Thursday, February 20, 2014

49 degrees

This morning I nearly killed myself walking down my icy driveway for Fergus's morning stroll. The tall snow mountains that surround my driveway are melting down to hill size mounds, which leaves my driveway like a skating rink, and I am not ready to become a figure skater at 6 A.M. (Or anytime for that matter)
Even though this morning was frigid, I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when I left work and felt I didn't have to bundle up! The temperature in my car read 49 degrees...MAGIC! I quickly picked up the kids, and headed home fully expecting to see puddles in my driveway. Unfortunately the driveway was not melted, but at least we were able to play outside without our snow gear! I whipped out my trusty ice pick (metal rake) and began crushing the stubborn ice. Patrick grabbed a small red shovel to help, and gave Shannon a mini yellow beach shovel. We spent almost an hour outside having fun chopping the ice and scooping it away. And, it wasn't even dark yet...I think I might smell Spring!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Fun While We Can

August. When I make my mega to do list at the beginning of August I am always overwhelmed. School things begin to creep on to my list, and the carefree summer day countdown begins. So, last Monday, instead of being responsible and crossing things off our list we decided to spend the entire day having fun. (Oh, and did I mention we had a showing from 3:30-4:30, so I wasn't going to let the kids touch the house after breakfast anyway?)
We climbed in the car by 8:45 and headed to the doctor's office to have my arm checked for TB. The kids both held my hand and told me to be brave, just like I do when they go to the doctors. (Routine test for my new job!!!! I will be working at a Middle School this year!!!)
Then, we drove over the Walt Whitman Bridge towards the Philadelphia Zoo. We parked at the zoo, did sunscreen and set out for a day of fun with our friend Emily and her 39 week pregnant Momma. We checked out the monkeys, then it was snack time. After snack we saw the crocodiles, alligators, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, and penguins. My friend Kelly and I were amazed at our "daycare" kids. They held hands, took turns and actually stayed at each exhibit to watch the animals. Then we ate lunch with the geese. Patrick kept scaring them away, but alas they would come back. As we were eating lunch the kids spotted the train. Kelly and I exchanged a similar look - NO! So, we sat the kids on the wall by the train and told them to wave to the people. The kids sat for over 4 train rides. They waved to the people, they threw leaves at the train, and laughed so hard with each other. Kelly & I were proud of our savings from the train, and thrilled to catch up while the kids provided entertainment for the train ride. Then, it was time for Kelly and Emily to leave. We continued to see the Big Cats, which we never do, so the kids were super excited to spy leopards, lions, tigers, and pumas in the exhibit. Oh, and they loved the 2 min movie. Patrick even exclaimed that the Lion was almost as fast as him! We ended our visit in Kid Zoo U. We recycled, checked out the coral reef, went through the ant tunnel, looked at the ant farm, and played in the tiny tot barnyard. But, our favorite part was meeting Crystal, the oldest goat at the Philadelphia Zoo. I was surprised both kids wanted to brush her. Patrick never wants to get near animals, yet he felt comfortable with this older, wider, animal.We grabbed our usual snack of a Frozen Lemonade and headed out of the zoo. I figured an entire morning and afternoon would at least get me a quiet car ride home, but Patrick never fell asleep!

Check out Shannon's lady bug costume!
Around 5 o'clock we met up with Finn and my very best friend and cousin, Tricia at the Garden State Discovery Museum. The kids were super excited to show Finn all of their favorite exhibits in the "Lady bug" museum. (as Shannon calls it) We began in the Dinosaur room. All of the kids loved climbing the huge T-rex and finding their way through all the different holes in him. Then they dug in the huge dinosaur fossil dig. They also explored the magnetic dinosaur map and learned where the dinosaurs lived in the United States. We worked our way slowly through the museum. We pretended to be news casters, shopped at Whole Foods, played with the huge Lite Brite board, and visited the Barnyard. Our last stop was to the "beach" room. We have never spent a significant amount of time in this room, but it is well worth spending time playing in this room. Patrick loved the boat, especially fishing for fish from the boat. Finn discovered we could climb under the boat, and Shannon played with a beach ball and a steam of air. Then the kids discovered the bicycle ice cream truck, which was another huge hit!
Needless to say, the kids were exhausted when we left Garden State Discovery Museum and slept well!



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Experiential Education, Energizers, and Team Building

Last week I took a course on Experiential Education and Facilitation. It was a fantastic week where I learned many new games and activities to do in the classroom with my students. I created a list of activities that I wanted to share on my blog. I will be adding to this list throughout the year. Please let me know if you have anything to add!


