Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FRIENDS: Happy Together


    Happy self-portraits.

These happy children were decorating bulletin boards on my recent school visit as author/illustrator music lady, singer-of-songs for children, traveling troubador. I just LUV that Pinterest affords me the opportunity to share the clever glimpses that I see in my travels.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Generations of Creativity

ROAD TRIP!!!
We're on a nearly two week, estimated 2200 mile driving adventure.
Departing sunny FL north thru Augusta, on to Annapolis and resting now in the Poconos we are headed to my two days of participation in "Reading is FUNdamental Festivities" in NY, before a quick heart-beat stop once we start heading south through Columbus for a do-not-pass-go hug fest before we then head on to the Tenn IRA Conference for my presentations there. Got it?

All of these miles give me an opportunity to reflect.

Today's reflection is on creativity.


This gem arrived in my brand-spanking new telephone-from-Mars. It's a capture of my grandson WonderBoy's Pirate-Gingerbread Kindergarten homework. (Haven't really figured out how to answer my phone or make calls, but its neat-o slick that the images show up all sparklie zip on this bigger screen!! Please be patient if you're calling me.)

My WonderBoy arrived to the Planet just under a month 'early' in an emergency scenario that was necessitated to save his mommy's life. He has been playing 'catch-up' ever since. Those early, treasured and significant toddler milestones of walking + talking were reached very d-e-l-i-b-e-r-a-t-e-l-y and with much support and cheering. So now he's in kindergarten and every adult who has ever worked with him is delighted to see his recent efforts!!!

Creativity requires time, materials and support.


As a LUVer of all things R-A-I-N-B-O-W, can you imagine how I felt to open an 'old-school' envelope, delivered cross country into my mail box?

 LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!
Love the focus. Love the concentration. Love the deliberate exploration of all of those different colors. LOVE it!!! Love my WonderBoy's process.

How do children tap into their innate creativity?

This road-trip is a unique opportunity to consider that very question!

Our six hour 'lay-over' in Augusta was designed to share a few precious moments with my parents. [I can't even believe that I didn't think to take some pictures.... we just had tooooooo much visiting to fit into such a short window of time.]

My mom gifted me with a photo journal she created of my ancsestery..... going back three generations photographically before my existence.... documenting the creativity of my fore-mothers. My mother is the gifted one with words. (Click here for that earlier tribute.) She is the keeper of the family story. She is our generational scribe. She is our historian and word smith.


Mom titled my journal gift, "Little Girls All Grown Up." This title references an earlier present. Previously she had given both my sister and moi a set of eight black and white photos representing five generations of us as young girls... including our own daughters. Each female photo was of us around kindergarten age. The first four pictures below are represented in the adulthood collage above. My mom is in the red dress with her heart shining, and that's me with big hair and earrings from the time capsule of a couple decades ago. Here we are again below in all of our innocence.

Creativity is nurtured by those who come before us.



From Augusta's lay-over we proceeded to the musical home of our youngest daughter and her talented husband just outside Annapolis. These two find their giftedness in the realm of all things music, particularly in the classical realm. Noelle is on target to wrap up her doctoral program this spring with a Doctor of Musical Arts, with her focus being on all things oboe. One does not get a doctoral degree over night.

Developing talent and exploring creativity requires patience, resolve and effort.



We had just walked in their back door from some errand running and I said, "What-ever happened to that idea of adorning your beam with some artistry? Why not now?" So in three clicks they assembled a brand new paintbrush and the perfect paint. Zip, zap, zowie!!!! Just like pixie-fairies, I 'decorated' their beam! Creativity starts with permission.



Not to focus any amount of time on the nature vs. nurture debate let me just do a quick recap.

  • Creativity requires permission.
  • Creativity requires time.
  • Creativity requires materials 
  • Creativity requires support.
  • Creativity is nurtured by those who come before us.
  • Developing talent requires patience, resolve & effort.
Debbie's half-a-dozen on creativity. 
There you have my reflections from the Poconos.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kinder Capabilities




Take a look at this amazing work!!!


These are from kindergarten children!
At the beginning of the year!!!
Brilliant use of material.

Amazing study of our natural world.
 Create a fall still-life to study:
Leaves and some small 'pumpkin-like gourds.'


Drawn first with crayon.
Water color wash.


