(Fall)

Although I have been tagging pictures and posts “Fall” for quite some time now, it’s not actually Fall!  According to the calendar Fall doesn’t begin for another two days.  But, nonetheless in my mind Fall is synonymous with back-to-school.  Plus, everyone is always pushing ahead and talking about what’s coming next and not focusing on the here and now.  Look at Fashion week– they are debuting clothing lines for the Spring!  We haven’t even had Fall and Winter yet.  And not to mention my Pinterest was flooded with pins of outfits comprised of leggings, boots, and comfy cozy sweaters captioned I LOVE Fall two months ago.  So, please don’t fault me for the erroneous tagging!

Printed cowl neck shirt: Target. Red earrings: unknown. Magenta skinny belt: Target. Khaki pencil skirt: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown heeled boots: unknown.

And, since we’re only two days away, I’ll go ahead and say this.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall.  This week we have had some near record lows.  The cool crisp air is very Fall-esque and therefore, I have started wearing some Fall-like layers.  First up, this shirt which with the mustard yellow and burgundy tones just screams “fall pile of leaves” to me.  And the khaki pencil skirt.  And the brown knee-high heeled boots.  I’m no mathmetician, but Boots=Fall.  I told you in my last post that my outfit consisted of different elements from my creative closet play session, and here it is.  First, the printed cowl neck shirt from all of the outfits.  Second, the skinny magenta belt which gives this top the illusion of being a peplum top– which are SO on-trend right now (but not in my closet.)  Third, the brown boots from another outfit.  Switch out the denim colored pencil skirt for a khaki one, add in thick nude colored tights, and a brown jacket and we’re good to go!

I really like the way that I created the peplum top illusion by tucking under some of the excess length on this top and adding the belt.  But, the one thing that I didn’t like is that my skirt was all wrinkly by the end of the night.  I think that a good coating of spray starch will take care of that.

In class we finished up the lecture over outlining and then talked about organizational strategies for main points.  I have tried to stress to my students the importance of their outlines.  I have walked them through the process step by step.  In week 3 I required them to turn in their topic for approval, their general purpose and specific purpose.  A few of them were off course and had selected a topic that would work better for a process or persuasive speech.  Some of them had a good topic, but had written a specific purpose that treated the topic as a how-to or persuasive speech.  And some of them didn’t write the specific purpose according to the guidelines.

After they turned in their topics, I told them that they should be out there researching their topics and gathering support material for their outlines.  This coincided with the two chapters on finding resources and evaluating and using supporting material.  I constantly reminded them that they should be starting the process of piecing together their outlines.  Last week we began discussing outlining.  We finished that up on Tuesday and their outlines are due today.

I’m always a little worried for some of my students– especially the ones who don’t heed my warnings and get behind.  I had a student approach me at the end of class on Tuesday and ask me if she could change her topic.  I tried to conceal the look of horror on my face as I explained to her that she should be on the outlining stage and not at the selecting a topic stage.  Selecting a topic stage was so 3 weeks ago!  I asked her if she realized how behind she was, but I don’t think that she grasped the severity of the situation.  But, there is a silver lining to this situation.  She expressed concern to me about how to study for the quizzes.

I took a few minutes to sit down with her and show her a few tips and tricks for figuring out which information is most important in a textbook chapter and which information is least important.  I also explained to her about the cues that a teacher gives to the students.  For instance, if something is not covered in class that means that it is less important than other information.  Idea’s that a teacher repeats is something that they want you to write down in your notes and remember.  The same thing with PowerPoint slides.  The information written on a PowerPoint slide is usually written in short key word phrases with the intent that a student will copy that information down in their notes and then elaborate with the other information that an instructor provides orally.

I’m choosing to focus on the positive aspect of the student reaching out to me for help on study habits rather than focusing on the fact that she is so far behind where she needs to be on the first big assignment.

What do you think?  Are there any other basic study tips that you give to students to help them figure out what to study?  Do you reach out to students whose quiz scores are lower than the rest of the class or do you wait until they come to you?  Please let me know your tips and tricks– I love learning from others.

