Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, is a favorite story to read at the beginning of the school year.  It may seem like a young story to read to first graders, but they take it to heart and respond so tenderly.

 I usually read it the first day, then spend the next couple days with follow up activities. 

I was so delighted when one of my first grade boy's mother shared with me something that happened that night.  As she tucked her little guy into bed and they had their 'goodnight', he took her hand and kissed the middle of her palm and then folded her hand.  She asked him what that was for. He said, "So you could take my love with you."    

Treasured moment that will last a lifetime...even for me.   

Another first grader came to school the next day and was in tears clinging to her mother. After a few moments I thought of this story, knowing they had read it in their class, too.  We talked about the story. I prompted her a little, but she then gave her mama a kiss on the hand, and mama gave her one back.  It was so sweet.

After vocabulary and reading a couple passages from the story with a partner, we decided on a terrific sentence to go on the first page of our reading journal (I love journals).  This was guided, but they sure WOWed me with their penmanship!

The kids trace each other's hand,, and then glue a heart in the middle. 

This is the mask I have used in the past, but it so goes against my 'anti-everything looks the same' mind. So, I went searching, and just love this one I found on Pinterest.

I love the paper plate idea, but didn't quite have it all together to paint them, so we did cut out circles from gray card stock.   I showed them how to make the black mask, but did not give them a pattern, so they would all look different...and that makes me smile!


Yes, they look different!! 
And I'm okay with that. I love how they each decided to do their mask so uniquely. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Back to School!

It's that time... BACK TO SCHOOL , which means organizing, organizing, organizing!!  The room, materials, record keeping, activities, technology, and so much more!
To give a boost to my students for organizing resources, I provide this quick reference folder.  We use it every day. I love it when they get it out on their own to find the words needed. Sweet!    And it's free!

Look what teachers say....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

I love Charlie Brown.

My co-worker introduced me to this idea to do a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving last year.

It was so fun, it is now a new tradition during this holiday time.

We follow the menu:

toast (buttered)
jelly beans

We watch the youtube video, then enjoy our 'feast'.

I love the giggles of the kids. 

"This is Thanksgiving food?"  "Yummy!"  
"Can I have seconds?"

The cookies made by one of my fabulous moms, were a fun addition!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Christopher Columbus - History Lessons

We started our history lessons about Christopher Columbus charting what we know....wasn't much (which is always exciting for the teacher, as you know there will be new learning happening!)

So we read books, learned poems, songs, chants, jingles, and had discussions.

While we're at it, we learned the Oceans and Continents songs
 from Dr. Jean cds (that I've used for years!). 

It's fun when you put up a poem and ask the kids, "What could we do to make our poem look a little more interesting?"  They took it from there! 

We used a map and our very simple Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria ships to learn more about the journey route.   Hurricane, Joaquin, was approaching the Bahamas just at this time, too, 
so we had a double lesson on that one!

Part of our enthusiastic crew.

Some of our activities.

Our study ended with focused note-taking, a pre-writing, and then final writing. 
The kids did a fabulous job!

Monday, September 28, 2015

GoNoodle in Phoenix!

GoNoodle fun in Phoenix!
My friend, Janae, who introduced me to GoNoodle this summer. 
Little did I realize the fun that was ahead!

AZ Bloggers' group (They know how to have fun!)

Here they go!  POP SEE KO!

That song has a way of 
 in one's head!!! 

 Pop See Ko, Pop, pop, see ko....see what I mean? 

It was so fun to meet Cameron and Taylor from GoNoodle, and Jennifer from AZ 
who helped a lot with this event. 
I am already looking forward to next time!

Now, back to ......

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Apples to Applesauce

It can't be September 
without an applesauce making day.   

We ended our fun week of learning about Johnny Appleseed, and his story -- the REAL man, John Chapman  by tasting different apples, and then making applesauce.

Granny Smith, Red Delicious and Galas were in our recipe. 

The kids had a great time working the apple-peeler-slicer-corer.   We had apples ready in no time.

We added sugar, lemon juice, and a little cinnamon.

Mixed it up and in the crock pot it went for the day.  
Ahhhhh, the smell of cinnamon all-day-long.

Whip it up to leave it just a little chunky. 

I think it's ready!
More please? 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I've been finding it hard to write this post -- 9/11.

I have opened this page many times and stared at the screen over and over.

I guess today is the day. 

After 14 years, 9/11 is still so close in my heart, thoughts, and memories.
I was 3000 miles away that day, and yet, there is pain that hurts deeply.
 I know I share this pain with so many.

Maybe part of the closeness I feel is that I experienced my first (and only) trip to NYC just 3 years earlier.   We stayed at the Marriott, and I remember walking through one of the towers. 
It all seems so surreal, still.

This is the first year I really had any discussion with my First Graders about 9/11.  My thoughts over the years have been, 'How would they understand or be able to comprehend this? It's just better to protect from the horror of it all."

This year was different, though. 
We had a flag raising ceremony on 9/11, and guest speakers -- a marine, airman, and police officer all spoke to the students and staff about what it means to them to be a patriot. 
It was moving and uplifting, and yet, a touch of somberness could be felt among the crowd of adults.

My kids came back to the room with questions.
Some had seen pictures at home, and there had been some discussion.

So we talked. 
I showed them a short, 5 minute video.
That was enough.
My heart ached for them.  Who could understand?

There were tears, and I found myself holding one of my little girls close.
Her heart was broken. 

Then we talked more.
I shared with them how people come together in times like this.
I told them how people help others they don't even know, and yes, there were those
who sacrificed their lives to save others.

Someone said, "Like Sophia and Erick."
"Yes", I said, "Like Sophia and Erick."

The last part of our talk was soothing and we were able to find a way to be uplifted.

During this same week, I started my unit on the Constitution with my First Graders.
As a bonus project, they could make a patriotic poster and bring it to school to share.

This picture was the response. I was overwhelmed with their participation and delighted as they brought in their projects to share.  Our wall is filled!

One poster caught my attention and curiosity.  As my little guy explained what it was, I had to stop and ask for clarification.  "The new World Trade Center One", he said. "They built it to take the place of the two that were destroyed." 
My heart sank.
I live 3000 miles away, and had not fully understood the project that was taking place in NYC.
I knew there was a memorial -- or many memorials. I had seen pictures of the ones that are at ground level where the towers stood, but obviously missed the constructing of a new tower.
There it stood before me in his poster.
I felt chills and tears rolled down my cheeks.
His tender heart was evident, too.

I told him I loved the eagle soaring in front of it.
Such strength it gave his picture. 

That evening, I did some searching on World Trade Center 1.  
I was in awe.
It is a magnificent site.

I have no doubt that any of us will ever forget this day, or the days and years that follow.

I pray, we never experience anything like it again.