Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Celebration: Labor Day Weekend in Auburn

I love my hometown every day, but especially during the Labor Day weekend. That is when the streets come alive again with the cars that were built here years ago...the Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs! The whole weekend is filled with activity starting with a Cruise-in on Friday night. All kinds of cars are parked around the courthouse square and people from all over walk around looking at the those cars. There is also music and ice cream! Then on Saturday afternoon the classic cars travel the streets of the city. That's where we were today.
Chairs in the back of the truck!
It started early this morning when we drove our truck to a street corner and parked it close to the intersection. We then took off for our 5-mile run of the day and made it back home. Later, we stopped at Subway and grabbed a couple sandwiches and went to our truck. We sat up the chairs and were ready for the action.
Auburn Community band members
As we were eating and waiting for the parade, the Auburn Community band had a few of the members walk through the parade route and entertain. It made the hot wait more enjoyable.
ACD Club members from around the world drive their magnificent classic cars through Auburn streets. After the parade the cars are parked around the Courthouse Square. We sat in the truck bed and watched as these cars slowly made their way by us.
This is a highlight of the weekend for us. Sunday brings the annual arts and crafts show to downtown Auburn. This will be the 35th year and it just keeps getting bigger and better. One of the most important things of the weekend is the Auctions America Auburn Fall Collector weekend. It takes place at the Auburn Auction Park Thursday - Sunday. Cars of all kinds are on the auction block. This year they have added lots of entertainment, celebrities, and things for the kids.

If you have never been to Auburn for Labor Day, you might want to put that on your bucket list of things to do! Come on over and get a close-up view of the cars and chat with the owners!  Celebrate Auburn! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Building Community Through Accountable Talk

School is now in session in all of our local schools. Teachers all over are starting to bond with their new students. They are building community. It is said, if teachers spend the first few weeks of the year on community and procedures, the rest of the year will progress with ease.  I always found that to be true. It was hard to do that when we had to get ready for state testing in the first few weeks of the year. That is no longer the case. So, building community is a priority for a successful school year.  One way to work on community is to start right away with teaching children about accountable talk.

An easy way to do that is to use Bounce Cards. These cards help students to know how to respond to a classmate during read alouds or book clubs. There are three sets of cards: Bounce, Sum it up, Inquire. Each of these topics are approaches to responding to peers comments.

Bounce: students take what their peers say and bounce an idea off of it. ( "That reminds me of..."; "I agree, because...";"That's a great point..."
Sum it up: students rephrase what their peers say and comment on certain parts. ("I hear you saying that..." ; "So, if I understand you correctly..." ; "I like how you said...")
Inquire: students ask a question regarding what their peers say. ("Can you tell me more about that?" ; "I'm not sure I understand..." ; "Have you thought about...")

The cards would need to be introduced individually and with lots of modeling. The conversations won't sound natural at first, but the goal is to get so comfortable with bouncing ideas off of each other that they will be able to do so without any prompts.

It would help to create a large chart paper model of the Bounce Card so students can refer to the chart without needing to take out their Bounce Cards.  Hopefully, these ideas will help teachers as they begin their community in their classrooms.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday:Building a Community Through Books

One of the most important things a teacher needs to do in those first few days of school is to create a community. The classroom needs to be a place where the students feel safe. It needs to be a place where students can take a risk and know they will not be laughed at or ridiculed. When a child enters the classroom, he needs to know they he has joined a family of learners.

A way to build that community is through Read Alouds. Every year as a district coach, I would receive an email or phone call from the fourth or fifth grade teachers in one of the elementary schools  I worked in. The call would be asking if these teachers could borrow my "community" books. I would pack them up in a box or basket and head over to deliver them personally. There was just something about actually seeing the children who would be interacting with these books.

Now that I am retired that phone call never comes. I still have those books in one of my baskets here in my "space" at home.  Here are a few of my favorites and why they were picked to go in this beginning-of-the-year basket!

  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes: I always started my second grade year with this book. It was a way to show students that everyone is special and names are important. We then would do a study on where our names came from and where our parents got our name.
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud: what a wonderful book on helping children to look outside themselves and think of others.
  • Don't Laugh at Me by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin: this actually is a song. It again helps children to treat others as they would want to be treated.
  • Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna: This is an old story retold, but with a wonderful message everyone needs to be reminded of again and again. Be careful what you say, you can never get those words back.
  • Wolf! by Becky Bloom: This is a great book to show the power of reading. A great one to start off your independent reading time!
  • The Conversation Club by Diane Stanley: with the common core state standards emphasising the art of conversation, this book is a perfect way to kick off discussion about talking!

