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!

Library blog

Hey all, in case this blog isn’t fascinating enough, check out my new school library blog. (You know you want to, Mom!) It’s filled with exciting things like library schedules and book awards! Of course I got a picture of Eve up there already! (Truthfully, I’m not sure yet on the media release situation, so I thought it best to stick to pictures of kids I know for now.) Enjoy!

Also, did you see I just did three blog posts in one evening? That’s my quota for the week! See ya next week! :)

Open House

This post is a few days delayed, but better late than never.  Thursday was open house at school.  Each grade does a 10-15 minute presentation of their curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I could get out of the library that long, so Eve and I went for a sneak peek at her classroom.  She showed me around, we did the scavenger hunt, and got full access to the teachers (ha!) until 6pm when Open House officially started and I scooted back to the library.  I wasn’t sure what to expect for library attendance, but I was pleased that it was packed for the entire time!  Kids stopped by to introduce me to their parents (while I desperately tried to recall the kid’s name in my head!) and parents that I’m friends with stopped by and it was very nice all around.  The hour flew by!

I love seeing Eve’s work.  Her poetry is amazing to me, and not just because it’s often about how much she loves me. :)  Lately she has been sitting in her bed at night writing poetry.  She has a great one about the holidays, and the “mom” poem she wrote me a few weeks ago.  At Open House she showed me her, “I am from” poem that they did in class.  I love it!

Eve is an excellent writer… you just have to decode her spelling! :)

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Week one done

We made it through the first week of school and now we are celebrating the long weekend with a “no-plans” weekend.  :)  Other families are off on exciting Labor Day vacations, and we are cozying down in PJs with the weekend comics and a big mug of tea.  That’s the way we roll.

I had a fairly easy transition into my teaching, with just one class the first day, no classes the second day (but lots of learning about the tech at school), and four classes each the last two days of the week.  I was exhausted Wednesday night (my no class day!) and feeling nervous about the next day with four classes.  I put the kids to bed early and myself to be immediately after them.  Thursday rolled around and the day was great!!  Four great classes!  Friday was the same.  I’m sure they won’t always be great, but I’m super happy about how the first week went.  :)

Eve is enjoying her new mixed class with all of the kids in one room.  It’s a big group of students and teachers, but so far she’s happy.  She also got an award for showing Caring, Safe, and Responsible behavior all week long.  It’s a new program they started this year and Eve was thrilled to be one of the first students to get it.

Lex made it to school happily each day.  He has homework now that is often online, so we need to come up with a way to keep track of that.  In the past homework was on a piece of paper that could sit on the table until it was done, but now he’s a big kid and things are changing.  He had a field trip to the lake where they did team building activities and tie-dyed t-shirts.  He had fun.

Everyone is happy to go back next week… after a three day weekend!

First day of a new school year!

Today began a new chapter in this house. Lex headed off to 6th grade at the middle school, Eve started 4th grade, I had my first day at the Media Specialist in the school library, and Arlo got to spend seven hours in his crate! No big changes for Alan though, sorry. Alan brought Lex in and said drop-off went well. Eve and I walked to school. I start later than she does, so I was able to walk her (and Arlo) to school in the morning, then come home, shower, and get myself ready. It’s a plan that kind of works, but needs some refinement. It worked well today though!

Back to school.

Miss Eve heading off to 4th grade.

My middle schooler!

Flowers for the teachers.

This girl is too much!

I only had one class to teach today, but I also had lunch duty, meetings, and an assembly. Tomorrow it’s just recess duty and meetings, then Thursday and Friday I get classes back to back to back! I’ll be ready for the long weekend!

Flowers for the librarian! Thanks family!!!

At the end of the day Eve came to meet me in the library and she was clearly excited about something. She said she wasn’t working on a project and I COULDNT NOT PEEK! She then asked me when my birthday is (precisely) and then decide maybe not to wait that long to share her project. After awhile she asked if she could take my picture and she set up the scene she wanted.

The new school librarian standing by the “NEW” books shelf!

Then she asked to borrow my computer.  The final output was an awesome poem called, “My Mom Poem.”  She said she started working on it in study hall at the end of the day, not as an assignment or anything, but just because she wanted to.  Sadly, she asked me not to share it because it was special for us. I’ll respect those wishes, though maybe I’m breaking them a wee bit by mentioning it here!  I can’t help it though.   She is amazing and I’m so proud to be her momma AND her librarian!

