Friday, September 2, 2011

Clap on "um"

When I was teaching at Wasatch I would often get nervous in front of my students.  When I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to say I would have the feeling that I needed to fill every second with noise so they wouldn't notice I was struggling with the content.  This leads to saying "Um".  Lots of people do it.  I would be saying um while thinking of the next item of information to fill the silence; and I didn't notice I was doing it.  As long as there was sound we were good.  Well my lovely students kept track of how many times I said "um".  And it was embarrassing.  They didn't tell me they were doing it, but they gave me the tally sheet at the end of a week as a gift.   A cruel, cruel, gift.  But one that needed to be given.

I decided that just like Pavlov's dogs I could be trained.  I told those students that I needed their help to break this habit.  I had them clap, one single clap, every time I said um.  They listened to me like phone tappers listening for bomb threats and would catch every little um.  They probably would have clapped if geography had every lent itself to using the word "umbrella".  I hope they listened to the other words I was saying and they didn't just listen for the um's in between.  But I'd say overall it was a success.  I was thinking about the words I was using.  Sure there were some points where it was quiet while I formulated the next sentence but I learned it was ok.

Fast forward to the next school year.  I had moved schools and began teaching a subject I was once again uncomfortable with.  I caught myself using um too often as a crutch and so I told a few of my 8th grade students about the "clap on um" trick to help get myself on track.  Just like the first time it worked like a charm.  Today, one of those students, who has the extreme luck to be in my 9th grade class this year, caught me saying um and out of the blue, clapped.  The first time I heard it I didn't understand what was going on.  A little later I said it again and she had spread the word to 3 other students to clap.  When all 4 clapped in unison it clicked what was going on.  And I'm proud to say, they didn't get to clap the rest of the period.  Not because I cut their hands off or because I taped their hands together.  But because when you think before you speak, you don't need those verbal crutches.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

So far this summer I've done lots of nothing. But pretty much everything I've done, I've done with my puppy. So here is a photo essay of my summer so far as told by my dog.

Gambit sleeps on the couch as I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit sleeps on our new patio recliners while I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.
(why does he always have his head lower than his body?)

Gambit sleeps on the floor next to the couch, as I read a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit and I snuggle while taking a break from reading about Abraham Lincoln.

Gambit found sleeping under the bed while I fold laundry.

Gambit sleeping almost under the bed. If he can't see you, you can't see him.
(No I have not trained my husband to put his jeans in the laundry basket, or over a chair, or even on the floor of the closet. Life goes on.)

Gambit sleeping while all around him lies the evidence of having spent all morning reading about Lincoln. (The tv is on because, as you can see from the Tupperware and pudding cup, it was lunch time, which means an episode of That 70's show and possibly a shower. The bottles are Gambit's favorite toys which have been taken away because it is really annoying to read while a dog is hitting you in the face with a plastic bottle)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another Craft

Name my favorite flower. Quick go. Yep. It's hot pink Gerbera daisies. Some day I might grow up. But not today. :) So I made this. A little shadow box painted "Bahama Sea" and sanded, scrapbook paper mod podged in the back and a giant daisy. It looks nice against my dark gray walls in my room. I'm working on a project for my room and when I'm done I'll take pictures of it all coming together.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Seester

I love my sister and since I didn't post this before she got married like I had planned I'll post it today because it is her open-house day. She decided she wanted her open-house to be more informal than a typical reception so here we are 2 weeks later getting ready for ice cream in the park. Instead of a sappy post about how awesome she is, (she's not dying) I'll just put some great pictures of the two of us.

At my reception.

The Gardens at the Bellagio

Neuschwanstein Castle outside of Munich Germany

I had to put this one in of Erin being left all by herself on a teeter-totter in Switzerland. She will no longer be all alone because she found her teeter-totter partner, Matt.
Did you know they changed facebook and now it's harder to steal pictures for your blog? Anyways, I was going to get a picture of the two of them together, but here is a great shot of Erin on her wedding day, taken by her photographer. (that I then stretched out so you could see it) I can't wait to see the rest. I love my sister and I am so excited to have Matt in the family.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


A couple of years ago I got a cookbook from my in-laws for Christmas.

The cookbook was all about meals that freeze well. I wanted to try it, but truth be told I was nervous. I'm not a fabulous cook. Don't get me wrong I can follow a recipe just fine, but it's not something I really enjoy all that much. I think part of it is that I think it is boring to stand in the kitchen and cook all by myself and 30 meals in one day.... That's a lot of standing in the kitchen.

