Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place...Fruit of the Spirit Lesson on Goodness

GOODNESS...It's one of those Fruit of the Spirit that seems particularly daunting to me!  After all, who of us is GOOD compared to the righteousness of Christ?! 
But if we believe that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce all of these "Fruit" in our lives, then GOODNESS is one that we must also be able to attain.  And what better place to look for an example of goodness than the Word of God and the story of David and Jonathan...
We began our class with prayer requests and praise and worship as usual.  Then, guess who came along?  That's right--Cleo the Camel.  Cleo had earned a gold star for being good at camel school this week.  He proudly showed off his star to the girls and boys.
Then we transitioned to our story carpet for story time.  A couple of little ones helped me retell the story from 1 Samuel 18:1-4.  In this story we see the goodness of Jonathan.  As David's friend, Jonathan cared deeply for David's happiness and safety.  He also demonstrated being a good friend by his generosity.  We see an example of this as Jonathan gives David not just his robe, but also his tunic, his sword, his belt, and his bow.  Jonathan was a GOOD friend to David, and his example is one that we can learn from.
Tate and William are shown here acting out our Bible story.  We used simple costumes made using felt and hot glue, along with soldier props from our dress-up area.  Allowing children the chance to retell the story is a great way to involve them and increase their overall understanding of the Bible story's main idea.
Students colored today's coloring page of Gary Goodness. 
They also colored a coloring page I found online of Jonathan sharing with David, as shown here below.
I am so thankful for the GOODNESS of others in my life, but also for the incredible GOODNESS of the Lord!  Psalm 23:6a has to be one of my favorite verses: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."  Praising Him for His goodness today and everyday! 
Blessings, Shannon :-)
Interested in these coloring pages and posters for your own little ones?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Guess What We Did Today?

Guess what we did today?  We finished our volcano models--next week, let the "explosions" begin.  Just one of the fun and fabulous reasons I love my job!  Students did research and learned some fascinating things along the way.  Like did you know that Mauna Loa in Hawaii is the world's largest shield volcano?  Or that its name means long mountain?  I think part of the fun of teaching is learning along with my students!
We also read a great Hawaiian tale entitled Dear Katie, the Volcano Is a Girl! 
Want to encourage your students to explore our AMAZING 50 states?  If so, you will love my research unit "Let's Go!" shown below.  Ahhhhh, wouldn't it be nice to be in Hawaii right about now...but alas, not on this teacher's salary ;-)  Have a great night!  Shannon

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today's Monday Moment with Mimi--"Where Did the Flags Go?"

Hi! It's Monday again! Time for another Monday Moment with Mimi!  As I told you on Saturday, Mimi and I took the grandchildren to our local Aviation Museum.  Sadly, my favorite area of the museum was in disrepair...Read today's inspirational post from Mimi entitled, "Where Did the Flags Go?"  Enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by!  Shannon :-)

Where Did the Flags Go?
This is another one of those busy weekends when I have been more than blessed to be on an outing/adventure with all five of my precious grandchildren. My oldest daughter decided for this particular adventuresome afternoon, we would visit the Aviation Museum in Warner Robins. It matters little that this was trip number four, because it is still a worthwhile investment to visit the 50 acres of various hangars and exhibits.

All 5 of the kids truly did enjoy, learn, and play. I took pleasure in the 4 oldest deciding what mission they would go on in the Flight Simulator – and they chose Desert Storm. I held back the littlest of the five, my small 3 year old, because I was anxious that she would not understand the ride. And turns out, I made the wise choice. She was a little confused as she apprehensively watched the Simulator turn and lean with the others inside, while watching on the computer screen outside the exhibit. She finally repositioned herself, lifted her little arms, and wanted me to move her from her bird’s eye view off the stool she was perched on. She needed me to hold her. (I assume she rationed if we were fixing to nosedive into Iraq, she wanted me to be close with her, and I was.)

As we were going from one hangar to another across the grounds, my daughter exclaimed, “What has happened to all the flags?” She explained that when she had been there before, the states’ flags were flying all around the Outdoor Amphitheater. She reminisced that they were quite picturesque. There was only flag flying now, however—the POW flag.