-Carla

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Everyday I’m Shufflin’

Hey there!  Sorry for the slight delay in posts– I mentioned last week that I had a tinge of the flu coming on, so over the weekend I tried to relax and get some extra sleep.  However, that is a little easier said than done!  I teach Thursday evenings and then have to get up an’ at ’em bright and early on Friday morning for my 9:oo a.m class.  Luckily, this past Friday I was off from my other job and my BF and I had a fun date night that evening.  (More about that in a minute.)  I did have to attend an early morning work meeting on Saturday, and then be back at 5 p.m. to work until 1:30 a.m.  And, that wasn’t the end of it– I worked Sunday morning from 9:30a.m.-5 p.m.  So it was a weekend of quick turnarounds I guess you could say.

But, don’t feel bad that I didn’t blog my Thursday and Friday outfits– I neglected other stuff too, like grocery shopping, getting an oil change, cleaning the house, and laundry.  Guess what I get to do today?!
Let’s get right to it!  On Thursday I wanted to wear something that made me a little more accessible to the students, so I toned down the overt professionalism and went with something a little more casual: a short-sleeved brown turtleneck sweater, khaki pants, and a brown plaid blazer.

Brown plaid blazer: (thrifted.) Gold earrings: Wal-Mart. Brown turtleneck sweater: unknown. Khaki trousers: J.C. Penney. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown oxford shoes: unknown.

There is something about a brown plaid blazer that just says Fall and Professorto me.  Do you have the same connotations towards this item of clothing?  And, long time readers will also remember that I am wearing this brown sweater backwards because I like the three-button accent.  It sort of feels like a necklace for my shirt.

Thursday was a fun day in class.  Although we had to finish up the lecture from the previous day, I knew that I was going to give the quiz as a take home assignment.  I had the student on Tuesday tell me that he was going to miss class, then I also had a student e-mail me and say that something came up and he wanted to know if we were taking the quiz first because he was going to try to come for the quiz, and then another student told me that she was going to have to leave early to attend to a family member.  Now, I could just say, la di da, so is life, but one of the goals that I am working on as an educator is being more accepting and helpful towards my students.
And I think that one way that I can do that is with the clothes that I wear, but I also need to complete that cycle with my words and actions.  I mean, this semester alone, I was looking at potentially missing 3 instructional days of class, myself.  (One for regional bartender championship flair contest and two for a family vacation.)  I think in light of all that, I can bend my policies a little sometimes.

Not to mention that I have been trying to get to the Pictionary activity for at least two weeks and we kept running out of time.  Something had to give– and I chose the in-class quiz.  The Pictionary activity is one that I whole heartedly champion.  It is such a simple activity– it requires minimal set-up and about 20 minutes of class time (depending on the number of students).  But, what it yields in return is almost immeasurable!

  1. The students are broken up into two or three groups and asked to learn the names of each group member.  This allows them to being making those strangers into friends– and certainly helps them overcome beginning speech anxiety.
  2. Each person goes up in front of the entire classroom when it is their turn to draw, but because they are focused on playing a game and winning points for their team, they forget all about their nervousness and that everyone is “staring” at them.
  3. It allows them to see that I have a fun side and that I don’t want everything to be serious, serious, serious all the time.

So, after we finished up the lecture over supporting materials and evaluating resources, we played Pictionary, and then I started the lecture over outlining.  We didn’t get very far, but that’s okay because it ties in nicely with the chapter that we will be discussing on Tuesday.  Before, I would get all out of sorts if we didn’t get through the material on the day that I had planned, but now I am getting a little more comfortable and I try to remind myself that it is o.k.– we can just cover it the next class period.  There is no sense in rushing through the material or leaving gaps or holes in the information because the students are not going to understand it that way.  And then I acted surprised that we ran out of time and handed out the quiz and told them to do it for homework.

Here are a few shots of the outfit without the blazer. I always have to make sure that I have a layering or topper piece for my freezing cold office, but the classroom is usually a normal temperature and I don’t need the topper.
Overall, I felt good about the choices that I made: giving the quiz as a homework assignment and making time for Pictionary. Would you have done the same, or would you have chosen a different route? Please leave me a comment below, I love hearing your take on things.
-Carla

Friday 2: Keeping Polished

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but so far I think that I am doing pretty good at not slacking off on outfits for Friday.  I have been really trying to plan outfits ahead of time to help combat ending up with outfits that don’t make me feel great.  And, even though it’s only week 2, it’s working.  Now let’s just see if I can keep it up!

