Sunday, August 14, 2011

First Week of School

Wednesday was the first day of school!  YEP, earlier than my east coast friends (and, well, than most of America).  I was glad to get started though.  Green Valley is an innovation school, meaning because the school has not met the goals for testing set by the state, we were able to adopt brand new curricula and approach our school year differently.  We have a school year that is extended by 10 days and a school day extended by an hour each day.  I am thrilled to be on the Green Valley Dream Team as we work hard to bring about positive change so our children can succeed.

The first three days went great!  I did feel a big difference in a class size of 33 kids and counting, compared to my average 17 at Westside, though!  I also felt exhausted after normally getting out by 2:25 and now we stay until 4:00.  The afternoon is three hours long without a true break (other than brain and body breaks) which is .... well, LONG.  But I imagine time will fly once we get into the curriculum.   GVE has a lot of great teachers with high energy, and my fourth graders are really bright and mature, so it's easy to want to come to school every day!

A few pics of some the things in my classroom...

I may not have a SMART Board, but I have a projector, doc camera, macbook, and ipad.  I'll take it!

Sometimes I crack myself up.

Painter's tape schedule... note how LONG our day is... but it's for the better.

We added b'day cake glyphs on the second day of school which I forgot to take a pic of.

Team incentives--10 links earns prize box for the team.

My Eric Carle Grouchy Ladybug from Holly (Cookie, my other ladybug is on my ladybug table which was a blurry picture so I didn't post!)

A new way of taking attendance--kids remove clip with their # on it and add it to the bucket.  We shall see if this beats me taking 30 seconds just to call everyone's name, lol.

This was written on the back of a girl's paper when we were working on the Heart Maps activity (which I also forgot to take a picture of). 

Mrs. Sayre actually gave up control of writing the rules and let children do it/sign the agreement.  

All of the first day of school supplies.  Wow!

When asked what their #1 goal is for the school year, this is what I got from one kid.  
Me too, buddy, me too.

I totally think it's important for me to know that this student is, in fact, a football.

Will continue to post more... forgot to take a picture of the room as a whole, will do soon!

Mt. Evans

On Saturday, Jason, Zach (our friend who also moved here from VA right before we did), and I went for a hike on one of the famous "fourteeners" in the Rocky Mountains.  There are 54 mountain peeks above 14,000 elevation and they are a very popular place to visit on the weekends.  Jason and Zach have now completed eight of the 54, including the one they did with me yesterday.

The boys chose the HARDEST hike possible! (Okay, that's a lie, it was only a difficulty class 2 out of 5.)  But it was absolutely beautiful and once I have feeling in my feet again I'm sure I will think it was worth it.  The hike ending up being 11 miles round trip, with a total of about 3,300 feet elevation gain--in other words, straight up.

We began by trudging through willow bushes and deep mud in ice cold water (there was still frost on the ground and frozen puddles around us).  Then we basically climbed on big rocks and boulders to the top of the gully, passed through some grassy areas at the top, and then summited Mt. Evans by climbing over another, more challenging mass of boulders.  As you can imagine, going down was as hard as going up because we were constantly falling and scraping ourselves up!  That, in combination with the effects of the altitude changing at a dramatic rate made for a long hike, both ways!

All in all though, it was a memorable trip and Zach took some awesome pictures -- all of which are posted below. 

Jason and I heading out of one patch of willows and into the next.  Our legs are totally scratched up!

My shoe after being completely submerged in mud pits!  

 In the middle of this picture it looks like a rock slide--and that is literally what we hiked up!

Along the way we saw some columbine, which is the Colorado state flower.

 Mirror lakes at the foothills of the mountains.

The view from probably half way up the gully.

Rock cliffs.

 A darling pika!

 View of Sawtooth Mountain  and Mt. Bierstadt (one of the 14ers).

 Another view of Sawtooth (right) and Mt. Bierstadt (left). 

 At the summit of Mt. Evans there is an observatory and people can drive to the last part of the hike on the highest paved road in North America.

 The observatory (we were too exhausted to explore this area).

 Jason and I at the summit (it was freezing!)

 Jason and Zach at the summit.

A big thanks to Zach for the awesome pix!