Sunday, October 31, 2010

Science Vocabulary Hats

For the fourth year in a row our school has had a school-wide science vocabulary hat parade on the day before Halloween.  Halloween is rather pooh-poohed around here (people are so weird sometimes!) so there is NO celebration of Halloween at school.  Four years ago we took the lead from another school in our district and celebrate SCIENCE instead!  Actually, it is pretty dang neat to see about 830 kids with different hats showing their knowledge of science.  We parade around our school and this year we had the local high school drum line come lead us (how awesome is that?).  Each child is assigned a word and the COOL teachers also make a hat.

Kendra's word was TRANSPIRATION, which is the water vapor released by plants as part of the water cycle.

What you may not be able to see is that the word itself has hot glue dots all over to look like water, and there are also hot glue dots on the leaves of the tree and we put arrows with glue dots pointing up to show the water going into the air.  Kendra marched in the parade with the squirt bottle misting water into the air, too.

I have made a different hat each year, and this year I wanted to bop myself on the head for not just wearing one of my old ones!  That is a styrofoam ball on my head with part of a hanger around it and a space shuttle toy glued to it.  The hat itself is a black baseball cap with sequins to look like the universe, and the word is done in silver glitter.  It was quite the feat to anchor that ball on that hat AND get the orbit to stay around it!  Like I said, the COOL teachers wear hats.  All of my team did, but most of the other teachers didn't.  How LAME.  Well, not all of us can be so cool, right?  Yeah, I'm THAT teacher.  And proud of it, baby!

Halloween 2010 Part 2: Trunk or Treat and Trick or Treat

It was a very busy Halloween weekend with two ward trunk or treats and the regular neighborhood trick or treat.  Needless to say, we have enough candy to last until NEXT Halloween.

Here was my costume for the two trunk or treat parties this year.  I totally have the right kind of hair to rock out Cruella! 
Grady was a good sport as my Dalmatian companion. 

Here's my cutie pie Candy Corn with our Pumpkin hound dog.  I have to say, Grady is so tolerant of us...
How funny that he blinked!  Or maybe that is a smile?

Three candy-filled events equals more candy than we can (or should!) ever eat!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween 2010 Part 1: Ward Carnival

The young women of our ward did a bang up job of hosting our ward carnival this past Saturday.  Kendra couldn't wait to wear her Candy Corn costume!  Here she is with her friend, O, the Dead BYU Cheerleader.
They had all kinds of carnival games as well as a cupcake walk and mini-pumpkin decorating contest.  Kendra was especially excited about the pumpkin as it is become a tradition to have a mini to represent our dog.  My favorite was homemade root beer (on dry ice which made it slushy and oh so YUM!) and watching Kendra trying to eat a doughnut hanging from a string above her head!


As for me, I reprised my role as Mormon Single Mom Elementary Teacher ROCK STAR.  I say "reprised" because this was the second time this week in this get-up.  The first time was at school.  YEP.  School.  Our school does a United Way campaign each year, and this year the theme was Rock On.  They organized a Teacher Battle of the Rock Bands competition in the lunchroom--the kids got to vote for their favorite band--10 cents per vote to be donated to the United Way.  I was asked to be the lead singer for one of the bands, and we had a lot of fun getting dressed for the part.  Needless to say, the VERY BEST part was seeing my kids when they saw me for the first time.  I had taken them to PE as regular old me, and when they came to the lunch room, their jaws dropped.  I didn't get any good pics at school, but I donned the purple hair/ripped shorts/fishnets/boots look again for the carnival:

This is quite outside my box, but it was a lot of fun! 

I got to snuggle with my friend Chelsea's sweet baby skeleton and she took this pic of me with my own cutie Candy Corn.
I'm considering making the purple hair color permanant.  What do you think?  SOOOO just kidding!!! 

Btw, this isn't the REAL Halloween costume.  That one isn't done yet.  To be continued....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall in Texas

The mid 80 degree temperatures and still-green trees are very un-autumnlike here in Texas, but the calendar says it is so it was time to decorate!  Our Halloween/Fall decor was pretty skimpy, and this year I decided to beef it up a bit.  I love fall--the real kind, with cider mills and freshly cooked doughnuts, beautiful trees changing colors and sweatshirts boasting of our favorite college team worn in the crisp, cool air.  Sigh.  I suppose I'll have to settle for cute scarecrows and mums that need water daily or they will parch in the Texas heat!

 Those are candy corn lights---cute!

 Not everyone can have scarecrows to represent their family!  Perfect for a family of two!
Stay tuned for the Halloween post...this year I am dressing up, too! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's official....we've converted.

It's time.  After many years of faithful devotion, but year after year of disappointment, we knew we had to convert.

Detroit Tigers, I'll still back you up, but we're gonna have to go with a winning team right now.  C'MON RANGERS!   Sock those Yankees!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My turn...

You might remember this...Kendra's first piano recital back in March:

Well, this time it was my turn:

I have been preparing for this recital since, oh, I don't know, FOREVER.  I played Moon River, which I just loved, and when I was given choices for my piece I thought of my grandmother who would have loved to hear me play it. 

