Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hungry Caterpillars and Beautiful Butterflies

We read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is just a fabulous book on so many levels. We've had so much fun already this week, with more to come! Check it out...

First, I replaced our firefly lights, with fun colored butterflies. (I'm starting to think I need to find lights for every theme, because it's so much fun.)

Yesterday we did the first read of the book, making predictions and discussing cause and effect. To further integrate science, I taught them a new song (below). They also colored in a take-home version of the book and chorally read at the end of the day. 

We read the book again today. We retold the story with the help of the free pictures (I think from childcareland.com.) Then they retold the story again to their partners.  This was a good opportunity to integrate math (counting, graphs, days of the week, and growing patterns). 

With our extra time today, I threw in an art project. We reviewed the cause and effect of mixing colors (which we just learned with the book Warthog's Paint: A Messy Color Book), symmetry, and the life cycle of a butterfly as we improved our fine motor skills. 


From caterpillars to...



I even caught one child putting on a puppet show... (maybe it's a moth?)

The second-graders have been observing the whole butterfly cycle in their rooms. We are very excited to be invited to see the release outside soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grad School

I applied to grad school. From an optimistic standpoint, I'm kind of excited about it. I am interested in having my degree in teaching English-language-learners (ELL). Not that I'm necessarily fired up enough to want to begin any time soon, because I want to continue to work in my school of non-English-language-learners.  

The program is very practical for Nashville anyway. The last couple of years our schools have had so many openings in ELL classrooms. Not being a tenured teacher yet - one year to go! - it seems a smart decision to make myself as useful as possible. Personally, I don't want to get out of the classroom to work in administration or even as a specialist or coach. I don't think special education is for me either, as I've been across the hall from the life skills class for two years and think it's too difficult and sad a job for me.

I'm nervous about starting school. The program I want to do consists of classes one weekend a month (Thursday night, Friday night, and all day Saturday) and one month of a summer for a total of 18 months. I think I can handle it, but I worry because I already feel so busy without any extra work.

It's going to be costly, especially with my husband in law school. The good news is, there are grants and scholarships that I can get if I commit to to teaching in a high-needs school for five years. I can complete the program for just under $6,000 at my alma-mater - which I believe is a wonderful school for educators. The downside to the commitment is that my husband and I want to begin our family when he finishes law school in three years. I really want to be a stay at home mom for a few years...

It will all work out in the end.

In other news... We are semi - hunting for a house. I would love to get out of this apartment - no a/c, no dishwasher, etc. etc. etc. BUT, it is the perfect location. I will forever miss this neighborhood when we move.  (On Saturday I got to watch the Music City Marathon from my living room window. I didn't feel like putting on clothes to actually step outside.  ;)  )

It looks as though I'll begin in October.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

For Fun

It's almost our second anniversary. Last year, Brent got me all kinds of supplies to begin painting. I have really enjoyed playing with paint. Below are three paintings I have done. I began a fourth painting yesterday. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 19, 2010


After the afternoon I had, it's important to refocus... 

"Fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude--the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis." -Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shower for Ethan

My dear friend Krissy is becoming a mommy this summer. I'm so very excited for her and her husband. Yesterday I helped her mother, cousin, and family friend throw her a baby shower. We had a lot of fun.

Carlotta made the cake and had the shower at her lovely house. 

I was in charge of games and bringing some food (fruit salad and edamame to go with cucumber sandwiches, cheese, crackers, and a veggie tray). I made a packet of games and things in the shape of a bib (shown on the "baby" above) for each person. Below is what the packet actually consisted of.

J(...last name removed)




2010 Edition
--------page break--------
The J... Production
Announcing: Ethan Michael J.
{address removed}
(Exceptional Model)
Designer & Engineer . . . . . Greg J.
Co-Artistic Director . . . . . Krissy J.
Model to be released 
July 2010
Standard Equipment
Two Lung Power
Scream Line Body
Water Cooled Exhaust
Changeable Seat Covers
The Design Team assures the public that there will be 
no new model next year!!!

