Sunday Randomness

Hello All!

I am linking up with Michelle, from Fabulous in First to do some Sunday randomness....... !

I have given up my favorite sweet treat this summer and it is killing me! I usually do not miss it, but when I am starting to get hungry (like I am now!), I CRAVE Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Granola Thins - Arghhh!!!! 

When I became a seller on TPT,  I can't believe I thought I knew what I was doing! Oh my gosh.... the things I have learned these past 2 years would fill HUNDREDS of pages! So, when I went back and looked at some of my older products, I was the teacher to MYSELF and said, "Why don't you try that again, Honey? I bet you could do a lot better!" (Smile) So, today...... I have spent HOURS revising 3 of my Draw, Cut, Create units and I have to say that I am pretty proud of them! I plan to have a flash freebie soon on one of the packets, so make sure you are following my FB page to get it!

The signs that we put up in our school garden are surviving our Illinois heat and rain! Yay!

And my last random thought... Why did I sit inside at my computer all day and not enjoy the summer sun? Sigh.......  I shall NOT do that tomorrow!

Check out other randomness at Fabulous in First!  And don't forget to click the FOLLOW ME ON BLOG LOVIN button above to continue receiving my posts! Google Reader goes Bye, bye tomorrow! (So sad...... )

Until next time!


Five For Friday; Well Six, but Who's Counting?! Yay!

Hello Friends! I am participating in Doodle Bugs Five for Friday this week - WAA HOO! So, here we go!...............

1.  My daughter and I just returned from a week trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and his family. I love that city! Here are a few fun pictures!

We climbed UP the street one block over and climbed DOWN Lombard Street!

  Usually the dock on Pier 39 on Fisherman's Wharf is packed with sea lions, but when we were there, we saw only a few. They were noisy, though!

 This is a picture of my Mom and me and the picture below is of my daughter and me. We are standing at the the old Navy base on Alameda Island. Notice the sky. My brother said it hardly ever rains in San Francisco in June, but guess what, it did while we were there!

I love this view of the city! And of course, my beautiful daughter!

One other thing I LOVE about San Francisco...... Cars STOP for pedestrians; unlike where I live where cars seem to speed up when they see a pedestrian.... yes, very sad...... Thank you San Francisco, for respecting a person's right to walk and ride bikes! :) 

2.  As I said in a previous post, I will be "imprisoned" in my house for most of July due to foot surgery. I am a planner, so the wonderful maintenance guys in my school cleaned my classroom early so that I can get inside and set it up before August! I loved my theme last year which was apples because I LOVE apple colors. So, my thought is to continue parts of the apple color for my classroom decor, but instead of apples, I am doing polka dots! We do not have a teacher supply store in our town so I have to order bulletin board trim and other decor on line. Unfortunately I just received the confirmation and the trim will not be here until AFTER my surgery.... Boo hoo..... oh well, hopefully I will be able to get the bulletin boards up in August!
These pictures are from yesterday after 3 hours of working...... still MUCH to do, but I know I will appreciate it when August rolls around!

3.  I just finished an EARLY Apple literacy packet for Word Work. (Early meaning it is for EARLY in the year!) It is based ONLY on the letters in the word apple. I always teach my students to spell APPLE and thought this would be a fun way to reinforce that skill. 

4.  I am sure by now that you know that Google Reader will be no more after July 1. I am really unsure as to how this is all going to work, but do know that a switch needs to be made in order for us to continue to follow our favorite blogs. You can see my "Follow me on Blog Lovin" button on the top left corner of my blog. (That cute button is courtesy of Melissa from Common and Core and More. Click here to find her tutorial about how to add the button to your own blog!) If you want to continue to read my posts, you will need to click that button. It will take you through a really simple setup process and you will be all set to go. 

5.  I was chatting with some bloggy friends discussing favorite pencil sharpeners. I just have to tell you that THIS one is my favorite of all time! It has multiple size holes for different sized pencils and can sharpen ANY kind of pencil! It has a large shavings receptacle and has even survived being knocked on the floor! I got mine on Amazon, but I think you can get it other places, too! 

