What a Winter!

Yes, we’ve had A LOT of winter ’round here….with more on the way.  But what do they say? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Scroll for a fun winter activity!


Stay inside with the snowman that won’t melt and have fun with this Snowman word scramble worksheet. For more engaging spelling  activities, go to Education.com!

Click on the links for a Snowman wordscramble and answer key!


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I Don’t Know

I don’t know a lot about a lot.  I don’t have many answers, never mind all of them.  But I do know most answers are complicated, because the issues are complicated.  That results in tons of talk that goes round and round and ends up nowhere.  It’s happening right now in the wake of the most recent school shooting.  “Most recent.”   What a phrase to have to apply to “school shooting.”  In fact, when I reread this in a few months’ or a year’s time, I may not recall precisely which shooting prompted me to write this.  Unfathomable.  I am sick to my very soul.

Here’s one thing I do know.  When I am huddled in a corner of the classroom during our next lockdown drill, I will reassure the child that asks, “This is fake, right?” just as I did during the last drill.  Because someone always asks.  What I hope they don’t ask is, “Could this really happen?” But I know what I’d do in that case – I’d say, “No, honey, you’re safe here.”  That response would fly out of my mouth as fast as the opposite thoughts swirled in my head.  Training.  Instinct.  Love.  It trumps reality in the classroom.

I don’t know much, but I know what I believe.  We are a country desperate for answers.  There are many and varied ones, I know.  But gun control has to be one of them.  You can’t have a school shooting – or many, many, many school shootings – without guns.  You can’t.   So pray, yes.  Act too.


It ain’t over till it’s OVER

Alternate title:  Did you ever?

The roller coaster that’s been the missing costumes saga has been journeying upward since the recovery of the Princess dress.  Sure, it would seem as though the ride should have ended, with passengers exiting, all wobbly legs and wide grins.  But there was one last peak, which would wrap this story up in a great big Shirley Temple bow.  And that involved the Princess crown and scepter. 23621708_10210123486349774_603868760565481440_n.jpg

While Shirley retained the right to keep her film costumes, Joseff’s of Hollywood did not give her the same option when it came to their creations.  Thus, the gilded crown and scepter worn during the Princess dream sequence returned to Joseff after filming, and remained in their collection.

Until they decided to bring their pieces to auction.  Announced earlier this year, Tonya was determined to reunite them with the dress, which at that time, was safe in her possession.  But then Princess disappeared.  And reappeared – quite literally in the nick of time. Now that the gown was safely home, what better conclusion could this chronicle have than to reunite the crown and scepter with it?


In the days between the Princess’s return and the auction at Julien’s in California, we were riding high.  Jubilant, expectant and incredibly hopeful, we laser-beamed our good vibes toward Tonya.

Saturday, November 18.  We rallied around computers and smartphones, trying to keep up with the bidding.  Main man Woolsey, pictured above, was there in person – our Army representative.  The crown comes up to bid….and the price skyrockets.  And it’s lost.  No sense bidding on the scepter without the crown, but that too shoots into the stratosphere.  All we knew when it was over was that they would stay together (a mild yay), as they were purchased by a person in the room (as opposed to an internet or phone bidder).  But they didn’t belong to Tonya….or to us.

Just as we were ready to alight from the ride, this time with dispirited faces to go with the wobbly knees, the coaster lurches forward.  IT IS NOT OVER.  Whaaaaaa?

I won’t keep you in suspense.  Woolsey informs us that they have been purchased with the sole intent of being exhibited at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, slated to open in 2019…..the very place Tonya was planning on bringing the Princess in first place!  And NOW the ride can end – with passengers leaping from the cars, screeching their disbelief, their surprise, their unbridled joy.


It was Shirley magic, pure and simple.  Or Shirley spirit.  We have seen it before, over and over and over again.  During the Depression, they called her Little Miss Miracle.  There was a reason.

Thanksgiving came when the dress was found; now it’s an early Christmas.




There’s No Place Like Home

July 2015.  The proverbial hammer comes down on THE costume from The Little Princess, and every one of us in the front row that day shared the winner’s joy.  Her words to the auctioneer: “The first Shirley doll I ever had was in the dress – from the Danbury Mint!”  It took several people to carry it out – train, cape and all.  I’ve got to admit – I was in shock.  I mean, I knew Tonya was one cool chick – didn’t she write THE book on ST dolls and collectibles?  But now she OWNED THIS?!  Mind blown.  Wouldn’t be the first time.


