Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Logan's Restaurant Reviews

One of my former students, Logan Bello, has started his own restaurant blog.

I've provided a link to it over on the right there.

For all who might be interested, I'll be eating dinner tomorrow, June 30, around 6:00 at Larry Vito's Smokehouse BBQ which Logan reviewed. We're doing one of our "Sebastopol Dine-Out" nights there....

Maybe I'll see some of you there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Important Book--Hunter

The Important Thing About Hunter is that she loves her family with all her heart.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Important Book--Isabella

The Important Thing about Isabella is...she loves her family, friends, school, and helping others.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paper Screening

I spent a good part of Friday reviewing the applications for the Instructional Assistant position we'll be filling over the summer.

I am happy for Mrs. Frech that she will be moving on to her area of specialty in business, but I feel sad to lose her expertise and her trustworthiness. Mrs. Frech got to know her job really well. She could almost reading my mind when there was something I needed to her do.

This weekend I'm writing and rewriting the questions that the interview committee will ask the people who will interview for the job next week.

Whom we choose to fill the role of Instructional Assistant is one of the most important decisions I will make this summer. The fact is this: the Instructional Assistant is critical to help keep things running smoothly in our classroom. To an outsider, a well-run kindergarten may look like a breeze, as if there's nothing to it.

Actually, running a kindergarten classroom can be an exacting job. Small mistakes can quickly snowball into large problems and before you know it the safety, happiness, and kindness I'm trying to achieve in my class can go out the window. Above all, I need someone whom I can trust to define the boundaries and give the support children need in just the right ever-changing proportions.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Important Book--Jacob

The Important Thing about Jacob is that he loves his family, friends, and his cat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Important Book--Justin

The Important thing about Justin is he loves his friends.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Christa's Speech

As I said in the last post, I'm still reeling from being honored as I was on the last day of school. There's no way I can tell you how honored I feel by this tribute.

Still sort of speechless.

Mr. Speechless

In my disjointed remarks last Thursday I forgot to say how much I owe to the people around me. I wish I had said more about my gratitude to be working with such a fine team of colleagues. I'm told that it's unusual for a school staff to work together as happily and smoothly as this one does. A lot of credit for our collegiality should go to our principal, Mrs. Wilding. And a lot of credit for the success of our school is due to everyone who works at the school and I mean everyone, including the parent volunteers. I get way too much credit for what is in reality a team effort. Mrs. Frech, in particular, has done countless things to make the kindergarten run smoothly. Without her help people would be far less impressed by the kindergarten than they are. I will miss her next year. She literally reads my mind half the time.

I wanted to publish here the remarks the Christa Cape shared on the occasion. When she read these words I got too emotional to think all that clearly. If you read them, you'll understand why I was somewhat incoherent when I was given the microphone.

Here's what Christa said:

Mr. Kindergarten
Dunham’s Beloved Mr. Gurney 
written by Christa Cape, whose son, Stephen Thrower, is a kindergarten student in Mr. Gurney’s kindergarten class at Dunham Elementary School.

If you attend Dunham Elementary School, you know who Mr. Kindergarten is. He is our own Mr. Dan Gurney. What you may not know is for almost three decades Mr. Gurney has provided our students with the very best he has to offer, education, inspiration, and love. He has developed tools to help our students learn such as the Soundabet and he has developed several blogs, including “Mr. Kindergarten” as a virtual classroom for the parents to see into their child’s school day.

When I started writing this article, I wanted to know what other people thought of Mr. Gurney. Dylan Petersen, a current kindergartner said, “I want to stay in kindergarten forever. Mr. Gurney makes school fun.” Both my son, Steven Thrower and his friend, Justin Casarotti, often ask during the weekend when they can go to school because they was to see Mr. Gurney. And as a former student of Mr. Gurney, Jennifer Crum, whose three daughters currently attend Dunham, Madison, Emily, and Savannah who is also in kindergarten said, “He’s an amazing teacher who truly loves his job. There’s just something about the way he talks to his students as well as the way he listens that captures each and every child. I am so thankful my kids were a part of Mr. Gurney’s Kindergarten Experience...a very safe, happy, and kind place to be. Mr. Gurney is an icon at Dunham School.”

However, I believe that Ms. Kimberlee Wilding, the school Principal, summed it up best when I asked her about Mr. Gurney. Her response was, “Many families choose Dunham specifically because of Mr. Gurney. His eagerness to develop programs and meet the ever-changing needs of his students has earned him this fame and reputation.”

Because Mr. Gurney has had such a powerful and loving impact on so many generations of Dunham families, the school sought to honor him. The parents and staff of Dunham generously donated money to have a statue commissioned by the famous metal sculptor, Patrick Amiot. Many of his works are seen throughout Sebastopol. The statue portrays Mr. Gurney as we see him on a daily basis, riding his bike, wearing that odd-shaped hat. What a wonderful way to say Thank you to a man who has devoted his life to education, not just at Dunham, but to so many others via his blogs, Mr. Kindergarten and A Mindful Heart. This gift is to be presented to Mr. Gurney on June 3rd at the end of the year school fair.

I know that I speak for many parents when I say, “Thank you, Mr. Gurney. Thank you for loving our children and for being such a wonderful teacher and humanitarian.”

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mr. Kindergarten

I'm still reeling with pleasure from being honored on the last day of school with a sculpture by Patrick Amiot of me on my bicycle.

It took me completely by surprise.

Wow. I was sort of speechless (and probably should have been completely speechless) when Tonia handed me the microphone, but oh well, at least I didn't lose any sleep thinking of what I might say on such an occasion. I don't know if I made any sense. Probably not, but that's okay.

Anyway, here's what the sculpture looks like.

I'll be posting more thoughts about it in the days to come: