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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!

Good-bye 2017!

This is my 2017 picture blog. So for those of you interested, read on!

We've had a super busy family year...
First, we added a new son to our family - Seth! Our daughter married into an amazing family. We love the Tottens! And...

...my son attempted to teach me to dance. Yes, I never learned. I attended private schools most of my life where dancing was not allowed. Thankfully, he is patient and is a great swing dancer!

In May our son graduated with a Physics degree from UC Berkeley. Huge accomplishment! He is now working as a Device Test Engineer for TSI in Rocklin.

I moved buildings at school. That was a lot of work! I have #toomuchteacherstuff. 

My husband continued to build onto our house for my mom. He hopes to be done in 5 more months...or so. 

Next, we added a new daughter to our family!

Our son married a beautiful woman of God named Naomi. We are so blessed by her.

Two weddings and a graduation! So this is what we did next!...

We went on a much needed vacation for our 30th ANNIVERSARY!! We went to Venice and Paris. Oh. So. Fun.

Venice is just too cool.

And in Paris I got to visit the huge Nespresso store and buy tons of Nespresso pods!

Of course, there was amazing coffee...

...walks to the Eiffel Tower. ..

...amazing food...
...and a train ride to Fontainebleau Castle. 

Back in the US:

Reality set in with a return to work. But...I have amazing students so it's all good!

Lauren and Seth ran CIM together and set the US record for the fastest marathon time, combined, of a married couple. Yep. They are pretty fast! Read the article here. 

They live in Santa Barbara but hey...it's a great place to visit!

Thanksgiving vacation is a time when we always go cut down our Christmas tree. It's our tradition. 

I finished my school year 2017 by making 60 scarves for my students. Wow. Now that was a job! I thought it would be quick but... hmmmm... I think I will have to come up with something else next year!

My final week of 2017 has been spent with family at home and lots of MTB riding and trail runs! 

...and a little bit of creating with my essential oils:

2017 was a busy, fun, productive year! I am one blessed teacher!

Getting Lost - and the Growth Mindset

How do you get lost in your own hometown? Let me say - it is possible. I did this. Just yesterday. Yep. Plumb lost! I went out on a new mountain bike trail and saw a "single track" to the left and decided to take it.

It split into multiple single tracks and before I knew it, I had worked my way into a pickle. The single track disappeared and I found myself with my bike on the side of a mountain trying to figure out where to go.

Isn't life like this? Decisions all around. We are on one path, and all of a sudden find ourselves on another. And...sometimes...we find that the path isn't clear --or that it's down-right gone. How do you handle those difficult times in life? In class, we teach about the growth mindset. We realize that challenges can be good. In fact, some challenges - like my ride - are beautiful if you just look around and focus on the good.

Perseverance.  Determination.  You can do this. 
Every mistake you make is progress.
There is a difference between not knowing, and not knowing yet. (Sheila Tobias)

Sometimes learning isn't easy. Embrace the struggle and grow. Remember to talk to your child about having a growth mindset.

Rally !

I loved our short week! Didn't you!? Thursday was tons of fun ending the day with our first middle school rally. Jimison class theme was black and sunglasses (since our future is so bright). Paul theme was black and glow sticks. Yes - both teachers are super competitive. I must admit - I wished I had come up with that theme. I loved the glow stick idea. In the end - we won!! Woo hoo! I don't know if it was for our class theme or teacher spirit...I've heard both. But, either way, the class wins an ice cream party. Yes! So excited!

NEXT WEEK is our food drive week and ...it is a competition!! CostCo is a great place to buy in bulk it you want. Each item is one point. Buy 12 cans = 12 points! The food goes to Placer County Food Bank so know you will be blessing someone with your donation. 

Monday- Canned Corn/ Canned Green Beans - Crazy ‘Bout Corn -Crazy hair day

Tuesday- Canned Pumpkin/ Canned Sweet Potatoes- Neon colors or tie dye colors

Wednesday- Salad Dressing- Mismatch outfit

Thursday- Stuffing mix/ Instant Mashed Potatoes - Bring in stuffed animal

Friday- Frozen Turkeys (not in barrel; Friday morning only at drop off) - PJ day

Other needed items:

Canned Ham
Boxed Scalloped Potatoes
Peanut Butter
Canned Cranberry Sauce

Next week is also parent conference time! I look forward to meeting with you. Remember that we have half day all week - school out an noon. 

We've been studying Ancient Egypt and it's such an interesting topic! Students did a great job sharing what they learned about the class system. 

The students always amaze me with their awesome work! 

Finally, I'll share my past weekend with you! Our daughter was married in February and we were able to travel to Santa Barbara to visit them. It was a super short - but sweet - visit. 
Awesome coffee at Handlebar.

Visit to Santa Barbara Mission

Great food at Vegetarian Restaurant - Mesa Verde

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