Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grit Do your students have it?

Every day is a new day for me.  I start out fresh with a new outlook on how to create a great day for my students.  It's not easy with all the demands of the curriculum, student lives and daily problems.  Being positive helps to get me through the day.  Some people would say I have grit.  I think it's more of my determination to have a successful day.

The Common Core State Standards is the latest buzz word in education.  Ok so it's really four words but you know what I mean.  One of the skills the CCSS is promoting, is rigor  for  work within the classroom.  Rigor requires determination, stamina, and grit.   Students need that can-do attitude and with a Never Give Up mantra.  Our kids love their tv, iPods, computers, and video games.  The rigor and determination is not part of their daily lives but it needs to be.   My students need to be pushed master skills.   I know that with out the rigor in their daily work they may fall further behind their peers.

I came across this great TED video of Angela Lee Ducksworth speaking about The Key To Success: Grit!  Just the inspiration I need to continue my push in the classroom for more rigor and grit.

Do your student's have it?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday.  It's not just because I'm Irish it's because St. Patrick's Day makes me happy.  Everyone seems happy on this day.  There are parades all over the country to celebrate the Irish heritage.

Every year I give my kiddos a project to complete over our winter holiday at the end of February.  I have them create leprechaun traps.  Some kids have a great time creating contraptions with their families.  I love their inventiveness.  Check out 3 contraptions from our class.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Erin Go Braugh!

Oakie Saying Goodbye

Francis J. O'Connor, MD
12-12-24 to 03-08-14
Ireland is a beautiful country with wonderful people.  My grandparents were born and brought up there.    My dad choose to live there for the last 10 years.  He was in love with the country of his ancestors.  Growing up in our family we learned all the old Irish songs and would sing with dad around the piano every Sunday after church.

    This past week I celebrated my dad's life with my 11 brothers and sisters and 12  Irish step-siblings. (That's 24 for those of you who like numbers.)   My dad touched the lives of many as a radiologist/oncologist, a naturalist, a teacher, and as a community leader.  He had happy demeanor and zest for life.  People marveled at his storytelling and loved to be around him.

Two wonderful things happened this week to me.  With the beauty of technology I was able to attend my father's funeral through Google Hangout (Skype) along with my daughter,  2 sisters and a brother.  All my other siblings were able to attend the funeral in Ireland.  It was comforting to be part of the ceremony.  My dad lived an amazing life.  It is his time to rest now.
     Just when I was trying so hard to hold it together my youngest brother Mickey sent us all a video.  He created this video in 2007 of my dad saying goodbye to all of us.  It was just what I needed.  His happiness for life came through.  It was truly a beautiful gift.

Rest in Peace Dad!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winter Carnival 2014

Our Winter Carnival with an Olympic was the highlight of February in Highgate!
First Grade represented the country of Ireland.  Our wall display was a mountain of potatoes with little leprechauns snow boarding and skiing.
I hosted a cup stacking event in my classroom and love the creativity come out of our students.

Here is my favorite photographer.  Way to go Isaac!
Can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Back to Work Today

          It's bittersweet: the end of vacation and the desire to see my students.  I do know that the school year will start to speed up at this point.  I have so much more to teach.  Time flies when you're having fun!
          Our wonderful parent support group created a milk jug igloo.   It was built in our library and is too big to go through any door way so it will stay in the library.  It is huge and fits my whole class.

I can't wait to see these smiling faces.

Nominated for the Sunshine Award!

