Six Sentence Monday: Entry #8

There are so many thoughts duking it out for acknowledgement in my head. It’s almost overwhelming. I am thinking about how to maximize the education my children receive, and how to make sure I am spending enough quality time with my aging parents. Also, I am considering my options as I look to re-enter the workforce, prepare to sell an old car, and schedule time with friends. Then, there is the upcoming weekend schedule. As we near Halloween there is much to ponder: costumes, decorations, candy, class parties, pre-holiday fun, and the best route for trick-o-treating this year.

Previous Six Sentence Posts …

Six Sentence Thursday Special

Six Sentence Monday Entry 6

Six Sentence Monday Entry 5

Feeling the End-of-School Vibe

Despite my rantings on here, I am a bit stoked to admit there are only four point five days until my children break loose from school for summer vacation. I am not immune to feeling the end-of-school vibe, which started beating through the entire neighborhood at the beginning of May.

What about you? I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia. First, I watched a live production of Xanadu last Saturday, which took me back to the early years of the K-12 education. Then, Rock of Ages trailers have been playing on television all week. The soundtrack to this film contains many fave hits from my junior high and high school days. Finally, our neighbors — who live two houses down — have a son graduating from high school this week. There are quite a few of his friends celebrating their accomplishment with him this evening. Hearing all the shouts, laughter, and cars zooming around brings back a gazillion memories of the same from 23 years ago.

Thanking My Lucky School Stars

Riff’s teacher uses a star system to help students in her class learn accountability for their behavior at school. He is five (5) and is in a special education preschool classroom due to global development delays. Since January, his teacher and I have been collaborating on how to minimize some of Riff’s problem behaviors. This collaboration was prompted from work Riff and I have been doing with a behavior therapist at Beaumont’s Center for Human Development in Berkley, Mich.

Last night, Riff’s older sister, Issa, stepped in with her own helpful idea: playing school. She took it upon herself to take a look at Riff’s daily behavior chart, which tracks his progress through the five segments of his day: table time, circle time, snack time, book time and free choice.

Don’t get me wrong. I assess his daily behavior charts as well; and keep in touch with Riff’s teacher on an almost daily basis. But, sometimes, I believe Riff relates better to his big sister. Instead of being the drill sergeant I can be, she pretended to be Riff’s teacher for the evening. I believed Riff viewed this after-school lesson as fun; not work. Hopefully, fun with sister translates into a five-star day today.

Related previous posts …

Defiance Test (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

The Journey Continues (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

A Mom’s Spirited Journey (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

Life on Friday: A Snarl Unleashed (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

Literacy For All Minds

In order to develop my own writing capabilities and to better explore literary genres, I read; or at least I try. Sometimes my daily reading is limited to elementary-level readers and picture books. But, hey,  developing a love for literacy in young minds counts for something, doesn’t it?

Anyway, Issa’s teacher has a literacy program called Book It, which I love. In collaboration with all the second-grade classrooms, Issa’s teacher uses the program to help parents and students explore literary genres, together, and to help students build a love for reading. At the conclusion of each month, students submit a book report on what they read. This month we’re reading about Ireland and about how my grandmother’s great grandparents migrated to Oceola Township, Michigan from Ireland’s Fermanagh and Westmeath counties in the mid-1800s.

Like my daughter, I consider myself to be a student; and use various forms of literature as a component to improve my knowledge of various subjects as well as writing itself. Also, I enjoy having the opportunity to chat with successful authors about their professional journeys.

Therefore, I am introducing, Book It, a spin on Issa’s school literacy program and a new blog category. It will contain book reviews. My first will be on Kate Policani’s, The Lustre.   She is a new blogging friend I admire; and she put me on her list to be a part of her virtual launch party, which includes a chance to review the story before it is released to the public. I’m busy putting up party decorations to help all of you get into the frenzy. I’ll let you know when my Book It party room is ready for all of you to have a look at The Lustre.

What I Meant to Write: Yesterday’s Post

I meant to write this post yesterday. But, then I cleaned the house during the morning hours. My five-year-old, son, Riff, was willing to help me make beds, sweep the floor and vacuum. So, how could I not oblige him. I take help when I have it.

Then, morning turned into afternoon. Riff got on the bus for school. I managed to write the title for my post, What I Learned Today. Also, I scanned the Internet looking for some stuff to learn. Did you learn anything, yesterday?  I did.

A woman filed a claim against Starwood Hotels. She was allegedly, sexually assaulted while staying at one of the hotel’s properties in Finland. The commentary following articles about this lawsuit are as interesting as the story itself. I have never been impressed during any of my stays at their hotels.

