Home Reading

 Why have a book as a buddy?

A book is always there for you! Day, Evening, Night. Just pick it up and READ!!
A book is smart. Books contain pretty much all the knowledge and wisdom in the whole world – not just for today, but for all of history.
A book keeps your secrets. You can read/write/tell your secrets and it will never tell anyone.

At the start of the school year, I had each child bring to school their favorite book from home. It took us about two weeks but I read every book to the class. I loved reading the child’s favourite book. Often as I read the book, the child would read the entire book along with me, while the other children just listened.
This activity continued to promote my love for literacy and the connection between home and school.

Family literacy is essential for a child’s success. It can happen in so many fun and exciting ways, from enjoying a storybook together at bedtime or during the day, to playing word games, singing, writing to family and friends, sharing day-to-day tasks such as making shopping lists or using a recipe or surfing the Internet for fun and interesting sites.

As teachers we see the benefits of encouraging and developing family literacy with our families and students.

Here are some interesting literacy facts we already know but are a reminder to us to encourage literacy, family involvement and the love for books!!!

  • Research shows children have a better chance of becoming fully literate adults if reading is encouraged in the home (Literacy BC).
  • Studies show beyond dispute that children’s achievements in school improves with increased parent involvement in education (Henderson, 1998).
  • Children raised in literate households are likely to enter grade one with several thousand hours of one to one pre-reading experience behind them (Literacy BC)
  • For a child, the more time spent with a parent reading aloud increases his or her level of attachment, enhances a sense of security, and imparts the knowledge that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time (How to Raise a Reader, 1987).
  • Having a parent or other caring person read aloud with their children helps children learn listening skills, vocabulary and language skills, as well as develop imagination and creativity (Family Literacy Foundation, 2001)
Pick up a book and READ!

Portfolio / Blue Book

2012 is upon us very shortly- a great time for reflection and resolutions.  Way back when I was in university (many, many years ago) , we were required to create a portfolio for job interviews.  Although portfolios do not seem as common during interviews, I still believe it is great to always have, just in case a question arises and you can SHOW OFF!

However, if you don't have a portfolio, I do encourage you to have a Blue Book or in my case after many years of teaching a Blue Box.  This is a place to keep all of your treasured memories from teaching.  Thank you cards, Awards, Pictures of your Best Units, Letters of References, Accomplishments - Anything that will put a smile on your face after a bad day.  Keep it handy and update it regularly.  You will be amazed by the items you collect and the pieces you will cherish the most.

I love this one quote about a portfolio because I have seen so many different styles and presentation formats - a portfolio truly is a reflection of YOU!
"Portfolios are a marriage between science and art; the science is synthesizing and evaluating the artifacts coupled with effectively illustrating the art of teaching.  While it is used as a vehicle in which to showcase one's strengths, achievements, philosophies and growth, the criteria for success weighs heavily on the ability of being authentic in the portrayal of one's true self" (Ruban & Gauthier, 1998).

So if you are just starting out on creating a portfolio or you are updating your current one, here are some great things to consider.
1) Pictures, Pictures, Pictures - They are a must and everyone loves looking at them.
2) Professional Information - Resume (yes, make sure you always have an updated one), Letters of Recommendation, Formal Evaluations, Transcripts, Awards
3) Autobiographical Statement and Educational Philosophy
4) Teaching Practices and Artifacts - highlight some of your favorite units/lessons/examples of student work.

Remember your portfolio or Blue Book is a great way to continue to grow professionally and highlight how we continue to learn, develop, grow and update our knowledge, skills and attitudes as educators. 

Possible Sections:


And my most recent addition!!

Have a great time working on your portfolio or just looking through your blue book with a hot cup of coffee!

11 in '11 Linky Party

The years seem to pass by so fast and sometimes we never really reflect.  Thank you to Hadar and Kristin for hosting this Linky Party.

11.  Favorite movie you watched:

I hardly ever watch movies and if I do, I forget them the next day.  But one I watched recently that was cute was Friends with Benefits.

10. Favorite TV series:
 Blue Bloods!  I love this show and it is a great way to relax on a Friday night after a long week at school.  I love this show so much that I had to buy two episodes this season from iTunes because the PVR was full.

And of course watching Donnie from NKOTB doesn't hurt either.

