Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer Vacation!

Well, the weather certainly hasn't felt much like summer these past few days... cold and rainy.  It's raining right now and I have to wonder if we'll end up having volleyball tonight...

Most of my end-of-the year stuff has been wrapped up. Only a few more things on the list.  I'm bringing Joe back with me tonight so he can go to the library tomorrow. I'm sure the kids will be happy to see him again!

I wanted to post a few pictures of our NaNo book launch party on the last day of school.  So, here you go!

10 students= 10 books, the bottom two in the stack each wrote over 10,000 words in their stories!
 (above) My favorite cover... makes me laugh every time!
And one final goofy picture to end the year.  (Notice all the boys who hate having their picture taken are doing 'the dab', conveniently covering their faces).

Friday, May 19, 2017

#1 Last Day!

Umm, so school is over. I don't need to plan any more lessons, grade any more papers, enter any more grades... it's weird. And hard to believe.

My goal was to get report cards out by the time of the awards thing tonight.  I made it! They went in mailboxes right at 6:00.  And I even filled out their yellow school record folders too!  Now I really don't have any schoolwork to do over the weekend.  They all remembered to pick up their report cards too.  Well, one student left hers behind, but I know she looked at it.

Even with a full last day of school (in the past we've ended at noon), I used all the time we had.  Religion, read aloud, reading buddies, BINGO prizes (9/10 got at least one bingo!), cleaning out desks, collecting the tomatoes from the beginning of the year (yes, they were disgusting... one of the glass jars leaked on the lab table, but my kiddos cleaned it up before I even noticed... the jars went right in the dumpster), opening our time capsules (comparing how much we've grown over the year), taking down posters/decorations, handing in books, and FINALLY opening the box of NaNos.

I had wrapped each book and put it back in the box, retaping it so it looked like the box hadn't been open.  Right before lunch today we sliced it open and passed out the books.  They opened them on the count of three... and everyone loved them! They kept saying over and over, "Wow Miss H! I love it! This is awesome!"  It was the best way to pass them out, I think.  This year, some of them had asked if they'd be able to get more copies of their books, so when I published them, I allowed the books to be visible on Amazon and Createspace.  My kiddos were super excited to hear this and immediately made plans on how to spend the millions of dollars book sales were going to generate... They were only mildly disappointed when I said the money we earned from selling copies of their books would go to buy more books from the classroom.

They must've told their parents about it because by the time we got back from closing chapel, one person had already looked up her book on Amazon and found it.  She told me tonight that she sold two copies already! (Her uncle bought one).  At school, some of them were arguing over whose book was better because one cost $5 while everyone else's cost $4.  Well, that's just because the $5 girl wrote way more so her book is bigger.  Anyway, I'd say NaNo was a success this year!

Another cute thing happened today at lunch.  As per usual, I sat on the bleachers finishing my lunch, but then a 7th grader came up to me kind of covertly and said, "So Miss H, last weekend me, [a 7th grader, another 7th grader, and another 7th grader] had been by the pond in Courtland and we found a dead baby turtle. So do you want it?"  Oh it still makes me laugh!  I said, "Sure!" So then he went and got it, kind of sneakily digging it out of his pocket (it was in a ziplock bag and was very dried and very dead).  We looked at it for a while, and then he said, "When we found it, I thought of you."  Aww! I'm glad I'm the kind of teacher that kids think about when they find cool things in nature.

Tonight's potluck/awards night/carnival was a hit.  We did it inside due to the chilly weather; the 7th and 8th grade parents planned everything so I didn't have to do anything to set up.  Nice!  The school board gave all us teachers a nice thank-you at the awards night, which resulted in a standing ovation.  Afterwards as I mingled, two sets of grandparents came up to me to tell me how much they appreciate me as a teacher here at Immanuel.  The one grandpa brought me to tears with all his kind words!

I don't think the fact that school is over will sink in for a while... there were a few students who didn't want the year to end (ahem, the 6th grade girls).  They're not ready to be 7th graders, they said.  After school, some of them stuck around to help their parents set up for the carnival.  They popped leftover microwave popcorn from the 7/8th class trip and offered me some.  As we chatted for a bit, the 8th grader said, "Yeah, we've just been using this as a snack at school. I mean, why not? It's fast and easy!"  One of the 6th grade girls chimed in, "Hey! Miss H! We should do that for our snack!" The 8th grader and I just stared at her until I finally said, "That's a great idea, but, we're not having any more snack... school is over."  She looked at me blankly until it sunk in, "Oh! Whoops!" Not even two hours after we dismissed and she'd already forgotten school was out for the summer!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Wow I am ready for school to be done... Today was a 'bang your head against the wall' kind of day.  The 5th graders were vicious to each other, purposely leaving people out and being mean about it.  Then that person retaliated and everyone was yelling at everyone. And no one could focus.  Four kids had to stay after school today to finish assignments they hadn't taken home for homework (even though they knew everything was due today). Two are still finishing up their last assignments.

