Monday, January 31, 2011

Warming Them Up

So today I asked my 3rd and 4th graders how many knew Mrs. Schaa is going to China for the Flat Classroom hands....hmmmm....guess I need to communicate a bit better with the WHOLE school...At any rate, once I showed them MrsSchaa's Adventure in China blog and the 2 videos that I have posted about "how far" and "what" I am flying in, then came the questions...Will you come back? Wouldn't it be closer to fly west rather than east like you show in your video? (great question!) Will you bring us back some octopus to eat? were just a sprinkling of what came at me... after a brief description of Beijing, I asked them if we could make an S is for Stratford- an alphabet book about Stratford for me to take and give to kids that I meet when I'm there. They were agreeable to this. I told them that since we have such a different town than Beijing,  it is so unique that we need to share it with the world! After brainstorming for a bit, we have knocked out all but 3 letters of the alphabet...(Mrs. Schaa and a few other teachers are working on I, Z and Y) All the 3rd and 4th graders will do their artistic part and illustrate it, to give it that perfect child's touch...hoping we can broaden their horizons and maybe educate some other kids about what a wonderful little 'berg we have here in the center of Iowa!!
(photo courtesy of Flickr)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Tribute to Martha

For 26 years, I have been greeted by "Hey Lis, how's it goin'" in her soft gentle voice. I have laughed at her ridiculous jokes and  the funny faces she made at lunch. I have enjoyed her company at the local pizza place after a rough day at school, and watched with awe as she effortlessly sunk putts on the county golf course. She has calmed me down when we negotiated over salaries with the administration, seeming to know when to "caucus" as she could sense I "was about to blow."  I had to choke back giggles when we had to play the "naughty kids" for Positive Behavior Supports skits, as Martha was REALLY good at playing naughty. We commiserated about how things have changed for us as educators over the 26 years together, and laughed at the fact that WE are now the most "senior" teachers. She and I would catch up on our "students" who are now mothers or rock musicians or Navy Seals. You could say that Martha and I were TOTAL opposites in every way, shape and form. She was a calm, patient, cautious, teacher whose passion was science and the Iowa State Cyclones, me a wild, excitable, adventurous rule breaking University of Iowa art teacher. Yet we got along so well, complimenting each other. Martha did so many things as we are just a small "family" of teachers at our little elementary school.She organized the food drive, the homecoming float, the holiday meal scheduling, the membership for our local union, the spring olympics...there is so much more that she did and gave to us.......This is what I know- I learned  from Martha; to slow down, think it through, not be so impulsive, to be more patient, and wait for others to catch up....what will we do without Martha Simonson at our school? My heart is torn up over this tragedy..I know it will time.

Get Ready, Get Ready!

So I am trying to figure out how my trip to China for the Flat Classroom Conference can have the biggest impact on ALL 97 students at Stratford Elementary School in little tiny Stratford Iowa. After a visit with fellow cohort Cathy O.,  she gave me the idea of a video blog. Thanks Cathy O! I will leave a little video every night, for all the classes to look at in the morning when they come to school,  they can read my post, then post questions or comments for me. Makes perfect sense!  Since I tend to be "dork" anyway, my kids will love watching Mrs.Schaa try out squid or octopus, laughing at me the whole time, while learning a little bit about a culture they may never get to experience themselves.....hmmm many of these kids have never even been  in an airplane, and unfortunately may NEVER ride in an airplane, so I need to be their eyes and ears EVEN on the plane! So GET READY, I am going to blog about "Mrs. Schaa's Adventures in China"...Teachers are excited, kids are excited, Mrs. Schaa's Get Ready, Get Ready!