Thursday, March 18, 2004

Stuff. It's what's for dinner.

Let me tell you about "stuff." Stuff is what I make for dinner when:
1. I don't feel like cooking.*
2. I don't feel like shopping.*
3. I don't have a lot of money.*
(* And Tim feels the same way.)

Basically, I take a can of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce, a can of tuna (undrained), and whatever I happen to have in the fridge/pantry veggie-wise. For example, tonight's dinner is stewed tomatoes, tuna, mushrooms, zuccini, onion, green onion, potatoes, garbanzo beans, chicken stock, and a bit of canned chili. You heat it up then let it simmer for however long (until I remember I left it on the stove) then eat it up with some feta or pamesan and hot sauce. It usually turns out to be pretty good. Occassionally it tastes real bland.

Well, I had a pretty good day today. My kids are working on project-based learning type of a thing. A teacher friend of mine tried it out with some of her classes and had some success, especially with her more troublesome students, and she suggested I give it a whirl since I was up to here with my 6th period class. So I gave it a shot. And acutally, it has been a positive experience for me. More of the students are engaged than during a "usual" teacher-centered lesson. Of course, there are a couple who aren't getting any work done, but they aren't disrupting those that are, and that is a big plus. They are all researching their own questions they have about the universe. Most of their questions are standard-related and stuff that I would have tried to tell them anyway, but this is better. And, since this school doesn't have an art program (don't get me started on that) it gives them a chance to draw and color, which they enjoy. The only down side is that these kids don't have a lot of if any experience in research projects and presentations. I had to stop them all and explain how to make a presentation poster because several groups had no idea where to begin. Part of it is lack of confidence in their own skills. But now that they are ready to get their posters set up, and they don't do a lot of art, this is their one big shot at showing off to their friends. One group spent 20 minutes debating how to write the title of their project. It went like this--
me: What's going on here? How come you haven't done anything?
them: Ms. Aranda, we are working on our poster.
me: But it's all rolled up; I don't see any writing on it.
them: We've been deciding how to write "stars," like STAR or Star or StaR ......
...I think you get it. It really was cute, in a way.


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