Saturday, July 6, 2013

Just sayin'

I really do! Last night my son got one of big books that was made of a hard cardboard, set it up like a tent and fell asleep under it! :) Imagination and childhood--gotta love it!!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happiness. All about happiness.

I am a happy camper. I have had the wonderful fortune to become a Reac3h Instructional Coach with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. This is such a blessing. The nerd in me is excited to have a chance to learn more and get great training. I always told my students that every day I learn something new and that you never stop learning. Education gave me freedom in my life and I will always value it. So in the future I hope to post on here more often as my schedule allows and share great ideas with you. 
Happy 4th of July!!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting to the Core!

Our Reach Coach Lindsay, shared this wonderful method of going through the Common Core State Standards and highlighting to discover those you are already familiar with, familiar with but with a little higher level of rigor expected, and unfamiliar. I think it helps to make Common Core not seem so overwhelming!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Waaaahhhhh! This is how I felt last week and will continue to feel this week and the next!!!
Me everyday until May

Okay, fess up...who was spying on me and took the photo above? ;) was you!
Snow White is a spy

To get our kids motivated for testing I made a nifty bulletin board with a countdown section and tips on testing. I totally stole the concept off Pinterest. Thank God for Pinterest!!!So here is my board:

And yes, most of the streamers shooting out of the rocket have mysteriously disappeared.

Happy testing! And try your best not to lose your mind!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SNERP it up!

Is this SNERP??!?!?

I spent some time earlier in the school year learning about SNERP. What's that? Some kinda slime? Nooooo.
Mrs. Fran Sylvester invited me to go to observe her teach the reading strategy to her students.
SNERP stands for 
Skim (highlight the title first, then numbers/number words, then proper nouns, then any "strange-looking words" like italicized, bolded print, etc).
Number the paragraphs (and she had her students highlight the numbers)
Then they highlighted words they did not know, and shared with the class. Mrs.Sylvester did a really great job of making the words come to life by sharing or pointing out objects around the room!
Examine questions (finger/brain...some questions you can find the answer to by skimming the book with your finger, others require knowledge from your own brain)
Read the selection
Prove answers (find and label)

Fran has a chart posted on the way for the students to refer to. They would verbally remind each other about each step.
I love how they did the procedure whole class and every step of the way Fran questioned the students so they had to prove why they felt or thought that way. Bravo Fran!!! :) I could have stayed in your room all day. :) I have attached the posters below !

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Warning: Ginormous posting ahead!!!

Just sayin'....

I got our school a subscription to  . And since the teachers at the Early Childhood Center cannot print I printed some at the elementary....and organized them into a binder (yes, my desk is a mess!).

I used index dividers to tab them by reading level. One thing I want teachers to remember is that a child can be reading on more than one level at a time--for example level M, O and R. Also, they move up and down the levels--hopefully more up than down but leveling should be flexible and not static.

Look at this fun Peeps! science experiment one of our Kindergarten teachers did! The class put the Peeps into different liquids to see which will make them dissolve the fastest.

Then they charted the materials used and tallied their guesses. Everyday they checked on these little guys. I believe the fabric softener won.
Try it for yourself (especially since Peeps are on clearance) and see!!!

A second grade classroom turned into the land of Chewandswallow from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

That second grade teacher is just so stinkin' creative! I love to see what her class is always up to.

Now let's walk on over to PreK. They are studying dinosaurs.

We have the awesome volcanoes made from newspaper, flour and water, then dried. Then the kids painted them. I love how they made white dough dinosaurs with cookie cutters and painted them. The best part of course is the "explosion" of baking soda, white vinegar and some red food coloring.

Their teacher's sister is a science teacher and she got a box of dinosaur bones the kids could look at and touch! Our local science museum of natural history has all kinds of stuff like this available for checkout. So I suggest you see if you local one does the same!

And I wanted to share some PreK letter/word stuff. Here is their word wall. I am so proud there is a visual with the word (for the words you can do that with).

Also, we always did a creative letter for the one we were studying and this is the one they did for Uu and Tt:


So I was able to visit another school in a separate district. I love being able to do that but I love bringing stuff back to share even more.

This school had the sight words color coded by grade and in the hallway so the kids could practice reading them while waiting in line. Genius!

One of the Kindergarten teachers there used dog dish bowls to hold supplies because they are non-skidding and she says they have lasted like 18 years! Genius!

School-wide they had a simple rubric for great writing. The teachers hung examples of great writing so the students had a guide. This was in Kindergarten.

Another fun bulletin board from Kindergarten. This was something the class went over daily before writing.

My biggest pet peeve as an educator is when people say "But Kindergarteners can't read or write!". Um, yes they can. I have taught them! So can PreK and in some cases three year olds can be taught to identify letters and simple sight words. If your expectations are high the kids will truly astound you. I had to learn this first hand by working with Prek, K and 1st that they can do so much more than what is even normally expected of them! Okay, rant over....

