The process really is E-A-S-Y. Teachers (public schools only) fill out a proposal and shop for items in a on-line catalog from retailers that we all probably shop from (Best Buy, Lakeshore Learning, School Specialty, etc.). Before submitting my first proposal, I read many others to get a feel for what other teachers needed for their students and how they presented the request. Once the DC staff approves it (for grammar, feasibility and other stuff), it is put on the DC site. Not all of my proposals have been funded (I think 2-3 did not). It's not a huge deal- I just resubmitted it and it was funded later. It can take up to 5 months to get funded sometimes. There are also many opportunities for funds to be matched by companies and other foundations. DonorsChoose will email you when there is an offer so you can promote it to friends on Facebook or however you choose. My parents love to take advantage to the matching offers in order to double their impact!
Donors are able to log on and donate to any project they like! I've been funded by complete strangers the most- How awesome is that?!! I have also opened it up to my family, friends and school families. In lieu of Christmas gifts this past year, I requested that they make a tax-deductible donation to DC instead. It's the gift that keeps on giving and goes right back to benefit their own child.
Now that teachers are not able to claim classroom expenses on their taxes anymore, I'll be donating to my classroom through DonorsChoose.org (which IS tax-deductible). I urge you to check out the DonorsChoose.org site for more information. This is an amazing opportunity for our children!
You can check out my page for some ideas.... Mrs. Smyth's First Grade on DonorsChoose.org
I want to give a shout to a favorite blog for continuing to inspire me for the last year- Charity at The Organized Classroom . She put out a Five-Star Blogger Challenge a few weeks ago (and I got side-tracked!). I hope it inspires you today like it did me!
I watched my sweet friend (we’ll call her Giggles), who teaches kindergarten. She taught first grade a while back, so we understood the joy and challenges of each grade. Her management of the workshop was FLAW-LESS! She stated the teaching point 6 times in 8 minutes- seriously! If those kiddos didn’t get it something was seriously wrong J Side note- research says that if we state the main idea 3-5 times, the brain will hold on to it. Kinders need a few more because they only pay attention ½ the time- ha!, ha! Aside from the basic structure, Giggles did a few other cool teacher moves that I love and am stealing for my own.
I also really appreciated the length of her conferences. She only spent about 5-6 minutes on each student. Seriously, we know they stop listening after 5 minutes! Above all, she filled them with words of encouragement and a drive to succeed on their own.
When Giggles observed me, I tried to pretend she wasn’t there. I love her- I do, but I was still nervous. Why would I feel this way about a trusted friend and coworker? Simple, we all want to do and be the best for our students. I enjoyed the debriefing of the lesson the best. I loved talking with her about the nuances of workshop and how much we were able to learn from each other. Are we perfect? Heck, no! However, this exercise did open up more opportunities for conversations and broke the ice for authentic learning by watching another teacher. That is more valuable than any book!
DONALD DUCK AND THE DIABOLICAL DUCK AVENGER
Now here's something interesting: Fellow fan Blotling has just brought us a translation of the first-ever appearance of the Duck Avenger, from the Italian comic "Topolino".
The Avenger was a lot less sympathetic in his first appearances - in fact, he wasn't even supposed to be much of a superhero, just a way for Donald to take care of the people who wronged him. The superhero thing came later, when people eventually got tired of Donald just being a jackass.
After mentioning in my last post how i was looking forward to Anzac Day i have to say how proud I am of my little man.
We decided to attend our local Anzac day march this year and Mick asked his father if Flynn could wear his great-grandfathers medals. We told him who they belonged to and that Poppa Charlie got them for "being very brave ". ( "Brave " to Flynn is not crying when you get your immunisation needles, but i digress... ). Then i told him that at the march we clap and we wave and we say thank you to all the Nannies and Poppies for making us safe. Thats the simplest way i could think of to explain why we honour and uphold the Anzac Day traditions.
Even though Poppa Charlies medals accdientally broke ( not the medals themselves but the rusted old safety pin holding them together ) and they couldnt be worn, i was still so proud of Flynn. We met up with the rest of our family - my neice was marching with her school - and Flynn sat up on his Poppies shoulders so he could see. He sat up their and he clapped his little heart, and he waved to the veterans who leaned out of their cars and waved to the crowds. He gave them the " thumbs up " and i even once or twice heard him say " Thank you Poppies! "... i seriously almost burst into tears at how beautifully poignant it all was. Here was my little man, not even 3 years old, and nowhere near old enough to fully appreciate what had been done for him by these men and women, but i'm confident that the Australian spirit is already well instilled in him.