But, instead of writing, I walked the dog, ate second lunch, read a few pages from John Sallis‘ What You Have Left: The Turner Trilogy on my Kindle, and shared some love with Your Shape on my XBox.

Afternoon turned into evening. Issa and Riff were both home from school now. My duties now involved officiating television time, playing games online, making dinner and getting ready for an evening meeting at church.

For the record, I did not play Angry Bird. The games I played were for educational purposes at this fun and excellent website, http://www.starfall.com. I learned it has reading- and language-skill games to help elementary-age children improve literacy. I was nicely pleased to see Issa spend about 30 minutes playing around here as well.

Then, you know what happened? Afternoon turned into evening; and then evening into night. I came home from my meeting at eight and waited to claim the television from my husband.

While waiting I learned Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire GOP primary, but with only 39.3-percent of the vote. Also, David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is getting positive press. Friends from my blogging and neighborhood networks all say its better than expected. My husband and I have a date night scheduled for Saturday, which may include a movie. I’m trying to decide between this one and Sherlock Holmes.

After claiming the television I watched a couple on-demand episodes of Once Upon a Time, ABC’s new show about fairy-tale characters caught in limbo between reality and fantasy. I re-learned about characters such as Snow White, Prince Charming, and Rumpelstiltskin.

So, what I meant to write yesterday at 9, didn’t happen until now. Stay tuned for today’s post…

Girlfriends, Chocolate Martinis, Education and Bingo

Last Thursday, I took a much-needed break. I left my hubby in charge of putting the kiddos to bed, abandoned my NaNoWriMo characters on some beach near Jakarta, and squealed my tires as I zoomed off to catch up with two girlfriends.

My two girlfriends and I met at Nick’s 22nd Street Steakhouse, in Shelby Township, Mich., which I’m going to plug. Not only did they take good care of us there, martinis are half-off on Thursday nights. Regular price is $7.50. You do the math.

While I slurped down two chocolate martinis,  my girlfriends caught me up on family matters, tempered my enthusiasm for running in the Freeze Your Fanny 5k in January (so far I have no takers – not good), said I was insane for trying to run a mile in five minutes on my elliptical, and gave me their viewpoints on our crumbling national education system.

Our elementary-school-aged children are students in the highly-acclaimed, Utica Community Schools, the second largest district in Michigan.  As we discussed various triumphs and challenges in relating to school personnel, we turned our conversation to the No Child Left Behind policies as well as a special education millage that was voted down November 8.

The conversation left me with a different opinion about the No Child Left Behind legislature. While I agree with giving children equal access to a competitive education experience, I do not agree with lowering the standards our students are expected to meet. I believe our standards need to be set higher. Resources need to be committed to helping children achieve at those higher standards. Otherwise, our students will continue to lag behind those receiving their educations elsewhere.

Where does Bingo fit in? The PTO at my daughter’s school organized Bingo for last Friday. Approximately 100 students — including my daughter — bought tickets to play. Once play was underway, it was pandemonium. You would have thought we were at the Eisenhower Eagles football regional playoffs in Walled Lake, which we really were in spirit. Our school’s physicial education teachers called numbers for the game and kept us updated on the Ike game score. The commitment all parents have to the ensuring our students receive a high-quality education that prepares them for our competitive global economy is truly appreciated.

Bathroom Science Talk

My daughter, Issa (8), loves science. Currently, her primary topic of interest is space. Dinosaurs, snakes, grasshoppers and weather also rank in the top five slots.

Last week the Detroit Science Center succumbed to the economic woes our entire nation continues to face; and temporarily closed its doors. Here is the impact economic peril is having on young minds in my home.

Before school as Issa brushed her teeth she said…

“I am so sad about the Detroit Science Center closing. Just think about how dark and lonely it must feel without anyone there to watch the shows [in the planetarium].”

I said…

“I am sad it closed, too. I know how much you really enjoyed visiting with Grandma and Papa.”

She said…

“I might have dreams about it closing. I hope Cranbrook stays open.”

I said…

“Me, too. All of these museums need money.”

She said…

Well, the next time the Tooth Fairy visits, I’ll give the Detroit Science Center the money I get for my teeth.

Tears started to form in my eyes. I was speechless. Here, a young lady under the age of 10 appreciates the learning opportunities all of us (i.e. children, adults, teachers, students, residents, visitors, Detroiters, suburbanites, etc.) will miss if institutions such as the Detroit Science Center close temporarily or indefinitely.

