August 30, 2012

Fun Facts.

We watched this in 6th grade yesterday:

I find it super interesting. And I know it directly affects a lot of people, but it definitely affects how we think about how we're educating our kids. As my teacher said, instead of teaching things, it's almost more important to teach how to learn.

In other news, my apartment just went to the gym together and now my muscles are in pain.

In other other news, I am so excited for a three day weekend.

August 28, 2012

Thought of the Day

Currently Listening To: this Bon Iver remix. Love it.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too  
strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, 
fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when 
infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child 
who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum 
because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of 
a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

- C.S. Lewis
[via Love Does]

[image via le petit bijou]

August 26, 2012


I am feeling good right now, y'all. Because I went into this weekend with no plans, a little unsure about how this whole post-grad (sort of) thing will work out friend-wise (I think this is one of the trickiest things about moving on from undergrad but still being here. How do I figure out how to be in the same place but in a different context?) I ended up having all sorts of fun, though, meeting and hanging out with and new groups of people both Friday and Saturday night. And to top it off, I got to go to Target yesterday, and today I played volleyball and made cookies! Apparently, in some ways, I am fairly easy to please.

I also have been enjoying this song today:

I don't always like Christian contemporary music (it kind of all starts to sound the same...and you know how when you're scanning through radio stations you can always tell the Christian station within about .2 seconds of hearing it? Yeah.). But there are some exceptions, and this is one -- particularly because I feel like what it addresses is pretty deep and so necessary. And it's a cool video. (I also like this one off of their new album...mostly because I think the typography on the video is sweet.)

Here's to another week (and this time a full week) at middle school!

August 23, 2012

Reporting Live

Currently Listening To: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, T Swift

Hey friends, I am here at my desk (I have a desk!) during my planning period (I have a planning period!) on Day 2 of middle school.* The thing about student teaching is that there is a progression -- I'll ease into the whole thing (PTL), so this week I'm more observing the actual teaching (although pretty involved in free student work time, answering questions and checking in and such)...which means I don't have things to plan in planning period. Yesterday I doodled for about 20 minutes. Today I brought my computer.

Here are some things I have learned:
  • Incoming 6th graders are very lost and confused. I mean, I get it -- bigger school, switching classes, complicated schedule and all that. It's all just so overwhelming for them, and they don't even have lockers yet! One kid this morning had his schedule masking taped to his shirt. I appreciated well as how seriously my teacher untaped the bottom half from his shirt to study it carefully when he asked where his next class was. We've been letting classes out early and sending them to their next classes in groups. The funny thing is, though, that kids are asking me for directions right and left, but I don't know where everything is. These poor children.
  • My school is about 10 minutes down a winding country road. A two-lane road. Yesterday, I rolled out just after the buses did. Today, I'll try and avoid that.
  • It is very hard to wear heels for a whole day, especially newish ones. Now, I really want to be the kind of teacher who wears heels every day. And at 5' 1 3/4", I feel like this is feasible and understandable, but by lunchtime all I could think about was how many minutes (hours, actually) til I could take them off. I suppose this is something I'll have to work up to.
  • To get things out of the vending machine, you have to have Hulk-like strength and shake that thing within an inch of its life. This was learned the hard way, through these 5 steps: 1. I forgot my lunch. 2. I rummaged around my typically cash-less wallet and managed to find 2 quarters. 3. I made my way to the vending machine in the teacher's workroom and was relieved to see they had bags of chips and stuff for 50 cents. 4. I put in my money, punched in the code, and the chips began to move...and didn't fall. As if the universe (or my own forgetfulness this morning -- which we can blame on the fact that I was trying to take the recycling out and give my roommate a ride when I should have been grabbing my lunch -- and the vending machine were conspiring against me.). 5. An older, seasoned teacher walks in, sees my plight, and shakes that machine with much more vigor than I had previously thought she possessed. 6. Chips acquired; I am semi-less hungry. Success story.
  • This teaching thing is tiring. When I got home yesterday, I collapsed on the couch, stayed there for two hours (my roommates had Friends on, I dozed a little, it was pleasant) until I had to drag myself up and go to my (THREE HOUR LONG) evening seminar. Thank goodness I had a leftover half of a peanutbutter and oreo milkshake in the freezer in the midst of this. That evening-before-the-first-day-of-school anticipatory Cook-Out run sure paid off.
And tomorrow will be Day 3, and then the weekend. Never before have I looked forward to a weekend with zero plans so much. 

