Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby food and Baby stepping...

I am trying to keep up with my goal of one entry per week and while my Dad is probably saying "yeah, right" since I have attempted such a goal in the past, I have found doubt and skepticism is frequently what motivates me to succeed.

Since there are so many various things that float through my head you might find this to be a week in summary but better they are covered briefly than not at all!

The baby food experiment is going quite well. I have been proud of my efforts and have found the it quite a learning experience. The main thing I have noticed between making my own baby food vs. buying commercial baby food is that the homemade variety is much more palatable. Upon testing the concoctions I discover they are actually quite tasty! That is a statement I would NEVER make about commercial baby food. Today I made Aidan potatoes and carrots mashed with unsalted butter and chicken stock with apples and blueberries for dessert. The potatoes and carrots were a hit but he seemed unsettled about the apples and blueberries even though this morning he devoured mashed bananas and blueberries. I am thinking it might be the texture. That has been the biggest learning process for me. My idea of a smooth texture does not exactly match his. Something I think smooth proves to be too chunky for him.

Summer is coming quickly to a close. It always does. I have started thinking about school starting and what I will teach the first six weeks. The first six weeks is the toughest for me. Over the summer, as expected, I get out of my groove. I have to get back into the flow of teaching, of knowing how long an activity will take, and how to transition smoothly from lesson to lesson. My biggest mistake usually is I overestimate my student's capabilities. I always assume they know how to do something and then I discover usually through frustration and grumbles that they don't know what I am talking about. The first structured piece of writing I do is an analysis paragraph. Really, just a paragraph. We start with short stories and after reading one they write a short analysis paragraph. A topic sentence, supportive sentences and a closing statement. Really, just a paragraph. I always model one, go over the structure of my topic sentence and how I found support and how to close. Then they are supposed to write one of their own and the usual response is blank stares. " How do I start? What am I supposed to do? " Then I remember, " Oh yes, they know nothing". Grumbling does nothing, saying " I know you did this last year" makes no difference. I must backtrack and baby step them through it. I must walk them through writing a topic sentence, walk them through finding support. Two- three hours of teaching time devoted to a paragraph. But that's all right. They have to get their groove back too and they always do.

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