Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Utena Means to Me

So, from the results of last week's post it looks like the demand is for episode analysis.  Unfortunately, I have a research paper due soon so the episode analysis will have to begin after that.  No worries though, I'm almost done with the semester.  The episode analysis is really going to take some sit down time.  I have most of the movie written out in a journal, but the episode analysis is something I really want to sit down and put more than just a few sentences out.  Any Utena fan knows that it needs more than that.  In the meantime while I work on my research paper (it's about how Common Core kindergarten standards do not build a successful foundation for academic learning, not Utena) I will entertain you all with some random ramblings about Utena.
Today's rambling: What Utena Means to Me
Utena is a visual form of Hotel New Hampshire to me.  Utena, like Hotel New Hampshire, came into my life at just the perfect time that I was ready for both of them.  These two things took everything that I thought I knew, grabbed it, shook it around, and kicked it a little.  
My favorite thing, it really makes you think.  It doesn't at the start.  At the start you just go with the flow.  Then stuff starts happening.  Then you have to start reading in between the lines or the show just appears as nonsense.  Analyze it. 
And there are NO CHEATS.  There is nothing printed really on what means what in that show.  Ikuhara isn't giving up that information anytime soon.  Or does he in the blu-ray release?  I can't imagine so...
In the short, I love Utena because it was highly influential and it makes me think. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

You Aren't Perfect

Disclaimer: I'm not perfect.

Holy wow, we're at the pissiest time of the year now.  I've seen way more soapbox rants than I care to trying to make everyone feel horrible about their holiday decisions.
Guess what?  We're all horrible people.
In some way, shape, or form you are not perfect.  You somehow have committed some holiday offense.  So get off your soapbox and deal with that fact that some of us will shop.  Some of us set up Christmas lights November 1.  Some of us will not take down our trees December 26.  Some of us will not be spending time with our families.  Some of us won't even be calling our family members.  Some of us will choose to play Elf on the Shelf.  
Don't judge me.  I won't judge you.  Shut up, and let's all be thankful that we have the option to celebrate in our own fashion.
Unless that's your own holiday tradition; pissing on the traditions of other people.  Which then by all means, open yourself up to having the same done back at you. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


CLL1 – The child will listen to conversations and demonstrate comprehension
CLL1.4c Extends/expands thoughts or ideas expressed. 

WSO: Uses expanded vocabulary and language for a variety of purposes. 

Activities: Language Charts.  Work with student about writing out ideas on paper.

Writing Cards. Word cards matched with pictures in your writing area expose students to new words while visually demonstrating their meaning.

Conversation.  Talk with your students.  When you sit down with your students at lunch, the playground, during centers, or at any other free moment in the day try to engage them in conversation as much as you can.  Strive for five.  Work to go back and forth in conversation with a child at least five times during each interaction.  

Books: Every and any title that you read can expand the vocabulary and language of your students.  
Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are great foundations for building young children's vocabulary.


CD-MA1 – The child will organize, represent and build knowledge of number and quantity.
CD-MA1.4c Matches numerals to sets of objects with the same number, 0–10.
WSO:  Shows beginning understanding of number and quantity.

Activities: Number Wall. (pinterest source)  Each number contains a dot respective to the quantity of the number.    Not really an activity but a wonderful visual if you have the wall space.

Cover Up.  Have various stars with numbers labeled on them (1-6) on a laminate sheet of paper.  Students roll a dice (one with the dots and not the numbers).  They can cover up the number for however many dots appeared on their roll.

How Many Spots? (printable here)  This is a game that you place the corresponding number of pom poms on a cow that matches to the identified numeral at the top of the page.  This game can be manipulated from cows to dogs or any other item.

Books: Pete the Cat and His 4 Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
Counting Kisses by Karen Katz (or any of her other counting titles)
10 Chirpy Chicks by Debbie Tarbet

The key to finding books and activities appropriate for this indicator is finding something with numerals present as well as objects demonstrating numeric quantity.  While Over in the Meadow is a great book about quantity, most copies do not display the numeral on page.  


