Jan. 9th, 2012 09:12 pm
bookaddict88: (Bookstore)
What are the books in libraries and bookstores doing when you turn out the lights? Why, this, of course!

In other book-related news, I started my first class for my Masters of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University! I'll actually be taking three this semester, but the first is just a one credit course called Online Social Networking that you can start before the official start of the semester. I've actually started another blog as part of that class, Adventures in Library Science, in which I hope to record different thoughts related to my coursework and libraries as a whole. Of course, given my track record with blogs, we'll see if this one actually lasts!


Nov. 13th, 2011 01:41 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)
I decided I needed more LJ friends (or y'know, just more ways to procrastinate), so I've been going around and friending people from my various communities (mostly [ profile] sounis, [ profile] athanarel, and [ profile] holiday_wishes, but from other places as well). Feel free to friend me back or not, as you wish!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a 5th grade language arts and social studies teacher, affiliated with Teach for America. This is my second year teaching, which means my commitment is up in June and I have to figure out what to do with my life after that. Right now, I'm looking at continuing to teach or trying to get a masters in library and information science, but really, anything could happen.  I love reading (particularly YA fantasy), traveling (and CouchSurfing!), dancing (though I don't do too much of that anymore, sadly), play-by-post role playing, and tea. 

Just so you know, I don't actually post on this journal much, but I do spend a good amount of time reading (and sometimes commenting on) posts in my communities and friend's journals.  So I'm around, even if you don't see me!
bookaddict88: (History)
So, things are finally starting to settle down in my second year of teaching. This is going to be a crazy week, as one of the sixth grade teachers is going to be moving down to fifth grade, but at least that means we'll have smaller classes (Currently I have two classes of around 30. With the third teacher, it will be three classes of around 20).

Anyway, on the day of our first social studies lesson, I asked my students, "What is history? Why is it important?"  I laughed at almost all of the answers I got. Here are some of the highlights:
  • "It is in the 1800's"
  • "History is important because of learning the past it like when you were a baby that the past. History is the past and not the future it like George Washington and Abram Linelinon just like you are going to be in the past."
  • "History is important because History tells us of the past if it wasent for aberham linken we would not have a Presidant if it wasent for world war 1, 2, and 3 we would not have freedom and the Smithsonian."
  • "History is a story of what hapend in the past tense. without history there probly be no us"
  • "history is what happend in the past. Because, it help's you learn better. The Cristiffer found Oklahoma."
  • "History is like people who lived in the past. it is important because we can figure out how they did stuff like how they washed close."
bookaddict88: (History)
Tomorrow is my second first day of school as a teacher. At the beginning of summer, I dreaded this day, as last year was hard.  But after an amazingly relaxing summer (I'll have to put up pictures of my China trip eventually!), I'm much more ready to take on this new year.

I was reading last year's post from right before the first day of school, and it's odd how a lot of it could have been written this year.  I'm still probably going to be up late tonight, getting last minute preparations ready.  And once again, I'm both excited and nervous for the upcoming year. And yet, in many ways, this year will be quite a bit different this year.  We'll be in a new building (which has caused a ton of hassle and work, but also means I get a much bigger classroom, which will be nice.)  And almost half the staff is new, including my fellow fifth grade teacher.  This is actually a good thing, because while I'll really miss some of the teachers who are gone, I can already tell that this will be a fresh start in a good way.  Also, I'll be departmentalized (teaching language arts and social studies instead of everything), and will have class sizes about twice as large as the ones I had last year.  I still feel like I have no clue what I'm doing, in both classroom management and language arts and social studies (I feel like math was the only subject I started to get a grasp on last year), but at least I have a better idea of what I'm getting into, which helps a lot. 

And I could go on, but I doubt anyone cares about the details of this year, and I probably should go back to planning instead of writing on LJ.  So I'll leave it there for now, and hopefully I'll be posting more than once every couple of months this year!
bookaddict88: (Default)
I survived my first year of teaching!!!

It's been a crazy and challenging year.  Frankly, I'm not a very good teacher yet, especially in the area of classroom management.  And that led to lots of stress, tears, exhaustion, and even burnout at times.  The year was not without its high points, of course.  Teaching can be fun, and rewarding...even if you're a first year teacher who feels like she has no clue what she's doing and not enough support.  I had a not insignificant number of those happy moments.  And I certainly loved each of my kids individually. 

