Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Piece of the Berlin Wall at the Hoover Museum

A warm, sunny November day only two days before Thanksgiving -- well now, that's something to be thankful for. Southeast Polk students headed out, on this day, to the Hoover Museum and Library and to Kalona, Iowa, on a luxurious charter bus! And what was accomplished?

This bus load of students, staff, and parents learned about
Iowa's economy
Iowa's history
Iowa's people
Iowa's culture and traditions
Iowa's beautiful farm lands and prairies
Global issues and connections
and more....

It was as though, we traveled through time, stopping briefly into the past, present, and future! New friendships were made. Everyone had a good time. These students warmed the hearts of the people they came in contact with, as well. Southeast Polk students, you rock!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Libraries Rock!

Brown pebbles
Originally uploaded by rogergordon
Learning rocks in the K12 school library!

The library is a solid rock foundation to a strong school and the students are its most valuable support system!

The library rocks to overcome ignorance in literacy and prejudices!

The library rocks! It's a cool place to just hang out with your friends and share some great thoughts in an environment filled with page after page of everlasting thoughts of brillancy!

The library is rockin' and rollin' into the 21st Century as it takes its users down the avenue of new ways of reaching destinations, web2.0 style!

Thanks, Flickr user rogergordon for allowing me to use your Creative Commons picture!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SEP off to Hoover Museum -- Library & Kalona, Iowa

Source: Flickr, Originally uploaded by Mc Morr
Be on time! The bus needs to roll out before rest of student body rolls in!

Got your camera ready? You might want to bring it along! Thanks McMorr for the Creative Commons use of this picture in Flickr.

On Tuesday, 47 SEP students and staff will depajavascript:void(0)rt by charter bus for West Branch and Kalona, Iowa! This trip is long-time in the making and finally here! We will leave promptly at 7 o'clock and be back at 5!

The Library sponsored trip is providing special holiday cookies from the Kalona Bakery and water bottles! The Hoover Museum and Library are planning a great tour for us as is the Cheese Factory in Kalona!

We are looking forward to a great trip. We have a full bus! You may snack on the bus, but we will expect not a single crumb or drop to be left behind! We will bring school lunches for those who selected this on the menu (others will bring their own). Additionally, we have cheese curd samples and special ordered cookies and water bottles for all; I think you will have plenty to eat! We have a 20-minute video on the Museum to show during the ride over and will also bring another movie!

The special feature on Elvis Presley begins this weekend at the Hoover Museum. To get you in the holiday spirit, please read this great promo from the museum!

See you soon!
Mrs. VanHook

A Very Elvis Christmas

West Branch, Ia – The Herbert Hoover Museum has come up with an exciting new holiday exhibit that features twenty trees showcasing the life and career of Elvis Presley. “A Very Elvis Christmas” opens on Saturday, November 22, 2008.

There are trees that recall some of the places where Elvis lived and worked. For example, there is a Hawaiian tree covered with ornaments of the islands – leis, hibiscus, and the like. And no one can forget Elvis’s frequent appearances in Las Vegas; the tree will feature dice, playing cards, and coins. The most important place in Elvis’s life was his beloved Graceland estate – and the tree standing in the rotunda will be decorated in the likeness of a tree from Graceland.

There are trees decorated to represent songs that Elvis sang and recorded during his career. The “Love Me Tender” tree is filled with hearts and other signs of love. The “Teddy Bear” tree is filled with teddy bears! How about a “Hound Dog” tree featuring bones, dog collars, and fire hydrants, among other items? And, of course, there is a “Blue Christmas” tree covered with blue lights and blue ornaments.

Elvis was more than a singer and selected, non-musical aspects of his life will be included in the holiday exhibit. Not surprisingly, there is a tree filled with items that recall his service in the U.S. Army. Several trees are decorated to represent themes from movies that Elvis made. For example there is a “Western” tree, a “Race Car” tree, and a “Beach/Ocean” tree – all three recalling Elvis’s appearances in various genre films of the 1950s and 1960s.

