I feel like I won an award!

There is this organization called the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Committee that does an annual book award (hence the name!).  They select 30 new young adult novels and kids around the state read and vote for their favorites.  We have been doing that in the library and voting was just this week.  This is their 60th year and the committee had an art contest asking students in grades 4-8 (the grades that can participate in the book voting) to design a poster celebrating reading and 60 years of this Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award.  Guess what?!  One of my students won!  She did all the work, I just promoted the contest and submitted her entry, but I kinda feel like I won a little too!  :)  She gets two signed copies of the winning book (still being voted on) and she gets an award and recognition at the award ceremony!  I was hoping to take a few students there, but now I’m totally going to do it!!  I’m just waiting for them to announce the date!  I’m so excited for her.  :)

Poetry Slam

Lex worked really hard on a poem for his ELA class and today everyone had to read them out loud at a poetry slam. We were all wondering how it would go.

Amazing!! I am so proud of him! His teacher sent me this video before the school day was even over! She said, “I just had to take a moment to share that Lex brought the house down today with his poem. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Well done!!” I think she was proud of him too. <3

Honk!

Have I mentioned lately that I love our school?!  Tonight was the big musical and it was awesome!!!  This was the first year that Eve could participate and she ended up with three roles: farm folk (all cast), a military goose, and a froglet.  :)  Honk! Jr. is a musical version of The Ugly Duckling with a positive anti-bullying message in the end.

Can you find Military Goose Evelyn:

 

Later she appeared as a sweet froglet, singing a song promising Ugly that some day someone will love him, warts and all!

The grand finale, recognizing that Ugly is a beautiful swan and the farm yard animals realizing that different is just that, different.

These kids have worked so hard for the past few months and every year I am amazed at how well they perform.  These kids, who are crazy and silly and naughty and funny and they amaze me when they get up on stage and sing their hearts out.  So brave! <3

Enrichment

I run an enrichment group at school where twice a week I work with a small group of kids who can afford to miss some class time.  The sessions run for 3-6 weeks, depending on the topic, and teachers chose which students to send.  For my upcoming enrichment group Eve’s teacher chose Eve to go.  I was talking to Eve about it the other day and said I was thinking about doing either electricity or book reviews.  She wasn’t thrilled with those options.  :)  She is pretty set on doing a research project about the topic of your choice and presenting it in the way of your choice (prezi, glogster, poster, Google presentation, etc.)

Tonight while I was laying with her I told her I just didn’t feel prepared for an enrichment group about research.  She said, “That’s ok mom, we can do it together this weekend! We’ll start with a rubric.”  The conversation went from there.  When I left her we agreed to work together this weekend on it.  When I went to check on her just now I found this:

Eve’s rubric

I love that girl!  We’ve got education in our blood!

Highs and Lows in the grocery store

I took both kids to the grocery store tonight, after karate, before dinner. I mentally prepared myself for the experience. We were ok until the kids discovered that bagels have added sugar. Although I had warned them ahead of time, they refused to believe me until they saw the ingredients list for themselves. Lex was angry! He hit the cart, then, upon realizing that punching things hurts, he started kicking things as we walked past them. Not in any damaging way, more like a public protest. I ignored him for awhile, but once he started slamming doors to the cooler cases I told him to cut it out. I’m sure slamming those doors isn’t satisfactory anyway because they just gently close. :) Eve kept it together and actively started reading labels, looking for something, ANYTHING, she could eat! LOL. They are both so dramatic. Lex hid in the beer cases for awhile, but eventually got it together. By the time we made it to the snack food aisle they were both doing a little better. Lex discovered that dry roasted peanuts have added sugar, which set him off again, until Eve pointed out that Cheez-Its do not! Who knew?!? We talked about all the other stuff in Cheez-Its, but since our focus this month is sugar I let them buy the crackers. They needed a consolation prize by this point. LOL! In the checkout lane we discovered that Tostitos also have no sugar. In fact, Tostitos have just three ingredients: corn, vegetable oil, and salt. Not a health food, of course, but acceptable for this experiment! By the time we made it out to the car Lex was feeling good, but Eve was falling apart. Tons of tears and desperation, insisting that sugar is what keeps her going and there’s no way she can be happy without it. Basically proving my point over and over again!

Actually, even though we don’t “officially” start until February (the kids remind me of this fact regularly), we have drastically cut back this week and today was our second “no sugar” shopping trip. At family meeting on Saturday Alan and I both commented on how calm and happy Eve has been all week. She was really with it and positive and went to bed in a good mood each night. This weekend, however, brought with it birthday cookies for Alan, and a birthday party with cookies for Eve’s friend. Sugar everywhere! She crashed hard Sunday afternoon.

In other news… Believe it or not there are other things going on besides our dietary saga. Eve auditioned for the school drama club this afternoon. They are going to perform Honk, Jr. a musical version of The Ugly Duckling. She is super excited, as are 40+ other kids so we’ll see how it goes! I think everyone gets to be in the musical but only 17 get speaking parts. She is excited and eager and nervous and feeling anxious about waiting until Friday for the announcement!

Lex will also be starting drama club at the middle school this year. They are doing na production of Shrek Jr. and he will, of course, be stage crew. He is looking forward to working with a real stage and auditorium (they use the high school facilities) and he’s hoping that maybe he can do some sound and lighting as well. I think that’s typically for the older kids, but we’ll see.

Hmmm… probably more, but I’m tired so I’m going to bed now. Thank you all for the support, advice, and encouragement! I think this will be a good thing. No, I KNOW this will be a good thing and it’s actually been easier than I was expecting so far. I hope we can install some habits that last longer than the month of February. :)

Middle school concert

Lex had his first middle school concert tonight. It was just 6th graders, which was great! Not too long, not too crowded, just right. Lex ROCKED!

