Thursday, June 25, 2009
When I heard the news about Michael Jackson today, this is the first song that came to mind. I was in fifth or sixth grade when this song came out. I remember singing this song in music class. We knew we were touching little children singing this to our moms.
Ok... I see my pun here, and it was so unintentional. I mean that we were sweet children showing the world how to be sweet people.
Also, my Girl Scout troop lip synced this song at some sort of competition in the mall. I remember I was Willy Nelson. I think Tania was Michael Jackson.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Jason seems to be one of their favorite "characters." For one thing, Jason's rocker reputation blows their minds. His long blond hair and his biker boots get them thinking. Some of the basketball players found his picture at Oklee High School and enjoyed his odd-ball picture immensely.
"Mrs. Aakhus, why did he wear a light blue suit?"
- "It was gray."
"Mrs. Aakhus, why doesn't Mr. Aakhus get a haircut?"
- "Why does his long hair bother you?"
"It doesn't. But... you know..."
"Mrs. Aakhus, did Mr. Aakhus really build a guitar for your daughter?"
"Can you bring it?"
- "Mr. Aakhus needs to fix it."
One of my students wrote a respectful letter to Jason requesting he speed up on that one.
It went something like this...
Dear Mr. Aakhus,
How are you? Mrs. Aakhus has told us you have built a pink guitar for your daughter Natalie. We were hoping you would hurry up and fix it. We'd like to see it please.
Second hour class.
Jason fixed the guitar that night. I used this new phenomena to my advantage.
- "Would you help a girl out?" I asked second hour.
They wrote another letter for me.
Dear Mr. Aakhus,
Thank you for fixing the guitar. It is beautiful. Mrs. Aakhus was wondering if you could fix Natalie's dresser. That would really make Mrs. Aakhus' life better, and we love her.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I like that particular video since it has "You Can Call Me Al" with it. J. and I sing this to Allison all the time.
I sang this song to my dad one year for a choir concert. I still cringe at the thought of it. I think I even burned the dress I wore that day. Little Miss Sappy - that was me.
Jason's not a big rap fan. He's more Kiss and that sort. However, this song reminds me of his parenting style totally.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Watching the girls play the Wii, I've heard a lot of yelling. I've heard a lot of cheering. I've seen two little girls box with their kooky dances. I've realized there's a lot I've learned from our Wii.
1. Wait your turn.
We all need to wait in line. Do it with grace.
2. Be a good sport.
Don't cry if you lose a game. We all lose sometime or another. It's not the Wii's fault. You're not changing the Wii if you yell at it.
3. Practice. If you want to be good, you need to practice. Practice with grace... again, be a good sport.
4. Have fun. Together. Laugh.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My stories end up in my classroom. For the most part, they are more appropriate than my first grade stories. A lot of times, I tell stories about people in my life who've taught me a life lesson or have given me a good laugh.
This year, one of my students' assignments was to write about someone who matters to them. For the most part, these papers were the best papers. I really learned a lot about my students, their parents, or their grandparents. I really tried to stress to that their parents or grandparents would be more interesting than a best friend.
I gave the students a graphic organizer of characterization and one of a plot diagram. The purpose of the graphic organizer is to help students know what paragraph goes where. I took a transparency of the graphic organizer and showed them how I would start my paper. Throughout the day, I talked about two people who mattered to me. The first "paper" I wrote was about Grandma Shirley.
My characterization sheet showed grandma's habits, hobbies, sayings, what she looked like, and the trouble she had with breathing from her many years smoking.
The kids laughed as I told them how she'd always say "Run 'em over!" anytime we encountered a pedestrian when driving around in her bright red Mercury.
We took the information about her and put it on a plot diagram to plan my paper. I showed them how I would organize my paper by using grandma's "big stuff" as the climax.
This was one of the easiest lessons I taught. I suppose because I could use my past to show them how to write something meaningful. After my laughter and tears about a crazy old lady who taught me how to sew and knit, many of them wanted to share about their honorable grandfathers, silly aunties, and patient mothers. You know someone who matters to them.
What amazes me most about poetry is not that it's flowery and pretty, but it can be raw, cruel, and beautiful all at once.
I found this link through a lead from Kurt from teacherscribe.blogspot.com.
I'm thinking I won't use this guy in my classroom.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Certain stories stick with me more than others. I really was captivated with Gary Paulsen's "Stop The Sun."
STOP THE SUN
Terry Erickson was a tall boy; 13, starting to fill out with muscle but still a little awkward. He was on the edge of being a good athlete, which meant a lot to him. He felt it coming too slowly, though, and that bothered him. But what bothered him even more was when his father’s eyes went away. Usually it happened when it didn’t cause any particular trouble. Sometimes during a meal his father’s fork would stop halfway to his mouth, just stop, and there would be a long pause while his eyes went away, far away. After several minutes his mother would reach over and take the fork and put it gently down on his plate, and they would go back to eating - or try to go back to eating - normally.
They knew what caused it. When it first started, Terry had asked his mother in private what it was, what was causing the strange behaviour. ‘It's from the war,’ his mother had said. ‘The doctors at the veterans’ hospital call it the Vietnam syndrome.’
‘Will it go away?’ ‘They don’t know. Sometimes it goes away. Sometimes it doesn't. They are trying to help him. ‘But what happened? What actually caused it?’ ‘I told you, Vietnam’.
