Sunday, October 31, 2010


Happy Birthday to the best Mommy in the world! 

Today was kind of busy; we drove to my parents house, drove our last foster kitten down to be adopted (like he is every weekend), went to the grocery store for mom's birthday dinner, drove to Nick's parents house and visited, drove to town again to pick up the kitten, saw a lady looking at him, chatted a minute, she decided she wanted to adopt him, stayed late to adopt my last sweet baby out, drove home, was sad a little bit about adopting him out with mom and dad and Troy, made dinner for mom (white wine sauce linguine with seared scallops, cheese roasted veggies, homemade french bread, and carrot cake), then drove past Nick's parents house to go to Troy's friend's free haunted house, screamed a lot, drove home, and sat down, whereupon I just realized I forgot to steal toilet paper from mom's house like I meant to. 

That was the longest run-on sentence ever! Go me! 

Nick was "Captain One-Eyed Willy" and I was his pirate wench. I'll post photos later. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Substituting For the First Time

I taught third grade today. 

The principal called me this morning right while I was getting ready to leave for a dentist appointment and asked if I could sub for a sick teacher. I told him that I'd love to, but I have a dentist appointment. Would he still need me around ten? He said yes. 

(FYI, I have a slightly receding gumline on one tooth that I just need to brush more lightly, and a tiny cavity that should be able to be reversed by flossing. Whew! Dental Phobia Watch over for six months!) 

So I show up at ten-thirty at the school and get walked back to the classroom which has ten third graders standing. I'm greeted--"Good afternoon, Miss Katie"--and they are given permission to be seated. Ms. R, the school secretary, shows me the lesson plan and leaves me with some encouraging words. 

We start. 

Some relevant points:

1. Math. Sucks. 

2. They teach math super weird. 

3. It's hard to stick to the times alloted. Running behind is common. 

4. PE is awesome. They are gone 30 minutes and you can plan ahead! 

5. Bless Burger King's Value Meal and close proximity. 

6. History is awesome. I felt like I was actually teaching, we were taking points from the book and discussing them with real-life situations and problems. We even tied in some geography because I pulled down the big map and we went over the terrain for eastern and western United States and then learned about Mexico. 

7. I can't wait to learn the skills needed to keep a class under control. I feel like yelling just can't be the answer, ya'know?

8. Threats. Threatsthreatsthreats DO YOU WANT TO HAVE TIME-OUT? STOPPIT. 

9. Awe at children's ability to bounce back. After a day of me feeling one step behind and wishing I had better control of them and better teaching abilities, one of the children who was giving me the most problems said, "You're a good teacher, Miss Katie." 

10. They were sad I wasn't substituting tomorrow. I love them. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrity Chat

No, I didn't talk to a real celebrity. But last night, after sitting through a school board meeting, I met and chatted for about a half an hour with the Assistant Dean of my college, and an Assistant Superintendent of the school district. By the time we were done I felt as though I'd been chatting with a celebrity. 

You can call me weird. It's okay. 

They were so nice! They answered some questions and asked us (my friend from college class was there) about our class and the elementary school, and what we want to do, and they gave us their cards and said to call them anytime, they need great teachers. 



Kindergarten is where I will be for the next six weeks, since I finished up the first six weeks in special ed. I am loving this college class for the field experience we wannabe teachers are getting. The lectures are interesting, even if it is the same type of learning experience every day; we get into groups, read a section of the chapter (that we are supposed to have already read) and then write up a poster and present it; I suppose it's best for us to get experience in front of the classroom, and I certainly can relay that public speaking is no longer the stuff of nightmares. 

So far in this kindergarten class I have worked one-on-one with students who are struggling to recognize their ABC's and the related phonetics. It is a lot of repetition; you say the letter, the sound, and then the picture that relates to the letter; a lot of "A-ah-apple, B-buh-bear, C-cuh-cat," etc. Then we write down the letters on a whiteboard and have the child recognize it and (hopefully) say the sound. Today we also worked on writing and recognizing numbers 1-10. I was so proud of M, who went from knowing and writing 1, 2, and 4, to 1-6! 

We also work in groups of about six students to one teacher's aide. For example, the student may need to write "I like (fill in blank [usually T-Rex or guinea pigs, who knew?]) and then color a picture about it. We circle around and help them sound out their words, and encourage them. Afterwards we do a "Must-Do", which in my day were called worksheets. I was emphatically told by several 5-year-olds that "worksheets" don't exist. We worked on the letter U, copying Uppercase and lowercase over and over. 

It's very fun, and very repetitive. The kids are so sweet (for the most part. C makes me rip out my hair with his ADHD-like behavior) and I love the colorful fun environment. I still don't know if I want to teach kindergarten or a higher grade, but from what I've experienced so far, I think I'd like it either way. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Experiences in Teaching

This semester has been all about me figuring out what I want to do. I am (strongly) leaning towards teaching elementary school, because I love kids and enjoy bossing them around. (I kid! Though it is very satisfying saying "five-minute time-out!")

I'm doing two things to figure out if teaching is a good fit: First, I am taking a field experience class where I am put in a classroom at an elementary school for 12 weeks; and second, I am working at a private school's after-school childcare program. 