Activity
Purpose
KeyPunch – using ABCs
Teambuild; have students work as a group to accomplish a common goal
Moonbounce
Hit ball around circle; discuss how to get better; parts of speech, vocab words, part of a story, prefixes/suffixes
Balloon Train
Communication, lead from behind, interdependence, “my success depends on your success”
Name Animal most like you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name Weather condition most like
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name Instrument most like you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name and Action Game
Write it in journal/partner/circle
Name and Adjective to describe you
Write it in journal/partner/circle
When the Wind Blows/I Like People Who
Energizer, Commonalities,
Identify Your Peanut(rock,
Write first, partner work, descriptive writing, using adjectives
I Spy Writing
Choose object in classroom, write about share writing, practice fluency and communication skills
The Human Knot
“Everyone’s actions affect your own
Build a Tower
Planning, group work, communication (limit talking, blindfold someone)
Bridge
Teams build a matching bridge ½ the team builds left side, ½ on the right but the left and right can’t see eachother’s product until the end. They will have planned times to meet to discuss bridge.
Dragon Tail
Groups of 3 are formed. Goal is to protect your dragon tail.
Hidden Path
Great game to work on focus. Instead of numbers I might use vocabulary words, characters from stories, or letters
Goonie Likes/Green Glass Door
Double letters – start auditory move to visual
Impulse
Hold hands move a squeeze around a circle
Impulse – cross hands, cross feet
Move a squeeze or foot tap around a circle
Impulse Race
2 teams; send impulse at same time and see which team moves it faster by grabbing something at the end
Name Explosion
Use a name to make a list of things beginning with letter (animals, people, cities, states)
Speed Rabbit
Stand in circle, make animals (Rabbit, Elephant, Moose)
Zip Zap Zoom
Put word with motion practice focus
Magic Carpet
Make a plan, work your plan, perseverance
Everyone inside hula hoop circle
Make a plan, work your plan, think outside the box
Magic Squares
Count squares – perspective
Make a line to retirement
Working together towards a common goal, make a plan, work your plan
“Trashketball”
Review game for test, great activity may color code questions for difficult then assign point values
Adjective, Noun, Verb Point Value
Great way to show the importance of adjectives in our writing, create anchor charts of adjectives, and verbs
Masking Tape Timeline
Could create a story map as well – Beginning, Rising Action, Climax, Resolution
Space Shuttle Game
Work as a team to make it to the top of the space shuttle w/ questions
Everyone write an idea/term, put in middle of room, then group sort

Sparkle/Finito
Spelling words or homophones
Going on a camping trip
Focus, name association

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Questions I wish I could ask my stroller

I never thought I would rely on my stroller as much as I do. It fits snugly in the trunk of my Camry, and unfolds to to bring us to so many places both old and new! As I was strolling along I made this list of questions I would ask my stroller if given the chance.

How many miles have we walked?
Where have you been?
What is your favorite place to stroll?
Do you like when the kids talk or would you rather it be silent?
Do you prefer morning or night rides?
Do you like cold weather?
When we go to the zoo do you mind how often the kids jump in and out of you?

What questions would you ask your stroller?


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Repositionable Glue


A few months ago I sat next to a colleague at an Inservice. As we were sitting listening to the speaker I noticed a book on her lap. I gave her a nudge, pointed to the book, and practically stole it off her lap. She then whispered she saw the authors at a recent Teacher's College Reunion Day. I flipped through the book, and at the next break she clued me in on a very well kept secret...Repositionable Glue. Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever used it? Where do you even buy that stuff? Well, let me fill you in - repositionable glue can be bought at any Office Supply Store. Apply this glue to paper, wait 1 min, and you instantly have post-it note type stickiness! In the world of teachers this is earth shattering!

I have been using this glue on posters around my room.

I also used it to word sort with the kids this week. I just applied to their papers, then gave them words, and BINGO! they were able to sort and stick without the messiness of glue and without the slightest gust of wind knocking all the words off. 

And, I plan to use it this weekend to play Pin the Tail on "Boots" at my daughter's birthday. I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Never underestimate the power of a good assist

Wow, I could write so much about this title...
I thought of it this morning while I was crouching down and "twisting my lowest ribs to shine towards Haddon Ave." This morning, the assistant in my yoga class held on to my feet during this pose. What a huge difference this made in my stretch. All of the sudden, I was able to stop worrying about my quivering shaking legs and start concentrating on the twist, my entire body opened up and I finally was able to feel the exhilirating opening in my body.
It is important to remember that people are put into our lives for a reason. Today I challenge you to be a good assist to someone who needs it. Assists come in all shapes and sizes. Think about someone you can help today and just do it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Schedule!

The school year is over for me, which is always a bittersweet feeling. I must admit, I don't think I've ever made it through the last day of school without shedding at least 1 tear. This year was no different. The tears are happy and sad. So, today, let's focus on the happy. Now I am completely focused on being a mother to my awesome children. My kids are such a gift to me - they bring me joy, and I love spending so much time with them. Most of all, I love to watch them interact as brother and sister...the hugs, the fights, the laughter, the mischief!
Last summer I really liked the Literacy Challenge I set for myself. This summer my goal is to keep my shelfari shelf up to date with all the books we read on a daily basis. What? You don't know shelfari? Well, check out my digital bookshelf at the bottom of this page! Go to www.shelfari.com and start making your very own digital bookshelf! I hope to write a short review of select books. Check out my shelf if you are looking for book ideas to read with your toddlers, tweens, teens, or even for yourself! I will admit, I almost always choose a young adult book over adult!
Also, I have formed a toddler book club. Our plan is to meet once each week to read a book and create a language experience for our children ranging in age from 6 months - 3 years. I will post about those gatherings as well.
Happy summer to all! Remember to read with your children, and create meaningful memories by interacting with your children!