Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010

FINALLY, catching up with this blog after the week. I'll do anything to avoid report cards. Today I got to play tennis, again, with Louann, Dawn, and Bonnie. We did pretty well considering they are a good team. It was hot out, so I got a little sun. Still, the bronchitis is hurting me, and of course the weight isn't helping me move as fast as I can. This past week, I gave up sugar for the week days. I ate it during the weekend, but it's all gone now. So in honor of that, I made a special dinner...pineapple shrimp skewers from the new web recipe site I love, Pioneer Woman. I love her recipes and the way she writes in her narratives.
This was so good that I loved it! Healthy, as well. In place of sugar, I used a sugar substitute.
I can't wait to try something else from her site.
This is a very very busy week. I'm just hoping to survive it....I will.

April 10, 2010

Today was a surprise. I played tennis with Trish, Toby, and Louann, hoping to sweat some of this bronchitis out of my lungs. It worked on Thursday, but this day it was a bit tougher to run. Anyway, after tennis, we went to lunch at the Japanese restaurant called Kabuki, which just opened. I'm not much for sushi but ordered chicken. Again, not a place I'd go back to. Then we went and had a pedicure. I haven't had one for almost a year and it felt so good! Now I must remember to do it again at the end of April. It was a nice way to spend the weekend before my birthday.

April 9, 2010

I made Easter baskets for Mom, Dad, and Mr. Holman this year. I knew that Mindy and her family were in Puerto Rico and Jeff would never think of it. Today Mr. H called me to thank me for doing that. He's such a cool guy. Wish his son remembered to be as gracious as he is sometimes.

April 8, 2010

It was terribly hot this the nineties...but driving home on Thursday, I passed our church and noticed how pretty it looked. Grace Church in Haddonfield, NJ, has been there for a long time and has been a sanctuary for many.

APRIL 6, 2010

I'm sick. I think it stated with allergies, but now has progressed to bronchitis. I don't have time to go to the doctor right now with everything going on. Next week, if I still feel this way, I'll take a day off, but for now, drama, MEA, Jeff's dad, and other things are more important.

April 5, 2010

Every three months or so, my parents and I get together with a couple that my parents have known since college, Bob and Kathy Wilson. This time we went to Long Branch, NJ, because I wanted to see the ocean at least ONCE during my shortened spring break. We went to Rooney's, a restaurant on the beach. Expensive and food just okay. Still we were there for the company, not the food.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4, 2010

It's Easter and I am so lucky to be able to celebrate it with my mom and dad. Here they are after church, then breakfast in front of the Haddasorus, in Haddonfield, NJ. Not Palm Beach of days of 'or, but still to be together on this day is a true blessing.

April 3, 2010

I am not a huge college basketball fan, but this year one of Haddonfield's graduates, Brian Zoubeck, is playing for DUKE University. Tonight, Duke reached the FINALS of the National College Basketball Tournament. After watching Brian play for four years, it's nice to see him try for a National championship. They are playing Butler University, a Cinderella story who is seems most people in the nation are rooting for, on Monday, the same day as opening days of the Phillies.

April 2, 2010

Thirty days haf September, APRIL.....well, April is here.We are 1/3 the way through the year. This is one of my busiest months that will come to a crashing halt after the 18th, but I'm sure to find something to keep me going after that week.

April 1, 2010

It's April which means egg dying time. These students, Skylar, Christina, and Aditya and using a sponging effect on their blown out, dried eggs. It was fun to get all nineteen eggs done. After they dried, the students added glitter to them. From what I understand, some of them went home and taught their families how to do this technique. Now, that's real learning.

March 31, 2010

Philadelphia in spring is a beautiful place filled with trees in full bloom. This tree is across the street from the Franklin Institute. Unfortunately, it may be this type of tree that is causing havoc with my allergies. I'm not sure but there is something in the air.

March 30, 2010

Photos of the actors of "The Wizard of Oz" have been added to the bulletin board. Thanks so much to Lorraine Altimus for donating the pictures and the frames. The kids look great and it's so much fun to see them be stars of the school for the weeks before the play.

