Wednesday, August 31, 2011

M: Marvelous Music Motivator

photo of: MUSIC as Motivator: Debbie's Dozen Directions, top 12 suggestions from Debbie Clement
WELCOME!!! You've landed under my rainbow!
I'm Debbie and I have a 'dozen directions' to share from my perspective as "Music-Lady" for your work with children. These are tips I've put together from my fifteen years worth of touring into classrooms. Here's my top twelve suggestions from all of those Author-Illustrator School Visits. 
photo of: Early Childhood Teachers caught up in the happy dance of Debbie Clement keynote
Debbie Clement Keynote for Early Childhood Educators in Tennessee
Welcome! It's a party!!! It's an early education summit & party!!!
It's a celebration extravaganza of young children and all the adults who love them!! And trust me. We know how to throw a party. Welcome to my little corner of the party. Today we gather together in honor of our fellow blogger, Deborah Stewart and her many efforts on behalf of young children. We join forces. We join expertise. We join experiences. We join insight. Today we mark the milestone of 20,000 people, from around the world, joined together on behalf of young children on one FB page! Get your hands up in the air. We're getting organized! It's a party!

photo of: Happy Teacher Enthusiasm for Music as Motivator
My contribution to the party is the letter M for MUSIC!!! 
Since I've written and recorded over a hundred original songs for children -- I guess that makes me qualified, even something of an expert! Get your groove on. Where else would you see grown women literally leaping at the opportunity to come up front, in a crowded auditorium, and dance to a song that they have yet to learn, a soon-to-be favorite, the "Piggy Rap"? Those are my 5 little Tennessee piggies. We assembled last weekend to get pumped for back-to-school. They're showin' the crowd what they've got!! We're early childhood & we're proud!!! LUV me some keynote excitement!

photo of: The Piggy Rap: Debbie Clement's dittie for the five little piggies


1. Music is one Multiple-Intelligence!  Thanks to the research and insight from Howard Gardner, we know that music is one of the 'original' intelligences -- from the perspective of multi-faceted individuals. Some children come into our lives & into our programs hard-wired to express their intelligence thru music! Acknowledge their gift! Play to their innate strength!

2. Music is a Learning Style Preference! When we think of the 'VAK Attack' [Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic] in working with children and their preferences for learning, we know that some children prefer to learn thru their Auditory feedback systems & their listening skills are their strongest mode of learning. Bring on the music & let the learning begin!! Children will 'remember' when something is set to music. Make music 'work' for you!!

3. Music is a cultural phenomena! It doesn't matter which culture is yours -- music is the bedrock and touch stone to express your heritage, your background, your shared experience. Music is also one way we come to learn beyond our own upbringing. Music brings us the world!
Enrich your music time by choosing selections and instruments from other cultures!

4. Music is life's backdrop! Name that tune! "They're playin' our song!" There's music playing at every significant moment of your life. Your first step. Your first kiss. Pomp & Circumstance. Here Comes the Bride. The funeral fanfare. Music is the under-girding of all the significant moments of our lives. Turn up your sound-track & tune in. Watch which tunes your child responds to most appreciatively when there's music playing.

5. Music is festive! Think Super Bowl. Think Mardi Gras! Think marching band parade. There's music if its a party and if its a party there's music. Woven together. Throw the confetti. Drop the balloons. The music's drum beat is the foundation, the very invitation for fun to begin. Playing music in your home + classroom brings it to life!

6. Music is engaging!  Macarena. Hokey-Pokey. Y.M.C.A. Wedding Chicken Dance. The Bunny Hop. The Charleston. The Electric Slide. Top-to-Bottom. What era do you reflect? You hear the beat and you know what comes next. You're tappin' your toes. You're clappin' your hands. You're ready to march: faster & faster!! Your eyes light up. You're involved. You're focused. You're engaged. Music has got to be one of the 'easiest' tools in your toolbox.... everyone wants to get involved. Brush off some ol' camp songs. Get active. Get moving!!!

7. Music is a bridge! Tell me your favorite song and you invite me into your world. Teach me your favorite song and we're bonding. Sing together your favorite piece and we knit cultures, classes and backgrounds into one shared experience. [Read this earlier post for the most amazing demonstration of how Hajar learned English to my song, "You're Wonderful". Have a tissue handy. Her handwriting alone may bring you to tears.] Ask families what their favorite piece of music from home is & share in the school setting.

8. Music is a (curriculum) support! Ask anyone. Music can drive the learning under your roof. From sun-up to sun-down. From cock-a-doodle do, shimmy outta jammies to lullaby 'n good night back into fresh jammies -- music gets it done. How did you learn the 50 states alphabetically? I'll bet it was to music. There's a song for the A, B, C's. There's a song for self-esteem. There's a song for Patriot's Day. There's a song for being "Glad I'm at School Today!"

