July So Far and Goals Check-In

The first two weeks of July have just blown by, and our little family has been thoroughly enjoying!  We have had two guests come to meet our little guy: my SIL and best friend.  Cliff fell in love with them both, and the feeling was totally mutual.

Cliff has been thriving and developing new skills so quickly these days!  Wednesday night we started feeding him some rice cereal from a spoon, and at first he wasn’t so sure what his crazy parents were up to.  He sort of let the liquid pool around his lips and tongue, then would let it seep further into his mouth.  The next night, he started catching on halfway through that he was actually being fed, so he opened his mouth each time I brought his red spoon to his mouth.  it was adorable.

 

 

Cliff had the same emotional reaction: rice cereal in formula is blaaaaaaaand.

What little boy’s life, whose name is Clifford, would be complete without these???

Exactly!  Three months old is the age when you start wearing backpacks anyways, right???

I was asked to run a two-week, SAT Reading tutoring session, which has been a great opportunity for us, not only because of the extra income, but also it forced to met get to know the updated test.


July is already halfway over, and before I begin to think about August, I thought it would be a good idea to check in with the progress that I’ve made with my July goals.

Books/Reading/Curriculum Planning:

Goal: Review the following books & create “Lists”

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Goal Update:

I have reread both The Great Gatsby and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and have reacquainted myself with the specific motifs and themes from both novels.

I wouldn’t say that I have created specific lists, by chapter/section, that I want to have the students focus on, but I am definitely closer to having my first units completed.  Luckily, the texts and strategies are familiar to me, so I can easily outline the curriculum.

As for The Scarlet Letter, I have decided that I want to put that title on hold because I am not using it this year.  Instead, I want to spend more time organizing my first two units for English III and AP Literature.

Health and Wellness:

July Goal: Workout daily & fit into my black and khaki capri pants.

Goal Update:

There is definitely more room to breath in both pairs of these pants.  I wouldn’t call them wear-ready at this point, but I still have 15 more days.

A friend of mine asked me how I was able to get back to my pre-baby body so quickly in comparison to some other women, and I told her it was all through hard work and dedication.  I still go to the gym daily, but the harder part is monitoring my food.  I’m an “all-or-nothing” person, so I can’t nibble on things or feel successful with portion control of what I call “heavier foods.”  These include: ice cream, chocolate, fries, chips/crackers, “salads” that contain a creamy dressing that is mixed throughout the ingredients, and breads.

Instead of fighting to be the person who can indulge now and again, I figure it’s better to embrace who I am and just avoid those foods that may taste good for a moment, but make me feel bloated and deflated beanbag-esq.  So that means I have cut out most unnatural sugars and increased my water intake.  It’s not easy this time of the year, what with all the BBQs and appeals to eat ice cream on a hot summer day.

 

Welcome July

Happy 1st of July! 

I am really excited to begin this new month.  It’s going to be the craziest and busiest month for us because we have so many friends and family members who are coming to meet our son, Cliff.  How blessed are we that many people love us enough to take time out of their schedules for us.  Thank goodness Cliff has been working on his selfie faces because I’m sure there will be plenty of picture taking and memory making!

June was an interesting month for us, and went out like a bang…literally.  Here are the highlights:

  • I spoke at my school’s graduation ceremony and watched my first group of students walk across the stage.
  • Dan wrapped up the school year and started his summer vacation.  It’s been great having all three of us home during the day.
  • I joined Bailey’s Gym to help get me closer to my pre-baby body.  I forgot how much I enjoyed working out in a legit gym.  The atmosphere inspires me to push myself more than when I’m at home.
  • Dan celebrated his first ever Father’s Day.  I wish I could have done more to express how much Cliff and I love him and what a phenomenal father he is.
  • I attended a week-long Advanced Placement Literature conference and got SOOOO inspired!  I have been developing my new courses and reading/rereading books like a curriculum planning-aholic.
  • Dan and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary by watching “Hail, Caesar!” and eating a delicious dinner at home.  #NewParents
  • Two wonderful young ladies that graduated a few years ago came over to visit, and it was nice catching up with them.
  • Cliff also had his 3-month appointment and got a solid bill of healthy from his pediatrician.  We are working on his sleeping at night because it has been fluctuating lately.  The doctor suggested that he may be having some digestive issues because she noticed a pattern between the pace and quantity of his eating habits and his poor sleeping sessions.  She suggested some Mylicon, and that has made a huge difference already!

