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February 22, 2008

Science Project

It is science project time. A parent and a 5th grader were surveying a group of morning kindergarten students regarding the identification of candy and medicine (glued to index cards). I must admit, it is a high thinking 5th grader who thinks of a science project like this.

Approximately 30 pieces of candies and medicines were glued to index cards. Examples: tic tac, ExLax, lozenge, MandM, etc. The parent was recording the research results and taking pictures as the 5th grader asked the kindergarten student.

Being the cautious teacher that I am, I talked to the 5th grader's parent if permission slips have been used in this survey of 5 year olds. When I found permission slips in my mailbox in the faculty room I thoguht I'd talked the principal before I send out this project involving 5 year olds. Lo and behold, my prinicpal knew nothing of the project. A class has already been surveyed!

Being a doctoral student who is also involved in research at this moment, I am very aware of the sensitivity of using live subjects in research, esp. children or minors... ok, even it it is a science project! The permission slip indicated that the survey will involve 30 minutes per student. That is 30 minutes of instructional time each student will miss out! The 5th grader will also miss out on (30 minutes X 20 students per class) instructional time. Am I wrong to think this through?

I may have started something. The teacher who let the 5th grader used her class as research subjects is now mad at me. She told the parent of the 5th grader that there were 3 people in a tizzy (me, the other PM kinder teacher, and the principal). The parent is now also upset with the three of us! Oh my elementary school DRAMA! And I thought I was just following research procedures!

Sometimes being cautious and knowing about something can get one into trouble with others... Well after thinking about the situation, I really did not care that much about the morning Kindergarten teacher and the parent getting upset with me. I feel that I am advocating for the 5 year olds, in general...

Ok.. those are my thoughts for today.

February 25, 2008

Kindergarten - The New First Grade?

As some of you may know, I am once again in the classroom - teaching kindergarten. Years ago, I taught first grade. It seems like there are higher and higher expectations of these youngsters with each year that passes.What I used to do in first grade, I am now doing and more in kindergarten.

We had our first spelling test last Friday. It was only a list of 10 words but 10 words for 5 year olds!!! The class got another 10 words today. Some were expressing some anxiety if they were getting another spelling test soon... poor kids...

It is report card time in a couple of weeks - so it is crunch time... testing and more testing. The children only get 20 minutes of recess each day. That is 10 minutes for snack and 10 minutes for play... and back to grind... did I say poor kids already?

By May, my school district expect my kindergarteners to write 3 descriptive sentences. The sentences have to be different from each other. They should have at least 5 words each, correct punctuation is of course expected, spelling, all the mechanics...etc. In the past few years, a picture prompt was provided for the children during the Writing Assessement. I liked that because the children had some sort of a starting ground from which their writing took off.

This school year, my school district decided to take out the picture prompt because the "brains" there said that the picture "inhibited the children's abstract thinking"... Get serious! Abstract thinking and 5 year olds!

I wonder if I am instrumental in turning some education-anxiety ridden kids into the world... hmmm, scary thought actually-

March 6, 2008

Art is Education

With all the budget cuts and heavy academic focus, Art classes have been delegated to the back burner. Today, however, my school district revisited Art Education and made a commitment to fund Arts for at least 5 years!

Today we celebrated Children's Art! My kindergarteners' artwork are on display at the district office. I am so proud of their work. My class' work are the only kindergarten samples from the 28 elementary school in the district. How cool is that?

March 7, 2008

"Talk to the Ear"

I have this problem with students tattle-telling on each other throughout the day. I found a solution!

I told my kindergarten students that when I am teaching, I should not be interrupted unless it is very, very important because their disruption will be their way of "not allowing their friends to learn".

They can talk to the "ear". So, I cut an over-sized ear out of construction paper. I mounted the big ear on to another construction paper.It looks like a poster. I taped this "poster" in the very front of the classroom. When the students feel an urge to tattle on someone, they can raise their hand and ask to talk to the "ear".

In the beginning, there was a stream of students wanting to talk to the "ear". Now, one might need to talk to the "ear" once a week.

No tattling in my class anymore.

April 22, 2008

Six Word Memoir

I thought about this when Jill first posted this on her blog and once again after Deborah posted it in one of the forums. I am not the most original or creative one, so I thought about what it would be for me...