Of course, in the afternoon we also had my dad's birthday to celebrate and Flynn had ( at my urging, of course ) drawn him a beautiful picture of Pops garden, that we had turned into a birthday card. Of course " Pops garden " looked very much like a huge brown scribble surrounded by dots and dashes of colour, but Flynn was very proud of himself and it gave my Dad the biggest smile when he handed him his card and said " Happy Birthday Old Fella! " - at which point he grinned cheekily and then zoomed off on his tricycle.
Anzac Day may not be the most joyful of days, but i certainly had myself one enjoyable day yesterday. Now, onto Saturday and our garage reno, bbq lunch and then " The Avengers " film on Sunday afternoon!
Although I have been using Words Their Way for the last 5 years, I was never trained in it or formally told to use it. It just made sense to me, being the hands-on kinda girl I am. If you are not familiar, here is the book that can get you started:
How does it work?
An initial assessment/inventory is given to all students. From there, the teacher uses a feature chart to grade and put together learning groups based on needs. Once the students are in groups (I limit to no more than 4 in one class), they will sort pictures or words into sound and spelling patterns. This will teach the students to find the patterns, manipulate word concepts and apply critical thinking skills. Even irregular spelling patterns in our language! There are separate books of sorts to support each spelling stage. You can give spelling tests, but it's really not needed. There are built in assessments at certain points throughout the program to readjust groups, based on growth.
I'm in the middle of the Power Point right now, so I'll have more to share as I go on. This was just a taste of what is to come.
And so, in the interests of keeping this blog alive ( and to take up sometime, seeing as this office is beyond quiet today ) i thought i might make a small list of things i am looking forward to in the next few months ( not exactly in chronological order, because i have a slight case of baby brain and i forget specifics like dates ):
1. Anzac Day - sure, its nice to get a day off during the middle of the week, but Anzac Day is also my Dads birthday. We see him pretty much everyday, but i'm looking forward to getting Flynn to draw him a picture or do him some "craft " and watching both of their faces light up when Poppy unwraps it. We're also planning on taking Flynn to his first Anzac march this year, so that important too.
2. Having our garage converted - from a garage into a bedroom/playroom for Flynn. It will mean more space for Flynn to play, less toys in my loungeroom ( in theory ) and once Flynn has moved out, his old room will be ready t set up for Little Miss Jelly!
3. " Elmo's World Tour " - this Sesame Street stage show is coming to our regional theatre and got Flynn and myself front row tickets! He loved The Wiggles but Elmo and the Sesame Street gang are Flynn's favourites, so i'm looking forward to seeing his awesome "excited " face!
4. Roadtrip to Sydney - just me and Mick. As we're business owners now, and Mick is really the only driver we have, he cant take annual leave for at least the first year or two... all of which made me think that we need to take every opportunity we have to get away ( ie public holidays ) or to make our opportunity. So i got all sneaky and booked us a weekend down in Sydney with the aim of doing something that we would each enjoy. So the Saturday morning we'll have a sticky beak at the Baby and Toddler Expo at Homebush, and then in the afternoon i've booked us a one hr ride around the city, out to Bondi and return, on the back of a Harley Davidson trike. I'm not sure which bit i'm more excited about ( aww hell, i'm dying to get on this trike! ) all i know is that we better get nice weather or we'll have to reschedule our trike tour - which would mean a roadtrip down with a small baby sometime later this year.... :/
And thats about enough for now. There is Mothers Day of course, and i'm still tossing up whether to attend our belated ten year school reunion on the June long weekend.... and how can i forget there is a baby coming sometime in August! I just know that i seem to cope better, to function better, when i have something on my calendar to look forward to, to keep me going. Its so much easier to make it throughe the day when you can say " Man, today sucks the big one... but hey, i get to see Elmo next week! "
I can put my hand up and admit it - i'm back seeing a counsellor and working through cognitive behaviour therapy again. Perhaps its partly all this extra oestrogen pumping around my body, perhaps it was the 3 major life events ( wedding/pregnancy/starting a business ) all within 2 months of each other that has pushed me over the edge, but those sneaky negative thoughts and anxieties are back with a vengeance. The good news is that this time i'm old enough and wise enough to recognise them for what they are - and i am one bazillion percent determined to get them under control before my gorgeous baby girl gets here.
I will not let myself sink under the black clouds this time. I owe to Mick and to Flynn to be the wife and mother that they deserve, i owe it to my unborn daughter to be a strong capable woman who will raise her to be the same. But, most of all, i owe it to myself. I have come too far, through too much shit ( for lack of a better word - lets face it, depression is complete and utter shit ) to lose " me " in a sea of wife/mother/daughter/business owner and whatever the hell else i am supposed to be.
So - the good news is i'm back. The bad news is i've gone all "head-case " again. Or as Matchbox20 so succintly put it ... " I'm not crazy, i'm just a little unwell "....
