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February 2015
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April 2015

March 2015 entries

Like mother, like daughter

When I was maybe 16 years old, I was reading through an old notebook that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, who died when I was four. I came across a list of various chores to be completed for the day. My mother joked about how my grandmother, a schoolteacher, made lists every day, for every thing. I sheepishly pulled a notebook from my bag and showed my mom the "to do" list I had compiled for the day. And in that moment, I felt connected to my grandmother in a special way. Sometimes as I was growing up, it was tough to tell where I had found some of my character traits. (So much so that one time, my older sister convinced me I was adopted...) Seeing that list, written in my grandmother's hand, gave me a sense of heritage, a sense of belonging.

I seem to have passed the list-making gene on to my daughter, Gabrielle. Today, we had several errands to run, including picking Aidan up from dance and completing homework. Ellie took the time to jot down the important items. :)

Like mother, like daughter


Shrektacular

This past weekend, my students and I attended a production of Shrek at Millersville University. My dear friend Seth played the title role, and we have been sharing the experiences of rehearsal process for a few months now. We planned out a group trip for my cast, crew, and parents for the closing show. We met with the cast and crew from the University, and we brought home set pieces and props to use in our production at home.

Aside from the really fun field trip to see a college perform a show we are working on, I believe my students benefitted from spending time with collegiate performers. The college cast graciously met with my students, gave them a tour of the facility, and answered questions from my students. It was a wonderful learning experience for everyone, myself included.

One of the reasons I chose Shrek the Musical (other than the truly beautiful message of the script) was to challenge myself to conquer the complicated set and technical aspects of the show. Of course, I am not alone in these endeavors. My set designer (who also came on the trip) was just as eager to tackle this project and learn together. Our light and sound tech is very experienced...and very open to teaching others as well.

I love every moment of this process. I am learning so much, I love watching my students grow in confidence and experience, and I believe our show will truly move people. Is it opening night yet?

Shrektacular

Shrektacular

Shrektacular

Shrektacular

Shrektacular


Building Project

I haven't said much about the building project at MAHS. I think it's very exciting, and I'm glad that the many successful programs in our school will have facilities that match the quality of the education and experiences that the students have available to them.

Please know that our district is not haphazardly spending money on this building. I've been impressed with the architect meetings and the great measures being taken to be cost-efficient. I see teachers every single day who scrimp and save or spend their own money on supplies rather than waste tax dollars.

I find some of the arguments against the project to be largely based on assumptions and not on actual time spent in our building...or based on nostalgic memories of time spent in our building in the past and not on actual awareness of our current and future student needs.

Despite an aging facility, I choose to focus on the positives of my job, as do my colleagues. I suppose the fact that we make do rather than complain kept the true state of our building from the community. It is freezing in my classroom all the time (except in the beginning and end of the year, when it's uncomfortably hot) and not one clock in the school is accurate. The computers in our lab take 15-20 minutes to log on. Our theatre light board is one of the first models made. But you know what? I don't complain because I don't teach clocks or heaters or computers. I teach kids, and I believe they deserve the very best our community can offer. And I am grateful for that our community sees value in quality education for our children.


Bragging

I just have to take a moment to brag about this member of my stage crew. She is a gifted artist who created what will become the torture oven for the Gingerbread Man (You know the scene...say it with me now, "Not my gumdrop buttons!") and today, I showed her a red wall and said, "Can you make this look like a barn?" Viola! Amazing!!!

And, honestly, the entire stage crew has some sort of talent like this. I make a list of things to do, and before I know it, they are at my side: "Is there anything else we can do today?"

Pardon my blatant bragging. I just love these kids and their enthusiasm!

Bragging

Bragging


Mini-Me and the New Kid

After I was dressed for the day and doing my usual errands, Ellie hopped into the shower and then proceeded to dress...like me. :)

And, Aidan decided that it was time for his spring haircut. ha! I asked if it was because a few people have been giving him a hard time about having long hair, and he insisted that it was just because it is getting warmer and he's ready for a change.

Liam...said I am strong like a dinosaur. Smart kid!

