Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Season of Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

We are fast approaching our 4 month mark in Altoona!  It has certainly been a whirlwind of the last 4 months.  New house, new school, new job, new adventures!  The kids are making new friends and getting involved in the community.  Emma is doing Swim Team and Jackson will soon be starting basketball.  They both enjoy going to Midweek at the church we have been visiting.  Jason and I have joined a small group at church to help us get to know new people.  It takes time to build new relationships so I will keep plugging away at it.
The kids really do enjoy school and the best part of my day is being home when they get home to sit at the table with an afternoon snack and talk about their day!  In the past, I guess frankly, we were just too rushed in the evening to have those great chats.  Sitting down as a family to eat supper has also been a more frequent thing in our household and that is great for everybody!
I have had several opportunities to sub and have enjoyed being in the classroom much more than being a specials teacher.  I am just more in my element in the classroom.   I am loving being able to come home and not worry about getting things done for the next day.  I am trying to figure out how I ever got anything done at home before.  Oh that's right, I didn't!  I do realize I need to take a few more jobs but I do like the luxury of staying home during the day.

I still feel like I am on summer vacation so I do need to get on more of a schedule.  How do I do that?  It will happen and I hope soon!  Although, we still feel as if we are in transition, we do feel that we are truly blessed and feel thankful for being closer to our family.  But friends, we are missing you greatly!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall is here or is it?

Well we certainly saw some cooler temperatures last week but this week looks like it is going to turn out to be quite nice!  I spent all last week subbing in a BD classroom.  That was quite an experience.  I enjoyed working with all the teachers and the kids.  We were a small but mighty classroom.  I helped with K-2 BD students!  I think I learned a few new things last week.  I will try them at home for sure! :  )
I have enjoyed substituting so far.  I haven't been in too many full classrooms yet, but I look forward to doing that soon!  They wanted me to work this whole week but it was nice to have the luxury of saying no.  As all my working friends know, when you work all day, you can't always get everything done at home so that is what I am doing today!

The family and I enjoyed a great visit to Granny Pat's house on Sat.  We were hoping to go fishing but the weather just didn't want to cooperate with us.  Therefore, we did a very "fall" thing.  We went to Deal's Apple Orchard.  We enjoyed the apples and the hot apple cider.  We took a hayrack ride and even walked in the pumpkin patch.  I am not ready to buy any pumpkins so we did walk away empty handed!  We ended the day having a nice dinner at a little place in Jamaica, Iowa called Tojo's.  They have the best Pork Tenderloins around!

As usual, I am missing my friends but hoping to make a few new ones in the coming weeks with some school activities.  I signed up to be a homeroom mother in Emma's class.  That should be interesting!  I am excited because some of my shows start their new season this week.  It's the little things!

I hope everyone is ready for Fall because it is coming and we sadly have to say goodbye to summer! I hope everyone has a blessed week and can keep their heads above water at work.  I am just going to try to keep my head above my laundry pile!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My first day of school!

I had my first opportunity to sub today in a fourth grade classroom!  I was completely in my element!  I knew the curriculum and I enjoyed just getting to teach today!  It was only for 1/2 of the day but I really enjoyed working with the kids.  I had a nice group and I feel like we got a lot accomplished.  It is amazing how stress free I feel.  I got to do the best part of teaching today, TEACH!  I checked a few papers, wrote the teacher a note, and left for the day!  
Maybe every teacher should have a chance to sub for 1 year so they can do what they really love, TEACH!  I have to say, I am not missing all the extra work that teachers have to do.  Regardless of what anyone NOT in education thinks, teachers work really hard during the school year and even in the summer when they are not in school.  There is always so much planning and collaborating involved.  I have to say, it has been a nice break!
That being said, I am subbing a 1/2 day in a BD classroom tomorrow and I may have an entirely different feeling when I get home tomorrow!  However, I have to say Day 1 of subbing, successful!
The best part, subbing in my kid's school and having them meet up with me after school!
Also lucky me today, I got to do noon recess duty!  Oh how I miss it!  Unfortunately, I had nobody following me around and wanting to talk to me the whole time! I do miss that!
We will see what tomorrow holds!  Until tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Week of School

Today was the day!  I sent my baby to Kindergarten!  Emma went yesterday and Jack started today!  I thought he would be sad but basically just gave me a hug and said goodbye!  "See ya later Mom!"    I was happy that he was excited for school and not afraid!!  Needless to say, he had a great day!  He really liked P.E.!  Big surprise there for Mr. Active. 

