Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Professional Electronic Portfolio

So, I have been working on my master's degree for over a year, now.  I am getting closer and closer to finishing, and I am going to graduate this summer!!  Wahoo!  But this means that I need to start looking for jobs.  As part of my course work this semester, I have been creating an electronic portfolio.  This is a website where I put my best work as a TESOL professional.  When I apply for a job, I can direct them to my professional website so that they can check out my portfolio.

I have put a lot of work into my portfolio, and I am going to be turning it in to my professor to be graded for my class on Thursday.  But even though I am feeling pretty pleased with how it looks, I know that it can always be better.  So I'd like to elicit some feedback from my faithful followers (Hi, Mom!).  You can find my electronic portfolio here, or you can click on the link in the side bar of my blog.  Please take a look at the portfolio.  Then comment on this post or email me to give me your feedback on it.  Let me know:

1. The things you like about it.
2. The things that I should change because they could be better.
3. The things that you think I should take out because you don't like them.

The first person to send me this feedback by emailing or commenting will get a special surprise in the mail!  Thanks for your help.  Some of your feedback I will probably incorporate right away.  Some of it may take me longer to address, since I'll be working on my master's project during this time.  But I am sure that I will benefit from all of your feedback.  The hope is that this will eventually help me find a job in Nevada, since that is where I am headed after graduation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dust Bunnies

I am sitting at my work desk, trying to work on my term paper for my Reading Theory and Pedagogy course.  Trying, because I am pretty tired, so it's slow going.  I have to take breaks occasionally to keep myself awake.

During my last break, I was leaning down to scratch my ankle, and something behind the computer monitor caught my eye: a dust bunny.

What an interesting word.  Dust bunny.  Does anyone know where the term came from?  Are they called dust bunnies because they are cautious creatures, lurking in desks corners and behind computers?

Okay, yeah, I'm bored, and anything is going to sound interesting to me right now.  But back to my paper!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Fleur-de-Lis in New Orleans

*This post was actually written on 8/30/11, but I put it here because it fit better here, and this is when I should have written it!*

When I was in New Orleans, I took a bunch of pictures.  Some of my favorite pictures were of the fleur-de-lis, which is found everywhere in New Orleans.  Apparently, the fleur-de-lis is a symbol of grassroots support for New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  It's also a symbol for the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Zephyrs.

I thought that I took a lot more pictures of the fleur-de-lis, but apparently I didn't.  So the first 4 pictures are mine, and then I took some from Lena's Facebook page.  It was fun to find them all over New Orleans.

Fun, huh!?

New Orleans

I have a ton to say about my trip to New Orleans!!! So of course I've been putting it off because I knew it would take a long time to write this post. But I am going to take a few minutes each day and write a few things, and it should be ready to post soon.

First, I had some mixed feelings about this trip. Dave and I have never spent large amounts of time apart from each (like, never more than a long day of working during the day) other ever since we got married. That is, we never had until this semester. We had never spent a night apart until Dave's trip to California in February. He went for a school competition and spent 4 days away from me! And then this trip that I took in March was 5 days.

By the time the trip came up, I was actually feeling pretty good about it, since it was a good professional development opportunity, I was going to be traveling to a fun city (or so I had heard), and I was going to get to attend presentations at TESOL by some really famous TESOL experts (more on that in this post). Also, while it had been hard to be apart from Dave the first time (okay, don't worry, this whole post isn't going to be this cheesy), I thought that it wouldn't be so bad this time since I would be having fun, and that it wouldn't be so hard the second time.

Then, on the day that I left to go to New Orleans, Dave was offered this job in Nevada. We knew that he would be leaving as soon as he could to start working down there. And we knew that I would have to stay in Utah to finish my master's degree and work. Suddenly, all of our days left together before the move started seeming pretty precious! So it was a little harder than I thought to go spend 5 days in New Orleans.

However, there in New Orleans, I had a lot of fun! So even though I was a little sad, I was able to have a great time and learn a lot, too. Here are some pictures (okay, a lot of pictures) of my trip.

We did a lot of things to get into the New Orleans culture while we were down there.

Walked on the riverwalk a couple of times


I look like a missionary with my convention nametag on!
Visited the French Quarter (We visited it every day we were in New Orleans! We did a lot of walking.)

I loved the architecture in this part of town.

The St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.

Fun hotel/shopping mall!

Took a Ferry Ride (I love the Mississippi!)

Our boat.

This was the day we left sunny New Orleans.

A view of the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square from the ferry.

Went to the French Market

This is supposed to represent what the French Market started out as.

Heard live music everywhere! It really is the city of jazz.

This is in a restaurant we went to on our first day.

This is in the food court of the mall next to the convention center.

Saw this fun advertisement for Zatarain's! The night we arrived, we drove by this, and I knew I had to come back to it and take some pictures.

Saw a really good street performer. He was acting like a robot.

Yes, he gave me a kiss on the cheek. Dave was jealous.

Took the trolley (I forgot to get a picture of this!)

Watched the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Got Mardi Gras beads - From people throwing them from parade vehicles, but also I just found them all over New Orleans, since Mardi Gras was the week before we came.

Took Flor de Lis pictures - It is everywhere! I am going to do a separate post of all of the pictures that I took of the Flor de Lis.

And last, but not least, went to the TESOL Conference.

Dr. Bill Grabe and Dr. Fredricka Stoller.

And of course we did a lot of eating! It was a lot of fun to try out new foods and to try Cajun cuisine, which I had heard about. I don't have pictures for most of them, but here are some things that I ate:

Beignet - These are super delicious pastries that are like doughnuts/scones. The Cafe du Monde in New Orleans is famous for their beignet.