CD-SC1 – The child will demonstrate scientific inquiry skills.
CD-SC1.4c Records observations through dictating to an adult and drawing pictures or using other forms of writing.
WSO: Communicates experiences, observations, and ideas with others through conversations, representations, and/or behavior. 
Activities: Observe and Predict.  Fold a single paper in half.  On one half of the paper, have students draw what it happening now with their observation project.  On the other half, have students draw what they think will happen.
Observation Journals.  Instead of filling your science area with observation sheets for experiments, have every student a journal where they can record their observations or stores their observation sheets.
Books: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
What Is a Scientist? By Barbara Lehn
S is for Scientists by Larry Verstraete


CD-SS2 – The child will demonstrate an understanding of his/her community and an emerging awareness of others’ cultures and ethnicity.
CD-SS2.4a Identifies and follows rules of the classroom community and displays competence in engaging in appropriate social behavior.
WSO: Demonstrates awareness of rules.
 Activities: Taboo.  Have a taboo buzzer from the Taboo board game.  Teachers act out scenarios and when one doesn't behave appropriately or breaks a classroom rule, students may buzz the teacher.
Fix It.  Using scenario pictures, teacher explains what is happening to students.  If a student can fix it, they pick up a plastic tool to tap at the picture as they explain the appropriate behaviors that could fix the situation.
What If.  Students make a class book of what would happen if we didn't follow rules or act appropriately.
Books: We Share Everything by Robert Munsch
One Bear in the Picture by Caroline Bucknall
Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday

Since she became my mother-in-law, we've spent every Friday after Thanksgiving participating in the Black Friday sales.  I look forward to the hours we spend together shopping and talking.
Yes, we're going shopping on Thanksgiving.  We've already got our cooking and shopping plan in place so that we can have a wonderful time together.
I believe in family and tradition, Black Friday is part of that.  
But Black Friday is more than shopping for me as well.  Yes, I spend all morning with one of the most amazing women in my life but my day doesn't stop once the shopping is done.
The remainder of Black Friday is when I get to start decorating for Christmas.  Night Before Christmas comes on the television (because I think watching it between Halloween and Christmas is the perfect time for it), the Christmas tree finds a home, wreaths come out, lights are hung.  The magic of Christmas fills our house the rest of Black Friday.
Why not start decorating sooner?  My husband is not a fan of my love for decorating but part of our compromise is to keep holidays separate.  That's how I took Black Friday as my day to bring Christmas decor in our home.
And I love every minute, from the 2 am shopping to the 4 pm decorating.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Writing Prompt: Dragons & Unicorns

"Someone told me that dragons never really existed. I know unicorns are just fantasy. It is fun to think about these things now and then. What do you suppose life would be like with these creatures roaming around?" -The One Minute Writer

Whoa whoa whoa whoa, let's start with the first sentence there.  I do not agree with that at all.  I do believe that dragons existed.  I believe dragons and dinosaurs to be the same creature.  When you read old texts, fables, and stories (yes in fables some bits are false but it's also based on bits of truth as well) but we hear the word dragon.  The word dinosaur was coined in 1841, so of course dinosaurs wouldn't be mentioned in any ancient legends because the word didn't exist then.  But they had the word dragon.  
How amazing it is to me the theory of dragons being dinosaurs, dinosaurs being dragons.  
Now unicorns, I always believed the theory of someone looking incorrectly at an antelope for the longest of times.  But then wouldn't their visual error be corrected once the beast began to move?  The theory makes sense as a child but as an adult reviewing it, I can see room for error.  
What do I think life would be like of they were roaming around today?  To me, in their realistic forms of dinosaur and grassland creature wouldn't be too far different in our lives.  In their fantasy forms of pillaging villages and blessing virgin girls, holy wow that'd make for a HUGE difference in our reality.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

La Fillette Révolutionnaire

The people have spoken, and as hard as Juri fought for the power of miracles to break free of what binds her it was Utena who arose victorious in the end; beginning her stride to revolutionizing the world.
So what's in store for us now with our Saturday postings?  I really enjoyed having Saturday as my Utena day and would love to continue that.  I'll let you all decide what the new Utena focus will be.

What will be the next focus of Utena Saturdays? free polls 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marvelous Meatloaf

I seriously enjoy this meatloaf recipe so here it is for share to you guys.  This recipe serves 6.

