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Where has the time gone! Last week was a full week of teaching and there were a few nights I was ready to go to bed by 6pm. I would have gone to bed if I thought I could have slept through the night. I might try it next time.

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I love the scenery on my drive but I dislike slow traffic.

For student teaching I have now taken over planning and teaching for kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade and fifth grade. Sixth graders are finishing up their composer projects so that is still a joint teaching effort.

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The no whining sign is my favorite :)

Second grade we have been working on pitch matching and reading music with a technology twist. Instead of having them read music the first time they learn a song, I created a power point slide with images that spin when clicked to help the students track the music better. They loved it! When I came home, I asked V to help me create some new words to the melodies. We now have a page full of new words to go with the two melodies. So much fun! I even taught the kindergarten class a couple of the songs with the images and they loved it! It is amazing how a little technology can help the student engage and focus.

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Part of the classroom

In fourth grade we are working on their concert songs and I am realizing I need to dust off my Spanish pronunciation a little bit :) I love the songs and it is starting to come together since we added a few motions. Fifth grade I pretested on their improvisation ability and now need to map out my teaching unit. Somehow I am going to combine jazz, improvisation and spirituals into one cohesive unit. I am excited to see what I come up with ^_^

One of the biggest things I am learning right now is how to pre-teach expected behaviors and to stop and have students redo something when it is not done as expected. For several classes, clearly saying what I expect of them has helped greatly. For others, they hate having to redo something or hear me repeat instructions so once I remind them a few times their behavior is better.

Did you know that just standing closer to a student does not always alter their behavior? Apparently even with a teacher standing, looking right at them, they will still talk to their neighbor when they are supposed to be singing, listening, etc.! Oh well, sometimes it works, sometimes they just don’t realize what they are doing.

I have also taken over working with the third graders. They are currently learning recorders. I need to work on my time management skills for third grade since they are working in small groups instead of one large class. I find it is hard to move onto another student when I know the one I am with is still not getting it. My goal this week is to create some small groups of students in each recorder class that I can work with and try to help them out so they can catch up with the rest of the class. I think some group playing will be in order latter in the week as well. I hope they are ready :)

DSC01979Look at all those books!

DSC01983Friday night was a wonderful lazy night. There were things I could have done but it felt good to let myself vegetate for a while. Saturday was a mixture of being productive and lazy. I almost got caught up writing formal lesson plans (instead of sticky note lesson plans) and spent some time with my family and reading blogs.

Sunday morning I made a delicious bowl of Apple Pie Oatmeal. I didn’t have apple sauce and guessed on the spices (because I didn’t want to measure them) but it turned out wonderfully. It was a nice switch form overnight oats or my usually whipped banana oatmeal I make on the weekends.

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Sunday mornings sermon was on prayer and pastor MacDonald and the church elders called the church to a week of prayer. Sunday evening M and I attended a prayer service that helped focus us and get us ready for the week. I have only been apart of the church for a few weeks but I already feel apart of the community. I am so glad that my brother found this church a few years ago and started attending. By the way, did you know you can listen to James MacDonalds sermons online?

A heavy snow storm is in the forecast for this week and I am hopeful for a snow day. I would love a day to stay bundled up instead reading a book and not have to drive in the snow.

What is your favorite thing to do on a snow day?

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Exploring the Teritory

The first full week of January is almost over and again I find myself asking, where has the time gone! I will admit I have been enjoying sleeping in, relaxing and not having a real schedule keep but that will soon change.

This last week I have finished settling in at my brother’s house, explored Crystal Lake a little (a nice walk on main street when the weather turns warmer is in order), realized that World Market and Boarders are next to each other and a Barnes and Noble is just down the street, There are two Thai restaurants within a mile of each other, Trader Joe is less than a 15 minute drive away (with a good powered chai to boot!), there is a Whole Food Palatine where I am student teaching for my first eight weeks and apparently there is several Great Harvest Bread Co. within an hour drive (never been to one but have heard great things)!

Needless to say, that alone has made me love the suburbs. The down side to the suburbs that I have experienced this week is the traffic and the high gas prices!

Here is a recap of my week.

Monday I ventured out on my own on a mission to explore. I found my way downtown to the train station but decided it was too cold to stop and walk. A stop to World Market, Kohls and Target left me with a delicious drink and a few new picture frames for the new pictures I have of A, C and E.

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Tuesday I attended my first student teaching seminar and received some new information and packets for my mentor teachers. After making it back for supper, I went to Harvest Church (my brother’s church in Crystal Lake) and attended their young adult small group. I really enjoyed being with people around my own age and digging into scripture. It was a great reminder for me to stop slacking on my personal Bible reading and spiritual growth. I look forward to making this apart of my weekly schedule.

