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April 2008 entries

Run like the Wind!

Congrats to the Montoursville Boys' Track Team for an amazing meet yesterday!  The girls' team also performed well.  I was an "official" which totally cracks me up because yesterday was the THIRD track meet I've ever been to... :)

Anyway, among our many accomplishments, we had 2 boys break the STATE record for the 200.

I should explain the connection to the track team...the head coach for the boys' team is the chair of the English department. :)

Teacher Man

What am I reading now, you ask?  Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.   It is an autobiographical account of his life as a new teacher...he is now retired after teaching for 30 years in New York City schools.  It is a refreshing and inspiring end-of-the-school-year book for me.  I recommend it to teachers everywhere! :) And one of my favorite collegues loaned it to me.  Love ya, Hoppy!

Tic Tac?

Today as the kids and I were playing, I happened to notice a dark spot on the back of Gabrielle's was a tick about to latch on to her precious little scalp!  I grabbed it quickly and flushed it down the toilet.  Aidan asked what it was and so I told him.  I heard him retelling the story to Michael a little later:

"Daddy!  There was a Tic Tac on Gabrielle's head!  Mommy took it off and flushed it down the toilet.  Tic Tacs are not nice."


Got Poetry?

Today, MHS hosted poet Larry Bassett and I brought each of my classes to his presentation (except the class that was held during his lunch...and we provided a video tape of his talk to them).  While I appreciated his rapport with the kids and his insightful poems, I have to comment on one poem in which he described a typical spring in the high school it, he says that the "pretty girls are thinking prom" and the boys are thinking about basketball.  And "trying on a prom dress is practice for a wedding gown."  Wow, maybe they'll go to college to get the fabled MRS degree just like they did when he was a kid...

When I first heard that poem, my feminist hackles rose instinctively.  Could he possibly portray girls in a more stereotypical light?  The more I thought about, the more I was annoyed by the limited portrayal of the boys, too.  I know many boys who would rather write poetry than watch basketball, for example.

The next time the poem was read, I watched the crowd to see if the students reacted the same way that I did...and guess what?  A few did.  And, when he attempted to ask follow-up questions about girls and the prom, they did not answer the way he expected.  Several girls knew they were going to the prom, but did they have a dress yet?  No. 

I had to write a poem of my own, an updated view of today's "pretty girls"...

Today's Pretty Girls

We're thinking:

        4th marking period

        Term paper due

        Lab report


        Practice after school

        Piano lessons

       Text my girlfriends in between

       Surf the 'net

       Not MySpace

        Colleges, Majors, Scholarships


        Maybe . . .

       If it's not the same weekend as the SATs.

Beware the Ides of March!

Yesterday, my College English 10 students presented various Julius Caesar projects at our "Toga Party."  I dressed as Portia, the wife of Brutus who stabbed herself in the thigh to show her strength (it was a weird "emo" custom that men would stab themselves in the leg to show that they were strong...Portia does it to prove to Brutus that she is strong enough to bear the secret that he is keeping from her about the conspiracy).

Some projects included a puppet, yes, those are sock puppets!!


Some kids did really great did a radio show which he mixed and edited on his computer...some students brought in food from the time period and created a menu for "Caesar's Cafe" student did a very impressive pop-up card that had a sliding scene which depicted the change in the crowd between the speeches by Brutus and Antony...many students dressed in Togas.  :)


You can see my bandaged thigh in that picture. :)


This is our serious pose.  This student has a pretty serious outfit, doesn't he?? 


And in the last class of the day, I was surprised by a creation of the Globe Theatre...made out of CAKE!



In all, it was a great day, and I was very pleased with the creativity of my students!

Carmina Burana

While a non-musical yet witty friend of mine said that the Carmina Burana sounds like something he'd order at a fancy restaurant, it is actually a beautiful choral work which Mike and I had the opportunity to perform today at Lycoming College's Clarke Chapel.  We were the tenor and soprano soloists, which is a nice honor.  For me, though, it meant sitting on stage for 84 pages of music before I could sing.  I really wanted to sing along with the chorus! But alas...I couldn't. 

The concert went really well, and I enjoy the opportunity to dress like a high school girl on her way to the prom.  :)



Eat, Pray, Yawn

I never told you what I thought of Eat, Pray, Love.  I really, really liked parts of it.  Like the part when she is in Italy and learning to relax and enjoy life.  The part in the middle and end -- when the author is in India meditating and in Indonesia talking with a medicine man-- got a little boring, to be honest.  It seemed as though Liz was going through a catharitic experience which is really great for her, but frankly, the rest of us want to have our own life-changing experience.  :)  All in all, I was glad that I read it, but like I said, some of it was a little boring. 

My Sister's Keeper

I am reading yet another novel by Jodi Piccoult.  This one is called My Sister's Keeper, and the premise of the book is intriguing.  A couple has two children: a boy and a girl.  One day, they discover the girl has leukemia.  Their son is not a match for a bone marrow transplant (and later a planned liver transplant, I believe...) so the couple decides to create a designer baby who will match their daughter's genetic needs.  Essentially, they have the second daughter in order to save the first. 

When the second daughter turns 13, she seeks legal counsel in order to sue her parents so that she can have the right to make her own medical decisions.  While she loves her older sister, Anne is frustrated that her parents see her as only a donor for Kate. 

I am about halfway through the book, and so far I like it a lot, despite one friend's critique of Piccoult's style of switching perspectives every chapter. 

24-hour Waiting Period

Michael and I have enacted a new rule at the Connor household.  I wholly endorse it and wanted to pass it along to you to consider...

Before we agree to anything, we wait 24 hours.  It is just enough time to please the person who is asking us to make a commitment and just enough time for us to fully realize the ramification of adding said commitment to our lives.  As musicians, teachers, youth ministers and parents, we have a lot of demands placed on us.  Too many times in the past month or so, we have overextended and/or doublebooked ourselves.  The 24-hour waiting period is a preventative measure that seems to be working so far!  Try it and let me know what you think! :)