Veterans’ Day 2016

Our school knows how to do things right. 🙂   And Veterans’ Day is one of those things that we do that has quickly become a day we look forward to celebrating together with our friends, family and honored guests.

Let me share our day with you. 🙂

First of all, here’s the first grade portion of the program.

Aren’t we a handsome bunch of kiddos?

We’re talented, too. 🙂  Here’s our Veterans’ Day song:

Before we sang, there were some tributes to our honored first grade guests.  It was pretty special. 🙂

Lastly in the program, some Robinson friends (including our RM. 202 friend Kaiden!) read the official Veterans’ Day proclamation:

Now…in case you wanted to see the entire program, it was live-streamed on Periscope and can be viewed in its entirety at these links: Part 1 and Part 2.  Also, Mrs. Sisul has updated Robinson’s Facebook page with pics from the day.  Check it out here.

Another amazing and thoughtful day spent celebrating some really important people and appreciating the freedoms and opportunities we have in America!  Great job, Rm. 202!

Who’s in YOUR Village?

I don’t even remember when I first heard that saying “It takes a village…,” but goodness knows I live it and breathe it in so many ways at this point in my life.  Whether that means my personal life at home with kids or my professional life at school with my other kids (which is what this post is about), I could definitely not do it all alone.

So when I read someone else’s post a few months ago, it got me asking and answering that question “Who’s in YOUR village?” for myself.  And this is my answer.  At least for this season of life. 🙂

And so a few words for the few that help make my school life bearable and even fun!

1.) My hubby

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Ok, so there’s about a thousand things I could say about why I love this guy and how he helps make my life possible, but two of the biggest reasons are that he gets me and he gets my job. We’ve been together (between dating and being married) for 23 years and it’s been super amazing how we’ve both grown over the years into new and different people, but have grown in the same direction.  I love that he gets my weird moods and what that “thinking face” I make means, and how he knows just when I need him to bring me a Diet Dr. Pepper (and he does this without being asked–love it!).  Also, he’s a teacher, so while there’s WAY too much shop talk at our house, he can TOTALLY relate to lesson plans, report cards, parent conferences (from both sides now!), how the school week really starts (and the weekend really ends! :() on Sunday about 5 when we have to start getting ready for school again, and that some times I just need to either 1) talk to NO ONE for a while when I get home or 2) talk to an ADULT and have a conversation with someone other than an 8YO.  Anyhow, he’s kind of a catch and I’m really lucky that he’s on my team. 🙂 Love you, Grant!

2.) My friends

It’s always to hard when you start to write a list, because two things usually happen: you leave someone/something off because you mean to, or you leave someone/something off inadvertently.  I’m not really sure which is worse, because especially when you’re listing friends (which, ok, doesn’t usually happen after high school) it seems harsh.  And now I’m going to write a list.  And hope that it doesn’t make anybody upset. Oh, and it’s in no specific order. 🙂

IMG_0143 2.JPGShannon–What can I say except God put her in my life at just the right time and the friendship that has blossomed in the last two years has been nothing short of amazing.  Besides being an amazing teacher, she’s kind, loving, understanding, funny and challenges me in a respectful way.  Shannon cares about me as a person as much as an educator and takes such interest in my life, regardless of the topic.  What’s important to me is important to her, too.  She understands that I might do things in a different way than everyone else (and she would sometimes, too!), that I have to think (often for a llloooonnnggg time) before I can answer with my opinion or ideas, and she accepts and love me for those things.  She has the most intense belief in her students as learners and works to make them better people when they leave her classroom (and I know this firsthand–she was my son’s teacher and he blossomed in her care!).  She inspires me to be a better teacher just by doing what she naturally does. It makes TOTAL sense that her last name is Appelbaum, because she truly does plant seeds and grow children.

