Saturday, March 28, 2009

Florida Perk

One of the perks of living in Florida is the fact that we have an early, long, enormous strawberry season! In our ward at church we have the nicest guy who happens to own a huge farm. What this means for us is that he offered to let anyone come to his farm and pick as many strawberries as we want...for FREE! 
I went with some friends and their kids, and had so much fun picking and eating strawberries.
Aren't they pretty?!
I brought a pretty big bucket and filled to to the brim. I wanted to pick more, but then I remembered that Chris and I don't live with 30 others (which is how many my berries would have fed) so I held back and ended up being glad because I had to wash, cut, and freeze tons of them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not Always a Bowl of Cherries

There are a million and one things I love about teaching, but it is one of those careers that has quite a few negatives as well (see ewwww post). I had to experience one of those today. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last, but it doesn't make it any easier. 

Imagine: You are a teacher who is responsible for getting little minds ready for the next school year. You know it is up to you to teach them skills like how to read, add, subtract, write complete sentences... you know, just little stuff like that. You know that parents are looking to you for all answers related to their child. "Why don't they understand this?" "Why are they behaving this way?" "I'm doing everything you told me to. What more can I do?" "What is making them fall behind?" You want to answer all their questions and come up with a magic formula to fix all their child's problems, but guess what? Every child has different issues, some really evident and some totally unexplainable. 

Here's the fun part. Imagine: It's conference night. You are already not looking forward to talking to parents all night after talking to their children all day and the only parents who signed up are the ones who you don't need to meet with and two you really don't want to talk to. The reason you don't want to talk to those two parents? You get to tell them that their children will get to do second grade all over again. Yes, retention. Not something that goes over well with many parents. Luckily, I consider myself somewhat intelligent, and have been warning the parents since the beginning of the year that this was a possibility. 

The first parent cried, and didn't believe it was necessary until I finally showed her my grade book with all the students' names covered up. I have had a feeling all year that she just assumed I was a crummy teacher. When she saw how much lower her daughter was scoring on each test, she said, "oh wow!" and stopped questioning the retention. 

The second parents took it pretty well, but were bummed nonetheless. They knew their son was low and understood that it would be helpful in the long run. 

Anyway, a long boring story to show that us teachers do have hearts and HATE breaking bad news to parents. I am not a fan of holding kids back a year, but for very specific circumstances, it actually does help a lot. Hurray to the end of another conference night. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bumming it at the Beautiful Beach

This is where I spent the greater part of the day on Saturday. Ahhh, it was so nice. It is in Sarasota, FL (about 45 mins south of us) at a beach called Siesta Key. It is my favorite beach here because of the white powder fine sand, green water, sand volleyball courts, picnic tables, playground, and easily accessible bathrooms. I went with Chris's cousin, Tierney who is visiting from Utah. I kept trying to tell her that Florida's sun is super strong, but alas, she got pretty fried in her desire to tan up before heading back to snowland. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time! Gotta love the beach! Oh, sorry for the lack of pictures of us, but I'm not one to volunteer for a picture in my swim suit very readily.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Belated Dr. Seuss Blog

Dr. Seuss' s birthday (March 2nd) is a big deal in 2nd grade, so we had to celebrate the day. I wasn't ambitious enough to make my whole class green eggs and ham, but I did break out the paint. Last year I had my mom visiting to help, but this year I was on my own. Luckily all went well and it turned out really fun! Here are some pictures from the day: 

Back of the shirts we made. This was my solution to a child who couldn't seem to stop dripping or dropping the sponges on his shirt. We just added dots everywhere! They are supposed to copy the Dr. Seuss book, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. 

This is the front of the shirts. It has "Dr. Seuss 3-2-09" written on it. 
The back
They made cute two-sided door hangers

I let students take turns on which has tons of cute games and even a story making section. 
I had tons of crosswords, word searches, quote matching worksheets, and other fun Dr. Seuss related things.
And what Dr. Seuss Day would be complete without a bunch of Dr. Seuss books.