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Help Me Survive This...

That's what I was telling myself just yesterday. You see, back in October I signed on with a running/training group to train for the South Folsom Trail Run - 21 miles and almost 2,000 feet of climbing. I trained hard and was getting in great running shape. Then - I went to India. Not only did I not run in India, I sat a LOT. When I came back, I was very ill for almost 2 weeks and also did not run. Just last week I ran a total of about 12 miles...6 being my longest with two 3 mile days. Help. 

Then - my daughter let me know she and her husband were driving from Santa Barbara to cheer me on. Yikes! I told her I wasn't ready and couldn't run it. She said, "That's okay - we already made plans and are coming anyway." Even the night before I said I wouldn't go because it was supposed to be 35 degrees and rain. I woke up Saturday and -although it was cold- it wasn't raining and I decided to attempt the 13.5 mile run instead. In the meantime, Seth decided he would run a race downtown since I said I wasn't going to run and they went off to Sacramento.

At the half marathon turn around, I decided - "How bad can 8 more miles be?" I was feeling good so I decided to go for the 21. What was I thinking? It was pain.fullllll. At mile 15 my legs were both cramping, my back hurt, and I was exhausted. I decided I would bail. Then...my daughter texted, "How are you doing?" Augh. I called her back and let her know I was going to drop. She proceeded to talk me out of quitting ... urging me on and telling me I COULD do it. (I continued to argue that I couldn't.) As most of you know, she is a marathoner and she runs into the "wall" often. She told me to focus on each mile at a time...or the next hill at a time...or next few steps at a time...but to keep going. She then called back every 15 minutes to keep encouraging me. Yep - I finished with my last 2 miles running in hail! This reminds me of how much encouragement helps! 

This quote is up on our board right now. Seems fitting, doesn't it?

Do you know about the AMAZING event that is happening soon? The World Championship Twirling in Norway and GUESS WHAT? Our very own Olivia will be representing the United States! Yes, we are thrilled for her. Here is a great promo video to watch.  We are excited for you, Olivia!

This week students will be working on their Persuasive Speech! 
We will spend this week looking at a review of giving a speech including tone and posture as well as how to write a speech.  Students will not need to have a formal speech written, but they will need note cards. It should be fun!!

Testing Begins...

It's coming - MAP testing and CAASPP testing. How can you help?

1.  Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep each night and eats a healthy breakfast. A healthy body helps with a healthy mind!
2.  Remain positive.
3.  Be present.  Try to not make doctor appointments during this time. 

Because of all our testing, we will have some altered schedules at school. Next week we are also out at noon. Students will be testing 8:30-9:45. We will take a short break, then move on to history. Students will switch classes around 11:10. 

After spring break, we will start our 3rd unit in ELA - Dragonwings. We focus on writing with perspective. We will also begin CAASPP testing. Did you know your child can practice CAASPP tests? Visit HERE and click the green training button to sign in as a guest! Parents, this is a great way for you to see what the test is like, as well. 

Parents, please read the school email regarding student pick up and parking. It has important information!

Thanks and have a great week!

Back from India

Hello families!

Warning - this is a long post so wait to read it until you have a bit of spare time! I have just returned from 10 days in India. Okay - it was really 6 days with 4 travel days...and a lot of travel while I was there! 

Before I tell you all about India, I will let you know what else is going on in my life. The day I left, my son went in to have a procedure on his heart. He was born with congenital heart defects and this was a planned procedure. He chose the date and he didn't realize it was the day I was leaving for India. (He is 25 and married living in Auburn.)  There were complications and I didn't find out until yesterday, the date I arrived back to the US, that he had been placed in ICU. Long story short - he is in the hospital today having more heart surgery. (Update - he is out of surgery and healing.)

Now - on to my trip! I went with a group to work with kids in 4 different villages in Northern India. These villages are very, very poor. We had clinics of hand washing / sanitation and we also had stories and crafts, relays (games), and songs. 

Due to political instability in the region, we had to be very cautious with our travels. 

We had 4 days of visiting several villages. In one village, we were able to attend a project where they receive before and after school care as well as lunch. It was a joy to be able to meet the kids and spend time with them. We taught sanitation, hand washing, crafts, games, and songs. 

We ended our stay in Varanasi, home to Hinduism. We took a boat ride on the Ganges River at sunrise. The Ganges is a holy river to the Hindu religion. 

Cremation ceremonies. The ashes are put into the river. 

We walked around old Varanasi, accessible only by foot or boat. We even saw a snake charmer!

I have a bit more I could share - but due to high risk security and student appropriateness, I will not be blogging. I would be happy to share with parents in person if asked. I look forward to being with you again soon!

MLA Tools

Go Gators!

I admit...I am a very competitive person. We won our second rally with our awesome class spirit!! Woo hoo! Thank you to all our students who came out donning purple or orange! In our class we will celebrate February 16 (Jimison homeroom). 

Did you know we have a super talented art docent? Kudos to Mrs. Vierra - I love having her as my art docent! She does a spectacular job teaching our class about art basics. Our last lesson students drew bubbles. They continued to focus on light and reflection. I love how she even explained the difference between 2 types of pastels! Wow. 

We have started studying Ancient India in class. We are using lots of webquests, a culminating project (due Feb 15), and group work. And guess what? I am going to India over our winter break in February! It will be a short trip - half of it travel time - but I am excited to go. It will be fun to see in person some of the things we have been studying including the Ganges River. 

In language we will be starting a research paper. Students will choose from a list of topics and develop their own rule to improve life (thrive). Our topics this year coincide with many of our school character keys - Balance, Integrity, Responsibility, etc. We have been working a lot on citing our sources using MLA format. Students are able to use these great online tools:

It's also a good idea to run papers through a plagiarism checker. It will check to make sure the paper is not plagiarized by mistake. A few free online tools are:

Grammarly even checks for grammar errors! 

Have a great week!! (This is my son's bunny!)

On Demand Writing

This week we focused on on-demand writing. This was quite a challenge for many students! The on demand writing prompts are prevalent in the CAASP and Smarter Balanced tests and I want to make sure students have some practice. During an on-demand prompt, students are given a prompt and text(s) in which to write a 3-5 paragraph essay during a limited time period. Our ELA class had 1 day to read texts and look at the prompt, 1 day to plan, and 50 minutes in which to write the essay. Time management is crucial for college and career readiness as well. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the essays. Most students had a hook and thesis statement, cited evidence with explanations, and good organization. Tuesday I will return the essays and students will work to improve anything they missed and will resubmit for a retake.

We started our short Rome study and incorporated some poetry writing within the unit. Students were so imaginative with their Haikus and Cinquains! I was quite impressed!

As many of you may have heard, Mrs. O'Neill moved down to Los Angeles. She was our neighbor ELA teacher. But...our own student teacher, now credentialed, Ms. Dowd will be taking her place! So exciting! We are thrilled for her and we get to see her every day now!

I have gone through every students' standards report and created a plan for each person to work on skills. We will be doing this during e-block time. 

Have a great week!

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