Wednesday, November 29, 2006

1st Grade Drama..."He broke up with me"

Conferences went really well last week...It is funny the stories you hear, and the things that parents tell you when you do have this one-on-one time with them....I walked away from both conference days laughing about quite a few of my students.

One in particular, gave me quite the chuckle. Daniel's mom came into my conference and sat down excited to hear about Daniel...after getting through the nitty gritty, we were just chit chatting and she proceeded to share this story with me....

The day before the conference I guess there was a bit of drama that went down out by the wall ball area (this is an incredibly popular activity for many of the boys). I was unaware of this incident because I'm not out on the playground when they are (well most of the time at least)...Daniel's mom explained to me that Daniel was playing with another little boy, Michael (the two of them are pretty much BFF...they are always playing together). I guess the boys got into a bit of an argument and Michael told Daniel that they weren't going to be friends anymore, because he wasn't playing wall ball fairly. Daniel didn't mention to me that this situation upset him, but I guess it really got to him. When he got home from school that day, he got off the bus and started crying....his mom tried to prompt him to share what was wrong and Daniel just kept saying "we broke up...we broke up...we broke up..." His mom was confused and tried to dig a little deeper and asked "who??" Daniel, still crying, says, "HE BROKE UP WITH ME" sobbing all the more! Finally, after quite the crying fit, Daniel told his mom the story that happened at the wall ball court and said, "Michael broke up with me, Mom...we aren't together anymore..."

OH the drama of a 1st grader's life:) Good thing their drama lasts for about 12 hours...the next day they were hugging each other like they hadn't seen one another in years...don't worry folks, they are BACK TOGETHER!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

it's getting bare in here....

I've started the task of packing up and moving...I had two days off this week and I figured it would be a great idea to get started on the moving process while I have the time. So, both days I took over a load in my car, to the new house, and its making me want to just do it all now. I'd rather just move everything and be done with moving than doing it slowly....but, in less than a week I'll be there for good. It's always a little weird to me when I move into a new place...You have to start all over, reorganize, redecorate, etc. to make it feel like home...but once you do, it feels normal to be in an extremely unfamiliar place. Plus it always helps who you are with. I think if I was with some strange person/people, it'd be hard to feel "at home" or comfortable in a new place....but since I am moving in with so many good friends, it really helps!! But anyway, my closet is almost completely bare, my bookshelves/night stands are out...all I have left is my bed and a few clothes....weird!

Friday, October 20, 2006

camping trip

check out the pictures from our camping trip...sometimes pictures are better than words....PS the pictures are in backwards chronological order!













Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our Basic Needs....

In school we have been doing a short little unit on our four basic needs. The first of the basic needs is LOVE...we talk to the kids about how we for sure need to have water, and food, and shelter to live...but beyond those things we need to have Love, Power, and 2 others I can't think of right now:)

In any case when we were having our little group time about love, I asked the kids how they got their "love"...I gave them an example and said I get my need for love through my family and friends...I asked them to go around and share (if they wanted) how they get their need for love fulfilled...

One little boy said he got his need of love through football...another said they got their love through pizza....after those first few comments I figured we weren't going to get very far, or very deep...however one little girl raised her hand and without even blinking and eye she said, "I get my love from Jesus..." and I thought WOW! Then hand after hand popped up and responses ranged from "I get my love from God...from Jesus...from Heaven..."

As the kids were sharing that...I was thinking how simple and how profound a child's faith can be...why is it so easy for them to be excited and eager to share what is most important to them, yet as years pass, it seems to become more and more difficult?

These little kiddos challenge me on a daily basis! I love it!!!

i'm getting a new home...

Ok...this will be home number 3 in the past year and a half...

I lived in my first apartment off campus for a year...then when that least ended, I moved into my current apartment and now our 6 month is about to expire...so my roommates and I have been on the search for a new home...home number three for me!

But it's not just ME and a roommate...notice I wrote roommateS! yes...me, and 5 other girls:) We found an amazing house...3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a real fireplace, wood floors, our own washer/dryer! AHHHH:) I can barely wait! 6 people in one house is quite a bit...but we are really good at sharing (you have to be in college) and we all really like each other...so I think it should be a great fit!

Check out my new home....I can only hope that Nov. 1st will come extremely quickly!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

the colors of fall...


This post doesn't need much explanation...check out how beautiful it is here! I can't get over it...every time I go out, I want to snap pictures right and left! These few pictures don't even come close to capturing how awesome it is here!









Saturday, September 30, 2006

thank you rent.com


ok....I've complained a lot about my apartment lately (maybe not on here) but one good thing has come out of this place recently....ROOMMATES NIGHT OUT!