We got to Robertson Walk at a work-life-balanced 8.45pm (“early”, relatively) and were just about to auto-pilot direct ourselves to Orihara for some sake and oden when Damotory (I can't find the address online but it's right in the middle of the courtyard you can't miss it) caught our eye. The banner screamed “opening 50% discount for WINE & BEER” – it was quite the no-brainer for two thirsty and hungry people to be drawn into the restaurant.
Damotory was almost full house but lucky us, we scored a nice tatami mat table in the corner . The clientele seemed to comprise a fair number of local Koreans – always a good sign.
The food menu was simple – about 15-20 items on a small flipboard with pictures, we quickly settled on 3 items for sharing. The drink menu, on the other hand, was quite challenging – so many types of rice wines, shochu, medicinal wines! I was tempted to order the chrysanthemum wine but B wanted the maggeolli (rice wine) instead.
There was a bit of a wait for the food since it was full house but we comforted our stomachs with the free banchan (small dishes) first. I loved the sautéed onions. The kimchi radish was pretty good too. B was very pleased with the maggeolli. Yes that white shoulder in the picture belongs to B.
When the food came, I was personally pretty stuffed on banchan. But I have to say, it was, for the most part, worth the wait. First up, the Gibijjim – traditional korean style braised short ribs $20. This came sizzling in a stone pot and the meat was so tender that it was falling off the bone … The “sauce/ soup”, though a tad too sweet for my liking, provided warm comfort. The radish soaked up the sauce nicely, I polished off most of it.
Next came the Nakji Bokeum - spicy stir-fried octopus with vegetables and noodles $20. Wow this packed quite a spicy kick. I really liked the thin cold noodles this came with, perfect with the spicy sauce.
By the time the Gyeran Malee - folded-over omelette with cheese came $15, we were really, really stuffed. It’s a simple dish, but I thought they did it well. The egg was moist and I loved eating it layer by layer. Too much of a good thing though, we had to pack the remainder home. “Bet it’ll taste even better cold”, B says.
A much needed respite from a crazy work week at a neat price of $65++ for the 2 of us. I am definitely returning to try the exotic (Korean ginseng?) wines and more food items. Hmm, I wonder when the 50% discount ends.
PKNA#38 - In the Fog
Banker brings us another cool issue.
Also, Danes might like to know that the second never-been-published-in-Denmark issue of PKNA is a part of THIS week's Anders And & Co. I believe they're gonna do the first four issues.
(Also, I swear I'm gonna update the download page tomorrow.)
Seriously. Can it BE more lovely on Earth?
|More Grand Canyon|
Alright, let’s do this proper like:
PKNA #31 Bonus story: I am Xadhoom - Flat line
This is a good one. Huge props to Aspargus32.
Banker also brought a little something: The entire frickin' Xadhoom trilogy.
PKNA#35 - Stowaway on Board
PKNA#36 - Far, Far Away
PKNA#37 - Under a New Sun
I'm getting chills guys. But wait, Disney has also brought us some goodies:
If you're Greek, check this out:
Oh yes, PKNA is coming to Greece as Οι Νέεες Περιπέτειες του Φάντομ Ντακ. I don't know a lot of details about this one - websites about it tend to be in Greek. But if you're Greek too, go check it out!
Oh, and if you're Danish like me:
Yes! Check out this bad boy: http://www.gucca.dk/boeger/staalanden-reloaded-00_199173.html
A hardcover collection of the first four issues of PKNA - meaning three issues that have NEVER been released in Denmark, as well as Stålanden #1 "Skygger på Venus".
God, I want this thing!
That's it. Alright guys, Disney is making a move with spreading PKNA throughout the world. Let's show our appreciation and make it worth their while!
Yes, I'm quite the cheap drunk (as if you didn't know already).
Anyway, the highlight foodwise for me was the Bo Innovation booth. I can't afford to go for a meal at the HK restaurant proper, but I did spend all of my $21 savour dollars there!
First, I tried the legendary "molecular xiao long bao (XLB)" which most rave about. Indeed, Alvin Leung's technique of making skinless raviolis (apparently popularized by Ferran Adria) was most impressive. The "bubble" just burst XLB juice in my mouth and it was really very tasty. At $9 dollars a pop though, I'd say it's a "try once" novelty.
Luckily, the Har Mae Lo Mein was more filling. It's supposed to be a deconstructed version of the famous Malaysian classic. I loved it - dry noodles infused with rich robust prawn flavour and the scattering of tobiko truly complemented the dish.
Hmm, is it too ambitious for me to say I'd try re-creating this at home? Nice event, Savour. I'd go again next year!