Friday, February 27, 2009

Is 50th Good Enough for Your Child?

The right action of all of us is made up of the right action of each one of us. Unless each of us is determined to meet the duty that comes to us, we can have no right to expect that others will meet the duties that come to them.”

~ Calvin Coolidge

No one can deny that we are living in trying times. All around the country, our friends, relatives and acquaintances are suffering. On Monday, your friend was laid off. Last Friday, you heard about your relatives living without power and water as their homes are buried in ice. Two weeks ago, your neighbor left with his unit for a tour in Iraq. Your spouse is worried about their job security. Discount stores are advertising entire store clearance sales. We are all hurting in some way. If we are not yet hurting, we are just waiting for it to trickle down to our house, our job, our bank account. We know it is coming.

Your child’s school is not immune.

Duval County expects to suffer from a $150 million budget deficit for the 2009-2010 academic year. All the facts tell us there is NO WAY to “trim the fat” and balance this budget crisis without affecting the classroom. In short, your child's school will suffer.

Guidance and Media services could be reduced!
Valuable resources like Art, Music and PE may be cut!
Essential supplies and materials could disappear altogether!

It is important to understand that this problem, this CRISIS, is not limited to Duval County alone. This fiscal crisis is statewide. The state of Florida was ranked 47th out of 50 states in tax revenue prior to the passing of Amendment One, which served to further reduce our state taxes. Regarding the total amount of funds allocated and spent on education, the state of Florida is ranked 50th in the nation. I ask you, does this represent your priorities? I doubt it.

Article IX, Section I of the Florida Constitution guarantees that:

"The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida."

"It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for … a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …."

Are our legislators upholding the requirements of our state constitution?

As voters, we share a heavy burden. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate facts. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to act.
It is our responsibility to advocate for our children. It is our responsibility to fight for their rights, for today and for their future. If not us, then who? If we do not meet our duties, we cannot expect others to meet theirs.

I urge you. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. Go to the source. Ask questions. Speak out. Make demands. Do not accept it as fact because others believe it to be true.

Ask yourself, is 50th good enough for your child?

If the answer is NO - contact our state's legislative delegation and ask for immediate help from one of these short term solutions:

1. One cent increase to the sales tax of Florida for just 3 years. It generates ten billion dollars over 3 years to plug the education funding cuts!

2. Please give flexibility to the school districts in the areas of categoricals, (SAI, Class Size, Instruction Materials, Reading, Safe Schools).

3. Please suspend unfunded mandates on the districts. (Examples: Transportation, Testing & Curriculum Requirements, Safety Nets, and Staffing Requirements.)

4. Please give flexibility of capital funds—so they can be used for General Revenue.

Ask them to find long term solutions to the critical funding situation in Florida and urge them to make public education a priority so that even our children's children can benefit from a right guaranteed them by our state constitution!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Look Into the Past

This week the students are learning about history. What were things like in the past? To go with this unit of study in Social Studies, the students were assigned a list of interview questions to ask someone older (we encouraged them to find the oldest person he/she knows). We will be using this information to write about how things have changed through the years. Don't forget that all projects are due on Wed. so that we have time to work on them in class. Don't forget to check back in to see their great work!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Check this out!

Have you been on the Kevin Henkes website? If you haven't had a chance yet, take some time this week to get on the site with your child. Ask your child about the books we have read in class. He also has a new book out called Birds. We are hoping to get a copy of it for our class. The kids really enjoy learning about the life of Kevin Henkes and who he is as an author. Ask your child to post one thing that he/she has learned about him!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That reminds me of...

In the beginning of our author study, students are learning how to make connections to the stories we are reading in class. These may be text to self, text to text, or text to world connections. Here are some samples of our beginning connections to Wemberly Worried.

Kids Write the Funniest Things

One thing I love about first grade is seeing the imagination of children come out in their writing. As we were reviewing narrative writing, Faith wrote a great story about two unusual characters: Ketchup and Mustard. I enjoyed her story and I'm sure you will too!

Once upon a time there were two best friends named Ketchup and Mustard. They were on hills and a bear was hungry. He only had meat and bread and he needed ketchup and mustard. So the bear went looking and found ketchup and mustard and he squeezed them onto his meat and Ketchup and Mustard died and the bear had a great sandwich.

Monday, February 9, 2009

First Grader's Love Kevin Henkes!

WOW...we are only a couple days into our new author study of Kevin Henkes and the kids can't get enough of his work. Each day they are excited to find out what new books we will be reading. They are busy making connections and talking about the characters. So far we have heard Chrysanthemum, Owen, and Wemberly Worried. Ask your child which one is his/her favorite so far. We will be posting work throughout the unit of study so make sure you check in to see great writing!

Monday, February 2, 2009

First Graders Celebrate 100 Days!

Today was our 100th day of school. WOW! Hard to believe that we are more than half way through this year. What a fun day it was. This afternoon we had lots of fun 100th day activities such as writing about what we would do if we had a $100, writing 100 words, thinking about what we would do with 100 different items (100 legs, 100 pencils, etc), and reading a great 100th day poem. Then we went to see Zero The Hero who loves to celebrate the 100th day of school.

He shows all the kids great things that were around 100 years ago and talks about life then.

Zero the Hero was even giving away $100 bills (which he said were 100% fake of course) for those who knew the answers to questions. Two of our students were lucky winners!

It was another great day at Chets Creek!

Awards Ceremony Change!

Don't forget that our awards ceremony has been changed to Friday at 9:05.

First Grade Sleepover 2009!

Sleepover was a huge success. We had a fun filled day as we began with our Teddy Bear Parade and breakfast. Then we went to play Bear Bingo, Bear Square Dance, and make book covers. Then it was off to our Sleepover Party in the media center where we watched a puppet show, watched a movie with popcorn, and then danced away! Finally it was time for Bear Dodgeball. Before we knew it the day was done. Here are the highlights from the day.