Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wow..where does the time go?

September is flying by and it is hard to believe that we started a new school year a month ago. We have been busy in room 226 getting to know each other. We have already completed a novel and a unit in social studies. We are done with Place Value and moving on to addition and subtraction (yes, the already know how to do this, I am assuming it is a refresher!). We have survived our first two fire drills and fall MAP testing.

And this Monday we will begin FLEX Groups. This is a touch subject in our school..FLEX groups. Mostly because you hear complaints that it is just one more thing we have to fit into the school day. Personally I like them. I feel confident that they are working...we did them all last year and out MAP scores went up in Math...WAY UP! In my all boy class last year, I had several students who had double digit growth in Math. And as much as I would love to take the credit for being a FABULOUS math teacher...I know that most of that growth came from FLEX groups.

So our schedule will change up a bit starting on Monday and I will have to figure out how to get everything done with 40 minuted less time with my boys in the classroom. We'll manage...and it will be worth it.because I know they will ROCK THE HOUSE between now and next Spring n Math on MAP.

Interim reports go home on Monday and I have conferences to plan for, the start of Student Council, and before you know it, it is going to be Thanksgiving break.

Aside form that, I am LOVING my boys. Friday they showed me just what they can accomplish...we had an A+ day...everyone was in attendance (first time in several weeks thanks to the flu bug going around). They brought their A Game to school and we got a lot accomplished. I am going to bake them some treats tomorrow to bring in on Monday. They deserve it. They just do!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is why we must never forget....

Many of my boys were born the year of the 9-11 attacks or the year before. But they don't remember what happened. They have seen news clips, heard people talking about, and so on. Today I wanted to share with them my experiences on that September day 8 years ago...the day that changed the country, our sense of security, renewing a spirit of patriotism.

I planned on reading them the book "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers." It is not about the September 11 attacks but because the story is about the twin towers, there is reference made to them and the fact that the towers are no longer there. I planned to read the book, then talk about that day, allowing them to experience it through me.

Here is my story- My day started like any other Tuesday. I had an early meeting at work so I dropped my 11 month old son off at the babysitters, and headed to my office. When my meeting let out, a guy who worked for me dropped by my office and asked it I had heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I had not, so I turned to my computer to Google it, and about that time, a crowd of people in our office began coming down the main hallway, headed towards our multipurpose room where there were several TVs. I stopped someone and asked what was going on and they told me a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. Immediately I knew the first plane, nor the second were an accident. I followed the crowd and watched as the Today show staff talked about what was going on in New York and speculating about the nature of the crashes. A short time later reports began to come in about something happening at the Pentagon, about 25 miles away. A short time later, it was confirmed that a third plane had hit the Pentagon and a fourth plane might be headed to Washington DC. In a matter of an hour or so, 4 planes had been hijacked and crashed, and both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

I watched the boys faces as I re-told the events of that day. It was not my intent to scare them, but to let them know how that day changed my life and our country. We talked about the men who hijacked the planes, and how our country had changes some rules about what you could bring on planes so it was safer for people to fly. We also talked about the police and firemen who rushed into those building to help save lives and how many of them lost theirs. We also talked about the people that got up and went to work that day but never came home. I also talked about leaving my office that day and driving home and how there were very few cars on the street because people were at home, where they felt safest, hugging their loved ones a little tighter that afternoon. I also told them about the surge of patriotism that followed in the days and weeks after the attacks, and how people flew their American flags, and wore ribbons to remember. And how each year on the anniversary the names of the 2,974 people who lost their lives that day are read so that all of America can pause and remember.

I told them about the twin beams of light that would shine this evening in New York city in remembrance of this day, and encouraged them to talk about this with their parents. My hope was that although they were too young to know first-hand what happened, hopefully by me sharing my experiences, they will be able to remember as the years go by, those who paid the ultimate price that day.

I remember growing up hearing my Mom talk about how she can remember where she was what she was wearing and what she was doing the day Presidetn Kennedy was shot. I will always remember where I was that day that changed my life and also our country.

I had forgotten how tenderhearted my boys can of them came up to me this afternoon as we were packing up and said "Mrs. Barker thank you for telling us about the towers and the people that died. I thought you were going to cry when you were telling us, and I almost did too. Have I mentioned how much I love my boys?????