But I'm incredibly glad it's summer.  This summer, even with my trip to China, will be the most relaxing one I've had in probably 10 years.  I'm looking forward to the chance to relax, rejuvenate, and ready myself for next year.  Because next year will be crazy again, especially since my school is moving buildings and adding a sixth grade.  But by August, I will be rested, and will hopefully have things planned and prepared so that next year goes much more smoothly than this year did.
bookaddict88: (Default)
Ereka ([ profile] song_of_truth) is an American studying abroad in Japan's Iwate Prefecture, which is in her words, "one of the hardest hit by...everything."  Her home university (or really, her study abroad travel insurance company) ordered her home, but she's decided to defy the order and stay anyway.  And while it'd be really easy and understandable for her to be selfish at this time, she's instead doing everything she can to help.  This includes putting up offerings on [ profile] help_japan . 

Ereka is offering to make two temari for the top two bidders.  Temari balls are a traditional form of Japanese embroidery.  She made me one as a holiday gift once, and it is absolutely beautiful.  Look:


If you would like a temari as well, go bid for one on [ profile] help_japan !
bookaddict88: (Squee)
So, you know how I asked for travel ideas? Well, I posted something up on Facebook asking for travel buddies and ideas.  My mom saw it, and asked if I wanted to go to China with her.  As if she had to ask!  I've wanted to go to China forever (I've been to the airport in Hong Kong, and that's it), especially since my mom's side of the family is Chinese.  Anyway, it was really just an idea that we started looking into, and nothing definite, until we found really cheap plane tickets to Beijing.  And now, less than a week after we first started talking about it, my mom, my two sisters, and I are all set to spend three weeks in China!  I'm very excited, not only about my destination, but also about my travel companions.  I've traveled quite a bit, but the last time I went overseas with one sister was over ten years ago, and I've never been overseas with the other sister.  I'm sad my dad and brother can't go, but it will be a fun girls-only adventure! 

Anyone been to China before and have tips/advice/suggestions?  My mom and one of my sisters have been, but it was for a humanitarian trip, and they didn't do much sightseeing and had most of the trip planned for them. This trip is very open, except for the fact that we're flying in and out of Beijing.

Also, who has a Kindle or other e-reader? I used to be set against them, but the last two times I've spent a semester abroad, I saw how useful they could have been for travel.  Considering I like to travel quite a bit, I've been thinking of getting one, though I can also read e-books on my laptop, iPod Touch, and phone.  I put off buying it, because I wasn't sure when I was going to travel next, but now that I'm definitely spending three weeks in China, I'm thinking about making the investment.  So, thoughts about whether it's worth it, and which e-reader I should get?  I'm thinking about the Kindle, as it seems to be the best reader for the price, and I'm thinking e-ink is the best way to go.  But I'm up for any and all suggestions!

In less than exciting news, my Spring Break is almost over, and I've gotten nothing productive done school-wise.  We're starting new units in both math and reading Monday, and testing is coming up, so I've got a LOT to do. Oops.
bookaddict88: (Default)
It's Spring Break!  One of the nice things about teaching is that I still get these breaks. I found some cheap tickets home from Dallas, so I'll be driving about five hours down there tomorrow to visit a friend and then take a flight home the next day. It'll be a lot of traveling for just a few days home, but it'll be so worth it.

Speaking of breaks, I'm already thinking about what I can do this summer.  I miss traveling internationally already, and I'm not too picky about where I go. Basically, I'd just like to go somewhere I haven't been before (i.e. not North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, Morocco, or Armenia), though I'd be willing to go back somewhere if I find a really good deal. I want to keep my budget to about $2000, but stay as long as I can somewhere within that budget.  And I may be traveling by myself unless I can find someone to travel with.  Other than that, though, everything is pretty open.  So I'm turning to all of you!  Where do you suggest I go?


Mar. 2nd, 2011 09:18 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)

We're preparing for the state writing test (next week, AHHH!), and so my fifth graders are having to do a lot of writing based strictly off of prompts. They've missed being able to write about anything they want, and so I wanted to give them a chance to do a free write. They were supposed to write an essay about a page long, on any topic they wanted. As expected, I got papers of varying quality about families, vacations, school, and zombies*. And then I got this one, from my student who I describe as gifted, lazy, and very... unique:



Bunnys, bunnys, everywhere.

The smell of bunnys is in the air.

Bunnys cannot breathe in the sea.

Bunnys also have stinky pee.

Bunnys also eat a lot.

I caught a bunny in a pot.