Rachael–IMG_3020Yeah, I know that’s a picture of a dog.  It’s Rosie, actually, but it’s the only picture Rae would let me post of her.  Aside from that silliness, Rachael is a pretty fabulous person. 🙂  She also came into my life at a perfect time; after being an acquaintance for a very long time, our paths finally crossed on a teaching team.  We quickly found out we have much in common (and much that we don’t because she’s so much nicer, calmer, and more considerate than me, LOL), and that we get along really well.  One of my favorite things about her is how she loves on my kids; Allie and Riley love her bunches and love to spend time with her as much as I do.  She asks thoughtful questions, encourages at just the right time in the right way, and has probably the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She has a way of seeing such good and potential in people (little people, too!) and inspires me to be a better version of me.  It’s true when she says she’s for students.

3.) My team

1443305819373I still laugh about the story behind this picture.  It literally happened because as we were starting the day one morning someone said, “Hey, this is the first time we’ve all been in the same place together in a long time!” (Guess it had been a busy week!).  I said, “Well then grab a camera!” and of course, a selfie followed.  No, it’s not the best picture of any of us, but it speaks to a moment in time and for sure shows the joy that’s on our faces each day when we’re at school. No, every day is not perfect, but for sure we work through those rocky parts together.  This is my first year on this team, and it was well established before I came into it.  In many ways this scared me, as I am probably not what you’d call an “established” person; I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, make plans and change them, respond to the moment and see what happens–well at least at school I do. LOL  Instead of being scary, though, the organization, structure and flow of the way our team works has added so much to the way I teach and learn.  We each bring something different to the table (including unit plans for each subject that each one of us is responsible for creating and then sharing with everyone else), and there is always laughter when we’re together.  We’re different in many ways and that works so well.  I love Team Tuesday lunches, even though it took me until January to remember to have lunch there that day so I could join in; I love that someone else sends copies for me to the copy center because I don’t usually think that far ahead; I love that these ladies think so fondly of everyone at our school and send holiday cards to ALL of the support staff (I never knew 2nd grade did this!); I love that they understand and respect how I might not always be the first to follow the crowd.  I will get there eventually–usually–but might also put my own twist or spin on something and that is ok.  We care about each other, talk about many things other than school, and have each others’ backs.  That’s good for the soul. 🙂

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 4.) My kiddos (and their families!)

These are the friends I’m here for, after all, right?  These kiddos are perhaps some of the best little people I’ve met in a long time!  This is my first (well, and second since we’ve been together for 2 years) class of primary students for almost 10 years and they’ve been a breath of fresh air.  I had forgotten how eager young minds can be to learn new things, how they come into pretty much everything with zest and anticipation and I love how these learners are willing to try each new and kooky thing I suggest we do.  Even better than that, they have some super ideas of their own that I think they know and trust that I will in turn be willing to let them try.  We are truly a big, happy family (who sometimes bicker like siblings LOL), and we’re in this together.  And I can’t mention these amazing students without of course mentioning their families.  The support and love I get from them is unmatchable, and the way they help and support their kiddos is inspiring.  I am lucky.

5.) Robinson

As much as I have these few close people on my team to hold me up, I can truly do what I do because of WHERE I do it.  My school (because of our principal and the rest of the staff) is truly a magical place to work and play everyday.  It’s been my home for the last 16 years, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.  While the teachers have changed over the time I’ve been teaching there, the culture and “feel” of our school remains the same because our mission remains constant: we’re here for our kids and we are willing to do whatever it takes to help each and every one learn.  We care about kids–all of them and the whole child–and it shows.  There is always mention of how welcoming and warm our building is, and it’s definitely not because of the 1930s era heating system (I kid).  You can feel the warmth and love that resonates from all the people who work and learn inside the walls of 803 S. Couch.

So…who’s in YOUR village?

Video of the Day: May 28, 2015–BE THE CHANGE!!

I wasn’t even sure how to title this post, because it’s really not about me or even about the kids in Rm. 202.  It’s from May 28, for sure, but is more focused on the AMAZING work of Mrs. Puzzo and her 4th graders in Rm. 206.  They have worked pretty much the whole year with making a change in our school, our community, our world at large, after learning about social injustice.  The story is much longer than can be told here, but after reading A Friendship for Today (which actually took place in our school!), and learning more about situations closer to home (i.e. Ferguson), Rm. 206 kids wanted to do something.

