Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#SOL15, Day 31: Selfie Slices, Selfie Sticks, and Seeing Ourselves

Today theonth of blogging in the SOL Story Challenge ends. Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting this amazing program. I'll be back each Tuesday with more slices. 

Though I'm disappointed that I missed two days of blogging, I realize that my 13 days of travel posed a couple of significant tech challenges beyond my control. 

Throughout our trip, street venders everywhere tempted tourists and travelers with the product du jour: the Selfie Stick. Although I did not purchase one, I did have fun taking selfies w/ my travel companions, particularly my colleague Pam, who is responsible for organizing our adventure, w/ Melissa, my former student who was also my roommate, and w/ some of my current and former students. 

Some of my favorite selfie slices: 

Melissa and me outside Buckingham Palace w/ two of the Queen's guards posing w/ us: 
W/ Melissa in the London Eye: 

At Stonehenge: 
W/ Abbey in Paris: 

W/ Suzanne, who was a foreign exchange student iny class last year. Suzanne is from France and met up w/ us in Paris. 
W/ Pam in Vatigan City: 

Our guide Paula at the Vatigan. She is hilarious!
W/ Maddie at the Forum:
W/ Erin at the Vatigan:
Okay, this isn't a selfie, but I loved getting to know Kirk and Melba, grandparents of one of the students: 

Getting photo bombed w/ Madfie on the Spanish Steps in Rome: 
The last selfie of the trip. Melissa and me on the plane in Rome awaiting takeoff: 

Although seeing and visiting historical places took me on my travels, seeing these places through the eyes of students, friends, and colleagues heightened the experience and memories. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

#SOL15, Day 29: When in Rome...

We had a huge day this Palm Sunday in Rome and Vatigan City. We were in Vatigan City for the Pope's blessing, but as the world knows, a threat preventer him from appearing. I'm not Catholic but do understand the reference and pittance of seeing the Holy See to Catholics. I'd hoped to experience this moment w/ my former student Erin. She was heartbroken and I was, too, because I her sadness made me sad.

Still, we had a wonderful time touring the Sistine Chapel, the Colessium, and the Forum. We also walked down the Spanish steps and saw the under renovation Trevie Fountaim, as well as other sites. 

Once again, some photos; however, photos are not allowed inside the Sidtine Chapel, so...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

#SOL15, Day 28: Why Nancy Atwell Says She Won't Recomnend Teaching as aCareer Choice

For more than a week I've focused my SOL posts in my travels. In addition to continuing the travelogue, today I'm interested in a comment Nancy Atwell, winner of the new Milkin teaching award and its million dollar prize, made.

Atwell says she wouldn't recommend teaching as a career to young people, that the CCSS and emphasis on standardized testing as turned teaching into a robotic scripted exercise antithetical to good reading and writing instruction. 

I understand Atwell's  comment. On the one hand, teachers want excellent young peoe to enter the profession. On the other hand, the art and craft if teaching has been hijacked by test prep and the so-called accountability movement. Why would we wish that on our best and brightest. 

More about that later. 

For now, we've arrived in Rome, Italy. Yesterday we went to the beach in Barcelona and learned more about the market as part of a cooking class. The kids now know how to make Risotto. The main ingredient is love and a feel for the fool.

Friday, March 27, 2015

#SOL15, Day27: Beautiful People and Places

We're close to the end of the SOL Story Challenge and my European adventure. Today is day 27 of 31 and 9 of 13.

We spent the day shopping in Barcelona and touring the city. 

My shopping adventure included impeccable customer service from a sales associate who literally sprinted to find a pair of shoes for me. Our communication was hindered only a little by my broken Spanish but not so much that I couldn't get a selfie. Regrettably, I forgot to ask her name.

On our afternoon bus tour, we visited two "unfinished masterpieces, the Cathedral de Familia and a park (can't recall the name but will tag it later). We also learned about Barcelona hosting the '82 Olympics and more about Antonio Gaudie, the famous modernist architect.

We also ate our way through the market I wrote about yesterday and said goodbye to our friends from Indiana, a group of students, teacher, and parent who joined us for most of the tour.
Pictured here are Jess, Katie, and Darla: