Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Goin' On

     Happy hump day, everyone!  Thanks to those of you who linked up on Monday.  In case I haven't told you, I truly love reading about your favorites...and it was our highest participation ever!  Five whole people!  ;] 

     Look--I llamafied my name!

     My family had a wonderful Easter.  Church was fantastic.  I mean, how could it be any less when they start the service with a rap song?

Of course my sisters and I took the traditional Easter pics.  Not nearly as somber as previous years...

...but, in my opinion, much more exciting:

     Lastly, anyone else enjoying the spring storms?  There is something fascinating about the powerful beauty of these huge storms.  After school on Monday I stood by my car (in the parking lot) for five minutes just gazing at this massive cloud.  I'm pretty sure my colleagues think I'm crazy.  Oops!  The potential speculation about my mental state is worth it though, because I got some kickin' photos.

We're midway through the week!  Anyone else trying to make it through the CRCT?  Or have you seen any sweet storm clouds?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

MFT: "Seasons of Michael" on The Office

     The Office has been a major part of my Thursday evenings for the past several years (along with 30 Rock and all the other NBC shows).  Every week I get a bit more sad about Michael leaving, and this past week may have made me cry multiple times.  This week My Favorite Thing is the song that everyone sang for him.  Makes me tear up every time (and then laugh when Oscar mentions the infamous kiss). 

     The linky is at the bottom of the post, so please link up one of your favorite things.  I love reading your favorite things every other week-- keep it up!  Happy Monday!

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Amateur Artists

"Every artist was first an amateur." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Today I want to catch you up on what my favorite amateur artists are up to.  We have lots of fun things going on in the art room right now and it's up in the air whether or not we'll finish before school gets out for summer.  Wish us luck!  ;]  But for now, enjoy a snapshot of what we do every day. 

     Since we spoke last (about art, that is), I finished grading this huge pile of papers and some.  I had underestimated the amount of grading needed to provide 7-9 grades each for 450 students, which led to me waiting to enter grades a week before they were due.  Definitely not making that mistake again!  I'm already entering grades for the 4th (and last) quarter of the school year.


     This is the project I've been working on with my autistic class (six boys in grades K-2).  I found the idea on a message board somewhere and adapted it for my students.  The original idea was to tape a tarp over a table, put pieces of paper on top of it, put spoonfuls of paint on top of the paper, and then tape another tarp tightly over the whole thing.  Then let the kids go nuts pushing the paint around.  I decided that the set-up for that was a little time consuming, especially considering that I couldn't do it in my room and I didn't want to tear their room apart for it.  So, I decided to use the same idea, but instead of tarps, put the papers in ziplock bags.  I cut 9x12 pieces of white drawing paper down to 9x10 so they fit nicely in the bags.  After putting the papers in the bag, I placed three teaspoon fulls of paint in different places around the paper.  I made sure to tape the bags securely to the table, because I know those boys, and I know they'd find a way to tear open the baggies.  For most of them I taped the top and the bottom, but I taped all four sides for the more "spirited" boy.  We brought them to the table and sat them down with the direction to "push down."  They loved it.  We're doing it again next week with cool colors since it was such a big hit.  A word of caution: watch to make sure they don't scrape their fingernails against the bag, because that turns this clean activity into a very messy activity.

     Cut the bag open to get to the paper more easily.  Then remember to wash off your scissors.  Waiting a day to wash them is strongly discouraged.  ;]

Here are two of the finished products!  I love how you can see the marks from their fingers moving the paint.

     Next time I wouldn't use posterboard, which is what I did for them.  My example I did with drawing paper, and even though it got super soggy, it dried much nicer.  The top later of their posterboard kept peeling off, which is why there are some white spots in the middle.

Materials: gallon size ziplock bags, 9x10 white drawing paper, tempera paint, packing tape


     My first class of the day is 1st grade and they are all dolls.  Seriously, I teach some fantastic 1st graders.  Right now we are having a lot of fun with cave paintings (all credit for this lesson goes to my amazing co-art teacher and friend, Kym).  On day one we did a virtual tour of the Lascaux caves in France, which can be found here (warning: the page is in French).  We talked about how old the paintings are, and how many of the pictures tell stories.  Then we took brown pieces of 18x12 paper, ripped the edges, and drew our story pictures (showing beginning, middle, and end).  But did we sit at our seats like normal?  No way!  That's boring!  We turned off the lights and drew in our caves (a.k.a. under the tables).  It was a blast.  They loved it.  On day two we watched a cartoon about some kids who go back in time to the caves, and then colored our pictures using natural colors. 


     At 9:15, my adorable Kindergarteners stop by (actually, they run, skip, and laugh their way into my classroom).  We're having a ton of fun making our own wild things, inspired by some of our favorite creatures in Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  On the first day we read the book and talked about some of the features we can put on our creatures (e.g. terrible eyes, terrible claws, horns, ears, arms, feet, tail, nose, etc.).  On day two we talked about how we can show how things feel by how we draw.  Once we'd decided the texture we wanted to use, we drew our own wild thing.  Next week we are going to paint paper with tempura paint (either a "day sky" or a "night sky") and then tear brown/green paper to make trees.  I'm excited to see how this is going to turn out. 

