Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: It's Halloween Again

Halloween is such a fun holiday. It takes imagination to come up with costumes and even decorate the house! We started a tradition a few years ago and we just keep adding to it. We are so lucky to have our grand kids close to us, so we travel from house to house to see their costumes, take pictures and deliver goody bags! The pictures turn into photo books to keep as memories of the years. It is a great way to see how much they grow and change! Here's a peek of our memories over the last couple years!
Audrey and Mallory are Strawberry Shortcake and a Strawberry

Audrey as Snow White and Mallory as a dwarf
Audrey and Mallory always dress as a "couple". It is fun to see what they are going to be each year.
This was Kaelyn's first Halloween. Graham was a pumpkin

Last year Kaelyn was a flower and Graham was a doctor
Graham wanted to be a doctor after he got this outfit for his birthday. He said, "I'm Dr. Garman!"
Meron as a witch, Shelby as a clown and Bam is a pumpkin

Shelby was Thing 1, Meron was a cheerleader, Bam as Mr. T and Lane as himself
The creativity in costumes is amazing. It is interesting to see how the older kids start fading away and just want to pass out the candy. Still we love seeing them and they don't refuse the goody bags we bring them!

This year we are going to dress up as we visit them! Can't wait to see their faces!
What are your Halloween memories? 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Saturday Celebration: Visiting the Writers

Last week I was able to visit a new classroom. Being in this 5th grade classroom was a double blessing. First of all, I got to work again with a really talented teacher friend and also work with some amazing young writers.
I had been planning on visiting their writers' workshop and finally it was the right time. Before the teacher had a chance to introduce me, the students were raising their hands and giving opinions of who I was and why I was there. One of the guesses was: She's an author! Well, maybe that's true, but not a published one like they were thinking. Finally, the teacher told them that I was there to help them with their writing and to help her with her teaching of writing. The children were very impressed! Really, they were!

They were beginning work on nonfiction picture books. They had already decided on a topic. They chose a topic that they were experts at, things they could teach others. I was able to talk to three of the children. Vernon was working on a book about football. But this book was to help younger players understand what type of gear they would need. After talking for a few minutes, I was impressed with what an expert he was. We did look at his subtitles and combined several of them so he would have enough to write for each one.

Next, I talked to Montana. She was writing about making cakes. Again, we decided it would help if she combined some subtitles. Instead of one for eggs, one for mixing and one for frosting, we figured out how she could combine all of those into the actual mixing the cake. She came up with four different subtitles. Last was Terra. Terra was writing about taking care of babies. It seems she is an awesome aunt, so she knows a lot about babies. Again, we talked about how to combine sub topics.

Since these three students all had the same issue, I talked to the teacher about how that would be a perfect minilesson for the next day. I can't wait to go back to this room and see how these books are developing!
Soon it was time for the students to get ready to go home. I promised them I would come back several times this year. As I was gathering up my things, Terra came up to me and handed me this note. She said, "Thanks for helping me. You are really smart about writing, just like my teacher said."  See why I can't wait to get back there?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Narrative Writing

 Last week I visited a third grade classroom in a nearby school district. This was my first visit of the year. When I got there the children were working on their narrative writing. I was able to talk to four students about what they were writing.  All of them were doing stories about things that had happened to them.  I called them Edge of Your Seat stories because when I read them, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.
Brandon was writing about a time he was in a storm. Amrie wrote about when she got a bee sting. Nicholas was telling a story about when he had a bike wreck and Gianni wrote about a time he was sick and had to miss a Christmas party.  All of these things are common among third graders, but they all were exciting. The beginning of the stories all had great hooks. You could tell they had been working on that.  They also had good endings. I felt satisfied when I finished reading each one.

Now the middle of the stories was another thing. This is so common with young writers. A couple of the stories went on and on and on. For example, Brandon told about what he was doing before the storm, during the storm and several days after the storm. When I talked to him we found the hot spot in the story...when the actual storm came...and focused on that. He slowed down the story and added what he was thinking and saying to his brother. He ended the story with going to bed with the candles still lit in his room.

