Sunday, August 29, 2010

The past week

Schoooooool is back. in. session.... I returned to my classroom on Wednesday the 18th. I'm not exactly sure what all I accomplished that day except maybe catch up with folks and look at all the mess I left myself last June.
Thursday, I may have been slightly more productive. I believe I recycled a ton of papers... and... uh... OH! I moved my desk. I now have my own "space" in which children cannot intrude!
Friday was our first required workday which meant I got to sit in the media center ALL day. Fun times... We covered all the usual beginning of the year stuff and met our 13 *new* staff members. We had some teachers retire over the summer. Our median staff age has been around 40? Our new staff has lowered that by about 10 years. They even make me feel old! Haha?
The weekend proved to be uneventful. Monday I spent MORE time in meetings and no time in my room. Oh well...
Tuesday! Finally! A day in my room! Unfortunately I had to take Dizzy to the vet, because he had a case of what we call "the gallop and splatters". I'll leave out the details, but in the end (no pun intended) he was fine. I had to leave school to pick him up by 4pm, and he got to come back to school with me so I could finish getting ready for the arrival of students. It worked out that Matthew was able to come pick him up. :)
My schedule:
I have a Senior homeroom which means I will have TONS of paperwork for them to sign. It also means I will have to stay on them to make sure they get it turned in on time. My job is to make sure they graduate, so I WILL be keeping up with their grades and absences.
1st Period: Orchestra!
2nd Period: Chorus of 7 students - Not only will we sing, but they are going to learn how to play piano!
L U N C H ! ! !
3rd Period: Orchestra with a lot of freshmen and 7 A/B Day students (they switch between an AP class and my class all year)
4th Period: PLANNING!!!! So far, I am loving it! I am NOT a morning person, therefore I don't tend to get much done if I have planning 1st.
So far my day is over before I realize it! I am doing a better job with planning this year (one of my goals). I am really looking forward to this semester. Every semester is new and different in my curricula. I don't have to teach the same thing, 3 times a day, twice a year. Year 5 (at West, 6th overall) definitely feels better and less like I'm on probation. At the end of the semester, I will need to come back and read this post to see if or how my feelings have changed. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More kittens

The kittens come out of their room in the morning and play, play, play. They mostly chew on my Chacos or play fight with each other. After a good time playing, they nap. When Dizzy woke up, he began mewing like crazy. Miles looked around, yawned, and jumped off my lap for more play.

Meanwhile, I thought Moldy might be making progress. She jumped off the bed to come into the living room window. She kept a watchful eye on those little ones. As soon as they went to sleep, she moved to a closer viewing spot. She hissed at Dizzy because he got within 3 feet. I just heard Moldy go through her door to the basement, hopefully to use her litter box. I was trying to make nice with her, and she clawed me. I let her outside before I went to take a shower. Everytime I let her out, I have a fear that she migth not come back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Additions

About a week ago, Matthew's brother, David, found 5 kittens (3 black, 1 gray, & 1 tabby) abandoned by their mother. He called his girlfriend, Marie, and she picked them up and took them to the vet. While at the vet's office, a kind woman inquired about the contents of her box. She took one of the black kittens right then and there!

The kittens checked out and were only 3-4 weeks old! They are tiny but allowed to eat softened kitten food. Marie managed to find homes for 2 of the kittens (gray & 1 black). I met them and decided to take the tabby. He is feisty!

She was down to my tabby and the last black one hanging out in the crate together. The person who was going to take the black one decided that it wouldn't work out. Sooooo, on my way home today, I kittenapped the remaining two kittens. They are adorable!

The tabby likes feet, and I am going to have to nip that in the bud! I have them in the spare bathroom because they are too tiny to let roam around the house. Marie did a great job of keeping everything organized for them, so when they did move it would be easy.

Moldy is a different story. She does not like the kittens, but this is nothing new. In the 7 years we have had Moldy, we tried a dog, a dog, a dog, a cat, & a dog. None of these were received well, but most of them we didn't keep long enough for her to decide. The last dog we kept for a year, and she never did get accustomed to him. Here she is pleading to go outside so she doesn't have to smell the new kittens.

I have heard from several people introducing new kittens/cats in their already cat established homes, and they all say that no one gets along at first. At least right now, Moldy is curled up contentedly on a chair near me. A couple of days ago, she said, "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" after she met the new kitten.

This will be a new adventure for me! I am not necessarily keeping the black kitten, but I am more than happy to keep him with his tabby brother until he find a home. I thank Marie and David for caring for these little kittens.

If anyone would like a cute, black kitten... let me know! :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Summed Up

7 Year Anniversary...

Visits from nieces...

Visits from nephews (& mom)...

Lots of interesting critters hanging around...

A summer with friends and family full of good food, great laughs, & some beautiful scenery...

One week until my first workday & looking forward to a great school year!


I had some lofty reading goals earlier in the summer. Out of all those books I was going to read, I have only read 2 ("Voyage of the Dawn Treader" & "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo").
I am stuck! Do you ever begin to read a book and get stuck? I am reading "The Silver Chair" which is the next to last book in The Chronicles of Narnia. It is not very good. Eustace does not make a very good main character! I have several more books waiting to be read, but I feel like I need to finish this book. I want, no, NEED to finish the series before school starts.

OK. Here is my declaration:
I, Tiff, will finish "The Silver Chair" so that I may read "The Last Battle" therefore finishing The Chronicles of Narnia before August 19th (my first day back at school).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Strings Camp!

These last few weeks have been busy for me. As soon as my nephews went home, I began preparing for the Hendersonville Symphony's Summer Strings Camp which I have coordinated for the past 4 years! We had a great week, and I think the kids learned a lot while having fun. I spent the week pouring over the list of students and dividing them into two orchestras and into chamber ensembles. Our two orchestras were unbalanced (24 in the older group, 43 in the younger). At our Sunday Staff meeting, we decided to create a 3rd orchestra. It worked out great! Each group had between 20 and 25. We had about 4 "walk-ins", boosting our numbers to 71.

The Green Orchestra were the beginners who had only 1 year of experience. The Yellow Orchestra were the intermediates who had 2 - 3 years of experience. The Blue Orchestra was the older students with 3+ years of experience. The Blue Orchestra also gets to participate in an Improvisation Session. This year's song was "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns'N'Roses!
Everything went smoothly. Monday is always the hardest day because no one knows where to go or what to do next. The rest of the week was a breeze, and the staff took over. I sat with my computer and made programs for the concerts and revised the schedule for Friday (among other things).

The students have orchestra rehearsals, then they attend a sectional and a theory class. Lunch is next followed by either Improvisation Session or Music Appreciation. They have more orchestra rehearsal and a chamber ensemble coaching.

Each day ended with a Special Event. Monday was a Cello Quartet performance. Tuesday was a presentation of "early" string instruments by Gerald Trimble. Wednesday was the Staff Chamber Concert. Thursday was the Student Chamber Ensemble Concert. Friday was the grand finale. We had a packed house for this performance! I thought all the performances were amazing! These students learned A LOT of music in a short amount of time.

The Summer Strings Staff did an amazing job of teaching and entertaining these students for the week. I am so proud of them and the students!
I hope to do this again next year and continue improving the experience for the students!