My spring break was over Easter weekend and my sister-in-law and I had planned to spend part of the break making a headboard for my bed. (that post will be coming at a later date) She asked me about my cookbook and decided that while we were woodworking we should also cook a months worth of meals. No big deal, just 30 meals, for us each, in one day. She made up the shopping list and we set out to get all the ingredients we'd need.

Shauntel asked if she could be head chef and boss me around. Since I'd never cooked any of the meals she'd planned I agreed. She loves being bossy and had a secret desire to tell a midget what to do. Don't deny it Telly.

I had to leave before all the food was done cooking (She kicked me out so she could go to the gym so it's her own fault she had to clean up and finish by herself) so the picture we got is only about half of the food we prepared. My tiny freezer is overflowing. If we decide to do it again we may have to invest in another freezer for the garage to put all of our food in!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Club

I enjoy reading. I wish I had more time and more energy to devote to reading. When I get home from work it is easier for me to zone out in front of the TV or computer than to have my brain function enough to read. But I feel better when I have accomplished something and I have finished a good book. I joined a book club in my last ward (the grandparents ward) and I just don't want to give it up. The ladies are so sweet and since I don't get to see them once a week at church now I see them once a month at book club. I realized while making my list of shows that I have seen that I ought to be making a list of books that I've read. I'm working on a couple on my own, but I haven't finished anything besides book club books in the recent past. So here is my list of book club books that we have read in no particular order. (at least this is all the ones I can remember... I need to talk to the ladies and see if any official lists exist.)

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
Train to Potevka - Mike Ramsdell
The Gifts - Ursula Le Guin
Hidden Places - Lynn Austin
Candle in the Darkness - Lynn Austin
At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Marley and Me - John Grogan
High Country - Jeannie Hansen
God Wants a Powerful People - Sherry Dew
Gift From the Sea - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
Eat Cake - Jeanne Ray
Trudy's Promise - Marcia Preston
A Hope in the Unseen - Ron Suskind
The Help - Kathryn Stockett

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Theater

Brad and I love the theater. I love to listen to showtunes after school when I enter grades and my students know that if they are in my room after school they better be ready for the "name the show" game. We love to go to the Shakespeare festival in Cedar City each summer and I realized recently that I haven't been keeping track of all of the shows that I have been seeing. So here is my first effort in keeping track of the plethora of shows that we go to.

Shows I saw in 2010:
Importance of Being Earnest HCT West Valley
Tarzan Tuacahn
Pride and Prejudice Shakespeare Festival
39 Steps Shakespeare Festival
Cats Tuacahn
Merchant of Venice Shakespeare Festival
Macbeth Shakespeare Festival
Much Ado about Nothing Shakespeare Festival
Crazy For You Tuacahn
The Drowsy Chaperone HCT West Valley
A Christmas Carol HCT West Valley

They were all really well performed. I will never feel the need to see 'Cats' again. My sister loves the show and used to watch an old recording that the neighbors had all the time growing up. I always felt like since I liked shows I needed to watch it at least once. Turns out once was enough. The dancing was good but I'm not sure how it is the longest running show on Broadway. I really enjoyed Drowsy Chaperone and it was made even better by the fact that one of my very best friends could go the same night and that her husband was one of the lead actors in the show. I am looking forward to seeing both of them in Tale of Two Cities at the Hale this year!

I also had the opportunity to go to two other types of shows this year.

Michael Buble E Center
BJ Novak Kent Concert Hall USU

The Michael Buble Concert was really fun. My aunt bought the tickets for her and her daughters and then two of the daughters couldn't come. My mom and I were glad to stand in. At one point in the concert Michael came out to sing on a platform in the middle of the crowd. We had floor seats and since we were up dancing in the back my cousin Ashley and I were able to sense the floor crews preparing before he got off the stage. We were in position and ready before anyone else realized he was coming down. We were standing right next to the stairs as he climbed up onto the makeshift stage. I got caught up in the crazy fan-girl excitement and reached out and touched his arm as he walked by. I told Brad and his only reaction was "why?" It makes me popular with middle schoolers though when I tell them.

Brad and I love The Office and so when we heard that BJ Novak was coming to USU we bought tickets as soon as we could. Turns out we knew before most people because our tickets were front and center. His stand up routine was really funny and we had lots of fun visiting when old friends in Logan.

We are making plans to make it back to the Shakespeare Festival and Tuacahn this summer and we hope to make it to at least one show at the Desert Star Theater as well.