Saturday, May 31, 2008

summer reading

1. Twilight - at least the first book, and maybe more

2. Wicked (1st read was last summer; 2nd read in preparation of seeing the musical in July)

3. Pillars of the Earth (the 2nd 450 pages)

To be continued...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

mother's day

May 11, 2008 - Breakfast was yummy French toast with syrup and scrambled eggs!  Later, after dinner, strawberries atop angel food cake for dessert.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

theatre of youth

We attended this musical with family friends last night - kiddie fun.  Our friend Sandra will be writing a review for a Buffalo publication (in print and online - will post link here when published). Georgia reported that she loved "every minute" of the show.  We adults?  Hm, I was moderately entertained.  Regardless, TOY is one of my favorite theaters in our area.  The best part of the evening was dinner before the show at a tiny takeout restaurant (where the six of us hogged two-thirds of the itsy-bitsy seating area) - amazing southern cooking, inexpensive - fried soft-shelled crab po' boy, gumbo, fried leeks, fried oysters and crawfish, mac 'n cheese, cole slaw - all soooooo good!

Back to the title topic - I usually take pictures of theatre sets before starts (and posted in this blog) because 1) I'm obsessed with sets and want to work on sets in future life, and 2) the announcer always says "no pictures or video during the show", which means to me that before and after are fair game opportunities.  During intermission, a table adorned with balloons (similar to the walls in pic above, which was taken before show started) was placed on stage, so I prepared to snap a shot, when theatre staff bolted towards me and waved a hand in front of my camera.  She said, "You can't take pictures of the set."  I said, "Oh, I thought you said no pictures during the show."  She said, "Well, 'Give a pig a party' is copyrighted" and walked away.

Hmph.  I'm no expert on copyright law, but I was annoyed.  If you don't want me to take set pics anytime, say "No pictures during the show allowed, and no pictures of the set allowed at any time."

The TOY director person told the audience that there were about 4800 balloons on set!  TOY has a Q&A session after each show (awesome feature!), and when asked, the director told us that 10 people worked 12-hour days for 3 days to inflate and put up all the balloons.  They had to calculate how much to inflate so as to allow expansion caused by stage light heat.  I absolutely LOVE that children (and adults) have the chance to learn about theatre, not "just" sit back and be entertained.  Typically, children ask about how actors prepare, costumes, and lighting.  Some of the actors come back on stage and very informally answer questions.

I brought my 8th graders to TOY last year to see The Giver.  I brought Georgia here 2 years ago to see Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business.  All great experiences!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

macbook air & literature circles

I'm gazing upon the newest addition to our family with love!  Here, the Apple store sales associate helps me set up the remote access to my MacBook (on table, out of picture) and install iWork.  Yes, this is partly my Mother's Day gift.  I say "partly" because, in my opinion, it's the equivalent of giving your wife an energy-efficient, front-loader washer/dryer for your anniversary.  NOT that I'm complaining, because it's a thing of beauty.  The other "part" is that our little family of 3 really needs a second computer, as we all (including 7 year old who loves Webkinz World) want computer time at home.

At school, we wrapped up the Earth Day 2-week unit last Friday.  I still have to collect business envelopes, stamps, and some petition forms before mailing off the letters "for real".  It was a fun project!  (I haven't done anything about planting flowers with the students yet.)

This week, we start literature circles!  This is one of my favorite units EVER.  This time, the choices are: Freak the Mighty and Stargirl.  Students indicate first choice of novel, then I assign novel based on preference, availability, group dynamics, teacher's executive power, etc. Then small groups meet, rotate discussion roles (summarizer, questioner, predictor, visualizer, passage keeper are the ones I'll use this time; also common - word collector, making connections), conduct discussions...  (The next part I never did before, leading to students who complained about always doing the roles.)  Eventually, theoretically, groups no longer need assigned roles and can generate their discussions of the reading naturally, organically, magically...  Wait, sorry, I dozed off and daydreamed a bit there.  I know that's a very quick summary of literature circles, so let me know if clarification is needed.