Thursday, May 31, 2012


"I love you children, really I do.
But can you please settle down and be quiet?"

Just for an hour.

That's all I want.

I want to remember all the reasons I love spending 9 months of every year with you, watching you learn and grow. Remember that book I read to you in science on Wednesday? I spent hours looking for that book. I was thrilled when I found it. I thought, wow! A book written by a scientist for her children about photosynthesis! Exactly what i was looking for! Sadly, only one of you (she's in the PM class, in case you're curious) listened all the way through. And she exclaimed (to my excitement), "we're all connected!"Oh K! You made my heart soar! That's exactly how I felt the first time I understood photosynthesis--the plants and people NEED each other!

Sadly, I cannot remember what my own personal last school days were like. I remember a few times being excited over winter break when there was snow, but that's it. Naive? Selective memory? Could be. Or maybe it's the solar system working against every teacher in the universe. Influencing the part of the brain that controls decision making?

Whatever is to blame, I'll always remember that moment K, and talk about you to future kindergartners.

But please, just remember, it's up to you. It's not the adults in your life who should be entertaining you. YOU should be trying with all your might to squeeze the juice out of every moment.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Logo thoughts

I've dabbled for years with creating on my computer. I even won a few contests--though I quit competing when I heard it takes jobs away from bona fide graphic designers. It was probably around that same time that I slowed to only occasional design tinkering (for my own use) and fell behind in keeping up to date with learning how to use new software tools.

I haven't stopped being critical of other's design work, however. Now that I spend more time on Facebook reading restaurant updates, there are too many opportunities to see owner created logos or icons. It's not a good trend, in my opinion.

If you're putting all you have into running or starting up a business, a logo is an important investment. It should be clean, crisp and appealing. It should be suitable for using in a variety of situations--not just a sign. Format is important, too. When you head to the printers, it needs to be ready for them to do whatever it is you've asked them to do. Otherwise, they'll need to spend hours trying to recreate what you've already spent valuable hours working on. Are you starting to get the idea?

Plus, they already know what will and won't work for all the situations logos are put to use. Not to mention all of the benefits of fonts, kerning, use of color and how to get a design to communicate your message. Because, face it, you DO have a message. Whether it's to welcome customers, encourage them to step through your doors, whet their appetite or give them the impression that you know what the hell you're doing.

Looking like a professional. Now that's a great idea.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Teddy Bear Picnic

I apologize in advance. This is one of those memory posts I can refer to when someone says, "how did we do that teddy bear picnic thing last year?"

Of course the next problem will be remembering I created this post.  ;>)

It was a case of necessity:  field trips cost money. Plus we had waited too long to call The Gilbert House to secure a date that worked for our schedule.

An email went out to parents a few days prior to the picnic and permission slips went home the day before. Children were asked to bring a small stuffed animal that could go outside, an umbrella and their backpack.
The night before, lunch bags, mini bagels, whipped cream cheese, baby carrots, sliced apples, mini cookies and short bottled water, were purchased.

When they arrived they wrote their names (could decorate next year?) on a lunch bag and put it in their cubby. After carpet time they had two jobs to complete before we could pack up and walk to the park: make their lunch and put their foam kite together.

Parents manned the lunch assembly table. Lunch items were portioned into baggies (carrots and apples together). Children spread cream cheese on their mini bagel half before putting it into a baggie.
Bear faces were drawn with sharpies on their foam plate kites. Adults poked holes for the strings, children taped string and tails onto the plate.
At pack-up time, everything (even stuffed animals) was tucked into backpacks. A red wagon was brought along for blankets and any needed extras. We opened umbrellas on the way to the park for our parade.

Foam plate kite: bear face drawn on bottom of the plate, hole poked about 3.5" from top, string pushed through from bottom and taped to other side, 2 light weight strips for a tail taped on.
Prep: String was cut and a craft stick was taped to one end. Tails cut.
Brainstorm ideas on how to make this a longer task for the children. Maybe bear face could be drawn and cut from brown paper and then glued on? Be sure to do test plates first.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

. . . and then the moth flew down

All school year the wee folk have been maintaining fairly well on Thursdays, but today the PM class finally cracked. And that's when I realized how long we've been expecting them to sit and listen with only transitions--no activity breaks.

Their Thursday schedule: a writing or reading job, carpet/calendar time, Weekly Readers, library (they're read to, then check-out) and then either computers or a video. Sometimes we have time for a recess at the end,  sometimes.

Today, teacher L wanted us to watch a video after library to give her a chance to enter reading data. I chose one that (sadly) turned out to be appealing to about 75% of my audience. Just off the mark enough to cause some contagious restlessness. And then a moth flew down and caused an uproar. There were the concerned ones, "don't touch the wings! it'll die!", a few were freaked out and began to shriek and then there were the ones who love the chance to make some noise.

I shut the video off and one of our exceptionally well behaved children turned to me and said, "Well, so much for that. Good job problem solving." Yes, he is a bit mature for a wee folk, but I was glad to have his calm camaraderie during the chaos.