Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Learned Helplessness...

Before jumping into this week's post from Mimi, I want to take a minute to wish my parents a very Happy 40th Anniversary!  This feat is such an amazing accomplishment!  And it has been made possible by my parents' strong and dedicated love to each other and to the Lord.  Happy 40th Anniversary, Mimi and Poppy!  We love you!


4 Helpful Souls
Recently, while attempting to go in the front door of a local market, I witnessed a rather sizeable, elderly gentleman sitting in somewhat of a precarious position on his mobile shopping cart.  Apparently, he was attempting to enter the store when his motorized cart’s battery failed.  Interestingly enough, because of the way he was positioned, I could not assess how much assistance he required.


I sensed his situation needed some attention, but I truly did not know what needed to happen. This is where the four helpful souls I mentioned in the title come into play.


The first helpful soul had already retrieved the man another cart and was assisting by strenuously attempting to relocate him from one cart to the other.  Unfortunately both of the carts were on an incline and facing opposite directions, which made the challenge even more daunting. And to top it off, this helpful soul #1 was half the size of the gentleman he was trying to assist!!!


Kind-hearted souls #2 and #3 also scurried in to contribute their efforts and remedies to solve this puzzling predicament. At this point, I was most impressed with everyone’s willingness, but somewhat perplexed by all three attempting more than one solution, in more than one way, and all at the same time.  This only served to confuse the already stressed gentleman that remained perched in the precarious position.  (And yes, I was just an observer, only because there was no room for me around the two carts, with the three helpful souls and the precarious positioned gentleman working in a 4x4 foot area!!!


Out of nowhere came a younger man; someone I will call helpful soul #4.  He walked right up to the gentleman and said rather pointedly, “Sir, just a minute everybody.  Sir, are you trying to go forward, back it up, or just get off the cart?  I can help you stand up.  I just need to know what you want to do?”


To all of our surprise, the gentleman said “Oh, I can stand up.” I was a little amused as I watched the crowd, and they watched the older gentleman.  He removed himself from his own precarious situation, stepped right over to the working motorized cart, and continued on inside to complete his shopping trip.  It was almost almost as if a miracle had happened right in front of our very eyes!!!!  

In reality, the # 4 wise soul did not perform any miracles, but merely asked the gentleman a pertinent question.Sir, what do you want to do here?”  And then he uses this information to gently assist.


Isn’t this an obvious scenario of how we sometimes rush to the aid of our little ones who appear to be perched in precarious situations?  Many times we want to fix their problems by forcing a solution, when we know little or nothing at all about how they feel about their situation.  As a result of our efforts, we may deprive them of a feeling of accomplishment when figuring something out on their own and with their own capabilities.


When life positions our little ones in a less-than-perfect circumstance, let’s not forget to confer with them about their dilemma and its solution!!!  I say this because I too have often sprinted to the rescue of my grandchildren to doctor scrapes and boo boos.  They, for all appearances, are in much need of some aid, and therefore I rush in, with my Neosporin and Band Aids in hand.


Whether it’s literal or figurative, how foolish it would be to place the Band Aids and rub the Neosporin all over their legs, just because I could not clearly identify the location of the “scrape.”


Let’s always sprint good-heartedly to their cries, but be cognoscente of the fact that sometimes just a hug and a word of encouragement will suffice.  Actually, they may be better served by us if we just put the Neosporin and Band Aids up
and let them talk it out, instead of us always rushing in to bandage it up.


In all circumstances, let’s be purposed to observe and willing to administer aid, but as the wise 4th soul demonstrated, let’s ask them questions and listen for their answers.  Let’s not allow our children to become so soft in life that they believe every bump requires Emergency First Aid from us. We do not want to create an environment in which every bump leaves our little ones helplessly stuck and waiting for our Neosporin and Band Aids.  Let’s purpose our rush to help, be in harmony with their actual need of help.




Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Learning Fun with Classrooom Economics

Hi! We are knee deep into our classroom economics unit, and my students are learning so much. This week we had to overcome a serious problem of scarcity...there just weren't enough Wonka Pixie Stix to go around.  In a classroom full of hungry kiddoes, this can be a HUGE problem! 
Using large pieces of paper and markers, students brainstormed ways to deal with this classroom issue of scarcity.  I love the answers they come up with.  For example, students suggested that I hold a popcorn eating contest or host a chess tournament. 
We discussed how allocation mechanisms are used to deal with problems of scarcity, and these mechanisms fall into a few major categories.  We also looked at the positives and negatives of each mechanism, and I am so proud of the critical thinking my students were doing. 
For example, we discussed the idea of allocating resources based on need.  One of my 3rd graders said, "Mrs. Bryant, this can be a good thing if you have resources to share, but I think it would be really bad to be the person in need." :(  Such compassion in my little ones...I love it! 
My favorite to explain, of course, is the idea of letting a planner decide how to divide a given set of resources.  I  told the children that this is what Santa has to do to my Sadiebug's Christmas list every year.  She includes about 150 things she wants, and he decides 10-12 that are best suited for her. ;-P
If you are interested in any of these resources or ideas, you can check out my complete Classroom Economics packets at TpT and Teachers Notebook. 
Also, a sweet friend told me that an awesome economics video series (Econ and Me) is available for free at  I love it!!!!  Shannon :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Away for the weekend...

I am so blessed to be at the Beth Moore conference in Charleston, SC this weekend! So excited to be a part of this conference!

This morning we are on a historical tour, and I am currently sitting in the chapel at the Citadel. Blessed to be in the presence of some godly young men praying when we arrived. I think their mamas would be so proud!!!

This also reminds me why I love teaching-American history is so fascinating!!!! I will be back on Sunday, but hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--A Type "O" Mom

Hi, everyone!  I feel so blessed to be able to share my mom's posts with you each week, and especially tonight as she shares some fun memories of her own mom.  Motherhood has been, and will continue to be, one of life's greatest blessings and challenges for me.  Our children carry little pieces of us with them, even into adulthood, whether we realize it or not.  Making the moments count...that is what makes all the difference!  Read, share, and enjoy!  Shannon :-)

My Type “O” Mom

I recently came to the realization that in my writings I have not yet mentioned my mom or her influences in my life.  Although she was not flawless, overall she was a good mom.  However as I sit here, truly I cannot quickly identify any of her mighty influences on me today.

She was not a mom with a Type A personality. She was not openly enthusiastic about projects. She did not possess a passion for anything musical or even a real drive for any athletic events. She never entered the work force but remained a stay-at-home mom.  By her own admissions, she struggled scholastically in high school and later took a job only because of the demands of WW2. Even then, she understood only a small portion of the politics of the day.

But she loved words, and word games, and especially the word puzzles from the daily newspaper!!!!  I do have vivid memories of her eagerly working crossword puzzles, while often saying the words in a sentence out loud. Inadvertently, my daddy would playfully glance over the evening paper he was reading and give her the correct answer.  This would always “infuriate” her, and as a result her word game was ruined, as was our quality family time!!!!!

After much reflection, I have now determined my mom’s personality - she was a Type “0.” O for Orderly!!!

Up at 5 AM, home-made, double-knit pantsuits—complete with polished shoes ready to go in her closet—double S & H green stamps every Wednesday from the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store shopping and double applications of Johnson’s paste wax on all our hardwood floors on Thursdays!

Our supper was always at 5:30 PM!!!  Grilled steaks every Friday night, Len Berg’s take out on Saturday, and roast every Sunday after church.  Nightly kitchen clean up and baths by 7 PM, with no flexibility. Saturday nights were always especially painful, because that was the night that my hair was washed, set with curlers, and wave clips placed painfully across the back of my head—Every Saturday Night!

Oh, and our Christmas tree was always by the road ready for pickup early in the AM the day after Christmas…with no exceptions.
Everything running on a schedule and in its proper place was the motto of my Type “O” mom.   (And to be completely honest, that aspect of her mighty influence was certainly lost on me once I became a mother!!!!)

In thinking back, it’s amazing how much time she did actually spend with her faithful crosswords in hand, waiting for me at doctors’ offices, school functions, cheerleading practices, and piano or dance lessons. She was never a drop-off mom or a pick-you-up-later mom, but always the stick-around-and-work-a-puzzle-while-you-wait mom!!!!  

