Thursday, March 25, 2010

HMP: Portrait Innovations Will Never Be the Same

In February, I went to Gymboree to find the perfect Easter outfits for our little guys.  I selected a few different options and brought them home in preparation for Easter photos and Easter Vigil.  Walnut and Peanut tried on all of the outfits and we selected what they would wear for yet another trip to Cranberry for pictures.  I scheduled the appointment, prepared for the trip and prayed for the best.

We arrived at Portrait Innovations a few minutes early and the boys were well behaved-for a few minutes.  I came equipped with Pez, pretzel Goldfish, juice, Thomas the Tank Engine trains, etc.  I thought for sure that Peanut would behave and I was hoping that Walnut would be cooperative.  Well, our appointment time came and went, the boys were snacked out and I was getting irritated.  I had requested a specific photographer and was dismayed when another woman approached me to tell me, "We'll be ready for you in a minute."  We had waited for 1/2 hour and the photographer then told me, "It's Easter and it's busy."  Irritation.

So, when we began our photo shoot Peanut would not sit.  He ran around, told the photographer "no way" and started throwing and climbing on the props.  There was only really one shot that I liked but the look on Peanut's face is priceless.  The photographer gave us the package for free in hopes that we would return.  I am hoping that in a month or so we can return to take birthday photos.  In the meantime, I now understand the importance of the candid photographer!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sleepover @ Nana and Pap's

Who rules the roost here?


We went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History at the end of February to spend some time with the dinos.  Peanut was completely out of control-running through the museum-and having a blast.  We met Nana and Pap Kocan there for lunch and a family fun day.  Walnut enjoyed himself in almost every hall in the entire museum. We ended up being there for over five hours.  The membership has truly paid for itself.  Thanks to Nana and Pap for the membership, too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adventures in K: Walnut's Kindergarten Preparedness Drill

"What if I don't know the answer?"

Barbara, the secretary from St. L, called to schedule Walnut's Kindergarten test.  I admit-I was a bit nervous.  Walnut is bright and willing to learn.  But, the formality of a test made me think.  I scheduled the time, talked to Bob and then talked to Walnut.  Melissa, Walnut's preK teacher, does a tremendous job with the kiddos.  They learn something new every day and have artifacts of proof.  Walnut can write all of his CAPITAL and lowercase letters, numbers and he's learning math, too.  He has known his colors, shapes, etc. for quite some time.  Needless to say, he's prepared.

Bob picked Walnut up at preK and met me at St. L.  We quickly got comfortable but I could tell that Andrew was nervous.  He asked several questions and then began bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean.  Mrs. K, his Kindergarten teacher, came to collect him for testing.  I was a bit teary-eyed.  He walked down the hall holding Mrs. K's hand and all of the proverbial motherly feelings of babies growing up went through my brain.  He returned with a smile on his face.  Mrs. K explained that Walnut is more than ready for Kindergarten.  Whew...what a relief.  ;)


In the fall of 2007 I became obsessed with creating a rhetoric class for the students in my building. I channeled my energies to find out what other elite school districts offered.  Three of my colleagues and I went to the NCTE National Convention in New York City in November of 2007.  I was pregnant with Matthew but still wanted to be a part of the excitement and networking.  I also wanted to expand the offerings to the Honors English 10 curriculum via graphic novels and other pieces from the global perspective.  

I proposed AP Language and Composition during the 2008-2009 school year.  It was approved and I got to work.  However, taking the idea of this course to fruition was labor intensive.  I learned quite a bit about teaching at the college level while writing the syllabus for this course.  My discerning eye proved to be ultra important while selecting textbooks and materials for the course.  Nevertheless, I learned quite a bit about myself as a teacher and about the importance of passing rhetoric on to high school students.  Thirty four students enrolled in the course this year.  They are a delight and I will so miss them when they move on to bigger and better things.

My syllabus was approved by AP Central in February and what a relief it was!  I so look forward to developing this class even more.  In fact, I am currently rewriting the curriculum again.  I am fortunate that the school district and community value education.


Follow kocanuts on Twitter