I replied that I didn’t know, but agreed with her that it looked a little bare. We watched as the kids ran and played on the steps and grassy area of the large amphitheater.  My grandchildren never once noticed that the states’ flags and poles that used to be flying there were now missing. Later, my daughter approached one of the attendants and asked what had happened to the display. Her explanation was that there had been a bad storm that had come through, and some of the flags were torn. Respectfully, they just pulled them all down. Limited funding did not provide enough to replace them.

In reflecting now about my day at the Aviation Museum, a couple of things troubled me. One was that my grandchildren would never pause to see the many states’ flags flying and have conversations and ask questions about them. Secondly, and most prominently—like I said previously—it just looked a little bare. Some of the apparent gaiety of the area was gone, ie, some of the life with excitement was missing from the amphitheater area
And actually, it didn’t just look a little bare, it was bare. It wasn’t bare because of any political debacle or any philosophical controversy or even any religious stance—a bad storm had simply come through. When the storm passed, the flags were removed and the area fell into disrepair. 

I don’t intend to pick a battle beyond my fire power, but really??? But more importantly, is there a life reminder in this for us? Yes, I would like a flag to be flying above the kiddoes playing, so that they will have something to talk about and use as a teachable historical moment. But more importantly, I would like to remember and tell them that…yes a storm came through and tore up the flags, but…oh how quickly they were replaced, one by one.  The area was restored.

Is there a point of reflection in this for me? Yes! I honestly, somewhat proudly, began to reflect on my own children’s lives. They too have had storms come…storms of great magnitude with damaging winds blowing the gamete... but they did not let their lives stay bare, exposed and void of gaiety and life for long.  Piece by piece they reattached what was precious, reclothed their lives, and wove their life back into something beautiful.  They replaced, repaired, and endured.  In doing so, they brought fullness, laughter, and excitement back for all of us. What area could have potentially been left bare with only 1 wounded flag flying is now full of all the riches of a new found joy and way of life – because of the storm.  What could have been, was not, and because of that, in the present tense, I now had the opportunity to be privy to a wonderful Saturday full of laughter and love.

The flag poles that are bare at the Aviation Museum are just markers on real estate, but the flags that are flying for our personal lives metaphorically wave high in our hearts waiting to have another fun Saturday. is a beautiful sight indeed!  For that I am blessed.
Blessings, Anne (Mimi)

Romans 5:3-4 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Classroom Economics--Rug Production!

For those of you that have been following along with our weekly economics lessons, this was our book of choice this week.  I absolutely love it!  Geraldine (the goat) tells how her fur was transformed into a rug by her friend Glen Mae.
Our lesson this week was on PRODUCTION, and we did a little rug production of our own.  We used construction paper to weave a paper rug.  Each child was given a large piece of red paper, colored paper strips of their choice, a glue stick, and a pair of scissors.  I demonstrated the "over, under" technique of weaving and then students began on their own creations. 
Then we used scissors along the edges to cut rug "fringe."
If you are interested in seeing other great economics ideas like these, please visit my TpT or Teachers Notebook sites to see my 178 page resource there.  Shannon :-)

Our Fruit of the Spirit Lesson...Show a Little Kindness!