9. Favorite restaurant:
I don't really like cooking so I will go out every chance I get.  One of my favorite restaurants is Sorrentino's.  YUM!

8. Favorite new thing you tried:
BLOGGING!!!  I started Blog Hoppin' in May just casually.  By June, I was completly hooked.  And by August, I started two blogs.  I love the blog community!  All of you are so talented, caring, and amazing!

7. Favorite gift you got:
This is super easy!  I finally got my first Burberry bag!  I absolutly love it!  It is big enough to hold all of my teacher stuff!

6. Favorite thing you pinned:
I am addicted to pinning quotes and posters! 

5.  Favorite blog post:

Girl Power.

the candy dish

4. Best accomplishement:
Completing my Master of Education in Special Education.  Two years of hard work, finally paid off!

3. Favorite picture & 2. Favorite Memory

Surprising my niece with VIP Tickets to Katy Perry!  Her very first concert and sitting in row four!  What a great night!


Going with your two best friends to NKOTBSB! A great night-so much fun!

1. Goal for 2012:
Be the best I can Be

Happy New Year Everyone!


Every classroom needs a supply of TOOBALOOs!!!

The TOOBALOO is a phone-like device that allows children to hear themselves clearly while speaking softly into it. The design of the TOOBALOO magnifies their voice allowing them to hear their sounds and words distinctly.

I use TOOBALOOs during centers for small groups to practice reading, during or after a guided reading group, during independent reading or DEAR time. Also TOOBALOOs have been great to use while students practice writing. Have the students reread their stories into the TOOBALOO for editing.

TOOBALOOs, pointers, highlighter rulers, highlighter tape, etc are all great additions to any literacy centre. These simple things increase excitement and enthusiasm for reading.

As Maya Angelou says, ‘ Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.’

I will use any material or resource I can to get a book into a child’s hands.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find David Letterman’s Top Ten List on Reading but I found Carol Gorman’s.

Carol Gorman's Top Ten reasons to Read, Read, Read!

10. Reading helps you become an interesting person. (Impress your friends, dates, and future in-laws!)

9. Reading helps you learn how to write correctly. (Get good grades, make your grandmother happy when she reads your well-written thank-you notes, and impress your future boss who'll promote you because you express yourself so well.)

8. Reading develops your imagination. (Write terrific stories for school, cook up funny ideas for friends, and maybe even earn big bucks writing screen plays for Hollywood!)

7. Reading entertains you. (No more long boring car rides, waits in the dentist's office, or too-long summer vacations when you can't think of anything to do.)

6. Reading teaches you about things unfamiliar to you. (Write A+ reports for school, impress your friends, and earn big prizes on TV game shows!)

5. Reading takes you to places you've never visited. (Read about actors on Broadway, bullfighters in Spain, and astronauts in space.)

4. Reading takes you to times you've never experienced. (Spend a week in Colonial times, or experience the burial ceremony of an Egyptian king, or learn what life was like when William Shakespeare was writing Romeo and Juliet.)

3. Reading introduces you to people you've never met. (Find out how the Amish live, or how a fireman in New York City spends his day, or what an NFL football player's practice is like.)

2. Reading introduces you to new ideas. (Learn about the beliefs of the world's religions, why some physicists believe that time is circular instead of linear, and how scientists speculate that our thoughts can influence the outcome of experiments.)

1. Reading is FUN! (Laugh out loud! Gasp in disbelief! Feel your heart beating in suspense!)

Making Words

My reading and writing mini-lessons have been going fantastic this year. I have always loved to connect literature links with my lessons but this year I have been able to add so many more literature links to my teaching.  However, the wallet is a little thin from the money spent on Amazon and Scholastic!  I do also however get a lot of books from the public library.

My most recent literature link was amazing to introduce the concept and first lesson for 'making words.'  'The Alphabet Keeper' by Mary Murphy was such a great introduction.  If you haven't read this book to your students- it is a must!

My pocket chart for my 'Making Words' Lesson

How I store my 'Making Words' Letter Tiles

The letter trays the students use for 'Making Words' lessons

Most of the lessons I use come from

The Alphabet

As we continue to do our 100th day countdown in our classroom we have now come to Day #26. With every day we celebrate in our classroom, I try to associate the number with something. For example – Day #3 we talked about tricycles, Day # 13 we talked about a Baker’s Dozen and on Day #26 we talked about how there are 26 letters in the alphabet. The students love when I can come up with something to associate with each number.

