Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JAMBO: Diversity Night

Just up the road from my house, is Licking Heights West Elementary. I learned this evening that the ENTIRE building is made up of kindergarten and first grade students. Several weeks ago I received an inquiry from their social worker asking about using my song, "Jambo" as part of their evening program to celebrate diversity. One thing led to another, and I invited myself to attend the program -- to hear Jambo in person.

Once we put our thinking hats on, it seemed to make sense that I would have a mini-master class with the children and teach them the sign language, prior to their performance. All went swimmingly. How nice to be included in the festivities.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Freezing Frozen Fantastically

Saturday morning. The Grand Amway hotel ballroom. Who's up and rarin' to go?? Seasoned teachers, youthful teachers, teachers ready to learn more about how movement is such an integral part of the education process.

"Balance is the platform for vestibular integration." I just love when I have participants who are willing to share from their experience and knowledge base. (See I told you I was gonna remember your response to my question. Thank you.) With help from willing Kelly, all of the technology cooperated: whoooohooooo! A good time was had by all. Thanks again, Bob.

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The Men in Michigan

The world of early childhood education is so over-saturated with fantastic women........ that when you get to a conference and you find men in attendance, it's really noticeable. The top picture is my ZB sponsor and rep, Bob Younger back in our booth together. Bob was the very first ZB rep to extend the invitation to present an event together. It was great for me to get to learn so much of the history of this amazing company through the prism of his many years of experience, my own personal history lesson. Thanks Bob for your incredible support and enthusiasm.

Now, about that second picture. I must confess that this is me "practising" for a future moment of glory. This was the "portable-president" who was very available for posing. Still, it makes me think of possibilities, of hope and of change.

We need some more incredible men to join us in the land of children.
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Big Time, Big Stage.......

........ BIG Screen!! Sometimes everything just unfolds with amazing and thrilling, surprising details. Here I am up on the "center stage" for Michigan's AEYC conference, in Grand Rapids. I am the guest of Zaner-Bloser and these are a couple of peeks into my workshop on integrating music and movement into the fine motor process.

I am now winding down year #13 of travels and fun as the Rainbow Within Reach, Arts Enrichment Specialist..... and I've lost all track of how many workshops I've presented...... no longer in the hundreds, but how many thousands, I wonder??? But this one was a first. I had THE center-stage, which was awesome in and of itself, but the amazing part, beside the screen being about 20 feet high, was the fact that I had 3, yes 3, count them THREE dedicated professionals for my 'show.' Phil ran the sound, Jim was in charge of technology (and took care of all of my power-point needs) and I can't remember the 3rd fellow's name but he was in charge of running the lights.

Big time. The really big time. Wow. I think I'm ready.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Facebook Feedbook

I think that I should just let 'you guys' write all of my blog entries. Look what I got on Facebook today from my NYC fan:

"You have to hear my kids singing to your cd (the one with 'LION, listen for that roar'). They sound like a little choir! And I have one child that's special. He knows every single word to every single one of the songs (even the one in french)! When he acts up and is uncontrollable I put it on and he starts dancing his own little dance with a huge grin and sings along. It took him listening to the cd two times to memorize the words."

We met up last month in Atlantic City for SDE and I get credit for getting her addicted, I mean 'introduced' to Facebook. How much fun to hear feedback from the front lines..... especially when I'm on-the-road, up in MI this time, thinking about tomorrow's presentation.

Oncologist Appointment

Yesterday was an interesting convergence of events. It was officially our 15th wedding anniversary, which is certainly something to celebrate -- only I'm in Ohio and Allen's in Florida. It was pouring down rain, which we really need, but does literally dampen one's spirits AND I had my appointment with my oncologist. Typically I go zipping and skipping about my day, being little Miss Merry Sunshine--Happy Pants and then periodically I am 'forced' to remember that this is an imperfect garden where I'm skipping.

It's been two years since my whole odyssey began and I've learned a lot in that time. I've also grown close to an entire slew of women and we've 'lost' way too many in the brief time that I've been on this channel. Just recently we abruptly lost our AlaskaDebC and what an immense loss has reverberated from her departure; she left an enormous hole in our BCO community. She and I really 'clicked' on so many levels. Initially cuz of that whole 'DebC' coincidence. Then I came to appreciate her hilarious sense of humor, her insightful writing and her amazing level of faith. She leaves two young daughters -- way too early.

So my appointment JOLTS me back into the reality, that there really are no crystal balls with this disease. On one hand that means carpe diem, indeed. Well let's not even think about any other hands. Carpe onward, little hummingbird, carpe on!

After spending the morning in the waiting room, putting my situation into a much better perspective (seeing others who are indeed gravely ill and undergoing treatment completely humbles me) I felt the need for a little retail therapy. Marshall's is literally right next to the oncologist parking lot.... and what should catch my eye, but the t-shirt above? I think for a t-shirt, the designer gets some major points for clarity, as does 'new balance' for an accurate & insightful message.