Yikes, this week has gotten away from me!  Work has been moving along at a breakneck pace, and my sweet niece and nephew are here for a visit!  We had such a fun morning at soccer and then at the Air Force Base museum!  Look at all of these smiling faces!
Just to catch you up, last week in Children's Church, our Fruit of the Spirit lesson was on KINDNESS.  This seems like such a great and timely lesson--even for adults!!!!  Kindness to others is such a wonderful way to show God's love to the world and is evidence of our obedience to the Holy Spirit!!!
Our Scripture focus came from the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz.  I love this beautiful Old Testament story!  Ruth shows kindness to her mother-in-law by her willingness to stay with her even when she could have gone back home to her own family.  Boaz showed kindness to Naomi and Ruth by leaving extra grain for the ladies to gather in the fields, and the Lord showed kindness to them all!  We used our felt board for storytelling as usual, which is such a good and traditional way to teach and review our Bible lesson each week!
I used my little girls' toy food along with small and large paper strips to demonstrate Boaz's kindness and generosity in the fields.
Like usual Clunky Monkey, our puppet, paid us a visit and demonstrated a little kindness of his own--he brought me a rose. :-)
We colored our kindness coloring page like usual, along with a coloring picture of the story of Ruth that I found online.
Thanks so much for checking in each week to see what we are learning.  Remember, if you would like access to these posters and coloring pages, visit me on TpT or TN at the addresses below.  Both KJV and other translations are available there.  Blessings, Shannon :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi...Red Buckets in Magazines!

Thanks so much for stopping by for our weekly installment of Monday Moments with Mimi!  This week's post made me laugh...and reflect.  What a great reminder to listen to our little ones...really listen!  Have a great week!  Shannon :-)

Red Buckets in Magazines


I crossed the road to retrieve my mail the other day and only had 1 bill and 3 magazines.  This was good day and a good ratio of magazines to bills!!! :-)


My 5 year old granddaughter—who was in the back seat—watched as I tossed the sales papers to the front floorboard.  As I turned out of my driveway she said, “Mimi, why did you not let me see the magazines that you got?”


I quickly explained that I didn’t know she wanted them and rationalized that there probably wasn’t anything in there that she would like anyway.  She said, “How do you know?  You did not let me see it.”


That was fair.  So I told her that when we got to the red light at the top of the road, I would lean over and hand it to her.  I did.


(In my defense, let me just explain…it was a Summit Tools and Shop Equipment Racing Catalog.  For those of you that are not married to someone that has car oil running through their veins, the catalog was a car accessory specialty book!!!)


In any event, I reached over the seat and handed Sadie the catalog.  I watched—a little smugly I must admit—in my rearview mirror for her to express her displeasure and for me to feel my “rightness.”


To my surprise, Sadie turned each page methodically, made astute observations, and invited me into her world of pictures and pages of interesting items. She turned to the large and small wrenches and was enthralled with showing me the different sizes and colors of the sets.  Only another girlfriend would appreciate that moment—and I did.


What was most exciting to her, though, was actually on the next page—a large red 8 quart wet-or-dry bucket with a lid!  Sadie exclaimed, “And look what I found, Mimi!  We can get this and use it at the beach next year. It’s a big, big bucket!!!!  Silly Mimi, you thought I would not see anything in here for us to like.”


And in that moment, I was indeed a silly Mimi!!!


I had easily dismissed her, but Sadie had easily found common ground that we could converse about.  And yes, it was just a red bucket, but she was so immediately pleased that I immediately lost my sense of self-rightness. And I was even smiling, but with joy, not with haughtiness.


Funny how easily smugness leaves when a smile from the heart appears?!

Why do we do that? I asked myself. Why do we think we decide what others are going to enjoy and find delight in…with us? We don’t always “own the moment” with others.


Sometimes we really don’t want to look for commonality and be invited into the world of those around us.  Metaphorically, we want them to come into our world and look at the magazine of our choosing.


Children, and even those less fortunate than us, may not be able to subscribe to our “magazines” of life.  And often we carelessly, without thinking, just toss our “magazines” out of their reach.  But look what we might miss…something for us to like, enjoy, or treasure!!!!


You never know…that red bucket with the lid may be perfect to keep our sand crabs in next year on vacation!!!!!  I have even jotted down the page number that it is on, for a second look...


Lord, help me never be so satisfied that I am unable to learn from you or from the little ones in my path.  Blessings, Anne (AKA Mimi)


Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Green Shoe Laces...

