Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Break

Well, I have taken a break from the blog for Christmas.  It was great to celebrate with family and friends and just relax.  In one week we will be back to school.  It is so fun to run into students and see their excitement to see "someone from school".  I love their smiles, waves and hugs!  I couldn't resist when I was doing my Christmas shopping to pick up a little something for my office.  I share with you the sign I will have in my office.  It makes me think about how we take care of everyone else---what an important job we have! I also think about the trust our students and parents have for all of our school employees--they trust us to help teach and guide these kids.

Until "next year",
Mrs. K

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"A Most Mizerable Christmas"

I stumbled on something today and used it with my students.  I found the site and found all kinds of great books to use for FREE!!!!  Gotta love that!  the one I shared today was "A Mizerable Christmas".  It was written by Mick Foley who is involved with WWE.  Now I am not a big WWE follower but I found out that a LOT of my students are and they fell in love with the book.  The story focuses on a boy in school who is a bully.  A new kid moves in and he manages to bully him too, but the new kid is too smart for Miz (the bully).

I loved this book because it teaches so many lessons:
*bully topics
*appreciating what you have
*friendship is a gift
*how to treat others

When I asked my students what they learned from the story, they just kept raising their hands and I kept calling on them and the ideas just kept coming!  Great holiday read and probably one I will want on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hero Dads!

We started a WatchDOGS program at our school this year.  I have to admit, it has been a great experience. You may be asking what a Watch DOGS program is.  Well, it stands for Dads Of Great Students.  Dads volunteer to spend a day at school interacting with the kids.  They have done everything from reading with them, helping with math, flashcards, computer work, recess and PE.  The dads always spend part of their day in their own child's classroom and eating lunch with their child.  The part I love the most is watching the kids look at the "Wall of Fame" where the DOGS are pictured with their child.  I hear things like, "Oh, I know him and him!"  "Hey that's my friends' dad." and "Hey, he was cool!"

You may ask what is the main reason for the program.  Well, it is to have another set of eyes at school.  These dads greet kids in the morning, go to recess, patrol the halls and grounds, eat lunch with them and help them with their school work.  It helps keep our school a safe place to be.

It is interesting also to have another positive male figure in the lives of our kids.  We all have kids in school who don't have that male in their lives.  This gives them someone they can connect with.
It is also fun to hear what the dads have to say at the end of their day.  Some are exhausted when they get home.  Most all of them say they "felt like a rock star" because all the kids want to be around them and high five them.
And are the kids ever proud of their dads!   

For more information, go to the National Center for Fathering website.  If you check out that site now, you can download a free e-book made just for dads.  While you are there you can also check out their articles.  I especially like this one on dad's as models.

Raising kids is so rewarding but can also have those challenges.  Just remember, our kids are watching us all the time.  They want to be just like us!  Enjoy "Watching You" by Rodney Atkins.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"How's that workin' for ya?"

“Don't let your struggle become your identity.”   Ralston Bowles (born 1952);  American musician.

I love quotes!  I seem to get encouragement from them.  I get a daily quote from  The really cool weird thing is that just about every day when I read them they seem to be written just for me!  Is that cool or what?!

The other cool thing is how to use them with my students at school.  Here are some ideas:
1.)  Print quotes on separate pieces of paper.  Have students draw them out of a basket and draw a picture with the quote and what it means to them.
2.)  Have students act out a real life situation that shows what the quote means.
3.)  Using the computer, have students design a poster using the quote.  They can add pictures of themselves to the poster to personalize it.
4.)  Have students make book marks with the quotes on them and donate them to the library to hand out to people when they check out books.
5.)  Encourage students to write their own quote!  Be sure to sign their name to take credit for their quote.

Today I am having to take an emergency leave day from school because I have 2 sick kids!  Seems the flu bug found its way to our house.  So, I'm going to seize the moment to get a few things done in between "nursing" my sick kids back to health.  Be sure to go to and sign up for the quote of the day.  And while you on their check out their videos and other great "stuff".

So today I am going to leave you with a quote I use quite a bit.  I didn't even realize it was a quote I used until someone pointed it out and said they used it too sometimes because they picked it up from me.  "How's that workin' for ya?"  I like to ask kids that when they are in my office because of choices they are making that maybe aren't so good.  I use it with my family at home too.  Funny thing is they can hear it coming before the words come out of my mouth.

What is your quote?  If you don't have one, find a good one that spreads encouragement to others....then PASS IT ON!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes!

I am in the 1st grade for classroom guidance and one of the students says to me, "Will you  bring your 'catapillar' again-- I like that."  I was so confused!  A caterpillar?  Gee, I did have one that I brought a couple years ago but I always change things up so my caterpillar had gone into his cocoon for awhile.  I asked the boy again and he again said, "You know, your 'catapillar'."  When I looked confused he added, "When you teach us about making good choices."  Of course, the CHARACTER PILLARS!  How excited I was to know that this young boy desired to hear another character story and learn about another "catapillar" (character pillar).

Even though we seem to be pushed in the direction of making the grade on our standardized tests....I will still put in my plea for character education!  This is what makes people the kind of people we want to work and play with!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have You Touched A Heart Today? by guest Barbara Gruener

Welcome Barbara Gruener!
I have a guest blog today from Barbara at The Corner on Character.  I have followed her blog for quite some time as well as her school website.  She has shared so many awesome things that my students have benefited from.  I know you will benefit also from her "guest entry" below.  Be sure to check her out and follow her!

Have You Touched A Heart Today? by Barbara Gruener

Hello from Barbara at The Corner on Character! I was so excited when Mrs. K, my new friend, asked if she could feature me on her new blog. I've been reading through her posts and the Day Maker totally touched my heart. What fun to give and to receive, a bouquet of flowers from "guess who?" so cleverly disguised to add intrigue and make it a mystery! So I was inspired by Kim to use my guest post opportunity to share some other clever ways (many of which are no cost or low cost) for young and old alike to touch hearts by giving.