1 pound ground chuck
1 egg
1 half cup breadcrumbs
1 half cup french's French fried onions
2 tablespoons garlic powder
I half cup milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons mustard
1 half cup ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Get out a decently large bowl for mixing this all together.  
3. In large bowl; mix the ground chuck, the egg, the fried onions, the breadcrumbs, the garlic powder, and the milk.  I use my hands to massage it all in while crying about how the cold makes my elbows hurt.  I think that's what they mean when something's made with love.
4. Clean your hands (you've just handled raw meat and eggs for goodness sake).
5. Grease a 12-muffin pan (I use PAM but whatever works for you).
6.  Place equal amounts of meat into each muffin spot.
7. Put in oven for 15-20 minutes.
8. Immediately mix brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard.  I recommend a spoon instead of the hands-on method that I previously mentioned but it's your meatloaf.  
9. Remove meatloaf at the timer and spoon the ketchup mixture atop your meatloaf muffins.
10. Place back in oven for 5-10 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and serve atop bed of rice.  Or whatever you made to go with your meatloaf.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Writing Prompt: 8 Must Read Books

"List 8 books you've read that you think everyone should read in their lifetime."

Alright, I'll do you one more and enlist my book club members into making lists too!

1. The Hotel New Hampshire
2. An American Tragedy
3. David Copperfield
4. The Incarnations of Immortality series
5. The Hunger Games trilogy
6. Anything by Roald Dahl
7. Wicked
8. Then Again, Maybe I Won't 

 1) Jesus and Buddha as Brothers
2)The Harry Potter series
3)The English Patient
4)The Perks of Being a Wallflower
5)Treasure Island
6)The Hobbit
7)Little Women
8)The Help
To that list I had a hard time deciding on The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, there were a few others as well.  The Secret Garden, The Alchemist, Rebecca, The Count of Monte Cristo, Atonement, I had a hard time narrowing down the list to 8.

Harry Potter series, His Dark Materials, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Red Tent, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Thousand Splendid Suns, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and..... Um.... Gonna have to go with Where the Wild Things Are.  I forgot almost every Roald Dahl book!  And I thought of another, the Fault in Our Stars.

The Secret Garden 
Grimm’s Fairytales 
To Kill a Mockingbird 
DragonLance Chronicles (ok to be fair this is three books combined into one volume but they were amazing) 
The Last Unicorn
Pet Cemetery
And Then There Were None
The Westing Game
Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


CLL1 – The child will listen to conversations and demonstrate comprehension.
CLL1.4b Listens to and follows multi-step directions.

WSO: Follows two- or three-step directions. 

Activities: Simon Says. You don't have to stick with Simon giving a single-step instruction.  Start with single and move up into more steps to the directions.

Listening Ladybugs. (found here)  This game can be adapted to fewer directional cues or for different creatures instead of ladybugs to fit your students' interests.

Music.  Specifically, music that gives directions such as the Chacha Slide, Tooty Ta, and the Silly Pirate Song.

Books: Howway For Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear illustrated by Michael Hague


CD-MA1 – The child will organize, represent and build knowledge of number and quantity.
CD-MA1.4b Recognizes numerals and uses counting as part of play and as a means for determining quantity.
WSO: Shows beginning understanding of number and quantity.

Activities: Old Mother Hubbard.  (original source)  In this game, students roll the dice and count out the appropriate number of treats in their puppy's dish.  This game can be used with seeds in a pot or reworked using any combination of items.

Counting manipulatives.  Did I lose you on that big word there?  Manipulatives are counters.  They can be bear counters, bug counters, dinosaur counters. (Lakeshore catalouge of counters)  

Non-standard measuring.  Don't look scared, it's more simply and enjoyable than you think!  Take pancake cut-outs to measure students.  Use laminated feet for students to count the steps from reading to writing.  

Books: Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats 
Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter 

Why didn't I focus on recognizing numerals?  If you visit the GELDS website and pull up this indicator, you will notice that the recommended activities and video focus on counting.  The following indicator (CD-MA1.4c) focuses on counting paired with numeral recognition, by their definition.  
Don't blame me.  I didn't write the GELDS, I'm just trying to help clear them up a bit.


CD-SS1 – The child will demonstrate an understanding of his/her family and an emerging awareness of his/her own culture and ethnicity.
CD-SS1.4b Describes similarities and differences between self and others. 
WSO: Identifies similarities and differences in personal and family characteristics.
 Activities: Family Graph.  At the base of the graph, have the options of mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparents.  Children get their photo added to the column equal number of times to however many people live in their home.  