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”~ Helen Keller

The Green Shoe Laces
Yes, it was recently my birthday, and yes, I am 59!!!  I will never be like the ones who are 39 and holding--those who hesitate stepping into the 40’s.
See, when you have been through a somewhat major medical “happening” in your life, you prefer not to “hold” at any age, but instead to cherish every passing year that moves you forward in life (even if it does take you towards old age J).
But having said that, I would like to take a moment to explain my “birthday” feelings over this past year.  For the most part, I am not a January 1st Make-a-New-Year’s-Resolution-Kind-of-Girl.  Quite frankly, I cannot keep a list of resolutions, and therefore, why stress even declaring them?!  But I do take my birthday as a time make reflections, if not really resolutions.  My birthday becomes somewhat of a time of self-evaluation.  I pause to make reflections about my previous year and make a commitment to have more purpose in the year to come.
I carefully take out a large measuring stick of my own design and assess if my actions have truly measured up over the past 365 days.  As I honestly evaluate and measure, sometimes it is apparent that my daily actions need some tweaking!!!!
This past year I purposed to become more of a quiet encourager.  And I realized throughout the past year that sometimes our encouraging comes like an arrow we carefully aim, release, and it hits its target. But I also learned that encouragement need not always be so strategic.
It does not have to be what pointedly, decidedly, and rapidly takes wings through the air.  It can be a soft smile, a quiet laugh, or a gentle hug wrapped in tenderness.  I even learned this past weekend that it can be the green shoelaces that you wear when you don’t feel the need!!!
See, my daughter was organizing a 5K run in Savannah, and I went to assist.  Alright, assist is used broadly.  The truth be told, I went to Savannah for time well spent with my two precious grandchildren!!!
For the past 3 years my daughter has coordinated this event to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.   It is notably touching and a special privilege to witness her efforts and participate in such a worthwhile cause.  A unique thing about the 5K Run is that if you are a blood cancer survivor or any other cancer survivor you are asked to wear green shoe laces so that others will be aware of your plight.
Two years ago, I ran the 5K wearing my green laces, but this year I just kept up with my two grandchildren and elected not to run.  I actually had green shoe laces in my hands earlier to wear at the race, but I did not because…
Well, in my heart and mind, I have put the cancer experience behind me.  I really am blessed to be beyond that part of my life – being past those particular “birthday years.”   I have no present need for words of encouragement or hugs to remind me of where I came from or what I went through.  So on race day, I was just going to enjoy being part of the crowd, and furthermore, enjoy not wearing any green shoe laces for all of the people to see.
But this is where I erred.  See, it’s not always about me or what I enjoy or what I want… especially if I have purposed myself to be an encourager to others.  Rather it’s about those who stand in need of our encouragement.  It’s about those in the battle who are weary from their fight.
See, encouraging is not always about what we feel the need to say or do.  It’s about us being sensitive and sharing the success of our plight, wherever we are.
I missed an opportunity that Saturday, and I realized it.
Someone in the crowd that morning could have eyed me playing with my grandchildren, conversed with me about my snail’s pace, or even chuckled as I stumbled over a wall.  And they may have been encouraged by my green shoe laces.  This is just a note to remind all of us…let’s don’t miss these green shoe lace moments—let’s encourage those around us and recognize our purpose is to give of ourselves, our words, our time, and our joy! 
Anne (Mimi)





Ministry Minute and the Parenting Place-The Fruit of the Spirit, Patience

Today our Children's Church lesson was on the 4th fruit of the spirit--patience.  After prayer time and praise and worship, we were visited by Keya the Kangaroo who had a September calandar in her pouch.  She was counting down the days left in this month.  Why?  Because Keya loves the fair and cannot wait until October arrives!!! She is struggling to be more patient, but patience is HARD!
I asked the girls and boys to share about times they have had to be patient.  We then transitioned to our Bible story--Abraham and Sarah.  See, Abraham and Sarah had to be very patient.  They waited many, many, many years for a baby boy.   They learned a huge lesson about patience during this time.  You can see our story telling and retelling of our Bible story here below on our classroom felt board...
 Then the children moved to their tables for coloring.  Look at these smiling faces--what a great way to begin the day!  On the back side of the coloring sheet I made for them, I included a picture of Abraham and Sarah I found on   
Thanks so much for all of your help and support!  If you are interested in more of these resources, find me on both TpT and Teachers Notebook!
Blessings, Shannon :-)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Classroom Corner--Ideas for Making Independent Reading More Meaningful...

