Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crazy Days!

The last three days of school were half days and each had a crazy, fun theme.  The first was crazy sock day.

Reagan found these socks when we were in Concord visiting Orchard House.

The second theme was crazy hat day.  Reagan had this Olaf hat from Disney on Ice, and it was perfect.

The last day of school was crazy hair day, and Collin joined in the fun for this silly theme.

Our neighbor, Jacoby, came over every morning when his parents were working, and he had some crazy hair too.  They made crazy faces for me!
Hooray for silly, crazy days!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Louisa May Alcott - Third Grade Presentation

Each third grade student at North chose a famous Massachusetts person to learn about, and Reagan chose Louisa May Alcott.  She read a biography and wrote an essay and a timeline.  Reagan and I started reading Little Women about a month ago, but it is long and kind of slow moving, so it will probably take us all summer to finish the book.  I wish I had chosen the children's edition!  At the time, I figured that since I was reading it aloud, the original edition was best, but I didn't consider the old fashioned language when I made that decision!  Oh well, we are still enjoying it!

Reagan and I visited Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott to learn a little more about her. We both thought it was fascinating.

The above picture is a building where one of Alcott's father's schools was held.  He had a few different schools, and in one school he used the Bible to teach the children and some parents were very upset about that.

We could not take pictures inside the house and we were not allowed to touch anything.  It's amazing how much you want to touch something when someone tells you that it is not allowed!

Here are a few things we learned:
  • The four girls in Little Women were modeled after Louisa and her three sisters, and Orchard House is the setting of the book.
  • The Alcotts were incredibly deliberate parents.  They raised 4 solidly independent (amazing for this time period) and talented daughters who each thoroughly pursued her passions.   Anna was an actress, Lousia a writer, Beth a pianist, and May a very accomplished artist.  May had a studio and whenever anyone visited her, she insisted on drawing his or her portrait. Through technology, a lot of these portraits have been restored on the walls where they were drawn; I thought this was SO COOL!!!
  • Mr. Alcott built Louisa a desk for her writing.  At that time in history, most people thought women should not have their own desks!  She wrote Little Women on that desk in her room; it was very cool to see the actual desk where such an important literary work was written. She wrote part one in 6 weeks.
  • The Alcott children kept two journals.  One was a heart journal where they wrote the private workings of their hearts.  The other was a journal that their mother (and maybe father?) read and wrote responses in.  I love that idea.  
  • Louisa believed that you should run and play and do lots of housework in order to be a good writer.   
  • She wrote sometimes for 16 hours a day.  She taught herself to write with both her right and left hand so that she could just keep going.  Her pen couldn’t keep up with her thoughts most of the time. 
  • Mrs. Alcott came from privilege and money but gave it up to marry for love.  The Alcotts moved many times before finally settling in the Orchard House.  They were always struggling financially. Abigail worked to help support her family and found positions for her daughters to also work. Part of the reason Louisa wrote was to help support her family. 
  • Louisa had a “mood” pillow.  It was set different ways on the couch to indicate Louisa’s mood.  If it was one way then it was safe to talk to her, if it was turned the other way she was in a mood, or busy writing and was to be left alone.  
  • Louisa was a nurse in the Civil War, but she became ill and had to return home.
  • Louisa’s book titled Flower Fables is a collection of stories that Thoreau told her as he walked with her through the woods.  She had a huge crush on him. I think he helped the family purchase Orchard House by giving them the money they needed. 
  • The Alcotts were very involved in the suffrage movement.  Louisa and her mother went door to door encouraging women to register to vote.  In 1879, Louisa registered as the first woman to vote in the school committee election in Concord.
There was so much more and it was all so fascinating.  I'm happy we went!  After visiting Orchard house, Reagan and I ate lunch at Helen's on Main Street in Concord.

Later that day, I helped Reagan put together her trifold for the third grade presentation.

We could not take pictures inside Orchard House, so we bought a pack of postcards and used a few of them on the trifold.  The postcard on the left shows the desk where Louisa wrote and the picture on the right is the room where the Alcott sisters spent most of their time.

The third grade presentation was great.  They sang a few songs about Massachusetts and then we went to the classroom to see all of the trifolds.

Reagan chose this great shirt and pin (both purchased from the Orchard House gift shop) to put on over her dress for the trifold display portion of the third grade program.
She read us the essay she wrote about Alcott's life.

This was a great project.  We both learned so much, and I am looking forward to finishing Little Women soon.

Fifth Grade

Collin has enjoyed a month full of fun activities to celebrate the end of his time at North Elementary.  
There was the tile dedication:

Each fifth grade student makes a tile in art class, and the tiles are placed in the main hallway of the school.  This is Collin's tile:
Here is the wall where his tile is located:

This is Tyler's tile, and we look at it every time we walk in or out of the school:
I think it's awesome that the students remain part of the school after they have moved on.

Collin also enjoyed a roller skating field trip (I wasn't able to chaperone because it was the same day as Reagan's third grade performance), a slide show, the 5th grade Strings Tour, Step Up Day,

Step Up Day is a day when all of the fifth graders visit the middle school.  The North students wore these tee shirts:

and the Fifth Grade Awards Ceremony.  

The string orchestra played at the awards ceremony.

Collin received a completion certificate, a strings participation certificate, and an award in art.  Here he is receiving his completion certificate from the principal and his teacher.

The fifth graders also sang a few songs.  It was a very nice ceremony.

The final event was a luau that was held at the middle school for all of the fifth graders from the three elementary schools.

The apple stacking game proved to be very difficult; the kids had to stack four apples in one minute. There were a few other games too.  I worked the game table where each student had one minute to place a Nilla wafer cookie on his forehead and move it into his mouth without using his hands. Collin was able to do this in less than fifteen seconds!  I had fun working that table because the kids were so funny.

It's nice to see the students celebrated before they move on to the middle school.  Collin enjoyed all of the festivities.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

STEM Day 2015

I had the pleasure of finding presenters for both Collin's and Reagan's classes for STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering, & Math) Day this year, and luckily I know some amazing people who agreed to go to the school prepared with awesome presentations and activities.

Our friend Julia works for Raytheon, and she brought excellent coding and engineering activities to share with Collin's class.  Somehow I did not get any pictures of Julia, but I did get some pictures of the fun activities.
The above picture shows the class during one of the coding lessons.  Collin is on the right wearing a green shirt, and his face is behind his paper.

 The students made gliders and after flying them, they had an opportunity to reengineer them to make them fly greater distances.

Auntie Cyn and Uncle George are science teachers, and they visited Reagan's class with a fun, hands-on activity to teach the children about the reason for the seasons.
Reagan was summer in the above exercise.

Both classes were excited about the activities, and the event was a huge success.  I am so very thankful for the volunteers who made the day extra special for Collin and Reagan.

Tyler's Graduation Party

The day after graduation, Grandma Susan and Grandpa Jim hosted a party for Tyler.  The weather was beautiful, and we had a great time celebrating with family.

Tyler was surprised with a very special, extremely generous gift from Grandma and Grandpa.

 He was VERY excited!

I was happy to get pictures of Tyler with all of these very special people.

The accomplishments have been celebrated, and Tyler is looking forward to studying Fire Science at the community college.  In the meantime, he recently started working full time at a Ford dealership; he's a car salesman!  Tyler sold his first car last week, and it was a Mercedes!