Tuesday, December 29, 2009

let's just be honest here

what have i really been up to?
blog lurking
blog commenting
a bit of envy
a bit of inspiration
some self-disclosure on a perfect stranger's blog (oops)
there's just something misleading about the intimacy of a blog, don't you think?
we see photos (mostly spectacular) taken of lovely people in exquisite surroundings eating and crafting wondrous quilts, skirts, aprons...
i like to do a bit of crafting myself, but my darn sewing machine nearly put out my eye a few weeks ago, and even my ever-frugal husband commented about the loudness of the motor/engine of that thing
i have:
1. about 6 sewing projects in various stages of completion
2. no fewer than 5 cookie/candy recipes dancing in my head like some deranged faerie
3. a son who wants me to play beatle's rockband with him
4. a car with a loose seal on the windshield
5. a netflix to watch
6. a Bible collecting dust on the bookshelf
7. speaking of bookshelf--i need about 2 more-floor to ceiling size, if possible--and black is a good color for our decor

why the heck am i wasting away my day lurking in blogland??

Monday, December 28, 2009

the very best dog

this dear fellow belongs to my brother josh and his wife kristi (sp.?)
dusty is the very best dog you could ever hope to meet
look at his smile
look at his floppy ears
he gives love
he is trustworthy
he is gentle
he is kind
he is a better person than many of us most days
thanks to dusty's mommy for sending me this photo
now she could just send me the dog. seriously. really.

we didn't have...

we didn't have stockings this year
our 'christmas mittens' made from felt--the size of stockings finally had to retire-too much lint and gunk on those critters. note to self: don't make large decorations from un-washable felt if you intend to have a dusty house and a hairy cat

we didn't have perfectly coordinated gift wrap

we didn't have our 'merry christmas' banner made from paper source polka-dot paper

we didn't have red/white baker's twine to adorn our packages (i put it away too well)

but here's what we DID HAVE

home-made hot cocoa (some with a splash of pepperminty goodness)
all four of us (+cat) safe and healthy
gainful employment
central heating
gas in our cars (both kinds) tee hee
gifts under the tree
relaxed time together
the awareness of and thankfulness for Christ--his birth, death, and resurrection--you can't fully appreciate Christmas without embracing Easter

Saturday, December 5, 2009

i'd do it 100 times

the other day one of our 4th grade teachers reminded me it had been a year since my "oral portfolio/e-folio defense" the "exit interview" as it were to get out of the education program @ iwu...and when i say get out of, i mean successfully complete the requirements so that they will allow you to take the praxis 2 and apply for an indiana state teaching license. anyhoo, feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or maybe just a bit snarky towards the whole experience, and without thinking, i said something to the effect of being glad that was over, and would not do it again, but would go to beauty school instead. yikes. bad attitude.
as i continued down our school hallway i replayed the scenario in my mind (this is a moment by moment activity for me; anyday, all day)
can you spell conviction? shame? remorse?

i turned my tushy around and bolted for that teacher's room! and blurted:
what i really meant to say was that i am so committed to helping young children learn that i would endure the teacher education program 100 times over if it meant that i could make a difference in the education and well-being of a child.
that is what i really meant to say.
i. would. do. it. 100. times. yes. ma'am.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

kids can RUN!

just a teeny update on the click clack moo...

for fun and craziness, i asked the students to run about the room as they imagine the farmer ran --hands in air, hopping mad--or as M. put it--"like he popped his cork"

see, you just have to put yourself IN THE STORY...
and your students/children will build their comprehension...and love for learning...

(i have the stamp of approval on my MOO sounds. one of my students keeps cattle and says that i do a great MOO, very realistic)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

kids say MOOOO

A really good book is like crab legs. Both are pretty neat looking on the outside, and the inside? Well, the longer you linger the better it gets. Maybe that's not the best metaphor, but give me a break-- I have a splitting headache and i've been nice all day. all day. nice. yes. me.

Anyway, I just want to share about my 3rd grade students. We've been studying various aspects of critical thinking in regards to literacy. I've pulled out Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type. I've modeled how to use a character organizer, a 2 character comparison, Retell using sentence strips, and on and on...great ideas can be downloaded/printed from the Florida Center For Reading Research.