9. Music is a memory enhancer! Having trouble teaching your young child their phone number? Put it to music and include the area code up front, with a 'boop-boop-sha-boop' at the end and you have a jingle worthy of any radio station. Madison Avenue knows the power of a tune for marketing. Use music to 'anchor' learning for your child.

10. Music makes the perfect transition! Has the group been playing hard-at-work in center-time focus and concentration yet now its time for the group to convene on the rug? Music is the perfect transition! Been sitting too long on the rug and need some oxygen? Music is the perfect transition! Been playing hard on the playground and its time to move inside? Music is the perfect transition!! Get it? Music is the perfect transition!!

11. Music leads to movement! Music's very structure is an invitation to move. Calypso? Get moving!! Jazz? Get moving!! Classical? Get moving. Reggae? Get moving!! Banjo pickin? Get moving!! Brass band? Get moving!! [Read here for my series with Dance & Movement authority, Connie Dow & come back soon for the next installment in our continuing series.]

12. Music is celebration! What is a birthday cake with candles lit without a song? Whether you're two or eighty-two there must be singing prior to cake-cutting. That's just how it works. What is preschool graduation without a song? For that matter, what are children without a song? Strike up the band or the boom box. Plug in the I-Tunes, the YouTube or the SmartBoard. Shake your shakers, pound your drum, sing your song. Let the party begin!!!

photo of: Teachers at conference presentation on the value of music in early childhood
Kudos to Deborah Stewart for bringing us together A to Z and Z to A!! Continue on your alphabet hunt. Learn a lot thru these ABCs and see you at NAEYC in November!! I'll be presenting with Connie Dow on this very topic: "Movement and Music, Music and Movement." I'll also have my own booth in the wild exhibit hall at Booth #719, Come see me in my polka-dotted splendor and we can continue and make this at actual two way conversation. See you in Orlando!!
photo of: Debbie Clement's happy shoes and socks

-- Debbie --

Now!!! How about bein' an absolute angel? Would you please hit one of these little buttons just below this post to continue the party? Please tweet this out if you're a tweeter or hit one of the other share buttons:FB/blog/Pinterest etc. that makes the most sense in your network of fellow folks concerned about children. Let's do all we can to support a system that focuses on the most significant resource for the future: our children!! Tweet on folks. Tweet on!!
ABC's of Teaching Preschoolers

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tennessee Morning Fun

You guessed it! It's time to get this party started! Hands in the air!! "It's time to cel-e-brate! CEL-E-BRATE!!" Get your groove on.
"It's time to ed-u-cate! ED-U-CATE!!!" Pump it up, now. "Let's all a-pre-ci-ate! A-PRE-CI-ATE!!!!"

It's so much fun to start the mornin' with some call and response. It's all the more fun when the auditorium is groovin, the house is wired with awesome speakers and there's a tech crew with experience with just how much bass is needed to start a Saturday with style.

Meet the teachers! This is my dance hall number from my fifth CD, "Debbie's Ditties 5: Jump, Jam and Jive." I think this opening song qualifies for both the jam 'n the jive!!
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Lookin' Leadership

Question: How many women does it take to pull together an all day conference for early childhood educators? Answer: The more-the-merrier! I'm not sure that I've captured everyone who contributed to making this day such a success, and if I was capable at Photoshop I'd piece these two images together somehow. Here's the power-house people who have been planning for months on end to make this day an amazing success for all in attendance. There was a track for administrators led by the 'other' Debbie. The teachers had a mammoth make-it-take-it in the ballroom. Who would be brave enough to lead a MI/TI for 200 teachers in a ballroom you ask? That would be the Energizer-Bunny Lisa.

One of the greatest things about going on far-flung travels is that you get to reconnect with others who are far-flung journey makers. Today was the first time I got to see the magic Ms. Lisa in action. What joy. She arrived with three or four human-sized piles of bins worth of glue guns, felt, markers, paper plates, pom-poms, crepe paper -- well maybe you get the idea. She knows of my book, "Tall Giraffe" and told me ahead of time that she had a PERFECT craft to share with the crowd. Here she is mid-sentence in her presentation to the throngs to share a perfect 'extension' idea for my picture book. You gotta know that just as soon as I post this to my blog, I'll be 'pinning' this image to Pinterest! LOL! The paper plates are held together with pipecleaners..... could be made all the cuter by having the children paint the plates yellow before they cut the shapes for the 'brown & spotted, polka-dotted' spot-dots verse. Get out your glue sticks. Ready. Set. GLUE......

When you put a couple hundred teachers for young children in a big room with lots of art materials and give them sufficient time, you are apt to come up with new & different brilliant ideas. Lisa had all sorts of paper bag hats and puppets. She'd given her awesome plug for "Tall Giraffe" which I had already introduced in the morning keynote......... so look what one brilliantly enterprising & creative teacher created:
A paper bag giraffe head!!! And here's one final close up of Lisa's paper plate creation:

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School!!!

