Saturday, August 26, 2006

A bookcase, a curriculum, and LibraryThing

Last Monday I had to take the swimming pools from summer school to their storage place at the high school where the summer school principal teaches in the Alternative Program [Note: I taught math there in the school year 2004-2005]. He told me that the Alternative Program was getting rid of some things which were marked with a pink tag saying "Discard." I could have anything so marked. I ended up taking a bookcase (14 feet long), a desk, a file cabinet, and a computer workstation.

This photo is of stacking the desks so that the carpet could be shampooed. It is the only photo I could find that shows the finished carrels with the desks separated by the double-sided bookcases.

My summer school work with the autistic children introduced me to the TEACCH program. The classroom is arranged with a row of student desks separated by bookcases along the wall, effectively forming cubicles. Hence, my interest in the 14-foot long bookcase with plans to break it into 4 individual bookcases as seen in the photo above. Of course, the immediate problem was to move the bookcase. Howard agreed to help me. The school district could not move the furniture as the man who does the moving just got out of the hospital, so if I wanted to get my classroom set up before school starts (September 6), then I had to rent a truck and move the stuff myself. Fortunately, Howard discovered that the 4 bookcases each were attached by 8 bolts for a total of 24 bolts). For the move, we split the unit into 2. The truck was loaded and taken to my school by the end of Monday night.

For Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I was scheduled to work on integrating the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum with science, social studies and math from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. So I had to go early to school, get the custodians to help me move the furniture from the truck into my classroom, and return the truck before 9:00 a.m.! It was done!

It was fun working on the curriculum even though I was not finished by Thursday at 1:00 p.m. I am continuing to work on it and I am very happy to have had the chance to do this planning! I am locating a teacher's edition of our social studies book so I can complete the social studies.

Yesterday, I was reading the September 5, 2006 edition of PC Magazine where on page 50 they tell of LibraryThing. I first did a search on LibraryThing and I liked what I read. There is an interesting interview with the LibraryThing founder, Tim Spalding just a couple of months after he launched the site. I also found Delicious-monster which is doing a similar thing but only for the Mac! Delicious-monster allows one to catalog his/her library using a camera attached to a Mac computer and pointed to the ISBN bar code. Using the bar code, Delicious-monster puts in the rest of the information. I like that, but I would have to rig up the camera and buy a Mac. So today, I used LibraryThing where you can type in the ISBN number and the info will be added through a search. You can see a few books from my library here.

[Posted first August 26, 2006 on MySpace]

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Laura's and Brandon's wedding

Friday, August 18, was Laura's and Brandon Stucki's wedding. I taught my night school class Thursday night (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.), had dinner with one of the other teachers, packed for the trip, and left for the airport for my flight to Houston. I rode with Sallie, Lindsay, and Mark from Houston to San Antonio for the reception. Because we are not Mormon, we could not go to the actual wedding in the temple. However, they had a ring ceremony at the reception. In the photo they are eating cake.

We stayed with Cousin Brett Morris and Mary Ann. It was wonderful to reconnect with Brett and Mary Ann. They have a lovely home and like David and Diane (parents of the bride) now have, Brett and Mary Ann have an empty nest. Brett and Mary Ann have eight grandchildren now!

We had a family brunch with David and Diane Saturday morning. Then our carload followed Brett and Mary Anne to the river walk in downtown San Antonio. After walking, we had lunch at Johnny Rockets.

I am now in Houston, but will be back in New York this evening.

[Posted first on August 20, 2006 on MySpace, which is where I keep up with my nieces and nephews.]

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Weekend Events

I am still painting the cabinet. I have finished the rust removal and most of the cabinet has primer on it. The bottom and the top are now blue. It will be really nice when more of it is blue. Tonight I put on another primer coat and tomorrow it will be blue!

Today, Howard and I went to the first annual Columbia University alumni picnic held on the grounds in front of the Mathematics building. Photos are posted on Flickr.

After the picnic, we looked at compact refrigerators so I could select one for my schoolroom. It turns out that the one I want won't fit upright in my car so it will have to be delivered. So the final selection is not yet determined. I really want one with two doors and enough space in the freezer to hold a container of ice cream. The one I was looking at, an Avanti, is pretty expensive, but it is frost free.

Next, we went to Verizon so Howard could pick out his new phone. His old one needs a new battery so for not too much more than a battery would cost, he could get a whole new phone with a speaker phone feature which he has been missing. Now for less than $70 he has a new LG phone. He says he loves it, yet he still loves me more!

The big event on Friday was a trip to the Hudson River Museum Planetarium. You can see photos from the bus and one of Saturn on Flickr. After the show, which was a tour on "Rusty Rocket" from earth to the sun and then through all the planets to Pluto, the children and I had lunch at the nearby park on the same grounds as the museum.

Friday after school, I washed with bleach two of the 5 pools that the school children use for swimming. Four of these pools are 15 inches high and 6 feet across made of vinyl; the 5th one is the same diameter with lower sides. We got concerned when three children got fevers over three days, but it turns out that the first child never went in the pool. The second child was a classmate of the first while the third child was in a different class. After speaking with pool professionals and checking web sites, it seems unlikely that the pools had anything to do with the latter two children getting a fever from the first child if that is even what happened. In the last week, no other child has been reported as sick. Pool people tell me that fever is not the sickness passed through pools. But to be on the safe side, we quit swimming until the pools could be cleaned.

[Posted first August 12, 2006 on MySpace]