Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: The Boy Who Changed the World

This is a delightful children's book that tells the story of how one person can make a difference. The book begins with the story of Norman Borlaug, who lived on a farm in Iowa. Norman loved playing hide-and-seek in the cornfields of his family farm. His father had told him how lucky they were to have so much corn because there are some people who didn't have enough food to eat. Norman wondered, "What would it be like to be hungry all the time?" Right then and there, we're told, "Norman decided to change the world." The book continues to tell the stories of Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver and how they were all connected to Norman Borlaug in some way.

The book does an excellent job at explaining how each child can make a difference in this world. It is beautifully illustrated and has a different butterfly on each page symbolizing the "butterfly effect" which shows how one person can have an effect on another.

I read this book to my first grade class and the loved it! I'd recommend this book for children of all ages.

Book Review:Cast of Characters Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God By Max Lucado

Max Lucado's masterful story telling makes this book interesting and relevant. He takes characters from the bible and portrays their story in a way that draws the reader in and makes you feel like you are a part of the story. I enjoyed the journey into the lives of bible characters such as David, Lazarus, Matthew, Joseph, Esther, and others.

This book certainly lends itself to a small group study. Each chapter ends with thought provoking questions that would be great for discussion.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tales from the 1st Grade: Twas the Monday before Christmas break...

Twas the Monday before Christmas, and all through the school
the children were restless and acting the fool
I tried to teach math but the little ones refused
to sit still and focus, they just looked confused

I sent one darling to her seat in despair
She huffed and she puffed, then she had an idea
Her demeanor had gone from mad to fair
I walked to her desk, and on the way there
I realized what she'd been working on then I was in despair

Red marker on both hands, her face and maybe her tongue?
My eyes were wide open, my mouth was too
"Don't worry," she said. "It's not blood"
I'm Santa Claus!"

In the words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief!".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tales from the First Grade: Wiggles

Problem: It's a rainy day which means no recess. It's math time and the students are fidgety and not paying attention.

My Solution: Have students stand up and count by 2's to 100....while doing jumping jacks! FUN TIMES!

If I am trapped in the room with 17 wiggly 6 year olds tomorrow I may do a full aerobic exercise routine while teaching math!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tales from the 1st grade: Moments that make it worth it

It's been a ROUGH day! However, in the craziness there were a few memorable quotes:

"Your clothes are pretty. Those look like jeans. My mama used to wear jeans when she was skinny like you."

"I'm not able to go to school. I need to wait until I'm older! I want to go home now."

Another teacher came up to me after school and asked, "Did I hear you say, 'You have to keep your clothes on at school! " My reply, "Unfortunately, yes! That's what I said."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tales from the 1st grade: Alligators

I often have my students walk like an animal when they are moving back to their seat. It gives them an opportunity for movement which they desperately need. I usually have them walk like a monkey, elephant, kangaroo, etc. Today I asked them to walk like an alligator. 3 of the 17 stretched their arms and walked snapping their arms like an alligator. The REST of them all laid on the floor and crawled to their seats! HA! I should have seen that one coming!

In other news....My best friend had a baby last week so I was out of school for 3 days. While I was out one of my students told my principal I had a baby. Today that student asked me where my baby was!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tales from the 1st grade: Welcome to my world

I haven't written much about this school year. I assure you that it's not because I've had a lack of material! This class is the most challenging group I've had. Now that I've had time to adjust to the challenges I've found ways to enjoy the absolute hilarity that ensues in my class on a daily basis. (Trust me, it took a few weeks for me to see and appreciate the humor). Here's a glimpse of my day:

8:00 am - Student goes under desk to get something she dropped.
8:03ish: Student begins wailing because her head is stuck! It was indeed wedged between 2 desks. I'm still not sure how that happened.

8:15 - I remind students to go to the bathroom before they go to specials. One student replies, "I'm going to have to poo when I get to specials". I say, "You need to go now instead of waiting". He replies, "But my poo is not ready yet (as he rubs his belly). It needs to sit a while longer!".

12:00 - Student returns from lunch with a chicken bone (from lunch) in his pocket. He has washed the bone and is very excited to take it home to show his parents. This student is one of the challenges I spoke of at the beginning of the post. So, instead of fighting him over the chicken bone I agree to let him keep it (That's called 'choosing your battles'!). During math he began acting out. After several attempts to redirect him I finally said, "I'm going to take your chicken bone if you don't start making good choices right now!". I was really hoping no one in the hallway heard that statement! I mean REALLY?! My behavior management plan now includes negotiating possession of A CHICKEN BONE?!?

Don't you wish you spend a day in my class? =D

Monday, September 13, 2010

Church Sign: Be careful little tongue...