Here are two that I have been toying with ... not my original thoughts, of course, but I thought these fit me... I teach students who are children of newly immigrated families. So my classroom is pretty diverse culturally and language-wise. I thought the six word sentence below is appropriate for my work. It also carries over to travels - when I step into lands where the language is "foreign" to me... Examples Japan and France... hmmm ... smiles go a long way -

Everyone smiles in the same language

or

To teach is to learn twice

The sentence above is very appropriate in the work that I do and in my life goals... I am always a learner - pursuing something all the time...

May 21, 2008

Kindergarten Writing Assessment

As we approach the end of another school year, testing, testing, and more testing seem to go into overdrive. We have been assessing students' learning. We are checking what skills they have mastered this school year. With all the testing that we do, you won't be able to guess that enrolling and attending Kindergarten is NOT mandatory in the state of California.

Kindergarteners and First Graders took the district writing assessments these past couple of days. Yesterday, one of the kindergarteners in the other classroom said that she was "too stressed" as the writing assessment was administered. As the test progressed and more directions were given the 6 year old child became more agitated. Eventually, she threw a "fit", or had a breakdown, and started throwing things including her test packet or materials.

I worry when a 5 or 6 year old display serious test anxiety this early in their educational journey. I wonder if we are asking too much from the children. Granting that she is the only one who had a break down and could not handle the testing pressures, it still bothered me that that happened.

Here is the test: the kindergarten students were asked to draw a picture according to a given prompt. After 10 minutes of drawing, they had to stop. The class then braistormed about their pictures. Words were listed on a chart paper. Then students were directed to write as many descriptive sentences that they can. They may use the words on the brainstorm list.

First grade tests were more involved, of course. I do not even want to go there....

Teachers were instructed not to provide any other assistance... no reminders about capitalizations, correct spelling, or punctuation marks. Students are only reminded to review their work and make sure every writing "mechanics" are done right.

I hope that we do not turn our students off to learning. I am a life-long learner and I love going to school. But as far as I can remember, I was not asked to write paragraphs when I was 6 years old. I did not know what a graphic organizer was...I did not know what a word web was... I do not think that I knew how to organize my thoughts to put together some coherent paragraph.

I wonder what other standards we will have next year. I wonder what we will expect of our students so we can say they have reached some benchmarks...

I hope that I am not a teacher who is expcting too little of my students but one who just wants some activities that are developmentally appropriate for their age....

July 19, 2008

Wine-induced weekend. Staycation #3

Three of my colleagues called me up last minute and asked if I wanted to go wine tasting in the Livermore Valley. I have done these ages ago when the wineries were few and novel to the area. Some 15 years later, many wineries have cropped up and some produce wines tasting real good to my amateurish taste.

Here's our office staff, Sylvia and Georgia.

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We started at Deer Ridge Vineyards. Tried and enjoyed some Viognier and various reds. The owner of the winery took us around his property which gave the tour a personal touch. He shared his plans with us on what he was going to do to make the place an event center. He even has a two-berdoom + place on the property that can be used by clients who want to stay close by during an event. This could make a nice little get-away too at $275 per night.

The group proceeded to Charles R Vineyards, a small family-owned and operated winery tucked away on some dirt road. Fun thing about these small places is that you get to meet the wine makers and enjoy their stories. The hometown atmosphere was so prevalent that we got to overhear soon-to-be exes discuss their divorce proceedings development. :)

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Continue reading "Wine-induced weekend. Staycation #3" »

June 9, 2009

Kindergarten Sharing time

Jordan, wanted to make her sharing time special. She decided to bring her favorite basketball player to share with the class yesterday. Jordan's dad coaches a basketball team at a local college. Here is Ring, Jordan's favorite player.

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Ok, he is almost two feet taller than I am ... I stand a five feet, 6 inches.

October 28, 2009

PhotoHunt - Bags

PhotoHunters

I have been so behind in my blogging.... I thought PhotoHunt post will be a good way to get back in the groove... Bags... easy... :) Bags, bags, bags

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I bagged these for my 30 kindergarteners... Each bag contained, a Halloween pencil, some erasers, candies, and some hokey toy. 5-year olds are so easy to please...

