Digging Deeper into Teaching and Learning

During this school year I am working toward reaching National Board Certification as a teacher in the area of Early Adolescence/ English/Language Arts. By the time I submit my Portfolio in late March I will have videotaped my classroom discussions, reflected on my teaching, analyzed student work, and written about how I have improved myself as a teacher leader and a partner with parents. An exam comes later in the spring. This is a rigorous program which caused me to miss most of our last beautiful week-end of September while I was focused on work in my study. I really love it though. I love digging deeper into my teaching of reading, literature, and writing and researching best practices. My students have been cooperative so far when I have questioned them about how they learn and prodded them about their multiple intelligences. We'll see how all of us do the first time we videotape. One student predicted either he would start laughing or I would trip and fall. I can only hope his first prediction is more accurate! Stay tuned.

Autumn Has Arrived

"The season for enjoying the fullness of life --
partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest
with others, and reinvesting and saving portions
of the harvest for yet another season of growth."
Denis Waitley

We thought frost was going to arrive later in the week so JEJ began the autumn ritual of moving the plants in the greenhouse today. It is always difficult to decide what comes in and what has to suffer from the frost. The greenhouse just won't hold all the geraniums, spider plants, petunias, wandering jew,and begonias. When I arrived home JEJ was carrying the aroma of scented geraniums on his shirt. I knew the move had taken place. As I moved through the greenhouse I inhaled the earthy aromas of the summer plants. Yes, autumn has arrived! Sweet William was thrilled to have his favorite resting spot restored for winter.

Gathering Around the Table Peruvian Style

When I was in Moscow last week-end another special dinner was held on Saturday evening. Mercedes and Gloria, two teacher leaders from our Northwest Inland Writing Project last summer, wanted to treat the facilitators to a Peruvian feast. We arrived at Mercedes' house after a meeting all day and what a feast we had. Unfortunately I was so busy taking foodie pictures, eating, and conversing I forgot to write down the names of these wonderful dishes. I will just describe them here. The gathering started out with chips and spicy salsas and a most delicious sangria.The soup was a combination of shrimp, rice, peas, and other goodies with a sauce that could be added on top. This is a delightfully fresh drink made with Peruvian rum. It looks so pretty also! I really need the recipe. Actually, I need all the recipes.The vegetable side dish was a combination of cold potatoes, olives, hard boiled egg and a hot cheese sauce in a bed of lettuce. A basil and garlic enhanced pasta with a spicy pork chop was next on the menu. Then of course was an amazing dessert. Mercedes prepared a crepe that was filled with cinnamon infused coffee ice cream, then topped with a pear sauce. The hot crepe melted the ice cream just enough to blend all the flavors. The evening continued with strong coffee , sharing of writing, and conversation.We met and worked with Mercedes and Gloria because of our friend Bev above. Thanks Bev for introducing us to these two amazing women. We learned so much about their lives in Peru through their writing in the summer institute, but enjoying the flavors and traditions of their native country at this special gathering.
Thanks again Mercedes and Gloria! Now I will get the names of those dishes and the recipes! April, my co-facilitator, was taking in the whole experience across the table from me.

Sibling Assignment #107: September Afternoon Postcard

Raymond Pert gave the Sibling Assignment for this week. You will soon find his here and Silver Valley Girl's post sharing lovely words for autumn is here. Write a postcard, in poetry or prose, patterned after Ted Kooser. His are winter postcards of winter morning walks. Ours will be autumn postcards and we'll make our observations however we want...walking, driving, sitting, whatever....and time of day is up to us...
His postcards: 1. State the date 2. State the weather conditions 3. Capture physical detail of the moment 4. Reflects upon that moment, either implicitly or explicitly

September 25

Blinding sunshine and hot

The long-awaited shade enveloped
the rustic chairs
while awaiting the fiery red hue of the burning bush.

In afternoon, an overpowering need to pause
and, though the mind is muddled with facts and figures,
grab a cool drink,
perch amid the last blooms of summer,
recall the hint of smoke and cool air
of autumns past.

by inlandempiregirl
September 2009

Step-by-Step Photo Secrets

During my bedtime reading I have been learning "how to make your photos look like the pros!" with a practical book The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby. I don't have a thousand dollar camera, a tripod, fancy lenses, or other tools he suggested. I have a Canon Power Shot A560 and mostly "cross my fingers, do fifteen takes, point and shoot."
This morning I decided to go out and try some of what I learned from the section "Shooting Flowers Like a Pro. "
Here are some tips I learned:
-take pictures in the morning light -take the picture from a different position -use a spray bottle of water to make it appear that it has rained -get down on your knees and capture the flower from below
-take pictures at dusk -always practice with Kit

I think tomorrow I will move to the section "Shooting Landscapes Like a Pro".

Writer's Block, Gratitude, and Wholeness of Women

"Women's work is always toward wholeness."- May Sarton

Recently I gathered around the table with a group of women ( and Rodney, our male leader) for a celebration and gratitude dinner for our friend Brenda (above with a glimpse of Sherry). A group of us serves on a leadership team for the Northwest Inland Writing Project and we wanted to show our appreciation to Brenda for all she has done for the organization. As I sat around the table at the Sangria Grill in Moscow with this group I marveled at the intelligence, stamina, creativity, and determination that was a part of each of the people around the table.( Above are Bev and April, then Carol in the picture right above.)It was only fitting that we found Steel's Writer's Block wine to toast the occasion. We loved that The Bard was on the label. Good food, blooming roses, gifts, grandbaby pictures, and much laughter all added to the festive gathering. As women we do often work toward wholeness whether it is with our life's work, our families, or our friends. I felt that wholeness of women around the table that evening.

Favorite Summer Images Part 2: The iPod Ad

This is brother Raymond Pert having some fun with his niece's iPod the last day of our Oregon coast trip.

Farewell to Summer

Today on the calendar marks the last day of summer. Starting school always feels more like the start of autumn in my mind. Other signs of autumn are popping up all over. Silver Valley Girl got frost in Kellogg. The burning bushes are turning red at school. The Halloween store was open yesterday on Division Street in Spokane. We had a recent late summer rain, pictured above.
As I say farewell to another summer I wanted to post some of my favorite images of the Summer of 2009.
This was my favorite bouquet. our first tomato the ivy geraniums hanging by the garage

the lilies of July a favorite view of the Oregon coast the dogs first run in the ocean
a first rose of June the vivid color of morning gloryon the deck at the writing retreat

Images of a Road Trip

Friday was a beautiful day to do a road trip. As I waited for the ferry to reach our side of Lake Roosevelt I was able to snap some pictures. The Columbia Princess had a light load as it headed for the Inchelium side.The lake sparkled like diamonds that afternoon.
I was treated to a beautiful sunset after I arrived in Moscow.
Walking around campus Saturday I couldn't help but snap pictures of the buildings, especially the ivy-covered Administration Building. It was a week-end full of friendship, good food, good cheer, and good work.