Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A new blog

I have created a new blog, Natural Rambler.  This is where all my nature/environmental issues/science thoughts will go.  They don't really belong here.  And, I want to create a public persona that I can use in my professional life.  If you're interested, click on over and read it.  I'd love both writing feedback as well as content discussion.  That's what makes blogs interesting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Veteran's Day


Veteran's Day was ccccccccccccccccccccccccooooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll! We went fishing but we didn't catch aannyytthhiinngg!! And you know what? Edgar threw his pole into the ocean(don't tell this to him but it was on purpose!) After that we went to Knott's Berry Farm! YYeeaahh!! We got to go on The Charlie Brown Speedway! It's really fun. We also went on The Log Ride. It's basically the life of a log, just not the part where they get cut down. And my favorite ride: JAGUAR. It is awesome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Parent-Teacher Conferences

...and school pictures!

First, Levi.  Is he cute or what?

He's in kindergarten this year, and is smoking past everyone!  He has already passed his 100 words test, even though she only sent home the first ten words.  She knew he could read them, and tested him on them all.  That means he's now allowed to participate in Accelerated Reader (AR) and take quizzes on the books he reads.  So far, he's passed all three quizzes that he's taken.  He and his buddy Mike went with a 2nd grade class to take the reading assessment test last week.  His score is 2.7-3.6, meaning that he's reading at a 2nd grade, 7th month to 3rd grade, 6th month level.  oh, dear. 

Our big challenge with him is keeping up his effort in his school work.  Many of the other kids in his class are still working on learning their letters, so he doesn't see why he has to write several sentences when everyone else gets a gold star just for a few random letters on the page.  Then, he finishes before everyone else and distracts the nearest boy, who should still be working!  That is exactly what I thought would happen if his teacher doesn't keep him challenged and interested.  Thankfully, his teacher is working hard to keep him motivated, too.  She's going to put him with Mike to see if they can put a little competition into the quality of their work, rather than him just sitting around pestering someone.  We'll see what happens.
If any of you more experienced parents have ideas on keeping him interested and motivated, I'd really appreciate it.  He has no interest in busy work, or perceived time-wasters.

Now on to A.J.   He's getting awfully handsome, but don't tell him that!

I met with his teacher last week, also.  He's doing really well in his main classroom, but his test scores haven't been so hot in science and social studies, which he goes to the other 4th grade teacher for.  This means she has all 41 at once (there are only 8 4th graders in A.J.'s class, and 28 5th graders!)  I can't tell if his poor scores are because she's got so many at once, or he just doesn't get it, or if it's the textbooks.  The books are atrocious.  In my view, they are woefully incomplete.  Rather than defining phenomena, they simply describe them.  This leaves the student with no idea what the causes are/could be.  And it makes it hard to cement the concept in the mind.  Grr.  I'm kind of partial to science, so I strongly dislike anything that teaches it poorly.  Mostly because I've seen the product of the books once they're in college.  It's not pretty.  In short, we will be teaching the concepts mentioned in the texts, because there is no way he'll get them any other way.

He has started to play the clarinet with the school band/orchestra.  He's done really well at it, too!  Once he figured out how to make his fingers cover the holes properly, he's taken off.  It's been fun to watch him learn to practice with only a little help.  And, his tone is actually pretty good, too!  That's good, because the clarinet might be my least favorite instrument.  It doesn't help that most of the ones I was in school with couldn't march, either. 

He has impressed his classmates with his geographic knowledge.  The 5th graders are supposed to learn all the states and capitals this year, and his teacher has dragged the 4th graders along for the ride. :)  He's known all of them since about 1st grade, so he's smoking most of his classmates when they play games or have races to see who can get the match first. 

I'm really glad they are doing well.  They both are challenging to parent, and of course in totally different ways.  But, they're tons of fun and I'm loving watching them grow and change this year.