Sidewalks Have a Purpose

I love staying in places where you can easily walk to restaurants or shopping or the drugstore. Washington, DC, for instance, was great for that – I spent 2 weeks at a hostel and walked everywhere I needed to go, or rode the metro. Boston, NYC – other great places. But mostly, I travel with my car, so I’m definitely missing my self-transportation option this week. I decided that in the long run, it was best for my sanity to fly to Atlanta (instead of doing the 12-hour drive and adding more miles to my car). And yes, the hotel has a shuttle (it just needs to remember that it promised to pick guests up from the AP Summer Institute at certain times).

But why not walk? It turns out that this hotel’s idea of a gym is more like an April Fool’s joke. The photo looked great, but it’s something like 2.5 pieces of equipment set in a glass-enclosed passageway to the (over-chlorinated) pool and hot tub. So for today, I decided walking would be the best way to work out: upon return from the session, I grabbed my phone and plastic cards and hiked over to Target. Google Maps tells me it’s a mile away, located on the opposite side of the mall I visited yesterday. And sure, it’s about 90-something degrees out there and humid, but there are sidewalks that are going sadly unused.

I like adventures. It took about 25 minutes to get there and 28 to get back, only because i decided I’d cut through the mall for (A) air conditioning and (B) to shorten the distance (which I might not have actually done, come to think of it). And now I have fruit, sparkling water, and – most importantly – cases for my contact lenses. I managed to bring extra contacts, but not any cases to store my contacts in at night. #fail!

In the end, I’m happy to report that I’ve surpassed 10,000 steps for the day, gotten some Vitamin D and some strength training, and plan to join some other folks for dinner in 30 minutes. So far, not bad for Day 1.

Which means I should probably mention the AP Summer Institute, right? Right. It’s okay so far. Almost everyone else in the class will be teaching AP US History for the first time this fall – which I suspected, and which is a little disappointing. They all have more teaching experience than me (save one person), but I’d hoped to hear some ideas and strategies for this course in particular. But that’s the funny thing about AP Summer Institutes: I’m taking the “new teacher” version, which is designed for anyone who has taught the course for zero to three years.

The main goal so far – aside from getting everyone else’s syllabi past the College Board’s syste, a formality – is that we each have to prepare a unit. We got a list of unclaimed units, and the idea is to create a term list, 2 possible essay questions, 10 multiple choices, a DBQ, 2 primary sources, and anything else we want. No one wanted 1492-1607, so I took that. ¬†Ironically, while everyone else is running scared from this content area that the test will start to do more with in 2 years, I feel good with it – probably because I teach Atlantic World History.

Which means that my unit is done. Tomorrow I’ll move on to the Era of Good Feeling, since I need to prep that section for my course anyway. But I confess: I finished the day a little frustrated and out of sorts (but not too badly so). I hope all these unit materials will be useful, but I really need to focus in on some things for me, which I may end up doing the rest of the week anyway.

For now, though, I relax and ignore any thought of how in the world I’ll transport all these textbooks back to MO with me…

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3 thoughts on “Sidewalks Have a Purpose

  1. Sorry the Institute is a bit disappointing. I hope it will get better if people start to talk about their actual teaching experience outside of AP and maybe also teaching tips or philosophies.

    With regards to the textbooks, if you have a Post Office anywhere handy there, try mailing them back to yourself at the excellent Media Mail rates: designed for books and much cheaper than regular mail rates.

    • It’s actually gotten MUCH better since the first day – and I happily signed the books over to the post office today!

  2. I have read this and your last post while staying in a hotel in Adelaide for the Australian Historical Association conference. My approach to travel is very similar to yours. Walk and take public transport as much as possible. Walking is the best way of getting to know a city. Also exercise, or lack thereof, is a real issue when attending a conference. I am staying very close to the conference venue in a city which is as flat as a pancake – I would have to walk a long way to get any exercise. Fortunately I’m on the third floor of the hotel so I have been eschewing the lift and using the stairs as much as possible. I jog the 74 stairs to my room, so at least I am getting some exercise. And yes, I did count them – I like my sport to come with statistics!

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