Truthfully, I do have sweet memories of her on school class trips with our “matching homespun dresses” which she had proudly made. In addition, she patiently sat through all my ballet practices—volunteering to help hem simple recital costumes—and she devotedly worked every single VBS I ever attended, putting precisely 2 butter cookies on the napkins for all of us kids to eat as she poured us each our allotted one cup of grape Kool Aid.

And, did I mention, she was always at my school?! Being the school Historian, she recorded precisely everything as it occurred, on schedule, and in its proper place  (remember Mom’s motto).

In retrospect, now I realize that she dedicated a lot of her time and life to being where I was.  She was never in the forefront leading and never in the spotlight shining; she was just there—waiting for me.

And she was not just patiently waiting for me to appear, but anxiously watching for my safe return.  Do you see the difference there? I just did.

I see the Type “O” mom that waited for me, but also the loving mom that watched over me.  She didn’t take me places that she wanted to go, but she came to the places I was. She wasn’t obsessively working puzzles waiting, but she was selflessly giving her time watching over me.  She was not in the forefront leading or the spotlight shining; I was.  She was keeping everything running on a schedule and in its proper place…for me.

In retrospect, maybe my Type “O” Mom with her trusty “motto,” was a indeed a more “mighty” influence on my life than I first realized.  I smile as I consider that I, like her, find great pleasure in words.  No, not word searches and crosswords, but using words to tell my stories!!
Oh, to be so purposed to maintain that discipline in our own lives that enables our children to lead and shine for the Lord!  Isn’t it amazing that the selfless God of the universe has the Type “O” characteristics, not just in His perfect order, but also in His Omnipresence?!  He is the Omnipresence that watches over us and keeps order for our lives that we too might lead and shine…for His glory!  

Blessings, Anne (AKA Mimi)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place--Fruit of the Spirit Week 2

Hi!  Hope you have had a blessed Sunday and a wonderful weekend!  Whew, the weekends go by in such a hurry, don't they? :-)

This week in Children's Church, I introduced the children to the second Fruit of the Spirit--JOY.  We were visited by our friend from down under, Eddie the Kangaroo.  He was so excited and happy about his new play dough, shown here in his pouch.  In fact, he was so excited he led the children in singing I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart!

After singing, I asked the boys and girls to share about times they had felt joy or happiness.  Answers emerged such as birthdays, when getting a hug from Mom, at Disneyworld.  I reminded them that the joy the Lord gives is always available to us.  It doesn't depend on our location or circumstances--the joy of the Lord is real and lasting!

Using our flannelboard, we discussed a man in the Bible who was full of joy.  He was the beggar at the gate Beautiful.  You can read his story in Acts 3.  When Peter and John healed him in the name of the Lord, the beggar went walking and leaping and praising God!  Why?  Because he was joyful!  We can share in this same joy as children of God!!!  I used the websites and in preparation for this week's lesson.

After our Bible story, the kids "walked and leapt" to their tables to complete today's coloring pages--the JOY page from my Fruit of the Spirit resource pack, as well as a Bible coloring page from


We also sang our Fruit of the Spirit song, this time with both the words LOVE and JOY, since those are the 2 terms we have learned in this study already. 

On a personal note, this weekend has been a joyful one for our family!  We helped my husband Kevin celebrate his 40th birthday!  I feel so incredible blessed to have his in my life!  Happy birthday, Kevin!!!!  We love you!

 If you are interested in these Fruit of the Spirit resources, you may find them on both TpT and Teachers Notebook at the links below.  Blessings!!!  Shannon :-)

Teachers Pay Teachers:

Teachers Notebook:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner...a Quick Tip!

Hi, everyone!  So glad it is Friday!  Whew, it has been a great week, but can I just say that today my feet hurt?! :-) 

Anyway, if you saw my post earlier in the week, you read that my students were writing class books based on the If You Give series of books by Numeroff. 
I am always perplexed about how best to bind and display class books.  My students LOVE reading them, but whether I try brads or the book binding machine, our class writing pieces always seem to fall apart.

