Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fort Ridgely

First field trip of the year today! We went to Fort Ridgely School Day and the weather was beautiful (if not a bit windy).  I came prepared with my gloves and extra jacket/sweatshirt/headband, but many of my students did not check the weather beforehand... they were cold.  We ended up eating our sack lunches in our cars where it was toasty warm.

It was a good day! I had two great chaperones along, both who were interested in the history of the place.  The kiddos were slightly on the wild side, but since we were outside for most of it, their wildness could be let loose a bit.  And kids from the other schools were about the same, so we did all right.

They changed things up this year, having us unload at a totally new place (next to the fort instead of by the parking lot).  There weren't any signs, so we didn't actually unload in the place we were supposed to.  Apparently the change is due to political reasons... there's some controversy going on between the state park, the fort, and the golf course.  Many of the speakers were ones I hadn't heard before, and they were good! We learned lots of interesting stuff about the history of Fort Ridgely and the lives of soldiers and settlers in the area.  There were even people from the Lower Sioux Agency who had a station about Dakota tipis.  Did you know that the women were in charge of the tipis? It took two of them about 20 minutes to set up an average one.  And if a couple was thinking of divorce, the Indian woman was the one who made the decision; the man couldn't.  She let him know she was done with him by putting all his stuff outside the tipi.  He couldn't come in without her permission!

I'm keeping this short for today since the bank closes at 3:30 and I need to drop off our bake sale earnings... we raised enough to cover Camp Omega for the year! Woohoo!  It think the grand total for donuts/bake sale was about $175.

Monday, September 26, 2016


The tournament this weekend went well overall.  The B girls got 3rd of 4 teams, A got 4th of 6 teams.  The girls got a little tired (playing back to back to back), but they powered through!  And we also gained a new player.  The 6th grader who agreed to substitute for us decided to join for the rest of the season.  She stayed for practice today and was super excited about it!

One not so good thing from the tournament... the principal from MLHS emailed Mr. E detailing negative sportsmanship from our fans. Great, just when we thought the drama was over.  Apparently (I never watched the A games) some of the ladies were yelling at the line judges and making some not-so-nice comments.  The coaches said the line judges hadn't been paying attention and made some bad calls (why the parents were yelling), but that's no excuse for poor sportsmanship.  Mr. E has taken charge of this incident, thankfully, so I don't have to do much about it.  We forwarded the email to the parents and will see if anyone comes forward.

The school day was full of squirrely children.  We had a good science session though! The 7th and 8th graders learned about organelles in cells and the 5th and 6th graders learned about molecules and covalent/ionic bonds.  Tomorrow is our first field trip.  That means I need to go grocery shopping for sack lunch supplies!

Friday, September 23, 2016


Our Venus fly trap finally has a name! The votes are in and Kevin won (Chompers was a close second). The 7th and 8th graders were being dumb about it. Some of them didn't want to vote, at least until they saw that "Kevin" won. Then they all wanted to vote.  Too late!

The cook caught a live fly for us under a lid.  I stuck Kevin under a big, clear plastic container so we could keep the fly close and maybe we could see him eating it.  That fly is so big! I don't know if it will fit in Kevin's tiny traps.  But we're going to try! The kiddos were super distracted, rushing over to check if the fly had been lured to its death yet.  Thankfully we were doing art, so the distractions were not super interrupting.

I had picked out an art project way ahead of time (instead of my morning-of selection I tend to do), but when I put my example on the board, they were all like, "Oh! We've done that before!"  What?! When? "Remember Miss H? You taught us art in 1st and 2nd grade."  Ohhh... right.  Shoot.  Should I pick a different project?  No, no, they all wanted to do it.

This project involved "drawing" a picture with glue and then coloring between the lines.  We drew our glue pictures this morning, but they weren't dry by art time.  So on to project #2 (I had picked it out for NEXT Friday, but I guess we're bumping the time frame up).  This one is using tissue paper to make a collage in a fall associated shape.  Most are doing pumpkins; one girl is making a leaf.  The 5th graders were surprisingly frustrated by it: their tissue paper didn't stick to the glue, the colors weren't right, it looked dumb (the papers were spread too far apart).  I kept telling them to stick with it; give it time to come together!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


A parent stopped in this afternoon to drop off a box of very fancy cookies.  They were in a sturdy box, tied with colorful ribbons, wrapped up fancy in tissue paper.  Each cookie was decorated (and by decorated, I mean, the frosting looked like it was painted on) in a school fashion: notebook, apple, ruler, chalkboard, pencil.  They look too good to eat!  The lady who dropped them off said she ordered them online. (The other teachers got cookies too).

Volleyball today was fun.  My voice is a little hoarse; the games were close!  We played Gaylord and won only one of the five games.  B squad lost both (they were very sleepy... hopefully they'll be more awake for the tournament this weekend!), A squad lost one, won one, lost one.  Even though our girls played sloppy, the games were super close!  We could've won if they'd have tightened their playing up.  I think everyone was distracted.  I wore a necklace to school today that I made in pottery (an owl pendant on a long gold chain, brown glaze on one side, permanent marker drawing on the other). They kept grabbing it to look at it.  "Whoa! Miss H! Where'd you get this??? It's so cool! ...You made it? Can you make me one?"  Right in the middle of our volleyball huddle.  I blame it on the weather.

