Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm a fan...

I don't think there is a way for me to adequately express my excitement about today's activity!  My sister and I are big "Army Wives" fans.  She found it on Netflix and nagged me until I started watching it.  Well, we took a trip to see where they film the show!  They weren't filming today but I'm sure we are going to go back once they are!

This may seem kinda dumb but I put our pictures with the pictures from the real show so you could see.  First, a picture of the administration building where General Holden works...
Next, we saw Claudia Joy's house with fake vines!
 And the pergola outside her house.
 It's hard to see, but in this picture there are lots of ropes and pulleys...our guess is that is part of the camera and lights stuff.
Then, THIS WAS THE COOLEST PART, we were driving really slowly through the area, and a man was working in one of the houses marked with the Army Wives yellow tape.  He waved at us, we waved back, and then he waved us toward him!  We GOT TO GO INSIDE!  I was just a little excited and accidentally drove over a sprinkler, so sorry Army Wives outside set designer!  Well, this house hasn't been used on the inside yet because it is being restored.  He said that on the next season, this will be the general's house.  It was gorgeous.  Here are some pictures of it. First, the upstairs balcony (that had been staged at one point for AW.) Next, a view of the beautiful front door and a view from the upstairs curved staircase.  And last from the end of the walk.

Suffice it to say that if I had my camera there would be a LOT more pictures but these are from Kelly's iPhone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mission impossible?

All I wanted to do today was find two things:  a plastic organizing thingy and tokens.  If you're a teacher that doesn't sound strange at all!  I got this idea to help me not go crazy with my class.  There are two main problems I have with them:  they don't. stop. talking. and they are always wanting more and more rewards and fun things given to them.  I guess I was spoiled for the past 3 years because I looped with my class. They were awesome and we were truly a family.  It seemed like they really cared about me and I was CRAZY about them.  They were intrinsically motivated, attentive, and all around awesome.

Enter this year's class.  I had a fabulous classroom economy set up, alternative seating (beanbags and lapboards), choice assignments, etc.  I was forgetting one main thing when I planned all those things...these kids were a NEW group!  They were not coming to me ready for all of those totally awesome things that I worked hard to get ready.  I had been warned about this rising group but I figured I could get them under control once they got into my class.

So the first month was a total disaster.  I modeled and demonstrated and taught my expectations like crazy, but it didn't work.  The kids couldn't handle it, even though I think they really wanted to.  I took everything away and went to a total old school discipline system.  You earned rewards if you didn't get in any trouble, and if you did get in trouble you earned silent lunch, no recess, phone call home, etc. 

THAT didn't work either! In the process I was getting so burned out.  My kids who were good started  thinking their rewards weren't enough. "Is this all we get?"  Ungrateful kids are just so not cool.  Then, even the kids I thought I could count on started to be disrespectful and talkative.  I never thought I'd be this teacher...but I was totally the teacher who hated her job and didn't want to go to work.  It's a vicious cycle, because I'm sure the kids can tell and then they don't try their best.

I still don't have the answer.  Christmas break came just in time.  I feel so rejuvenated and ready...well, not really ready, but less dreading going back. 

So back to the original topic:  my two shopping items.  I am going to set up a token system with my class.  Well, if I can find tokens! I went to 4 stores, found the organizing container but no tokens.  I may end up using these flat glass marbles that I already have at school.  I will just have to write the kids' numbers on them very quickly when I get to school on Tuesday!

Basically, all the kids have 10 tokens with their number on it.  When they do something great, you put one of their tokens in a bag.  Then, whenever you need a helper or have an occasion where you need to pick someone, you chose from the bag.  I think this will emphasize doing great things and not emphasize a physical reward that the kids are expecting all the time.  At the end of the week I can pull a number of tokens and give out rewards, but I may not because I can just see the tears if certain kids' numbers don't get pulled.