People Puppets. These can be made in any number of ways; people craft sticks, people cut outs, paper bags, etc.  
Family Involvement.  Invite families to come in to the classroom.  They can help with classroom activities, speak about their family setups, or cultural backgrounds.
Books: David's Father by Robert Munsch
Is Your Mama a Llama? By Debora Guarino
Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? By Eric Carle


CD-SC1 – The child will demonstrate scientific inquiry skills.
CD-SC1.4b Uses simple tools correctly to experiment, observe and increase understanding.
WSO: Uses senses and simple tools to explore solutions to problems.
Activities:  Magnetic Experimentation.  In an ice cube tray, place various objects in each separate slot (cotton ball in one, paper clip in another for example).  Students will use magnets to identify which objects are magnetic and which are not.

Magnifying Pictures.  Take pictures of students and shrink them to smaller sizes on your computer.  Print the small sized pictures for students to use magnifying glasses to see themselves in the pictures.
Colorful Explosions.  Fill cookie tray with baking soda.  In small cups, have vinegar with food coloring and pipettes.  Children use pipettes to drop vinegar into baking soda for very visual results.  This activity can also exercise students fine motor skills.
Books: I Spy (use with magnifying glass)
What Magnets Can Do by Allan Fowler
I Use Science Tools by Kelli Hicks

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Friends' Fandoms

Like I mentioned before, I've made some really cool internet friends because of fandom.
But what about all of my other friends?
They have their fandom obsessions same as I do.  Be it Harry Potter or something else.  We don't alienate each other because of our difference in fanfoms.  We actually still include each other in fan discussions or open our fan feelings with each other.
We can understand the feeling that what we're talking about means to the other and the impact it's made on our lives.
We also look for opportunities to share information related to another's fandom to the other.  That's one of my favorite parts about having separate fandom interests in a friendship.  Anything you stumble upon the internet that's related to their fandom, you share at any opportunity.
My friends quickly post Disney items on my wall which I love.  I think it's nice that they understand those are things that I love and would love to know more about.
I love this with my friends, because then it can lead to awesome gems like this:

Monday, November 18, 2013


Yay!  Continuous progress towards making the convention an amazing event!

Many of you might be wondering why I do so many posts for MGA Con after every meeting that I attend.
Because it's AMAZING to me.
1) I've never been a convention volunteer before so super cool on that experience.
2) I'm helping with the birth of a convention.
3) Meeting new people and making new friends.

This will be our opening year of awesome and amazing!  People like me, people like you, this is what is going to make it amazing!
I know you're simply going to love what we have planned for you.
Come on by to Heroes and Villains and sign up to be part of something amazing.

Psssttt!  It's going to be awesome!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Someday, Together, We'll Shine

Last week's duel was between Arisugawa Juri and Kaoru Kozue.  The cool and collected Juri easily stomped out the wild animal Kozue from the duelist arena.   The final black rose signet crumbled to dust in this tournament moving Juri into the winning position. 

Round 6, Duel 16:  
Arisugawa Juri versus Tenjou Utena 

The new girl in school has just challenged Juri to a duel after school.  Utena brings with her a kendo stick to the dueling arena.  How will this compete against Juri's rapier infused with the Power of Dios?  We've seen what happens when Utena faced against Juri when Utena weilded the Sword of Dios, but what happens when Juri is Utena's first duel at school?
  Who shall be the one to move forward to End of the World?
The Absolute Destiny Apocalypse.
Arisugawa Juri versus Tenjou Utena free polls 

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Fandoms

What is the difference between simply liking something and having a fandom?
Wikipedia probably has the best phrasing to explain fandom.
Fandom (consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdomfreedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates "fannish" (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

My Fandoms Are:
Shoujo Kakumei Utena
I never would have imagined when I first saw that VHS box covered in pink that it would ever become what it has for me.

I live, breathe, and think Disney.  From the movies to the parks.  I love all of it and it can do me no wrong.  This is my comfort fandom that keeps me warm and safe and happy.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
While I do love Sailor Moon and many of the conversations with other fans can be incredible.. Some fans do not contain the maturity to handle difference of opinion.  So I keep my awesome Moonies close by for conversations.  I don't like to branch out too far within this fandom anymore though it did earn me a Marley Farley early on in my life.