March 29, 2010

Each year I teach the students how to "blow out" raw eggs. By piercing each end with a thumb tack or paper clip, I then insert a straw so they can blow out the insides of the egg. They dry for a day or two and then are ready to be decorated. Lauren did a pretty good job at not making a mess.

March 28, 2010

Today we went to the Franklin Institute as part of our field trip. I got to hang out with Brian, Zac, Daniel, Connor, Eric and Eric's mom. These guys were really into science AND shopping. I'm not sure if they realized that some day, one of them may be as famous as the man's feet at whom they stand.

March 27, 2010

The Art Talent group comes in every morning to work with Liette Kelly, our art teacher. They have been working on the Wizard of Oz poster which has been hung in the hallway on the bulletin board. Pictures will be added of the actors tomorrow.

March 26, 2010

The sets for the Wizard of Oz are being made an brought in. Parents are doing a fabulous job. This scene is the Gale farm complete with chicken coop, pig pen and screen door. The house with the porch is on casters so it can turn around during the tornado scene.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23, 2010

It rained yesterday and last night and this morning and then again this afternoon. We are studying the water cycle in science, but I don't need all these visual aids! This is a new little pondthat has sprung up outside my school. If you look closely, you can see the building through the trees. It looks cool now, but I'm thinking ahead to the warmer months when this might turn into a breeding ground for our state bird...the misquote...just kidding. Still, for now it's nice to know it will never be a FROZEN little pond as the weather is supposed to warm up this week.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

The bright, sunny day of yesterday has given way to torrential rains, thunder and lightning. My poor daffodils bent over in the rain, so I picked them. Those flowers are just so darn pretty and last such a short time. As one of my friends said about them today, "Better to have had them even just a short time and enjoy them, than to never have had then before." I guess so, but I'd still like to have a field of them for longer than a week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21, 2010

SPRING HAS SPRUNG. My garden is a mess, but it always cheers me up to see these flowers pop up no matter how bad the construction has been.

March 19, 2010

I knew I was a bit out of order. This event took place in school on Friday, March 19. Students and staff brought in a dollar to buy a "foot". This money is going towards fund raising to find a cure for MS, a disease one of our staff members has.

March 20, 2010

On Saturday morning, Angleo Alberto presented Jeff with an award to add to his many others, at Centennial Courts in Haddonfield. Angleo did an amazing job getting the courts ready for the spring season and having a dedication during this first day of spring. I was happy to be able to know his family through Liz, his daughter, who was on the team I coached for a year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 19, 2010

So much to write about the LIFE presentation today and lots of pictures, but at the end, always have to go with THE BEN!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010

Lots of pictures to choose from today, but will choose the St. Patrick one of the students and save the others for when I need to catch up. It looked like a herd of leprechauns today at our school as a sea of green clothed students and staff showed up today. Even the carpet had glitter on it (that will never happen again) as footprints from the escaping leprecahauns were seen.
This evening I had the pleasure of having dinner at City Tavern in Philadelphia with the Discovery group. It was such fun to talk and see everyone

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16, 2010

This week in school, it is MS Awareness Week. Today teachers and students were asked to dress in orange. Of course I looked terrible (just call me a pumpkin) but Leslie, the teacher who organized the day looks wonderful. With her is Cindy C, a second grade teacher who is also wonderful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Art Talent Students make a poster for the Wizard of Oz bulletin board. These kids come in early in the morning to paint this.

Sunday March 14, 2010

The power of the wind and rain that happened over the past weekend.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010

A Watery Day
It rained today...hard. It was windy as well and more than 41,000 people in the NorthEast have lost power. You can still hear the wind blowing hard. On my way back from grocery shopping, at the light in Haddonfield, I turned off my windshield wipers and took a picture of this house. It just seconds the rains covered the windshield, and I didn't need any type of filter.

March 12, 2010

The boys try to memorize PI digits to the 33th place value...and they DO!
Although PI Day (March 14....3/14) isn't until Sunday, my third graders celebrated on Friday measuring everything from cups, plates, pies, cookies, M&Ms, everything and anything that was round. In addition, each team tried to see if they could memorize the digits past 3.14....two teams made it to the 33 place value. Pretty impressive!