Look at these enthusiastic teachers!! Look at those smiles!! Look at this upbeat energy!!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kindergarten LUV & Lessons

Do you want to know why I love my visits to kindergarten? The sign above is such a good explanation. Kindergarten is a magic place where sharing is at the top of the list. Remember how 'everything I really needed to know I learned in kindergarten?' It's true. Kindergarten is the "official" place that lays the foundation in earnest for all of those school experiences to follow.

[I promise another post as to why the preschool years make kindergarten joy a possibility.... but for now lets just soak up some K-LUV.]

Debbie's Half Dozen for Kindergarten LUV:

1. Share. Sharing is at the top of the list. Sharing is neither easy nor simple to a five year old, but conquering social skills is pivotal for a life time of success. Kindergarten is the proving ground for sharing. Share. Share your love of dinosaurs. Share your penchant for play-doh. Share your amazement over baking-soda volcanos. Share: it never goes out of style, it never costs any more, its always appreciated, one size fits all, its calorie free, there's always room for more! SHARE!

2. Listen. It's a good follow-up to share. To listen is to be willing to learn. To listen is the continuation of taking turns that sharing implies. True for adults. True for spouses. True for employees. True for students. True for grandmas. True for principals. How well do you listen? How capable are you at being quiet? Take a yoga class & learn about listening. Go to kindergarten and learn about listening. "Do you have your listening ears on?" [Have you ever said this outside of your classroom -- only to make yourself giggle-out-loud?] LISTEN!

3. Be Nice. The Golden Rule. Do unto others. Kindergarten is a place for the practise of manners and the foundation for a personal code of ethics. Ask any kindergartner who the nice kid is in class and they'll tell you in complete honesty. Niceness stands out -- even among kindergartners. The really good news? Niceness can be 'taught'. Niceness can be 'expected.' Kindergartners have a keen sense of right and wrong -- and they know where nice fits into the equation. Being nice counts in kindergarten & that's why I fit in there. BE NICE!

4. Help. Do you just LUV that 'help' is in the top 5? When I trudge up to a school with all my gear in hand, its always some little kindergarten child, with a backpack as big as they are, that seems to run up the sidewalk for the opportunity to hold open that humongous front door. Kindergartners know what its like to need help. They are earnest enough to be able to offer it and they are humble enough to ask for it. Embroider those four letters on your heart in kindergarten: h-e-l-p. Know when you can extend it. Know when to seek it. We need to offer each other merit badges for helping. Ask any classroom of kinder-kids for help and you will be utterly besiged with volunteers. Hands will flail at the speed of sound. Pick me! Pick me!!
Helping is a very big deal. As one who seemingly needs more & more 'help' these days, I love the precious kindergarten kids who know when they are needed and respond with delight. HELP!

5. Make New Friend(s). The expectation of kindergarten is that we are here to make new friends. It's a rule. It's number five. (My sincere apologies: it is my beginning photography skills that edited off the lone letter s in the official photo above.) Kindergarten is not about 'make new friend'. Instead iIt's about 'make new friendS'!! We're all in this together. Circle time includes everyone!  We make circles to include everyone, to gather everyone in!! We are a team. Every new day of kindergarten affords the opportunity for a new friend. MAKE NEW FRIENDS!

6. Be Respectful. Wow. That's heavy-duty stuff for five year olds. Be respectful indeed. I think some of our sports figures, politicians and Hollywood types have forgotten their kinder-training. I see so many FB postings from adults who seem to have forgotten this basic. Be respectful. Wouldn't it be a better world if we could carry respect further and longer and deeper and stronger? Wouldn't we have a better neighborhood, a better community, a better state, a better country, a better planet if we learned more about respect? Perhaps we need the kindergarten children to remind us? Perhaps we need the kindergarten teachers to speak up? Perhaps we need to recognize the kindergarten teachers for all that they do -- on behalf of children, on behalf of families, on behalf of their schools. How about stopping through your elementary school and thanking your kindergarten teachers as the new year gets underway? Getting the new year started is a truly stressful time. Let's be respectful and thank those who lay the foundation for everything that follows. Be respectful and appreciate a kindergarten teacher near you.   BE RESPECTFUL!

Special thanks to my kindergarten friends in Hilliard for inviting me into your midst and sharing those amazing smiles with me during my official GCAC Artist in the Schools visit! I'll be back next year!!

***Remember the promo code to receive 20% off of your copy of my INDIE award winning picture book, "Red, White and Blue" is: RWB911. Perfect resource for 9-11.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

911 Picture Book Review!!

HUGE day for me!!! My picture book, "Red, White and Blue" was reviewed over at "Character Education Blog, Character Counts." Please, please, please click over and read the full account! There are all sorts of great ideas for its implementation in the school setting.

