Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo #151/365: The Dove in the Olive Tree

This is another banner painted by my cousin, Nancy. I really love the work she does. She created this work on linens that she found in my aunt and uncle's house, which gives the pieces even more history.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photo #150/365: The Altoona Cemetery

This is the road in and out of the Altoona Cemetery. Because today is Memorial Day the flags are flying. Since both my dad and my brother, Dan, are veterans, I appreciate the time that people take to put all the flags in place. Today is a very windy day, so you can really see the flags waving.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo #149/365: Willits Cousins

These are my Willits cousins, children of Uncle Virgil and Aunt Virginia. This is Bob, Rich, Nancy and Jim. Jacci took the photo above with her iPhone. Below you will see other photos of my cousins and their children.

Photo #148/365: Our Old House

We can't take a trip into Nebraska without taking a detour and driving by the house in Omaha, where we grew up. There were six of us, counting Mom and Dad, and we grew up in this three bedroom, U. S. Steel prefab house. It was green when we lived there, with a stone facade under the picture window. There were lots of good times in this house on South 39th Street.

Photo #147/365: Uncle Virgil and Aunt Virginia

There were many photos of my aunt and uncle, but I liked this one that was taken in their later years surrounded by the colorful candy. Below is a photo of some earlier photos along with some wooden leaves with their names burned into the wood.

Photo #146/365: Turtle Banner

This is another banner made by my cousin, Nancy. This one is to commemorate my Uncle Virgil, who considered the turtle to be his symbol. I was not aware of this until the memorial service. I was always very fond of my uncle, and I consider turtles to be my symbol. For me it symbolizes tenacity, patience, and endurance.

Photo #145/365: Butterfly Banner

It's funny how some weeks, there is an abundance of photographic opportunities, and other weeks, not so much. We've had lots of rainy and dreary days in the past week, so I need to do some catching up again. The next several photos come from a trip Mom, Jacci, and I made to Lincoln, Nebraska. We were attending the memorial service for my Uncle Virgil Willits and my Aunt Virginia Willits. Aunt Virginia passed away this past December, 2008. Uncle Virgil passed away in April, 2008. It was the first time in many years to see my cousins, and the first time ever to meet their children.

My cousin, Nancy, is an artist, and she created several bannors for the memorial. The butterfly is a symbol that my Aunt Virginia liked.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photo #144/365: Yellow Irises

I snapped this shot on the way home from school tonight.

Photo #143/365: Our New Class Photo

We are having lots of fun at school doing cartooning. We're using the website, Bit Strips for School. Everyone in the class made an Avatar. Here's the whole class.

Photo #142/365: Building Circuits

There is only a week left of school. In spite of the fact that we are this close to the end of the school year, I decided to start a new science unit. No matter how crazy things might get this time of the year, kids love science, and I knew they would be enthusiastic. As you can see they are working hard here, building electrical circuits. It's a triumph when the light bulb comes on.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Photo #141/365: Smokey Row Mugs

Today started as another rainy dreary day, but by the time I got off work from Huntington's the sun was breaking through the clouds. I have report cards due on Tuesday, so Mom and I spent the afternoon hanging out at Smokey Row. I worked on my report cards, and she wrote letters and worked on crossword puzzles. It was a very pleasant afternoon. I'm trying to introduce her to all my regular hangouts.

I have one of these colorful coffee mugs. Mine is red with white print. I'm not really a coffee drinker, but it is my favorite cup to drink tea out of.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo #140: Abandoned House

This house sits abandoned with doors and windows ajar. It is another property that was inundated with flood waters last August. Now it sits empty and will be torn down eventually.

I am playing with my new computer to get the black and white effect. I like it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo #139/365: Field Day 2011

What a busy week we've had. Today was Field Day. It was cool, but dry, and the sun even broke through during part of the afternoon. Here are photos from some of my favorite events. We started out with the sack race.

We had a real test of strength with the Tug of War.

There was lots of action with the shoe toss, but watch out below, because you never know where they're going to land.

We ran some relays.

My favorite is always the Buddy Walkers.

And you can't forget about the Water Balloon Toss.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photo #138/365: Flood Damage

This mobile home park was flooded last August when Four Mile Creek flowed out of its banks. To see photos from that event, visit my August 11th entry from last year, "Four Mile Creek Takes Over". This was not the first time that these aging homes experienced flooding, but it was certainly the worst. The city is buying them out, and eventually this is supposed to be turned into a green area. The process appears to be a long one, and recently someone installed chainlink fence around the entire park to keep people out.

I've been wanting to stop and take pictures, and I finally got around to it today. It's sad to see these windowless homes, still filled with ruined furniture and appliances. They once held people's lives.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photo #137/365: All Heads Covered

One of our teachers applied for a grant that enabled every child in the school to receive a new bicycle helmet today. The program is called All Heads Covered. The kids were fitted for the helmets last month, and earlier this week we had a bicycle safety program.

