Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hop tragedy - Attack of the Aphids!

Had to cut down three huge hop plants that were totally overrun with aphids, thanks to the cold wet Seattle spring (yes worse than usual). Will monitor as they come back, and hope for a long hot summer!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Domain renewal = reality check

I own several domains. Some of them are for my school. I was speaking with a rep. from today who was offering discounts if I’d re-up them now at a reduced rate. We went through all that are coming up in the next few months.

I held off on the domains I own that have to do with my school, said I’d decide on those later. Worst case scenarios flashed by as we spoke… It continues to be a strange, uncertain time.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer starts with light skies, candles & wine

Sometimes a heart breaks all at once, sometimes a few pieces at a time...

The kids' last day was yesterday, and it was incredibly intense, in the best of ways. But today we had a staff meeting, and I'm a mess, wondering what to do and where to go...

We rescheduled an all school event, impacting my classroom and my school in a couple of ways next year. I will not be publising a "Best of My Blog" book with my third graders. And I will probably not be running the Earth Day Groceries Project at my school. The rescheduling of the school event precludes both from happening. I have no idea if I can even keep running The Earth Day Groceries Project on the Internet. Timing is everything. And this is bad.

One might think I'd be excited about having less to do, but that's not the case here. My heart is heavily invested in these things. Both are central to how I build the school year for my third graders. One is a chance to grow up and mature, doing things at the edge of their reach - I love giving them that in the Earth Day activity. The other is the culmination, or focal end point, of a year long process of growing and maturing as writers – on their blogs. Do I care about blogging with my kids? Ahem. The Internet project, I don’t even know what to say.

It breaks pieces of my heart to say goodbye to these things, but there is no choice. A decision has been made. I will move on.

A couple of other decisions were announced/made today, both with program wide implications. One I can live with, the other leaves me speechless. Everybody has their important things, and priorities differ, no question. Compromise is an art. So is negotiation. But I am so tired of leaderless decisions quickly made, based on selfish thinking. That’s how I see it anyway.

This has been the most difficult year in my 29 years of teaching, without a doubt. I figured I had a 50/50 chance of actually making it through, so I’m a little proud of my resolve, and thankful to those who let me lean on them along the way.

I am, like most teachers on the last day, totally spent. I have some decisions to make this summer, to take care of myself. I’ll wait for the return of some energy, and maybe, some perspective.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last day in my special chair

My students gave me a wonderful chair to relax in - and they signed it! I have been blessed this year

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Report cards, yard work a reward

It's the last weekend of the school year. Grading and scoring like the last three Everyday Math unit tests. Then on to the report cards. If I get enough done, my reward will be some yard work. Woohoo! If the sun shines…

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

A classroom visit from Jeff Utecht, blogger, teacher, author!

Jeff Utecht talks with room 12 - aI tell you what. There’s nothing more exciting or rewarding than to have somebody you admire walk into your classroom and just take over for a while. And just sit back and watch. Jeff Utecht, Bangkok teacher summering in chilly Seattle, dropped by my third grade classroom this afternoon.

With 4 days left in the Seattle Public Schools calendar, the wheels on the bus are a little loose right now. We had Field Day in the morning. The afternoon work was writing a blog article about blogging. We would watch another installment of the movie Because of Winn-Dixie later…

Reach 1
It was so great to have Jeff there – teaching, helping, engaging. And it meant so much to exchange a short story, anecdote, or update in the midst of kids who were ready for summer a couple of weeks ago.

And then Jeff the Author signed my copy of
REACH (download #132). Frosting on the cake. Thank you Jeff!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So if a school votes no confidence in its super...

...and news media does not report it, did it really happen?

Two more no confidence votes happened in Seattle schools on Friday. Nobody knows.

I'm discouraged that my teacher colleagues have no clue how to make their voices heard these days, but I am much more disappointed in my union for totally ignoring this.

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Hops trussed for the summer, doing well

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Student Newsletter wraps up for 09-10

Last night I wrapped up the 19th year of the Jr. Seahawk Newsletter at Arbor Heights Elementary with the publication of the June edition (pdf). This was my 16th year as editor and online publisher. It has for the past several years run as: “The oldest continuously published elementary school student newspaper on the Internet!”

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Seattle teachers vote no confidence in super

Four Seattle Public Schools have put forth no confidence votes in the superintendent in the past few days, as the school board gets ready to renew her contract. The teachers' union has not acknowledged this occurrence, nor has it offered support to schools taking risks by speaking out.

Covered exclusively in education blogs, Twitter and Facebook, mainstream media has not noticed, or has not cared to report. An exception, with links to the information, is here:

Friday, June 04, 2010

5 XO laptops hit the road

On Friday I send home 5 XO laptops with my third graders. They are to return to the classroom on Monday of course, but it's nervous time... At a value of $400/each, well, that's a piece of trust I have never extended before. The reason for doing this is simply that I'd like my families to have a chance to see/feel/experience these wonderful computers.

I've not been able to use them as often as I'd like in class... So I believe in my kids, and I have faith in their responsibility. Seems  like everyone wants to take one home over the weekend (not surprising), so  we had to have a session of "pick a number" to settle things. Luckily there  are two more weekends... More later...