6.  And just for fun..... I learned how to make DELICIOUS vegetable soup while in San Francisco. The key is ROASTING  the vegetables before adding them to the liquid. This dehydrates the vegetables and then when they are added to the soup mixture, the vegetables are reconstituted with the flavor of the broth! Yummy! 

Here is the recipe for VEGETABLE SOUP

(I used these vegetables.......Carrots, onions, celery, string beans, asparagus, red pepper, green pepper, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, sliced mushrooms)

On a baking sheet in a single layer, roast veggies in a 400 degree oven. Turn veggies after 20 minutes and continue roasting for 20 more minutes. Veggies are reduced by half; they should NOT burn.
In a large cooking pot or crock pot, add the vegetables to this liquid combination:
46 ounce V8 juice
32 ounce Vegetable broth
One  14 ounce  can diced tomato and peppers
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, thyme, oregano
I added a teaspoon of fresh basil.

If using a cooking pot on the top of a stove, simmer 1-2 hours until veggies are reconstituted.
If using a crock pot, simmer for 4 hours.

Until next time!


Reflections of Chapter 4 of "Talking, Drawing, Writing" and Throwback Thursday!

Hello Friends!

Yes, here is it Thursday and sadly, I am again, just getting to my reflections on "Talking, Drawing, Writing".... sigh..... Life just seems to get in the way!

Anyway....... Chapter 4 is entitled "The Craft of Drawing" and it offers such wonderful ideas and tips for teaching kids to add details to their drawing. The authors continue to stress how important it is to encourage kids to do detailed drawings before adding words to their writing. One area that was interesting to me was how even though children receive lessons on how to draw, when left to draw on their own, they often return to their sketchy drawings with little detail. They feel that children need to receive continued instruction and practice before this type of drawing becomes internalized. I agree with this thought. When I think back to my own students, I know that I become a bit discouraged when they are unable to make connections between the lesson that was just taught and the outcome of their production. Just as with everything that we teach, repetition, practice, and an environment where it is safe to make mistakes and learn from them is the way it should be with everything!

We use "Handwriting Without Tears" in our kindergarten. We love this program for many reasons, but one of the fun reasons is that they teach children how to draw people. Although stick figures can be endearing, this type of drawing is not representational of people and honestly, I think children WANT to know how to draw people. In "Handwriting Without Tears", children learn a song about the parts of the body which I plan to use as a perfect springboard for using the techniques in "Talking, Drawing, Writing" for drawing people. The authors show children how to use ovals to draw people. They discuss how to use ovals to draw a head, a torso (I love this word!), and 3 ovals each for arms and legs. Another interesting idea that they use for showing children that drawing people is just using ovals is the use of a transparency. They cover a picture from a book with a transparency and use a black transparency marker to draw ovals upon the picture. Wow! What a wonderful way to show children that drawing ovals is one way to make people look real!

The majority of this chapter is filled with descriptions for how to draw people and I just love them all! They use these terms for their drawing... head, torso, upper arm, lower arm, hands, upper leg, lower leg, feet. I love these terms and plan to use them right away! I also love that the authors give suggestions for picture books that can be used for teaching the skills that they are describing. One of my favorite books is the "The Color of Us" by Lillian Katz. In this book, Ms Katz describes the various colors of skin and uses such delicious words to describe them...... gingerbread, peach, chocolate........ I have a resource that I use every year when we discuss the colors of skin. I use multi cultural construction paper, but other types of media can be used such as multi-cultural crayons and colored pencils.

Besides skin color, the authors give ideas and tips Drawing People in Action, Drawing People from the back, Drawing Hair styles, Drawing clothing on people, Planning how to draw your story, and Going beyond safe drawing. I especially enjoyed reading the section on encouraging children to go beyond what they feel comfortable drawing . They feel it is important that children realize that their drawings must match what they want to say. Drawing a house, flowers, and a tree may look realistic and is easy to do, but if they want to tell a story about what happened on the INSIDE of their house, drawing the outside of their house is not going to show what they want to say. So, helping children to understand that their drawing needs to match the thoughts in their head is critical to getting them to writing words that describe a story.

