Sunday, September 26, 2010

Teaching Kendra

I just typed an email to a friend and I realized what I wrote to her was something I wanted to be sure to remember.  Hence, I'm typing it here where it will be published into our book of memories.

I have really enjoyed seeing Kendra as a student and not just my kid.  I'm so grateful to my principal for the complete support in being able to be her teacher this year.  This is a tremendous opportunity!  Here's what I knew about "School Kendra" before this year:  she is a good student, tries really hard, is a "teacher pleaser", is well-liked in her class, kids recognize her as a "good kid" by picking her for things like student of virtue and other honors (those things are usually voted upon by peers).  She has lots of friends, but usually has only one close friend. 

Here's what I have learned about "School Kendra" by being her teacher.  She is still a good student and tries hard.  She is like most kids and makes mistakes, and she does have to work for her good grades.  She is not one of those kids that "gets it" off the bat ALL the time, although she does most of the time.  A funny thing I've learned is that she is long-winded!  When she raises her hand I have to be prepared for an elaborated answer, to the point that I've devised a system with her that I've used with similar kids like her in the past.  I tell her that she gives me a whole plate of spaghetti when I'm really only looking for one noodle.  The code, if she gets too elaborative, is "One noodle, Kendra!" 

I've confirmed that she is very well respected by her peers.  When I met with the kids at the beginning of the year (I sent Kendra to another class for this), I talked to them about having Kendra in class and if they ever felt like I was favoring her or anything they should come to me.  I said something along the lines of, "Kendra is a pretty good kid", and one of my students jumped right in and said, "Yeah, Kendra has never, ever, never gotten in trouble at school.  Never!" 

Here's the coolest thing I've noticed.  While Kendra is a friend to everyone, I would say that she is not in what most would deem the "popular" crowd.  She is friends with the popular kids, to be sure.  You know the ones;  the cheerleaders, the ones wearing the most stylish clothes, the ones going ga-ga over Justin Bieber or the latest pop star boy.  But Kendra is just enough different that she isn't in the heart of that in-crowd.  She hangs out with them at times, and she likes them all, but she doesn't live or die over what they think or what they are doing that she isn't doing.  Her close friends are usually the quieter ones, the ones that think like her.  And to be honest, if I could choose the path for her to take, this would be it.  I like how this looks for the future if this is the road she continues to travel.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer's last hurrah...

I guess since we are starting our third week of school this week, summer hurrah-ed a while back, but I guess today made it OFFICIAL.  We were invited to party on the boat house of these fine people...
Aren't they cute?  Our Ballards sure know how to throw a shin dig.  They are the ultimate hosts. 

The party included all the water fun anybody could possibly want.  There were huge floating thingys the kids love to climb up and then jump off of:

Kendra got to bring her friend, R, which was awesome.  Here they are with the lovely L getting ready to tell boys, "This raft is GIRLS ONLY!"  Oh, dear.

I took the JetSki out with R and then gave L a ride as well.  The water was pretty choppy so I don't go super duper fast, but Scott did say it looked like I was kickin' it as we passed him in the speedboat.
I didn't get any pics of the JetSki because, well, I was on it. 

Back to the boathouse, and Kendra and R wanted me to go out with them on the kayaks.  They took the two-man kayak while I used the solo kayak.  Gotta say, it was hilarious.  Those girls couldn't steer to save their lives.  I kept having to yell, "Right paddle, right paddle!" or "Left paddle, left paddle!" because they kept aiming the front of the kayak to the nearest shore/impass/parked boat/tree.  We finally made it back.  Whew.
Again, no pics of this.  Again, I was on a kayak.  I don't trust myself enough to take my very nice camera out on water, thank you very much.

Kids swam more, I sat and chatted with adults more.   Here are some "off the diving board" shots of the girls.

Cute little bobbin' heads. 

The Ballards provided brats and dogs and the fixin's and everyone else brought sides and drinks.  YUM.

This morning, Kendra and I "labored".  We cleaned our house from head to toe.  Then we got to enjoy the rest of our Labor Day with awesome people. 
Kendra and R taking "resting from your labors" seriously!

  Thanks, dear friends, for having us!  We love you!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sundays are for...

Kendra snapped this photo of the hound dawg nappin' today.  Of course, for Grady, EVERY day is for napping.
  She also snapped a pic of me AND the hound, because yes, those are my feet and they belong to my nappin' self.  But the pic showed a rather unflattering version of my mouth hanging wide open mid-snooze, so you just get this one.  It is glorious being the editor of my own blog---I get to choose what you see and what you don't!!! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Playground owie

Kendra had her first playground incident of the school year on Friday at recess.  Actually, we really don't have a playground.  There is a TEENY TINY little playset on the other side of the school, but it is reserved for the teeny tiny kiddos.  When we moved here and I first saw the school, I remember one of the first things I thought was, "Where is the playground?"  Apparently, some years ago, they decided that schools around here didn't need playgrounds.  Something about having kids use their imaginations outside instead of providing entertainment for them.  Uh huh.  Colleen's translation:  teachers, please spend more of your own money on playground equipment so the kids have something to do.  I have, indeed, spent my own money on a pretty decent amount of balls, including a football, soccer ball, several basketballs (thank goodness for garage sales!) and tennis balls which the kids love for playing wall ball.   Ok, sorry for griping, on with the story...

So my kiddos play outside on an area that has a pretty large open grassy area and then a big blacktop area with one basketball hoop.  We also have a nice covered pavilion area with four steel picnic style tables, and that is where the teachers usually congregate while watching the kids play.  I was sitting and chatting with a few kiddos on Friday when I turned my head at the exact moment that Kendra took a huge spill on the blacktop (which has a fine coat of gravel on top of it due to weathering of the blacktop material).  She wasn't even running...her feet just slid out from under her on the gravel.  She went down in a big ole splat!

Now here's where I'm not sure being her teacher was a good thing or a bad thing.  Kendra is super brave in public--she really hates to cry in front of people.  But this fall resulted in some nasty scrapes, and that combined with her MOMMY being out there resulted in some tears.  I helped her up and walked her over to sit on a picnic table seat, and immediately saw that she was bleeding from several places and needed the attention of our nurse.  Her friend, K, offered to take her down to the office.   Here is the bandaged up girl last night at home: 
I did ask Kendra later if she felt it was better or worse to have me as a teacher in a moment like that.  She said she was super glad I was there because it made her feel better, even if it did make her cry!