I Love Books!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 No comments
The teacher geek in me loves books and I am not shy about it. I mean, I love books. I love the way they smell. I love the sound when opening up a new one. I love the look on a child's face when they read their first book, their favorite book, the first book that makes them laugh or cry, and when they read one with such voice and fluency that it makes me laugh or cry. 

The mommy geek in me loves sharing books with T. I love the way he glances at the book and decides instantly if we will read it or not. I love how he laughs and makes noises while I read. I love how he corrects me if the story is not going his way. I just love it.

As an educator and somewhat tech savvy lady, I know a thing or two about computers. I love them, too. I know they have a place in our lives and I know they are fun! I love the convenience of my iPad. I love the look and ease of eReaders. I do not however think they can replace a book. In fact, I KNOW THEY CAN NOT REPLACE A BOOK and here is how I know:

The emotions shared in this less than two minute clip could not have happened with a Kindle/Nook/Cranny/etc. This connection to print is irreplaceable. This small experience is building not only his reading skills, but his love of literature. Kids need to touch books. They need to feel their power. They need to hug them and hold them.

Read with your child. And be sure to throw in real books as often as you can. For more info on reading with toddlers, click here. To read a story online (for free) so a real life book will be passed to children in need, click here

P.S. He is reading Scoop the Digger. (Click here for details!)

I am Thankful!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 No comments
The girls at What the Teacher Wants (one of my favorite blogs in the universe!) are hosting an "I am thankful" linky party. I am so blessed and love the opportunity to share the love!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom? Hmmm. We are in a brand new school this year and so this is tough. I am going to go with the Elmo projector. It has made things a lot easier!

2. What person are you most thankful for? Another toughie. I am going to break the rules and say my family. My family means the world to me. We have been through so much and each time we come out a little stronger and a little closer. I love you Mom, Dad, Aunt P, A, N, and T!

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for? I love blog hopping! I am going to try to pick a few that might not have been highlighted, yet. Of course, I LOVE What the Teacher Wants! My other two would be Sailing Through First Grade and Teaching Blog Addict. Oh! Classroom Freebies is awesome, too!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for? I think my guilty pleasure is my iPhone. I just love it. My hubby pretty much rocks for surprising me with it. I seriously wonder...how did I manage before? :)

5. What are you most thankful for? I wouldn't even know where to begin! I am thankful for my wonderful husband and adorable little guy! I am thankful for a healthy family that loves and supports me. My mom and dad rock. My little sister and niece are rockstars. My Granny is amazing. My extended family is great! I am thankful for my job. I love being a teacher! I am thankful for the great people I work with each day. I am thankful for my friends. I would be lost without them. I am thankful for our home. I am thankful for all the time I had with my brother and sister before they passed away. I am thankful for the many opportunities that have made me who I am. I am thankful for books-plain and simple. I am thankful for football season. N and I have so much fun! Go Falcons!

 I am most thankful to God, who makes all of this possible. 

Books Make It Better, Part II

Monday, November 21, 2011 1 comment
The goal was small-500 books in one week. The response was HUGE
My fabulous school collected 696 books for women and children's shelters in the Atlanta area. We sorted the books into groups-preschool, primary, older kids, and adults. It was so exciting to count the books and look at them! N and I dropped off the totes full of books to the Children's Restoration Network today.

I can only imagine the looks on the children's faces as they thumb through Dr. Seuss, Magic Tree House, Harry Potter, Amelia Bedelia, and so many others!
Thank you Reach Out and Read! Thank you Jen! Thank you Mom Congress! Thank you ESE students and parents!
Now for an update.....we'll be doing it again in January!

My Son, the Artist

Friday, November 18, 2011 2 comments
As you know, T is multi-talented. I mean, I don't want to be one of those mommies, but my kid is super, duper talented! (and by "I don't want to be one of those mommies," I mean I absolutely am one of those mommies!)

