Sunday, April 25, 2010

That Was Cool

I'm procrastinating a little right now. I have a pretty long list of things to do today, things that should've been started yesterday. But then I turned on the Wii, and then we went to our friends' house for dinner. And that was the day.

I did finish a pretty daunting project just now, so I thought I would reward myself with a little blog writing. I downloaded some of the pictures from our field trip the other day, and was reminded of what a great field trip it was. We went to U of M's Museum of Art and also their Museum of Archaeology. While on the trip, I was thinking once again how lucky we are to live in a college town like ours. We have a lot of the cultural offerings of a big city, but it's all within reach and most of the time, cheap or free.
I love art museums. And I forget that I love art museums until I'm there. I thought about that right before I snapped this picture. The docent asked the kids to just look at the painting for a couple minutes. After a while, she asked them what they thought was going on in the painting. I loved the minutes of looking and thinking. That's one of my favorite parts of art museums. Just looking at beautiful pieces of work, thinking about the artist who painted or sculpted it, thinking about the time in which she or he lived, thinking about the end result and the feelings that it may evoke.
The kids were led through several rotations by the awesome docents at the museum. I was once again really proud of the kids in my class. They were polite to the docents, didn't run around the museum, and dove into any activity that was presented to them. The picture above is an activity they had where they had to copy the Picasso painting that was on the wall. I love the name of the painting, by the way: Two Girls Reading.

The museum has recently gone through a major renovation and I'm ashamed to say that Stein and I had not been to it since they finished its makeover. There are a lot of interactive displays similar to this one above where the kids can do some pretty cool stuff. Again, they were completely enthralled in the experience.
We were so lucky to have beautiful weather that day. We were able to eat our lunches outside and play a little before we went on to the Archaeology Museum.
The kids have been learning about Egyptians and mummies in their art class, so it was pretty cool to see some real mummies up close and play around with hieroglyphics.
It was a great trip for great kids. I am so lucky to be a part of their experiences.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Few Notes

To continue with the scatterbrained post of yesterday, and help myself remember some stuff, I wanted to jot a few notes down so I can remember what I want to write about. I do miss writing when I don't do it on a regular basis. Maybe this list will help me stay on track:

Art Museum
One on one with kids
Two Worlds of Teaching

Now, I have been known to give some "key words" to people when I'm out and can't tell a full story because people are within earshot. Yet, if the key words are part of a scene that may involve some wine or beer, the key words may not be remembered. The topics above may face the same fate as key words. But I'm willing to risk it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere

In my mind, that is. I have fleeting thoughts of topics that would be great for the blog, but they're just that, fleeting.

I want to tell you all about the field trip we went on today, but I also want to show the pictures which aren't uploaded yet. It seems that my thoughts lately have not been uploaded. They're there, rattling around somewhere in my brain, but I can't find the time, nor the energy to get them down on paper, or computer.

If you can't tell by this post, I'm pretty scatterbrained lately. Some of it has to do with the teaching gig, and the 3rd grade concert we've been rehearsing (they're going to sing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald for part of it!), a new tutoring gig, and another trip to Chicago planned.

But what I think it mainly has to do with is spring. I'm feeling like those tulips and daffodils that just come up, faithfully every year, not knowing what's in store, whether it be a warm spring, frosty spring, or rainy spring. All that they know is the trees have buds exploding, the other flowers are blooming, and the grass is green and growing. All that they want to do is just take it all in, admire it, and cherish it.

Forgive my scatterbrain. Blame it on the tulips.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Heart Apple

I've always liked Apple computers. My sophomore roommate in college had an Apple computer, and a printer, which ran circles around my typewriter. It was such a crazy concept to me to think that she didn't have to go to the computer lab across campus with the masses and wait to get on a computer, and then wait for hours for the dot-matrix printer to chug out a three-page paper. I should've reconsidered the convenience when we both went our separate ways the next year to live in separate apartments. What was I thinking?

I took a few "desktop publishing" classes in college and those were on Macs. It was always easy to navigate around those computers. It always just seemed to know what I was thinking or wanted to do. I was happy, then, that my first job out of college had me working on a Mac as well.

Fast forward to the invention of the iPod, and all other cool things from that big ol' Apple company. My love was re-kindled as I realized that all the music from my cabinet full of CDs could literally fit in the palm of my hand. It was all user-friendly just as it had been in college and post-college. And my iPhone? Don't even get me started. Those Apple people are smart. And cute. And clever.

Then I had the pleasure of talking to that nice man from the Apple customer service line and he firmed the relationship. But today? Oh, that relationship was cemented.

Today we went on a field trip to the Apple store.

Yes, you read that correctly. Apple offers field trips to their stores for elementary students. They work with the kids on new projects or help to make existing projects better. Best of all? It's free. Oh, and the kids get a t-shirt and a certificate. Bonus.

I always knew those folks at that Apple place were smart. But what ingenious marketing. They grab the kids at a young age, give them a great experience, and send them on their way wearing bright yellow t-shirts that say, "Apple Store Field Trip". Brilliant.

But all marketing and propaganda aside, it really was a great experience. The people who helped our group (4 trainers) were great with kids, kept everyone including the adults entertained, and were excited to have us there. From the time we got there until we left, we were thoroughly engaged. They pulled out all the stops, including having us work right near the new iPads.

Didn't they know that they had me at hello?

Monday, April 5, 2010

On Gratitude

The Easter Bunny brought a copy of Runner's World for Stein. I was flipping through it yesterday, and came upon a short piece by author Kristin Armstrong. In the article, she talks about the idea of gratitude. She starts the article by describing a run she went on where she had some hills to tackle. Her usual mantra for hills would be, I have to get through this. She began to think about people in her life who would love to be tackling those hills, but couldn't, for various reasons. She changed her mantra to, I get to do this. The mantra soon found its way into other areas of her life. She said that her attitude changed from one of obligation to one of gratitude.

I keep thinking about this idea and I have to say, it has started to creep into my attitude as well. I went on a run today and kept saying to myself, "I get to do this run this morning. I get to run on a Monday morning because I'm on spring break. I get to run this route." (Believe me, by the end of the run, I wanted to scream at that voice, "I GET IT. AND I'M OVER IT.") But all in all, it really made a difference.

I am guilty of so many times going from one thing to another, trying to wrap things up, getting things checked off a list, or not giving a thought to something I'm in the middle of doing. I also take a lot for granted. Voicing gratitude for the things I get to do, the people I get to hang out with, the sounds I get to hear, the beautiful things I get to see, or delicious food I get to taste, makes all of those things so much more important than they normally seem.

They are important.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break

Ahhh. Vacation. Or should I call it staycation? Either way, I'm so happy and content to be off of school for a little over a week. The teaching gig is still going very well, but we all needed a break, kids included.

This spring break I am staying put. Although I would love to be in Arizona visiting my mom, the astronomical airfares kept me from going. Sigh. Being home will do me some good. There are a bunch of little projects that may or may not get done, some friends to catch up with, and some reading for pleasure to keep me busy. I may even take a trip to Chicago. Maybe. Or maybe not.

Happy Spring to you!