Saturday, July 26, 2008

Getting rid of notebooks?

I posted on another of my blogs about a very small laptop that I just bought.

I've just hooked it up to my wireless network so I was thinking of using this with students.

I know that my handwriting can be very hard to read sometime so I'm thinking of having a pre-done spreadsheet, then during the lesson I can just add page numbers for students to practice at home and comments on the side.

Just before the student leaves, I can print out a copy for him/her and save a copy for myself.

During the rest of the summer, when things are less hectic, I'll be giving this a trial run.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Music Camp is done!

I posted last week about my energy levels and music camp teaching. I came out of it better than I thought I would but I ended up having a headache from Friday until Sunday. And, I'm not supposed to take any meds without approval from my kidney surgeon. So, I toughed out the headache.

The first day was a nightmare - one of the 6th graders started crying during the first handbell rehearsal. I don't blame her, either. She was the only one in the group who had never rung before. Her class had also come directly from Orff class and I guess that some experience would have helped there, too.

The second day our church's assistant music director got sick with a high fever and didn't come in. Actually, she didn't make it for the whole rest of the week. So, there was a lot of shuffling around of classes and some students were moved from one class to another. Somehow, we got through the day. I had to take a bit of extra Cortef to make it until naptime.

By Wednesday I figured that I could have 2 groups ready to play something on Friday, both with a water theme. So, the second graders would play Lightly Row and the sixth (even the cryer!) would play The Water is Wide, both by that famous composer - Traditional.

Thursday I was finally getting the hang of all these different classes. There was virtually no time to set up between class which made it a little tough since every class had different pieces and some had chimes instead of bells, some doubled different parts, some had TAs filling in. But it worked out!

Friday was mostly spent on the dress rehearsal and show. My kids did great playing their pieces before the show. My mom even came to see!

I left Friday with such a headache. It started in the right side of the back of my neck, then worked its way up to the left side of my forehead by Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, the kids performed a couple songs from the musical at all 3 church services. My husband even came to the first service. Even rarer than my mom coming to the performance. Since the assistant director was still out sick, I stayed for all 3 services as a second director in case the kids looked my way.

All in all, a success!

Things must be getting better. When I first started music camp about 5 years ago I would sleep until about 11:30am, go to camp, get home about 4:30 and sleep and sleep. I think I was on growth hormone by then, too.

I was definitely on cortef again at that point. I had been off for something like 15 years after my pituitary surgery, then the scar tissue caused the pituitary to not work so well so my endo had me go back on the cortisone. He wanted me to take a lot more but when I did, the Cushing's symptoms - including weight gain and that hump - started coming back.

So, I'm on the smallest possible dose. It's not enough to help me feel better but not enough to bring on Cushing's. When I'm "stressed" I'm supposed to up the dose. The growth hormone was supposed to help with my energy and weight issues but it did neither.

Then 2 years ago I had just had my kidney cancer surgery and I was still tired from that experience - and newly off the growth hormone. (Because of the cancer, I can't take growth hormone) I got through camp, just barely.

So, maybe next year, if I still get "volunteered" I'll be able to do this without any extra cortisone and no headaches.

Summer Music Camp

Last week I posted this in another of my blogs...

My church is doing music camp again this summer as it has for the last 4 or 5 years. And once again, I was "volunteered" to help out. Every year, for the whole week, I have come home exhausted, bone-tired.

This year is no different but I found out last week that I was in charge of the handbell classes. EEEK! There are 5 classes each day from second to sixth grade. Each group is a mix of kids, some have rung for a few years, some have never rung at all. Getting these kids organized and capable of playing something at the end of this week will take a miracle! Except for the sixth grade, at the end of the first day none of the other classes could ring any actual music other than left hand, right hand, left hand...

I don't know if I could have handled (no pun intended!) this pre-Cushing's when I was younger or not but the stress and the long afternoons are really sapping my energy levels to next-to nothing.