Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curious George Screening Party

Courtesy of Curious George® & © 2011 Universal Studios and/or HMH. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PBS KIDS (R) Public Broadcasting Services
Today Big Brother, Little Sister, and I got to participate in our very first screening party of CURIOUS GEORGE, as shown on PBS Kids! We were so excited.  It just so happened that I had already picked up pizza on the way home (since I had to work later this afternoon), so that was perfect as we enjoyed watching our mischievous friend in his new adventures.  The new, 6th season airs on September 5, 2011.  This season George will explore "arts themed activities including helping Betsy enter a photography contest, creating a wind symphony, sand painting the desert, and even dancing the box step" as the press release states.

I love the peppy, swinging theme song, but it was fun to watch my two little ones as they watched (and listened to it) too.  Little Sister wiggled her shoulders along to the beat and Big Brother swayed his head in time to the music as well.  The theme song got us ready for fun with George!

Courtesy of Curious George® & © 2011 Universal Studios and/or HMH. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PBS KIDS (R) Public Broadcasting Services
 In the "Sock Monkey Opera episode", as shown above, George sees Hansel and Gretel in place of his friend Betsy who has the chicken pox.  Because he enjoyed attending the opera so much, when he comes home, he decides to show Betsy a different rendition of the famous fairy tale.

Little Sister (who is almost 15 months old now) loved the singing and dancing of Hansel and Gretel at the opera, as noted by her swaying and kicking of feet. I liked the brief retelling of this classic story (and that the witch was kept to a minimum). 

They gave us a fun idea of using finger puppets and a CD to tell a story.  Big Brother now wants to make a hand puppet of a cheetah (his very favorite animal).  Any ideas??? I asked him how we should start, and I was informed, "We have to get some boxes and stuff....and dots. We gotta paint its face."  Sounds like he's ready. Now I have to round up some supplies....

Click below for a clip from the "Sock Monkey Opera" episode:
Curious George Sock Monkey Opera clip

In the "Auctioneer George" episode, Big Brother's favorite part was when Mr. Glass rides the bicycle in the restaurant to get back to the auction in time. (Big Brother wondered how that might work in real life!)  I liked the idea that popcorn can be used to show how much the number 100 is.  We are not sure of Little Sister's favorite part, but I bet she would like to try some of that popcorn!

Click below for a clip from "Auctioneer George":
Auctioneer George clip

We will soon be viewing more of the new episodes, (Big Brother will surely enjoy the "detective" episode) but will be glad for others to be able to enjoy our mischievous friend and his antics again soon too.  It will be a great year for George fans! :)

Thanks to PBS KIDS (as found on for this special screening opportunity!

How about you, dear readers, do you enjoy Curious George as much as us?  Do share how his misadventures have brightened your days! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And Then There Was One

In the spring of the last school year, it was not looking likely that I would be able to continue in my current district working as an ESL teacher, due to budgetary constraints. (I was assured repeatedly that it was not due to performance at all.)  I am bilingual in English/Spanish, have elementary teaching certification, and among other things, ESL certification.  It was a shock.

I did not let the disturbing news get me down. Instead I informed my closest family and friends and set out to apply elsewhere.  I was sad, surprised, confused, yet eager to find what my next step would be.

As of last spring, there were three ESOL teachers for our district.  Due to family needs and wants, the other two teachers have ended up resigning from the district.  I was offered a contract and quickly signed my "John Hancock".

I recently learned that neither of the other positions will be filled at the present time.  So the irony is, that I was the one who thought she would be jobless, at least by our district in the spring, but as fall approaches, I will have sole leadership of our ESL program!

I would have never imagined that this chapter in my ESL life would have been written this way!

I know that there are others in my situation throughout the United States who must also be the "Lone Ranger" for their district, so I again will not allow myself to be discouraged.

I will now be working with Kindergarten through High School students. I am sure I will learn much this year, mess up, try again, and be even more prepared next year.  I am very grateful for a job. I am thankful that I am able to work in my particular district for so many reasons.

I will definitely be seeking out resources, advice, and ideas from my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  So here's my start....what resources would you say have been most helpful to you, especially for the K-2nd and High School levels? I am all ears!!!

Changes for Us in Going Back to School this Year

This year as we go back to school, things will be quite different.  I will return as an ESL teacher, my 5 year old (Big Brother) will go to all day 5K at the school I will start at, and Little Sister will be alone with her YaYa all day.

Last year Big Brother went to a local church's 4K preschool program five days a week, until 11:00am.  Mi esposo picked him up at school, then took him to YaYa.  I was still nursing (and pumping for) Little Sister and sometimes our paths briefly passed so that I could see him for a minute in the middle of the day before I returned to my next school.

YaYa is quite sad to know that the time is drawing near for Big Brother to be growing up and attending school for all-day.  See, YaYa (my momma) has kept him since I went back to work when my six-week maternity leave was finished.  She has been such a blessing! He has learned so much from time spent with her.

To be honest, I am grieving the end of the summer and all the good times the kids and I have had together.  I know more can be had, but there's just something about knowing you do not have to set an alarm clock and be somewhere at a certain time on most days of the summer.

This year will bring other changes too, I am sure, and some to be posted about at a later time.

I am grateful for this summer, and grateful for another scholastic year where I hope the students learn a great deal. I am sure I will learn just as much from my time spent with and planning for them!

Do you have any back-to-school jitters or rituals?  Do tell!