Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top 10 Reasons We Love Mom! (Preschool Perspective)

Top 10 Reasons We Love You, Mom! The Preschool Perspective via RainbowsWithinReach

Mother's Day:Top 10 Preschool Reasons for Loving Mom!

In honor of Mother's Day on the horizon I wanted to give you a Letterman-like count down! I gathered up these images on one of my many cross-country Author-Illustrator school visits. I'm not telling you where, because they are just too universal to matter. 

***Reality check. If you're new here, I'm no longer a 'mom-in-the-trenches' as I have graduated from mom school and been promoted to being a GeeGee, with 7, yes I said SEVEN WonderPeep grandchildren in our tribe. Even better? We are a living four generation line of motherhood, as my mom is still at the helm guiding us all! If you're a mom, I know you'll LUV eating up these thoughts and images. ENJOY!

I LOVE MY MOM, BECAUSE.............
10. "She gives me candy and Oreos."

True Confessions. One of my least favorite responsibilities of parenthood was the cooking of all of the those meals: the planning, the preparation, the shopping, the cleaning up, the unrelenting need to pull one more meal together? Not my favorite part of motherhood. While I can't say enough about taking your child's health and well being to heart: balancing the food pyramid, reasonable portion sizes, plenty of fruits and veggies, lots of fresh air, exercise, an apple a day and all of the organics you can afford..... the truth of the matter? Allowing the occasional bit of candy or a cookie makes for a special sparkle between mom and child. Memorable. Appreciated. You see the evidence above for yourself. 

  9. "Her hair is cut and I love her work shirt." 

When they're little? We're loved for the simple fashion statements that we make -- just by getting our hair cut and dressing for work. They want to be like us at this magic age. No details are lost on the littles! Blue lipstick makes quite an impression after all. Fast forward to the time when they're in junior high and whatever you wear garners an eye roll at best. Treasure the years where your unique flair is appreciated, mommies! 

  8. "She does almost everything for me." 

There's a tight rope walk that we teeter upon as mothers. Roots and wings. Wings and roots. Teaching our children to ride their bike without training wheels is to allow them the opportunity for space and independence. All too soon, they travel beyond our immediate reach. How much do we 'do' for them? ALMOST everything when they're tiny and with the golden insight of giving further and further responsibility as they mature. After all. Our main goal in motherhood is to work ourselves out of the day-to-day job and support their growth over time. How soon? How quick? Apron strings getting severed is a very personal quest. Critical, but emotional. Time flies.

  7. "She helps do things I like to do, but not everything." 

Nate has the right idea, too! She helps do things, but not EVERYthing. Yup. It is a tightrope. 

   6. "I have her around the house." 

You simply must smile and sigh a little over Karly's insight. Having mom 'around the house' is indeed enough for a preschooler to ponder the meaning of love. Proximity. Availability. Time. Focus. Opportunity. Connection. Closeness. Immediacy. Togetherness. That's what they really want. Need. Crave. Desire. Having you near. 

  5. "She helps me find something." 

One of the super powers bestowed upon mom's in the delivery room, (or the courthouse in the case of adoption) is the ability to help their beloved children find things. Knowing where everything is goes well beyond the adage a place for everything and everything it its place. Mothers have x-ray vision and can spot the missing sippy cup underneath a monumental pile of nonsense. Clairvoyance may be called for when the beloved snuggle pal goes missing. It is a huge responsibility to know where everything is for everyone, but that's why they love us! 

  4. "She says good night to me." 

All the bells and whistles. They love you for the biggies. You say good night. That end-of-the-day routine, with all of its rituals is VERY HIGH on the list for establishing an emotionally stable mini-person. That's why you're loved. You say good night! {{{And you bring in a glass of water, and you fluff the pillows, and retrieve the misplaced bankie, and run them back to the potty, and then another glass of water and then a backrub and then........ another two or three good nights and then...............

  3. "She lays with me and tells stories." 

Show of hands. Be honest. How many of you caught yourself falling asleep as you told stories? I was notorious for falling asleep mid story moment. The stories that I made up would morph as I'd nod up and the story I started suddenly had new and different characters. That's why they LOVE us! 'Cuz we tell them stories. That's what makes us great and wonderful: our story telling abilities.

