Monthly Archives: December 2011

15 Down, 22 To Go


Haha. They were in school. I went to:

My parents, my sister, Jack, and I boarded a plane at 6:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Orlando.  My family goes every six years. Last time, I was 17 and my sister was 11. On that trip, both my mom and my driver’s licenses had just expired and the TSA agent explained that the licenses were now unacceptable identification (which, if you ask me, is silly since I don’t stop being me after the license expired), but she had mercy on us and allowed us to go on the plane.  This year, my sister was 17 and, guess what, her license had just expired! My dad rolled his eyes, we prayed for mercy from the TSA agent, got it, and were on our way.

We stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, which is composed of a cabin that sleeps 6. Perfect for a family of 5.

We saw the castle all lit up

We played rode on lots of rides

And we took a lot of pictures and had fun.


14 Down, 23 To Go



This week, we did a lot of finishing. Finishing books, finishing science projects, giving tests, etc.  That was pretty hard on the kids, but I tried to mix it up with some fun things as well.

In language arts, we finally finished all our non-fiction books. Some of the kids books turned out very well because the put a lot of thought and effort into the project. Other kids just goofed around, had to spend recess finishing their book and received poor grades. We also made long /a/ word lists. Students called out long /a/ words and we put them in categories: a_e (i.e. cake), ay (i.e. play), ai (i.e. maid), other (i.e. great). The kids were having trouble generating some -ai- words so I thought I would help them out: “How many of you have gone fishing? What do you use to catch fish?” One of my kids shouted out, “Rats!”  I made a good solid effort not to burst out laughing, but then someone said, “What are you trying to catch?!” and I just fell apart. Eventually, I recovered and someone called out “bait.”

In math, we started number patterns such as counting by tens, and counting forwards and backwards using a hundreds chart. Many of the kids get it and many of the kids don’t. We’ll work on it once we get back.

In social studies, we’ve been discussing maps.  Students have learned about: lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, valleys, plains, and hills. We’ve learned that water is colored blue and land is green or brown. Students also practiced making their own maps with symbols, a key, and a compass. I drew an example map, explained what was necessary, and then released them to created their own map. One of my speediest workers (who also loves being the first to finish) came up to me two minutes later with a scribbly picture that was not colored, did not have a key or compass, and was really illegible (even to me). I was frustrated and said something that I swore I would never say to a child.

This is trash.

I still can’t believe I said it. It really was complete garbage, but there were so many other things I could have said, like “This is unacceptable. You need to do it again and follow directions.”  I said both those things to him after my initial comment, but still. Wow. I should have moved down to yellow for that.

In science, we’re studying different types of soil: clay soil, top soil (or loam), and sandy soil.  The kids still need a lot of practice identifying the different types and explaining the differences between them, but they’re really enjoying the lesson, which is really great for now. We’re also learning that all soil is composed of the same things: organic matter, inorganic matter, water, and air.

13 Down, 24 To Go


Well, the munchkins know. I figured that I couldn’t keep it from them for long. I had to tell them that I would be gone the last three days of school. They said, “you’re just going to be laying in bed while we’re working!!”  And, I said, “no, I will definitely not be lying in bed. I’ll be very busy.”  They asked what I would be busy with.

“I’ll be at Disney World.”

The look of utter shock and horror upon their faces was….hysterical.


This week we watched Rocky and Bullwinkle on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because it was too cold to have a full recess. Now the kids would rather watch that than play outside. What?! It’s funny, but it’s not THAT funny.

Language Arts focused on sequencing a story, which the kids took to very well. Now we’re back on poetry. Ugh….why does the curriculum do this to me and to the munchkins? We’ll get through it, and luckily it will be split up by Christmas winter break. Today, on the vocabulary test, one of the munchkins wrote “word bank” in one of blanks on the test. I felt awful, but there was nothing I could do.

In Math, we’ve been working on patterns, first with shapes and letters, and now with numbers. The kids LOVE patterns and especially like beating me at identifying them. 🙂 Some of them came up with some very intricate patterns, none of this ABABABA nonsense.

In Social Studies, we’ve begun studying maps by identifying land as green or brown and water as blue.  We’ve also begun talking about the differences between maps and globes (I skipped the discussion about how euro-centric all the maps are. They can learn about that a different year).

In Science, we finished up force, motion, and energy by attempting to make books. Some munchkins are such slow pokes…It’s going to take forever to finish these.  You know, in teacher school, they didn’t mention how much EASIER giving tests would be than really assessing the progress of the students using books and free response. They just talked about how great it is to really assess the progress of the students.

Assessment, bah humbug.


R.I.P. Tilly



Our fish, Tilly, died overnight.  She had been sick for a few weeks and this past week she spent all her time at the bottom of the tank.  Jack and I had considered tossing her in boiling water to put her out of her misery, but I kept thinking that she would get better.

But she didn’t. And this morning when I checked on Tilly, her gills weren’t moving anymore. I told Jackson, and this evening we took care of disposing of her.

I guess it’s good now.

12 Down 25 To Go


I am so tired from this week! The munchkins were great on Monday, which was unexpected because they were coming off Thanksgiving break.  I was on cloud nine. Then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday happened.  Between them being used to a two day week, and the rain that we experienced at the end of the week, they were pretty unhappy.  However, we got a lot of work done:

In language arts, we’re plugging away at writing our first non-fiction book. The munchkins must write down 8 facts about a non-fiction topic of their choice. Many are writing about bats, whales, fixing things or energy. We also had a disastrous unit on making personal connections to the books we read. Seriously, I picked some really easy books to find a personal connection, and  most kids just had blank faces. Oh well, I guess they’ll get that next year.

In math, we ended out topic on subtraction (“Yay!!” from the students) and beginning patterns (“Yay!!!! from the students). The munchkins are really strong in patterns, which is great because they need a little mental break.

In social studies, we talked about public officials and their jobs. The kids know: Barack Obama, Rick Perry, and Lee Leffingwell and can some times match their names to: President, Governor, and Mayor.

In science, we’re talking about force, motion, and energy.  Many kids have been pushing doors and yelling “It’s a force” or looking towards the sun and yelling “It’s light energy!” cute cute CUTE munchkins!

It was super dreary and rainy yesterday so the munchkins couldn’t go play outside. Instead, I introduced them to Rocky and Bulwinkle on Hulu.