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One student came in with more fancy bags.... not sure what the bags contained but they sure looked spiffy.

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These bags I bought and brought home from the trip to the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong... Not even sure when I would be able to use ALL of them... so far, I am using one and Tracey uses one ... :)

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November 20, 2009

PhotoHunt - Birds

PhotoHunters

Birds- The month of November brings "birds" into my Kindergarten classroom. On November 1st, I take this bird out of my overstuffed classroom storage and put him on display... (I can not even recall where I found him, but it is a good prop for a kindergarten classroom, yeah?)

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The children learn about this type of bird... that the young ones are called poult, that they can change colors when they are agitated or mad, that they roost, and one smart aleck 5 year old said, they can also be roast.... :), etc.

Then the children make their own rendition of the bird....

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One parent made these "bird" cookies for the students....

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But one of my favorite birds is this - one that can take me places. :)

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January 6, 2010

Classroom Pet

Oh my goodness! I really need to learn how to say "NO". Even to something as cute as this. Ok, it is not that cute. It is massive. It is about 7 inches long!

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Before the winter break, one of my students (and family) had to move and relocate... victims of hard economic times in the Bay Area. So the family asked if I can keep the family's pet fish as they are unable to take the pet with them. Not wanting to learn later that their pet was sent to Fish Heaven (via porcelain bowl and tubes), I said "Oh yes, sure. The children will love it."

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Ok, it's entertaining for the children. I am sure they are going to learn something science related about this some day (soon).... but

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It is a lot of work, keeping the tank clean and remembering to feed the darn thing!

January 7, 2010

A Rudolph kind of Christmas (Out of Date) :)

I started this post weeks ago, before I went back to school after winter break and never posted it. So here goes.... For the class Christmas party, we had a Rudolph theme.

We read the story of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer.

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We made Rudolph sandwiches for our party. Of course, we needed directions for everyone to follow... :)

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Then the children put their peanut butter and jelly on...

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Close the slices of bread and viola! Rudolph, yeah?

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Big nose, but Santa needed all the light through the fog...

March 1, 2010

March! In like a Lion?

It is March! My class will welcome March with this Math/ Graphing lesson.

Each student will choose a picture of either a lamb or a lion. They can color their clip art, if they wish.

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The student will then decide if March is coming in like a "lion" or a "lamb" by placing their chosen photo on this graph.

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Then our Math lesson will be comparing and contrasting which (guess) is higher or lower than the other... Language lesson will be explaining or writing why they choose the ones they have chosen. Good critical thinking skill, for kindergarteners, don't you think?

Did I put you into a boring stupor? Perhaps your clip art is more of this kind.... a yawning lamb and lion. :)

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Happy March, everyone!

March 4, 2010

100 Days of school

Recently we celebrated 100 days in Kindergarten. Yes, we count the number of days that we have been in school.

So on our 100th day, I received a call to come to the office and get something. Surprise! This came with a note that said "Happy 100th day!".

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Seriously? I have never received a present for 100th day of school .... well there is always a first time. This is from one of the parents. Feels nice to be appreciated though.

March 5, 2010

March 4th - Day of Action

March 4th National Day of Action for Public Education. I am not one to participate in rallies and protests but there is always a first time. So today, I went and joined teachers in my district in showing concern for the future of public education.

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There were a few from my school site... I counted six out of 30+ staff members! No wonder it looked like a small gathering...

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Our fabulous librarian whose job this year was cut to almost half-time! Her job is once again slotted for the chopping block.

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Wonder if Jenny will be able to continue to teach French....

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Why do we have to fight so hard to educate the future citizens? Does that even make sense that this does not seem like a priority?

March 7, 2010

Stand Up For Schools?

Tuesday afternoon we had a visit from one of the teachers' union officials. She wanted to encourage us to join the rally and "Stand up for schools"... a statewide event scheduled Thursday, March 4th. I did. I have always stood up for schools, public schools. I sent my children to public schools, was a PTA mom... and became a teacher.

I have to admit that I am becoming very disillusioned with the carreer I have chosen. The union official told us that there is a strong possibility of a 10-11% paycut for the school year 2010-2011. We took a 4% paycut this year.

