Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catching Up: Various Things I've Been Working On

First up, I am a member of the Long Beach Modern Quilt Guild! We began last year but didn't formally become a guild until January.  As I live roughly half way between the Los Angeles and Orange County Modern Quilt Guild locations, neither one was particularly easy to get to. 
I'm so happy to be a part of this great group of creative people. 
We participated in the Quilt Con Charity Quilt Challenge and our quilt was sent to QuiltCon in Austin, TX. One of those circles is mine! 

Long Beach Modern Quilt Guild Charity Challenge Quilt
The long term substitute assignment I recently completed was for a gal whom had a beautiful baby girl in January.  I had to make something for the baby so I decided to make two receiving blankets which were inspired by the kits sold by Anna Maria Horner.  I followed the tutorial by Rachel at Stitched Together as it was excellent.  I used Anna Maria Horner voile and Robert Kaufman flannel. These two fabrics together are a light and luxurious combination!  

Voile/Flannel Receiving Blankets
I used two different binding methods: the bottom I created my own bias binding and used a blanket stitch to sew - and it took forever. (hence, the two different biding methods)  The top blanket is done in an easier machine binding style (can't remember what the formal name is!) that I would normally use on a mug rug. 
Voile/Flannel Receiving Blankets
So happy with my front yard!  Love the bulbine and autumn moor grass.  

Eggs...such perfect food.  Especially with vegetables and goat cheese.  

Baby quilt in progress: 

Enjoy your Thursday, 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blink: Twelve Weeks In The AP Psychology Classroom

About three weeks ago, I finished a twelve week long term substitute assignment in an AP Psychology classroom.  AP Psychology? You might be wondering why I would be teaching AP Psychology when I am a history teacher.  I have a social science credential and have the ability to teach all of the subject you see below (pretend history is in there too!).

My teaching experience was wonderful!  All consuming: tons of learning every day, mistakes made and lessons learned for the future.  As I had not taught this subject before, everyday I was reading and learning new material to teach the next day.  Here is what my days felt like:
               5:30am Wake up, get ready for school
               7:00am  In the classroom and preparing for the day
               7:50-2:40  Teach
               2:40 - 3:30  Wrap up from the day/get materials ready to take home
               4:00 - 6:00  Get groceries, exercise, clean up a little around the house
               7:00 -8:00  Make dinner and eat
               8:00 - 9:00  Read. Read again, Read yet again until I understood.
               9:00ish  Exhaustion sets in and time for sleep.

Seems boring as I write it all down but I loved it.  Everyday was dynamic and new and I learned so much from my students  Wondering what I taught?  Well I began in January with Psychological Disorders and Treatment - not the most positive of subjects.  Tough material and I had to very sensitive to what my students were thinking/had experienced as I was introducing and discussing this material.  Some great teaching moments were when students would share with the class their own personal experiences with various psychological disorders.  That made me feel like they trusted me.

We moved onto Social Psychology: person perception, attributions, obedience, conformity, social roles, power of the situation, in-groups, etc.  Every day in that unit was fascinating.  One day I was teaching them about person perception (stereotypes we hold for all groups) and I was showing them photographs of yearbook pictures from the 1970's.  After getting into groups, I told them to decide which of the people (in the yearbook photographs) were most popular, smartest, more apt to become successful and those perhaps not so successful.  They thoroughly enjoyed making these assumptions about people that they had no idea about.  The next day I decided to extend the prior day's lesson a bit by showing them my own high school Varsity Soccer team photograph so they could again, make those assumptions and I would be able to tell them if they were correct or not.  It was a good lesson in how we make assumptions about others without knowing anything about them.
1987: Weren't perms awesome? 
I finished up with Language and Thought: how babies learn to understand, form and communicate with the world with language.  Want to see a fascinating TED talk about babies learning to speak? Go here and watch "Birth of a Word" by Deb Roy.  I showed it to my students and along with the other materials we had learned, had a great discussion about the formation of language.  When we discussed Thought, subjects included Heuristics (problem solving) and various decision making models.

My last day was bittersweet. I choked up at the end of both 1st and 2nd periods but then kept it together for the rest of the day. It was a crazy day - I was teaching, coordinating students who needed to makeup various exams and grading.  It wasn't until I got home that day when I pulled out everything that I had received that day from students, that I realized how much of an impact I had on them.  High school students gave me gifts, cards and letters!  

The cards and letters will be cherished forever. 

Those 201 students will be forever my first class.  I loved being their teacher.

Next blog post I'll show you what I've been up to since my assignment ended.  I've been sewing!
Enjoy your Wednesday,