karonadrummond

Because We Love Children

Happy New School Year! (Part One)

Happy New Year! School year, that is. Are you excited? Maybe you’re a bit sad to see Summer wave, “So long.” I am . But here in Texas, we’re pretty ready to boot summer out by the end of August. At least, we want to show the heat out and show the Autumn  cool in.

If you teach in the classroom, at home, or both (That’s me!) it’s time. We teachers lead the way.

Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes for educators:

“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated, a child humanized or dehumanized.”

quote by Haim Ginott  Teacher and Child (1976)  Avon Books

We have to come in with a positive attitude. And we owe it to our students to be prepared. One of my favorite books on getting the school year off to a bright start is: The First Days of School (How to be an Effective Teacher) by Harry K. and Rosemary T. Wong.

This book shows teachers how to bring their best professional educator selves to the classroom. You will find a treasury of tips on running a successful classroom. These tips include: preparing yourself and your environment, lesson planning, and teaching procedures. If you are clear in explaining exactly what you want the children to do, and you are consistent, you will be your most effective self in the classroom.

Happy Teaching, where ever that may be for you!

🙂 Karona Drummond

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Plastic Eggs are for More Than Egg Hunts

Have you filled any plastic eggs lately? Egg hunting season is in full swing. Enjoy!

You can use the eggs for more than the “Big Day” egg hunts. Here are a few ideas for you. I am sure you will think of more.

1. If you’re a mom or teacher of young children, give your kids some eggs and containers to take turns having their own egg hunts for each other. Supply them with containers to put the eggs in. This can be done inside or outside.

2. Set up a big tub of uncooked rice or uncooked pinto beans. Place plastic eggs in the tub. Encourage your children to
fill, empty, hide and find the eggs in the tub.

4. Set up an egg number-object matching center. Put numbers 1-12 on a dozen eggs. Get something small, like uncooked beans. Have your child fill each egg with the number of beans on the outside of the egg.
For an edible version of this idea, use a small cereal pieces, such as Cheerios.

5. Have your child work on his/her color skills. Use pom poms. Your child can match the pom pom to the color of the egg. Have your child put the matching color of pom pom inside each egg. Then put unmatched colors of pom poms and introduce the word “mismatched”.

6. Make an edible version of the above activity.Use a small colored cereal, like Froot Loops.

7. After you do the Froot Loop activity with counting, involve the sense of smell. Have your chlid close her eyes or put on a blindfold. Can she identify the color of the egg by the matching Froot Loops’ smell? Open the eggs one at a time and “see” how it goes.

8. Next, let your child blindfold you. Can you identify the color of the egg by the smell of the Froot Loops
inside? “Waste not, want not.” You had better go ahead and eat those Froot Loops in the name of frugality. 🙂

9. Simple addition: After you do the number matching activities, try this simple addition activity: Choose 2 eggs with numbers on them and the corresponding number of small objects inside. If you add those two numbers of objects, how many will you have? Empty the contents of the eggs and check your answer.

10. For older children: Work on math facts with plastic eggs. Using masking tape, write a simple math fact on the outside of the egg. Write the answer on a small piece of paper and insert into the egg. Do this with as many math facts as you would like to work on for the day. (Example: all the addition 3s facts) Have your child say the math fact, then the answer. Have him open the egg to check if he said the correct answer.

11. To extend the above activity: Place all the answers to a set of math facts in a pile on the table. Give your child the eggs with the math facts that go with those answers. Have your child put the right answer in the right egg.

12. An oldie but a goodie: Fill a bunch eggs about halfway with rice. Tape up the eggs. Give each child (and yourself)
2 eggs to hold. Put on some happy music. Shake those eggs to the beat of the music! 🙂

Happy Easter!!

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Delighted by Dandelions


photo courtesy of Creative Commons: twowheelsblog.com

The next time I fill out a Secret Sister questionnaire at church, I have a new answer for favorite flower:
“Dandelion!”

Oh, I know. Even my third graders objected when I mentioned my love for the little yellow flowers.
“Weeds!” they declared. “Our parents don’t like them.”

Yes, I suppose a lot of people would like to eliminate dandelions from their yard. But according to http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com, dandelions are a good source of pollen to bees and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals to humans. Quite a weed, aye?

