Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ending off the School Year

Grace ended off her 3rd grade year with High Honors.  At Manchester GATE, they only hand out actual awards at the end of the year.  Each corner has a sticker indicating what the student earned each quarter.  Grace earned 3 High Honors (4.00 GPA, meaning straight As), and 1 Honor Roll.  Kind of funny that the only B she got all year was in Social Studies, which is the subject that Jason teaches.  Of course we are so proud of our Grace- what a wonderful year she has had!

Jeremy also had a wonderful year.  He learned soooo much and is more than ready for kindergarten. I had to take a picture of this card he wrote for his teacher- I just love it!
As a teacher, there are definitely some years in which I grow very attached to my students.  This was one of those years.  Don't get me wrong- we had plenty of ups and downs this year!  They were not always well-behaved- I mean, they are 5th graders after all, lol!  At the end of each day, I didn't dread returning to work the next day.  I really did love my year!
On our last day, my students informed me as they came into the classroom that it was "Yellow Day" and they were wearing yellow in honor of me (yellow is my favorite color).  How sweet is that?!  This alone meant so much to me and pretty much sums up how I feel about this past year...

To celebrate the end of the year, after I picked up the kids, we went to see a movie (The Croods). I can't believe that we'll have a 4th grader and kindergartener next year!  Crazy!  Before we start thinking about next school year though, our family has a busy summer ahead of us!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And We Have a Swimmer!

Jeremy hasn't ever liked being in water... In fact, he used to scream during bath time.  For this reason, we never really pushed him and we didn't put him in swimming lessons, thinking that it'd just be a waste of money.  Last summer, he finally showed some interest, but by that time, we couldn't get him lessons.  This year, I knew with certainty that lessons would need to be a priority.  I think his fear of water has also lessened over this past year because we started giving him showers.  He has slowly gotten used to having water in his face and eyes.  Well, after 10 weeks of lessons, we can finally say that we have a swimmer!  Jeremy did great!  And, no bribing is needed to get him in the water!  Now, he willingly gets in, and though he is still gaining confidence, he is actually able to do A LOT!  We're so proud (and glad)!  Just in time for summer!

All the RAGE

I was glad when Grace's softball season was over, but Grace was disappointed.  She really loved it.  We told her that if she really wanted to continue playing, she could try out for our league's all-star team (travel ball).  What were we thinking?  Well, Grace has tried all kinds of things over the years, and while she has enjoyed everything, she hasn't really shown a true love until she tried softball.  This summer, we're not traveling as much as we typically do, so out of all years, this would be an ok summer to try out this "travel ball thing."  We want to also capitalize on something that Grace truly enjoys doing... The result?  Grace tried out for the Fresno Rage and made the team! 

We absolutely love her coach!  Since she is in the 8U division, the commitment isn't as intense as the older divisions.  Yikes, if she decides to try out again next year, the level of commitment is insane!  Anyway, for this season, her team will only be playing in 4 weekend tournaments and all of them are somewhat local.  A few weekends ago, the girls had to play 3 games in one day with 108 degree weather- can you imagine!?  Some of the girls were crying as they came off the field- it was absolutely miserable (to be a spectator, much less a player)!  Grace has had the best attitude and we have loved seeing her persevere as she has been learning to play at a much more competitive level.  It has been a great experience so far!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Jeremy is an Angel!

With so much time spent watching Grace and her softball team, Jeremy was very excited when his league started up.  We chose to have him play t-ball with the City of Fresno again, and he was an Angel this year.  We have loved having him play on the same team as some of his close buddies, Levi and Luke, and Charlotte joined the team this year, too.  The season is only 6 weeks long, and both the practice and game take place on Saturday morning. The short (easy) season has been nice in the midst of everything else going on, but we can definitely tell that Jeremy is ready to be part of a league that is more competitive (or maybe I'm the one who's ready for that!).   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Open Houses

Grace's Open House
 It was fun to go see what Grace has been up to in her classroom.

