Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gifts For the Teacher

Still trying to decide what to give that special teacher? Here's a couple of ideas....


A Journal

Many teachers travel during the summer. A journal is the perfect gift to record memorable experiences about a special trip, write down thoughts while flying or driving across country, or just to jot down ideas for the following school year.

A Photo Album

Teachers take photos of their students throughout the year. It may be to catch a fun Halloween party or take individual portraits for a writing project. A photo album will come in handy to organize those photos.

A Scrapbook

Every school years brings new memories. Pictures and cards from students, certificates or awards from parents or school districts, can be saved in a scrapbook.

An Assortment of Coffees or Teas

A cup of tea or a hot cup of coffee is just what a teacher needs on a cold fall morning - especially after playground duty.

A Gift Certificate

You can never go wrong with gift certificates. Maybe a day at the spa, tickets to a movie or dinner at a nice restaurant - all will be appreciated.

Whatever you choose, it's really the thought that counts, when you give that special teacher a gift, at the end of the year.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day is a day to remember those whoe died in our nation's service.


Officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, Memorial Day was first observed on May 30th, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1873 New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Relax, Renew, Recharge

Whew! It's a three day weekend.


Take time this weekend to relax with a good book, bake your favorite dessert, or have dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Renew your relationships with either your children or your husband. Take time to sit down to a meal together or take a walk in the park.

Recharge your worn down batteries, from the non-stop pace of school. Sleep late, get a massage or just watch the sun go down.

You've made it through the last days of school, it's downhill from there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gifts for the Teacher, Candy Gram for the Teacher!

There are so many great teachers out there dedicated to their students. Nothing makes them happier than when a parent recognizes their efforts.


Candy Gram for the Teacher!

This a sweet poem (no pun intended) you can copy, embellish with candy, then present to that special teacher in your child's Life.

Because your smarts help our school run - Smarties@ Candy

Because your positive attitude keeps everyone in a good humor - Laffy Taffy@ Candies

Because of your commit-mint to our school -York MintPatties@

Because your school spirit makes you a great "roll" model - Toostie Rolls@

Because we think you're a shining star - Starburst@ Candies

Type this poem up on a bright colored piece of card stock. Tuck it into a pretty basket filled with these candies.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Craft Time, Tempera Painted Rainbow Fish

Yesterday you read the Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister. A fun craft to make, and one that complement this story, is a rainbow fish created from a paper plate,then painted with tempera paints.



1. Take a paper plate and cut the border or edge (usually about a 1-inch border around the plate) off of the plate.
2. This edge is for the fins. Cut this edge into two pieces -make one fin longer than the other.
3. Take the paper plate and cut out a pie shaped piece (about 1-inch wide) to create the mouth of the fish.
4. Paint the plate and the fins with tempera paints. Have students mix colors to create the aqua greens and sky blues in the Rainbow Fish. This paint is creamy and hides mistakes easily.
5. Let painted pieces dry then have students paint a black dot for the eye. Let dry, then glue fins to plate.

This rainbow fish projects turn out beautifully because tempera paint is bright and bold and easily mixes – so new colors are created easily.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Reading Aloud

Teaching kids about sharing is something teachers continually do throughout the school year.


THE RAINBOW FISH, by Marcus Pfister illustrates why sharing is important.

After reading this book talk with your students about how sharing helped the Rainbow Fish. Then, let them talk about ways they share at school and home.

Follow up today's lesson by having your students make their own version of the Rainbow Fish. Just provide an outline picture of a fish they can color. Or, let them glue different colors of papers to create scales on their fish picture.

Tomorrow I'll have a neat craft the kids can make using tempera paints.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Teacher's Prayer


Grant me the things that I will need
To do my job and always succeed.
Help me to know what to do and to say
To help those few students who refuse to obey.
Teach me how to love every child
Those who are busy and those who are mild.
Show me the gifts you've placed in each one
Help me to mold them to be like your son.
Give your eyes to see all their fears
Give me the words to bring them good cheer.
Make me your servant and help me to serve
Allow me to give them all they deserve.
Keep my heart humble in all that I do
And help me to teach them to be just like you.
Thank you for caring and hearing my prayer
And thank you for always being right there.

