Friday, November 28, 2014

Tis the Season to be Thankful

As a college student, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for my family, who has always offered me their love and support, no matter how difficult I may have been.

I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to go to college and pursue a degree in something that I am passionate about. And by attending college, I’ve been able to meet so many incredible people, many of whom have become friends.

I’m thankful for such a wide network of friends who have become my family away from home.

I’m thankful for professors who push me to be better than I can be, and who push me to think outside of the box and look at the world from a new perspective, no matter how challenging I may find their classes

I’m thankful for all the incredible opportunities I’ve been presented with, and that I’ve been able to participate in many of them, as a lot of these experiences have forced me to grow.

I’m thankful for my job, and the incredible people I work for, as without them, I wouldn’t be keeping a blog, nor would I be able to utilize my creative skills as much as I have been able to. In addition, I wouldn’t have learned so much about the digital world, which is knowledge I can apply to my classes, and other real-world situations.

I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head and that I live a comfortable life, surrounded by people who love and care about me.

While I could continue this list, and expand on everything I already listed, I challenge you to think about what you have to be thankful for in this season of thankfulness. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Clearly Creative

Last Friday, I finished my high school field experience. During my last week, my coordinating teacher allowed me to work more with the students than I had been able to in my earlier weeks at the school.

My coordinating teacher taught an acting class that I had not done any work with during my first three weeks of field, but in my last week, my coordinating teacher had me help students write scripts for a production they were making.

Photo my coordinating teacher
took of me while I was talking
to students about their projects.
As part of their final, students had to write parodies of popular holiday movies/songs/activities, and when they’re done, students will put them all together to create a show that they will put on for other classes.

While they were working, I would walk around from group to group and help students further their own ideas, as well as offer suggestions if they were stuck. I was consistently impressed with how creative the students were, and how they were drawing on a variety of sources to come up with their ideas.

One group decided to turn popular holiday characters into pop artists, while another group decided that they wouldn’t use spoken words and would instead rely on movements and music. This group even used a computer program to create a mesh of songs to create their music, and there were specific movements that went with specific beats/melodies.

Other groups were taking popular holiday songs and changed the lyrics to fit their plot line. A group that was parodying The Grinch took the song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch,” used it as a starting point, and then changed the lyrics and turned it into a rap. Another group took the song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and changed the lyrics so it became a duet for a couple that was arguing.

I was blown away by the creative ideas that students were coming up with. Some groups would call me over and ask for help because they couldn’t think of a funny way to accomplish the parody they were after. In instances where this happened, I would read what they had, offer a suggestion, and from there, students would take that suggestion and come up with new ideas based on it. In other cases, students would come up with new ideas based on what my suggestion made them think about.

Over the course of my last week, I really was able to watch students go from having nothing written, to having 4 minute scripts written, and ready to act out. So while the old adage “My students taught me more than I could have taught them” is rather cliché, I can’t express how true I found this statement to be during my field experience.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dining with Winston Churchill’s Granddaughter

On Monday night, I had the opportunity to hear Celia Sandys, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, speak. After her speech, I had the opportunity to eat dinner with her, as well as other students, some faculty members, and a few representatives from The Churchill Centre.

Photo that was taken at dinner.
Sandys has written five books about Churchill, and has been recognized as a speaker and TV presenter on Churchill’s life.

While she was on campus, she gave four talks, each of which was on a different topic. The session I attended was titled “Memories of my Grandfather,” and centered on Sandys stories about growing up with “The British Bulldog” as a grandfather.

Her presentation offered a new perspective on such an influential leader, and I learned a great deal about who Churchill was aside from his public role.

Sandys reminisced about her childhood, and told accounts of Christmas’ at Chequers Court, the country residence of the Prime Minister.

As she spoke, Sandys fondly called upon painting holidays in the South of France with her grandpapa, who was a talented artist. She reminisced about the different holidays they took, and how interesting it was for her to have the opportunity to travel during her teen years.

Sandys told accounts of Churchill’s famous siren suit (very similar to a jumpsuit/onesie), which he wore instead of suits, so he could be more comfortable, and it was much easier to put on in a rush.

During the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Sandys recalls standing on a balcony, waving to Churchill as he drove by in the procession.

Her stories humanized “The British Bulldog,” as she told accounts of his witty nature, always ready with some sort of smart remark or comeback.

At dinner, Sandys asked us several questions about our lives as college students in the United States, and she offered insights into life in the United Kingdom.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Sandys and learn so much about Churchill. Having this opportunity was just another reminder of why I chose to come to Miami.

“We are all worms, but I do believe that I am the glow worm.” – Winston Churchill

Friday, November 7, 2014

Under Pressure

I attend my field placement with three other Miami students, and we carpool to the school from campus. On Wednesday, as we were driving back, “Under Pressure” by Queen came on the radio, and I couldn’t help but realize how fitting that was. It was quintessential, if you will.

About 15 minutes before I left my field placement, my coordinating teacher asked me to teach on Thursday, and despite my utter lack of preparation, I was not about to decline the opportunity to teach.

My coordinating teacher was going to be out of the building at meetings all day, so there would be a substitute teacher in the room, and my coordinating teacher wanted me to be in charge.

Picture I took of The Catcher in the Rye, the book that is
currently being taught during my field placement.
So, before I left, we discussed what the students should gain from the activity I was to create, and I left the building with a “To-Do” list about two notebook pages long, between everything else I had to get done, in addition to everything I had to do so I could teach the next day.

Needless to say, I was stressed. But when “Under Pressure” came on in the car, I couldn’t help but notice that it fit my situation perfectly.
I was stressing to the point where I wasn’t even sure where to begin, and I knew that I just had to dive into my “To-Do” list so I could feel prepared and less stressed.

I had to create a guided reading activity for two chapters out of The Catcher in the Rye, which is a book that sadly I never read in high school, but I’m now having the opportunity to.

While it took me some time, I was able to create a worksheet with ten guided reading questions, and when I came into the building yesterday morning, my coordinating teacher was in the classroom, and wanted to make sure I was all set to teach before leaving the building.

I was happy to see that my coordinating teacher was really impressed with the guided reading questions I came up with. Before leaving, my coordinating teacher asked me to come up with more questions like it for two chapters the students will be reading next week.

As for the teaching portion, that was a success as well. In addition to the guided reading questions, I had to administer a quiz and make sure there were no wandering eyes. While the substitute teacher was in the room the whole time, he sat back and let me teach, without interruption.

Lesson learned: I thrive under pressure.