Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wild and Wacky Weaving!

So many "W" words! We Weave our Warp with a Weft or a Woof! Weaving is Wonderful!

Second graders folded paper in half, and used rulers to mark off 5 or 6 lines to cut. Then they "decorated" the warp with a pattern, gluing on colorful or patterned paper strips between the cuts in the paper. When the glue was dry, they chose ANOTHER pattern to weave with. Some kids repeated the same pattern, others chose something totally different. When weaving was complete, ends were glued down, and the weaving was glued to a larger sheet of construction paper. Many kids who finished quickly chose to decorate their weaving with black Sharpies and/or white colored pencils. Other quick finishers became teacher helpers, assisting kids who found the pattern of weaving to be a little challenging.

The Ultimate Texture Burger Sandwich

I know a lot of you have done similar versions of this project, but it's so much fun I thought I'd post some pics of my students' interpretation. I don't think I already posted these, did I?

After brainstorming for REAL things that could go on sandwiches, the kids dug through a variety of materials (my room was a huge mess!!) and went to town. I was firm about just one rule - these to be BIG sandwiches but not SILLY sandwiches - in other words, no dirty socks, no earthworms, no rainbows, no monkeys... you get the idea. So everything on a sandwich represents a REAL food item. I think they did a great job and had so much fun digging through boxes of fabric, crepe paper, discarded counting cubes (great cheese!), scraps of colored foam, and so much more. I especially love the first sandwich, which is filled with only seafood related items, including a lobster claw, crabmeat, shrimp, seaweed, and even oyster crackers. And then she added a bowl of steaming hot soup!! I forgot to take pictures of all of them, but there were many other original pieces - for example, several kids created sushi rolls and eggrolls to put on their sandwiches.

Anyhow, I forgot to take a picture of the whole bulletin board, but I hope you enjoy the few pics I did remember to take! By the way - they are pretty big - 9" wide by 22" tall.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reality TV, & imagining a new reality

First, about reality TV:
you actually know, not one, but TWO REAL PEOPLE on reality TV shows! Now you probably already know that I love Project Runway and Survivor, but this year my eye has been on two other reality shows - The Biggest Loser and The Sing-Off.

I have a son-in-law on Biggest Loser!!
Actually he's not on right now, as he got voted off a couple of weeks ago, but if you watch BL at all you would remember Joe (above). He'll be back on the show for the finale, coming in December. A week ago, he flew to NYC from his home in Tennessee with his wife (my stepdaughter) and their daughter (their first time in the Big Apple) to be on the Today Show. I was busy teaching and preparing for my conference, but my hubby was able to take the train to Manhattan and got to spend a day with them. How cool is that?! Joe looks fabulous and has changed his life. It may be a TV show, but what Biggest Loser does for people is REAL. Congratulations, Joe!!

As for The Sing-Off - the finale is tonight, and one of my son's good friends from his high school class is in the Dartmouth Aires. This group is one of the 3 finalists! If you watch this show regularly, you might have noticed a nice-looking blonde boy in the group (on the left in the photo above) - that's Alex. We're rooting for you, Alex! (*I should also mention, for those of you that follow college basketball, that another of my son's high school classmates was Jimmer Fredette, a BYU sensation that was a first-round draft pick for the NBA. What a graduating class!)

Ironically, my son also knew people in one of the other groups on The Sing-Off, the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. He just graduated from UR in May, and was pretty involved in the musical community, so he had two teams to root for on the show, thought the Yellowjackets did not last to the finals.

Now to imagining that whole new reality... IMAGINE THAT you've been teaching your whole adult life, and suddenly it is going to be over. This is not imagining; it is real (though it actually feels more surreal than real). It is official - after 35-1/2 years in the classroom, 26-1/2 of them in my current job, I will be hanging up my smock this June. With a 30 mile commute, a contract expiring in June, new education legislation in NY that makes me crazy, and a son that is (somewhat) financially independent, the time is right for me to retire.

I'll be packing up my belongings and moving on. By the way, the heads (above) and the IMAGINE THAT signs are disassembled banquet centerpieces from my recent state art teachers conference. They were being boxed up for storage or transport as I was photographing them, and I feel like the expression on the face of the Vermeer gal below could be mine, wondering what happens next.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing or where I'm headed, though you can bet I'll still be involved with art and education and kids somehow. And I expect I'll still be blogging. But beyond that, I've tossed around a few ideas, and had an unexpected idea come my way, but the truth is, I DON'T KNOW YET. It's a little frightening, as I've always been a planner, and I don't really feel old enough to retire, but my goal is to make it exciting. I suppose to begin I'll spend more time here:
(That's obviously my pretty little home, maybe a month ago. It's an in-progress photo as the trim gets repainted. We'll finish in the spring.)