-Holly Sonnenshein

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cooking With Kids, Fruit Smoothies

The end of the school year is winding down and both you and your children are dragging yourselves out the door to work and school.


Today, have your kids whip up Fruit Smoothies for breakast, while you sleep in.


2 Oz Pineapple or Apple Juice
1/2 Frozen Banana (Make sure you peel it before you freeze it)
6 Pieces Frozen Fruit such as Peaches, Strawberries, or Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Cups Crushed Ice

Mix all, then blend in a food processor or blender. Enjoy!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Teacher's Lounge, Broccoli Salad

The battle of the bulge is not just a historical battle, it was my mantra when I walked into the teacher's lounge.


I loved it when someone brought a salad, rather than a carb loaded dessert, to share in the teacher's lounge.

Broccoli and noodle salad it a crowd pleaser with its different and refreshing taste. Make sure to have some breath mints handy, this salad has onions in it!

1- Package (16 Oz) Broccoli Slaw
1- Head Broccoli Broken into Florettes
2 Bunches Green Onions - sliced
1- Large Red Pepper Chopped
1- Cup Sunflower Seeds
3- Packages Oriental Noodles

1/2 canola oil
1/2 sugar
1/3 white vinegar
seasoning mix from oriental noodles

Mix up dressing then add noodles. Let noodles soak in dressing for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Toss vegetables together then add noodles. Serve

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Keep 'em busy !!!

Are you getting ready to pull your hair out?


The school year is winding down and the kids are restless. You're tired and ready for summer break but learning must still take place.

Here are a few suggestions to keep 'em busy, for thirty minutes, at the end of each day.

1. Take a power walk around the playground.

2. Read aloud the last thirty minutes of each day.

3. Review math facts and the names of the fifty U.S. states.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pizza Bread


Yesterday I introduced a book about pizza, one of the world's most popular foods. Today, I'm going to show you how you can make a simple version of pizza for your students right in your classroom. You will need a microwave, something many teachers have these days because they have become so inexpensive.

Recipe For Twenty Children:

3- Large Loaves French Bread
3- 12 OZ Jars Pizza Quick Sauce@
3- 6 OZ Bags Grated Mozzarella Cheese
1- Bag Pepperoni Slices, Optional

With serrated bread knife cut French bread into 1-inch thick slices. Smear about two tablespoons of pizza sauce on each slice, then sprinkle cheese on top of this. Microwave till sauce is hot and cheese is melted. IT'S THAT EASY!

I recommend you ask each child if they want Pepperoni slices. Today, many students are vegetarians. Also, many children are allergic to red dye, present in many brands of Pepperoni.

Many times I ask each child to bring a couple of dollars to school to help pay for classroom snacks and special parties. You may want to do this if you decide to have Pizza parties.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reading Aloud

School is just about over and you're probably doing everything you can to keep the kids busy.


THE PIZZA BOOK, by Stephen Krensky is a fun book to read aloud to children. It explains the history behind pizza and recipes for dough and pizza sauce to make homemade pizza. It's also a good book to teach food groups to children.

Sign on tomorrow and I'll have a recipe for pizza bread you can make in your classroom. It will get the kids out of their seats and keep them busy for awhile.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Let your children pamper you today. If they want to cook, what the heck, even though you know they'll probably burn your toast and create a disaster in the kitchen.


And, check out these links to articles for Mom today:

Renee Kirchner writes about her idea of the Perfect Mother's Day

The Three Angels Gourmet Co. offers a beautiful Mother's Day Poem

Read an article about moms who want to start their own business by work-at-home mom, Carrie Lauth at the Working Writer's Coach blog

Friday, May 12, 2006

Beat the Sugar Blues With This Fruit Medley

Hooray, summer vacation is just around the corner. And yes, you're probably working on getting off those extra pounds you put on last winter. And, today you're suppose to bring treats to the teacher's lounge.