Today everyone had their final fitting, they all left school with a brand new bicycle helmet. What a great program!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo #136/365: Tulips With a Yellow Center

Okay it's late and I haven't done my photo for today. Here is one more photo of tulips from Pella. There were so many beautiful flowers there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Photo #135/365: The Barn at the 1900 Farm

I like barns and other farm buildings. This is the barn at the 1900 Farm out at Living History Farms. You can see how wet and muddy it was when we were there.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photo #134/365: Jasmine Thai Cuisine

Jacci, Mom and I had a really delicious dinner tonight at Jasmine Thai Cuisine in Altoona. Pictured here is the Phuket and the Thai Spaghetti. The presentation is fantastic. Each plate is a work of art. The taste is even better. I had the Phuket. I love the rice noodles, the vegetables were crisp and delicious, and it was loaded with scallops, calimari, oysters, and shrimp. If you're in the area, give Jasmine Thai Cuisine a try. I highly recommend it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo #133/365: The Oxen

These are the Oxen at the 1850 Pioneer Farm. They're taking a little break here. We made our annual field trip and visit to Living History Farms today. It was a rainy, chilly day, but we still had a good time.

Photo #132/365: Tulip Diversity

I really liked this tulip bed which was full of just about every variety of tulip that you could imagine all planted together in the same bed. What a beautiful array of color!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photo #131/365: Dandelion

Throughout the summer my neighborhood association recognizes home owners with a "Yard of the Week" Sign. Several of my neighbors have reived this honor, but I never have. I can't imagine why. After all, I do have a great crop of dandelions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo #130/365: The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

Lilac bushes line the edge of my driveway from the front corner of the house all the way back to the garage. I look forward to them each spring. This year I have a bumper crop of blooms and you can smell their sweet fragrance as you come out the back door. I cut some to bring into the house and to take to school. Their beauty is short lived, and I noticed that the petals are already beginning to turn brown and drop.

Photo #129/365: Gerbera Daisies

Last week I posted a photo that I took of hanging plants at the Hy-Vee Garden Center with a statement that they would look good on my porch. After reading that, my 4th grade colleague, brought me these beautiful Gerbera Daisies. What a great guy! Thanks, Mr. Pugh!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Photo #128/365: A Castle Animoto

We wrapped up our study of the middle ages this week, along with our celebration of Core Knowledge. My photo for today is actually more than a hundred photos of all of our castles along with many of the guests that came to see them. I have 28 students in my room. Everyone completed a castle, and none of them look alike. I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Photo #127/365: Pella Tulip Time

After thirty years of living in Des Moines, I finally made it to Pella for the tulip festival. Pella, Iowa is only forty miles southeast of Des Moines, but May is such a busy time, that I never seem to make it down there. That is until this year, and what a fantastic time to go. The sun was shining and the temperatures were perfect.

Even though I worked in the morning, Mom and I drove down and arrived early enough to catch the parade. We parked at Vermeer Manufacturing and rode a school bus to the center of Pella. We immediately began seeing people dressed in Dutch garb, and you can't forget about the windmills.

The parade starts out with the scrubbers, sweeping and washing down the street.

I loved the bands and the floats, but I enjoyed seeing the children dressed in their Dutch costumes the most. These children were from Pella Elementary School.

And of course, then there are the tulips, gorgeous in all sizes and colors!

Photo #126/365: Teacher Appreciation Week

This was Teacher Appreciation Week. We have a great PTA and they provided us with morning snacks and coffee, a pizza lunch, and cookies. They also provide each teacher a vase, and the children bring flowers to fill them. These are just some of the beautiful flowers I received this week.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo #125/365: Core Knowledge Night

Tonight was Core Knowledge Night at Phillips! This is the night we celebrate all the great things we have done and learned about as part of our Core Knowledge Curriculum. If you're not familiar with Core Knowledge, it's based on the book Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch.

Since we are a public school, we also teach the regular school district curriculum, and now days we have Iowa Core and Common Core in there too. It's getting a little confusing, but as part of Core Knowledge we learn some great things. We study the American Revolution, Medieval History, we learn about world geography. Earlier this year we learned about Mountain Systems of the world. This month we've been learning about countries around the world.

We had lots of visitors in our room today. During the day students and teachers from other classes came to see our castles. Tonight we had families come to see our castles and our Glogs. We just finished our Glogs today. We embedded them into our Kidblogs, and I created as wiki called Explore Earth. This is the first time we ever made glogs.

The kids performed a reader's theater about Sojourner Truth, and the choir sang for parents. It was a really exciting day! The pictures here are of some of our castles, and the room as I waited for families to arrive.