Monday, September 29, 2014

...of the Botanical Center!

When ever I feel stressed at school I like to go the Botanical Center on campus to relax. Today I took you all with me!

STAR Eliza~

...of How Things Change

Do you ever think about how strange it is that in such a short amount of time, things can change so drastically? One day you think your major is going to be Theatre, and next thing you know, you're studying Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Spanish Teaching. One day your hair is long and brown, and in less than a year, it's become a short blonde pixie cut. Life's abrupt changes are crazy to think about.

Timehop is one of my favorite apps because it shows you what you've posted online on a certain day years before. It really can put your life into perspective! For instance, a year ago last week, I posted:

and, lo and behold, calling prospective students and reminding them about upcoming opportunities is one of my jobs now as a STAR! I absolutely love what I do, and I find it startling to think that just a year ago, I had no idea what a STAR even was.  Look where I am today!

A year from last month, I was complaining about not being able to find a roommate, when 5 days after that tweet, I found the girl I am currently rooming with on Panther Picks, UNI's sort of "online dating site" for roommates. I had no idea I would be so fortunate, and today she is one of my best friends here on campus.

These are somewhat silly examples, but it really is interesting to see how much things can change for the better, especially when you have no idea what the future holds. Life is a mystery and looking back on how much it has developed is intriguing. So don't be afraid to branch out and try new things - you could end up finding something that helps you to change for the better!

-STAR, Lauren

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

...of being a fully prepared student teacher!

Hey Panthers!

I am currently completing my Student Teaching experiences!  I am an Elementary Education major and a Special Education minor and I am in my first of two 8 week placements in a K-2nd grade Special Education classroom.  During student teaching, there comes a time where you get to be the "official" teacher for at least two weeks.  This means that you are teaching all of the classes, you are making the lessons, and you are the students go to person if they need something.  I started being the "official" teacher this past week, and let me tell you, it is so wonderful!  Being in student teaching has made me think back to my time at UNI and think about how prepared I have been throughout my student teaching experience so far!

So, enough about me, I want to tell you a little more about the College of Education and the opportunities you could have out in the classroom before you start your career as an educator.  There are so many teaching opportunities for you to take advantage of during your time at The University of Northern Iowa if you are apart of the College of Education.

As a part of UNI's Education program, you will have a Level 1 field experience.  This experience allows you to be in the classroom, observing, interacting with students and maybe doing some teaching.  The Level 2 field experience builds upon the Level 1 experience.  For your Level 2's, you still get the chance to observe how other teachers are having success with their teaching strategies, interacting with students and you get to teach a few lessons.  Throughout these experiences, you have a UNI faculty member coming out to the schools, watching you teach and providing feedback as well as encouraging you as you teach!  The semester or two before you go out to student teach, you will complete your Level 3 Field Experience.  Your Level 3's are a week of teaching and you get to be in the same class all day for those five days.  By the end of the week, you get the chance to teach all day and "be the teacher".  For your Level 3 Field Experience, you can get the chance to do that experience in Texas, Chicago, Arizona, rural areas of Iowa and a few larger cities in Iowa.  Finally it gets to Level 4, which is Student Teaching.  As a student teacher, you get the chance to student teach abroad, in a different state, or right here in Iowa.  All of these experiences build upon each other and can help you to gain confidence as an educator as well as seeing many different settings and environment which helps you to be a stronger teacher!

But wait! There's more!  One of the greatest things that I love about UNI's College of Education is the fact that most students get to have more teaching experiences on-top of the required field experiences which I talked about above!  Many classes also have field experiences within them.  For example, I took my Math Methods course and some days instead of meeting on campus for class, we would meet at a local elementary school and teach a lesson to a group of students.  This lesson was something we had been learning how to teach in class then got to apply it in an authentic setting!  I had many classes at UNI that had those types of experiences within them.  As educators, we love being with students and what better way to learn how to be a teacher than being out in the classroom practicing our craft!

Overall, I have felt very prepared while I have been at Student Teaching.  I definitely owe that to the great professors I had who instructed me within the College of Education, and to the authentic experiences I got to have in classrooms throughout my educational career at UNI.

Sarah, STAR

Monday, September 22, 2014

...Of the Homecoming parade!

After 6 years without a homecoming parade, it returns..but with a twist. Golf Carts! :) During the week of homecoming, students, faculty, alumni, and staff members of the University were allowed to decorate one of the donated floats. This was a fun, carefree event for all ages to show off their creativity and Panther pride. Then, on Saturday morning, with candy in hand, all 87 floats lined up! We twisted and turned through campus, through tailgating, and made a final stop at the McLeod center where the judges waited with awards! It was a great tradition to bring back and I can't wait to do it again next year!


-Star Olivia

Sunday, September 21, 2014

...of an ice cream lover!

