Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Foodie Friday: Pattern Jewelry

So I'm trying to be a little bit more on time with my food posts. 

Now that I can talk, breathe without coughing, and sleep through the night, it just might get done.

So this past Friday we learned about patterns via edible jewelry.

You will need:
  1. The large, pull apart Twizzlers.
  2. Small food that can be strung: I chose Lifesaver Gummies and Fruit Loops.
  3. Napkins
  4. Patience
  5. An extra pair of hands (or two).

When we did our kindergarten screenings, one area that showed growth needed was patterns.  The kids could identify the pattern (an AB pattern) but couldn't extend it.

Hence the object of our lesson.

We started by identifying AB patterns on the Smartboard.  Then they used unifix cubes to show AB patterns. 

After observing we could make and extend the AB patterns, each child was given a napkin and the food was placed in the center of the table.  They had to create at least an AB pattern using whatever they pleased.  But they had to create it on the napkin before they could string it on the Twizzlers.  They received two strands so they make two different patterns if they chose.

Please note the following: don't knot the end of the Twizzler before handing it to the kids. Let them string it and then tie it together.

So my goal for next post is to include pictures.  Because that would make it all snazzy and stuff.

See ya Friday!

How To Make A Teacher Smile

Am I the only one finding it hard to believe today is Wednesday?

Case in point.  When I got up this morning this is what my calendar read:

So technically it's been Tuesday all day according to one source.

However, my body preferred to disagree as it is so exhausted it must be Thursday.

Then you have the big calendar at work the children and I learn from every day.  That one said today was Wednesday, but as you can see, I had two conflicting opinions.

The good thing about the district for whom I work is they understand the whole "gradual release of responsibility" model.  For instance, we started the school year with children on a Wednesday (the 15th to be precise).  Then last week we spent four days in our classrooms and Friday was a professional day.  (We got to go hear this man speak and it was incredible.  If you ever get the chance to hear him read so much as a breakfast menu, go.  It is so worth it.)  So this is the first five day week we've had with children.

And so the internal struggle of "What Day Is It?" has begun within my intellect. 

Since I was in a genial mood this afternoon, I decided to give one of these to each of my team mates:

One member had helped interpret for me, one helped me with dismissal and the third continues to work hard every day, even though she is aware this is her final year.
I got them from Knock Knock Stuff and everyone got a big kick out of 'em. 
However, because I am who I am, I also have another note pad with me to share:
I'll let you know how those notes turn out. ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Foodie Friday: Wheels on the Bus

So I dropped the ball with my post last week about what the edible treat we made last week.  It just didn't get done.
(In my defense, I had two days of district meetings, Back to School night, three days of teaching-in a new grade nonetheless-and laryngitis from an allergy to something in my school building.  Cut a girl some slack, please!)

I've made it a goal this year to try and let them make something to eat every Friday.  Because 1) it's a great real life example of non-fiction reading, how to follow directions, etc. 2) by Friday we're spent and need something to anticipate and 3) it's fun. 

Our K team at my school adopted a "Wheels on the Bus" theme to kick off the year. 

Complete with adorable school bus displays to welcome our kids:

Big shout out to DJ who made the bus for me.  And got the cardstock buses.  She's retiring this year.  Can you see why I'm going to miss her-greatly?!
So in the interest of keeping with the theme here's how you make mini-school buses (be prepared, this may be one of the most complicated recipes you'll try to follow):
  1. Procure the assistance (i.e. donation) of parents when they ask if you need them to send anything.  Ask for Twinkies-one for each child in the class.  (On a side note, when did they start serving Twinkies solo?  I don't consider myself super old, but I distinctly remember Twinkies being two to a wrapper as a child.  Thanks a lot, Hostess, for ruining a great way to practice skip counting by 2s.)
  2. When you're walking out the door and you remember it's Friday and you still haven't got the rest of the food items, proceed to your nearest Kroger/Walmart/convenience store.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200-just get to the store.  While there, purchase Rolos (I got the minis that are always by the mini-Reese Cups, which, if we're being perfectly honest, are just small bites of heaven on earth) and some red hard candy.  Because I couldn't find the Red Hots candy, I went with Hot Tamales
  3. While at school, give every child a Twinkie.  (Be prepared for half to turn away in disgust, because even they in their tender primary years know it's wrong to serve Twinkies one per wrapper.  I'm certain it was that and not because they'd never tried a Twinkie before.) 
  4. Give them 2 or 4 Rolos for "wheels" and allow them to press delicately on the Twinkie.  (Be prepared to help.)
  5. Give the the red candy for the stop sign-the Hot Tamales were goo because they could make it extend as though the stop sign were actually sticking out.
  6. Enjoy with a small glass of water, milk, or beverage of your choice.
This space left intentionally blank because I don't have a pic of the finished product. YET

