Friday, January 28, 2011

Parenting/Teaching Tip of the Week--Take Time to Fill Up

     Last Wednesday I found myself sitting right in the middle of a 4-lane highway with a fire truck, and police car, and a state patrol sitting behind me--lights flashing like fireworks.  What was the reason?  I ran out of gas.  Literally, nothing, nada, bone dry, no fuel!  With not even enough fumes left to pull into the median, I sat in the middle of the road with my 3 kids in the backseat, and we waited on a good samaritan to come along with a gas can.  As a 35 year old mother and educator, you would think I would know better, right?!

     What's the lesson here?  Well, clearly I was so busy and frantic rushing to get to my destination that I neglected to heed the warning signal flashing on my dash. 

     I think this has application for us on a larger scale.  Let's not forget to fill ourselves up as we go about our daily duties of parenting or teaching!  My mom reminds me often of the Scripture in Philippians 2:17, "My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service [I offer to God] for your faith. Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you."  Pouring ourselves out in service to others is without a doubt a noble calling, but let's stop to refuel along the way!  Let's make sure that we have enough joy, peace, and love to pour out on others around us.  Have a great week!  Shannon :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm Having a Sale!

Hi, everyone!  Just wanted to let you know that my 100th Day of School Resource Pack will be on sale at a reduced price until January 26th.  Clicking the link below will direct you to it!  Happy upcoming 100th Day, everyone!  Shannon :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parenting Tip of the Week--Laughing at Yourself

Sometimes in the frantic scheme of life, I get so caught up in the idea of being perfect that I fall short of being the perfect parent.  Sound familiar?  In fact, my sweet 2nd grader reminded me of some of my imperfections bright and early this morning.  Little flaws like impatience, haste, busyness... 

Ahhhh, 8:00 and my children are delivered to their classrooms.  Looks like I have just enough time to get a cup of ice from the lunchroom before my students come.  Suddenly, Tate's teacher appears in my doorway.   While completing his morning work, Tate told her he was hungry and had not had any breakfast.  She came down to inquire as to why he had not eaten.

I said, "Tate, why are you hungry?  What happened to your pop tart?  You had one when you left the house."  His sheepish reply: "I lost it on the way to school, but I was afraid to tell you.  I didn't want you to be late."  What?  On the way to school!  How do you lose a pop tart in a mini-van?  At this point there was only one response I could give.  A lecture on responsibility?  Anger because now I would have to race back out to the parking lot?

Nope!  I burst out laughing and gave my little stinker a huge hug!  Then I hiked out to my van in the furthest corner of the school parking lot to scavenge for his lost breakfast.  Sometimes, parenting requires some plain old, good-natured laughter! 

Just a reminder that our kids don't need us to be perfect; they just need a little hug, laughter, and humanity from their parents once in awhile.  Take a minute to laugh with your kids today!  "Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of your heart" Mort Walker.  Wishing you a week filled with joy and laughter! Shannon :-)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Teaching Tip of the Week--Organization

     Do you find your desk cluttered with all sorts of miscellaneous things???  And if you are like me, the pile just seems to grow and grow throughout the day!  Well, this week I heard a great quote from Peter Walsh, "Flat surfaces are for working, not for storage."  This thought has really helped me focus on keeping my work area clear for working. 

Great tips for managing the endless flood of paperwork:

1) Handle business that can be handled immediately.
2) Try to trash or recycle "junk mail" as quickly as possible.  Don't let it pile up.
3) Create a "to do" basket of items to be addressed before leaving for the day.
4) Organize ongoing projects in a folder or on a clipboard.
5) Don't bury it all in your "teacher bag" and haul it back and forth everyday.  This would be my most common mistake. Terrible for your back and for your mental sanity!  ;-)
6) Keep yourself organized with a desk calendar and/or checklist.

     Hope these tips help you to be more productive and feel less cluttered!  Have a great week with your students!  Shannon :-)

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011--Developing Creative Thinkers

As we enter a new year, it is easy to see that the children and teens of today face unique challenges!  One way to prepare these children for solving difficult problems is to foster their ability to solve problems CREATIVELY.  The link below will direct you to my Winter/January unit, Learning in a Winter Wonderland,
which contains several activities designed to foster creative thinking in your students in case you are interested in purchasing:  

Creative thinking is a theme you will see throughout most of my learning resources and interdisciplinary units.  Encourage your kids to stretch their minds, look at things differently, compare seemingly unrelated objects to each other, etc.!  These skills will be invaluable as we head into the next decade.  Happy 2011, everyone!  Shannon :-)

Christmas Day--Advent Devotion Ideas

As is our family tradition, we always bake a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake to eat for "breakfast" on Christmas Day.  My kids help to decorate it, and then we sing to Jesus on Christmas morning. 