Brilliant!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Not Thankful Rant

I spend most of every given day thinking about what I’m grateful for.
Call me Pollyana. I suppose more accurately that would be Debbiana. It’s true. I burst into refrains of “Tomorrow, tomorrow….. the sun’ll come out, tomorrow” in the midst of my own challenges as I'm actually choking on my own tears. My life has certainly been punctuated with ‘train wrecks’ of a very genuine nature. My way to deal with all of the tough stuff has been to focus on the positive. Simple earth language: “Put on your big girl panties and deal.”

So when I saw the linky-party this morning for “What I’m NOT Thankful For” I really stopped. I’ve been thinking all morning. Truth be told I have a long-list. This post is pretty a-typical for me. Yup. I'm coming out of the closet with some tuff-stuff here. Feel free to come back tomorrow for the usual rah-rah. Turn back now, if you're looking for light hearted. RANT is in the title. Word-of-warning. Proceed no further if you're looking for fluff. RANT.

My entire life I’ve been totally stumped by suffering. As a person of faith I have had some real ‘heart-to-heart’ conversations with the heavens when it comes to suffering/tragedy….. and at the very top of the list? I honestly am NOT thankful for childhood suffering. I don’t get it. I don’t see the silver lining.


My little red-headed princess grand-pippy and her brothers live right next door to a triumphant family. Her teeny-tiny buddy has childhood cancer. Let’s face it. There is no simple Pollyana-like happy, happy, joy, joy, joy to sprinkle on the top of chemo and toddler in the same sentence. I don’t get it. At all. Not in any way. NOT thankful. Overwhelmed. Deplore.

The fact that the little-hero in this story has a family to rally round his medical journey is a blessing to behold. The truth that their every morsel of energy must be dedicated to his survival breaks my heart. The truth that his days are marked with pain and set-backs to his development is unacceptable. NOT thankful.

Its stories like this that have me wishing I had chosen more wisely and selected a planet to visit where justice and fairness were woven into every cell. EVERY time. Every SINGLE story, EVERY SINGLE CELL: beginning-to-end. Not so Planet Earth. Unfathomable happens here. Just ask my princess loving, little Red. Maybe she'll grow up with a hyper-wiring for empathy and that will be some sort of good to come from this horror?

I’m pretty certain that this response of mine was not the intention of the Linkie party designer. After all her blog is named, "Blue Skies." Welcome to my world. I tend to over-think. In an effort to conclude on a lighter note, here’s some further insight into me and some of my wishes for when I get to be queen of the Universe.

1. When I’m queen? When I'm queen all the things that I enjoy, appreciate and spend my time on will also burn extra enormous super-high quality amounts of calories. When I’m queen: spending hours on Pinterest, making photo collages, writing blog articles and-or time spent blog hopping or visiting with cyber imaginary friends will each sculpt amazing abs in direct proportion to the number of keystrokes exerted. Give me a whoop, whoop!!

2. When I’m queen I will have a genetic over-ride capability to reset my brain instantly to correlate directly to keeping pace with technological developments. I will immediately grasp the latest and greatest and newest and fastest. I will have a technological intuitiveness and eagerly look forward to tech improvements instead of my current cowering & instant overwhelm response.

3. Speaking of technology. I grew up on the Jetsons cartoon and Star Trek. Shouldn’t I be able to click my heels and be able to visit with my geographically dispersed loved ones by now? What’s up with that? I’d really like to twinkle my nose and spend the morning with my Pippies across the country. Twinkle again and return to the palm trees for the afternoon.

4. I’ll admit. I’m not thankful for the opportunity to wait in lines. Visits to the BMV rankle my sunny demeanor. Getting my new-resident Florida drivers license on Wednesday? The ultimate. Don’t get me started. Taking a number to wait in line. For real. Not thankful. Not. Going back home for additional ‘proof’ that I exist? Really?? A passport & an OH drivers license and a tax form & utility bill not sufficient evidence??  A second trip to the BMV in one day – to take a second number & wait all over again. Arggggggh. When I'm queen, if there's a line which requires a number be pulled, the person "helping" will be kind, patient and make eye contact and see it as their role to actually be helpful.
Source: piccsy.com via Debbie on Pinterest


5. My concluding not-thankful? I’m not the least bit thankful that education and the Arts are the first things that are cut in economically tough times. This is when we need creative and educated answers people. We need new and different. We need to be thinking outside the box for these tough times. Everything I read + everything I know, tells of the importance of a child’s first years – for their development, for their life-long well-being. Yet what gets cut? Who had the fewest resources allocated to begin with? Let’s have salaries and budgets match the significance of the contribution. As much as I enjoy an NFL/NBA game as a happy distraction for my sitting and Pin-ing, when I’m queen the super-star mega money will automatically be given to those who impact lives of children….. and researchers who toil over advances in medicine to eliminate the words cancer and toddler in the same sentence. All professional ball players will be the ones holding bake sales for new uniforms.

