Saturday, February 9, 2008

I is for Igloo

One of my favorite things about being a teacher is discovering how far a lesson can take us.  There are some lessons that leave us yearning for more all in the quest for knowledge!
 Winter is always hard, the holidays are over, we spend a lot of days indoors because the weather because it's either too cold, or the playground is covered in ice. So I'm always on the search of something to change things up a bit. I began January like I always do learning about penguins. I love penguins. They are good lessons in family, responsibility, and perseverance, (you try living in Antartica, while balancing an egg on your feet without eating for months at a time) and they are incredibly cute!
Our travels took us from learning about animals in the South Pole, to animals in the North Pole. Polar Bears, Arctic Foxes and Snowy Owls. Our science teacher spent a few weeks last summer in Barrow Alaska learning the traditions of the Inupiats. She brought back whale baleen, snowy owl feathers, wolf fur and some great pictures. She is a great resource.
Somehow while discussing the Native Americans of that area, I decided we should build an igloo. I had seen one made of milk bottles while surfing the net, and made the very ambitious decision to attempt it.
The hardest part is collecting enough gallon jugs to accomplish such a task. So far we have used about 50 plastic milk jugs and we've only completed 2 and 1/3 rows of "ice blocks".
My warning to the custodian...
Getting there...but a long way to go.
My son (the first grader) trying it out for size.
When it's all finished (hopefully before the spring thaw!) it will go in the reading corner, might make a good motivation to sit down a bit a read a good story!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

S is for Sports

I'm lucky enough to live in New England. I say that for many reasons. I love the change of seasons, there is nothing like a sweltering humid summer by the sea side, the brilliant, fiery colors of autumn, the beauty and sparkle of newly fallen snow, and the wonderful awakening in spring after a long and cold winter.
Nature's great, Lord knows I love nature, but the best part about living in New England? You got it...sports.
1. The Patriots...yes, they lost (ouch) the Super Bowl, but no other team has had such a long undefeated season. True, they tanked at the end, they put their hearts and souls into that wonderful season and when push came to shove they had nothing left to give. We in New England love them anyway. Seriously, how could you not love the gray hoodie and then there's Tom Brady. He's the Golden Boy and Eli with all his boyish charm, does not even compare. I am happy for Eli, finally out of his brother's shadow. But Tommy, oh Tommy.
 2. The Celtics and the new Big Three. There will never be another Parish, McHale and Bird, but the trio of Pierce, Garnett and Allen...not too shabby. Since the glory days back in the 80's the Celtics have been woeful at best, but they're exciting to watch again. I know Red is enjoying this.
3. We even have college sports, The Bean Pot hockey tournament, The B.C. Eagles...I could go on.
For me, all those above mentioned sports are just what keeps me busy in between baseball seasons. So, I've saved the best for last.
4. The Boston Red Sox. The Boys of Summer. The Old Town Team. WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!! Again. 
I can't even express what this team means to us around here. They are as much a part of the history of Boston as Paul Revere. 
The 86 year drought ended in 2004 with the greatest sports come back in sports history. Of course, they're wouldn't have been a "greatest comeback" if they're hadn't been the biggest choke in sport's history. That honor belongs to the new york yankees. (Note the lower case letters). 
I have an unhealthy hatred of the y's. Seriously, I sometimes wonder if I need help with this. I once had a child in my kindergarten class walk in wearing a yankees jersey and y's cap. Thank goodness for the "no hats in school" rule. 
The jersey though, that was tough to over look. The one saving had the name "Jeter" on the back. I'm not by any means a fan of Derek, but I can respect him. Rodriguez on that jersery? It would have been toast.
So here we are 10 or so days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. Baseball is right around the corner. It's all good.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Y is for "You can't make this stuff up."

I'm constantly amazed at the things I see and hear as a teacher. Some that make me laugh out loud, some that cause me concern and some that simply just make me shake my head.
I heard one of those head shakers today. Fortunately it came from first grade and not from my kindergarten. I'm not sure I would have known what to do!
It was show and tell day, one of the little boys brought his grandfather to school. I can hear the collective "awwws". He brought his grandfather to school, in an urn. Yes, an urn, full of ashes. Grandpa has passed to the great beyond, to a more peaceful place, he has seen and followed the light, but yet here was back in first grade!
Now for the laugh out loud. I have a very endearing little boy in my class. He fancies himself a ladies man. He is having a Valentine's party next week to celebrate his favorite holiday. Here's our conversation...
Kinder Boy: Mrs. C I'm having a Valentine Party
Me: That's wonderful kinderboy, what a fun thing to do.
Kinder Boy: Yeah, I have so many girl friends I thought a party would be the best way to handle them.
Me: That sounds like a great plan.
Really, what was I going to say?
Now for the funny, but also cause for concern. I have a child in my class who has some obvious learning issues that will need to be addressed. I was putting her through some assessments the other day, one of which is to assess their ability to hear and use alliteration.
I gave her explicit directions on what I was looking for. I gave her more than one example of what I wanted her to do. (I'm not supposed to give any I was giving her an advantage here.)
Me: kindergirl, give me a word that starts like "dog"
KIndergirl: "RUFF"

You can't make this stuff up!