Fame visited Elvis early and often so several trees concentrate on Elvis’s achievements. There is a tree devoted to various kinds of Elvis memorabilia – from mini album covers to collectible playing cards. Another tree concentrates on his gold records and is covered with – gold colored records! And since Elvis was known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” there is a regal tree featuring crowns and the colors of royalty.

These are just some of the themes and trees that are included in “A Very Elvis Christmas.” It is an exhibit that will bring back memories of holidays past. In fact, it may encourage you to go up to the attic or down to the basement to find your old copy of an Elvis’ Christmas album. And if you can’t find it, you can buy a new one. More than fifty years after its original release, the album is still in stores – the top-selling holiday album of all time!

“A Very Elvis Christmas” opens at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum on November 22 and continues until January 4. The museum is open daily from 9 – 5, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day and located just off I-80 at Exit 254 in West Branch, Iowa. For more information call 319-643-5301 or www.hoover.archives.gov.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Promise of Clear Skies Ahead

Couldn't pull the car over quickly enough to snap this photo!

The sky was playing wonderful color games at sunset! I loved driving westward and watching the picture change by the minute!

This picture suggests that even though skies may be cloudy, brighter days are ahead!

And, yes, the sun is shining today. What new discoveries, adventures, and good memory makers are waiting to happen?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Football Success 2008

Football Success 2008
Originally uploaded by vanhookc
At the climax of every football season, this is what awaits as I drive around the corner to the rear of the school. I'm going to miss seeing this as we move down the street into the new school building next Fall.

This symbolizes so much. It represents a whole year of training, a lot of sweat and hard work in the summer as the season begins, great excitement, focus and concentration, team effort, friendships, healthy competition, great plays, wins and losses, happy memories, and family and community support.

It's all in the game and something we all look forward to each year!

These seniors have played hard and are to be commended! Way to go RAMS! You did a great job and we are proud of you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


What fun! I love the power of letters and words! Of course so...I work in a school library. I, also, love photography! Combine the two and this is what you get...

S E27 R Door E. N - Nessim\ D I p-ca Plain Educational Block I T Pewter Lowercase Letter y

Try this yourself! It is a lot of fun. And of course, you might like to start an A to Z photo shoot! Drop your letters in the box!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Love for SE Polk

Originally uploaded by vanhookc
This is a kind, compassionate symbol for a very caring school community. Hoping that each student and staff feels the love being shared at school. Each person has great worth to the health, happiness, and well-being of this great school. Through sadness, know that there are brighter days ahead.

Each individual in this school is important! May God bless all...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Words of Wisdom in Education

Do you see the key to educational success here? It's there; literally in shape as well as in words!

Here are our SE Polk summary notes from the National School Board Association Tech + Learning Conference visualized in Wordle! What fun to wait for the churning of the computer until POP... the Wordle results!

How in the world this came out looking like a key is a mystery to me! But I believe this cloud picture is a true vision of success in our 21st Century classrooms!

See if you agree?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Learning and Working Hard in Seattle

SAM of Seattle
Originally uploaded by vanhookc
Recently, I participated with a team of educators from our district in a national conference. Six members of the Southeast Polk Community School District attended the National School Board Association's Tech + Learning Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2008.

And my thoughts?
The major focus of the conference was: The future is now! We must open doors for our students to learn, compete, and achieve in new ways of classroom exploration. "Minds-on" and "hands-on" learning must become a natural way of life, a "lifelong learning habit." We must equip our students with the tools needed to travel the 21st C Literacy Avenue and encourage them to explore their mountaintops and to achieve their highest levels of excellence!

I loved every minute of it! I heard great presentations by David Warlick, Paul Saffo, David Thornburg, Jim Brazwell, and Gary Stager.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Adobe Premier Elements and Photoshop Elements 7, Atomic Learning, netTrekker, ProQuest, and Student Response Systems.

One of my favorite sessions was on transforming the library from a 19th Century library to a 21st Century learning center!

I especially had a wonderful time sharing this experience with a fellow teacher librarian, Harriet. To learn more, my library colleague and I have uploaded our notes:

It was certainly a highlight of my teaching career to attend this conference!