Hope you are having a great weekend!  College football is stressing my husband and sons out here at my house, so thought I would take a moment to share a few classroom ideas with you on this September Saturday. :-)

I learned when working on my Reading Endorsement that the average 6th grader reads less than 3 minutes a day.  This was staggering to me!  Now, as a teacher, I try to take every opportunity to encourage my students to read more and to love reading!

In my classroom I have a number of reading areas. Whether on couches, in chairs, or with pillows, I encourage my students to "settle in with a good book" and make the most of their daily reading opportunities.  Sadie poses here in my chapter book library, known as the "Chugga Chugga Chapter Book" area of the room.  You can see that I have my book tubs organized by genres on this bookshelf.

Tucker is shown reading here in one of my classroom Book Nooks-a small spot to stop and read when an opportunity arises.  This book is located beside our Clipboard Caboose.  (I have a train theme in my classroom which will explain some of the area names you see here.)

Tate has grabbed a pillow from my pillow bucket for his reading time.  This is a snapshot of where we keep our pillows in the "Pullman Car Pillows" section of our classroom.

One of my favorite additions to our DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read) each day are our Reading with a Purpose bookmarks.  These are quick and easy ways for me to monitor student comprehension or understanding of our minilesson concepts.  I keep these bookmarks in a labeled can in the front of my room as shown here.  I simply copy a set for the week, cut them apart, and place them inside. 

Either during reading or at the conclusion of reading time, each student is asked to complete the question on the bookmark for the week.  For example, Tucker is writing about how the setting of the book he is reading reminds him of the setting of another book.  This follows our minilesson on the elements of story, with setting being one of these elements.

He wrote, "The setting of this story reminds me of the setting of Hatchet.  This book is about trees in a forest.  Hatchet is about a boy who crashes in a plane and lands in the woods."

Making reading more enjoyable and making reading more meaningful are just 2 of the techniques I use to help my students grow in their love for reading.  I would love to hear about some of the strategies you use in your own classroom.  Feel free to share in the comments section below.  Shannon :-)

PS--Interested in finding out more about my series of Reading with a Purpose bookmarks?  You can find them both on both TpT and Teachers Notebook at the addresses listed below. 

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 On TpT:

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 On TN:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Classroom Economics

Can I just say again how much I love my kiddoes and how much fun we are having with our classroom economics unit?! 
Today we focused on the differences between goods and services.  After learning the definitions of each, we brainstormed examples of each type on a simple flip chart.  We also read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  We then added examples from the story to our list.  For example, in the story the tree provides the boy with goods such as apples for selling and branches for building a home.  She also provides him with services like shade.   
We then played a little game I made up of Goods and Services Charades.  Students from each group drew 3 pre-made charades cards out of a cup.  Although officially there is no talking in charades, I did allow students to tell us whether they would be acting out a good or a service.  I also allowed them to use props if needed.  
I gave away "table points" to tables who guessed correctly.  Table groups made their guesses using dry erase markers on mini-dry erase boards.  This seemed to be more manageable then just letting tables yell out their responses.  
Here is an example of one of my table's demonstrations for charades.  Can you guess?  Yes, it is a service...washing a car!
One more fun thing to share...students began to brainstorm their ideas for our classroom community today.  By democratic vote, we elected to name ourselves FOCUS Valley.  You can see our student-generated list of ideas here on our classroom SMARTboard.  During the voting process, I asked students to vote for their top 3, then their top 2, and then in the last round of voting, for their final favorite.  FOCUS Valley was the winner! 
These are a few ideas students generated for the flag of FOCUS Valley.  I just love seeing students develop their creative thinking skills!  Such a fun day! :-)
 If you are interested in these economics ideas or lots of others, my complete resource pack is available on both TpT and Teachers Notebook.  Shannon :-)