Saturday, July 14, 2012


My plan was to take a break in July. You know, stop thinking, planning, charting, and listing everything I have on my mind for this new year starting in just over a month. (Who's counting?) I stopped reading through hundreds of fantastic blog posts daily. I quit logging into mine to see if something struck my fancy to write about. I've been doing my best to focus on my food, my health, and my personal kids' activities while pinning away on Pinterest. But, wouldn't you know it, every fourth pin is an incredible idea I don't want to miss or forget... and there she goes.

So I really am going to do it. I'm going to take a couple more weeks vacation and then I'll be back. Back to being inspired by you all, back to exploring all the avenues I can take an idea, and back to creating a warm and fun place for kids and me to excel.

Happy July... and really, don't forget to take your break!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pen Pals

For some reason, I can remember in middle school consulting a booklet of some sort to find kids' names and addresses who were interested in being Pen Pals. Now this would have also been around the same time that I got my hands on a catalog featuring gift wrap and greeting cards that I could sell door to door while making something like 10 cents a sale... toward purchases of my own greeting cards and gift wrap, maybe even scented pencils. Talk about "You know you were born in the 70s if..."

Well, I don't remember having too much success with my own Pen Pals, but I've been really happy with those my students have made. Over the years I have been Pen Pals with friends' or relatives' classrooms across the country. This year, I am going to be Pen Pals with a teacher at our neighboring school. Many of the kids who attend the different schools actually live on the same street which was literally cut in half by our district's boundary lines. The cool thing about this partnership is that we are going to meet twice this school year. First, our Pen Pals will visit our classroom in September as we create and share a Get To Know You Lunch. We thought the Pen Pal experience might be more authentic if they have a face and introduction to go with the name. Then, in May, we will visit our Pen Pals class for a Good Bye and Good Luck Next Year Lunch.

I'm excited to incorporate Pen Pals into our writing program which already includes letter writing. Who doesn't love getting a letter in the mail? While I've always sent a postcard to each of my students at the beginning of the year, I'm going include a postcard for their birthdays and one positive postcard at some point during the year, as well. Again, I'm seeing another opportunity to share life lessons along with academic ones.

Do your students get an opportunity to personally communicate with other kids through some type of communication during the school year? How often do they "talk"?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Community Outreach

The first Sunday of each month, my family visits a local retirement home with other families from our church and neighborhood. The families do all sorts of different and easy activities for about 45 minutes with the residents. We sing songs, put puzzles together, color, or even make a treat to eat. Did you know the elderly are especially fond of marshmallows? Well, these adults certainly are. Needless to say, we didn't even get to the art project because so many young and aged hands had eaten our craft supplies before we even got the directions put on the tables. I wanted to bring this positive and moving experience to my classroom this fall. While I do not have plans to take a field trip off campus, I am going to begin a program I'm calling Send A Smile.

The Send A Smile Program will be incorporated into our weekly Little Buddies activity. We already meet with our Kindergarten Little Buddies to read, write, and do math for about 30 minutes each Friday. The first Friday of the month, however, we will now write notes and decorate pictures to be sent to a local nursing home. I'm also going to suggest that my students bring artwork done at home to include in the monthly envelope. I hope that this will encourage my classroom families to step out into our community and look for ways to pass on a smile in an easy, family-friendly way.

How do you incorporate Community Outreach into your classrooms?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Which way to go?

So I have officially been on vacation for 5 days. During each of those days, I've perused, pinned, and downloaded. I've also skipped over to way too many Polyvore pictures! In the back of my mind, however, has been little voice saying, "What about your blog?" I've updated my Calendar on my class Shutterfly website. I've begun looking for and pinning activities to my language arts themes. But again, I hear, "What about your blog?"

I know it's imperative to stay fresh and current and update often to successfully blog. I want to include lots of photos and show, not just tell, my classroom stories. Now, I just need to figure out how best to do that when I won't actually be in my classroom for the next two months. Hmmm... I guess it's time I figure this Linky Party thingy out, huh?

To my blogging friends, how do you fill the summer, non-school moments on your school blog?