Watercoloring With a Toddler

Thursday, June 30, 2011 2 comments
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.

I need to be honest with you, T and I did not read much yesterday. We were super busy! We did however sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Humpty Dumpty" a few dozen times. He informed me that he does not like "Humpty Dumpty" and wanted "Ring "Round Rosie" instead. He loves to sing and dance and I know this is building his language development. That makes me happy in my heart!

T has been asking to paint for a few days. His old paint tray is disgusting in a beautifully artistic way, so I had to put it in a special place (ala garbage can.) His past masterpieces have made us quite proud and Daddy and I feel certain he will be a famous artist one day. He might be dirt poor, but we will be so proud! This is his first piece, completed at the ripe age of 2 years and a month or so old. He calls it "butterfly." I call it....priceless! (Yes, I framed it.) 
Be sure to have your children name their artwork. It gives them ownership, and asks them to think/process what a good name might be!
After a special trip to buy paint, the fun began! The kitchen floor became our art studio.

I was wishing my first graders were there to help me! The paint cup spilled 163 times, paint was everywhere, and I stopped him JUST before he painted the walls. I did not stop him in time for this though....
He also painted my face and my shirt and my hair. Oh well! It is just water...at least that is what I kept telling myself! He said, "Mommy dis is beautiful on you." And with that, I told him he could paint Mommy, himself, the floor, the paper, whatever he wanted. This kid knows what he's doing! 

Gallop, Run, Swim-Verb City!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 No comments
No surprise here, but when we receive those cute little birthday invitations in the mail, I start thinking of what book we are going to give! I would like to share one of my "go to books for toddler gifts!" Gallop! by Rufus Butler Seder is a beautiful and exciting scanimation picture book! Not sure what scanimation is? Thinking it is another word I made up? Nope! Check it out here on YouTube! Cool, right?

Scanimation blows my mind! I'm serious! When I read Gallop! with T, he is less interested in the mechanics and more interested in yelling the name of the animals and the action-"TURTLE SWIMMING!" It really is cool! The animals look like they are moving. The print is large and includes onomatopoeia,, which makes my heart happy! 

Could this be used in your K or 1st grade classroom? Yes! It is verbilicious! 

There are several scanimation books in Seder's family including Waddle! and even a little Star Wars action! Check him out, you will not be sorry! 

Teacher Time!

Monday, June 27, 2011 3 comments
I participated in The Sisters Daily 5 and CAFE workshop last November. It was Ashmazing! (Yes, that is a new word!) Implementing Daily 5 has changed everything about reading instruction in my classroom. I know my students on a whole new level! The growth (not just in reading) has been huge!

One of the things that struck me most at the conference was the brain research talk. Now I have read my share of brain research that I did not understand, but this was crystal clear-we only have about 5-7 minutes to share important info with our 6 year olds before they go into lala land. Here is a site The Sisters shared this link at the workshop-Brain World Magazine. It is worthy of a few minutes of click and read!

Another favorite resource was shared again at their Tacoma conference this week (thanks Lori!) I need to look through this again when back to school gets a little closer! Daily 5 Freebies

My book recommends are for teachers and they are, of course, The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book!

Smoochie Smoochie!

Saturday, June 25, 2011 1 comment
I love kissing my little guy. I love his kisses most in the universe! So today we read a book all about kisses--A Book of Kisses, by Dave Ross and illustrated by Laura Rader.  Amazon has it, but only used copies. I bought mine through a Scholastic book order for about $4. That is much cheaper than Amazon on this one!
As you can see, T really enjoyed acting out the different kisses!

There are hello kisses and goodbye kisses, good night and good morning kisses. There are fishie kisses and butterfly kisses, and bubble gum kisses-and our favorite-rubbing noses kisses! The book is long for a toddler, so I needed to adlib a bit (my secret talent anyway!) It is sweet and has family ties which I love, especially with my family out of town! 