The dress code was nice clothes, black on bottom, white on top. Lex managed the correct colors, but it’s debatable whether black sweats and Alan’s white t-shirt count as “nice” clothes. But hey, he’s up there and he’s rockin’, so all is well!

The band was snapping their fingers making the rain sound and Lex did the rumble of thunder.

I love, love, love watching him play in the band. His confidence is outstanding and he smiles and jokes with the other percussionists between sets. It does my mommy heart proud!

Dad, I’m going to find out when his next concert is and you totally should come.  You’d love it!!

Unrelated, but funny, earlier today Arlo was begging for cheese.  See his nose?  :)

Cheese please!

Holiday Concert

We had Eve’s holiday concert last night.  Alan was sick and didn’t attend.  😢  The kids and I showed up early to help sell raffle tickets.  The kids had a great time walking through the crowds, hawking tickets.  Then Eve took her place and the show began.

Select Chorus singing “Mele Kalikimaka,” a Hawaiian Christmas tune.

Eve had a speaking part this year. Her and a classmate introduced the best song of the night, “Candle light”Save

Unity Day

It was midnight before we finally got settled and started dozing off last night, so this morning was a bit slow. The tears were still flowing, in sadness and, in part at least, in shear exhaustion. It was also Unity Day at school today and there was a big, coordinated walk to school this morning that Eve and I completely missed. We had our orange clothes and signs ready, but we couldn’t rally ourselves early enough to get there. I got Eve to school just in time, then came home to rally Lex. We let him sleep a bit, thinking he could go in late, but that never happened. He couldn’t get it together and every time he thought about school the tears started flowing again. He begged for a day at home where he could just read and relax. We gave it to him.

The point of this post, however, is that we have an awesome school! There was so much orange it was amazing! All week I’ve been reading books about being proud of yourself (this month’s theme is “Let your True Colors Shine”) and books about bullying and we have been talking about how the two relate. The kids are great and already know so much! In some of the stories we read the kids are bullies are just awful and the kids at school are amazed that anyone would do that. I love hearing the ideas and seeing what strong advocateds they are for one another. (It’s not perfect, of course, they are kids after all, but the school community is so strong it radiates through them al1!)

We missed the walk to school, but we were there for the assembly at the end. We did the unity chain like we have in past years, and two kids read a book called “One” (which I need to get in the library!) Then kids from an enrichment group I run showed the Scratch projects they made. I was very proud of them! They come to me once a week and we work on Scratch programming and I love seeing how much they love to learn and how quick they are to help one another (thank goodness because I don’t know much about Scratch at all!) I told them that if they wanted to share their projects on Unity Day they could, and three groups did!

Each kid in the school writes a strong positive message on a link and they all form together to be our annual Unity Day chain, which is then hung in the lobby for all to read.

My group of enrichment kiddos. See Eve on the left. :) On the far right is our nationally acclaimed school counselor! She won “School Counselor of the Year” for the state of Vermont this year and has been chosen as one of five finalists for “National School Counselor of the Year.” She and the principal get to go to Washington DC for an awards ceremony in the spring.

Select Chorus sang “True Colors” for the crowd. I tried to get a video but failed miserably.

I feel a little rambley right now and my thoughts aren’t flowing smoothly, so I’m going to stop here. I’m just so proud of my kids, my school, and this amazing community! I couldn’t ask for a better place to raise my kiddos. (look how cute they were two years ago!)

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Unity Day at the Middle School

October is Bullying Awareness month and today the middle school is celebrating Unity Day (bullying awareness).  We celebrate it every year at DBS by wearing orange and having a special group walk to school and a special assembly.  Apparently they do similar things in the middle school, just a day earlier.  

The point of my post is that today Lex is wearing an orange shirt like everyone else (joining in!), he is wearing MY orange shirt because he doesn’t have his own (bending his own rules!), and he is ok that its new and too big!   He is seriously growing up!  

We had a meeting yesterday with his teachers and they had nothing but good things to say.  He is adjusting well, doing well in classes, and liked by others.  

I’m so proud of him and how far he has come. ❤

Bake for Good

King Arthur Flour came to school this week and did a bread baking demonstration for the 4th and 5th graders. The presenter was outstanding and had their attention the entire time. She had two student helpers and a camera pointing at her table so everyone in the audience had a good view of the action! She showed them how to make bread, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, pretzels, and pizza crust – all using the same dough!

The bleacher, not in the picture, are full of eager to learn 4th and 5th graders! I had no class at the time so I came to the demo too. :)

After the demonstration, King Arthur Flour sent every kid (and I think the 4/5 teachers) home with a bag of supplies to bake their own bread! The canvas bag had two types of flour, yeast, a dough scraper, a great recipe booklet, and a plastic bag to bring back one loaf of bread. Kids were instructed to bake two loaves this weekend and bring one in on Monday to donate. All of loaves brought in will be donated to a local food pantry.

Eve has made bread with me plenty of times, but this is the first time we did it all by hand! No bread machines involved.

The recipe said to kneed the bread for five minutes and she made it the entire time! Chatting all the while. :)

This braid took a few tries, but turned out pretty great in the end.

I hope some lucky family enjoys this beautiful loaf of bread! We had fun making it.

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She wasn’t thrilled with the way the other loaf turned out, so she didn’t let me take a picture of it. We had some for dinner though and it is delicious!

It was fun to see so many of her friends and teachers posting pictures of their baking and beautiful bread on Facebook this weekend. I feel so truly lucky to be part of such a wonderful school community!