Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saving Sergeant Ryan

It was one year ago, on a cold and snowy day, that my Kinders finally got to meet Sergeant Ryan Lehman.  After serving in Afghanistan for a year he was FINALLY home!  Sergeant Lehman's mom and I had been friends for a long time; in fact I knew Sergeant Lehman when he was a very little boy.  Early in the school year, I thought of a way to teach my kiddos how to love and care for someone whom they had never met!    So we began learning about Sergeant Ryan and seeing pictures of his day to day life in Arghanistan.  One day his mom brought in pictures of the soldiers giving the Afghan children pens and how much joy it gave them to receive such a little, inexpensive item.  Another day she brought in some MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and we had a tasting test.  We learned that Sergeant Ryan's favorite was the Beef-a-roni.  In fact we had a little Science lesson about how the soldiers "warmed up" their packets of food.

Then one day we decided to take up a little collection. The Kinders brought in all kinds of colored pens and little "gumball machine" type toys and we sent a package all the way to Afghanistan.  We heard in a letter from Sergeant Ryan that the Afghan children had loved their surprises.

We thought of Sergeant Ryan weekly and his mom would come in to our classroom and give us little updates about how he was doing.  And then we heard that he was coming home!!!

Over Christmas Break I came in and decorated our hallway.  It had to be a hero's welcome!  We were FINALLY going to meet Sergeant Lehman!

The morning he came in we could hardly contain our excitement and then THERE HE WAS!

I can hardly put into words the lessons that were learned by all of us!  I saw children with very little material possessions of their own GIVE out of their own hearts.  I saw them learn to show love and care to someone who they had never met.  I saw them feel compassion for children from another country who they saw as worse off than themselves! And I learned once again that paying it forward is one of the best ways to experience joy in your own heart!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Countdown to Christmas for the Classroom

Sorry this is a little late but I really still wanted to share an activity that I incorporated during December that quickly became the MOST anticipated event of each day!  I'm talking about our Classroom Countdown to Christmas.  Awhile back, I was reading a post at Teaching Heart (correct me if I'm wrong Colleen but I'm pretty sure I got the idea from you :).  Anyway, she shared how each Christmas she would wrap up the holiday books and each night her kids would get to open one up for their before bedtime reading.  Well, this got my brain cells cooking and I thought of a way to incorporate a fun advent countdown into my classroom but still keep it "common core happy".  So, one night after everyone left to go home, I brought a decorated tree into my classroom, put some twinkly lights on it, plugged it in and wrapped 26 (that's how many kinders I have) holiday books.  The next morning you would have thought Santa came but I made them wait till after lunch to know what it was all about.

The next thing I did was put each of the little darlings names on a cute gift tag and hide them all in a Christmas tin!  At read aloud time I would open the tin up, shake it around (add to the suspense) and pull a name.  Think of a "naughty and nice list" here!  I had TOTAL control over whose name was getting pulled that day [wink, wink]!!

Whomever's name (is that correct grammar, or is whomever's even a word??) was pulled got to pick a present, unwrap it, sit by me and turn the pages as I read the book!!! WOW was I teacher of the year (in my kiddos eyes) or what?!!

It was a pretty easy peasy lemon squeezy idea to pull off and brought great delight!


THANKS to everyone who followed!!  I made my goal of 100 followers before Christmas break was over! Now, as promised I have a beautiful Organizer Tote by 31 to give away!!

I have two of these and I just love them!  They are big enough to hold everything but the kitchen sink and if you're like me that's just about what I lug back and forth to school each day.  You can check out even more of their wonderful bags at my consultant, Chris McGurn's website here!

Spread the word and Get Ready, Get Set, GO!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again everyone!  Looking forward to what lies ahead!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Currently ...

One of my blogging goals this year was to figure out how to do this cutie-patootie Currently linky thingy that you'll see right here below in just a minute ...and I DID IT!  If you haven't been to Oh Boy 4th Grade's blog yet, YOU MUST check it out!  She is seriously funny!!!

So, here's what I am "Currently" Up To:

Head on over to Farley's and you can link up to~

And now, I'm going to bed early, too many night-owl nights over break and today I'm paying for it!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

and the Liebster Award goes to ... ME :)

I would sincerely like to thank the following bloggers who nominated me for the Liebster Award (eeeek way back in November) and thank them for their patience in my length of time in responding! Ya'll know how life sometimes gets in the way right? Anyway, thank you to:

Making the Basics Fun
Learning with Leah
Teacher's Take-Out
Fun in ECSE

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It’s to show new bloggers that they are being noticed and help spread the word about our little pieces of cyberspace.

Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

SO, 11 Random Things About Me ~
1. I have been happily married for 29 years to my college sweetheart, The Accountant!
2. We have 4 beautiful daughters ranging in age from 11 to 22 ~ middle school, college and married!  You can see them here!
3. I was blessed to stay home with my girlies, for the most part for 19 years.
4. I taught Kindermusik for 16 of those years and ended my Kindermusik career at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
5. Ella Jenkins once walked into my classroom in Chicago and randomly pulled out her kazoo and started singing with us!
6. I got to be onstage with Yo Yo Ma as an Asst. Stage Mgr as part of his Silk Road Project.
7. I went to school in Arkansas at John Brown University.
8. I have lived in 5 states.
9. I am a "clean" eating enthusiast, although NOT the raw foods kind ~ just healthy!
10. During late grade school and middle school I memorized 4 whole books of the Bible.
11. I am a Christ-follower!!

