For me, it usually happens when I get involved in a project that really interests me. Like this blog, for instance. When I first started it, I was constantly thinking about it, and wasn't really interested in doing anything else with my free time. By now it has kind of blended into my regular routine. But when I am working on a post I feel strongly about, it is very hard for me to stop thinking about it! So lets say I am writing this post, and I'm really excited about it, and all day I've been thinking about what I would write in it. Then I come home and get started, and I'm working hard on it, and suddenly someone tells me it is time for dinner Which does happen, since I'm staying with my parents. It is hard for me to just stop what I'm doing, get up, and go eat dinner. I will often just ignore the person calling me, for the first few times, until eventually I can't avoid it anymore. (If I am by myself, this would happen in the form of my ignoring my hunger until I am too light-headed and shaky to type!) When I finally go up to get dinner, I'll still be thinking about my blog post, usually while spinning around or flapping or jumping, because when I am
This can also come in the form of being obsessed with a certain topic. For a long time, my dad and I used to watch Gunsmoke every night. (Reruns on DVR.) Hey, let's watch some now!
For example, just now, I spent half an hour just searching for the right Gunsmoke clip to post here. There weren't many to choose from, so this isn't the best example, but you get the just of it,. Anyway I really loved that show and I would think about it all the time, and even dream about it at night!
Anyways, as of late I've been hyperfocusing on a few things. One of them is getting ready for my summer job! I can't remember if I posted this before, but last summer I worked for five weeks as a teacher for a special education summer school program. I taught first, second and third graders, most of whom had Down syndrome. It was challenging but fun! I reapplied to teach there again this year, and I found out I was hired!!!!!
The bad news is, for this program they never get around to telling you what grade or ability level you'll be teaching, until about a week before it starts... and then you don't get the children's IEP's until a few days ahead of time! The IEP's make all the difference. See, last year I knew a week ahead of time that I'd be working with first through third graders. But I had no idea that, of my first through third graders, some would be working only a little below grade level, while others would still be working on learning the alphabet sounds! Until I got the IEP's, I couldn't even begin to make lesson plans. So the whole summer was really a fly by the seat of my pants experience, with me spending every morning teaching, and every afternoon and evening planning the lessons for the next day!
This year I think I've figured out a better way to go about it. I'm going to start planning general lessons way ahead of time (like, right now) and then I'll just adjust them according to the kids I'm working with.
Last year was also hard because, since the kids had so many different academic levels, I was planning out separate lesson plans for each group of kids. I had them divided by what goals they were working on and I'd give each group a different lesson plan or activity. This year I've decided to simplify it a little... I'm just going to make one basic lesson plan for each day, and then modify it for different kids. For instance, I might do a certain game with all of the kids during reading groups, but one group will play with alphabet sounds, another with kindergarten level sight words, and another with second grade level sight words. Does that make sense?
So this is what I've been perseverating on a lot lately! I've decided that we'll have a theme every week and do lessons around that. The program actually has a different theme every summer, so at least one week has to be dedicated to whatever that theme turns out to be. But the other four themes are going to be lemonade, the Fourth Of July, oceans and beaches, and pirates!
The lemonade theme is because, last year, I made fresh-squeezed lemonade with the kids. It was great because they had to practice reading the recipe, following directions, and measuring, and also using language to talk about the texture of the lemons and the taste of the lemonade! So this year I decided to dedicate a whole week (which will actually just be three days, since the week we're doing it, they have two days off) to lemonade, and include books about lemonade, lemon-scented playdough, etc. Planning it all has been keeping me really busy... I can't wait for it to start!
I wish, wish, wish I was planning for a real school year! Maybe next year I'll actually have a teaching job?