Sunday, March 26, 2017

So Many Firsts and Thank You

I'm sitting at Starbucks right now, grading some papers. Reflecting on this school year that is winding down. This has been a year of firsts for me.

I left my job of ten years to come work at Chico Junior. It is my first year teaching at Chico Unified School District, first year teaching 8th grade, first year as the yearbook adviser. (Additionally, I got married for the first time, followed shortly with selling and buying a house!)

I have learned so much. 

8th graders behave differently than do 6th graders. In some ways they are more advanced. They are more proficient readers and writers. They can participate in more abstract thought and conversations. They are older and often more mature. 

Some of them are more defiant and harder to redirect. If they are not at grade level, the gap requires even more dedication to bridge.

The standards I have to teach are different; the curriculum was new to me; I am learning new routines and procedures in a new district.

Fortunately, many resources are available to me, and I use them. A few educators have been my rocks this year, and I want to mention them here.

Andee Farrar- You continue to be my friend and confidant. I share with you; you share with me. Thank you for being my sounding board and enduring supporter. 

Tony Chinchay- When I was feeling most overwhelmed, you welcomed me and made me feel at home. You are warm and friendly, wise and experienced. Your honesty and direct advice got me through the toughest time. I owe much of my success to you!

April Hislop- You are my classroom neighbor and resident expert with 8th-grade English. You have observed my teaching formally and informally and offered suggestions that help me improve my craft. I trust you to keep me on the right track.

Pedro Caldera and Jessica Kamph- My new administrators, I feel lucky to have joined your team. You two are leaders and role models. Progressive, inclusive, caring-- You set the standard for how to support students and staff. I feel safe and included here. It can only get better!

Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly- Your knowledge and experience have been indispensable. Because of you, I have been able to take some of my students off campus to enjoy field trips that may keep them engaged in their educations for the years to come. You have selflessly given your time and shared your connections to make these excursions come to life. I could not have done it without you.

Denise Hughes- You are the sun, the center of the Chico Junior universe. You patiently answer all of my questions, of which I have an endless supply. You help me find things and do things and understand things. THANK YOU. 

Finally, I must thank all of my students. Every one of you has helped me become a better teacher this year. You help me practice growth mindset by showing me that I can work hard and endure even when things are difficult. You show up every day with eager minds and inspiring ideas. We learn together. I have had the pleasure of getting to know all of you and you've improved me as a person.

Let's finish this year strong!!! Ready? Go!


Two Truths and a Lie

1. When I was a little kid I used to always go to my grandma’s house. Every time me my dad and my sister went to my grandma’s house, we would stop at the gas station and we would always get my grandmother a Butterfingers. We would get a Payday for my grandfather because that was his favorite type of candy. One day something happened to my grandmother and she could no longer have candy. She had a heart attack. It was a really scary day when we found out.
2. One time my cousin was at my grandma’s house and she was texting her friend. My cousin somehow got her friends to go from Chico to Corning because that is where my grandma lives. She got caught sneaking out of the house with her friends. Her friends ditched her and ran off to the car, but my uncle and his friend chased them and caught them. Now my cousin doesn't have her phone and she practically lives in her room because she can no longer go anywhere.
3. When I was in 5th grade, I played soccer and I was good at it, but there was this one kid who was the best soccer player ever. He was a good close friend and I called him JR. He was one year older than me, so he had a one year head start. He would always show me new tricks. One day I was playing soccer doing tricks, I got hit and fell on the ground. I fell on my arm and I broke it. After that I could not play soccer until I started jr high two years later.

-Marcos B.

“Beastly” movie, based on the novel

Beastly, written and  wonderfully directed by Daniel Barnz is a modern day teen Beauty And The Beast. Seventeen year old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) while very attractive being a shallow, ruler of his highschool kingdom in New York City. He foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary Kate Olsen) as his next target for humiliation among many innocent “uglys”. Kyle learns soon enough that the rumors about Kendra are as true as they seem and the Witch disguising as a highschool student uses her magic to plot and complete the perfect revenge, turning Kyle as aggressively unattractive as he is within. Kyle then has a year to find someone to love him or he will remain beastly forever. I found that this movie is a thrilling love story with a message that love is never ugly. I recommend this movie for all ages over 13 years old. My reasoning for the age recommendations is because there are some adult themes and mildly crude language.

-Lucie D.

Marcos’ Vacation

For my vacation I want to go to the Bahamas. Out of all the places I had in mind, I chose the Bahamas.  My options were the Bahamas, Hawaii, Florida, Disneyland, or a Disney Cruise. The reason I would like to go to the Bahamas is because they have nice beaches and it would be nice to swim in the water. If I ever went to the Bahamas, I would want to stay at one of the nice, big hotels. Big hotels have a lot of things like swimming pools, game rooms, exercise rooms, and they also have a big breakfast buffet. I love to eat.

I love going on vacations during summer and especially to the beach. The beach is my favorite place to go because I can chill out on a towel, play with the sand, play volleyball, and swim in the ocean. I love going to places I have never been before. The Bahamas is one place that I have not visited yet.    

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