I am especially grateful for the reviewer's discussion of the diversity of our US geography suggested by my quilt illustrations and ways to use that to prompt classroom discussion. Her use of suggestive questions to prompt introspection in conversation about the history of Patriot's Day and heros in our lives can be adapted for the age and maturity of the setting, bringing important insight in the process.

Let me remind you that there is a promo code that is in effect from now until the end of Sept. When ordering your copy of "Red, White and Blue" please feel free to insert the code: RWB911 and you will receive a 20% discount. If you are in the position to need a LOT of copies just let me know (for your whole school, library or Head Start system please call the warehouse directly for bulk orders.)

There is another opportunity to **WIN** your own copy for free. This week there is a give-away at Organized Teacher Blog. One signed book will be given away at the end of the week. Charity has oodles of teacher goodies for her back-to-school give away. I want the get-away package!

The quilt above was created for the end papers for the book. Click here to see earlier posts to see it under construction. This week I'm speaking to my local quilt guild & I'll be sharing these slides with my fellow quilters.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top to Bottom YouTube!!!

Isn't it amazing? I started this summer with the goal of sharing my work with a wider audience. Today after I came home from church I remembered to go to my blog post of yesterday to add some links and while there I noticed the most dramatic stampede on my YouTube page of videos: EVER!!!!! What on earth had happened?

I posed that thought on my Facebook page -- and very shortly the answering angel herself popped through with an explaination. It seems that Charity, of the Organized Classroom Blog, my blogging mentor had mentioned my existence on HER FB fanpage and the stampede began in earnest! She put a link directly to my blog button above that lists my YouTube videos. Wow! Again, I say wow!!!!

Charity's generosity & kindness reminded me that I had worked on 'editing' some footage shot earlier at the Early Childhood Summer Institute during my workshop presentation. I had asked for a volunteer to handle my camera and take some photos. Un-be-knownst to me, my amazing participant thought to shoot this segment as a movie!!! So Allen just helped get this one together with some title slides and voila!!! (None of the participants realize that they are part of Clement's candid camera..... I didn't know it at the time either! LOL)

Is this video the cutest thing ever? This is a song that I recorded for my friends at Zaner-Bloser as part of their handwriting curriculum for young students at the beginning of their writing careers. Print directionality to the tune of 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!!!' Of course I knew that children always like for their favorite bits to get faster & faster and apparently the teachers like the challenge as well. [See my full set of Debbie's Directions.]

This is the evidence that there are some Kentucky educators who are truly having a good time. I know that those same teachers are getting ready to kick off their new school year with plenty of enthusiasm!!! This little dittie makes laugher contagious! It is available on my sixth CD, "Debbie's Ditties 6: The Handwriting Mix" with eleven others songs to support fine motor development. Contact Zaner-Bloser for all of the curriculum pieces to support your young students! They have a complete teacher's guide which comes with these same dozen songs included plus they have a gazillion other pieces to support you as you support the little ones.

Thanks to Charity for the prompt to move this movie-making task to the top of my list!!!! [Editor's note. It is Charity, from the Organized Classroom blog who has developed a 'system' to help us grow our blogging efforts through better traffic. She is the one with a series of 30 videos in a course called Teaching Blog Traffic School. Beyond the videos which are brilliant --the commaraderie of the fellow bloggers has been worth its weight in gold!

*****Editor's note. I have connected this post to a Linky party over at Messy with Miss Jessy.... and yet the magic linkie info has not appeared here as I think it ought. Until I can sort that out, please click on the Messy high light and go see the other posts in the party!!

*****Editor's additional note: Once I got blog hopping tonight, I found a BLOG HOP with well over 200 educational blogs already linked up and hopping. Again. I am apparently not figuring out how to link up??? Please go to Blog Hoppin' to see the brilliant list of edu-blogs.

I'm a music-lady turned author/illustrator, traveling to schools across the country & speaking to teachers and librarians!!! I've been out of college for over 30 years & this is my 15th year as a consultant -- running my own company. You may not know how much I love daisies or that we are about to blessed with our SEVENTH grandchild!

I seriously need to figure out how to make the links in the linkie party work?!?!?!?! I have been working all summer long to figure out how to get my blog to a wider readership and my latest addiction is "Pinterest."

MONA & Excellence!!!!

I won the national INDY Award of excellence for my new picture book! 
I'm getting these amazing shoes for my Author/Illustrator School visits!!!
I'll wear my new shoes for my upcoming KEYNOTE!!!
They look like me! They look like my picture books!!
People will ask me forever if I painted them myself, but no, I bought them from MONA!

Today has been a day of excellence. A day of exploration. A day of amazement. A day of inspiration-to-the-max!!!