*I didn't actually write this whole thing at school. I am currently on my couch. Turns out I had a 6th grade team meeting to go to during the second half of my planning period. Oh, and the vending machine debacle took place... 

[image via Pinterest]

August 20, 2012

Student Teachin'

Currently Listening To: The Lumineers. They performed in Cville last night, and we got fro yo and stood outside the venue and listened in. It was pretty good.

Many apologies for the prolonged absence, but it's been because I've been settling in to my new role as a student teacher...followed by an incredibly full and fun weekend celebrating my roommate Brittney's marriage (and getting to catch up with and hang out with all the friends I've missed all summer long)!

To be honest, though, student teaching so far has been a lot more relaxed than anticipated. Of course, it is still professional days, so no students yet (they come on Wednesday!), but my teacher is so nice and pretty casual -- I knew this from the very first day when we, along with two of her former students now going into high school, went out to lunch and then to Wal-Mart -- and I've gotten to come in a little later and leave a little later and kind of ease into the whole thing. It's been mostly mornings full of meetings and afternoons full of setting up the classroom and planning out the first few weeks of class, but we did have an 'Open House' where we got to meet a bunch of our students and their parents! I'm excited for Wednesday to come and things to start for real, but I know it will be really busy and different at that point.

Thanks for bearing with me through this! 

[image via We Heart It] [p.s. my classroom looks nothing like this]

August 10, 2012

Thought of the Day

Currently Listening To: Freelance Whales
Three Days Til: I start student-teaching!
[image via Fairytales Are True]

August 9, 2012

Love Does

Currently Listening To: Love & War: B-Sides and Remixes EP, Josh Garrels

While I was flying last week, I read the book Love Does by Bob Goff. It was wonderful, in a way that made me grin like crazy the whole time I was reading it, at all the shenanigans and capers and fully-engaged-living that Bob does. It’s full of stories like how he left peanut butter sandwiches under his wife’s windshield everyday when he was trying to woo her to how he didn’t get in to law school and so he sat outside the dean’s office for seven days until the dean admitted him and how he goes to Uganda and frees kids from prison. Through everything, however, he is humble and straightforward and constantly pointing back to God, and how living a life for Jesus doesn’t involve being safe or just talking about things, but doing them: "I think Jesus had in mind that we would not just be “believers” but “participants.” Not because it’s hip, but because it’s more accurate, more fitting that way. He wanted people who get the “do” part of faith, not because He wanted activity, but because He wanted our faith to matter to us."

My absolute favorite chapter of the book was where he told the story of how, after 9/11, he asked each of his three kids what they would tell the leaders of the world if they could. The youngest said he would invite them over to his house. The next said he’d ask each what they were hoping for, and the oldest said she would interview the leaders and share their answers with each other. So Bob had the kids write their ideas into one letter, and they looked up the names and addresses of every world leader they could find, and sent them all letters. Bob and his wife promised that if any of the leaders responded yes to meeting with the kids, they’d take them. Twenty-nine said yes. And so off they went!

I was reading this chapter on the plane and I was smiling so big as I did that the guy with tattoo sleeves and a military haircut just across the aisle probably thought I was insane. (On the other side of me was a kid, who couldn’t care less.) But I couldn’t help it – I just love how boldly and audaciously Bob Goff lives, and how much fun he has doing it! “Being engaged is a way of doing life,” he says, “a way of living and loving. It’s about going to the extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about—full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged to life and with life.”

And it is. And if you want to smile or be challenged to live bigger and bolder, you should check this book out. You can even borrow it from me, if you’d like!

p.s. The forward is by Don Miller. So we all know that's a selling point. I mean, it was for me...