Class size have increased ... I have 30 in my class now... no para professional to assist me in a full day kindergarten program... much tougher demands on teacher time, higher academic demands on the 5 year olds... 3 furlough days... more furlough days next school year. As much as I used to say that I love what I do, and did!... I feel like I do not have much more to give ...

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I seriously think that it is time to retire... the longer I stay in this profession, the lesser my retirement will be as my retirement pay will be based on the last three years' salary. If teachers' wages keep going down, it will not make sense for me to wait to get poor... I can do it now!

March 8, 2010

Weekend in So Cal

This past weekend, my Teachers' Union's Equity and Human Rights Committee sent me to a conference in Irvine. (Will post a separate blog about this later) I attended the conference with a few other teachers / committee members. Even though I did not want to go because I had grades and report cards hanging over my head, I am glad that I went because it was one of the best conferences I have attended!
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After the conference, we drove down the coast to put our feet on Southern California sand....Fun.

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I am glad that I went, got away from work even if it was for a short time. I am grateful that I got to go because I got to know some wonderful colleagues a little better.

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Had fun with these "kids" ... :)

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Became friends with these good looking dudes. Love them already! :)

March 10, 2010

Dreaming

Times like these are made for dreaming. I am working on Kindergarten report cards... Why does it take too much time???????????

And I can only do it after one on one assessments! For thirty yes, 30 kindergarteners. That took days!

I am not having fun... so I dream that I should be spending my evenings here....

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or here....

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Maui

or even better retire here or there (see above)

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Samboan, Cebu, Philippines

Evenings should be spent doing nothing here or there instead of doing report cards!!!

March 11, 2010

Goals accomplished!

My goal for this week was to finish kindergarten assessments, do the report cards, and prepare for San Diego.

I did get my assessments done, thanks to a lot of help from friends/volunteers. It takes a lot of time to do one on one testing... checking how many of the numbers, letters, rhyming sounds, etc. the children recognize, if they know their phone numbers, if they can count to a given number, read 35 words, and so on and so on. Anyway 16 pages of skills to be assessed, reading, writing computing... multiply that by 30 students, and factor in the age - 5-6 year olds... and losing focus! What a fun job I have! Indeed!

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So, I got those done. I even put some meaningful comments on each report card. It feels good.

Now I can get ready to have fun in San Diego. My daughter and I along with a good friend, Norma, are attending a SlowTravel gathering... I am ready for some R&R and fun....

OARS (Online Assessment Reporting System) can wait. Yes, I have to report all those scores from the assessed skills... individually... so somebody can assess and analyze how my students are learning and how I am teaching (I guess).... But that will have to wait until I get back home. Denial is a good state of being at this time.

March 17, 2010

Leprechaun Magic

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Today my kindergarteners arrived in the classroom to find a note on one of the tables.

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So I followed the directions on the note. I mixed the Leprechaun Dust with some milk which incidentally was also left on the table. We mixed and stirred.

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White dust mixed with white milk turned green = Leprechaun Magic!!!

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Mrs. Moayer, the teacher next door stopped by so we asked her to taste the magic as there was no way my class was going to do it even if the note from the Leprechaun said to "taste".

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Mrs. Moayer said it was delicious and tasted like Pistachio... :)

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A handful of my students did not want to have anything to do with any Leprechaun Magic. Green or not! :)

March 18, 2010

Carl Bullard - Awardee!

The film industry honored their best a couple of weekends ago. While the OSCARS was the buzz in Southern California, a few teachers from all over the state of California attended the Equity and Human Rights Conference in Irvine, California.

At the conference, California Teachers Association bestowed honors to some of our best! One of the recipients of the award is a friend of mine.

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Meet Carl Bullard. He was the recipient of the Leadership in Lesbian and Gay Issues Human Rights Award.

Carl is my school district's chairman of the Equity and Human Rights Committee. When I was asked to be part of the committee, Carl welcomed me with open arms and heart. It is no wonder that he is awarded this honor.

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What we in Fremont already know, now the state of California knows... We love Carl!

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Our union president attended the event. She (standing next to the Man of the Hour) is very proud of Carl's accomplishment. :)

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I felt so honored to have been part of the celebration. Here we are at a pre-awards ceremony celebration.

