At this time, I make every attempt possible to reply to all comments personally through email. Some browsers, however, may place my reply in your spam folder, so please check there first if you haven't heard back from me. Otherwise, you may contact me at the link below.
............comment #47 (I used random number generator) from Shondell Woods. Shondell, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail address and I'll get a pair of pumpkin cups in the mail to you. Thanks to everyone for commenting!
...........is how I feel after reading all your kind comments on my 500th post. Thank you so much for your continued readership. The thing I find most ironic is that 99% of the comments I receive are from people I don't even know, when one of the reasons I started the blog is to communicate with the parents of the children I teach. It is really fun to hear from people all over the world every day. It makes the world feel smaller. However, for those of you who know me in RL (real life), it would be really, really nice to hear from you once in a while as well.
I will figure out the pumpkin cup winner really soon. I promise. I just got a new laptop computer yesterday. YAY! I've been spending some time figuring it out and have several more things on the to-do list before bed tonight. Keep bugging me if I don't post a winner in the next few days. Seriously.
Thanks again for all your comments. I really loved reading about what you'd like to see more of on the blog. Several of you asked to see more photos of my classroom in general so I took a bunch of photos tonight. Expect that post sometime in the near future.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday, Sept. 26th) I am going to speak at both services at my home church about Compassion International. I am not nervous about it. In fact, I enjoy public speaking. (I know, that's kind of odd!) However, as I was thinking about sharing my passion for Compassion I realized that in this little corner of the blogosphere I have a pretty good-sized audience to reach out to as well. (I just checked my stats and saw that I have between 2000-3000 page views a day!) So I've decided to open up a little more about my personal life and share with you about my experience with Compassion.
My family has sponsored a little boy in Honduras named Fernando for about a year now. It all started when my husband and I saw a Natalie Grant and Jeremy Camp concert last fall. I distinctly remember not feeling well during the concert........I was starting to come down with something. In fact, I think I may have been feverish. Anyway, during the break I snuck downstairs and headed straight for the Compassion table. I had been toying with the idea of sponsoring a child for several years and decided that I would just do it. We had gone to a MercyMe concert a few years before and thought about sponsoring a child through Compassion but felt we couldn't afford to do it at the time. I knew that our finances were not a whole lot better in terms of having more resources, but I just felt compelled to take the plunge. The cost is $38 per month. In no way are we affluent people. I am a preschool teacher in a private setting and my husband is a college professor. We drive used vehicles. My van has rust on the bottom of it and over 108,000 miles. I buy a lot of my clothes at Goodwill. Still, I can assure you that we do not miss the $38 per month. AT. ALL.
I chose Fernando's packet from the table because he is roughly the same age as my oldest son. We received a photo of him with some information about his living situation. To date we have received four letters from Fernando and just today I opened the mailbox to find an updated photo of him. We pray for him and his family and write letters to him. We will sponsor him until he reaches adulthood. And maybe someday we'll get to meet him. For now, we think of him as a part of our family. We feel blessed to have a "son" and "brother" somewhere else in the world. We are making a personal connection with him through our correspondence and his life and that of his family is better because of our sponsorship.
If you have any interest whatsoever in sponsoring a child through Compassion, I encourage you to click through the link in this post or to click on the link I've added to the right sidebar of the blog. You CAN make the difference in a child's life. And in return, your life will be changed.
I'll be honest. There are moments in this job where I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass. Working with little people can be overwhelming at times........especially when there are 20 little ones and 2 adults and it seems like 19 of them are saying "Miss Laura......." simultaneously. It can be tiring to continually remind them of our group time behavior. It requires infinite patience when someone raises their hand to tell an unrelated "story" in response to a question I pose. However, these moments of craziness are few and far between, truly. Most of our days together in the classroom are busy, productive, fun, and wonderful. We laugh together, sing together, learn together and discover together. And it is so purposeful and engaging that the time really flies. Before we know it, it's time to go home. I could write a VERY LONG post about all the reasons I love my job as well as the many reasons I love preschoolers.
Instead, I'll just show you a little something that was personally delivered to me this morning. Delivered, I must point out, by a little guy who doesn't even attend school on Friday mornings. Still, he was insistent that his daddy bring him to school to give something very important to Miss Laura "right now." His daddy kindly indulged him and they knocked on my door a few minutes before our morning session was set to begin. I had my back to the door, but turned when I heard them enter. My little student presented me with the envelope shown below.
I turned it over to find that it had been sealed with a very cool piece of double-stick foam tape.
I unfastened the tape to find this beautiful chocolate-colored leaf. He wanted to bring it to me because he knows we will begin our study of trees soon. :-)
I'm not trying to overly emphasize the importance of this particular incident. However, I am choosing to write about it here because it illustrates the beautiful little gestures that are bestowed upon me so frequently and generously during my days at school. Could anyone ask for a more fulfilling job?
PS: I'm going to try Mod-Podging the leaf this weekend to preserve it until our study of trees. I haven't tried that technique before, but it's supposed to work really well.
This week I put out an egg coloring project on my art shelf. It is similar to the textured turkey we did in November. I had a large egg pattern and drew some stripes and squiggles with a Sharpie marker. HERE is a link to a similar sized egg pattern. Then I made a bunch of copies on regular copy paper. I placed these on a tray next to a tray of textured rubbing plates. Next to that I placed two baskets of crayon rocks. You can see the set-up in the photo below.
To do this work the child takes an egg paper along with the tray of rubbing plates and a basket of crayons. They choose a rubbing plate and place it bumpy-side up on the table. The egg paper is placed on top and they rub with a crayon to fill in a section of the egg. They can switch colors and textures as they wish. Most children are choosing to cut out their eggs when finished. I love the simplicity of this project. I love that many children who typically avoid paper projects are drawn to this because they can easily be successful. The action of rubbing the crayon rocks across a paper with a textured plate under it provides a lot of sensory input and is wonderful for developing finger strength and dexterity. The large, simple shape of the egg is also great for cutting because it gives functional cutting practice and results in a beautiful finished project. Here are a few samples from the many that have been going home this week.