[image sources: 1 | 2 ]

August 7, 2012

Raise My Hands, Paint My Spirit Gold

I've been playing Mumford & Son's new single on repeat to see if I like it. And I'm pretty sure I do. Check it out:

It's so unfortunate that it's over a month until the rest of their album comes out, isn't it?

August 5, 2012

Ethiopia Yichalal!

Congratulations to Tirunesh Dibaba and Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia for their gold medals! (In the Women's 10,000m and marathon, respectively.) And to Teriku Bekele and Kenenisa Bekele for finishing 3rd and 4th in the Men's 10,000m. Those Ethiopians can run long distances, let me tell you. (And, just fyi, I'm making this sound in celebration right now.*)

*not really. Because I actually can't. But I could if I would!

[image source]

August 4, 2012

The Waiting Place

Currently Watching: The Olympics!

At XTrack, our theme was “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” – based off of the Dr. Seuss book, of course. For the five weeks we were there, we would start off each Monday by reading the book out loud to the kids. And, pretty soon, I soon learned that of the three teachers, I was a third-tier Oh, The Places You’ll Go reader-alouder, even when armed with the pop-up version. On the third week, I read it to them, leaving off the ends of lines (“You have brains in you…” “HEAD!” “and feet in your…” “SHOES!”) (because three weeks in means they were more than halfway done with memorizing the whole thing), when they informed me that “When Mr. Colin reads it, he leaves out words in the middle. Mr. Colin leaves out the hard words for us.” Clearly I needed to step up my game.

But then, the next week, I got to hear Emily read it to the kids. And let me just tell you that although Emily is good at many things (fake Russian accents and certain card games among them), reading this book aloud to children might fall in the top ten category of Things Emily Is Good At. She has it down to an art, and she is particularly good at a certain page, about The Waiting Place. She prides herself in it, even: the way she is able to read the whole tongue-twistery double page in a single breath, super fast.

The first time she took a deep breath and read it all in lightning speed (because she usually does it a few times through and then let’s a few of the kids give it a shot), I was sitting in the back of the room, and when she was done the kids all simultaneously whipped their heads around to look at me, as if to say “What now, Miss Caroline?”

This memory makes me laugh, but at the same time The Waiting Place is hitting a little close to home. Now, I know my Waiting Place isn’t exactly like the “most useless place” of the book, but I feel like I’m in a lull nonetheless: the three weeks of downtime in between a busy, exciting summer and the busy, exciting semester that is about to unfold – student teaching in a 6th grade language arts classroom. It’s been a strange place…and yet, as only one week is left until I being this big new step, I don’t know what to think or how to prepare myself for it. It’s something I’m going to have to just dive into and figure out as I go…and so for now, I’m just Waiting.

Thanks to the many, many times I read through and heard Oh, The Places You’ll Go this summer, though, I do know the next page: “NO!
 That's not for you! / 

Somehow you'll escape
/ all that waiting and staying
/ You'll find the bright places
/ where Boom Bands are playing.”

And, even better, how the whole book ends:

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 ¾ percent guaranteed)


And as I think of the way our kids at XTrack would recite along with those words, yelling that last line with all their might, I can believe it. And keep on Waiting for just another week.

image sources: 1 | 2 | 3

August 1, 2012

Olympics and Such

Currently Reading: Love Does by Bob Goff

One thing I am a fan of as I've been watching this year's Olympics is this song the network has been playing every time they intro the Fab Five for gymnastics:

Love it. And also, I just love the Olympics. Especially gymnastics. Confession: I may have known absolutely nothing about the women competing for Team USA in gymnastics just four days ago, but I have definitely benn fully invested watching them compete over the past few days....and I might have even teared up when they won gold last night. (And got goosebumps at McKayla Maroney's amazing vault.) To be honest, I am not always the most patriotic of Americans (and I can't wait for the running events to cheer on my Ethiopians...and even my Kenyans), but I was definitely rooting for Team USA this time.

And now I settle in for another Olympics-filled evening...starting with synchronized diving right now. (What an intriguing sport...)

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