Archive for February, 2010

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a little bit of mythology

February 24, 2010

My current teaching practice is with a class of grade fours that are currently in their Norse Mythology block.

Other than recognizing the name of the God, Thor, Norse mythology has been completely foreign to me. There are 9 worlds with unusual names like Muspelheim, Alfheim, Jotunheim, Midgard and Svartheim. Those names are among the easier things to pronounce – the characters, the things they carry, etc. are all strange and new. The world tree, Yggdrasil, is a little more typical of the names in this mythology.

For next week I’m working on telling a story of the three norns: Urda who sees the past, Verdandi who sees the present and Skulda who sees the future. The norns are a mysterious bunch and they spin together the threads of past, present and future for each human beings life.

The class teacher has an image of the different worlds and other key elements on the chalkboard and the children seem quite interested in the three women who live among the roots of Yggdrasil. Not only will I be telling a story in front of a class for the first time but I’ll also be leading them in a shaded colour pencil drawing (another first for me) sometime next week. I still have a few days to prepare but today I played around a little and did a first sketch of the type of drawing I plan to lead them in. Skulda’s face is rarely seen so I want her to appear a little further back in the shadows of Yggdrasils roots. There is a drawing in each of the books I have but I thought looking back to the past, straight on for the present and forward for the future would be helpful. I’m not sure whether I’ll go with having them staggered from left to right as well or one directly above the other. All things for me to fine tune in the coming evenings I guess.

three norns

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a few of my paintings

February 20, 2010

Wow, I’ve been horrible with photos and info on my teacher training. I downloaded some photos of the painting work I did in the fall and it’s high time I shared it! Nothing too earth shattering but a learning and growing process none the less.

catching up on photos of fall 2009 paintings.

catching up on photos of fall 2009 paintings..

catching up on photos of fall 2009 art

More recently we experimented with our adult interpretations of the early parts of the Hebrew creation story. This painting exercise was so liberating and exciting for me – I’m even pleased with the result. I don’t expect I’d want to lead grade three students in flicking water across their page but you never know;)

hebrew creation story - feb 10

hebrew creation story part 2 feb 10

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cbc radio love

February 16, 2010

It amazes me that I’m feeling compelled to write about music and my love for the CBC on this blog again. I haven’t been listening to near as much of either as I would like because I packed light (don’t have my own radio here) and everything seems to hike my internet costs. Twice in the past few weeks I’ve had the kitchen to myself and have been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve heard courtesy of CBC radio 2.

I was so amazed the first time because I was ready to sit down just as Canada Live with John Wort Hannam was starting. Have I ever mentioned that he’s my favourite musician? His story telling is amazing and his music warms my soul.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing Church of the Long Grass – the first time I heard it was live after being evicted by the Blairmore blaze. There were some new songs in the set too and I’m still in shock that I didn’t know about, let alone own, his new album before the program. How did that happen?

A week later another episode of Canada Live came on and I got to hear Corb Lund (the first Alberta singer I actually enjoyed) and Ian Tyson. I remember going to some of Corb’s shows when I first moved to Alberta and wondering what was so special about this Ian dude. Times have changed. Four Strong Winds will always have a special place thanks to EFMF. Such good music and awesome reminders of “home”. Thank you CBC!

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mysterious disappearance

February 8, 2010

Back in January I found it exceedingly difficult to get on the computer. It’s hardly a bad thing but I thought some explaining was due since the same thing is likely to happen again later this month.

As part of my teacher training we’re doing practicums at various schools, with a different grade each time. So far, my two practicums have meant little time at home when I’m not taking care of myself or preparing for a lesson. Coming into the training I knew teachers spent a great deal of non-instructional hours on prep but I didn’t realize *quite* how many. It’s certainly significant.

My last practicum was with a class of grade eights who were working on geometry. Because the students came to the class over a number of years and the teacher was fairly new to them it took a while to figure out where they were at and try to meet them while still getting to the big ideas. It was quite a dance trying to keep things interesting yet having a wide enough spectrum of knowledge to bring what they needed each day. There was no way a class like what I remember from my grade school days would have worked for that group.

What I knew coming into this block was so abstract and taken as fact. It was quite a twist to actually do goemetric constructions and learn about the golden section and platonic solids. I so enjoyed the reading, the constructions, and where all those things lead. Kevin’s a bit of a math nut and so we had quite a number of great conversations on the subject and I was actually able to share new things too! I’m really happy with what I learned about geometry and teaching but my biggest surprise of all is that I enjoyed working with adolescents!

My next assignment is in grade four…. I have a lot to do to catch up on Norse mythology and storytelling!

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progress

February 3, 2010

I learned to knit almost 15 years ago and it came so quickly and easily. Not so with crocheting.

I had always heard crocheting was hard on the wrist and mine are not what most people would call “good”. Between that and living so far from the two people I knew who could crochet I never saw the need to learn how. That could present a bit of a challenge should I wind up wanting to teach handwork down the road….

Thankfully my teacher training has included some basic crochet work. As you can see from the photo below, this new “art” hasn’t come easily to me. Granted, I was still wearing two velcro covered thumb splints when I was working on the blue one. Some blocking would improve the situation but this way I get a constant reminder of how far I’m going.

first attempts at crochet

My crocheting sister gave me the cutest apple cozy for Christmas two years ago – as a gag gift I think – and it’s been so useful that I’ve wanted to duplicate it for a while. I’ve tried following the patterns I can find on line but none of them are as beautiful. The purple little spiral I have going is the closest I’ve found so far. Should I succeed I’ll be sure to post a photo of the original and my creation.