Happy Friday, the end of spring break, and Five for Friday....

Hello Friends,

It's Friday and I am joining Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday. I have been on spring break all week and it has gone FAST! In my last post, I listed things that I wanted to accomplish over break. I did accomplish most of them, but some are still pending.....

1.  We have been lucky this week... our weather has been nice. Today, I am looking at my BEAUTIFUL forsythia bushes. What a lovely contrast between the blue sky and yellow flowers!

2.  I spent a nice day with my Mom and a lovely weekend in Chicago with my daughter. I am so blessed to have such special people in my life!

3.  This is my newest purchase. I struggle to drink enough water. For years, I was drinking flavored water that was infused with aspartame... I have come to find out that this is AWFUL for me to drink in large quantities. The problem I have is that I just do not enjoy the flavorless taste of plain water. So, I have been making water infused with fruit and adding a couple of splashes of carbonation to my water. It actually is pretty tasty... :)

4.  I have been spending much of my free time revising my TPT units. This is one that I thought would take me a couple of hours and it took me an ENTIRE day and a half to revise because I totally took it apart and made it new again. I will be teaching it in a few weeks and am looking forward to the new revisions.


This is another one that needed a HUGE face lift. I am really happy with the changes.


 Here are a few fun additions..... :)

5.  One thing that I wanted to get accomplished over break was to tidy up my home office. Did I do it? Well.... yes.... kind of........ Once I got started on it, I realized, though,  that it was one of those things that would take days and days to do and I had to decide if I wanted to spend my entire break working on that or doing things that I considered "more fun." Well.... I opted with "semi-organizing" and will put it on the top of my summer To-Do list. At least I can see the top of my desk, right? ;)

Make sure you check into Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday.....


That's it for now, my friends..... I wish you a blessed Easter weekend and pleasant times with your families!

Until next time...


My Spring Break List....

Hello Friends,
Thank you Mel, From the Pond and Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Designs for the adorable graphics for this image. 

This is the beginning of my spring break and I have been putting some thought into what I am going to do this week. My husband and I made the decision to stay home which I was fine with until I started hearing about flights to Florida, trips to the Ozarks, and Caribbean cruises!

So..... On my morning walk today, I made a list of ten things that I want to accomplish this week. Some work and some relaxation...

1.  Take long walks and appreciate where I live. I have often been envious of people who live close to oceans, lakes, or mountains, but when I was taking my walk this morning, I realized that there are so many things that we have here in Central Illinois that are wonderful and beautiful, too... I plan to appreciate majestic trees, tidy lawns, sweet sounds of birds singing, and the smiles of people who you pass....

2.  Organize my home office..... I am guilty of stockpiling piles of papers. After I use something, I will put it in a "To Be Filed" pile and then walk away. When I finally DO get to the piles, I am so overwhelmed that I often just pick the entire pile up and pitch it. Well, I am here to tell you that this is not a good idea... Last summer, while in the midst of my purging frenzy, I threw away an external hard drive, EVERY one of my USB sticks, and a beautiful planner. I am just sick about this and there is nothing that I can do about it.... So, this time, I am going to take an afternoon to go through each pile and take the time to keep things that really are valuable....

3.  Try some of those recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest and have not tried.

4.  Spend a day having lunch and shopping with my Mom.

5.  Read a REAL book; one with pages that you turn. I adore my Kindle, but holding a book in your hands turning pages is something that I miss.

6.  Pick up sticks and stop new weeds from showing up in my flower gardens. Maybe I can get a head start on their growth and keep them away this summer!

7.  Do something creative.... draw, sew, or do something fun with paper....

8.  Do my report cards... yes, my friends... our report cards are due into the office the day we return from break. I want to get them done early in the week so that they can get crossed off and that worry will be gone...

9.  Even though we live right next to the University of Illinois, we hardly ever go onto campus because of the high traffic - cars, bikes, and people! So.... this week, I want to take a walk on that beautiful campus and maybe have a light lunch or dinner at one of the campus restaurants because the U of I is on spring break, too!

10.  And finally... stay away from social media. I have been so upset about the state of affairs in our country that it has started to affect me physically and emotionally. This is a big challenge for me because I am pretty attached to social media. I have come to realize, though, that spending hours at my computer fretting over things that I cannot change is not a healthy way for me to spend my days. Hopefully taking a break from it this week will give me a chance to step away and realize that I really do have what is important... my health, a beautiful family, a job that I love, and the ability to pay my bills......

So, that's it for now, my friends... If you are on spring break, I wish for your days to be relaxing and rejuvenating..... If you have already had a break or will not be having one at all, I wish you happy days and hope the summer comes soon for you!

Until next time...


These Powerful Adults Need a Day in my Classroom... Compromise is NOT a Sign of Weakness.......

