Gung Hey Fat Choy!

It’s the Lunar New Year – Year of the Sheep/Goat.  We were lucky to have a student who celebrates share some of her traditions with us…particularly those $$-filled red envelopes!


See those envious stares?!!

After discovering whether they were Dog or Pig people, they made a Chinese kite where they recorded facts and traditions about this holiday.


I was born in the Year of the Rabbit.  Makes sense, because I do like to be fast.  According to the Chinese Zodiac, Rabbit people are trustworthy and like to talk.  I’d say that’s accurate!



History Repeats Itself

Last year I had a student whose enthusiasm for Harriet Tubman was contagious.  She came in with a head scarf and was the toast of the classroom.  This year, Abraham Lincoln was the historical figure who got everyone’s attention, spearheaded by this girl’s obsession for  our 16th president.


She’s holding her favorite Christmas present, and I’m putting it on my list too!

Here are a few shots of some Lincoln activities….George is in there too!



Working on cooperative President Posters.  Finished result below.


Presidential paragraph writing — everyone had a choice of topic, but Lincoln won by a landslide.


In the center is one student’s Day 100 poster.  100 days as of today!  Just one more thing to get excited about!

Seeing Red

…and pink.  After all, it was the Valentine’s Party!


Last year our celebration was snowed out and nearly happened in the spring, but this year it came right on schedule.  There’s something about seeing them dressed in coordinating colors that warms my heart.



My valentine to the students was a CD I burned, featuring the many musical biographies that are a mainstay of our classroom. Their delight reassured me that the few hours it took on a snow day were well worth it!  Now their parents can hear these songs in their sleep like I do!


The minute I saw those dollar store monkeys back in January I knew they were a must have.  They came in pink and white too!


This photo needs a bit of an explanation.  One of the three games we played was called Crazy Hearts, and it’s well-named.  Therefore, while the parents run the other games, this is one for the teacher-only.  There are red and pink hearts – the child turns over one of each reads what they have to do and how to do it.  This was obviously doing something upside down!


In other news, who says history has to be boring??  However, some concepts are easier taught than others, and it’s a bit of a struggle to light a fire in second graders’ hearts over the Constitution. I do my best, which of course includes showing The Preamble by Schoolhouse Rock.  But this year, a few little politicians created a class constitution ON THEIR OWN.  They began it with the poem that I’d written (“Because it’s really good!”) and are still working on adding Articles.  That’s all they talked about for days!  I’m not privy to the contents yet – I do hope I’ll get a chance to ratify it!

All in a day.  Wouldn’t want it any other way.

I Lost

My last blog post had me fighting against a cold – the first of the season, so in that way I consider myself lucky.  But only in that way.  Because I lost the battle in a big way.  I could take the congestion and coughing and throat irritation – could even teach through it.  But I lost my voice.  As in, virtually completely.  That hasn’t happened in a dozen years or so.  But here I am, on day 5 of no voice and I am not happy.

Yes, I’ve been downing tea with lemon and honey.  Yes, I’ve been humidifying the air to soothe my throat.  Yes, I’ve even chewed on raw ginger root.  And yes, I’ll make an appointment with an ENT on Monday.

But have I rested my voice?  Yes and no.  Took a day off, then “taught” for two, and now that it’s the weekend, I haven’t uttered a single word.

Teaching without a voice was quite an experience.  With an improvised system of bells, bangs and claps, I was able to get the students’ attention.  I sat in front of the computer and typed my instructions so that they were displayed on the smartboard, and somehow we were able to get by.  Thank heaven second graders can read, and thank goodness they were well-behaved….I think it was the shock of their teacher without a voice!  I expect tomorrow will be much of the same.

In happier news, yesterday was the birthday of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder and Google, the coolest of the cool, commemorated it with their signature artwork:


And the alerts came through!  A parent (who also happens to work for Google!) tweeted me about it, and an administrator emailed me.  Of course, I saw it for myself at 2:30 a.m., when I was up coughing and surfing the net.  Perfect timing, because we’re in the process of putting together a summer camp brochure for our district, and naturally I’m going to host my pioneer camp once again.

It didn’t bring my voice back, but it certainly brought a smile to my face.


Now will Google commemorate Shirley’s April 23rd birthday?  I’ll be checking!