Alrighty! Well, we've read click, clack, moo about 1,000 times, and each time i use the best cow's moo sound i can muster. one student who raises milk cows was very impressed with my hidden talent. sometimes the students will join in with the moo, and then yesterday was the best; I had to gather pencils or some other such supply not already at my fingertips, and i offered to let one of the students read aloud to the rest of the (small) group. they formed an arrangement of : one girl reading, two boys mooing.
the joy of read-alouds! the thrill of students actively engaged in learning! hooray for moo! hooray for us all. i just sat back down in my chair and let the group run with their excitement. these moments are priceless. i am SO thankful i didn't demand to have the book when i sat down--so glad i didn't interrupt. sooooo happy they were enjoying their reading, working cooperatively, and learning all at the same time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

feelin' greedy or showin' gratitude?

As we draw nearer to the Thanksgiving holiday, I am committed to being intentional in showing my gratitude for the everyday blessings that I am often tempted to overlook. We have vehicles that get us back and forth to work. We have a roof over our heads, and some of us (jacob) have a room decorated in an aesthetically pleasing way. COLTS.
We have food to eat, and even have the option of eating some of our meals out. We have friends to share our lives with. We have a great church family and a super pastor/pastoral family who genuinely care about us and our daily lives. THANK YOU, AL AND GINNY :)
I have a steady source of income for the first time in over 3 years. I have a valid and current teaching license. I work with 6 different groups of children everyday, and am thrilled to see their academic progress.
I have a husband who works 2 jobs to support our family. He is very low-maintenance and keeps our family stable. Thank you, daniel:)
I have a great neighbor who taught me how to read literature and think critically about books and film. Thank you, Amy.
Tomorrow: more on my thankful list--which will include our children, our kitty, my departed grandmother, and my new teacher friends at school.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Have you ever wanted to visit Alcatraz? I think it would be thrilling. Please don't assume that thrilling always means "in a good way". I imagine that Alcatraz would be exciting and ominous at the same time.
My 6th graders are reading "Al Capone Does My Shirts", which isn't so much about Al or the shirts, but is more about a young boy's struggles as he helps to care for his "eternally" 10 year old sister. I won't give away any more than that, so that nothing is spoiled. There are a few good resources that can accompany and direct your literature circle discussions. Currently we are following the guide provided to us by "Plugged-In to Reading".
While browsing for some additional information to share with my group, I discovered that there is a 2nd book (maybe there will be a trilogy)...book 2 is called "Al Capone Shines My Shoes". If any of you have already read this, pop me a comment and give me your thoughts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

reading emma (again)

good evening, friends. in an effort to plan ahead (yes, you read that correctly) i am reading Jane Austen's Emma. Again. a book club may be in my future. if you have never read any of jane austen's work, please run, don't walk to your public library and get started on emma!
i would love to hear from you about any novel you love to revisit. any input or suggestions are welcome for those of you who have belonged to or led a reading group/book club.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

coffee cuff giveaway

giveaway--pop over to a lovely blog

howdy strangers
camera is still junk-o
but i've been stalking blogs and found a nifty giveaway
pop over and check it out

still waiting for new camera and some leather knee-high boots
hint hint

Thursday, October 15, 2009

camera failure

blog posts aren't too much fun to read without photos.  i'll be back when i have a photo or 3 to share.

until then, check out my growing list of blogs where i like to lurk/stalk.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ritz vs. oreo

5th grade.  compare/contrast.   venn diagram.  food.  there we go.  now i have your attention. :0
here's a simple yet effective to teach compare and contrast for nearly any grade level.

1.  gather in baggies:  one ritz cracker and one oreo cookie for each student
2.  dry erase boards and markers
3.  students will draw the Venn diagram on their boards
4.  label--ritz, oreo
5.  ask students to take a minute to examine their tools (cracker and cookie)
6.  in a small group/workstation you can open up for comments as they occur
7.  guide the discussion/comments as necessary
8. what is the same, what is different about these two items?
9.  use descriptive words as much as possible
10.  transfer learning/pr0cess to another topic--maybe a novel the class is reading, maybe two characters, the possibilities are unlimited

