Thursday, March 31, 2016

#31 Twain's trunk

SOL #31 OUT OF 31 (yipee!!!)
Out of Twain's Trunk

One of my 5th graders was quietly reading a magazine which I noticed he pulled from a large manila colored envelope. I instantly knew it must have been a special magazine and was intrigued to find out more about it.  He nonchalantly explained that his grandfather gave him this envelope with a magazine inside to read. "Incidentally", there was an article in this antique magazine featuring his grandfather.  I quickly flipped to the article to read it.  It was titled, "Unpacking Twain's Trunk". Poised next to the title was a picture of this boy's grandfather posing with an old, large, antique trunk.  Inscribed on the top of the trunk were the words "Property of Samuel Clemens" (of course, we know him as Mark Twain---from our home state of Missouri) It seems my students grandfather had recently acquired a trunk thought to be the property of Mark Twain! Wow!! I stood in awe as I read and reread this article. The article claims there was even a stray gray strand of hair (with the picture to prove it) left behind in the trunk.  Forensic experts are analyzing it now.  They have had professionals examine every nook and  cranny of this crate.  They were able to trace the manufacturer back to the St. Louis are  in 1867.  Guess who was living in St. Louis in 1867. Yeap, good ole Samuel Clemens. 
So it seems this man has his hands on history. Oh how I would love to get a whiff of the stories this old box holds.  
Hey, maybe my student will bring it for show and tell!!
 I can only dream about that....or at least use that for a story idea!! 

(Sorry I didn't include my pictures of the magazine, article and other pictures of Twain's trunk. I wasn't prepared to write about this tonight and I left them at school)  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#30 Tired

#30 out of 31

Realized this challenge just about got the best of me

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#29 Lullaby

S.O.L. # 29 out of 31

(Thank you to Joyce Sidman for the Lullaby poem idea)

My Little Girl's Lullaby

Now that the school day is done,
The other kids have all gone home
I wait for you.

The swirling letters in my head settle 
like quiet books on a shelf
My little legs can run no more
I sit and rest
I wait for you

My mind stops singing
My eyes stop blinking
I wait for you

My head is heavy
My body curls up like a snail in its shell
I can wait no more…..
This is how I found my tired Kindergarten daughter after school today.  
She had fallen asleep  as she was waiting for me to finish up in my room before we could go home for the day. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

#28 My Water Bottle

S.O.L. #28   out of 31

Since I am on Spring Break, I have been reluctant to write about topics too deep or  delve into a something too serious, or even think about something related to school. So when I saw Natasha post about her beloved water bottle, I unearthed my thoughts about my own water bottle.
 I borrowed the Best Thing Poem format from Joyce Sidman.

My Water Bottle

The best thing is its size;
not too big, not too small.
I don’t even know how many ounces it holds 
but size doesn’t matter anyway, right?

No, the best thing is it has a loop at the top
to clutch with only one finger as I rush out the door.
No, the best thing is its double wall
so doesn’t leave a puddle on my desk.

No, the best thing is its straw and spigot.
No  need to tip it up to take a sip.

No, the best thing is its plain, blue color.
It doesn’t pay homage to the “home team” nor
claim allegiance to a college
but everyone knows it’s mine.   

Sunday, March 27, 2016

#27 Time to Reflect

S.O.L. # 27 out of 31

Ahhh..Time to Reflect
A new wine from our local vineyard was released today. It is called Reflect.

Connect with a friend.
Deject the thoughts that I am not good enough.

Expect to relax.
Reject the idea that I should be doing something else.

Disconnect from all the chaos.
Re-set my mind.

Collect the tranquility.
Protect the peace and quiet.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

#26 Tantrum Trials

SOL # 26 out of 31
Tantrum Trials

I am dumbfounded at the tantrums our 5 year old has been displaying at home lately.  I am talking about  reverting back to the terrible-two phase, yelling and screaming, demanding and commanding, I -didn’t- get my- way tantrums.  I hear word from her teacher that she  studiously listens, learns, pays attention and maintains her composure all day long (even when others do not)  Then she gets home and some days she “loses her cool.”  However, my husband and I are trying a new approach her to meltdowns.
 It seems as soon as a child raises their voice, clenches their teeth & shouts loud commands, the adults respond the same way. They shout, “How dare you raise your voice at me”.   They command, “Go to your room young lady” and expect  for the child to magically change their behavior.