I'm just brainstorming, but here are some things I want to start implementing/teaching on Tuesday:
  • the token system
  • new expectation posters for different times of the day (arrival, teaching time, working time, transition times)
  • gratefulness (HOW DO I TEACH THIS? :) )
  • maximizing my time (pull a small group even if I have just 10 minutes before the next thing)
 I'll be sure to update with how it actually goes!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New year and other topics

Did you notice the new blog design? For those of you (2 of you) who read this in a reader you should check out what the actual blog looks like! I was bored last night.

New Year's Eve is really not a big deal to me.  Most of the time I'd rather stay home and go to bed at a somewhat normal time.  Last year, I went to a party at a friend's but was actually home by midnight. That's the way I roll.  I usually don't make resolutions but this year I've been inspired to make some goals.  I was reading this blog and loved his ideas.  So here are mine.They are more specific and task oriented by design. (By the way, Kelly, I wrote these in my planner!)

  1. Decorate and paint the laundry room.
  2. Decorate and paint my bathroom.
  3. Begin a new classroom management plan so that I can go less crazy. (I already picked one out. More on this later.)
  4. Blog 
  5. Clean the garage and paint the inside wall.
  6. Lose lbsssss (and go to the gym).
  7. Fix up my lighthouse picture frame so that it better matches my living room colors.
  8. Finish my current Beth Moore Bible study and at least one other one.
  9. Save $$ each month for a new car.
  10. Use more green/homemade cleaning stuff.
These are specific so that I can actually check them off when they happen!  And I do have a # in mind for #6 but I thought I would keep that to myself.

In other news, "The Bachelor" is coming on Monday!!  If you have time for a laugh you should check out Knox McCoy's take on the girls.  They are all pretty disappointing at this point.  What is really interesting is that McCoy rates each girls' hotness and I happen to disagree with him on many of his opinions.  But I guess I'm not a guy so what do I know about girls and their hotness?

Next, I really like this little graphic.

from smbc
And finally, I leave you with this cute little picture I took last night.  Isn't it cool how the whole lamp is glowing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In which I illustrate my nerdiness

The strep throat is on its way out and so I had the ability to actually get up and out of the house today! And it is so sad, because I had so much fun on my outing.  First I went to Best Buy and bought a nifty cable to connect my computer to my new TV! So now I can watch Netflix (i.e. Army Wives) on my new TV!  Next I went to Wal-Mart and the experience was so nice! (I know, weird huh!) It was quiet, people were smiling, and I found everything I wanted.  I bought the things to make homemade detergent and also bought a bunch of Christmas wrapping paper that was 50% off.

So now that I shared that totally unnecessary information, let me share more!  Once I got home I hooked up the nifty cable and I even took a picture of it so that I could show it on my blog. (NERD)
So, in case you couldn't imagine it, there's my computer on the bottom, and the same picture is up there on the TV screen! 

Next I made the detergent which I am SO excited about!  Here are the ingredients.  Then I had to grate the bars of soap (it looked like cheese!) and then mix it all together. It smells great. I also bought a very fancy glass canister at Wal-Mart to store it in.  

Can you see that small scoop there?  That's how much you need to use for each load.  In other words, this is going to last FOREVER! I just added it up - it was $15.87.  It's supposed to last a year, and if that's true I'll be saving a lot! I usually spend at least $10 every couple of months.  So there you go!

I also bought a small bottle of "Seal Gray" paint that I'm going to test in my bathroom. I would really like to find a pretty gray color to paint in there, so we'll see if this is the right one!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My long lost blog

So for some reason I'm in the mood to start blogging again!  It really is a cool way to get out your thoughts and save your memories of a season that may not be so memorable.  I'm going to try a challenge:  30 days of blogging with no skips!  Let's see how far I get!

So for my first blog of this challenge I'd like to share the transformation that happened in my house today.  Of course I didn't think to take a picture of the before, but here is my old TV:

 Excuse the dust.  Now this was a NICE TV, in my opinion.  Big, nice picture, and it was given to me for free!  But, for Christmas, I got a new TV!  This was a total surprise because I didn't even think of asking for a new TV.  I was happy with my old one.  However, I was VERY excited when I saw this one!