March 11, 2010

Kids start to learn how to use Kerpoof to make movies.
I'm on the board for Kerpoof and was reviewing their spelling section when I thought it would be fun to introduce the students to movie making since we were talking about characters and setting in writing. They took to it easily, making a movie with ease. Because of this, I think every Wednesday I should introduce them to a new site on line that they can use. I can test it out with them before presenting it to the teachers on Thursday, although I have to say, the kids will get it much easier.

March 10, 2010

Field Club Off Season
Inside of the club house before the season begins

March 9, 2010

Catching up with photos this week:
Nature's Decorations

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8 2010

Blog to follow

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

THERE is something so fulfilling about starting something from nothing and watching it grow. So it is fun to watch this pot of basil start from seedlings and germinate. Putting a water bulb in it will help me as I'm not known for keeping plants growing very well. I still have a few others to plant, but those who are wiser at the ways of the earth, have told me to wait a bit until I'm sure it's not going to snow again. My patio is a wreck from construction so I can't wait to get some pretty colored flowers and plants on it. Hopefully, the basil will be a good sign that things CAN actually grow despite my less than green thumb.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March 6, 2010

It may look like just an open window, but to me it's the first day in a long time I've been able to open a window and shut off the heat. The temperature hovered around fifty, the first time in months, the sun made an appearance and there was even talk about playing tennis! Tomorrow promises to be as nice with an entire week without one mention of the word snow...rain maybe on Thursday but not snow. We may even be go an entire week in school! Spring officially arrives on the 20th, but for now...there's a spring in my step.

Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010

Through rain and snow and dark of night...oh, wait, that's the postal creed, which, apparently in 2010 doesn't ring true anymore, but back to what I was's been a little more than a month since I was able to park in front of my house. Today, a FRIDAY!, I rounded the corner and didn't see the familiar sight of a yellow construction truck or even siding piled high in the parking spaces. There wasn't even any SNOW still on the ground. I actually had to check to make sure all was well before pulling in to the spot, but sure enough...I was home. Now all I have to do is get some nice plants so that the outside looks better, but I think I'll wait until after the last week of March. Who knows...maybe this is just a weekend thing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4, 2010

A pretty uneventful day all told. There are rumors flying about who is teaching third grade next year, but that happens every year. Next year, though, there are only two third grade classes and that WILL make a difference. the budget is going to be cut by so much that it will affect many teachers in the districts...wonder if it would affect administrators as well..No one seems to answer that question. The one thing, though, is that I hope it doesn't do anything that will affect the kids. No cutting of the arts, after school programs, and, while w could probably get by with less supplies, it's the students who should come first. As for professional development that could also be done in an less expensive way. I have a feeling if the administrators asked the staff for ideas, they'd be pleasantly surprised and could learn quite a few things from our POV.
In the meantime, life goes on in and out of the classroom. The kids are learning, doing math, and, as the picture shows, reading. I'm always amused at how many people tell me that it's tough to get boys to read. Not in my class. They are the first to ask for SSR, for me to read to them, and to pull a book out of their desk when they think I'm not looking. An e-mail from a parent yesterday told me her son was reading until 1:00am!!! Not the best thing for a nine-year-old, but not the worst thing in the world either. One of my favorite quotes is "Reading is inhaling....writing is exhaling." I'm so glad my students love to breathe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 3, 2010

ANOTHER blog that doesn't need too many words. My house is almost finished. They started on February 2 and have finished the outside part of it...almost. There is still debris all over the place and now those ugly things in the front of the house need to be replaced, but at least I can see the end in site.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2, 2010

I WAS going to write about Read Across America, but I'll save that for another day. When this picture came through, there was no doubt what the picture of the day would be. Welcome home, soldiers, welcome home.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

IT'S MARCH...we made it..It came in as a lamb and am a bit afraid of how it will go out
There is so much already scheduled for this month:
Read Across America Day March 2
World Math Day March 3
Workshop March 5
Free Wash and Blow Dry March 5
Shawnee High School Musical March 6
Pi Day March 12 (actually 3/14 but that's a Sunday)
Dinner at City Tavern with DEN March 17
Life Screening at Franklin Institute with DEN March 18
Field Trip March 31 Franklin Institute
Drama rehearsal every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday after school
Drama rehearsal EVERY DAY before school

....................and that's just what I know about the first day. So much more to fill in, I'm sure, but for now that's all I can look at without getting totally overwhelmed.