‘But there had to be something,’ Terry persisted. ‘Someting made him like that. Not just Vietnam. Billy’s father was there, and he doesn’t act that way.’ ‘That’s enough questions,’ his mother said sternly. ‘He doesn’t talk about it, and I don’t ask. Neither will you. Do you understand?’
‘But, Mom.’ ‘That’s enough.’
And he stopped pushing it. But it bothered him whenever it happened. When something bothered him, he liked to stay with it until he understood it, and he understood no part of this.
Words. His father had trouble, and they gave him words like Vietnam syndrome. He knew almost nothing of the war, and when he tried to find out about it, he kept hitting walls. Once he went to the school library and asked for anything they might have that could help him understand the war and how it affected his father. They gave him a dry history that described French involvement, Communist involvement, American involvement.. But it told him nothing of the war. It was all numbers, cold numbers, and nothing of what had happened. There just didn’t seem to be anything that could help him.
Another time he stayed after class and tried to talk to Mr. Carlson, who taught history. But some part of Terry was embarrassed. He didn’t want to say why he wanted to know about Vietnam, so he couldn’t be specific. ‘What do you want to know about Vietnam, Terry?’ Mr. Carlson had asked. ‘It was a big war.’
When I read this story, I thought of Trinity. Trinity died from a gun shot wound. He was sixteen and a good friend of my brother-in-law. I remembered how I would dream of running back in time to stop him from drinking and to take him away from the gun. Sometimes, I dream that I find Trinity alive in a snowbank, and I bring him back to show everyone. I wake up, reality hits, and I shed a few tears.
We read this story at the end of the year. It sort of snuck up on me. Next year, we will pay more attention to this selection.
Only in Red Lake Falls...
Jason and I took the girls to eat at Uncle Bill's. What is Uncle Bill's? Well, it's our version of Dairy Queen or Tasty Freeze.
We ordered our meals and sat down at one of the booths by the window. Now, the best time to go to Uncle Bill's is on a Saturday at about 6:00. That way, your food will be ready before the Catholics are done with church at 6:15 or 6:30 depending on if they leave right after communion or make it through the full hour with the blessing and everything.
We waited for our taco wrap while the girls waited for the drummie baskets and cheeseburgers. One of the Saturday night regulars came in.
We were all happy to see "Gerty." We were pleased to hear of the new great grandchild born in Ada, Minnesota.
And another Uncle Bill's regular, let's call her umm.... Elvira, came in. Everytime Elvira sees me she says... "Hey.... you're married to the Aakhus from the McIntosh area. You know that's where I from."
She gives me time to nod.
"You live north of town. Right?"
Elvira yells when she talks. She's going deaf. "Your grandfather was friends with my husband Clarence."
I smile. We go through this everytime.
"Your grandpa died young. Christmas Day."
And as an afterthought...
"That doesn't make you sad does it?"
"Errrr... no. I never met him."
"Oh... Well, I was invited to three graduations today. I'm full." She hollers to the owner; "Sorry, I won't give you business today." She turns to Gerty; "I'm going to sit next to you now."
"Oh... she's a good one to sit with!" I say.
"Thanks. " says Gerty with not a lot of gratitude.
I've spent the last nine months of my life thinking of literary concepts and worrying about students. Suddenly, I'm at home with my two girls driving them to their summer activities. The first few days after school finished, I slept. For hours. The exhaustion of correcting papers, writing lesson plans, reading journals, handing out yearbooks, assigning grades, and looking over my shoulder got the best of me.
I woke up today.
I see mountains of cloths, dishes, and dust.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Jason bought another swarm. Last year's swarm made it through the winter, but Jason found no trace of a queen. It was only a matter of time before the swarm would last without a queen.
Jason bought another swarm. When the bees arrived, he joyfully put them in their deluxe handmade hive and waited to hear the buzzing. They buzzed and made themselves at home. A few days later, Jason was upset with himself.
"Dang! I forgot to let out their queen."
By the time he realized this, it was too late. The freed queen died within a few days.
Jason called the company and ordered a new queen.
The queen arrived over Memorial Day weekend. Jbird rejoiced at the thought of his bees having a queen. He did his part to set the queen free and came back the next day to check on them.
Jason skipped, as he usually does to check on his bees.
There was something wrong. One of the hives did not buzz? What was the matter?
Evidently, that new queen had taken the swarm and ran errr... flew?
This infuriated Jason to no end. He imagined her plotting and undermining his authority... OH the agony of it all. Oh... the betrayal.
In all of Jason's reading, he had only heard of this happening once.
That night, as I tucked myself into bed. He climbed in beside me and whispered "If only I had paid the extra dollar to have the Queen's wings clipped."
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
So... Jason is at it again. He's hatched four eggs this spring. Yeah.. that's right, he sat on them for twenty-one days.
Well, maybe not. But he did put them in an incubator and flip them everyday. He didn't experience morning sickness or fluid retention. Jbird's maternal instincts are a little less invasive.
He's proud of the baby chicks. We've named them. Sort of. We have Peep, The Twins, and Cluck Norris. Cluck Norris is the chicken that has the most ambition and ninja skills. This chicken grew feathers two days after he popped out of the egg.
When the boogie man goes to bed, he checks under his bed for Cluck Norris.
There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Cluck Norris lives in Red Lake Falls.
Cluck Norris can divide by zero.
Cluck Norris didn't hatch from the egg, he round house kicked his way out!
Yeah, you get the idea.