Trickster Monkey

Thursday, June 23, 2011 No comments
....no, I'm not talking about T this time! I am referring to the little guy in Monkey, A Trickster Tale From India, by Gerald McDermott. My husband is from India, so we especially like to share stories from and about there. T has been to India. He has seen elephants in the wild and been spoiled by nearly the entire state of Kerala! 
Monkey retails for about $12 on Amazon and is totally worth the price! The pictures are detailed and fun. The story is predictable, but not as much as I expected. I had a slight connection to the gingerbread man stories and also to a counting book with crocodiles.

T loved talking about the monkey and the "deelishus" mangoes. I will be honest and tell you that one part of the story involves the crocodile threatening to eat the heart of the monkey. That was too much for this mommy (and first grade teacher,) so I changed the wording. Sorry Mr. McDermott! Maybe when he is a little older!

Aunt Nina

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 1 comment
Today is my sister's birthday. T, Daddy, and I are celebrating my making one of her favorite recipes-grits dip with Doritos! T will also be enjoying a cupcake. I will not be enjoying a cupcake because I am pretty sure the Doritos will do me in completely! We are reading this story today. Though it was not written about my sister, it might as well have been! T loves it. He talks about his Nina and how she is in Heaven. He asks if he can go there. I tell him no, but that she is watching over him. He said ok and smiled.
Aunt Nina and Her Nephews and Nieces by Brandenberg, is a beautiful story about an aunt, who does not have children of her own. She spoils her nieces and nephews. They love her so much. The book is beautiful. It reminds me so much of the love my sister had for my little guy and my niece, A. It also reminds me of the love they still have for her. It is immeasurable!

I miss her today, but then again, I miss her everyday.

Teacher Moment

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 No comments
Check out these writing resources shared by @jasminedwyer on Twitter!

Launching Writer's Workshop

Writing Process Cards

Oh the resources!

Mini lessons

Busy Teacher's Cafe WW

and one for reading!

Skill Cards (reading)

I love sharing teachers!

Our First Crop of the Season!

Monday, June 20, 2011 No comments

Daddy arrived home today to find T anxiously awaiting a walk outside. He said, "I gotta water da plants. I a farmer." He alternates between a love of farm and love of jungle, neither of which he has experienced enough to remember.
He was pleased with his crop but did not want to eat the "spicy peppers mommy!" The tomatoes were not quite ready and the strawberries have become rabbit food, but the squash and eggplants are plentiful....well for a toddler anyway!
One of T's favorite farm books is At The Farm. It is a touch, feel, and hear book. He LOVES pushing the buttons and mocking the sounds. I LOVE the simple facts along the side of each page. Though he loves it now for the fun part, I know he will love reading it later to learn more about the animals. I hope the batteries hold out that long!

He Reads in the Car!

After a yummy lunch at an Iranian cafe, we headed home. T passed out in the car and woke up asking for juice. I passed him juice and asked if he wanted a story. He of course said, "yeah." I handed him the board book, Dinosailors.
"Oooh dinosaurs." He loved the pictures. It did indeed remind me of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, and I did think they probably were by the same author. I was wrong. The illustrations are great and encouraged conversation about teeth brushing and eating. Deb Lund uses "dino" in front of words to make it fun and it works! The dinosailors have wobbly dinoknees. The dinos decide that sailing is not for them, so they sell the boat and buy a ........you will have to read it for yourself to see what adventure is next!

A Father's Day Thank You

Sunday, June 19, 2011 1 comment

Yes, that is the name of the book T and I read with Daddy this morning. It was a little long for a toddler, but he liked the bears and growled quite a bit! It would be perfect for K-2, if only we were in school during June. (I don't mean that!) Is it the best Father's Day book ever? No, but it was sweet. Check it out on Amazon for about $7. While you are there, you might want to look for A Perfect Father's Day by Eve Bunting and Little Critter's Happy Father's Day. I love them both!
A Father's Day post would not be complete without mention of the author's father! My dad is great. He is a Vietnam hero, father of four, grandfather of two, and has had more losses than anyone should have. He loves us. He loves my Mom. We love him.

Ode to Chattanooga

Saturday, June 18, 2011 No comments
Road Trip! We loaded up T and headed north to Chattanooga for a weekend of family fun. Fun it was! Chattanooga has so much to offer families with little ones! Here are a few of the highlights!

