Saturday, June 27, 2009

Before and After: The Story of Progress

Before & After : The story of Progress

Driving down the two lane road with no shoulders to my home used to be called the "back way." There are better roads that are used to get through town , however we never actually call them the front way. The first picture above was taken on a road similar to my "back way" because PROGRESS is coming to the back way. The route is scenic with huge trees lining it. Instead of shoulders next to the road you have ditches that threatened to swallow your car should you slide too far over. Wildlife crosses the road occasionally, therefore one always needs to drive slowly yet hardly no one does.

Welcome Progress. The second picture above is the face of progress. The powers that be have decided to upgrade the road, no doubt because the back way is now becoming a front way. Planning commissions are even thinking of extending it a few miles from here to reach to the interstate.

While it will be safer and much easier to to drive on the new roadway, someone has to sacrifice to make it happen. The most direct sacrificer ( is that a word??) is the TREES. Within a week the land was raped and violated as trees were chopped down, pulverized into huge mulch piles and bulldozed to prepare the land for shoulders and wider lanes. The scene was shocking and sad.
Progress is good, but it leaves questions:
  • Where will the deer and bunnies sleep?
  • Will the neighborhood get louder now that the buffer is gone and presumably more traffic will flow?
  • Is progress really progress? What about the benefits of mature trees, i.e. beauty, oxygen, shade?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Castle

The castle: that is what I used to call this building as we were driving towards downtown on our way to my dad's work. If you stretch far enough, you could even say that the castle is the most interesting part of our city skyline--a skyline that you can barely see when you are at that one intersection on Stadium Boulevard.
In reality, this is the Student Union at our University. I found myself across the street from here for the second time in the last month as I attended performances of former students. Ok, well, not my students, but former students of a friend of mine. We watched a dance recital with ballerinas and this week we were entertained with a cello performance.
I'm going to the castle get some culture!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just what I Need!

Uh oh. I did it again. Let me loose with a credit card, the Internet, and a desire to learn and I spend WAY too much money!

I bought 7-8 books today. Here is my rationalization:

I bought 2-3 books on teaching students who are not native English speakers. This was my first year teaching ELL's [English Language Learners] and it was a steep learning curve. My students were literally just off the boat and it was time to test them with our state tests for No Child Left Behind and accountability. Now how can you test someone who cannot even speak the language?? I don't get it, but it doesn't matter-- it is a fact. I must teach these children and I need some help from others who have gone before me. Therefore, a couple of books on strategies to use with ELL's.

Then I also found some books on writing-- a good little book by Ralph Fletcher teaching children to write the story or their lives. It looks like an informative book written for kids on their level. I had to have it!

The "sisters" have a new book out called The Cafe that is a good nuts and bolts book on how to make literacy work in the classroom --conferences, assessments, mini-lessons--everything. I saw lots of charts in this book, so I thought it was a must read!

None of the books I bought were simply for pleasure. They all have to do with teaching and learning. I wonder if I could get a tax break?? Probably not.

Those of you who know me well know that what I really need is more books. My only problem now is where am I going to put them??

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Afternoon Adventure

My friend called the other day. She had just purchased a Garmin GPS system and wanted to go out and try it. We were off on an adventure! We spent the afternoon typing in locations and letting Garmin tell us where to go. There were only a few times that Garmin led us down a wrong street.
A fun afternoon--- geesh-- what does this say about me?? :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Paths Uncrossed

This will probably be the last time a picture with these four co-workers together will be taken. Not because of some rift, but because each of us will soon be traveling down a different path.

At one time, the four of us all worked together teaching children in the same elementary school. Last year, Cindy ( in light blue) left the elementary school and began working in a secondary position. At the conclusion of this year, Janie ( in white) is retiring after 32 years in public education. Tara (in dark blue) just found out that she has been awarded a grant to attend graduate school in the fall, so she is taking a leave of absence next year. I (in red) will continue to teach in the same classroom as this year.

Of course, we all promise to stay in touch and get together but the probability of that happening on a regualr basis is low. We are all too busy. It does not diminish the friendships we've cultivated for the last 5-8 years, but it is reality.

So the paths that crossed for a period of time now uncross and untangle. These gals have been more than colleagues, they have been friends. They have given support, shared stories, and lent a helping hand. I honor them and their work. I will miss working with this crew.