Here's the thing.  Miss Connie, my teacher, has something like 50 students.  Only three are adults.  This concert was for her ADVANCED students and her adults.  I have only been playing for a year, and I have very limited practice time due to my job and other responsibilities.   I was intimidated that my vastly inexperienced self would be playing on the same night as the young adults who have been playing for 10 years! 

A note about me:  I'm a teacher.  I'm the primary chorister in my church.  I can give talks at church without batting an eyelash, and I am often called upon to be the speaker/leader in meetings, etc.  I also have sung in choirs many times, and even once sang in a production in which I sang on stage completely by myself.  I do not have a problem with being "on stage" in all of those capacities.  I rarely get nervous.  However, playing piano in front of people is a whole different ball game!  It has to do with my confidence level:  I don't have ANY with piano.   This particular piece was HARD for me.  I practiced and practiced but I never felt like I mastered it.  So this concert was a real challenge for me.
 But I did it anyway.  I was ok at the beginning of my song, but then the nerves kicked in.  Funny enough, it was my leg that bothered me most.  My pedal leg started shaking like nuts.  That made me realize how nervous I was, and then my hands started shaking.  All that shaking rattled my brain, too.  I wondered who was noticing my quivering leg!  I did ok, but I made more mistakes than I had in a long time.
 All of these lovely ladies are related to my dear Ballards, and hence have folded me into their families as well.  All of these girls are advanced students and played brilliantly.  Grandma Karen is one of the other adults that Connie teaches, and she did fantastic!  I hope in 10 years I'll play as well as those girls do.  Miss Connie is on the end.  She's been teaching piano for 50 years! 
 Here is me with my number one cheerleader.  She told me how great I was about 300 times.  Who doesn't want to try again with someone like her backing you up?  BTW:  isn't that a lovely piano?  Note to self:  next time wear a smaller heel, though.  My knees were smacked up to the bottom side of that piano! 
My dear friend Sherry got me these flowers.  She told me that she was very proud of me and that she couldn't have gotten up there to do that.  It may not have been the best performance, but I am proud of myself for doing it.
Not sure if I'm signing up for that again, though!!!  :-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

C.O.R.E. Kid

Each six weeks grading period our school recognizes a student in each class that exemplifies a character virtue.  This honor is called "C.O.R.E. Kid of Virtue".  C.O.R.E. is a district initiative called Community of Respect Everywhere. 

In my class, we talk about the virtue first and what it means, and then I have my students vote for the person who most fits what we think the virtue means.  This first marking period's virtue was Responsibility, and the class voted for Kendra!  She received her award today at the awards assembly from our principal, Mr. Drysdale.

Way to go, Kendra!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kendra's Parable/Analogy

I have learned that Kendra is really good at analogies!  I mean, she thinks of things that I would never have thought of and amazes me!  Which is why she's in the gifted and talented program and I never was.  Clearly.

So tonight she had the lesson for family home evening.  She started by holding up a pen and a unsharpened pencil, and she asked me what the two things were and how they were different.  I said the obvious answers.  Then she said that the pen was like never needed to be sharpened.  It would always work perfectly.  Then she asked if I could use the unsharpened pencil to write.  Of course not.  She said then that the pencil was like us.   Then she had three little pads of paper that stacked on top of each other, the largest being at the bottom and the smallest at the top (like a pyramid).  She said the paper pads were like our life.  The bottom one was like us now, and she talked about righteous things we needed to do to "sharpen ourselves".  We listed things like prayer, scripture study, go to church, etc.  She then unveiled her electric pencil sharpener (under a blanket) and said those things are like the sharpener and proceeded to sharpen the pencil!  Wowie, I thought, that was GOOD.  The pencil wasn't totally sharp yet though.  Then she pointed to the middle pad of paper, and we talked about further things we needed to do.  Temple attendance, getting married in the temple, etc. were discussed.  Then she sharpened the pencil further.  Finally she said the top pad of paper was where we wanted to go, the celestial kingdom where we will live with Heavenly Father again and if we kept sharpening ourselves we'd get there. 

THEN, as if that wasn't good enough, she had both of our winter coats out and she handed me mine and put hers on.  She proceeded to say that the coat is like all those things we talked about that sharpened our pencil, and like the coat in winter that keeps us warm, those good things we do protect us from Satan and the things he wants us to do. 

Um...really?  So, I'm sitting there thinking maybe her primary teacher used these analogies or something and she wanted to share them. But no.  When I asked where she got her idea she said, "When I was thinking about what I wanted to do I just saw those things in my room and the idea came to my head."  And let me tell you, she thought of that idea in about 1 minute flat from the time she remembered that she was going to do the lesson tonight. 

Maybe I'm nuts, but I think that is pretty ah-mazing. 

**PS:  the funny part was that she went to write with the pen (the analagous Jesus) and it was dry.  She said with a laugh, "Jesus doesn't work.  Of course I mean the pen that is supposed to represent Jesus.  Jesus always works."  Ha!

**PSS:  Lest anyone think this is a result of the amazing job I am doing as a parent, trust me when I say Nay!  I thank the Lord for the Primary program and its teachers.  I do some, but not as much as I should, and they sure take up my slack in the most awesome way!