This past Friday, a few fourth grade classes at my school had the opportunity to skype with the non-fiction author Seymour Simon. Mr. Simon has written over 300 non-fiction science books and I had to tackle the feat of teaching my students about this very accomplished writer in only seven lessons. To get the students ready for this amazing opportunity, we created a unit on natural disasters to feature, just a few, of Seymour Simons books. Creating this unit was a lot of fun. Luckily, I had help of my supervising teacher along the way.
I knew the students would be excited to read and write about hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, thunderstorms, and dust storms. We pulled all of the books Mr. Simon wrote that we had in the library here at school and had the students explore his writing style and the structure of his books. They got to see that Mr. Simon writes books not only on natural disasters, but animals, the human body, and space. On Friday, the last day of the unit and our skype session with Seymour Simon, I had the students explore his website so they could get a better picture of who this author really is. Mr. Simons website has so much information for the students to investigate. As they were exploring, I kept hearing the kids say, “oh my gosh, this guy has written so many books,” or “I can’t believe he used to be a science teacher too,” or the simple, “whoa.”
When it came time to get Mr. Simon up on the screen in the classroom, the students were so excited. We had them practice introducing themselves and asking questions before hand, just incase their nerves got the best of them. The students came up with over 60 questions throughout the week to ask Mr. Simon about his life, his books, and what it takes to be an author. Of course we didn’t have enough time to ask them all, but the students learned a lot in the 40 minutes we spent with Seymour Simon. The students really had a lot of fun during the skype session and it increased their interest in Mr. Simon’s books and science. I hope that I can do this with my future classroom one day; it was definitely a lot of fun to see the students interact with an author.
Monday January 7th, 2013 was the day that my whole education at Dominican lead up to. You may be thinking, why January 7th…school hadn’t even started yet? January 7th was the first day of my clinical practice, also known as student teaching. For those of you who are not sure what student teaching is, it is when an education student goes into a classroom and teaches for a semester under the observation of the normal classroom teacher and a supervisor here at Dominican. In my case, I am in a fourth grade classroom in a school pretty close to Dominican.
The days leading up to this huge day in my life were pretty nerve wracking. Of course, I was so excited and ready to actually teach, but I was also extremely nervous and kept thinking of ways I could fail miserably at this. I had met my class on their last day of class before winter break. All of the students were so nice and funny; it put me at ease…for a little bit. Starting January 7th, I would no longer hear, “hey, Tory” when someone wanted my attention, I would hear, “Miss Nogle, I have a question.” I couldn’t wake up at 8:45 am to get to my earliest class at 10:30 am, but now I had to wake up at 5:45 am so I could get to school in time to prep for the day.
As stressful and challenging as it may sound, I am slowly getting used to waking up early and planning for hours. I know that it is going to get harder, but teaching is what I love. I have so many amazing role models and mentors that push me to become a better educator everyday. Today on my way home, I was thinking about how much I love the school I am at and the students I get to work with. I have learned so much already, and I am only in week two. It is so exciting to actually teach the lessons you spend so much time on. For all of the future education students or current education students, yes, student teaching is a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of adjusting, but it is worth every second.
Written on Dec. 13, 2012
Every year, Dominican gathers to celebrate the beginning of the Advent season. In true Dominican form, it is an event with the community, song, prayer, and love. Most of you know this as Lessons and Carols. For three out of my four years here at Dominican, I have either sang or played viola in this event. This year I was lucky enough to sing at Lessons and Carols again.
Music is a huge part of my life. I have played the viola since I was nine. Since then I have always had music in my day-to-day routine. In high school I play in orchestra, band and various other groups, so I was used to always having something to participate in. When I went to college it obviously dwindled down. My freshman year, Sr. Patty Gallagher was the liturgical director. She chased me down in the hallway because she knew I played viola in the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Sr. Patty asked me if I would play in Lessons and Carols and being a freshman, and afraid to say anything else, I said of course! I was immediately hooked. I loved the music, I loved the community, and I loved Dominican. It felt so great to be able to celebrate this joyful time with my Dominican family.
This year was especially special to me because I am a senior. I am realizing all of these special “Dominican Moments” I have and how I never want to lose them. Rosary Chapel was packed for Lessons and Carols this year. Looking around I saw students, faculty, staff, and even my parents. All of these people have played a huge role in who I am today and how I feel about my Dominican. The Dominican family always comes together for the important moments, like Lessons and Carols. I loved celebrating the beginning of Advent with the beautiful music that Amy Omi, our current liturgical director, picked out. After I graduate I intend on coming back to celebrate with my Dominican family at events such as Lessons and Carols.