This morning I had written names on the board for each assignment I was missing. The board was packed!  And now it's mostly white again.  Whew!  There were some other things I needed to do after school, like set out the BINGO prizes and dig out our time capsules, but I am so beat from corralling kids and forcing them to do their late work that I just want to go home... But someone came into my room to talk to me, so I ended up cleaning off the lab table and setting that stuff out anyway.

My large pile of papers to correct has been tucked in my bag and after this I'm going to head out.  I can actually go out the side door again! This morning I found a note from the school trustees noting that they replaced the door handle.  It's been nice to be able to use that door again.

Miss S was home sick today. She has pink eye.  It made today crazy since we don't have any subs to call.  Miss F took over after sending the preschoolers home for the day at 11:00, but until then the 1-2nd graders had a smorgasbord of supervisors.

The after school cleanup crew got the gym all cleaned up. Only one parent showed up.  I had thought about helping a little, but with all the students staying afterwards to finish homework, I didn't have time.  But I did my part on Tuesday. Glad that job is done!

Our Australia speaker was good. He spent a lot of time talking about the sports of Australia such as rugby, cricket, and Australian rules football.  Man, those sports are intense!  We watched some YouTube videos of sports highlights and he explained what was happening. I might take up watching rugby; it was crazy!  (It also helped to have someone explain how the game works!) Here are the videos we watched: Australian Rules FootballRugbyCricket.

Tomorrow's balloon activity: Book Launch (no, not 'book lunch' as so many people thought I said)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Two days left! Two days left! Assignments and projects are being handed in, some are early which is nice because I can get a head start correcting (hopefully won't be so much to do tomorrow night).  We were supposed to have another cleaning session after school today, but the weather was bad... tornado sighted in Lake Crystal and flash flooding in New Ulm, so we postponed that event until tomorrow.  I don't think the kids will be thrilled with the stuff still taking over the gym.  We have tables on their sides at half-court so it's harder to get to the stuff from the shed.

I introduced my students to Shirley Temple today.  She was referred to in our read aloud book (the character wanted to tap dance like her and thus carried tap shoes with her everywhere), so I looked up some videos on YouTube.  Yes, that got us distracted for a good 20 minutes.  Still educational though... pop culture!  We watched her sing "Animal Crackers" and "Good Ship Lollipop" and watched one of the baby movies.  I wanted to find the wild west one I remember from my childhood, but we'd already spent enough time on her, so we moved on to different things.

The other cool thing we did today was with wordless picture books.  I borrowed a whole bunch from the library on Monday and had each student read three of them and write a paragraph/Venn diagram describing what each story was about, how they were similar, and how they were different (many of them were by the same author, so it would be easy to compare).  After they quit complaining they had fun!  And it didn't take them as long to do as they thought!  Teacher win!

I also had my class fill out a Teacher Survey and a Reading Survey to see what things I should keep the same/change for next year.  They're always fun to read.  A lot of them want better places to focus, or for me to teach them how to focus.  Put that on next year's list of things to do.  At their suggestions, I plan to find ways to partition sections of the classroom so they can read in peace (if not quiet), although I have a feeling next year will be calmer without the 6th graders in here to distract.  Each individual student isn't distracting on his/her own, but put them all together with the 5th graders and they can be quite volatile!  The incoming 5th graders are all (mostly) quiet, studious girls who (as far as I can tell) are able to focus.  That should help the noise level!

Tomorrow's balloon prize: play any game you want during Word Work and Work on Writing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Caswell Softball Day. Even though the forecast was 86 and clear, the entire morning was rainy.  Still, we played ball.  The kids were super excited to play in the rain. Most were entirely happy to get soaking wet.  After a game and a half, the guy in charge postponed the games for ten minutes (it looked clearer to the west), and the rain did slow down after the 10 minutes.  We won our first two games (the only games we played in the morning), then had a break until the tournament started at 12:15. I sat in my car to dry off, ate lunch, and finished reading a book.  It was lovely.

I didn't have nearly as many kids in my car as I thought... two of them found rides with funner people. ;)  One kid didn't show up at school ever.  So I only had one person in my car.  I dropped him off at home afterwards (he lives in Nicollet so it was only a little out of the way).

