Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Are the Change


We received an e-mail from the principal informing us that the school received extra funding and will be hiring a Kindergarten, 1st grade and 3rd grade teacher. I guess we squeaked loud enough. 34 kids spread out among 3 class rooms will make for a much, much better learning environment.

Right after getting the e-mail, I made sure that Morgan would be staying in Ms. A's classroom. And yep, sure enough. Ms. A is going to make sure she stays and receives the stability that she needs.

It's all coming together. Whew!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Last week Morgan brought home her place mat from school. I was surprised that she had this and asked her if she was supposed to bring it home. Yes, she replied, there isn't enough room for it. Not enough room? When we were there for Back to School Night they all fit fine. What do you mean there's not enough room? Well come to find out, they added even more kids to the classroom (for a grand total of 34) and now they don't all fit around the tables any more. You got to be kidding me!! Here we go again!

A bunch of us have called around and found out that we are the only district with such overcrowded classrooms this year. Our numbers are 50% more then any other districts. Other charter or special admission schools in our districts are not as overcrowded either. Several of us parents have been writing letters to the superintendent. Once our questions became direct, he stopped corresponding with us. I'm not sure what our next course of action will be, but these numbers are simply not acceptable.

Morgan brought home her worksheets that she completed in the classroom. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say waiting for 34 kids to finish their assignments is not productive! What do you think?

Here is the front of her sheets:

And here is the backside:

Nah, she doesn't have too much time on her hands between activities.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Colorado Campground

This past weekend we went camping at Colorado Campground outside of Woodland Park.

At the end of the campground is a path to a lake.

We discovered lots of creatures like crayfish, minnows and ducks.

Since we were going to a lake, Morgan wanted to bring her net to try and catch frogs. There were no frogs, but she entertained herself for hours catching minnows.

It wasn't enough for her to catch them all day long, we went back the second day and she spent another hour catching and releasing her small fish friends.

We also did some geocaching. The first cache took us on a mile adventure through tall grass, across a stream and under barbed wired fences to the middle of nowhere.

Figuring that one crazy adventure was enough, we decided to drive to the rest of the geocaches, which lead to some fun four-wheel driving.

There is only one more camping trip to do this summer. I can't believe the season is almost over.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Heart Ms. A

I can not stress enough how much I love, love, love Morgan's teacher this year. Here are just a couple of reasons:

Morgan's class has lunch (more like brunch) at 10:40 am, then they get their 15 minute recess. They are literally sitting in that classroom from 11:14 until 2:30. Ms. A did not like this so she went to the principal and begged her to add an afternoon recess for the 1st graders. And she got it!

After a couple of days at school, I approached Ms. A regarding Morgan's 504 for her SPD. Ms. A had not had a chance to read it yet, but was really surprised to hear that Morgan had special needs. She told me that if I wouldn't have let her know, she would never have guessed because she's doing so well in the classroom. And Ms. A knows all about SPD because her son has the same thing. Morgan is with a teacher that totally gets it. Such a relief!

We had a follow up conversation a couple days later to see how things were progressing. We've been noticing that her SPD behavior (especially her oral need to suck on things) has been more prevalent since school started. I think the stress to sit still and listen so intensely in such a huge class has been getting to her a bit. Ms. A told us that she's really proud of how well Morgan has been able to self-regulate her needs, that even in 1st grade Morgan seems to have a handle on her issues. Then she told us that was a testimony to how well we have been parenting to her special needs, which of course made me feel even more wonderful.

Yesterday, another student noticed Morgan chewing gum in the classroom and tattled on her. Instead of just brushing it aside, Ms. A sat the child down with Morgan present and explained to the other child why Morgan got to chew gum. She's teaching the kids that everyone is different and some of them might have special needs - it's not something to be embarrassed about or hidden. You could tell it really made Morgan feel good to have this sort of conversation.

Oh yes. I heart Ms. A!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jackson Lake State Park

This weekend we camped at Jackson Lake State Park and the one word I can use to describe it is: HOT! It was so hot that even the water was too warm. It was so hot that we spent most of the afternoon hanging out in the shade thinking about how hot it was. It was just so hot!