We found our apartment through a website called rent.com....If you sign a lease, and turn in some paper work, rent.com gives you a little $100 VISA gift card to spend however you'd like. My roommates and I got the card quite a while ago, but have been saving it for a special time...last night:)



The night started by dinner at Chino Latino in Uptown...I have always gone by, but never been in...it's such a neat place...I loved the environment...lots of people watching to do! We got 2 HUGE dishes to share between the four of us and left the place $58 less than when we walked in...but who cared....NOT US...we had a free VISA card:) So...we continued the night at Muddy Paws bakery/coffee shop...we each got a slice of DELICIOUS cheesecake which totaled another $17...but we still had a good $20 to spend...soooo....we stopped at Cub Foods to rent a movie and to buy goodies for the evening...we walked away with a bag full of random treats including Pirate's Booty, caramel apple, hand lotion, honey roasted peanuts, ice cream bars, gum, and Diet Cherry Coke!?!



We got home after the night out to watch a movie when we thought we saw the little devil mouse. We proceeded to try to capture the little critter by trapping it under a chair...lets just say it did not go well, and we did not catch anything! We gave up on the mouse hunt to watch a movie and we were thoroughly disappointed with "JUST MY LUCK"

But who cares....the night was a blast:) THANKS RENT.COM!!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

operation mouse trap

hmmm....the problem is NOT getting better. We have not yet trapped a mouse and we have about 10 traps up around this place. I also bought some of those high frequency noise makers that supposedly scare mice away....so this is the problem I see...

The noise makers scare them way, so they don't come to get trapped....I would like to see at least one trapped because then I know that at least one is taken care of...so our plan of attack is to leave the noise makers on during the night (so no little mice crawl into bed with us) and then unplug them during the day so they mice are free to roam, free to eat the PB, and free to get trapped!

here is our second attempt to getting rid of these nasty little things....

shane x 2


Friday finally came...I have been waiting for Friday for a really long time. Shane and Shane came to the Twin Cities and had yet another amazing show. I have seen them at least a half dozen times in the past 4 years and not one time have I left feeling anything less than refreshed!

The mood that is set at their concert is one of worship and adoration for God...

It was amazing....refreshing...much needed...

Here are some pictures from the evenings..........





Thursday, September 21, 2006

martial arts?

Well...I got quite a kick out of this...maybe it's one of those things that you had to be there for it to be funny...but I'll share it regardless:)

Each day at school we begin with a morning meeting...and during this time we go over the daily schedule. Usually the schedule is the same every day (unless we have a program or a special activity) so the kids are pretty used to what I will say when reviewing the daily schedule.

Yesterday I said, "After Morning Meeting we will have Language Arts and then a recess break..." I finished the rest of the schedule for the day and as I was dismissing the kids to go back to their seats one little girl runs up to me and goes...

"Ms. Ventura...what are we doing for Martial Arts today?!!?" And I couldn't help but chuckle at the confusion that was running in her...I said, "Well actually, we are having Language Arts...and during Language Arts time we are going to...." She looked at me, just as confused as I probably looked at her...and she replies, "But I mean...how long are we going to have Martial Arts for..."

It just didn't click with her:)

We shall see how it goes tomorrow when I go over the daily schedule and talk about Language Arts:)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

it's a mouse!!!!!!

Well...I was sitting in my room last night working hard (like a good little teacher) when all the sudden I hear "Teen...get out here...ahhhh....Teen..." Ok, so I thought to myself...WHAT IN THE WORLD is so urgent (but, last time when I hear those words a napkin was on fire, floating in the air, about to set the rest of my apartment on fire...so I figured I should at least go see what the commotion was about)...I get out there and two of my roommates are on standing on the couch/chairs and said that they had just seen a mouse! SICK

Generally I'd be all up for the fun task of capturing a nasty little critter like that (actually it would really gross me out) but I had so much work going on, and a huge deadline, I retreated to my room after throwing out a suggestion or two on how to capture the mouse.

Well, when I went to bed around 11:30 or 12:00 the mouse had yet to be captured and the other girls were sound asleep in their rooms. I was having a mini-freak out session thinking about how the mouse could crawl up my bed at night, nibble on my toes, or make itself a home inside my slippers or school bag....so I did what any sensible person would do...I put my slippers and shoes way up high on a shelf, I picked up everything from the floor that it could crawl into, and I used my roommates loft (she is out of town) to sleep in, so I'd be higher off the ground!

