Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekly Wrap-up: New Kids, Lovefest, and Reading News...

It has been a long and exhausting week, which is why I am writing this update at 11:09 Sunday night instead of early Sunday morning. It doesn't help we were gone Friday and Saturday, so I feel all discombobulated. I was going to skip the post, but I got a magical phone call and we have a snow day tomorrow, so now I can stay up late writing. :)

Last week felt like it went by very slowly. It was the start of the new semester, and I only gained one class of new kids. 4 of my 5 hours are year-long courses, so I kept those kids-they just mixed together in their hours. My only semester course, Shakespeare, has all new kids, but I know a lot of them from previous classes or as members of NHS (which I advise). It's a great group this semester, and I'm excited to do some new things with them. We're still doing some of the same opening units, but I want to change up the plays a little-definitely thinking we're reading The Merchant of Venice. Any other suggestions?

Besides the start of the new semester, there were the other stresses. Grades were due Wednesday and we got a new gradebook system this year, so of course, we're all still trying to figure it out. I was so glad that I was done grading last week, as most of my grades were done-I just had to enter comment codes and citizenship, and all the other things kids needed me to enter. I also had a very heavy "Talking" week, which always strains my voice.

It doesn't help that I also had IEP meetings, leadership team meetings, and play rehearsals mixed in there. The play rehearsals are done now, since we had Lovefest this weekend.

Lovefest is actually called the "Mid-Michigan Theatre Arts Festival" and I've gone every year for the last 5 years. Essentially all the participating schools rehearse a 1-act play. They get 1 hour to set up their set, perform, and tear down their set before getting feedback from a local college professor. Over the course of Friday night and Saturday, there were 15 performances. It's a wonderful experience for the kids and they have a blast being with like-minded kids. I love seeing all the shows and I like being a part of the plays as much as I can. I was definitely less involved this year than I have been in years past (last year I helped a student direct a version of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"), but I was excited to go anyway. Our kid did a comedy this year-"The House of Fog"- and did a fabulous job.

There were some other great plays. One school did a workshopped piece of the 3 Oedipus plays rolled into one, and it was amazing. I also loved a performance of "Silent Sky," about female astronomers at Harvard. "Dark Road" was another great performance. It told the story of a female Nazi guard-what brought her into it and how it changed her as a person. But one of my favorites was a piece called "Exonerated." It had multiple storylines woven together that talked about people who were sentenced to death row for crimes they didn't commit (all based on real people). It was a powerful piece!

The weekend always ends with an awards ceremony from the 2 college professors who watched all the plays, and a big celebration. The professors announced that Saginaw Valley State University started a scholarship just for Lovefest participants wanting to go in theatre and gifted a kid a $2000/year scholarship at the festival. It was amazing.

Anyway, Lovefest weekend is always one of my favorites of the year, and I love that Matt goes with me as well. The kids like getting to know him, and he enjoys seeing a little of what I do. This year he drove our set truck, so he bonded with the techies. We got home super late last night and tried to get some sleep today.

So yeah, definitely glad to have tomorrow off. I'm going to spend some of the day helping Matt work in the kitchen (STILL NOT DONE). We need to finish hanging cabinet doors, and we might start putting up the backsplash. But I'm definitely going to do some reading. I didn't bring any grading home since I knew I wouldn't get to it, so now I have some free time.

I didn't get a chance to read a lot last week with how busy I was, but I only have about 100 pages left in Where Angels Fear to Tread by Forster. It's a quick read and I'd like to finish it up. I'd also like to get to Caraval by Stephanie Garber, as it's one of the Battle Books for school. But I'm also participating in a Ulysses readalong (or at least I'm supposed to be), so I should probably start it (I did read the first 50 or so pages a few years ago, but set it aside). I do have some posts scheduled for this week, but I need to finish something so I can keep up my posting streak. ;) Now I just need to work on reading and commenting. I'll get there!

Let me know how your week was and what you're reading this week!


  1. Hi you! I have no plans to ever read Ulysses. I'm afraid of it. However, I've just learned through (dna test) that I'm 21% Irish, so possibly I'm more interested now. I do own an annotated copy:)

    I'm reading Chronicle of Youth by Vera Brittain. If you haven't read Vera Brittain yet, you need to! I feel that you would love her Testament of Youth. She's incredibly intelligent. She reminds me of George Eliot.

    1. Don't fear Ulysses! Just let go and enjoy the ride.

  2. For some reason I didn't realise you were a Michigan girl. I grew up in Grand Ledge. Go the comets and Central Mich is my school. 30 yrs now in Tasmania though. Summer here and enjoying reading and photography in summer weather. I enjoy hearing about your students activities.

  3. Nice to have a snow day! I grew up in Macomb county so I love hearing little snippets about Michigan. I can't believe the kids set up, act, and tear down in only an hour -- they must either have very minimal sets or very short plays, or both. It sounds like a lot of fun AND a lot of work.

    I've only read about 7 Shakespears but I remember my favorites being Othello and The Tempest, though I also loved A Midsummer Night's Dream.

  4. From the corner of my eye, I see a stack of 6 sets of papers, 25 in each stack, waiting to be graded. But visiting blogs and commenting on them seems more productive right now. =-D