Thursday, October 27, 2011

Impressed With Teaching Strategies

Yesterday I went to my granddaughter's school to celebrate her 7th birthday by bringing her lunch. When I arrived, I was a few minutes early. At the door to her 1st grade classroom, I noticed most of her classmates sitting at their desks, some of them with their heads down. Audrey wasn't among them.

Audrey's teacher told me that Audrey was outside playing with two other students from the class, because she had made good choices that morning. Everybody sitting at their desks, which included most of the class, was not allowed to go to recess, because throughout the morning, they had made bad choices.

Miss May's teaching strategies impressed me. Instead of punishing the kids for misbehaving or for not following directions, she was teaching them that the choices they made resulted in either a reward or no reward. She also placed the responsibility of their decisions upon the children themselves.

Critical thinking is an important skill that teaches students how to think independently and take responsibility for the choices they make. Teaching critical thinking skills is imperative if we want our children to start making good choices.

After thinking about the situation I witnessed yesterday, I wonder if my granddaughter's school used any of the guides offered at Mentoring Minds, a teacher education web site that includes, in their research page, a Critical Thinking Strategies Guide and a Critical Thinking Wheel, because I think that when students recognize that the choices they make result in consequences or rewards, they will make better choices

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mental Anguish, Physical Comfort

Over the weekend, my writing partner called to tell me that our screenplay was copyrighted. It was the first time I had heard her voice (though I had begun the screenplay years ago, the two of us had been working on this script only since last February).

Earlier this month I registered the completed script and she was supposed to copyright it, but the copyright process took a while because her computer was in the shop. Finally, though, and happily, on October 21, 2011, Edith and Ethel Go to Brown County was copyrighted. We are elated!

Our first step when the screenplay was registered and copyrighted, was to contact Jane Lynch and Joan Cusack to see if they would like to read the script. We wanted these two women, who would be hilarious in the movie, to read the script first. We haven't thought past that step though – we may enter it in contests if we don't hear from Jane and Joan within the next few weeks.

Busy all day Saturday, I decided to relax on Sunday while I worked on another screenplay, a couple of blogs, and some articles – after I figured out why my sink was leaking. I was hoping to also have time to hang the drapes that have been sitting on my bed for the past two weeks, because I couldn't figure out how to get the drill bits to fit in the drill. (Another problem solved after I brought the drill and the drill bits to the place where I bought the drill bits and learned how to install them).

NOT getting dressed yesterday would have looked lazy if anybody had dropped in, so I put on some medical scrubs and ran to the sink where, after careful examination, I found the source of the leak. You see, when my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law's sister's boyfriend (following this?) installed the sink, they tightened the "whatever-it's-called" (a bowl-type plastic attachment on the underside of the sink) too tightly. So for the past few months, it has been broken and, without my knowledge, leaking.

After researching and viewing several online article and videos, one of which was NOT how I wanted to fix my sink (the guy used some kind of foam that would have looked like I had fungus growing from under my sink), I decided the cheapest and easiest way to fix my fairly new sink is to put putty all around the whatever-it's-called. So another problem solved (once I get the putty).

When I discovered that mold had been growing where the water had been dripping, I realized the source of my illness for the past few months (I'm highly allergic to mold), so I feel good knowing I've solved THAT problem.

Thinking I had time to actually WORK yesterday, I went on to my next project. But then, as usually happens, another problem surfaced. Having crocheted a few scarves and hats I hoped to sell on eBay or etsy, I decided to take photos of them and download them onto my laptop.

iPhoto, which came with my laptop, stopped working though, and after several failed attempts – one of which was to try ImageCapture (another program that came with my MacBook Pro), and PhotoShop (importing didn't work), I discovered that the only way I could download photos from my camera was by using the Preview program, yet another program that came with my laptop.

After several hours of shutting off my computer, restarting the computer, plugging my camera in, taking my camera out, and trying different programs – Success! Preview worked!

So what it comes down to is this: I spent the whole day yesterday TRYING to accomplish my goals, but accomplished only making breakfast and lunch. Suddenly it was 7 p.m. so I closed my laptop, made myself some dinner, and turned on the television where I watched a delightful new program, "Once Upon a Time," words I used to use to begin every story when I was a child.