Goals: Bed by 10 on school nights
try to continue no soda for another month
cut down on SUGAR!!! That's going to be a big one...and difficult as Easter candy in my favorite of all holidays.

But, I'll try...and that's all I can ask of myself.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 28, 2010

Well, we made the end of February even without that one extra day that would have made it a leap year. Today the Olympic hockey team (featuring a player from Cherry Hill, NJ) received the silver medal losing in overtime to Canada, but what an extraordinary game those young men played. Today my mom's computer went old one that I think I had for about five years and she's had for three. She never learned how to back things up, so I'm hoping we can at least save the word documents she has. Lucky enough to have another lap top I set up for her, but now need to set up the printer as well. Today is Sunday, and hopefully, we will get back into a routine of school and good eating starting tomorrow. Four days off just sets off every "if it's a snow day, let's eat whatever" attitude. Today is the day I finished another month of my 365 photos...a record for anything after this is such a bonus. Today is the day that marks two months without soda of any kind. A good thing.

And, today is the day I notice my bulbs starting to come up. Through the mud, through the snow, these resilient little plants are poking their stems up through the ground. THEY know spring is coming... I just hope someone has told Mother Nature that message as well.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February 27, 2010

The world waited and watched today as an 8.8 earthquake in Chilie caused what could have been a devastating tsunami in Hawaii this afternoon. The hour of the predicted tsunami on the Hilo coast as well as in Oahu, came and went and, although thousands were evacuated from low lying areas, no harm came to anyone. The Hawaiian people practice this drill again and again like we practice fire drills. Last summer we visited the Tsunami Museum and saw the devastation the last one brought the island. I was so happy that they were spared this time.

Breaking away from a day of news and Olympics, I went to see the local high school production of The Wizard of Oz to see if I could get any ideas for my own production in April. The kids did a nice job and I did come away with some staging tips, but I have to say our Dorothys (we have two) are almost as good as theirs and our lion is JUST as good. I look forward to working with the kids again this week. But, no matter how good or bad the shows are, drama is something that is just so good for kids. It gives kids an outlet other than sports where they can feel accepted and have fun. For those who ARE good in sports and participate in a show, it fosters more team work and acceptance of others. I won't think about cutting anyone from our just isn't right. When our schools work on having students of all levels succeed, why would we even think of cutting a child from an activity. Just a thought.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

I don't know if it's because we had another snow day today or the Flower Show is opening in Philadelphia next week, but when I was in the Christmas Tree Shop today and saw these I just had to buy them. It gives me hope that spring is on the way. I immediately planted the basil kit (on the left) and inserted a water bulb (I'm notorious for forgetting to water). The other things will be put away until I am sure they are finished with the construction in my yard. Phlox is the ONLY thing that ever grew in my front and I'm not sure how much construction, mud, and snow has ruined what I already have.

It's not that I don't love winter...truth be told I do, and if we had a few more snow storms in March, I won't be upset, but once Easter comes, that's it. It's spring time for me which means a new beginning, an awakening. And maybe, just maybe, some of these plants will actually make it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25, 2010

Winter February 2010: "snow"

This isn't actually a photo but it is a video. To see it, clic on the words, Winter February above. It was processed on flixtime, a new program I learned about on Plurk. Good thing, too, because I am a bit concerned that I can't find my external drive right now...I mean the computer isn't reading it. I hope to take my own advice and reboot to help it be rediscovered.