This message does indeed encompass my BC experience and I do indeed wear pink for all of these reasons -- the most significant being the dramatic need for the CURE. We lost my cousin Connie way tooooo soon to this beast and AlaskaDebC and CTG and Zaro and Twink and and and and and and and it will be another 40,000 names added this year alone. Whatever possible contribution you might make -- walking, advocating, or praying: the time is now. The pink lettering is on a black shirt for a very sobbering reason. Way too many will be lost way too soon.
P.S. My onc gave me the thumb's up, 'so far so good' speech and doesn't want to see me for another six months. I'll wear my t-shirt with pride this spring.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kweezle E-Feedback

Look at the email that arrived in my inbox:

"I was at your class in Newark, Ohio today. Just wanted to let you know it was the best class I took. I really enjoyed it. I bought your dvd for my daughter. My daughter has NEVER sat down to watch t.v, and she sat and watched it for 20 mins, that is huge for her. My daughter was a miracle baby, she was 3 months early and 1 pound at birth, so the book/song "you're wonderful" is very special to her and me. Thankyou for all you do. I hope to see you again in another workshop."

******It just makes me want to reach right thru my screen and into my in-box and give this incredible mommy a great big hug. I need to be sure and tell my "Kweezletown" crew of this particular response. It's amazing to have these opportunities. Even more amazing to get feedback. BTW: You're welcome. You're VERY welcome.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PreK Jammies Campout

Tuesday morning. Dateline Jolly Jumpers. What could be more fun than a PreK P.J. wearin' campout? How about a PreK P.J. wearin' campout, that goes on a "Lion Prowl"?? Yeah, now that's the ticket for serious, delirious PreK fun!! March showers bring April flowers, or something like that. Do you just love the flowers from the room of the 2.5 year olds? I'm thrilled that the teachers have allowed the children to 'assemble' their own flowers according to their own sensibilities. What a continuum of projects and what insight into our little Rembrandts. I'm just wild about all of that color! Spring really has arrived. Yahoo!!
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Guitar Hero Anyone??

Monday morning. Dateline: League. Who wants to play guitar hero? Who wants to be a hero with a guitar?? Allow children the feeling of playing the real instrument. Empower them by forming the chords and let them do the strumming: that way everyone's a winner!! We sing each other's names. It's always a hit to get them up 'on stage' for their moment in the spotlight. That last picture is my favorite verse for the Hokey Pokey: "You put your tongue in, You put your tongue out......... and that's what it's all about!" My favorite bumper sticker: "What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?"
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Left, Right, Left, Right

These pics are choreoghaphed as tightly as the June Taylor dancers from my mind's eye. Following directions: 10. Joie d'vivre: 10.
Eagerness to return to their classrooms with new tools: 10.
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"Where is Pointer??"

Pointer, where are you?? And a little bit of 'left-to-right, left-to- right.' The afternoon was all handwriting preparedness, all the time. We moved the show upstairs but kept the enthusiasm at the same full tank level. Those are some good lookin' smiles. That's a whole lot of group participation, if you ask me!
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Licking Co. Pathways

How good does this group look for 8:30 on a Saturday morning?? I think they're rev'ved up and ready to "Celebrate." We gathered together in the Reese Center of COTC in Newark for the second annual Licking County Pathways Early Childhood Conference. Last year's innaugural event was scheduled during the freakish March blizzard, where we recieved 22 inches of snow overnight. The weekend that it was rescheduled to, I was unable to participate as I was in Indy for their state AEYC convention. So this was my first-time. Responsive folks. Helpful. Enthusiastic.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Teacher Training/Sharing

After the communal concert, we regrouped and had time for teacher training -- with me sharing some of my latest ideas and encouragement. Here are a trio of enthusiastic teachers demonstrating their form on, "Ride My Bike." We're all in agreement that a minute goes a long way: core training, indeed. Last but not least are the classroom pets from Brittany's room. As our time together concluded she shared that she was the student who was honored with the scholarship in Akron, from their AEYC two years ago, when I presented the keynote (small world alert!) Today was my 2nd "cancer-versary" and the evening gathering where Brittany was honored was just after my initial diagnosis and surgery. She remembers being a part of one of the very first groups to tie a ribbon on my BC (Breast Cancer) scarf. Today was a walk down memory lane in more ways than one.
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Bring on the Preschoolers!

What exactly does a group of 80 preschool children look like, you ask? Here you have it! All gathered together in one old-fashioned, wooden floor gymnasium. Eighty preschoolers, one "performer" in polka-dot, asymetrical skirt, a guitar and the top favorites of the Debbie's Ditties collection. (When I was walking down the hall, one of the children said to her friend, "There goes our performer for the afternoon.") How do you spell fun? To add to the excitement, the local TV camera crew was on hand..... including a pre-tip-off interview of me. Wonder what I have to do to track that down??
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ARTS: WOWOW!! Mansfield

Have I mentioned that I have the 'best' job?? I get to go to the most amazing places. Today I was at the Early Learning Children's Center in Mansfield -- for a return concert. You know that you're in a place that loves art, when the school gym has 23' high hand-painted dinosaurs on the wall. I had enough time before the afternoon concert to take a little tour down the hallways. The third picture is a 'moveable sculptural-wall.' Soooooooooo cool. The very definition of cool. The 3D pieces, shapes/colors all had massive strips of velcro and can easily be repositioned on the velcro-matic wall. Space. Shapes. Movement. How much fun is that, if you're in preschool? And take a look at that final bulletin board: celebrating Dr. Seuss in such a child friendly, open-ended, appropriate art-project manner. Three stars before we even begin!
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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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