my mom has a pig on her head

well we had some fun learnin' today in kindergarten.  we talked about, read about, drew, and sang about the letter P.  each student (groups of 2 or 3) drew a pizza then put "P" toppings on the slices.  some of the choices included pretzels, pepperoni, peaches, peppers, pie, pigs...
while we drew/colored/discussed/practiced the beginning sound /P/, i remembered the great Laurie Berkner song, "my mom has a pig on her head"....and she keeps it there all day.  i was laughing at my brilliance, and then realized i was singin' a solo, and then horrified, noticed that the classroom teacher was lookin' at me out of the corner of her eye.  maybe i should teach her the song.
overall, we had a great time singing ridiculous objects onto our heads, and eventually the students gave into the silliness, and one fell on the floor laughing.  and i am glad.  pleased as pumpkin punch.  please laugh in kindergarten, and have a little fun with your learning.  
here are the lyrics as i best recall:
my mom has a PIG on her head (3x)
and she keeps it there all day
you can insert any object specific to your category--/P/ words, fruits, veggies, etc.

the photo is laurie berkner, not me--just to be clear

Friday, September 25, 2009

autumnal apron giveaway

rabbit trails.  my mind follows them every day.  all day.  and sometimes into the night.  blog lurking is right up my alley (or garden path).

over here at pumpkinpiecrafts.blogspot.com this lovely lady has taken her time to sew up an adorable apron and is hosting a giveaway.  so hop on over to her blog, follow the directions, and enter your smart self in her drawing.

maybe i should do a giveaway.  maybe i could make an apron.  ( i do know how to sew)
and paint, and scrap, and  and and....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

raspberry thankfulness

     our neighbors were out of town over the weekend so they gave us their "share" of produce from a co-op garden/farm to which they belong.
     in addition to great tomatoes (salsa!) we received some banana peppers and an adorable mini-eggplant.  he's just hanging around for decoration now because i don't have the heart to stab him.
     additionally, chloe and i had the opportunity to pick raspberries from the heavy-laden bushes.  the hour or so we spent together was one of those times you can't plan for, but once you realize the greatness of the moments, you are immediately grateful.  i was reminded once again what a good little worker our chloe girl is.  she's not afraid to get dirty, and she didn't complain even once about the prickly bushes.
     so thanks again to the neighbors for the food, but thanks more for the time and place to spend a good hour with my daughter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


at the other end of the rainbow...
6th grade book club
maniac magee
6 6th graders
40 minutes at the end of the day
and we get the school library all to ourselves
if we could just get an espresso bar, it would be perfect
read-aloud, critical thinking, group discussion
this is super
i love the give and take of a literature circle
i love recommending other books
i love helping students learn (or reaffirm) critical thinking skills
and at some point we will feast on Mars Bars- newly disguised as the Almond Snickers
and shortly after that we will sample some Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets
because you've got to bring the story to life
it must be relatable
and it should include food
and a lesson plan, state standards,and objectives
today some of our fantastic words were:
and suddenly all i can think of is
Rosa's New Pet/Puppy
she has pink curtains and a green couch
and is apparently an only child because there is an awfully small swingset in her yard with only one swing, and the illustrations show an immaculate home where the fresh flowers stay upright in their vases
good night
sleep tight
i'll be back when i untangle my brain


we like
we like sand castles
we work together
we can play
we can read
we like books
now i know my abc's, tell me what you think of me!
from 9:00-9:45 every day i work with small groups of small people with large personalities
i am loooooving these windows of opportunity.  every morning  get excited about trekking down the long hallway to the land of kindergarten.  i looove laying out the magnetic letters and helping the students sound out and spell WE. you would think it could get old, but it doesn't.  the lightbulb moment (you know what i mean) is priceless.  it warms my heart.  i care (and so does their teacher) whether or not they learn their letters.  i want to put forth my very best effort to help each of them in any way i can to give them the necessary tools to be lifelong learners.  it is about reading and writing, and it is about so. much. more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

no thanks, i've been here before

today i was helping kindergarten students make their way through the lunch line.  they needed a napkin, fork, and straw in addition to their milk... all before they receive their tray.  to help move along the line i began rolling straw/napkin/fork in bundles, then handed one to each student.  some children wanted to help me roll their bundle, and others stood to watch.  i was feeling pleased with myself and my sudden stroke of brilliance, but was caught by surprise when one young man stopped in front of me and the fork bundles and stated:  "no thanks, i've been here before"  
today was day 3 of school

Friday, August 7, 2009

apron girl

chloe would like to have all of these...

maybe we need to do some sewing...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


For 3 days this week I have the opportunity to participate in LiPS.  I will post tomorrow night or Friday on the highlights from the sessions.  8-4 x 3 days of sitting.  My brain is happily activated, but my back and rear end are disgruntled.  grrrr