Creative Discovery Museum $11 per adult He loved it! There is so much to do! Plan on staying at least 2 hours! Seriously!

Tennessee Railroad Museum Riding the train was by far a highlight for both T and Daddy!

International Tow Truck Museum Wow! If you have a son, this is a must do! It is a small place full of cool tow trucks-new and old!

Chattanooga Cupcakes If you only do one thing in Chattanooga-GO HERE! Be sure to like them on FB, too! You can score coupons for buy one get one free and more!

Are there others things to do there? Yes, but this is what we did and we wouldn't have changed a thing!

Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines

Friday, June 17, 2011 No comments
Tucking T in tonight, we read a book his Grandpa gave him-Good Night Engines by Denise Dowling Mortenson. It has a sister book, too-Wake Up Engines. They are available on Amazon for about 12 and 1/2 each. He loved it. He loved the trains and firetruck and making the noises to go along with it. As always, he liked turning the pages and telling me he was doing it! The story rhymes and takes us along the nighttime path with a little boy and his toys. Sweet.
The night ended with him saying "choo choo, all abooooooard!" about 6,000 times. This could be because we rode the Tennessee Railroad last weekend. Talk about family fun! Kids under 3 are free and Nithin and I cost $15 each. The trip lasts about an hour and we all had a blast! There are two types of train cars. We rode the open air car half way and the air conditioned car on the way back!

Side note-the conductor was adorable!

Teacher and Mommy Collide!

For my teacher/mommy friends, check out these FREE resources!

Meet the Word Caller

Reading Comprehension Posters (Reading Lady)

Proficient Reader Strategies

Mentor Texts! I heart Rebecca!

Mentor Texts-Read the whole book online!


Our nap time story choice was Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. You can pick it up used for about $8 on Amazon. This book is textured and fun. It is oh so special to me because a student in my kindergarten class donated it to me in memory of my brother, John. He would have thought the book was cool. T did too! Maybe a little too cool. After reading Tails, T had no desire to nap. He wanted to make all of the animal noises, "count" the animals, sing an animal song, well I think you know where this is going!

This book is great for all ages. The reading is K-1, the pictures and texture fun are for ages 2 and up. T's dad had to touch the bumpy alligator tail, the shiny peacock tail, etc. It is beautifully done and even led to an internet search for more information about the pangolin. Curious? Click here-scaly anteater! Van Fleet has several touchy feely books available. I want them all! I mean, T wants them all!

Quote from Lilian Katz-love it!

"Experts generally agree that taking all opportunities to read books and other material aloud to children is the best preparation for their learning to read. The pleasures of being read to are far more likely to strengthen a child's desire to learn to read than are repetitions of sounds, alphabet drills, and deciphering uninteresting words."


Thursday, June 16, 2011 1 comment
T and I read Oops! by David Shannon for the first time today. It was a big hit. I love David Shannon. In fact, No David! is my all time favorite kids book. In fact, I read it on the first day of school and the last day of school every year. T obviously has good taste....just like his mommy!

Oops! is part of a series of toddler board books. They are durable and make toddlers smile! T also likes the five senses one-especially the stinky diaper page!

Pete the Cat

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 No comments
Before heading to the pool, we read Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin-Mr. Eric, as he is known to thousands of kids across Georgia. Check it out here on Amazon for around 10 bucks. The book includes a download of the accompanying song.

T (my little guy) says the chorus with me, "I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes." He loves it. "Les read agin mommy." It just so happens we have the Pete the Cat doll, so T decides he should join us for round two!

This book is also a hit with kindergarteners and first graders, too! It reinforces color words and has beautiful illustrations. It screams imagination and would be great for helping someone "get over it."

My Little Guy

We'll call him T for short. He is 2 1/2 and really good at it! Before becoming a mommy, I had no idea why people complained about making time to read. I was all like, "whatever, reading is crucial to your child's development. Suck it up!" Now that I am a mom (and well, teacher) I totally get it! It is so hard to get it all in! I don't know what  I will do when he starts getting homework. That may change how I feel about homework-we'll see. As for now, I'm a big fan!


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