Lex took the bus to me after school and got off with a smile.  There are a handful of middle schoolers that have parents in my building, so he wasn’t the only big kid getting off at the elementary school.  He said the day went well and when I asked if he was planning to go back tomorrow he said, “I guess so.”  Raves reviews from the boy!  I haven’t heard much else from him.

I had a good day.  I’m so happy to be part of a school community that I love.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Arlo did not like his day and was VERY eager to get outside when we got home.  He has been all teeth and claws ever since.  He doubled one of the holes in the yard, scratched up Eve’s arm, and is chewing everything he can find.  Apparently one 3-mile walk in the morning does not sufficiently counter seven hours in the crate!  That’s a problem I’m definitely going to have to work on.  Maybe Alan should take him to work each day!  :)
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My Library

I had in-service week last week and on Friday when I was chatting with other teachers they kept saying the were pretty ready for school to start and the more people who said that the more panicked I got that I was not feeling at all ready for school to start!!

Last weekend Alan helped clean up the robotics lab a bit and this weekend we went back for another marathon work session. It was great! I left this evening feeling a thousand times more ready for Tuesday. There’s still work to do, of course, and always will be, but I feel like I can do this!

Let me show you my library…

My new school. Not really new exactly, because the kids have been going here for years and I subbed here and did my student teaching here, but now it’s officially MY school too! 😄

New books are always exciting! (Those are not all the new books, just the ones that were on the shelf when I took the picture! There are lots more!!)

My first library bulletin board.

The Vermont corner. The three maps of the area came from Grandpa’s house. 💜

This year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher nominated books.

The reading corner needs to be a little cozier. Maybe I can find a nice cozy carpet or bean bag chairs or something.

Group activity area. Elizabeth made the green cushion and the rocking chair was Grandpa’s. He was a library kind of guy!

The computer/robotics lab has been underutilized the past few years since all the classrooms have laptops now. Alan got it all tidied and organized and I hope to put it to better use this year!

Arlo is a great library dog!! Next year I’m going to get him certified to come to school with me each day. The counseling team has a dog in school and I think the library needs one too!

Back to work

It hit me today that I’m rapidly running out of vacation.  I’ve had the luxury of being home and “not working” since Christmas, but starting Monday I’ll be back on the job.  I’m excited, of course, and I’m sure it will be great, but I do mourn a bit for the days when everyone goes away and I get “me time.”  :)   So how am I celebrating my last day of summer vacation (not counting the weekend)?  By working!  :/  Hmmm….  We had a very busy day yesterday and the kids really wanted a “no plans day” today, which means they are doing their own thing and I’m getting work done on the computer.  I updated the library interface, updated my Scope and Sequence document, sent some coordination emails, and did a required 2hr “Mandatory Reporter” training.  Nothing like child abuse photos to help celebrate the end of vacation!  Sheesh!

I need to turn this thing off now!  Maybe I can talk Eve into running some errands with me… fabric store and pet store… both school errands!  Welcome to teaching!

Rock Star!

After a rocky start to “band camp” (“this one time, at band camp…”), Lex ended being a rock star!

He had been hesitant about it all summer and we frequently discussed why I had signed him up and what would happen if he didn’t like it. He agreed to go though and give it a chance. Monday morning he was less than excited and ended up in tears. We stood in the main entry to the high school (where the camp was), got him checked in (barely) and ended up in a corner with me talking him down. Ugh. Like a kindergarten drop off all over again. One of the teachers running it, who also happens to be the middle school band director and a great guy, came over and said, “This must be Lex!” Hahaha… I think he was prepped! He and another teacher were amazing with Lex though and got him on his way. She texted me mid-morning and said that he was doing great! I love it when teachers send that little update.

Lex came home Monday and said it wasn’t the best thing ever, but he’d go back again on Tuesday. Just DON’T sign him up again next year. By Thursday he was telling me about their plans for next year, and by Friday he was rocking the house! They had a concert Friday afternoon to show off the things they learned. It was so much fun. Amazing what a group of middle school kids and a few music teachers can accomplish in five short days!

He looks so little standing up there with all the big kids! He also looks angry, but really it’s his focused face.