It's probably a good thing that we were held to five NOT thankful concepts in our list. Cuz I could go on and on about Gertie-the-GPS who periodically has a personality disorder and announces proudly, "Your destination is on the right" when actually what I'm beholding is an empty parking lot or just as bad, a vacant cornfield."

Some day I may really let down my defenses and tell you about my life this side of Breast Cancer II and the constant side effects of Lymphedema, but that might scare you away permanently. There really is plenty to NOT be thankful over. Attempting to find balance in a world that is far from perfect, where bad things do indeed befall good people is what makes living as an Earthling a human experience. Do your very best while you wait in line. The lady behind the counter may have some reason that she's acting so very human. Ya never know the other side of the story.

Now go have fun with everyone else's teacher insight at First Grade Blue Skies Linkie. I read the other posts in the blog hop and they are all fun, up-beat, light hearted and super giggles. You'll enjoy their educational pratfalls and the variety of insights. Today's the day when the ledgers go to profitable. Spend your time and resources wisely!




First Grade Blue Skies



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bumper Stickers, Pinterest + Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Day.
An entire day devoted to giving thanks & counting blessings.


I have so very much to be grateful for, so many blessings to count. At this time of year I always think of the term 'harvest' as it applies to all things in my world. Of course at the top of my list is the concept of longevity. The blessings accrued from the gift of living. The very gift of being graced with long life is the treasured bounty extra-ordinaire. We get to celebrate the phase of "grand-parent-hood", a gift truly beyond amazing, beyond divine. What a joy to treasure..... the gift of family, the gift of watching the next generation take root. The gift of living a long life. As of this minute we are a four generation family with seven wonder-peeps. THE blessing.

I am approaching my fifth 'cancer-versary' from my first cancer diagnosis. Every additional Thanksgiving season is beyond sentimental. It is treasured indeed. I ponder reflectively over those not as fortunate as moi and I shake my heart and I remind myself to exhale. I am nearing the second 'cancer-versary' of my second cancer diagnosis and the upheaval from its many and various complications. (Things can go wrong, with even the 'best' of diagnosis.) Enough said. I do indeed know first-hand about counting blessings. I miss my dear friend Saint daily. There are not enough words to convey the sense of loss there. Every day I receive I live on her behalf. Every day: the BLESSING! 
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We are now gifted with our 'snow-bird' phase of life. This could also be called our 'nomadic' phase. We ramble about the countryside taking the very best from some of our favorite locales and weave in travels to new destinations as I am invited to share my work: A blessing! We are typically either packing or unpacking, nesting for a night or two or ten -- before the next adventure beckons. Our passports have new stamps this year, this season, this harvest. A blessing.

As this week began we were packing for a quick hop over to Orlando for my first ASCI gathering and my author/illustrator music lady workshop presentations to teachers there. I was searching for my "Calamity Sam" puppet -- which I knew was in Florida, but he was eluding me. In the process of that search I found a pile of miscellaneous bits, including my favorite bumper sticker. The older I get, the more I adore bumper stickers. A blessing.



In this new era of Pinterest, I knew immediately that I needed to capture the bumper sticker to share with my heroes, my teacher friends, my blogger friends and my imaginary, creative pinning-friends. I knew it would be an appropriate gift to give on Thanksgiving, the gift of a 'pin' to a wider world. A blessing.


My long time followers know how much I adore black and white graphics: checks, polka-dots and stripes -- my total FAVES!!!! So I had all of those 'ingrediants' just an arms length away: in my illustrating quilter's fabric stash of goodies were tons dozens of fat-quarters of calico for my choosing, wide gross grain ribbon in another drawer and a ceramic tile purchased years ago that sits there to make me happy.