I have decided this year to try binding in binders.  I can easily stand these up to display in the classroom, and by laminating various stories on differing colors of construction paper, I am able to store more than one story in each binder.  Maybe this simple tip will help you as well.  Below is a snapshot of the binder cover I made...

 and also a pic of the first page...

I shared earlier in the week about the story that we wrote entitled, If You Give a Student a Box of Crayons
But I also wanted to share a glimpse of the book written by my Thursday class, If You Give a Student $200.  Notice that the first story was mounted on red, and the second on green for quick and easy reference.

This page has to be one of my absolute favorites.  "If you give a student $200, he will probably pass out from all of the excitement."  Notice the adorable illustration! :-)  I love my job!!!

One last thing, if you have not already liked my Facebook page, I would encourage you to do so.  I have a HUGE GIVEAWAY planned when we reach 100 LIKES.  Have a fabulous Friday night!  Shannon :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Freebies for You, Sweet Followers!

Hi!  Are you as busy with Back to School as we are?  And on top of the busyness of a new school year, my 7th grader had his first football scrimmage today!  Crazy can I have a 7th grader?

Anyway, just a note to let you know there are 2 new FREEBIES from me for you at TpT.  Enjoy!  Click the links below to take you to them:

One more important note:  I am planning a HUGE GIVEAWAY from my store when I reach 100 followers on Facebook.  Go, like, and please share if you haven't already!

Hang on, the weekend is just around the corner!!!  Shannon :-) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Group Story Writing

Today we began our economics unit, which is a favorite for me every year!  We had the most fun talking about needs vs wants.  It is hilarious hearing what 8 and 9 year olds classify as needs--for example, video games and Yoshi were both suggested as needs rather than wants... ;-)  After a bit of clarification from me about the task at hand, the students got the hang of it.  We generated a comprehensive list of ideas on our classroom SMARTboard.

Then we read 2 books by Laura Numeroff--If You Give a Pig a Pancake and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies.  Both of these books served as great accompaniments to our classroom discussion.

We then worked as a class to write our own class book, If You Give a FOCUS Student a Box of Crayons!  Pictured below is our classroom brainstorming session.  The students were literally bursting with ideas, as you can see by our ideas and notes!

After we composed our completed story, students volunteered to illustrate various pages of our book.  I retyped the text of our story on my teacher workstation, and students glued the corresponding sentences to their completed pictures.

We laminated each picture, along with our cover, and now we can't wait to share our story with other classes!  Not only was this a great intro to our economics unit, but it also encouraged students to use language arts skills, creative thinking, group problem solving, and logical reasoning!

If you are interested in seeing more of my classroom economics and advertisting unit, just follow the links below.  Shannon :-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Beware of Tomato Caterpillars!

Hi!  Welcome back for another installment of Monday Moments with Mimi!  Hope you are blessed by today's reminder of Proverbs 4:23...guard your hearts!  Thanks for stopping by! 
Shannon :-)

The Tomato Caterpillar
What a name!   Upon hearing the term tomato caterpillar, you might expect to behold the beauty of a reddish/green butterfly revealing itself as the result of God’s awesome process of metamorphosis.  In due time, you might anticipate this special, long-awaited miracle of God’s creation to be a delight?  Well, I am here to tell you that it isn’t!!!   Instead, it is a ravenous, destructive, eating-machine who decimated the leaves of my precious vegetable garden.  Heretofore I will refer to the tomato caterpillar as my unseen enemy!

This year I carefully planted 10-12 vegetable varieties in pots on my porches.  My grandchildren have enjoyed picking them, and I have equally enjoyed eating them.  I’ve had many fresh salads this summer with a “home grown” assortment of my harvest.   

This summer I have learned lots about gardening!  For example, cucumbers should be properly planted in the ground, not in pots – vines are climbing all over my front porch.  Peppers should be properly marked mild or hot – can you relate? 

Oh, but my greatest lesson was indeed about the tomato caterpillar that I mentioned previously.   I surprisingly entered a battle with this unseen enemy that caught me totally off guard, unequipped to save my precious potted plants.  Truly, I have fought the good fight with these large, green caterpillars for weeks.  How disappointing it was for me to water my plants each night, only to discover partially eaten leaves or leaves with huge, gaping holes—and yet I had no visual on the enemy. So I waited each day, helplessly doing nothing but wondering what to do.   Every day the leaves looked worse and worse, and yet there was no solution in sight!

