Thursday, May 28, 2009

Changes Happen in Kindergarten

Kindergarten: Where magical things happen in the course of a year...

Below are self portraits of several of my Stars. During the first week of school, I asked my students to draw themselves using a large oval, the letter "T" (eyebrow line and bridge of nose), and to look in a mirror to determine their eye and hair color(s) to add to the portrait as details. I then tucked those portraits away for safe-keeping.

Two weeks ago, I reintroduced the lesson to the Stars for a second time, and then hung their August portraits (left side) next to their May renderings (right side).

It's an art lesson that takes my breath away each and every year:

First grade, here they come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Girl(friend) Power

My trip to Alaska to see my son graduate was full of laughter, exploration, good food, more laughter, shopping, catching up, introductions, and, you guessed it, *laughter* thanks to Girl Power:

Dear friend (crafter, jewelry maker extraordinaire) Shannon took me to her favorite bead shops and let me wear her wares- psst, she has her own blog now!- as she continued to reign supreme as The Hostess With the Mostest in Anchorage...

Incredible Polly was my sounding board, dessert-at-Pike's accomplice and home base when I was in Fairbanks (her girls are two of my former students, one is starting her second year of college while the other graduated from high school this month)...

A branch of the Loud Lady Tree made it to the graduation ceremony- no celebration is ever complete without Lori and her girls (see Karen peeking over the top?)... How Lori has all of the energy she does to keep up with her large family is beyond me...

Exceptional friend and former colleague Bev (Karen and Lori are former colleagues too!) introduced me to her new daughter-in-law R. and precious granddaughter S. Prior to our coffee and bagel breakfast, we caught up in her classroom as she tore everything down for summer cleaning...kindergarten teachers are busy, busy, BUSY!

This lady is known as the "Other Bev," and as another friend and former colleague of mine, earned the right to smack me up alongside the head as I walked right by her after my son's graduation (she was there to see a nephew). Laughter and smiles all the way around, I wish we could have spent more time together!

Yes, yes, Karen is wearing a shirt that says "You can't scare ME, I'm a teacher." Soon to be a grandma, I enjoyed meeting her beautiful daughter-in-law Cassandra- celestial banners are in the works for that girl! Karen has always had a knack for bringing humor and peace to stressful situations, and her travel photos are to die for!

Though from very diverse backgrounds, my dearest friends share so many of the same traits: kindness, tolerance, humor, patience (ooooh, they've been soooo very patient with me over the years!), wit, flexibility, joy, and creativity. They are incredibly knowledgeable and inspire me to be a better teacher and friend- and the best part of all, each one is an expert when it comes to giving HUGS.

Ladies, thank you for bringing such sunshine to my life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our High School Graduate

Congratulations Boy, you *did it*!

I am so very proud of my son, and so grateful for his friends and family who supported and guided him when Uncle Sam decided it was time for us to live an unconventional family life, relocation after relocation. Many thanks to his teachers, several of whom I attended either high school or college with in my younger years. While I appreciate your praise for my son, graduation marks the time for us all to plant our sized 9-12 bunny boots firmly into his backside aiming toward a college campus! All together now!

On to your next great adventure Boy- don't forget to ask for help, say "thank you," and be the type of person YOU always hope to encounter.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'll be back...

It's a hectic time of year: the final days of school are upon us, report cards are due (mine are d*o*n*e!), kindergartners are sprouting into first graders overnight, and, at least in my case, it's time to go back to Alaska. My son is graduating from high school!

As a result, I'll be away from the blog for over a week. Check back with me though, because I'll be feeling old missing you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Here's some Mother's Day humor for all of the terrific moms out there~ enjoy your special day!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

*~OTHER~* Classroom Essentials

Many teachers have a list of their classroom essentials: great books and stories, hands-on manipulatives, pretend play items, and classroom management tricks, charts and systems. In thirteen years of teaching, I've figured out that in addition to the more obvious items, I consider some extra goodies true teaching "necessities."

For instance: field trip badges.

I know, I know, there are lots of cute nametag stickers or stickers pre-printed with "I'm on a field trip," but I haven't met a kindergartner yet who isn't intrigued by the adhesive...not to mention the sticky-thwicky sound it makes as s/he repeatedly tears it off of a shirt over and over and *over* again! When students are told that they'll be using their field trip badges several times throughout the year, they tend to take good care of them, saving me time, money, and decreasing sticker litter.

Over the years, I've made several sets of student badges (voting, and even bee pins for a trip to a farm). Since I've moved from state to state, I've learned to NOT put the name of the school I'm teaching at on the badges. Considering stranger danger, I also prefer to not put my students' names on the badges either. Carson-Dellosa sells a cute "kid drawn" cardstock set shaped like stars but you could certainly use die cut shapes of your choosing:

I typed up "Mrs. Sommerville's Super Stars, (field trip)" on white paper and employed a trusty glue stick to adhere them to the stars. I've blogged before about the fondness I have for my table top laminator- in addition to its convenience, it also uses thicker film than most school lamination machines do, resulting in a MUCH sturdier badge:

I am a fan of metal pin backs, but this time around I used mini wooden clothes pins- easy on, easy off for students or chaperones:

The badges are attractive, sturdy, matched, clip easily to a backpack, shirt pocket or collar, and are easy to store for future field trips!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This afternoon I received the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award- what a joy it is to be an Army Wife!

It's not every day you get to pose with a General, Command Sergeant Major, and your very own *personal* Sergeant Major:


Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

It was a merry May Day!

Last Friday we made tissue paper flowers with our Fifth Grade Buddies, so earlier this week I made small cones out of 6"X6" cardstock into which we could tuck them, adding some lilac raffia for *fun*:

Our Buddies helped us deliver the posies throughout the school:

...and one of my Super Stars had a special delivery for me as well!

Posies would be wonderful Mother's Day or summer birthday favors, don't you agree?