Amrie had included several bee sting stories. She was trying to get the reader to know all about her experiences with bee stings. After talking to her, she decided to just focus on one bee sting adventure in this story and keep the other time for another story. Nicholas could close his eyes and picture the whole adventure of when the car hit him on the bike. He again slowed down the action and added his thoughts and conversation to his story.
This was the first time these children had worked on narrative this year. They were doing amazing things. As they published their pieces, the teacher and I discussed where she would go in a few months when she hit this genre again. I really like the idea of coming back to genres throughout the year. I know these children will take what they learned in this unit of study and apply it to their next visit.  Can't wait to see how they grow as writers this year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Slice of Life Tuesday: Fall is Here

 The signs of fall in northern Indiana are at their peek right now. The neighborhood has turned into a blaze of color! When we visited Florida a few weeks ago, one of the people we talked to was going on and on about what the Midwest was like in the fall.  Today, I want to share some of what I see every day along with a special playdate with my four-year-old grandson.
When I look north from my front porch, I see the beautiful autumn trees in my neighbor's yard. How could I not snap a picture of that?
We always take a trip to a local farm to get pumpkins and corn stalks to add to our front yard. This is our way of saying Welcome Fall!
Every year I also snap a picture of Dave, our golden retriever with the fall decorations. He just seems to fit in with his golden coat.
Last week I had a playdate with Bam, our grandson. One of the things we did was take a Nature Walk in the neighborhood. He has his bag to collect things that are special. I think it was full of the beautiful leaves. We also got to watch workers as they were busy with building a new house.

Of course, no playdate with Grandma would be complete without making cookies. We played games while they baked, took a Nature Walk while they cooled and then got to frost them and add the sprinkles. We love fall!!! What are you doing to create memories?



Friday, October 10, 2014

Celebration Saturday: October Story Time

For today's celebration, I want to focus on Story Time at our local library. Every Friday from 10:15-11:00 I go to watch my grandchildren enjoy time at one of my very favorite spots in out town...the library!  Today after hearing several stories, matching shapes, and playing Ring-Around-the-Pumpkin, it was time for crafts!  The children made pumpkins, well, at least they made mosaic pumpkins. Here's what it looked like!

Graham started by tearing pieces of paper and then putting glue on the paper pumpkin! He loved the glue part!  The orange part  of the pumpkin came first.
Next came the brown paper...tearing then gluing.  He tried to fill in all the spaces.

The finished product was pretty good. Making funny faces for Grandma to take pictures was fun, too!
The library even took a picture for their Facebook page of Graham and a friend. How could I not celebrate my grandson learning to love books and creating something beautiful?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday Slice of Life: Historical Vacation

Last week we had the chance to take a trip to Boca Raton, Florida. My husband had a conference there for his work and I got to ride along. While he was in meetings and sessions every morning, I was on my own.  I did a lot of exploring around the area. Since we stayed at a resort, I spent one day walking this historical spot.
Boca Raton Resort and Club was originally built in 1929. In fact someone told me that the town was actually built around this resort. The grounds were beautiful with statues and fountains. They had made a tour of various spots of interest with stopping spots to read information about that location. Children could pick up a wrist band at the spot and each band was a different color, so they would know how many they had visited.
This is not the lobby we walked into when we came, but it is the original lobby. You can see the original chandelier hanging from the ceiling which was made of the original wood. Notice the balcony. going south on that hall would be where our room was located.
This is a picture of a powder room right off the lobby. It has been restored to look like the original.  Again, the ceiling had the same wood that was there in 1929. Looking at these pictures, I think you can get an idea of how much fun I had exploring this beautiful location.

This is a view from a walkway that shows our room with a patio across the beautiful garden. I always love views of the ocean when I travel to Florida, but this garden was very peaceful and beautiful with the flowers and fountains.
Yes, I did get to visit the ocean. Every afternoon when my husband got out of the meetings and sessions, we headed to the ocean. They had a shuttle that took us there, but we did walk the mile to the Boca Beach Club where we could use the beach for the whole afternoon.  What a wonderful vacation!