If you are not reading this book, you HAVE to get it and read it! I just cannot write enough words about how inspiring it has been to read! If you ARE reading it, isn't it worth the time? I am so glad that this book was a recommended read for me this summer!

If you would like to see my resource on "I Am Beautiful" , click the image below. It will be on sale until July 1!

Now.... Throwback Thursday........

I looked and looked for instructions for how to create an EASY rain stick. I could find directions, but they were all so hard for little ones to make.  I finally asked my Mom who was a teacher for 25 years and she gave me the directions! So, if you ever want to make a rain stick, click the image to the left to take you them!

 Oh and one more thing.... Ashley Hughes is still hosting her fantastic giveaway on her blog. This is Day 4 - Woo hoo! Click the image below to take you there!

 Until next time!

Blessings, Cindy

Waa Hoo - Ashley Hughes is having a HUGE giveaway!

Hello Friends!
Wow.... I have been away for a WONDERFUL visit with my brother and his family in San Francisco and have completely been away from all things school related! So, I am a bit delayed in posting about the amazing Ashley Hughes' giveaway. It is HUGE and you just have to join in the fun! Click the image above to be directed to today's post. My "Healthy Kid" unit is part of today's giveaway, but she is offering something everyday this week!

I plan to post my review of Chapter 4 of "Talking, Drawing, Writing" tomorrow and will share my San Francisco pictures and other fun things on Friday.

Until next time!


Chapter 3 DRAWING from "Talking, Drawing, Writing"

Hello All!

Well, here I am actually writing my post on "Talking, Drawing, Writing" on time! Yay!

First of all, my paper copy of the book arrived on Saturday and I love, love, love it! It is so nice to be able to go back and forth and re-read and highlight passages in the book that are important to me. I still have it on my Kindle, of course, so when I do not want to lug around a big book, I can pull out my Kindle!

The title of Chapter 3 is "Drawing." I have to say that I IMMEDIATELY wished that I could speak to the authors about this subject! I have always, always felt that kids and drawing have  an instant connection. My daughter, who is an artist, said this to me once, "Mom, I wish I could draw like a child again. Kids are so uninhibited which makes their art joyous!" She told me that she wished that when she was creating her art that she could just enjoy the process of art and not always look at it with a critical eye. After she told me this, I started to watch my students draw and I agree with her. Once kids put their pencils to paper, they become joyous in their attempt and ready to describe exactly the meaning of their drawing; whether it looks like their description or not!

That said......... I truly believe that children yearn to be given instruction in how to create their drawings. One thing that I do at the beginning of every year is to take my kiddos out on a "shape" walk. We walk around the school yard looking for shapes in everyday items. We notice triangles in trees, squares in windows, and circles in the centers of flowers. We look for shapes in the faces of our classmates and search for shapes inside our classroom, too. We usually spend the first few weeks of kindergarten searching for shapes and then using those shapes to draw. Once my kiddos realize that they can draw anything at all just by using shapes, their drawing totally changes and they are so pleased with what they have created.

So.... when the authors in "Talking, Drawing, Writing" began Chapter 3 discussing how important it is to give instruction in how to draw, I was soooo happy to read that what I have been doing is on the right track! Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe are incredible authors and when they write, you feel you are right there in the room with them. They give such wonderful instructions for how to encourage and TEACH kids how to draw and add detail to their drawings. They truly feel that kids need to learn to add detail to their drawing BEFORE they can start to add words. At the beginning of the chapter, the authors write that as teachers, we spend so much time teaching our little ones to listen for sounds in words, write letters that represent their sounds, and teach them to spell words. But we do not feel compelled to show our students how to draw and this is important, too.