So long story short...there is a mouse lurking around my apartment and I'm not sure how I feel about that....SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chat and Chew

Chat and chew is our daily "snack and sharing" time here in the world of 1st grade. The kids each have a day of the week that they are assigned to, for sharing...they can share a toy, a picture, a story, or if they want something like a poem or a joke. Well one of my little guys decides he wants to share a Knock-Knock joke for his sharing...It goes a little something like this...

Knock-Knock
Who's There?
Spider Man
Spider Man Who?
Michael Jackson

He finished the joke and it was the funniest thing those 22 little people have heard in their entire life...they were laughing out of control. I though to myself:

A) What does the joke mean? B) Do they know who Michael Jackson is? and
C) How do I top a joke like that?

You try to figure it out...when you do, let me know:)

Monday, September 11, 2006

exhausted...

how can 22 1st graders make a person so tired?! wow! today was a really good day at school...every day seems to get better and better...I enjoy it a lot...I haven't even had time to update everyone with how it's going...this is day 5...crazy! maybe this weekend I can update more information.

Tonight I went to a tutoring meeting for a program at my church. The tutoring program is set up to reach the children in North Minneapolis. It makes me so excited because there is such a need to be there...it breaks my hear to hear the stories of all the students and to realize where they come from, what they have, and what they need. It was encouraging to see all the people who were willing to serve in this area. I am just praying that it works into my hectic life of teaching...I would love to do it, but most of the need is inside the classroom, during school hours, so we'll see. I know how nuts it is in my own classroom at times, and I only have 22 kids...I can't imagine what it'd be like to have 40+ students and be doing it on my own! YIKES! In either case...I'm ready to serve in whatever capacity!

Monday, September 04, 2006

MN State Fair....


I know, I know...I've been in MN for over 4 years now, and up until a few days ago, I had never been to the state fair. In Michigan, the State Fair is not a HUGE deal...I mean, I think people get excited about it, but you are not shunned if you do not attend the state-wide event. Here in MN, it's quite a different story. When I have told people, "yeah...I've actually never been to the Great Minnesota Get-Together" jaws drop and a gasp generally comes from the person I'm talking to. Why!?!? I never really understood.

Well...this year it's all changed. I don't know that the MN state fair is as big of a deal to me, as it may be to other native Minnesotans...but I did thoroughly enjoy going to the fair! Something about the atmosphere of having a TON of people walking around...eating a lot of terrible food...seeing all the little animals...and running into many random people at such a huge place...not to mention learning about all of the things sold "on a stick"...all of that rolled into a day outside in beautiful weather makes for a great time.











I went with Beth, Zach, and Darcy to the fair and we had a great time. We took a lot of pictures to document this event (as it was Darcy's first time at the fair, as well...and she has lived in MN much longer than me...what a pity it took her this long to get to the fair!!). Most of the pictures are probably self explanatory...so I'll just let you check out the fun filled day at the Minnesota State Fair!





Tuesday, August 29, 2006

stress city...

YIKES! I didn't really except to be this stressed this early on in the year! The school calendar has yet to begin, yet I am feeling an unusual amount of stress. It started yesterday on my first official day of reporting to school...

I went to bed on Sunday night and had my outfit all picked out and ready to go...lunch packed...water bottle in the fridge...I got into bed and before I knew it, I was OUT! That's good and bad...good in the sense that I didn't lay awake thinking about school or all that had to be done...but bad because I forgot one small detail for the day...setting my alarm! AHHH! I fell asleep with no alarm set...thank GOODNESS that my roommate's alarm went off only 15 minutes after when I was SUPPOSED to get up...luckily I had enough time to take a quick shower, run around getting ready, and then head out the door to make it to school on time! Ok...so one obstacle down.

I get to school and my room was looking pretty good...everything was in it's own place...nice, neat little stacks around the room, easily to get to. I got there around 7:45 and didn't walk out of the building until nearly 7 pm. SICK! I spent every hour busy doing something...from meetings, to cleaning, to arranging and rearranging, to cutting, gluing, typing, copying...oh the list goes on! It was crazy. I left on Monday night with a list a mile long of things that need to be done and a room that looked like it was hit by a tornado!

This morning I got to school and had a good solid 3 hour chunk of time just to work in my room...I figured I'd get most everything done and be out of school on time, if not early, today...WRONG! I work straight from 8:00 until about 5:40...with only an hour "break" for a meeting on safety procedures and drills. There were a few moments throughout the day that I was just really NOT sure that it would all get done...but once again my roommate, Megan, came to the rescue...she offered to come help me out...so with her in there helping for about an hour and a half, I left tonight feeling pretty good about all the jobs that needed to be done...