My next post will be about Common Core and after that--how to make your literacy centers RAWK.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


DQ: How is the profession of teaching shaped by teacher inquiry?  How does this impact teacher professional growth?

Inquiry is a very important process in education. When teachers ask questions and try to problem-solve this leads to a better monitoring of academic progress, more informed decision-making, and professional growth.  Inquiry also gives teachers better access to knowledge because they actively seek out resources. Inquiry inspires creative solutions to some of the problems educators face. Take for example the computer. The computer is a valuable resource and helps the educator and student in so many ways, but the screen size of the monitor inhibits the computer's multiple uses.  An inquiry on how a teacher could expand the monitor so that students could view and interact with the technology lead to ideas such as the Smartboard.
So how does inquiry impact professional growth? It makes us strive to be better at our jobs. When we problem solve, we take ownership of the situation. InTeacher Leadership there was a wonderful quote by Wilmor (2007)... in order to achieve a vision teacher leaders must be willing to search "their souls to truly identify what is of lasting value to them as educators and citizens."

Wilmor, E. L. (2007). Teacher leadership: improving teaching and learning from inside the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 

Quotes to think about!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seuss stuff and rhyming

Lots of Spring cleaning has been going on in my life lately! I make room for new stuff!!! Lately, I have been hanging out a lot at my local antique stores and thrift stores, and cruising for deals online. So you know how you start one small project and it just snowballs into a home re-decorating or renovations? Yeah, I am so there right now. Re-decorating our living room and now I want to tear a wall out and expand it into my office/scrapbook room.
And of course, you can find a million and one ideas on


I like , too for ideas.
These loverlies are mine now!
So this week was Seuss week and our school celebrated in a HUGE way.

Dr Seuss quotes
Free download from CK

I found a really cool download of Dr. Seuss quotes from Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine. Every Friday they also have a new free font to download! You can download the Seuss quotes HERE. And the Free Friday Fonts can be found HERE.

Since Seuss and rhyming go hand-in-hand, let's talk about ways to encourage your child to learn how to rhyme. The easiest way is to start with classic nursery rhymes like those from Mother Goose books. You can also play a game where you say a word and your child has to say one that rhymes. You can print clip art out and glue the pieces onto index cards and help you child sort and match the rhyming pictures.  You and your child can keep a file folder of rhyming pictures cut out from magazines. You can label these for your child, too. Ask a librarian or do a web search for children's books that have rhyming in them--like:
Shop for <b>children's books rhyming</b> at nearby stores
Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott

Jake Bakes Cakes: A Silly Rhyming Children's Picture Book by Gerald Hawksley

Product Image

Elmo's Rockin' Rhyme Time by Naomi Kleinberg

Now don't get me wrong I totally adore my job but around this time I think many teachers will agree with me we get Spring Break Fever, too. It is highly contagious and the only known cure is Spring Break...
My current motto!!!

Because once we come back we get into testing!!!!
Until Spring Break I can take solace in my pretty rockin' nails!
St. Patrick's Day is coming up! So that means I see green craft projects in my future and oh look at this!!!

Laurie at Tip Junkie has tons of great St. Patrick's Day decorating ideas! 26 to be exact!
You can find out about it here:

I still remember when Harrison and I made a leprechaun trap!!!
Harrison made a handprint rainbow! We gathered the leprechaun's stuff
like his hat, boots and cup he had left behind. He left our house in a rush!

We even gave him back his (plastic) gold coins.

We knew he liked green and gold! We decorated a shoe box to trap him!
The next morning our trap was empty and he took his stuff
he did leave us yummy chocolate gold coins to eat!!!
 I wonder if he will visit us this year???

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Speak for the Trees!!!

One of Kindergarten teachers, and two of our ELL teachers made this!!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beatboxin' with Kindergarten

Mr. Argot, our Kindergarten para, brought a special visitor to the Early Childhood Center for music time!
Awesome, right??
Reading Horizons

I am so proud that I was able to be a guest writer on the Reading Horizons blog. I wrote about the Nurturing Brilliance webinar. They offer free webinars and everyone I have attended has been a true learning experience for me. I really think webinars are the professional development of the future! My blog post is here:

One of the webinars that is my favorite is the one on The Power of Explicit Instruction. But they have so many more!!

Today one of the teachers from my school sent us an inspiring YouTube clip:

Can I just say I want this boy to be my life coach?!?!

This morning I saw the dentist and got three wisdom teeth pulled out. The experience was not bad but right about now the pain is! So I am calling it a day and going to bed early. Talk to you soon!

Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!

This is my wonderful hand model aka my mom holding a Chicka Boom activity we did in my Kindergarten class. There were pre-cut rectangles of green paper, a brown rectangle and the kids cut and glued it. Then they hand to count the letters they had added--the ones on the tree and the ones on the ground. This was a beginning of the year activity.