Don't you dare say anything negative about Barbie.  Barbie IS everything and anything that she wishes to be.  She is a modern woman who always reaches new and incredibly amazing heights.  

Honorable Mentions of Just Some Awesome Stuff That I Like:
Mean Girls
Everyone should watch Mean Girls and everyone should love Mean Girls.

Desperate Housewives
My heart.  It's like this show knows me.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
Mockingjay destroyed my life.  Thanks Molly.

And Doctor Who and comic books and role playing games and more are in my list of interests.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Writing Prompt: What's in a Name?

Megan.  Does the definition of my name suit me?

According to wikipedia, MEGAN ("MEtaGenome ANalyzer") is a computer program that allows optimized analysis of large metagenomic datasets.
Nope, that doesn't work.

At urbandictionary, Megan is A girl that is very stubborn but at the same time can be the greatest friend on the planet. She loves pizza and is absolutley gorgeous. She is loved by everybody and is fucking hilarious!
Pizza's alright and I wouldn't say gorgeous and loved by everybody.  I do think myself to be a great friend and pretty funny here and there.

At She Knows Baby Names:
Greek Meaning:
The name Megan is a Greek baby name. In Greek the meaning of the name Megan is: Pearl.
Meh, moving on.
American Meaning:
The name Megan is an American baby name. In American the meaning of the name Megan is: Pearl.
Persian Meaning:
The name Megan is a Persian baby name. In Persian the meaning of the name Megan is: Child of light. Famous Bearer: Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
That is hilarious to me just because I ADORE the name Celaeno which is "the dark" or "daughter of darkness."
Anglo-Saxon Meaning:
The name Megan is an Anglo-Saxon baby name. In Anglo-Saxon the meaning of the name Megan is: Strong and capable.
Oh man do I try to be.
SoulUrge Number: 6
People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated.
Okay, stable and loving family cool.  Work with others cool.  Be appreciated?  If appreciation happens, cool but I don't do what I do for appreciation.  I do it because I love to and I enjoy it.
Expression Number: 22
People with this name tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they touch. They are capable, charismatic leaders who often undertake large endeavors with great success. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become impractical and rigid.
Um, well.  That sounds about right there.  

According to the Kabalarian Philosophy:
Your first name of Megan gives you a responsible, systematic, and practical nature, able to excel in technical fields or as a teacher and you would also enjoy the practical arts.
 Wow, okay.  That's spot on.
Being methodical, you work best where you have the time to do a good job, although you can be too fussy at times finding it difficult to react spontaneously to new ideas from others.
 Not really.  I can roll with the last minute details.
You rebel at being rushed or put under pressure.
 HAH, no.  
That is when you can become somewhat inflexible.
 Nope nope.
You appreciate home and settled conditions and take on a lot of responsibility to ensure that your home life functions efficiently.
 I guess?
This name restricts the innate expression of an artistic, musical nature.
 Wait what?  No.  
A fondness for heavy, rich foods could, through overeating, cause you to suffer through intestinal and digestive troubles.
Are you talking about my love for butter and bacon?  I don't overeat...  ;-;
Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


CLL1 – The child will listen to conversations and demonstrate comprehension.
CLL1.4a Listens and responds on topic to conversations and group discussions for an extended period.

WSO: Gains meaning by listening. Follows rules for conversation.

Activities: Classroom discussions.  From large group to small group, make time to sit down with your students and discuss topics of interest or upcoming events.

Modeling.  Modeling can happen with you and your fellow teacher.  Give the students a buzzer to pass for them to buzz you if you interrupt or fail to follow conversation etiquette.

Puppets.  Instead of a puppet show, have a puppet talk.  Let your students create and carry a conversation for their puppets.

Telephone.  Pair students up and give each pair one telephone.  Just like we take turns in conversation without interrupting, they must wait until they have the phone to talk to their friend going back and forth in conversation.

Inferential storytelling.  Print, cut, and laminate some speech bubbles.  Using posters or photographs with two or more people in them, have your students dictate the possible conversation for you to write into the bubbles.

 Books: Are You My Mother?
Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord
Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward


CD-MA1 – The child will organize, represent and build knowledge of number and quantity.
CD-MA1.4a Recites numbers up to 20 in sequence.
WSO: Counts with understanding. 
Activities: Hopscotch. Have students to count as they hop from space to space.

