Friday, August 31, 2007

Is It Cheesy?

Ok, let's vote on it! Click on the title of my post above "Is it Cheesy?"
It will link you to Mountain Lake Resort where the filming of my favorite movie "Dirty Dancing" took place. They offer "Dirty Dancing Weekends".

I don't doesn't have the same "look" as it did in the movie. The dining room looks like a fancy Golden Corral and does the weekend package sound a wee bit like something your parents would do in Branson? Let me hear your opinions!

1) Does this sound like a romantic weekend for two? Should I go out and get the pink "Baby" dress (the sophisticated, more age-appropriate version), brush up on the Tango and have Preston show up in his black jeans and pull me out of the corner?

2) Is this a fun gals retreat where I wear my best khaki capris and my sensible tennis shoes, buy every color tee-shirt in the gift shop and hope that Johnny will be the dance instructor?

3) Should we take the kids and let my teenage daughter wander aimlessly around the grounds so she can co-mingle with the help? She could carry a watermelon.

4) Just go, have fun and beat everyone in the trivia game?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Okay, I have jumped on the bandwagon!

I have been tagged by Ashley. I don't know if I can come up with 100 things about me that won't put you to sleep, but I will try:

1) My husband Preston makes me completely and incandescently happy.

2) My 3 children bless and amaze me daily.

3) I love orange dreamcicles and mashed potatoes with skins and lumps (not at the same time).

4) I like to have way too many things to do on my to-do list at work.

5) I like to have nothing on my to-do list at home.

6) My church family is very important to me.

7) I currently attend an online college: Ashford University

8) When I first went to college in 1982 Computer Science was a relatively new major.

9) My favorite musicals include Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond (aaahhh), Grease, Singing in the Rain, Little Shop of Horrors, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera.

10) My first concert was in 1973 at the Portland, ME civic center: The Carpenters

11) My favorite concert was in 1985 in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, with Preston: Kenny Rankin

12) The first song I knew all the words to: Go Away Little Girl by Donny Osmond (aaahhh).

13) Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing

14) Favorite board game: Scrabble

15) I am crafty but I have at least 5 visible scars on my arms and legs from hot glue burns.

16) I can sew and I love making VBS costumes.

17) I love floating in a swimming pool and getting tan.

18) Fall is my favorite season.

19) I like fall floral arrangements.

20) I would like to own a house on the beach.

21) My favorite flowers are yellow roses.

22) I met Preston at Mama's pizza on Camp Bowie.

23) He took me to my senior prom.

24) I moved to Ocean City, Maryland the day after I graduated from Southwest High School in 1982.

25) I worked at a Natural Foods Juice Bar

26) I have attended these colleges: North Texas, Salisbury(MD) State, McLennan County Community College, University of Connecticut, Tarrant County College, Ashford University.

27) I re-connected with Preston in 1985 - we went on our first date on 6/30

28) We were married eight months later on 2/21/86

29) Places I have lived in this order: Pennsylvania, Maine, Texas, Maryland, Texas, New York, Texas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas.

30) I like to clean.

31) I like to iron.

32) I have never mowed the lawn.

33) I have been to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

34) I have been to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York

35) Preston and I used to go to New York City almost every weekend when we lived in Connecticut.

36) I have lived in these types of homes: 2 story federal, 1 1/2 story cape cod, 2 story traditional , room with a bed and a sink, roach infested apartment, basement, bottom floor of a house, 2 bedroom apartment, 2 story house on 2 acres, 2 story house with above ground pool.

37) I would like a one story house with an inground pool.

38) I like to cook, but don't do it very much anymore

39) I have had these jobs: bus girl at Colonial Cafeteria, server at ShowTime Pizza, waitress/cook at a natural foods juice bar, clerk at an insurance company, customer service (insurance), account representative (insurance), insurance agent, daycare provider, pre-school teacher, church custodian, teacher's aid.

40) Preston and I waited 8 years before we had our first child

41) I was blessed to be able to stay at home with my kids for 10 years!

42) Returning to school at age 42 was kind of scary.

43) I would like to have a disco ball in my living room.

44) I can do the Electric Slide, Macarena and Cupid Shuffle.

45) I will break into song at any given moment. The song usually has something to do with the situation.