I want to share my online Chicka files with you! Maybe you can find something you like!
The link is here:

Featured Friday!!!!~Jen from Studio Petite

Here is a post I found in my DRAFT box and I am putting it here just in case it was never artist Jennifer Lambein!!!!

This week's featured artist is Jennifer Lambein from Studio Petite!!! Read more about her and see her wonderful creations below. :)

1. Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Jennifer Lambein. I'm a self taught commercial freelance artist living and working in New York City. I moved from Westlake Ohio to NYC about a month and a half ago. I've downsized from a rather spacious apt. to a small studio. That's what inspired the name "Studio Petite"!

2. What inspires you? What speaks to you??

It can honestly be a person, place, OR thing. I'm an eclectic girl all around, so it really varies. For example, maybe it's something someone is wearing or using in a wonderful old movie such as "All About Eve". It could simply be a bed of flowers I pass by, a chapter in a Jane Austin or Dickens novel, an awesomely pretty shirt I put on, a conversation that puts me in a whimsical mood, or even a piece by another artist. My guy Ethan inspires me all the time;)!! He's an architect who has a very strong work ethic. That can be very motivating as well as inspiring. Also, having someone who believes in you as he does me can make amazingly magical things take place from with in. Three things that never fail: An amazing cup of coffee, people watching, and being around those I love..

3. What advice would you give to a beginner?

Research, research, research. Patience, patience, patience. Really pay attention to what trends, etc. are hot and selling in your market. Look at other artists work for guidance and inspiration. I'm obviously not telling you to steal their look, but simply learn from what they're doing right. Regardless of what area of art you're pursuing, trends come and go. This is a tough yet rewarding field. Success doesn't happen over night. Cliche? Yes. Yet remember, something is categorized as cliche because rings true. That's where patience is a crucial asset. Remain persistent and prolific. However, produce quality over quantity. Also, I really can't stress this next bit of advice enough. Artists must not only have a creative mind, but should also have a business mind.. The problem is that most of us just simply don't! Don't have the "Field Of Dreams" mentality..."If I create it, they will come". Uh, most likely they won't. First and foremost love what you're doing, but have an idea of how to make money at it in the process. The harsh reality is that if you don't, then you'll most likely never be able to do it full time. So, if you just can't fit business in to that dreamy artsy brain of yours, find a business brainiac who has! Lastly, go to the bookstore and look for the Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market book. They come out with a new one every year.. There are different versions depending on what area of the art world you're involved in. It's a helpful tool, and it's how I found my first agent. Believe in what you're doing. Know it's a subjective field. There will always be lovers AND not so lovers of your work. Stay strong. Stay crafty. Stay you.

4. What is your favorite medium or tool to work with?

Right now I love to work with watercolors, acrylics, markers, colored pencils, pen and ink, and pretty paper(collage). My favorite watercolor paper is Jack Richeson 140 lb Acid Free Cold Press. I love Holbein Artists' Water Color and Gouache paints. I'm also a fan of Liquitex Acrylics. Penny Lane/My Mind's Eye has some beautifully whimsical scrapbook paper.

5. How do you find time to create?

I'm fortunate enough to be able to pretty much focus in full time on my craft. I'm also a night owl, so I'm very prolific late at night...or maybe it's all the coffee I drink that's keeping me up;)

6. Where do you spend most of your time creating?

I really spend all of my time in my little studio area in my apt. At times I do sketch while on the couch. I try and keep all of my materials confined to my work space. However, that never really lasts lol. I'm hoping with greater success to afford a larger area.

7. What got you started?

My mom and other artists. My mom Deborah Lambein has been a cross-stitch designer for Leisure Arts for years. I was fortunate enough to grow up with someone who not only had supplies and an art room, but was very supportive of the inconsistent life of pursuing an art career. I originally did a couple of cross-stitch leaflets myself. While I enjoyed it, I still wanted to pursue other artistic paths. Artists such as Mary Engelbreit, Holly Hobbie, Deb Hron, Sue Dreamer, and Eric Disney(Hallmark designer) all began to inspire me. I loved the whimsical aspect of their designs. I guess I've never really lost the child with in. I also loved that they had the opportunity to place their work on products, greeting cards, calendars, and in books for the world to enjoy! Such a universe of open ended inspirational opportunities!

8. How would you describe your style?

As I said earlier...eclectic. I always tell people it's difficult to explain what my work looks like. They simply need to see it. It mixes freshly modern with retro whimsy. I like creating things that bring cheer, warmth, comfort, fun, and the feeling of home. I want to give my customers a reason to smile sweetly, connect deeply, and laugh loudly;)!

9. What do you enjoy most about creating?

I enjoy the ability to express myself. Another fun way of expressing myself?'s so great lol! I also adore the idea that this will hopefully bring joy to another;) I love that when I'm gone, my creations will live on as a part of who I was. Plus, it's just so fun!

10. List your site or sites we can see your gallery on:

Linda McDonald:

The American Craft Guide Community:

My personal website is currently under construction, so check back!
Thank you Jen!!!!