Monday, April 29, 2013

April Exits

My first full month of school has basically gone by. In this time I have come to understand what graduate life is like and also set my brain back into motion for learning.

I just finished practicing for my 5-minute resource presentation I will be giving on Wednesday in my Adult Learning class. What should be 5 minutes is really about 10 to 12, so perhaps I'll be okay if I speak too fast. I also printed off my handouts, which are little book pamphlets and need to fold those.

Life as a graduate is getting into a flow and routine. From Mon - Weds I pretty much focus hard on school, go to classes and try to get library stuff taken care of. Then from Thurs - Fri I work on homework and assignments, trying to clear up room for the weekend. The weekends are spent seeing new friends and getting out there.

I like being a graduate but sort of worry about it all in the back of my mind. For example, where will I be in 2 years when this finishes? Job??? So I want to make sure I focus on career enhancing activities, jobs, workshops...etc so I come out of my graduate experience with a resume behind it.

The quarter system sure is different from that of the semester system, which I was use to. Instead of having a little break in between things, you just keep going until the quarter ends. But so far I feel the courses are designed to fit the schedule.

A sample of the slides I made are below. The first two actually have moving gifs as backgrounds, which are pictured below too. I thought this would spice up the presentation a bit.

Actually through this process of trying to find lovely gifs to add to my presentation I figured out that there is a whole world of "cinemagraphs" out there. I think these are subtle yet lovely examples of photography, pop culture and imagery.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Work, work, work...all day long

Poor Tom gets little attention from me these days. If he were in the shape of a book or notebook then he would be tired of me by now. The assignments have been pouring in and deadlines starting to draw near. My Adult Learning class has the most amount of work, as far as number of assignments go. Since my Linguistics class has one big research paper, that is something I develop over time.

I think working on my Adult Learning stuff is more interesting since I can directly relate it to teaching. For example, one current assignment is to pick a teaching resource (listed in the syllabus) and come up with a 5 minute presentation that sums up it's usefulness. So far I have gathered information, thought about what I want to say and made the "handout". However, my handout is no ordinary formal page of data, instead I went the route of making a brochure! Produced within the past 3 hours it will hopefully give the other students in my class something different and worthy of keeping around.

Left to do on this assignment is to make a PPT presentation, prepare and be ready to go around the start of May. So I guess I'm halfway there. Yet I think I need to consider time management on these projects, because I still have lots to do elsewhere and not all the time in the world. For some reason my mind thinks the sky is the limit! When in reality other students are probably putting something together a few days before.

I'm not even really striving for an "A", more just wanting to do my best and really understand the material and how it relates to reality.

For a while I was feeling a little blue about all this reading and work I've been dong. Thinking, "what's the point?"'s all different in the classroom. But then I awoke from a crazy dream about teaching and felt that the desire to improve as a teacher and to also improve the experience of my students. Maximize!

Probably good to stop and rest at some point. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A field trip to Tulip Town

I had the great pleasure of going on a field trip to Tulip Town up in Mt. Vernon. This is an area about 1.5 hours north of Seattle in the Skagit Valley. What's special about this place is their fields of freshly bloomed tulips on display. If you are not a fan of pretty flowers than I would advise you to move on.

We arrived around 10AM and the sun was still hiding behind clouds, but we still enjoyed the sight of different types of tulips and array of colors. Origins from Holland, Tulip Town was originally and still is a bulb farm. The resulting photos are examples of the breathtaking scenery you can experience. The students enjoyed the trip and were encouraged to speak only English. I really enjoyed hearing them use English amongst each other and in natural contexts.

Let's just roll through the rainbow of colors found at Tulip Town...

The following were my favorite due to their variation of colors on the flower itself.

When walking past the bright orange and red ones, the brilliance of color was overwhelming.

The following were interesting to spot due to their unusual shape, but were also one of my favorites.

Students enjoying a good time at the tulip fields...

Nearby the fields was an outdoor display area...

The rest of the trip was spent stopping off at a few places for wine, food and shopping. The next stop was a nearby winery, where the flavors of the grapevine poured on and on. I tried a few of the white wines and was almost convinced to get a bottle. However, the students picked up enough for a good time. 

Next was a salmon-bake dinner put on by the local Kiwanis club at a park clubhouse. I think for the most part students experienced some American food and also a different kind of dining experience (family or picnic style). 

Our last stop was at a very small town called, La Conner which had antique shops and a nearby river to admire. I'll put up pictures later, as those are all on my phone. But what I took most from this leg of the trip was the surprise from the students. A lot of them kept asking, "Is this town real?" Mostly because it looked so quant and cute that it could of been a movie set. By the end of the trip mostly everyone was zonked out from the wine and wondering around. 

Even though attending the field trip was not paid, I think the experience of being with the students out of the school was priceless. I haven't been back to sub yet, and hope that my presence on the trip helped form a more comfortable relationship with these students. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fremont Sunday Market

Seattle's street or farmer's markets were an aspect of this city that I was looking forward to seeing. So it was a real pleasure when I visited the Fremont Sunday Market and had a good time looking around.

Fremont is just a bit north of downtown Seattle area, and you have to cross a short bridge to get over there. Parking wasn't too bad, but I think I got lucky with a spot nearby. What was really great was warm temps and sunny skies.

The above are shots of street food trucks parked at the end of the festival, offering an eclectic mix of cuisine.

One of the bonuses of the market was the Lake Washington Ship Canal, where you could sit and enjoy your market grub while admiring the scenery. Along this stretch of water and land is the Burke-Gilman trail, which had many bikers, skaters and boarders going by.

The market itself had an assortment of crafts, art, services and food for sale. Here you can see a person selling hula hoops, which was fun because there were "try-out" ones on the sidewalk that were fun to use.

Painted records anyone?

f shiny new things aren't for you then you could head indoors to a flea-market type area, where antiques and "nice junk" were for sale. I picked up some pins and the "iron" from Monopoly. It was a charming place to shop and fun to pick up and touch all the strange knick-knacks.

After enjoying the indoor flea-market I walked along the Burke-Gilman trail and enjoyed the large bridge and nearby scenery. They say a troll lives under the Fremont bridge...hmmm...

Apparently, Fremont is also famous for having random statues around town. I don't recall who this is below but in town there is one of Stalin.

I became really fascinated by the houseboats along the water. What a fun way to live, except in stormy weather.

I have a feeling I'll be back in Fremont to check out more of the town and see what's new at the Sunday Market. :)