Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Word 2013

Are you choosing "one word" for 2013?

"Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway. Choose just one word.  One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long."
Over the past week, I've given a lot of thought to my word.  Two verbs arm wrestled for the top spot....and this one won:
Thank you, Melanie! Go to OnlyOneBreath to find out more!
Yes, I talk a lot, but that's not why I chose listen as my word.  It's not meant to be an opposite, a turning around, of a behavior.  Rather, it's a discipline that I want to acquire, in a new way.  I think most of my friends and family members would say that I'm a good listener.  And my students know that I will listen to any song, any silly story, any sharing of the heart.  

My problem?  I want to move in and fill the uncomfortable spaces of a conversation with words.  Words of comfort, guidance, instruction, confession, defense, inquiry.  Good therapists (isn't that what we are at times?) know that the most real stuff is shared when they stay quiet for
When we listen.
And in those moments of sharing,
we learn more about each other.

What's your word?

I'm also linking up here!  Join the party!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas!

This picture says it all....
Those adorable little guys?
They need a holiday break!
And the sweet little girls need a break 
from the adorable little guys!
(P.S.  I'm a girl!)
The stockings were hung....
We made these cute stockings 
and wrote about our wishes for their content.
I whipped up the fireplace with construction paper and tagboard.

The nativity...kindergarten style!
Don't you love the mix of Santa's helpers and the wise men?

Jesus is born!
As usual, abilities are varied among my sweet friends!
This simple craft took longer than anticipated;
I've been encouraging the children to trace templates, 
rather than doing the tracing or cutting the pieces myself.  
Some of them need the fine-motor practice.  :-)

The larger trees were done first, 
to give the children an opportunity 
to assemble the triangles by size and decorate with abandon.
Later in the day, we worked on the writing activity.
Almost everyone caught on that the tree needed to look 
nearly identical in the second and third pictures!

Art Lesson~Paper Poinsettia
I printed the template on colored copier paper.
The children cut the pieces and then layered them, 
gluing one piece at a time.  
I ran around the room with a hole punch to create pollen.
Good times!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Song Before The Silence

"O Come O Come Emmanuel"

O come o come emmanuel

And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appears

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come thou day-spring come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad divisions cease
And be thyself our king of peace

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Friday, December 14, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter, A Birthday, & ADHD!

I know that, technically, it is still fall.
But once December arrives, I am a winter girl!

My baby boy was born on his due date, on a cold December day.
This month, I've had many reasons to reminisce about his childhood.  He arrived with an insistent cry, in constant motion, with an aversion to calming mechanisms (pacifier, swing, car rides, etc., etc., etc).  With three other children under the age of five, I thought I would never again be sane.  
I did not sleep through the night until five years had passed!

He set the toaster on fire at 18-months of age.
He started the car before he turned two.
He climbed the backstop wall at little league baseball games
by the time he was three.
At age four, his preschool teacher suggested 
a visit to the doctor for an adhd diagnosis.
Well, halleluia....
I'd wondered if he had sensory integration disorder, 
so an adhd label was easier for me to understand.
~As a teacher
I already knew something about these precious children.~ 

We chose to meet a pediatric neurologist and a family behavioral therapist.  The good doctors both agreed that my sweet son 
was a poster child for adhd.  
They also thought he was a gifted artist with an amazing vocabulary who thought outside the box.
I still give thanks to God that we were led to doctors 
who saw the positive in the personality.

This school year, I knew after an hour upon meeting her that J. was very much like my boy.  Although not as physically rambunctious, she spouts conversations that are remembered verbatim.  
Her contribution for the letter A was "absolutely". 
Her illustration for the pilgrims' hard winter was 
a completely untouched white page....she said,
"The snow is so deep, the houses and windows and people
are all covered up.  You can't see anything but snow!"
I love this child.
I love this child. 

I want to take the opportunity to thank my own son, for making me a better mommy and a better teacher.  Happy Birthday, my J...
we would be computer illiterate without you!
With winter right around the corner, 
would you like a new game for your kiddos?
I will send a copy to the first person who replies!
This packet contains "I have...Who has...?" games containing the Dolch pre-primer, primer, and first grade word lists.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Label The Nativity, a Freebie, and GRACE!

My little friends are BoUnCiNg OfF tHe WaLLs!
Glory....we have fourteen more days of this??!