If our little one fell down, skinned her knee and was crying. We would rush to her side, ask what happened, offer to kiss it, apply a bandaid or whatever else is needed. Of course, we would acknowledge the hurt and give her  what she needs.
So that is the approach we are now  taking with our daughter. When she has an  upset or angry outburst, we stop what we are doing (generally we are occupied with a different task-cooking, phone, computer, etc)  We acknowledge feelings...frustrated, mad, upset.  Then ask, ‘What can I do to help?” Finally we try to provide her with what she needs. I’m not talking about caving in and giving her what she “wants” (ie ...the candy before dinner, to go to a friends house, etc) But realizing that she has some big feelings that she is having trouble dealing with.  Sometimes she just needs the adult brain to process though the problem with her or an offer of  other appropriate options, or a way to calm down,  or sometimes just a minute to be sad...or feel angry. Knowing that we all have these feelings and these feelings are ok to have.  

Oh believe me, in the heat of the moment, it is hard to control your own emotions and hard not to react and hard not to want to "make" her behave. But we know that none of those ways will give us a meaningful connection with our daughter nor will they teach her the skills that we want her to ultimately obtain so she can deal with big issues.
Wish us luck!

Friday, March 25, 2016

#25 Stingbug Book

S.O.L. #25 out of 31
The Stingbug Book
Stereotyping a Book; I judged a book by it's cover

Before bed, I tiredly asked my daughter to pick out a book to read.  She has a ton of books on her bookshelf in her room so I fully expected her to bring one of  her favorites, Dr. Seuss, Pete the Cat or If You Give a Dog A Donut or even Pinkalicious would've been fine (for the 1000th time).  But she was standing there holding a bug book. ?? What?? Yeap, a book about bugs. 
I know where she got it. It was from her brother's room. I had ordered the book from the Missouri Conservation Department when my son was  interested in identifying some of the strange bugs he had  captured a long while back.  But now she has it ? and wants to read it? before bed? really?  It even has a stinkbug on the cover.  ewww!!
All of these thoughts quickly flooded my head.  Even though I am sure my face and eyes held a sour grimace, I'm so glad I didn't let any of these words slip from my lips because we actually had a fabulous time reading this book together. 
At first, I thought I could get away with just thumbing through the book, looking and talking about the pictures. But no...she insisted I read the words to her. We read the fun fact and we read each section about the species, habitat, life cycle and food. There was even a ruler at the bottom of each page that indicates the relative size of each bug.  So we had an impromptu lesson on measurement that I was completely surprised she comprehended as well.  All in all, I am glad I didn't squelch her desire to learn about these bugs as much as I am glad I resisted the urge to squash the bugs that my son enjoys capturing.  

P.S. This spawned a trip to the local library in which she picked out more non-fiction books. This time about sports, space and dogs! Why not!?!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#24 Today I am a sponge

# 24 out of 31
Today I am a sponge
I began my morning by checking in on Facebook. Not me posting (I have nothing worthy of saying today) but by "checking in" to see what others are doing. Quickly, I see a post by a friend,  the assistant principal of our primary school. She linked to her blog post which was incidentally about a book that I am also reading, Innovator's Mindset. Of course, this grabbed my attention. 
I read her blog post...
            I watched each video,
                      I  read each article she linked to, 
                              I  clicked through the embedded slideshows. 
But I still have nothing to write myself.

Pretty soon, (probably more like a couple of hours)

 I'm sitting here with multiple tabs open,
             taking notes of others ideas,
                      capturing links, 
                           saving images 
                                  getting excited about new ideas. 
 But still with nothing to say myself. 

It is four hours later...literally.

I have posted those powerful quote memes that touched me on Facebook.
         I have shared a  video link to my sister that I think will           
              encourage her to continue writing. 
             I have commented on several other bloggers amazing posts 
                    in the Slice of Life today
But still I have nothing to say myself. 

I may  have been sucked into the powerful vortex of online media and even though I haven't written anything profound today, 
     I know my brain has grown 200%
               I know my heart has been touched with others' stories
                   I know my thoughts are changing
                        I hope I have supported others today
and I will keep writing because you should....
 even though today I felt more like the sponge. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#23 Unfortunately, Fortunately

# 23 out of 31

Unfortunately, Fortunately :
Finding a silver lining

Unfortunately, my car is in the shop during Spring break
Fortunately, I won’t be packing for any long trips.

Unfortunately, my internet is not working  so I can’t write and slice all day
Fortunately, I will have time to Spring Clean.

Unfortunately, my husband locked his keys in his truck
Fortunately, he came home to get the extra set & fixed my internet!