  2. "She gives me hugs and kisses." 

Hugs and kisses. Hugs and kisses. Hugs and kisses. Enough said! 

And the number one reasons for LOVING mom? 

  1. "She likes me." 

The number one reason they love you, mom? It's not the blue lipstick. It's not that you can find their lost stuff. Its not even that you tell good night stories or that you give the best hugs and kisses on the face of the planet. Our kiddos love us, because at the very basic essence of our relationship? They know that we LIKE them. Of course we are also in LOVE with them. Their eyelashes. Their giggles. Their completely unpredictable way that they melt our hearts at the most inopportune moments. Yeah all that. But even a four and a half year old recognizes that the reason that they love us..... is that we are always there and that we LIKE them! 

There ya have it! The Top 10! A list!!! 

I have quite a few other Mother's Day gems around here. Here's a few things I learned at "Mom School." 

Mother's Day: Printable "Things I Learned in Mom School" from Debbie Clement

photo of: Mother's Day RoundUP of Resources: Bloghop + LInkie at RainbowsWithinReach

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

End of the Year Bulletin Boards and Decorated Doors

End of Year Bulletin Boards and Door Decorations via RainbowsWithinReach

End-of-Year Count Downs have begun in Earnest! 

Making my school author-illustrator visits at this time of year is always a delight. Teams are working together like well-oiled machines. Classrooms are in the groove of routine. Students are thrilled to have something *NEW* on the agenda! Voila. Look at all of the excitement that greeted me exactly one week ago in Tennessee. What fun to get introduced by an enthusiastic principal! 

Debbie Clement Author-Illustrator School Visit Introduction

Look at that backdrop of student artwork in response to the illustrations in my three picture books! For this visit I was the guest of Kristine, brand new blogger at "Little Nuggets." I will have a future article where we revisit all of this amazing and AUTHENTIC student artwork! 

Kindergarten AUTHENTIC Artwork in Response to Debbie Clement Picture Books

Today I thought the greatest service that I can offer up quickly is to share these great End-of-the-Year bulletin Boards that were on display just inside their front door. 

Here's a variation on the classic concept, 
"When I Grow Up I Want to Be............." 

"When I Grow UP I Want to Be............." via RainbowsWithinReach

There are some universal answers here: 
- teacher

and I just giggled-out-loud when I saw: 

"When I Grow UP I Want to Be............." via RainbowsWithinReach

This A to Z bulletin board for career consideration was right beside the one above about specific student aspirations. I was especially tickled to see that the Q prompted the suggestion of QUILTER as a career! 

Bulletin Board: Careers A to Z via RainbowsWithinReach

When we are all gathered together in the gym or cafeteria for my presentation, I always make a point to tell even the youngest groups that, "THIS IS MY JOB!" I get paid money to come to schools. Even the littles are impressed with that concept! MONEY? She get's paid money to be a quilter? That's a real job? Well, if you check the anchor chart above, you'll note that the letter 'I' can be an ILLUSTRATOR. 

"You're Wonderful" Picture Book Illustrations from Fabric by Debbie Clement

Yes. I make my picture book illustrations from fabric as small quilts! 

Now for a couple of other happy EOY bits and pieces.
I saw this variation of the grown up job aspiration in OH last spring. 

Kindergarten Graduation Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Kindergarten Graduation Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Kindergarten Graduation Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's a great bulletin board for End of Year festivities and can be adapted for numerous grade levels. Oh, too cute for a ramp up to Kindergarten RoundUP.

Bulletin Board for Preschool Graduation via RainbowsWithinReach

You'll have to do a little 'work' to pull of this crossword puzzle idea. 
Again. Easy to use for any grade level! 

Bulletin Board for first grade, Bulletin board for kindergarten graduation

These Floridians are used to wearing their 'shades'
but this concept is a real winner -- where ever the location! 

End of Year "Graduation" Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach


Here's the perfect caption that can be adapted for a bulletin board or used to decorate your classroom door as 'picture' below! Grab up some FAVE pictures from the year's highlights and display them prominently. The PERFECT way to reflect over the year that is reaching a conclusion. 

