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June 2009

May 2009 entries

A Small Request

Aidan told Michael yesterday that he "would like to be a big brother again" and Gabrielle randomly told me yesterday that she wishes there were another baby in my belly.  I asked her if she wanted a sister or a brother, and she said, "Sister!" without hesitation.


Saturday, Saturday, Saturday

The kids slept in this morning.  And by that, I mean 6:45.  That is pretty good.  Usually, Ellie gets up at 5:30 (which I don't mind, being an early bird myself).  We have a full docket ahead of us today.  We have dance class at 10 a.m. while Mike teaches his voice lessons all day.  I have a wedding to sing for at 2 p.m. and my last Saturday Mass is at 5 p.m.  That alone is pretty busy --- then we'll throw into the mix that it is prom night!  I'll be chaperoning the prom and the after-party.  Right now, the plan is to stay all night and just go to sing the morning Masses tomorrow.  I think if I go to sleep at 3 or 4, I will not want to get up two hours later to sing. 

After Mass, I have a graduation party to go to, then I can catch some zzzzs while Mike is in Lock Haven with the kids for a childhood friend's first Mass as a priest.  Tomorrow night brings an exciting event -- the Ray of Light Awards hosted by Community Theatre League.  Essentially, the awards are modeled after the Tonys or the Oscars.  Area students have been nominated for their roles in high school plays and musicals, and the awards will be given tomorrow night.  It is a formal affair, complete with red carpet and performances by the selected musicals (of which MHS is one!).  I'm very excited to see our young actors encouraged in this way, and I hope that Nicole Pagana, a senior who was in our fall play, The Odd Couple (female version) will win the award for which she has been nominated (best supporting actress in a play).   

So this weekend will be busy but definitely fulfilling.  I'll be sure to post pictures.


Bunny Buffet Closed for Season

Last week, when we planted the garden, we didn't put up a fence.  We barely got the things planted before a thunderstorm hit, and then it has been somewhat rainy all week.  I checked the garden this afternoon to confirm my suspicions that the many bunnies in our yard thought we opened a Bunny Bonanza.  I was right.  So  the kids and I embarked on a little project this evening. . .

Gardenfence


Gender Studies Reflections

I pride myself on being a reflective teacher -- and a student-centered teacher.  Think about it.  If "they" didn't learn it, then I didn't "teach" it.  I am speaking in generics here -- there will always (unfortunately) be the one or two kids who shut down and don't learn anything because they don't want to, but if the class as a whole didn't get a concept, then frankly, I didn't do my job to the best of my ability.  I ask for student feedback consistently because I want to be the very best and most effective educator I can be.  I can know everything in the world, but if I can't help students construct meaningful knowledge, then my knowledge means very little as a teacher.

I recently asked for feedback on my Gender Studies class, and while this is tooting my own horn a little here, I want to share some of their comments.  Please don't see this as bragging.  I am just so pleased that they have learned what I thought I was guiding them to.  These students represent the true culture of our youth, which is so often distorted by the media.  Today's kids are wonderful, smart, open-minded and willing to learn.  I hope you enjoy their feedback as much as I did.  It does the heart good to see teens who are appreciative of the opportunity to learn.

"You have truly opened my eyes to so many new and incredible ideas that I will keep fresh in my mind.  This class was one of those rare classes where what we learn will help us in the real world in a non-academic respect; we learned to form and express opinions . . . and we have also learned to think in a different, more critical way, as opposing to simply memorizing information.  For this, I thank you, Mrs. Connor."

"I have an enormous amount of respect for you as a new teacher and as a person.  You are one of the few teachers in the school that can be personal with students and have fun with us, but you also know when to draw the line and be serious; this is a great quality to have and I hope you never lose it."

"You have created a curriculum unlike anything at MHS and that is something that benefits students directly.  Your fresh ideas and ways of teaching are a welcomed change to what we are used to.  Keep up the hard work!  Trust me, you are an amazing teacher and you are one of the most influential at MHS."