 I am happy to say that I think they are in a great place and the teachers and other staff will be very caring!  Emma is making new friends and I believe Jackson will make many new friends as well!  He told me tonight there are only 6 boys in his class.  I asked him how many girls and he said, "A lot more than that! "  HA!  That made me laugh!

Emma has a planner this year and so far (2 days), she has been very good about showing it to me!  We are starting a checklist at home to perk up the responsibility around the house!  I am hoping for the best!  It always takes time at the beginning of the school to get into that new routine.  She likes her teacher and seems to like everything about the new routine!  She will also have the other third grade teachers throughout the year for units in Science and Social Studies.  I will be interested to see how they do things!

Today was the first day I haven't had kids since we moved!   I took a me day!  I am not ashamed to admit it!  It was nice to kick back today.  I took the dog for a walk.  I read my book.  I watched a little TV.  I did do a load of laundry!  Yea ME!  I also made a nice dinner for my family which they didn't really like!  I guess that is how it goes and great for me because I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. 
I promise to work much harder tomorrow!

My friends in Fairfield start school tomorrow!  I wish them a great day!  I wish all my former students a great school year!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meet the Teacher Night

Tonight was meet the teacher night at Emma and Jack's new school.  We only met Emma's teacher as Jack's Open House is next Monday night.  He starts one day later than Emma!  Emma's classroom looked great and all her supplies were sitting on her desk along with a letter from her teacher.  She met two students in her class that was fun for her as well.  She will have a lesson planner this year and that will definitely be something new for her.  Her teacher Mrs. S. uses The Daily 5, so of course I am happy about that as well!
It's pretty hard being on the other side of the desk so to speak!  However, I am confident that Emma will have a great school year.  I am also glad that someone besides me will be wanting her to read.  It's been hard keeping her reading all summer.
On the up side, I was able to volunteer for multiple things with the PTA.  I am excited to volunteer and help out in the classroom if I can.    I will try not to be "that parent" as best I can this school year.  Three more days of freedom for the kids and then my freedom will begin at least part time!
I hope everyone has great back to school moments!  Make new friends and build each other up!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August is Here!

Normally, I would be going into school today to start getting ready for the year. I loved getting ready for the first day of school. No matter how many years I taught, the beginning of the school always captured the same excitement for me. I loved the idea of a new class, new challenges, and new checking pens! Oh let's face it, I loved shopping for school supplies more than my students did. It was a guilty pleasure to stroll the aisles of Target and see the new things retailers had created for school. I loved buying markers, colored pencils, and notebooks for my classroom. Most importantly, finding the right different colored pens to check papers with each day!
At Emma and Jack's new school, you pay a sum and the school supplies are provided for each student. Although, this is convenient for parents and all students have the same, I am sad I won't get to purchase school supplies with my kids. However, knowing myself too well, I am sure we will be visiting Target at least once and we will probably have to get something. I just won't be able to help myself. After all, I am going to substitute, I need good checking pens to check those papers. Right?
I was able to help my cousin Jennifer do some stuff for her classroom. This was a great teacher fix. I am also going back to Fairfield to visit and help in the classrooms of my former hallway team! I know it will help my fix but also make me really sad. I truly will miss the classroom this year. I hope to continue learning new tools this year so that when I go back to the classroom, I am ready!
I wish all my fellow teachers a successful beginning of the school year and most of all a successful school year with all their students. Thanks for all the hard work you do at the beginning of the year (unpaid) to ensure the success and happiness of your students all year!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Changes