Imagine my extreme enthusiasm to realize that Mona, THE MONA was here IN PERSON!!!
M-O-N-A!!! Here is Sister Bay. All the way from North Carolina: MONA!!! This is a one name phenom, like Beyonce. Mona. Not Mona Lisa. Just Mona. Two syllables. One name. I have been a 'follower' of Mona's work for well over a decade. It never ever dawned on me that she would be in-the-flesh, here in Sister Bay!!!!!! She's a small little power-house of a person & the color and joy are just bursting out of her!

I spurged on a pair of her hand-painted clogs. I will have happy feet for the next year, the next decade, bouncing just above the ground. (I promise the clogs are the same size. LOL! Not sure how this picture would indicate I got one in each size category??? Too silly to take more pictures and download.)

Now the new school year can get underway!!! I have my new pair of back-to-school-shoes for the new year at hand!!! Bring on the eager teachers-of-Tennessee!!! I get to be the keynote presenter next week!!! I'll be the one in the Mona-shoes! Smiling ear-to-ear! Time for my next round of AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATOR SCHOOL VISITS! I have new shoes!!

From there we jumped on the motorcycle and went off on a new adventure. We had discovered Silver Poplar Gallery early in the week, but it was closed...... so it was back for a real romp & we were thrilled to have the mini-tour. Here's the piece de resistance. The grand barn structure -- which we learned is actually an amalgamation of 7 barns crafted together in the minds of the Wizard of Theatre himself.

It's such a thrill to rub elbows with excellence. Imagination. Whimsy. Dreams. 

*** I've added this article to TBA's amazing international Blog hopping, Ruby Slippers!!

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Ruby Red Slippers

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Winners are Announced!!

The winners for my signed books are beginning to roll in! It's such a thrill to find out who will have a copy of "Red, White and Blue" for their observations of Patriot Day. Today I took the first copies to our little post office up here on the edge of the world. It's fun when both of our Post Mistresses are up-to-date on the workings of my contest. They were just as excited as I to be sending the books out into the world. In a little village you tend to get acquainted with with each other.

Editor's note. I don't know what happened to the paragraph where I mentioned the winners names?? I am attempting to learn how to intersperce the pictures with the type. I guess I blew that paragraph away??

Here's a list of all the winners so far -- that we have gotten ahold of:

Sunny in 2nd: Kristen Vollmar, PA
Happy Rainbow: Connie Dyson, GA
Owl Factory: Andrea Fletcher, OK
Best of TpT: Laura Major, LA
Froggies in 4th: Melissa McNamara, NY
Learning Ahoy: Paula Belchior, NJ
Illuminations; Bette Vaughan, FL

From here: Mary McGough, PA
also from RWR: Joni A., OR
also from RWR: Barbara Greuber, TX

In our list of winners it seems that we have covered quite a spectrum. Pennsylvania came out on top with two winners. In addition we have a teacher whose husband is bound for Afghanastan this fall & she has done her entire classroom in patrioritc theme to support his mission. We also have a teacher from Harlem -- she is certainly the closest to Ground Zero. We have PreK thru First grade represented. We have a not-quite-graduated beginning teacher selected and  teachers with lots of seniority, with years of experience, too. My books are going from coast to coast!!!

HUGE thanks to all of my blogging-buddies who helped to spread the word of my labor-of-love.

I'll be making daily trips to the post office while we get this all sorted out! [The pictures are from our Fourth of July parade festivities over in Bailey's Harbor last month. The local book store takes up a collection to send new books to those who are serving abroad.]

Meanwhile I had a ball at Pinterest today. I made a board for all things "You're Wonderful." To show you just how over-the-moon I am with this resource, I took my laptop to the beach for our daily afternoon sunshine and made a board just for me: all things polka-dotted, black and white, striped and checked! LOVE LOVE LOVE having all of these ideas in one 'folder' & always available.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pinterest! Resource!! LUV!!!!!

[Note from the editor, several weeks after the this post was published, there is a linkie party over at TBA (Teaching Blog Addict) where a guest poster, Ms Kerri, has a linkie party with our favorite resources for the classroom. Go to the linkup to be saturated with a gazillion new ideas for your classroom!! Thanks for the opportunity to share my resource collection with a wider world!! I'm an author/illustrator + music lady and my pinboards support the use of my books & songs in the classroom.]

Yes. Today is the day! Today is THE day!!!
After weeks and weeks of attempting to get in the front door of one of Time Magazine's Top 50 websites of the year, I am kicking up my heels. I'm celebrating my membership at Pinterest. [It's a dingy-Debbie story about the delay & I won't bore you with those details. Let's just say that I had a moment of clarity this morning around 6:00 and now I'm in!!!!!!!! Insert uncontrollable laughter now.]

