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May 26, 2013

Einstein vs. Flashcards

One of my amazing teacher buddies recommended I read Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn-and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less. After discovering my local library had a copy of the book I placed myself on the waiting list. Once it arrived I found myself drawn to reading it. (This is difficult because my six month son is a little demanding at the moment. Any moms out there have advice for getting a little one to sleep through the night?) Whenever I got a chance I would read a couple of pages and think about what was written until I got a chance to continue reading.

Right now there is a very strong emphasis on parents and teachers preparing children to compete in a global market. Children are encouraged to memorize, read, and study before they enter preschool. Children is school are losing valuable recess time to teach all the material on the big tests. Play is structured instead of inspired. Students are having to deal with large loads of homework and extreme pressure.


The myth that we need to be preparing our children from the womb to compete is invasive. My son is six months old. I've had early childhood training and even I was buying into the idea that I was failing him by not breaking out flashcards and instructional toys. This book calmed my fears.

Parents do not need to spend a boatload of money hiring tutors, buying the latest toys and videos, scheduling their toddlers for absurd classes, or sending them to advanced private schools. Parents need to spend time with their children playing. They need to give them unstructured time to play alone, with other children, and with adults who will raise their play to a higher level.

The authors explain recent data and studies and how play benefits children in educational, social, and emotional ways. They provide small experiments you can complete with your child. Reading this book is already impacting how I interact with my son. I can't wait to apply more ideas from the book once he gets a bit older.

What do you think? Is play being pushed aside in favor of academics? Do you still have recess?

May 22, 2013

Teachers helping Teachers

After seeing and hearing of the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma I knew I needed to help. Teachers Notebook has banded together to create a packet of over a hundred products. All proceeds are being sent directly to Oklahoma. People who purchase this packet can choose to donate $20, $25, $50, or $100. It will only be offered until May 28th. Please take a look and see what you can afford to give.


March 16, 2013

March Currently

This year is just flying. Baby K keeps me so busy that somehow it is already the 16th. How did that happen?

I couldn't let another day go by without jumping on board for Farley's March Currently. I think I am only number 500 something. Holy cow that girl is popular. Without further ado, my month.

I've been slowly working through the Teaching Blog Trafic School. It helps me learn new tips to develop my blog and encourages me to sert goals. If you are just getting started on blogging I recommend it.

I love being able to spend time outside. My little tomato plants are growing so quickly. I can't wait for summer and salsa.

My house needs a good deep cleaning. Today we tackled the bathroom and kitchen. Next on my list is Baby's room.

While I appreciate the extra daylight, daylight savings has not been kind to my sleep habits.

I just bought a spiffy bike. (Thank you tax returns!) Now I need to buy a helmet and some shorts.

I enjoy good movies. I love how music can change my day for the better, but I hate how hormones make my mood swing.

What are you up to this month? Interested in joining in? Stop by Farley's Party.

February 11, 2013

Chinese New Year

I love good Chinese food. I'm not talking Panda Express. Which Mr. Handsome loves to eat regularly. After working at Universal and having to see it every day for an entire summer I don't really think it qualifies. Since moving we have yet to find an amazing Chinese place. Looks like we will have to investigate or I might have to try my hand at making some. I bring this up because Chinese New Year was yesterday, February 10th this year. I love a good reason to celebrate. Even if I am a day late. :)

How do you celebrate Chinese New Year in your classroom?  I used to share books with my class and do a short lesson on the different animals associated with the Chinese Zodiac. This is the year of the snake.

Here are two of my favorite books:

D Is for Dragon Dance
I was given this one with a little paper dragon puppet. My kids loved to read this and gently play with the puppet.

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Other Great Resources

I have not read this book yet. It looks adorable. Anyone out there read it before? Is it worth adding to my list of books to buy?

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale

February 8, 2013

February Books/Currently

Growing up I hated Valentine's Day. My family usually called it SAD. Single Awareness Day. But then I met my husband and had a class of little second graders and my thoughts happily changed. While I realize Valentine's Day is popular for the over priced roses and chocolates that is not why I celebrate it. I celebrate it because it gives me the opportunity to express my love to others. (I will happily receive chocolate and roses on any other day. My husband knows not to get me them on Valentines. It is WAY too expensive.)

As you know, one of my favorite things is reading. I wanted to share some of my favorite books about love with you. Feel free to peruse them.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.
I love the message this book shares. Expressing love and gratitude makes a huge difference.

A Book of Hugs
This book has adorable illustrations and explains different ways to hug. I can't wait to share it with my little man. This one went over a lot better with my second graders than A Book of Kisses. I like that one too, but it will make your kids silly.

Guess How Much I Love You
This book is a classic. It is perfect for illustrating similes  You could even have the children write their own version for their parents or special valentines.

Bear Hugs: Romantically Ridiculous Animal Rhymes
I loved using the short poems in this to help with transitions, as a small reward, or even a short time filler. After reading it you could inspire the poets in your class to write a poem from a different animal's perspective.

Fun for First also came up with an excellent list which you can find here.

I love sharing books! And I really love Farley's Currently Parties. Check out what is new in my world.

My husband fell in love with Imagine Dragons and I quickly followed suit. Listening to them makes me happy.

We've been fighting the rain recently. Right now the sun is shining and I am almost convinced to go for a walk.

I want to send some "love notes" to people who have made an impact on my life. If you were to write a note, who would you write?

We moved this summer and I still don't feel like I have found a new friend. I have several new acquaintances but no one who really fits. Blech. 

The price of stamps went up. I need to buy some more one cent stamps so I can send off my love notes. Snail mail is so much more fun than digital. 

I HATE comment verification forms. Why do they have to make the letters all squiggly? I almost always mess up. I promise I am human. I can't leave a fun comment if your comment guardian rejects me so many times I give it. Trust me. It happens. At least once a week.

I also HATE people who smoke next to children. You are ruining their lungs and setting them on the path to developing a terrible habit. Enough said.

How are you preparing for Valentine's day? Who are you planning on showering with love?

Want to link up with Farley? Check out her link here.

January 28, 2013

Currently January

I know that there are only three more days left in January. But my blog has been so neglected, and I love parties where I can talk to people one on one or in small groups.  (I am actually terrified of social events with too many people. Especially people I don't know.) Even though Farley's party is HUGE I still feel like there is a lot of personal connection. It must be the rule of three. I love that she inspires (and requires) people to visit and talk to each other.

My January Currently:

Right now I am the epitome of productive house wife. The dishwasher is going, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are baking in the oven, my son is sleeping softly, and today things got dusted. I know. I dusted. You can hold the applause, I still have to fold the laundry. 

My life has changed a lot in the past year, but I wouldn't change anything about it. Except maybe the pinched nerve in my back. That I could happily disappear.

I meant to get to this linky party sooner. But life as a new mom is a little bit harder than everyone makes it seem. I don't know how people can have babies and work at the same time. I am just trying to keep my head above the water some days. The good news is next month is just around the corner. Maybe I might make it on time to February's party.

My little boy is an angel, but I would love for him to sleep in four hour chunks at night. Any advice from the Mom's out there on this?

I am slowly working on decluttering our little apartment. Frankly there just is not enough space for everything. So somethings have to go. At the moment I have three bags to donate to charity and I am thrilled. But I know there are plenty more things that could be added to the pile.

Time. I pondered other words. But this is the one I kept coming back too. I need to manage my time more effectively. I have so many things I would like to get done. And getting a lot of them half done is not quite the same as focusing on who/what is important.