We did get a last hurrah trip in this month when we drove down to Santa Monica to visit the Getty Art Museum and see a couple of friends who have moved down there. We’ve both basically lived all our adult lives in California but have spent maybe 20 days in the Los Angeles area.
We had a great time. I thoroughly enjoyed Santa Monica and Venice Beach both. I looked for the skateboarding bull dog but could not find him. Venice Beach has become this fantastic outdoor head shop with people dressed in green handing out discount coupons for prescription marijuana alongside police officers who are simply there to keep the peace. (It can happen in America.) I’ve no interest in smoking stuff, I really was just looking for Small World Books and enjoying the sights.
Santa Monica is much more upscale than Venice Beach. Visiting the pier there was lots of fun and the beach is beautiful. I got to stop in at Hennessay and Ingalls a bookstore devoted to coffee table books. Lots of wonderful architecture books, but there was an upset toddler in one corner whose mother was simply not going to go home yet in spite of how badly the child wanted to leave. So I had to go. Just a block away was the pedestrian mall, yes they have these in Los Angeles now, which was hopping with the after work crowd
We spent an evening in Hollywood with the tourists, visited one of the wax museums there and enjoyed the Getty though more for the building and the view than their collection. I even found a new hat that fits me at a shop near Main Street in Santa Monica. (See picture above.)
I had lunch in San Francisco with my old book club this week. It was fun to get together with everyone and I got to browse both Borderlands and Dog-Eared Books afterwards. I didn’t buy anything. I’m book-shy lately because I just got my copy of The Kills by Richard House which is over 1000 pages long. It’s getting lots of rave reviews lately. I’m enjoying it but I’m not raving.
I think it’s tied to this whole back to school vibe slash funk I’m in. I did go in to school one morning last week to set up my classroom. I put green paper on my boards which is a change from the usual blue, fixed them all up with work from last year’s students so the room looks good and unpacked all of my book club books. I don’t know what I’m going to do with book clubs this year, which may be the cause of my funk.
Last year’s book clubs were annoying overall. Last year was really the first time I’ve had a class of page counters for many years. Whenever time came to select new books, the majority of students went looking for whatever was shortest. They ended up reading a lot of books they didn’t like as a result. Since the district is phasing out the GATE program and I’ll be down to just one section, I’m likely to have even more page counters this year. I’m leaning towards bringing back reading logs, using class time for reading, assigning page goals instead of book goals. These strategies all worked back when I started two decades ago in a classroom full of below-grade-level readers.
The pendulum keeps on swinging.
Tomorrow there will be a faculty meeting. We’re sure to talk about common-core and probably project based learning. I think the whole country is sick of common-core by now so you won’t hear anything more about it from me for today. Our current superintendent is very big of project based learning. There’s been pressure on me about not going to the three-day training but I keep on insisting that I’ve been teaching for 25 years and I have been doing project based learning since back in the days when we called it ‘teaching’.
We’ll see what happens.
Dakota is still having A-level days in the meantime. She is begging to go outside as I type this. We’re off to Point Isabelle, dog paradise, later today once the fog leaves, even if it doesn’t. Then I suppose I’ll be reading The Kills hoping it gets to the rave review sections fairly soon. I have Haruki Murakami’s new book sitting on the table next to me, calling its siren song…..