My Friday class is going well (so far) and that makes me happy.  Spring semester I had a lot of difficulty with my Friday class.  Since it only meets once a week we have to cover a week’s worth of material in a little over 2 hours.  That means 2 or 3 chapters.  Because it is a Friday morning class it is very easy for the students to walk out the doors and forget all about school.  I mean, it’s the kick-off the the weekend!  There’s all sorts of weekend diversions, and then by the time Monday rolls around it’s time to get back to work.  Whether that is a job, or just school.  And we all know how that goes– it takes us a day or two to get in the swing of things and by then it is Wednesday and we’re thinking about the weekend again.  Oh yeah, and that little thing called class.  This sort of thinking happens to me sometimes, too.

Black t-shirt: Old Navy. Bronze hoop earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Nude pumps: Target.

Even though it is the end of week 2, I still had a handful of students who were frantically trying to track me down between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon for my signature to allow them to enter my courses.  Some of them understand more than others that they are facing an uphill battle.  One of the things that my college really tries to stress is student success.  If it is going to mean that the student is not going to be successful because they joined the class later in the semester then we are encouraged to say “No.”  However, the students don’t always understand why you won’t just sign their paper.

So, I have adopted a policy.  Before signing their paper to allow them to enter the course, I sit down with them and take 5-10 minutes to give them some background about the course.  I give them a copy of the syllabus and explain to them how much material that they have missed.  Then, I tell them to think about their options and to show up for the next scheduled class.  If they show up with the homework in hand, I know that they are serious.  If they don’t, or they have all sorts of excuses about why they couldn’t get it done, then I don’t sign the paper.  But, the buck doesn’t stop with me.  Even if I sign, my department chair OR dean can still veto the addition.  It’s a good system that really does keep in mind the ability for the student to succeed–even if it does cause some distress for some students who are told “No.”

I was very comfortable in this outfit. It seems very simple and basic, but it is the small details that make it interesting. For example, the d-ring “belts” on the skirt and the fact that I am wearing nude fishnet hosiery. I’m pushing the envelope but not too much. I hate to admit it, but this outfit idea also came from Pinterest. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it makes me feel kind of fraudulent that these idea’s are coming from somewhere/someone else.

What do you think?  How would you have worn this outfit?  Would you have added more bling to dress it up a little, or do you go for the minimalist look?

-Carla

#4 for Day One

Hey there!  Welcome to the beginning of Fall semester 2012.  Oh, wait– you’re not one of my students.  Sorry, I’ve been in “first week mode.”  Let’s get right down to it, the winner of the poll was Outfit 4.  If you didn’t get a chance to cast your vote, so sorry, but the poll is now closed.  I, personally, thought that Outfit 2 was the best first day outfit, but majority rules.  Side note: My dad voted for Outfit 2.  He said Outfit 4 made me look 10 years older with the sweater.  Thanks, Dad.

So, after that “endorsement” of Outfit 4 I wasn’t entirely thrilled that it was the winner, but I felt that I would somehow be letting down the handful of you that voted if I didn’t follow through and make good on my end of the deal.

Blue cardigan: Target. Ruffled printed tank: Target. Dark khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Blue and gold earrings: Target. Shell bracelet: Jewelry Superstore. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Nude pumps: Target.

It was a good outfit for the first day of class.  I am glad that I wore the cardigan because even though it was mild and sunny outside, inside my office it was freezing.  I even put on another lightweight jacket that I grabbed on my way out the door.  My classroom was a little warmer, but not by much.

I had a full class (20 students) on my roster, but I only had 16 attend the first day of class.  But, I am really excited.  Oddly, I have twice as many guys as I do women– which is an anomaly.  So far, from what I can tell, I have a good group of students and it is going to be a fun semester.  I am super-duper excited to be teaching on main campus– it is a dramatic change from the satellite centers– it was a hustlin’ and a bustlin’ Tuesday night!