As Read-In-Week continues, I couldn’t help but think about my quote from a previous post.

‘TV. If children are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they’ll have with twenty-six. Open a child’s imagination. Open a book.'

Take the time to read with your child, here are the ABC’s of READING ALOUD

A -ALLOW time each day to spend reading with your child.
B- BE a reading model! Let your child see you reading.
C - CREATE an interest in reading by reading aloud books suitable to your child’s age and interest.
D- DO start out with short stories—gradually build your child’s attention span.
E- ENRICH your child’s learning experiences through books.
F- FOCUS your child’s attention on the book you are reading by showing and discussing pictures.
G- GLANCE through the book before you read it to your child so that you are familiar with it.
H - HAVE your child sit close to you when you are reading so that you are sharing the book.
I- INCREASE your child’s listening and speaking vocabularies by explaining unfamiliar words.
J- JOIN your public library so that you have access to a variety of books.
K- KEEP your child’s books in view in easy-to-get places.
L- LISTEN to your child tell stories from books, even if he/she can’t read all the words in the book.
M- MENTION the author and title of the book each time you read to your child.
N- NURTURE your child’s imagination by selecting different kinds of stories such as rhyming books, fairy tales, animal stories, mysteries, and adventures.
O -OPEN the door to the world of reading. Read daily to your child.
P- PASS ON the pleasure of reading by building memories your child can treasure.
Q -QUOTE the characters in a story meaningfully by changing the tone of your voice.
R- READ, read, read!
S- STIMULATE interest before reading by sharing experiences.
T- TALK about the books you have read together.
U- USE expression when reading aloud so that the story will come to life.
V- VISIT a book store often and give books as presents.
W- WHENEVER you can, create…
X- EXCITEMENT about reading: it’s great.
Y- YOU can encourage reading with…
Z- ZEST! Be excited and the books will do the rest.
--Author Unknown

World Teachers' Day

World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 - when it was created by UNESCO - celebrates teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.
World Teachers’ Day offers the chance for the worldwide public to observe significantly the vital contributions teacher create, both outside and inside the classroom.

The theme for 2010 World Teachers’ day in Canada was ‘Doing It Right.’ The International theme was ‘Recovery Begins with Teachers.’ Both themes are interrelated. The international theme of recovery focuses on how “The best teachers can inspire, lead, and educate children for the future of a nation. In situations of emergency, teachers have an even greater role to play, for they must not only impart knowledge, but also instil confidence and a sense of security and normality.” (IEP focus on Education in emergencies (May-August 2010).

And as Haim Ginott would say “Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.”

Our community of teachers are faced with many challenges everyday, we continue to ‘do it right’ against all odds day after day no matter our conditions - war, poverty, illness , natural disasters, lack of resources, difficult students, etc.

I commend you teachers all over the world, for the hard work you do in your classrooms and your communities. I commend you teachers all over the world, for your efforts to never give up against all odds. I commend you teachers all over the world, for believing in every child. I commend you teachers all over the world, for your willingness to try your very best everyday. Thank you teachers!!!

If I Could Teach You, Teacher

If I could teach you, teacher,
I’d teach you how much more
you have accomplished
than you think you have.
I’d show you the seeds
you planted years ago
that are now coming into bloom.
I’d reveal to you the young minds
that have expanded under your care,
the hearts that are serving others
because they had you as a role model.
If I could teach you, teacher,
I’d show you the positive effect
you have had on me and my life.
Your homework is
to know your value to the world,
to acknowledge it, to believe it.
Thank you, teacher.
By Joanna Fuchs

POP OUT Paper Pattern Sculptures

These are truly one of my favorites!  When I use to teach kindergarten, I always created these paper sculptures and they looked amazing in the Art Gallery.  This year while blog hopping, I came across the idea of having the students create patterns on the paper.  So of course I couldn't resist.  I love them!

I am a teacher!

The skills and talents each one of us possess and sometimes forget.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Today was the kick-off to Read-In-Week. In my previous posts you already know how much I love books and reading to children. For the past month in our reader’s workshop we have been talking about reading and answering the questions of WHO reads, and WHEN, WHERE, WHAT and WHY readers read. We have learned that reading happens all the time, for various purposes and in many different places.

