Showing posts with label school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school. Show all posts

Friday, November 8, 2013

Castle where Martin Luther stayed

Veste Coburg, Germany
You might remember that during our Tuesday telephone conversation, I mentioned that I had been to a castle in Germany where Martin Luther (who you're learning about htis week in school) stayed. Well, I found the photo!

The photo was taken on a very cloudy day, and with the picture being taken nearly 30 years ago, it hasn't held up well, but it's attached. It's a picture of the Veste Coburg, a huge citadel in Coburg, Germany, that I toured in January 1986 (the day the space shuttle exploded by the way).

In 1530, Martin Luther sought refuge at the Veste Coburg from his persecutors. He spent almost six months there under the protection of the Elector John the Steadfast. This was during the time of the Diet of Augsburg, during which the Augsburg Confession, one of the Lutheran Church's most important documents, was drafted. While at the Veste Corburg, Luther worked on translating the Bible from Latin into German.

I got to see the room where Luther stayed, but they wouldn't let us take pictures of it. The photo that is attached is the outside wall of the area where Luther stayed, specifically the part that looks like a house standing atop the castle walls at the photo's center. It's neat to think that nearly 500 years ago, Luther looked out the same windows at the very spot where I was standing! I remember that the castle also had a massive collection of medieval armor and weapons, as well as a modern art museum in it.

I sent the photo to your teacher!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My letter to you for Aug. 31, 2013

Here is the letter/email I sent to you on Aug. 31, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing today? I’m doing fine though I miss you like crazy!

I had a lot of fun with you Friday!

Your memory is very good, I must say – you remembered exactly where every chess piece went on the board and how they moved. You are on your way to becoming a master chess player!

You also impressed me with your cool karate moves. You’ve got quite a strong punch and kick! Keep working on those moves! I’ll keep practicing my Canadian karate moves, too! J

I’m glad that you enjoyed the Lone Ranger and Army Lego pieces. I’m sorry that the Army Lego Jeep was frustrating to put together – the instructions looked very complicated, so no wonder you didn’t want to follow them! I think, though, that I might have in one of my totes a Lego car that is very easy to make…I shall bring it next time, and we can build it together, okay?

Your knowledge of the states keeps improving, too! I think you knew twice as many on Friday as you did just the week before! I am still looking for that world map puzzle, though. I may have to order it online.

Speaking of online, I looked up and watched the Disney XD show you told me about – I thought you had said “Crash and Burn Scene” rather than “Crash and Bernstein”! I can see why you enjoy the show so much; the humor is exactly what you would find hilarious! I like Crash’s T-shirt showing a skull with headphones on it.

Too bad that you’re friend Milo didn’t come back to school this year. Losing a friend to moving always is difficult; when I was in third grade, my best friend Marc moved, and I had no idea where or if I’d ever get to talk with him again. He introduced me to “The Six Million Dollar Man” and we liked pretending we were “The Bionic Boys.” I was happy to hear that Richard and all of your other friends are back. You guys should have a lot of fun this year!   

Going up north to the farm and the lake sound like a good time. What did you all do on the farm and lake?

I forgot to ask you on Friday how you liked the Titanic book you took home last week. One of the neat things about first grade is that you’ll learn to read and soon will be able to read the book all on your own!

I’m very excited – we get together again on Thursday (Sept. 5)! I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you again!



Saturday, July 27, 2013

My email to you for July 27, 2013

Here is my email to you for Saturday, July 27, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing today? I sure had fun with you on Friday! I’ll write more about our time together in an upcoming letter.

What have you been doing for fun this summer (Besides getting together with your dad J)? I would love to hear about your bicycle riding, friends that you’re spending time with, and summer school. Unfortunately, I have not received an email from you in two weeks. Perhaps you could have your mother resend those emails to me.

Have you seen the Lone Ranger movie yet? I haven’t seen it, so if you have, don’t tell me what happens! But it is on my list of movies to see this summer. With all of the fun adventures we went on as pretending to be Sheriff Jack, the Deputy and the Lone Ranger, I am certain I will be thinking of you the entire time I’m watching it.

Speaking of movies, did you know that three new “Star Wars” movies are going to be made? The next one – “Star Wars VII” – is supposed to come out in 2015, just two years from now. The actors and actresses who played Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are supposed to be in the new movie. It should be a lot of fun to watch!

Did you know that you actually can see the desert city where “Star Wars” was filmed? It was built many years ago in Tunisia, a country in northern Africa. Many people travel there every year to walk through it. Unfortunately, it one day may be buried by an advancing sand dune, scientists say!