Cut. Fold. Arrange. Camera. Picasa + Picnik borders. Voila!! 'Quilted' collage a la bumper sticker. (I may have just stumbled upon -- LOL get it 'stumbled upon' a new mixed media category.)  A few buttons as a garnish and the thought is captured forever and can be pinned and shared over and over. Teachers. Heroes. Blessings. Collage. Pin. Share.

But back to lessons at hand. Nomadic traveler. Listener. Gleaner. Here's what I learned during the keynote presentation on Tuesday.


I was quite accidentally able to hear a portion of the keynote as I jiffed between the my workshop space and exhibit hall. At that moment I had a Sharpie for signing my picture books, but no paper handy..... hence my note taking modus of operandi. I will look up his name soon, but this is what he said about teachers. This is how he defined the mission of teachers. This is what I heard:

  1. Teach hope
  2. Model Integrity
  3. Mentor Perseverance
Thanksgiving. Teachers. Bumper stickers. Keynotes. Pins. Blessings. 

Hope. Integrity. Perseverance. Could be a new bumper sticker.

My spelling is always suspect, but my heart is in the right place. LOL. Thank goodness there's spell check for blog posts. One day maybe Sharpies will come equipped with spell check?

I added this bumper sticker collage over at "Classroom Freebies" where an entire collection of folks contribute said freebies 24/7/365. If you somehow have missed that site until now, consider it my slice of pumpkin pie offered in Thanksgiving.

Charity, the founder of the freebie site was the one that inspired me to create a collaborative blog related to my piece of the educational pie. Today I had the honor of introducing our readers to Deanna Jump at "PreK + K Sharing." Pop over there when you have the opportunity. BTW? Up at the top of my blog, under the Freebies tab, is a list of my other favorite bumper stickers.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkeys: Bird-of-the-Day!!!




WORDLESS WEDNESDAY!!!!
[Yet more turkey birds 'captured' last week during my Author/Illustrator visit in Tampa]

Do you have a favorite?
Tell me which style reflects your 'Art appreciation' taste in the comment section below.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude 101

GRATITUDE!!!!! Thanksgiving!!!!!

I have so much to be grateful for this season.  
My list is long. My heart is full. I have learned so much. I started this summer on a quest to improve my blog. I really didn't want it to be perceived as only-being-about-me. I wanted it to be a better resource. I also needed to learn how to get it connected. So the journey began in earnest this summer with my introspection and study of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. program!!

Somehow I learned about that support system because of my serendipitous find of the website and circle of folks over at WeTeach. Spend a morning or spend forever, WeTeach has a forum for you -- if you care about education -- if you care about children, you'll be happy to learn of the resources at WeTeach. (Amy is the heart & soul, the genius behind the screen. That's the two of us meeting for the very first time in Orlando a couple of weeks ago at NAEYC. We were pretty thrilled to have a hug in person as you may be able to tell from the two big smiles. This photo was captured just moments after the HUGE exhibit halled opened to the public.)

From that supportive system I went on to meet Charity Preston a member at WeTeach who is the creator of The Organized Classroom Blog, but even more specific to my needs she is the creator of Teaching Blog Traffic School.

From that circle of folks and from brain-storming with Charity in her home, I was led to launch a collaborative blogging effort at "PreK + K Sharing" our collective blog launched at the beginning of this month --and it has already had 5,000 page views in three weeks!! (That's Charity with moi -- in her kitchen for my interview for the radio: "Chatting with Charity"  program that aired a while back this fall. I want to go on record as reminding the world that I was her first 'live' interview!!) Charity is holding my original quilt and I am holding open a copy of it's corresponding picture book illustration in my national award winning, "Red, White and Blue" INDIE Award Winner of Excellence. (Take a peak in my products tab up above for more info and YouTube videos, because my picture books are songs.)



As the circle of folks at PreK + K began materializing, I suddenly realized that we were noticeably short in the Visual Arts being represented. At that same moment a sweet comment was left here on my blog by Joanna Davis. One thing led to the other and Joanna dove head first into our collaboration efforts. Today is her first post there...... all about hand-print art and young children. I urge you to go there and read her insightful & delightful ramble, "Behold the handprint." Start by reading her first article for PreK + K Sharing. When you have a chance -- pop over to her ART FILLED blog by clicking here.

I have just started my Pinboard collection entitled "My Two Hands"  (click here to see the first couple dozen ideas) there are still quite a few amazing ideas already & I promise I will continue adding more over time!!!