Who Reads…..
Moms, dads, grandparents, children, students, mechanics, cooks, doctors, bus drivers

What I Read…
Newspapers, magazines, books, brochures, ads, catalogues, letters, cards, notes, lists, maps, cookbooks, email

When I Read…
Morning, day, night, at school, when driving, when shopping

Where I Read…
Car, school, kitchen, bedroom, living room, outside, garage

Why I Read…
To learn, to build, to fix, to cook, to relax, for fun, for enjoyment

So as EPL (Edmonton Public Library) would say,
Ready, Set, Read!
Ready... Find a good book, magazine or computer screen.
Set... Choose a comfortable spot and block out any distractions.
Read... Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Learn!

If we are able to raise a reader today, tomorrow they will be a leader.

If you would like to add to the growing list of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY - Please just add your comment below.

Capture The Moment!

Today was school photo day. I love this day in elementary school. Each child is in their Sunday best and we do everything possible as teachers to keep their clothes pressed, their hair frizz free and their mouths clean.

As a teacher, it is a momentous occasion; the class photo captures a moment where I and 19 special little people are forever connected. We will forever be a part of each other’s lives and hold a special place in our hearts for each other. But for a parent, I also think how a school photo captures such an important milestone in their child’s life. Each photo throughout grade school marks another year of growth, another year of excitement. But also how the photos captured today, might someday be shown at their high school graduation or their wedding, or even be placed in an album for the student’s own children to see one day.

So as Joshua Atticks says, ‘Time will never stand still and those moments that bring us such joy become memories in an instant. To capture such a moment and record it forever is truly monumental.’

As I post, I can not help but think about all the moments, memories, emotions, and thoughts I have captured. So far this journey has been remarkable for me. Thank you to all my family and friends who are sharing in my journey. I hope that we all continue to capture the moments in our lives that are truly the most important to us.

Toonies for Terry

Today we had our school wide Terry Fox Assembly and Run. Throughout the past month we have been collecting Toonies for Terry to help support cancer research. My students have thoroughly enjoyed reading books about Terry Fox as well as watching videos of him and The Marathon of Hope.

Terry knew that we all could do the impossible. Just as long as we believed and were willing to persevere against all odds. He said, “Dreams are made possible if you try.” For such a young man, Terry was so courageous and wise. One of his most profound quotes for me is, “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” 30 years later it is still going without him. I am so proud to be a Canadian.

As my dear friend H. Whitney says, “We have a responsibility to educate our children about The Marathon of Hope and the impact that one person's dreams can have. 30 years ago Terry Fox changed everything about the way we stand up for what we believe in and he taught us the very meaning of 'perseverance'. Three decades later he continues to inspire us. I am so proud of all the little people in my school. I think he would be too.”

 ‎"I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." -- Christopher Reeve

21st Century Skills

After returning to the classroom after two years, it was amazing to me how much changed in regards to technology. In 2008- I didn’t have Notebook Software, a SMART Board, a laptop; announcements viewed online, SMART Responders, or a document camera. I now have all of these in my classroom and know of classrooms where each individual student has a laptop or iPad.

We are living, teaching and learning in an ever-changing world that requires us as educators to teach the skills of tomorrow. We are ‘digital immigrants’ where our students are ‘digital learners.’ Most of my students in grade one are six years old, in 2064 when they are ready to retire - what will the world look like? We have no idea what the world will look like in five years let alone when my students are 60. However as educators we are preparing our students for life in that world.

So what skills do we need to teach - critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, collaboration, technology literacy, flexibility and adaptability.

As Alvin Toffler says, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Often we will be learning, unlearning and relearning along with our students. What a gift we have been given to teach in this information age where the world is our classroom!!!

If you have never seen a ‘Did You Know’ video, it is a must watch. Just ‘Google It’ or look it up on ‘YouTube’.


Patterns Patterns Patterns

We have been working on making patterns in class for the past two weeks. 
One of our outcomes in grade one is for students to be able to translate a pattern and identify the core.  We use the Pearson Math Makes Sense program and this correlates with Lesson 4.  I love doing patterns with students especially using 'junk boxes' or 'treasure boxes' with students.  Plus of course using the variety of unifix cubes, pattern blocks and plastic counters we all have in our rooms. 

