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Last September, Drew started learning Spanish on Duolingo. Today, he finished his Spanish tree in all gold! Duolingo is free language learning program with over 100 million registered users across the globe. Finishing his Spanish tree approximately equates to an entire first year of college Spanish. Drew worked incredibly hard on his Spanish every day (he has a 245 day streak). Great job Drew, congratulations!
Drew had to create a solar system for his school science class. There were few conditions and the students could have done most anything from a mobile to a diorama. Drew chose to make a poster and with the help of some styrofoam balls, string and markers and some awesome painting skills, he made a phenomenal solar system with all the planets, a constellation, asteroid belt and comet.
This morning was Doughnuts for Dad at Landon's preschool so I got to take off work and spend the morning with him eating doughnuts and playing.
We drew with markers and painted with water colors.
We made all kinds of creations with Play-doh including these two lions.
Finally, we built lots of tall buildings with blocks and had as much fun knocking them down as we did building them up.
Landon and I were both sad when it was time for me to go.
He helps me... play Halo.
My dad can cook... hamburgers on the grill.
His job is... working on computers.
We play... baseball.
His favorite food... bananas.
Dad likes to... sleep!
My dad is... Strong and Funny (picked out of group including smart, sweet, soooooo cool and handsome).
Landon's teachers asked the children a variety of questions (on the left) and wrote down Landon's answers (on the right) on a really nice card. Landon did a really great job and knows me pretty well (some children had some pretty wild responses for their dads). Just a few notes, Halo refers to the old cartoony alien version I've helped Landon's older brothers play, from Landon's perspective I do work on computers since that is what he sees me doing whenever I'm doing some work at home, I do like bananas and I'd have say they are my favorite fruit, I do like to catch a nap on the weekends and I'll take strong and funny out of that list...Love you Landon!
The card included a photo of Landon walking in footsteps laid down on the floor with the following poem:
"Walk a little slower, Daddy,"
Said a little child so small.
"I'm following in your footsteps,
And I don't want to fall.
Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.
Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me.
And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you.
Thanks to Landon's teachers Miss Sylvia and Miss Denise for doing such a great job with the kids and for letting the fathers share the morning with them.
Drew was asked to apply for his school's broadcast crew and was then selected to be a part of the six person team that makes the morning video announcements to the entire school. The crew members rotate between the positions of three broadcasters, the cameraman, the computer/teleprompter operator and the runner. Drew did a terrific job in front of the camera informing the school of the days events. After trying each position, Drew says he likes being the cameraman best.
Landon had his first day of preschool today at St. Benedict. The program is just three half-days a week and did a great job of preparing Drew and Will for kindergarten.
Sitting outside in front of St. Benedict before class starts.
At the door of his preschool classroom. There are fourteen stars on the door: one for the teacher, one for the assistant teacher and one for each of the twelve students. Two trained and experienced adult teachers for twelve kids creates a perfect learning environment.
Landon and his teacher Miss Sylvia.
Landon and his assistant teacher Miss Denise.
Today is the first day of school for Will (2nd grade) and Drew (4th grade). Landon starts next week. He is sporting his new Star Wars backpack that he is very proud of. Mary is going to have quite an adjustment with everyone in school after having at least one little boy at home with her for the last ten years.
Drew read a poem he wrote as part of his school's Writing Celebration! tonight. Drew wrote an acrostic, a cinquain, a couplet, a roses are red and a diamante. He picked his favorite, the roses are red poem, to read to all his classmates and their parents.
Lives in the wild
orange gold fur
nothing like them
A Cinquain Valenite for Landon
running playing drawing
as sweet as candy
I fed my parrot
a really tasty carrot
Roses are Red
roses are red
violets are blue
I like to hide
in my igloo
throwing running catching
home runs are awesome
batting sliding fielding
Drew and his teacher posing with Drew's Poetry Folder. Drew wrote some great poems, I like his acrostic best, and did a great job reading his favorite to everyone. Way to go Drew!
After Will's baseball game tonight, all of us including Aunt Donelda went to the Union Youtharts festival where both Will and Drew had their artwork selected for the show.
Our two artists and their budding artist little brother.
Will's Silly City artwork.
Will the artist.
Drew's Hokusai Curved Lines artwork.
Drew the artist.
Drew's Still Life Shapes.
Drew managed to get two artworks into the show. Great job boys.