******That's just the beginning of my list of reasons to be thankful. I'll continue reflecting all week. This post has been added over at the first linky party ever at "What the Teacher Wants" blog. There are over a hundred thankful teachers that you can meet, by clicking right here and hopping around to get acquainted!!!!

*******And there's a gratitude-teacher linky over at "Oh Boy Fourth Grade" too!!! She's shared an awesome template & here's how I'll make my list tonight. (You should pop over there for the awesome template -- and while you're there go visit some more teaching blogs.)

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bountiful BLESSINGS

We begin this week of Thanksgiving by counting our blessings. 
This is the perfect time for some reflection on all the wonder & majesty that surrounds us daily. Where to begin? Where do you begin? Where do you put your focus and your attention? Do you have a gratitude journal where you literally list your blessings? Do you fall off to sleep at night reviewing the gifts of the day? How do you express your gratitude? Where to start?

This project is a delightful one that could be done in any classroom from PreK to college or beyond! It would even be welcomed in an Elder-hostel travel program! Or perhaps it would be the perfect tradition to initiate at an inter-generational gathering of family and friends this week. It could be accomplished early in the day while watching the parades or after the mashed potatoes and before the football kickoff.

Ingredients? Construction paper and crayons + one nice Sharpie marker.
A new tradition.

This time of year is full of milestones and hallmarks and gatherings and get-togethers. Family reunions and meals brought together by loving preparations and traditional recipes. Get out the good dishes, the table cloth, the gravy boat and the folding chairs: company's coming!


What a delightful way for young ones to express their thankfulness, their blessings and their bounty. Each preschooler was given a bright construction paper feather to adorn with their own festive coloring. The teachers have then lovingly transcribed the thankfulness expressed by each individual child to their feather. Can you see that over and over again on the feathers -- in the minds of the children -- from their hearts --  that the blessings mentioned are most often family? Mom and dad, brothers and sisters and Aunt Teal.

How Aunt Teal must be shining to see her name enumerated with love!

Write your blessings down..... one-by-one, each a different color, each a different hue. Color enthusiastically to show your gratitude. Pause. Take a moment. Enumerate. Write it down. Express your appreciation for all good gifts. This is a time of harvest. This is a time of gratitude. Count your blessings. Pause again. This is a time to gather up. To reflect on your roots. An opportunity to consider the traditions of your up-bringing. A time to instill new traditions. A time to consider. A time to harvest indeed.

This is a time for giving thanks. 


In addition to my family spread far and wide across the country and this week literally around the globe, I am thankful for the opportunity to travel, to meet and appreciate classrooms and libraries across the country. I took these photos last week on site during my Author/Illustrator visit in Tampa to St. John's Episcopal Primary School. This project was one on display in the preschool portion of their program. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share their work with a wider world.

This post has been added to "Monday Madness" blog-hop over at "Art for Little Hands."
Photobucket
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I Can Teach My Child
This post has been added over at "I Can Teach my Child" for the Saturday Link-up.

Thanks to Beth's personal invitation I have now added this post over at Living Life Intentionally. There's a chance I might be selected to write a guest post for her amazing blog!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TURKEY TIME!!



TURKEY TIME!!! IT'S TURKEY TIME!!!!!
These are happy images from my author visit earlier this week. I have oodles more to share tomorrow -- of other turkey artistic styles -- just in case you're searching for one more inspiration.

This particular set of gobblers  Fine Art Turkeys was created lovingly by the kindergarten kiddos. Paper plate base for the body. Paint daubers for those awesome circles of color -- need I tell you that's MY favorite part of the process? Must be an over-sized die cutter to create all those happy feathers. Long thin strips for legs, accordion folded. Voila: Treasure. Heirloom. Keep-sake. Happy grand-parents!!

Had you guessed? The answer is yes! I purchased a premium membership at 'Picnik' so I can now adorn my photos and photo-collages with happier frames and clip art. Watch out Pinterest! 

All in the interest of building a better blog!

****I've just added this post to a blog linkie over at Mrs. Ayala's Kingergarten blog. Go check out the other ideas by clicking here!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

HUGE Book Give-Away!!

BOOK LOVERS!!!! LOVERS of READING!!
For the 'romantic' in all of us...............

This is something all together new and different for my blogging efforts.