Related links:

Detroit Science Center closing — at least for now

Will the Detroit Science Center Close for Good?

Life Replays: Remembering 2nd Grade

Last night I attended Open House at Issa’s school. She began second grade, Tuesday. My second-grade year began 32 years ago at North Hill Elementary, which is in the Rochester Community Schools District and to the west of where I currently reside.

What has me recalling those days when I was nearly eight? Issa’s teacher asked parents to recall and share two different memories — favorite subject and favorite memory– from second grade. We didn’t have to speak in front of a classroom full of peer parents. Whew! But, we did write these memories — in marker —  on big, yellow sheets of paper plastered to dry-erase boards at the front of the classroom. So, the teacher has us all on record.

Fave Subject in 2nd Grade

Remember that shopping mall scene in A Christmas Story? Ralphie waits in Santa’s lap line for hours. He wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas; and Santa is his go-to-man for making his dream reality. When it’s his turn, his mind goes blank. This happened to me as I approached one of the big, yellow sheet on the dry-erase board. I settled on a subject and and stepped forward to write. Then, I froze. What was my favorite subject in 2nd grade? That was ions ago. It certainly wasn’t math. Yuck! Science bored me. The pressure was on to remember. I had to write something. So, like Ralphie, I went with the first subject that came to mind; spelling. I was and am a strong speller. But, my fave subject was and is writing.

Fave Memory

This one was easier to recall and share. In fact, I was delighted to admit my fave memory is one Issa will appreciate and relate to. My favorite memory was taking an afternoon field trip in the spring to a pond at a church that neighbored my school. I attended this church growing up. Our mission that day was to catch toads, frogs, salamanders or any other creature that resided in the pond. So, there we were with nets, buckets and other items necessary for making successful captures. We were going to take our finds back to the classroom for further study and examination. Science is Issa’s favorite subject; and she very much enjoys learning all she can about amphibians, reptiles and insects. We are regulars at several local nature centers and at our neighborhood pond.

Check this out. Two years ago, a former second-grade classmate shared our class composite on Facebook. Now, I am sharing it with you. Can you guess which one is me?

kateschannel -- Kate -- Aug. 27

Related posts and

Beginnings

My Year in School

links to blogging friend posts about school . . .

The Phrase BFF Is Not Necessarily A Girl’s Best Friend

Top 10 Things A Parent Should Know Before the First Day of (Pre) School

Beginnings

Well, here I am. The first day of school year 2011-2012 is done. It is history. Issa made it her bus stop, school and classroom on time. The morning was absent of the usual household drama about eating breakfast, getting dressed, finding shoes, or loading the backpack.

How do you feel as a new school year begins? I feel excitement, hope, motivation, apprehension and wistfulness. These emotions are similar to those I feel when a new calendar year begins. The only difference is those I am experiencing this morning are not induced by too much champagne.

Excitement. I woke without the aid of an alarm, downed two venti-size cups of coffee and showered all before 6:o0 am. This prompt, orderly, readiness for each school day will fade in about six weeks and will be replaced with missed alarms, cold coffee and sporadic showering.

Hope. Beginnings such as a new school or calendar year are all about opportunities and possibilities. All missteps, grievances, grudges, bad report cards, teacher notes and calls from school are all forgotten or put aside. Each student — including my own — are on equal footing today. Anything is possible. The same is true as new calendar years begin. I am a positive-thinker. I envision success. As the school and calendar year continues, my hope does not fade. It is constant and it is forever.

Motivation. When I enter a new situation — such as a new school year — my energy level kicks up a notch. Ambition propels me to volunteer in the classroom, host play dates, cook fabulous dinners, and sign up for after-school enrichment classes. As the freshness of each school year fades, I lapse into a more comfortable rhythm. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t succumb to laziness, serve Twinkies for dinner, slip up on deadlines or let others down. But, I think less about impressing others; and set goals that are more realistic for myself and my family.

Apprehension. The word “new” says it all. New school year, new teacher, new schedules, new friends, new lessons, etc., etc. There are feelings of unease because so much is unknown. I am unfamiliar with Issa’s teacher and schedule; and I am unsure of how Issa will respond to challenges and pressures this academic year.

Wistfulness. Time flies. As it does, my children and I continue to mature. We live, have invaluable experiences, and learn. While I would not hinder progress, I sometimes wish for power to push a slow-motion or freeze-frame button on select life scenes. Every moment experienced with my children is unique and unrepeatable. The first day of the 2011-2012 is done and over with. It is history.