Sunday, November 27, 2005

All Ready For Winter!

So, this is going to be my first winter living in snow. Sure, I've *been* to the snow plenty of times to go skiing, but I've never actually had to go about my day to day life in snow. And let me tell you that I'm slightly panicked seeing as the last 7 winters I've spent in Arizona or Italy (and I grew up in Northern California so no super cold winters there either).

I've been getting some advice on essential items that I'll need to get me through the snowy season. This weekend my sister came armed with my mom's credit card so we went (early) birthday shopping for me. I think I'm just about ready now. Let me know if I forgot anything.

My new down coat. I got it at Macy's the day after Thanksgiving. It was ridiculously crowded in the store, but worth it for the sales.

Snow boots! Yeah! I've never owned snow boots before. I saw some other (cheaper) boots online at LLBean that I was going to get until I read Ms. Frizzle's post about her boots that are furry on the inside. Then I saw these and knew that I had to get them. I can't wait to wear them.

I never knew that long underwear came in silk but apparently it is the best kind to get. I bought two pairs, one in cream and one in black. They're on their way from LLBean right now.

My sister bought me this hat/scarf combo at the Gap. She laughed when I put the hat on but I won't be laughing when it's snowing and I'm warm!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

We had so much fun at the parade.

One of my friends from school met my sister and I at a diner near my house where we had breakfast. We got to the parade just before 9 and easily found a spot to stand where we could see everything. (We were between 66th and 67th Streets). It really wasn't that cold either. Plus, we had a huge thermos of hot chocolate to keep warm. From where we were standing the parade lasted less than two hours.

Now I'm just finishing up the stuffing and we're off to a friend's house for dinner.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving is Coming

One more day!

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year. My sister is coming from Arizona to spend Turkey-day with me. She's getting in at 5am on Thursday and then we are going to the parade! Yeah! (I know, I know. It's going to freezing and it's going to be crazy but we used to watch it every year on TV so we kind of have to do this.) Then, for dinner we're going to my best friend's apartment (in Williamsburg). There's going to be a random assortment of people but I think that's the best part. And, I'm making my famous stuffing so thanksgiving will be complete.

(Oh, and the four day break from school will be nice.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Today was such a waste of a day. I was called into the office this morning and told that I had to watch the 5th graders take their state social studies test. Since there were three of my students who needed extra time it was apparently my job to supervise them taking it even though it took up all of my morning when I had other groups of students that I was supposed to be working with. The worst part about it was that there were only twelve students that needed extra time in the library but our AP got THREE teachers to supervise (the speech teacher and the resource room teacher were also there). What a waste of time for all of us. They have already told me that I will be supervising for the ELA as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I was only going to mention it . . .

. . . but J posted the entire letter that teachers in my region got from UFT president Randi Weingarten. The micro-management is out of control and I hope that this helps. (I have my fingers crossed).

Monday, November 07, 2005

No kids tomorrow . . .

. . .which means no lesson planning tonight! (I'm sure that tomorrow, no less than an hour or two into the day, I'll be wishing I was with the kids and not training on how to score ELA tests in February).

To celebrate our night of freedom, I went to dinner with another teacher from my school. We decided to splurge and went to the Al di La Trattoria in Park Slope. It was amazing. After living in Italy for three years I never have high expectations for eating Italian food in the States. This restaurant was soo good. It actually reminded me a bit of one of my favorite restaurants in Florence, Baldovino.

The food isn't traditional Italian recipes (which I tend to find boring after a while since all the restaurants have the same things on the menu), but more creative. We had mussels in a garlic and wine sauce for an appetizer. I had the Tortelli with pumpkin in butter and sage that was to die for. For dessert we shared a pear and chocolate cake. And of course to finish off the meal I had an espresso. Even apart from the food, the atmosphere felt like Italy. Unlike a lot of restaurants that are trying hard to look like Italy, this one felt like a trendy (rather than traditional) restaurant that you would *actually* find in Italy. If you can't tell, I highly recommend it.