I did also want to share my new school bag with you. I picked it up a while ago for a measly $10! (Actually, that was the price on the tag, but I feel like it was less than that.) Anyway. It is a professional looking faux-crocodile (?) bag. The only concern that I have is that it is smaller than my old bag and may not be able to fit everything else that I cart to school with me (water bottle, lunch, walking shoes, etc.). We will just have to see!

What do you think? For those of you that voted, are you happy with your choice? For those of you that didn’t have the chance to vote, what do you think? Does this outfit say “Young Professional” to you?
-Carla

Copy Cat

 

Every semester starts out the same.  I am filled with many hopes and desires and feeling optimistic about the challenges that lie ahead.  But, somewhere in the middle, both the students and I start to wear thin.  Once we get to the end, we are just ready for it all to be over.  But, I have to start thinking about the next semester before the one that I am in is even over!  That is both good and bad.  Sometimes it can be all to easy to just give up on the current semester and turn your attention and focus towards starting anew with the next semester.  But, pulling it together and pushing through those roadblocks shows determination and perseverance.

I think that for Fall semester I am going to have to be more proactive and schedule a massage, or three, during those middle of the semester weeks that are particularly challenging.  I experienced the same thing with the Fall ’11 and Spring ’12 semesters.

Since Monday was the second to last day with my students I wanted to wear something that was a little more professional and classic.  And what better than a crisp white button-up shirt and khaki skirt?  The inspiration for this outfit comes from dual sources: Pinterest and my BF.  When I asked him what I should wear on Monday he said, “a pencil skirt and button up shirt.”  Which, is pretty much his standard answer.  (But that’s o.k., because it is one of my favorite outfit formula’s, too!)

I could have embellished with different jewelry, but since I’ve gotten this J.Crew knock-off bubble necklace I have only worn it once.  I wanted to wear it with contrasting colors of coral and salmon, but that didn’t pan out a few weeks back.  Although my outfit is very similar to the inspiration photo, it isn’t quite the same.  I chose to go with gold hoop earrings and my gold watch, while the inspiration photo pulls in more pops of turquoise with the bracelet and clutch.

Monday July 23, 2012
White button-up shirt: J.C. Penney. Bubble necklace: E-bay. Gold hoop earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown pointy-toed shoes: (thrifted.)

On Monday, I finished discussing Chapter 14: argumentation.  We discussed fallacies in reasoning and talked about how and why the textbook makes a distinction between persuasion and argumentation.  Then, I gave them a clean copy of a student’s outline and asked them to go through it and grade it using the same grading sheet that I use.  This is the activity that I tried a few week back that failed, miserably.

This time, it worked a little better.  Sadly, they finished the first one quickly, so I thought that they would have time to do a second one, but they were just able to finish it.  This way, each student received two peer-review sheets for their outlines and my preliminary grade sheet.  I should have left more time for discussion about the grading, but I think that it was still helpful–both for the students to practice giving and receiving feedback.  And, it was a dramatic improvement upon last time, so I am going to place it in the W-in category.

Wednesday will be my last day with these students.  Although I am glad that it will be over– it was a tough semester, it’s always a bittersweet ending!  They are required to dress professionally for their final speech, and I will be taking it easy in student wear–re: jeans and a t-shirt.  It’s a bit of fun little role reversal.

What do you think?  Do you like my interpretation of the inspiration photo?  Do you try to re-create outfits that you see on Pinterest, in magazines, or on other people?  Where do you draw inspiration from?

“Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda:” Time Wasters

The delay in this post comes from the fact that Wednesday wasn’t a great day.  And it kind of breaks my heart because it was speech day.  If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you will know that speech days are my favorite.  I get to see my little birdies fly on their own and really strut their stuff.

But, these little birdies did not.  To make a long story short, my students indicated to me that they were feeling unprepared for their first speech.  In my opinion, they wanted to push all of the blame on to me and say that I didn’t prepare them.  This caused an explosion of feelings within me.  First, I was angry that they could even think such a thing.  Then, I was feeling very attacked and defensive.  (I honestly don’t know how I managed to keep my composure.)

