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 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 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 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 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.