At staff devotions today, my friend read a great quote:
"A heart touched by grace brings joy to the face."
I realized that I need to give grace--unmerited favor--
to my students, especially at this time of the year.  
What does that look like?  Do I abandon my management systems?
Of course not!  I hold everyone accountable for their choices.
But, I look a little bit deeper into what they are experiencing.
Even in the best circumstances, my five- and six-year-old pals are not getting enough sleep, hopping from one holiday festivity to another, and eating waaaaay too much sugar.
(Hhhmmm....their teacher is in the same boat!)

I hereby give you all permission to slow down, hit the snooze button, take a walk, and splurge on the yummy salad.
Light the fire, turn on the music, and breathe.

I like to use labeling pages for handwriting practice, hand-eye coordination.  Some of my favorites have been created by 
Ms. White at First Grade Blue Skies :-).  Lori at Teaching With Love And Laughter is the author of my kinders' favorite gingerbread writing activities!

Since we will be studying the Christmas story during the last two weeks of December, I made a set of character label pages.
If you would like to have a copy of the page above,
hop over to my store and download the preview file
There are five pages of character labeling, for just $1.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nativity Activities on TpT...& a Freebie!

Ok, savvy TpTers.....
how do you hit that $ amount key without shaking?!
I've just sent my first "unit" out into the world.

But, I am sooooo excited to share this product!  
As a Christian school teacher, I am always looking for ways to make connections between academic learning and spiritual truths.
I hope that this mini unit will be a blessing!

At Chapel today, the children were treated to candy, 
reminding them of the names of Jesus.
I've put the lesson in print, to share with you!
It's included in the Nativity Activities unit,
I've included a nut-free version, too!

December is almost upon us.  
This year, I want to experience some powerful verbs:
May we--and our sweet students-- find joy and peace in the season!

Monday, November 26, 2012

October and November Art Lessons~Recap, Turkeys In Disguise

Each week, I get to see my former kindergartners in art class.
Seeing the growth in their fine motor skills and attention levels almost makes me want to loop with them!
Each teacher at our school has a special class assignment; 
my duty as the K/1 art instructor is a blessing.
Seriously, I hope the 1st grade teacher never tires of her P.E. responsibility!  Our synergy is working quite well!

Art Lessons With Book Connections
(picture collages courtesy of my new favorite app-Photogrid)
Watercolor Resist Spider Webs...Diary Of A Spider
Patterned Leaf...The Little Yellow Leaf
Landscape With House~Perspective...One Red Apple
Painted Pumpkins...The Runaway Pumpkin
Candy Corn~Tissue Paper Melt...The Biggest Pumpkin Ever
Turkey Cards for Thanksgiving...Thanks For Thanksgiving
(a "trace/cut/follow directions" mini-nightmare)
Turkeys In Disguise....Beauty And The Beaks
(Family Project)

Tomorrow's art project involves cutting candy cane shapes from 
various papers, then overlapping them on card stock.
There might even be a glitter all depends on my stamina level at 1:45 pm.  :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Freebie! Gingerbread I Have~Who Has #10-40

Christmas came early!  
I'm typing on a super fast Mac Book Pro.
As promised, I'm adding goodies to my TpT store.
And what could be yummier than a gingerbread freebie?!
Feedback is appreciated :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Thanksgiving Dinner For Me

Unbelievably, in less than twelve hours I will be in surgery having a tooth extracted.

The pain showed up out of the blue, over the weekend. My dentist thought the molar might need a repeat root canal, so this afternoon a fab entodontist took a peek. He deemed the molar to be a goner...and back to the dentist I went, for an old-fashioned tooth pulling.

Friends, he could not numb the tooth enough to get it out! He used over 3x the amount of numbing meds than needed for a root canal and it did not knock out the pain.
 --will my face ever not be numb?--
By the time he decided to stop, and scheduled me for a procedure involving general anesthesia, I was coming unglued. I shook for over an hour, but, thank God for prescription Vicodin, I am now able to blog.

Because everything goes better with blogging, right?

If you would pray for my face, the surgeon, my family, and my sweet kindergartners (yes, we have school tomorrow), I would be so thankful.

And, have an extra piece of pie for me!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Took The Plunge...Freebie on TpT!

As much as I have enjoyed Scribd, 
I finally decided to take the plunge and offer my things on TpT!
My kindergarten report card includes patterning skills.
I know this isn't a Common Core standard, 
but I believe an understanding of patterning is important.
Unbelievably, it is time for 2nd quarter progress reports and 
I need to evaluate my kinders!