I decided to keep my blog, but I changed the name and the posts will be slightly different for the next year. I hope, key word, hope to keep it updated but I am not promising anything. We have made the big move to Altoona, Iowa where we are settling into our new home and making a few new friends. There are plenty of girls to play with on our street, but Jackson is feeling a bit lonely without any boys to play with.
We live close to many things, so it has been fun to walk to the sprinklers at Hy-Vee, the public library, and the public pool (really nice!). We have managed to do swim lessons, go to the Science Center, and even join Altoona Campus, our park and rec.
As the new school year gets closer, I can't help but start thinking about school and I am a bit depressed because I don't have a classroom to plan for this year. I love the beginning of the school year with new ideas, new projects, new kids, and collaborating with my teeps (teacher friends). It will be really hard, but I will do my best to concentrate on other new things and get excited for my kids to start school. Perhaps I can volunteer!
I am nervous about being a substitute teacher as I have never done this before and I want to do my best job! I guess I will just dive in and see what happens!
Dive into Fourth Grade was my beginning of the year theme for years. I think I will once again use this as my theme with a twist. Dive into substitute teaching! Can I do it? Yes, I can!
Enjoy the rest of summer my teeps! Get ready for the new school year and know you can always call on me for anything!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4th Quarter Assembly Citizenship Award

A'lia M. is the recipient of our class' 4th Quarter Citizenship Award. A'lia shows good citizenship everyday. She is a friend to everyone and I can always count on her to do the right thing even when noone is looking. Congratulations A'lia!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lots to Blog about Today!

Hello all! We are quickly, and I mean quickly coming to end of the school year at Washington School. Our fourth graders will soon become 5th graders and leave us for the Middle School. As much as I missed seeing the 5th graders this year, it is even more bittersweet for me this year as this is my final class at Washington School. My family and I will be moving to Altoona this summer where my husband is the new Director of Technology for Southeast Polk School District. I will miss Fairfield so much but I will miss the kids the most. I will miss seeing them grow up and be involved in their community. I am always so proud to see the great things that students are doing in Fairfield as they get older. I want to thank all of you for giving me the privilege of teaching your children!

As students have been earning Kurth bucks this month, they are also anticipating our final auction which will be held on Tuesday, May 31st. I have sent a letter home with students asking for your help in donating items to our auction. You DO NOT have to go out and by anything new if you don't want to, but maybe you have something slightly worn but still in good shape that you would like to donate to our auction. You can start sending items at anytime and I will keep them at school. Thanks for your support!

I know school is coming to a close quickly, but I really do need everyone here physically and mentally. We have been a very chatty bunch the last couple of weeks and I think it is important to emphasize at home that we are still in school and we still need to do our best. I don't want us to blow good behavior because we can't control our actions. Thanks for giving this reminder at home as well. They are getting tired of hearing me say it all day. I am getting tired of saying it. : )

Let's end the year with great memories of a great fourth grade year!
Mrs. Kurth

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bicycle Safety Education

On Thursday, April 28, fourth graders had a great opportunity to learn more about bicycle safety. The Iowa Department of Public Health received a Community Wellness Grant to help educate the fourth graders on bicycle safety! Each fourth grade class in the Fairfield Community School District is receiving a 1 hour lesson. The bonus was getting a free bicycle helmet which was purchased through the wellness grant at A.J.'s Bicycle Shop! A big thank you goes out to Julie Harvey, Chief of Police, Tom O’Neill, Assistant Project Manager Pathfinders, and Chris Estle-Tedrow RN, BSN Administrator Jefferson County Public Health & Home Care

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I.T.B.S. Awards, Fiestas, Music Programs, and Field Trips! It must be Spring!

We had our I.T.B.S Awards Assembly on Monday, April 11th. Many fourth graders were honored for their improvement over their 3rd grade scores in reading and math as well as maintaining over a 90% in reading or math. Mrs. Hanshaw and Mrs. Kurth are very proud of the accomplishments of our fourth graders.

Fourth graders in Mrs. Kurth's class will be visiting the Fairfield Middle School on Tuesday, April 12th. This will be a chance to see what the middle school is like and where their classes will be next year.

On Wednesday, April 13th, Mrs. Kurth's class will be having a Fiesta in our classroom to celebrate finishing our Southwest Scrapbooks we have been working on for 2 weeks. Students will have a chance to enjoy treats and walk around and look at everyone's scrapbooks! However, I think everyone is more excited about the treats! : )

A few other things to be looking forward to in the next week will be our Spring Music Program at the Fairfield Civic Center. Student are asked to be there by 6:30 on Monday night, April 18th. They have been practicing very hard and I think this program will be fantastic!