The authors write how important it is to teach kids observation techniques. This can be done very well when drawing people. The drawing to the left is very well done. There are many details added; eyelashes, a triangle nose, a neck, a shirt, a skirt, shoes. I think that children could tell from this drawing that it was a Mom and this Mom had green eyes and black hair. This is called “representational” drawing which differs from symbolic drawing. Representational drawing shows people, places, or things as realistic. The authors say that research shows that this type of drawing does not interfere with their symbolic drawing. Children are capable of doing both kinds of drawing.
 The authors feel it is just as important to teach teachers to draw, too! Just as my daughter said, as adults we are afraid to draw; feeling that what we create isn't good enough. I found it interesting that Martha and Mary Ellen instruct TEACHERS in how to draw in their workshops and try to take the inhibition away from teachers so that they feel comfortable showing their students how to draw. I know when I am drawing with my students, I try hard to push the inhibition away and when my students say "That doesn't look right", I will throw the question back at them with something like "Hmm... What do you think is missing? or What do you think I should add?" This helps them look for details while at the same time understanding that drawing isn't always perfect!

I love these quotes from the book...... "Sometimes we think children are spending too much time drawing their stories and we want to rush them to get words on the paper. When that happens, we need to ask ourselves questions such as What role is drawing playing for this child as a person who is trying to get text on paper? Does he have enough information and skill, along with stamina, to write all the words he needs to express his story on paper?...... because drawing is writing for young children, providing opportunities and guidance in drawing helps children to learn to use one's eyes to see more intensely"

I am so PUMPED to use the ideas from this book to help my students see the world in shapes and to understand that drawing is just putting shapes together. I also am super pumped to use detailed drawing as a bridge to writing words and sentences! This is just such a wonderful book!

Here is an activity that I use with my students that gives step by step directions as to how to draw a dog. This, of course, is NOT how we begin the year with drawing! We gradually work our way to this type of step by step drawing! If you would like to use this packet with your students, click on the image! It's free!

Link up with Jennifer at "Teaching With Grace" to read more teacher inspired comments about this book! Jennifer has some really cute ideas for beginning drawing!

And if you are interested, here are links to a few more of my How to Draw packets...

Until next time!


Five For Friday - Yay!

Hello Friends!

Wow... Here I am writing TWO posts in less than 24 hours! I usually do not do that, but I haven't linked up with Doodle Bugs for awhile and thought I would do it again this week! So here I go.....

1.  I put up the School Garden signs this morning that my sweet Brownies painted. They look fabulous! I used outdoor blank signs from Lowes and the kiddos painted them with acrylic paints. I sprayed the front and the back of the signs with 2 heavy coats of acrylic gloss and it is with bated breath I wait to see if this works after a summer of our Illinois heat and rain!

HERE is the link to my post about the reason we painted these signs the way we did! 

2.  I am preparing for a trip to visit my brother in San Francisco. It has been 10 years since I have been to this beautiful city, but my heart has not left! I cannot wait to breathe the air and take in the ocean view! This is me 10 years ago with my son, Will, who is now 6'2" tall!

3. I am taking part in TWO book studies this summer! One is on the book "Talking, Drawing, Writing" which I have already started and am getting some great ideas for teaching beginning writing. The other is "The Next Step in Guided Reading" by Jan Richardson. Click the images to go to the hosts of these book studies! is another summer book study that I just found!

4. Part of the reason I am participating in these book studies is because I will be having surgery done on my foot in July (Boo hoo!) and I will be forced to stay inside... ugh.... I am not an "inside" person; especially in the summer, so I am thinking of ways to keep me busy during my "forced imprisonment!" Leave me a comment if you can give me some great reads for my Kindle this summer!:)
And, I am also hoping that I can get some work done on those quilt tops that I started SO long ago!!

5.  I have been working on new resources. The one that is ALMOST finished is "Four Fabulous Apple Literacy Centers for Word Work". It is sooo close to being finished. I just have to get it proofed and when I upload it to TPT, I will add the link! I am also busily working on revisions for some of my older resources and when they are finished, I will add the link here, too!

Until next time!