We spent the weekend swimming, fishing, geocaching and just hanging out.

In the evening we roasted the most ginormous marshmallows that I have ever seen courtesy of my parents. These things are HUGE.

They make a regular sized marshmallow look like it has the punes.

They take up two full-sized graham crackers and still oozy out the sides.

Even the kids said that they were too much. After eating one, you felt like you could run around the whole lake.

The main highlight of the trip was the night time vistors that swarmed the area - tons and tons of toads ranging in size from giant parents to tiny little babies. The kids loved trying to catch them all. Roan was definetely the king toad catcher, sometimes having up to three of them in his hands.

While a little more timid then Roan, Morgan still held her own - literally.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our 1st Grader

Yesterday was Morgan's first day of 1st grade. I can't believe how much she's changed in one year. She no looks so much older then she did when she headed off to kindergarten.

First Day of 1st Grade:

1st day of Kindergarten:

As a matter of fact, all three of them look more grown-up.

There were a few changes this year. We got a cross-guard for our street (yeah!) and her class lines up in the back of the school were the playground is. Morgan was pretty excited to get to play before class, until she saw all the older kids and how packed the playground was. There are a whooping 32 kids in her class and the teacher doesn't have an aide (boo!). It is a district mandate that 1st graders have a half hour of homework every night, but her teacher told us that if our kids can't handle homework after 8 hours in class then don't worry about it. Just read to the kids for 10 minutes a day and that will help them more then the worksheets. Her teacher announced that she has a zero tolerance policy for name calling, bulling or physical contact. She also explained that everyone in the classroom is considered a big extended family and she instills the principal that we look after our family. This should be a big chance compared to last years every-kid-for-themselves-go-ahead-and-duke-it-out-just-get-over-the-fact-that-your-kids-being-picked-on policy. Can I say that I already love her teacher.

I picked Morgan up from the neighbors and asked her how her day was. She told me she was too tired to talk about it. She told me it was the same things they did in Kindergarten, no surprises and nothing new. At 6 pm last night, Morgan was asking to go to bed. By 6:45 she was in bed and by the time I checked in on her at 7:30 she was sound asleep. It's exhausting being a 1st grader!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Water World

This weekend we spent the day at Water World and I would have to say that Morgan has conquered her fears regarding water. This girl was raring to go on the slides, doing most of them without any hesitation (at 43" tall, she wasn't tall enough to do a lot of the rides. The cut off was 48") This made the day a bit more fun for Mark and I as well as we could spend more time away from the kiddie pools. Mark and I even took turns riding The Lines, a six story straight plunge.

Morgan's biggest conquer was the
TurboRacer: an eight-track water slide that shoots patrons at up to 22 mph on 410 feet of track. At 61 feet tall, the ride is touted by Water World as the tallest of its kind in the world. Riders lay on their bellies on a blue foam mat and slide through a tube and sharp turns. Click on the link above to see what it looks like since I can't find an actual picture of the slide.

When we got to the top, she panicked a little bit. You start by shooting into a covered looping slide and this, along with going head first scared her. She decided she didn't want to ride it, so I went down by myself (8 people can go at a time) while Mark stayed with her. I have to admit, this ride scared me more then The Line did because it felt a lot faster and your going around sharp curves. When I got to the bottom I was kind of glad she wasn't going on it because I thought it would be too much for her. I went back to the stairs and waited for them to come down. And waited and waited. They never came down the stairs because she had actually gone down the slide. She did it even though she was scared and she wanted to do it again! So I had to be brave and we did it again.

We stayed at the park until 45 minutes before it closed. We would have stayed longer, but a storm was coming in and the temperatures had drastically dropped.

All of these water adventures have drastically increased her swimming ability. I think 80% of her swimming issues were mental, and now that she's so comfortable in the water, she's really excelling. At swim on Tuesday, we were told she's ready for her swimming test. Wearing her street clothes, she must swim across the pool and be able to float for five seconds. If she passes she moves on to the next class. Needless to say, she's pretty excited and pretty proud.