Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Didn't really get up to much last week so didn't feel it was worthy of a post. But I have plenty to write about this week.

This past weekend (April 2 and 3), we had our dragon boat regatta in Dubai. Our first race was at 8:30 in the morning, so we met in Abu Dhabi at 6:00 to catch our charter bus (which means I had to get up before 5--blugh). I think pretty much everybody slept on the bus ride there. Having never been in a dragon boating competition before, I didn't really know what to expect, but I figured our 2 days of racing would be pretty intense. Having been in the UAE for 8 months now, however, I DID expect things to be pretty unorganized. Turns out I was right on both accounts.

Basically, we had 3 races throughout the day on Friday (2 preliminaries and a semi-final), a mixer at a really nice hotel club Friday night so that people from the different teams could get to know each other, and 4 races throughout the day on Saturday (1 preliminary, 1 semi-final, and 2 finals). Between the really strenuous rowing, being out in the sun for 2 days straight, and the late Friday night, the weekend was really exhausting! Even still, it was also a lot of fun and now I plan on participating on the team for the remainder of my time in Abu Dhabi.

School Update: School has been going pretty smoothly the past few weeks. For English, we have focused on basic vocabulary for much of the year with phonics and reading preparation taking the backburner (figured building vocabulary to actually communicate with them was a priority). But lately we've flip-flopped so that we have spent a larger proportion of our time focusing on building reading skills and decoding words they haven't seen before. For math, we've turned our attention to addition and subtraction skills pretty intensively. My first graders can all add and most of them can subtract, so we're working on memorizing and quickly solving the basic facts for better efficiency. My 2nd graders are now adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers with mixed results, which is good progress from where we were at at the beginning of the year--learning how to count from 1 to 10 for the first 3 weeks. We have our big presentation coming up this next Wednesday, and all my students are getting pretty excited for that (and me too)!

Running Update: With my big 50k coming up next weekend, I started my taper 2 weeks ago. 2 weeks ago, I brought my mileage down to 40 and I felt like crap for most of them. This past week, I brought it down to 30 and did shorter, higher-intensity runs. By the end of the week, I was feeling pretty good. The plan is to take it easy this next week and mostly just focus on keeping my legs nice and fresh!

Happy Easter everybody! I hope you all enjoy time spent with family and friends!

Until next time,


  1. Hi Matt,

    Happy Easter to you too! We sure miss having your here! I am so happy you enjoyed the dragon racing--it sounds like you had a very enjoyable weekend! It is always great getting the updates on your students. You must feel really good about the progress you have made with them this year. I will also be eager to hear how your presentation of "The Hungry, Hungry Catepillar" goes on Wednesday. I admire your creativity with this project and the way you involved all of your students. I still cannot believe you are doing a 50K race--that is so far to run at one time. Be sure to take good care of yourself and let us know how that goes too. We think of you every day and are really looking forward to your trip home in July. Thanks for keeping us updated. Hope to talk to you again this week. Dad and I are sending lots of hugs to you from KC!
    Lots of love,

    P.S. Let me know when you get your shoes!

  2. I still think dragon racing would be cooler if you were racing dragons. :)

    I MISS YOU. A LOT! :(