Drew performed in his third grade musical tonight entitled Sing Me a Story. He played the metallophone or, more accurately, the Sonor Meisterklasse SKM10 Soprano Diatonic Metallophone. The music teacher said it was the best performing group she had taught in 20 years. We couldn't agree more, the performance was flawless.
Tonight, Drew and Will's school had their annual bingo night which included a silent auction this year. It was a wild success and the school raked in an estimated $3500 (to be updated).
Will was just one square away from a blackout and a $100 prize on the last game of the evening. While we didn't win any bingo games, we did win two door prizes!
Forgot I had a pretty good photo on my iPhone of the boys that I sent Aunt Donelda during bingo.
Will participated in his school's Writing Celebration! tonight and recited a poem he wrote for his class's Poetry Unit.
The Danz Family Cat
I had a cat and his name
was Joey and he was a
He never scratched I
wish he was still alive
Will and his teacher posing with Will's poem. Will wrote a great poem and did a great job reciting it for everyone. Way to go Will!
The chess club at Will and Drew's school didn't have enough participation, despite plenty of kids standing around at the front door or even sitting in cars with their parents doing nothing but waiting for the school to open, but that's a topic for another day. So, the club previously open to to second through fifth grade opened up to select first graders by invitation. Will was ecstatic when he found out he was invited and could join Drew in chess club.
Early this morning, I dropped Will and Drew off at chess club. We were a bit early and I went in and waited for the teacher who supervises the club to arrive. While waiting, I gave Will the old...what a great honor it is to have been asked to join the club, don't worry if you don't win since you're younger than everyone else, you might not win for a long time but have fun and learn about the game, etc. Will seemed to understand and his excitement would no doubt overcome any disappointment that might come from not winning.
When I got home from work, Will was beaming. He wound up playing a third-grader who is in Drew's accelerated classes. Despite the two-year age difference, Will won his first chess club game! Way to go Will!!!
Will and Drew's school had their Veterans Day celebration today and their Cub Scout pack provided the Color Guard.
Drew had the honor of carrying the American Flag during the ceremony.
Drew and Will giving their scout salute to the flag during the practice for their Veterans Day assembly. Below a movie of the color guard in action during the assembly.
Interestingly, the Veterans Day observance is mandated by state law:
Title 70 Okla. Stat. § 24-152. Veterans Day and Celebrate Freedom Week in public schools--Instruction on Declaration of Independence and U.S. ConstitutionIt a great law, just too bad you have to legislate common sense.
A. In order to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom on behalf of this country and the values on which this country was founded, the date of November 11 is hereby designated "Veterans Day", and the week in which November 11 falls is hereby designated "Celebrate Freedom Week" in and for the public schools of this state. In any year in which the date of November 11 is a Saturday or Sunday or classes are not in regular session, the public schools of this state shall observe the previous school day as "Veterans Day" as provided for in this section. For purposes of this subsection, Sunday shall be considered the first day of the week.
B. The board of education of each public school district shall ensure that each school in its district will on Veterans Day conduct and observe an appropriate program of at least one class period remembering and honoring American veterans. In addition, schools may choose, if scheduling allows, to have a one-minute moment of silence beginning at 11:00 a.m. on November 11 of each year. The benefit of such activity, in addition to honoring American veterans, is to serve to educate students about the termination of World War I at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, which was first recognized by United States President Woodrow Wilson on the first anniversary of the truce in a proclamation eulogizing fallen Allied soldiers and referring to November 11 as Armistice Day.
First day of school for the 2012-2013 school year. Drew is entering third grade, Will is starting first grade and Landon will be the man of the house since he doesn't start anything until preschool next year.
The boys are very fond of their backpacks, baseball for Drew and Star Wars for Will.
Drew had his last chess club meeting of the year today and he finished with a 24-5 record. That is 24 wins and only 5 losses competing against other second graders along with third, fourth and fifth graders. If a game is unfinished they count up the total value of the pieces each player has left on the board with the highest scoring player getting the win. Draws or ties are counted as a win for each player. The kids kept track of their scores in a notebook throughout the year but they only know their own scores. So, while we have no idea if another kid had a better record, in our eyes, Drew is a chess champion!
Drew is in second grade which is the first year students can join his school's Chess Club. This morning was Drew's very first day of Chess Club and he played one game against a third-grader and won!