Fast forward a bit – Tonya’s now acquired quite a few costumes – film treasures of Hollywood’s past.  They’d make a mini museum themselves, yet Tonya’s plan in acquiring them was to display them for the public, in the name of continuing Shirley’s legacy.  And she lived up to that promise – several key pieces made their way to the Santa Monica History Museum in 2016.  Next stop, a Hollywood themed doll convention in Albany, NY in late summer, 2017.

Yeah, we all know what happened next.  In a nutshell: the box of five costumes never made it to its destination after being shipped via UPS; instead, four pieces were sold at an auction warehouse in Kansas City, MO just about two weeks later.  That buyer, after media pressure, finally relinquished them, and they made their way home.

But Princess didn’t.


 Now,  here’s the REAL story.  Shirley’s Army mobilized like nothing the world has seen before.  We announced to the masses – via social and traditional (is that what TV and print are now?) media.  It was due to our coordinated attacks (and a weird, unbelievable, and immensely lucky series of events) that the first four costumes were returned.   But like Sara/Shirley in this very film, who never stopped looking for her presumed-dead daddy, we didn’t rest.


Just this week, Tonya received a call from UPS that the dress had been located, and it was in their possession.  Seems Cargo Largo, the auction warehouse, received the dress – after announcing a $5,000 reward for its return.  The details are unknown at this point – Cargo is carrying on some type of investigation – and we may never know where she’s been for more than two months.

But we know where she is now.  Home.


I think we can all agree that we would rather not have had this happen, but it did….and it brought out the very best in people.  Tonya’s dress was our dress, her heartbreak our heartbreak.  And now, we share in her exhilaration, and in her gratitude for all the forces that brought her back.

Thanksgiving came early this year.  XOXOXOX

Fall in!

Sometimes, it’s just a bunch o’pics…other times, it’s a bunch o’pics AND a fall fun skillsheet.  We don’t do triple digit subtraction until the spring, but here’s an autumn version!

Incorporate subtraction and the change in season with this fun Autumn worksheet. For more math worksheets, go to Education.com.


Here come the pics!


Sponge painted fall leaves and Johnny Appleseed facts



Learning about bodies of water



Identifying the beginning, middle and ending of a story





Family trees

Missing Shirley Temple Costumes

Borrowing these words from friend Kelly Wenarsky….thank you!

I am sharing this very sad and frustrating story here as an appeal to the online commerce community, the antique and collectibles community, brick and mortar and online auctions and anyone else who POSSIBLY is in the position to report a “sighting” of these costumes.

Here is the timeline of the story and the original Facebook post to UPS. If you SEE or HEAR of any of these outfits being offered for sale, please contact Tonya Bervaldi or myself immediately so that they can be returned to her. These could turn up anywhere, so any information is appreciated!

The latest is that four of the five items were sold as unclaimed merchandise by UPS to an auction house in KC, MO.  They were then purchased by an individual, who contacted a third party in an attempt to get advice on their worth.  All of that took place in less than 2.5 weeks!

Here is the costume owner’s original post on the UPS FB page: 21617518_10211465142159088_5744483598214831165_n.jpg

UPS LOST FIVE ORIGNAL SHIRLEY TEMPLE MOVIE COSTUMES! On August 28, I sent out two boxes through UPS, one box got to its destination, the other box got to Orlando – maybe (and tracking shows that it never got off the truck in Orlando), and then was never heard from again. The box that is missing contains movie costumes that Shirley Temple wore in the 1930s – the actual costumes that she wore! Five costumes that she wore in her movies, they are completely irreplaceable (including the actual LITTLE PRINCESS dress from the movie “The Little Princess” among others – from Bright EYes, Wee Willie Winkie, Stowaway, and Little Miss Broadway). These costumes were being shipped to be displayed at a convention celebrating early Hollywood.
I am not wealthy, I saved and saved and bought these to share the magic of Shirley Temple with as many people as I could…From the start, the incompetence a UPS has been mind-blowing:
1. The boxes were supposed to be charged to a UPS account, the one that got to its destination was charged to a DIFFERENT account (which I cant even figure out how to contact) – even though the UPS number as written down correctly, and UPS has no idea who was charged for the box that is missing (even though it was scanned in at the actual UPS facility) , they said that someone should manually enter that eventually – WHAT?!?
2. Once we realized that the box was lost and started the investigation, they NEVER even contacted Orlando – NEVER – about the missing box. Not once! Because of the hurricane, I gave them an extra week to call (at their request), after an extra week, they called to say that the box was gone – when I asked what Orlando had said, their response was that they didn’t have the time to call..in a week. Not once. The box was very recognizable – a bright green box, and time was of the essence, and they didnt even try.
3. Without contacting Orlando, they closed my case, and said that I should be grateful that they gave me the extra week – even though they did nothing during that time – not even contact Orlando – not once!
If this is the way they handle boxes that were insured for $10,000…that is saying quite a bit about UPS! Isn’t there SOMETHING else that can be done? Can someone higher up the UPS ranks actually investigate what is going on?
4e12c7329fa3a88e60da1d9f13f0a7e7.pngdownload-1.jpgThis costume has not yet been located!