Monday, August 20, 2012


School started for us last week.

So each day I do a multitude of routine tasks.  One of which is a 40 mile commute to my job and 40 miles home.

Like most of the country, thanks to the high temperatures and lack of rain over the past three months, we're in a moderate drought state. 

Even though we're still in the drought, over the last few days something miraculous happened: it rained.  Good, steady rain that soaks into the ground. 

But today I noticed something.  The fields no longer looked like this:

Instead, they looked like this:

And I couldn't help but think about how like the rainfall, our words have power.  Our words can deplete others, making our homes, classrooms and families dry up.  Like the thirsty land, they have a hard time making any growth.  And we stand to the side, shake our heads and wonder when it will change.

But what a difference words can make.  Like the rain that replenishes, our words can help nourish and make those around us not only live, but thrive. 

If you're like me, you get a little overwhelmed sometimes-lots of tasks, committees, assessments and meetings.  And sometimes many of those can hinder my best intentions of making sure every child feels safe, needed and cared for in my classroom.

So this year, in addition to trying to making sure I don't let the trivial things become huge, I want to be intentional about making my words cultivate my classroom (and the meetings, the PLCs, the ARCs, the end of the day, and get the picture).

May I not forget that like those little ones, I too seek out words that affirm.  And may they be used every single day in my room.

I want to make my words count.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Foodie Friday: Riddle

What do you get when you cross:




Come back tomorrow and find out!

(Okay, so I planned posting the entire thing today but school started Wednesday and tired is just the beginning of how I feel.  But I assure you it's cute.  And fun.  You'll see.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I don't know about the rest of y'all, but the beginning of school may be most stressful few days of my year.  Every year.

And I've spent the last few days seriously stressed because of that.

I want everyone to feel welcome, to feel appreciated, and (most importantly) arrive home safely.

A few days ago, I saw this on Pinterest:


In everything give thanks (Taken with Instagram)

and I cannot help but hearken back to it in the moments of anxiety.

You see, it reminds me of my grandmother and my aunt.

My granny, who will turn 91 this November, is not in the best of health.  She fell and broke her hip a few years ago which left her unable to walk.

Given that she was already experiencing dementia, this was just another blow.  So after this fall, she was/is bedridden.  It wasn't long before she was unable to talk.  My aunt (who also has a bit of age on her) now cares for her.  This includes feeding her via a feeding tube several times daily, changing her diapers, and turning her often so she doesn't acquire bed sores.  And she often does this alone.

As I've spent the last couple of days in the mandatory meetings, the thought of how I really needed to be in my room working has crossed my mind.  I think about the delays they're causing me-the borders that need to encompass the bulletin boards, the parent calls I need to make, the organization of supplies, and many other things.  And then I realize my problems are microscopic.

My grandmother would trade places with me in a hearbeat.  (Okay, truthfully, she probably wouldn't because she always put my needs ahead of hers.)  To be able to identify people, to carry on conversations, to care for yourself without the complete dependence on others are things I take for granted. 

And then I remember that quote.

So, in the midst of my rambling, I ask you to embrace everything this year.  The good, the bad, the painful.  And please know I understand what I'm asking-Sunday I got a head cold right before the most important week.  Yesterday I was gone 14 hours from my home.  Today I had a migraine from the stress of everything.  And even though those things were time consuming, I can't help but think of how inconsequential the majority of things I get upset about.  And just taking the time to be aware that most of us are blessed beyond belief helps center my heart.  (Well, that and some effective migraine medicine.)