Today we had a snow day...a bad call on the district's part as it didn't even stick to the ground, but it gave me time to discover this program. Now it IS snowing and sticking and the wind is howling. SO tomorrow is up in the air. Next week we have an in-service, so that would mean another four day week. And February isn't even over yet!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010

The phone rang in my classroom just as we were finishing up reading. "There's a guy who is going to put a hammer through your wall," my mom informed me. Just what someone wants to hear with nineteen kids getting ready to go to gym.

"Give me five minutes," I begged. "Let me call you back."

The outside of my house is being sided...not resided as this community was not sided to begin with, so for the past few months we have put up with reconstruction on the outside. On the inside of my house, there is a wall bowing out. It's in the stairway, leading to the second floor, and has a cathedral ceiling. I didn't know if it was structural or termites, but the management company was sending someone over to find out, but if someone is going to put a hole in that wall to find out WHY, that means replastering and hiring someone to repaint that wall. It's not that this is the first time I have complained about this, but it's the first time the managment company has sent someone over to see it. Of course it's during the construction time OUTSIDE the house as well.

What I liked about this was that my mom is such a great person. She had the tough and rough construction guys eating out of her hands. They are going to have to repair and repaint at their expense. What I like even better....I don't have to deal with it. What I LOVE about it is that my parents are there to help me out. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23, 2010

I love zwieback crackers, or toast, or whatever the classification is. When Nabisco stopped making it earlier this year (the one you find in the baby aisle), I wrote to the company but didn't get a response. Last week I went to the Christmas Tree Store and they had this type, which was cheaper and just as good. I don't know, there's just something about this crunchy toast paired with cheese or tuna fish that is so good. I'm sure the next time I go to to the CTS, these will be gone and I'll start my hunt again, but for now, they are a good substitute.

Monday, February 22, 2010

February 22, 2010

100 days ago nineteen students walked into my room. We didn't know each other; they were a bit afraid of all the"scary"things they had heard about me. I was a bit apprehensive of the"second graders" I had heard about, plus this was my firs year in third grade without an assistant. Still 100 days later, we have made it into a tight knit group who care and protect each other. They have gone from "I don't know how to write cursive" to putting my handwriting to shame." They have gone from not using a computer to begging to get the mobile lab every day. There have been tears, fears, some let downs on both sides, but still each day these amazing students come back. Day after day. I walk into the room and their faces light up with a "Hi, Miss Kasse" like they are happy to see me. They tell me that I am intelligent, pretty (thank goodness for a nine year old eyes), and love to see me smiling at them each morning. I have pushed them farther than they or I thought they could go. We have laughed at 100 jokes, cried at the loss of pets, grandparents, friends. I have met their amazing parents and marvel at the way we are all working towards the same goal...the best for their child.

Today we celebrated by each person bringing in 100 of "something" and distributing it to the rest of the class. Paper, paper clips, mints, Cherrios, even pasta were given out in our celebration.

100 days doesn't seem very long in the scheme of things (considering I've been teaching for more than 4, 500 days in my life), but even so, just the thought of only having this class for 80 more days brings a twinge of sadness to me. The one good thing is that they will be in fourth grade, and I'll get to see them for at least 360 days after they leave me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be part of the DEN (Discovery Education Network) team in Hershey, PA, to help where I could, sit in on a few sessions, and help present at 'recess'. My ride TO Hershey was fairly easy, although I did make a few wrong turns. I arrived before lunch and spent that with Patti and Meg, going to Fudruckers, a restaurant I haven't been to in a long time. After that we helped by stuffing folders, putting together name badges, and, along with lots of other dedicated DEN members, get the day ready for the session on Sunday. After that I tried to go to the bank across the street, but the ATM was out of money (?). Upon returning to the hotel, I lost my parking space and had to park in another lot. When I entered the hotel, I was totally lost for at least fifteen minutes, but have to say I got a good workout in walking the halls. After that, we were all treated to a wonderful dinner at the Lodge. What fun meeting new PA and NJ Leadership Council people and catching up with Matt M, Steve D and meeting Whitney, all DEN leaders. Turning in, although not really sleeping, knowing I had to be up at 6 in order to go to work at 7. Back to the conference room (which I swear was as far away as it could), I hope I was helpful setting up and meeting and greeting people for the the first session. I bought so much "stuff" that I decided to move my car during the first session which meant MORE walking, but this time after I packed the car, I moved it closer to the entrance. Back to a session, lunch, and to present at recess. Of course my laptop wasn't working to its fullest (it's old and I know I need a new one), but my netbook was in my car, so OUT to the car, again, about 1/4 mile away! Moved it closer this time. The netbook worked, recess was great. I loved talking to people and meeting new ones. Then I had a session about making videos with kids, which I already do, then to give out prizes and I actually WON a microsope (toy one but the kids will like it). Then it was time to leave. When I got to the car I realized I couldn't find my phone. Back into the hotel (more walking) and no one had seen it. Robin helped by going to my car to see if it was there, and of course it was, inside the cover for the netbook. Sigh...I was exhausted. Luckily, the drive home was so easy (three roads to get home from Hershey!), no traffic and I was home before it was too dark. A quick shower, checked things here, and I'm ready to bed. I won't find a kiss on my pillow, but I sure will have "sweet" dreams.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February 20, 2010