Mini-Me and the New Kid

Mini-Me and the New Kid

Mini-Me and the New Kid

Mini-Me and the New Kid


Speaking of Road Trips

A group of MAHS students went to see "Children of Eden" at Warrior Run High School last night. The director invited me and the students to a pre-show meet and greet and tour of their stage. What a great experience! Their stage could eat my stage for breakfast. :) In fact, it is similar to the stage I will have in a few years. They have all LED lights, which were really cool to see in use, since we are also getting those.

The students told us about what the show (the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the flood) meant to them: the themes of forgiveness and adapting to change were apparent. We were impressed by the enormous ark set piece that not only had a side of the big boat, but also opened up to reveal the people waiting patiently inside for the rain to end. The musical is part of the curriculum at their school, so the cast had 96 people, creatively used as ocean waves and parts of the narration, in addition to actual characters. The art teacher made beautiful masks for the animals which were reminiscent of The Lion King.

I love seeing shows in other schools! Next week, we are going to Jersey Shore for "High School Musical;" to Williamsport for "Shrek;" and to Millersville University for "Shrek." That's ogre-kill, I know, but it must be done. While we like to participate in the Ray of Light Awards program, I emphasize the collaboration and mutual love for theatre, and not the competition.

Speaking of Road Trips


Loaner Car

This winter has been rough on our mini-van. When the temperatures are zero or below, it -- like a lot of vehicles -- has trouble starting. Unfortunately, the problems have been persisting, despite the warmer weather. The dealership charged the battery, but it's still not working right, so we took it back Friday. They gave me a loaner car to use (a really nice Volkswagen Tiguan) and I expected to get the van back after school. Nope.

They put a new battery in the van, but something is drawing on the battery and they need to replace something in the fusebox ... for over $600. Yay. Fortunately, they are calling Volkswagen to see if our warranty can cover it (since the van is only a 2011), but it was 4 PM on Friday. Guess who took the loaner car home for the weekend? #roadtrip

Loaner Car


Mar 14, 2015

I know I say this a lot, but I am going to say it again. Gabrielle is the sweetest kid ever. She wasn't feeling well the other day, and Gingersnap wouldn't leave her side. The next day, Ellie lost a tooth. She was so excited because the tooth fairy usually brings her little gifts instead of just money. Completely unprompted, she wrote a thank you note to the tooth fairy, expressing her gratitude for presents she was given in the past. And, she put some doll clothes and a little hat under her pillow as gifts. The tooth fairy wrote her back, of course, and gave her a over-sized pen to write with. Ellie loved it.

I have seen some of Gabrielle's classmates and friends in action, and I really glad that the too-common bratty gene has somehow skipped her over. I can only hope and pray that she stays this way. She once told me, "Mom, the kids at school call me a tomboy because I am a girl that acts more like a boy. I guess it's because I don't really care about clothes and hair and boys that much." What more could a mom ask for?

Mar 14, 2015

Mar 14, 2015

Mar 14, 2015

Mar 14, 2015

Mar 14, 2015


Hello, Spring!

I don't think alone here-- wasn't the weather amazing today? Coincidentally, it's the same kind of weather we think is cold in the fall, but that's fickle humanity for you.

I found myself home with two sick kids today. Aidan and Ellie both woke up with upset stomachs and the need to be close to a bathroom. So, what should have been my first day teaching full time, without my student teacher, turned into a sick day.

I think both of the kiddos are on the mend. Hopefully we are back to normal tomorrow.

In any event, spring is an optimistic time for sunshine to fill us with the energy and freedom to leave the house and explore the world outdoors. It's always this time of year that I stop thinking about relocating to somewhere in the South because maybe winter isn't so bad after all.

In just a couple of weeks, the fourth quarter of the school year will be upon us, and the end of the year cranks up to a sprint to finish out strong.

And, this time of year always makes me take a self-inventory. Not only do we spring clean our houses but we can also take stock of our choices and our progress toward our goals. If anything this past year or so has taught me -- it's that life is far too short to be unhappy or to waste a precious moment of it. There is no guarantee of a set number of days with our loved ones, no promise of perpetual good health, no assurance of financial stability.

It's up to us to make the most of the brief, uncertain, yet absolutely beautiful time we have on this planet. Happy Spring!