The picture is of our chess set that the boys play on. I had a couple of cheapo chess sets collected through the years and had always wanted a really nice set since I was a kid. Drew started playing about two years ago and so last year I finally splerged on a really nice set. There are an infinite combination of chess board and piece types, sizes and materials. After looking at all the options for a couple of months, I finally picked out a mahogany and maple board that is 17"x17"x.5" with 1.75" inch squares. The pieces are a classic Staunton design with a 3" king made of boxwood and ebonized boxwood, hand carved knights, all weighted with felt covered bottoms. The set came with two extra queens and a mahogany box for storage of the pieces. Having played with the set for over a year now, I believe it is the perfect definitive chess set.
Today was the first day of school: first day of second grade for Drew, first day of kindergarten for Will, first day in a new school for Will and first day the boys go to the same school together.
Landon joins his schoolmate brothers.
The brothers walking to school while the littlest one enjoys a ride.
Drew is ready to rock the second grade. Is there anything better than brand new school supplies?
Will was very excited this morning when he arrived because he got his very first "worksheet"!
Today, Will graduated from Saint Benedict's preschool program. We couldn't be more pleased with the program. All of the teachers are absolutely wonderful and Will and Drew both made great progress in their studies during their year there.
During the ceremony, besides performing a myriad of songs, each child was given a profession along with a short recitation which they had to say aloud from memory all by themselves in front of all the parents and relatives. Will had been selected to be a veterinarian and he said the following:
A vet is what I want to be for all God's animals I truly love.
I'll take good care of them and send them on their way.
The proud graduate! Next year Will and Drew will be going to the same school and Mama will get a two year break from back and forth chauffeuring.
We debated whether to pull Drew out of school for Will's graduation. In the end, family triumphed over education. I don't think the half day Drew missed will have much of an impact. It was important that we all celebrated Will's graduation together.
Will starred in his very first play today, his pre-school's Christmas play. He got to be one of the three shepherds that visits the newborn Jesus.
Will took his role very seriously.
Each shepherd carried a staff, or a "cane" according to Will.
Here the shepherds are traveling to see the newborn King.
The shepherds are at the manger with Mary and Joseph kneeling and the three kings on the right.
Will on the right continuing his shy, quiet, demure, well-behaved manner. I think we'll try putting a shepherd costume on him at home.
Today was Will's first ever day of school. It is a perfect start consisting of just three half-days of pre-school a week. We were completely amazed at everything Drew learned when he went through the same program two years ago. Will is very excited and has been looking forward to going to school for a long time.
Landon will have to do some adjusting as his two big brothers are now both in school. Compare Drew's first day of pre-school two years ago.
Today is Drew's first day of first grade. It will be a rough one-day week. It was so humid out that most of the photos were too blurry to use. The house-temp camera immediately fogged up when exposed to the humid muggy morning air.
All ready to walk to school. Everyday Will and Landon trudge along with Drew and Mama to and from Drew's school without complaint.
Despite there being one more week left of school, Drew's Pre-K class had its graduation ceremony yesterday. It was a wonderful ceremony filled with all kinds of songs and demonstrations of the things his class had learned. Most impressive was how each child, even the shyest and most quiet, took their turn to speak, alone, in front of all the assembled family and friends.
Drew was very insistent that Will be in included in his photo.
(Maybe another one for kindergarten, do grade school and middle school have their own too, high school, college, grad school...times three...only about 17 more graduations to go!)
Recently, Drew had Crazy Hat Day at school. We don't have too many "crazy" hats, or at least not one Drew wanted to wear. So, Drew wore one of his favorite hats in a crazy way. Will was more than happy to wear his hat too.
Two week ago, Drew started his first day of school...preschool/pre-k at St. Benedict. It's just three days a week for four and one-half hours. There are only eleven kids in his class and two teachers. We didn't originally intend to sign Drew up for preschool but it's been increasingly hard to challenge him and keep him from being bored around the house. We figured we'd sign Drew up at the brand new school that was just built within walking distance from our house, Jefferson Elementary, but there wasn't enough demand for a half-day program as all the parents want to put their preschoolers in full-day classes. How sad. So, Mary looked into all the private and parochial schools and we determined the preschool that happened to be offered by our church provided the best option. Drew picked out a Buzz Lightyear backpack to take with him to school.
Will wanted to be just like his big brother and put on his little backpack to take Drew to school.
At school, getting ready to go inside. Oh how they grow up so fast.