End of Year "Picture Perfect" Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's a couple of other smile makers! 

"What stuck with you today?" Decorated Door via RainbowsWithinReach

Kindergarten Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach RoundUP of Bulletin Boards

"Character is our Super Power" Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach

Father's Day is also on the horizon! 
This is a s-w-e-e-t idea for the PreK crowd. 

Father's Day Bulletin Board Idea via RainbowsWithinReach

This was the first and last image I saw as I entered and departed from the TN school last week. 
What an utterly brilliant idea to 'signal' parents their timeliness for arrival. 

Such a pleasant reminder. 
I LUV LUV LUV the message of THANKS! for being on-time! 

Front Door "Reversible" Sign for School: On Time vs. Tardy via RainbowsWithinReach

If you click back in time, I have two earlier RoundUPs for EOY. 
This first one is FILLED with rhymes + hand print keepsakes. 

End of Year Rhymes + Keepsakes RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach

Last year I wrote a little poem that you are welcome to copy and give to your Wonders. 
It is cataloged up in the top tab under "Freebies" as a pdf for your ease in printing. 

End of Year Poem by Debbie Clement (FREEBIE pdf at the Early Education Emporium)

My very first picture book, "You're Wonderful" is often performed for EOY festivities. 
I have received word that it will be used for Mother's Day gatherings and graduations too! 
You can purchase the immediate digital download at Teachers Pay Teachers. 
The zipped file has 2 Mp3's of my song by that name: a sung version and an instrumental, too! 

"You're Wonderful" as digital Download: Suitable for EOY: Graduation & Mother's Day

If you've never heard the song, you'll want to listen to the simplicity. 
You have plenty of time to get it ready for a performance. 
The zipped file has a chart of sign language to support your show. 
Here's a sweet 'flipbook' with children's pictures drawn for me this winter. 

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Author-Illustrator School Visit: Early Elementary Excellence

Author-Illustrator School Visit with Debbie Clement hosted by Kindergarten Smorgasboard


Visiting schools as an author-illustrator to share my work with students is a dream come true. Even more basic than that? Having work to share is a technicolor dream come true. Seeing how teachers direct their students in response to my projects? What is a dream in technicolor quadrupled on a multi-plex? It is #MusicCitywithTheMusicLady!!! Yes. I had my own hashtag: a first!

This is my second time to have the opportunity to work with THE Mr. Greg of Kindergarten Smorgasboard. This time we had more lead time to plot and plan. This time we got his entire TEAM of ECE teachers on board! Here's my personalized polka-dots of welcome! Our day was EPIC!

Author-Illustrator School Visit with Debbie Clement hosted by Kindergarten Smorgasboard

After posing with the polka-dots I got to have a quick tour of Greg's room. I took hundreds of photos on site and will be sharing those over the weeks to come. This little corner of the student's names made me smile. Stickers! Fine motor Fun! Happy colors. What a great way to add to the name recognition process. 

Name Recognition with Stickers at Kindergarten Smorgasboard via RainbowsWithinReach

Name Recognition with Stickers at Kindergarten Smorgasboard via RainbowsWithinReach

Before we knew it...... it was time to get my act together for our BIG presentation. Have polka-dotted suitcase, will travel! This is us getting warmed up. Did I mention that I'm excited to have an invitation to visit in schools? I have written over 100 original songs for children -- so I mix those in between my three picture books. Everyone's involved from beginning to end. That's my goal. 

Debbie Clement's Author Illustrator School Visit to Kindergarten Smorasboard

For this year's visit, Greg had the where-with-all to track me down in the midst of my spring whirlwind of travels and get me to personalize a set of my books -- so he could get the whole team on board. He's brilliant like that. Seemed like a fairly simple request: PERSONALIZING my books. It wasn't till I was in his school, that I was stopped in my tracks during a Kinder Q&A session next door. 

Debbie Clement's Picture Books: The Power of YOUR Name in a Book!