A while back one of my favorite authors (Jill Conner Browne) included a portion of one woman's reflections in her book.  Thanks to Kay the entirety is on her blog.  I would like to share it with you:

Let Me Hold You While I May
By Mary Jean Irion
The day is over; now I will sleep. It has been a normal sort of day, common like a rock along the path. Nothing about it would make one exclaim over it, as one might do with a shell or a glistening piece of quartz. It was just a rock, lying there along my way. But now, knowing that it is about to go from me forever, I hold it in my hand curiously, turning it this way and that, marking its shape and texture, weighing it on my palm. What was it really, this normal day?

It was routine, mostly....washing, ironing, a trip to the store, meals, dishes--the common denominators of women;s days.

It was pleasant here and there...a letter from an old friend, my husband's telephone call for no reason, a back fence chat with my neighbor, half an hour with a good book, some loud laughs with the children at dinner time.

It was irritating now and then....a sticky ocean of spilled maple syrup, mealtime with one greedy child and one finicky one, the arrival of a bill unexpectedly high, a persistent salesman's theft of fifteen beautiful minutes.

It was deeply joyous at times... the whole house glorified with the strains of the new "Greensleeves" record; our unliterary twelve-year-old's first book (begun today, to be finished tomorrow) with its dedication--to wonderof wonders--his parents; our eight-year-old and her friend playing dress-up, painted and perfumed, scarved and veiled, clattering through the kitchen in spike heels and courtesaned innocense.

It was sobering and frightening in some ways...Mom's waning health and increasing discouragement; the big blow up after dinner about homework and learning to accept responsibility, and the guilt that followed my hasty words; The vague, huge uncertainties that draped themselves over us, cobweb-like, with the ten o'clock news from a tense and shadowed world.

It was blessed with love a pig-shaped breadboard made and presented to me by my son; in the wave of feeling as I watched our little daughter sleeping in soft moonlight, her long lashes shadowing her cheek; in an hour alone with my husband at the end of day.

Just a normal day. A normal day! It is a jewel! In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth and remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness, want, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for this....

Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world your return.

As we begin this new school year, please join me in simply being aware of the minute moments that help make up our lives.

And let us see them as the blessings they are.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You Know Summer's ALMOST Over When...

  • You've begun thinking about it.
  • You've had a nightmare about: uncontrollable kids.  Being late to work.  Not being prepared.  Dreadful scenarios (most of which you wouldn't cross your mind when you're awake)  play out in your slumber.
  • You ask your friends to address you as "Mr./Ms." instead of your first name. 
  • You've visited your beautifully clean and waxed classroom.  You admire the way it sparkles for 90 seconds then realize you've got to do something with all those boxes.
  • You forget your PIN required to let yourself in your school.  After three unsuccessful tries, you admit defeat and call the custodian.  (Is it any wonder I like to be on good terms with our custodians?)
  • When shopping you snatch every cute/pretty/somewhat functional basket at Walmart, Dollar Tree and Target.  Because you just know if you don't purchase it then, when you come back for it, it'll be gone.  It doesn't matter if it's a matter of days, hours, or minute-someone will see your good taste and get "your" stuff. 
  • It's too hot to do anything.  (True story: when on vacation a couple of weeks ago, it was 115.  Degrees.  Needless to say we didn't go out much.)  It's so hot you've decided you're not taking the kids outside for fear of heatstroke. 
  • When shopping you see school supplies at Walmart and feel a compulsion to purchase a few things, just in case. 
  • You get aggravated when you realize the rest of the county bought the cheap crayons.  The ones you were going to buy and give to kids who need 'em.  You go so far as to post a pic on Facebook to show the world of this unjust act.  Because everyone needs to know there are a fair amount of hoarders in town. 

And finally...
  • You ask yourself (at least once a day), "Where did the summer go?"

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm Back!

After an excrutiating 12 days (yes, you read that correctly) I am happy to report the phone and internet are working.

I can't wait to share my thoughts.  See ya soon! :)