Saturday, May 30, 2009

School's Out!

Last day of classes was yesterday.  Hooray!  First thing M did when he came home from school was run downstairs and fire up Guitar Hero to play School's Out on the Wii (at an extremely high volume!)

I'm glad school is out, but it is a bit more of a mixed blessing for me than for the kids I think.  I see pros and cons to this.

I can sleep in
No supervising homework/listening to complaining about homework/etc
General relaxed attitude about mealtimes and bedtimes
Kids have more time so can do more chores

Kids are together more so often more bickering
Less time to myself
Kids complaining about chores/making sure they do them
I'm sure there are other pros and cons.  Overall, I'm always glad when summer vacation gets here, but I'm also generally glad when school starts up again.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Tote Bag as Teacher Gift

Somehow school being out seemed to creep up on me somehow this year, even though it felt really odd to go back after Memorial Day this year (this is the first time in many years that we've had to go back).  I guess maybe it isn't that the end of the year crept up, but rather that I needed to do something about end-of-the-year teacher gifts.

So, I hunted up the page saying what the teacher likes - hmm, cats is one thing.  I could do something with that....  look through my fabrics and I came up with several.  Not enough time to do a quilt, but maybe a bag.  So Tuesday morning I cut strips and sewed the front and back together.  Then after lunch I took the pieces over to the school and "borrowed" the kids out of class for a few minutes one by one and had them sign one side.

Then the other side was blank.  Not so good.  Hmmm.  I tried out several options - would a different strip work, or a big THANKS.  Or... hey, I have some cat prints - try that out.  Yes, I like it!
I finished up the whole bag except for the hand stitching of the top binding on Tuesday.  It would have been much harder if I'd had to supervise homework that night, but A had no homework all week.  Then Wednesday I finished the last of the hand stitching and gave it to his teacher on Thursday.  She was very pleased (and now she knew why I had needed to borrow the kids on Tuesday).
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A's Awards Day

A had his awards day yesterday. When he got dressed I saw that he had on a t-shirt and shorts. I told him, no, he needed to wear a shirt with a collar. Well, he decided on his own that he needed to wear his "suit", aka blazer and slacks. He was definitely the best dressed boy in the class!

As usual for the elementary school, A got a boatload of awards -
6 Flags reading program
Book It completion
meeting AR goals
having the highest reading comprehension percentage on AR tests
meeting CCC goals (individualized computer instruction)
highest gain in reading CCC
perfect attendance 4th quarter
Principal's List (all A's), 4th quarter and all year

Here are A and a class mate who did the best on AR points.  She had the highest points, A had the best percentage (and the 2nd highest number of points).  Interestingly, I was helping at the 5th grade awards today and both these 4th graders got more AR points than ANY of the 5th graders!

A's whole class.  They've all just gotten certificates for meeting their CCC goals.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bye-bye turtle

M has been keeping a turtle since the end of last summer, part of earning his reptiles and amphibians merit badge. We tried to return the turtle back to the teacher we got it from, but he didn't really want it back. Then it seemed rather cruel to release it in the middle of winter. But this past weekend, spurred on by Mutts "Happy World Turtle Day", we took the turtle over to my mom's backyard, where she has an occasional creek and plenty of green stuff and released her. She wandered off eagerly. I hope she enjoys the yard (and doesn't discover the garden!).
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Crossing Over

A had his crossover ceremony at Cub Scouts recently. This is the last year he will be crossing over still within Cubs. Next year he will be crossing over into Boy Scouts. The Webelos I's were reminded that they have less than a year left of Cubs (they cross over to Boy Scouts in March usually). Here they are getting ready to cross over:

Crossing over the bridge:
A and his buddies who are about to receive their awards. A needs to learn to tuck in his shirt at times like this!
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

M's Awards Day

M had his awards day last week. He got 3 awards - for all A's (either semester), for scoring in the top 5 in some math test - the top 60 kids in each grade take the test, then the top 5 are honored. M says he tied with one other student. Then M got an award for scoring well on the Duke TIP SAT - he was singled out as he was the only one in the school (or county) to reach national recognition status. I think there were 5 other students to get state recognition status.

Here's M all dressed up:

The school was very specific - they wanted the kids dressed up, "as appropriate for church, a wedding, or a funeral" (no t-shirts, tennis shoes, jeans, etc). M wasn't necessarily happy at our insistence on the jacket and tie, but he looked really good! And we're very proud of him.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Mid-May Cold Snap

It seems like we get one of these oddball cold snaps every year in May, just like we generally get the few days of unseasonably hot weather in April.  This often (though not this year) leads to using the AC in April, but not in May.  I know that some of that is that the April heat catches me by surprise and I open up the windows and then leave them open too long.  By May, it seems more normal to be getting hot and I remember to close up the windows mid-morning to keep in the cool air from the night.

