30 October 2011

Plants, Pumpkins, and Possibly More

Two of my students playing at the park. The swing has broken many a time so it is now really tall  they need help from a local rock, and they like to swing 2 at a time.

The plants

        Unfortunately I have no pictures to show you of our plant project. I had taken pictures from the beginning of our experiments and to the results, however an unfortunate incident occurred at my home and my camera was swiped. So I don't have those pictures, and then when Kevin loaned me his small one I forgot to take pictures of our now growing flowers.
       But I can tell you about them anyways. I wanted to do the lima bean in a bag project with the kids as we started our plant unit. But I could never find lima beans, so instead I found one larger but similar. I decided to do a test before I did it with the kids just to see if it would work. So I put two beans in their own baggies with a cotton ball soaked in water, and taped them to my bedroom window. Unfortunately all it yielded was one molding bean and a strange smelling bean.
       I decided to give it a go anyways with the kids, but changed the location of the taping. I instead put it outside on the bathroom door, because I thought that my window just didn't receive enough sunlight and the door would. And if nothing happened well that is a lesson in science and experiment doesn't always bring positive results or the outcome you hypothesized. 
      But within a week we had roots coming out of our beans. Not all of them, there were a few duds. And soon after the roots with a little extra water and of course more sunlight, the kids were delighted and amazed to see their big beans in a bag growing roots and stems with leaves. 
      They also really enjoyed putting their beans in dirt, and taking them home. I do not know if they are still alive or not but there is one still at my house that is growing magnificently. 

       We also plant some flowers from seeds directly into little cups with soil. Those I can eventually put up pictures when I remember to take more and have Kevin's cord to put them on my computer. But we are growing Marigolds and Portaluca (think that is how it was spelled don't remember). The kids had no idea what soil was and were kind of amazed looking at it and smelling it. It is different than the dirt we live in which is a fine silt/sand. But the kids really loved learning about plants. We have finished with the unit but are getting to finally take our trip to the botanical garden this Thursday- I will post, Keili and I are excited because there are Tortoises! 


      So I have finally accumulated enough things- now that school is almost out of course- to set up my classroom how I really want it, IN CENTERS! Centers are wonderful, and in Pre School or Kindergarten they work really well and way better than normal class instruction.
Doing their work at the fine motor center, they like this one.

     The kids were all thrown off on Monday of course, when they walked into class and began walking to the box where they normally put their backpacks, to find it wasn't actually there. Instead they found a carpet rectangle and a box of books in its place. They looked so confused, I tried to redirect them as they came running into school, but a few slipped by and came up to me so lost.
Searching for the stamps that have the letters they need to write their name and some words we have learned while studying plants.

      But after we made it through our morning routine they, I explained the centers, and they loved them. Friday when I told them that the next week we would have new things at the centers they got even more excited. So, here is for a good close to the school year working on our fine motor skills, exploring books, discovering math, beginning a desire for literacy, and working on socialization skills- cause that is what Pre School is all about!
They love books! They are ever looking at two of them I have made (the 2 on the left) , a skill I picked up from Jamie Young in my Practicum. 

      (Side kind of funny annoying story. I moved the big shelf/future home of cubbies across the room, all the tables and chairs, and the heavy wooden chairs to create our new floor plan Sunday night by myself. Monday great day, Tuesday great day loving the centers, Tuesday afternoon the moms come to clean asked if they could move stuff around to get it cleaned well, I said of course. When I came out of my room as they were leaving it was all back in the original floor plan. So Wednesday morning I had to move it all again.)

My "Niece"

      I have mentioned several times my friends Wendy and Auden, they are the people I am teaching for. They are currently building on their property with plans to be in their own building next school year. Auden has been coming to Trujillo a lot by himself to work and Wendy at the kids end up staying in Jequetepeque a lot. Every once in a while when only Auden in coming he will bring a long his daughter. I used to be Nana Sam when Josiah was newborn, but now I am Aunt Sam. So Keili gets to have a bunch of hang out days with Aunt Sam in Trujillo.
     This week I have to say were some of our best hang out days.  She came because I had a pumpkin for us to carve. They got in just in time that she got to go to school with the kids- which she loves- and then after when we were waiting for Carmen's mom to come we went ahead and started carving the pumpkin. I think it was her first pumpkin to carve, she thought it was great!. She being three meant I did most of the carving, but she helped scoop out the insides, and squealed with excitement after every piece came out and reminded me not to miss the next whisker.
scoopin out the foochiness

Finished! What should we name it? Cat- that she picked up from me.