April 3, 2010

Photo Hunt - Sweet

PhotoHunters

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Last Saturday I attended a surpise birthday party for a former colleague, Ellen. Her birthday is actually tomorrow the 4th. She will be 70. Ellen is the sweetest person I have had the pleasure of meeting. She is a retired Kindergarten teacher who helped me tremendously when I started teaching kindergarten 7 years ago. She is a teacher's teacher.

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Ruth, another retired kindergarten teacher is the one who hosted the surprise party. She is another sweet person. Ruth was Ellen's former classroom partner (they shared the room K1, where I am in now). They both took me under their wings and shared with me and guided me through the first year "playing" with the five-year olds. :)

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Both Ruth and Ellen volunteer in my classroom every Thursday. Isn't that sweet? I am one lucky teacher who have the continued support of these former colleagues.

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010

It is Earth Day! I am anxious ... as I am organizing the Earth Day Green Fair at my school. Should be fun to see all the activities and projects!

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May 13, 2010

Day of the Teacher Rally

Wednesday, May 12 was the Day of the Teacher. Once again we had a rally against cuts in education. The attendance at these rallies seem to be getting smaller and smaller. I think my colleagues are resigned to the fact that we are getting additional paycuts next school year in addition to additional furlough days. I do not mind furlough days. If I do not work those days, then do not pay me... but do not cut my pay on top of that.

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It was good to see community support. Some students were there, spoke in support of teachers. In the picture is my union president.

I got interviewed by the Filipno TV station ABS CBN. My union president told them about me. I learned that I am the only Filipino teacher they know... Sad... and funny too. Actually there are probably 3 more in the district where there are over a thousand teachers are employed.

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After the interview, I talked to the reporter at some length and we found out that we have a mutual friend! Small world!

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Now I just need to find out what channel ABS CBN is on. :)

June 5, 2010

Photo Hunt - Sparkles

PhotoHunters

I wondered what I had to post for Sparkles. Then yesterday, a co-teacher showed up with her "First Grade bling"...

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... which reminded me of my own "Kindergarten Sparkle"

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These little ones we work with are just too generous to shower us with bling and sparkles. ")

June 12, 2010

Photo Hunt - Bubbles

PhotoHunters

I thought I had photos of a glass of the bubbly (my first thought)... but could not find any... So the hunt went on, took a different direction, and here are a couple of finds...

My grandson, Mikey has a bubbly personality, for sure - Here is he enjoying a bubble bath -

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... taking a peek into his bubbly self - :)

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During the school year, one of our units of study is The Wind. At recess, the children have the opportunity to play with "The Wind". Here are some of our play things - Bubbles being one of them.

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November 7, 2010

Ok, I am bragging :) _ California Shake Out Report

Late last month, my school participated in the Great California ShakeOut.

I was worried that my class would be freaking out by this long and elaborate drill...

The siren sounded, we "Ducked and Covered" and started leaving the classroom to the designated evacuation area. We stayed in the area for about 45 minutes while the drill continued, Search and Rescue team did what they were supposed to do, etc.

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My students waited paitently, stayed in their lines.

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The older students, good role models for the little ones - NOT! were throwing sticks at each other, talking, laughing out loud, etc... and whatever older, cooler kids do during the drill...

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Ok, I am bragging .. The kindergarteners were the best hehaved in the group of 500 + ! Proud, you bet. :)

May 30, 2011

I'm still here :) and planning a trip to Paris!

It's been over a month since I have done anything to or on this blog. I have done so many things and can't seem to post an entry here.... So here is another attempt at blogging .... again!

I have a great opportunity to organize a trip to Paris in the spring of 2012. The trip date is Thursday, April 5, 2012 through Thursday, April 12, 2012. I am excited. It has been a while since I was in Paris...

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ACIS has asked me to organize this trip and I am looking forward to a week in Paris... plus a watercolor workshop in the gardens in Giverny, Claude Monet's home... plus evenings in Paris...

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If you are in the Fremont area or close by, come to a No-obligation Informational Meeting on Saturday, June 11, at Le Moose Crepe Cafe at 5014 Mowry Avenue, Fremont Ca. 94538. Hope to see you then!

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Eden's Wanderings and Wonderings in the Work category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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