Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2013 did not go as planned. At the beginning of the year I fully expected to still be a teacher at the end of it. That’s not how the year worked out, and I’ve spent the last six months trying to figure out this new identity. Stay at home mom? Work at home mom? Temporarily at home mom?

The truth is that I have no idea what 2014 will look like, at least not professionally. I’m pretty sure my home life will still be as warm and fulfilling, and my friends and family will still be amazing. I hope it will be full of creativity and new knowledge. I hope I try lots of things and don’t completely fail at them all.


It’s Summer, Alright!

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

I loved today. Such a great summer day, and a great unwind after some stressful work times. Tuesday is my last day of work, so I’ve been closing up the library, saying my goodbyes, packing up and hauling home all of my personal work stuff. That has occupied a lot of my thoughts the past week, so today was a really nice respite. At this point I am mentally done and gone, I just need the days to physically end.

Hannah had her last Saturday morning baby swim class today (it is as adorable and fun as it sounds). Then we stopped at a flea market (meh), and she had a giant nap at the nail salon while I got a mani/pedi. She woke up and played with my phone, staring lovingly at a picture of my mom and then holding the phone to her ear to try and talk to her (she was a HUGE hit with all the ladies). We swung home to pick up Adam, headed to Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar for lunch, checked out the rebuilt boardwalk, and made a detour to Battleview Orchards on the way home for the very first day of sour cherry season. Score! My family’s coming over tomorrow so Adam can try out his new grill, I might make a pie.

Dr. Seuss Day!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Saturday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and last Friday was Read Across America at school. I made paper bag Cat in the Hat hats with all the K, 1, and 2 classes during the week. I worked with the PTA president to put together some fun prizes for a Dr. Seuss door decorating contest. I sent out Dr. Seuss trivia all week. It was a great week for books, and it was also the first time in my current district that I’ve tried working on school-wide programming for Read Across America. Last year I was on maternity leave by now, and the year before that it seemed like teachers really did their own thing. So I haven’t been in the spirit since my last big program 3 years ago. It was great.

I brought back the paper bag hats this year in all of my K, 1, and 2 classes throughout the week.

I do love these hats. It was also Pajama Day.

I ended up with smaller bags than past years, but I improvised.

The teachers got pretty into the door decorating contest, too. This is the door that one for 4th grade.

I did a Dr. Seuss bulletin board for March, but I went very minimal.  There were so many cool doors and decorations all over the school that I just wanted some simple, colorful quotes in a Dr. Seuss font I downloaded.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the (School) Year

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I love this time of year at school. Every year during the short Thanksgiving week I have the 3rd and 4th graders help me change The Library Tree from fall to winter. It’s a small thing, but I love those rituals.

I’m also really getting into the change in direction with my back bulletin board and display. That area was completely ignored during the reign of my “Spotlight On” boards, but I’m definitely getting more foot traffic now with September and October’s boards. And I’m kind of in love with my December board, too.

I live for doing bulletin boards, no matter how simple. Some of my coworkers roll their eyes at me when I tell them this, but I need to put my fancy art degree to good use somewhere.

I also love this time because it kind of just works out that the space between Thanksgiving and winter break is when I do some of my favorite activities with my classes. Last year everything was moved earlier to squeeze it in before my maternity leave began in March, and I didn’t get that same thrill. So this week I’m kind of remembering how much I really do love December (and late November) in the library.

Here’s an example: I’m set to start Hugo Cabret on Monday with all the 3rd grade classes, it will be the 5th year that I’ve taught this book. But I’ll be at a workshop next Thursday, so I decided at the last minute to start it today with my Thursday 3rd graders. I wasn’t in the best mood this morning; it’s been a long week. But the second I launched into my annual Introduction to the Awesome of Brian Selznick, I immediately felt content and almost teary-eyed as I looked at another class of gobsmacked third graders fill up with wonder as they get ready to take that ride with me. That book never lets me down, and my day was pretty awesome after that.

This week the kindergarten classes all started our Laura Numeroff circle stories unit. Yes, it is technically “circular stories”, but you try getting 60+ kindergartners to say that over and over again, week after week. I do, by the way, have first and second graders who still bounce into the library to tell me about “circle stories” they’ve read that are just like the ones from kindergarten. That is rad, so I’m not changing it. Anyway, we’ve read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to School this week. We start slow, but since we need a week to be authors and another week to be illustrators, I have to decide if I want this unit to continue into January. We usually start this unit the week after Halloween, but…that obviously didn’t happen this year. So I have to decide, ending it before winter break is so tidy and wonderful.

I also moved the first grade Wordless Stories unit to December this year. We’ll start fresh in January with Clementine, but I kind of couldn’t wait any longer to read The Adventures of Polo with them. Again, it just felt like the right time of year to do it.

The second graders are reading The Velveteen Rabbit this week and next! One of my favorite stories all year, and that will segue into the first chapters of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane before break.

And then, finally, my 4th grade classes are still working their way through Wonder and absolutely loving it. The storm definitely threw off my timing, so I will have to start looking at chapters to trim from the reading. But we’ve now all finished the “Choose Kind” chapter and had our big talk about that theme. Again, such a great time of year to be doing it.

I love this time of year at school.

Halloween Bulletin Board

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

I have not even had a chance to finish my Halloween decorating at work, but I did get this bulletin board done last Friday. I’m in love with it. I love doing bulletin boards, but the past couple of years I hadn’t really had time to organize myself beyond my beloved library tree. This year is different. I love my Blast Off With Books board (a program that’s turning into a big hit, by the way). I still love my library tree. And now this back of the room board I’ll change up frequently.

I kept up the white background paper I’d used for my gold medal-themed September board. I used my roll of brown kraft paper to cut out some cave-like ridges and lay it over the white background. Then I cut out the bats using a template I found online, used 2 pieces of red construction paper for the vampire’s cape, 1 piece of black paper to give him a turtleneck (I didn’t bother with arms or anything). I drew his face on a circle of pale white paper, and I cut out a black hairdo to match. The school die cut machine and some red construction paper gave me the letters, and voila!

Love. It.