Sunday, February 26, 2012

YOU are a lesson

One child can make all of the difference...have you ever noticed that? A particular child is absent and you have a completely different class. Even though, that particular child is NEVER absent and NEVER gets sick (or maybe it is just the parent doesn't want to keep them at home). Or there is a particular child that does a certain something that maybe annoys you a wee bit or you find yourself counting before you answer or respond to that child that after you have given the directions about 5 times and they then ask you what they are supposed to do. You start wondering what is going on in their little minds.

I have taught some tough cookies. I have taught kiddos who know WAAAAYYYYY more than me about subjects that a Firstie should not know. They tell me about movies like Saw, Chucky, Nightmare on Elm Street, and many more that I would never dream of watching but also find my heart hurting because they don't know about Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. I am speechless still when they don't know Nursery Rhymes like Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet. This year I have a child who has ever, ever, EVER heard the stories of The Three Little Pigs or The Little Red Hen. My mind worries what they go home to and my heart hurts for them....especially for the ones who I don't even know what might be going on in their little lives.

Several years ago on one of our comp days our counselor gave us all a small stone. We were told to hold that stone in our hand ALL DAY LONG....when we ate, when we went to the restroom, when we worked on lessons. Some teachers put theirs down quickly or forgot where they put it down. Some of us kind of fussed about how hard this was. We later realized that these stones are the burdens are kiddos carry with them into our classrooms each and every day...except they cannot put them down nor do they leave them at the door like we might expect them to.

We may never know all our kiddos face when they leave us. At times, I have struggled with why these awful burdens are placed on their little shoulders. I also want to fix things. I know I cannot always do that. When I find myself struggling with this, I listen to the song "Love Them Like Jesus" by Casting Crowns. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You're trying to make sense of it all
They're desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They're looking to you

Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus

Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands
He cares for them just as He cares for you

So love them like Jesus, love them like Jesus
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Love them like Jesus

I also want to share this poem that I shared quite a long time ago that some of you maybe haven't read yet.

You will teach many lessons this week. Many of those lessons won't come from a cute activity you found on a blog or from your Teacher's Edition or even from your curriculum. Those lessons will be watched by little eyes who learn how to react to different situations by how you react to them. Lessons you will teach through the patience, kindness and love you show them. A lesson about how to just be there for someone through the laughter and the tears....and a lesson on love.

Tomorrow, because of YOU, a heart will be touched.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bells, Bonkers, and Bovine

Bonkers, batty, bouncy, and B-A-N-A-N-A-S....that about sums up some of my kiddos this week. It has been raining off and on since last week so the playground is muddy beyond words....and they are not getting to play outside when they go home. While they have been trapped inside at home, they have been hooked up to iv's of sugar and video games.

As some of the kiddos have been bouncing down the hallway, I notice their eyes spinning in different directions. I have lost count of how many times I have heard "May you please be still because you are not keeping me safe with all of the bouncing/spinning/wiggling/hopping/dancing you are doing." We have sang our hearts and wiggles to songs from Brain Boogie Boosters ALL WEEK LONG (this is a great Conscious Discipline cd by the way)!!!! You would think all of their bouncing would make them tired but they are fueled by Valentine's candy! Can I hear a HELP ME JESUS??!!??

Today we ventured into not only the mud but livestock poop. We went to the Expo center to see a show by 4-H. This is always interesting...I learned years ago that some kiddos do not know all of the farm animals...or animals in general. I have had kids call a cow a pig or one year a horse was a puppy...the WORST/BEST was the year a goat was mistaken for a turtle. All I can say about that is BLESS HER LITTLE HEART.

Due to the rain, it was VERY MUDDY. When you are outside with animals, it is difficult for a 1st grader to tell the difference between mud and poop. One child was warning another that he was about to step in cow poop and he said it was no big deal if he did. One of my little girls told him he was crazy if he thought Ms. Price would let him come in the room with poopy shoes because we all know she doesn't want to be the Potty Police!!!! Hahaha! Too funny and so true!

I was also very proud because they actually asked good questions! Usually when asked if they have any questions, they tell a story about a cow, pig, horse, goat, etc. This time they asked questions about hibernating, decomposing bodies, camofaulage , and the BEST was how do cows reproduce? Ha! I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at the guides face! =)

Onto the bells....

