Friday, August 7, 2015

How Setting Up My Classroom Is Like Writing

It's back to school time! I've been frantically trying to set up my classroom. I've moved furniture, put up posters and borders, and sorted items into areas in the room. I haven't located what I did with the batteries, but I'm sure they will turn up.

I found a pedometer and put it on halfway through my day. I logged 2 miles in my classroom. It says 4,598 steps. I came home tired. It didn't feel like I worked that hard, but I guess 4 miles of walking will do that.

The next day I put on the pedometer as I walked to my car. When I walked out of school hours later it said 5 miles.

But besides the exercise of the back to school frantic rush, there was this one revelation...

I've realized I set up my classroom the same way I write a book. 

First, the outline.  I make a floor plan of my room and decide where all the students will go and where all the academic parts will take place. I make a schedule and decide which groups go where and when.

Next, the rough draft. I pull out all of the things pertaining to that area, making it very cluttered. Every toy, device, paper, file, or writing utensil as needed are right there in the right place. But they aren't all used at the same time.

Then, I have to edit these areas like I edit stories. Is this really necessary right now? Can I put it someplace else? I have taken out the things I'm going to use first and left them in the areas in an organized way while putting everything else in the closet. I can rotate toys and books and vocational work tasks later. I don't need a shelf of them hanging around looking slightly messy.

Then it's time to work on the cover art. In my room, I decorate with posters, bulletin board borders, and pictures. I make it look fun and cool and presentable as best I can.
Now, to spend my last free weekend of summer NOT worrying about school!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Went to the Zoo Again and Had A Blast!

Despite it being extremely hot, we went to the Indianapolis Zoo. We went early to see the animals when it was a bit cooler, so they would be willing to move around a bit. By 10AM we were sweating! The animals that had water were in it. The animals that had dirt, shelter, or shade were in it; anything to stay cool! We brought umbrellas because the weather forecast was 60% chance of rain, but the only rain we saw was on the drive in. It was already hot, then, too.
I took 475 pictures. I shared 100 of them on facebook. I can't possibly do that here. Well, I could, but we'd be here forever! I'll share the highlights of my trip.
Firstly, being early, we were able to watch the 10AM Flamingling. Flamingo-Mingling. They let the flamingoes out to see the public!

 This is how close the flamingoes got to my boys. It thought maybe they would come closer but my sons kept moving and scaring them off.

 I love all the birds in this tree. This was the first year we got to see the birds. For me, the more colorful the better!

We saw all the traditional aniamls, lions, tigers, bears, sea lions, walruses, polar bears, giraffes, elephants. Oh, here's a baby elephant.
This zebra picture is one of my favorites.
Then we were able to see the new orangutan exhibit. This building allows them to go climbing outside!

We also got to go to the butterfly gardens. I had not been inside this building before.

Since it was now blistering hot, we spent time in the oceans section with the penguins, sharks, fish, and dolphins. We ended the day with the dolphin show. This year, I actually got some pictures of the dolphins. They move fast, so I was unable to capture them previously.

Dolphins are my favorite animal. I'd go back to school and get a degree in Biology for them. I have so many more pictures. If you want to see an animal, request it in the comments and I'll add it to this post.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Draft, What To Expect at 20,000 Words

A quick update on Camp Nanowrimo, I'm over 20,000 words. :) Yay! Most of them are crap. 

However, I would not have gotten this far in without outlining my novel. I'm in love with the way I set up this novel almost more than the novel itself.

How I Outlined My Novel And Why I Love It

What do I mean by most of my words in my first draft being crap?

Sometimes the words are just exposition, setting up the scene in a very blazé way that even bores me, but they get me started. (Unnecessary backstory) It's not that they aren't important, because they are. It's that they do not move the story forward in an engaging way. I write them out. I call it word vomit.

Then suddenly, I'm in the scene, I'm creating dialogue, my characters are alive and the story moves along quickly. The next thing I know, I have a 1,000 words for the day.