Number Mascot.  This can be a fun game to use before dismissing students to centers or outside time or what-have-you.  You have an adorable monster poster on the wall (or cat or whatever mascot you'd like).  Before the kids can play, they must feed their number mascot with numbers.  You can start low at the beginning of the school year (1-5) and work your way up as your students begin to demonstrate competency.  When you reach your end number, the mascot (you and your students) can roar or meow or what-have-you as their cue to be dismissed.

Recipes.  Most classroom recipes that you are making with your students probably require stirring at some point.  But for how long should you stir it for?  Okay, we might actually know for how long but make it something that the kids can help out with.  "The recipe says that we have to stir it for twenty seconds.  Let's count it out; one, two, three...."  

Books: Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 by Bill Martin Jr.
Ants at a Picnic by Mary Margaret 
Let's Count Critters, 1-20 by Caolan Madden


CD-SC1 – The child will demonstrate scientific inquiry skills.
CD-SC1.4a Uses senses to observe, classify and learn about objects and environment.
WSO: Uses senses and simple tools to explore solutions to problems.
 Activities: Feel and Guess. (idea source) These items within the boxes can be changed to reflect your unit of learning.
Sensory Table. I did an entire posting about these.  
Feely Ballons. (idea source) While Feel and Guess utilized smell and touch, feely balloons can also include sound as students listen to how the objects within rub against each other.
Books: My Five Senses by Aliki
You Can't Taste a Pickle With Your Ear by Harriet Ziefert
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers


CD-SS1 – The child will demonstrate an understanding of his/her family and an emerging awareness of his/her own culture and ethnicity.
CD-SS1.4a Describes his/ her family structure and family roles.
WSO: Begins to understand family needs, roles, and relationships.
 Activities: Chore Chart. Work with students on writing out who helps do what chores in their households.
My Mother is A Baker.  This finger play can be song to reflect on family roles and eventually expanded upon to include comments and actions from students.
Housekeeping.  Having a house keeping area is an excellent place for students to demonstrate this skill through play.
Books: Get Out of Bed! By Robert Munsch
My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson
Our Granny! By Margaret Wild

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Working Song

Work isn't exactly the most pleasant experience for some people.  You drag yourself out of your comfortable bed and have to do things for people, many times without thanks or appreciation.
They say if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
This can be true but if you aren't in supportive work environment, you probably aren't seeing this.
Where I work now is probably the first supportive and positive work environment that I've been with since I worked with Hotlanta Wings ten years ago.
What was so wrong with my past environments?  I won't call out any employers in particular, I'll just say what the negatives were and we'll all move on.
One environment, the store mananger ended up being arrested for theft among other things.
One environment, refused to work around my academic schedule.
One environment, never paid me any attention and would mark me down for things other staff members did.
Seriously, one evaluation I was told that I should consider dressing up for my themes more often.  If you haven't seen what I wear for work, then you might not understand how STUPID of a comment that really was.

This is the first environment where people take notice of me, what I contribute, and what I do.  They take the time to thank me for my time and energy.
I know that I've signed in for a fairly thankless job.  My greatest paycheck is the smiles on the faces of my students.  That still gives no supervisor the right to take me for granted.  I am thankful every day to now be in the employment of people that value and appreciate my strengths.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The One Who Will Revolutionize the World

Last week's duel was between Arisugawa Juri and Tshuchiya Ruka.  Juri's never won a duel against Ruka, but something must have fueled her fire last week.   That or Ruka's illness was hindering him more than we now.  Or was it Ruka's love for Juri?  Blue petals were splayed into the cool autumn wind as Ruka failed to take a place in the tournament. 

Round 5, Duel 15:  
Arisugawa Juri versus Kaoru Kozue 

The powerful lion versus the sultry tiger.  Rapier versus épée.  The drive to disprove the power of miracles against keeping family close.  A student council duelists against a black rose duelist.  Who shall be the one to move forward to End of the World?


Arisugawa Juri versus Kaoru Kozue free polls 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sensory Tables

Sensory table, science table, feely table, sand and water table, sensory bin, sensory bucket.  The table might be called different things but it function the same.  This table allows for your child to experience sensorial play.  The two most common items put into these tables are.. sand and water.
There are MANY ideas of other items to put in the table, but I'm going to cover today what I like to put into the classroom sensory table and why.