Saw this one while visiting my sister this weekend:


Monday, September 6, 2010

Church Sign: Two tablets

Sorry for the vertical sign. I've tried to rotate it but it returns to this position every time. Maybe it's paying homage to the "tablets". =) I had Miki turn around and go back so I could take this picture. I took it with my phone (read...no zoom) so I had to walk up to it to take the picture. There was obviously some event going on the Saturday we took it because there were tons of cars in the parking lot. I was praying I wouldn't have to explain why I was taking a picture of their sign!

"For fast relief take two tablets-The 10 Commandments"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tales from the 1st grade : Day 1

This is seriously the hardest 1st day of school I've had in 13 years of teaching. I have my hands full for sure! Somewhere in the craziness I did get a great quote:

Me: "I need you to think about your choices and make better choices tomorrow."

Student: "I don't think I'm going to be able to make it back tomorrow"

I was thinking: Me neither!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I love Publix

Somewhere along the way I was informed that Publix was the "nice"but "expensive" grocery store. Over the past year I have come to find that I was misinformed! I LOVE shopping at Publix. Here's a few reasons why:

  • They have great sales. There are BOGO's on products I use every week. You don't have to buy 2 to get the sale. Buy one and pay 1/2 price!
  • The employees are friendly, happy, and helpful! (This is not so true at other stores).
  • They carry your groceries out to your car (no tipping expected or allowed). I don't always take them up on the offer to carry my groceries but I do appreciate it when they do. If I have children with me I'm sure I would be ever so grateful for the help.
  • The Publix brand items are great. I actually prefer the Publix Deli Roast Beef to Boar's Head. It has more flavor.
  • I'm OBSESSED with the Publix brand Light Coffee Almond Fudge Ice Cream!
  • They have store coupons in the racks of the front of the store.
  • They double coupons.
  • They take competitors coupons! That saves me from driving around to more than 1 store. I saved $18 this week using Kroger coupons! I paid $.50 for a bag of Doritos and Baked Cheetos a few weeks ago. I had a Kroger coupon for free chips and another Kroger coupon for $1.00 off chips. I combined my $1.00 coupon with a BOGO sale.
  • I love the Apron's meals (especially when I'm stopping in after work and have no idea what I want for dinner. I can sample the meal. Decide if I like it. They have the recipe and ingredients right there so I don't have to go all over the store searching.) You can access the recipes here. One of my favorite meals is Blackberry Pork Chops, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I love cute shoes and a great deal!

These adorable and comfortable Crocs sell for $49.99. I got them for $29! I bought mine at a Crocs Outlet store AND I had a coupon for 30% one item!

Church Sign: Texting

I actually like this one! Thanks to Christie E. from Huntsville for sending this one to me!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Church Sign: Shouldn't that be "taughteth"...

It's been a while but here's another church sign post for you! Sorry, I don't have pictures because a) it was raining when I passed it and b) there was a police car sitting in the parking lot of the church, and I didn't want to explain why I was in the rain taking a picture of the sign (especially if he attended that church!).


on the other side of the sign


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Francis Chan - Crazy Love Introduction

I've been reading Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love". It's one of those books that's messing with me. It's great. I have to stop after each chapter or two and process (which is actually recommended several times in the book. Here's a video introduction of the book.

P.S. If you've never heard Francis Chan I would really encourage you to check out some of his sermons and clips on youtube.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another one bites the dust...

Why did I go to Target with wet hair today? Well, either they don't make hair dryers like they used to, or I have a special gift for killing them! I've seriously lost count of how many hair dryers I've been through in the past few years. I have decided that it doesn't matter what the price is. It's gonna die on me. So, today I bought a reasonably priced purple (my favorite color) hair dryer with a retractable cord. You may want to say a prayer for this poor dryer. With my history she may not have a long life!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review: Never Let You Go

If you're looking for some great fiction reading for your summer book list then you should definitely read this book!

Lexi is a single mother, working two jobs, and raising her nine year old daughter Molly. Years after her sister was murdered Lexi is faced with old demons. The man who killed her sister is up for parole and the husband that abandoned her and Molly has returned. Lexi's world is soon crashing in as she is faced with her past. She has to come to terms with knowing that in Christ all things are made new but her very real past sins have come to confront her.

The only other book I've read by this author was co-written by Ted Dekker. I wasn't sure how I would like Erin Healy's writing on it's own. I was pleasantly surprised. I was hooked by chapter 3 and couldn't put the book down. I wanted to keep reading until the end.

You can purchase your copy here.

Full disclosure - this book was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Everyone needs a friend...

...that can meet you in your emotional meltdown, over an unexpected decision that rocked you to your core, and say,

"You need to put your big girl panties on, suck it up,get up there and do what you got to do to get through!".