Feel free to use the attached SMART Board lesson, modify as you see fit.

Patten Smartboard Lesson

Also, click on the image to read about my love for Treasure boxes.

What Counts?

Today’s photo is of unifix cubes. I use unifix cubes to work on patterning as well as developing number sense. Every classroom needs an ample supply of manipulatives to teach the mathematics curriculum however more important than teaching mathematics is teaching students what counts to be a good citizen in our ever-changing world.

What Counts?
What character traits do we want the future to have?
Let’s teach our students that every character choice they make- counts!

So Let’s Count-
1) Be Honest and Trustworthy
2) Be Reliable and Dependable
3) Build Healthy Relationships with Family and Friends
4) Respect Others and Yourself
5) Be Responsible
6) Listen
7) Treat People Fairly
8) Be Kind and Compassionate
9) Be Helpful and Kind
10) Be Cooperative and Caring
11) Be Patient
12) Be Courageous
13) Be Forgiving
14) Persevere
15) Volunteer

Morning Work

There is so much to do and they are so rushed. 
Check Agendas
Complete attendance
Collect money and notes
Library books
Change home reading
Etc, Etc, Etc
The list goes on and on. 
While blog hopping this summer, I came across a blog that talked about a different morning activity every day.  If this is you, please let me know so I can add your link.  While I loved the idea and created my own signs to post in my classroom to remind students what each day is for morning work.

Math Master Monday
Toobaloo Tuesday
Word Work Wednesday
Think It Through Thursday
Fix It Up Friday

We have now completed day 11 of morning work and my students are loving it.  Of course Toobaloo Tuesday is their favourite. 


Stickers – Fuzzy, Shimmers, Micros, Mylar, Prismatic, Scratch and Sniff - I love stickers!! All kinds – I love stickers!! Very few people know my passion and love for stickers. I have been a sticker collector for 22 years. I collect the brand Sandylion, mostly the slim designs. All of them are in plastic sleeves in a binder just like collectors of hockey cards.

I have recently let students use stickers in class to create a pattern border around a picture. Also, they have used stickers to represent a number – For Example, 5- The student will place five stickers on the page. I think the students see my love for stickers so they are excited when I bring out my sticker treasure chest for them to use in the classroom.

Confidence, Courage, Conviction, Character
Many times in life we will be faced with challenges or tough decisions. You need to rely on your confidence, courage, conviction and character to guide you in the right direction. As Ronald Reagan said, “A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to STICK with it and be undaunted when the going gets tough.” And surprisingly if we stick to it long enough, we can do it. If you reflect deeply on what the right decision is, then it is often the right decision. We often say ‘follow your gut’

Stay true to who you are and be proud of yourself.
Let’s teach our students to have Stick-to-itivenss especially when it is right!

TEAM Values

What do you value in a TEAM?
So often we say that we want to work on a TEAM or be a part of TEAM. However, do we really know the core values of what makes a TEAM, and are we ready to do our part to be on a TEAM? What is the type of culture we want to encourage on our TEAM, what are the standards we want to have for our TEAM and what are the guiding principles to achieving ultimate results?

Tonight’s picture is a photo of a wordle that was created in December 2009. It encompasses the four core values of creating a team within a school. Trust/Relationships, Integrity, Happiness, and Adaptability. Surrounding are other words describing behaviors of what this looks like as well as the benefits of believing in a team. Some of these include – creativity, commitment, communication, flexibility and synergy.

I have been very fortunate to work on some incredible and successful teams. We were successful because we were supported, focused, respected, and we trusted each other. We had a common vision of working towards the success of every student.

If you have ever had the opportunity to work on a successful team, you too know how amazing it is to go to work, be happy, have fun, collaborate, celebrate everyone’s successes, support each other and develop extraordinary friendships.

I love sports and one of my favorite athletes Michael Jordan said, “There is no “I” in team but there is in win.” When we are a TEAM in a school, everyone WINS!!!

“Finding great teachers is easy, getting them to work as a team is the hard part.”

Coming Together
Sharing Together
Working Together
Succeeding Together

To create a wordle - go to wordle.net. A great resource for any subject to highlight key terms as well as to use in paragraph writing so students can view their word choice. If they are using 'like' all the time or 'because', wordle will make these words the biggest.