46) I do not know all of the words to any song except Go Away Little Girl and Bohemian Rhapsody.

47) I love my parents. My mom is my best friend.

48) I love to go antiquing with my mom.

49) I do not like seeing my parents getting older.

50) My dad is one of the smartest men I know - Preston is the other.

51) I had a happy childhood.

52) I love #2 prencils that are newly sharpened and have a beautiful purple cap eraser.

52) I also like mechanical pencils but won't use the eraser. I use an eraser on a pencil or a pink carnation eraser.

53) I love Sharpies and highighters.

54) I am left-handed but I iron, throw and bat right-handed.

55) I do not like white bread.

56) I used to watch the Soprano's but then realized that they were really, really bad people.

57) I think the following couples are similar to Preston and me: Ray and Deborah Romano, Ozzie and Harriet, Bill and Judy Miller (Still Standing), Ozzie and Sharon, George and Wezie (Jefferson).

58) I love Italian Food & Mexican Food

59) I have never watched Survivor

60) I don't like Desperate Housewives (too desperate)

61) I like Grey's Anatomy

62) I like the PBS shows where people try to live in another era: Fontier House, 1900 House, Manor House.

63) I like the Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett.

64) I used to think Monty Python was funny, now I do not.

65) I used to read a lot when I was a kid. My favorites were the Little House series, Nancy Drew (I have a collection of the older blue-covered versions.

66) My favorites as a grown-up are John Irving, LaVerle Spencer (drippy love stories) and JK Rowling (I would have like her when I was a kid but she wasn't invented yet).

67) I like all kinds of music.

68) Favorite 20th century composers: Stravinsky, Copeland, Gershwin

69) Have been to these concerts: Carpenters, Journey(opening act: The Babies), Rush, Yes, Joe Jackson, Jethro Tull, Dire Straits, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac,Rolling Stones, Maynard Feruson, Kenny Rankin, Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, George Winston, Beatlemania and some I can't remember =)

70) Favorite rock concert movie: Woodstock

71) Favorite scary movie: The Shining

72) First Car: 1976 Chevy Monza

73) Favorite bug: Lady

74) Favorite domestic bird:cardinal; Favorite fancy bird:Peacock; Favorite sea bird:Pelican; favorite woodland animal: chipmunk

75) I was in the Big Red Band from Mighty Rebel Land and we would leave the field whistling Dixie

76) Favorite Friday night Family activity in the Fall: Crowley High School Football Games! Go Eagles!

77) I can whistle through my teeth whenever I say the letter ""S".

78) I can burp really loud.

79) I would like to be a vegetarian but I really enjoy juicy steaks.

80) I love working at Sycamore Elementary School and can't wait until the first day.

81) I really hate cold weather, but sometimes I wish it wasn't so hot.

82) I say "whatever" too much

83) I can't stand when people use "like" every other word, but I know I do it sometimes.

84) I want to speak Spanish fluently and practice every day with my co-workers.

85) I am looking forward to growing old with Preston.

86) My oldest daughter, Bekah, will graduate from high school in 5 years. She is awesome.

87) GP is hilarious. He will be in 6th grade this year.

88) Molly is a piece of "woik". She will be in third grade.

89) Right now, all of the closets in my house are organized except the pantry.

90) There are at least 5 houses for sale on our street.

91) I would like to move closer to my parents.

92) I am currently writing a research paper about bilingual education.

93) I love to take long, hot baths and drink a glass of wine.

94) I love to get pedicures and fake nails.

95) I wish I would have gone to church when I was a kid.

96) LTC is fun

97) Church camp is fun

98) Bunko is fun - I love all my Bunko gal pals.

99) VBS is fun

100) This activity was fun...tomorrow I will do the laundry.

I tag Jennifer Reinch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something to think about...

This was shown at the Crowley ISD Convocation this morning. It's called "Shift Happens".

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

standardized testing - creativity lost

I work as a paraprofessional in an elementary school in Fort Worth, Texas. I have first-hand experience of the stressful day-to-day activities that are involved in preparing students for standardized tests. I believe these tests undermine the creativity, free-spirit and true education that students could be experiencing if they weren’t required to learn test strategies and state mandated educational goals.

