Friday, June 21, 2013

Penguins in Guatemala: A Field Trip Adventure

This week we went on our last field trip of the year to the zoo.  The kids love to go to the zoo and it is actually a very clean and safe place to go here in Guatemala.  It's the rainy season here, but fortunately we didn't have even one drop of rain on our field trip.  We took advantage of the good weather and saw all the exhibits!  We saw everything from bears to capybaras to deer. 

The biggest hit was the new aquarium.  It is small, but well kept and new. 

The newest exhibit at the zoo is the penguins.  We walked all over the zoo looking for the penguins, only to encounter them on our way out of the zoo.  I was impressed with the viewing platforms that allowed for many people to view the exhibit at once.  My students loved getting up close to the glass and watching the penguins swim.  We arrived back at the school tired from all the walking, but we felt accomplished for having seen the penguins!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Middle Grades Maven 1,000 Follower Giveaway

Middle Grades Maven is having a 1,000 follower giveaway and it ends tomorrow!  Hurry on over for a chance to win my All About Poets WebQuest in the 3-6 Bundle.  There is a bundle for everyone K-12!  Good luck!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Packing, Moving, and New Opportunities

It's my last two weeks at this school and I am spending the time helping to pack up the entire school.  The school is moving out of the downtown area to a beautiful mountainside property overlooking a lake.  The change is going to be great!  Where we are now, there is never silence and almost always big trucks and buses going by making it impossible to hear the person speaking even if he/she is right next to you.  With 15 years of materials to pack and move in two weeks, everyone is pitching in to help.  We have the entire school library almost packed (over 19 tall bookcases).  Each teacher also has her room almost completely packed.  The school runs on a lot of donations, so all the donated paper, crayons, etc. has also been packed.  Oh, and the school is K-12, so there is a lot of curriculum that needs packed. 

It's a big job, but the kids have been very helpful.  For many of them, this will be their first time moving since coming to live at the school ten years ago.  I, on the other hand, have become an expert in moving.  I think I have moved almost every year for the last 7 years.  It has been a joy for me to talk with the kids about their feelings (mostly nervous and a little excited).  I have also been trying to show them how to let go of things from their childhood without losing the memory attached to the item.  We are attempting to pare down to the minimum of what is needed as the new school has very little storage.  (The architect did not consult the teachers!)  It will be an emotional last two weeks as the kids say goodbye to an old school they love dearly and learn to adjust to a beautiful new school out in the wilderness.  I'm sad to leave, too, but a new job and wonderful opportunity awaits me in Ohio.  More on that when I get the details in July.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pencils, where do you go?

My youngest students are constantly asking me for new pencils. They receive new pencils and the next day they only have a little stub left. Where do their pencils go so fast?  I'd also like to know how the pencils get so chewed up and gross looking. Although, I think after catching one girl eating her eraser today, we can figure out the chewing part. I have told my students to stop chewing, over sharpening, and simply to stop being irresponsible. In a world where it seems everything is easy to come by, how do we teach children to value their school supplies?

On my plan for the summer is to find or design a school supplies management plan and great pencil sharpener.  I have been hearing a lot about this pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies. Do you have any experience with it? Any pencil related recommendations?