karonadrummond

Because We Love Children

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 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!

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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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A Little Christmas Gem of a Book

I was searching for some good books to read to my third graders when we had a few extra minutes to fill. It is tricky because I teach at a homeschool enrichment program. We only meet twice per week. I needed something short and sweet. And fun.

Enter Mr. Putter. If you have children who are learning to read, you’ll want to get to know Mr. Putter. He is the creation of Cynnthia Rylant (author) http://www.cynthiarylant.com/
and Author Howard (illustrator). http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Arthur-Howard/1515471

Mr. Putter is the grandfatherly gentleman who lives with his dear old cat, Tabby. Mr. Putter adopted Tabby because Tabby is old like him. But just because they are old does NOT mean that Mr. Putter and Tabby don’t have fun. In fact, fun is what they do best. And who better to share the fun than Mr. Putter’s kind, grandmotherly friend: a.k.a. next-door neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry. Mrs. Teaberry and her good (hearted) dog, Zeke, are always up for a new adventure with Mr. Putter and Tabby.

As I was looking for fun Christmas books to read to my third graders, I remembered Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake. Mr. Putter loves Christmas! But he has a problem: What to get Mrs. Teaberry? “Mrs. Teaberry liked strange things…like coconuts made into monkey heads and salt shakers that walk across the table. And (bleh) fruitcake.”

Mr. Putter had never in his life made a cake. But he decided to do just that for Mrs. Teaberry’s Christmas present. He would make her a “light, airy cake that would not break a person’s toe” (like a fruitcake might). And as for the rest,
well, you’ll have to read the book.

Even though Cynthia Rylant’s books are shelved with the easy readers in the library, they are still entertaining as a -third grader…or a thirty-forty-something-something. 🙂

If you don’t have time to run out and get Mr. Putter Bakes the Cake before Christmas, you could still check your local library after Christmas and read it as you reflect on your holiday. Or go take a look at the other Mr. Putter books. The gentle humor and delightful illustrations will surely bring a smile to your child’s (and your) face.

Merry Christmas!

Karona Drummond

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Super Sibling Series

If you have little ones, be sure and share this super series of picture books by Rosemary Wells. Max and Ruby are siblings;
brother and sister rabbits to be specific.Rosemary Wells illustrates her books as in addition to writing them.
The artwork is colorful, playful, and appealing.

Bunny Cakes has been around for quite awhile, but it’s still one of my favorite Max and Ruby books. Ruby is the bossy big sister and Max is the sweet, impish little brother. It’s Grandma’s Birthday. Ruby sends Max running back and forth to the store umpteen times. But Max still manages to prepare an impressive worm cake. Grandma, being the loving soul that she is, finds equal delight in Ruby’s edible cake creation and Max’s inventive (though less edible) cake.

Read to Your Bunny is another of my favorite of Rosemary Wells books.  Rosemary gently instructs us that if we spend 20 minutes a day reading to our little ones, the payoff will be big.

In Rosemary Wells’ speech about Read to Your Bunny, she says, ” Reading to your little one is like putting gold coins in the bank. It will pay you back tenfold.”

You can find this speech and much more on Rsoemary Wells’  helpful website for teachers, parents, and kids. She offers coloring pages, Bunny Money to print (This relates to her book, Bunny Money), and videos in which she describes some of her books for older children and the writing process involved. Check it out at rosemarywells.com

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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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To Be…”Um” Free

Okay, we um all have words we like fall back on when we, uh, talk or read. For us, it is the pesky little “um”.

I’m not sure when “um” became a member of our household. But lately, it seems, that annoying  little “um” has become ubiquitous.
(I’ve always wanted to use the word ubiquitous. Maybe we’ll make it our homeschool word of the day. 🙂 )

I knew “um” was wearing out his welcome when he began to creep into my child’s reading. “Um” was in every other sentence.
And my child didn’t even know “he” was there.

What’s a mom to do? We’re pulling out the “um” buster duster!

When that unwanted “um” creeps into my dear child’s reading, we will gently dust it and send it on it’s way.

Soon, we will have “um-free” reading! 🙂 We need to celebrate. Out comes our laughter button: (These are available from Hallmark.)

When my dear child reads a paragraph and keeps that rascally “um” out, we celebrate with a push of the laughter button.
if we make it through the whole passage “um”-free, we can do the happy dance and maybe even go drum out a happy beat.

Are there unwanted “ums” (or other bad habits) in you child’s reading? I hope this  post might be a spring-board for you to show those
“ums” the door with a smile on your face. Maybe instead of a feather duster, you use the soft end of a funny pencil. Maybe instead of a laughter button, you use Staple’s “Easy” button. Or a bell, or harmonica… The idea is to have fun with it and get those unwanted words out of your child’s reading.

Here’s to an “um”-free day with plenty of smiles! 🙂

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