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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Best of Times: Floor Hockey

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It is amazing how many experiences fade away into the background of our subconscious, only to be brought back by some random happening. Or, in this case, not-so-random.

You see, we've had several weeks now with hot, sunny temperatures, meaning that the kids at my school have pretty much worn out all the backyard game ideas multiple times. Usually, when rain rolls in, we throw in a couple of days on a cordoned-off section of the parking lot, which provides some nice variety.

But since everything has been dry, some children felt like they were all out of ideas. (In their words, "We're BORED!") Our principal wisely allowed them to use part of the parking lot for hockey.

We have these two old, beat-up hockey nets that usually are behind our dumpster area, along with some plastic hockey sticks in sorry shape, but these kids are really enjoying the new venture.

And it reminded me of some of my favorite times in grade school.

Our school was small, but it participated in spo…

Star Wars Saturday: The Music Zone

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There have been many constants in the Star Wars movies: lightsabers, blasters, flying ships, and the Force. But another wonderful constant has been the epic music that accompanies the movies.

If you've read my posts for a while, or have taken a look at my AtMousePhere music posts on TouringPlans.com, you know that I love music of all genres. But there has never been a time in my life where I haven't known or loved the music of Star Wars. 
Because of this, I was one of the unfortunate when I picked up the soundtrack to The Phantom Menace in 1999. It came out two weeks before the movie, and I just had to have it right away. I wanted to be thorough, so I looked at all the photos and details of the CD and case...only to see a major spoiler in one of the tracks' titles. ("Qui-Gon's Noble End") 
This time around, Lucasfilm and Disney have wisely decided not to release the soundtrack to The Force Awakens until December 18 - the same day the movie is released. At lea…

Star Wars Saturday: Politics, Planning, and Palpatine

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If you are only exposed to the Original Trilogy, the emergence of Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi is quite interesting. After spending the first two movies elsewhere, and only appearing as a hologram in The Empire Strikes Back, the Emperor decides to move his base of operations (temporarily) to the new Death Star. While Darth Vader tells Moff Jerjerrod that the Emperor is coming to the Death Star to oversee the final phases of the superstructure, his real motive revolves around Luke Skywalker and what he has "foreseen."

In this movie, Palpatine is old, disfigured, and looks very weak. However, he packs a punch, and is incredibly manipulating to people around him. If he's been on the scene for so long, how much manipulating has he done to get where he is?

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Let's go back in time a bit. Sheev Palpatine, before the events of The Phantom Menace, was trained as a Sith in secret. Publicly, he assumed the role of a politician (in the first movie, a senator), which…

How To Be An Organized Teacher (Or Fake It Really Well)

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When I have my end-of-year meeting with my principal, we go over a lot of my strengths and weaknesses. In every meeting since I started teaching, one thing has always been emphasized by both principals I've had:

I'm really organized.

To be honest, I just do what's comfortable to me, and that results in impeccable organization. (It also results in Type-A behavior like timeliness and irritability, but those are for another blog.) Some people marvel at how organized I am at things, and I just shrug. If I didn't do things the way I do, I would always feel behind.

Here are a couple of ways I keep my classroom organized, and keep my sanity:

1. Assignment Notebooks

When I started teaching middle grades three years ago, this was a must. The first year each child purchased their own, and that was difficult to keep track of. The past two years - and this year - my school purchases the same assignment notebook, and the families pay for them when they register.

I have three giant n…

Star Wars Saturday: New Book Reviews

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Another beautiful Saturday is upon us, and with it another Star Wars article! I have finished four new Star Wars books that were released last week for Force Friday, and I'd like to share my opinions! I will be sharing spoilers of the books, so don't continue reading this if you are planning on reading them!
If you're not planning on reading them, then I'll try to summarize the stories as best I can so you can follow what I'm talking about!
Star Wars: Aftermath (Written by Chuck Wendig, 400 pages, adult fiction)
This was the book I was anticipating the most. It is the first book released that covers events afterReturn of the Jedi, and I have been wondering what has been happening since the movie ended. 
This story, however, covers a few brand-new characters as they come together to create a group that will be hunting down Imperial evildoers in two subsequent books (to form a trilogy). The characters are Norra, a Rebel who is an ace at flying; Temmin, her 15-year-ol…

Running The Broncos 7K: Hot, Sweaty, Tiring Fun!

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On Sunday morning my coworker Kim and I woke up early to run a race. I had been training for this race since the end of the last school year, and knew this race would help me kickstart my half marathon training, which officially begins at the end of the month.

"Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)," Shakira featuring Freshlyground

As I'd been told in the many running advice blogs I'd read, I kept everything similar to a normal run: I wore the same wardrobe I'd been wearing when I was training, I kept my waterbottle with me like I usually did, and I didn't time myself as I ran. Those pieces of advice really helped, because I ended up running a great race!

We arrived at Sports Authority Field at Mile High around 7:20 a.m. There was quite a lot of traffic trying to squeeze into one entrance, which wasn't fun. But there was ample parking once we got into the lot.

"Mon Petite Chou-Chou," Philmore

We tried to find a porta-potty to use before the race start…

Star Wars Saturday: The EU and Star Wars Podcasts

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It's Saturday again (the Saturday right after Force Friday!), and I'm here with another Star Wars-related Blurb. I finished the newest novel, Star Wars: Aftermath, late last night, but was too tired to put my thoughts into words. So my review will have to wait till next Saturday.

What is Star Wars: Aftermath, you say? Well, a long time ago (in a galaxy...that's this one) sci-fi authors were publishing Star Wars books in what was known as the "Expanded Universe." These would mostly have been stories that took place after Return of the Jedi. Eventually there were so many books, with amazing and terrible storylines, that the EU was kind of a mess.

Two years ago, Lucasfilm decided that none of those EU stories were part of the actual Star Wars universe, deeming them "Legends" stories. I had no problem with that, since it wasn't like they were getting rid of all evidence of the EU (you can still buy them, read them, and enjoy some of them).

But now the …