Bunnys are as thin as keys.

That is why they eat peas.

Bunnies also are different.

Some of their legs are also bent.

Bunnys are really thin.

I can stick them to the wall with a pin.

Bunnys can be very sweet.

That is why we use them for meat.

Bunnys are everywhere.

But they also pee.

*Zombies and those annoying paper poppers are the current fads in my classroom.
bookaddict88: (Holiday)
 ...until winter break. I am SOOO excited.  This past week has been crazy, and I could really use a break.

Speaking of the holidays, you know what would be an awesome gift you could give me and my classroom? Donate to one of my Donor's Choose projects!  I currently have one project up for graphic novels, and another up for social studies materials.  And do you want to know what the best part of this all is? You can do so without it costing you a dime! Just go to, make Bing your homepage (you can always change it back later), and you can get a $5 Donor's Choose gift code.  Of course, if you want to give even more than that $5, we'd REALLY appreciate that as well (and it's tax-deductible!). :)
bookaddict88: (Default)
 Overall, I've had a great weekend so far!  Saturday, my school's Lego League team had their robotics competition. I've been assisting some with the preparation for the competition, so volunteered to help chaperone.  Unfortunately, I overslept by about two hours (at least it wasn't a school day!), but I still made it, and we had a good deal of fun.  Granted, our team came in last for the actual robotics demonstration, but they didn't do too poorly on their demonstration or their teambuilding exercise.  To top it all off, we actually won a trophy! It was the Judge's Choice trophy, so we're not quite sure what that means, but winning something was definitely pretty exciting for the kids. We'll find out Monday if we are one of the teams going on to the next stage in the competition. 20 out of 25 teams move on, so we actually have a chance, despite our poor performance on the demonstration.

Then, Saturday night, I agreed last minute to host a couple of Irish CouchSurfers.  They finally found my place around 2am (my phone's not working, so that didn't help), so we only got to talk briefly before heading to bed.  However, we had brunch this morning, which was awesome.  CouchSurfers, we decided, are (usually) some of the most open, friendly people out there.  So we had some great discussions before they had to head off again.  (The Irish accents were an added bonus, in my opinion! ;)  )   Not many CSers decide to visit Tulsa, so I'm glad I got this opportunity to host!

This afternoon, a friend who I haven't talked to in forever caught me on Skype.  While we were talking, we discovered that the newest version of Skype comes with a free trial of video conferencing!  So we downloaded everything we needed, rounded up a couple more of our friends, and had a video conference call. I still can't get over how cool technology can be.  We had three people in Madrid, one person in California, and myself in Oklahoma, all looking at and talking to each other at once.  And, since the friends I was talking to are some of the most amazing people in the world, we just had an all around good time.

Of course, all this means that I haven't even started grading and lesson planning yet. Oops. At least we only have two days of school next week! And then I get to go back to California for Thanksgiving!!!

It's here!

Aug. 23rd, 2010 01:34 am
bookaddict88: (Results Beyond Hope)
So...I haven't been posting much. I've just been so busy! The rest of Institute went well, overall, and I'd love to talk about it some more later.

For now, though, it's 1:30am, so I just have one thing to say: My first day as a 5th grade teacher begins in 6 hours .

I really should get to bed. Sleep is probably more important than planning at this point! But I'm so nervous/excited...
bookaddict88: (Default)
Well, I started teaching math today. Let’s just say, my improving skills at reading comprehension didn’t transfer over well. I failed pretty miserably today at teaching my kids to identify subtraction questions in word problems. It was a difficult objective (particularly for students who have trouble reading), my students were behind where I thought they’d be skill-wise, I was disorganized, and I really had no clue how to teach a math lesson. I was all over the place, which meant my kids were all over the place, both academically and behaviorally (though at least “bad” behavior for them isn’t really that bad). To make matters worse, I was incredibly nervous during the lesson because I was being observed by both my CMA and by another CM who wanted to learn something from the way I taught. I think the only thing the other CM learned was how not to teach math.

Still, despite the fact that I was pretty upset after the lesson, I’m a lot more optimistic than I was after my first real day of teaching. My first reading comprehension was a disaster (though not quite this bad, I think!), but I learned from it, and was doing much better by the second week. I’m hopeful that my math lessons will similarly improve, so that I don’t fail so much in front of my students this fall!
bookaddict88: (Default)
Not much to report for this past week. The highs and lows have mostly evened out for the moment, and I’m getting into the groove of lesson planning, teaching, and attending sessions. My kids are great (most of the time…), and I’m getting much better at teaching them, though I still sometimes have trouble being consistent with behavior management and with breaking things down to a second grade level. But as I always say to my CMA, “I’m learning!” I have tons still to learn, but at least I can tell I’m making progress.