This worksheet looks fine in gray scale, 
but I will print a few copies in color.
After I place the color copies in sleeve protectors, 
the children can mark the answers with dry-erase tools.
I'm planning to use this in a math station with Thanksgiving-themed foam pieces, for hands-on practice.

Pretty please, follow me on TpT?
I'm anticipating a fabulous Christmas gift in the form of a laptop!
Ideas are just spinning through my head!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Love...Psalm 100

My kindergartners memorize Psalm 100:1-5 during the month of November.  Thanks to the power of song, they have already mastered the verses!  I memorized this psalm when my son learned it in second grade--set to a rap rhythm--and I've passed it on to my little friends.  The parents appreciated the copy that was sent home; if you'd like to have a copy, click HERE.

I'll be back later today with notes of thanks 
to share with your students and parents!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Roll & Color~~Freebie!...and a Sunday Song

Happy Thanksgiving!
My little friends LOVE to roll and color.
They are quite a competitive bunch this year!
I made this activity for them and included a space
 to write or tally the totals.

If you'd like to have a copy, click the link!
Comments make me feel very thankful!
Thanksgiving Roll & Color

Onto Sunday Songs---
I've recently became a fan of Aaron Shust.  
Yes, I am late to the party!
This is the official video for "My Hope"....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Currently...and a Sunday Song

Christmas will be here in a flash!
This school year is moving more quickly than any in my memory.

This is a favorite of mine....
and I control the CD player, lol!
My kindergartners visibly relax when listening to nature sounds and instumental music.
This my "new" car!  It's a 2011, with only 19,000 miles.  We tend to drive our cars past 200,000 and one of them finally bit the dust.  Now, our 17 yr-old is driving the dingy van...and I have something shiny!

This Sunday's Song is a new one by Colton Dixon:  "You Are"
Click the link to find the music!  This guy is talented!
November's Currently can be found HERE, at Farley's blog.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Other Side Of Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...most of us participate and use these portals to further our friendships, or grow our brand.  This technology is fast and fun.  Until someone you love gets hurt.

The invention of social media has occurred during my adult lifeIn the good 'ole days of the '80s and '90s, we were lucky to have call waiting, or a pager. I certainly didn't navigate my high school years in the Twitter fishbowl.  In fact, I still have a few folded paper notes in my treasure chest, relics from a distant past.  Today's teens have grown up in an elementary culture that teaches zero tolerance, bucket filling, pillars of character, and the like.  I find It disheartening that high school is a different story.  (I'm not intending to generalize.  There are certainly students who will carry our teaching--and their learning--in their hearts and souls, throughout their school years.)

My middle children attend a school district that has a strong policy against bullying.  The teachers are supportive.  Every single thing that should be in place to protect a student is in effect.  However.  People can be sneaky, snarky, cruel.  Fifteen-year-olds discover ways to fly under the radar.  When the one being hurt does speak up, the resulting discipline can easily make a situation worse.

My sweet daughter is in the middle of this scenario.  As her mom, I want to jump up and scream.  I'm finding that the term "bully" is very much denied by those using social media to hurt her.  But bullying is what it is.  I know how we describe it to our elementary students, I hear the examples that young children share.  The very-young-adults might try to reject the term to describe their behavior and choices.  Sorry, kids.  It is what it is.  

If your child has ever ran towards you with a cell phone, saying, "Mom, help!", I feel your pain.  

The ripples of discord among the young reach far across a family.
Let's do what we can, as the older generation, to encourage responsible use of technology by the youth of today.    

Monday, October 29, 2012

Owls And Spiders (a real one)

My kindergartners also enjoyed this video of Australian spiders
(and a few other critters)!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Songs~Christy Nockels

I found Christy Nockels when she and her husband released 
"Glory Baby".  (If you, or someone you know, have a little one in heaven, this song is comforting.)

Today, I want to share "Healing Is In His Hands"...
the video is a series of landscapes, not an official song 
video, but the music is all Christy.  Enjoy.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday Songs~ Matt Redman "10,000 Reasons"

Standing in the center of our living room, 
I drink in the colors of fall through the windows.  
The wind is blowing, 
the temp is hovering around 50, the hot chocolate is steaming.

A good day....that's what this is.  
And I'm singing this song in the glorious twilight of today.  
But I sing it in the darkness, too.  
Even on the hard days, 
especially in the hard times
I know He hides me in the shadow of His wing.