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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just a Reminder...

Just wanted to remind anybody who is interested in See's Candy that the sale for San Gorgonio Middle School ends Sunday. Just click here for more information.









Also if you live in or plan to be in the Beaumont/Banning, California  area be sure to come out to DelTaco's Give Boldly to School's Night on April 6th from 4pm-8pm,  to help raise money and show your support  for Three Rings Ranch Elementary. Remember it's at the DelTaco off of Beaumont Ave, in Beaumont. Click here for more details.




Plus to all those gardeners out there hoping for April showers to help water your May flowers. If you haven't gotten enough pretty or colorful flowers to add to your garden, be sure to check out the Flower Power Fundraiser!  The last date to purchase from it is April 29th, and the proceeds benefit the Art Club at San Gorgonio Middle School.   Click here for more information.





Also a big Thank you for the Buzz from Meghan over at mmriley.com, when she mentioned my post Script Frenzy Young Writer's Program. This starts tomorrow! For more information click here!
 Please don't forget to vote for my blog at We're on the Fence, picketfenceblogs.com.  Just click on the little rectangular button to the right! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And now, a visit by what????

Ok. I know I promise not to get on my soap box. But this article I read in the paper the other day and a blog post I read around the same time really got stuck in my head.
 The article was from The Press-Enterprise on March 22, and the title was And Now, A Visit By Video. (You can find a copy of it at The Press-Enterprise's site, although it's $2.95 to read it. However they do have a version of it online titled Virtual Reality The Newest Thing In School Field Trips . )
The blog post was by V. Furnas, at Life 4 Me By Me, entitled First We March on Austin, from March 12.

The article, as it's title implies, is about the new trend in school field trips where instead of actually getting on the bus, and having a hands on experience, the students sit in the classroom and through videos, cameras, and computers have a "field trip".   The main reasoning behind this new form of virtual exploration? It is not because they are exploring countries a world away. The main reason is  schools don't have the money to pay for the travel expenses.  (gas, buses, etc)  Because of budget cut backs most schools get the funds for field trips from fund raisers, or the parents of the students pay for the trips. I know we've all had that happen. "Mom the class is going to such-and-such place. I need you to sign the permission slip. Oh and I'll need $30 too."
Now if kids are going to a water park or theme park, such as the end of year trips to Knotts or 6 Flags. I understand where fund raising or parents should have to help pay for the kids to go. Going down a water slide is not really related to my child's education, nor will it help them get into college. (Even though my 14 year old could probably give me a list of reasons why it is related and would help, sorry no I don't think so)  However, going to someplace that is related to the subject they are learning about?  For example, every year 4th graders around here do a whole big thing on the California Missions. Going on a field trip to a local mission would definitely be something that would be fun and educational for the kids. Why aren't field trips like this allowed for when the budgets are figured out?
This brings me to the other topic that has been bugging me. I was reading First We March on Austin , you should read it, in fact I'll wait while you go check it out. Checked it out? Good, ok so she was talking about a rally she went to in Austin that was held by Save Texas Schools.  And the whole reason behind the marching and the rallying is because of school budgets getting cut, and to save money they are laying off perfectly good teachers simply based on how many years they have worked.   The thing is this isn't just happening in Texas, it is happening all over the U.S.  I'm not saying that a teacher who has been teaching for 20 years has more right to teach. I'm saying that it is a pretty crummy way to cull the herd. Why not instead offer incentives for teachers that might like to retire early? Or base the layoffs on evaluations? I mean teachers are now required to have specific accreditation and what not. So on paper all teachers should be equal right?
 Yes I know California, and most states for that matter, are in debt. The whole country is in debt for that matter. I just think that instead of cutting funding to education maybe putting some money into it might be a bit of a better idea. I mean kids are our future right? I really don't care if the person teaching my child has had fifty years working with kids, or if they are fresh out of college, as long as they are able to communicate the information to my child in such a way that it makes an impact. In a way that gets them involved and gets them to want to learn more, I think that is more important. I also would much rather that money is budgeted to send classes on curriculum based field trips then to send some senator or governor on a trip to some island retreat.  I'm not going to say I know how to fix all the problems, I know the government has money issues and greed issues. But somebody somewhere should be able to do something right? Just saying.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DelTaco & Three Rings Ranch Elementary


 






I love DelTaco.  They are one of my favorite fast food restaurants.  I've always liked them, but I truly fell in love with the a few years ago when I discovered that for some reason their soft tacos are one of the few foods I can keep down when my heart meds make me nauseous. Well now I have even more reason to love them!!! They have a new program: Give Boldly to Schools Night!  (ok. I am assuming it is new, it might not be, but this is the first I've heard of it, so until I'm corrected I'm saying it's new) This is great! Now I can go buy a bunch of the food that I love, AND not feel so guilty about it 'cause it's helping out a local school. (after all helping out a school in need is MUCH more important than my diet. lol)  Plus it's the DelTaco I go to all the time. They even gave me taco wrappers when I made Fondant and Icing Tacos for my friends shower. (See not the only one with a Deltaco obsession)( I know they only gave me 4 its not like they broke the bank or nothing, but it's still pretty cool.)



What can I say she had an obsession with pizza and DelTaco tacos.



