Mother Nature has been temperamental lately, lots of mood swings. As part of my second graders’ math class we graph the morning temperatures. The range of our graph is 30 degrees. The lowest temperature was 20 degrees and the highest, 50 degrees. (We round off to the nearest 10 degrees). The first graders have a weather graph. They graph the prevailing weather conditions, and have been thrilled because on two days there were several snowflakes swirling in the air when we arrived at school so they were able to put two snowy day tags on their graph. Ohio weather … you gotta love it!
Classes resumed Jan. 3. Although everyone enjoyed Christmas break, I think we were all happy to see one another again. The Christmas decorations were still up in our classroom since we returned before Epiphany, which was celebrated the following Sunday. Each year I explain to the students that I really didn’t forget to take down the decorations, but left them up on purpose because Christmas lasts beyond Dec. 25 until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is celebrated the Sunday after Epiphany. I did remove the decorations after Epiphany and now the room is adorned with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and on the bulletin boards. (I figured if Mother Nature wasn’t going to cooperate, I was going to have my own winter wonderland!) Naturally some of the snowflakes have a bit of glitter, a sore point no doubt for our glitter-hating custodian. I’m sure he thought since Christmas was over, he wouldn’t have to deal with any more glitter for a while. Bwah-ha-ha!
We are beginning preparations for Catholic Schools Week, which begins the last weekend in January. The week will open with the children participating in all of the weekend Masses. The “cherubs” will again be singing at the 10:30 Mass.
Throughout the week there will be various activities and events celebrating Catholic Schools. Some of the perennial favorites to be repeated are “Bubble Wrap Popping,” Buddy Bingo, Parent and Grandparents lunch, and the Friday afternoon movie. Each day has a special theme suggested by the student council. Among the themes are Hat Day, Character Day, and my personal favorite, Comfy Day on which staff and students can wear comfy clothes all day. Now that is my kind of day. Frankly I am at an age where comfy wins out over stylish any day. In fact if I were in charge of the world, jeans and T-shirts would be formal wear.
Each morning one homeroom will lead the school in opening prayers. One of the preschool teachers asked if we could have an afternoon prayer service, since her class only attends school in the afternoon. We decided to have representatives from each class lead the school in a closing prayer on the last day after the movie. Not only will the preschoolers now be able to attend the prayer service, but we thought it would be a very appropriate and nice way to close the week.
Students from grades four through eight will be participating in the Geography Bee sponsored by the National Geographic on Jan. 16. The winning student will then take an online test at a later day as part of the state contest.
On Jan. 23 Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer, the Vocation Director for the archdiocese, will be visiting our school. Father will visit with the children from each classroom to discuss the various ways that God calls us to serve Him.
On Jan. 25 the science fair will open. Students from grades five through eight are already working hard on their projects. Judges from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will come to evaluate the students’ projects. The projects will displayed during the opening weekend of Catholic Schools Week.
On Jan. 30 the fifth and eighth graders will take the ACRE test. This test is given to students from fifth grade through high school in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to assess their growth in religion, and the strengths and weaknesses of the individual schools’ religious curriculum.
Starting this year, students in the third through seventh grades will be taking the IOWA test online. Teachers from those grades will be attending a webinar at the next faculty meeting to learn how to administer the test. Kindergarten, first and second graders will still take the test on paper.
The school received a grant to improve safety. The staff choose to take ALICE training. In light of recent school shootings, we felt we needed to be better prepared to protect our students. The procedure taught in this training helps staff and students defend themselves should such a situation arise.
First semester ended Jan. 11. Hard to believe. So until next month keep warm or cool, depending on whatever Mother Nature throws at us!
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.