Hot chocolate - This went so well with the Beignet, even though it really wasn't cold enough for hot chocolate

Pralines - These are pecans covered in a creamy confection similar to fudge. Yummy!

Muffaletta - This was my absolute favorite! It was a really tasty sandwich made on a crusty Sicilian bread. The toppings are salami, pepperoni, and similar meats, with an olive salad on top. Lots of olive oil. So tasty!
Po Boy - It is a sub sandwich served on French bread. I had shrimp po boy, and it was good!
Gumbo - A thick stew from Lousiana, pretty good.
Shrimp Etouffee - Similar to gumbo, but served over rice, and with shrimp!
Jambalaya - Another Lousiana dish made of meat, vegetables, stock and rice. Pretty good!
Red beans and rice - A traditional Lousiana dish. I got all of these last 4 in one order at a restaurant. The order was "A Taste of New Orleans" and it was pretty fun to try all of these dishes together.
Bread pudding - I've had better bread puddings than the two I tried in New Orleans. But it was good.

All in all, it was a great trip. I would love to go back to the Big Easy with Dave some time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Merry in the Snow

My family has a tradition of running barefoot in the snow every winter, usually in the first snow of the year.  We run in the backyard and run for about 30 seconds, or as long as we can stand it!

This year, I didn't make it for the first snow.  Then the next snow I thought, "I'll have Dave take a picture of me out here," and we never got around to it.  The next snow I got some good pictures of the lawn and the trees and the cars all covered with snow, but we didn't have time for me to take off my shoes and prance around on the lawn.  And so went the winter.

Well, last week we got what I hope is the LAST snow of the winter.  And I convinced Dave to come out and take some pictures of me running around.

Here I am looking sassy for the camera.

Some action shots.

I think that this is one of the funnest traditions.  I am definitely hoping to pass it on to my own children.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

TESOL Conference, 2011

There is just so much that I could say about my experiences at the TESOL Convention.  I guess first of all, I should explain what TESOL means.  It stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.  This is the name of an international organization of teachers, and they have a convention every year to get teachers together to share research, classroom insights, presentations on activities, and teaching materials.

It is a huge professional development opportunity!  I loved it because of all of the things that I learned.  It is definitely something very beneficial to English teachers everywhere.  I am already so excited to go again next year!  It was in New Orleans this year (I'll describe my New Orleans experience in another post).  In the next few years, here is where the TESOL Convention will be:
     2012: Philadelphia
     2013: Dallas
     2014: Portland
     2015: Toronto

I really enjoyed the presentations that I went to during the convention.  There are 3 groups of presentations that I'd like to talk about:

1. My presentation and the Graduate Student Forum
2. Presentations and TESOL Superstars
3. Presentations and my MA project

If those don't sound interesting, this is the point where you should skip to the next post!

1. My presentation and the Graduate Student Forum

I was very fortunate to be able to present at TESOL.  I submitted a proposal to present about some research that I was participating in, but the proposal wasn't accepted.  Then my classmate and friend Carrie Drake suggested that I present with her.  So I was still able to present at the conference and get my first experience at TESOL.  Thanks Carrie!

Here is a picture of me presenting at the Graduate Student Forum (GSF).

The GSF is a way for graduate students to get used to how TESOL works, so that when they graduate they are familiar with the process and they are motivated to get involved in the Convention.  This was really intimidating to me before I went to TESOL.  I mean, a presentation by a novice TESOL professional could be attended by TESOL Superstars (see next section).  Intimidating, no?  But the GSF did its job and I am now not so nervous about someday presenting by myself in the "real" TESOL Convention.

2. Presentations and TESOL Superstars

I went to several presentations at TESOL that were made be some famous TESOL professionals.  These are people who are prolific writers, who are published multiple times a year, who are cited hundreds of times a year, and who have made significant contributions to the TESOL field.  These people include Bill Grabe, Fredricka Stoller, and Keith Folse.  This list is obviously not all-inclusive, but these are the people whose presentations I went to, and here are the pictures to prove it:

Here are Bill Grabe and Fredricka Stoller.

They are faculty members at NAU, in my hometown.  They are also married, and they frequently present and publish together.  I have been known to remark (thinking about these two) that it would be heavenly to be married to your research partner.

Here is Keith Folse.

For my TESOL Seminar course this semester, we had do spotlight presentations on TESOL Superstars, and I chose Keith Folse.  I may have a little bit of a TESOL crush on him.  He is an amazing teacher and researcher.  His is an expert in the area of ESL vocabulary, which relates a lot to my MA project and my course of study.

3. Presentations and my MA project
Speaking of which, I got so many good ideas for my MA project while I was at TESOL. I went to several of Dr. Folse's presentations about vocabulary.  One of the presentations talked about various ways to assess vocabulary and to help students practice vocabulary they have learned.  Since part of my project is teaching vocabulary that is specific to US History, I want to use some of these ideas in the lesson plans that I'm writing.

Also, I went to a presentation by Dr. Stoller and Dr. Grabe about reading instruction.  I am going to be having students at Project Read do a lot of reading in the college skills lesson plans, so this was interesting.

Altogether, it was a fun, educational, interesting, and exciting event!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


So my goal of running a relay half marathon is probably not going to happen this May.  I have been so busy working on my class homework and on my master's project, I have not been running as regularly as I should have been.  Also, I don't have a partner.  Also, my default partner (AKA Dave) is moving away!

But I am not giving up on the idea.  I am just going to have to postpone it.  I am determined to start running more regularly as soon as classes are over and throughout the summer so that I can be in shape for a half marathon at the end of the summer or in the early fall.  Here's to revamping goals!!!