Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

What a fun day! It started with the students bringing in their traps. They were so creative. We had an exciting morning making Leprechauns and rainbows. The students even had a chance to try some harder math activities for fun and they graphed Lucky Charms. At lunch time we set our traps and hoped to catch a pesky Leprechaun. When we returned from lunch we discovered that no one caught one but our room was a mess. They over turned shelves and the rocking chair. They threw paper everywhere. They even used our restroom with out flushing the toilet. Yuk! They did leave us gold chocolate coins. Later when Mrs. Ellis was reading a book we spotted the Leprechaun outside our window. With all of our yelling, I think we scared him away. By the end of the day we were tired yet excited about our St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3-D Shapes

Geoblocks are a special set of three-dimensional wooden blocks. There are five kinds of shapes in a Geoblock set. Rectangular Prisms, Square Prisms, Cubes, Triangular Prisms and Pyramids are the three-dimensional shapes the set includes. One reason we use Geoblocks in Kindergarten is that it is important for students to work with three-dimensional materials and see the relationship between three- and two- dimensional shapes. Most kindergartners love to build with these blocks; they build towers, towns, roads, ramps, bridges, and many other things. During this building time, they intuitively learn many characteristics of the blocks. During Math Workshop, the students were encouraged and challenged to build with Geoblocks. Look at the amazing designs they came up with.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Traveling Chet

Wow has Chet been busy. We decided since he has been many places and Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. Cothern have fallen behind on post, to combine a few.

5 Christmas's, 5 sets of grandparents, 40 hours of driving and 10 days of traveling- Chet had a lot of fun and saw a lot of present opening! He had a great time with Z. Wow what a Winter Break

I had a great weekend a few weeks ago as I got to go away with my friend C.
to a place called Siesta Key, Florida. We had so much fun together. We
went to the beach and Siesta Key Beach was voted to have the finest sand in
the world, and a crafts fair, Outback steak house for dinner one night, and
fishing everyday. We caught lots of different kinds of fish like, red
snapper, perch, sheep head, and even a skate and a stingray. I even had
family with me as C.'s sister E. had her Chet's bear from her class with
her too. thanks for a great weekend.

I also had a fabulous trip to Disney World with C. It was so much fun seeing the characters and riding the rides. My favorite activity I did with her was going on the Pirate ride. I can't wait to go back soon.

Over Valentine's Day, L. took Chet to Charleston, SC and visited several historic sites, as well as relatives. She took Chet to Fort Moultrie, which has suffered numerous attacks and updates throughout history and originally dated back to 1776. It was very interesting and Chet loved seeing cannonballs up close and personal. In addition, Chet was amazed by all of the historic homes on the Battery as well as Rainbow Row. At the market, Chet got to see historic basket weavers. This was very special because the basket weavers gave L. and Chet some seagrass to take to school and share with all of their Chets Creek friends. L. and Chet enjoyed visiting Charleston and had a fantastic trip.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Is 50th Good Enough

“The right action of all of us is made up of the right action of each one of us. Unless each of us is determined to meet the duty that comes to us, we can have no right to expect that others will meet the duties that come to them.”

~ Calvin Coolidge

No one can deny that we are living in trying times. All around the country, our friends, relatives and acquaintances are suffering. On Monday, your friend was laid off. Last Friday, you heard about your relatives living without power and water as their homes are buried in ice. Two weeks ago, your neighbor left with his unit for a tour in Iraq. Your spouse is worried about their job security. Discount stores are advertising entire store clearance sales. We are all hurting in some way. If we are not yet hurting, we are just waiting for it to trickle down to our house, our job, our bank account. We know it is coming.

Your child’s school is not immune.

Duval County expects to suffer from a $150 million budget deficit for the 2009-2010 academic year. All the facts tell us there is NO WAY to “trim the fat” and balance this budget crisis without affecting the classroom. In short, your child's school will suffer.

Guidance and Media services could be reduced!
Valuable resources like Art, Music and PE may be cut!
Essential supplies and materials could disappear altogether!

It is important to understand that this problem, this CRISIS, is not limited to Duval County alone. This fiscal crisis is statewide. The state of Florida was ranked 47th out of 50 states in tax revenue prior to the passing of Amendment One, which served to further reduce our state taxes. Regarding the total amount of funds allocated and spent on education, the state of Florida is ranked 50th in the nation. I ask you, does this represent your priorities? I doubt it.

Article IX, Section I of the Florida Constitution guarantees that:

"The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida."

"It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for … a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …."

Are our legislators upholding the requirements of our state constitution?

As voters, we share a heavy burden. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate facts. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to act.
It is our responsibility to advocate for our children. It is our responsibility to fight for their rights, for today and for their future. If not us, then who? If we do not meet our duties, we cannot expect others to meet theirs.

I urge you. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. Go to the source. Ask questions. Speak out. Make demands. Do not accept it as fact because others believe it to be true.

Ask yourself, is 50th good enough for your child?

If the answer is NO - contact our state's legislative delegation and ask for immediate help from one of these short term solutions:

1. One cent increase to the sales tax of Florida for just 3 years. It generates ten billion dollars over 3 years to plug the education funding cuts!

2. Please give flexibility to the school districts in the areas of categoricals, (SAI, Class Size, Instruction Materials, Reading, Safe Schools).

3. Please suspend unfunded mandates on the districts. (Examples: Transportation, Testing & Curriculum Requirements, Safety Nets, and Staffing Requirements.)

4. Please give flexibility of capital funds—so they can be used for General Revenue.

Ask them to find long term solutions to the critical funding situation in Florida and urge them to make public education a priority so that even our children's children can benefit from a right guaranteed them by our state constitution!