Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another new innings...

...started for me this week. Having held the Illinois Teaching Certificate for almost a year and a half, applying in school districts and not hearing back from them, I finally got a break in the same school district as Nino and Chica's. Lesson learnt - knowing people in the system works as much here as anywhere else in the world! So even though the hiring right now has been as a paltry substitute teacher, its exciting nevertheless for a variety of reasons. Getting back into a profession very close to my heart even if its a baby step towards that; getting the opportunity of experiencing teaching, first hand, in a country other than my own; being able to step out after another long stint at home to name a few. And the good part is its working well with my schedule. Nino returns at 4:00 and I am able to return before that. Chica who still goes half day has been lucky to get a loving babysitter in a dear friend. And mornings just got better. Every morning Nino wakes up with the question if I got a call from some school to see if he would be able to don his 'responsible child cum caring older brother' hat today :) I had been counseling the kids since last week about all they would have to remember to do as I would have to leave, on some days, almost an hour and a quarter before they leave for school. Which is typically the time they are ready to go for the bathroom 'works' after having gulped down their milk. And A more often than not has office calls during that time, which essentially leaves the kids on their own to get ready, fold their clothes, make their beds, eat their breakfast, make sure everything that's supposed to be in the bags actually is (yeah we are last minuters) and biggest of all KEEP AN EYE ON THE CLOCK! And I am proud to say that on the very first day, I am a proud mom of kids who got ready 20 minutes before their scheduled time and were the first ones to reach the bus stop! Yeah, Chica wore pink and green socks with a black and white shirt and red leggings, but I am ready to overlook that because she did look amusingly cute nevertheless :)

So now notes from the first day of work. I spent my time laughing over this video with A last night and hoping my day went better than this ;)


I substituted for a Math/Science teacher in a middle school today. Some of the things that impressed me -

1. The day started with select News being broadcast for the students to watch throuhgout the school in the homeroom period. Such a great idea!
2. Outside every teacher's room, along with their name was a sign which stated "Mr/Mrs XYZ is reading                            . " (followed by the name of the book). How inspiring!
3. 6th graders were working on a presentation in groups of 4 on National Parks. The roles taken up by each group member were Geologist/Animal and Plant researcher/Historian/Tour Guide. They made slides according to their role and shared it on Google Docs with their group members which the Tour Guide then adjusted to, well guide the audience. Such a great project!

So that's the latest from my end. Tomorrow is another exciting day as I get to visit the young Kindergartners. My kids are more excited than I am about this one :)
 

Friday, January 18, 2013

I am thankful for Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya

A few weeks back Nino read a book about Lance Armstrong and as is natural for a child his age, was so impressed by the feats he had achieved. He couldn't help marveling at the fact that a person could win the Tour de France seven times in a row. He was deeply moved by the fact that in spite of battling cancer, which he knew to be a deadly disease, he returned to cycling and by his will power and hard work went on to achieve all that he did. The book was obviously written before February 2011 when Lance Armstrong was charged by the United Stated Anti Doping Agency for using and distributing performance enhancing drugs and stripped of all his medals since August 1998. Very unfortunately we had to shatter the bubble he had created and bring down the cyclist from the larger than life pedestal the child had placed him on. The look on his face was not a pleasant one to see as he battled confusion, contempt, distrust. While it was a meaningful lesson in doing the right thing and the huge consequences following your choice of actions, still as a parent I felt a tug at my heart hoping that somehow everything could be undone and Lance Armstrong to go back to being the hero my son had just imagined him to be.


So today when I read about the Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya, I felt so heartened. I quote his glorious action


Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai - bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
"But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."
He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it's a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy ... 

I can't wait to share this with Nino today to give him back hope, the trust that honest people still do exist and are recognized and the belief that no matter how 'big' you are, you really are only as big as your actions!