I will be GIVING AWAY a signed copy of my children's picture book, "You're Wonderful" in this give away extra-vaganza of books. I think my work is the only children's picture book in the mix...... its perfect for gift giving!!!


My picture books are based on original songs that I've written for children. The CD insert is included as well as a chart of sign language to support the performing of the song. I created the artwork from quilts that I designed and created.


In the Raffelcopter instructions below, click the RainbowsWithinReach button and it will take you to an option to follow my Facebook Fanpage. Click that you 'like' RWR and you will be entered. Easy peasy!!


 

The Biggest International Bookish Giveaway Online

36 books split between 3 winners + 6 Gift Card Giveaways!

Follow the event on twitter

HOSTS, Feat. Authors & Other Giveaways

Organized by: Reading Romances
Hosts:
Can't Put It Down  
Close Encounters with the Night Kind  
How Many Days In A Year     
Beck Valley Books  
Romance Around the Corner              
I am a book addict...and proud of it  
From a Book Lover 
Cocktails and Books 
Words on the shelf 
Frugal Experiments  
RainbowsWithinReach 
Hobbies on a Budget
The Vincent Zandri Vox

Thank you to our featured authors:
Want to be the first to be contacted when the sign ups start? Leave your info here and you'll receive the information about the 5th edition: January 20 - 27.
BOOKS (36):

READ THE FULL LIST OF PRIZES HERE

Other Giveaways:
Ends Nov 18th: $25 amazon.com Gift Card INT ; November 18 -20th: ebook copy of For Queen and Country INT, Nov 20- Dec 21st:ebook copy of  Jealous And Freakn' by Eve Langlais INT; Ends Nov 30th: a $50 amazon.com Gift Card INT.

 - Nov 16- 30th: Â Vampire Shift T-shirt and a book from the Kiera Hudson series of their choice (Vampire Shift, Vampire Wake, or Vampire Hunt) INT

Nov 8 - 23rd & 18-20th  : Cash Giveaway

Nov 27 - 30th: Untamed Highlander by Donna Grant (signed paperback) - US & Canada

Nov 19 -30th: ebook copy of Destiny Redeemed / Nov 23- 27th : ebook copy of The Demon Side INT

November: 3 copies of Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson paperback  (UK) 

November: Multiple Giveaways

Nov 8th - 29th: featuring 90+ prizes including a brand new Kindle courtesy of Noble Romance; Weekly Giveaways (ongoing) - subscribe to sarahballance.wordpress.com *by email* for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Noble Romance or a $5 gift card to Amazon (winner's choice, INT);  Nov 14 - 25th;  win a $5 Amazon gift card and ebook copies of UNFORGIVEN and HAWTHORNE (INT)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

New Season, New Variation. 




As promised. Pictures from the world of Kindergarten. These photo collages are from my observations prior to my program presentation for my author/illustraot visit earlier this week. I'm so grateful to the teachers for allowing me to share their classroom work with the wider world.
This book project was being created by each of twenty children in the classroom. These first pages to their book were hung on a 'clothes-line' above the children's desks to dry from their cutting and gluing efforts. Trust me that was a lot of 'laundry'. By the time of my visit, each child had accomplished the first five pages of what will become their finished book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindergarten, Behavior & Buckets


My very first Florida Kindergarten author/illustrator visit!!

I walked in the door knowing that I wanted to be a sponge and soak up as much as I could. I knew that I wanted to take oodles of pictures to share: of the kindergarten walls, the kindergarten artwork, the kindergarten classrooms, the kindergarten organizational systems, the kindergarten smiles. I also knew walking in the door, that I wanted to contribute to Krissy's linkie party about behavior & kindergarten.



The "bucket-filling" concept was in full bloom at St. John's and I LUV'd seeing the various ways that teachers were working with the students to reinforce positive behavior. I especially appreciated this anchor chart which so delightfully captures all manner of positive interactions. (It went on and on at length, but this picture conveys the essence.)

What a great method of capturing what we want! LUV the way that the individual names are high-lighted in green. Once upon a time a gazillion years ago, I remembering hearing someone say,

"The bridge to reading is through a child's name."

[While the person who shared the power-of-the-name concept escapes me all these years later, the concept itself resounded so strongly with me at the time, that it has stayed with me over the long haul.]