Here are my main goals for Pinterest:

  • Create a 'board' for my Debbie Clement classics.
Today I have jumped right in & created some great visual collections for my three picture books: "Red, White and Blue" + "Tall Giraffe"  + "You're Wonderful." I love creating a collection of craft projects, snacks, DIY (do-it-yourself) bulletin board, fine motor, directed reading ideas to support your 'extension' & 'expansion' of my little ditties!!! I've gotten underway on behalf of Goldie Goldfish, Creepy Monsters, Lion Prowl. and even the lesser known Busy Buzzy Bumblebee!!!! How excited am I?

  • Create a 'board' for inspiration.
Today I started on a collection of rainbows in all sorts of media. I've also begun to assemble an ensemble of quotations & words that are uplifting. Tidbits to give you some spring in your step. Pinterest is all about inspiration!!!

  • Create a 'board' for art projects.
Today this also got underway!!! Children's art!!! Amazing process & open-ended, hands on ideas that have been successfully directed by Art teachers, classroom teachers and parents. I will be adding photos I've taken in hallways across the country in due time. (Patience, grasshopper.)

Oh happy day!!!!!!! This truly has to be the best thing since the invention of the wheel. For life in the cyber world -- where every possible resource is at your beck & call, it just takes a system to organize all of the potential that's a click away. Ideas galore. I am sooooooo excited!!!

I can't wait to learn more!

Today I learned how to set up a board. How to pin. How to repin. How to search within Pinterest. How to look at friend's collections. How to follow new people. Special thanks to Deborah Stewart, Laura Major, Ayn Cosh and the very young and brilliantly pinning, Brittany Coon.... whose collections I have pinned extensively into my baby boards. They have resources that are truly amazing for the early childhood world. "It's all about sharing resources," in the words of my fellow Deborah Jo. (read this post for our past collaborations.) I can't wait to delve into Cate Heronan's amazing collection!

Next up are Dinosaur Romp and Monkey Fun. In due time it would be awesome to catalogue boards for bicycles/Ride my Bike and vegetables/Eating Healthy and Reggio Emilia and art materials and quilt projects and fabric and daisies and sailboat sunsets and Venice and and and and and AND!!!!!!! Pinterest is all about the AND!! I will need to make a note to brush my teeth. I am willing to sacrifice my time on Facebook. This is the opportunity of a lifetime! Have I mentioned that I'm excited? [Morning after editor's note: I got a FB message from Brittany prompting me to make boards -- collections for polka dots & stripes --  and of course that is beyond making my heart race!!!]

********I've been able to get my Pinterest account and this blog post linked up with "Michelle's Math in the Middle" blog-hop. Be sure and check out all the friends who are pinning by going over to her page right here!!!

******* I have the link to my "Pinterest account" permanently catalogued in a 'button' at the top of this blog page. Click there to be transported into a world that weaves dreams and tulle into gossamer joy!!!!!

*******Yes! The contest ended last night at midnight. I am awaiting a couple more winners being announced by my fellow bloggers, before I announce the winners here. Come back tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Winning, Perseverance & 9-11

I have so much to learn.
I'm willing.
Willingness is a huge part of the equation.
I'm listening.
Listening to those ahead-on-the-learning curve is key.
I'm making progress.
Measurable progress leads to more effort & further willingness.
I'm the queen of baby steps.
Inertia is the enemy. Procrastination the trap.
I'm moving forward at my speed.
Movement is cause for celebration!!!!
I'm passionate about my work 
Passion and opportunity are the means.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Follow what you love & it will take you where you want to go." --Natalie Goldberg

"Desire creates the power."  --Raymond Holliwell

"Fall in love with what you do, believe in it, 
strive to continuously improve." --Bob Moawad

"You have a unique message to deliver:
a unique song to sing, 
a unique act of love to bestow. 
This message, this song, and this act of love have been entrusted 
exclusively to the one and only you." --John Powell

Tonight at midnight concludes my first ever Blog-Hop and linkie party. I've learned much in the process about what I don't know about both of these concepts. There's still time to get your name entered in the hat! It's a thrill to have gotten my newest book, "Red, White and Blue" off of the printing presses, but I know that milestone is only the beginning of the actual work.  It is always my direct responsibility to see that it (the book/the CD/the DVD) gets into the hands of those for whom it could be of use. I wish that I could report that winning the INDIE Award has sky-rocketed me beyond the need to personally keep learning all about marketing. 

Alas. I will indeed focus on what I can learn about social media and tweeting and Triberr and the nuances of Facebook and LinkedIN and BranchOut and who knows what else will be coming down the pike?? A hearty thanks to all of my blogging-cyber family who have pitched in and shared about this particular resource, my labor-of-love. Neither Oprah in her newest evolution nor Ellen nor Regis have called. So I will continue on my taking one step at a time juggling act in an effort to pump-up my word-of-mouth campaign efforts. 

