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!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I am a few hours late so happy belated v-day! Today was such a pretty day outside. When I came home I found some sweetness waiting for me...

A card, a Dr. Pepper (yes!) and a little monster from my son and husband.

Plus, some very beautiful pink roses.

It really was a surprise because my husband had bought me a netbook about a week ago and told me to consider it an early Valentine's gift. 

My son Harrison is 8 years old and in second grade. He is really getting into pranks. He loves to watch this YouTube family prank each other:

Earlier today he tried to prank my husband by writing this and hiding!

What a silly boy I have!

So for my grad class I was setting up our wiki web site (you can see it HERE), and doing a search for pictures of kids taking a test.
Google images of course has the most *random* stuff come up instead. Like this...
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What??!? No...Just no!
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That poor twinkie!!!
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Shaking my head so hard right now!
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This reminds me of my middle school doodles.
Saving the best for last!!

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The moral? Be careful what you Google for, you may end up with more than you wished for! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Buddy Reading Works

We use a strategy known as A/B Reading. During guided reading, I had them read with an assigned partner. They sit EEKK! style--elbow to elbow, and knee to knee. Both children have the same text. One child reads while the other follows along. The reader asks the follower a question related to the story to make sure the follower was listening. I have an anchor chart with prompts on it for A/B Reading like:

Who are the main characters?

What is the problem?
What is the setting?
What do you predict will happen?

Would you read this book again? Why or why not?

What was the solution to the problem?
What can you infer from the title?
What was your favorite/least favorite part?

Then the students switch roles and partner B reads while partner A listens and answers questions. Sometimes they choose a prompt from the chart and sometimes they make up their own questions. They really enjoy trying to trick the listener to make sure he/she was following along.

I do use the A/B strategy about twice a week. The technique can be used with first through fifth graders. They really enjoy it when they are able to spread out around the room to read with their partner. I like to use paired reading because some struggling readers are not confident to read independently or in front of a whole or small group. This also gives them the opportunity to learn from their reading partner and to pick up good skills. I like the fact that the two students are learning together to clarify and decode words.

So you've had a bad day

Because you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around...

Remember that overplayed song?!?!? This was my day. Just one of those Charlie Brown, Lucy keeps moving the football kinda days. We all have them. Then on the drive home something happened. I was thinking about my bad day when I drove by a fatality accident. Seeing the person slumped over the wheel, wiped my bad day away and made me think about how important my family is. Sadly, a few minutes after witnessing the aftermath the radio DJ announced it was a fatality. So I am sharing this with you to remind you to take time for yourself, take time for your family, when someone gives you hate give them love three-fold back, when you have had a bad day realize someone else has had a worse day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reaching the limit

I think successful teachers use non-verbal management without even realizing it. This would include "wait time," the teacher stare, moving around the room, hand on the shoulder, a quiet sign, ringing a bell, or a type of movement. I use it daily in my teaching. I even made signs that have clip art with the word of the behavior I want and hold them up. 

My "I've reached the limit" signal would be turning off the classroom lights. All my students know this means a class time out with voices off, heads down. Then we talk about the expected behaviors. Non-verbal signals can also be positive like a pat on the back, nod of the head, thumbs up.

I think it would interesting to film yourself teach and see if there are any unintentional non-verbal signals you make like hands on the hips, arms crossed or snapping fingers. I know I do snap my fingers sometimes when I am in the middle of reading aloud. I think I use wait time the most. How about you?

Teaching Beginning, Middle and End with a Snowman!!

I want to share a lesson I modeled today in second grade.
I shared about this with my grad class, but this post has pics!

It was about beginning, middle and end using "The Mitten". I started by stating the objectives "According to Common Core today I will learn..." I started out with anticipation by getting out three different sized boxes I covered with white butcher paper. I taped them together, not speaking. Then I added details, a nose, a scarf, etc. I said, "raise you hand if you have ever built a snowman before." All hands went up. "Building a snowman is like building a good story." I pointed to the three snowman sections--head (beginning) midsection (middle) and bottom (end). I wrote those on there and said the details added to the snowman were like details in a story.

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I saw the chart above on Pinterest and created my version.

Then I showed several Jan Brett books and stated, 

"Give me a thumbs up if you've read this one..." at the very end I showed The Mitten and said this is the book we are studying today. "It takes place in the Ukraine." I showed them on the map how if I got in an airplane how I would fly from Oklahoma to the Ukraine and I taught them to say hi in Ukrainian (pri-vit).I incorporated technology by showing the book on the Smart Board and using the read aloud video from YouTube. 
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Then we reviewed the sequence of the animals. I handed out story character cards. I had ordinal numbers on my chart paper and they had to hold up the card if they thought it was their animal's turn in the sequence, if the class agreed they made that number with their fingers raised.There was an interesting dilemma that came up with the charting--we had 11 characters but one student had a mitten card. This was how we were able to quickly discuss living and non-living things and characters vs. objects.

We also exercised by touching our heads for beginning, hands on hips for middle and squatting for end.

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I had three giant circles on butcher paper and we did an interactive writing on B,M, and E. 

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Then the kids made their own circle B,M,E snowmen! It turned out so cool!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How can I make this intimidating aspect of language and grammar into something exciting? I think teachers still struggle with that. My opinion is that if you are teaching and the students are not only actively engaged, but also discussing, teaching each other, and moving around the room, there will be learning taking place.

Teaching students about base words, morphemes, graphemes, prefixes and suffixes cannot be done correctly by just handing them a worksheet. Give students tiny mirrors from the craft store or the dollar store. Have them hold them while saying words slowly or making the sounds. Do "duck lips" where they purse their lips shut while saying the word and feeling the syllables or have them touch their throats to measure the syllables. Give them index cards cut up and have them write the word out the way they hear the divisions ex. mis-con-duct on 3 cards. Give them counters and have them move one up each time they hear a division. These are the skills that will help them decode words, not a worksheet or a textbook. I feel strongly about getting students doing and not just listening to the "sage on the stage." I think I feel so passionate about it because I struggled with reading as a child and had teachers give up on me. It just took one to believe me and then reading and writing came easily.