Bookstore, Shiny Bookstore


What are the books in libraries and bookstores doing when you turn out the lights? Why, this, of course!

In other book-related news, I started my first class for my Masters of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University! I'll actually be taking three this semester, but the first is just a one credit course called Online Social Networking that you can start before the official start of the semester. I've actually started another blog as part of that class, Adventures in Library Science, in which I hope to record different thoughts related to my coursework and libraries as a whole. Of course, given my track record with blogs, we'll see if this one actually lasts!
Vorkosigan, Results Beyond Hope


I decided I needed more LJ friends (or y'know, just more ways to procrastinate), so I've been going around and friending people from my various communities (mostly sounis, athanarel, and holiday_wishes, but from other places as well). Feel free to friend me back or not, as you wish!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a 5th grade language arts and social studies teacher, affiliated with Teach for America. This is my second year teaching, which means my commitment is up in June and I have to figure out what to do with my life after that. Right now, I'm looking at continuing to teach or trying to get a masters in library and information science, but really, anything could happen.  I love reading (particularly YA fantasy), traveling (and CouchSurfing!), dancing (though I don't do too much of that anymore, sadly), play-by-post role playing, and tea. 

Just so you know, I don't actually post on this journal much, but I do spend a good amount of time reading (and sometimes commenting on) posts in my communities and friend's journals.  So I'm around, even if you don't see me!

What is History?

So, things are finally starting to settle down in my second year of teaching. This is going to be a crazy week, as one of the sixth grade teachers is going to be moving down to fifth grade, but at least that means we'll have smaller classes (Currently I have two classes of around 30. With the third teacher, it will be three classes of around 20).

Anyway, on the day of our first social studies lesson, I asked my students, "What is history? Why is it important?"  I laughed at almost all of the answers I got. Here are some of the highlights:
  • "It is in the 1800's"
  • "History is important because of learning the past it like when you were a baby that the past. History is the past and not the future it like George Washington and Abram Linelinon just like you are going to be in the past."
  • "History is important because History tells us of the past if it wasent for aberham linken we would not have a Presidant if it wasent for world war 1, 2, and 3 we would not have freedom and the Smithsonian."
  • "History is a story of what hapend in the past tense. without history there probly be no us"
  • "history is what happend in the past. Because, it help's you learn better. The Cristiffer found Oklahoma."
  • "History is like people who lived in the past. it is important because we can figure out how they did stuff like how they washed close."

Time for Round 2

Tomorrow is my second first day of school as a teacher. At the beginning of summer, I dreaded this day, as last year was hard.  But after an amazingly relaxing summer (I'll have to put up pictures of my China trip eventually!), I'm much more ready to take on this new year.

I was reading last year's post from right before the first day of school, and it's odd how a lot of it could have been written this year.  I'm still probably going to be up late tonight, getting last minute preparations ready.  And once again, I'm both excited and nervous for the upcoming year. And yet, in many ways, this year will be quite a bit different this year.  We'll be in a new building (which has caused a ton of hassle and work, but also means I get a much bigger classroom, which will be nice.)  And almost half the staff is new, including my fellow fifth grade teacher.  This is actually a good thing, because while I'll really miss some of the teachers who are gone, I can already tell that this will be a fresh start in a good way.  Also, I'll be departmentalized (teaching language arts and social studies instead of everything), and will have class sizes about twice as large as the ones I had last year.  I still feel like I have no clue what I'm doing, in both classroom management and language arts and social studies (I feel like math was the only subject I started to get a grasp on last year), but at least I have a better idea of what I'm getting into, which helps a lot. 

And I could go on, but I doubt anyone cares about the details of this year, and I probably should go back to planning instead of writing on LJ.  So I'll leave it there for now, and hopefully I'll be posting more than once every couple of months this year!
Vorkosigan, Results Beyond Hope

School's Out for Summer!

I survived my first year of teaching!!!

It's been a crazy and challenging year.  Frankly, I'm not a very good teacher yet, especially in the area of classroom management.  And that led to lots of stress, tears, exhaustion, and even burnout at times.  The year was not without its high points, of course.  Teaching can be fun, and rewarding...even if you're a first year teacher who feels like she has no clue what she's doing and not enough support.  I had a not insignificant number of those happy moments.  And I certainly loved each of my kids individually. 

But I'm incredibly glad it's summer.  This summer, even with my trip to China, will be the most relaxing one I've had in probably 10 years.  I'm looking forward to the chance to relax, rejuvenate, and ready myself for next year.  Because next year will be crazy again, especially since my school is moving buildings and adding a sixth grade.  But by August, I will be rested, and will hopefully have things planned and prepared so that next year goes much more smoothly than this year did.
Vorkosigan, Results Beyond Hope

Beautiful Temari on Help_Japan

Ereka (song_of_truth) is an American studying abroad in Japan's Iwate Prefecture, which is in her words, "one of the hardest hit by...everything."  Her home university (or really, her study abroad travel insurance company) ordered her home, but she's decided to defy the order and stay anyway.  And while it'd be really easy and understandable for her to be selfish at this time, she's instead doing everything she can to help.  This includes putting up offerings on help_japan . 

