Saturday, February 2, 2008

A week in Bellingham, WA

Weather
Who knows what it can be. Wet, windy, sunny, cold, snowy, freezing, breezy, drizzly, rainy, icy. All of these words can sum up the weather for the past week. Why pay attention to the weather channel or news when I can look outside and predict the forecast better than the meterologist? There have been numerous times that the actual weather is completely different than what was predicted. So, in general I keep myself ready for anything. One thing I do know is that it will be cold 100% of the time so I always dress in layers because the level of coldness changes through out the day.

Work
The structure of school compared to my previous experience is different in soooooo many ways.
Difference 1: Amount of "recess/free play" time.
Previous School: If lucky 20 minutes a day for pure "run around like kids and play however you want (within safety reasons)" I do know that 5th graders did not always get recess everyday.
Current School: If they arrive to school 30 minutes before class starts. In the mornings for 10 minutes playgrounds are monitored by adults so that students can play before class starts, 15 minute morning recess, 15 minute recess after they eat lunch. This happens rain/snow or shine. (Trust me I have had to stand out in the drizzle to monitor.) So, if they are lucky they get about 40 minutes of playground time through out the day. I am sure this works because there are only 300 students in the whole school. This means less people have to share the same space. Plus, teachers do not monitor recess times. Recess is a break time for the teachers.
Thoughts: If you are from my previous school and are intersted in learning more about how it is structured just ask I can tell you more. Wouldn't it be great to let the kids run and play in the mornings rather than sit around the gym. Just an idea. Just think they can get the blood flowing and activate their bodies first thing rather than sitting and talking, which is what they are going to be doing the rest of the day.
Difference 2: Specials
Previous School: Specials teachers were able to serve every student in the school (except the pre-kindergarten program). Kids were exposed to Art, Music, PE, and sometimes Spanish or computers starting at an early age.
Current School: K - 2nd grade student do not go to specials at all. However, they get out of school 1 hour before the 3-5 students. K gets out at Noon (which is changing next year.) The special classes they have are PE, Library, and Strings. No art :( I am suprised.
Thoughts: Bellingham School District is a little behind by not offering at least PE and the other specials at the K-2 level. I think surrounding school districts within the county offer it at all levels.
Difference 3: Weather
Previous School: School is cancelled when it snows enough to ice the roads. Rain, cold, and mud would prompt keeping your kids inside for the day.
Current School: They go outside no matter what and I have had to stand in it. I remember one day watching kids splash in puddles as it rained on them with a 30 mph wind coming from the south. Oh, and the tempurature was maybe 35 degrees. The biggest kicker was that they were dressed in blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Most of them had on jackets but they were soon taken off as they got hot from playing.
Thought: The rain here is different. No heavy down pours, just a steady drizzle. When it snows here most people know how to drive in it but alot still don't. Plus it doesn't always snow over the whole city. We got 4 inches Monday night but 5 miles down the road they got nothing. The roads were crazy icy and I just walked to the bus (which had chains on it) to get to school. At least they delayed school for 2 hours for the kids. I had to be there on time. I am glad they only delayed it though. Otherwise we would have had to make the day up at then end of the year no matter what. We don't get out until June 13th. That is going to be an adjustment. I am use to getting out at the end of May.
Well this post is long enough so I will stop there. Hopefully I did not bore you too much.
Take Care,
Carrie

2 comments:

Alice said...

Boy, it sounds like the schools when I was in elementary classes. Everyone went to recess at the same time, and no one went to special classes. I guess the kids are used to the damp, cold, sometimes icy conditions. I'm afraid I'm too old to play in misty sleet. The snow pictures are so pretty. The ones with Samson are great, he seems to be figuring out the snow. Hope to see you guys soon.

Anonymous said...

Sounds very interesting!!! I'll have to email you the other stuff we're doing now. It's sometimes depressing. Sandra