(Let's hear it for closed captioning!!) Doesn't that look nice! It is so skinny and light and the picture is crazy good.  I can't believe it.  Now I can go to Best Buy and get a wireless connection to my computer and I can watch Netflix on it!  (My old TV was too old to have the right connections to do that.)

Another thing I am doing tonight is filling out my new agenda from Kelly!

Isn't it pretty? 

These are the kinds of things you do when you have strep throat on your Christmas break! I hope tomorrow I feel better and can actually get out of the house!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day in the life of me

7:00 - Wake up to my iPad alarm - "Aftermath" by Hillsong. Crawl out from under the mosquito net and fold it up, fold up my sheet and blanket. Go downstairs to the restroom and wash my face. The whole restroom thing is getting a whole lot easier and less of an adventure, praise God! Get dressed - every day I have to wear a skirt or dress except on Wednesday, when I can wear pants! I found out that Thai teachers only wear dresses when they are pregnant, which really makes me feel better because people keep asking me if I'm pregnant (I wear dresses a lot!) Put my hair in a ponytail because why try to look cute when I'll be sweating in a matter of minutes? :)

7:40 - Go to school. I get a ride with my house mom - Meow. I ride on the back of her motorcycle. Bai-Thoe, her daughter, sits in front of her! This is exciting because since I wear a dress or skirt, I have to sit sideways! It is an adventure.

8:00 - Walk through lots of students to get to my building. There are 3 buildings on campus. Find my desk in the English department. Take my iPad out and check email and facebook. Love getting emails and carefully read each one! Stand when the Thai Anthem is played throughout the building. I can actually just about sing it to you after all this time!

8am - 3pm - Teach! My days vary from 1 class to 5. Sometimes the days go by very slow and sometimes I am so busy they pass by quickly! Students are constantly walking by my desk, saying hello! I try to chat with the Thai teachers when they aren't too busy.

Classes- each class has 30-40 students. I am teaching 10-12th grade. The period is about 50 minutes long. Some classes are very interested and hang on to every word, and other classes sleep, talk, or do other homework. My lessons so far have been about asking and answering questions, July 4th, and introductions.

Lunch - I walk to the canteen (cafeteria) and decide on my lunch. It will always be rice (OF COURSE!) with either chicken, eggs, or pork. Sometimes a combination! I buy a bottle of water and walk back to the office. The teachers all eat together and sometimes share their food. I have tasted some pretty interesting things! Today I had yellow rice and friend chicken. It was really good!

About 3:00 - head home. There isn't a set time I have to stay until, so I usually finish up my classes, hang out for a bit, and then walk home. It is about a kilometer long walk. It isn't too long but it is always very hot! I'm happy for the exercise though! Sometimes I ask a teacher for a ride on her motorcycle if they are leaving at the same time.

Afternoon - this varies. Here are some of the things I have done in the afternoon: read (I've read 4 novels so far and am now reading Pride and Prejudice), do my Bible study (Beth Moore's Breaking Free - LOVE IT), watch ER on the computer (my dad burned lots of episodes for me), sleep, go get my hair washed (a luxury that I absolutely love), go to 7-11 for drinks, etc. By the way, I will from this point here on have a deep and intense love for 7-11. Not only do they have Pepsi Max (Diet Pepsi), but it is air conditioned! I have spent many a minute perusing the items in there while I really just try to cool off! I can't forget to talk about Bai-Thoe! Many afternoons we share our snack and watch tv or play on my iPad. She is such a fun and cute friend to have around. Yesterday she walked up to my room carrying a bowl of chicken for us to share!

Evening - around 7 we usually eat dinner. Meow usually fixes a couple of different dishes to be served over rice. I have loved every one of her dinners ! We eat on the floor of her living room - Thai style. Sometimes we go out to eat as well. There is also a night market on certain nights that is fun to go to and walk around.