If it's February it must be HERSHEY time...and so it is...Discovery's FREE pre-conference before PETE&C, the technology convention for educators from PA. I'm an interloper, being from NJ but as part of the Leadership Council if I can help, I do, so this time I can help by setting up and presenting at a recess session. I pay my own hotel room, but it's a fun way to reconnect with friends and people I have met over the years in Silver Spring, MD. It's also very nice of Matt M and the gang to invited us out to dinner at the Hershey Lodge, which is where I was tonight. Last year was my first year and that was my first chocolate martini so to celebrate the anniversary, I did it again. But the food and drink were secondary to the lively conversation, magic tricks and even a little fire that went on. So, even though I give of myself this weekend, I also get a whole lot back.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010

I knew it as soon as the words were out of my mouth. "Kids, bring your notebooks over to the rug so we can start reading." I looked up to see nine students bringing their laptops to the reading area. No this is not what I meant, I they always remind say binders...but these kids were doing research and just figured I wanted to see what they had already added to their sites. I laughed to myself thinking I wish my principal could see this. She's always saying the kids are too young to do these things (they are in third grade). Little does she know one of my students was bored last night so he made a power point presentation of the biography he was writing for Black History month. Another sent his script to me through the school e-mails.
"If you save it to the S drive, Miss Kasse, I can then copy and save it to my H drive." Nine years old. NINE! They have talks about technology all the time. They e-mail, they word process, they audio record, they ARE the "T" generation (technology) Even though they are still learning their times tables, learning to write in cursive (because their teacher is a dinosaur and proud of it), these kids are not only digital natives, they are the digital babies born of this generation. And I am proud to be their teacher guiding them along the way.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010

There's a difference between reading about the tragedy that happened in Haiti and LIVING that tragedy. Mr. Mayer, parent of my third grade student, Christina, LIVED it in a way very few of us can. Mr. Mayer came to school today to tell us of his experience working as a coordinator of the rescue mission in Haiti. Traveling to Georgia on his first leg, he was getting ready to coordinate the teams who work with the Red Cross and the United Nations. After leaving Georgia, by a small plane, they headed for Port au Prince. In flight, the plane took a nosedive, sending a flight attendant to the ceiling and oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling. A quick detour to Turks Caicos set the plane down safely and people regained their nerve. That was just the beginning as his team finally landed in Haiti just two days after the devastating earthquake.

Put to work quickly, tents were erected, supplies were organized, and even the boy and girl scouts of the island came together to do what they could. Looting, crime, mayhem as food and medicines got to people. Young children dying who could NOT get medicine fast enough. Young children being kidnapped by those who take advantage of such situations and the and girl trafficing happening before it could be stopped...but was, the reason why the ten people were arrested so quickly although they were NOT part of the "other" group.

Mr. Mayer was gone from Christina and his family for three weeks, but in those three weeks, he made a difference. Something everyone can do each day of their lives...if they care like Mr. Mayer does.