You're probably not the only teacher watching her calorie intake, so today substitute a fresh, fruit medley for the usual carb fare.

Fruit Medley:

3 - Large Bananas
1 - Quart strawberries
1/2 Cantaloupe
A large bunch of seedless grapes
1 - Large can chunk pineapple

Drain pineapple, reserve juice. Dice fruit (except grapes and pineapple) into bite size pieces. Toss together in a large bowl.


1/4 Cup Flour
1/8 Cup Splenda@ sugar substitute
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 Cup orange juice
Reserved juice from pineapple

Blend all ingredients well with a whisk, then bring to a boil in a saucepan. Then, add two tablespoons of butter, mix well.

Let mixture cool. Pour over fruit, mix and chill.

Fruit is full of vitamins and has natural sugar. You won't experience the sugar blues you get from high carbohydrate foods!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Meet Renee Kirchner

Hi, thanks for stopping by today. I want you to meet Renee Kirchner, she and I are members of the Lieurance Group a writer's cooperative.

The Lieurance Group is a cooperative of experienced and gifted writers and graphics designers who would like to help YOU any way we can.


Renee Kirchner is a children’s author and freelance writer living in Carrollton, Texas. She is the author of BIOMES, a non-fiction chapter book published by Kid Haven Press.

Renee has written articles, stories, poems and puzzles for a variety of publications such as Family Fun Magazine, the Dallas Morning News, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Guideposts for Kids, Highlights, and many others. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.

Renee holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Texas Tech University and spent ten years at Verizon working in various marketing positions.

She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and served as the marketing coordinator for the North Texas chapter during 2005.

Please visit her blog at

Her family and her writing are her life’s greatest passions. Email her about possible writing assignments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Brief History - Sneakers

Long gone are high heels and loafers, instead many people are now wearing sneakers to work, especially teachers.


Sneakers are a necessity in the daily routines of many teachers. Moving around classrooms and throughout their schools, teachers are on their feet all day long. Sneakers are not only comfortable, but they come to our rescue and keep our feet warm on those days when we patrol the cold, hard playground.

The first sneaker was used in England about one hundred years ago. These shoes were made primaily for the upper classes, to wear when they played lawn tennis, cricket or croquet. Sneakers then were made of canvas and had rubber soles. Sneakers are also known by other names such as: tennis shoes, gym shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes. Today, sneakers or tennis shoes are the most popular shoe sold, and when people buy a pair they usually have a particular sport in mind for their use.

Pull your sneakers on (or maybe you already have them on) and take a fitness walk with your students. You'll feel more energetic and inspired to finish the day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Craft Time, Sneaker Fun

Don't toss those old sneakers away, recycle them into colorful teaching aids.


Wash all of your old, beat up sneakers. Then, decorate them up with three dimentional craft paints, beads and glitters. Cut out the old laces and replace them with colorful ones.

Place these decorated sneaker in one of your classroom centers. Students can practice tying and lacing them up.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Reading Aloud, Shoelaces

Make learning to tie shoes fun for kids by reading SHOELACES, by Suzanne Lieurance.


This rhyming story introduces the concept of shoelaces. After you've read this story aloud, have your students see how many different kinds of shoelaces there are in the classroom. Some students may have plain laces and some may have fancy laces. Next, model for your students how shoelaces are tied, then have them practice.

At the end of today's lesson, ask students to bring an old pair of sneakers to school tomorrow.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Simple Pleasures

"A cloudy day, or a little sunshine, have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most real blessings and misfortunes." Joseph Addision


If the weather keeps you inside today, enjoy the comforts your home provides.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cooking With Kids, Monkey Bread

Saturday morning is a time to relax and enjoy a breakfast treat.


This recipe for Monkey Bread is so easy, older children can easily prepare it on their own.


2 Cans Pillsbury@ Grands buscuits
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1 Stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease an 8" x 8" baking pan.
In a bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon until well blended.
Remove biscuits from cans, then cut each biscuit into four pieces.
Dip each piece of biscuit into melted butter then sugar mixture.
Arrange all biscuit pieces in baking pan - snuggley against each other.
Sprinkle additional butter and cinnamon mixture on top of biscuits.
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until done.

