Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Finally... Gymnastics, Resolutions, and Good Reads

Gymnastics competitions are finished! My weekends are mine again. My daughter and I have been in a different city every other week for the last couple of months. This past week, we were in Columbus, Ohio, for The Champion's Cup. Over 2000 girls competed in levels 3-10. Daughter and I watched the level 10s compete Saturday night. Wow! I was amazed at what they could do, but with spectacular tumbling comes spectacular crashes. My goodness! I thought one gymnast had broken her nose. She under-rotated a final back flip in a tumbling run and landed on her face - hard enough that her head bounced up from the mat. She stood right up, finished the routine, saluted the judges, and walked with her head held high to the sidelines. Never lost her game face. Impressive! Another gymnast finished her vault, walked to the sidelines, held up her foot and mouthed to her mother, "I broke my toe." She then proceeded to do her floor routine. Soccer is starting to look pretty good...

I've broken my first New Year's Resolution - to write six days a week, no excuses. It didn't quite work out this past week. I tried to write in the hotel Friday night. My daughter was in the bed and I was in a (comfy) chair with my laptop. The next thing I knew, it was 2:30 a.m. I'd fallen asleep writing. I managed a whole paragraph before nodding off. I'm back on the wagon this week.

I just finished reading The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. What a good read! I'd had it on my list for awhile, but when it won the Newbery, I moved it to the front of the line. Definitely one I recommend!

I'm getting ready to teach a Medieval unit in my TAG class. I've chosen four books: Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray; Catherine Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman; The Midwife's Apprentice, by Karen Cushman; Good Master! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz. I plan on putting students into different novel groups. I've had a blast teaching this in the past. Students build models of a village, an abby, and a castle - depending on their group assignment. They research weaponry, knights, games, etc., and we end it all with a medieval faire and feast. We invite the 4th, 5th and 6th grades to our faire, which is held in the gym. The feast is just for us. I've served turkey legs (KFC chicken legs), wine (grape juice), cheese, crusty bread, and fruit. The novel unit will last through mid-April. The research, model building, and preparations for the faire will be in May - after state testing. It's a great way to end the year!

Okay... I must write. I'm back on the wagon, after all.

7 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

Those sound like some great reads!
And athletes can deliver a bunch of inspiration, can't they!

Brenda said...

You know your addicted to your laptop when you fall asleep in a hotel chair in the middle of writing...grin...

Christina Farley said...

Wow! Sounds like you had such a trip. It is truly amazing how tough those girls can be. What is your daughter's favorite part of gymnastics?

Your new medieval until sounds awesome. I used to teach it in 6th grade at one school and then 7th grade in another. So fun!

Chocolateer said...

I love Catherine Called Birdy. I've read the Midwife's Apprentice and think my favorite bit has to be when the little village is suddenly visited by 'the devil' over the course of several evenings. But, I wasn't quite sure I agreed with her choice in the end. Which makes a great discussion point :)

Bish Denham said...

Oh! In sixth grade our teacher broke us into groups and we built castles and such, had a medieval fair and the whole school came through (small school). I have NEVER forgotten! So, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you have made some wonderful memories for some kids!

Nora MacFarlane said...

PJ - My to read list is HUGE!

I always want to work out with the gymnasts, and then I remember my body is a few decades older than theirs...

Brenda - If addicted means that nearly every minute of your free time is spent at your computer or laptop, um, then yes. I'm addicted.

Christina - My daughter loves the floor exercise, but her best event is vault. She has the gymnastic's bug bad!

Christina, Chocolateer & Bish - The medieval unit is one of my favorites. The kids know it's coming, and they ask everyday if the books have come in yet from the library. I'm as excited as they are!

Anne Spollen said...

It's amazing how difficult it is to get consistent time to write, isn't it? I always read these stories about women who spend the summer near lighthouses in Maine and complete their novels. Of course, they don't have kids,dinner, gymnastics, jobs...