Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Word 2013

Are you choosing "one word" for 2013?

"Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway. Choose just one word.  One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long."
Over the past week, I've given a lot of thought to my word.  Two verbs arm wrestled for the top spot....and this one won:
Thank you, Melanie! Go to OnlyOneBreath to find out more!
Yes, I talk a lot, but that's not why I chose listen as my word.  It's not meant to be an opposite, a turning around, of a behavior.  Rather, it's a discipline that I want to acquire, in a new way.  I think most of my friends and family members would say that I'm a good listener.  And my students know that I will listen to any song, any silly story, any sharing of the heart.  

My problem?  I want to move in and fill the uncomfortable spaces of a conversation with words.  Words of comfort, guidance, instruction, confession, defense, inquiry.  Good therapists (isn't that what we are at times?) know that the most real stuff is shared when they stay quiet for
When we listen.
And in those moments of sharing,
we learn more about each other.

What's your word?

I'm also linking up here!  Join the party!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas!

This picture says it all....
Those adorable little guys?
They need a holiday break!
And the sweet little girls need a break 
from the adorable little guys!
(P.S.  I'm a girl!)
The stockings were hung....
We made these cute stockings 
and wrote about our wishes for their content.
I whipped up the fireplace with construction paper and tagboard.

The nativity...kindergarten style!
Don't you love the mix of Santa's helpers and the wise men?

Jesus is born!
As usual, abilities are varied among my sweet friends!
This simple craft took longer than anticipated;
I've been encouraging the children to trace templates, 
rather than doing the tracing or cutting the pieces myself.  
Some of them need the fine-motor practice.  :-)

The larger trees were done first, 
to give the children an opportunity 
to assemble the triangles by size and decorate with abandon.
Later in the day, we worked on the writing activity.
Almost everyone caught on that the tree needed to look 
nearly identical in the second and third pictures!

Art Lesson~Paper Poinsettia
I printed the template on colored copier paper.
The children cut the pieces and then layered them, 
gluing one piece at a time.  
I ran around the room with a hole punch to create pollen.
Good times!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Song Before The Silence

"O Come O Come Emmanuel"

O come o come emmanuel

And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appears

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come thou day-spring come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad divisions cease
And be thyself our king of peace

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh israel

Friday, December 14, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter, A Birthday, & ADHD!

I know that, technically, it is still fall.
But once December arrives, I am a winter girl!

My baby boy was born on his due date, on a cold December day.
This month, I've had many reasons to reminisce about his childhood.  He arrived with an insistent cry, in constant motion, with an aversion to calming mechanisms (pacifier, swing, car rides, etc., etc., etc).  With three other children under the age of five, I thought I would never again be sane.  
I did not sleep through the night until five years had passed!

He set the toaster on fire at 18-months of age.
He started the car before he turned two.
He climbed the backstop wall at little league baseball games
by the time he was three.
At age four, his preschool teacher suggested 
a visit to the doctor for an adhd diagnosis.
Well, halleluia....
I'd wondered if he had sensory integration disorder, 
so an adhd label was easier for me to understand.
~As a teacher
I already knew something about these precious children.~ 

We chose to meet a pediatric neurologist and a family behavioral therapist.  The good doctors both agreed that my sweet son 
was a poster child for adhd.  
They also thought he was a gifted artist with an amazing vocabulary who thought outside the box.
I still give thanks to God that we were led to doctors 
who saw the positive in the personality.

This school year, I knew after an hour upon meeting her that J. was very much like my boy.  Although not as physically rambunctious, she spouts conversations that are remembered verbatim.  
Her contribution for the letter A was "absolutely". 
Her illustration for the pilgrims' hard winter was 
a completely untouched white page....she said,
"The snow is so deep, the houses and windows and people
are all covered up.  You can't see anything but snow!"
I love this child.
I love this child. 

I want to take the opportunity to thank my own son, for making me a better mommy and a better teacher.  Happy Birthday, my J...
we would be computer illiterate without you!
With winter right around the corner, 
would you like a new game for your kiddos?
I will send a copy to the first person who replies!
This packet contains "I have...Who has...?" games containing the Dolch pre-primer, primer, and first grade word lists.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Label The Nativity, a Freebie, and GRACE!

My little friends are BoUnCiNg OfF tHe WaLLs!
Glory....we have fourteen more days of this??!

At staff devotions today, my friend read a great quote:
"A heart touched by grace brings joy to the face."
I realized that I need to give grace--unmerited favor--
to my students, especially at this time of the year.  
What does that look like?  Do I abandon my management systems?
Of course not!  I hold everyone accountable for their choices.
But, I look a little bit deeper into what they are experiencing.
Even in the best circumstances, my five- and six-year-old pals are not getting enough sleep, hopping from one holiday festivity to another, and eating waaaaay too much sugar.
(Hhhmmm....their teacher is in the same boat!)

I hereby give you all permission to slow down, hit the snooze button, take a walk, and splurge on the yummy salad.
Light the fire, turn on the music, and breathe.

I like to use labeling pages for handwriting practice, hand-eye coordination.  Some of my favorites have been created by 
Ms. White at First Grade Blue Skies :-).  Lori at Teaching With Love And Laughter is the author of my kinders' favorite gingerbread writing activities!

Since we will be studying the Christmas story during the last two weeks of December, I made a set of character label pages.
If you would like to have a copy of the page above,
hop over to my store and download the preview file
There are five pages of character labeling, for just $1.