Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Break

So, all of Dixon's Darling Dolphins are on winter break! Yay! Yippee! Hurrahhhhhh! And Hallelujah! 

Everyone in our room, Twinkle and Willie included, is so, so ready for a nice, long break! See y'all in 2015!

PS for the students - do your winter homework packet and have fun on BrainPop!

Mrs. Masoumi

I am so blessed - as are every one of my students - to work with an AMAZING instructional assistant, Mrs. Masoumi. 

She is fantastic with the kids, beautiful, smart as a whip and is so much fun to have in the classroom. Above all - she is generous and so creative and just a really excellent friend.

This year she gave me The Twelve Days of Christmas and on each of the 12 days leading up to our break she had another goodie for me - wrapped beautifully in Mason jars. It was beyond touching and I loved every single gift!
These are just a few of the awesome goodies...

Twinkle's Last Day! :(

Oh my goodness! I can't believe it's Twinkle's last day with us! We found her nestled in my elf hat! I guess she wanted to be sure she would get to go watch our holiday performance in the winter show!

The kids wrote every day about Twinkle's adventures and today they compiled a book. I didn't get one picture of the book - sadly. But trust me - they were awesome and they document every day we had Twinkle with us, and all of her adventures.

Before we left for Winter Break the students all got their presents from me and Twinkle. I hope they all waited until Christmas to open them!

I wonder what Twinkle is doing RIGHT.THIS.VERY.MINUTE?

We'll miss you Twinkle!

Four Elf Food Groups...

Candy, Candy Corn, Candy Canes and Syrup.
The fifth, unofficial elf food group - whipped cream!

When we got to school we found that Twinkle had eaten half a tub of whipped cream! She was sucking some out of a straw when we walked in. We were shocked! She even had some on her face! 
That Twinkle sure gets into a lot of mischief!

She also is generous - she brought us some fun ornaments to make for our families!

Decorating Those STEM Gingerbread Houses!

The next day after construction we got to decorating our houses and we enjoyed some delicious hot cocoa while doing it!

Wow! Our classroom smelled like a bakery - I'm sure Twinkle LOVED it!

Does This Count as STEM?

So today we learned about engineers and determined the best way to secure a structure. Ahem. Ok. We made gingerbread houses. 

The kids had a BALL and some were wrist deep in frosting. All of the houses were unique and adorable - just like my students themselves :)

I Love My School!

My grade level consists of four busy little elves who all pitched in to create some adorable gifts for the 70 or so people employed by our school.  These were so fun to make and came out just fantastic! 

Relaxification for Twinkle!

Things must be getting busy and stressful at the North Pole! We found Twinkle taking a Marshmallow Bath in Robert's hot cocoa mug! Luckily we aren't having our hot cocoa party until tomorrow - I hope he bath is done by then! 

She looks very relaxed!

Here's S'More Twinkle!

Yay! Whooopeee! Hurrrahhh! Twinkle is BAAAAAACK!

We tried and tried to be better listeners and Twinkle must have known - because we found her this morning toasting a marshmallow and keeping her eyes on us! 

She also left some pencils for any and all of us who finished our work. Eight of us got special pencils from the North Pole!

Where Was Twinkle???

So we had a rough Friday and when we came in on Monday Twinkle was no where to be found. She did leave a note saying students needed to be better listeners. I do agree with Twinkle. Maybe it was the excitement of upcoming holidays, but we definitely need to try harder.

We were all wondering if she'd be back on Tuesday!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Giving Communities - Why I'm Done

So since April I have been giving to various teachers with Donors Choose projects, mostly through a few giving communities, one in particular. These giving communities "choose" projects for their page and if your Donors Choose project is chosen, it likely gets funded. It's a beautiful process in theory but the problem is in the execution. 

I've been doing this since April (super consistently) and after doing this Sunday routine for the better part of a year, and meeting with my CPA, and just looking over the numbers I've decided to stop - as of today - and I have 3 reasons why.

1. I've not seen a giving page without drama and most are cliquey. I'm not into this and the game playing makes me sad. Dissension -or mere questioning - is often met with snarkieness and snarky doesn't make me happy either. And to be perfectly honest - I'm too old for it. 

2. The project choosing process is rarely transparent - though the rules for asking for a spot are crystal clear. On a funding day, you typically donate to a project on the giving page and then post yours - hoping to get your project chosen for the page. Again - I've noticed cliquey elements. When projects are chosen the reasons are often unclear or are arbitrarily specific to the process - sometimes longevity is noted, sometimes being new is noted. Sometimes large donations are noted and sometimes it's noted $1 is all it takes. It's hard to recommend a giving page to someone when the choosing process is arbitrary.

3. Charity begins at home. I looked up my donations for the year. The figure is real, y'all. Holy Moly. And that's just for the donations I've made in my own name. It makes me sad that I usually don't get a thank you - though I do like supporting others for the sake of charity - and I've donated - A.LOT.  

So what will I be doing?

I will still be supporting teachers. We have to. I love to. If not us, who? But - I'll do this differently now. I will support teachers that I know and I'll better support my own classroom. I have lots of colleagues who have projects up and I will happily send them a donation. 

My aim is to avoid those 3 big bummers, noted above. It's not a Bah Humbug situation - no sour grapes here - it's a different path - a local one, one I can manage and make sense of. It's a path that brings the process close to home.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elves Really Do Love Sugar!

I must be an elf. I love sugar too. Trying to break that. Grrr.
Off topic. 

Twinkle must have had a craving for some sugar after coming back from the North Pole last night because when we walked in she was making angels out of a pile of sprinkles and had made little Rudolph's out of chocolate donuts, red Skittles and pretzels!

She also wrote us a sweet note that she loves our class. I am happy to hear this because I know some days she must have A LOT to report to Santa!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Paper Craftiness With Twinkle!

We walked in this morning and found that Twinkle had gotten into my special paper I'd put aside for my formal observation the principal's visit to see how the students are behaving and learning. Instead of using it to make ultra-awesome regrouping Bridge Maps, Twinkle made a paper chain! 

She even got into my glue, scissors and Willie's hideaway!

I wonder what she's doing Right.This.Very.Minute!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Discovery Cube

Today our class went on an awesome field trip to the Discovery Cube. It's only been open for a little bit - we were their 10th field trip!

OH.MY.GOODNESS! It was great! We were the only school there and the kids had a ball! I've got to say, it was the most stress-free field trip for me. I wasn't in charge and things ran so smoothly.  

If you are in the Los Angeles area, this new location in Sylmar is fantastic!

I know these kids are going to remember this day for years and years to come!