We did very well in the tournament. And although our team played pretty sloppy, we won both and took home a 1st place trophy!  The only negative thing about the day was a passive aggressive parent at the end when we took a team picture.  On Sunday, I had send a bunch of Remind messages to parents about upcoming field trips, due dates, school stuff, etc. Apparently, this mom did not like getting so many messages on Mother's Day.  She didn't say this to my face though. She said it to another parent (very loudly, making sure I was in earshot). She also complained that since I send them Sunday night, what are they supposed to do about them? She thought they should be sent on Thursday or something.  Grr... Thankfully, the other parent didn't chime in on the badmouthing. He just said, "Well, there's only three days left."  True, very true.

When I got back to school we had 'clean out the shed' time.  Only one parent showed up to help, but it was a parent who loves being organized and is fun to be around, so we had a good time.  We took pretty much everything out of the shed. Tomorrow's crew will clean the floor/shelves out there, put everything in totes (today's parent is buying tonight), and stick them back in the shed.  We marked a bunch of stuff to get tossed in the dumpster, so there will be much more room for things, hopefully making it more organized in there.  Only one mouse was spotted the entire time.  We cleaned with the door to the gym open, so now a whole bunch of flies are buzzing around my room.  Looks like the boys have fly smashing duty tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow's balloon activity: read aloud all morning.

Monday, May 15, 2017

#6 and #5

Track and Field day had perfect weather.  I always work at the long jump station and even though I was the most experienced 'track and field day' person there, we had enough helpers to finish before noon! We were still the last group done, but it went much smoother than other years.  The best part is, I didn't get sunburned!!!

I don't think I got sunburned today either. The day started out sunny, got cloudier the closer we got to canoeing time, and looked pretty thunderstormy as we paddled out on Swan Lake.  But I still put sunscreen on!  This trip was so tricky to get chaperones for... lots of parents have used their time off or are working in the field.  One parent had said he'd drive, but he ended up getting sick and couldn't come.  Pastor's son was available to help (Pastor would have, but he's at a conference), but we still needed one more person besides me. Thankfully, a farmer dad was finished enough he could help us out for a few hours. He had a great time and said anytime we needed someone for something like that again, he'd be there!

God was really good to us today.  We had just enough time to paddle Swan Lake and load the boats before it started raining.  Most of us stayed dry, but a bunch of the girls were soaked because they got a little crazy with the paddles.  That canoe also had trouble with getting stuck in cattails.  We all made it out okay though!  Swan Lake is the largest wetland habitat in North America, 10,000 acres to be specific.  We heard lots of bird and even saw a beaver swimming by the landing.

The 7th and 8th graders had a very interesting class session today... the Reproductive System. I showed them the first half of "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" a video lecture by Dr. David Menton that goes through how babies are made/develop.  It started off slow, and we just got to the interesting stuff when we had to end for the day.  Halfway through class, we paused so the 5th graders could nosily grab things to work on, and that's when the questions started.  Their assignment for this body system was to fill out a KWL chart as they watched the video.  They could write what they already know (a little awkward, but better than sharing out loud).  If they thought of questions during the video, they were to write them in the W-Want to Know column.  And then the L-What I Learned column was for interesting facts from the video.  I had them turn them in after class so I could maybe answer some of their questions.  We'll pick up where we left off on Wednesday.

Tomorrow's balloon prize: Caswell Softball Day.  My car is filling up awful fast.  I went from having only one kid to bring to now having four.  One of them is a somewhat cranky 5th grader who was not happy to find out the rest of my passengers are annoying boys...  Tomorrow will be another sunny day with a chance of thunderstorms.  I'll make sure to slather on the sunscreen yet again!

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Talent Show tonight. We had practice at 1:30, but didn't get started until 1:45. Unfortunately, we had to cut acts short so we could get back to school in time for buses.  And even so, the buses were 10 minutes late leaving school.

After school, we teachers ran through our skit a few times, but we didn't have our bobble heads to practice with. By the time the heads arrived and we ran through it a few times, it was after 5.  The E's cooked dinner for us and now I'm wrapping things up in my classroom before heading over to church to check on root beer float prep. My class is in charge of serving (as a fundraiser).  Whew! What a week!

Today's pinata breaking activity was kind of rushed.  It was our head cook's last day, so we had to sing to her.  But she wanted to watch the pinata breaking, so she followed us outside! Oops!  She went in after a few break-opens to serve lunch and we followed her 'covertly' inside and sang with the rest of the school. She is such a good cook; we will miss her very much.

Tomorrow's activity: recess all day! Not as cool as it sounds... tomorrow is Track and Field Day!  In past years, they've asked, "If it rains and T/F is cancelled, do we still get recess all day???"  No such luck this year; it sounds like we'll have lovely weather tomorrow.