"I want to thank you, Mrs. Connor, for taking the time to craft lessons that have deeply changed the way that I view the world around me.  You class has taught me: how to more carefully examine the society in which I live, to look for red flags in the media, how physical scrunity is extrinsic to leading a real life, and that feminism is in no way an inactive, radical mindset focused on only persuading the world that women are oppressed.  You deserve the highest praise for teaching in a school which is unaccustomed to your willingness to expand understanding on taboo subjects, which ironically, play roles in each and every human being's life."

And believe me, I am so grateful to teach in a district with a principal that allows me to teach this course!  And so far, 60 kids have enrolled in it for next year!  :)


Highlights from the Living Literature Museum

After much organization and hard work, our Living Literature Museum was a success.  The kids were extremely creative and well-behaved.  I was very impressed with their scenes, and I heard nothing but rave reviews from the Museum attendees.  Here are some examples of the work they did:

Living Literature Museum 2009 065 

This group is depicting Cold Mountain

Living Literature Museum 2009 074 

This group is The Wizard of Oz, obviously.

Living Literature Museum 2009 053  
And this one is Of Mice and Men -- the scene where Curly's wife has been accidentally killed by Lennie.

I'd post more, but for some reason our Internet is painfully slow.  I put the rest of the pictures on Facebook last night.  :)     


Big Day!

Today is the day that the College English 10 classes present their Living LIterature Museum as their final exam.  The idea came from a memory that I had of my high school Honors English teacher doing such a project with her students a few years after I graduated.  The concept is this:  the students assume the roles of characters from various works of literature (we have 21 different works represented) and then re-create a scene in a still-life (think wax museum) format.  We are setting up shop in the high school cafeteria today and it is open to the public from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.  If you are in the area, stop by and see the kids doing some great things!!


Shh! I wasn't talking to you . . .

Yesterday, as I drove home from the store with Aidan and Gabrielle in the backseat, I heard Aidan say something, but I couldn't make out what it was.  I turned the radio down and asked him to repeat himself.  He said, slightly cross, "I wasn't talking to you, Mom!  Shh!"  I pretended not to listen and overheard this conversation:

"Jim, can you hear me?  I know you are up in Heaven with Jesus, but I was wondering when you'd come down so I can see you again.  I miss you a lot and I can't see you anymore.  I wish you'd come back soon, OK?  I love you."


The Netflix Movie of the Moment

Before I tell you about which movie the kids are obsessed with right now, I must say that we went to see Night at the Museum II and it was great!  Gabrielle lost interest a little bit, but that was because she was exhausted from all the picnicking and playing today (sans nap).  Aidan was enthralled, though, and I thought it was pretty darn good for a sequel.

Anyway, I started this post to talk about a blast from the past that is now the Netflix Movie of the Moment in the Connor house.  I had completely forgotten about this show until Mike sent away for the first season.  Even after Mike told me the title of the show, I was lost until I hear the theme music (which Aidan now knows by heart).  What is this show, you ask as you perch on the edge of your seat in anxious anticipation??

Disney's The Gummi Bears.  Yeah.  Didn't strike a bell here, either.  Maybe a pictorial jog of memory will help:

Gummi0ku

Check out the late 80s/early 90s 'do on the yellow bear in the green shirt.  haha.  Now we've all been renamed Gummi Bear names.  The only mother figure in the show is "Grandma Bear" so you guessed it, that's me.  Mike is Tummy Bear -- the one who loves to cook (I guess I should try that some day . . . ) and Gabrielle is Sunny Bear, which suits her disposition 80% of the time.  :) Aidan goes by Grumpy Bear (which is actually a misnomer because the character's name is Gruffy Bear, but oh well). 

Aidan gave both me and Michael strict instructions about the DVD from Netflix: "Never, ever, EVER send it back!"  And he asked if we could plant berries in our garden so that he could make "Gummi Berry Juice" -- the secret juice that gives the Bears bouncing power and super strength.  I'm going to try to get some film footage of Aidan singing the theme song -- it's hilarious.