work...no matter how crowded it might make me.

Seriously, how do I ever say no to this face??

What pets do y'all have?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WWW Wednesday

I am off in Ottawa, Canada's capital, with 50 13 year-olds for their Grade 8 trip. Pray for me! J/K...I wrote a few posts ahead of time to keep up with my blog while I am away. 






This weekly meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I should let you know that I am writing this post ahead of time (as per the disclaimer above...), so I can partially answer these questions.
1. I am currently reading...well, I am unsure. As of 7:15 this morning I boarded a bus with 50 13-year olds and 4 other teachers for a 5 hour bus trip to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for three days. I am one of those people that is able to read while in a moving vehicle but as of right now (it's actually Sunday as I write this) I am not sure what books I will take with me. I was thinking of taking Under the Dome by Stephen King, but's pretty big to lug around for three days. Then I was thinking of taking a few of my review committee books because they are easy reads and I won't need to focus as much on them in case I need to discipline unruly teens on route to our nation's capital. Or perhaps the new Steve Berry book I picked up last weekend while shopping with my sister....I guess I'll have to let you all know when I get back.
2. As of Sunday I have finished reading The Book of Negroes (you can read about my thoughts here). If anyone can recommend a book along the lines of this book I would LOVE to hear about it.
3. What do I want to read next?? EVERYTHING!!! and it's driving me crazy. I honestly can't seem to pin it done right now because I have no much I want to read and just don't know what to start with....le sigh.


I have signed up to do the Catcher in the Rye read-along at Book Nut. I some how missed this book in high school and read it myself a few years ago. I am excited about starting and seeing what people think because to be honest a lot of it went way over my head! (LOL)...except that I can't find my copy anywhere. 



Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe