Friday, February 3, 2012

Cheetah painting colors

Choosing a background color for a cheetah. The colors of the room it will hang in are bounding the drawing: rose, pumpkin, aubergine (to be botanical about it.) Opinions?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I was watching Sesame Street when I was Lucy's age...

Lucy has been having a very hard time falling asleep, because she is too hot. Why is she too hot? Because she has the covers over her head, but there's no winter, so she's too hot. Why does she have the covers over her head? Because she's afraid. Why is she afraid? Ah... I don't know. It could be the caffeine-like effect of chocolate in her after school snacks. Or it could be the bickering with a younger brother. Or it could be the pressures of school and extracurricular activities.

Or maybe our reading Harry Potter, The Girl Who Could Fly, and The Sisters Grimm to her.

So, We are cutting down on the chocolate, putting on cooler pjs, and reading the I'm-sorry-Lucy-I-can't-read-this-because-I-can't-stop-laughing book, Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker. This is the Petit Nicolas of the English language. Thank goodness we have found it!

Laurent used to tell her made up Harry Potter stories in the car, before she got the books. We may have to go back to that. It gave him a break from the constant Jojo Lapin on-the-fly oral fanfic fare she usually demands in the car.

Thinking about doing an artist's retreat in Minnesota. Northern Minnesota. Good idea, right?

Still hemming about animation. The industry seems brutal, but I can't stop making animations (like this one. Just play, of course.) What do I do with that? Should I apply to an animation studio, like this one? Or just keep playing, this time with the 11 second animation club?

On another topic, related to the state of the world, what charity do you recommend for children? The Rhode Island Food Bank? Being in Rhode Island, I'm afraid of graft... Or a more global one, like Save the Children?

I'm writing a story right now about a fourteen year old who needs to get away from an aggressive older date. I'm not sure how far I'm going to take it, but the research (this site and that one, for example) brought me to a couple of sites that talk about strategies and risk factors. I have begun trying to talk to Lucy about it, but I'm afraid of scaring her. My mother laid it all out from an early age, and I have never hesitated to walk briskly, say no, bang on doors if I'm being followed, keep my keys in my hand, walk in the light, watch out for corners, alleys, public bathrooms, etc... If this sound like I'm paranoid, maybe I am, but it has visibly saved me a few times. But I remember being afraid when I was a little girl...

In the world of small academics, Lucy is embarking on the wide world of borrowing, and I see that it is a big, cumbersome, awkward thing the way it is currently taught. There must be something more elegant, no? So here are two versions: one is traditional; the second is less so. Opinions?

Subtraction across zeros:
My best advice, and my colleagues agree, is to not try to get the students to regroup into a ten when there is a zero and then subtract from the ten to make nine. I tell my students that you regroup from "whoever" is next door. If "someone" is there, then you take 1. If "no one is there, then you keep moving down the street until you find someone home and you subtract from that entire number". So if you're subtracting 89 from 306, you cannot subtract 9 from 6 so you go next door. But no one is there so you keep moving. Using the marker, you have marked through a 30 so you subtract 1 from 30 leaving a 29. Bring back the one you took making a 16. Then you can subtract. It's the same principle but leaving out the middle step and my kids always get it quickly.
Using whiteboards, I ask, "What is 1 less than 5000?"
We do several of these questions and then move to:

1000-224= 999-224+1.

Then there is no regrouping.

April seems to be very near, with the extraordinary warm weather, and I'm thinking about this as a birthday present for Lucy. She can't really have too many wings, can she?

Finally, some photos from Laurent's birthday, and from the opening of Christmas presents. Emile slept through our outing to Beaver Tail Lighthouse in Jamestown.