This is one of our example wild things.  Notice all the different textures, as well as all the awesome features.  ;]

     Wow, that's just three of my classes.  I guess I was a bit long winded on one of them...oops!  I'll try to write about 2nd-5th in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, have a happy Easter!  :]

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

     In honor of the fact that my picture is up on Today's Letters, I decided to write a post in their style.  (P.S.- You should totally follow their blog if you don't already...daily awesomeness.)

Dear "Poem in My Pocket" Day, thank you for getting kids excited about poetry.  I smiled every time a kid walked/ran up to me and asked if I had a pocket poem.


Dear Emily Dickinson, I think you're cool.  Other people think you're depressing/lame/a loner, but your poetry speaks to me like no one else's.  Especially "He ate and drank the precious words..."


Dear BFF, so PUMPED to see you tomorrow afternoon.  I'm anticipating lots of laughs, a long conversation, and possibly some Ferris Bueller dancing, if we can fit it in.  :]

BFF and me working at camp last summer.
Dear laundry, please do yourself.  That is all.

Happy weekend!  :]

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

MFT: 8 Tracks

     As we speak, I am listening to Sleeping Lessons on 8Tracks, aka my new favorite website.  On 8Tracks you can upload your own mixes and listen to endless mixes made by other folks.  I've found some I listen to in the morning, some that are great for springtime, and others that just make me smile.  There's just something magical about a mixtape (well, really a mix CD), especially the first time you listen when you don't quite know what to expect.  My recommendation is that you create your own profile and start finding your own favorite mixes.  Also, I'd like to take this time to make a shout-out to Mr. Strange, who creates the best mix CD's I've had the pleasure to listen to.  Thanks for making me a more pretentious music-listener.  ;]


     So this week, my favorite things are 8Tracks and the awesome songs I've listened to there.  Share one of your favorite things with us below, and maybe go visit another person's page and check out their favorite thing.  Happy Monday!  :]

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What is MFT?  Learn more here.
MFT from two weeks ago is here.



Spring break is over.  :[

     I had an awesome week...camping, hanging out with dear friends, and catching up on sleep (hooray!).  Now I feel refreshed and energized--ready to take on the last several weeks of school!  Bring it on!  ;]

Delicious BBQ with two friends from college...such a blessing to see them.

What did you do over your spring break?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flamin' Ridiculous

     Anyone out there ever eaten any Flamin' Hot Cheetos?  They are seriously flamin'.  Chester Cheetah isn't kidding around with the spiciness of these bad boys.  My mouth is currently around a million degrees, but I can't stop eating--MORE CHEETOS.  Good thing I have a Lipton white tea by my side.  *whew*

     Second random thought: I've been cleaning all day for a very special guest: my dear friend Sarah!  She moved to Thailand to teach Kindergarten after we graduated last May, which means we haven't seen each other for almost a year (!).  I'm super pumped to see her and spend some quality time together.

Our first photo together...almost five years ago.  Such babies!

Graduation last May!  The last time we saw each other in person.

Don't you love seeing friends after being apart for a long time?  And do you dislike super spicy foods as much as me?
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm bored and ready for a change...

     ...with my blog layout, that is.  I don't know about ya'll, but I get bored with the look of my little slice of blogdom so quickly.  The current layout was created back in December (Christmas break), so now that I'm on another break I think it's time to change it up again.  I'd love something nice and airy--can you tell I'm ready for summer?  ;] 

Here are some of my favorite blogs when it comes to their layout (and general awesome-ness):
     Lisa from Scratch
     The Pleated Poppy (I love her layout so much...the giant poppy, zigzag lines, text...everything.)
     Gussy Sews
     Along for the Ride (The only one of the list without a white background.  The color and pattern in her layout is subtly perfect.)
     Today's Letters

Who are your blog inspirations?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Fill in the Blanks: Nice Things and Pranks

      Two posts in one afternoon--aren't ya'll lucky?  ;]  Today I'm filling in the blanks with Lauren @ the little things we do.

1. The best prank I ever pulled was on Amber in college.  We poured a trashcan full of cold water on her in the shower.  A very typical prank, but it was so funny.  We did a lot of pranking our senior year of college.

2. The best prank ever pulled on me was...goodness, I don't even know.  Maybe when Wigal hid from us one night and we couldn't find her for almost an hour. 

3. A day without laughing is a day wasted.

4. The most important things in life are the non-material things.  One of the most important things in my life are the daily interactions I have with children.

5. I dream of working with special needs students, where I'm going to be next year, getting married one day, and doing awesome teaching things.  :]

6. I dread my dentist appointment next Friday.  I have a baaaad feeling about it.

7. A discovery I made this week was that I can watch the same episode of Reading Rainbow 17 times and not want to punch anyone.  I showed the episode about optical illusions to 17 of my 18 classes the past three days and they all loved it.

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School's Out!


     School's out for a week, I won the March giveaway on Gussy Sews (ohmygosh, seriously), I'm getting ready to go camping, and on Wednesday my friend Sarah is coming to visit from Thailand. 

THIS IS ALL SO FANTASTIC.  (Yes, I was yelling that sentence.)

See ya'll on the other side!

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