Like Ivan says, please do share this with your children and show them the video here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sesame Street Live Brings "Elmo Makes Music" to Chicago Area in May



“Elmo Makes Music”

Fun & Furry Musicians Arrive in Chicagoland on May 1!


ROSEMONT, Ill.,  MERRILLVILLE, Ind. & JOLIET, Ill. – Mark your calendar for a musical event like no other—monsters making music!  Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all their Sesame Street friends are taking to the stage to share their love of music in Sesame Street Live “Elmo Makes Music” at Akoo Theatre from Wednesday, May 1 through Sunday, May 5, the Star Plaza Theatre from Wednesday, May 8 through Sunday, May 12 and the Rialto Square Theatre Tuesday, May 14 through Wednesday, May 15. Tickets for all 21 performances are on sale now!

Jenny, an enthusiastic new music teacher, arrives on Sesame Street only to discover that her instruments are missing.  Jenny’s new Muppet friends quickly come to the rescue and discover ‘instruments’ they never knew existed…rubber duckies, trash can lids and even cookie jars.  Elmo, Abby Cadabby and friends teach children that everyone can make and enjoy beautiful music together.

Like television’s Sesame Street, each Sesame Street Live production features timeless lessons for all ages.  Through the razzle-dazzle of this Broadway-quality musical production, children learn about patience, acceptance and teamwork.  The universal appeal of a Sesame Street Live production continues long after preschool.  Adults will appreciate the high-tech     stagecraft, cleverly written scripts, and music they’ll recognize and enjoy sharing with children, such as “The Hustle,” “You Should Be Dancing” and “Rockin’ Robin.”  “Elmo Makes Music” features nearly two dozen songs, including classics that children will love to sing along with such as “C Is for Cookie” and “The Alphabet Song.”


Elmo Makes Music: Schedule for Akoo Theatre at Rosemont 


What: 
Sesame Street Live "Elmo Makes Music"

When:   

Wednesday   May 1   7 p.m. (*Exclusive WTTW Benefit Performance)

Thursday        May 2   10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m. (*Opening Night Offer)

 Friday             May 3   10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.
 Saturday        May 4   10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.
 Sunday          May 5    1 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.


Where:  
Akoo Theatre at Rosemont
5400 N. River Rd.
Rosemont, IL 60018


Tickets:
$15, $25 and $30. A limited number of $40 Gold Circle seats and $90 Sunny Seats** are also available. *Opening Night, all seats (excluding Gold Circle     and Sunny Seats) are $15. A facility fee of $2 will be added to all ticket prices. Additional fees and special offers may apply.

 **Special $90 Sunny Seat packages are available at all shows. Sunny Seats feature VIP seats and a pre-show Meet & Greet with two Sesame Street Live friends.

**** Join WTTW11 on Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. Call 773-588-1111 for ticket prices and more information.

For more information, call 847-671-5100. To charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. For information online, please visit www.sesamestreetlive.com. Become a fan of Sesame Street Live on Facebook


Elmo Makes Music: Schedule for other Chicagoland Locations


What:
Sesame Street Live "Elmo Makes Music"

When:
Wedneasday  May 8      7 p.m. (*Oepning Night Offer)
Thursday         May 9      10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Friday               May 10    10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Saturday          May 11    1 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Sunday            May 12     1 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.

Where:
Star Plaza Theatre
8001 Delaware Place
Merrillville, IN 46410

Tickets: 

$13, $18 and $28. A limited number of $35 Gold Circle seats and $65 Sunny Seats** are also available. *Opening Night, all seats (excluding Gold Circle and Sunny Seats) are $13. A facility fee of $2 will be added to all ticket prices. Additional fees and special offers may apply.

 **Special $65 Sunny Seat packages are available at all shows. Sunny Seats feature VIP seats and a pre-show Meet & Greet with two Sesame Street Live friends.

For more information or to charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. For information online, please visitwww.sesamestreetlive.com. Become a fan of Sesame Street Live on Facebook.
 