November came on a pleasant sunny day with highs of 66 degrees. As I looked around, the leaves were falling, beautiful fall colors were everywhere, excitement was building about Thanksgiving, and something quite shocking was happening too…jingle bells were ringing. When I saw red tinsel, gold shiny ornaments, reindeers, and Christmas trees, I quickly picked up my phone to check the date. I wanted to make sure I was not in a coma for the past month and it was actually November 1st and not December 1st. I thought that maybe it was just one store and moved on with my day. I got into my car ready to drive to school, turned on the radio and what did I hear? “All I want for Christmas is you!” Christmas is coming way too early this year.
Do not get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person and I get excited for all of my family’s traditions, but what about Thanksgiving and Halloween? Thanksgiving has always been overshadowed by Christmas and it always turns into a sprint towards December 25th, but now Christmas is coming so early that even Halloween is getting overshadowed. Even before October 31st, I saw Christmas decorations and ads appearing. It would not be as dreadful if Christmas had not turned into a holiday about gifts and how much you can buy while not spending much money.
From October to April, it is a marathon of holiday celebrations. It is easy to become excited for Christmas because it is so much fun to decorate, put up lights, bake yummy treats, come together with family, and of course both receive and give gifts to those we love most. I have always loved Halloween: dressing up, collecting candy, decorating your house (or dorm) spookily and seeing all of the children getting excited about their costumes and getting to trick of treat make this holiday so much fun.
Thanksgiving is always gratifying because food is a great way to show love. Cooking with my family, setting the table, and setting aside some time to reflect on what we are thankful for is an enjoyable break from the busy reality that takes over our lives. In my family, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we go out with my aunt and uncle and cut down our Christmas tree and begin to make the house ready. My mom generally makes soup or sandwiches with the leftover turkey after the long hunt for the perfect tree.
I slowly begin my Christmas shopping trying to find a perfect gift for everyone on my list. Black Friday is not on my “to-do” list. I venture out in the middle of the day when the people who stampede you for a Barbie house on sale are back at home taking a nap so I can leisurely pick up my $3 DVD’s from Target. That is not what Christmas is about.
I am glad that Dominican has yet to decorate for Christmas and there are still Thanksgiving events and fall festivities happening. I love celebrating Advent and reflecting on what this season is about. I am excited that the Christmas season is coming. I love walking around Dominican when the trees and wreaths are up—it feels so warm and full of the spirit—but for now I want to focus on Thanksgiving instead.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching (excuse me, how is it already the middle of November?), I wish everyone a very safe and yummy Thanksgiving and I hope you have a chance to relax, spend time with family, watch the parade and some football, and, of course, stuff yourself until it is time to unbutton your jeans.
When we think about fall break, we want to think about a relaxing weekend away from homework and the stress of school. I know this is not the case for most students, but luckily I was able to put the homework down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the three-day weekend. During our fall break, I was fortunate enough to participate in the fall retreat. I am in the ministry leadership program, SLAM, on the retreats team, so this retreat was extra special because I had a hand in planning what the weekend would encompass. We had to plan the retreat from start to finish. It was so much work, but it paid off in the end. We had a great group of 16 people who were ready to play!
The theme we chose was “God’s Playground.” We wanted to go back to the days when we were children, and the most important thing on our mind was playing and having fun. When we let go of all the things that burden us, we are able to let love in and truly see the beauty with which God has blessed us! We had the amazing opportunity to go to the Sinsinawa Mound for our retreat. I do not think we could have picked a better spot for our weekend get-away. For those of you who do not know, the Sinsinawa Mound is the motherhouse for our Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. When the Sisters retire they go to the Mound. Even though, the Sisters are technically retired, that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy! We got to do service with the Sisters Saturday morning, and we had to keep up! Currently there are over 500 Dominican Sisters at the mound, and they are all ready to greet you with open arms and really show you God’s love.
Retreats always come when you need them most, and I definitely needed this little boost to finish the rest of the semester strong. Going to the Mound reminds me of how beautiful the Dominican history is. This also came at an appropriate time because Founders Week is coming up! More specifically, we get to celebrate Father Samuel Mazzuchelli birthday on Thursday November 1st with birthday cake, Mass, the Mazzuchelli lecture, and dinner. I think that all students at Dominican should go to the Mound to not only to meet and get to know the Sisters so you can hear their stories of their work, missions, and their powerful lives, but also to experience our history and learn about what Father Sam started all those many years ago.
