Monday, 28 March 2011

Happy Birthday Ma!!

Today is my dear ol' mother's birthday. Happy birthday to the greatest mom ever!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Shel Silverstein Introduction

This week I brought in a swack of Shel Silverstein books that I had take out of the library (well, minus the "Playboy's Shel Silverstein Around the World book......who knew???!!!). I figured they might be tempting for some of my kids who just don't seem to ever get into any books with any depth. Time will tell if it works. However, the usual suspects have gobbled them right up. We have a Shel Silvertein palooza going on. They have brought their books and CDs of his poems and are loving them.

I was supposed to talk to my class about the Gr 2 scrabble club that will be coming up after Spring Break. One girl said, "Mrs. Ackroyd, you know how you love reading? Why don't you start a reading club?".


"What a good idea my darling! I will talk to the VP and see if we can do that!"

...I am a total push over for a book club.....especially when they ask for it!! :)

I will have to add that to my Spring Break to do list.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring Break!

Let the break begin!!

It feels like this is the first time I have had a paid vacation ever!! Scheduling really was a 7 days a week 24 hours a day life. If you took a vacation it usually meant you had to give a project away (if you could find anyone to take it) and often giving it away wasn't temporary. It would take months to build back up - so instead I would work while we traveled, work on vacations, and worry about how much wasn't getting done.

Not now!! These are my goals for this week:

* Exercise and study scriptures daily
* Get caught up on housework
* Make a bunch of freezer meals and bread
* Do something fun with my kids every day

Fun every day?? Now that WILL put me out of my comfort zone!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011


This is Jill's first year in Junior High. I have really been hand's off with the whole Junior High thing. Something about starting working full time, coupled with the idea that she is at that age where she doesn't want me around so much anyway. Hwever, the mother-guilt keeps nagging at me. I missed the last parent-teacher interviews, but was determined to go this time. Jill kept asking me, "why bother?" ....and in some ways I agree. She is doing well in school and I really don't have any concerns, but I decided I woud check in anyway. Their system for interviews is totally different than elementary school, but with the help of some other parents I know I got it figured out and did meet with all her teachers. And what a great experience!! They were all very kind and complimentary of Jill. Made me feel like maybe I have done something right as a parent!! I never have enjoyed parent-teacher interviews as a parent, and tonight, after such a good experience, it really made me think about how much I not only appreciated their approach, but wanted to make are I give that same feeling to other parents. In the past, I have often had very limited conversations summed up with "I have no concerns", but haven't ever had someone go on about how great my kid is like I did tonight. The funny thing it wasn't just one teacher....all of them did it!! I cooed dismiss it if it was one teacher - but hearing it again and again did something more -it made me believe it! I decided I have a new goal to do the same. Every parent loves their kid to bits and so do i!! Getting that positive feedback from teachers really buoyed me up. I hope I can do the same for the parents I interact with!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Report Cards

Peirce got his report card today. It pretty much reads like I expected. Does well enough, but visits too much and doesn't always get his work done.

We went and celebrated with a trip to Arby's (his choice) and a new book (I love it that his choice of reward is a new book!) He was thrilled. I think he was a little worried about this report card. He warned me it might not be very good ahead of time. His teacher is on an extended leave and he doesn't like the fill-in teacher very much. I think is behavior reflects that. I figured sometimes a kid needs to know his parents think he's great no matter what. His report card wasn't bad.....just that in the past he has had over the top good ones, and so has Jill. This one wasn't an over the top good one.

....will have to work on the staying focused thing I guess.

.....then again, he is an 8 year old boy. I am not so sure school was really designed for little boys.

I don't spend a lot of time focused on report cards with my own kids. I give them a read and then file them away. I know my kids. Nothing a teacher puts on a report card overrides that.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Leprechaun Fun

Well, I did it. We had an assembly first thing today, so I got a parent to stay around after dropping off our child to wreak havoc in our classroom. The kids totally believed it. What a hoot!!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

We Love Judy Blume!

I've been reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my class. The author's name is bigger than the title of the book on the cover and so they refer to it as Judy Blume all the time.