After the last two days of thinking of Italy so much, this was just the thing to get me into full on I-need-to-be-in-Italy mode. I need to calm down. Italy isn't in my future for probably the next two years (at least), even though I hate to admit it.

One of my favorite things about living in Italy was going to dinner (or especially lunch) on a whim and sharing a great meal and glass of wine with a good friend. At least I can still have moments like that being a teacher in NYC.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Day Dreaming Part II

Over the last two days I've read almost all of this blog about an American woman who moved back to Florence with her husband last year. I've been so engrossed in it for a number of reasons. Mainly because I can visualize everything that she is doing. Florence is such a small city; every street she mentions, restaurant she goes to, or piazza she talks about, I know. I can also relate to her. Just like when I lived in Italy, she is constantly trying to separate herself from "those Americans" and feels like she has to prove herself with her Italian language abilities. I, too, often found myself saying things that were more complicated when a simple two word reply would have sufficed just to show that I do speak Italian.

After reading her blog I looked up this international school in Florence. Just to look. I've thought about working here since the first time I lived in Italy. Part of the reason that I wanted to teach in New York for two years was that I knew that it would give me some experience to apply for jobs like this over seas. As much as I would want to be back in Florence again though, I really do want to try living in a new country. Italy is so familiar and I'd love to have a new adventure. Maybe a couple of years in Egypt and then back to Florence . . .

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Day Dreaming

Classroom in Guatemala

Classroom in the West Bank

I came across these two pictures of classrooms in Guatemala and the West Bank. I decided to save them and maybe do something with them in my classroom. I'm not sure what yet. I may use them as a talking point and then later post them in my room showing where they are on a world map. I'd like to find some more before I do anything with them though.

Looking at these pictures got me thinking about going abroad again. I really haven't had much time to think about it since I got to NY. I'm so busy just trying to get through each day (and occasionally taking in the fact that I'm living in NEW YORK--another dream of mine) that I haven't had time to think about going anywhere. Seeing these pictures reminded me.

I would love to teach in an international school. Just before applying to Teach For America I was thinking about teaching in Egypt. I've been wanting to go to the Middle East for a long time. As it turned out, this year wasn't the time to go, but I'm thinking of possible applying to schools there after my two (or three, or . . .) years are up here in New York.

I also stumbled across some blogs of Americans living in Italy today. I put aside the teacher blogs bit and spent a good chunk of the day reading ex-pat blogs and reminiscing about living in Florence.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Almost Friday!

Whenever other bloggers haven't posted for awhile I wonder where they went and if they dropped off the face of the earth. I've been here all along reading and checking comments, I just haven't had the energy to post. I still don't actually, I just started feeling guilty for being so neglectful of my blog.

So, my last post was about my really awful day with the 4th and 5th graders. It's gotten better since then. I've started giving them points for good behavior and bribing them with candy. (I did individual points one day and group points another). It seems to be working so far. Even my most problematic kid was like an angel the first 45 minutes but then he fell apart the second half.

It's hard for me to keep a system going and stick with it. For example I really liked the points idea for dealing with the 4th and 5th graders, but I only see them all together twice a week. Then it's just the 4th graders alone and that is a completely different dynamic. Then today one of them was absent and I only had two students in that class and it was soooo easy. I didn't even need to bribe them. See, things are never consistent so it's hard for me to be.

Today, though, I noticed that when I walked the two 4th graders to my room they immediately lined up against the wall outside my door to wait for me. I was expecting them to just walk right in. I always make the 4th and 5th graders line up by the door because I tell them exactly what I want them to do when they go inside. When I bring the three kindergardeners or the two 2nd/3rd graders, I just let them walk in. I don't have behavior issues with them. So, even though there were just two of them today, they still knew that they always wait outside. I realized that I guess I do have *some* routnines that I am doing consistantly without even realizing.