Four days in to the battle, I repositioned myself, came up with a strategy and delivered my “attack plan.”  Sevin Dust, do your thing!  Finally I captured one and took his picture.  I was truly shocked at his large size!!!  I had finally come face to face with my adversary, and I placed him beside a large car key for the photo shoot, just to emphasize his impressive size.  All the while my green camouflaged enemy had been hiding from me, feasting happily, and growing rapidly!!!!!

He was big and relentless, and I was not doing anything to stop him.  I was sad and frustrated, and he was happy and content.  Ten days into this adventure, I was confident the battle was over, and  I finally relaxed—only to find that my enemy was back, and I was at war again.    Sadly enough, over all of these days of investigation and discovery, too much time had passed and irreversible damage from this unseen enemy had cost a loss of several of my plants.  So, off to Lowe’s I went!!!!  Again, and again, and again…

I smile now, at the thought of those first few weeks and how many vegetable plants I bought as “do-overs.”  In spite of my ongoing frustration, I truly learned valuable gardening lessons for next year:
1)    Don’t be surprised at how craftily the enemy hides, rapidly destroying all the while.
2)   Don’t relax because you think that the enemy is gone, when all the while he’s planning to make a vicious second attack.   

As summer wanes and my small garden’s life is ending, the battle has also ended, and I do claim to be the victor.  My broccoli and cabbage may not have survived, but I managed to have a summer with plenty of tomatoes and peppers. 
I am even excited about my new endeavor for fall.   The life in my garden will go on forward, because I have been given two bags of pumpkin seeds!!!!   This time, though, I am better prepared because I have knowledge about the care of pumpkins, and I’ve purposed to quickly recognize the enemies of my precious bag of pumpkin seeds.  I guess, in actuality, I have actually learned a 3rd lesson:

3)   Don’t wait until the attacker has come in order to be knowledgeable and prepared to respond.

How much more precious is the care of our children and the ones we love, than a bag of pumpkin seeds or a fledgling cabbage plant?  This summer experience reminded me to watch for the hidden dangers and pitfalls out there that can lead to pain and even destruction for those whom we love.  Unlike my plants, we cannot always run to the local Lowe’s for a do-over!!!  Let’s guard our hearts and be vigilant for those we love!  Blessings, Anne (Mimi)

Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place--Our Fruit of the Spirit Series Begins...

We have recently wrapped up our series of Children's Church lessons using our Bible Alphabet series.  (Feel free to read back through previous blog posts for more information about this series and classroom set of posters.)  Although I was admittedly a little sad to finish our ABC fun, today I was also very excited to begin our new series on the Fruit of the Spirit, as found in Galatians 5! 

In order to transition, the last couple of weeks we have done some preparatory lessons about the life and ministry of Paul.  A great website to use for an intro about Saul's conversion is  Here you see Paul on our classroom felt board:

Today we began with a visit from our puppet friend Clunky Monkey.  Clunky brought a few of his favorite fruits to show the kids, and surprisingly, he brought more than just bananas.  He brought apples and grapes too!  Clunky said that what he loved most about fruit is that it is so SWEET!  I used this to segue with the children into our Bible lesson.  When led by the Holy Spirit, our behavior can be "sweetly" modeled after Christ and the example He gave.  Then we impact others around us by producing the Fruit of the Spirit, and that is what Paul wrote about in Galatians 5.

We talked about how Paul communicated to the early churches by writing them letters, and the Book of Galatians is an example of one of these letters found in the New Testament.

Today's lesson focused on the first fruit listed--LOVE.  We talked about the love Christ has for us--so much that He died for our redemption--and also the love we should have for others.  We played a charades-type game in which we acted out ways to show and not to show love.  Children gave a thumbs up or thumbs down response based on whether or not the action given was a way to show the love of Christ. 

This is an example of the poster for this week's lesson.  I also wrote a little song that we will sing each week as we learn about the various Fruit.  You will see a portion of this song in the space below.

