Monday, November 16, 2009

November so far...

November is national write a novel in a month, month. I decided to take up the challenge this year (last year I started in December...too late) and I am not as far a long as I would have hoped. I am at 10,000 words and counting, but the book is coming together nicely. This is the second book I have started this month and I like the new direction. Once I have finished the month I will spill the beans about the topic.

In late October I attending a training on incorporating Opera music into your class. I am one of those individuals who sign up for everything I can get my hands on, and as it turned out, I was the only history teacher at the training. Mind you, there were only 4 other teachers present (they were all choir teachers). I thought the training was great and if you attended the training you were guaranteed free tickets to the MET performances that are broadcast nationwide at various Regal theaters. I have seen the commercials for these performances before, but I had never taken the time to see any of them.

I am a novice fan of opera music. I have only seen 3 opera performances in my life, but I thought they were spectacular.

November 7th I took 3 students (2 boys and 1 girl) to see the MET's performance of Turandot. They film the performance live and so the students were a little surprised to hear all the chatter of the opera attendees as they took their seats in New York as we were taking our seats in Vegas. I didn't know anything about this particular opera, but it was AMAZING. I was surprised to discover that my favorite aria was in the third act, Nessun Dorma. The tenor's performance literally brought tears to my eyes. All of the singers and performers were outstanding and now I can't wait to go see the rest of the performances this year. My students were riveted and even though the whole experience was 3 1/2 hours long they didn't seem to mind. Through this program I have three more operas this year that I can take students to see. They are all clamoring for tickets to see Carmen in January. Carmen is one of my favorites and I am super excited to see it as well.

After the performance we headed over to UNLV's library. My AP world history students had done a really bad job on a research assignment earlier in the year and as a result banned them from using the internet for research. I informed them that for the duration of the year, they had to use books. Due to this new initiative I scheduled a time for my students to come to the universities library so I could show them how to do research old school style. In the end most of them enjoyed the experience and even though I kept running up and down floors answering questions I was glad I had decided to do it. Ultimately I had 15 of my 48 students show up which was more than I was expecting.

Between the Opera and the library I was pretty tired when I returned home, but it was worth it. Now I am looking forward to Thanksgiving in Tucson this year with my brother Steve and his family.

October Update

At the end of last school year I applied and was accepted to be a member of the Social Studies training cadre with our school district. What this means is that I present some of the professional development trainings for our school district over the course of the year. I wasn't sure how much time it would entail once the school year began, but I definitely found out in October.

In our first meeting together as a cadre in August we all volunteered and signed up for the trainings we were interested in conducting. Never one to back down and realizing I only get paid for what I present, I volunteered for as many opportunities as I could. Translation, in October I had trainings at least 2 if not more times a week. It was very, very tiring. I really enjoy teaching adults (sometimes even more than teenagers) and the feedback I have been getting from those in attendance at these trainings has been positive--but it does take up a good chunk of time.

With the overwhelming time commitments in October, whenever I had a free moment I was either unpacking boxes or preparing for my regular classes. One of the highlights of the month was Durango's homecoming football game. I decided I needed to see my old school and hopefully run into some of my former students. The game was great and Durango had an awesome team this year. During the first half four of my former AP students (all boys) came and sat with me and we chatted and laughed the entire time. I don't think anyone of us actually watched the game. They kept telling me how glad they were that they had stuck with AP and how much they enjoyed having me as a teacher. While we sat there a number of my other students came to say hi and it was really great to feel their love.

During half-time we watched the homecoming royalty and I realized I had taught all but two of the kids. It was excited to see how they had grown up. After the game more of my students wanted me to join them for yogurt and we headed to Yogurtland (yummy!) for more chatting and laughing. I felt like I was crashing their party, but it was still great to hang out with them.

My car this month was also going through what I believed to be the early stages of death and so I decided to spring for a new car. I bought a 2010 Hyundai Elantra. It is nice car and I have enjoyed cruising around town in it. I love the fact that it has a USB port for my ipod. Here is a picture, although my car is white.

The end of the month arrived with one of my personal favorite holidays (NEVADA DAY!) which is celebrated the last Friday of October. It was a day of resting due to a massive headache.

For Halloween, Scott, invited me over to his friends house who makes really spectacular costumes. This year's theme "Phantom of the Opera." She had decorated her backyard and made costumes for the principle characters. Her friends must really love her, because in addition to posing for pictures in the costumes, they also recreated many of the most popular scenes from the musical (singing included). Scott (played Raul) sounded great as usual and it was fun to see adults letting loose and just pretending.

Scott and Melissa

Scott as Raul

Melissa (playing Christine) and her husband as the Phantom

The Phantom's lair

The Opera house

September Update

September (labor day weekend) my roommate and I traveled to the beautiful state of Idaho to visit my parents and Yellowstone National Park. The weather was lovely and although the trip was short definitely worth the drive.

The rest of September had us furiously packing and cleaning. Since both of us work on the north side of Vegas we decided that we needed to find someplace to live that would save us time and money on our commute. Through a serendipitous meeting with a friend we found a lovely condo just 2 miles from my new school. The place is a little bit smaller than our old apartment but it has an extra bedroom, 2 car garage and hard wood floors throughout.

The move was stressful but we ended up getting everything transferred over to the new address. (If you don't have the address please email me) I finally feel as though I am not living like a college student. Tiffany bought a new couch and bought an entertainment center (sorry Amber, I copied you), dining room table and chairs and hung my favorite artwork. I am liking the cleaner more modern feel of the new place. I am still working on the last few boxes in my bedroom else I would post more pictures.

It had been 5 years since I had moved last and I had forgotten how much stuff I had. Unpacking I have tried to let go of things I no longer use or need, but I realize I am still holding on to too many items. I have four bookshelves in my bedroom and they are straining to contain all of my books.

View from the Front Door looking in.

View from the hallway

I think my favorite part of the new place is I can cook and watch tv at the same time. It has already saved me a lot of time.