Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Eighth Grade Class Trip to Colonial Williamsburg

My eighth grade homeroom class enjoyed a delightful day in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Their favorite parts were the carriages, the tavern meal, the tinsmith's shop, the houses and furnishings, the musicians, and playing a colonial game with our fabulous tour guide, Sierra McDonald.  We recommend her to any school group that is planning to go to Williamsburg.  We saw and did more in a few hours with her, than I have been able to see all day there on my own.  

One of all of our favorite parts was the music.   My fun-loving gentlemen students actually stopped running around, sat down, and calmly listened to the music.  Then, when the ladies were done playing, they went over and asked them questions about their instruments.  The harpsichordist took the lid off the harpsichord and showed them how it worked.  They were amazed.  I was amazed at their extraordinary behavior.  

We ended the day with a delectable fried chicken dinner at Christiana Campbell's Tavern.  The waitress told me twice how well behaved our group was.  She said that normally school groups are a "nightmare", but that our group was exactly the opposite.  Then she got a guitarist and a singer to come upstairs and perform for us.   
We headed to the bus for the drive home, and most of the students did indeed stay up the entire twenty-two hours as they had told me they would.  They played spoons and laughed the whole way home.  Good day!   

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Home Run! Oops . . .

I was sitting at my desk grading research papers and dropping bits of cheese and crackers on them when I heard a loud cracking sound.  Hmm, that sounded like breaking glass, I thought.  And it was.  I pulled myself away from my students' super interesting papers and ventured out of my classroom door.  I was one of the first to arrive at THE WINDOW.  One of my eighth grade sluggers had hit the ball from the softball field which can be seen in the far distance, and after bouncing just once, it smashed into the window.  It's just that time of year again.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

La Fiesta de Mexicana!

For the third achievement party of the year, we held a Mexican Fiesta for the students.  I found real Jarritos Mexican pop and authentic Mexican candies at a specialty store, and our amazing K-4 academic supervisor Hilary Martin and principal Dervin Martin did a fantastic job with the menu, including my favorite, authentic caramel flan.   

The rest of us were the waiters and waitresses who took the students' orders and then served them their meals.  
The pinata was too cute to break, and Jeff wanted it to stay in his classroom anyway, so I just threw the candy on the tables.  

Jeff wrote a funny song about the students and they all sang along once they had learned the chorus.  
Then we laughed hysterically while we all (students included) performed a few skits.  We had told each student to bring a random item, and then we, the teachers, used the items in a skit we threw together.  
As usual, the students did a fantastic job helping us clean up, and that topped off a quite enjoyable evening.  

And a special thank you to art teacher Susanna Nolt for taking most of these pictures.  Ole! 

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Big Long Viaduct Thingy (AKA What Is Left of the Big Long Viaduct Thingy)

On the way  home from our recent Eternal Praise Chorale tour, we stopped by Kinzua Bridge (or what is left of it), once the longest railroad bridge in the world.  It was built in 1882, and in 2003, a tornado whipped through the valley gully thing and destroyed a large part of the bridge.  They made an overlook out of what was left of it.  
So, the bus stopped and we got out at the visitor's center/museum part.  I love to take my time and go through these and learn all about the history before I actually see the thing.  Jeff doesn't.  He walked right through the visitor's center and out the back door declaring, "I'm going to see the thing."  I chased after him.  When I got to the end of the overlook, I was pleasantly surprised. 

After the tornado struck, they left all the twisted metal down there in the valley gully thing.  It was an amazing sight

And when we did finally get back inside the visitor's center thing, we did read all about the history of the bridge, including a Big Foot sighting there several years back.  Jeff liked that part.  

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Why I Choose to Check Out 50+ Books for My Students' Research Papers

I recently returned around fifty books to our local public library.  Here's why. 
1.  My students are currently working on their research papers.
2.  It is easier for me to make one trip to the library, gather up all the books and check them out than it is for all thirty-eight of my students and their parents to make thirty-eight separate trips to the library to get books.
3.  While my personal library and the school library have a pretty good selection, there were not near enough books for each of their topics.
4.  This way they all can begin working on their notecards the same day, which makes the entire project and my week more organized. 
5.  I wanted them to have good information, and lots of it.
6.  I still have nightmares about the student I taught years ago who never did make it to the library and ended up plagiarizing ninety percent of his paper from websites.  Just for fun, I printed out the websites and highlighted every sentence he copied.  Hee hee hee.
7.  My husband was editing this and told me to add it.  Library books smell WAY BETTER than computers.  

AND - my students' topics were amazing.  Here is a list of some of them, and I have a google docs slide presentation with over 100 interesting topics for students to choose from, broken into two separate parts:  American history and world history.  
Email me if you are interested and I'll be glad to share it with you!

Egyptian pyramids
Adolf Eichman's escape and hiding 
Kon-Tiki expedition
Easter Island statues
Viking longboats 
St. Basil's Cathedral
wooly  mammoths
the history of paper  making
Roman aqueducts 
the Roman Colloseum
Mayan pyramids
Great Wall of China
Halifax explosion 
and many more . . . 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On Tour with Eternal Praise and Franko (Franklin Miller)

We enjoyed traveling and singing with the Eternal Praise Chorale this past weekend.  

Here is Franko (Franklin Miller) working with the chorale and doing some weird hand thing.  

Here is another picture of Franko working with the choir and Mary, and he is doing a weird pose and yet another weird hand thing.  Franko, you are great!  Love, Jeff 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mid Atlantic Choral Fest Video

We had a delightful time singing at the Mid Atlantic Choral Fest last night.   Thanks to Zac Weaver for doing a great job with the live streaming and video.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Behind the Scenes at the Time Travel Achievement Party

I thought that these photos gave interesting insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes for an achievement party.  Thanks to +Susanna Nolt  for taking the pictures, and to Kay Fisher, Mary Swanson, Briana Nolt, Adrik Burkholder, Mackenzie King, 7th grade teacher +Caleb martin, K-4 Academic Advisor Hilary Martin, Glenda Beiler, Sheridan Burkholder, Sarah Martin, and principal Dervin Martin for all your hard work.  After looking at these pictures again, I think we have as much (or more?) fun as the students do.