Know that I have truly missed you since I last wrote, but an Easter Sunday water heater fiasco, a lingering sore throat/stuffy head/bronchial cough, and a giant extra-curricular project at school have pushed writing and creating to the back seat on the "bus of life" lately. I actually feel like I have been driving the above-mentioned vehicle "off road," and sincerely hope to get back on track soon! This sentiment sort of sums it all up.....
So does this one....
This week's link-up with Doodlebugs is once again a day late because instead of finishing it last night, I tucked myself in early for some much needed rest and recuperation. I had been slogging through the school week while suffering from a whopper of a sinus cold, and just had to wave the white flag and surrender to fatigue and sickness. Sometimes going to bed early on a Friday night is necessary! I am up early this morning and feeling a bit better now, so here goes....
|FIVE FOR FRIDAY|
I learned a hard lesson in home ownership last weekend, and will now pay close attention to the wear-and-tear on my appliances so that they don't explode in the middle of the night and send gallons of water gushing through the vent in your restroom ceiling and ruin flooring, drywall, and paint! Here is a picture series that truly does not do justice to the deluge that my daughter and sister helped me mop, bale, and clean up on Easter Sunday morning. Let's just say that two plumbers, a new water heater, and a call to my wonderful State Farm insurance agent later, and the crisis has passed. Contractor estimates are being gathered for the ceiling and flooring repair, and then the sky (and tears) will no longer be falling!
Imagine carrying this half-full of water downstairs and outside to dump on the lawn multiple times at 4 o'clock in the morning.
My hot water heater is in the second-story attic of my condo.
This is a picture of the ceiling damage done by the gallons of water that came gushing out. Had I not been in a sheer state of panic when it all happened, I would have taken a video of the water pouring out of the
ceiling vent. It literally looked and sounded like river rapids rushing
over a waterfall! Needless to say, I did not stay very calm in the face of adversity, and it took two days to launder all of the towels used
to soak up the mess!
A big shout out goes to Ken and Harry, my plumbing superheroes, who ran this PVC pipe from my snazzy new water heater's drip pan so that
the attic will not flood ever again! Thank goodness that
my daughter's stored belongings were in big plastic, waterproof tubs!
Her priceless collection of American Girl doll accessories stayed dry, as
did lots of old theater costumes and props!
The GOOD news that came this week is that my daughter was called to audition for a Chicago children's theater company that is casting Fancy Nancy, The Musical and Roald Dahl's The Big Friendly Giant. She will do her best to act, sing, and dance for the roles of Fancy Nancy and Sophie tomorrow, and let's just say that my proud Drama Mama fingers and toes are all crossed! Both parts would be a wonderfully fun fit for her! Living and working in a city she loves (and that we have relatives in) would also be a great place for her to begin her
To send positive vibes Hayley's way this week, I shared many stories from the Fancy Nancy series with my second graders. I even wore my plastic tiara when teaching synonyms or as Nancy herself would say....."fancy words you say instead of just plain words"--like "splendid" instead of "good!"
I must confess that after an unsuccessful attempt to raise a dwarf bunny, a hamster, and a turtle as classroom pets (NOT all at the same time), I have resorted to mascots of the stuffed variety! For less than $8 on Amazon, I found this spitting image of Betty Birney's beloved book character, Humphrey, and he has been a great behavior motivator as we head into our final six-week stretch!
This toy version of everyone's favorite golden hamster watches with "eyes like a hawk" for students who are using their work time well, treating others with kindness, waiting their turn, doing their best, and remembering our group rules. Then he whispers his recommendation to me and ceremoniously gets carried to the desk of the child that will keep company with him for the rest of the morning or afternoon!
My students have responded well to this incentive program, and as you can see, make things for Humphrey's little home to keep him company! They have added his small notebook and pencil, a paper version of his buddy, Og the Frog, and a picture of his Nutri-Nibbles
so that he doesn't get hungry!
My students also absolutely LOVE writing in their "hamster-size" journals to make predictions about what will happen next in the story or reflect on how Humphrey feels and acts in each adventure. I found four-packs of our miniature composition books in the dollar bins at Wal-Mart way back in August!
They were one of my best investments ever!
For some reason, the small size of the notebook makes writing and illustrating more fun, and even my most reluctant authors like to fill up the pages and publish their thoughts in our Share Chair! I write and draw right along with my class, and they love to giggle at my attempts to draw Humphrey!
This week my class celebrated Earth Day by exploring all things related to the rain forest! Jan Brett's The Umbrella makes a wonderful Reader's Theater lesson, and is available through her website at
For more details about how to bring this story to life with your students, visit a guest post I shared last month over at The Primary Gal! You will find tips
on how to organize groups, prepare scripts, reinforce important unit
vocabulary, and improved student fluency and expression!
I also purchased this outstanding resource through TpT and recommend highly if you are looking for writing or art extension ideas for your
rain forest unit!
Whimsy Workshop's blog is another great place to find creative ideas to help enrich and extend your rainforest lessons and activities! Susanna's students make large murals to synthesize and express what they learn, and her classroom is a visually stunning space!
April showers will hopefully soon turn to May flowers, and I am pushing to finish this creative writing resource in time to get some use out of it! I've been preoccupied with planning my school's upcoming author/illustrator visit, and haven't been able to carve out much creating time! Here is a
sneak peek of what continues to be "a work in progess." Watch for a flash freebie on my Facebook page when I finally finish and upload it!
Until then, continue to keep calm, carry on, teach your children well,
share your story, and hold a song in your heart!