8-10 - I read some more, talk to Meow and the neighbors. Usually I talk to Grandma almost every night! This is such a nice thing for me to not get homesick! I also talk to mom about twice a week and I've talked to Kelly twice now. Before bed, I take a bath. Now, this is not what Americans think of a bath! There is a tank of water in the bathroom. You take a plastic bowl, dip it in the water, and splash it on you. Do this several times, and you're pretty clean!

10:00 - go to sleep!

Thanks for reading about my day! I may come back and add more as I think of things!

Location:Khao Phanom,Thailand

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

American meal

When I was asked to make an American meal, I had to think of something that could be made without an oven and something that I could find all the ingredients here in Thailand. I decided on one of my moms specialties, chicken and dumplings! It was a challenge to find everything but I did! And the next challenge was for a type A like me to cook without any measuring utensils. But I did!

Here are pictures of the cooking process. I took a picture of the final result but for some reason it looks green, so I won't put it up here!

My Thai family liked it and of course ate it over rice! It's something I'll definitely cook again in Thailand.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sport day

Oh my favorite of all days, Sport day! Picture field day to the extreme with a parade, costumes, traditional dance, modern dance, and race after race for 2 days. The kids are divided into four colors that compete with each other. Here are some pictures of the festivities.

This last picture shows the four teams under their own tent. Each group has their own dancers in front of them. You can also see the track. These kids are troopers because it is HOT!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 27, 2011

The latest

**I've been trying to post this since last Tuesday! So, the news is old, but better late than never!

I started school and all is going well! I'm using some of my introduction stuff that I used two years ago so I know what reaction I'm going to get with pretty much everything I do. You have to speak v e r y. s l o w l y. And enunciate like crazy. But it works! I try to imagine some French person was coming to talk to me and how I would feel. Even though I studied it a lot, it's way different with a native speaker. Here are some pictures.

Morning assembly - all students sit and wait, then stand for the Thai anthem, pay respect to Buddha, and meditate. Then they are deluged with lots of school announcements and lectures, from what I can tell.
Lunch - students can eat in the "canteen" but some choose to come back to the English department. The boy on the right always comes to talk to me! I can tell he works up his courage every time!

My second class, 10th grade - they are reading my introduction.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Khao Phanom,Thailand

My Saturday

This Saturday I had the day to myself. It was kind of nice to be independent after being taken everywhere. I washed clothes, then went to the park to read. You can see it's a very nice park! The first picture is of the exercise machines. Of course I went to 7-11. I go there at least once a day! I walked around town and had lunch. That evening, i went with Meow to a special market, like a fair. It was pretty fun and interesting. I found some American brand clothing there for CHEAP but I didn't see anything I had to have! It was a good day!

Location:Khao Phanom,Thailand

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bai Thoe

This post is all about the adorable three year old that lives in the house where I am staying. Her name is kind of pronounced like buy-toy. She has been coming up to my room in the afternoons when she gets home from school. She calls me Adjun Katie, which means Teacher Katie. The way she says it is so cute!

I introduced her to my iPad and of course she loves it. She loves the pond app where it looks like a real pond with fish and lily pads. I also downloaded an app called Talking Tom 2 which repeats what you say in a funny voice. That was a total hit!

Location:Khao Phanom,Thailand

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The offending roosters

Yes, these are the roosters that love to talk. All. Night. Long.

They are on the roof of the house next door.

In other news, check out this much more precious neighbor.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Khao Phanom,Thailand

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sightseeing on saturday!

On Saturday Richard, Linda, and I had a great time traveling around the province of Krabi. We got lost a couple of times, but it was a good thing because we found new places they had never seen before. Around every corner seemed to be another breathtaking view. Here are some of the pictures I took...

(you can always click on a picture to see it bigger!)

This is a little off topic, but i saw these dresses, Karlie, and thought of you!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Thanon Chamaianouson,Muang Krabi,Thailand