Monday, December 31, 2012

My Head and My School

I think I may get a big head.

My cousin (or specifically my cousin's wife) thinks I'm famous. Should I tell her I'm not, or let us both pretend a bit more?

This cousin is an awesome person, mom, (I'm guessing wife), and teacher. She was one of my earliest followers. I think often as I'm writing, "I wonder if Cathy will read this..."

I've made a lot of friends by doing this blog-thing, but Cathy I know in real life. I would love to know my blog friends in real life. That makes the writing more personal, like writing to my cousin.

I do not get to see Cathy very often, because we live 800 miles apart. But I keep up with her on Facebook and she with me on my blog.

Two days ago I was finishing up a Christmas trip to visit my parents and got to see many of my cousins, including Cathy.

She made me smile when she came into the house and said (across the room), "There she is, the famous person." I looked around to see who may be in the room that I hadn't noticed before. Oh dear, she was looking at me!

Well, we (maybe it was just me) had a blast talking all afternoon. About my blog, my school, her school, and life. I smiled so much being with her. She would be famous if she had a blog.

I learned that she has been talking about me, and my school with other cousins, and teachers at her school. See why I may get a big head? All I'm doing is writing about my class and school, and she thinks it's awesome.

Next time I'm there, I really hope she takes me to her classroom and gives me a tour.

And...while I was away, the big nearby newspaper wrote a story about my school! It was on the front page! Super cool. You can read the online version here.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Full and Grateful Heart

I have been spending some time wondering how I would respond. What would I do? Would I be brave? I hear other teachers express the same thoughts. We all just pray that we are that brave, but never have to find out.


Kids are done with school until January 3, 2013. Woohoo! I received some very special gifts yesterday and today. Some were actually gifts (like hot chocolate and mugs to drink it from, and a piggy bank that says something about being a great teacher) and some were words.

It is important to me that when the announcements come on we are all quiet. This has been the expectation since the first day. Today at a different time our secretary made an announcement, they got quiet, and we were all able to hear. I smiled and told them how proud I am to be their teacher, because they know it is important to me and they get quiet. One special friend (who has a lot of trouble remembering to be quiet when I'm talking) said, "we get quiet because we like you." He made me feel like the Queen of Walton. 

Maybe I need to make a sash. Not because I am powerful and all, but because they make me feel like a million bucks.

Today was "wear your Christmas socks" day. I gave each child a new pair of Christmas socks yesterday. Out of the 21 at school today 18 wore the socks I gave them, and pulled up their pant leg to show me. What smiles traveled between us. I wanted to get a picture of the socks, but I was too busy smiling to get the camera out.

They thought I was either crazy or the best teacher in the world when I let them take off their shoes for the morning. (How else can we see the cool socks?) I watched them slide down the hall and never told them to be careful or stop or come back and walk this time.

I received an unexpected cupcake this morning. From a former homeroom student. I was a bit surprised. This is not someone I have spent much time with. When I thanked his mom on Facebook she said that he was adamant that I get a cupcake. Wow. I continue to be amazed about the impact I have on kids. Even when the time involved is sooooo small. 

They are 6 and 7 years old. They are precious. My head is glad for these 2 weeks to relax. My heart will miss those kiddos a bit and be eager to hear their stories on January 3.

There are lots of days when I do not feel like the best teacher. Or even a good one. But today...with the help of my friends at school and my blog friends...I think there is something magical happening in my classroom. And I am so grateful to be a part of it.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

I've Been RACKed

For a while I have been wanting a blog button. They are so cute and all my favorite bloggers have one, so I wanted to be cool like all of them and have one, too.

Last week I contacted Barbara from

and asked if she could maybe make me a button and maybe a signature (another cool item all the cool bloggers have). She said sure. I also toyed with the idea of a full blog make-over. She said she would do whatever I wanted, just let her know by Friday.

Well, Friday came and I emailed her, I can only request the button and signature.

No problem came from Barbara. Late Friday night she emailed me and said, check out this...

When I clicked on the link, I saw that she had designed a blog for me and was giving it to me as a RACK (Random Act of Christmas Kindness). Incredible.

We emailed a bit about design, color and then, voila. 

I love it so much. She was able to use my favorite picture of Lucy Belle, and even the troublesome donkey, who I am beginning to like as well.

Thanks so much Barbara!

Now I have so many of the blog extras that I could just not figure out (even with all the tutorials out there), like: a button, signature, awesome header and background, and post divider.

If you are reading this in a reader, you should probably head on over to the blog and see the awesomeness for yourself. I think Barbara did a fantastic job. 

Next step: plan a RACK of my own. I did the one from my December Currently, but I want to pass this on some more.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 in '12

Linky parties are so much fun. We answer questions, share about our school or lives and become better friends.

Kristin (The Teeny Tiny Teacher) and Hadar (Miss Kindergarten) are hosting their second annual year in review party. Last year was 11 in '11, this year is 12 in '12.

All I have to do is think back at my favorites in 2012 and add a few pictures. What a fun way to remember the year, huh?

12. Favorite movie I watched:
I haven't seen it yet, but as soon as I see this movie, I am certain that it will be my favorite. I hope that I do not have to wait until 2013 to see it.

11. Favorite TV series:
Downton Abbey was mentioned at a cousins gathering this past July. I found it on Netflix and after 1 episode I was hooked. I cannot wait to watch season 3.