NOT my baby =)

What’s In Store for July

July is going to be hectic but in a good way.  Just because we will be entertaining friends and family doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals to keep up with.

Books/Reading & Curriculum Planning:

I want to review the books that I have included in my curriculums for this upcoming school year.  I have read all of them before, but not necessarily used them for direct instruction.  Also, with teaching a section of Advanced Placement Literature, I will need to revamp my teaching strategies to support a new way to analyze and write about the texts they will be studying.

One of the strategies that I took away from my week-long conference was to give students a specific task for their reading that qualifies under a “Seek and List” title.  For example: Read the poem, “Groceries” by Cathy Smith Bowers, and create a list of similes and/or metaphors for things that are damaged.  Then, choose two and explain how and why the author used these devices to create tone.

Goal: Review the following books & create “Lists”

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Health and Wellness:

New moms have a difficult standard to live up to when they’re trying to lose the baby weight.  I don’t like the term “get back” your body because that assumes that there’s a loss, a void, a deficit when you don’t have the same physique after having a baby.  A woman’s body is put through total trauma to carry and deliver a new life, and it should be handled with tenderness and love.  As a culture, we are too violent with our expectations that women should “snap back” and quickly.  EVERY SINGLE aspect of your life changes once you become a parent or add another sibling to the pack, so why stress about having a different body?  That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to be healthy and in shape, or ever aspire to fit back into your old wardrobe; I am someone who has focused on that specific goal now that I’ve had my son.  The difference is that I don’t demand it to happen before it’s time, or set unrealistic expectations.  I work out every day, true, but I also did that before and during my pregnancy.  I slowly built my cardio and strength training routines back up, slowly and carefully.  I am not back to my fitness level, but I am not beating myself up about it.  Some women may achieve their goals sooner than me, some may take longer.  Just like all pregnancies, like all babies, each woman’s journey is specific to them and shouldn’t be compared to others’.  With that being said, I do have a goal for July to help me get closer to my ultimate goal.

July Goal: Workout daily & fit into my black and khaki capri pants.

Ultimate Goal: Workout daily & fit into my old wardrobe.

*Notice I don’t have a weight or pant size goal.  I just want to fit into the clothes that I used to wear.

Family:

Clearly, it is going to be a full month for the Ferrari family!  My ultimate goal is to enjoy each and every moment that we will get to spend with our out-of-town guests.

An Update on Classroom Blogging

Initial post about using WordPress/Blogging/Feedly in the classroom

Several weeks ago, I discussed my desire to have my students begin blogging in the classroom.  My plan was to have them create their own WordPress accounts and write both creatively and academically, both inside and outside of the classroom.  The school year is only 3 weeks old now and I have successfully assigned two blog postings.

Blog Assignments:

  1. “Convince Me” Final Draft
    1. Students will participate in a Think-Pair-Share in order to create a list of the characteristics of a convincing argument.
    2. Students will share out their responses to create a master list of all the characteristics.
    3. Students will read a sample argument essay in which the major parts are labeled.
    4. Students will create their own definitions of the parts of an argument essay based on the samples and their purposes.
    5. Students will respond to the following prompt: I am a flexible teacher, so if I hear a convincing argument for something, I will give it genuine consideration. I typically assign homework three days a week. Write a one-paragraph argument that attempts to convince me to cancel assigning homework for Eng IV.  Alternative: You may like homework, so you can argue for why it should still be assigned.
    6. Students spent three days between peer editing, reading samples and grading them, and studying other argument essays before writing their final draft that is uploaded to their blog as their first posting.
  2. “To This Day” Inspired Poem
    1. In our synthesis essay unit entitled “Haters Gonna Hater,” I had students read multiple texts from various genres that all dealt with bullying.  One poem that was included in this unit was “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan.  There’s a fantastic rendition, in addition to the TEDTalk, of “To This Day” that you can watch here.  
    2. Students worked with “Arm Partners” (someone that is within arm’s length of their original seat) to read through the printed version of “To This Day” and they completed a Close-Reading analysis.
    3. After sharing their analysis with their partners, students watched the video version of “To This Day.”  This is the version we watched:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
    4. Students were asked to discuss the specific writing choices that were made that separated this poem from others they had read.
    5. Finally, students were asked to write their own versions of “To This Day” in which they mimicked Koyczan’s style.  The topic was bullying.  Their poems had to be 10 stanzas with a minimum of 6 lines each.  This poem was posted on their blogs.