Here are some things we have worked on when we talked about American Symbols:

Sorry for no picture of our bells but they were all so cute!
Click here to see how to make them!

You can use this to write facts about the Liberty Bell.

Here is a poem about the flag. There is also a sequencing sheet for the poem. Click on the picture to grab the activity.

And for a little fun...a Dr. Seuss *freebie*!

graphics by Scrappin' Doodles

Question of the Day:
Do you ever start sentences with "I like the way ________     _________" when talking to your kiddos?

For example "I like the way Carla is standing in line."

My questions have a purpose...I promise! =)

I am humbled each day by the sweet and encouraging words you leave me. You truly bless me with the heart notes you write. I would love for you to leave me a heart note today! =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Survivior, a Winner, and a *Freebie*

I survived! I don't have a headache or feel as if I was run over by a bus. No one cried when we made a craft today or for whatever reason someone usually cries. I am the BEST teacher in the world (and I am sure you are too!) and we had the greatest Valentine's Day Party EVER!!!  Don't you love how easy it is to make a 1st grader happy??!!!!???

They have now gone home to consume more sugar and will hopefully return tomorrow in a partial sugar coma. If they are hyper tomorrow, I have already told them we will only eat carrots at our Easter Party! =)

Today is the day to announce the winner of the Giveaway from the Heart. First, I am blown away by the number of heart notes. I want to have more giveaways because I LOVED reading each one and I have been so excited to check my email! I truly feel blessed by each one of you and am honored that you would stop by my blog. I wish I could offer a shirt to each one of you...but Carla (Sewing Sassy) would kill me or quit and I have to have her teaching next to me...I would be lost in my Back 40 boat without her in it!

I also want to thank 2 of the most AMAZING bloggers ever....Rachelle and Cara ...for bringing some sweet followers to my blog. You ladies are precious blessings!

So, here is our winner!!
Congratulations to Tammy:

I love, love, love your blog!!!! I discovered it about a month ago. Since then you're definitely on my "favorite" list. I've share your blog with my teaching team and they now LOVE you too!!! I really can't brag on you enough! You have such a generous heart to share ALL your incredible ideas and constantly creating adorable centers and then posting them FREE for all of us!!!!! You truly are a blessing to me!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

P.S. I don't have a blog yet, but if I did Your blog would most definitely be list as one I follow and my favorite!

My eyes literally teared up as I read this.

I will be emailing you soon Tammy!

To show my love for each one of you I have a *freebie*! Here is a little activity to help with building sentences...something my ESL kiddos always need. =)

I hope you can use it too!
graphics by DJ Inkers

Since today is a day of love, I want to offer you a challenge.

Right now, I want you to think of a child in your classroom or a child at your school that might be a "toughie". This could be a child who is never absent but you wish they would be or this could be a child that sometimes does something that annoys you. If all the children in your class are perfect, think of someone who might need some extra kindness in their life.

Tonight before you go to bed write that person's initials on the palm of your hand. Whenever you glance at that name stop and pray for that person or if they are near you give them a hug, a kind word, a pat on the back, or even a smile. Think and realize that wherever you go tomorrow, a piece of that person goes with you. You can either see that person and embrace them in a positive or negative frame of is a choice we make everyday. You carry each person you know with make them a blessing or a burden.

Sometimes the people who are the hardest to love are the ones needing love the most.

To each of you....thank you for blessing my life! =)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hunting for Magic e

I sometimes find myself on Friday afternoons asking Where did the week go? I then start feeling a little bit of panic because it is almost March and the end of the year will be here soon (and I am always behind in the curriculum!). However, I love this time of the year with my Firsties because I can step back and watch because they are so much more independent. They could keep themselves busy all day with math games and literacy activities if I let them....or work out of our work basket.

