Saturday, September 25, 2010

364 More Days Until My Golden Birthday!

Ever since I learned about what a Golden Birthday was, I have been looking forward to September 24, 2011. Time is pushing me closer and closer to that date! I feel much older today, compared to how I felt yesterday. Maybe a little wiser, definitely a little grayer; twenty-three is so much older than twenty-two. It sounds older. It looks older. Twenty-two is when people are graduating from college and starting their adult lives. It's when adolescence is officially over, in my mind.

What did I do on my birthday? I woke up at 4:50 am, and got ready to go into school early. I crammed in as many lessons as I could before 11:55, finished a few units with my students, and went upstairs for an impromptu library time--totally forgot to reschedule it on Thursday. Why did library need to be rescheduled? Because of Field Day! For whatever reason, Field Day is idolized by elementary students across the board. They are devoted to it whole-heartedly and look forward to each Field Day with great anticipation. My students thought that it was pretty amazing my birthday was on Field Day this year.

What else happened on my birthday? team didn't win the Field Day games.

But, I got to dress up like Hyphen-Hero!

Looking at rubrics for the 6-Traits of writing, I stumbled upon information about National Punctuation Day in the US. Granted, there is a national day for almost everything--even Teddy Bears--in the US, but who can pass up Punctuation Day? My Lead Teacher was equally interested by it, and it was decided at last week's elementary dept. meeting, that we would dress up like Punctuation super-heroes. Each teacher was assigned a different punctuation mark and the 5th grade teacher even planned his chapel presentation around proper punctuation usage. Our classes learned about our assigned punctuation marks and walked around dressed up with period necklaces, apostrophe headbands, or exclamation mark bandannas. It was very cute.

These two pictures show some of us elementary teachers, ready for National Punctuation Day before the students arrived.

Captain Apostrophe, Madam Coma, Exclamation!, Hyphen-Hero, Question Mark, and Captain Quotation. :)

My costume was not very awesome, but I would like to point out that as the Hyphen-Hero, I had an eye-patch that allowed me to look up any word in the dictionary. You see, I was half Dictionary, half Hero! Ok...I was also wearing the eye-patch to get excited for "Treasure Island" auditions. You would think that I was auditioning for the play as well; I am so nervous!

Apparently, when looking up rules for hyphens, there are literally hundreds of rules to follow when using hyphens correctly. We talked about five of those rules in 3rd grade; the most important rule was that you should double check whether a word is a compound word using the dictionary before hyphenating it.

Also--we talked about the difference between dashes and hyphens. My girls were the darling-dashes, and my boys decided they wanted to be the dare-devil-dashes. We were saving communication, one compound word at a time. Which ended up being rather convenient since all of our spelling words for the last two weeks have been compound words.

The staff at SYIS sang "Happy Birthday" to me in three different languages, followed by three cheers (an Australian tradition) at our morning meeting. The elementary students also sang to me in three languages at our elementary assembly. At the end of the day, Adam and I went home on the student bus, where the students sang "Happy Birthday" to me again. It is almost unbearable to have "Happy Birthday" belted out to you in three languages--all attention is on you--but I felt the love and appreciated the people singing to me!

After school, Adam took me out to dinner and we stayed at a fancy hotel in our city. It was nice to have a nice night out together, without any traveling. A short vacation where we could eat Western food and watch English television. Adam also watched, "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Sense and Sensibility" with me. I fell asleep half way through "Sense and Sensibility", but Adam swears that he finished the movie without me. Maybe he actually liked it.

Adam was very sweet for planning some time for us to spend together. We are not always the best about making intentional plans like this, so it felt like a miracle to have a short vacation on my birthday! This year was great compared to the last three birthdays I have had! [I do not do well with surprises--it took Adam two tries to figure that out]

There is a Dunkin' Donuts in Shenyang now. It opened while we were in America, which is rather ironic since it is something that Adam missed a lot during our first year in China. For some reason, Adam craved Dunkin' Donuts almost daily--even though he was not a frequent customer of the place (he says). Today, we picked up some donuts for the first time, and I think Adam was very happy.

This past week was a little difficult for me. It seems as though I am a curse of sorts to my TI's. Last year, my TI ended up getting brain cancer. This year, my TI lasted a few weeks before she had to take a 2-3 week hiatus in order to rest an injured ankle. I am without a TI--however, the other elementary teachers have been very generous about sharing their TI's and help with me. Thursday and Friday, and graduate student who works at school 2-3 days a week came to help me. This was great, because then I had constant help throughout the day. Yet, it was challenging on a different note since she is still learning how to speak English. I have to explain things several times, as slowly as I can, and usually have to find someone to translate my sentences for her anyway. I haven't gone to my Chinese lessons in two weeks (which is really, really bad) because my real TI was absent on lesson days, and my stand-in TI needs a lot of attention.

Monday (two days), marks the day for our Spring Play auditions! I can hardly believe that it is already time to start working on another production. I'm not sure if I am ready to take the plunge yet. We will have as many auditions as possible on Monday, and perhaps hold a second round, or call backs, on Thursday. Hopefully we will have our cast list for "Treasure Island" finalized by Friday at the latest. We will begin rehearsing as soon as our October Holiday is over (the second week of October). Wow.

We need at least 17 students for the play to work. At least 12 of these students MUST be boys. If you feel lead, please direct some "thoughts" in this direction. I sincerely hope that enough students will come out to audition on Monday/Thursday. It would be ideal if 25-30 students auditioned.
Here is a picture of me finally getting all the audition information together for students who are interested in "Treasure Island"

This afternoon, I spent time reading about the Golden Era of Piracy on wikipedia...

Trying to beef up my historical background on piracy, and steer away from the romanticism that authors, poets, and Hollywood have associated with that period in history.

Reading about the escapades of men and women who were real pirates is interesting. Lots of intrigue and missing details--it's not like pirates recorded their lives for posterity.

I learned that 1-1.25 million Europeans were captured and sold as slaves to middle-eastern countries during the height of piracy.

Tortuga and Port Royal were actual havens for pirates.

Original pirate flags were red.

Anne Bonny and Mary Reed are interesting pirates to read about.

The height in piracy was often due to lack of occupation for sailors after different wars ended.

* * * * * * *

I was very happy to get to talk to my Mom and Dad, Tommy and Emma on skype today! I can't wait for Day Light Savings Time--I feel like it is easier to find to talk during the Fall and Winter.
Tonight, a friend of ours is coming over to watch Chuck with us. We introduced the show to her a few weeks ago and she has been devouring the episodes. Which is good because tonight, she is bringing chili over for us to devour together! I can't wait!


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