Tuesday, April 19th, the fourth graders will be going on their second wetlands visit. Our class will be going in the morning. Just a reminder to bring mud boots and a change of clothes!

Thursday, April 21st, the fourth graders will be going to Jefferson County Park for their regular field trip. They will be doing the Indian Life Fair and some other great activities with Therese! Definitely something to look forward to next week!

Friday, April 22nd, is a NO SCHOOL day! Teachers have a Professional Development Day!

I hope everyone has a great Easter!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flat Stanley Visits Washington School

Spencer M. from Cairo, Nebraska sent us a Flat Stanley. Although, Flat Stanley didn't get to visit anywhere in Iowa, he did get to take a tour around our school. Enjoy the Photopeach of Flat Stanley's Visit to Washington School.

Flat Stanley Visits Washington School on PhotoPeach

Spencer also sent us questions about our state which were answered and sent back to him in Cairo along with his Flat Stanley!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The eagle has hatched!

The baby has hatched... Check out the youtube footage of the new baby eagle! So cool!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Eagle's Nest

The eggs will soon hatch! We got a bird's eye view today as we watched and hoped to see a baby eagle. No such luck, but I thought I would post the live web cam so you can watch this weekend! Hopefully, Monday we will see some baby eagles! Pretty exciting stuff here in Iowa!

Live Videos by Ustream

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Objects in Motion

Today students learned how to calculate the speed of a marble. Check out a quick Photopeach of their efforts.
Objects of Motion on PhotoPeach

Third Quarter Assembly

In addition to cheering at each grade level today, students in grade K - 4 were honored by their classroom teachers in the Character Trait areas of Caring and Trustworthiness. Mrs. Kurth is glad to announce that two students from our class were honored today by the whole school.
Mia E. was honored for her Trustworthiness. She can always be counted on to help in the classroom. Austin A. was honored for his Caring. Mrs. Kurth can always count on him to be a caring friend to other students.

Congratulations to our two honorees! We appreciate all they do to make our classroom a better place!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wetlands Photo Slideshow

First Field Trip to the Wetlands on PhotoPeach

White Sticky Liquid To Soft Smooth Solid

Students had the opportunity to change the properties of glue in this experiment. They turned liquid glue into a solid white substance they could play with. It was an exciting experiment to see how making small changes to a substance can change it so dramatically. Here's a short little video...

Wetland Experience

Here is a sneek peek into our first wetland field trip. I will be adding a photo slide show later! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness

Hi, this is Mia and A'lia. We are going to tell you about our reading incentive. The first week, our class got ringpops for returning our reading logs. The second week we got ROOTBEER FLOATS! The 3rd week we got sword pens and pirate tattoos. The fourth week, we get a free recess. If we bring our reading logs back at least 3 out of the 4 weeks, we get a pajama party and a drive in movie in the gym. We are going to watch Peter Pan!

By Madison

A few weeks ago for Science, we did Body Projects. We had Mrs. Ellis trace our bodies on a giant piece of paper. Then we had to color and cut out different body part that were on small pieces of paper. After that,we cut out our traced bodies and glued the body parts onto the body. Then we got to take them home. It was a fun activity.

By Tugg

In our class we did a project. It was a body system poster with a body system on it. You could choose between the Digestive, Muscular, Central Nervous, Circulatory, Respiratory, or Skeletal System. What you do is draw your body system on a poster. Then write information about the system you chose to do. The body systems posters are hanging in the hall for students, parents, and teachers to see.

By Steven

In class we made trading cards on people in the Middle West. Everyone had a different famous person. They were very good. Some of the people that fourth graders did were Grant Wood, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford, Abe Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Crazy Horse, Ronald Reagan, and Harry Houdini.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

VFW's "I Love America" essay winner Sam M. is honored!