10. Favorite restaurant:
Where do I go when I get to choose? Most likely it is Chipotle. I love the Steak Salad with black beans. Yum.

9. Favorite new thing I tried:
Hands down...blogging.

8. Favorite gift I got:
I'm having trouble remembering back, so I will say: the flowers and candy bars that I got on my birthday.

7. Favorite thing I pinned:
I haven't got this necklace yet... perhaps soon?

6. Favorite blog post:
It is a tie. Farm Flaw and The Spider as Big as a Mouse.

5. Best accomplishment:
Creating the school family that lives in my classroom 5 days a week for 7 hours a day. They love each other (I know because of how they fight sometimes) and care for each other (I know because of how they show concern for each other).

4. Favorite picture:
My husband makes me laugh so much, but especially when we are on vacation. It was a long, hot day at the zoo...

3. Favorite memory:
Time with my whole family this past summer. That hasn't happened in waaay too many years.

2. Goal for 2013:
Exercising regularly would be good, but I said that last May when I had the summer ahead of me and that still did not get me to do it. I think I want it to be regular devotions and Bible reading.

1. One Little Word:
Calm. Whether it shows on the outside or not, I do not feel calm on the inside. Daily practice of being calm is helping my class (and certainly has some effect on me), but I want to feel calm on the inside, all of the time. So this year, slow down, breathe more deeply, and feel calm on the inside.

What is your 12 in '12? Hop on over to read other's or make your own, I would love to read yours.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday Favorites (or Saturday)

Seems to be a time of hurrying to do all the fun things that are available to us right now. That is how I felt this week. Here are my five favorites of the week.

1. Our door became a wonderland of candy canes. This was an awesome activity and the kids LOVED it! You can get your copy right here.

2. Cloverbuds. This month the kids made granola, learned even more about pigs, scattered winter wheat by our playground, and learned many facts about wheat (I learned so much!)

(No picture of wheat planting, I couldn't get out in time to get the picture.)

3. We completed our December quilt. I made an example the night before and wondered how to make it simpler. I did my best, but this one was REALLY difficult. Turning the triangles to fit was challenging for the students and the grown ups helping! Haha. But the end result is so nice.

4. A hayride sponsored by our principal for completing the school-wide reading program for the month of November.

We had 42 children and 2 adults on the wagon. We were crowded to the edge (I was praying the whole time that none of the children or I would fall off during the ride), but the students had so much fun and sang Christmas carols.

5. WSU women's basketball game. We took the whole school. The arena was filled with mostly children and it was loud. We carried our lunches in, ate them, watched the game, went to the restroom at half-time, had Goldfish for a snack during the second half, and left when the game had ended. So happy that the home team came away with a win. I think it got a little long for my firsties, but they really enjoyed it.

 These 2 got to be a part of the fan tunnel when the players came out on court. COOL!

I felt this way also, but did not sleep on the way home.

Only 7 more teaching days. How in the world can I do all the fun things yet? And still be ready to write report cards? My teaching neighbor will remind me to have fun...and that I am not allowed to say "but what about the curriculum" anymore!

Have a great weekend, some of us will be doing a snow dance (for the moisture and perhaps a snow day).
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stand Up to Learn

A while ago my principal sent around an email asking if any teachers wanted some "standing" desks built for their class.

I responded, yes, please. I can think of several kiddos that like to stand. Seems weird to me that I can stand and move around at will, but require the students to stay in one spot, sitting. So I have tried to be accommodating and allow those kids to stand or move as needed. It takes me out of my comfort zone, but that is a good thing.

She had the idea to cut PVC pipe and raise our current desks. She had some cut, but never installed them in my class.

Last week my husband posted a link to an article in our paper about standing desks. It really was cool. Read about it here. Made me think, really have to get on that for my class.

Yesterday, amidst the cranky that I was feeling I wanted to do something cool, special, get me out of my funk. So I trotted off to the office, grabbed four pieces of pipe and took them back to my class. Yes, I left the students alone, but the office is right next door, nothing could happen.

Found a sweet girl who is not usually standing, but such a rule follower that I said, help me, put these pipes on the legs and here is your new desk.

Here she is, finishing her math from the morning. She was so excited.

Today she still loved the desk.

Now all the students were around me, yelling (or at least talking loudly) that they each wanted a cool desk, too. What was I to do? I grabbed four kids, trotted back to the office to get four more pipes. Perfect, now who to choose?

This time I did choose a stander. Here he is working on the birthday page for our friend who celebrated yesterday.

He also loved it today.

We tried to do more desks, but there were no more pipes. We will have to wait until someone cuts some more.

This will definitely cut down on how much I will rearrange, but it is for a great cause.

The one problem that I see is that they still have the short chairs, so when they want to sit down it is awkward.

So, my wishlist: more pipes cut to the perfect size, and high stools to sit on when the stander wants to.
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Sunday, December 2, 2012


Time to link up with Farley and talk about now. I've been linking up for several months and think it is quite fun. I love answering the questions. I love commenting and getting comments. I love discovering new blogs. If I remember right, that is how I met the amazing Julie @ First Grade Critter Cafe' and now I'm all energized about Critter Cafe' and The Phonics Dance. I wonder who I will meet this month...

Anyway, on to the linky.

Hop on over to Farley's blog where you can read 97 more currently's (there will be more, it is early in the month). If you link up, remember the rule of 3. Comment on the two blogs ahead of yours and the one behind. Give it a try, it is fun!
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