Archive for August, 2011

August 15, 2011

Dodgeball, Storms, and Some Great News <3

There have been many things worth updating about lately, but I don’t have time to write all of these entries right now so I’m going to condense it into a few with several points.  Here’s the first about dodgeball, Tulsa storms, and Nikita’s present for you to peruse at your leisure.

1.  I voluntarily played Dodgeball on Friday in a tournament…and had fun.  We played 5 rounds in an indoor turf field, and I was playing during the one round we won.  That was pretty cool.  I even got someone out by chance because I am horrible at throwing (they tried to catch it but it hit the ground first).  We played a hipster team first who were okay.  We should have won the last round with them, but the ref made a really bad call keeping one of their players in who was clearly OUT.  The next team we played was 30 something guys and girls.  The guys were tough.  They threw SO HARD.  I was good at not getting hit in the beginning because I think my body went into survival mode and ducked out of instinct.  I still eventually got out.  And we lost really bad.  My hardest hit of the night surprisingly occurred before we started playing when one of my “teammates” threw a ball super hard at another guy teammate and hit me by accident.  First, ow.  Second, OW.  Third, I don’t even know you and I am already pissed at you.  I have a huge bruise on my leg from this accident.  Not happy.  The rest of the experience was really fun, though, I promise.

2. Storms in Tulsa scare the crap out of me.  I grew up in Hurricane Central, but for some reason, the storms here just seem magnified.  There was a really bad storm a few nights ago.  I woke up to some thunder and checked the radar to see a huge red blob coming my way.  When I turned on the news they were talking about the worst parts of it and said the strongest winds that were potentially dangerous were moving to my exact location.  Thank you very much weatherman.  I will be running away now.  I was terrified during this particular storm (my fear of tornadoes goes back to 4th grade…it’s an irrational fear I’ve only somewhat overcome), and eventually decided to sit in my bath tub with Amberjack after the floor started vibrating with the wind gusts.  My bathroom is the only room in my apartment without a giant window, so I felt relatively safe.  Even if this was overkill, I felt calmer, and I think that’s what matters most.  Amberjack is apparently unphased by storms and even seemed slightly annoyed that I was removing her from her cozy bed to sit with me in the bath tub.  She did her “it’s going to be okay, just pet me” duties perfectly, though (see below).  We bonded : )

Hiding from the storm

3. Nikita FINALLY got his present from me.  This actually happened before I left Phoenix, but I didn’t find out more about his reaction until a couple weeks ago.  From what I heard, he loves it and has not stopped talking about it since he got it.  He was really surprised that I had included so many things he liked, and even wondered if I chose the album color because I knew he liked green (I did).  He’s enrolled in English classes next year and told Polina to tell me that next time we meet he will talk to me in English.  This makes me smile just writing about it.  I should get back to studying Russian again at some point.  All the Russian I wrote in his album was correct, but I have Google to thank for that (seriously Google, thank you for correct translations).

As the days go on, I think about Nikita less and less.  I think I just really wanted him to get that book and appreciate it for the heart I put into making it.  Now that I have that closure, I can move on a bit.  I should mention, though, that the first decoration I put up in the apartment last week was a photo frame collage that one of my colleagues from A Gift For Teaching gave me before I left.  It’s pictured below with my favorite picture, the letter Polina gave me when I left (it has owls on it!), and the words Russia and May 2011 written in Russian.

Russia Photo Collage

Must get to bed now.  I’ll try to do some quick updates this week as I make more progress on my first week lesson plans : )

 

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August 15, 2011

My Epic TV Guide: Fall 2011

Amidst my big move to Tulsa and my upcoming preparations for teaching, I haven’t lost myself completely.  More specifically, I haven’t lost my love for good Prime Time TV.  Here’s what my initial TV schedule will look like for the Fall.  New shows are in bold and are described below the schedule.  I give new shows the three episode test (this is enough episodes to truly get a feel for if you like or can pass on a show), so those may not be keepers long term.  I don’t think I could adopt all 8 anyway just based on how busy I will be this year.  Shows in a color block conflict with each other, but my DVR and back up bedroom TV should be able to tackle that okay ; )

Notes: Cougar Town is not on here because it doesn’t return until mid-season (I think November?).  I also am not including The Sing-Off because I got very bored with the show last season ::Yawn::

Kelly’s Fall 2011 TV Schedule

Fall 2011 TV Premieres

All the following summaries are from TVGuide.com.  You can see all new TV show summaries at their website here.

Charlie’s Angels: Hello, Angels! This frothy, Miami-set reboot stars Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh as the latest incarnation of the crime-fighting trio — but it doesn’t start out that way. Eve (Kelly), a rogue street racer, joins the group after her childhood friend/original Angel Gloria is murdered. Something tells us she’ll fit in just fine. Fun fact: The series will premiere on the same day the original show debuted 35 years ago.

Grimm: Better brush up on your German. Grimm’s Fairy Tales gets a procedural twist with Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a detective who discovers his destiny is to protect humans from the storybook baddies that have invaded our real world.

Hart of Dixie: Rachel Bilson reunites with The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz for this medical drama, playing big-city doc Zoe Hart, who heads to tiny Bluebell, Ala., when she inherits a practice. Expect culture clashes galore and Zoe to stay put after coming through in a medical emergency and discovering an old secret.