1. Bookmark It: Make cheery bookmarks and put them in unexpected places: Inside a book at the library, under a windshield wiper, on an office chair. What fun it is to find that someone took the time to give you a reason to smile today ... and every time they use that bookmark.

2. Blind Affirmations: Cut out hearts from red construction paper and write affirmations that you don’t sign. Tape them on doors around school - or on the mirror at the house - so that the target of your appreciation finds it when they least expect it. Won't that warm some hearts?

3. The Gift of Music: If you've got a musical skill, take it on the road and sing or play for someone. Get permission to carol down the halls at school, grab some friends and go door-to-door in your neighborhood, or schedule an event with a local retirement facility. Music enhances mood for the giver and recipient.

4. Medicinal Cheer: Draw "get-well" cards that local pharmacies can attach to their patients' prescription bags. Who wouldn't feel better faster knowing that someone is thinking about them and sending positive thoughts! 

5. Baked Goods: If you've got some time and a little talent in the kitchen, why not dust off that old recipe and whip up a batch of grandma's Cornflake Cookies or another family favorite to put in baggies and leave on desks around school or in the office. Nothing says, "You matter to me!" like something freshly-made from scratch.

How have you touched a heart today?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guess Who!

Have you ever received something as beautiful as this Christmas arrangement from Guess Who?  Well I did on Wednesday and finally figured it out Thursday--my sister-in-law Kim was a "Day Maker"--that is a person who makes someone have an awesome day.  I kept asking people if they were "Guess Who" but they kept saying not them.  I was sure it was my husband but he even said no.  Well Kim, you get the DAY MAKER AWARD this time!   THANK YOU KIM FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT SISTER-IN-LAW AND FRIEND!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Volleyball Teambuilding!

Volleyball in the winter!
Couldn't pass up the record temperatures on Nov. 30!  I took my 4th graders outside to play parachute volleyball.  I found this parachute in mint condition on a garage sale this past summer and finally got it out and used it with a class.  I came up with the game of playing volleyball with one of those little squeezy balls.  The kids who didn't fit on the parachute were the scorekeepers and referees.  We played to 10 points and then switched out places.  We had an awesome time practicing sportsmanship and teamwork!  AND enjoyed the warmer temperatures on the last day of November!


I took a class a few years back on the topic of over-indulged children.  I found it to be very interesting and it has really put a perspective on what we give and do for kids.  The message that it sends to them is that they are entitled.  I find this topic to ring true this time of year when kids have shared what they are thankful for and what their "wants" are for Christmas.  Many kids like to talk about doing for others or giving to others, but there is a theme of what they deserve and want coming through quite strong.  Go to the link below to hear more about indulgence.  Thank you to ISU Extension for this great information.    
 Indulgence from ISU Extension.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grief Is Like A Snowflake

Grief is Like a Snowflake....
Last night we had a very special time at our family grief group.  I decided to do something different this year and have a grief group for students to bring their family members along to.  It was very special.  I used the book "Grief is Like a Snowflake" by Julia Cook.  I used activities from the activity book that goes along with this book.  First we made snowflakes out of a white piece of paper folding and snipping.  Then I asked everyone to find another snowflake just like theirs.  Of course, no one could.  This was when I explained that the way we experience grief is just as different for everyone as their snowflakes are.
          Next I read the book to the group.  What a great story of a fir tree whose father tree has left them.  After we read the story everyone picked out a snowflake ornament to paint.  When the snowflakes were drying, we did another activity where we made ice cream sundaes.  For each part of the sundae the participants shared something about their special person who had died.  The more they shared the more smiles I saw appearing as they told about special memories.
          Now the snowflakes were dry and everyone started putting the names of their loved ones on them.  When they were finished with this, we passed around a bowl of lifesavers.  Everyone pulled out a few lifesavers and for each one shared people who were their support when they needed someone.  We finished the evening by everyone receiving a Memory Book for them to fill out at home with their family and a copy of Julia Cook's book, "Grief is Like a Snowflake".
        Looking back on the evening I feel so good about changing my grief group to a family group.  Grief is a process and a journey and when we have support from family and friends, the process doesn't seem as bad.

Check out this book at www.juliacookonline

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Well it is back to school tomorrow after a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.  It was great to visit with friends and relatives, some I haven't seen for  a couple of years.  It is always great to reconnect.  I also love a break because it really re-charges me for school.  It seems like the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas break just flies by so it is always great to focus on what I have planned for my school kiddos.
We will start off tomorrow with one of our WatchDOGS--(Dads Of Great Students).  The kids always get excited about sharing their dad with the other kids at school.  AND it is a great opportunity for the dads to see what goes on in school and get to know other kids in their child's class.  If you haven't heard about the national WatchDOGS program, be sure to check out their site by clicking here.  We have had 15 dads so far starting in October.  Check out the pictures on my webpage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I was amazed at the creativity of the 2nd grade students today as they worked on their RESPECT projects that went along with our Auto B Good lesson.  They were writing raps, skits and poems.  It was great to see how important it was for them to show respect to others and see it shown at our school.  They love the Auto B Good stories we watch and the lessons that we do with each theme.  I have them divided into groups called Pit Crews they have named themselves.  When it is time to discuss our video or work together in groups I just have to say report to your Pit Crew and off they go anxious to get to work.  I have to thank Barbara Gruener from Corner on Character for the Auto B Good CD  she sent me to use which she was a part in writing.  I am anxious to use the great ideas on the CD with the kids.  THANKS BARBARA!  Be sure to check out the Corner on Character.

Thanks for checking in,
Mrs. K