Most often heard question today: Mrs. Ackroyd I can't find anymore Judy Blume books. Do you have one for me?

These kids are so easy!! Practically whatever we read out loud they get excited about (well, with the exception of White Star.....a book about a dog on the Titanic. It might be a good book....but it was a boring read aloud so we dumped it).

So!! a trip to the public library was in the cards tonight. Now we're well stocked up on Judy Blume and an arm-full of Magic Tree House books! Can't wait to fill the shelves in the library corner tomorrow!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Reality of Fiction in Kid's Eyes

Sometimes I forget the power of pretend. Today in class we were reading a story categorized as realistic fiction. I was trying to explain what realistic fiction is and approached it first with how there are some stories we know couldn't be real....stories like a girl in a tower who is never allowed out, whose hair grows so long people can use it as a ladder.......that was when I got the blank stares. Then a few more assertive students started in on why that story really could be real. They explained why someone would keep someone in a tower, why a witch would kidnap a child, and on and on and on. Whatever I responded with they had an explanation about why it could be real.


Sometimes I forget how real pretend is.

...But since I have been reminded I think I might have some leprechauns wreak a little havoc this week!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Blood of the Prodigal by P. L. Gaus

Last night I had a lot to do. I seem to have a lot to do every day. And now and then I relish in avoiding it I did last night. I came home and the house was quiet. Jill was watching TV and Peirce and Allen were sleeping (they have both been sick all week) I decided I would go sit in my favorite reading spot for a bit and spend some quiet time was so wonderful!! As a matter of fact, so wonderful that I decided I would just do that the rest of the evening, I loved it!! I think I need to do that more often.

The book was The Blood of the Prodigal. it is a mystery - not my usual genre, but I quite enjoyed it. I am fascinated by groups of people like Hutterites and the Amish. I admire their work ethic and wonder if I could handle the lifestyle. This book gives a little glimpse into the Amish lifestyle. I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the characters, but I wouldn't fault the author for that. I think that was because I took so long to get into it. The ending surprised me, and overall I quite enjoyed it.

The story is about a son who gets banished from the family/community/religion (???) shamefully. He has a son from a short relationship who is being raised by his parents. The boy goes missing, and of course they suspect him to be the kidnapper. However, he ends up being found dead, and the boy is still missing....and so the mystery goes.....

It is a good read!! I would recommend it.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Magic Tree House

Magic Tree House isn't the kind of book I ever thought was a great read aloud for school. This week though one of my student's brought one to school. It was quite tattered, and it was missing the front cover, but she wanted to read it and I figured I should give credence to a kid who makes a book we read it. The best part was it only took 3 sessions of reading!

The book was the first one in the series, "Dinosaurs Before Dark". I was amazed at how the kids were riveted by it. What happened today totally surprised me though!! A number of kids today showed up with a mitt-full of other Magic Tree House books, and during quiet reading tons were being read! It was so great!! Guess I will change my opinion on reading those kinds of books out loud to kids!!

Monday, 7 March 2011


The past 2 or 3 weeks or so I have been working on report cards. Man they are a lot of work. As a parent I have never worried too much about what the report cards say, but as a teacher I sure do. I have spent any spare time (and more) to them for the past 3 weeks....and you can tell when you look at my house! (but that is a post for another day)

The other day I was timing at a swim meet that I was obligated to help at and as I drove there I was thinking about how I needed to be spending time on report cards, and getting a stomach ache as I worried....and suddenly it struck me. I have had this feeling before!! It was the feeling of having too much to do and not being sure how I could get it done, thinking about all the things I also should do.....and feeling like there was no way I could do any of them well with all that was on my plate....and thinking I would rather sit and cry than worry....when it suddenly struck me: This is how I ALWAYS used to feel with scheduling!! (now there's a run on sentence that I would need to edit out of my report card comments!!) I always had practically impossible to meet deadlines looming and stating me out....always!! Realizing that suddenly made me feel powerful. It was such an on-going hopeless feeling before!! This isn't that.

....and when I realized that I suddenly felt grateful instead of overwhelmed. Yea for changes for the better!!!, back to those report cards!!