Grace's "first" major project- a report about an ocean animal of her choosing- blue whales.  
She did a great job!

Jeremy's Open House
Jeremy's Year-End Performance was held the same night as his Open House.  His class sang 3 songs and much to my shock and delight, Jeremy actually sang!  YAY!
Following the performance, Jeremy was proud to show off his classroom.  They had been learning about how the body works, so everything on display revolved around that.
Jeremy with Miss Debbie

Jane's Open House
This year, my overall theme for the classroom was "Hollywood."  It has been fun trying to incorporate that into my room all year long. 
I didn't do a general theme for my class' Open House.  It was nice just to be able to showcase work that we've been doing.  By the way, my desks are not usually set up like that- it was just for our Open House.
 State Floats (on the desks in "parade formation" and State Brochures (hanging from the ceiling, accessible for parents to take down and read).  Each student chose a state to research about.  Rather than assigning a standard essay report, the kids still had to write informative paragraphs, but they were assembled into a brochure format.  This way, I was also able to tie in text features.  I've done State Floats for years and I LOVE seeing my kids' creativity!
 Tying together Science, Art, and S.S. standards. The kids had to illustrate their own version of an animal and plant cell.  In addition to labeling its parts, they had to define each part using an analogy or figurative language.  Finally, to tie this into S.S., I found a picture of each student's state animal and state flower.  I cut off half of the picture and they had to draw in the missing half.  Some of their artwork looked like the original- I was so impressed!
Odes Poetry using Figurative Language.  I let each student use my digital camera to take a picture of whatever they wrote about to display with their ode.  They loved that!
 Each day for several weeks, we learned about each of the 50 states.  Kids pretended to take "snapshots" of something that they might have seen on our pretend road trip and then wrote about each snapshot.
 I love teaching kids through simulations!  For this particular activity, the kids were divided into groups to learn about early settlements.  The simulation gave my class a glimpse into settlement daily life, relationships with the Native Americans, and in the process, they had to work together to build a paper version of what a settlement consisted of.
 Students chose a famous American to research about.  Then, they had to create a Facebook page as if they were that particular famous American. 
In this math activity, students got to imagine what their dream house would look like, while reinforcing their ability to determine perimeter, area, fractions, percents and decimals.
This activity incorporated figurative language with art.  The kids were supposed to create a visual image of a word, then come up with examples of figurative language that related to the word.

I think my favorite part of the whole night is when my kids actually arrive.  Each one is supposed to dress up as something representing their state, whether it's a famous person or a symbol.  Then, they get interviewed by another adult in the room.  This year's class came up with the BEST costumes! Love it!!!

Jason's Open House
Okay, I would love to post about Jason's Open House, but he didn't take any pictures.  It just isn't the same in middle school.  Out of his 165 students, only 25 came!

Open House is a time to celebrate hard work and student learning- a fun time was had at all of our Open Houses (ok, maybe not so much at Jason's, hahaha).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

May Recap

Ok, so I guess you can tell that it has been SUPER busy since I haven't blogged since the first week of May.  There's no way I can do a blog post for each memory, so this is going to be a May Recap...

First Grizzlies Game of the Season:
We got tickets from my school's Wild About Reading program and invited the Wiens family to join us.  As usual, the girls read through most of the game, and the boys brought toys to play with.  Christa and I got a chance to chat, so pretty much, it was just Jason and Aaron who actually paid attention to the game (I can't even tell you who the Grizzlies played against, hahaha).

Hinds' Hospice Angel Babies' Walk/Run:
Our family has participated in this annual event for many years in memory of Caleb Wiens.  Jason has run the last few years but has been injured for the past few months.  Our kids also participated in the Kids' Races after the main walk was complete.  Jeremy came in the top 10 in his age group, and Grace finished with her friend, Violet, in the middle of their age group.

