Friday, May 25, 2012


After one more short day at school, our summer has finally begun!  Today, we had our awards ceremony, finished watching Zathura, and enjoyed some snacks and an extended recess.  So happy for a break, but as always will miss the kids.  My husband and I have a trip planned to Yellowstone National Park by way of South Dakota and the Badlands.  Finally going to get to see Mount Rushmore!  AND...we are going to the Wild Horse Sanctuary that my fourth graders read about this year.  I can't wait for that!  After our trip together, I leave Joe for my big circle tour to go see my sister and her family and my sister-in-law and her family, ending in Chattanooga with my family!  Then it will be time to go back and get my room ready for my next class...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

6 More Days Left...

We are truly winding down our fourth grade experience...only six days left and three are short days.  We are having our end of year Poetry Reading next week.  This week, we had a Loser party.  As a class, we read the book, Loser by Jerry Spinelli.  To celebrate the conclusion of this very sweet book, we had a party with some of the food from the book:  hot chocolate (even though it is sweltering outside!), Snickerdoodles, black (and chocolate) licorice, peanut butter sandwiches, and not from the book, but still delicious...homemade cupcakes.  It was a lot of fun and I am so happy my kids enjoyed the book.  This was my first time reading it.  The fourth grade teachers at my former school had Loser parties and I just had to copy them!  Next year, I will try to do it earlier in the year.

One of the end of the year activities that we completed this week is something I have done almost every year that I have taught.  A Slice of Fourth Grade.

It is an activity from an old Mailbox, I believe.  On the watermelon, students write a favorite memory of the year.  They cut it out and glue it to a paper plate with a knife also cut from the paper.  I think next year I will use a real plastic knife...that just struck me as I am typing this!  I usually get a picnic table cloth from the Dollar Tree as the background.  Sometimes, we color big ol' ants that invade our party!  It is nice that the students remember things fondly and that they remember so many different things.  If I can scan the watermelon paper, I will post it here so that if anyone would like to use it for any occasion, they can.

Ok, so my favorite...

...which reads:  "My favorite memory from 4th grade was when our new teacher, Mrs. James walks in the door because we afical (officially) met the best teacher ever."

Awwwwwwww...I started with this group a few weeks after school had started.  Last year, I was out of the country and came back in search of a teaching job.  Although it has been a tough grade, new school, new evaluation system...I am very proud of my students.  I really have seen a lot of growth and maturity this year.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

St. Augustine Field Trip

Well, it was an incredible day!  We made great time and got to the Visitor's Center in time to take a look around before walking over to the fort.  "Mrs. HAVE to see the cool water fountain right outside those doors!"

And it was cool!  We read the signs at the cemetery near the fountain and learned that a lot of the people buried there died from Yellow Fever.  One of the girls on the trip had just read Fever 1793 and another was reading it now, so it was great to have a real world to text connection first thing!

We strolled over to the fort and had a wonderful tour by Matt in the Hat!

He was very enthusiastic and had the crowd interested in everything fort related!  We got to sit in the barracks on a very uncomfortable "mattress" made by stuffing fabric with Spanish moss...not Spanish or a moss!  It was a beautiful day for our tour!

After the fort, we were picked up by a trolley that gave us all a spectacular tour of the city.  We saw Henry Flagler's old is now Flagler College, complete with stained glass windows in the cafeteria designed and created by Mr. Flagler's friend, Mr. Tiffany.  Gorgeous!  We went past a hotel that used to house the largest indoor swimming pool.  When people came to St. Augustine, they were there for a long time and needed activities to do while there.  Mr. Flagler saw to it that they were not bored!

After the trolley ride, we were let out at the old jail.  We had our lunch from Subway and then toured the jail.  You DID NOT want to be a "guest" at this jail.  It was a hanging jail, so there were a few cells on Death Row.  The women prisoners had two cells on ground level.  There were no windows, so whatever it felt like outside, it felt that way inside.  Doesn't get too cool in St. Augustine, especially in the summer.  I do not envy those women.  PLUS, they had to cook for the male prisoners all day in the even HOTTER kitchen.  It was interesting to learn that the warden and his family lived on site.  The male section of the prison was just a hallway across from where the children slept.  The prison was designed by the same person who designed Alcatraz, so escaping was not an option.  We got to tour the men's quarters and see just how cramped and scary it would have been.  The lesson learned:  Don't do anything to end up in any prison!

This is our jailhouse tour guide showing us Death Row.

Our trip was very successful.  Students learned a lot about St. Augustine.  They were well behaved and respectful all day.  We thank our chaperones who joined us to help make for a successful trip!