We also read the Christmas story, and on this last week of Advent, we light all the candles of our Advent wreath, including a special cross candle in the middle. 

This is such a wonderful family memory and a tradition I wouldn't trade!  My parents and my sister's family also join in this special celebration! 
I pray that you and your family had a very blessed holiday season.  I am looking forward to wonderful things in 2011, and I know you are too!  Best wishes from my family to yours!  Shannon :-)

Christmas Devotion Ideas--Advent Week 4

Here are a few ideas from our family's Christmas devotion time during week 4.  This week's theme for Advent was peace!  This year we are using a Christmas color as inspiration for each week's craft/snack.  Our color this week was gold.  We focused on the idea that the Son of God came willingly to take on human flesh and give His life for ours.  Our scripture focus was 2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  Jesus was a King, yet He gave up His throne for a manger.
Our family read the story Asleep in the Stable by Will Hillebrand. 

We sliced golden delicious apples and dipped them in peanut butter and honey to serve as our gold-themed snack.
Our crafts were crown ornaments made of yellow construction paper.  We wrote PEACE on them in gold glitter.  On the back we listed family prayer requests--people in our lives in need of the peace of God this season.  I also picked up an inexpensive pack of sun-catcher or stained glass ornaments from the dollar store.  We had a great time painting these and remembering that the "SON gives us PEACE!"

We each hung our crowns and stained glass ornaments on the Advent tree.  We also talked about ways we could find peace in Christ and share this real peace with others.  In His Peace, Shannon :-)

Christmas Devotion Ideas--Advent Week 3

Here are a few ideas from our family's devotion time during week 3.  This week's theme for Advent was joy!  This year we are using a Christmas color as inspiration for each week's craft/snack.  Our color this week was green.  We focused on the eternal life offered by Christ and the joy that He offers us!  Our scripture focus was John 10:10b, "I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." 

Our family read the story Who Is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate. 

We made cinnamon roll wreaths using a pack of ready to cook cinnamon rolls from the grocery store.  We simply unwound them and then reformed into the shapes of wreaths.  We covered with green sugar sprinkles--delicious!!! Just bake and eat!

Our crafts were green Christmas trees made out of 3 popsicle sticks painted green, glitter, glue, and foam stars.  My children wrote on the backs of their ornaments the names of people that they were praying for and ways they could spread joy.  These are people we wanted to remember in prayer during this season because they are especially in need of joy due to some type of tragedy or hardship they are facing.  This is a great way to help your kids understand the JOY acronym--Jesus, Others, You!

We each hung our popsicle stick trees on the Advent tree.  We also talked about ways we could find joy in Christ and share this joy with others.  In His Joy, Shannon :-)

Christmas Devotion Ideas--Advent Week 2

So sorry to just be posting these now!  Life got crazily busy in between November and January!!! :)  I am going to go ahead and post these Advent devotions that we did as a family for Christmas 2010, and hopefully they will be useful to you in planning for next year.  I also plan to type these up and post for free download on Teachers Pay Teachers for next year, so feel free to spread the word!  Hope your Christmas was very merry!

I wanted to share a couple of ideas from our family's devotion time during week 2.  This week's theme for Advent was hope!  This year we are using a Christmas color as inspiration for each week's craft/snack.  Our color this week was red.  Our scripture focus was Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ." 
Our family read the story The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. 

We made red jello and topped it with whipped cream--yummy!  Funnily enough, I have been married for 15 years, and tonight we broke out the dessert dishes for the first time (I got them as a wedding gift) to eat our yummy dessert in!

Our crafts were candy canes made out of red and white pipe cleaners for our Advent tree. 

We each hung our candy canes on the Advent tree.  We discussed the many symbols referenced by the candy cane.  We also talked about ways we could find hope in Christ and share this hope with others.  In His Hope, Shannon :-)