Friday, January 4, 2019

In the Moment

The other night Gracen began reading all of my old blog posts.   I sat down with her and we read through all of them together.  We had so much fun remembering all of the fun things we had done.  As were laughing over all of the old pictures, Gracen remembered that she still had an old flip camera.  She went and got it, and we began the mission of figuring how to upload them to my computer.  We were able to find and download a program that helped us convert the flip camera files to Quicktime Player.  For the next few hours, Gracen, Sam, and I converted all of the files, watched the videos, and laughed until we cried.

There were many tears of laughter that night,  but mine were also tears of joy.  I realized, in that moment, that what I was experiencing was a  memory that I will always treasure.  Both of my daughters and I laughing, talking, loving.  My heart was so grateful.

Here is one of the videos we found.  This is Gracen (3rd grade) practicing the morning school announcements.  😂

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The New Girl

When Samantha and Gracen were younger they LOVED the American Girl dolls.   Each year for Christmas they would ask for a new doll or doll accessories. They also enjoyed reading the books and watching the movies.  One year, while we were living in Philadelphia, I was able to take the girls to the American Girl store in NYC.  It was a fantastic day.  If you have a daughter or special girl in your life, I highly recommend the trip.  You can read more about our experience here.

I always appreciated the the American Girl company because everything they release is age appropriate.  The clothes for the girls (and dolls) are tasteful and the movies and books they release are family-friendly.  The company promotes little girls being little girls.

American Girl has just released their 2019 Girl of the Year.  Her name is Blaire.  She is "an aspiring chef who enjoys bringing people together at her family's upstate New York farm and bed-and-breakfast".  Blaire's story, which will touch on finding balance in the digital world, will unfold through a series of chapter books.  Such a timely and important topic!

Here is the link to Blaire's page.  It is all SO cute!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Have you ever thought, “I’ll be so happy when ____”?    
I have.  In fact, I find myself having that thought quite a lot lately.

I’ll be so happy when school is out for Christmas Break!
I’ll be so happy when I get my car paid off!
I’ll be so happy when I get into shape!
I’ll be so happy when we can go on a family vacation!
I thought about this as I was reading a friend’s FB post today.  She wrote about how she is choosing to find joy in whatever each day may bring.  As I thought more about this, I realized that If my current thinking is “I’ll be happy when …”, I am not finding joy in the present.  
For 2019, I am choosing to be happy NOW.
So, that is my word for 2019.  Now.  

In the spirit of "Now", here is Gracen and I
walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge today.
We were enjoying "now-ness".  

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Is Early School Enrollment Dangerous?

Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom, believes that "Parents should push back against this alarming trend by holding onto their kids longer or opting out of forced schooling altogether."

Unfortunately, this is not always an option for children with parents who work outside of the home.

Perhaps a better solution is to revamp the expectations and standards that are being established for Early Childhood Programs.

What are your thoughts?

Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

Thursday, December 27, 2018

M is for Mittens

This was an extra special Christmas because my oldest daughter, Samantha, turned 18 on Christmas Eve, AND she finished high school!  Next semester she will be taking classes at our community college, so that she will be a little ahead when she heads to college in the Fall.  As proud as I am of her, I am also a little sad. I plan to enjoy this last semester with her at home!

My children are spending the next few days with their Dad, so I am taking advantage of the quiet to get ahead on my planning for January.  I love The Mitten by Jan Brett, and I normally do a unit on it.  This January, though, I am going to use the Three Little Kittens as my focus book.

Here is the unit I wrote.  It is currently for FREE, so go download it!

Here is a cute felt story set that can be used for retelling. This download also has a cut and paste rhyming word activity sheet and some mittens that can be used for a matching game or a "lost and found" game.

We have been working on number recognition, so I would like to do this as a small group (or center) activity.

Many of our students continue to have trouble with cutting, so I plan to do this activity and have the children cut out the mittens.

There are some great ideas for the sensory table here. I am not sure which I will do because I really like them all!

Lots of great block ideas here!

What are some fun activities that you plan to do in January?


Monday, December 10, 2018

G is for Gingerbread

Today we started our Gingerbread Unit.  I always love this unit because the kids really have a lot of fun with it!

We began by reading the original Gingerbread Man story.   The kiddos loved helping with the "Run, Run, As Fast As You Can" part.

We then learned this fun song.


In the Block Center, I added cotton balls, pom poms, and pipe cleaner candy canes.  I also taped gingerbread men to the small blocks.  I encouraged the kids to create their very own gingerbread houses.

In the Art Center, the children painted large gingerbread people.  We will be adding eyes, noses, mouths, and icing details later in the week.

In the Dramatic Play Center, I added we added cookie sheets, laminated construction paper gingerbread men, rolling pins, aprons, mixing bowls, etc.  The children had fun acting out the story.

In Small Groups the children had to identify the number on a cookie sheet (laminated pieces of aluminum foil), and then place the corresponding number of gingerbread men onto the sheet. 

In the Play Dough Center, we added gingerbread cookie cutters and buttons.  I wish I had through to get some brown play dough.  We will be making gingerbread play dough on Friday, so I will have to set this out again!

Tomorrow we will be reading the Gingerbread Baby (one of my favorites). Check back for more fun ideas!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A "Reformed" Elf

Tomorrow Sparkle the Elf will make his grand entrance in my classroom.  Most of my students do not have an Elf on the Shelf at their homes, so they are going to be especially excited.  I can't wait!

Like some of his elf relatives, Sparkle used to enjoy participating in naughty antics. Not this year, though!  Sparkle is a reformed Elf!  This year he will teach the students about kindness.  Each day Sparkle will leave a little note with an idea about how to spread kindness.  All of the notes will be things that the students can easily do.

I am going to use these super cute notes that I found on the Passionate Penny Pincher website.

Does your classroom have an elf this year?