I suppose the highlights of this week have actually been my breaks from all the TFA stuff. We were surprised on Tuesday with TFA day, or a day with a Totally Free Afternoon. It was great. I spent the afternoon chilling out in the pool, which was free for the day (since I was cheap and didn’t buy a gym membership this summer).

This weekend has also been great. Friday night, 6 other Tulsa CMs and I made our way to Flagstaff, where we hung out in a tiny bar and then crammed into 1 tiny room at the Motel 6 for a night. You do what you gotta do when you have no income! The next morning, we headed off to the Grand Canyon, which was absolutely breathtaking. (I’ve been once before, but it was January, and I couldn’t see much.) We walked around and climbed down onto ledges, before heading back to Phoenix for the evening. Then today, I celebrated the Fourth with about half of my Tulsa Corps by watching the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks at a baseball game. And we have tomorrow off as well! Though I’ve put off all work so far this weekend, so I’ll have to spend the day catching up on work.

I'm Alive!

Jun. 24th, 2010 08:50 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)
(Cross-posted from my TFA blog)

Yep, there was some doubt as to whether I’d be able to say that by this point in time. But my first week of teaching at Institute, while rough, was something I survived!

With all the lesson planning and such, I’ve been getting no more than 5 hours of sleep a night, which is the main reason why the week has been hard. For the first couple of days, the teaching itself wasn’t bad. That was mostly because I was only in charge of explaining our rules, rewards, consequences, and some procedures the first day, and get to know you activities the second. But it also helps that my 2nd graders are pretty awesome (most of the time), and there are only 12 of them. Still, I was pretty exhausted, since beyond my time teaching and lesson planning (using TFA’s very lengthy and particular template), I still had lots of sessions and workshops.

Yesterday was about my breaking point. Tuesday I had trouble waking up and staying awake during sessions, and yesterday was about the same. Beyond that, though, my first academic lesson plan didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. My read aloud was fun, but I just didn’t do a good job explaining setting and its importance to the plot, because my kids didn’t get it at all. I also ran out of time (which was a problem today as well). I was fairly upset by the end of the period, and almost started crying when talking about my lesson to other CMs and my CMA. It wasn’t even that big of a deal, in retrospect (after all, it was my first real lesson!), but when we’re running on so little sleep, everyone’s emotions are heightened. I walk by the halls, and every day I see at least one person crying. And talking to people, I don’t think there’s even one girl who hasn’t cried over something this week, and often that something was really actually pretty minor.

Today was better though! My kids seemed to get what I was teaching them (though I may have helped them too much on their independent work), and I was operating on slightly more sleep (it’s sad when two nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep makes me feel this much better, since I’d been getting less before that.) My CMA observed the last part of my lesson today, and my FA said as the kids were leaving for lunch that both she and my CMA gave me two thumbs up for the lesson today! Most excitingly, I have nothing to do before tomorrow! I get to go to bed before midnight! I still have to wake up early, because we still have sessions tomorrow, but at least we get up early.

Anyway, that has been my roller coaster week. Hopefully things will just get better from here on out, as I get more experienced (and have somewhat less to do!).

Oh! One more BIG thing! I have a placement!!! Well, mostly. I found out that I am almost certainly teaching 5th grade next year, though I don’t know the school. Hooray! Not only am I staying in elementary, but I get to teach upper elementary, which is what I wanted. My 2nd graders are awesome, and there are definitely some great things about teaching younger kids, but I’m excited for the things I can do with older kids that I can’t do with younger kids.
bookaddict88: (Default)
(Cross-posted from my TFA blog)

The first week of Institute is over! It’s been an exhausting ride, particularly since I went home for 24 hours for my sister’s graduation in the middle of it. (Driving 6 hours on 3 hours sleep is probably not a good idea, and locking my keys in the car afterward was an even worse one, since it cost me $130!)I worked harder last week than I’ve ever worked in my life. We get up at 5am to make the bus before 6:40am. We’ve then been at school until 5pm, and most days had other sessions even after that back on campus. And then we had lesson plans and other planning or work to do after that. Sleep happens only in short amounts!