Crazy Week!
The Bomars invited us to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with them and the Wienses.  Always fun hanging out with friends!
Later in the week, Grace and I went to the Fresno County of Education's Young Author's Faire at the Fresno Convention Center.  My class submitted a book (it was a Top Selection), and Grace's class also submitted a book.  That was pretty neat, getting to see both of our books!
In the midst of the craziness, I decided to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Grace's softball teammates since it was their last week.  It was my first time decorating with hardening cookie icing- I am certain that I took way longer than what is normal, but I was so proud of how they turned out!
Grace's softball team's party was amazing- one of the coaches, Coach Tony, hosted a catered dinner and even had a bounce house, trampolines, snow cones, popcorn, and cotton candy for the girls.  Coach Larry made me teary eyed when he presented Grace's trophy- he has been her coach for 3 years and had the sweetest and most encouraging words for her!
We had to leave the party early because Grace's friend, Charlotte, had her ballet recital the same night.  It was a big deal since it was held at the Memorial Auditorium downtown.  She did a wonderful job and we were glad to be able to go show our support.  

Mother's Day:
I am so grateful that I have been blessed to have these two goofy kids in my life.  Truly, I am so thankful for the honor and privilege to be a mom, and more than that, a mom to these two amazing gifts...

Muffins with Mom:
So glad that our principal was supportive of me taking the morning off to go to Jeremy's Muffins with Mom at his preschool.

Small Group Reunion:
We used to be a part of a small group that met weekly.  We "did life" together for many years- they celebrated with us during our ups, prayed for us during our downs, and everything in between!  The Sieberts moved to Edmonton years ago, and our group eventually stopped meeting due to lack of time.  Well, the Sieberts came to visit in May and so our group got together.  It has grown quite a bit in the past few years with the addition of kids (minus the two McCreary boys, who weren't able to make it)!

Grace's Piano Recital:
Grace has been taking piano lessons from Christa for the past year and a half.  She had her first recital in May.  She only performed two short songs, but we know how much time and effort went into those songs.  Grace has been learning a life lesson, as she has had to balance her schoolwork, softball, and practice piano on a daily basis.  She did great!
 Grace and her piano teacher, aka Auntie Christa
Grandma came to show her support!

Fiddler on the Roof:
Jason and I have never been to Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater before.  A member of our church was part of the cast of "Fiddler on the Roof," and a group was organized to go show our support.  We LOVED it! The food was excellent, the show was hilarious (sadly, we didn't get to watch the end, so we still don't know how it turns out- we were unaware that our babysitter wasn't able to stay out late), and the company was wonderful (we got to catch up with friends, but we also met some new people).
(Sorry for the fuzzy pic! Here we are with the Bergs, who are the ones to first tell us about Roger Rocka's)

Arrested Development Marathon:
Jason absolutely loves the show, Arrested Development.  It was on T.V. for only 3 seasons and despite critical acclaim, never caught on with the general public.  Anyway, diehard fans like Jason have been anxiously waiting the release of Season 4 on Netflix, which happened to be on Memorial Day weekend.  We joined Jason and Jill, and Aaron and Christa for a viewing marathon at the Wiens' home, while the kids hung out at our house with a babysitter. Fun times!     
We have a friend who donated her hair to Locks of Love last year.  I remember telling Grace about it, and she thought it was so neat to be able to donate hair to people who lost their hair due to cancer.  She decided that she wanted to do the same.  So, she's been growing it out.  It hasn't been easy- with such an active girl who often likes to leave her hair down, tears have definitely been shed as we've worked out tangles!  She wanted her hair to be a bit longer before it was cut, but with summer here, we convinced her just to cut it.  At first, we were going to donate it to Locks of Love, but decided to go with Pantene after my cousin suggested we look into it.  Grace was very proud and says she'd like to do it again.        
Now how was that for a busy May?!  I didn't even include Jeremy's t-ball or any of our Open Houses... Those will be in posts to come!