Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eighth Graders are Exhausting!

But I am having a great time so far.  I have been back at school for almost a week now--with students since Thursday, and I have never been so tired!  I suppose that means I am working hard, and that's a good thing.  Over the summer I attended two conferences:  Second Chance Reading and 6+1 Traits of Writing.  I am excited to implement both of these philosophies/techniques into my classroom, in hopes of helping the students be more successful in reading and writing.  So far so good!

A question for my teacher friends:  How do you help a class to be less chatty and more focused?  Right now I have a class that takes about twice as long to get settled down as my other two classes.  Any suggestions/techniques that have worked for you?  I should mention that this is my last class of the day, and they come in right after lunch.  I am willing to try new things!

On a personal/travel note, I was able to go to Kansas City, MO this weekend to visit with some friends from college and to meet Jodi's friend Erin.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites near the Country Club Plaza, and had a great time.  Saturday we went shopping and I found a lot of cute school clothes at Ann Taylor Loft and Gap.  Gap was having a 50% off all women's clothing sale Saturday--how lucky! 

We also tried a lot of new foods and restaurants, one of my favorite things to do while traveling.  For lunch Saturday we went to Blanc Burgers+Bottles, and I tried the Spicy Lentil Burger and the Strawberry Lavendar locally brewed soda.  The soda was excellent!  We all shared truffle fries and Boulevard Pale Ale onion rings.  Later on we visited Cupcake Ala Mode, where they had twenty-two different varieties of cupcakes.  I tried the Puppy Chow Cupcake, and it was as good as it sounds!  We went to Thai Place for dinner where we tried Smoked Salmon Rolls, which were like crab rangoon, but with smoked salmon and in a spring roll wrapper.  I had the spicy basil fried rice for my entree--yum!  For lunch on Sunday we went to The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant.  We shared a cheese course, which was Wisconsin Trio and Queso Fundido, then all had salads, followed up with a chocolate course.  The chocolate was a dark chocolate with sea salt.  If you have never tried sea salt with sweet flavors, I strongly recommend it.  The two times I have had it, it really made the dish!  (Salted Caramel Gelato in Seattle and the fondue in KC.)

Saturday night we went to Ernie Biggs, a dueling piano bar, and the piano players played all of my favorites--Hall and Oates, Rebecca Black, Black Eyed Peas, etc.  Super fun!  I think there were 5 different bachelorette/bachelor parties there that night!

All in all it's been a busy, fun, crazy couple of weeks!  I am really looking forward to next weekend when Cyclones Football kicks off in Ames against the UNI Panthers, and the rest of the fall!  Thanks for reading and Go Cyclones!

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