Names Names Names

I love the beginning weeks of school.  We spend a lot of time talking about our names and creating a variety of Class Made Books.  We recently read The Handmade Alphabet.  With this book I love to use the Fonts 4 Teachers program that allows you to do each child's name in sign language.  We then draw a self-portrait under our sign language name.  The children love this. 

We also love to read Chrysanthemum and the numerous activities associated with that book.  You have seen many of them all over the internet and blogs.  Graphing our names, comparing our names, etc, etc, etc. 

Girl Power

As I continue on this journey of posting, some days I know what I will post and sometimes I am not sure what the picture will be. Today was one of those days where the picture changed based on the inspiration from the day.

Throughout the month of September for our science unit on colors, we have been wearing a certain color each day. I have been amazed at the level of participation in my classroom. It is phenomenal. It seems like the entire school is noticing us and asks how come they didn’t get the memo on what color to wear. My students love it when other teachers or the principal come into our classroom and ask, “Is it red day today?”

Today was PINK day - one of my favorite colors. Well, I had an idea for a picture but when I saw this saying on one of my student’s shirt, I couldn’t help but take a picture.

No offense to boys, but I think about the power we have as teachers to inspire girls to follow their dreams, set goals for themselves and believe they can change the world. Maybe this thought even touches me more after spending two years in a junior/senior high school where I wanted girls to want more than they ever thought or dreamt possible.

Let’s encourage and inspire every girl to believe in themselves, to be strong, confident, smart, curious, persistent, independent, and to respect others and themselves.

There are many organizations out there dedicated to this goal as well, including ‘girls inc.’ and ‘Girls for a Change.’ I love this quote from the Girls for a Change website:

IMAGINE if girls are told they can change the world.
IMAGINE they are told this by powerful women.
IMAGINE that you are one of those women.

To all my powerful women friends, I love each and every one of you!! Let’s teach our girls to be POWERFUL!!!

Thank you to Barbara at Grade ONEderful for voting my blog as one of her Top Ten. 

Top Ten

Barbara at Grade ONEderful gave me a Top Ten award for my blog the Candy Dish.
Thank You Barbara, it truly did make my morning.

Currently, I follow over 100 blogs and many of them have already received a Top 10 award.
However, here are a few that I have recently found that I have been enjoying.

Miss Kindie is a new blogger but she has some great ideas to use blogging in the classroom. 

Mrs.Rider has lots of great ideas.  Check her out.

Ucreate with Kids
Great blog for many ideas.  She also does a Teacher Feature.  She recently featured Mrs. Carroll from The First Grade Parade.  Don't we just love that blog too. 

Don't even know how I found this blog, but lots of great math ideas.

Kim has some great ideas.  Check her blog out!


 I love Ms. Patterson's blog design plus she has great ideas. 

These three ladies are amazing!  I just love the name of their blog and their great ideas. 


Kim Adsit and her daughter Megan have started a new blog.  AWESOME!

So there you have it. I few more blogs that deserve a Top Ten Award. 

What are your Top Ten?

Thanks again Barbara for voting The Candy Dish as one of your top ten!

the candy dish

Top 10 TBA 

In Honor Of Teachers

It is Saturday afternoon and I have survived my first week.  It was a long week but glad it is a long weekend.  This article seems to be circulating all over Facebook and I just wanted to share it with my fellow blogger friends. 
It reminds me to think about the little things.  Sometimes we might not know what we do that will change a child's life or the perception of themselves. 

To all my teacher friends,  I honor the work you do everyday to change the life of a child. 


Another wonderful piece of art produced from my grade one class. This lesson was based on looking at pieces of art from Wassily Kandinsky. The students were given three colors- blue, yellow and red as well as black and white. They were then able to do color mixing. While walking around the room, I loved hearing the conversation. One child was so ecstatic - he said, "I made gold." How the smallest simplest things can make them so excited. 

                               PRACTICE - PRACTICE - PRACTICE

As every artist, musician and athlete was first an amateur, I love to instill in children the value of practice. We often talk about how with practice we can become better readers, writers, artists, musicians and athletes. We must put the time in and continue to learn from practicing. Practicing takes commitment and hard work. If we can encourage these two traits in the students we teach, they will be successful in anything they choose.