Monday, August 3, 2009

an apron party

saturday our family spent a few hours in Indy to celebrate danny's birthday as well as my new job.  one of our final stops was a foray into anthropologie.  well, that was a stop for chloe and me.  danny and jacob stopped at a bench outside the store.  
many of the blogs i read include references to anthropologie, and i have visited the website numerous times.  saturday it was time to see for myself what all the hub-bub was about.
i must say that i was not disappointed.  and chloe, well she went nuts!  the owl dishtowels!  the alphabet mugs! the scarves...more and more and more scarves!
and then, as we made the final turn before exiting the store...the APRONS!  (you can see just a few of them in the post just below this)  Chloe was so enamored with the aprons.  Cherries, owls, cupcakes, smocking, bows, florals, stripes!  it was a visual feast.
chloe made an urgent request for an APRON B-DAY PARTY.  what is an apron party?  do we all sew an apron? (maybe)  do we all come to the party wearing an apron?  an apron shaped cake?  or just a cake made while wearing an apron...
i am going to give this some more thought.
any comments or suggestions are welcome.  please.  

anthropologie inspiration

Thursday, July 30, 2009

starbucks and sea turtles

Starbucks has a slogan on some of their packaging/gift bags that states: "You and Starbucks, it's bigger than coffee" Well, right now they are living up to their claim... As some of you know, I love to keep gift bags to re-use or up-cycle. Here's how the Sea Turtles connect to Starbucks...

lots of starbucks bags around the house
tutoring friends
ft. wayne zoo trip
bring home SEA TURTLE discovery box from zoo
watch videos, view slides, read non-fiction books about sea turtles (part of tutoring)
response activity: up-cycle starbucks bags into stitched mini-books
cut bags into pages, pull out sewing machine to stitch books--kids love this!
ask students to re-tell what they now know about sea turtles
type out their comments, print them, cut and paste into books
of course when you do a project/activity with students, you need to do one yourself
my pages from the starbucks bag happend to have a map of central and south america printed right on it!
how fitting...Costa Rica is the location where mother Sea-Turtles dig their nests and lay their (100 +) eggs...
so, starbucks helped me out with my sea turtle project...
what can we learn from this? if you keep your eyes open, you can make useful connections--for your students and yourself. We can easily do a sociological study on Costa Rica...
learning about where coffee comes from, dig into their cuisine, customs, education, etc.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

checklist for my sanity

what we've done this summer

or just some random words, i'm afraid :)

ft. wayne zoo... animal projects, photographs, books (not finished), sea turtle discovery box, sea turtle response books (completed)

shop for fabric, pattern, notions to make pajama pants

jake and chloe both have nice sleep pants, I have a pile of fabric waiting to be cut

i started an apron, but to be fair, i had to draw the pattern before cutting

here's what i am still reading: murder at the vicarage by agatha christie, AND.... sophie's world...am i EVER going to finish this ?

AHA! books on cd are wonderful! the kids are listening along on Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency (Tea For the Traditionally Built)...these are also now on HBO, and have great visual appeal

Speaking of visual appeal I must confess to watching Mamma Mia! while in San Antonio...HBO kept running it, and I am such a sucker for the set design---those colors! the fabrics! fantastic costume design as well...now about the story line; i could take it or leave it. And honestly, I will never again look at Pierce Brosnan the same. Remington Steele should not sing. Ever.

Before I ramble on through the night and write something more humiliating and revealing than I already have.... I will say goodnight and sign out.

leaf girl

I was lurking over at the artful parent blog artfulparent.wordpress.com and saw that she posted photos of some nifty flower people. It reminded me of "leaf girl" that I had created a few years back as a class assignment in college. We were directed to create an interactive bulletin board as a response to a book or collection of books. Our group chose Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. My part of the project was to create a leaf person...so I strolled outside on our beautiful college campus and picked up nuts, seeds, berries, twigs, etc., whatever bits of nature I thought I could staple/glue/force to stay up on a vertical wall.

Sorry the photo is not perfect. I took the shot with my camera phone on a whim, and now I am glad I captured it that morning. There were a few mishaps with our bulletin board by the time our professor graded it.