Let me state my case. Here are exhibits A, B, C, D, and E. He gets a marker, grabs a notecard and says, "Mommy, I want to draw me." He said, "I am going to draw a circle." and he did. Then he said, "Hmm. I need eyes." He drew two eyes and said, "one, two." Then, "Oh, where is my nose?" Then he drew the dot nose. "I need a mouth."
Then I say, "Let's draw mommy!" He says, "I'm gonna draw daddy!" While drawing daddy, he said, "Oh-he needs ears!"
Then I say, "Let's draw mommy!" He says, "I'm gonna draw Peeper."
Then I say, "oooh, let's draw mommy!" He says, "I'm gonna draw Oba!"
Then I say, "Let's draw mommy!" Then he says, "I'm gonna draw Pops!"
Well, I think you get the idea!

Please send all gifted inquiries to my personal email. I will respond as soon as I sort through the hundreds of responses. 

On a serious note, for more information on the developmental stages of drawing, go here

Books Make It Better! Part I

Saturday, November 12, 2011 No comments
My school is super excited to be part of the Books Make It Better campaign! My friend, and fellow Mom Congress Delegate, Jen has helped bring this movement to life! She is working with Reach Out and Read and Parenting Magazine to put books in the hands of children who need them most! With the holidays fast approaching and so many drives (toys, food, clothing, etc) happening in our area, I decided to take a different approach.

I spoke with Jim Cox, president of the Children's Restoration Network (supports homeless women and children in the Atlanta area) and asked about the need for books. He was ecstatic and said that they are in great need. Thinking of children needing books, kills me. I mean that from the depths of my soul. T is so lucky and we are so lucky to be able to provide them for him.

So...I decided to hold a ReBook drive at my school. Kind of like recycling, we will be passing along books that we have already read or have simply outgrown. (We'll be throwing in books for moms, too!)

Working with our amazing PTA, we put together info for parents and teachers. Everyone is on board! In fact, the campaign does not kickoff until Monday and I already have 200 books! My wimpy goal was only 500!

T is excited, too. He helped me decorate the tubs last night.......

We will be delivering the totes to shelters right before Thanksgiving. I'll keep you posted!

For more info on Mom Congress, please check us out on FB!

Want to help, but you are too far away, PLEASE visit Reach Out and Read!

How did this get started? Click here!

Looking to help a local organization this holiday season? Check out CRN!

Department of Education

Monday, November 7, 2011 No comments
When I meet decision makers in the field of education, I almost always have conversations in my head. Last week, I was honored as my school's Teacher of the Year. The experience was AmAzInG! Before the pep rally, I moseyed my way over to meet this man.....
Georgia's State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge. He was very friendly and has a positive outlook on Georgia's future. (T chose my dress!)

Back to the conversations I have in my head-today's went a little something like this:

Dr. B-So Lyssa, what can I do to change education in our fine state?

Lyssa-I am so glad you asked! I think the place to start is with our teachers. Let's create an avenue for ALL teachers in the state to share their great ideas. Let's not keep greatness a secret! We also must train our teachers. This is a lofty goal, but could we have statewide training online? It would be ideal for us to all receive the same information, and even better....at the same time!

Dr. B-Lyssa, you are a genius. What else?

Lyssa-Since you asked, I think we must work on leveling the playing field. I am not a politician, but I am a teacher and most importantly-a parent. I think every classroom in the state should have a classroom library and I think we should do whatever it takes to make that happen. Children simply can't read if they do not have ready access to books.

Dr. B-Does your school need books, Lyssa?

Lyssa-Nope, but other schools in my area do and know many schools across the state do.

Dr. B-Lyssa, you should be the next President of the United States.

Lyssa-Oh my goodness, thank you!

Did any of this really happen? No. However, he was very open and energetic. Dr. Barge is ready to move GA forward and I am ready to help! Visit the DoE site here.

My First Podcast!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 No comments
I was honored to be asked by Jerri Ann Reason, my Mom Congress friend from the beautiful state of Alabama, to participate in a podcast. I had to ask what that was, and once she explained-I was good to go! There are many mentions of my T and also my fabulous first graders!

Check it out!  While you are there, be sure to look at her awesome work for education advocacy!

Educate My Alabama (click me!)


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