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

1 Comment »

My Home/My Workshop

 

 

If you’re a teacher like me, you probably have some challenges with home upkeep. If you have kids at home, and if you homeschool, you face even greater challenges.

Maybe you’re a lot neater than I am. If you are, I commend you.
You can probably give me some pointers, which I can try to use.
🙂 I homeschool part time, teach in a classroom setting part time,
and write poetry and children’s stories. It’s a blessed life.

But if you would like to drop by my house for a visit, please call a couple of weeks ahead. You may still want to put blinders on when you walk into my home. If you’re a frequent visitor, you might comment, as a friend of mine did recenty, “Don’t worry. I’m used to it.”

We have SO much STUFF! My kids have homework, projects, and regular kid stuff. My husband adores books and DVDs. I have all sorts of teaching suppies and goodies, including many books, and my ever-present tub of library books which flow in and out of the house.

Now that it’s spring, I am attempting to hatch praying mantises, herd ladybugs, and farm worms. Then there are the regular critters:
indoor dog, indoor cat, and outdoor cat, with all their sundry
ammenities.

Sometimes I look around my house and sigh. Just getting OUT of the house for awhile is refreshing. But one must come home. Mind you,
we DO clean. Laundry, dishes, bathrooms, food prep, etc. It’s all ongoing and seemingly going on forever. The kids pitch in.
The hubby pitches in. I take stuff to Goodwill frequently. But still, there is so much that in all the “getting things done”,
that never gets done.

Then I had a realization which has dramatically changed my outlook.
Maybe it could help you, too. My home isn’t a showplace, and never will be. My home is well lived in and filled with love. My home is our laboratory, our workshop, and our studio. It oozes with creativity and productivity.

Maybe someday I will have a separate studio to work in. But for now, I am right AT HOME in my very own workshop! And I hope you will be,
too.

Leave a comment »

Spring Carpe Diem

I hope that you are enjoying some pleasant spring days. Go ahead. Answer Spring’s call You’ll be glad you did.
If you have kiddos in your life, get them outside in the spring, in the dirt. You’ll all be the better for it.

Here is a poem I wrote after enjoying a very satisfying spring Saturday:

Spring Carpe Diem
(Carpe Diem: Latin phrase meaning, “Seize the day.”

I might have been in the house with the clothes.
The washing and drying is endless, you know.

I could have been scrubbing the toilet and sink.
But I gave the toilet a flush and left with a wink.

I would have been up to my armpits in bubbles
Washing each dish and rinsing the troubles

Of the endless pursuit of a house clean and spiffy.
But Spring started calling. So quick–In a jiffy

I closed the clothes hamper. I shut a few doors.
I made a quick deal with the dirt on the floors.

I traded that dirt for another dirt calling,
“Come out! Come, dig in! Stop scrubbing! Stop stalling!”

“Get out here! Grab shovel. Grab gloves. Rouse a rake!
Find seeds. Find old shoes. Spring is at stake!”

“Today is a gift. It won’t come again.
The dirt will still be there when you go back in.”

So I dug. And I planted. I breathed in the breeze.
That day wasn’t wasted.

That day was seized.

Leave a comment »

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!!

Leave a comment »

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?

093
(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.

2 Comments »

Close a Screen, Open the World, Part 2

I LOVE books. Books on screens are okay. And I am glad they are available. But for young children (and for me),no

reading experience is quite as satisfying as a good book. I love to feel the book in my hands and physically turn each page. I love the fact that I can take a book anywhere with no need of an electrical charger or outlet.

One book that caught my attention recently is called Press Here by Herve’ Tullet. Press Here is a perfect picture book: simple and engaging. When I put this book in my library corner at school, everyone wanted a turn.