Anyway, interactive bulletin boards are a great way to lure and excite children to/about reading! The idea is to capture their curiosity about the book and have a response activity ready to go right there at the bulletin board. This can be something to be done before or after they read the book. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

self-directed creativity

In the spirit of learning all the time, I really wanted to keep my mind and my children's minds active this summer. We are all 3 voracious readers, so I was not really worried about keeping the books cracked open. (my husband, dear man, reads out of necessity) the rest of us read like tomorrow is our dying day.
My last post was about teaching the kids to read a sewing pattern, and as it turned out, pajama pants only require one pattern piece, cut twice--once right side up, once, well you know, the other way.
We have not yet completed the pants but I will not give in to despair. A couple of days ago our kids played with their neighborhood friends, and embarked upon an impromptu art project.
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING, PEOPLE....THERE IT WAS! right on our back sidewalk--3 girls, 2 boys. ages 11 down to 6. kids with varying interests such as knitting, star-wars, lego, american girl...nagging, yelping, and all those other endearing qualities. But somehow in the midst of their usual roller coaster ride that is the life of girls... The kids came up with their own project idea, gathered materials and tools, and just busted out the door and CREATED!
So now I am reflecting on what stars had to align, which elements had to to be in place--
you know, so i can guarantee this will happen again. The biggest component to this thrilling and beautiful display of creativity and cooperation was this: I said YES. I did not get involved or play 20 questions. I didn't ask why, what, and if it would be sticky or whatever... I just said yes and trusted that they would not injure themselves or destroy the property with a spray bottle, markers, paper, and scissors.
Sure, our 2 families have craft supplies at the ready, we moms are both knitters-the other mom more than me...she and i both have the desire that we (kids/parents) are ALWAYS LEARNING...we are lifelong learners, we are aware of teachable moments,etc., and the best way to lead is by example.
Sometimes learning and creativity happen, and the adults just have to get out of the way and let it happen.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

sewing is not for the faint of heart

Yesterday the munchkins and i ventured over to the local (not really) fabric chain store and picked up some fun fabrics for pyjama pants. Oh, and we needed a unisex pattern...and let me just say, while i looooove touching all the fabrics (yes, every single one) twice, that after about 47 minutes my head begins to spin, and i have the overwhelming urge to bolt for the door, kids in tow or not!

I ended up with so many ideas spinning in my head, that now i am almost too tired and overwhelmed to start the crazy pants/sewing projects. Does that happen to you?

The kids really want these to take to camp next week, so we had better get on the stick, make hay, stop lolly-gagging, whatever.

The older child has already expressed apprehension about cutting out the pattern pieces, because apparently he inherited the need to know how to do absolutely everthing before anyone actually teaches you how to do it.... (from his mother)

So now i am going to read through this easy (really?) pattern and try to get an idea of what we signed up for before the kids come back inside ready to sew.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

recycle your starbucks

yum yum yum

coffee is good. hot, steaming coffee with just the right amount of foam and sweetness, black coffee, iced coffee, frappuccino...i will slurp down any of them just about any time of day.

and while many people rue the day a starbucks popped up on a street corner near them, i want to sing the praises of the 'big-bucks' coffee chain.

1. the first time i picked up a bill bryson book was on the sharing bookshelf at the marion starbucks, and i have been reading and re-reading his works ever since. if you have never read bill bryson, his books usually chronicle his travels in europe in a humorous way. he also has a great one called "a walk in the woods" this recounts his trials and joys of hiking the appalachian trail...if you can't travel, then read about it-it's much cheaper, and less dangerous

2. i loooove to make something out of nothing, or to use the current terminologies, upcycling/repurposing. i have cut, pasted, and stitched countless cup sleeves and cups into gift-card holders and bookmarks.

3. starbucks will give you their used grounds to toss into your composter, which i have been told is great for your garden/flower bed.

4. order black fresh brewed coffee and you can take the leftovers and make these:

a. coffee ice cubes for a future iced coffee or frappuccino

b. espresso/coffee brownies--just replace the water called for (on the brownie mix) with
chilled coffee.

if any of you are so inclined, i would be happy to pass along a tutorial, or at least some photos of my upcycled creations using starbucks paper goods. just fling me an email, or leave a comment.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I subscribe to, or follow this blog, but have fallen behind on recent posts. Maybe some of you want to check it out...

totally unrelated information:

starbucks will give you used grounds for your compost heap/garden

just ask

paper flower happiness

good morning to you my dear 3 readers :)

The paper flowers have taken on a life of their own. At the bridal shower Saturday the flowers seemed to be the hit of the morning. Then late Saturday evening I received a call to fill-in as Sunday School teacher for our 3rd-5th grade girls...