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(That’s me in shadow, out on my walk.)
As I was walking on a late winter’s day in Texas, bare trees stared down. Brown grass stared up. But out from the
monotony popped bright circles of pure sunshine, alongside sky-reaching stems topped by snowy orbs made of tiny potential parachutes. Drawn into the game, I playfully kicked the white orbs and watched as the parachutes lifted onto the wind, on their way to start the game afresh.


photo courtesy of Creative Commons: lookatmyhappyrainbow.com

I figure maybe I’m in good company with my love of dandelions. Robert Fulghum, in his acclaimed book of essays, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,(www.robertfulghum.com) remarks that if dandelions were endangered, plant nurseries would  charge $14.95 a plant and start dandelion societies.

Young children know the joy of dandelions. They pick them by the handfuls. They blow the magical tufts aloft,
wishes soaring.


Image courtesy of Creative Commons: seenobjects.org

Bring some dandelions inside. Drizzle some yellow paint on a few paper towels. Let your kids make dandelion prints.
When the prints dry, the kids can add faces and other details with crayons or markers.

Complete the dandelion fun with a good book or two.

Dandelions: stars in the grass shows the remarkable life of the dandelion plant with crisp, colorful illustrations.

Another picture book: The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony tells the story of a lone dandelion seed reluctant to face the world. It is a story of courage. The illustrations are gorgeous.

Tonight, when I pillow my head, I will pray to be a bit more like the dandelion: a bright spot in a weary world, persevering in the face of adversity, a source of nourishment to the sojourner. And when the time is right, please lift my hopes, dreams, and plans. Please send them soaring to the place they are meant to be.

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Close a Screen, Open the World -Part One

One of our family goals this year is to turn screens off more often. Television screens, computer screens, I-Touch screens, hand-held game screens. All these screens make me scream! Hee, hee. Here I am typing this blog, staring at my computer screen.

I love email, blogging, and typing my words on a forgiving computer instead of a typewriter that leads me to endless
torrents of correction fluid. I devour a good movie and let it nourish me for days. Screens are part of my life.
But we need a balanced diet of activity.

While I seek the screen/non-screen balance in my life, I search for the balance in my children’s lives as well. When we turn off the screens, we see the world, we hear the voices coming from real humans present with us. We can hear our own voice. Or maybe we can be still long enough to listen until we can hear our inner voice once again.

I came upon a book recently that fits into this screen-closing experience. I browsed through it as I sat in the serenity
of our local library. The book is called: Unbored by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Unbored is jam-packed with all kinds of ways for kids and families to get busy doing, creating, and learning.
I can’t recommend every activity in the book, but there is a lot of great stuff. It’s so full that it is hard to know where to begin. A few examples of the contents are: “Make a Kumihimo Braid”, “Circus Tricks”, Popsicle Stick Harmonica”, “Backyard Forts and Shelters”, and “Make a Secret Book Safe.” Unbored gives bunches of fun facts as well, broken up into easy to read bites.

My screen time is just about up. It’s time to pack up the kids and head to the bookstore. I hope you and yours enjoy your screen time. Then close the screen. Open up the world.

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Let it Snow.

Thanks, Darlene, for some great snow ideas!http://darlenebeckjacobson.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/let-it-snow/
We may need to do the popsicle stick craft version here in Texas. This is my Texas Winter Poem:

Texas Winters are Funny
Words by Karona Drummond Tune: My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Texas winters are funny.
Some days there’s snow and there’s ice.
Texas winters are funny.
Some days they’re sunny and nice!

Chorus: Texas, Texas, What funny winters we have, we have,
Texas, Texas, What funny winters we have!

Texas winters are funny.
Listen to the weather reports.
One day you might need your jacket.
The next day you’ll be wearing your shorts!

Repeat chorus.

Case in point: My husband and I got married in February. Guess what? An ice storm was our uninvited guest! Three weeks later, I attended a friend’s wedding held at the exact chapel as ours. It was 90 degrees! Go figure.

Stay warm, y’all!

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Putter in the New Year

Happy New Year to all you young and young at heart! Make some plans. Live some life. Dance the dance!

That’s just what Mr. Putter does in his newest adventure, Mr. Putter and Tabby Dance the Dance. Mr. Putter’s adventurous next-door friend, Mrs. Teaberry, convinces Mr. Putter to try ball-room dancing. Mr. Putter thinks of all the things he has to lose, “like his dignity and his nap time”. He hasn’t even danced since 1947.

All objections aside, Mr. Putter dons his suit. Mrs. Teaberry grabs a (ball-room) gown and her good (hearted) dog, Zeke.
Mr. Putter’s gentle old cat, Tabby, tags along.

In the ballroom, Tabby loves the sparkles. Zeke jumps into the tango.And despite having two left feet, Mr. Putter cha-chas with his delighted date, Mrs. Teaberry.

