Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 18

Read to Me

In the three years we've been together, there have been a handful of times that Bob and I have spent a significant amount of time together in his truck. For instance, there have been multiple trips to Oregon, once for trailer-camping, and too-many-times-to-count for house hunting -- and buying -- in Bend. And last summer, we went to Montana for Caty and Andy's wedding in Glacier National Park.

We've spent HOURS in the truck together.

And it's actually quite nice. We spend time talking, viewing great American scenery, sometimes listening to music, and of course, sleeping. Well, I sleep. Bob drives. We're at the tail-end of a trip right now. It's my Spring Break, and we drove up to Bend to check on the house and spend time with friends, and are now taking our time getting back home by way of one night in Reno and one night in Bridgeport. On this trip, I spent a lot of our truck-time grading exams and catching up on work email.

But there's also been time to read to Bob while he's driving.

We're almost to the end of the Kindle version of this, which we started on our last trip to Bend, I think. It's been so interesting reading about the circumstances and historical events leading up to Kennedy's assassination. Today, just about 20 miles out of Bridgeport, we made it through the assassination itself, and Bob had a difficult time understanding me through my sobs. Powerful stuff.

When we went to Montana last summer, Caty's brother's partner told us about this book:

We bought it before we left Glacier National Park, and read it on the way home. And I'm SO glad we didn't read it while still in the park. I would have had to stay in the truck the entire time. With a loaded rifle at the ready. It was terrifying.It's the true story of two deadly grizzly attacks that occurred in Glacier in the summer of 1967...on the same night. Chilling.

The first book I read to Bob in the truck was another exciting one that I'd read silently to myself years ago.

I was certain Bob would really like it, and was right. He was mesmerized, as I was.

And so began our tradition of reading great books aloud together while traveling.

Looking forward to reading the rest of "Killing Kennedy" tomorrow. I hope we have enough miles left.

100 Days Project -- Day 17

Middle Childhood Flix Fix

I teach child development, which covers birth through adolescence. Typically, people who teach child development specialize in a specific age range. For me, that is early childhood because I came to the field through being a preschool teacher, and most of my research has been in preschool classrooms. I love 3- to 5-year-olds because they can be amazingly verbal; completely illogical one moment, and more logical than most adults the next; and you don't have to guess what they're thinking or's all out there, plain as day.

School-aged kids, though, they're another ball 'o wax. And about three years ago, I began teaching an upper division course on middle childhood, which spans 6- to 12-years-old. I don't have as much experience here, though when I first began teaching preschool, I was also a substitute teacher for an after-school program at the Ventura YMCA where I mostly worked with kindergarteners and 1st graders. And in my last year in the doctoral program at UT, I supervised undergraduates as they did field experience in K-3rd grade classrooms in three elementary schools. I don't have as many firsthand experiences to draw from, though, so I've found that since I started teaching the course, in addition to reading whatever I can find about school-aged kids, I also tend to be drawn to movies with children that age in them.

I even use some of them in class. For instance, my students watch the movie "Billy Elliot" and write a paper in which they analyze 11-year-old Billy's life for middle childhood developmental concepts.

Great movie (here's a trailer if you're not familiar), and I'll be reading this semester's batch of papers soon.

Though I wouldn't use it for the same type of paper, "Stand by Me" definitely has good middle childhood themes in it.

When I get around to using some clips from it, the "cool factor" is evident, as I'm able to tell my students that my high school principal's brother co-wrote the screenplay and was nominated for an Oscar for it. True story. Great flick, as you'll see in this trailer. (And many of my students watch "The Big Bang Theory," so they'll likely get a kick out of the fact that Wil Wheaton is there on the left.)

I'm not sure why this movie wasn't more popular in the U.S., but it's another great one with a school-aged child as the main character: "Millions." The trailer will give you a little taste.

I absolutely love that Damian, the main character, has an incredibly vivid imagination. He is not only obsessed with learning all he can about all of the Catholic saints, but imagines that he has conversations with them...including female saints that smoke like truckers.

And I found this one just a few weeks ago, a film from Japan called "I Wish."

The main character is one of two brothers whose parents have recently split, and he lives with his mom and grandparents, while his little brother lives with his dad in another city. He longs to bring their family back together, and hears from a schoolmate that, if you make a wish at the exact moment that two new super-trains pass each other going opposite directions, it will come true. He enlists the help of his brother and their friends to make this happen, and it's hilarious and heart-warming all at the same time.

One of my current students is from Japan, and she had not heard of the movie, and I recommended it (see trailer here). She watched it (loved it, too), and said that the two boys in it are actually brothers, and are very popular in Japan. When I get around to using clips -- or even the entire movie when I get tired of "Billy Elliot" -- that will work for "cool factor."

Always helps to have that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 16

Double Take

This is our house. Our house. I'm a part of the "our." I have a house. We have a house. Seriously.

Of course, someone else is living in it currently, as it's in Bend, and we still live in Fresno. But this is our house.

See? We even have this tree at our house.

This is us at our house. (When we first bought it.)

This is our friends, Paige and Erich, at our house. (When we first bought it.)

These are some Quaking Aspen we bought today to plant in the backyard at our house.

And this is another tree -- an Austrian Pine -- for our house.
We have a house. Seriously.

I don't know if you can tell...but I never expected to be part of an "our house."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 15

Lot Food

Paige and Erich introduced us to "The Lot" last night...a food-truck-court and tap house in Bend. It wasn't snowing, like in this picture, but it's open in winter, too. It's a "pod" of food trucks, outside, parked around this area for dining that is you're eating outside...but not.

Super cool. Only in the right ways. Here's a news story about it. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

100 Days Project - Day 14

Good News / Bad News

The good news is that we're in Bend for a few days, and are staying with some of our favorite people on the planet -- Paige and Erich.
The bad news? I forgot to ask for their wireless key before they went to bed, so am tapping this out on the iPhone again.
'Nuf said.

Friday, April 11, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 13


Finally...time off.
It's called Spring Break, but is it?
Hmmm...break?...or catch up?