Friday, May 29, 2015

A Year In the Life

I was deleting pictures from my camera when I found all of these that I don't think I had posted. I'm sure I had planned to, or there is also an accidental selfie taken when a couple students were taking my phone down to get their picture with Nurse Barb. Plus, I wanted to take some pictures yesterday of some "friends" who sadly had to go at that time--Murphy, the Riddler, etc. all had to be erased, but I wanted to save them all for posterity.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Let It Go

This was the finale for the talent show yesterday. I'm not quite accomplished on the bongos, but it was kind of fun to get up there with everyone and do the song.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can't Believe They're Already Gone

A huge thank you goes out to Craig Anderson--an awesome dad who didn't even have a child in my class this year!--as well as his awesome son, Reed, who was in my class last year. They came over one day last week to film my class singing their classic Friday song, just like he did last year.

I loved this class more than you can imagine. It didn't take long for us all go gel into one big family. Each class takes on its own personality, and this group was no different.

My familiarity with this group as a whole really made the start of the school year easy for me. As I was telling one student today, I think that's why I had such a hard time letting go of these guys. The beginning with almost all of these students started years ago--from the time they were born, to kindergarten, to First Grade Buddies, to Math last year, to the beginning of the school year. I only had a few to get to know at the beginning of the year, really, and that just made it all that much easier to get to know this group of kids. It also made it that much harder to say goodbye.

It seriously only felt like one semester.

From Beginning To End

Happy Birthday, Miss Annie!

Annie kind of had her birthday today shadowed by something else that also happened to be today, but it wouldn't seem right not to lead off with a shout-out to Annie on her birthday.

Ironically, on the first day of school, it was Annie's best friend Emily who had a birthday. It seems like, what, two weeks ago? that I took my phone outside to get a picture of Emily before she got on the bus, but it didn't come out. So I got a picture of both of them here--the beginning and the end!

I already know that you had a great birthday, Annie--I hope you have an awesome summer as well!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All Kinds of Fantastic

I want to send out a huge, huge thanks to all of the parents involved in today's fifth grade party (especially Mrs. Smart, whose role seemed to be pretty instrumental, and who also had the unenviable task of having to talk over 100+ fifth graders). The kids always love this, and even though it had to be moved inside, I'm still quite certain the kids had a great time.

In class today, we watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox after receiving an IT visit from Woodbrook's resident tech guru Mr. Richard Ryan. Thanks to Mr. Ryan, not only were we able to watch the disk through my computer, but my DVD player now works as well. Thanks, Mr. Ryan; you're a lifesaver!

Tomorrow we will clean out the kids' desks, and much much more. Hopefully I will even get my own junk cleaned up!

Monday, May 25, 2015

One Score and Zero Years Ago

Last night I received a text from a friend of mine saying, "You know what we were doing 20 years ago right now, right?"

Of course, I knew exactly what he was talking about after only a couple seconds. We were at our first night at Camp Tecumseh's staff training. Actually, it was the first night for the high ropes course staff members, which both of us were.

I will spare you all the details that I actually can still remember from that day, and skip right to the part where I say that, if not for my experiences at Camp Tecumseh, I wouldn't be a teacher today. I was on the track to do something entirely different with my college career. In fact, I went ahead and graduated in that major, but it didn't take me very long to go back and get my teaching degree back at Purdue (paddling my own canoe, in case you were wondering...) and through IU's on-campus program, was able to do the whole thing in a year and a half.

While I was working at Camp T, I met Woodbrook a couple years in a row, when Mrs. Stephanie Cooper, third grade teacher, after discussing it with her cohort teachers as well as the principal, said, "Hey, Jeff. Come here. Why don't you just come do your student teaching with us? You can work with any of us. Seriously. We'll find you a place to stay."

I did. And then I filled in for Mrs. Vahle on maternity leave, and then I ended up subbing for the rest of that year, and then I got the job of teaching fifth grade at Woodbrook.

I had never planned to work in Carmel.

Don't get me wrong, but the groups I worked with at camp that I enjoyed the most were always those from the little farm schools in the middle of nowhere. They never complained about the food, and they were always so appreciative.

But that's not what life handed me. I'm pretty happy with what I've been given, I have to say. With each passing year, including even the first few, I have found more and more of a home here in Hamilton County. I've now lived here longer than I've ever lived anywhere other than my home where I grew up--and soon I'll be here even longer than that.

To imagine a life where I hadn't met the people and friends that I know now so well... It's hard to think about, really. I'm really thankful that I got the "in" with Camp Tecumseh 20+ years ago now through my former youth leader who was a camper in the Quilting Camp at Camp T. It's a really improbable story.

It's weird to think about where I would be now without that experience. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What a Team

What a day!

Good weather, good race, and I am exhausted. I came home and wrapped up one little project, and I'm a good 3/4 of the way through another one. That will be finished this time tomorrow--or at least I sure hope so.

I want to thank Mrs. Vossler, who took these pictures of the class on Track and Field Day on Thursday. Thanks so much for taking these pictures, Mrs. Vossler. So many of these are pictures that I couldn't possibly take from my perspective.

(I love the tongues on Matthew and Grant in this one.)

(Almost as much as I like the expressions of panic on Gans and Ty in this one...)

Here are some of the ones that I took. They're not nearly as good. I took them with my phone, mostly when I realized I hadn't been taking any pictures. 

Here's Regan crossing the finish line to win the #1 runner amongst the fifth grade ladies! Go Regs!

And here's Colton winning the race for the fastest of the fifth grade men! Well done, Colton! (Side story...that day, Colton had to go to the bathroom. I was running up to the building to let him in, and he was running beside me. I tried to show him that I could beat him, but he looked at me, smiled, and quickly took the lead by a long shot. Yeah, yeah, kid. You're fast. We get it.)

These young men decided to get into the Indy Pace Car with the 500 Queen. She seemed unable to make a choice amongst these little studs.

Okay, so I took some pictures from 5-3's team green. I teach math and tutor some of these guys...

Here we are, back to our regularly scheduled 5-1 programming...


 Come on, Slarve. Do that Crab Walk!

And that's a wrap for Track and Field Day this year. I guess not a total wrap; I'm going to still do the ribbon ceremony tomorrow. But for now, this is all I'm posting. 

Man, I'm tired after today.