Monday, March 5, 2012

Kids With A Heart

 One must talk carefully when bringing up the topic, tornado.  Our community was badly damaged by a tornado 3 years ago, and the memories are still very real.  I talked with my little ones this morning about Henryville (hiding my own sorrow at hearing the loss of 15 month-old Angel).  Our discussion led to all of the precious things that they value, that could be lost in a tornado.  When I talked about the Beauty from Broken Pieces project, they were "all about it."  We peeled some of our broken crayons together, then each child took several crayons home, along with our note explaining the project.  I hope to see many peeled crayons tomorrow.  One of our first grade classrooms is going to help after hearing about our project.  I am going to experiment tonight in my kitchen to find the best way to make crayon chunks (am a little worried about my smoke detector!). 
Tornado, sadness, loss of loved ones, compassion, acts of kindness, and yes, ISTEP. . . God has this all figured out.         Drama Queen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beauty From Broken Pieces

In just a moment, lives were changed, priorities were changed, beliefs were changed.  Change.  Broken pieces.
On Friday, March 2nd, teachers and students in Henryville, Indiana were using every last instructional minute to prepare for the upcoming, highly pressured state-wide I-STEP tests.  By the end of the day?  Change.  Broken pieces.  As tornadoes charged through this small town, homes were destroyed, schools damaged, buses and cars tossed about and twisted, and lives were lost.  Broken pieces.  Broken hearts.  Broken dreams.
But yet, a small child was found alone in a field, now an orphan. Her family was killed. In my safe little house far from this insanity, I see her as a picture of beauty from broken pieces.  The hope for this brave community.
Tomorrow, I will invite my kindergarten students to stay in a recess and help me peel the  paper off of all of our "broken pieces" of crayons.  We will melt the colors together into beautiful little crayon chunks.  We will send pictures to the elementary school along with the crayons, so that the children can make "beauty from broken pieces."  Join us?

Just When You Think Your Day Was Bad

My son is a dentist in Louisville, so Friday, March 2nd I was on pins and needles as I waited for him to pick up on my cell call.  He was OK.  That's all I needed to hear.  He was OK.  For that very day, a ferocious tornado ripped apart hundreds of lives in the nearby town of Henryville.  I can't get it out of my mind.  Another lesson in gratitude.  My own daily complaints were blown away.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Give it a rest!

The Drama Queen's crown is off, her hair is in disarray, her back is screaming for a heating pad, and it is finally quiet.  The school week is over.  The little ones have gone.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  There remains a slight smile as she recalls a comment from a small knight today.  "This is the best day ever."  We celebrated the end our unit study of fairy tales and castles.  The K students were dressed as lords and ladies of Kelley Castle, with recycled curtain vests decorated with felt and jewels (love those hot glue guns!).  Was it worth the energy? Oh, ya. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, March 1, 2012

moment's notice: JUST THINK!!! To all of the new slicers out there ...

moment's notice: JUST THINK!!! To all of the new slicers out there ...: JUST THINK!!! To all of the new slicers out there (including me): This morning,I caught myself with that "blank" look that I of...
To all of the new slicers out there (including me):
    This morning,I caught myself with that "blank" look that I often get from my students when they say they don't know what to write about. I will turn to Dr. Seuss for some practical and witty advice!
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
Dr. Seuss

Monday, February 27, 2012

On With The Crown!

Yesterday my family celebrated our Mom's 80th birthday.  She is famous in our family for her sense of humor and endless love for all of us.  She has tenderly watched friends and family pass due to illness or age.
She is devoted to my Dad and cares for him in many ways.  She is a rock.  She is also a DRAMA QUEEN!
Growing up, I remember her breaking into a song or story.  She encouraged all of us kids to express ourselves, and I thank her for allowing the messes, the dress-up days, and the never-ending flow of neighbor kids coming and going.  Appropriately, we crowned our Mom last night.  She wore a tiara and a pink "birthday girl" sash throughout the party.  The party was over. . . we were finishing dishes. . .I noticed she still had the tiara on her head.  Thinking she forgot about it, I reminded her that she could take it off.  She quickly replied that she had great plans for that tiara.  Many more happy days for my mom, the original DRAMA QUEEN!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Love My Teacher Friends

My pride in elementary teachers is bolstered when I see teachers who are passionate about writing.  Today,
after school, Ruth and MaryHelen left their teaching day to come to my school.  Their goal was to show teachers how to create a blog, then participate in a Slice Of Life, by blogging for 31 days in March.  Ruth's website is (  Shouldn't writing come naturally for a drama queen?
Isn't writing my favorite subject to teach? The problem always seems to be TIME.  Now that my colleagues are participating, we can encourage and remind each other to remember our Slice Of Life!  Thanks to all those who lead the way for other writers to put their thoughts to the keyboard!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Drama Works- Put on the crown!

Most every Friday, I can be found in one of our extra rooms preparing for Friday Favorites.
Last week, I was "The News Lady."  I cut a big hole out of cardboard, used a toy microphone and had my news report in front of me ready to begin.  The News Lady met students at the door as they came in, using the microphone to ask their names (think like the Today Show!).
The entire grade level sat on the floor with clip boards, papers, and pencils.  The show began.  The News Lady reported on a contest for the "Best School Award."  She talked about another school (Bummer School) which entered the contest.  The News Lady described that school as being wonderful (even though they were fed spinach and stew every day).  The News Lady ended by saying she was going to visit the students at Nappanee Elementary because she heard it was a very amazing place.  The News Lady left the TV screen and walked in and among the students with her microphone, asking them to comment on their school.  The contest was over in one week, so these students went to work, planning and writing their own letters of persuasion.  After 30 minutes the first graders went back to work on the project in their rooms and the News Lady presented the same lesson with the second grade classes. 

Two days from now Friday Favorites roles around again.  This time the News Lady will return to announce that NES did, indeed, win the BEST SCHOOL AWARD!
She will show some examples of student writing and talk about using voice to persuade. 
Student work will be posted in the hallway to give recognition to writing accomplishments.
A few props. . .a writing goal. . . and you can be a Drama Queen!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is All You Have Is A Moment

Just a moment. . .that is all it takes to turn a discouraged frown into a delighted banana smile!  I write this to remind myself of those fragile moments.  Could I have changed a child's day just by a smile, hug, or a special word of encouragement?  How often do I close my day by rememembering the heart-thumping words, "I love you, teacher?"  With today being Valentine's Day, my five yr-olds will choose to end our time together by having a "car wash."  The class gets into two long lines facing each other.  One person goes down the center as each child touches their shoulder and tells them one nice thing.  Wow, can that brighten any day.
Anyone needing a car wash????    The Drama Queen

Monday, February 13, 2012

drama drama drama

A drama queen is usually the title for a students that goes "overboard" with everything.  I am all about that with my teaching of young children.  We have tough competition out there with video games and computers.  We sadly, just finished our unit of study about the sea and whales.  We celebrated all of our learning through the eyes of pirates last week . . .more drama.  I now have a new name written on a piece of paper from one of my sailors:  Kelecapdin (Kelley Captain).  Can it get any better?  I'm a little down this week, because the role of Captain was really working for me!  Taking down the cardboard pirate ship, emptying the water table filled with seashells and fish, collecting the jars of sand from around the world and putting the globe back up on the wall, all seem a little sad.  For this is where our little ones open their minds to wonder and think.  Productive talking through "play" actually leads to amazing writing and sharing of new learning.
Take a leap. . .  become a drama queen.