Monday, 14 October 2013

Catchup time!!

Hello all......

So I am back! Apologies for the absence. I was enjoying my travels over summer so much I did not have time to update once I was on the road with my parents! So much to see and do and catch up on :-) Hopefully you all were able to see my photos though. I posted links to the Shutterfly photo albums I had made up of my 10 week summer vacation. If you have not seen my awesome trip through pictures, please feel free to have a look at them - they were in the previous three posts. Any question, send them my way - basically though it was a fantastic whirlwind trip east, west, south and north of the whole country!

Back at Nisley.......

A new school year started on August 5. That week was purely teacher only - we had two days staff development meetings, one day with the entire district staff and then two days in our own rooms and with our teams. This semester I am teaching Math to all fourth graders instead of writing. We have a new team member in fourth grade and she has taken over the Writing syllabus while Theresa (and me until December) is taking over Math.

One thing I noticed straight away is the difference between teaching Math in a Title 1 school in Colorado and teaching Math in Victoria. Due to the transient nature of the Title 1 school population, state scores and the low socio-economic nature of most of the school community, our school is directed by the District to teach a particular syllabus following a pacing guide for the year. This allows students who move from school to school to continue their learning at the same place in the syllabus. This is different to how I was teaching in Victoria with our continuum framework of skills we teach as students need. A change but it is an exciting one to see how another school and district looks at the development of student mathematical understanding.

When I started school in August, I spent a whole day setting up my classroom, rearranging things and finding new spots to store all the math equipment that came into my room! Below are some pictures of my classroom in the first few weeks:

Looking in from my door

Looking in towards the back of the room and the courtyard door

Class Library - I halved the number that was here last year
to make it easier to keep organised!!
Also have two shelves for my Aussie books :-)

Corridor wall and door (my desk at the far back)

Teacher area :-)
 Since August I have introduced Math Workshop to the classes. The students have a bit more independence in getting their work done and I am able to meet with small groups every day. It has been a struggle in some areas developing this independence but the students really seem to enjoy the rotations: Teacher Choice, Math Facts, Hands On and At Your Seat.

School has also been interesting as we began - I participated in a drill Lockdown situation for 10 minutes, which was followed up one week later by an actual Lockdown situation (on September 11 too!) that lasted 25 minutes and was ended by a GJ policeman unlocking my door. Kinda scary and weird - am looking forward to not having to go through these again when I go home!!

Loving my Life in Colorado.....

I had travelled for so long over summer break - 8 1/2 weeks of the 10 weeks I was on the road away from GJ - that it was extremely nice to get back to school and stay in the one spot!! I spent August and the start of September getting back into the swing of things at school and spending time with my awesome friends.

The middle of September saw the Palisade Wine Festival occur three blocks from my house. Janel invited Katie and I to volunteer in the morning in return for free entry into the event. So we met at my place and walked around to the festival which was being held in the park behind my street. After spending an hour unpacking boxes and filling grab bags, I stood at the entrance with an iPod and scanned entry tickets using a QR code. In one hour I scanned 700 or so people through the gates! However, I handed over the scanner without question when my shift was over as that meant it was time to check out the Wine Festival!! Janel, Katie and I spent six hours wandering around booths, tasting wines and having some great food samples as well! I'm kind of glad it all finished at 5:30pm though - the samples were VERY good!! :-)

Katie and I stomping grapes!
Janel and Katie
It was really cold and gross!
Our gorgeous feet when we finished!
Our first bottle bought and drank with lunch!
We loved this label :-) Very fun!

Didn't try these but we loved these labels also :-)

A pink fire engine for Breast Cancer Awareness :-)

The following day, I headed to Glenwood Caverns and Glenwood Springs with Sara and two of her friends Richard and Mark. It was a hilarious day as all three are very funny people - added to that is the fact Mark is a Pom so we had some extra fun giving each other a hard time over all sorts of country issues :-D

The weekend following, there was a CITEL Grand Junction Weekend. A lot of the Aussie exchangees and some American ex-echangees came over the mountains (from the east and south) to stay in town and check out some of our wonderful local areas. Fiona, one of my friends in Denver (from Sydney), came over and spent the weekend with me. Together with Sara, we spent Saturday at the Fruita Fall Festival, which is a town festival on the other side of the valley. It was a great day that began with breakfast at the Dickes', watching the town parade, wandering the stalls, spending money (I bought Xmas presents and a Colorado Love hoody) and having lots of laughs in the beer garden area in the afternoon.

Sara bought an AMAZING beanie - Minion Time!

Fruita has a lot of sculptures around the town square, just like Palisade!

Enjoying small town America!

Last travels begin........

On September 29 I headed to Monument Valley to meet up with the McLean and Hewitt families. They were travelling the National Parks for a few weeks in RVs and we had organised to catch up this night for dinner. I was looking forward to seeing people from home!

The drive up to Monument Valley was absolutely gorgeous. It took me 5-6 hours to get there but the last half was amazing to look at as I drove........

Anyone want to run a marathon?

This rock was balanced very well!

Driving south through Utah, the countryside got redder and redder
as I got closer to the Arizona border!

Driving through Utah ...... different landscapes only half hour apart!

My view as I near Monument Valley

The view from my balcony at Gouldings Lodge

What a great way to relax and unwind - looking at the gorgeous scenery!

The lodge was built to blend into the rock formations

Overlooking Gouldings Lodge and the Valley


After arriving and settling in, I went down to the RV campsites and had a wonderful catch up dinner with the McLean family and Hewitt family from Korumburra. They were travelling the National Parks for a few weeks - it was wonderful to see Aussies again and have a catch up about what was going on back home at school and in town :-)

I even got an amazing present!! :-) Yummo!!

More to come.......


There is much more to come, including my drive back from Monument Valley where I visited Four Corners Monument and the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. However, its time to post this catchup before it gets TOO long!

Keep smiling,

Candice :-)


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