--------page break--------

Ten little fingers, ten little toes
It’s amazing how fast a baby grows.
Still in the womb and out of our sight
Yet we know that he’s growing every day and at night.
We listen to progress and what Krissy’s going through
We offer our help, anything we can do.
While she hears a sound and Krissy feels him kick
She tries to explain it, but it is hard to mimic.
So we anxiously await for the day to draw near
When at last we’ll meet Ethan, so precious and dear.
Soon he will know what life’s all about
He will laugh, he will play; he will cry, there’s no doubt.
We will watch him start crawling and then start to walk
And more excitement will come as he learns how to talk.
But for now we must wait, it’s all we can do
Until the time comes when we hear his first coo.
Baby Ethan is on the way
Let’s start celebrating today!
We are glad you are here to share a few hours.
What fun we have at Krissy’s Baby Shower!
--------page break--------
Ethan Michael J...
Origin: Hebrew, English
Meaning: strong and optimistic, solid and enduring
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: one who is like God
Family Name
--------page break--------
Baby Words
(This was actually two columns, and I can't figure out how to copy that correctly)

1. ciripafe         ______________  
2. pierda agb   ______________
3. teltob           ______________
4. ibrc              ______________
5. natsbenis     ______________
6. runsyer         ______________
7. ballyul           ______________
8. eonise           ______________
9. ihhg ihrac     ______________
10. lettra          _______________
11. acr teas     _______________

12. signurn      _______________
--------page break--------
Baby Names

   A Coin                        __________________ 
 Happiness                  ___________________
 Bird’s Beak                 ___________________
 Precious Gem            ___________________
 A Small Cut                ___________________
A Beam of Light          ___________________
To Have a Lawsuit      ___________________
A Flower                     ___________________
A Bird                         ___________________
 A Christmas Carol    ___________________
 A Season                 ___________________
 Male Cat                  ___________________
 A Hair Style              ___________________
 To Allow a Privilege ___________________
 A Month                   ___________________
--------page break--------

I'm sorry I couldn't be here,
but I'm not quite ready yet.
I'm painting my eyes, hair and cheeks
and soon I'll be all set.
I'm sending this little message
to convey to you this thought.
The stork will soon have left me
to use the gifts you've brought.
Thanks for the lovely welcome
you have given me today.
And when you see the stork fly by
you'll know I've come to stay.
I thank you from my tiny heart
for the lovely gifts you share.
Soon I'll be on my way home
to show you how much I care.
~Baby Ethan

There's Krissy in the green!

We also played "Dress Baby," during which two teams dressed a player as a baby using two rolls of toilet paper. Krissy got to sit out for this one and be the judge. 

The one on the left won. I was amazed how well both teams did with this silly task. It was excellent! 

Then everyone got to take a fresh cinnamon roll home as a party favor. (My mother and I made these, and we ate quite a few!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


A is for alligator. 
I'm so grateful for the chaperones that came along. I think I had 8! That gave every chaperone just one or two kids to herd. 

Fine creature, that giraffe! 

A white tiger, too!
One of our favorite parts was seeing the ostrich egg. We could even see what looked like another egg about to be delivered! 

Z is for zebra
Always a favorite. 

Other fun things at the zoo...

The petting zoo - poor goats. 

The unforgettable playground, which is so huge I can't see a single child in the picture. It looks like it's going to eat a chaperone! I've played on the playground myself, and I loved it. The best part is this big net to climb on. Very cool. 

Our field trip was a success!

Last year we went to the zoo the week of TCAP testing and we wore red shirts. It seemed every child below 3rd grade was at the zoo that day, and they all had on red! It was a nightmare. This year we decided to wear green, wear visors, bring more chaperones, and go the week before testing. So instead of a couple of thousand students at the zoo, there was more like 600. It doesn't get much better than that...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Personal Fact Houses

All year we have been "building" our personal fact houses. The idea is to promote learning of personal information that we just don't have the time to teach at school. When I assess them, I send a slip of paper home that tells the parents what fact to work on next. When they've mastered everything, they get a smiley face sun sticker on their page and a certificate.

Ideas for next year?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Robin Eggs

Spring may be my favorite season, except I have allergies. It has been a rough couple of weeks. Thank goodness nature is so pretty. I saw this robin's nest yesterday. See the new baby? Love it! <3

Seven weeks of school left! It's sort of bittersweet. I have a few favorite students (did I just say that out loud?!) that I am really going to miss. Like the kids, I'm so worn out. My patience is mostly gone... especially on these extra long days that I'm fighting allergies. Just a few more weeks of our added 30 minutes at the end of the school day. On the other hand, we found out that we will have to make up our missed professional development day (because of snow) with three 2-hour segments after school. Boooo!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Life is Beautiful.

Yesterday after a long day at work, I enjoyed the wonderful company of two interesting people traveling from Miami to San Diego. My husband and I took them on a mini-tour of Nashville. I'm not sure Nashville has seen a better day. The weather was perfect and the life around us was just beautiful. First we went to Centennial Park to see the gardens and parthenon. 

Then we went downtown to walk the streets of the city and see the view from the pedestrian bridge.

We finished the night with dinner and drinks at Boscos. It was most pleasant.