Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back in the Game!

Oh, my...has it really been so long since my last post? I welcome my newest readers, and welcome back those of you who are still checking back, even though your child is now in second grade! :)
With the new school year comes the establishment of new routines. I'll admit, blog updates aren't on the top of my priority list, but I would like to experiment with this media more frequently this year than I did last year. I'm thinking to post about twice a month; that sounds like a feasible goal for the first "full" school year of blogging!
My students are getting used to routines, too. September is always the toughest month, in my opinion, because everything is new. Kids, parents, and yes, even teachers have many worries about the unknown school year that lies before them. After some time together, however, those concerns are traded for confidence; we all know each other better, and feel more comfortable in our shoes as parents, students, or teachers than we did at the beginning of the year. I'm hoping that this blog will serve as a "get to know me" vehicle, to help us all work better together, for the benefit of the kids.
This year, we started out with 5 hermit crabs, a beautiful betta fish ("Red Rocket"), and an unmentionable amount of red wiggler worms (yes, the Worm Composting Camp is doing extremely well!). I'm hoping to add more to our classroom critter menagerie soon this school year. Yesterday, I led the kids on an informational journey online, to research hedgehogs. Now all of us in the classroom are psyched to get our new classroom pet--even the teacher! :)
Our classroom will be growing Romaine lettuce again this year, with the hydroponic tub my husband built for me last year. Last May, our "Salad Party" was a huge hit! I couldn't believe so many 6- and 7-year olds would eat so much lettuce by their own free will! Ha ha! It was great to see them enjoying a healthy food that tends to get a bad rap from their age group. By the time that lettuce was harvested, the kids really developed an "ownership" of our little garden, and I think that was key to the salad party's success. The longest roots were over 30 inches long, which goes to show you can raise fantastic things in a hydroponic tub!
This school year, we will also be restoring some of our school property into the Oak Savannah Prairie that it was long before the Europeans arrived in North America. Over the summer, I attended a wonderful class, along with two kindergarten teacher friends of mine, and we've been granted a patch of 4,000 square feet to develop the land. Our Parent-Teacher Organization generously donated money so we could buy seed and other materials, and we're hoping to plant in October this year. I can't wait to see that area of land become a new habitat, on school grounds, for kids, teachers, and the whole community to explore and enjoy! :)
So, what other unique learning experiences are heading our way this year? Part of the thrill of teaching is that I don't always know the answer to that question! I'll keep you updated on our first grade adventures! Together, we are life-long learners; thanks for joining us in the ride!

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