Monday, April 14, 2008

A Full Day Visit to Iowa Falls

I tried my best to visit Iowa Falls in December 2007 only to have school canceled for the day due to snow accumulation. So today, Tuesday-April 8th, was the day that I actually visited Iowa Falls and had a chance to connect with some of our great Team ISEA leaders.

My first stop was to the Times Citizen Communication at 406 Stevens Street. I was interviewed by Jackson Groves for a radio program to be aired later in the day. During my visit with Jackson I discovered there was another young man working for the radio station/newspaper who I needed to meet because he was from Council Bluffs. Now this is the best part, one of the "gems" along the way in my travels--I taught with the young man's dad at Carter Lake Elementary!

Here I'm pictured with Jackson Groves (on the left) who works for both the radio station and newspaper in Iowa Falls and Coltrane Carlson (on the right), Sports Director for KIFG radio and the son of CBEA member Dave Carlson. Coltrane's dad, Dave Carlson, is an elementary band teacher for five elementary buildings in Council Bluffs.

UniServ Director from Unit Two, Cindy Carroll, was able to travel with me today. Thanks, Cindy for working with Iowa Falls EA leaders to make all our arrangements for the day!

Our first school visit took us to Rock Run Elementary. Here I had the chance to read to two different classes in the school Media Center.

In the Media Center I reconnected with a friend I met last summer on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls when we took a class together (an update of Children's Literature)--Elementary Media Specialist Ann Newberg (pictured with me on the right). Ann arranged for two separate classes to visit and hear my read aloud.

The first class I read to was Marj Cleveringa's class. Here (on the left) Marj is pictured with her homeroom in the Rock Run Elementary Media Center.

I then read to Hanna Myers' 5th grade class in the Media Center. Hanna is pictured with her students on the right.

Next, UniServ Director Cindy Carroll and I were off to Riverbend Middle School.

At Riverbend MS we connected with Iowa Falls EA President and MS Science teacher Karen Koenig. Here we were given the chance to observe the tail end of the 7th grade staff team meeting before observing Karen in action in her classroom.

Karen Koenig led her classroom in Second Chance Reading--students reading independently from self-selected novels, then taking a 10 question quiz on the classroom computer.

School lunch today was a "walking taco". UniServ Director Cindy and I had the chance to visit with staff in the lounge as they enjoyed a few moments together as a colleagues.

We were next back to Rock Run Elementary where I had the chance to visit with Juli Weidemann's Social Studies class about my time serving as a state legislator. We visited about issues that might interest them as students and how ideas can move forward into laws.

The final school visit took us to Pine View Elementary where I was able to read aloud to Kathy Moore's homeroom. Pine View is the primary grade elementary building here in Iowa Falls.

Pictured here on the right is Kathy Moore and her homeroom students.

Visiting the classrooms was delightful! There were so many great things going on in all the Iowa Falls classrooms today!

At the end of a full day of working with students, Iowa Falls EA members joined us in the Family and Consumer Science classroom at Riverbend Middle School for snacks, juice and conversation. Nearly a dozen IFEA members were able to stop by at the end of their work day to say "hello".

It is always fascinating to hear about the professional development opportunities they are involved in as well as how their Teacher Quality money is being distributed. President Karen presented me with a gift--for my furry little critters (my two cats) that are left alone on my many trips--kitty toys and kitty treats!

Thanks, Iowa Falls EA for your thoughtfulness as well as your leadership on Team ISEA!

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