Alphabet Noodles 
I like to start the school year with these. They're small enough to sift and pour while the letter shapes help set that back-to-school tone.

Instant Apple Oatmeal
This one often gets me odd looks but let me note: just put in the dry ingredients!  Do not cook it or add water or any of that.  I put this in during the month of September (Johnny Appleseed's birthday and all).  Not only is it fun to run your fingers through but it smells nice too.

I never buy mine.  I use really bold and pretty colors for the paperwork that my parents fill out for the classroom.  Our confetti is just the pretty paper from the shredder.  Yup, I shred the previous year's and then I let the kids destroy it even more!

This comes out in November.  Why?  Well, it doesn't come out alone...  It also gets dinosaurs in it!  The dinosaurs and sand come out to play in the sensory table!  Add some small rocks and you can get pictoral documentation of students exploring sand and rocks for WSO.

I love coffee and hot chocolate in the winter months.  This is another one that's not only fun to run your fingers through, but to smell as well.  Make sure that you're using ground coffee to allow for sifting and pouring.  If the smell of coffee bothers you, try the instant hot chocolate dry ingredients.

Soapy Water 
I like for this to be out in January.  A fresh and clean start to the new year.  You can still sift and pour but you can also add in bubble wands for extra fun!  Note: use tear-free baby shampoo.

Some nice soft-toned glitter with a touch of heart confetti in the mix make for a fun February tub to me!

Colored Rice 
Believe it or not, people PAY for this.  Companies sell this rice for six to ten dollars a pound!  There are tutorials all over the internet for making this yourself.  A fun springtime treat in March.

Not to be confused with dirt.  Soil is more moist to the touch.  Dirt is dry which means it will carry around in the air and coat your classroom in what looks like a brown layer of dust.

Last month of school.  We're almost to summer.  Let's get out and go!


An aerator and some nets, these can be quite fun for a week or two.  

Grass Seeds 
With a spray bottle of water by the table, these will actually start sprouting after a week or so! 

Deer Corn
Why does deer corn beat over regular corn in the sensory table?  These are LARGER which means easier on the clean up.

Ideas That Fail
Cornstarch and water.  It is a PAIN to get out of a regular container, why would you fill a whole table full?  Not to mention that it actually starts to smell after a couple of days.

Hair Gel
Maybe it was because the heater was on because I tried this during the winter months but it kept drying out.  Plus sticky residue yuck.  

Marbles, Buttons, or Googly Eyes
I don't do them but that might have to do with I don't like the idea of giving any extra access to things that can be stuffed into noses and ears than I already have to.

Shaving Cream
You seriously have to replenish it every day.  It dries out not too long after you stop playing with it.

Scrap Paper
With scissors.  Because there's always that ONE kid...

 Check out Growing a Jeweled Rose for many more ideas.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Writing Prompt: Your Town

The One-Minute Writer

As many of you know, I was not originally from here.  Both of my parents were military giving me the access to living and visiting various towns and cities.  We'd live in places for a year to three years depending.  My mother's father was military so she had moved around during her childhood as well.  Her father retired in Warner Robins and she entered the military moving away from it.  She opted for the duty station of Warner Robins to return back to her mother.
Once we reached Warner Robins, my brother was just finished elementary school and I was at the end of middle school preparing to enter high school.  Our mother approached us one night and asked our opinion of a matter.  She had two options; to retire and stay in Warner Robins or to keep going and we move again.
My brother and I had moved so much during our upbringing that the idea of staying in one place enticed us. So my mother retired and we have stayed in Warner Robins since then.