OK this is going to be tricky.  I'm going to have to try and consolidate the questions I was asked by 4 different nominators.  Here goes: 

Who was your favorite teacher growing up? 
Mrs. Jackson, Senior Year English 
If you could trade places with one person for a day who would it be? 
David Tutera on the set of My Fair Wedding 
What is your favorite condiment? 
If you could yell anything from the mountain top what would it be? 
The sky is falling! 
Share one of your blogging goals for the new year. 
I want to have at least 500 followers! 
What is a favorite educational app, youtube video or web resource? 
Smartboard Dice 
Salt or sugar? What do you crave? 
Suggah Darlin'
Favorite Holiday Tradition? 
Camp, Cruise or Roadtrip? What kind of vacation would you pick? 
definitely Cruise but Roadtrip would be a close second
What is your favorite classroom tool? 
the paddle ~ lol, no it would have to be my Smartboard 
Who would you like to say "Thank You" to? 
Mother Teresa 
What is your destressor at the end of the week? 
Tacos el Norte with my husband, Mariachi Band playing, something frozen in my glass 
When did you start blogging? 
November of 2012 
Why did you begin blogging? 
curiosity really and the intrigue of gaining a following 
What grades have you taught? 
Babies through 7 year olds Kindermusik, PreK, Music for PreK through 6th, and Kindergarten 
How long have you been teaching? 
about 22 years 
What is your favorite holiday? 
What is your favorite dessert? 
Strawberry Shortcake 
Do you have any children? 
Yep, 4 girls ~ 6th grade, 8th grade, Freshman in College, and Married 
What is your favorite book? 
Firefly Lane 
Are you right or left handed? 
PC or Apple? 
PC but I REALLY wanna answer Apple :/ 
Desktop, laptop or tablet? 
I guess all 3? I have 2 desktops (home and work) 2 laptops (home and work) and an iPad 
Where were you born? 
Long Beach, CA
Where are you living now? 
about an hour north of State Street that great Street (hint hint) 
What is your favorite subject to teach? 
What is your favorite movie? 
Little Women with Winona Ryder or Legends of the Fall 
What is your favorite story to read to students? 
Junie B Jones anything 
What is your TPT link? 
I don't have one ~ YET!! 
What is your favorite color? 
Do you have any pets? 
one sweet Silky Bichon named Sophie 
Favorite source for Clipart. 
DJ Inkers 
Favorite Web 2.0 tool. 
I didn't know what it was until just this minute but Ahead and TubeChop look like 2 that I would love to explore. 
Tell something about your most memorable student. 
his name was Cory and he taught me a lot about love and how it can change someone 
What position would you like to retire in? 
right where I am ~ teaching Kindergarten 
What technology do you have in your classroom? 
Smartboard, 5 iPods, 1 iPad and I'm very thankful!!! 
What piece of technology would you like to have? 
5 iPads for my classroom  
Do you have a classroom theme? 
Yes! Bluebird of Happiness and you can see it here
What is your number one selling item on TPT if you sell? 
I don't sell anything on TPT ~ YET! 
What is your favorite freebie you have found on TPT? 

Mrs. M's Kinders

11 Questions for you:
Where do you live?
When did you begin blogging?
What is one of your blogging goals for the New Year?
Favorite teacher book.
Favorite free-time reading book.
Favorite story book to read to your class.
Favorite movie.
Do you sell on Teachers Pay Teachers and if so what is your link?
Could you share a link to your Pinterest boards?
Favorite Smartboard activity.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

WHEW!! Hope you were able to hang in there and read all the way to the end!  I enjoyed sharing a little bit of my corner of the world with you!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Juggling My Christmas Trees ...

Alright some people think I have a sickness (heck, sometimes I think I have a sickness), but I LOVE Christmas trees, as proven by this incredibly long picture roll
2013 Family Tree with a touch of Whoville ...
The Whoville Be Jolly Tree from 2013 ...
Funky 12 Days of Xmas Tree with Krinkle's Dept 56 ornaments ...
9 foot Snowmen Tree ...
Baby Ornaments tree, all done in pink and blue and lacey goodness ...
Charlie Brown mostly handmade ornaments tree ...
Clay Pots, Grapevine, and Cardinals ...
Lovebirds Engagement Tree ...
Fall Fruits Kitchen Tree ...
Purple Girl's Bathroom Tree (for lack of a better title)
Marshall Fields Glass Ornaments tree ...
Pink & Brown Snowflake Tree ...
Santa Claus ornament tree ...
The Molly-doll Tree ...
The Sadie & Annsley Tree ...
I call this the Cover Up the Ugly Ceiling Fan Swedish Wreath full of Folksy Farm Animals ...
and various and SUNDRY other mantles, banisters and front doors over the years! What can I say, I change my mind a lot! There have been years (before going back to work full-time) when all or most of these trees have been up AT THE SAME TIME (she is crazy)!! But The Accountant just walked in with a new christmasey center piece decor type thing so I don't think he minds!! :/

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

A little late in getting these printed and mailed but they can be Happy New Year cards right? ;) All the best of God's blessings to you and yours in 2013!