I suggested that we could continue watching video examples and push the speeches back to the next class period.  After about 30-40 minutes of debate my students opted to deliver their speeches that day.  Of course this outraged me even more.  One of my main counterpoints to them not feeling prepared was that it takes us soooo long to get through the lecture material that I cannot spend time doing other activities–worksheets, showing video’s, group work, hands on learning activities, etc.  It’s my thought that they don’t read the chapters and come to class prepared, so when I begin lecturing over the information they have a very difficult grasping it because it is unfamiliar to them.

And Wednesday was a perfect illustration of my point.  They spent all that time discussing their speaking apprehension and telling me all the things that they think I should have done differently and then they gave their speeches, anyway.  So, guess what?  After the speeches I had this whole lecture on MLK’s I Have a Dream speech planned that tied in their homework from the previous day.  But, we didn’t get to it.

My BF picked out my outfit.  When I asked him what I should wear he said “a pencil skirt.”  I took it from there, selecting which pencil skirt (my newly thrifted one), a top (a lovely burgundy silk top with tie neck), and accessories (bronze/gold to match the hardware detail on the skirt.)  My BF did, however, pick out which shoes I wore with this outfit.  Sadly, I really like this outfit and I hate that it was such a horrible day.  (Also, my long-time readers might notice that, for once, I didn’t opt to go casual on speech day.)  What a bummer!

Tie neck top: J.C. Penney. Bronze feather earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Gold shell bracelet: The Jewelry Superstore. Brown pumps: (thrifted.)

What do you think? Do you ever start out the morning feeling great and then just watch the day start to unravel right before your eyes?

Weekend Edition: Reunion

Sunday, my BF and I traveled about an hour south of our apartment for his annual family reunion.  In the several years that he and I have been together, I have been to this event twice.  Having been there before, I was able to confidently select an outfit that would be appropriate for this event.

First, it is held in the basement of a brick school building.  The room where everyone gathers to eat a pot-luck lunch is not air-conditioned, what-so-ever.  Some people bring an oscillating fan which they plug into the various outlets to help circulate the air.  If it is a sweltering hot day (like in year’s past) it can be almost unbearable in the basement of the building.

Secondly, there are games for the kids outside on the playground and baseball for the young adults and grown-ups.  These two events take place outside in the summer heat (or rain, if that’s the case) with very little shade available.  For those who don’t partake in the kids games or baseball, there is a shade tree in front of the school where they set up camp and sit and catch-up.

Given that this is such a varied event, dressing appropriately can be a challenge.  Sometimes, due to the heat, I have felt like wearing nothing but a swimsuit.  However, that would not be appropriate.  Also, sitting down and having dinner and socializing is one type of event, while being active and playing games is another.

Two weeks ago when I was at Target they had some summer staples on sale.  One of the items that I picked up was a sleeveless ruffled top for $5.  It is one of those basic items that I knew would come in handy, either to wear now in the summer months, or to layer with in the coming months.  Plus, it is casual and comfortable to wear alone, but it can also be a base element in a dressier, work-appropriate, outfit.  And, it was cheap!

Last week, when I was at Old Navy they were having a shorts sale.  In years past, I haven’t worn shorts very much and consequently I have very few pairs.  I wasn’t in the mood to try things on, so I just bought one pair of printed shorts for $10. Even though I didn’t purchase these two items to be specifically worn together, or for this event, it just so happened that they were a match made in heaven!

Sun hat: Target. Gold swirl earrings: Target. White sleeveless ruffle shirt: Target. Gold necklace: J.C. Penney. Brown belt: Wal-Mart. Printed shorts: Old Navy. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Sandals: Target.

I added gold and brown accessories to complete the look.  These included gold earrings, a long gold necklace, a brown belt, a straw sun hat, and sandals with brown, gold, and bronze straps.  I was cool and comfortable all day long– from lunch in the basement of the school, to the playground for kids games, to the bleachers for baseball, and under the shade tree socializing.  And, not to mention that I received plenty of compliments on my hat and my outfit.


I liked this outfit very much! Since I bought the straw hat I have only worn it a few times. Remembering to wear it can be a bit of a challenge. I have also worn it while shopping/running errands and to the pool, once. I was very proud of myself and my outfit! I am also smitten with this red-orange color that I used to paint my toenails. This will certainly be an outfit that I pack for our Florida vacation this coming Fall.