May 31, 2009

The Powers of Persuasion

When I was down running errands this afternoon, the girls wrote an argumentative essay trying to convince one of us to bring them to a movie this afternoon. "I didn't even use any comma splices!" Maya announced, as she handed me the two-page, typed essay, tucked into a plastic report cover. And done in five colors of type. Here you go:

Why We Should See UP
By: Maya and Eden

Maya and Eden are anxiously awaiting your opinion on the following. We would like you to consider us seeing the movie UP, in digital 3-D. In this essay you may learn why we want to see UP, what UP is about, and when and where it is playing.

We would like to see UP because it is superbly-completely-totally-entirely-awesomely-radically-bodaciously in 3-D. We would also like to see it so we don't feel left out in school. It would also be a great pleasure to us to see a 3-D movie. I heart the cute little glasses.

UP is about an old, grouchy man who wants to go on an adventure...alone! Unfortunately a fat boy scout tags along. They go on the adventure of a lifetime by flying in a house held-up by balloons. They travel to Paradise Falls (I think) a remote place with no humans. However, there is a talking dog. Please let us see UP!

UP is playing today in Santa Monica at: 4:30, 7:10, and 9:50. UP is playing in Woodland Hills at: 2:50, 5:35, and 8:15. Eden and Maya made a haiku and limerick about UP.


UP is a movie
It has a house with balloons
It is in 3-D


UP has balloons
UP isn't a cartoon
UP is about a flying house
UP isn't about a mouse
In UP they get stuck in a monsoon

We Hope You Liked It Muchacho

Suffice it to say: while I'm home for the next two hours packing for New York, Uzi is down in Woodland Hills sitting through the 5:35 showing of UP.
We're such suckers for a good essay.

May 28, 2009

Spelling and More Spelling

News has come down the pipeline that the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District is going to experience somewhere in the vicinity of a bazillion dollar shortfall over the next two years, and that all bets are off on what's going to have to be cut. At first we parents thought we were looking at our kids losing art and music instruction (bad, but not devastating) and were worried class sizes would go up (which they very likely will). Now word is that one of the three Malibu elementary schools might have to be closed. Whoa. This is serious stuff, folks, and a direct result of the California legislature's inability to vote on a budget for many months now, resulting in a $5.3 billion statewide reduction in education funding next year, as well as voters' clear message when defeating five May 19 ballot measures that education isn't going to be a priority in these hard economic times.

I really dread becoming one of those mothers who goes on ad infinitum about her children's schools, but this is serious stuff, people. The only comparison I can make is the austerity measures of 1970s school districts in New York, but even then I don't remember music and art getting cut. Here in our district, we're all in wait-and-see mode, wondering how big the axe is going to be when (not if, but when) it falls. Which should be some time this summer, probably while the girls and I are in Iowa, a state that actually does care about education funding. And legal gay marriage. If only it weren't so damn cold there most of the year.

In the meantime, the first-grade spell-o-rama of random high-school-level words continues. Here's Eden's list of words to study for the weekly test tomorrow:
1. store
2. more
3. before
4. corn
5. or
6. for
7. morning
8. afford
9. prehensile
10. arachnid
11. amphibian

May 5, 2009

First-grade spellers

Eden goes to public school in Malibu--a small, well-funded, really excellent public school. Her teacher this year is the same one Maya had in the first grade, who we were hoping she'd get because we liked her so much the first time around, and like her just as much the second. Very high-quality academics. Still, the list of spelling words she brought home last week was off-the-charts funny. It's like the kids got eight years of spelling quizzes rolled into one. (They're learning about the rainforest this week, but still.)
1. by
2. my
3. fly
4. cry
5. try
6. pry
7. multiply
8. predator
9. emergent
10. camouflage
I'm not even sure I spelled camo correctly there.