While I was mentally anguished for most of the day with numerous problems, at least I was physically comfortable all day solving them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love Laptop Computers

When I first began writing, I used pencils and fountain pens. I loved the fluidity of fountain pens and the control I had using pencils – sometimes the results were sharp; other times they were soft, slanted, and smooth. Reclining on a couch or sitting on my bed, leaning against a tree or lying on the carpet, I recorded my thoughts in notebooks and on three-hole-punch ruled paper.

Then one day, on a Christmas morning in my early teens, I found a typewriter under the tree and and fumbled, one finger at a time, page after page, to bring my words to life. When the ribbon reached the end, I manually rolled it back to the beginning and started over, using it until it ran completely dry.

My first computer was an Apple IIe, which I used for college classes I took. Better than pulling paper out of a typewriter and correcting with White-Out, I was now able to erase everything and print my college papers on a dot-matrix printer.

But the problem with computers was that I was tethered to a desk. I'd lost the freedom to sit outside and record my thoughts. I no longer was able to recline on a couch or sit back on my bed.

And then (open the curtains and listen to the applause) laptop computers arrived! My eyes opened wide – FREEDOM!

I'm not the type to sit at a desk all day. I have to get up and stretch my legs. I have to move around. I have to be comfortable. Laptops allow me to write from my bed or sit on the couch or at the kitchen table. VERSATILITY means that I can take my computer with me when I visit my son no matter where he is stationed or bring it with me to any of my grandchildren's homes so that I can work when I need to work.

It took me several years to save up for my MacBook Pro, dropping all of my change every week into a canister set. It was one of the best investments I ever made and I haven't regretted it for one minute.

(Post was written on the couch while waiting for my grandchildren to awaken.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nurse Ratched Could Be In a Doctor's Office Near You!

As she stood on the other side of the office with her arms folded across her white lab coat, she reminded me of Nurse Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher in the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson).

I was in my pulmonary specialist's office having an attack of pneumonia (though I didn't know it at the time) and had to get an x-ray. I was told to call back later in the afternoon to get the results.

When I called back, Ratched told me that she wouldn't be able to give me the results because the doctor was gone.

"Can't you locate him? It's Friday," I explained, as if she didn't know.

She might as well have sneered, "yeah, so?" as I wondered, isn't nursing supposed to be a caring profession? "I need my results! How will I get the results if the doctor is gone?"

"You'll have to wait until next Tuesday (the doctor wasn't in on Monday)."

"But what if it turns out to be pneumonia? Can't you find somebody else to read the results?"

"You'll have to wait. There's nothing I can do about it."

I'm not usually a tattletale, but I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I was afraid I might die if I had to wait until next Tuesday to find out what was causing my breathing difficulties. 

Nurse Ratched was apathetic to my situation, so after I ended up IN the hospital, because the following morning I drove myself to the emergency room where I was admitted, I made sure to tell my doctor about Nurse Ratched's behavior.

Doctors don't want their nursing staff to treat patients as horribly as Nurse Ratched treated me. He assured me he would attend to the matter.

We all come across people who hate us for no reason, but personal issues do not belong in a doctor's office. Maybe she was menopausal, maybe she didn't like me on sight (I never met her until that day), maybe she was just having a bad day, or maybe she was insane. Whatever HER problem was, she needed a slap of reality.

That was in June, and I'm glad I talked to my pulmonary specialist about my treatment, because I am again having lung problems, and I will be returning to his office tomorrow. If I see Nurse Ratched there, I will be tempted to give her a Cuckoo Clock.

By the way, the reason I haven't been online much lately is not only due to the fact that I have been sick for the past couple of weeks, but also because my youngest daughter gave birth to my newest granddaughter, and I've been away from the computer – a LOT!

Expecting twins

Contributed by Milford Woods

My husband and I found out we were pregnant a few months ago and were on top of the world. We knew we were going to have to make a few budget changes and cut backs to pay for the new baby, but we also knew it would be well worth it. Today we had our first ultrasound and we are actually having twins! Twins! That means double everything. While we are still excited, we are trying to figure out how to pay for two babies. Luckily after finding some great direct tv deals, learning how to coupon and making some major changes to our budget, I am confident we will be fine. It has taken a lot of work to go from crazy worry to calm worry, but I am proud of my husband for all his hard work. He is going to make a great dad and I am so lucky to have him in my life. He is able to take my crazy moments and fix them. He is a wonderful guy and I can’t wait to give him two precious, little children.



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