The last one I recommend for everyone. I used it many times in professional development as well as classrooms. Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee. As you begin your new year, don't be afraid to take those first few steps. Yes, you may fall down, but get right back up and keep walking!

Let me know how your community of readers and writers is doing!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Celebration Saturday:Summer Dialogue

Summer is the time to celebrate time spent with grand kids.  We recently went to two of our grand kids' t-ball games. They did a great job. (Naturally!) But what was the most entertaining was listening to their coaches. I must admit being a retired elementary teacher gives me a little more interest in this than most adults would have, but it was really entertaining! I'll share a few pictures of our kids along with coaching random statements.
Coach: Hurry, Hurry, Hurry! Run on to third base!  Oh, sorry, they got you out!
Coach:  Good job!  Give me a high five! Oh, but you are out!  Sorry!
Coach:  Hey, Sammie, dump that dirt our of your mitt right now! Don't play in the dirt, watch
Here are some phrases Kaelyn (2 years old) was using last weekend.
As we walked ahead of her, she just took her time and was in her own little world.
Kaelyn:  I commin'   I commin' !
Gramma:  What do you say to that person for giving you the cupcake, Kaelyn?
Kaelyn:   Welcome!

Kids really DO say the darnedest things!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Sleep-over at Gramma and Grandpa's House

Last week we had our first sleep over with Graham and Kaelyn. It was so much fun doing things with them on Thursday night and all day on Friday.
On Thursday night they had a fun time taking a bath. There was body soap of various colors. And there was bath tub toys.  We couldn't forget the bubble bath, so there was lots of bubbles!

The next morning they helped Gramma water all of her flowers. Graham even carried one of the sprinkling cans. They each got to pick one of the blooms on the petunias.
Next, it was time to feed the birds. We went to the garage and got a scoop of bird food. Gramma filled the high feeders and Graham filled the low one.  After we went back inside the birds came to eat and we watched them.

Of course, we had to have reading time. Each of them picked a book to read alone and then we all gathered on Great Grandma's rocker and Gramma read to them.
Saturday was Kaelyn's second birthday. Grandma Penny came with them and we swam and had ice cream birthday cake. What a fun weekend for kids and grand parents!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Party Time

 On Sunday we had the combined parties for three of the grand kids. Kiann: 16, Graham 4 and Kaelyn 2.  The party was at a local splash pad.  It was beside a river, but we stayed at the splash pad where there was also  rocks with running water; and a play area. That along with our special picnic area made it the perfect place for a party. The weather was beautiful and everyone had a good time!There were several different kinds of cupcakes. Each of the birthday kids got a cupcake with their age number on it. What fun!

Graham, Kaelyn and Kiann each got their own cupcake
After everyone sing "Happy Birthday" they got cupcakes, too.  The chocolate and vamilla cupcakes were great!

Kaelyn  with frosting all over!

After the eating, it was time to play. It was fun to watch the kids in the rock area as they made their way around the VERY cold water.

Audrey walking the rocks around the water.
All the grown ups were afraid the kids would slip and fall.  It never bothered the kids at all. What a great time!

Mallory walking in the rock water
 For awhile the girls decided they would gather the smaller rocks and make a collection.
Audrey with a large rock for the collection!
 After the party, Graham told his mom, "This was the best park ever!"  Hopefully, we will be having more parties at this terrific spot!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Celebration Saturday: Grand Kids' Birthdays

This week was one of great celebrations.  We are celebrating four of our grand children's birthdays.  They range from 19 to two years old. Having the birthdays close together made for special times.

Starting with the oldest: Ty at 19.  Can't believe how fast the time has gone. He graduated from high school this spring and now is working full time. We enjoyed watching him grow up through the years. Such a sweet, kind, handsome boy!

Next, came four year old Graham.  He is so funny and outgoing. He loves everyone and likes to talk. (Wonder where he got that?)  We love to talk to him and hear his funny expressions.  Such a fun-loving boy!

Kiann turned 16 this week.  We have a tradition of taking them out for supper when they turn 16...they get to pick the spot and then go shopping to pick out their gift. This time Kiann picked Red Robin and then looked at shoes for school, but decided to take the money and pool it with his other gift money and get the shoes later.  Smart kid!

Next, is our youngest grand child.  Kaelyn turns two next week, but we celebrate it this week. She is a very active little girl.  She thinks she can do anything her big brothers can do. She's not afraid to try anything. What a girl!

Happy Birthday, to all four kids.  We are so blessed!!!1