Monday, October 16, 2006

News and Notes

Drake's foot is healing up, I guess. It hasn't bled since Thursday, and as of Sunday, we have let him go without a bandage while he is indoors. We rig up a little bootie for when he must go outside briefly to do his business. The problem, though, is that the cut isn't really closing up. It is still splayed open pretty wide. It doesn't look at all infected, but I wonder if it will close eventually or if we still ought to take him in for stitches. It's been nearly a week now. I wish I could let him run around and play outside like he clearly wants to. Yes, I can read his thoughts. When he is sitting in front of the living room window, resting his chin on the windowsill and occasionally whining softly and sighing, it's pretty clear what he is thinking.

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The above syllable is Drake's comment on the whole matter, made when he came and rested his chin on my keyboard, looking up at me with, well, puppy dog eyes. Yes, he's bored.

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I spend Mondays at the kids' school, mornings in Elli's classroom, afternoon in Tano's, alternating kids for lunch dates in the cafeteria in between classes. I'm really enjoying it this year. I help with reading groups in Elli's class and she is always so thrilled to have me there. Many of the kids were also in her kindergarten class, so they already know me. They are so funny at that age, always lining up to give me hugs and treating me like some sort of celebrity.

Tano's teacher (who looks strikingly like my brother's girlfriend) and I got to chatting today and have decided that I am going to offer a supplemental program starting next week and running through mid-December. I am so excited that she was all over this idea--I had hoped she would be. I will be taking a small group of interested students through the process of deciding on the most influential book they have ever read and writing a letter to the author, living or dead, about how the book has changed his/her life or the way they view the world. The project is part of an annual national competition called Letters About Literacy.

I'm so excited about this! The teacher had me announce the program to the class today, and it was fun to see several sets of eyes light up at the prospect. A few students even came up to me afterward to tell me that they wanted to be "in," that they already knew what book they would write about. I imagine the teacher was a little bewildered at the positive response--I doubt she was able to generate as much excitement for their recent book report project.

There are winners at the state level and again at the national level, with the top two writers in each age category receiving an all-expense paid trip to D.C. to read their letters at a Library of Congress event. It is open to fourth through twelfth graders. I am going to round up some donated prizes to have our own local prize round, as well. Maybe inexpensive t-shirts for all the participants. I think I'll even try to get the finished letters into the local papers. It's not too hard to get things in there, as they are often desperate for filler material. I'd like it to be a really challenging and rewarding experience for the kids, so I will expect greatness from them and praise their best efforts, regardless of their natural ability level.

I remember this age so well myself, and I've read that the age span between eight and eleven is so formative. Much of what interests a person long-term is determined at this age. This was the time in my life that I devoured the 920 section of my school library, biographies, and fell in love with the writing process. As an adult now, I still love history and writing. If I can help develop an interest in reading and writing among Tano and his friends now, I will feel like I have really contributed something positive to their lives. That's pretty cool, eh?

I printed off all my lesson plans and activity sheets today at school, and we start next Monday. Yippee! The teacher is glad to be able to offer a supplemental opportunity to her more advanced students, and I am glad to find a way to satisfy my teaching bug.

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The Detroit Tigers have played like champions thus far in the post-season. I can't wait to see them in the World Series starting this weekend. Go Tigers!

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It will probably snow tonight, the first of the season. The weather calls for precipitation all night, and a low of about 29F. It will warm up to fifty again tomorrow daytime, so it won't stick, but it will be pretty to see in the morning.

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Still having a great time with Young Life in Corvallis. Friday night was another after-the-football-game event, with fifty to sixty kids going through a dozen pizzas. I'm so liking the kids of this community.

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Am getting closer to being on top of housework. Saturday was a big family work day and we accomplished quite a bit. Now, if we could just not live here somehow...

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Am feeling oddly industrious and, dare I even say it, crafty. I actually have three major craft projects, using recycled materials that I have on hand, that I am considering slapping together and selling at craft bazaars later this fall. What is becoming of me?

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Tonight's dinner, in honor of post-season baseball, was chili-cheese dogs with mustard and chopped onions. The kids balked at first, but actually found them to be a big hit. Tano did commit several key errors, leading to a bit of chili on his blue jeans, but Elli had a perfect game, no runs, no drips, no errors.

I suppose we should wait an hour or two to confirm the no-runs statistic.

Hey, what can I say? Even though I am not counted among the ranks of the homeschoolers, I take my children's education pretty seriously. Would their education truly be complete if they grew to adulthood without an appreciation of the chili cheese dog with mustard and chopped onions? I would feel so irresponsible.

The World Series begins this weekend. I see this dinner as a key part of the family's training.

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Tano forgot to bring home his homework. Again.

We have devised a new plan. We played around with the idea last year, but never got serious about it. This year, we are implementing the plan early, and hopefully with consistency.

The plan is that on nights that the boy forgets to bring his homework home, we will assign him supplemental work, consistent with what he is doing in class. It will take him more time, by far, than doing his assigned schoolwork would have taken. He has already done a lengthy page of math problems tonight and is now working on spelling, three times each and sentences. Among tonight's spelling words is supplemental.

9 comments:

Suzie Q said...

Love the homework idea, I'll have to keep that in mind. The class project sounds awesome too! Hope everything else is well with you, miss you guys!

Mister Ed T said...

Go girl. Sounds like you're getting it all together. Just don't forget where you put it! HA!

Anonymous said...

Great post Sherry, Metaphorically speaking, you make me think of a lovely rose that is "blooming" and opening up to its most beautiful potential; it delights us to see you "bloom where you are planted" in so many different ways. To enrich and challenge young minds at the right stage in life is precious indeed!
My philosophy on child rearing is to "make it (what you want him/her to do) in his/her own best interest. No doubt Tano will soon realize he's "better off" if he makes a point of remembering his homework.(Gr'pa says, "hopefully!")
Regarding Drakes injured paw, it sounds like some stitches might be in order. He's such a sweet dog!!
Love, Mom C

Sherry C said...

UPDATES:

Re: Drake
Called the doc today and she says to keep it bandaged and it will heal up on its own.

Re: Snow
Didn't happen. Fickle Montana weather patterns.

alison said...

Great post. Good to read your voice.

You are an amazing woman.

K Murphy J said...

do i offend? why the radio silence? kmj :(

alison said...

OK, of all the people to be commenting on radio silence, Miss KMJ.

I was just thinking about you this morning and what fun the three of us had going to Na-a-a-a-a-tionals.

I love you both.

AmberJ said...

I have to tell you, I tried the mustard on chili-dog last night and was very pleased at the results. I never thought the two went together -- it was an either/or scenario -- but then I tasted it and oh, heaven!

Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Sherry,

you do rock. And dig the myspace. Twenty-nine degrees in October! Yikes. We're still in the forties at night at my elevation. I've seen snow on Halloween, but more usually closer to Thanksgiving.

Hope the wood is stacked and dry for you.

Warmth to you and your wonderful family. And my love to the Selway.

t