Day 76: A visit to school…

courtesy Chicago Tribune.com – Tom Skilling’s Weather Page

Thursday was hot, very hot. So hot the National Weather Service called for an excessive heat warning and urged people to stay inside and avoid strenuous activity. Ivy and I were more than happy to comply. But, I wondered how in the world did I ever survive growing up in Sugar Land, Texas? I do remember summer in my youth, but I do remember staying indoors quite a bit, but I also remember swimming in the pool or in the lake. But, that was then and I was used to the heat, now I am not. This type of heat is uncommon for Chicago.

Ivy is lying at my feet, exhausted and sleeping, the heat has limited her appetite and she has plenty to drink. Thirty minutes ago, she was playing with her squeaky rabbit and wanting to play. Now, she is out. She had a good day I left her on her pad for a few hours this morning and came home to no foam. I guess she remembered my body language and the translation from yesterday and did not try to get into her pad again.

courtesy Chicago Tribune.com – Tom Skilling’s Weather Page

I left her at home and went to school this morning to check out my new classrooms and to think about setting up. One of the drawbacks to a new school year is a new room. This will be my twelfth year teaching and it will be my eighth or ninth room. Up until two years ago, I had one room for the year, but a change in the middle school schedule necessitated a change in how classrooms are assigned. I teach seventh grade Language Arts and Geography. The seventh grade follows an A-B-A schedule where A is teaching and B is duties and planning. To make the middle school building smaller (and more cost efficient), teachers share their rooms.  I teach two classes in the morning and one class in the afternoon. In the middle of the day, I have time for meetings, planning, and duties. The sixth grade follows an A-A-B schedule and eighth grade follows a B-A-A schedule. When the students are not in our classes (B) they are in their elective and PE classes. My morning classroom is downstairs, I share it with an eighth grade teacher and my afternoon classroom is upstairs, I share it with a sixth grade teacher. It does work but it takes a bit of planning and understanding to make it all work out. What it all means is I need to plan how I am going to decorate the room, in reality I would rather unpack my books and shelve them in places where students have access and leave the wall decorating to my roommates who have the room full time. Last year, I hardly decorated at all and it was okay but I need to find a place to put student work and celebrate their successes.

Why all this about how my school is setup? Because, soon school will be part of how my days are counting, again. With six days remaining until I return to school and eleven days until I have students in my room, I need to think about preparing for school. The first part of preparing for school is getting the room ready, or in my case getting two rooms ready. I know my curriculum, I have my plans set for my classes, but right now, the first hump to get over is getting the room ready. I spent a couple of hours at school, thinking and planning. I will go back tomorrow for a couple of hours and hopefully I will return home to find Ivy sleeping peacefully.

The weather forecast is for it to remain hot and muggy through Friday evening. Ivy and I had a quiet inside day. We did go outside after dinner to look for rabbits but once she was outside, they were gone. She surveyed the backyard and kept a watchful eye for those ‘pesky rabbits.’

Beth and the kids will be home Saturday and I have a couple more days alone. Though I have more freedom to get things done, it just is not as much fun as having them home or being with them at the cottage. I have a final summer hurrah scheduled for next Wednesday, which they do not know about it, yet. We will be travelling to the city by train and taking in a Cubs game as a family. William and I have been to Wrigley Field before but it will be Beth’s first game at the famous ballpark. It is an afternoon game and it will be a great day for all of us. Olivia had asked if we could ride the train and go to the hello Kitty store to get gum and I guess we can.

courtesy NOLA.com – Steve Kelley’s Cartoon blog

I used political cartoons to start class last year with some success. Choosing the right political cartoon makes a difference and I keep tabs on a couple of cartoonists, even in the summer. It helps keep my brain sharp. I saw the cartoon to the left last week and it is perfect for today and this week. The weather will break soon and then fall will be upon us with its cooler days and change of color. Everything I enjoy about living in the Midwest, the seasons. As with all things seasons, too, must end. I return to school next week and I will begin anew count – making the days count in different ways. Stay tuned, Making the Days Count, one day at a time.

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