Hello Friends,

I know that I am a teaching blog and writing political posts is not the purpose of what I do. I apologize to those of you who tuned in to read about the wonderful week I had with my wonderful, wonderful kinders and by the way, I DID have a wonderful wonderful week with them....but.......  I just cannot sit back and watch what is happening in our country right now. The constant political ads are nothing new, but the meanness and hate that is coming from them is unsettling. My stomach is in knots over what I am seeing in the news, on Facebook, in the newspaper.... I am a kindergarten teacher who teaches my students to treat others with kindness, to compromise to reach a decision, and to understand that we are not always right. These are lessons learned in kindergarten and it breaks my heart that they are dismissed as our children grow into adults........If the politicians in our country were students in my classroom, they would be spending much of their day in time-out, sitting across from each other, making eye contact, and coming up with a plan that works for both of them.

I watched a news clip of a major candidate belittling people who were protesting at his rally. He called them names and told them to "go back to their Mommies." What?? Really? Doesn't the President of the United States PROTECT the Freedom of Speech amendment? If he was in my classroom, I would take him aside and talk to him about tolerance. Tolerance is understanding that not everyone is like us and not everyone shares our opinions. Tolerance is acceptance of the differences of others.
Tolerance is NOT yelling at a person who does not share your opinion.

In my own state of Illinois, we have had no budget since our governor took office. Instead, our legislators are arguing with each other, pointing fingers and playing the blame game. Eastern Illinois University just laid off several workers because the university is not receiving state funding. These are PEOPLE. People who no longer have insurance benefits or a pay check. They have no way to make payments on bills. They are hurt by a group of people who profess to protect citizens, but instead they refuse to compromise and do not listen to the ideas of others. In my classroom, we discuss the meaning of compromise. Compromise means coming up with an agreement that works for both people. Compromise does NOT mean that you will receive everything that you want. It means that both parties give up a little and gain a little...... If these legislators were in my classroom, they would have face to face meetings with each other; coming up with a plan that works for both of them... no recess until that was accomplished......

Watching all the name calling that is happening in this national campaign is shameful. Name calling is not allowed at all in my classroom. When this happens, an apology note is written for the first infraction. If it happens again, an apology is once again given and free time and/or recess is lost. This should happen to politicians, too. After one infraction, an apology is issued. After 2 infractions, they no longer receive media coverage until they change their tone. Instead of name calling, they should take a tip from my kindergartners and understand that name calling does not gain you friends.

I wish these politicians could watch what happens at my Lego table everyday. The compromise and sharing that goes on every SINGLE day is such a wonderful thing to watch. These children come up with creative ways to share the one Lego piece that they all want. They make agreements as to who can build the vehicles that fly and who can build the vehicles that drive. Sometimes agreements cannot be made immediately, so they step away, think about it, and come back to the table with new ideas. It is amazing to watch and our politicians should take some lessons from these little children.

I am scared and ashamed of what is happening. Politicians have little regard for the people and laws that they were elected to protect.  I look at the sweet face of my kindergarten kids and wonder what kind of role models they will have? Will they strive to be President of the United States because they want to serve and protect our constitution or will they strive to be President because they want to be powerful? I KNOW that our world is frightening. I KNOW that we need strong leaders. But being strong does not necessarily mean being ruthless.... Compassion can be as powerful as strength.

Politicians... take a tip from the future leaders that are presently in my classroom..... Stop, listen, talk, make an agreement, shake hands, and compromise....... There is no weakness in negotiation and compromise.....

Until next time ( and I WILL be back to sharing classroom activities in my next post!)


Tooth Fairy Writing and some Seuss inspired Word family projects

Hello Friends,
We are having a great time leaning how to be healthy kids. This week, we talked about dental health. After the "hard facts" of how to keep our teeth shiny and bright, we did a short directed drawing and writing activity with the tooth fairy. They turned out adorable! That is the cool thing about directed drawing; every single project turns out differently. Click HERE for a free download from Angie Neal on TPT.

We also did some fun Seuss products. These were totally inspired by Stacy in Glued to My Crafts. You can find her awesome ideas HERE. We read the books and the kids created the craft based on the book.  They then attached labels to their paper. They wrote 4 word family words upon the labels. You better believe that after they did these projects, they gained a great idea for how word families work! The other cool thing is that after we read all these Dr. Seuss books, they took out the books and were reading them by themselves! Yay! Mission accomplished!

 Until next time!


Using Everyday Items in the Classroom to Use as Shape Templates for Projects

Hello Friends,

I love giving my students freedom to create. I seldom give them templates because I absolutely do NOT enjoy cutting all those little pieces for them to trace around. We usually discuss how to draw the shapes that are needed to make a particular craft or project. Sometimes, though, they want a particular shape and just cannot seem to get it to be the size or shape that they want.

 I DO understand that sometimes we need to trace around a shape in order for our project to look the way that we want it to look. So, instead of giving my students tracers, I teach them to search around the classroom for items that they can use to trace. You would be amazed at how many shapes your kiddos can find.

Here is a fun "search the room for shapes" activity for you to do with your students to get them used to finding shapes in the room in which to trace.  You can download this idea as a Google doc by clicking the images below OR by clicking HERE.

(Please note that many school districts block outside sites. If this is true of your school, please download from home. If you receive a request for me to "allow access", that is probably what your school district does, because the settings for this freebie are set for unlimited access to anyone.)



I am delighted to be a part of the I Teach K-2 linky. You can find some great ideas by clicking on the blogs below!