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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!

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!

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