This may be our last year of a February winter break and an April spring break. Our school board wants to combine the 2 weeks into one March break. Many of us are against this idea for a lot of reasons. The board wants us to be able to get out of school a week earlier, which sounds nice. The downside to that however, is that it extends the summer learning loss window. Kids lose a lot of ground over the 9 weeks they already have off. Adding one more week to that doesn't seem educationally sound to me. In New England, the period of time between Christmas and March is a long dark tunnel. The Feb break comes along at the height of flu and cold season, and does a great job of breaking up that cycle. We will see what happens with the calendar - decisions will be made in a few weeks.
This year though my winter break is shorter than usual. The kids have the whole week off; teachers just have M-W off. We have workshops scheduled for Thursday and Friday. This is a huge change, and one that we had no say in. Don't get me wrong, the professional development time is valuable. It's just that in the past, it wasn't scheduled into a 50 years plus-old tradition, and it wasn't sprung on us with no input. There's a lot of unhappiness in the ranks.
So what am I doing for this break? On Saturday, we traveled to Boston to visit with our sons. Son #2 lives in LA and flew east with his lovely girlfriend on business. Son #1 lives in Providence so he drove up and we all met at the Prudential Center. We had a lovely day visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I was fascinated by two of the special exhibits there: Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC
and Luís Meléndez: Master of Spanish Still Life. The Egyptian artifacts painted a detailed picture of everyday life but I was so bothered by the fact that I haven't been able to teach social studies for the last two years. I kept wanting to buy resources in the gift shop for the 6th graders, but I refuse to spend money on something I'm not teaching. I fell in love with the paintings in the still life exhibit. Meléndez's paintings of fruits, vegetables, and kitchen implements were amazing. He was a keen observer and captured details like the water droplets oozing out of a cut watermelon, the reflection of fruit off a silver platter, and the iridescence of a freshly-caught fish's eye. Imagine a cauliflower so true to life that it seemed 3 dimensional! After our cultural enhancement we headed to the North End for a great Italian dinner on Hanover Street, followed by sensational cannolli from Mikes Pastry.
Yesterday I spent grading science reports and today I'm working on developing a new science unit on waves, sound, and light. Thus I am reading the textbook and doing some research since high school physics was the last time I thought about wave energy. I have the state GLE's and a ton of resources to use, so that's my game plan for today. Tomorrow is tax day, and then Wednesday will be a day off. Thursday and Friday it's back to school for work shops, and then it's the weekend. . . .I guess the break part is the fact that I can sleep in!
And I can stay up a bit later to watch the Olympics. I am not a sports person by any stretch of the imagination,but I just love watching Olympic competition --- curling, bobsledding, skating, skiiing, I don't care! My knitting is coming along - I probably won't finish my sweater by the end of closing ceremonies, but I'm giving it a valiant try.