Unfortunately, I hurt my back while cleaning
Fortunately, I can take a break, grab a snack and write and slice now!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#22 Harley Wisdom

# 22 out of 31

Harley Wisdom:
Life lessons from my Harley riding hubby

I selected a few quotes to go with some recent pictures of my hubby and his Harley.  I believe these are the messages he portrays to our children when he follows his dreams, enjoys his freedoms &  lives life the fullest!! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

#21 Do shoes shape the future

# 21 out of 31
Do shoes shape the future?:
The many shoes of my five year old daughter

These are her
because I wanna be a cowgirl someday boots!

These are her
tromp-through-the-mud, catch-frogs-like-my-brother
because Daddy's gonna take me hunting one day
 muck boots!

These are her
feel-like-a-big-.girl, click-clack-down-the-hallway
because I wanna be a teacher like my mommy shoes!

These are her
love-to-play-dress-up, fancy-dancy-feathered
because I feel like a princess today shoes!! 

Will these shoes shape my daughter's future? 
I sure hope so because I want her to be anything and everything that she wants to be! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

#20 Serendipitous Synergy

S.O.L. # 20 out of 31

Serendipitous Synergy
Where two opposite elements meet to create something 
unexpected and amazing! 

Where sunshine meets rain, 
there's a rainbow!

Where evening meets night, 
there's a sunset!

When night meets morning, 
there's sweet dreams! 

Where  black meets white,
 there's a Yin Yang!

Where  young meets old, 

there's rebirth!

Where love meets hate, 
there can be peace!

Where A meets Z, 
there's amAZing! 

When daffodils meet snowflakes, 
there's Spring? 
Yes, this is what happened on the first day of Spring in Missouri! 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

#19 Blogging like Explorers

# 19 out of 31
Bloggin' Like a Boss! "Christopher Columboss" to be exact
 Students blog like they were explorers 
(per request I have updated this post with more information for implementation) 

My student teacher wanted to find a fun way for our 5th grade class to learn about the early explorers of America. (Christopher Columbus, Leif Erikson, Ponce De Leon, Henry Hudson) So groups of students studied an explorer but instead of just presenting the information in a report format, students created a blog.  Each student took on the persona of their explorer and posted blogs related to their life.  They synthesized the information from their resources then translated it in order to post it on their blog in modern day language with hashtags## and blogging abbreviations (btw) and all!  The kids were super excited about this task. I've never seen them research so fervently...they had to find stuff to blog about. Their creativity soared as they formulated their own blogs! 
Here is the example blog that my student teacher created as if he were Ferdinand Magellan blogging about his travels and discoveries.  Sailin' Like Magellan 

Here are a few examples of student blog posts.  Be sure to read which explorer it was posted by. 

        posted by Ponce De Leon

That wasn't all.  After they created their blogs, we put them in groups so  each student could visit the blogs, read the information and write comments about the other explorers that they had not researched. All in all, I think they made history modern and learned a lot from it! 

Update: They researched their explorer on various sites mostly  (one day) Students used Blogger for the student blog creation. (one day)  One the final day they read the other blogs and made comments. To organize the groups for commenting,  I created a Google slides presentation. I made a table and put one of each of the explorers in the table. Next to the explorer's name I put a student's that researched that researched that explorer and a link to their blog.  The directions were to find the slide with their name on it. Then read and comment on all of the other explorer blogs on the same slide. (So that means, in the end, everyone read information on all of the explorers) I gave them guidelines for commenting so we didn't just see comments like "Nice", "I like your blog" or "Good job". I told them to let the "O.W.L." be their guide. They could make an 
Observation (I noticed....) or 
ask a Wondering (I wonder why....) 
or write a Link (I can relate to this.... This reminds me of...) 

Friday, March 18, 2016

#18 Sounds like....

# 18 out of 31

Playing with Onomatopoeia
            Sounds Like….

...boing boing, boiiiinnng
                    ....bounce, bounce, swoosh
               ..pow, pow                

….scoot, swish, skkkretch                  
….scoop, scoop, plop
...thubb, thubb, thubb                     
...pedal, pedal, whoosh

            ...brr..brr vroom, vrooooommm

  Pogo stick
  Nerf guns
Rubberband gun
   Dump Trucks
  Big Wheels
 Mini-Dirt Bikes

I went outside to check on my boy and several neighborhood boys had gathered.  All of these toys (no exaggeration)  were being played with or were  lying around recently used.
I guess I could of just listened to the sounds to know what they had been doing!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

#17 If only

S.O.L #17 out of 31

If only.....
I slowly strolled on the sandy beach
by myself, all alone
Far, far away 
from the chaos of home.

Embracing the sun’s arms
wrapped around me.
Deep blue ocean
as far as I can see

Collecting the sounds...waves lapping
seagulls flapping.

Breathing in the salty sea air
letting the wind gently touch my hair

Slowly, I reluctantly open my eyes……..

And finishing making dinner.