We can also learn a lot from the thought of practice. Too often we put barriers up for ourselves or say that we can not do something. All day we encourage young minds to continue to practice, to persevere, to try their best, to keep moving forward when it is difficult. Next time, when you are faced with something you think is too hard, think about practice and what we expect from children everyday.

Practice might not always make perfect but it makes for determined and diligent individuals.

The Future - It's Why Teachers Teach!

In the year 2023, my grade one class will be graduating from high school. I can only imagine what the future will look like for them and how they will make their mark.

I often think of the entire curriculum I am responsible to teach - LA, Math, Science, Social as well as making sure they are prepared for the 21st century with the necessary skills. But what about all those other skills I value and want them to learn - how to be responsible, caring, loving, understanding, motivated, honest, compassionate, cooperative, patient, creative and inquisitive. There is no manual or teacher's guide. There is no standardized test or PAT for these skills. But my students will be more prepared and responsible individuals for having these skills. My goal is to model these to my students everyday and for them to know I care for them.

As JFK said, "Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future"

Although I don't teach kindergarten anymore, I still think this poem is super cute and we can learn alot from "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.

Let's teach the future more than what we are required to teach. Let's teach the future that it is their future and to care for themselves, each other and the earth.

The Kissing Hand

It is Saturday and school starts on Monday.  I am slowly starting to get a few things together.  Like many of you, I love The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to use on the first day of school.  I love reading the book and having children create their very own kissing hand to put into our class book. 

Here is a copy of what I use for The Kissing Hand.  I always love to write something on the inside cover of every class made book, so parents and visitors understand why we created the book. 

The Kissing Hand

Since I haven't completed the book yet, I can't show you a finished copy.  However in the picture you can see the kissing hands my students made last year over at my blog The Candy Dish.  I just love how they turn out. 

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Free For All Friday

Here is a quick booklet I do with my kids on the first day of school.

If you would like a copy with your school's name added to the front.  Just send us the name of your school and your email address and we can add that for you. 

First Day of School Booklet

We have really enjoyed Blog Hoppin' this week!  Thanks for all the new followers.  Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Three for Thursday

Over at Blog Hoppin' today it is Three for Thursday.  Your Three favorites... your favorite font, favorite blog and favorite online resource. 
I do have to say it has been very difficult to narrow this down.  But here we go.  I will give it a try. 

My favorite FONT  

 I think this is an addiction of mine.  I love fonts.  All kinds of fonts.  I love mixing fonts up and finding free fonts to download.  A great website to use for fonts is
Kevin and Amanda

One of my favorite fonts to use right now is

My favorite BLOG

I think I need help, I am a blog addict.  Although I love all the teacher blogs - of course.  My favorite blogs are The Daily Love, which gives me the daily dose of love I need everyday! And of course 1000 Awesome Things, which reminds me of the simple things in life. 


WOW! This list is so long as well.  But a few of my favorites are Wordle

And because of blog stalking, I also found Tagxedo.  Thanks ladies.

So there you have it!! Three favorites.  That was difficult to narrow down.
It is your turn now.  Tell us about three of your favorites and link up at Blog Hoppin'


Set Dreams for yourself!
Set Deadlines for yourself!
But as Jon Bon Jovi says,
" Map out your future but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip."

It is so important to take the time to reflect on what you truly want in life, in all areas - personal and professional. However, while setting those dreams make sure to write them down and be committed to fulfilling them. You are the only one that can do it!! But also remember that sometimes you might have to erase if you choose to take a different path. Also recognize that you might be 'dull' some days and you will need to 'sharpen' (refocus) to get yourself back on track.

For our students, it is important that we encourage them to have dreams. As my favorite Walt Disney quote says, "If you can dream it, you can do it." What will our students dream up?

So why the #2 pencil. While the No. 2 represents
hardness of the lead ― the lower the number, the softer the metal. Early machines that scanned and scored tests couldn’t detect marks made by hard pencil leads. Marks from No. 3 and 4 pencils resulted in erroneous results.
Softer pencils, however, had a tendency to smudge, making No. 1 impractical.

The yellow shade of a pencil apparently began to dominate the pencil industry in the late nineteenth century. At that time, pencils were either painted dark colors or not at all. Then, a company based in Austria-Hungary introduced a new, expensive brand of pencil that was painted yellow to distinguish it from other pencils.

"Dream to be Different"