Ereka is offering to make two temari for the top two bidders.  Temari balls are a traditional form of Japanese embroidery.  She made me one as a holiday gift once, and it is absolutely beautiful.  Look:


If you would like a temari as well, go bid for one on help_japan !
Firefly, Squee

I Need a Travel Icon!

So, you know how I asked for travel ideas? Well, I posted something up on Facebook asking for travel buddies and ideas.  My mom saw it, and asked if I wanted to go to China with her.  As if she had to ask!  I've wanted to go to China forever (I've been to the airport in Hong Kong, and that's it), especially since my mom's side of the family is Chinese.  Anyway, it was really just an idea that we started looking into, and nothing definite, until we found really cheap plane tickets to Beijing.  And now, less than a week after we first started talking about it, my mom, my two sisters, and I are all set to spend three weeks in China!  I'm very excited, not only about my destination, but also about my travel companions.  I've traveled quite a bit, but the last time I went overseas with one sister was over ten years ago, and I've never been overseas with the other sister.  I'm sad my dad and brother can't go, but it will be a fun girls-only adventure! 

Anyone been to China before and have tips/advice/suggestions?  My mom and one of my sisters have been, but it was for a humanitarian trip, and they didn't do much sightseeing and had most of the trip planned for them. This trip is very open, except for the fact that we're flying in and out of Beijing.

Also, who has a Kindle or other e-reader? I used to be set against them, but the last two times I've spent a semester abroad, I saw how useful they could have been for travel.  Considering I like to travel quite a bit, I've been thinking of getting one, though I can also read e-books on my laptop, iPod Touch, and phone.  I put off buying it, because I wasn't sure when I was going to travel next, but now that I'm definitely spending three weeks in China, I'm thinking about making the investment.  So, thoughts about whether it's worth it, and which e-reader I should get?  I'm thinking about the Kindle, as it seems to be the best reader for the price, and I'm thinking e-ink is the best way to go.  But I'm up for any and all suggestions!

In less than exciting news, my Spring Break is almost over, and I've gotten nothing productive done school-wise.  We're starting new units in both math and reading Monday, and testing is coming up, so I've got a LOT to do. Oops.
Vorkosigan, Results Beyond Hope

Travel Ideas?

It's Spring Break!  One of the nice things about teaching is that I still get these breaks. I found some cheap tickets home from Dallas, so I'll be driving about five hours down there tomorrow to visit a friend and then take a flight home the next day. It'll be a lot of traveling for just a few days home, but it'll be so worth it.

Speaking of breaks, I'm already thinking about what I can do this summer.  I miss traveling internationally already, and I'm not too picky about where I go. Basically, I'd just like to go somewhere I haven't been before (i.e. not North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, Morocco, or Armenia), though I'd be willing to go back somewhere if I find a really good deal. I want to keep my budget to about $2000, but stay as long as I can somewhere within that budget.  And I may be traveling by myself unless I can find someone to travel with.  Other than that, though, everything is pretty open.  So I'm turning to all of you!  Where do you suggest I go?
Vorkosigan, Results Beyond Hope


We're preparing for the state writing test (next week, AHHH!), and so my fifth graders are having to do a lot of writing based strictly off of prompts. They've missed being able to write about anything they want, and so I wanted to give them a chance to do a free write. They were supposed to write an essay about a page long, on any topic they wanted. As expected, I got papers of varying quality about families, vacations, school, and zombies*. And then I got this one, from my student who I describe as gifted, lazy, and very... unique:



Bunnys, bunnys, everywhere.

The smell of bunnys is in the air.

Bunnys cannot breathe in the sea.

Bunnys also have stinky pee.

Bunnys also eat a lot.

I caught a bunny in a pot.

Bunnys are as thin as keys.

That is why they eat peas.

Bunnies also are different.

Some of their legs are also bent.

Bunnys are really thin.

I can stick them to the wall with a pin.

Bunnys can be very sweet.

That is why we use them for meat.

Bunnys are everywhere.

But they also pee.

*Zombies and those annoying paper poppers are the current fads in my classroom.

One Day More!

 ...until winter break. I am SOOO excited.  This past week has been crazy, and I could really use a break.

Speaking of the holidays, you know what would be an awesome gift you could give me and my classroom? Donate to one of my Donor's Choose projects!  I currently have one project up for graphic novels, and another up for social studies materials.  And do you want to know what the best part of this all is? You can do so without it costing you a dime! Just go to, make Bing your homepage (you can always change it back later), and you can get a $5 Donor's Choose gift code.  Of course, if you want to give even more than that $5, we'd REALLY appreciate that as well (and it's tax-deductible!). :)