I focused the lesson on kindness and friendship; we had a brainstorming session, sharing, praises and prayers, etc., and the girls could hardly keep their eyes off my stash of scrapbook paper!

We made our own Friendship/Kindness flowers, and to tie it to the lesson we wrote a scripture verse on the back of each flower.

I wonder where these flowers will appear next?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

paper flowers pdf


this will give you a pdf template to make LOVELY layered flowers--use paper, fabric...be creative...
i'd love to see what you make!

i will post a photo of my flowers as soon as i get new aa's for my camera


Ahhh, creativity is great. Creativity with decorative papers is even better! Just returned home from a bridal shower (i helped plan, throw, whatever)...we had a good turnout, good food, and nifty decorations, i must say :)

over at oneprettything.com i found a link to some paper flower templates/patterns...

there is something so satisfying about creating something with your own hands that you will share with someone else. when i craft/create/make for others, i find myself thinking of the special person and hoping they will like what i am making, and know that i put thought into it for them.

hey, if you're looking for 2 easy, crowd-pleasing recipes consider these:

1. coffee punch

brew strong coffee

chill overnight

in a punchbowl combine:

cold coffee (strong)

1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream

1 container cool whip

1/2 -3/4 bottle hershey's syrup

that's it

i am really not a cool-whip person (prefer hand-made whipped cream)

nor am i really crazy about the questionable ingredients in hershey's syrup, but--

all in a punchbowl this is a sweetly satisfying, caffeinated, dessert-like treat that people will cheer about all during your party :)

2. spinach feta egg bake

6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

14 eggs

10 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced

two handfuls fresh spinach, chopped

splash of milk or cream

preheat oven to 350

bake 30 minutes (approx.)

i'll post some photos of the paper flowers sooon

it's time to do the kitchen-clean up dance and clear the dining room table of the paper-craft aftermath...

are there state standards for that?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

animal project

no, these are not the animals...though by the end of the day--we smelled worse than the monkeys in the trees! i will post more photos from our trip, and share more ideas from our projects shortly :)
Yesterday was our magnificent trek to the fort wayne children's zoo! yippee!
I planned this as a mid-project refresher for my kids and the 3-4 kids I tutor each week.
Here is a listing of the major points of our projects...

pick an animal you would like to learn about
use the library's electronic card catalog to search and locate books related to your animal
find books on shelves (hello mr. dewey)
peruse books, weed out those deemed unnecessary
identify title, author, illustrator
locate and examine table of contents, index, glossary, etc.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS (discuss and write)
what does my animal eat in the wild? in captivity?
where is my animal's natural habitat?
so on and so forth...
interesting facts
something i thought i knew, but was wrong/right...
i planned our zoo trip to have a purpose, and will plan all future field trips with a purpose for the students (and myself)
We took photos of our animals at the zoo, and will paste them in our scrapbooks along with some creative writing and creative illustrating...maybe add in a poem or two
i will also list the indiana standards that this project is addressing!

smart vs. pleasant

As I make more moves to apply for teaching positions, I am considering the idea that being pleasant, or kind is so much more important than being smart. Yes, I want to have ideas and great ideas at that. I want to show that I am a competent teacher, but at the same time I want to show kindness. Kindness to my peers, my students, parents, volunteers...
Recently Danny and I watched segments of the movie Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart. The line that resonated with us the most is this (paraphrase) in this world you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant...i recommend pleasant.
You can be right, or you can be friendly, and sometimes both, but how many friends can a person make while being "right" to the point of meanness? And being the "winner" all the time ends up making you quite lonely.
So my challenge to myself, and to my 2 readers :) ...remember to be pleasant. Your life, and the lives of those you encounter will be much nicer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

animals of all sorts

hello. i have not been lost, only busy.
right now i am working out lesson plans/activities for 6 children. each child has chosen an animal to research: rabbit, gecko, river otter, snake, red fox, and gorilla. we are in the beginning stages of this project, and are just reading about the animals from books. our next step is to explore the fort wayne children's zoo! woo hoo!
i am hungry to learn more as well, so i have chosen the elephant. african, indian, not sure. and there may not even be an elephant in fort wayne, but oh well.
later i will blog on the importance of modeling for your students--they need to see that you take a project seriously enough to do it yourself...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

done done done, but not really


but not really

look for a real post later today,

it's my 10 yr. old's turn on the internet,

and i must keep my word

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

comments and critique are welcome

good evening readers. i now officially have 2 followers, though one is my husband, and i think his is a pity follow... :(

anywho, i have just returned home from a resume writing session at our university's center for life-calling and leadership.

here's where i need feedback; does the resume REALLY need to be kept at 1 (one) page?

how much should i elaborate on volunteer work?

what about my community work? I served on our local public library's board of directors until i returned to college 2 years ago.