The field experience class is, in a word, AWESOME. One hour of lecture and then we head to our assigned classrooms, which for four of us at the moment is special education. After six weeks in the first classroom we change over to another class, which for me is kindergarten. 

Special education is amazing. There are anywhere from 4-8 kids in the class at any given time, because the school mainstreams them as much as possible, so if Billy is really good at reading he goes to a regular class for their reading time and then comes back. They have speech therapy (I got to go see a session twice!) and some other classes as well for the kids. It ranges from K-3rd grades, and all the kids are very smart this year according to the teachers. 

I loved that we got to work one-on-one with the students. They had lessons planned, so we would review their sight-words and then do some pages from a practice book and then read . . . and bribe and/or coerce them as necessary. Some days they were better at concentrating, some days they were super hyper, some days they were just not into learning. Every day was an exercise in patience. 

Being in a teaching position like that was very humbling. There are lots of little tricks to getting the kids to understand what you're talking about, and tricks on how to focus--even getting to know each child's strengths and weaknesses helped you understand the best way to work with them. Learning these tricks took time, and an understanding that there was always some better way to help the kids learn. 

Last Thursday was the last day we were in special ed. When we walked in (myself and three other girls), the class was sitting in a circle. We were invited to join.  The kids said thank you to us and why they were glad we were there. They had practiced before we came. 

One little boy said he was glad we came because "it helps because class is quiet and I can work." 

A girl said, "You are my friends and I'll miss you," which of course made my eyes get all hot and wet. 

A boy acted really shy and cute and finally mumbled, "You're all pretty." 

I am going to miss them so much! Kindergarten should be really fun though, so that's something to look forward to. The private school I am working at is great! It has kindergarten through 8th grade, and every day I work somewhere different. The kids and parents are so nice and it is great experience. 

So far all signs point to yes, I do want to be a teacher. 

Someone's Rain Dance Paid Off

Today was the first rainy day of the season in Sacramento, and we celebrated by stuffing sugar cookies and cocoa in our faces and using the excuse of "listening to the rain" to lounge all day and essentially do nothing. (Amended: Nick did some homework.) 

Happy, happy day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have mentioned that procrastination is my middle name, right?

Regarding the lack of uppity-updates . . . . yeah. I suck. Sorry. ^_- And now I'm going to bed, so quick! Here's a summary of interesting things that happened while I wasn't blogging!

1. I vacuumed. (Not interesting, but something I'm very proud of.)

2. Amalah up and got pregnant! Again!

3. I read the whole series of the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz: this hilarious series about a private investigator dysfunctional family with Izzy Spellman getting into weird situations is awesome. 

4. Speaking of awesome (and legen--wait for it--DAIRY) is the TV series How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM!) that started and is conveniently posted online at for us cable-less folk. 

5. Was scared stiff by watching Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. Nick made me. 

6. Made Nick watch the Disney movie the Princess and the Frog as payback. 

7. Cooked a bunch. Dinner tonight was wor won ton soup, which was super delicious. (Also a pain to fold those damn wrappers into the right shape.) 

8. Exercised! A little. 

9. Yelled myself hoarse at kids not behaving across the playground, while I was at work at the after-school program. And yet, it is so fun! Oh! And I got a babysitting gig through work!

10. Frowned at the sky a lot, like, "This is fall, right? So why is it NINETY DEGREES AND UP?!" Seriously. I buy the cutest sweater at Old Navy and then it's too hot for me to wear it. What gives, Nature? 

Okay. Bedtime. Sweet dreams! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the other hand, this will help me hibernate all winter long. Just call me Katie-Bear.

You know how people say that kids gain a "freshman fifteen" and that newlyweds gain weight, and la dee da? Is that true for couples moving in together as well? Because I seem to be putting on some weight. And I DON'T WANT TO BE A STATISTIC! 

I'm fairly certain this is Nick's fault. If he would stop making these damn delicious noodle bowls and bringing me out frozen cookie dough truffles with a semi-sweet chocolate drizzle, I wouldn't be weighing this much. 

I'm also fairly certain that this means the reemergence of the Bikini Body Challenge, except it is going to be less bikini-body challenge and more along the lines of "Katie would like to fit into her jeans" type challenge. 

. . . this is depressing. I think I need some tea. With a cup of sugar. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Camping at Wright Beach

I spent the weekend with my parents and brother at Wright Beach, outside of Bodega Bay.

Legend has it that more than 80 years ago the largest rock was connected to land, and a family was walking out on it with their son, who sadly slipped off and drowned. In his anger and wanting to prevent another tragedy like theirs ever recurring the father blew up the connecting rocks.

Despite this beach being so deadly that you can't go in the water (and even going near it is discouraged due to sleeper waves) we had a great time! Here mom in her pj's holds Kali and Troy holds Sage (who is in her fashionable doggy sweater) while they play and tangle themselves up.

Hiking up the path to walk back to our campground, viewing the beautiful huge waves through the fog.


Happy weekend! And a welcome respite from the heat in Sacramento (over a hundred!) while we enjoyed high fifties, s'mores, and dad's homemade chili. Yummy!