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June 2011
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August 2011

July 2011 entries

History in the Making

This week, we traveled to our nation's capital with Aunt Michelle and Uncle Adam. It was murderously hot. On fact, maybe if our lawmakers met outdoors, they would come to a compromise a little faster! First one to balance the budget gets an ice cold lemonade!

We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, and the White House. Just look at how excited our exhausted, sweaty children look as they pay homage to the Presidential Palace!

History in the Making

History in the Making

History in the Making

History in the Making

History in the Making

More Summer Fun

We've checked more items off the Bucket List! We went on a family camping trip at Bucktail Camping Resort in Mansfield, PA. This quaint, small-scale Knoebel's was perfect for an inexpensive and fun family getaway. We only stayed one night to check it out, and I think we will do 2 or 3 nights next time.

The campground had a train, two big playgrounds with Venetian swings, an in-ground pool, a carousel and lots of activities for kids...last weekend was a "Christmas in July" theme. We had mountain pies for dinner and slept in the tent. Fun!

More Summer Fun

More Summer Fun

More Summer Fun

More Summer Fun

More Summer Fun

Looking Out For Me

Today, I went to a spinning (stationary bike) class at 6 am at the Y. It was my first real exercise after being told by my doctor after having a minor procedure done that I was not to run until August 1. I figured spinning should be OK, especially
since my procedure was 2 weeks ago.

When I got home, though, I had some 'splainin' to do. Aidan, hands on hips, met met at the door. "Mom," he said, "Didn't
your doctor say no running until January?"

Me: "No. . . August 2."

Aidan: "Is it August 2 yet?"

Me: "No."

A: "Then WHY were you running?"

I had to explain that I was not actually running; I was biking and that I did not break any doctor's rules.

I was off the hook, and Aidan said, "You know, Momma, I just have to look out for my family!"

Another Item Checked Off the Bucket List

Yesterday, we tried again to check off "Rickett's Glen Beach" from our summer list.  This time, the weather was beautiful, and we invited our friends, the Folmars, to come with us.  We packed a lunch, played on the beach, rented rowboats and attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to fish on Lake Jean.  Liam, in particular, enjoyed his first trip to the beach, though he slept through his first rowboat ride. 





A fun time was had by all! 


Teaching and Learning

Over the past two weeks, I've been teaching a theatre camp for 4th and 5th graders at the Community Theatre League in Williamsport.  My teaching certificate is for 7th - 12th grades, and I'm most comfortable with juniors and seniors.  My own children, as you know, are young -- the eldest will be a 1st grader in the fall.  So, I wasn't sure what to expect with this age group.  I was given a script to work with (A Bagful of Fables -- a collection of Aesop's fables) and told to have fun.

On the first day, I was struck by how open the kids were with each other when we played an introductory game.  They told each other about their homes, about their physical ailments, about their hobbies and dreams.  They were excited to be on the stage -- some for the first time, others for the 4th time -- and were open to learning.  I realized quickly that while I teach older students through metaphor and analogy, younger students often get distracted (and I mean OFTEN!) by analogy.  I'd compare a role to something and the next thing I knew, someone would have their hand up, telling a story about a pet parakeet.

I also had to adapt my materials so that the students could understand them -- for example, they did not know how to pantomime hitch-hiking.  Heck, they didn't know what hitch-hiking was.  They didn't know what I was doing with my thumb jutted out like that.  Was I telling them to stand up?  Was I counting?

On the first day, I had to "audition" them for the parts in the play.  I made copies of the simple rubric I was going to use, and I passed them out to the students.  I talked them through it.  What did it mean to read clearly and with meaning?  What did it mean to show emotion?  What on earth is stage presence?  After we demystified the criteria, I asked my two high school volunteers to audition for us, using the same pieces of text that the students would need to read.  Then, the elementary students evaluated the high school students . . . and OUCH!  were they tough on these two Ray of Light winners!  On a four-point Likert scale with 4 being the best, Ryan and Caleb hovered around 2 and 3, with not a few 1s.   Caleb scored extra points for his animal sounds (hey!  it's a fable!) since he lives on a farm and brings real-world experience to the table.

Once we talked about the rubric and what the volunteers did well, it was time for the students to audition.  We assigned parts and got to work!  Nine short days later, we were ready for an audience.  The main lesson I hoped to teach these kids had to do with teamwork.  Too often, they would point at a fellow castmate and say, "She messed up!  She didn't say her line right, so it messed me up!"  I kept reinforcing that we were all on the same team and had to help each other through the scenes.

Perhaps, I flatter myself, that will be a lesson they can apply to their lives.  We are all a part of one team or another and little is gained from tearing others down and pointing out flaws.  Instead, we should help each other through the scene and keep the team's success in mind. 

On Friday, the team mentality manifested itself in a surprised (cough, cough, I had NO idea...) party for me and the teen volunteers (Ryan and Caleb were actually in on it and were threatened with bodily harm for violating the secrecy).  The kids made cake, brought in ice cream and snacks.  One girl made me a pair of beaded earrings, another boy made me a gift bag of various items in his bedroom -- including two Hooplas tickets and some candy he hadn't eaten yet.

And, the show on Friday night was a success indeed.  It was the best run-through we had, and the parents/audience members were proud and pleased.  It's all we could have asked for.  As the sixteen kids hugged me and celebrated their performance, I felt happy for them.   As I told the parents on Friday night, I did appreciate the preview of coming attractions in my own life as my kids get to their age.  But don't get me wrong, I'll still take high school students in the classroom, thanks.  :)