This past week we have been having blend races that they work on when they finish something else. OMGosh, this has been so funny! They have taken this task very serious! I told them they would win something...Do they know what they are going to win? Nope...because I don't know either! =) They are happily reading away with books from their browsing boxes, buddy reading, discussing different things about the books and just beside themselves each time they find a blend to record. =)

We also wrote some blend riddles (and they were so clever!). I LOVE using riddles to promote higher order thinking and to develop language for my ESL kiddos. Since we have been working on magic e I made this little riddle trail game. The game has no beginning or ending point. The person at the end of the game who has the most matches is the winner. Players draw a card and either read the word and move to that picture or read the riddle and move to that picture. They try to get BOTH the riddle card and the word card. There are also special cards that allow them to take a card or trade a card. They LOVE this game!
clip art by Scrappin' Doodles

My giveaway is still going on (I would love for you to blog about it) might win one of these adorable shirts:

You will also win a Conscious Discipline cd, 5 items from my TpT store, AND 2 items from What the Teacher Wants TpT store.

Click here to go check it out!

I hope you enjoy the *freebie*. =)

Thank you for coming by my blog and thank you if you leave me a heart note....You each bless me in so many ways. =)

Question of the Day:
*When a child does something wrong or hurtful, should they say they are sorry?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Missing Hearts

I love this time of the year when there are hearts everywhere. Since the first day of school in August, we have talked about what it means to have a helpful heart. Our bucket is filled daily with helpful hearts from the kind and helpful acts the kiddos notice each other (and me!) doing. It is one of the sweetest things that happens in Our School Family. Tomorrow our hearts will be missing! Check back soon to see what happens! =)

Here is a picture of our bucket and helpful hearts.

Here is a math game *freebie*. =)

graphics by Scrappin' Doodles

Remember my awesome giveaway is still going on!

You can win one of these adorable shirts!

And MORE!!!!!!!!!!

Click here to go check it out!

I would love a heart note if you grab the *freebie*! I am blessed by each one! =)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Giveaway Surprise

I am so excited that Rachelle from What a Teacher Wants is joining my giveaway! She is offering any 2 items for her TpT store...I am wondering if I can enter my own giveaway so I can grab those 2 units! =)

I hope you decide to follow me if you aren't already. Remember this is what you can win:

a shirt from Sewing Sassy

a Conscious Discipline cd

5 units from my Tpt store

2 items from Rachelle's TpT store

Please go check out the giveaway here

I will be back with a *freebie* tomorrow!

There might be another *surprise* tomorrow!

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite thing in your classroom?

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Room: Hives and Bugs

I am a worrier. At times, I might even say I am not worried but I am. When someone wants to talk to me, I worry about what have I done wrong. When someone comes to my room, I worry about what they will see. When someone compliments me, I worry about if they only knew....

Today, I had to keep my mouth SHUT!!!! I might even incriminate myself with this blog post because as I have said my blog is not a secret and it is being read right now that I am WORRIED about my room!!!! My classroom is tiny and we have no wall space...meaning there is no room for all of these anchor charts I am making. I look around at all of the other learning evidence they say I should have. HIVES, HIVES, HIVES!!!! STRESS, STRESS, STRESS!!! Let me pull out my sleeping bag and plan a sleepover in my room. That is the ONLY way I could get it all done!!!

I either find myself worrying, not sleeping, getting stomach ulcers and living in a state of freaking out or in the corner in the fetal position rocking and saying "Welcome to Wal-Mart."

Then, I was reminded today of something that is not "evidence" on the wall or on a piece of paper. One of my kiddos told me he was going to add me a helpful heart for loving him even when he was making bad choices AND also for not letting him get away with that behavior. My other children then (without my saying ONE word) celebrated him for changing his choices.

I forget sometimes that something special IS happening in my room with the way my children celebrate and encourage each other but also how they learn to handle conflicts. They talk to each other about making eye contact, speaking clearly and using a kind tone of voice when working out a problem AND we learn about offering forgiveness....and yes, we still have days where they are toots!!!

As I drove home and my mind was worrying, freaking out and I was about to call someone to call me away from the edge, I remembered my poem "In This Room". My room is more than the nasty carpet that drives me INSANE, the anchor charts on the wall, the lack of a gazillion things, and a teacher who is sometimes drowning...even though those things are ALL TRUE. =)

I must remind myself that my room could be a place where touching a child's heart could touch their life forever.

Please take a moment to read this poem and think about your room.

