Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up for January 13, 2012: Back to the Grind.

Phew. This was the first week back after our two-week winter vacation, and let me tell you, it was a rough one. On Tuesday afternoon, the district was working on the servers for our computer system...and everything went down. Teachers and students couldn't access files, laptops on our carts had no internet access, and the computers were SLOW. They finally restored full access YESTERDAY, so you can imagine it was rough.

Thankfully I keep most of my files on a flash drive (which I really need to back up), so I still had access to my final exam files (many teachers did not, and since we have exams THIS WEEK, you can imagine the panic). I did have to rearrange some lessons and took out a video that the kids were really looking forward to (I've been showing my U.S. History classes episodes from The History Channel show, "America: The Story of Us" as we get to that content. They really love the show, so it was a bummer not to get to the Great Depression episode as promised). But, it was actually a good way to push my own creativity as a teacher so that I didn't rely on technology. :)

This week will go by quickly, I am sure. We have two full days, followed by three half days-2 exams each day. I'm in relatively good shape for grading, since all I have are the handful of things I collected in this past week. I'm hoping that I can spend the time the kids are taking their exams on prepping and getting things ready for second semester.

With second semester also comes my unit on Maus, which I am more than excited for. I brought the copies of the novel down to my room this week, and they are currently sitting in a box on my big front table. They have caught the attention of my kids, and I think they are really going to love the book and the unit.

I'm also teaching The Great Gatsby in my sophomore English classes at the beginning of the semester, so I need to do a quick reread this week to refresh my memory.

Besides all the school stuff, I've spent a lot of time this week with my niece, Zoey. It's hard to believe that she is almost 3 months old! My mom is watching her during the day for my brother and sister-in-law, and there were 2 days this week she had an appointment, so I came over after school to spend a couple hours watching the little munchkin. I also babysat last night for a few hours while my brother and sister-in-law went out for a date night. Zoey is the cutest little thing, and except for one little bout of fussiness last night, she was a blast to play with and cuddle. I'm glad that I get to be a big part of her life.

In reading news, I launched my Willa Cather Project this week, which I am over the moon excited about. :) When I was planning it, I was looking into finding copies of her poems and essays. While they were sold in single-volume sets, they were so darn expensive! I decided to be 2 of the 3 titles in the "Library of America" series on Cather (I decided not to purchase one of the volumes since it just contained her novels, which I already own). I've never owned one of the editions before, so I took a chance and ordered them used on Amazon. The first one came yesterday, and thankfully, it was the one with her poetry (April Twilights), so I already started reading. :) There aren't an overwhelming amount of poems, so I imagine I will finish them this week.

I also finished Cold Sassy Tree, which, as I read, seemed more and more familiar to me. I could have sworn that I read it before, but I couldn't figure out when. Generally speaking, I have a pretty good memory of what I've read and when, but I was drawing a blank. It was only after the scene with the car that I was SURE I had read it, and after asking on Facebook, turns out that I read it in high school for my sophomore English class. I'm pretty sure I didn't read it as an assigned book, but as a book for fun.

Lastly, I started Anna Karenina yesterday morning. I've been meaning to read it, and I was disappointed I didn't get to it last fall. I'm already 50 or so pages into it, and I can imagine really sinking into it and flying through the pages. Assuming I get all my grading done between today and tomorrow, I'll have a good amount of time to read this week (the grading for my exams is pretty straight-forward). I'm also looking forward to next weekend since we have the following Monday off. I'm picturing a lot of time snuggled up and reading.

I hope you all had a pleasant week and that you currently have a good book waiting. Let me know what you're reading!


  1. So glad you had that flash drive! I read The Great Gatsby in HS also, and I LOVED it loved it loved it that I read it about 4 times within the time the class was supposed to read it. I must revisit it!

  2. Hmm, did you totally steal my life? I am also a lit teacher and I also am teaching Maus this spring (in conjunction with Night) and am personally reading Anna Karenina outside of school (after watching the new film). And Gatsby is my favorite book ever to teach but alas, for us, it is reserved for 11th grade which I do NOT teach this year. (We also had a crazy ridiculous exam week which began today as SOMEONE in the main office decided all the departments needed to share ONE fancy new copier and then neglected to order enough toner for 200 teachers to make all their exam review and midterm copies! Kinko's 24-hour is my new best friend!)

    Anyway, rant follower!