Monday, September 29, 2014

The Wet Returns

The wetness that defines Seattle as Seattle returned last week. It felt like Fall had come barging in telling Summer to hurry up and pack. But that's okay, because the wetness has been a comforting return. It helps me focus on my studies and as Ian says doesn't make you feel guilty for staying inside.

But I went out anyway and took a stroll through the falling light rain of September.

Fall quarter also started last week and I only had to attend one class but already I can tell this quarter is going to give me enough flexibility to stay focused and work on things at the same time. The Structures of English II class doesn't seem too demanding but will also really help me understand more about grammar.

Well, let's see more drippy photos...

A while ago I moved my furniture around and this caused Tom to not have a spot at the window. So he has been sitting in my one and only chair (my desk chair). I went out to the Goodwill and found this spectacular stool for Tom and he took to it right away. I love how it matches him...:)

And well.... happy birthday to me!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creating my own travel watercolor box

I think every year around my birthday I go on a shopping frenzy, where I tell myself I need to go and get myself a present. That's what happened today as I went art supply shopping all around town. I  realised what I really wanted was to make my own travel watercolor box. I've been wanting to draw and paint on the road or in a cafe - wherever - since I got to Seattle. I do follow some blogs where people do this (you can see those links on the side). So after some research I headed to Daniel Smith's. Their prices weren't cheap but they had the paint pans that I needed and other things.

I also stopped at Daiso and found a great plastic compartment container for the paint pans. They fit snugly inside and were adhered using double sided tape, also found at Daiso. I miss the real Daiso that I went to in Korea, but I'll take what I can get. 

 (Above: Assembling the paint pan box. Below: Adding the paints.)

I made a little chart for myself so I know what they are when I go out into the field. The real money was spent on the Moleskin watercolor sketchbook and new brushes, including two water brush pens (they hold water inside a small tank). You can see I put in a range of colors and left one pan empty, as I am not sure what to add - maybe another yellow or maybe a color I buy along the way. Thankfully the pans can be removed and moved around.

Okay, sorry the picture came out vertical. But what you see here is from the top left: Moleskine sketchbook, underneath that a pouch to carry it all with some water spraying devices next to it, underneath all that are some waterproof pens. Then the upper right corner has a ceramic tray for mixing, a metal container with a lid (not sure what I will do with this, maybe carry water....hmm). The brush pens and some tissues that are in a fun travel size.

I hope this compels me to get out and sketch and paint, after a day of studying. As the cooler air sets in, along with the rain, I can take this to a cafe or someplace and sketch / color away. Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lincoln Park

What was Summer 2014 like? For me it felt like it went by really fast but I somehow managed to get out and do a few things. I visited a lot of parks in the Seattle area and one of them was Lincoln Park. It's nestled next to the Puget Sound in West Seattle. There were some lovely trails and then a really nice long walk near the water.

Summer also felt like a time where I pretended to not be a student. I didn't really study the comps notes I created for myself. However, I did crack open my Keith Folse grammar book and taught myself a few things. I'm still getting the hang of really being able to understand grammar and what students really need to know. Hopefully this coming grammar course I'm taking this fall will help with that. The rain is expected to come this week and these summer photos will be a great way to look back at the warm and lovely summer we've had this year.

The park also has a pool alongside it, which is apparently treated with Puget Sound water that is also heated. Perhaps I should pay it a visit next summer when it is in season again.

I'm constantly amazed every time I visit the Puget Sound how clear the water is, and usually stand by the shore and just watch the water lap back and forth.

Two more quarters left people! I took a look at those comps notes today and felt a bit of stress knowing I need to start understanding it all. Just trying to shake off my summer haze and get back into studying. Hopefully the cooler weather and hot tea will help with that.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reflecting Back: Media Writing Class I Taught for a Session

So things didn't quite work out the way I wanted them to this summer, as I was going to teach a full schedule at one of the school's I substitute for here in Seattle. But they were low on student's and so cut back the regular teacher hours and thus they gave those extra hours to their regular staff. However, I was given one class that met 1 hr a day (except Friday's). It was a themed writing class called "Modern Media Writing". I was given free reign to come up with what happened in class as long as I hit certain criteria and that students produced something every week.

This was a multi-cultural and multi-level class within in an IEP program so mostly young students (20 somethings). They were all really great students and I felt lucky because they engaged well with the content and also worked hard too.

The topics we covered centered around different forms of media, so I went with giving advice the first week, writing a News Story for the second week, creating restaurant reviews for the third week and interviewing classmates for a personality profile the last week. You could consider this like an English for Academic Purposes writing class focusing on media writing. During class I mostly gave introductions to the kind of writing, talked about how to write and gave examples. I chose activities that I thought would be engaging and had students work together to use their own knowledge.

Looking back I feel I should have spun in more social and critical thinking skills, but I think because I wasn't familiar with my students and really the class format that I tried to stay within a comfortable arena of work. However, there were times when some cultural or critical thinking skills were utilised and performed by the students.

Overall, I was pleased to hear from my students that they enjoyed my teaching and the class and were sad I wasn't going to be teaching there next session. It renewed my teacher spirit and put a little bit more fuel in me to finish up my degree so that I can head back to the classroom as an instructor.

For the last class we went over to Bauhaus books so they could do their interviews in a casual setting and then just kickback.

Below are my lesson plans which are pretty rough and without all the nice things like "objectives" and what-not. But they can give you a good idea of what happened and might be useful for anyone teaching a similar class in the future.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Discovery Park - Getting the last summer sun

In a place like Seattle you start to understand when the glorious sunny days of summer are going to fade out to the grey clouds of fall and winter. This weekend we planned on going out to Mt. Rainier but after Ian realised it takes about 2.5 hrs to get there he changed his mind. (In the future we should leave earlier). So we decided instead to get our outdoors fix by going to Discovery Park, which is on the northwestern side of the city.

It's a huge park and we enjoyed a hike down to the beach. From there we had a picnic (consisting of Korean kimbop and treats - Happy Chuseok!) and explored the area till we hiked back up to the car.

I got into taking black and white photos of the drift wood...

In the next picture if you look out onto the horizon you'll see a fuzzy white shape, that's Mt. Baker.

We dug a hole and buried a stick in it...good times.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Binders Full of Comprehensive Exam Notes

I finally found the time to put together all my binder's of notes that I will use for studying for the Comp's exam next winter. I know I'm super early, but I feel that if I am organised and familiar with what I need to study before I even start studying that this will help keep the stress levels down.

I've put together quite a collection here and my strategy is to use the collection of notes from other people as a springboard into studying my own own notes. Then use the articles to get more of a well rounded idea of the information from a writer's perspective. There are a few more topics I could make notes on but I feel like taking a break from that.

Since I'm not working as much as I thought I would this summer I guess I should try to crack these open and take a look.

Anyways, not a too exciting post here but what the heck...right?