Server warm with a cold glass of milk

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Teacher's Lounge


Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo, the day Mexico chose to celebrate Independence from France. Here's an easy recipe for tortilla rollups. Enjoy them in the teacher's lounge on Friday.

10 - 12 Flour tortillas
1 Jar Chunky taco sauce
1 Small can green chilies
1 Large can olives
8 oz Sour cream
8 oz Cream cheese
1 Bag grated Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese

Mix sour cream and cream cheese, divide this mixture evenly, then spread on top of flour tortillas. Layer each tortilla with green chilies, olives, and cheese. Dot with taco sauce. Roll tortillas up and slice.

Arrange on a serving dish, then chill.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Patriotic Day

Today, after you say the Pledge of Allegiance, celebrate Patriotic Day by discussing our nation's history.


Then, make a clever pin out extra large safety-pins, red, white and blue beads.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Creating Your Home Office


Creating a comfortable, productive and inspirational office space should be the goal of every teacher who needs to works from home occasionally. Arranging and organizing such an office can be easy. Consider including the following aspects when setting up your home office:

Dedicate a specific room. You need to define your home office space as where you work and not mix it with where you sleep and relax. Devote a room for your home office.

Create a comfortable home office: Buy a comfortable chair that rolls and make sure your keyboard is at the correct height. Make sure you have adequate lighting and include a radio, if you work better with music and a coffee pot if you work best early in the morning.

Organize your home office: Have everything you need to write or execute projects in your home business efficiently. Place paper near the printer, maintain a rolodex to make call quickly, get a desk caddy for your pens, pencil, stapler, tape and note pads.

*Set up an alphabetized list (using an address book) of your user and passwords for your computer.

*Organize your bookshelves according subject for easy reference.

Create a space that's inspirational: If you can, set up your home office in a room that has a window. Allow sunshine and contact with the outside world to come in. Sometimes bringing the outdoors in can be a distraction, although, many people feel it increases their level of productivity and creativity.

Devote wall space to show your accomplishments. Hang your diplomas, awards and letters of recognition on the wall. Many people hang a picture of someone they admire. This motivates them to achieve their goals.

Create a warm and inviting space. Don't dread going to your home office. Make it pleasing to the eye. Place family pictures on your desk, or on the wall. Tack up children's art projects. Bring the garden inside with fresh flowers and green plants.

When it's all done, you'll love working there!

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day Baskets In The New Millennium


The custom of celebrating the first day of May began hundreds of years ago by country dwellers. People gathered to share great feasts to bless the birth and joy of spring. Celebrations included dancing around a May Pole (most likely a grain wheel) and picking spring flowers. Over the years this tradition evolved into May Day. In the United States, the May Basket was born when neighbors presented baskets of flower to one another.

With a new millennium well underway, why not create May Day baskets with a whole new look and purpose? Instead of simply a casual assortment of spring flowers, make your May Day baskets a sophisticated collection of useful items which reflect the personal tastes and interests of the receiver.

A few suggestions for creative May Day baskets :

For the Teacher:

- Colorful pencils
- Sticky notes with illustrations or photos of apples on them
- A bag of chocolates, a teacher’s best friend
- Bottle of aspirin
- Cinnamon-apple tea bags
- Mug with apples on it
- Red apples
- Teachers stamps and stamp pad

For the Artist:

- Artist’s palette
- Sketch pad
- Assortment of brushes
- Charcoal pencils
- Bottle of turpentine and linseed oil
- Gum erasers

For the Wine Connoisseur:

- Cork screw
- Wine glasses
- Guide to buying wine
- Assortment of cheeses
- Assortment of Crackers
- Bottles of wine

Creating a May Day basket around a theme is as easy as dropping by the grocery, department or craft store. Decorate your baskets with colored tissues, ribbons and cellophanes. Mixing and matching colors and themes is the fun part.