What:
Sesame Street Live "Elmo Makes Music"

When:
Tuesday         May 14   7p.m.
Wednesday   May 15  10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.

Where:
Rialto Square Theatre
120 North Chicago Street
Joliet, IL 60432

Tickets: 

$10, $13 and $17. A limited number of $27 Gold Circle seats and $52 Sunny Seats* are also available. A facility fee of $3 will be added to all ticket prices. Additional fees and special offers may apply.

*Special $52 Sunny Seat packages are available at all shows. Sunny Seats feature VIP seats and a pre-show Meet & Greet with two Sesame Street Live friends.

For more information, call 815-726-6600. To charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. For information online, please visit www.sesamestreetlive.com. Become a fan of Sesame Street Live on Facebook.





Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A day of implementing ideas - linked to some great resources

So it takes some effort, well a lot to get a 7 year old on task, especially if the said 7 yo happens to be a boy. Man, I never would have believed the difference between boy and girl personalities if I didn't experience them first hand at home! So while, I have to be on my toes to get resources for Chica as she finishes one worksheet/activity after another asking for more, the ones for Nino lie around untouched for months on end because well he is just content sitting on the couch and breathing! Yeah, if he could outsource that too, he would!

So some ideas from pinterest, which is my new best friend, which had been floating around in my head, I finally put to practice last night. So the kids helped me in making a list of tasks which would help them in earning coupons. The tasks include things like practicing their Math from some workbooks they have; some Hindi reading and writing; reading paired with some reading responses. (Please do click on the link, it is a great great packet - each worksheet addresses a key reading skill and there are worksheets for fiction as well as non fiction books and it is FREE! The resources available on the internet these days just amazes me, I mean just think about all the talent in the world!) And everytime they finish a task, they put a tick against it on their task list. 5 completed tasks(all different) gives them the opportunity to pick a coupon. I tried to encourage them to work quickly when they have the time (on no school home work days or weekends) and so if they complete 3 tasks in one day, they get to pick a coupon. Nino wanted me to add that 5 tasks in a day gets them 2 coupons. Coupons, some I made myself and others the duo told me what they wanted. So some of the coupons entitle them to a treat at McDonald's or a Family Game Night where the coupon winner picks games of his/her choice; or choosing a favorite movie for Movie Night, getting to play Wii for 20 extra minutes, an Ice Cream outing, calling a friend for playdate, an extra story at bedtime and the likes.

Hah! So the first day, in spite of the fact that the system got up and running at 7:15 pm, we saw a whirlwind of academic activity in the household :). Frantic working, then getting back to the task chart to see what could be done next and then back to working. It was quite an amusing sight! And the siblings did in fact earn one coupon each :). Why, of course, I don't expect each day to be like that. But I do hope that it does instill some motivation to be on task when time permits! Last night Chica was able to earn another coupon where as Nino brought back a good share of home work from school so he could complete one task from the list.



Another idea is that of this box which I am calling the Mom Box. Anything the kids don't put back at their proper place goes in the box and then in order to claim back their rights on it, they need to complete a chore. I like the rhyme that goes with it. Much excitement ensued when the idea was announced. Even to the extent of deliberately leaving things out of place to be able to experience it. I had to tell Chica she could just pick a chore, she didn't have to leave something out to do it :) So she asked me for a wipe moistened with Windex because she wanted to clean the big patio glass door. He, he..sometimes I come close to knowing what it feels like to hit the Jackpot ;) The chores include things like folding some laundry, wiping the coffee and dining table, making their toy room clean by picking up anything lying on the floor. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time to retire? May be not!

So we went on a rather sudden trip to India in November. Among the many other adventures, a couple of them were these two. While just doodling around one day which is Chica's favorite pastime, this is what she came up with. I think its time to retire from this parenting gig when your 5 year old has the circle of love and life this clear in her head.


Or may be not because if your 7 year old comes up with this when asked to do his homework, retirement would have to wait some!