Press Here starts with one yellow dot on a white background. Each page gives the reader a new instruction to
do to the dot(s). One yellow dot becomes two dots, then three, all in primary colors. By following the tapping instructions, the reader is able to “make” the dots multiply,shift from one side of the other, turn out the lights, and turn the lights back on. Finally, the reader is empowered to clap the dots bigger and bigger until at last, the reader is back to one yellow dot. Then the reader is invited to start over.

This book could be followed up by some creative activities. You could give your child(ren) red, yellow, and blue paint.
Have them make dot art, using a thumb or finger. If you have time, try asking the kids to make one picture, then write
instructions at the bottom of the picture, such as “Press Here”. The next picture shows what happens when the instructions are followed. The children use the book for ideas on what would happen.

Happy reading and painting!

Leave a comment »

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

We are studying fruit in botany these days. Yesterday, my third graders and I had a wonderful time exploring oranges.
We started by guessing what was in a closed bag (oranges, of course). Then each child estimated the weight.

When the bag of oranges were revealed, I asked the class: “If we know the weight of the whole bag of oranges, and we know, the number of oranges, how can we determine the weight of one orange?” Ahhh… long division in action.

I partnered the kids into pairs. While we played music, the kids rolled , then tossed the oranges, promoting friendship, cooperation, and fun.

Next: We studied our oranges:
geometry: What shape are oranges? (spheres) What other spheres can you think of? (balls, the Earth)
geography: We imagined the orange was the Earth. We found the stem of the orange. That was like the North Pole. We found the navel of the orange. That represented the South Pole. We took our oranges and rotated them in the same way that the Earth rotates.

We looked at real globes and found the Equator. We drew the Equators on our oranges. We named the Northern and Southern Hemispheres We noted that we live in the Northern Hemisphere. We found the International Date Line on the Globes. We drew it on our oranges and discussed the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

We drew rough shapes of the continents.

geology We peeled an orange and compared the peel to the Earth’s crust.

We also explored orange buoyancy. We found that an orange will not float in a large, shallow, tub. I asked the class how we could get the orange to float. They said, “Add more water!”

“That might work,” I agreed. “But we can make it float without changing the amount of water.”

“Hollow out the orange!” the students suggested.

“That could be fun. And it might work,” I said. “But we don’t have to change anything about the orange to get it to float. What do we need to change?”

“Put it in a different container!’ the class decided.

With that, I poured the water out of the shallow tub and into a tall, cylindrical container. The orange floated!

We wrote orange adjectives, like: juicy, orange, sweet, round, fruity, bumpy, nutritious, and delicious.

Finally, we feasted on our oranges.

By the way, I do like bananas. But that is a blog for another day. 🙂

2 Comments »

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.

2 Comments »

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!

Leave a comment »

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.

1 Comment »

Writers In The Storm

A Blog On Writing

Miss Print

A blog about books, libraries and some other stuff besides. (Since 2007)

robinnewmanbooks.wordpress.com/

www.robinnewmanbooks.com

sciencefunwithmom

science experiments to enjoy with your kids

rebuildingtheroof

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." -William B. Yeats

Jama's Alphabet Soup

An Eclectic Feast of Food, Fiction, Folderol and Chewy Culinary Verse

Lit on Deadline

Ideas: Butterflies of the Mind

heartspeak

My journey through grace...

life without peanut butter

it's peanut butter jelly time! no, wait...

By prayer and petition

A mom's way of making it through the day

Days of Our Lives 2

...a continuation of Days of Our Lives, a Muslim family's homeschooling journal.

ourcrazylittlelife

Just another WordPress.com site

Phoebe's Sari-Sari Stories

In the Philippines, we have a lot of sari-sari stores -- small stores that sell all sorts of stuff. My posts are stories of all kinds of stuff that I experience or learn, most especially while being a woman, a wife and a mom. :)

helenshomeschool

home schooling inspiration

Thinking Love, No Twaddle

Using Charlotte Mason's gentle art of learning

Sarah's Sweeties

adventures of a busy mom to 3 sweet boys

atourblessedhome

sharing our family's journey in homeschooling, faith and love