I am so honored to have been nominated for the Sunshine Award by Leah Mermelstein. Thanks, Leah!
The Sunshine Award is a lovely way that bloggers recognize each other. Basically, it spreads Sunshine from one blog to another!
I am not sure where the The Sunshine Award was started but here are the rules.
1.  Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2.  Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3.  Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4.  List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
5.  Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer.
6.  Let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Fun Facts about me.
1. I have a cat named Ziti.  She's my lap heater.
2. I have 11 siblings that live all over the country.  I'm proud of every single one of them.
3. I enjoy crafting and working with my hands.
4. Technology makes me giddy.  I love my iPad mini the best.
5. Reality tv keeps my DVR hopping.  My favorites are Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Project Runway.  My son thinks I'm crazy. Ha
6. I wear my regular running sneakers to my zumba classes instead of zumba shoes.  Running sneakers have more support for my old dancing feet.
7. I told myself that I would never buy a jeep.  And I just bought a Jeep Cherokee Laredo this week…..I'm in love with it.
8.  I'm a chocoholic!  Dark chocolate with almonds makes my day.
9. My favorite thing to teach is writing to first graders.
10.  I love the ocean in Maine.  Kennebunkport is where my family summered.  Wells Beach is where I took my kids to summer.  I long for those warm summer days in the sun and sand.
11.  I am a totally different teacher now than when I begin teaching.  I am happier now more than ever.  I love teaching first graders.
Questions from Leah:
1. What inspires you to blog?
Things that I do in my classroom inspire me the most….how kids react to their learning….new discoveries.
2. What is the hardest/most frustrating thing about blogging?
Finding time to blog….I don’t blog nearly as much as I should.  Some people blog several times a week….My goal is to blog at least once a week all year.  It just doesn’t happen.  Life gets in the way.
3. Can you share a defining moment you’re had in the field of education?
  A defining moment came when I taught my own daughter in my classroom.  I saw her much differently than the other students.  I had to remove myself as a mother to her but became a mother to everyone else.
4. What do you hope for in the coming year?  My hope for the coming year is to use my 3 iPads to the fullest.  I want the technology to have strong presence in my classroom
5. How does blogging help your teaching?
  My blogging helps to define what is important.  The sharing of ideas is huge for me.
6. How does teaching help your blogging?
Trying new things
8. What advice would you give to someone about writing?
 Writing is a skill that needs to be practiced daily.   Practice writing many different kinds of writing to help become a very diverse writer.
9. What advice would you give to someone about teaching?Teaching is the connection to learning.  It is the hardest most rewarding jobs you will ever have.
10.  What is is your favorite thing to do to relax?
  my favorite thing to do to relax is to create.  I love to create things with my hands and things on the computer.
11.  Are there any responses to your blog that have really stood out?   What were they and why did they stand out?The responses that stood out are the ones where people have found new ideas in the things I say.
I nominate:
      Laurie Hilton at
      Kristin Kennedy at
      Amanda and Aylin at
      Hayley Bishop at
      Kim at
      Shannon at
      Tammy at
      Heidi Raki at
      Danielle at
      Heidi at
      Blogger at:

You all bring sunshine to my life.  Thank you for all you share every day.

Here are some questions for you to share with your readers.  
.    Where is the favorite place you have gone on vacation?
.    Where was your favorite childhood vacation?
.    If you could live anywhere in the world other than where you currently live, where would it be?
.    What do you wish you could change about your home?
.    What is the next home improvement project on your list?
.    What is the one recipe that you get asked to bring to family dinners or potlucks?
.    What is the last meal you cooked at home?
.    What is your favorite thing to order at a restaurant?
.    Share one of your favorite getting healthy tips.
.    Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.

Share a blog post you wrote that meant a lot to you and tell us why you picked that one.

I see sunshine everyday in the students I teach!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday's thoughts

I love this table runner as a door decoration for winter.
 My kiddos love to pose for pictures.  I printed out 8x10 photos of the kids and cut them out.  I love their take charge poses.

 Loved the Minion/twinkies as a Valentines!  I have my kids tape their Valentines into a booklet to keep all of their cards neat.  I'm always surprised at all of the candy on this day.  Most of it gets sent home. Yay!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Currently March

I love reading everyones "Currently"!  
 The last box contains an answer and you have to guess the question.
Can you guess mine?

It's freezing cold here!  March has roared in like a lion. 
 I'm hoping spring is just around the corner.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Few Ideas

We made these great carolers at Christmas time.  We used toilet paper rolls and colorful baby socks.  Each child created 3.  They looked great on our counters.

 Every Friday our school takes time in our day for D.E.A.R. 
Drop Everything And Read!  My kids love this time.  We are up to 20 minutes!  Our literacy team made a schedule so the whole school does it together.  We love it when other teachers come and read in our classroom with us.