Standardized Testing: Creativity Lost
It’s the day we have all worked hard for and anticipated since the beginning of the school year. We had the pep rally yesterday. A fun, uplifting event complete with cheerleaders from the High School, a catchy rap song performed by the principal, vice principal and counselor, an inspiring clip from the movie “Facing the Giants” and finally, a heartfelt speech by the principal assuring everyone that if they believe in themselves and do their best, they will succeed. What she doesn’t mention is, that if you don’t succeed, you will have two more opportunities to succeed once you have completed after school tutoring and summer school.
My job this morning is to distribute juice and granola bars to each classroom. In addition to these healthy snacks, the third grade teachers are preparing breakfast burritos for their students to ensure that they have had their daily dose of protein. The fifth grade teachers have concocted a “magic” cereal mix for the students to munch on all day. During the day, I sit at a desk in a darkened hallway and remind students to be quiet and monitor the bathrooms so that no more that one person is in them at a time. At lunchtime, I sit with the students and monitor the conversations. By the end of the day all but 30 of the students are ready to go home. The lucky students that get to leave walk in a zombie-like state out the doors to the freedom and fresh air that they have been deprived of all day.
By now you have probably guessed that this is not a typical school day. It’s the day the third grade and the fifth grade take the Reading Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)—the dreaded standardized test that Texas uses to measure the performance of students, teachers and administrators. A total of seven days are mandated by the state to administer reading, writing, math, science and social studies tests to the various grade levels and each of these days will be just like the one I have just described.
The Reality
In defense of my school’s the administrators, I commend them for using their creative energy to put forth a positive effort. After all, they really don’t have a choice. This is a state-mandated process that must be taken seriously by everyone whether they like it or not. Arguments in favor of standardized testing include practicality, objectivity and an unbiased measure of performance, however; these are greatly out-weighed by all of the negative aspects involved. Sitting in the quiet, darkened hallway, I think back to the beginning of the year and the laminated cards we made for each of the students outlining the different strategies used for math and reading. The pink reading cards give students directions on how to find the gist, important words, context clues and other tricks for dissecting and interpreting short stories. The green math cards show the student how to decipher word problems by getting rid of unnecessary information, circling all of the numbers and underlining important information. What both of these cards fail to do is to teach the child how to truly enjoy the short story or to actually gain an understanding of mathematical concepts. They are teaching the child how to take a test.
Of course, the teachers must be held accountable and the performance of the students is a direct reflection on their performance as a teacher. Unfortunately, the state also mandates what they will teach through TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). As a result, the tests and the TEKS become the curriculum. Teachers can no longer teach thematic units or give extended projects that utilize students’ creativity and problem-solving skills because they have to make sure they are staying within the guidelines that state has put forth. This causes a lot of negativity among the teachers and it makes it hard for them to keep their enthusiasm and energy level strong throughout the school year. Students also feel the stress and understand that if they do not perform well, they will be retained. This causes a diminished moral among both students and teachers.
What is the Answer?
No one will argue that students, teachers and administrators must be held accountable. But the process by which this is measured must be changed in order to offer our students a better, more meaningful education. Cookie-cutter methods of teaching will produce students with basic knowledge, but not the skills they will need to compete in an ever-changing, technologically advanced society.

Friday, August 17, 2007

High School Musical 2 Party!!!!!

We really didn't hear or see much of the movie due to all of the screaming and dancing, but it sure was fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer is over ;-(

It's back to school and time to start getting ready for the 07-08 school year. It's hard to believe that I will have children in the 8th, 6th and 3rd grade. It just seems like yesterday I was tripping over Little Tykes toys and watching Barney all day long. Time flies!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Makeover fun!

Friday night we had a Mary Kay mother-daughter makeover party with Mandy Barrow. We had a really good time learning about skin care and make up. It was so funny watching the girls put on make up and laughing at each other. After the other mommies left, the girls proceeded to stay up until 3:00 am!!!!! (Not me...I went to be with earplugs in).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Our vacation

OK, I'm mad at Rock You. Every time I have tried to go in and make a cool slide show of our beach pics, it kicks me off the internet! So...I will do it the old fashioned way! Oh, and we had a wonderful time!