So, as 2013 is upon us, whether we are young, old, or somewhere in the middle, let’s lose the hum and pick up the drum. Let’s dance to the beat of the little wonders called good company and a joyful heart.

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Venus Flytrap Snap

Ahhh…what could be lovelier than a beastly meat eating plant? Actually a fly-eating plant. “Way cool!” say the kids.
I must agree. But as intimidating as the picture may seem, the Venus Flytrap is actually quite small. Perhaps you saw them in the stores last month. If you and your kids are studying botany, give the little Venus Flytrap a go.

If you go to mycarnivore.com, you’ll find a wealth of information on Venus Flytrap care, as well as care of other carnivorous plants. You can also order seeds and supplies.

Here’s a little poem I made up about the Venus Flytrap. If you want a tune for it, try the “Adams Family” tune. Happy fly snapping! 🙂

Venus Flytrap Snap
by Karona Drummond

I’m a Venus Flytrap
I am green and tiny
Bristly and spiny
A Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

If you are an insect
Come on in and inspect
My sweet, enticing smell
I betcha can’t tell
That I’m a Venus Flytrap
A Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

Come in if you dare
And touch two tiny hairs
You’ll be in my lair
“Cause I’m a Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

Please come on in
I need nitrogen
That’s my vitamin
I’m a Venus Flytrap!

“Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……”

SNAP! SNAP!!

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Helping the Learning Stay in Place

Recently, I had the honor of attending a workshop presented by Kathe Lee. Kathe Lee is a homeschool mom and educational consultant working with universities and families across the country to help students navigate the tricky path from high school to college to career success. If you live in or near the Dallas area and have the opportunity to hear Mrs. Lee speak, I highly recommend it. You can check out her website at KatheLee.com.

I attended the “Love to Learn”lecture. I scribbled notes like crazy. It was such good stuff. One thing that sticks with me the most is:

Kids don’t retain learning if they are frustrated or angry. They retain information when they are engaged in the learning process. Are we keeping our kids engaged? Not everything in life is a picnic. So how do we make learning engaging?

I’m not against workbooks. I use them myself. But if we’re just reading the material and doing the workbook (yawn),are we keeping our children engaged? Can we do better?

Getting your students involved in a hands-on way will help get them engaged, which will in turn lead to better learning retention. A couple of days ago we took a squishy ball like the one above during our spelling lesson. My daughter and I spelled out the words while throwing the ball back and forth. We did this in addition to writing the words and using the workbook. It put a smile on our faces, livened up our day, and helped those spelling words stay in place.

Have an engaging day!

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Sibling Harmony?

 

 

 

If you’re like me, and have more than one kid in the house, there will be ups and downs as they learn to live in harmony. Don’t they argue over the silliest things sometimes? Once, when I was driving, my kids had an argument over a sucker wrapper. Not the sucker. The wrapper. It was so ridiculous that I just had to write about it. So here it is:

Apple Sucker Wrapper Snatcher
by Karona Drummond

My silly sister took
My apple sucker wrapper
My apple sucker wrapper
My silly sister took.

If my silly sister took
My apple apple sucker wrapper
That makes my silly sister
An apple sucker wrapper crook!

My silly sister is
An apple sucker wrapper snatcher
An apple sucker wrapper snatcher
My silly sister is.

If my silly sister is
An apple sucker wrapper snatcher
I’ll just have to eat this sucker
And put an end to this.

Slurp…Slurp…Slurp…CRUNCH!!!
(Burp).

Have a great day. Look for the humor. 🙂 The time will come when the backseat will be silent. Then we’ll miss all that silliness.

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Wholesome Mashed Potatoes

It’s been a packed week here. How about you? But we did make time for some comfort food. Mashed potatoes!

Here’s an easy way to make mashed potatoes better for you:

Cut and boil 5 lbs. potatoes. Call the kids. With them helping: Add a healthy buttery spread . Use Morton Lite Salt with 50% less sodium. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Get out your blender.Put one 16 oz. container of fat free cottage cheese in the blender. Blend it on high until creamy. Stir all the creamed cottage cheese into the mashed potatoes. Get out your mixer. Let your kids take turns whipping those taters into a blissful fluff.

Enjoy! And don’t feel guilty. You have reduced the usual fat and sodium content of regular mashed potatoes. You have made them creamy without the cream Instead of fat, the cottage cheese added protein.

Blended cottage cheese also works great in dips for chips and veggies. Have fun experimenting!

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