I’m attaching the video they made (along with help from StLTV), as well as an invitation to you to help these friends be the change–as well as you!

First check out the video:

You can also check out what’s going on with this story on Facebook and Twitter. Get involved and please share this post with others!  Excited to see what happens when we all work together to be the change!

Pictures (and Video!) of the Day: May 22, 2015–SPRING SING EDITION!

Pics are all related to the Spring Sing today. 🙂   

Say Cheese!! Just before we went to get into our riser lines. Such a handsome bunch!! 🙂

C.J. have made selfies a tradition for special events lately. This one was too special not to share. :0

First Grade Selfie on the back to class after a successful Spring Sing!

And here’s the video: I would love to share both of the songs our amazing firsties sang, but I also wanted to enjoy it (rather than just watching through a tiny screen as I recorded it, you know?).  So here’s the first one: Down By the Bay.  And boy is it great!!  These kids are TALENTED!!

Picture of the Day: May 21, 2015

This was another day when I wasn’t at school, so my picture is related to after school instead. Ok, and I guess it’s really a logo, not a picture, but it’s this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 8.35.06 PMLast night was Robinson Night at the Magic House, and it was super fun!  I didn’t see a ton of kids there, but the ones that I did see (including my own!) had a great time!  Ok, and even though this little cutie pie is not a part of Rm. 202 officially, she is a part of me, so indulge me for a minute. Please?  It’s super cute. I promise. 🙂

Pictures of the Day–April 23, 2015

What a great day back with my friends in Rm. 202!  Besides being a BEAUTIFUL Thursday, we also enjoyed another Walker’s Club day, as well as A.C.E.S. Day, which is a Robinson favorite every Spring.  A.C.E.S. stands for All Children Exercising Simultaneously, and I found out today it’s a 15 year tradition at our school (which is actually almost as long as I’ve been teaching there–I hadn’t realized it started at the same time!).  Here’s a pic from our fun today:

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Ok, so to be fair, it’s not actually from our festivities, but is inspired by them. Sara got to participate in Mrs. Clark’s A.C.E.S. Day routine to the song “Jump” and got some pretty great glasses as a result. Awesome, right? 🙂

For more on how Robinson can shake their booties, have a lot of fun and be healthy, check out teh link to our Facebook page here.  There’s a video and a TON of pictures to enjoy!  I was too busy moving and grooving I didn’t get ANYTHING to share.  Unbelieveable, right?  Luckily pretty much EVERYONE else had a phone or a camera. 🙂

I have one more picture, and I guess actually it’s more a number than a picture, but it’s this:

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That’s our new Walker’s Club total for the April Competition.  I’m amazed and impressed with our steady work towards a goal of winning recess and popsicles (plus having fun and getting healthy!)!  Keep it up, Rm. 202 kids!

Pictures of the Day–April 17, 2015

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!! I wish I could share my amazing Spring weather with you (although obviously some of you are enjoying the same warm temps and sunshine as me….but for those of you that aren’t, here’s what I see outside my end of the school:1428698639931And then there are the other pictures I chose for today.  They all include big ‘ole smiles that show how happy a place Robinson is. Happy Friday!

This smile come from a SUPER example of how Peyton used one of Marla Frazee’s craft moves in his own writing: just like the pictures in Roller Coaster, he added a detail to his picture of Fredbird from his Cardinal story. It says, “The Cardinals won and Fredbird goes CRAZY” and his feathers are falling out because he’s so excited.  LOVE that he’s using the examples of authors we’re learning about–exactly what we’ve been talking about!

We were working on another text in interactive writing today, and I wasn’t going to include another picture of our MANY words we’ve been writing, but there was something about this cute face that changed my mind. Great work, Landen!

There’s not a lot I need to say about this picture except look at that great crown and that AMAZING first grade smile! Say cheese, Sara!

Remember how I said that Robinson is a happy place to be? Here are three more reasons why–my other two teammates Rachael and Rochelle, and the fact that people just show up and give you ice cream and say Happy Friday! What a treat on a beautiful day. 🙂 I LOVE MY JOB!!