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Monarch Butterfly Way Station, Too Much Rain, Love my Family, A Milestone Birthday, and Five for Friday

Hello Friends!
I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. It is the last Five For Friday for awhile because Kacey will be taking a well deserved break for a few weeks in July. I hope that most of you are finished with school and ready for YOUR well deserved break! I have been out of school since June 3 and am heavily into a more relaxed schedule; although, thoughts of school continue to find their way into my brain. I actually get some of my most creative thoughts when working in my garden or taking a long walk!



1.  For those of you who follow my blog, you know that each summer, I work in our school garden. I have struggled for years trying to figure out just how to make this meaningful to our students. We are a K-8 school in Illinois. This means, of course, that our growing season is in the summer when school is not in session. I have tried to start a Garden Club, but our kids are SO busy in the summer and with unpredictable weather, it just did not work. I tried working with Girls Scouts, our local 4H club, and just a few families. All work out well for a year, but when the next year comes, the interest is not there; usually because kids have moved on to other activities. So, this Fall, my principal handed me a grant proposal for starting a way station for Monarch butterflies. I got really excited about the idea, but sadly, I missed the deadline for turning in the proposal. This did not stop me, though, from continuing to put thought into the possibility of making this little garden into a way station. 

The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly has always been fascinating to me. The caterpillars ONLY eat the leaves of the milkweed plant. The milkweed plant has become endangered due to the herbicides being sprayed upon crop plants, so it is becoming increasingly difficult for female Monarchs to find a place in which to lay her eggs. Lucky for me, though, my husband and son actually ENCOURAGE the growth of milkweeds in a spot in our apple orchard. You can see here that we have some really healthy milkweed plants. (Can you see the little apples growing on the branches, too?)


 So, a few weeks ago, I asked my husband and son if we could try to transplant some of those milkweed plants into our little school garden. My son, who is EXTREMELY environmentally conscious thought it was a great idea, so armed with a spade and a HUGE bucket, we carefully scooped out the root ball of 3 milkweed plants and brought them back to school. They have struggled a bit adjusting to their new environment, but I THINK that they are going to survive. We also have planted flowers that (hopefully) will attract butterflies to the garden. I planted yellow cone flowers, Menarda, a butterfly bush, zinnias, larkspur, Chives, Sage, Lantana, Tickseed, and a few more that I cannot remember. I also planted seeds for pumpkins and sunflowers. Now, we just need the butterflies!





 2. This winter, I remember missing the sun and I am beginning to feel the same way again.... We have SO much rain and although, wonderful for my garden, I am missing a really hot summer day.....



3.  Besides gardening, I have been enjoying spending time with my family. This is Father's Day... love these people!


4.  My son and I have been enjoying cooking. We both are big whole foods people, so we are having fun exploring new tastes and flavor combinations.


5.  Lastly, I hit a big milestone birthday this year. I have been repressing the thought that I have now become one of those teachers who people start to wonder when they will retire. The funny thing is, though, that retiring is not even close to my mindset yet. I feel like I am at the top of my game and continue to have so much to give. I have never been one of those teachers who pulls out my lesson plan book from the year before and just re-copies the words written there. I read professionally in the summer, re-write old units, and network with the wonderful teachers I have met on line and those that are in my "real" life. I keep my body healthy by exercising regularly and watching my diet. My age has never defined who I am, so I have got to let go of this feeling that I am becoming too old to do what I love to do.... So.... I thought that MAYBE if I share a photograph of who I am now (wrinkles and all) , it might help me rejoice in the person I am and feel joy in the fact that I am blessed to be who I am and that I share a face with my beautiful mother.... Age is just a number, right?


Click the link below to read more Five for Friday stories!

http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.com/2015/06/five-for-friday-linky-party-june-26th.html
Until next time!

Blessings,

Fun Water/Ocean Projects That Can Be Found on Blog Hoppin!

Hello Friends,

I am being a bit lazy this week with blogging and am re-directing you to a post I wrote for Blog Hoppin today. As you can see from my post on Blog Hoppin, I have been busy doing all those tasks that I did NOT do during the school year, so my blogging/TPT work has taken a back seat for awhile! Click the image below to take you to Blog Hoppin and I am hoping that you are either enjoying your summer break or will be there soon!

http://imbloghoppin.blogspot.com/2015/06/scuba-diver-water-lilies-and-ocean.html

Take care, my friends!

Blessings,

Tips To a Kindergarten Teacher FROM a Kindergarten Teacher

http://www.sharingkindergarten.com/2015/06/are-you-teaching-kindergarten-next-year.html


 Hello Friends,
I am linking up with Mary at Sharing Kindergarten with helpful tips for  kindergarten teachers. Mary shared some really wonderful tips on her blog and I am adding a few of my own.....

1. 

I truly believe that a kindergarten kid is up for anything that you ask him/her to do. The biggest hurdle you have, though, is making sure that you prepare them for the task. Discussing and practicing a tough task are keys to making sure that your kinders feel success in what they encounter.

2. 

Kindergarten kids love and need a schedule. Just as I wrote above that they can do anything, they do it best when they know what is happening and when an activity will begin and end. Kindergarten kids AND their teachers crave order!

3. 

This is such an important thing to remember! Kindergarten kids are still LITTLE and little kids learn by doing. Give them paint and glue, glitter, Play Dough,  tape,  crayons and feathers... the list goes on and on. Let them get gooey and sticky and messy. Kindergarten kids need to see, hear, and touch their learning experiences. They NEED to create because it is through creating that they learn.

4. 

I am so blessed to teach in a school that allows our kindergarten kids the opportunity to play. Play has been taken out of so many kindergarten classes and it is not a positive move. If you are a kindergarten teacher, give your kids play time everyday. It is through play that our little ones learn how the world works. When play is taken away, our kinders have no place in which to understand how to co-exist in a world that can seem giant and scary. Play gives our kids the confidence to engage others in conversation, share supplies, and accept the differences of others.

So, those are a few tips from me to help make your kindergarten year successful. Click the images below to read some awesome and helpful tips from really amazing kindergarten teachers!

Until next time, my friends!




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