I honestly, truly believe this project of mine could be the perfect resource for a teacher [or even a whole school !!] searching for an expression of their spirit, in the face of the 10th anniversary of September 11th. I long for its being 'available' and on the radar for those needing such a resource. How to connect the dots? How to get it to those looking for a way to address this turn in our history? To make this moment approachable with young children? How else can I get it into the right hands. I've sent a copy to the White House, but they haven't called either. Hmmm.

Next week we will travel to Tennessee where I get to deliver the keynote: HURRAY!! An entire auditorium of early childhood educators who will hear the song and read the book in time for use in September.

I have two keynotes in OH as fall unfolds. NAEYC is the next 'biggy' on the horizon. One step and then another and another..... with any luck I will still be here shepherding this project forward as we approach the 11th and the15th anniversary and the 20th too. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. Everything in due time.

Having given 'birth' to these projects of mine is just the beginning. Standing behind them over time is the responsibility. 

"From a certain point onward there is no turning back. 
That is the point that must be reached."  -- Franz Kafka

"The real moment of success 
is not the moment apparent to the crowd." -- George Bernard Shaw

"Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating
all your energies on a limited set of targets." --Nido Gubein

"Some succeed because they are destined to;
most succeed because they are determined to." --Anatole France

P.S. You may order "Red, White and Blue" and use the promo code: RWB911 at any time, now through the end of September and receive 20% off of the retail price.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Author "Interview"

Here's a visit to my living room in Door County, Wisconsin. I wanted to share my excitement over my recent INDIE Excellence Award. Take a look inside my newest picture book and see what all of the excitement is about! Watch as I attempt to balance the book and my excitement with the original quilts!! [Click here to see the fireworks quilt under construction.]

You still have a couple of days to get registered for my first Blog-hop contest! Refer back to this post to learn all of the ways that you can enter to win a signed copy of my book, "Red, White and Blue." I will be giving away 11 copies, selecting from those who have left a comment on the contest announcement blog post from last week (all you have to do is scroll down a bit.)

Everything that I attempt is a team effort. My dear husband Allen filmed this little bit of 'show and tell' on his telephone and then worked well past his early morning golfer's curfew, in an effort to get the music's intro into place. Isn't this technology amazing?? I can talk to you from the comfort of my own leather loveseat up here in paradise. Be sure to tell your friends that they can enter at each blog in the blog hop to increase their odds of winning!!

P.S. If you are having trouble getting "in" to leave a comment, please feel free to drop me an email at my address listed above in the contact section and I will enter your name for you. Now it would be an enormous help if you could 'tweet' this or repost it to your FB world and circle of influence. THANKS in advance for all of your support!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

9-11 Picture Book Contest Continues

We have company!!! We have our friends from Ohio with us for the weekend, up here in our little slice of paradise. So it's time for corned beef hash at the Viking Grill (see the movie, "Feed the Fish" for a complete setting reference.)

You have until Tuesday night at midnight to get entered to win one of 11 signed copies of my book. Please enter here and then go on to the other sites in our little blog hop for additional opportunities to win. Scroll back to yesterday's post and join the fun!

Today's our Arts festival is here in Sister Bay. All we need is a little sun.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sept. 11th Picture Book Resource

It was a crystal-clear blue sky day for a mid-September Tuesday. September 11th. It was late in the morning & I was so proud of myself for standing there in the line at the post office with my package, ready to wing its way south to my little sister Rebecca (my collaborator on my 2nd picture book, Tall Giraffe.) For once I was prepared! My present would get to her in plenty of time. I put the box on the counter top and asked the postal employee how long it would take to get to Georgia. Her response made no sense. She shrugged and said, "I have no idea."

Clueless as to her meaning, she finally offered, "I have no idea how long before airplanes will fly again." She could see I was totally baffled and searching for insight. Her complete explanation was, "turn on the radio when you get in your car."  I returned to my car and started down High Street. I came to learn that everything about our world had changed while I was wrapping that birthday present. While packing my car to depart for our annual Artist-in-the-Schools showcase, the Twin Towers had been assaulted and began their cascade into history.

I listened to the radio. The interstate was nearly deserted yet, I continued to drive to the Ohio Theatre in disbelief. How was this possible? How could it be? I arrived at the front door of the historic venue to be greeted by Jim Arter saying that our event had been cancelled. He gave me a big bear hug and counseled me to drive very carefully back to my home base. So I was hours & hours late to the news of how our country had been changed. This was life before my cell phone. I heard the news before I saw the news. I sat in utter shock to see TV coverage.

