Sunday, March 29, 2020

Summer is for Art and Learning Classes!

So ready for social distancing to be OVER!
But, as it turns out, social distancing isn't ending anytime soon 
AND I've accepted the position of ELA & Drama Teacher for 2020-21
 at Gila Ridge High School in Yuma, AZ!
So, art lessons will simply have to wait. There's a time and a season for
every good thing and the teaching opportunity feels like the 
best fit for now!

I'm not going to erase this blog, just post updates as things play out.
Whether I'll be teaching virtually or in a face-to-face setting is TBD, but, just like all of you,
will do my best whichever way it goes!
There will be 2 different times of the day that you can choose from, 
every Thursday for 8 weeks, beginning June 25th.
This can be a great way for teens to bond with parents, 
as well as an awesome alternative to video games or
hanging out at the mall.
I'll be posting images of what you'll be creating for each class
as soon as possible, but here's a list of the techniques 
I'll be using on my walls and sharing with you!
To get the low low rate of $25 per class (that includes supplies!)
sign up early for multiple classes!
But wait! Do you have young kids 
who need something fun to do while you 
go shopping or out with a friend?
Wednesdays are "art & learning camp" for kids 3 to 6 years old!
If you have a 7 year old who wants to join in, that's cool, too.  
This is just an approximation of the ages activities will 
be centered around.
A full list of classes coming your way SOON!
So, if you're feeling kinda shut in and gloomy, 
take heart! 
Together, we'll bring out the sunny side of summer,
no matter what!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Thriving through the Virus' Social Distancing!

Biggest news update is the new hardcover edition of Twinkle and Luna! 
The colors and quality are so close to the same as what I originally created, I couldn't be happier!
For now, the paperback versions only are still being sold, through Kids At Heart, at $16.99 each. I've re-lettered (by hand) some of the pages in each book, since the printing quality of those (created through Amazon) were disappointing.   
Those original paperback books include the audio version, sung and read, on CD. 
Once we get a good copy of the book approved from their printer who distributes world wide, the hardcover with digital audio download link will be available for $24.  
Kids At Heart website again, is here:
China continues to be a part of my life, but only part time, on line. Kaishu is a delightful new company, and 2 of my old coworkers from while I was working FT in Beijing, 
brought me in with the company as an editor and to help develop lessons. 
They sent me a delightful "Most Excellent Partner" for 2019 award:
I love working with curriculum developers "Eva" and "Nicole." 
They're professional and reliable and come up with some really fun ideas! I don't do a lot of
drawing, I'm afraid, with the long long days that go with any new
teaching position, but have done some, preparing to teach art classes this summer:
As you may or may not know, I accepted a FT teaching position as the GATE ELA teacher for Gallup Mid School in New Mexico, in December of 2019.  
It seemed like a great opportunity to work with 
students who might be a little more interested in learning ELA than others, as well as a chance to spend more time with some family here, in NM.

Turns out, the administration and my fellow teachers at Gallup Mid School ARE awesome!
But, there are serious problems with the way the district pays their teachers (inexplicable and excessive adjustments/reductions to and withholdings from each pay period) which have 
left me in difficult, unforeseen $$ circumstances. So, even though I was asked to continue
teaching during the school next year, I've decided not to stay on after this semester.  
I'll go back to Richmond, IN and start digging out from under the debt incurred from
New Mexico's pay policies. 
It's sad. Those policies are why they have such a hard time getting teachers to stick around.
But, we've had some really good days together, 
combining art and language, whenever possible.
The next "plan" is to do tutoring, proofreading, teaching, and so forth ON LINE 
for 1/2 the day so that the other 1/2 can be invested in finishing, creating, publishing and
promoting more books and lesson supplements. One day at a time...teaching FT may be in the
future again, but in a better, more supportive and fiscally rational area.

This week, as in many school districts right now, there's no school.  Spring Break was scheduled for this week, but 2 additional weeks of "on call" (for teachers) shut down time has
been added, waiting to see what's next with this crazy Corona Virus. I'm certain that the district will find a way to finish out the semester after that. We can't do a lot on line in this area because too many students do not have access to the Internet.  So, we'll see...

Because it was Spring Break, I was able to visit a few close friends,
3 of my brothers (Hey, Utah County folks! Vote for Tom!)
and a few members of their families in Utah.  
It was wonderful seeing little ones, especially tiny Lily, 
doing so well after her recent surgery! We've been so blessed!
I've kept away from strangers and washed/sanitized my hands after every gas stop.  
Never-the-less, I'm imposing a quarantine of sorts on myself, 
staying close to home with the dogs for a week or so, 

to make certain I haven't picked that nasty virus up along the way.
MUST make sure I'm healthy, to head over to California the end of April
as my darling grandson, Cal, turns TWO!

Stay safe, healthy and sane, everyone!
Keep in touch and thank heaven for technology, hmm?