BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Online Learning and Procrastination

51zS47EOayL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMy son and I are both taking online courses at the moment. His is an intense, college level math course. Mine is a self-paced book study for professional development credits. We both tend to be procrastinators. Here’s what’s happening.

My course was supposed to start during my Spring Break, back in March, but the questions weren’t ready. I thought I would read the book, answer a few questions, and be done. Not so.

I read the book (The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion), and frankly enjoyed it, but still the questions weren’t available. I read it as a digital library loan, and others were waiting for it, so naturally I had to return it. Well, then the questions were posted. By this time I was back to school, and my time was far more limited. Still, I read through the questions and was shocked to find that there were 22 of them! Oh, and some of the questions required additional reading. Hey, wait a minute… nobody said anything about that at the beginning of the book study!

I ordered a copy of the book because there was no way I could answer the questions without a paper copy of it in front of me for reference. I got the book, put it in an easily noticeable spot, and carried on with my life, forgetting all about the book study.

Fortunately for me, the moderator sent out an email not too long ago reminding everyone that the book study was wrapping up at the end of May. Yikes!

Okay, I told myself, you have the last week of May off. School is out and summer work hasn’t begun. You can do this!

Well, so far so good. Last night I stayed up until almost 3 am answering questions that I could easily recall and find support for in the text. Those requiring more careful rereading and reading additional texts are still awaiting my responses. I’m about a third of the way done, and I’m sure I’ll complete it in time. At least that’s what I say now.

Deep down, however, I know I’m a procrastinator. I know that I’ll probably get down to the wire on this one. And I’ll probably scold myself for it, too.  Sad, but true.

Anyway, I’m a fan of online learning for the flexibility it allows, but it worries me because it allows you to put off your work until you’re in a position where it’s do or die. Those deadlines come and go, and if your work isn’t submitted, too bad.

My son, fortunately, seems to have figured this out more quickly than I have. He’s really surprised me. Every day he takes over my desk with his computer and his math book and he does his work. I sometimes wonder if this is really the same kid who never seemed to do homework in high school (but really, he did, I swear it). I can’t complain, whatever he’s doing is working, so I should probably change my ways and try to be more like him.

It seems that the student has become the teacher. I’m okay with that, I really am.


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Five Favorite Books From My Childhood

I was lucky, my parents read to me. It was mostly my mother, but my father did too, occasionally.

I grew up in a house full of books, and trips to the library were a regular part of my childhood. The Scholastic book order was another cherished source of books, and my mom was generous with my orders.

My love of books hasn’t diminished. My home library is bursting, and my classroom library is full of terrific titles. I still get excited about the Scholastic book order, only now I’m the teacher.

Here are a few titles from my childhood that stand out, in no particular order.

Babar the King by Jean de Brunhoff

A dapper elephant King and his Royal court captivated me as a little girl.

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Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I so wished I had a magical crayon like Harold!

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If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss

I really wanted to visit the Circus McGurkus. This was the first Dr. Seuss book I knew.

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Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Maybe this was the start of my aversion to monkeys?

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Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky

This is such a sweet and gentle tale with fabulous illustrations.

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There are so many more, but these stand out in my mind right now. What are some of your favorites?


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One More Week

welcomebackI have one week left of summer vacation before I head back to school for meetings and planning and classroom setup. One week left to get to the doctor and the dentist. One week left to attend to all the things I was going to do over the summer, but didn’t. One short week.

Maybe instead of focusing on what didn’t get done I should instead take a look at what I have accomplished.

Vacation

First of all, I managed to have a wonderful vacation that really felt like two vacations, since I was in two separate locations. I spent a good amount of time with my family and I got to see several friends. I walked the beach, I ate s’mores, and I swam in several different pools. I laughed until my cheeks hurt and I explored the area where the Pilgrims landed in the new world. I played mini-golf and I went to the movies and I drank wine and ate salsa with jicima and blueberries. I listened to live music and ate from a food truck and buried my toes in the sand. I saw where the Kennedy’s played football on the lawn and I ate peanut butter cup pancakes and I watched fireworks from the beach. I showed my son my university and goofed off with him in a way that just isn’t possible at home. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I didn’t have to do anything else, but I did.

Chores

AibKpyGETI took care of my car, which was an unpleasant task, but what can I do? I need a car. I waited out the air conditioner’s coy way of fooling the repair guys, and restored some cool to our indoor space. I cleared out some items that we no longer need or love and donated them to charity. I also started cooking a little bit more, and began relying on going out a little bit less. Of course that means more trips to the grocery store, more meal prep, and more cleaning up. Oh, and laundry. I must have washed a zillion loads of laundry (that’s a lie… I’m actually boycotting laundry because I’m simply not in the mood for it).

Social Butterfly

If you know me in person and you choked on this heading I apologize. Let me clarify: I was a social butterfly to my way of thinking. I went to a baseball game with my son, I went to a painting party with a couple of friends, and I had a few lunches with friends. It all counts!

Reading

I read quite a bit this summer. Some of the books I loved, others I was less enthusiastic about, but I felt good about reading. In reverse order, I read:

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The bolded titles were the ones that really stood out. They were the ones I most hated to put down and the ones that gave me the most to puzzle over. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the others. I did. In fact I enjoyed them all.

Work

Oh yes, I did four weeks of teaching youth, I can’t forget about that. It was an enjoyable four weeks, and I would definitely do it again, should the opportunity arise. Spending my mornings with kids who enjoy creating stories and narratives is a pleasure. Helping them to refine their ideas and turn them into words on a page is remarkable. Being involved in that story telling process is quite an honor.

Rest

I admit it, I slept. I slept in, I took naps, and I went to bed when I felt tired. My body thanks me, but I’m a little bit worried about going back to work. No more nap time!

I’m okay with going back to work. A new school year is always exciting for me. I love meeting my new students and helping them to form a cohesive community of learners. We become a family of sorts, and that’s a beautiful thing. I also love seeing my former students, a few months older, a summer wiser, as they enter the fifth grade. The change in some of them is truly remarkable, and it’s so rewarding to watch those kids as they mature.

Yes, I’m about ready to go back, but before I do I’m going to enjoy one last week of r & r, there’s no need to rush it.