Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#17

A parent was here after school running errands, talking to teachers, dropping things off. As she left my classroom, she dug in her pocket, "Here, have one, they're on sale!" It was a carmel filled chocolate Easter egg.  Mmm!

The Wishbone episode today was fun.  So fun, in fact, that my kiddos convinced me to let them watch a second one.  Sigh, they know my weaknesses... They convinced me by saying, "It's educational! We're learning stuff!  And we already have lots of spelling and handwriting done."  All true.  We watched the Ivanhoe episode and the Red Badge of Courage episode.

Tomorrow's special activity will probably not happen tomorrow. We're supposed to eat a picnic lunch outside, but since the weather will be cold and possibly damp, I think we'll wait for a nicer day.  Tomorrow is also Miss W's last day in my classroom. None of my kids made her cards. I brought it up to them and they were just kind of "eh" about it, so I think I'll put something together at home tonight and have them all sign it.

Tonight will be another busy night... bible study at 6, then Guatemala committee meeting at 7. After that I can go home and put my feet up! Maybe I'll read a book.  Or maybe I'll catch up on correcting or typing the Talent Show bulletin.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#18

Apparently there was an earthquake in Mankato? I'm slightly jealous I didn't get to experience such a thing... Miss W brought it up when she first got here today. She said all the buildings at BLC shook.  The local internet is abuzz with speculation.  Some people think the tremors were caused by a blast at one of the Mankato quarries.  Either way, no damage was reported, though lots of people called in to say they felt it.

Another interesting thing today... one of the 6th graders had taken home a spider from our spider lab and it had babies! (We think). There are four things that look like little spiders in the jar with "Barry" and the 6th grader says she can see them moving.  I looked and they do look like spider-ish things, but I couldn't see them moving.

Today's activity was "sit anywhere for the day". Three kiddos moved their desks into the Gumdrop Gallery Corner. Surprisingly, they focused pretty well back there.  A 5th grade girl moved her desk back against the wall by the outside door (the handle is broken so we can't use the door anyway).  The boys of course moved their desks in a row by each other.  A few of them got moved because they were too noisy/distracting.  And the 6th grade best friends moved their desks side by side.

It made class with the 7th and 8th graders interesting, having the desks all over the place.  They presented their Africa projects today, so it ended up being fine.  We skipped bells (for like the third time in a row) so we could get all the projects presented in one day.  They play on Sunday, but they know the songs well (otherwise we wouldn't be skipping practice). Miss S is going to set up bells at church tomorrow during 5th grade bell practice, that way they get a chance to practice at church and my bell choir can simply practice on Thursday instead of taking time to haul everything over.

Tomorrow's activity: watch a Wishbone episode!

Monday, April 24, 2017

#19

Whew, what a day!

I just got done cleaning up from our first ever family STEAM night.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.  Each teacher came up with an idea and families went around the gym to various stations doing the activities/challenges there.  It was a huge success!

Everyone had a punch card, one sticker/stamp per station.  Once four stations were visited, people could turn their cards in for a door prize.  We drew every half hour.  My challenge was to build a pyramid of red plastic cups and put a Lego guy on the top, without using your hands.  You could use any combination of: two straws, a rubber band, a cotton ball, 1-2ft of string (per person).  Almost every group found a different way of doing it! Some groups tried the super deluxe extra challenging challenge.  The cups started out in a stack and they had to unstack them and then restack them without the use of their hands.  Regular= they could start with the cups already separated on the table.

Other stations: building a bridge of paper and popsicle sticks strong enough to hold a bunch of washers, making a house of gumdrops and toothpicks so the 'wolf' (a hairdryer) couldn't blow the pig (paper) out of the house, "Noah's Ark" where you build a boat of tin foil to hold as many plastic animals as possible, marble painting, making a paper structure strong enough to hold a stack of textbooks.  The robotics team from Mankato West also came and did robot demonstrations for everyone.  You could even try driving the robots yourself!  And there were a few self-guided kit stations for people to try on their own.  We served pizza for supper and had tables set up in the hallway as a 'lunch room'.

The book fair was open too. We had a few grandmas working; they said they had fun.  We sold $250 of books! That puts a hefty dent in the $800 goal of ours.  Hopefully the rest of the week goes just as well.

I bought a pair of flats that are supposed to be the best/most comfortable flats in the world.  I figured they'd be good to wear today since I'd be on my feet a long time.  Ehhh, maybe they're not as comfortable as they appear or maybe I need to break them in more.  My feet are sore.  I think this pair may be a little small; they pinch my toes a bit.  I was hoping they'd stretch out (the company doesn't sell half sizes), and maybe they still will.  Should I let them naturally stretch (they're made of leather) or should I try to stretch them out without my feet in them?  Since I wore them already, I don't think I can exchange them for a larger size...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Birthday

Having a birthday on a school day as a teacher is always interesting.  Are the kids going to remember? Will they make a fuss? Or will it just be like any other day?

While our classroom routine was mostly normal, enough 'birthday' things happened to make this day not ordinary.  My desk featured a bunch of Almond Joy candy bars arranged in 27! (from Mr. D), the E's gave me flowers and a balloon and a card to Barnes and Nobles.  The 3rd and 4th grade girls serenaded me before the bell rang this morning. Then the kindergartners sang to me right after our class devotions. My class pretended that they would sing to me, but I waved them off (I think they were sick of the 'happy birthday' song at that point).  One of my students made me a card at her card-making class and a kindergartner gave me a hand-made card later that day in the hallway.  And everyone liked my gingersnaps!  All in all, it was a very good day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Books, Books, Books

After school today we had another teacher meeting to go over talent show ideas for us. I made the playlist last night (probably shouldn't have stayed up so late... but it was fun, so it was worth it). We now have a seven minute conglomeration of songs to do our 'skit' to. But this year it's a secret, so don't tell!