Monday is Grandma Bignell’s birthday. We are having a big birthday celebration with cake and presents. Your cousins Bryan and Rebekah and your Uncle Chris and Aunt Susie all will be there. We wish you were allowed to be there, too. In fact, I think I know what Grandma Bignell’s wish will be when she blows out her birthday candles.

With the arrival of the month of August, school will soon start. You must be very excited about entering first grade! When is your first day? Do you know yet who your teacher will be? What kind of school supplies will you need (Maybe the list for those supplies hasn’t come out yet, though!)? Getting school supplies and new school clothes always was one of my favorite things about the month of August while I was growing up.

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you more than anything in the world and can’t wait to see you again in just two weeks, on Friday, Aug. 9. Be a good boy, and I will write again next Saturday!



Saturday, April 27, 2013

My email to you for week of April 21-27

Here is my weekly letter sent to you on April 27, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, though I am sad that we were unable to get together on Friday as planned. I want you to know that I was not the one who cancelled our visit and that I was looking very forward to seeing you. I miss you every day, and there’s not an hour that goes by in which I don’t think about you. The good news is that we are scheduled to get together again on Friday, May 26, and that we will see one another again before then, though the exact day has not been worked out yet.

How is school coming along? Have you finished your unit on oceans? What new things are you learning in math? What interesting books are you reading? You are almost done with kindergarten – that must be exciting, knowing that you’ll be in first grade next year! I saw a children’s book at the book store called “First Grade, Here I Come!”, and I think I will pick it up for you so we can read it at one of our visitations during the next month.

The weather finally has turned nice, and I bet the last thing on your mind the past couple of days has been sitting in a classroom. There are lots of exciting outdoor places to go in the Twin Cities that mom and your grandpa and grandma can take you now that the weather is nice. I bet you can’t wait to go back to Como Park Zoo with the penguins. Although I bet the penguins don’t like the warm weather!

Now that the days are warm, I plan to do a lot of hiking, just like we used to do when we were together. I am writing books about the places I’ve hiked. There are many interesting places near the Twin Cities to hike. At one of them, you can walk across basalt (lava rocks) that are 1.1 billion years old! At another one of them, you see an interesting rock formation that looks like an old man’s face. Another park has a waterfall that is 168 feet high! So far, I’ve written four hiking books and three books about being a writer. Each of them are dedicated to you, and you are on the cover of two of the hiking books!

Since the snow is still melting in some spots, I probably will run into mud during my hikes. In fact, I recently read a great book about mud, which I bet you would like as well. The book was called “Mud” (What else would it be called?) by Mary Lyn Ray. It has lots of colorful pictures of people walking through mud. Each of them must avoid stepping on the blades of green grass that increasingly pop up in the mud with each turn of the page. I bet you can find the book at your school or city library.

I am getting very excited not just about hiking but the new “Star Trek’ movie. It comes out May 15. No one knows who the villain is in the movie, but there will be Klingons in it. Of course, with a new “Star Trek” movie means there will be new “Star Trek” toys! I can’t wait to go to Toys ‘R Us and see what the new toys are for us to play with.

Well, that is all for now. I love and miss you very much! I hope to see you within a few days.




Saturday, February 9, 2013

My email to you on Feb. 9, 2013

Here is a copy of email sent to you on Feb. 9, 2013, in case you do not receive it.
Hi Kieran,

How are you doing today? I’m doing fine, but I miss you very much! I wish we could spend the day together. Unfortunately, I did not receive the response to my email, though. Please have your mother resend it, along with your emails from the previous six weeks that have yet to arrive. I also would like to see your report card, so please make sure that comes with your email. If your mother is unable to send emails, perhaps she could simply snail mail your responses to me. I look forward to reading them!

What are you learning about in school? The last you told me, you were studying letters and the sounds they made; I think you were up to the letter “L”. I bet by now you are up to the letter “S” or “T”. You are in a very smart class – when I went to school, we didn’t learn letters and their sounds until first grade!

What kind of math stuff are you learning? In kindergarten, we learned how to count to 10 and about shapes. But I taught you to count and about shapes long ago, so I bet you must be learning something different now – either that or you must be finding you math class very easy!

You also said you were studying the solar system. Did you know that in just a few weeks something from the far reaches of our solar system will light up our skies? In mid-March, we should be able to see a comet at sunset. On March 12, look to the west where the moon will be. Then look to the left of the moon. The comet will look like a streak of white cloud. Hopefully March 12 won’t be cloudy!