Meanwhile, though, I had to close up the windows last night as there was a brisk breeze and it got into the 40's overnight!  It was downright chilly this morning as I headed out grocery shopping.  It warmed up some as the day went on, but I'm not sure it ever broke 70.  We went strawberry picking this afternoon anyway.  It was rather nice for a change to not be sweating out there in the strawberry fields - but perhaps today wasn't the best day for picking.  It took us a good while to pick our buckets full.  Between the fact that I'm sure they had many pickers over the weekend and the cold weather that means the berries weren't ripening very fast, it seems that the ripe berries were very spread out.  But we persevered and had strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight as a reward.  Yummy.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crazy end of the school year time

Two weeks left in the school year and things are going crazy around here.  We've already had 2 special assemblies for honor society recognition.  A got inducted into Beta Club and M got inducted into National Jr Honor Society.  I have photos, but they aren't very good or exciting, so I'll skip them.  We have 2 more recognitions to go.  M is getting some award (they tell you to be there, but not what the award is) at his school-wide recognition ceremony, but not at the grade level ceremony.  And A has his class awards day/party coming up as well.  I have no idea how his teacher handles awards - some give every child at least one distinct award, some print out certificates for all sorts of stuff so every child ends up with at least 2 or 3 certificates.  We'll see.

Meanwhile A is trying to invent something - he forgot he was supposed to be working on an invention last week, so this weekend he has to come up with an idea and produce a prototype.  He was having a really rough time trying to come up with an idea, but finally he came up with one idea that sparked a response from M and then it was refined.  And so he is "inventing" a 'concentration helmet', otherwise known as a baseball cap with cardboard blinders and earbuds to plug in your MP3 with some soothing music.

A's school work will be mostly wrapping up next week as they really don't seem to do much the final week of school.  M, on the other hand, will be getting ready for finals.  And he really does need to start studying for finals this year as some of his finals weren't the best before Christmas.  


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Camping at High Falls

It was family camping weekend with the Cub Scouts this past weekend. Not a huge turnout, but in some ways that is better. We had about 8 family groups - some just one parent and Cub and some 2 parents and 2 or 3 kids. Probably about 25 people total. It's much easier (and faster) to cook pancakes for 25 than for 75!

We had a visitor in our tent:

We didn't have any organized activities, so while some of the group went fishing (we didn't have poles (and none of us are really that big on fishing)), we went down to the creek to climb around on the rocks.
I didn't get a picture of the little waterfall behind them, but it was about 4 feet high.  A was climbing around above the falls and slipped.  Oops - over the falls he went!  It was a bit scary, especially since we couldn't see him for a minute and it was too noisy to hear each other.  He popped up in just a moment though and gave me a thumbs up (in response to my thumbs up question).

After that trip over the falls, A was soaked, so we headed back to camp.  Then D took the kids off for free comic book day (M was insistent that the comic book day had been booked prior to the campout, so it should take precedence.  He would have preferred to stay home with comics and computers, but after we made arrangements to go to a comic store near the campground, he stopped being actively against the trip.)

After lunch, the Cubmaster was telling the kids about this cool place where you can slide down the rocks - yep, the same place where A went over the falls.  So most of the group headed back down there, in swimsuits (or clothes they didn't mind getting wet in).  A had to get back into his wet clothes, since he "didn't hear me" tell him to pack a suit.

The kids had a much easier time going over the falls than the adults - mostly due to weight I think - they sort of floated over more.  I finally let M talk me into going over.  I wish I hadn't - I still have a lovely bruise on my backside and scrapes and bruises on both elbows.  I didn't take my camera this time as I knew I was planning on getting in the creek.  We ended up all hanging out in the creek for probably an hour and a half.  It was warmer than I expected - and a good month before I'll usually get more than my legs in the neighborhood pool.

M with a nerf machine gun.  One of the adults brought it out and the kids ended up playing with it (of course).
All in all a good trip, even if I still have tent pieces draped around the house (they were still wet when we broke camp) and I haven't quite finished the camping laundry yet.  Oh yeah, and there is still random stuff in the back of the car.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll take care of all that...
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Time to choose classes again

Yep, its time for A to choose his enrichment classes for next fall again.  Next year they are changing to only have 2 classes instead of 3.  I understand that they will get more in depth this way, but I still think its a shame that they get to explore fewer areas.  Anyway... his top choices follow and we won't know which ones he's gotten until after school starts in August.

It's Your Move: Learn to play chess

Networking: How do computer networks work?  Find out how computers all over the world stay connected and how they interface.

Build It/Design it: The students will discover structure, architecture and design around us plus use logic, math reasoning and problem solving skills to design a floor plan for a family using a budget.

Anatomy of Laughter: Learn about different types of humor from splapstick to satire to parody.  Watch, listen, and read great comedy from The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Shel Silverstein, Weird Al, The Simpsons, and others.

Make Your Million: Learn about the history of the stock market and how our economy today is affected by it.  Discover how stocks, bonds, and mutual funds work.  You will also have a chance to put on your investment gloves on the stock market to change $100,000 into a million!

Aeronautics 101: Learn all about flight from the wings of birds to the Space Shuttle and everything in between? A culminating project will be building and launching a rocket.

Lights, camera, Action: This class is for all of those Hollywood types that want to be the next "It" girl or boy.  Learn how to write, edit, direct, produce, and star in your own plays and movies.

Hunger 101: Become aware of hunger - its causes and consequences.  this course will conclude with a service project, which the students will plan and accomplish.