You got it, Terry Pratchett with a third 'T', not Prachett as this meme screws up his name!! The first draft is the place for meeting your characters, them changing the outline and plot in ways you hadn't thought of, and lots of word vomit as you tell yourself the story. The rewriting and editing phases are when you cut out the backstory and keep it hidden from readers until that crucial moment. It's where you take the parts of your characters personalities you learned by the end and put them into the beginning where they felt flat.

I can't wait to get there. At 20,000 words, my characters are beginning to fight for their goals, to care, to meet each other, and to interact. Things should escalate quickly. This will be good.

Getting here was a struggle some days, but from here, the story will tell itself.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Slice of Life, Summer Edition: Plus, Where I Learned to Outline My Novel

This summer has been very rainy. My garden has gone nuts, which means a huge harvest, but it also means it's too muddy out there to weed. I lost a tulip tree. It sat in a swamp that used to be my backyard for a week. Bye bye. The lake in my front yard kept coming back.
We tried to go to Holiday World in early July, supposed to be the hottest summer month, but it rained.
Now, a scattered showers and overcast day is the best time to go. No lines! We got to ride some rides twice in a row, or some rides for the first time because there were no long lines in the hot sun.
But this rain was relentless, and eventually cooled the air temperature down to uncomfortably cool when wet. They closed the park early, before a lightning storm hit, and took names of people for free admission on another day. I'm looking forward to it. even though this theme and water park is exhausting. It's built on hills and those water slides have 7 or 8 flights of stairs to the top. That walk back to the car (even though we got good parking because attendance was low) is killer! I'm working out before we go again!

Also, I made a whopping 8 cents. Found in the parking lot. I love finding money.

You know what's going to happen. We are going to go back to school in early August, and that's when it's going to finally be summer. It'll be hot and good swimming weather and we have to make the kids stay indoors and learn. 
But let's not think about that now. I have a couple more weeks before I have to think about that. Sort of. I've already been planning. Shh.. don't tell anyone that part of my brain is still on teaching mode.
I'm distracting myself with writing for Camp Nanowrimo. I have over 10,000 words. I'm pretty pleased with myself. I couldn't have done it without writing up an outline and using Scrivener. 
Here is the basic outline idea.
Scrivener makes this easy.

Love Weiland and Scrivener!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Health and Sleeping Naked and What is Your Real Age Quizzes

Sometimes on my blog I address issues that are important to me.

I have been thinking about my health and sleep.

I slept in a really long time. I guess I needed to catch up on my rest. Sometimes I wish I had a stay-at-home job where I could sleep in as much as I need to like I can right now on summer break from teaching. Sleep is only one part of overall health, though.

I logged on to sharecare dot com, making sure to uncheck any boxes that said to email me constantly, because I don't need that. This is a site that is associated with the Dr.Oz show, but I went there to take the 'real age' quiz to see what age my body is. I'm a sucker for quizzes sometimes. I put in my health data, rounding my exercise to an overall number. There were standard health questions, like about diabetes or asthma, but then there was one for hours of sleep, two about quality friendship, one about flossing, one asked how many nuts do you consume, and one asked about sex.  I liked that it addressed some parts of our lives that also influence our health outside of family history and personal exercise habits.

How'd I do?  It calculated that my body is about 5 1/2 years younger than my age. That's really nice. I have a feeling that comes from blood pressure, exercise metrics, lack of family history on some key diseases, and my BMI measurements. One thing I do not know is my cholesterol levels. Those would influence my 'score'. I guess it's time for a check-up, huh? I could use more exercise, more flossing, and more vegetables. Sometimes I need better sleep.

My husband shared a couple articles on the benefits of sleeping naked. (yes, 3 different links.) Of course he had his reasons, backed by statements in these articles.

So, I tried it, but was either too hot with the covers on and too cold with them off. I tossed an turned and got a sucky night's sleep. I guess I need to adjust the temperature before bedtime, or turn the fan on and grab the covers.

 But were the statements in the articles true? Yeah, there is an increase in intimacy and a cool dry feeling in the nether regions. I can't say much yet for the skinnier me, or the cortisol effects since I clearly had a stressful night. I'll try it again, though.

Might even get a nap today.

Sleep is good!