Anyhow - I'm not a violent person, but I've told my husband "if you see me in a polyester pantsuit, or a velour jogging suit with kitties, a birdhouse, or a flowerpot embroidered on the front, perhaps on my way to a chair exercise class, GET A GUN and put me out of my misery."

Seriously, folks, I plan to be very active and busy; I don't sit still well for long. However I may be looking for some advice on how to proceed. In the months to come, I'm going to be picking your brains and I hope you'll be willing to help me figure it all out!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey-Day Shenanigans

This beautiful photo above was shot by my son the day after Thanksgiving. I'm assuming he and his buddies climbed the little mountain nearby our cottage after eating lots of leftover pie.

But this, below, was the "real" Thanksgiving shenanigans! That's my stepdaughter, her husband, and 2 kiddos and of course my son.

Luckily they don't check out my blog too often or I may have to delete this post!

And finally, yes, this photo is proof that my hubby was there too. He was left out of yesterday's post's photos. Hmm... someone doesn't look too happy... posing for too many pics perhaps?

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Adirondack Thanksgiving

We have a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. We celebrate the holiday at our "camp" - a cottage on lovely little Loon Lake, 1/2 hour from our home (that's where I usually am when I'm out in my kayak). My husband, son, and I are joined annually for turkey-day by my stepdaughter, her husband, and her two little boys. There's NO television (in other words: no football) and NO internet, so it's a wonderful place to laugh, play board games, eat, wrestle with the kids (they look forward to wrestling with 'Uncle Ben' - my son), and did I already say laugh?

That's my Ben in the blue. Looks like someone is always on top of him, even son-in-law!

We are so glad our 'bearded baby' was able to make it home from his life in Boston to spend Thanksgiving with us. We don't get to see him that often these days. Kids grow up.

Below are a couple more beautiful views of our snowy lakefront, taken today, the day after Thanksgiving, when the bright sunshine finally arrived. There was about 10" of fresh snow when we arrived yesterday morning. No kayaking this trip.

I'm somehow missing photos of hubby and stepdaughter. I'll have to share the whole group photo with you tomorrow after my son and his camera return home. (He's got the best photos.) He's spending another night at our wonderful little camp. Here is Ben, bundled up to stay warm, waiting for his best friends to arrive to spend the night.

When we got home, we discovered our Christmas cactus is a little confused. Thanksgiving cactus perhaps?

I hope you all celebrated as lovely a time with your own families this Thanksgiving, as we did with ours! Our favorite holiday, for sure!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some really funny artwork

This lesson was inspired by a one posted by Jacquelien at her blog Kids Artists and the results are some of the funniest pieces of kid art that I've seen in a while.
To start, I read the story The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen to my first graders. This was always a favorite of mine - my dad always said I was like the princess in the story. I had to cut every tag out of clothing ("itchy!") and was (and I guess I still am) very sensitive to fabrics etc.

Anyhow, the kids made beds for their princesses from strips of corrugated cardboard, and then used pieces of fabric for the layers of mattresses. They were thrilled to dig through the big box of fabric scraps. Then they drew and cut out a princess with almost no direction (resulting in some very funny princesses), and added a pillow and blanket if desired. Finally they added a ladder for the princess, a ruffled or lace curtain if desired, and some glitter-glue 'bling'. That princess on the right above doesn't look too happy, does she?

I love the hands on the bald floating princess in the center picture above. She has a LOT of fingers! That prince had better watch out!! And the princess on the right is so covered with blankets that you can barely see her! I hope the gal on the left doesn't get cold, with no blanket at all.

The princess on the left looks like she's sleeping in a sweat suit, and the one in the middle I think is wearing a T-shirt and boxers. I guess she must have forgotten to bring her suitcase. (The're something missing in this story - it never explains WHY this princess is out and about all by herself on a rainy night looking for a place to sleep.) And what about the cutie on the right above? I think she's naked, with pink sparkles everywhere!!!

And then there's the chubby princess on the left, who has no arms, and is maybe growing a pink tail, and on the right, I think the poor princess looks like she's trying to escape. Maybe the prince isn't quite what she expected?

I think it's interesting that there isn't a single princess with a crown in the whole first grade.

November trees

My 4th graders always love using black and white charcoal pencils for the first time. They chose from a variety of values of black and gray papers, and made branching trees and added their own touches of personality with details of their choosing. This year, the kids especially loved learning to make vines that wrapped around their branches.

I posted about this project here last year as well.