Now to the bugs! We have had ants this year. Several months ago in a reading group a flea jumped off of a kid and then he started scratching his head and another flea jumped onto his book. Last week one kiddo started saying "La cucaracha, la cucaracha"....someone had a roach crawl out of their backpack or it was hunting for crumbs someone dropped from the FUN and I KNOW YOU ARE JEALOUS OF ME Breakfast in the Classroom.....who knows??!!!???? Thank heavens that we have not had lice.

These bugs though are CUTE! I hope you enjoy this math game with the Love Bugs!

graphics by Scrappin' Doodles

Now about the giveaway I am loving!

Here are some pictures of the shirts that Sewing Sassy can make if you win my awesome giveaway!

Go check out the giveaway here! I have a HUGE surprise for Wednesday. One of THE blogging queens is helping by giving away 2 units from her TpT store. You won't want to miss out on this!

So, go share about my giveaway on your blog or Facebook page! =)

Please leave me a heart note if you want to show me some love or to let me know you appreciate the *freebie*! They make my heart smile!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blessings, *Freebie* and an Adorable Shirt

I have been struggling lately about what to blog about....Do I share about things that happen at school even though we are CONSTANTLY reminded about being careful what we say on Facebook and blogs (and my blog is no secret!)? Do I share about how sad my heart has felt lately watching people I love having declining health problems that seem to take a little of their life everyday and have me wondering how much time they have left? Do I share about how I am still insecure about my blog and sharing activities because I wonder if they are good enough?

Despite all of those questions and struggles I know my life is still blessed. Sometimes we forget how blessed we are because we are looking at the wrong things and we need a different perspective. One of my favorite songs is "Blessings" by Laura Story. Here are some of the lyrics that I love:

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops,
What if Your healing comes through tears,
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

I also have needed lately to revisit some of the poems I wrote. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by curriculum pressures, behavior problems, grades, assessments, grown-ups who don't act like grown-ups, and a million other things that seem to keep us from remembering why we teach. We have the most amazing opportunity to teach our children to be patient, understanding, helpful, encouraging, and so much more and that one day they will make a difference. Please take a moment to read this poem and think about the kiddos in your room.

Here is a math game *freebie*. My kiddos are adoring these Love Monsters. They even have asked if the Love Monsters are going to visit us. Yeppers, my kiddos will need psychiatric help because of all of the things I have told them that have made them believe that these clip art monster might be real like some of the stuffed animals that visit us! =)

graphics by DJ Inkers

The kiddos order the numbers from least to greatest. This is a great game for math buckets and helps to develop number sense! =)

Please go check out my giveaway! You could win one of these adorable shirts and some other wonderful items! Go hop over here!

I would LOVE for you to blog about my giveaway! If you blog about it several times, I have a special little present for you!

Please leave me a heart note if you grab this activity. Your heart notes always make my heart smile!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Giveaway from the Heart

I am so excited for my second giveaway! One of the reaons I started my blog was to share about Conscious Discipline (CD). Part of the foundation for CD is building the School Family. One of the ways that is done is by your Family Circle Time. Many activities can be done during this time but part of it is to make connections with each other. One of the best ways to do this is through music. CD has 3 music cd's. The primary one is It Starts in the Heart . I LOVE this cd! The songs tie in with building the School Family and are wonderful for discussing being kind and, they are just fun to sing! =)

The winner of the giveaway will win this cd


An adorable shirt from Sewing Sassy...
The shirts can be made for your grade level and Sewing Sassy will help you get a shirt that is just right for you!

2 units from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants TpT store


5 items from my TpT store!!!!!

Here is how to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me you follow my blog.
2. If you have a blog, add Heather's Heart to your blog list and leave a comment telling me you have done this.
3. Leave a comment telling me you follow my TpT store.
4. Like Sewing Sassy's Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you do.
5.Like Sewing Sassy's etsy page and leave me a comment telling me you do.
6. If you have a blog, give a shout out about the giveaway on your blog and leave a comment telling me you did! Each time you blog about it come and leave me a comment that you did! =)

The giveaway end Monday, February 13th and 11:59 pm.

Please leave your email in the post.

I will be back soon with some *freebies* and to thank all of the sweet friends who tagged me! =)