Lex rocking the snare drum:

Eve wore her grumpy pants to the concert and spent most of it like this. That’s what happens when you eat nothing but Goldfish all day! Eventually she managed to eat her sandwich (from lunch!) and regained her sense of humor. Thankfully!

I love his dancing! He knows this song well:

Lex did a surprise solo!! I couldn’t believe it! A bunch of kids did them and the director said they were going to make up the solos on the spot. I leaned over to Alan and made a joke about Lex never doing an solo…. but he did!!

It was fantastic! I was soo proud of him. He was rocking and rolling and dancing and he got sooooo many compliments after the show! He just looked so darn happy to be there. It was amazing!!

The grand finale. Lex is in the back. You can just barely see his leg and red sneaker to the right of the directors leg. I think he was smart to chose percussion. He has lots of room to move and dance and do his thing.

They ended the week with an ice cream social and people kept coming over to him to congratulate him and compliment his performance. Even some students did! We enjoyed our ice cream then went home and crashed!

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Back to work

Have I mentioned lately that I got a job?! Yay! I’m pretty excited about it!

Today while Lex was at camp, Eve and I spent the day in the library! I met with the out-going librarian for awhile, spent some time rearranging the furniture, met with a finance guy to talk about retirement savings, and spent a lot of time discussing the fish with Eve.

My grungy new fish tank

It seems I have inherited a fish tank with six South American Cichlids. I tried to pawn them off on other teachers last week, but no one wanted them. Eve and I did some research today and learned that this breed (is that even the word for fish??) is “toothy and agressive” and doesn’t play well with others. In fact, it tends to eat other fish unfortunate enough to be placed in the same tank. We spent some time yesterday at the pet store and I mostly walked away with a confirmed feeling that fish are creepy. Eve is pretty excited about the fish tank though, so I guess we will learn.

Eve put all of the extra plants and “accessories” she could find into the tank. It’s pretty full now!

It is such a big and amazing space, and I have no grand vision for it, so I think I’m going to have to just spend time there over the next few weeks and see how it feels. We did some rearranging, created a separate drawing center and reading center (which were combined last year) and Eve was full of advice about what to do. At one point I asked, “Do the tables go here?” to which she replied, “It’s your library mom, they go wherever you want them to!” She’s awesome!

Moving on up!

Today was the last day of school for this kiddos and the last day of elementary school for Lex!! They had their end of year ceremony and 5th grade graduation. It was so sweet. He has such a wonderful class! It makes me sad that they’ll be separated into different teams in the middle school.

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5th graders enter the gym to great applause. Everyone else (all the classes, plus 5th grade parents and families) were already seated.

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There were a lot of awards to sit through. Fortunately everything moved along pretty quickly.

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Lex won an award for “Most Improved Musician.”

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As he walked back to his seat, his classmates all called his name and put out their hands for high-fives. It was soooo sweet! I didn’t see them do that for anyone else. They all knew about his musical challenges and I think they were proud to see him rewarded for his success. I love his class.

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Where there are words, Lex will read them. :)

When I asked Lex later if he was surprised to win a prize and he said, “Not really.” I laughed at his honest, then he clarified, “I was surprised that it was a music award though.” I love his confidence!

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These two teachers are retiring after 25 and 30 years in the district. They got many standing ovations. Mrs. Torrey, in the white sweater, is Lex’s teacher this year, and Mrs. Shattie , in the blue dress, was his teacher in 3rd grade. Both are excellent, caring teachers and will be missed by many in the district!

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Each kid got a little “diploma” saying they successfully completed 5th grade.

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Good bye elementary school!! I’ll have to dig up his “first day of school” photo and compare them. Later.

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When Lex said, “Mom, will you take a picture of us?” I said, “Oh yes, of course!!” :)

Oh yeah, this little lady moved up to 4th grade today. She is exited. The 4th grade works on an “open-classroom, co-teaching” model in which two fourth grade teachers (in years past they were in individual classrooms) co-teach, sharing the class and work-load. One is an accomplished math teacher and the other a recognized ELA teacher, and they have very compatible personalities. We attended an open house last week to learn more about the model and how well it works for them last year, their first year co-teaching. Eve is pretty excited that all of her friends will be in her class.

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She wanted to make sure Daisy was in the picture with her. :)

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Eve got very excited that Daisy looked at the camera too. :)