Sick Today

I’m home sick today (I hope you’re being kind and respectful in my absence, ladies and gentlemen!), so I’m using that time to catch up on reading and do more research for my trip to China.

We in the Puget Sound are fortunate to have two fabulous library systems, the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System. I especially love the fact that since we moved, our local branch is fewer than ten blocks away and I can have all my book holds delivered there.

I amused by the “similar books” function on the SPL site. I know that Google and other search engines can sometimes misinterpret your search’s intent with humorous results, but I’ve never had it happen on the library’s site before:

One result of my "China guide" search
One result of my "China guide" search

Truck by Donald Crews? Really, this book is the key to being a sensitive tourist in China?

Truck, by Donald Crews
Truck, by Donald Crews

Well, at least the search engine has good taste — Truck received Caldecott honors in 1981.

Speaking of children’s media, I checked out a few DVDs to help me get my brain wrapped around the basics of Chinese.

Early Start Mandarin Chinese with Bao Bei the Panda
Early Start Mandarin Chinese with Bao Bei the Panda. Volume 1: Colors & Animals
Dance & Learn Chinese with Mei Mei
Dance & Learn Chinese with Mei Mei
Chinese For Kids, Beginner Level 1
Chinese For Kids, Beginner Level 1

I’ve gotten off to a very slow start. Very slow. Learning languages is extremely difficult for me, but I’m up for the challenge…

Now off to make more tea and nap.


CE Introduction

The CE folks wanted me to submit an introduction about myself, so here’s what I sent their way:

Shannon Houghton is thrilled to bring her experience in China back to her students and colleagues at Wildwood Elementary School in Federal Way. Shannon, who received the St. Ignatius award in Seattle University’s Master in Teaching program, is finishing her second year teaching and coaching track at Wildwood.

A Michigan native, Shannon came to Washington in 2005 to join Federal Way’s AmeriCorps team, which changed her life’s path from newspaper reporting to teaching. This year, with fellow teachers Siobhan Chan and James Brown, Shannon started Wildwood’s Math Team, which has a proud and devoted following of 3rd-5th grade students.

Shannon is the 2009 Wildwood Teacher of the Year, and thrives on finding innovative ways to inspire student achievement. When she’s not at school, Shannon loves to do Pilates, play board games, softball, and volleyball, and go on adventures in Seattle.

To follow Shannon and her class, visit She will update the site throughout her preparations and trip. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Here’s the photo I included:

Ms. Houghton
Ms. Houghton

I don’t think I fully realize the enormity of what I’ve gotten myself into. I met up with some fellow SU teachers tonight, and they were all thrilled and supportive (honestly, where would I be without them?), but I just can’t believe I’ll actually be going to China in less than four months! My parents are excited, but nervous, as they always are before I travel. Mom and I have been diffusing this anxiety by discussing important pre-trip purchases, such as shoes, cameras, and moisture-wicking clothing. :)


2004 Mixes: Blast from the Past

As we were moving into our new apartment, I discovered a few mix CDs from the end of my junior year of college at Michigan State. It was fun to listen to them and compare them to what’s on my mind now. These were made for my trip out to Colorado Springs to work at The Gazette as a cops and courts reporting intern.

This is what I looked like then:

Me at the Dinosaur Resource Center, July 2004
Me at the Dinosaur Resource Center, July 2004

More recent mixes to come later!

Shannon’s “Well, I’m On My Way” Mix, May 2004
1. “On Love, In Sadness,” Jason Mraz
2. “Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” Paul Simon
3. “Two Points for Honesty,” Guster
4. “Follow the Light,” Travis
5. “If I Ever Feel Better,” Phoenix
6. “Fast as You Can,” Fiona Apple
7. “The Sound of Violence,” Cassius
8. “Don’t Give Up,” Chicane
9. “Good Life,” Inner City
10. “Vehicle,” Ides of March
11. “Good Luck,” Basement Jaxx
12. “Just a Little More Love,” David Guetta
13. “One Sign,” Galleo
14. “Are You Ready for Love,” Elton John
15. “Face to Face,” Daft Punk
16. “Breathe In,” Frou Frou
17. “Remind Me,” Royksopp
18. “Wine,” Blue Six

Shannon’s “The Line is Thinly Drawn ‘tween Joy and Sorrow” Mix, May 2004
1. “I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From,” Kings of Convenience
2. “Breathe,” Telepopmusik
3. “Cigarettes Will Kill You,” Ben Lee
4. “Thinking of you,” Magnolia (now known as Reidar… the song that’s playing when you first arrive at the site was remixed by Toby!)
5. “But Not For Me,” Chet Baker
6. “Country Road,” Maynard Ferguson
7. “Brother, Where are You?” Oscar Brown Jr.
8. “Waltz for Koop,” Koop
9. “We Will Become Silhouettes,” The Postal Service
10. “Window,” Guster
11. “Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall,” Simon & Garfunkel
12. “Possession,” Sarah McLachlan
13. “Jane,” Ben Folds Five
14. “Very Good Friends,” Blue Six
15. “Before Today,” Everything But the Girl
16. “Sweetest Day,” Control Freq
17. “Protection,” Massive Attack
18. “Novio,” Moby