Friday of that week, was our national day of prayer, mourning & reflection and I was agonizing over going to the New Albany Jewish Community Center to lead my preschoolers in music. It wasn't seeing the children that concerned me. I was upset at the prospect of leading the noon-time, Tot Shabbat service for all of the extended families who weekly gathered to light the candles and share the challah. What on earth could I contribute that would be appropriate to the day, to children and to the inter-generational gathering of families? I wanted to crawl under my covers & stay home.

It was while preparing to leave for the synagogue that I remembered I had a flag-bag. A bag FILLED with flags. (Do you remember? By that point in the week you could no longer buy the American flag in America. There had been a rush on flag purchases and the flag providers had run out.) My plan = children + flags.

My hope? Maybe the parents and grandparents would be comforted by seeing their own beloved children holding the stars and stripes. All I needed was a little something, a little dittie they could sing. While driving to the center I kept repeating: keep it simple. Make it simple enough that the children themselves will sing. I started with the two easiest of phrases: red, white and blue -- followed by I love you. There wasn't one adult with a dry eye.

I released the song on my 4th CD with a full blown arrangement of those two phrases plus a few more, complete with banjo & background singers in harmony. Some years passed and I learned how to become a picture book publisher. Releasing my first book as both author & illustrator taught me much. I knew as soon as I finished the quilts for "You're Wonderful" that it was time to get to work on the quilt illustrations to transform the song "Red, White and Blue" into its book format. Song & book together would be a resource for teachers leading 911 observations in the future. It would be a resource for all patriotic occasions: Veterans Day, Memorial Day, even the Fourth of July. So I returned to my sewing machine.

 It took over five years to make the 16 quilts necessary to create the 32 page book. I was derailed twice during those five years with personal diagnosis of early stage Breast Cancer and the follow-up surgeries, radiation treatment and various complications. It was just last summer not even a year ago, that I was completing the final quilt. The book was just printed in time for my fall schedule of events, teacher trainings and concerts with a formal launch at NAEYC in CA, where I met Arlana & we spoke of my bring the book to our US Army bases in Europe. It was that trip to both Germany & Italy that I got to tour and perform in Reggio Emilia.

I love being able to share the finished quilts on school visits with the children, sharing the process of having a dream and following it through all of the necessary steps: surmounting rejection to bring your idea to completion. Often when the children see the illustrations in the book they have no idea what 'media' I used to create all of those colors. They guess paint and crayons, markers and colored pencils. They are always amazed when I bring out the actual quilts. At that point we compare how the quilt in reality compares with the finished book's illustration.

"Red, White and Blue" has traveled far on its word-of-mouth marketing plan. With last week's amazing win of an INDIE Award of Excellence  it felt time to enlist the help of friends to tell the story to a wider audience. Today launches my first concerted effort to use fellow bloggers and social media to get the word further than my personal appearances. I have enlisted fellow educational bloggers to introduce my project to their reading audiences. In total I will be giving away 11 signed copies in an effort to raise awareness of the existence of this resource for teachers and communities to celebrate this amazing country of ours with the children of a truly amazing & diverse heroic spirit.

******Click here to see You Tube video of teachers learning the song & sign language to support its singing.
******Click here to see Carie's kindergarten in their YouTube performance: K children performing the song.

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - 

[EDITOR'S NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: I am now a participant at Teacher's Pay Teachers and am offering this song as a digital download in a zipped file and Mp3 format. It includes the charts from the end matter of the book: the sign language chart and the music notation with chords, plus the page of flag facts. Click here for the direct link to that opportunity for immediate download.]

You can have a total of four chances to win a signed copy, by entering in any & all of these manners below:
  1. one chance to win by leaving a comment here on my blog post (please leave your email so I am certain to be able to get a hold of you to track down your snail mail address if you are the winner.)
  2. one chance to win by officially following this blog thru FB networked blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of my blog and it's in the lower right hand corner)
  3. one chance to win by following me on Twitter: Kweezlequeen
  4. one chance to win by tweeting this blog post to the big world.
Please link up any ideas that you might have regarding reflections on 9-11, supporting children thru the observation of the 10th Anniversary of 9-11....... all art and craft projects dealing with a patriotic feeling of flags, fireworks and designs of red, white and blue would be very much appreciated.

Here are some of my blogging-friends and their thoughts on my book.
  • For insight from a school counselor in supporting children during this time as we approach 9-11, please go read at Barbara's blog, Corner on Character
  • From a fellow Deborah Jo, the queen of preschool, visit Deborah's blog to see her insight when my book was first hot off the presses: TeachPreschool
  • For insight from a kindergarten teacher and to see their class quilt flag project go to visit Jennifer at Empowering Little Learners
  • For additional insight for the kindergarten crowd go over and read Kayla's post at Kindergarten Lesson Plans
For further insight into this project and opportunities to win your own signed copy of my book please visit these blogs and follow their instructions.

*****TO ORDER YOUR OWN COPY, Please click through here to my website to place your personal order.
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