Friday, August 26, 2011

Routine Shmoutine

I do not, in the slightest, think of myself as a routine person. My body does not fall into a regular schedule and neither does my mind. I often fly by the seat of my pants for cooking dinner, getting up in the morning, or weekend or vacation plans. But I do, however, have some household chores each day and a flexible weekend schedule for laundry, grocery shopping, and whatnot.

It's a bit how I was brought up. We made it to the required activities on time and always kept a calendar for important events, but our beds were not made and our items were not always in order. And that was and is just fine.

But when you step into my classroom, routines are the name of the game. In reflecting, I don't believe I meant for this to be my motto, but that's what's happened.

During the tumultuous time that is the beginning of school, I have spent a great deal of time introducing, reviewing, practicing, and living the routines of my classroom. My throat is raw. Routines are falling into place, but they are not fully established. We still have a long way to go but there are moments where I sit back in awe of how far we've come in just a week and a half.

Without routines my classroom would spiral out of control, but with them I can hear myself think. I can check in with each student at the beginning of class and they can be independent for the first 20+ minutes of class, for now. The routines actually allow for flexibility during my lessons, which may seem absurd.

This year I have an Aspberger student in my classroom. He only comes to a few periods a day and then leaves at lunch. My class was chosen because we have a routine and it's calm. But the fly-by-your-seat teacher gets a bit nervous with this!

You see, my planning period is anything but routine and calm. During the first two periods of the day I am at my computer, in the office, back to my computer, printing to the library, retrieving paper from the library, checking with special ed, meeting with gifted resource teacher, back to the office, back at my computer, to the teachers lounge to make a copy, back to my classroom to set up the board, whoops!- back to make one last copy, and then rushing back because the students are coming.

My lesson plans are done and typed on Sunday night, but I always email them out with the disclaimer that they are "flexible." I often come up with a better idea during my planning period and then I scrap the intial plan, sometimes. Other times I follow the plans to a tee.

But the routine(s) save the day, as the student knows what to expect when he comes to class. There will be a "To Do" on the SMARTBoard with an editing assignment and writing prompts and the day's agenda will always be on the chalkboard. I normally eek that in during the last 5 minutes before the students arrive!

So, I suppose that perhaps I do fall into a routine. A fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants planning period that makes it look like I have everything together during those last few minutes.

And look, it's around 9:30 PM. Boy am I tired! Time to head for bed, as usual.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It Comes in Waves

Thursday Teacher Work Day in...

... Friday Teacher Work Day out

Driving to OBX...

...checking into hotel.

Heading out to the beach...

Body-surfing the waves with the four people above was one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating moments of the summer. My family hardly went to the beach while we were growing up, but we all love to be there. We savor it; we take every moment we can to have our feet in the sand and the salty wind in our hair. Well, on Saturday afternoon we were there. And each of the four of us were there completely. We spent a bit more than two hours standing or treading water at chest level, waiting for a good wave to ride into shore.

At one point I commented to my dad, "You seem to be hitting the waves just right over there. How do you know which spot to go?"

He shrugged with an almost comical smile and sheepish grin and said, "It comes in waves."

And it certainly did.

That evening we saw Willem perform in Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. What a production! I am so proud of him. And, can you imagine wearing this costume during HOT summer evenings, while also moving massive, heavy sets across a sandy floored stage? He's a dedicated soldier, my friends.

That night he came to visit us in our hotel for a few hours. The next day Mom and I went for a lovely walk on the beach at sunrise. It was a beautiful morning.

The sun was beautiful, the water was gorgeous, but our footprints being washed away by the waves was the most fascinating to me. Three tiny waves on the beach and our deep imprints were wiped clean. How wonderful that we can make a mark and have it removed so quickly. How humbling, too.

After the walk we got breakfast and returned to the beach for another walk with Dad. We scoured the beach for shells and shards of shells. Out and in, out and in... it was time for me to go, but I stopped and visited Willem for lunch on my way. Out and in...

Sunday night in...

... out to Monday Teacher Work Day

Tuesday Teacher Work Day in...

... out and home for my last evening before school starts.

Play and work. They, too, come in waves!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First (teacher) Day

Today marks the first day of the school year for me. Tuesday I took my final day of summer and yesterday I went in to school voluntarily to meet with another teacher and begin organizing my wreck of a classroom, due to summer renovations in my room.

But today is the first required day back. Not only that, but it is also Back to School Night! Yes, you read that right. Now do you see why I went into school yesterday? I went in to take the stack of furniture out from underneath the tarps and from it's two leveled height on one side of the room. The janitor, whom I love, assisted me in wiping the few milimeters of dust off of all of the surfaces. It's been a long summer for many at my school.

With all this, I have remained calm. Today, I am determined, will be no exception. And when I do start stressing and freaking out, I hope to remember my time at the river and with loving friends and family. I am so blessed to have so many talented, loving, and caring people in my life. They have rejuvenated me this summer. While I am never ready to bid farewell to summer, I know that this summer was well-spent. I know that my heart is ready to pour into a new set of students.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My "Little" Brother's Birthday!

Today is Willem's 23rd birthday!

He cracks me up. My birthday is about a month before his and he always gets anxious about how "old" we are getting when he hears the age I'll be turning. I suppose it means that he is not far behind ;)

Though I am not with him on his birthday, today I celebrate my brother.

Willem is...

A talented and gifted actor.

An avid reader and scholar.

A STRONG democrat/liberal.

A movie critic with a tape-recorder memory.

A soccer fanatic.

A good-ole song belter, like his sisters!

The most devoted and protective brother I have ever met.

I am so thankful to have him as a brother. Being the oldest of three, I think my younger two siblings are truly always going to be my prides and joys. Last weekend I got to see Phoebe as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest. She just shined and was hilarious. Such comic flair she has, that girl. This weekend I get to travel to North Carolina to see Willem in Lost Colony- his first acting gig! I couldn't be more excited or proud.

Fortunately, Willem is not spending this day without family. Phoebe drove down to see the show on his birthday and spend the night with him. It makes my heart happy to think of them together.


Break a leg tonight. You are loved.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Earth Oven

Earth that had been lugged across the river, mixed and stomped.

Layer upon layer spread and packed.

They put in the hours. Sore muscles and sweat. Reading page by page and over again.

Scraping, molding, and placing the final artistic touches.

All in time for a family reunion. A chorus of onlookers, hungry and questioning.

Each carefully constructed their pizza and put it in line.

(Still haven't figured out how to flip these)

Each pizza only took 2-3 minutes to cook at the 600 F degree temperature in the oven.

16 delicious pizzas were had by all! Some stated it was "The best pizza I(they) ever had!"

And when you're with the extended Krumich family it's always a crazy, somewhat intense, and wonderful time!

Thanks to the Earth Oven for making the evening even more special!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hush, the Pines Are Calling My Name!

The pines called my name and I leapt at the opportunity!

Here I am at The Pinery and my day was full. Those are the best days- the ones where you feel fulfilled when you hit the pillow.

More to come.