However, if that was not enough stress...add a handful of very skeptical, and perhaps even enraged parents and you get one overwhelmed person! I was notified from the principal, the assistant principal, and another person of three parents who have specifically talked to those authorities about their concerns for my position as first grade teacher...they feel that I am unqualified because of my lack of experience, and would even be bold enough to say that I may be a "BAD" teacher for their child. I can see where concern might be expected, but pre-judging me based on NO prior knowledge is really frustrating. They have no idea who I am, what I've done, and how I will contribute to the class...that sounds like I'm talking to myself...but I was well informed, today, that you have to be overly confident in this profession or they will tear you apart...I've also learned (in the last day or two) that you really have to let things slide off your shoulders and stand up tall or else you'll never survive. There will never be a PERFECT teacher for all the little angels that walk into the school...there will always be MORE that a teacher can do...always SOMETHING that can be different...but I've been encouraged to be confident in my abilities and to show them different from what they think. One parent went to the extreme of emailing the principal 7 times in less than 24 hours...calling several times, and waiting in the parking lot for the principal to leave so she could speak with her! WOW....

I'm glad I know all that...and everyone is on my side, and really saying flattering things about me...that all helps...but I am still extremely nervous for tomorrow...tomorrow is Open House! AHHH! It will be the first time the parents will see me, the first time the kids will see me...and while it is extremely informal and supposed to be a "light hearted" time of getting to know one another, I know I will be under the magnifying glass for many of the people that come in and out of my room tomorrow night. The next two days will be conferences with parents which will be ONE on ONE time for them to ask me questions...or DRILL me! It will be quite interesting!

Good thing I was able to spend some time with some of my very best friends tonight...it was very reassuring to be with them and to know of their support for me! See ya later stress...helloooooo new day!

Monday, August 28, 2006

amos lee...two thumbs up!


Some of you have heard of Cities 97, and some of you haven't...but they have this thing called Oake on the Water which is a mini concert series throughout the summer. They had various artists lined up to play "on the water" in various locations throughout the Twin Cities. The last Oake on the Water was held in Waconia, MN...of all places, rinky-dinky Waconia...I'm not sure why, but I just went with it:)

I had heard of Amos Lee on the radio quite often, but I only knew maybe 2 of his songs...what I knew of him, I really liked. So my roommate, Megan, and I decided to make the trek to good old Waconia and go to the concert. The best part was that it was FREE!!

The idea of these concerts is to set up the stage outside and be on or near the water (on a dock, a boat, etc.)...however, the day of the concert was the day we got the most rain we've had in a long time....so they had to move the concert inside to this little restaurant/bar...not a big deal is what I initially thought...and then after about 5 minutes, I changed my mind...streams and streams of people kept piling into the Boat House...I could barely move an inch without running into people.





So Megan and I sat for nearly 2 hours with our knees up to our chest waiting for Amos to come out and play...finally the moment came, and it was TOTALLY worth it!!! I didn't except to like his music/style SO much...but he is awesome. I think the best part is that it's not a forced sound and when he plays live, he sounds just like he does on his album! NICE!



All of that to say....the concert was great...and after I got home I downloaded quite a few songs to my ipod! check him out....I give him two thumbs up:)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

running is a breeze....

5 years ago I never thought I'd say this...

I actually look forward to running. In the last few years I've gotten into a pretty good habit of running on a regular basis...but now I have even more motivation to run...

I got some amazing new shoes for my birthday and let me tell you...I pretty much don't want to stop running once I've put them on!!!! Hopefully you'll think they are as cool as I think they are (perhaps you'll even think they are cooler than what I say) In either case, check them out and at least pretend to be excited that I've shared this with everyone!



Oh...and I know it's slightly odd that I actually took a picture of my feet with my shoes on...but the picture just didn't seem to capture the greatness of the shoes without feet in them!

Monday, August 21, 2006

school...before the kids!





I've been able to get into school a few afternoons after work (it's been tricky since I've been working 55+ hours a week...but I've managed to do it!) and the room is coming along...slowly, but surely!

From a quick glance, it actually doesn't look that "bad"...I have been able to get the general set up of the classroom in place. When I got into the room, the desk was on one side, the computer on another--so, I created a little "office" space for me! (it was quite the site to see Megan and me moving the HUGE desk across the room! YIKES!) I also rearranged the desks, and "meeting" area.






I have SO many ideas for the classroom and hopefully after a few trips to IKEA I will be able to put my of those ideas into place! It's a ton of fun getting to make a classroom the way I envision it, and it's a bonus that I don't have to start from scratch!!!

Other than getting the room set up, I take little breaks from organizing and work on cutting out, sorting, labeling, etc.


Most of the pictures I've put on here are self explanatory...so hopefully it will give you a good idea of where i'm at...and what school is really like before the kids:)