If I were asked what would be the one thing I would tell students to do to make their Dominican experience even better, I would tell all students to go on a retreat (regardless of your religious beliefs, you will find something to take out of the retreat), and make sure to get to the Mound. We have the Busy Student Retreat coming up, the week of November 11th to November 15th. This retreat is based around your schedule; how much easier could it get? Next semester, during Spring Break, there is the Mission to the Mound Retreat, March 4th through March 6th. If you want to find out more, stop by the University Ministry Center (Lewis 216), or check out the Ministry page.
Remember always to find time for play!
My first three years at Dominican I got to experience what it was like to live in the dorms. I had three years of new friendships, laughs, late night movies, and countless ice cream runs. I enjoyed my years as a resident and am extremely thankful because I met some of my best friends, but now I am experiencing Dominican in a whole new way, as a commuter. For someone who hates to drive and gets extremely impatient while in traffic, I knew this year was going to teach me a lot of things about myself I never knew!
My first day of class, I left an hour before I had to be there, when in reality it only takes 30 minutes to get to Dominican, just to make sure I had enough time and to find a parking spot. I had made a good playlist of songs, packed a snack for my 4-hour break, and triple checked my backpack to make sure I had all my supplies. Not only I was I nervous about having to drive to school, but I also felt like it was my first day of fifth grade. Every resident student at Dominican knows that they can wake up ten minutes before class and still make it there on time; this is, sadly, no longer the case for me. This has really helped me get it together! I get my homework done, mostly, ahead of time, and I make sure I don’t have to rush to school.
One of the fun things that I do on my drive to school is have a mini jam session with myself. I have always loved to sing, but I am way too shy to ever sing in front of people. Now that I have at least 30 minutes each way to practice, I want to let Adele know that she needs to watch out! I have been warming up my vocal cords and getting ready for the big time. I have found my time in the car to be a time for me to gather my thoughts, and relax. Over the past two months we have been in school, I have become way more patient and don’t totally hate driving.
Being a commuter is a totally different experience for me, but I love being able to spend time with my friends and family all in one day. It is easier for me to go to my brother’s cross country meets and band concerts, hang out with my sister, have family dinner, but still be able to see my friends at school. I know, any given night, I have at least three floors I can crash on. This year has definitely brought some new experiences, and it has also made me way more responsible.
This summer at the Preaching in Action conference, Sr. Janet Welsh, O.P., handed out the Pilgrim’s Credo. I keep this on my sun visor so I can see it when I am driving. I find it extremely helpful.
I am not in control.
I am not in a hurry.
I walk in faith and hope.
I greet everyone with peace.
I bring back only what God gives me.
Allow me to introduce myself…
Hello everyone! My name is Victoria Nogle. I am currently a senior at Dominican and I am studying Elementary Education and Sociology and next semester I am going to be student teaching. After I graduate, I hope to become a teacher for any grade K-6. I live in Downers Grove, a nearby suburb, with my family and this year is my first year as a commuter student. Other than spending countless hours at Dominican in class, I love to spend time with my family and friends, watch movies (romantic comedies of course), travel, and play my viola. On campus I am also involved in University Ministry and work in the Alumni office.
To put it simply, I love Dominican. Over the past three years, I have had opportunities to grow as a Dominican student and explore what it really means. Our university is so rich in history, just like the Dominican background. This past summer I was fortunate enough to participate in the Dominican College Preaching in Action Conference. Dominican schools from across the country came to our Dominican University to explore the meaning of being a Dominican preacher. A few weeks later, we hosted the Dominican Higher Education Colloquium, and again I got to experience the Dominican tradition with rich discussions and prayer. I am so proud and happy to be Dominican!
This year is very exciting and terrifying for me. There are a lot of things to complete before I can participate in my own Candle and Rose ceremony and walk across the stage to receive my diploma. I have been in school for 19 years and after I graduate I will be the teacher! I cannot wait to become a real teacher, I have known this since I was a little girl. Sure ,I went through my rock star stage, but I always knew deep down inside, teaching was the way to go for me. As I mentioned earlier, I play the viola, and have for 13 years. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a few viola students of my own. Having that experience helped me realize this is what I want to do with my life. I love helping other people realize their potential and I love kids, they are some amazing teachers as well! This year is full of firsts and lasts, and I could not be happier.
Thanks for reading a little bit about me, catch up with you soon!