How truly wonderful to see your 'name-up-in-lights' with positive behavior. ~~~~BINGO!!!~~~~




Now let's all look over kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McClain's shoulder. This chart above was right behind her teacher-desk. Each child has a little individual bucket, labeled with their name and then affixed to a 'library pocket' where the amazing Mrs. McClain can then leave a little note on behavior that she's observed and wants to re-inforce. SUPER BINGO!!! [Editor's note: Each of the classes at St. John's have twenty or twenty one children, so I've cropped the bucket chart so you can see a large enough portion for her system to make sense.]

I took the liberty of peeking into the buckets of Yosef and Miles to see their messages. WOW!!

These were a few of my observations PRIOR to my Artist-in-the-Schools visit begining in earnest with the students. These peek-a-boo glimmers made me all the more eager to have my opportunity to work with my audience.

       BRING ON MY KINDERGARTNERS!!!!!


I sculpt each of my presentations from the 'optimal behavior' stand point, based on the variables for that specific visit. (Now granted I probably don't make a typical author visit, because truly I'm an Arts/Music/Movement person, but having said that,) I plan our time together to go back and forth between UPbeat, moving, dancing portion to more stationary, sedentary, thoughful segment and ying/yang between the two, for as much time as we have available. Think: CLASSIC A/B pattern! Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.


I always get us underway offering the children  a chance to dance their heartbeat to a new level, filling their brains with oxygen in the process to my original children's song, "All Together Now." The song is designed to 'do-and-review' and includes everyone's favorite verse SHAKE IT DOWN. We then conclude with the directions: 'Everybody, sit back down' which are the lyrics of the last 8 beats of the song. Now that we're focused and alert, we're ready to take a look at my newest picture book, "Red, White and Blue."

This is what 60 kindergartners look like at minute #10. I've asked for volunteers to hold the original mini-quilts which became the illustrations within my book and we're captured in the picture above, working on our sign language for the lyric "I love you." So even though they are now seated, my expectation is that they are engaged. Including sign language for a hearing audience has so many benefits. The kinesthetic learners are delighted to have a job for their fingers. With this effort to be inclusive we also garner the benefits of fine motor development and all sorts of crossing the mid-line opportunities as the song unfolds.



Having been seated for several minutes, its time to get to "Jumpin' Jiminy" where we literally jump for 30 seconds and then freeze frozen, controlling all of our energy for 30 seconds. If you're freezing frozen you might as well make funny faces, right?


Freezing frozen is all about positive behavior and learning to control your own energy, your own body, your own enthusiasm, your own excitement. Now that we've had some time to jump + freeze, and jump + freeze, guess what comes next? You got it. Sit back down.


That's a pretty great picture of the quilts and their companion picture book windows for my first book, "You're Wonderful."

So back to Krissy Miner's question about Kindergartners and behavior. I do everything in my power to take advantage of the energy of five and six year olds and channel it in the direction that I want it to go. Having an invitation to a school where there is already a focus on positive behavior makes my brief time together all that much easier. This is more evidence from the classroom -- of the sort of perspective I observed yesterday. Last spring I wrote a post here about the 'rules' of kindergarten and if I do say so myself, it was a great post! (Click here to go there.)



These were all ideas observed in Kindergarten-land. If you've landed here thru Pinterest and want to see another AMAZING idea for building kindness -- I just saw another 'concrete' manner to encourage kindness in your classroom. Click right here to see the Kindness Wreath from a preschool setting.

If this is your first visit here to Rainbow-Land I'd be most grateful if you'd officially follow my blog and tell your friends. You're never certain what I'm going to share here, but I do work really hard to make it upbeat and encouraging, full of color & enthusiasm, polka-dots, daisies + the Arts, sharing from my amazing travels and invitations + the creative process that makes it possible.

********Speaking of SHARING......... We've just begun a collaborative blog earlier this month. It's filled with an amazing array of contributions from professional speakers, authors, performers, teachers, counselors, mental health and brain insight specialists. While you're blog hopping come on over and take a look at what's happening at PreK + K Sharing and be one of the first hundred followers there.
PreK + K Sharing


Edit: I woke up this morning and found a blog hop entitled "Thankful Thursday" and they've asked you to link to your favorite post of the last week!!! I am indeed thankful for everything I've learned about blogging in the last several months.

Another Linkie: I've  now added this post over at "I Can Teach My Child" for their weekly Show & Share hop.
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