Wednesday I practiced waking up a little earlier so that my body would not go into complete shock when I start student teaching and also to give me more time to read “The Other Queen” by Philipa Gregory. This is the second book I read by Gregory and have enjoyed her writing and perspective on historical events. I think some lighter fiction reading is in order next :)

Mid-morning I met M at the church and we headed to Whole Foods. I loved the smell, the look and the variety of healthy options! A little expensive on some items but for what they stand for I am willing to spend a little extra on something I know is better for me. On the way, we stopped at Chipotle and got a quick bite to eat. So much flavor! I should have saved some for latter but I find it hard to stop eating good Mexican food :) The chicken was spicy, the rice had the perfect blend of lime and the heaping mound of guacamole satisfied me completely *sigh* I appreciate that they try to use local ingredients and healthier food options and sources.

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I was thankful I was full going into Whole Foods otherwise I might have bough more than I needed. While there, I picked up shampoo and what I thought was conditioner (turns out I bought two shampoos!) and then two jars of Peanut Butter & Co. goodness. I bought one that had before: White Chocolate Wonderful and then a new one that I have never seen before: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. I am looking forward to trying the latter on my morning oatmeal soon.

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We picked up some parsnips with the goal to make fries for supper. Results? Let’s put it this way, my niece decided to eat green beans (which she dislikes) instead of parsnip fries for her vegetable. They were not terrible but there was something about the taste that wasn’t right. They were soft on the inside like a fresh fry but they were also a little chewy. Maybe I needed to cook them longer or cut them differently… After this first try, I am thinking that sweet potato fries are the fry of choice for me. It doesn’t hurt to try :)

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Wednesday night I went to bed early because an early morning awaiting me Thursday. Since I did not have the chance to observe my elementary mentor teacher when I met her, I schedule a day long observation for today. This meant that I had to be on the road between 6:30 and 6:45 in the morning since I did not know what to expect with morning traffic. Traffic was not bad and I made it to school with thirty minutes to spare which was nice but I could have used some coffee. My morning chai and oatmeal in a jar were not helping my weary eyes.

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Thursday is the fullest class day which is why I picked it but observing left me tired by the end of the day. I think morning coffee on Thursday’s or some sort of pick me up is going to be needed in the future. On the way home I stopped at a Starbucks and picked up a tall vanilla late that hit the spot. It gave me the needed energy to get home and finish out the day without a crash and burn.

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(I am looking forward to seeing this area with color this spring!)

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(Thank you Mom and Dad and W & M for the gift cards! They will come in very handy the next couple of weeks)

Today I plan to take it easy and finish a few crochet projects, read, do a little yoga (maybe try a new routine), clean up around the house, and work on my blog a little bit.

I have been trying to figure out how to to make my rss feed into a box and add a box to my Facebook page for my blog. Any ideas of how to do this? I am not a techie by any means and my few attempts have left me befuddled.

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Half way…

Where to start…it was a fairly typical week.

Great discussion time at the Monday night Bible study. Last week we hosted PornNation and this week instead of a Bible study, we had time for discussion in gender separate groups. There were two or three new people and it was great to see God in the middle of our discussions. Wednesday night was the last night of my ten week night class and I am excited to have time to eat supper on Wednesday before 8pm!

Friday night was the annual orchestra halloween concert which is always a lot of fun. This year the orchestra performed the Carnival of Animals complete with a narrator. After the concert, one of my friends came over and we ate and talked until the wee hours of the morning. We didn’t realize how late it was until we happened to look at a clock. Opps!

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Saturday was a lovely lazy day and I was able to read for fun and work on a baby present for one of my friends. Pictures will be up when it is finished and after I give it to her ;) It was nice to not have a lot to do and be able to do what I wanted to do. I miss that. Saturday night I went home and was able to visit with mom and dad which is something else I have not been able to do for a while.

Sunday we only had one church service (5th Sunday) and then Pastor Rose gave the congregation a meal in appreciation of us. I have been meaning to send her a letter of appreciation the last few weeks and her actions reminded me that I should be encouraging her more often. Her sermon tied in nicely to the virtue we have been teaching down in Sunday school this month. Every month, the kids learn a new virtue and Bible stories that help reinforce the virtue. October’s virtue was Initiative: seeing what needs to be done and doing it (Can See It, Can Do It). As part of her sermon, she challenged everyone to take care of the young people (the college students) by sending them as a congregation care packages. She used the image of juggling and how we can only focus on a few things at a time but if everyone has one ball, we can accomplish so much more than one person trying to juggle hundreds of balls. A great reminder and a visual way to remind everyone to act on what we are taught through scripture and at church.

Sunday was Halloween and Evan’s birthday! I had a great talk with him and it sounded like he had a wonderful day/weekend :) He is growing up so fast!

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Well I guess I should be signing off…oh wait! I finally found out some information regarding my student teaching placement. Drumroll please!

I was happy to find out that I will be living up in Crystal Lake with my brother (Veronica was equally as happy). I have not found out my elementary general music placement but I do know that starting mid March I will be at Barrington High School. It is the large school experience that I wanted but as it gets closer my anticipation is growing! So many things to do and time is running down fast. Off to bed to gain energy to tackle my list!

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