Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter and Spring Crafty Links

Easter is next week, so here are the links to some of my past bunny projects:

Bunny Buddies (using footprint tracings to make bunnies):
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Egg-Shaped Bunnies...

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...as well as my post on Egg-Ceptional Egg tracing:

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Let's not forget links from other great sources in BlogLand:

~ Make and Takes recycles frosting containers to make bunny buckets (she planted wheatgrass in one here)...

~ Petite Planet shares a tutorial on how to make boo-boo bunnies...

~ Green Lily offers printable templates for very cute bunny and chick paper bag decorations (though students would probably love to use scrap paper and cut the bunny and chick details freehand while at their art or fine motor center)...

... and next to eating Peeps, making a cute Peeps Bunny Bunting (inedible) seems like a fun way to celebrate spring!

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(photo, idea, tutorial and creativity all by Dana at Made)

Reality Versus the Sales Pitch

You know I *love* Sir Ken Robinson.

I love his brain.

I love his logic.

I even love his accent.

I especially love that he's right about children, education, and the effects of our nation's NCLB sales pitch:



(Thanks to Mamacita for sharing the link on FB this morning!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Glasses are Cool

Former student (now a big first grader): "Mrs. Sommerville! I got my new glasses!"

Me: "Oh honey, that's great, I'm going to wear MY glasses to school tomorrow and then we can have a Glasses Day!"

Former student: "You know, I can read better now!"

Me: "Yep, glasses are **cool** that way!"

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dear Orion...

Dear Orion,

Your father had a talent for making people around him ~react~.

As a child he could tell a joke with the just the right amount of lip and attitude that listeners would be more entertained than shocked when they heard him deliver the occasionally crude punchline. His busy and often interruptive assertions were always made boldly and without apology, and his smile and laughter worked *~magic~* every single time they presented themselves, causing even the grumpiest person to smirk and guffaw with a twinkle in his or her eyes.

As a teen, he was still naturally inclined to not only ask little girls to dance with him at weddings (girls LOVE to twirl and dance), but to let them stand on top of his feet so they could move more gracefully and "dance like grown ups:"



He knew how to dress up:



... but don't let the tennis shoes fool you- he'd actually worn the shoes from his ROTC uniform for the ceremony earlier:



Can you see why he switched into more comfortable footwear after the serious stuff was over? He was certainly not going to be accused of dancing like he had two RIGHT feet! While hurrying out of the house to come and DJ our wedding (ceremony and reception), he accidentally grabbed two right shoes. Thankfully, your Grandma Karen saved the day and even took pictures so we'd have lovely memories whenever Dear Husband and I wanted to look back and remember our special day. In 2003, when these photos were taken, your Daddy was still too young and unable to clearly imagine his future good fortune: meeting your beautiful and sweet Mommy and bringing you both into the family of some of my best friends.

Nine or ten years old when I first met him, your Daddy was eager, exuberant and yes, occasionally exasperating. He lived with loyalty, love and laughter, and I enjoyed watching him grow into a fine young man, husband and father. He served this nation as a soldier with strength and honor. You'll never have to ask your grandparents or your extended family for stories about your Daddy, because there are *so many* and we all want you to know about the man whose life we were so fortunate to have shared... you're going to have awesome listening ears!

Enjoy the stories. We'll be celebrating his life as we tell them to you.




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Orion's father will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in April.

Bittersweet Week

It's been a bittersweet week... I'll be back soon:

Monday, March 08, 2010

Enjoying R&R with Dear Husband...

Dear Husband is back for his two weeks' R & R, so there's no telling when I'll be posting.... maybe yes, maybe no, but check back in because I *promise* I won't be gone for too terribly long!

Have a *FANTASTIC* spring break everyone~

For now, the kids, Daddy and I are (insert cheesy video here):

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

In Like Lambs...

Outdoor recess certainly makes the Stars feel that March is coming in like a lamb, so today we're making our construction paper and cotton ball lambs (though this is certainly a good pattern for the adult sheep too!):




The fluffy cloud is cut from a 9X12 piece of white construction paper, and the rectangular legs start out as 4 1/2X 2 pieces of black construction paper.


Students assemble the face first, gluing the ears, eyes, and pink nose onto the black construction paper, and then glue eight to ten fluffy cotton balls across the ears and forehead.  After cutting out a large cloud shape, they glue the face onto the cloud, cut triangles from the four leg pieces, and position them:


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~ Lion and Lamb notecard holders at Disney's Family Fun...


~ Lion and lamb cupcakes...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Think left and think right and think low and think high..."

... oh the things you can think up if only you try!


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!





I'm dressed as a Star Bellied Sneech today for our Read Across America activities (oversized yellow tee with green marabou trim, a single green star  heat-n-bonded to the front), and was able to make it through last night's baking adventure without taste testing too many samples of to-die-for blueberry muffins.  I'm partnered for "lounge duty" so treats and daily lounge clean up duties are on the agenda each day this week.  



(The Stars were **thrilled** with our guest reader, after all, she was accessorized with a sparkly tiara, sash and pretty dress!)


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Nummies I'm making for lounge treats:


peanut butter cookies  (I add a cup of honey roasted peanuts to the dough before baking)
pretzel/Rolo/pecan nummies (four bags of Rolos fills two large baking sheets)
blueberry muffins
oatmeal raisin spice cookies


Fruit (strawberries and grapes) and a large box of snack sized chips will bring the sweet-factor down a few notches... b-a-l-a-n-c-e.


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This year my daily schedule has been greatly impacted by the students and families I have as well as by Dear Husband's deployment: I have to work through every possible minute while at school each day since I can't stay late nor can I come in and work on the weekends like I did when Parent Number Two was here with Dear Daughter and the Pre-Schooler.


With third quarter quickly coming to a close, it's time for my students and I to plow through our mountain of common assessments so that the kindergarten team has additional “data, data, and more data” from which to interpret and divine daily teaching modifications and score our kindergarten report cards.  Maybe it's the hectic schedule, or maybe my preference for strictly observing developmentally appropriate practice holds more weight with me than does the public policy of turning kindergarten into the new first grade... but I'm .... tired.  Physically tired, mentally tired... and I can't help but notice that kindergarten is now rarely the joyful learning environment it used to be.  Labels, scores, diagnosis, data, interventions and concern dominate my conversations with colleagues and parents, pushing topics such as personality, quirks, apprehensions, interests, and daily a-ha moments, inquiries and silliness to the back burner.


Who my Super Stars are matters just as much, if not more so, than the tasks that they can perform.  Drill and kill doesn't appeal to me, nor does expecting every child to perform every task on my timeline instead of their own.  Who should enter stage right at this point but Doug Noon, sharing links that are a must-read for me and any other early childhood/kindergarten teachers who question the current state of educational "reform."


I still believe I'm a good teacher in spite of NCLB, not because of it.


Yep, tired.


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"As you partake of the world's bill of fare, that's darned good advice to follow: do a lot of spitting out the hot air, and be careful what you swallow."
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It seems my favorite Dr. Seuss quote changes from year to year which is appropriate since 1) he had so many good ones and 2) life is always changing.  Professionally:


"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.  Some come from ahead and some come from behind.  But I've bought a big bat.  I'm all ready you see.  Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"




...and personally (Dear Husband should be back this weekend for his two week R&R):

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."