Once Upon a Time: Do you think fairy tales are real? They are in Storybrooke, Maine, a town frozen in time with fairy tale figures who have no recollection of their real identities. Leave it to 10-year-old Henry (Jared Gilmore) to try to set things right when he tracks down his birth mom, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), a bail bonds collector who is the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Joshua Dallas). The fantastical drama, which will tell dual stories set in present-day Storybrooke and in fairy tale land, comes from Lost writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for lots of references to time travel and polar bears.

Pan Am: Come fly with them! Set in the ’60s, the drama centers on the loves and lives of stewardesses (led by Christina Ricci) of the iconic titular airline. Although lauded as symbols of sleek, Jet Age glamour, their personal lives are full of turbulence. Kelli Garner, Margot Robbie and Karine Vanasse round out the Barbie doll-like crew, who are as adept at coffee service as they are at… oh wait, we can’t ruin that twist.

Ringer: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s back! And this time, there’s two of her! Gellar plays twins Bridget and Siobhan — both decidedly un-Buffy-like — in this mystery thriller that was originally developed for CBS. Bridget, a recovering alcoholic, is on the run from some baddies and decides to hide out by taking the identity of her wealthy twin sis, who is thought to be dead. Turns out taking on Siobhan’s persona puts Bridget in a very different kind of danger. Lost alum Nestor Carbonell co-stars, but don’t expect any sci-fi stuff, à la Lost and Buffy, on Ringer. “No hatch! No island!” Gellar says.

The Secret Circle: Something wicked this way comes from Kevin Williamson once again. The man who gave us Vampire Diaries has now adapted L.J. Smith’s other supernatural book series. Britt Robertson is Cassie Blake, a California teen who moves to Chance Harbor, Wash., where she discovers she’s a witch and joins a secret coven that includes Thomas Dekker, Phoebe Tonkin and Shelley Hennig. But don’t think you will know what’s coming if you’ve read the novels. Why? (Spoiler alert!) The show kills off someone who survived the whole book series in the opening minutes of the pilot.

Terra Nova: At long last, the Steven Spielberg-produced dino drama — about the Shannon family (led by Jason O’Mara) who travels back to prehistoric Earth to save the human race — will hit our TV sets with dinosaurs of every friendly and not-so-friendly variety. “You’re going to see some pretty cool dino-on-man action,” co-executive producer Jose Molina says.

August 1, 2011

School Daze

This week I began my orientation back in Tulsa with Teach For America.  On the first day, we were released to go check out our school assignments and meet the staff and principal.  My mom and I had driven out to the school the week before, but we had just driven past it without going inside.  It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, and is located at the dead end of a residential street.  I went out there on Wednesday with another corps member, Morgan, who’s assigned there.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it was definitely surprising.

The elementary school is an open school, meaning there are no class rooms.  There are these big open spaces with dividers that make up each class instead.  It’s so different than anything I saw growing up.  A few Tulsa schools recently closed, so a lot of schools are taking in new kids.  Our school is absorbing a whole other elementary school, so a lot of rearranging is currently going on, including the addition of some classroom trailers.  Because of the limited space right now, me and Morgan will have to share the gymnasium as our classroom for the first month until we get our own trailers.  I’m excited to eventually have a trailer because it would be hard to adjust to the open school areas.  However, teaching in the gym as a shared space will be challenging.  I’m going to just stay really positive about it and collaborate as mush as possible with Morgan to make sure we are quiet for each other when we need to be.

The staff we met were really nice and very welcoming.  They all offered to help us as we transition to the school.  The principal sat down with us and also explained a lot of things and answered our questions.  My class will have between 20-30 kids, the school day runs from 7:45-2:50ish, there are a lot of resources on property we can use, and all our students get donated supplies from a local news station at the beginning of the year.  I’m excited to find out more as we get our curriculum and meet the other 2nd grade teacher who will lead us (me and Morgan are both assigned 2nd grade).  I need to start making unit plans ASAP, but I do need the curriculum guide first.  In the meantime, I’m planning out procedure/classroom culture lessons for the first couple weeks and gathering resources.

I spent about $60 at Target today on their Back to School discounted items.  I now have some crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, and pencil boxes for back up classroom supplies.  I also got a bunch of Play-Doh since it was on sale, too, with some number cut outs for the kids to practice math using Play-Doh.  I figured it could be a good center activity at some point.  We’ll see.  I tried to get a class set of composition notebooks (they were 40 cents!), but they only had 12 left that were wide ruled.  I’ll have to check again tomorrow to get the remaining 12 or so for my students.  I had a journal I had to write in often for school when I was in 1st grade, so I figured I could use this for 2nd grade, too.  One of the things I learned over the summer is that kids need to practice writing a LOT.

I also have been hunting down books for a classroom library.  I was able to get some at a great used bookstore here in Tulsa, but I also made a wishlist on Donor’s Choose.  If you haven’t heard of the website, it’s designed so teachers can post projects they need funding for and have anybody search through the projects and make a donation.  If you’d like to donate a few dollars to my class library project I have posted (or at least can spread the word a bit to others who might), you can go to my project page here.

I’ll keep you updated on my school and classroom adventures as the year goes on.  Stay tuned : )