Okay so to everyone in the Banning/Beaumont, California area here are the details:

Where:   435 E.4th Street                   or more simply the DelTaco in Beaumont on Beaumont Ave, just   
              Beaumont, Ca                                              past the entrance to the 10.

                                                 or click here to see driving directions from google maps.



Picture from Google maps

When:   April 6th 2011
             From 4pm-8pm


 20% of the net sales go to a local school, which in this case is Three Rings Ranch Elementary.


So whether you know someone at Three Rings Ranch Elementary that you would like to show your support for or you just want to support a local school or you just really want some Deltaco, be sure to come out on the 6th!


Not in the area? Is there a DelTaco near you?  Go check it out. Maybe they are having Give Boldly Nights, the one I frequent had a big sign on the front door couldn't miss it.  No sign, just ask. Maybe they don't have  a school set up to have one yet, in which case, if you know someone from a local school why don't you suggest they go check it out?




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Script Frenzy Young Writer's Program

Back in October I told you about NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program, and how it can be used in the classroom.  Well for any of you who participated in November's novel challenge, you probably have heard of Script Frenzy.  This post is for the rest of you.
April is Script Frenzy month. Like it's counter part in NaNoWriMo in November, it is a whole month dedicated to writing. Except this month's goal is to write 100 pages of a original scripted material (for example a screenplay, stage play, TV show, short film, or graphic novel), instead of a 50,000 word novel. Also, as with NaNoWriMo, they have a Young Writer's Program for this event. Again this Young Writer's Program version offers kids an chance to set their own goals and work in groups. (Where as with the adult group requires that you write the full 100 pages.) They also offer tons of helpful resources.  From workbooks for kids, based on their grade level. (It is separated into three categories, Elementary, Middle, or High School) to How-to guides based on what kind of scripted material you are interested in writing, and much more.
Again it is also a great program for teachers to present in the classroom or as an after school program. They provide free lesson plans and a free Script Frenzy Classroom Kit. (it comes with a progress chart, and button and stuff) And they offer forums for teachers to be able to connect with each other and share ideas. They also have the NEO lending program again. (The NEO they lend out is basically a kid friendly laptop/word processor that the kids in the class can use to type up their stories on) And unfortunately again I am late on that one too, the requests for the loaner program needed to be sent in by March 15th. However as with NaNoWriMo this doesn't mean that students can't participate.
As for the rest of us who aren't teachers and aren't writing the next great screen play? Why not offer to help organize getting together pens and paper for the children to write on? Volunteering to help encourage the kids to keep writing, or coming in and helping the teacher count pages or helping the kids brainstorm or even offering to read them over when they are finished? Maybe if you have an old typewriter or word processor lending it out to the class so the teacher can help them type up their work?  How 'bout even just bringing this to the attention of the teachers at your local schools?
As I said in October, in today's economy where classrooms sometimes are working with books and tools that are in desperate need of updating, and when funds are not there to do it with, this provides a new and innovative way to help encourage young writers. And helps give kids a fresh new way to learn.
So I encourage all of you  reading this to go check it out!
Here is the link once again for the Script Frenzy Young Writer's Program and also the link for the main Script Frenzy site.
Also in October there was a comment from one Robert C. Roman , that his students were thrilled to participate in the Young Writers Program for NaNoWriMo and I asked him to let me know how it turned out. Well some of his students met their goals!  Isn't that amazing? Currently he is looking for people to help beta read* some of the students work. Interested? Click here for more info .    Imagine how much it would mean to a kid to know that someone out there wants to read their work. Not only is it helping out a teacher, it is encouraging kids to use their imaginations, and even maybe to believe in themselves.  One of the most important things that I think gets over looked in this whole school funding mess is the kids. I know everyone says that the funding issue should be solved for them. But if everyone actually believed that it should be done for the kids, then why is there even an issue in the first place.
K, sorry slipped onto my soap box. :) Anyway be sure to check out Script Frenzy's Young Writer's Program, and if you're interested in Beta reading for some hard working kids, be sure to stop by Robert Roman's blog and let him know!


* according to Yahoo! Answers a beta reader is A beta reader is a person who reads the same genre fiction that your writing is, and who offers you critical (both positive and negative) feedback.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fund-raiser!



San Gorgonio Middle School's Performing Arts Department will be holding a See's Candy Fundraiser from now until April 4th.  All funds go to support the performing arts department and that includes its remaining activities this year. Such as the Spring Musical and the Fine Arts Festival. 
There is no online ordering for this one. (Sorry) But it you live in the Beaumont/Banning California area and are interested in ordering feel free to contact me at aimeelavalle@gmail.com.   I personally am drooling over those gourmet lollipops and can't wait til they get here!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Boxtops




People are always asking me what items come with boxtops. Well just recently I got this list from one of the local schools.   Also you can go to boxtops4education.com  and sign up for their program online.   It takes about a minute to sign up. Then you just put in your zip code and find schools in the area who are signed up for the program.  Some of the great things you can do?  Help earn Box tops online, Sign up for contests to win box tops for your school, and they also have coupons you can print out to use for brands that carry boxtops. You can also see what your schools goal is, as well as what they have currently earned for the year.