We got a lot of rain last night, but not as much as some.  I heard on the radio this morning that Janesville and Waseca got about 13 inches!  Schools were being called two-hours late or even called off due to flooding!  The state closed down part of Hwy 14 and 22 as well.  But by the time school started, the rain was over, for us at least.  Yikes! What a mess! What's even more of a mess is the office... someone forgot to close the windows last night and when the rain came down... the whole carpet in front of the window is soaked along with all the mail piled under the window.

Stomach update: I'm a member of the clean plate club once again! Both breakfast and lunch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I actually ate some breakfast this morning. Woohoo! I think this round of "yuck" is over.  

The volleyball yuck... well, I think that's winding down too.  The student decided to quit for good, so we're down to five B squad volleyball players.  Then we found out one of the little girls wouldn't be able to come.  Or so she said.  That'd bring us down to four players.  So I checked with her mom, and mom said, "yep she's coming!"  So all was good... until... at practice, the girls were positive another B squad player was going to be gone because she had a birthday party to go to.  And we were down to four again.  

Then I recalled that a 5th grade girl (not in volleyball) was going along to watch... she almost went out for volleyball this year... so maybe... 

I called her mom and her mom asked her and to make a long story short, the 5th grader will play volleyball with us!  

We had a Pork Chop Planning Meeting tonight (the 5th and 6th grade parents are in charge, so it was in my room).  The birthday party girl's mom was at the meeting and revealed that this particular volleyball player WILL be at the tournament.  So now we're up to six players again.  

The other complication is that A and B are playing at two different schools since there isn't enough room to play all the games in one gym. A is at MLHS, B is at Truman.  Thankfully we have enough coaches to be split up and have enough people at both places!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I am frustrated.  I feel like banging my head against my desk or the wall.  Volleyball is full of drama.  Drama from players, drama from parents, drama from coaches.  People keep threatening to pull their kids, or the kids don't want to play, or the coaches are saying they'll step down.  It makes me want to cancel volleyball for the rest of the season!  The older girls keep picking on the younger girls and try to be the coaches.  So the younger girls want to quit.  The parents are mad their girls are unhappy and yell at the coaches. The coaches don't want to get yelled at.  So all it is is a giant mess.  And now I want to quit too.  Grrr...

But we three coaches talked it out tonight after the game and I think we're now on the same page.  Hopefully they aren't secretly offended and quit tomorrow.  We're all good with one of the parents in question (at least I hope... we kind of had a bit of a yelling/arguing match before the game started, but I think she sees now that I'm just as upset about the situation as her and we coaches are trying our best to deal with it in a fair manner).  There's one parent who could go either way.  Still waiting to hear back from her on whether she keeps her girl in volleyball until after the tournament or not.  And we still need to talk with the older girls and tell them to quit bossing the younger girls.  Ugh. It gives me a headache.

On a happier note, we won all our games tonight! Two B games and three A games!

In other cool news, Mrs. E's class found a neat spider on the playground yesterday and captured it in a bucket.
Neither of us was sure what it was, so Mrs. E took a picture and I emailed it to my biology professor at BLC who's a bit of a spider enthusiast.  He emailed me back today and said it's a female Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus). He also said they're a pretty common species, but this is the first record of this species in Nicollet County.  So we're making history!  Since this year's science for 7th and 8th grade is life science, and we'll learn about spiders this spring, I asked my professor if he'd be interested in talking spiders/collecting some with my class.  He said sure! And now we have another tentative guest speaker for the spring. Woohoo!

Stomach issue update: not a whole lot of improvement. I started the new meds yesterday and my stomach was iffy until about 1:30.  After that I've been fine, although we'll see what happens when I try to eat supper.  Keep the prayers coming!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Naming the "Pet"

Our Venus fly trap was the center of attention today.  The 7th graders were miffed I didn't get it last year.  But they had the most fun with it today! They found a dead fly and I used a tweezers to put it in one of the traps.  It didn't close.  Maybe it was too big or too crispy.  Then they found a dead mosquito.  That one was the right size, but it took a while to get the trap to close.  The fly traps are so tiny! They need to grow bigger.

Now we're trying to come up with a name for it... the best ones so far are: Chompers, Cornelius, Einstein, Venus, Steve, Bob, Kevin, Tom, Todd, Frank, and Sam.  Our presidential candidates' names also made it on the list (courtesy of the 7th and 8th graders), but I erased them.  We vote tomorrow! I'll pick five from the list and go from there.

And here's some not fun news... my stomach has been feeling yucky again.  I called the specialist and they're putting me on more medication.  Lovely.  I also have an appointment, but not until November 7th because that was the soonest they could get me in.  I'm on the wait-list, so if someone cancels, they'll call me.  Until then, I'll just keep praying and try to eat when/what I can.