Does ice cream have it's own food group? The answer..? YES. Especially in Cedar Falls! There are many places in Cedar Falls that ice cream is available! Don't have a car? No worries! There are also many places on campus to find ice cream! In fact, that's where it all begins!
On our campus, there are two dining centers: both equipped with ice cream! There is soft serve ice cream and Blue Bunny ice cream! (There are also other desserts but we'll save that for another blog!) The soft serve ice cream comes in vanilla, chocolate, and twist. You can choose to put it in a regular cone, sugar cone, mug, or a parfait container! My personal favorite is twist in a regular cone! As far as Blue Bunny goes, I have too many favorites to choose from! The options change depending on the day, but just to name my favorites: white chocolate caramel cluster, peppermint stick, birthday party and many, many more choices! These as well can go in any of the four containers/cones! These are hardly ever out at the same time so I have never had to choose, but I like all 3 in the sugar cone! If you so choose, there are also ice cream condiments to put on the ice cream, such as butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and a few other toppings.
Another place on campus for ice cream is the mini fridge right inside of your dorm room! When I was shopping for dorm appliances, I had to make certain that I got a fridge with a freezer, not just the little ice box so that I could have ice cream! Being from the Quad Cities, I was used to having Whitey's so I needed this freezer! You can also buy ice cream from little convenience stores on campus, like Biscotti's in the Redeker Center.
As far as off campus, there are a few options close to campus! My roommate's favorite is Coldstone Creamery, so we visit there quite often! At Coldstone, you are able to choose your own kind of ice cream, like cake batter, chocolate, and other flavors. After you choose the ice cream, you can add mix-in's, like cookie dough, brownies, strawberries, sprinkles and so many more options! Another delicious ice cream shop is 4 Queens Dairy Cream! At 4 Queens, they have shakes, flavor burst, snowstorms, and other fancy ice cream treats! My favorite from 4 Queens is Black Cherry Flavor Burst! It is vanilla ice cream with a burst of black cherry within! If you have not yet tried it out, I advise you to do so! You will not regret it!
-STAR Hannah

Monday, September 15, 2014 UNI Interpreter's Theatre

Hey there, Panthers! If any of you are interested in attending a free production on campus or even want to audition for a future performance, University of Northern Iowa's Interpreter's Theatre is one of the places to check out, for sure. This coming November, students will be performing in an original production written by our very own Dr. Paul Siddens III, Emma Nichols Chase, Katie Grassi, Nathan Greve, Luke Hanson, Peter Seifert, Philippa Siddens, and Hayley White. This show is called Just Another Day in Paradise and is a one-act about a school shooting. It brings about several controversial issues and really makes the audience think deeply about things they'd never really thought of before.

The cast blocks Scene One of Just Another Day in Paradise at one of their first rehearsals.

The production is still in the early stages of its rehearsal process, but by the time it opens the second week of November, it will be open to whomever wishes to attend. If you have any classes for which you need to attend an on-campus event, consider coming on over to the Interpreter's Theatre. It is located on the first floor in the Lang building and is a small blackbox theater, allowing for a close connection with its audience members.

As I am a brand new freshman, this is my first production in which I have participated on the UNI campus. So far, I am very much enjoying the experience at the Interpreter's Theatre and I have already made several new friends who have really helped me to become acclimated to the university. 

If you're interested in getting involved, check out the Interpreter's Theatre's page at Another Day in Paradise will be showing November 6, 7, and 8 at 7:30pm. Tickets are free but are first come first serve, so make sure you show up at around 6:30 to get a good seat. Come support UNI's Fine Arts and think in ways you've never thought to think before.

- STAR, Lauren

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

...of experiencing ARTapalooza!

Hey Panthers!

Downtown Cedar Falls has a lot to offer UNI students, residents of Cedar Falls, and visitors to the Cedar Falls area.  Whether you are looking for a shopping experience at a cute and unique boutique, for a place to eat where you can catch up with friends and have great food, or for a place to relax and get a cup of coffee, downtown Cedar Falls has almost everything you would be looking for.  Once a year, downtown transforms itself into place where the people can experience many forms of art completed by local artists.
This past weekend, ARTapalooza, an arts festival, was held in downtown Cedar Falls and numerous people came out to the event which caters to both children and adults.  Throughout the day, attendees can wander down Main Street, and observe and purchase the art vendor’s work.  At ARTapalooza there is a wide variety of art that is completed.  I saw paintings, photography, jewelry, and ceramic pieces that were for sale.  There was live music with individual performers as well as the Cedar Falls High School Jazz Band and even students from UNI got to perform.  This event was also very family friendly and is something you could bring children to.  There was a booth where kids could try playing different musical instruments as well as crafts and painting opportunities so the kids had the chance to be immersed in art.
Photo from: Community Main Street
ARTapalooza is just one of the many wonderful and unique events that happen in Cedar Falls and specifically in Downtown Cedar Falls.  It was also a great opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the talent that the artists have.  This was my first time attending ARTapalooza, and it is absolutely something I am planning on attending again next year.   I would definitely encourage you to check it out too!

Sincerely, STAR Sarah