Back to school for the family and me

Everyone has started school by now — the kids at home and at my school. I have a few observations:

  • The water wasn’t working all morning at Chrysalis. Meaning I got to take my fourth period newspaper class on a “field trip” to a nearby building to use the facilities.
  • My Conceptual Physics class was a blast this morning, when I could get a word in edgewise. There is a proposal that we call it something less intimidating, however.
  • I’m teaching Web Page Design to one class this semester.

Leif Eriksson report

We’ve worked hard this week on a Leif Eriksson report Rachel has due at school next week. Her assignment was to choose a presentation method (poster, Power Point, report, etc.) and an explorer.

She chose the Power Point option. Which means I needed to teach her how to use the software. This is the first time my livelihood and my child have intersected. She’s a great learner! Now, if only I could get her to tone down the garish animations and slide transitions. I’ve come up with a few tips for teaching Power Point to elementary students:

  • Start with the concept of slide. Rachel didn’t have a physical analog because she’s never seen photographic slides.
  • Tell them to place only one fact per slide
  • Put the words down first. Don’t bother with pictures on the first pass.
  • Bullets should have no more than six words after them. Full sentences aren’t encouraged.
  • Add pictures to most slides. If the show is being presented before a live audience, you may be able to remove most words.

As for learning about Mr. Eriksson, she has read four books from the public library. I’ve also taught her to write facts on note cards to help organize her thoughts. She can tell you all about Leif the Lucky who found North America accidentially and didn’t want to explore without his father.

This project is way cool!

Missing my Rachel

It’s been just over a week since Rachel went to her father’s. We spoke for the first time last night. She tells me the best part of camp is that they get to drink slurpees once a week. She also reports that dad’s dog Toby is wonderful.

When she returns, we’ll do the back-to-school shopping (school supplies!) and not long after, she returns to school. This time to a Marietta City School.

Camp news

Rachel returned from Camp Barney last Thursday. Major points of interest include unit cheers (“Two four six eight…” stuff), the Bog (a mud pit), and crafts. I have also heard about “Fun With Noah”, pottery, swimming, and horseback riding. She tells me the camp day was broken into seven periods during which activities were held. Food was not a high point: Rachel tells me that the lack of ranch salad dressing was disappointing.

I got pictures all during camp, thanks to Camp Barney’s participation in a photo sharing site (called Bunk1). The photos are the property of Bunk1 and may not be reprinted or sold without their permission. View pictures of Rachel at Camp Barney.

She chose a trip to Dave & Buster’s (one of a string of fancy arcades) as her back-from-camp treat.

No sooner was she home then we went to Lake Oconee for the July 4 weekend. Rachel was thrilled to take along crafts she’d learned at Barney. She can now make a lizard keychain fob out of plastic beads and string as well as braid necklaces out of hemp.

Her next adventure is a month at Dad’s in the Washington DC area. Fortunately, she has a short break before heading out again.

Camp Barney: Day 1

I sent Rachel off to camp yesterday. She’ll be gone almost four weeks in north Georgia.

Today I received a phone call from her unit counselor: Rachel left her toiletry kit at home. Sure enough, I found it sitting on her desk, just where she described to counselors that she’d left it. I’ll mail the kit tonight and in the meantime she’s using borrowed items.

The counselor assured me several times that Rach was doing well (“great”, even).

As with any phone call from someone you’ve turned over care of your child to, this one started with, “Rachel’s fine but…” I love those calls. I can imagine that before they started saying that, parents the world over panicked when they heard from camp or school.

I can provide Rachel’s postal address to anyone who asks me. She comes home June 30.

Maryland on her mind

This message just in from Rachel’s father in the metro-DC area:

Rachel has been talking up Drama Camp a lot. She really likes the idea.

Just so you know what Rachel is up to this week: No camp (school is still in
session up here), so she’s mostly hanging out, watching TV, reading, playing
with the dog (a lot). I send her outside to play when possible, but its
pretty rainy. She’s making a good effort to eat right and is snacking on a
lot of fruits and veggies.