The children colored their color sheets as shown, as well as another sheet with Galatians 5:22-23 on it, in order to help them memorize this Scripture passage over the coming weeks. 

If you are interested in using these resources with your own children, class, or displaying these posters in your classroom or home, the links below will take you to both the version shown here, as well as a KJV edition.  Blessings and hope you have had a wonderful weekend!!!  Thanks for taking this journey with us!  Shannon :-)

On TpT:

On Teachers Notebook:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Classroom Corner and Gifted Gab--My New Classroom! :-)

First, let me begin by thanking all of my dear friends and family who listened to me whine and cry about moving classrooms at the end of last year, who helped me haul boxes, and who prayed for my frazzled nerves!!!  Truly, my hallway had become at school family, so moving seemed like such a daunting challenge at the end of last year. :-(

BUT, let me also quote my younger sister who often says, "Sometimes God does things for us that we can't do for ourselves."  I know this must be true, because although I have grieved leaving behind some of my dear friends on the 100 hallway, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my bigger classroom on the 200 hallway.  My closets are more organized than they have ever been in 17 years of teaching, and can I just say that sometimes purging can be a good thing?!  Just a note to encourage you that no matter what you are facing, God has a plan and it is working for your good if you are called according to His purposes!!! 

Now, on to the pictures...Welcome to my new classroom!  Just a few of the advantages--more space, lower coat hooks, and more room for EVERYTHING! :-) 'cause I am a bit of a teacher hoarder! ;-)

As you can tell, I have a train theme in my classroom, and I found the CUTEST color coordinated table baskets at Target this year--perfect for crayons, pencils, etc.

My curtain cornice board was made by wrapping fabric around thick cardboard and then hot gluing on bows and ribbon.  This is a shot of my Enrichment Engine.

My idea for organizing copies for each day...these mop buckets from the dollar store, labeled with cute Monday-Friday labels.  They are also big enough to hold books, folders, notebooks, etc.  Just $1 each!

This is the front of my room.  I LOVE my new and improved SMARTboard, complete with speakers in the ceiling!  AWESOME!  Another blessing of the move! 

I hung inspirational "Seussisms" on the wall up front, and I don't know if you can tell, but added painted polkadots to my standard metal file cabinets.  I love the way they turned out!

I also was able to add 2 reading nooks to my classroom.  I found these plates at Michael's for mere cents and added a mirror hung horizontally to bounce light around.  I only have 1 window, so I have to make the most of the natural light!  I added a rug and a bookshelf full of chapter books.

This is my 2nd book book.  I added a lamp I rescued from the trashcan.

My newly organized reference library...perfect for research and discovery!

In this picture you can see my standards board, as well as my Creativity Caboose.  Lots of my manipulatives are stored here, as are strategy games.

Please take special note of this picture of my organized teacher desk!  I am sure it will not look this clean again!  I decided that if these baskets work for organizing kid-things, I should use them for my stuff as well!!!  They fit perfectly across the front of my desk!

Next, this is my door and behind the door area.  I use this area mainly for organization.

Lastly, some of you may have seen these paintings I did a few weeks ago on pieces of cardboard.  Hung with a little ribbon, I think they look great and inspirational above my book crates!  I organize my personal picture books by unit, so they are easy to pull for student use as we move from topic to topic.  I am NOT a painter, but took a class in the Spring from Truth Be Told Art.  Check out her page on Facebook for more info on her class and ministry!  She encouraged us to be bold and fearless.  I took her up on this challenge, and figured what do I have to lose? by trying to add a bit of me into my classroom.  I was happy and relieved at how they turned out.

My art supplies are found in the back of the room by the sink in an area I call the Bright Ideas Box Car!

If you are interested in applying any of these ideas to your own classroom, I would invite you to check out some of my classroom management resources on both TpT and Teachers Notebook.  There are several different themes there, including my train-themed pack. 

Hope you have a wonderful school year, and just a reminder that TpT and Teachers Notebook are hosting huge sales this weekend/week in honor of back to school time.  Have an absolutely wonderful school year!!!  Shannon :-)