Since I have not been able to figure out how to link to Word documents on Blogger I am embedding the links for the Random Acts of Reading labels over here at Typepad. If you are interested in participating in Random Acts of Reading and want to do it through my Random Acts of Reading blog so your book drops can count toward the 2010 total, please print off these labels and attach one of each to your book packs. I usually put clear packing tape over the labels so they are more weather-resistant. These documents are formatted for 2X4 inch shipping labels (Avery #8163).
NOTE: The "Congratulations" labels say: Congratulations!! You have just found a book pack from Random Acts of Reading. Please share your discovery with a child and enjoy the wonder of reading together. For more information check out our website: www.ourrandomactsofreading.blogspot.com
I got some great items at my local thrift store today. Pretty much everything I bought will end up on the shelves in my classroom soon. You can find out more by reading this post on my other blog. Oh, and don't be alarmed by the title of the post.........nothing x-rated on either of these blogs. :0)
Hello! I'm still here. This has just been a really busy week. I am posting a little trail game I made for two children to play. I actually had this from my previous Montessori teaching gig and just pulled it out. Below you can see how I've set this up on a tray: gameboard, bowl with game markers and die (marked with 1-3 since the trail is short), two pots to hold the gold, a container for the gold coins.
Below you can really see the gameboard close-up. I just made it with stickers stuck to copy paper and then matted onto green construction paper and laminated. This time when I pulled the game out and observed some of my students playing it, I realized that they were having a hard time visually interpreting the path made by the shamrock and coin stickers. So I used a black Sharpie marker to draw black lines between the spaces. This helps them visually perceive which direction the path is going from start to finish.
To play, each child gets an empty black pot and a game marker. I used clown erasers which I thought loosely resembled leprechauns. They place the game markers on start and take turns rolling the die to determine how many spaces to move. If they land on a gold coin space on an exact roll, they get to take a gold coin and place it in their pot. I told them they could play until one player or both players reached the finish. Then they count up their coins to determine who collected the most. My assistant and I modelled this game in front of the whole group. Each time, my assistant accumulated many more gold coins than I did. This provided a good opportunity to talk about good sportsmanship and how to handle it if you don't collect the most or finish first. We talked about playing for enjoyment more than winning.
The photos below show a close-up of the gameboard and one of the pots of gold.
I really like having these types of games available in the classroom. Many times two friends want to work together and need activities that facilitate this. There is so much to be learned from a simple trail game: counting, one-to-one correspondence as they move their game pieces, turn taking, and good sportsmanship.
I was humbled and excited to check my inbox this morning and see that Arwen of Sporschool had nominated me for the Kreative Blogger award.
I am supposed to list 6 things that inspire my creativity. That's kind of hard, actually, but I'll give it a shot:
First is definitely other bloggers. I am continally amazed and inspired by what others are doing in their classrooms and homes. And I'm so grateful that they share with the world through the internet. Second would be browsing in thrift stores. I love to find unique items and design activities for children around them. Third, taking a shower. Really! Many of my ideas are solidifed in my mind while I take a shower. Maybe it's the only quiet, reflective time in my day. I probably take unecessarily long showers as a result. Fourth, my sewing projects in particular are inspired by my many relatives who create or who did create things with their hands. Fifth, when I have time, I love to browse Etsy for a glimpse of what others are doing and creating. And finally, sixth, I have a very strong inner motivation to create things. I am sure that the credit for this goes to God, the ultimate Creator.
Now I have to nominate 6 other blogs that inspire me. That is so hard to narrow down too. Many of the ones I love have already been nominated by others. So to share the love, I'll try to nominate ones I haven't seen nominated elsewhere for this award.
Hi, all! I am officially on winter break. We were supposed to have the AM preschool session tomorrow morning, but are in the midst of a big ice/snowstorm so school has been cancelled for tomorrow. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting less often on this blog. Don't worry........lots of new Montessori-related posts to come in the new year.
In the meantime, I will be posting probably just about every day over at my new blog, A Day of Wonders. So come on over and visit me there!
I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing holiday (if you have a holiday!!) and I'll "see" you soon.
Oh, and before I forget, one of my greatest blessings in 2008 has been starting this blog and hearing from my readers all over the world almost every day. I read every comment and treasure them dearly. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement. Seriously.
Random Acts of Reading Head over here to read about my goal of gifting 2,010 books in 2010. I'd love to have your help!!
A Day of Wonders I have started a new blog which will focus more on things I am doing with my boys at home as well as random thoughts and wonderings. So, consider yourself officially invited to come check it out!!
Links to Good Stuff
Michael Olaf This is a great company with fantastic products. Their catalogs provide a wealth of great information for parents and teachers of young children.
Kidssoup A great website with lots of preschool crafts and activities. (Must have a membership to access most materials and downloads.)
HearthSong GREAT selection of fantastic toys. This is one of my favorite places to order gifts for children.
Chinaberry A great selection of really awesome books to share with children along with MUCH more.
A Toy Garden Really nice, high quality wooden and natural toys. Very unique selection.
Montessori for Everyone Great resource for printed materials in downloadable format. Lori has a great blog too with lots of good articles about Montessori education.
Alison's Montessori Pretty much anything you need to equip a Montessori classroom at GREAT PRICES and great QUALITY TOO!
Montessori Services One of my favorite places to buy things for my classroom use. LOTS of great stuff for practical life exercises and MUCH MORE.
Callie's Corner This site has great toys and activities for use in classrooms and at home.