I had the great pleasure of visiting the VFW on Monday night, February 14th to hear the essay winners of the VFW's "I Love America" essay contest. Sam M. from our class and Delanie V. from Mrs. Hanshaw's class were the winners for fourth grade! Sam wrote a short essay of why he loves America. It was a great to be there as Sam was honored by the VFW for his essay. I was so proud! GREAT JOB SAM!!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Excitement

Winter Greenhouses
By A'lia and Mia

In Mrs. Kurth's 4th grade, we are doing Winter Greenhouses with the help of Mrs. Tollenaere. First, we got empty milk and water cartons. Then, we cut around the carton but we did not cut the handle. Next, we put dirt in the carton and planted our plants in the dirt. Mrs. Kurth wrote our plants names and our name on the carton. Thanks for coming Mrs. Tollenaere.

A little about Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Blair

Martin Luther King, Jr. helped white and black people go to school together and he helped black people go in restaurants where they couldn't before. Martin Luther King, Jr. said a speech about what one of his dreams were. After that it was joyful for the black people. This is what Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did to help the United States.

What to do during an Inside Recess
By Madison

Even though inside recess might seem boring, there are still many things to do. Such as playing games, playing on the computers and iPods, drawing and talking with friends.

Book Talk
By A'lia

George's Secret Key To the Universe
When George follows his pig, Freddy into his neighbor's house, he meets his neighbors, Eric, Annie, and their computer Cosmos. Soon, Annie and George are on an adventure that will lead them into danger.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Madison Receives Respect Award

Our own Madison received an award for showing respect at our 2nd Quarter Assembly! Congratulations to Madison for this great award!
Madison is a perfect example of being a respectful student. Although she is soft spoken, she is very well respected by the students in our classroom. She sets a wonderful example for what it means to be respectful. She is respectful to all adults and students in our school. I am very proud that she can be honored with an award for being Respectful!

Winter "Mini" Greenhouses!

What a fantastic day we had in fourth grade! We had special guest today. Kathy Tollenaere, a former second grade teacher came to make winter "mini" greenhouses with our class. I created a photo peach slide show! Please enjoy! It puts into a nutshell how we created our greenhouses today. On the right side of the blog post here, you should see a heading entitled, Kidblog Pages. Students have started blogging about their experience today. Keep looking back to see if your child has posted about the winter greenhouses. When they have, please try to comment on their blog to give encourgagement to their writing! Thanks for letting me work with your kids everyday!

Winter "Mini" Greenhouses on PhotoPeach

More pictures courtesy of Julie Johnston from The Fairfield Ledger! Check the paper, you may get to see kids from our class! Thanks Julie for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a new year!

Happy New Year! We are off to quick start even though 2 snow days have already gotten us! The fourth graders will really be movin' and groovin' through third quarter. We have a lot of learning in store and some really exciting activities.

Winter Greenhouses
Kathy Tollenaere, a former second grade teacher at Libertyville,will be visiting our classroom this week to help us create "Winter Greenhouses" We finally get to use those milk jugs we collected so long ago! She will be helping us to turn those milk jugs into a greenhouse for seeds to grow during these winter months. Students will be placing their greenhouses outside and we will be checking on them throughout the winter. Mrs. Tolleneare will come back in the spring to see what has grown in our greenhouses. This will be a great activity for students to grow something in the winter. We appreciate Mrs. Tollenaere giving of her time and talents to us.

Reading and Spelling
Please continue to read at home each night and bring back Reading Logs every Monday. Bringing back a reading log each week IS an expectation that I have for each fourth grader. They will begin losing recesses for not bringing their reading logs back each week. Reading at home is one of the best ways to improve reading and comprehension. Please remember to study spelling words. I expect students to return spelling homework each Tuesday and study words throughout the week!

Math is getting a little bit harder and I am going to start slowing down in order to keep everyone on track. However, it IS my expectation that all fourth graders are practicing their multiplication facts and really learning them. Students who do not know their facts will really struggle in math the rest of the school year if they are not already struggling now. I want each fourth grader to see success in Math, but I also need each fourth grader to put the effort into math to be better.

Social Studies
We are beginning the Middle West Region! This is an exciting region because it is our region! Students will enjoy learning about their state as well as other states they may have visited! Please take time to practice states and capitals with your child!

We are beginning our unit on the Human Body. Student will be learning everything it takes for our human body to function. We will be doing some interesting activities to show how the human body functions.

I hope to have a great 3rd Quarter. Students will be back next time narrating our blog! Please look for the great things they are doing.
Mrs. Kurth