Category Archives: Education & School

Eager Reader

Eager Reader

1,620 minutes. That’s how long Warren read total during his school’s Eager Reader program that lasted over a month.

And he’s really gotten into it, too. Reading has not always come easily for him. He’s taken off in the last few months. You can often find him curled up on the couch with a book in hand. Most likely, it will be one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Sometimes we’d have to drag him away from his story to do something pesky like eat dinner. He hardly ever wanted to put the book down to be bothered.

We’re so grateful that he took this challenge seriously and worked hard to fit reading into his daily schedule. More than that, we’re grateful that he actually likes to read now. It’s inspiring others in our household to spend hours pouring over books, as well.

Reading on the couch

The End of 1st Grade

Warren is done with first grade. Just like that, it’s over.

It kills me to see the difference in his pictures between the first day of school and the last. He looks like an honest to goodness big kid now. Where is my little boy with the missing front teeth?

But what a great year he had! He learned many fun things over the past 9 months but his greatest accomplishment was learning how to read. It was harder than he wished, but he’s really come a long way.

He had the same teacher he had for kindergarten, which was a wonderful blessing. She was so good with him and he loved going to school everyday. We’ll miss you, Sonia! But hopefully you’ll see more of our kids grow and flourish in the years to come.

Goodbye, 1st grade. Hello, summer vacation!

Class Musical

Warren participated in his first theatrical production at school. It was the end-of-the-year project for his class. He played the “Recyclarian” as part of a quartet of “Friendly Neighborhood Helpers.” Musicals make the production more bearable at this age. Even when they mess up the words or sing off key, it’s still entertaining.

He had a solo. He worked incredibly hard on it. He sang out loud and sang out strong while practicing. Not as loud or strong during the actual performance, but definitely enough for all to hear.

He wanted me to attend every performance (two daytime ones for the other classes and one night performance for the parents) and so I did. I was proud to see him stand up there and conquer his fear of being in the spotlight.

He shined.

“I’m gonna be a recyclarian.
That’s what I’ll be,
you wait and see.

Gonna sift trash,
gonna save scrap!
Gonna keep this and reuse that.

Landfill is full,
more than enough!
Gonna be great recycling stuff.”

Move-a-thon 2012

The Move-a-thon is our school’s end of the year fundraising event. Warren ran last year and finished with 25 laps. This year he set the goal of running 30 times around.

He was determined and took his goal seriously.

He ran most of the entire 30 minutes time, only walking a few laps and stopping twice for water.

With 1 minute left to go, he kicked it into high gear and finished the event with 31 laps, just as the count down ended.

He met and exceeded his goal. Way to go, Renny!

{Thanks to those who supported him financially in this fundraiser!}

 

Squish, Splatter, and Roll

Maddie loves to do art. She can sit for long periods of time and color, draw, cut paper… these are skills that saved us on recent trips on the plane and in the car.

Our community has several preschool age classes that are offered through the City College for a nominal fee. My friend, Gina, has been taking her daughter, Sacha, to this particular class for some time and invited us to join them. I knew Maddie would have a great time with all the paint, playdough, and other messy media I’m always hesitant to pull out at home so I signed her up.

She loves it! It’s so fun to see her move from project to project enjoying each task. And true to her independent self, she wants to do all of it on her own. And usually she can. She’s such a big girl now. When she sits down at those little tables on one of those little chairs to work on a project she just seems so grown up.

Here is her very first, official painting. I forgot to ask her what the blue mass is but you know art can be interpreted so many ways. I’ll let you speculate on its meaning.

The class structure is great because Teacher Bonnie, with loooooooooong strawberry blonde hair, sets up several stations inside but still gives the kids opportunities to venture outside to do finger painting in shaving cream or just climb out on the playground equipment. Maddie always prefers to mix a little playground work with her art work.

I love that she has something of her very own to do. She’s excited every Wednesday to tell Renny that she is going to her class. She gets to take a snack with her and everything. She’s hit the big time now.

Kindergarten hardly seems far away at this point. *Sigh*

The Last Day of Kindergarten

I can hardly believe it, but Warren is done with his first year of formal education. Kindergarten came and went in an instant, it seems. Every cliche about how quickly time passes comes to mind as I realize how the rest of his school career will go from this point forward.

We could not have asked for a better experience for him this year. We have adored his teacher, Sonia, and have felt that he was able to grow and flourish thanks to this amazing educator and the wonderful school environment.

...

As an example of her dedication, every child in the class was given a moment to shine as she presented each with a list of things that she appreciates about him or her. This Appreciation Circle was followed by a bountiful class potluck with friends we’ve come to love throughout the year.

To celebrate the end of a successful year and the beginning of freedom and summer vacation, we took the family to The Elephant Bar where we could dine outside by the airport.

...

By far, the view of airplanes departing, landing, and being refueled outweighed the thrill of the food, except for the hot fudge sundaes at the end of the meal. Love those recognition award gift certificates.

As expected, Warren was feeling a little down by the end of the day. His tender heart always takes awhile to process the changes that come his way. He has a hard time saying goodbye to the things he loves. It just means that he has enjoyed the experience to the fullest. He went to sleep that night saying how much he was going to miss Sonia, his friends, and Kindergarten.

Only 80 days until he becomes a 1st grader. Is there any way to slow this train down?

Fiber Arts Show

Warren’s school is deeply committed to the arts. Several of his class projects have included designing and creating pieces of art that are actually quite attractive. In fact, I mean to frame them and hang in them in our home.

During the year they have also learned about fiber arts. They recently made felted balls and finger knitted pieces to create a sunflower. All were put on display at our local library. It was his first contribution to an art show.

We took pictures of the displays. He was a proud artist indeed.

...

Once the art show was finished, the children took home their work. As soon as the items were placed in his hand he turned them into weapons. A felted “bomb” and a sunflower “shield”  which he promptly used on his friend, Gio. Ah, boys.

...

Spring Chorus

...

Warren’s school is very much into the arts. It’s one of my favorite things about the education he’s receiving there.

For a whole month his kindergarten class practiced singing, “Do Re Mi” and “It’s a Small World,” to the accompaniment of the guitar. Then all classes, parents, and friends were invited to attend the performance put on by each grade.

Warren was prepared and knew the songs by heart. He wasn’t nervous at all to sing in front of the whole school. Hands in pockets and sweaty from running on the playground, he belted out the words with confidence.

All the choir performances were great. Especially since at least one child fell off the risers during each act. Priceless.

Move-a-thon

...

Warren’s school has an annual fundraising event: so many laps completed equals cash for the school. Not a Jog-a-thon, like some institutions, but a Move-a-thon because any movement (dancing, skipping, hoola hooping, etc.) around the track is considered an acceptable form of pledge fulfillment. They even get T-shirts. It’s a pretty big deal.

I was so proud of Warren. In 80 degree weather, he ran around the course the entire 30 minutes without complaining. He even smiled most of the time. He was bursting with excitement the night before, and through the morning of, and I think it carried him all the way through the event. He finished 25 laps– hands down the most he’s ever run.

I love his use of red bandana (periodically dipped in the ice bucket) and proper hand positioning throughout, both courtesy of Colin. And I love how sweaty he got. Boy, can that kid sweat.

Too bad all of the pledges he received were capped at $10 or he could of raked in some serious cash.