Have you read any good books lately? I finished editing the book in which the mean captain stole his old submarine in San Diego so that no one else could go on it. But another guy sneaked on board the submarine and stopped him! The submarine was returned where it belonged.

Another good book I have read is “The Biggest Valentine Ever,” by Steven Kroll. It’s about two mice, named Clayton and Desmond, who decide to make a valentine for their teacher. But they start arguing about how to make the valentine! Will they ever be able to get along so they can finish the valentine? You will have to read the book and find out. I bet either your school or city library has the book.

I have purchased some card games, like Old Maid and Go Fish, that you asked if we could play the last time we are together. We next get time we get together, on March 1, I will bring them. I’ll also bring the fun sticker board game we had with the rooms and family. I also have that replacement birthday present for you!

That is all for now. I love and miss you very much! Happy birthday on Feb. 23!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

My email sent to you on Dec. 15, 2012

Sledding in the Angeles National Forest,
December 2010.
Here is the email I sent to you on Dec. 15, 2012, just in case you do not receive it:

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing? I’m doing well though I miss you quite a lot and every day. I am very concerned, though, that I haven’t received an email responding to any of my three previous emails. Please confirm that you received this one with a response and have your mother send the previous emails as they have not arrived.

I am very excited because I get to see you next Friday on Dec. 21! We should have lots of fun playing games and playing with toys as well as reading a book or two, and just plain catching up on all that you’ve been doing. I’ll also be bringing lots of Christmas presents from me, Grandma and Grandpa, your Uncle Chris and Susie, and one or two that Santa left at my house for you!
Have you enjoyed all the new snowfall? It’s great for building snowmen and snow forts. When I was a little boy, we’d go sledding during winter. My school had a big hill behind it that we could take sleds up and slide down. I bet you remember the times we drove up into the mountains and went sledding together – my schoolmates and I used sleds just like the one we used.

What do you plan to do for Christmas vacation? While getting an extra day or two off of school was fun, I always missed my friends when I wasn’t in class and so wished for vacation to end! What do your friends plan to do during vacation?

Are you having a big Christmas party at school? I always liked the Christmas parties when I went to school because we exchanged presents, and everyone brought in fun foods that their mother’s or father’s made. It was neat to taste cookies and bars and other sweets other kids’ parents baked!

Have you read any good books lately? I bet you have, knowing how much you like to read and have stories read to you. This past week I read “Reindeer Christmas” by Mark Kimball Moulton. In the book, two young children and their grandmother find a hungry and lost baby deer in the woods. So they take in the fawn, feeding and nursing it back to health. Except when the deer grows up, they find it’s not exactly a deer! Can you guess what the baby deer grew up to be?

That is all for now. I love you and miss you very much and can’t wait to see you on Friday – and to get those missing emails!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Going to a new school in Knapp, Wis.

Just as you had to switch schools from California to Minnesota, when a little boy I also had to switch schools! When I was in second grade many years ago, my parents bought a new farm outside of Knapp, Wis. We moved there from Elmwood in March 1974.

Switching schools was very difficult. Not only did I leave all of my friends behind and not know anyone in my new school, but it also was very small. There were only 10 or so kids in my class at Knapp by more than 25 in my Elmwood class! The teacher at Knapp also was teaching different things than I was learning in Elmwood.

The Knapp school building was very old while the Elmwood school was brand new or only a few years old. To reach my classroom, I had to go up a long flight of stairs to the second floor. The Knapp school I attended isn't there anymore, as it was replaced by a new building.

But I made new friends and figured out all of my lessons, and it all worked out!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Have you made any good friends?

Now that you're off to kindergarten, I'd like to ask about your friends. You've probably made some while in daycare or playing around the neighborhood; once in school, young boys and girls have a tendency to quickly gather together in groups of like-interested children. What are their names? What are they interested in? What kinds of things do you like to do together?

I remember my own father asking me the same question when I first went off to kindergarten. I recall being a little anxious about the question, as if it were some measure of my worth as to whether or not I'd made friends or not with other children.

But I don't mean to make you feel anxious. Now that I'm older and a dad, I understand that my father wasn't judging me but simply taking an interest. Just as I once did, you're closing on a point in life when your friends' ideas and perspectives will become more important to you than your parents' views and opinions; it's a natural part of growing up. So knowing who are your friends tells me if I did a good job or not raising you - if you've selected friends who are good to you and keep you from getting into trouble, then I've done my job well; if you've chosen friends who are mean to you and get you into trouble, then I've done poorly. Knowing who your friends are isn't a measure of your worth - it's a measure of mine!

So, tell me about your friends...