I've also been volunteering at our elem. school with the high ability classes...

anyway, these are all things i've thought of since returning home, and now am unsure about the resume altogether

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

crock-pot applesauce

Earlier this fall, during my student teaching experience, we ventured to Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie, Indiana for a field trip. One of the highlights of the day was getting hands-on experience using a manual cider press/mill. The students each got a turn pressing their own apple, then we all sampled a sip of fresh cider. Delicious.
To capitalize on their learning, and to make connections to prior knowledge, we made crock pot applesauce a few days later (in the classroom). Students watched while I wedged apples and dropped them in the pot. We shared discussion throughout the day as the fragrance of cooking apples wafted through our classroom. Later we constructed an order of events recipe poster to reinforce the concept of first, next, etc. Finally, everyone had the opportunity to taste the applesauce. All but two students loved it! A few of the students came back for a second helping.
The field trip gave us the perfect springboard for multiple learning activities such as journaling, cooking, and descriptive writing using the 5 senses

Monday, April 13, 2009

student success and encouragement

This semester I have been tutoring some students at our elem. school. As I reflect back on each day's progress, I begin to wonder how much encouragement children receive at home. Considering the time and effort the teachers, aides, and volunteers invest in students on a daily basis, and the praise and encouragement we (should) give them, I wonder if this extra effort is rewarded at home...Which led me to an idea:
As I keep anecdotal records from each tutoring session, make a copy for the teacher (save one for me), I should have notes of encouragement ready to send home to the students whom I tutor...Is it safe to assume that students who receive extra help at school are working extra hard? Are they receiving any more praise at home for this work? It is my responsibility to give them that extra boost so that they will be inspired to keep working, and proud of their progress.
I would love some dialogue/feedback on this post! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Favorite Picture Books...#1

This is the first of my top 5 picture books, and how I have used them in the classroom to facilitate learning through making connections, life lessons, illustration samples...and just good reading!
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

I will post (tonight or tomorrow) how I have used this book in the classroom to facilitate discussion with my students. The first time I read this book, I bawled my head off!

still trying to get the hang of this bloggging gig

I am in the process of uploading some artifacts from my student teaching experience...
learning as I go, so this may be a bumpy ride for a few days...

Tallies and Graphs
We Love Cookies!

Students placed a sticky note in the column of their favorite type of cookie. After tallying the results, each student shaded in a bar graph to indicate the favorite cookies of their class. We discussed that bar graphs are a quick, efficient, and easy way to compare amounts and numbers. We can immediately see which cookie is the favorite without actually counting one by one. By identifying the column with the most names in it, you can determine the favorite cookie.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

lifelong learning

I am committed to being a lifelong learner. Frequently I am reminded that this does not disclude technique of listening, conversing, and the give and take of group dialogue. My husband teaches our Sunday School class right here in our living room. He has embarked upon a series that includes FORGIVE FREELY, something about giving, and here's the tanker:


during the lesson, we (students) were tossing out our definitions of listening, how to be an active listener, blah, blah, blah...

it was not until later that danny and i discussed my frustration that he seemed to be leaving us flopping in the wind, and at one point during class i called out: 'just give us the answer you're looking for so we can move on!'

so, there it is

i am still learning the delicate art of conversation, which, apparently includes listening to the ideas of others.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

what i've read recently

short list of what i've read recently

you may like some, you may not

I Feel Bad About My Neck

by Nora Ephron

quick read, humor, nice diversion

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

by David Sedaris

laugh out loud, insightful, diversion from your actual life/troubles

The Willoughby's

by Lois Lowry

still reading, comments,connections back to other literary works, so you might want to be a well-read person, or be willing to read all the books to which it refers, then go back and re-read this...

i'm just saying..