Saturday, April 26, 2014


This is old news, but did anyone else not love American Hustle? Jeff and I were bored - at one point we were both on our computers while it played in the background.

I have been seriously craving warm, creamy coffee in this third trimester. Coffee. Not a nice glass of wine or a cool and refreshing beer, coffee. And I didn't even drink coffee before the pregnancy! I've mostly been keeping it under wraps with caffeine-free chai with some coconut milk.

Speaking of warm up there, it is so ridiculously hot here right now. Yes, hot like when we lived in the desert, but I'm not regulating my body temperature well at the moment. Air conditioner wars every day... I win.

After this awesome version of Happy, a colleague and I started our own end of year project with our whole grade level. I get to be all techy and put the video clips together so that should be a fun treat for the kids as we send them off for the summer! Let's hope I'm savvier than I think I am.

This is a sexy cover. Beyonce is sexy enough as it is, yes, and I mean, Jay-Z, but this one is just such a good change of pace.

We have a crib! And it didn't cost us an arm and a leg (as most baby things here)! And my hunky husband already set it up!

This video, aptly re-titled, Have You Ever Wanted to Punch a Child?, was two minutes of serious eye-brow raising. Please, baby girl, no.

And Babies Make the Worst Roommates. Things to look forward to!

Friday, April 25, 2014

communication: a listening exercise + visible thinking (10x2)

We're just beginning our new Unit of Inquiry, Communication Systems.
As a grade level team, we've decided to put a big emphasis on the five semiotic systems - linguistic, auditory, visual, spatial, and gestural - along with a look at cultural expression.
Rather than explicitly teaching each one, I'm going to be introducing my students to each system by immersing them in it to help them better understand what these big ideas mean.

First up, the auditory system, all about music and sound effects.
A great streaming website for this activity is The Silk Road Project:
If you click Music & Artists, then Listen to Music, you can access a variety of interesting music from around the world.

As a class we listened to one song. 
I stopped the playback to ask a few questions:
  1. How does the piece make you feel?
  2. What images come to mind?
  3. Where in the world might this music be from? What makes you say that?
Then we listened again with the questions in mind and discussed afterward.

For the visible thinking routine, I passed out our Inquiry books and had the kids write the title 10x2.
I put on a new song and again, we just listened.
Before we listened a second time, I explained the 10x2 routine: basically the kids try to write down ten words or phrases that come to mind while listening. (This is then repeated after another listen; the x2.)
We had such rich discussion afterward.
When I asked them what they thought the communication system might be all about, they were pretty much bang on: music, singing, cultural songs to communicate, expressing something without words, listening, tune.

The kids really enjoyed this listening exercise!

Friday, April 18, 2014


This week I made more of this. Love me some matcha.

Still slogging through this Harvard course. It's okay. I think I'd rather just read the book (I've read most of it anyway) and incorporate what I want into my class - but then I couldn't say I've been edumacated by Harvard.

Awhile ago I started the lemon-water in the morning thing and I thought I'd love it more.

I also started the natural hair care thing - I'm liking it and the transition hasn't been toooo terrible for me.

Seriously, this show. Only three episodes left - we breezed through it - and I'm so sad.

We have a baby name :). One morning I woke up with the decision made - Jeff's choice from the beginning of our (my) indecision.

And speaking of baby...
Thinking about starting this project to cut back on delivery and take-out this summer.

I'm reading this baby book and finding it very interesting. Not that we're going to be super-parents (or remember what's in the book when this stuff actually comes up), but it feels good to feel like I'm getting ready. Because who am I kidding? I know nothing about babies.

I think I've had this bit of chocolatey-goodness open in a tab for about two months. Looks delicious, pretty "healthy"....I get stuck in my old ways.

Also, found her cookbook on sale and thinking of shelling out.

And finally, a granola recipe that worked out really well for me! We have a very finicky oven, so it's taken me awhile to get used to it. Yes, I think I'm getting you now, oven.

Monday, April 14, 2014

into this: Basecamp + Brooklyn Nine-Nine

So, um, Ace of Base? Yes.

Debut EP here.

Also, while we're on spring break (and had to cancel travel plans while I was on bed rest to keep baby growing strong) we've been watching this totally goofy but damn funny show:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013) Poster
Every episode gets us laughing!

Friday, April 4, 2014

off the bookshelf: R.J. Palacio's Wonder

A little late to the show on this one, as I tend to shy away from too much critical acclaim (see here), but this is one I'm glad I finally picked up.

Wonder was a quick read, and one I really enjoyed. I picked it up from our school library to read to my class after just finishing Hachiko Waits. This is a read-aloud I really want to end the year off with! It's such a great statement about kindness, friendship,acceptance, and individuality.

It is the story of August Pullman, a boy with a serious facial deformity, who is entering mainstream schooling for the first time as a fifth grader. He wants nothing more than to be considered normal, as normal is how he considers himself, but knows he's up for a challenge. He makes some strong friends but faces his share of difficulty as he navigates the new social waters. The story is told from various perspectives - his sister, friends, and classmates - and I really like the freshness their viewpoints add to the book. (Plus, great practical teaching point!)

Looking forward to introducing this in the classroom as it's sure to generate some deep conversation.