One of my favorite things within my school visits is to allow the students enough time to ask me questions. As the day unfolded and I was visiting in individual classrooms, I had a very earnest kindergarten boy raise his hand with the question that has had me thinking ever since. What was on his heart? What did he want to know? 

"Why is Mr. Greg's name in the book?" 

It was a lightbulb moment for me. A true ah-ha. There are children that I visit, that I meet, that have never owned a book 'with their name in it.' As a new mom, one of my favorite things was to write my daughters names in the books that I got them -- well before they could ever read them, even before they could hold them up. 

Visiting my grandchildren, those same books are on their bookshelf, with the message I wrote to their mommy. The books that I purchase for my WonderPeeps? I always write their name and the date of the occasion for the gift. That act has a whole new level of meaning to me now. 

It is one thing to have books in your home. I now realize anew, that it is a whole 'nother level of ownership, when YOUR name is IN the book. Personalized. From the gift-giver. This is not a library book. On loan. When your name is in the book in permanent marker, it is a signal to the world that you OWN that book. Permanency indeed. Ownership. Power. 

I have only had one school, in my nearly ten years of being an author-illustrator, that had the brilliance to secure funds for each of their kinders, 178 on that occasion, to receive one of my books. Now, I wish that we'd had the wisdom to have had me write those names inside! Mr. Greg and I are brainstorming a way to make that happen for his 'staches' before the year's end. 

Brainstorms are a good thing. Brainstorms initiated by a kinder? PRICELESS. 

Class "Quilt" in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

I made the illustrations in my book from fabric as small quilts. 
Seeing classroom quilts in response to my work is a real thrill. 
{I have an earlier RoundUP of tons of classroom quilt ideas.}

Kindergarten Self-Portrait in response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Kindergarten Self-Portrait in response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

I walked into the first grade classroom downstairs as they were hard at work creating their decorated classroom door. A whole new level of integrating writing skills with the message of my book. LUV, LUV, LUV it!

"I am wonderful because................" Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

"I am wonderful because................" Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Digital "You're Wonderful" available at TpT (Just click)

I never tire of donning my giraffe hat during the fifth verse of 'happy lappy'........ 
It ALWAYS gets the brightest smiles of the morning. 
***NOVELTY: is the brain's way of being awakened all over again.
It makes ME happy to make them so happy! 

Digital "Tall Giraffe" at TpT: just click 

Painted hand prints to form a flag in response to my newest, patriotic book?
I'm getting all misty eyed. 
Civics in kindergarten is an important topic. 

Signing, "I love you" to follow "Red, White and Blue" brings me to my knees.
Particularly when the littles join in!   

Digital Download: Red, White and Blue at TpT

As if that wasn't enough fun for one day? 
Greg got the word out to the Music City bloggers and we gathered! 
YES! They taught me things! 

From the top of the pyramid on down: 
who hosted me the very next day, cross town at her school! 

Following all the food, fun and fellowship of our mini-working meet up 
we still had sufficient brain cells to gather together to pose a shot in the national headquarters for 
Kindergarten Smorgasboard!
Look how well behaved Butters is for our pose! 
No camera hog, that one? 

Just as Jenny was taking our picture above,
 we realized that one CRITICAL pose was forgotten! 
I always feel like such a DIVA when my name is up in lights! 
Greg & Jenny realized that I had forgotten to strike a pose by their school sign?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?! 
Then.The.Most.Amazing.Thing. Happened. 

Jenny volunteered to make us 'avatars' to pretend that we were next to the evidence! 

***And yes. Greg did take me to Sonic on the way to his building!!

*I have asked Jenny and yes, she is willing to have you commission her for your own personalized likeness. She is new to clip art and now has a store over at TpT

Now. In real time. This morning. We woke up. Look what we saw!
Last night, in the darkest of dark, we arrived to our summer haven home up here in the great north woods of Wisconsin. 
Door County, to be exact.
We have never seen ice on our harbor before! 
The end of April. ICE! Not just a little, either! 

Photo: The large picture is our marina, a block from our front door this morning! The littles are of the drive 10 miles north to get Allen's corned beef hash. This is the first time we have EVER seen ice on our bay!!!!! Will it be melted by Memorial Day????

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