Despite all that, however, I’ve actually been enjoying Institute quite a bit. I work almost non-stop, and my brain hurts because I’ve learned so much at a breathtaking pace in order to be ready to teach this week for the first time. But what I’m learning is so interesting and applicable to what I’ll be doing, not to mention the fact that it all has a purpose. It’s not been easy, and it’s not going to get easier, but it’s definitely worth it.

There are a few things that have helped me get through this week successfully. First, there are all the people at TFA who work with me and teach me. My advisor (CMA) is always there for me if I have questions, and my curriculum specialist (CS) and literacy specialist (LS) are great and teach me a ton. My Faculty Advisor (FA) already seems really nice, though I’ve only met her a few times (once when I ran into her at Subway!). My CMA group, who I share my CMA with, are immensely supportive (they helped keep me from freaking out when I locked my keys in the car!). My collab group, who I will be teaching with, is insanely awesome. I know some people have been having trouble with their groups, but mine gets along really well, works hard, and were all understanding when I abandoned them for a day to go home. Secondly, my Tulsa corps is amazing. We have fun together, support one another, and help each other out. I’m so excited to spend the next two years with these people! Finally, there’s the kids. I’ve already met a couple of the 2nd graders that I will be teaching math and reading to this summer, and I love them already. Some are REALLY behind in one subject or both, so I really want to help them all I can this summer!

Tomorrow’s my first day teaching! Because of where I fall in the rotation, I’m mostly just going to be doing Rules/Rewards/Consequences, Procedures, and Get to Know You activities for the first couple of days. I don’t start teaching academic content until Wednesday. I’ll let you know how all this goes!
bookaddict88: (Results Beyond Hope)
Time again for one of my round-ups! This is a pretty full one. I had more time to read last semester than I've had in a LONG time. And of course, I did lots of other cool things as well!

Books I've read:
  • The Rope Trick by Lloyd Alexander (reread)
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
  • Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold (reread)
  • Dresden Files Books 1-12 by Jim Butcher
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The History of Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Queen of Attolia, King of Attolia, and Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (re-read on the first two; also, got halfway through The Thief)
  • The Sally Lockhart Mysteries (Books 1-4) by Phillip Pullman

Places Visited:
  • Colorado, USA
  • Maastricht and Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • London, UK
  • Brussels, Brugge, and Ghent, Belgium
  • Monschau, Berlin, and Munich, Germany
  • Athens, Thessaloniki, and Poros, Greece
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Bern and Interlaken, Switzerland
  • Salzburg and Vienna, Austria
  • Venice, Milan, Siena, Lake Como, and Florence, Italy
  • Madrid and Sevilla, Spain
  • Paris and the Loire Valley (inc. Bloise and Tours), France
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Edinburgh, London, and Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K.

Productions Seen:
  • Les Miserables (two different productions, in London and Edinburgh)
  • Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (the ballet) at the State Opera House in Vienna
  • Oliver! in London
  • Legally Blonde the Musical in London
  • Macbeth at the Globe in London
  • King Lear (Royal Shakespeare Company Public Understudy Performance) in Stratford-on-Avon

Other random things I've done:
  • Volunteered at Junior Winter Camp at Forest Home
  • Taken and passed the PRAXIS II
  • Got my B.A. from Baylor University!
It was quite a semester!
bookaddict88: (Books)
Months ago, [ profile] chachic  asked me to post pictures of the Selexyz Domincanen Bookstore, which she read about in an article. I'm finally getting around to it! The article has much better pictures than I do, though, so make sure you check out that link as well!

Cut for large pictures )
bookaddict88: (Default)
What follows is a "quick" recap of the lase few weeks of my study abroad trip. I wrote it Saturday, but as I've been pretty internet-less, I'm only getting to posting it now! Here it is:

Lots of text and pics under the cut... )
bookaddict88: (Default)
Here's the blog post I wrote on the train Wednesday afternoon (you'll have to wait until the next blog post to hear about today's adventures!):

I'm over halfway through my month of travel already! I can't believe how fast time is flying by. It's been pretty amazing traveling throughout Europe. Finals went well; nothing was too hard. The one setback was that I didn't finish my 12-page philosophy paper before I left. It wasn't due until two weeks after my last class, but I didn't want to have to do it while traveling, particularly since that meant I had to drag my laptop and books along. On the bright side, having my laptop has been kind of nice, and it's the reason I can write this blog post on my way to Tours, France!

A really long post with lots of pictures! )


bookaddict88: (Default)

January 2012

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