But now I'm grown, what keeps me here?  My husband.
My husband is VERY attached to his family.  Any time that I bring up the idea of moving elsewhere, that's his number one reason to stay.  He doesn't want to be far from his family.
I don't talk about moving out of state or anything either so it isn't as though we'd be that terribly far from his family if we did.
I guess Warner Robins it is then.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Attack of the GELDS

This year has presented a new and exciting way to code lessons for pre-k in the state of Georgia.  GELDS.
Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards.
These standards are built to help pre-k to align better with Common Core standards utilized in grades K-12 by giving standards of learning to infants through pre-kindergarten.
The GELDS have been posted up for viewing along with webinars explaining them in full detail long before the start of this school year.  
Starting next week, I'm going to start going through these new standards bit by bit.  We'll look at activities, books, and other ways to reflect the GELDS in the classroom setting.  We'll also take a look at how they correlate to the WSO checklist indicators.
I'm so excited to travel the GELDS with you all!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christmas Made in the South

I cannot believe how many of my friends don't know anything about this event.
Chances are, you're asking yourself what a Christmas Made in the South is.
Christmas Made in the South is an event that travels from North Carolina to Florida selling ALL KINDS of wondrous items.
What kinds of wondrous items you ask?
Want some adorable hair bows for your adorable niece?  They've got booths for that.
Want marinades and sauces that taste better than anything?  They've got booths for that.
Want some dips, soups, or pie mixes?  They've got booths for that.
Want to take a chance at winning the coolest playhouse you've ever seen in your life?  There's a raffle for that.
Want something handcrafted from wood?  They've got booths for that.
Can't figure out what to get your husband or father-in-law for Christmas?  They've got booths for that.
Need to replenish your supply of local honey?  They've got booths for that.
AND MORE!  So much more....
Seriously, this event is over thirty years old.  How do you people not know about this?
This is where Santa shops for most of the items in my Christmas stocking.
Visit the website for a coupon towards admission and the event tour schedule.

Monday, November 4, 2013

12 Games for Learning Letters

1. Letter Bingo - the important thing with this game is to verbally announce each letter as you hold it up.  This helps children to identify the letters instead of simply finding items that match the letter you hold.
2. Letters Wars - this requires that your class/home alphabet chart be within children's reach.  Have two children at the starting point.  When you call out a letter, children run from their point to hit their hand against the letter called.
3. Letter Scavenger Hunt - found here.  Cutting the edge of a paper plate into slits, write a letter on each slit.  Children can walk around and fold down letters when they find them in their environment.
4. Little Red Box - source Dr. Jean. This song works best to help with letter identification when accompanied with letter props to show students the letters as you identify them.
5. There Was An Old Lady - there was an old lady who swallowed some letters!  
6. Password - I use my daily password at the water fountain to prevent students from storing water in their mouths to spray out back in the classroom.  I would have a letter on a dry erase board that students would identify to me before returning to the classroom or echo the name of the letter back to me.
7. Environmental Word Wall - there are many ideas of how to do these throughout the Internet but sorting company logos by the beginning letter connected with the individual letter is a great connection for young children.
8. Pull and Stamp - put letter card or magnet letters into a container. Children can take turns pulling out a letter before stamping it out on their paper (be sure to name the letters as they pull them).
9. Race to the Top  - (Pre-Kinders) roll the dice that has had number replaced with letters, stamp the letter that lands face up.  Each child takes turns around the table as you work as a group racing up the chart.  
10. Natural Letters - you can use more than letter tiles and magnet letters.  Soft-faced stones can have letters marked on them for child manipulation, thin cuts of wood marked with letters, acorns, seashells, fabric scraps, and more!
11. Letter Jump - this can be laid out like hopscotch or just having letters scattered around the floor.  Hold up a letter and identify it so that the children can jump to the matching letter.
12. Alliteration - this is identifying the sound a word starts with. /a/ /a/ alligator
We'll dive more into alliteration later. :)

"Introducing children to the alphabet IS important but the way in which we do it is just as important."
-Kara Hill
Kara Hill is an amazing Best Practices trainer that Georgia Pre-K teachers get the opportunity of working with.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Azure Paler Than The Blue Sky

Last week's duel was between Kunihiko Ikuhara and Kaoru Kozue.  We won't talk about by what means exactly Kozue through Ikuhara off his guard...  The bells toll as the duel concluded as Kunihiko Ikuhara fails to move to Round 4. 

Round 4, Duel 14:

We interrupt the previously scheduled duel to bring you another new opponent to the circuit!   
Arisugawa Juri versus Tsuchiya Ruka  

Our fencing club captain champion is facing off against the fencing club captain?!  That's right, Ruka is the real club captain while Juri is only acting captain while Ruka has been out on sick leave.  Will Ruka's illness give Juri the advantage?  Or will his superior abilities earn him the win?  Who will move on to Round 5?