     Then since we finished our pumpkin before lunch (and that was what I had planned for the afternoon) I decided we should go see a movie (cause it is cheap). So we went to see her first movie in theaters! Top Cat and His Gang, my first movie in theaters was 101 Dalmatians, haha.  We made it just in time as we walked in the lights were dimming for the trailers to start. We got the whole theater to ourselves and only paid for one ticket- even though Keili should have had one the lady just said the one and assumed she was under 3? Fine with me we had popcorn money!
At the movies!!!!

    She loved the movie, talked through the whole thing commenting on the story and the characters, and when it was done said "another one Sam," like when we are at the house and we can put in another dvd or replay it, she is cute.
This girl loves her some pizza

    Then we played with the toys in some stores and had PIzza Hut, she slept the entire way home and through the meeting at the house she was so worn out. 

4 Little Pumpkins

    The other week Kevin and I ran across real pumpkins in one of the grocery stores in Trujillo. Wendy and I have used a different gourd/squash thing as a substitute for pumpkin in baking cause the orange pumpkins aren't native to Peru- they grow great but not found really. But being in Trujillo means even more Americanized and they had Halloween stuff out, and there were pumpkins! I was super excited!
    Kevin decided we should have a carving contest with the girls and boys at the orphanage. So this week he bought 4, 2 for each house.  Rules: Sam and Kevin could carve/help with one, and the second the kids had to do all on their own. Bruce, our resident Canadian would be the judge to see who was the winner of 2 big bottles of coke. It was on.
And it begins.

A little instructional time with Jacky and Sibila

Practice before the big event

   As far as competitive goes, these kids are champs. The girls and I decided on our designs and went to work. I showed the girls how the best way was to carve, and the technique for getting your details without making a wrong slice.  On "my" pumpkin I only carved the eye then the rest was practice for the girls, and some opportunity for the littler ones to give it a try (w/o risking the one for the competition).
The non-carvers Azucena, Sibila, and Merly playing some dominoes. They love dominoes, thanks mom. 
Becoming professional carvers on their first pumpkin.

    I was a little worried the Mickey was going to be too complicated but they were kind of awesome. Three girls did the carving for Mickey and I have to say he turned out great!
The pros. Katia, Lucero, and Ruth Karina

The left the girls did themselves. The one on the right I carved the eye and about 6 of the girls jointly carved the mouth.

    We were not declared the winners though, Bruce liked the boys pumpkin better because it was more traditional. O well, Kevin gave the girls a bottle anyways cause he is a sucker and thought theirs was better. So then I heard all day about why everyone got some and was asked who won over and over again, kids are silly. But it was really fun and the kids loved it, baby is amazed by the pumpkins and wants to play with them. 
The one on the left is what beat us. The right is Kevin's he is talented. 
They look better glowing!

A Few random Fun things

    I am not really a creative person. People think I am because I can create things. However, most things I make or do are gleaned from someone or somewhere else. Here are a few fun things I have gleaned and made for school. These are some of the things I do to fill my afternoons. Tis the life of a teacher with lots and lots of time.
Some things to add to the music box. A little cardboard, paint, and some bottle caps and we are ready to make some rhythm!!!

I made some stamps with foam rubber and wood blocks the girls at the house tested the for me. 

My plan is to have these for school, we will see if the girls let them take them home. 

In this world ya gotta work

This is Doane if he could work. Haha. Saturday was his 6th birthday and this is what he bought with Mr. Bruce with his birthday cash!

    As far as me working when I get back, well I have finally started applying places. So pray for that. I applied for one in Hays CISD for a middle school Special Ed Life Skills teacher, one in Comal ISD for a Sped Support teacher at Canyon HS, and am finishing up an app for Leander ISD for a Elementary Life Skills, and a General ed 4th grade position.
   I still have more searching to do, and the options are up I-35 near the family or friends who have offered me a room- cause they are wonderful. I would really like to get the one in Hays cause that is my favorite, but the Canyon one would be ok too, cause then I can live with Mandi and be close the San Marvelous, and my church from college and what I was doing before I fled- haha I kid left the country. 


  1. thanks for sharing. I love the pic and I think you ARE creative. The girls pumpkins were the winners for sure! c'mon Bruce what were you thinking! :)

  2. So happy I found your blog (from my mom!). I LOVE your details and pics. Love your preschool ideas, you are an excellent teacher!

  3. Man Sam, you are on a posting spree! We have an extra room in Charlotte if you want to work here! But it is a little far from family.