We wrote a note on the board in the office saying "Reminder, NO teacher skit this year." just in case they're curious and peek at our meeting list on the board. We have lots of nosy kids! They keep coming up to teachers asking why we're not doing a skit.  Various answers: the school board won't let us, Miss S doesn't want to do it, we're trying something new, too much work.  I think we've got them all fooled!  

After the planning meeting, we set up for the Scholastic book fair.  It seems like there's less stuff than previous years.  Normally we're creatively stacking books to fit them all on the table, but there is quite a bit of empty space.  Ms. F and Miss S helped set up; the other teachers had other meetings they had to be at (or other things to do).  A few kids had stayed after to catch up on work; they helped set up tables/open boxes/pull things out.  They got bored rather quickly (they're not book-lovers).  Tomorrow is just a preview day. The fair officially opens on Monday.

Right as we were finishing up, the UPS dropped off another box of books... my Scholastic book order! Yay! Even more books to add to my to-read pile.  Again, I wish I could pause time to catch up on my reading.

We popped our first balloon today... tomorrow there is 20 days of school left.  The balloon prize: Miss H brings treats.  It's rather fitting since it's my birthday tomorrow.  I think I'll bake gingersnaps.  I got a bunch of rhubarb over the weekend and made rhubarb sauce last night. I had thought about making rhubarb crisp and sharing that with my students, but only three out of ten students likes rhubarb, so I'll take that as a no.  I guess I'll make it for myself and share it with my family!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Africa Speaker

Our Africa speaker showed up today.  It was a little up in the air because he'd emailed me over the weekend to see if we could switch the speaking day to Wednesday instead of Thursday (a day early). I didn't see it until Tuesday, but emailed him back saying it would work. He never responded so I wasn't sure if we were doing Wednesday or sticking with Thursday.  All day kids were asking me and I kept telling them, "I haven't heard anything."  Thankfully, Miss W was flexible about her lesson and came prepared, just in case. He did show up though!  And his presentation was wonderful.

His parents were missionaries in Africa (Zimbabwe at first, now Cameroon) and he lived there until he was eight years old.  At that time, they moved to the US. Just a few years ago his parents moved back to Cameroon to get the seminary going again.  So our speaker travels back and forth quite a bit over long breaks.  He spoke about the mission work his dad does, what churches are like there, what it was like growing up in Africa, the growing conditions (hot, wet, always rainy and humid).  He said there is always plenty to eat there because of the climate, but the problem is getting protein. They eat anything with protein: dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, etc. The closest grocery store to buy meat is six hours away.  The local marketplace will butcher three cows or so each day and that's the meat available. Get it quick or it goes bad in the heat! Plus they don't keep their area clean, so it's best to avoid buying from there.

He told us a story about the pet dog he had in Africa. It was getting older, so one of the guys/pastors he knew asked him one day if, when his dog died, our speaker would give the dog to him so he could eat it.  Uhhh... no?  He said he told the guy no because the meat was bad since they gave it vaccines and stuff.

There are also crocodiles and hippos in all freshwater. He said both are super vicious and will come after you if you even step foot in the water.  And the hippos are not like the ones from captivity, those are babies compared to what's in Cameroon.  His dad and some of the other pastors go hunting.  Hippos are so tough, there's only a quarter sized place behind their ear that will work to bring them down.  And then they pick up the animal by boat and wrap a seat belt around it to drag it to shore. But the other hippos won't let them near the body so the other hunters have to shoot their guns into the water as they go to scare the hippos away.  The one his dad got was so heavy it broke two seat belts. They had to tie three together to let it be strong enough.  He said the hippos are about the length of the white folding table plus a desk at the end and are the width of about 2-3 exercise balls (10ft x 4-6ft). Holy cow! That's huge!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Malaysia

Pen pal letters came today, all the way from Malaysia!  The teacher made each person in our class a bookmark with his/her name written in calligraphy.  She wrote me a letter and every person in my class got a letter too!  Some even got two letters.  My students devoured the letters. They wouldn't stop reading.  It was amazing.  Some started writing back right away.  Since their letters to us were so fancy (some drew pictures, some used fancy paper, everyone had neat handwriting), we have to step up our game.  We got stationary from the office and I know at least one person is making a fancy envelope. Others drew some pictures or included a school photo.  Sigh, if only it weren't the end of the school year... then we could exchange more letters!  Hopefully we'll be able to connect with them next year too.

I forgot my water bottle at home today. I packed everything else in my teacher bag, but not that.  I automatically reached for it once I got to school and thought, "Oh no!"  I didn't realize how much water I drink during the day!  Thankfully I had a water bottle in my car, but it's a smaller one and it was empty before 3:30 (and I didn't feel like going all the way into the hallway to refill it).  I'll be sure to remember it tomorrow!

Before Easter break I thought my to-do list was pretty short, I wouldn't have to do too much over break, so it took it easy.  It was a very relaxing break!  But then I came back to school and... yeah, I should've tried to get a few more things accomplished.  I had lesson plans from my student teacher to look over (she sent them to me on Monday), a class website to update, Scholastic book fair stuff to do, posters to put up, books to catalog, balloons to hang from the ceiling, talent show ideas to come up with, STEAM night ideas to come up with, field trip forms to print off... sigh, I'm feeling time crunched again.  But in my defense it's mostly stuff I need internet for/is easier to do at school.  I think I've hit my maximum potential for today; it's time to go home.  I called the library and they have a wi-fi box still there. If no one gets there before me, I think I'll check it out to see if I'll be more productive at home, or at least cross a few more things off the to-do list before tomorrow.