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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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. 🙂

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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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These are some fun snow ideas. Thanks, Darlene!

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Now that the holidays are behind us, children look forward to some winter-time fun.  When snow arrives, head outside and make the most of the slippery white stuff before it disappears.  In addition to snow angels, skating, sledding and snowball fights, there’s building men  – and beasts  – out of snow. Be creative and go beyond the usual snow man. Try farm animals like the snow pig below.  Or make sea creatures, dinosaurs, whatever catches your fancy.  Don’t forget to take pictures of these snow sculptures before they melt.   snow pig

No snow?  Try making the stick snowman craft below.   All you need are craft sticks, white and black  acrylic paints, tacky glue, googly eyes, dry beans or buttons for the mouth and a piece of pipe cleaner for a nose.  Let them hang in the windows until winter is done.

Whether you make snow creatures indoors or out, finish off…

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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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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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A Little Christmas Silliness

 

 

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Are we having Christmas fun yet? Or are we running around in a crazy Christmas tizzy? I am guilty as charged.
But I am trying to have a little fun along the way. I’m taking the Christmas “to-do” list and putting some of it in the Christmas
“to-don’t list.

Christmas To-Don’t List
1. Don’t try to do everything.
2. Don’t go around in a Grump like the Grinch.
3. Don’t forget what and who are most important.

One way I let go of a “to-do” was with the Christmas tree. The Christmas boxes were in the house. The tree was up… and empty.
Neither my kids nor my hubby seemed too keen on decorating. One morning I stared at that big ol’ empty tree. I looked around the room. A large, red set of butterfly wings left over from our (October) costume party caught my eye. I put them on the tree. Then the blue set. Then the yellow ones. Hmmm…

Later that day, I washed my son’s Mohawk knitted cap. When it came time to put it back in his drawer, I decided to let it air out instead. I put it on top of the Christmas tree. I found a pair of my daughter’s sunglasses on the floor. You know where they went. Next, I added slinky arms with gloves attached.

When my husband came into the room, he took a long look at the tree. “I have a pair of boots in the closet,” he said. We put them at the base of the tree.

My daughter came in from playing outside.

“Mom! What have you done to the tree?”
I smiled. “Do you like it?”
“He needs a smile.” She said.

We added a plastic banana grin, then a HUGE plastic carrot nose. We grabbed a Christmas table runner for a scarf.

VOILA! Christmas Tree Man!

Every time I pass that silly tree, I grin or giggle. Maybe we’ll re-decorate it in a more traditional way. (Maybe not.)

Back to my Christmas to-do list:

1.Do what really matters to you and yours.
2.Go around with joy in your heart. God has already given the greatest gift of all.
3. Remember what and who are most important.

God bless you. And MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Love,

Karona Drummond

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Ordinary Blessings

Have you ever had days, weeks, maybe even months, when it seemed like everything was a blur? Maybe it was a good time. Maybe not so much.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, let’s take some time in the midst of all the fun, preparations, and busyness
of the season to reflect on our everyday blessings. I enjoy this special time of year. But even more, I appreciate the “little”
blessings that I am granted on ordinary days.

Here is a poem I wrote to reflect those feelings. Enjoy!

Ordinary Blessings

Ordinary beauty
Of an ordinary day
Bubbles up inside me
In an effervescent way.

Ordinary sky
Ordinary sun
Ordinary oatmeal
Eaten on the run.

Ordinary conversation
Ordinary plans
Ordinary work
Done by ordinary hands.

Ordinary lunchtime
Eating bread and meat
Walking in the park
With ordinary feet.

Ordinary sunset
Seen from an ordinary car
Back to an ordinary house
With an ordinary yard.

Ordinary family
With smiles and hugs galore
Ordinary evening
Doing ordinary chores.

Thank you, Dear Lord
For this ordinary day
Filled with ordinary blessings
You so freely sent my way.

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