Time Flies….

I was contacted by a rep at education.com and asked if I would post one of their lessons on my blog. Here it is! PS: I hope time passes by much more slowly in the summer months!

Does Time Really Pass By Faster When You’re Having Fun?

Research Questions:

Time is one-dimensional. While it can be measured, we cannot actually touch it. It is used to measure duration, intervals, and the sequence of activities. We now use clocks to tell time. In the past, instruments such as sundials, hourglasses, and even just by looking at the position of the sun in the sky or the rings in trees.


  • Clock
  • 10-20 children old enough to have some sense of time

Experimental Procedure

  1. Plan a fun activity for the children to do. Before doing the activity, ask the kids to tell the time right now.
  2. Start the activity, but suddenly stop in 45 minutes and ask the kids to guess the time (without looking at the clock) and guess how much time has passed since they started playing.
  3. Now ask the kids to just sit there and tell the time. After about 45 minutes, ask the kids to guess the time and how much time has passed.
  4. Record the results. Are some children better than others at keeping track of time?

Terms/Concepts: Time; Timekeeping

Discover how time stays constant even when you’re having a blast by planning your dream day!


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Going, going, gone

That’s how it is when you teach.  All year long, you’re going – nonstop.  And then somehow, even though you may or may not have been counting down the days, the end comes.  And goes.  There’s that mix of jubilation (summer! sleeping in! no making lunch!) with sadness (you’ve worked so hard with these students, seen them come so far, and then, they’re off!).

But then there are all of those memories.  Among the best were the two auctions I held this year, inspired, of course, by the Shirley auctions Take One through Three.   The last one served a purpose beyond how-to-fill-one-of-the-last-full-days-of-school.  It was a great way to get rid of all that stuff we teachers first hoard (with all intentions of using at some point), and then, after a period of several years, realize you will never use.  You know the saying – one teacher’s trash is another student’s treasure.


Each child began with about $50 Shirley dollars, and everyone ended up with at least one item.  Except the teacher, who cleared out some cabinet space.  Win/win!



Yup, a real hammer was used.  To great effect.


I won’t miss the stuff, but I will miss this class.  They shared my passions, embraced my emotions, and drank the second grade Kool Aid.  What a year.

Defining Moments

Had no intention of marking this anniversary.  I did so last year, reflecting on the ride that has been Love, Shirley Temple.  But as Facebook loves to do, memory reminders  were sent to several of us who were there at that fateful event in Morristown two years ago.  Those reminders turned into posts, which turned into discussions, which opened the emotional floodgates…for me, at least.  But what else is new?

Since you asked….it’s friendships.  Not necessarily “new” as in “just formed,” but new as in cemented over these two years.  Those that started out as simply Shirley friends are much more than that.  Case in point: Palooza Part Two.  Spent the better part of five days running around CA with my Shirley posse, and I know I’m not alone in saying we belonged together.  Several of us are currently experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

I think I said this last year, but it’s even more incredible now.  It’s a rare thing to be able to look back at a moment, an experience, and say, “That’s when it happened.  That’s when my life changed.”  Weddings, births, deaths….those are the expected moments.  But the L, ST exhibit in May of 2015 in Morristown, NJ set me on an unimagined course.  Fulfillment like nothing I’ve ever known.

To all the people that have been a part of this journey that shows no sign of stopping, the Colonel salutes you.  And loves you. ❤


Spring Fling

As in, I’m flinging a few photos onto this blog as a substitute for a proper post!  20170412_144431.jpg

State Flag in the the center, surrounded by NJ and its symbols


Water Cycle using water colors.


Spring paragraphs



Matching abbreviations with the word.  Plus painting!


Three types of clouds.  Plus more paint!

That’s all I’ve got today!