After I stopped laughing (through the tears) I replied, "That's why I love you!". A friend and accountability partner like that is a priceless commodity.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In remembrance of Sweet "Miracle Max"

Max was born with a congenital heart defect and was not expected to live. He recently celebrated his 4th birthday. He passed away suddenly and peacefully on Saturday night. We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of this sweet boy. Please be in prayer for his family.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tales from the first grade: OMG

We were writing stories about what we're going to do on Field Day tomorrow. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw "O M G" written in this 1st graders story!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tales from the first grade: Capital

The year is almost over but there is no lack of hilarity in room 23! I'm sure there will be more to come in the next 10 days! Yay...only 10 more days!

- While reading Charlotte's Web to the class I got to the part where Fern is in class daydreaming about what to name her pig. The teacher asks, "what's the capital of Pennsylvania?". Fern replies,"Wilbur". One of my students laughs and says, "That's silly. It's P." I was puzzled by what she was trying to say. Then I got it. The capital in "P"ennsylvania is P!

- While giving a spelling inventory that is testing the students ability to write the phonetic sounds they hear I said "spoil". One student raised his hand and said, "Isn't that a Spanish word?". I have no idea what Spanish word sounds like that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tales From the First Grade: Drama

Well, the school year is coming to a rapid end (although some days it's not rapid enough). We survived CRCT testing. Everyday my students say something that causes me to think, "I need to remember that for the blog". I need to start taking notes so I'll remember them all but here are a few highlights of what I can recall:

  • CRCT Day 1 - We have to "cover" all the educational materials on the walls so that there is nothing that could possibly give a student an answer to something on the test. This is accomplished by taping large pieces of butcher paper (bulletin board paper) all over the walls. Just as I finished passing out the tests one piece fell. One of my more dramatic students holds her arms out and says, "Nobody panic. We know what to do in this situation." I looked at her with a "what?!?" expression. She says, "Sorry. I watch too many movies!"
  • The students were playing a math game on the Smartboard. The boys would jump every time they said an answer. One of my girls asked me why they kept jumping. I replied, "Because their boys. That's what they do." She says, "Yeah, I don't really get boys and I really don't get my brother!".
  • Overheard during ice cream sundae party today: "You got caramel on yours?"...."Yeah. I don't really even know what caramel is but it sure is good!"
  • "Ms. Harrison I broke my ankle."... Me: "No you didn't. You're walking just fine."....."No. The other ankle. You know the one on my arm (points to ELBOW).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A 1st graders retelling of Charlotte's Web

Fern had a pig. The mens were trying to kill the pig. The girl save him. The spier save him too. Wilbur win. THE END

They're safe....for now!

Well, the good news is I'm not writing this post from jail. That means my little darlings behaved better on the field trip than they did the days leading up to it! I would have posted earlier to set your minds at ease but I was incapacitated by a crippling migraine Thursday evening and all day Friday. I haven't had one that bad in a very long time.

I stopped by the school today (yes, it's Saturday..) to survey the damage done while I was out yesterday and to pick up some papers to grade. I had several notes on my desk about students misbehaving. SO, 6 of my little darlings will be having a come to Jesus meeting with me on Monday. Especially the one who was "pretending to use the bathroom in his desk!". I'm thinking the others (who wouldn't be quiet and listen) will be enjoying silent lunch on Monday while the other students get to eat lunch in the classroom with yours truly! It really is more trouble to be absent than to go to work sick most of the time. But since I was unable to leave my bed yesterday (thank goodness I have a roommate right now) I had no choice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So close yet so far away...

31....That is the number of school days left in the 2009-2010 school year. Sounds doable right?! Well, if you were in the classroom with the 18 wild and distracted aliens that have taken over the bodies of my usually well behaved students you would feel like 31 days is an eternity! Seriously, I walked a students into another teachers classroom today and said, "can he sit he for a few minutes for his own safety?". Read, "If I don't get him in a new environment and take a break I'm gonna be in the newspaper"!

Tomorrow we go on a field trip to see Charlotte's Web @ the Classic Center. I've been praying the aliens away and the lovely students I know to be mine to return. Hopefully I will be able to blog about our adventures rather than have you read about them in the local newspaper - since they probably won't let me update my blog from prison! :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tales from the 1st Grade: Bees

At recess today my boys (and a few of my girls) decided to try to catch bees! Here's the conversation:

Me: We do NOT CATCH bees! They will sting you!

Them: We're only catching the boy bees. They don't sting! Mrs. _______ (I'll refrain from naming the specials teacher that armed them with this information) told us so.

Me: But how do you know which ones are boys?

Them: They're the ones that don't have stingers.

Me: Okay. How can you tell which ones don't have stingers before you catch them?

Them: *blank stares* The ones without stingers are the boy bees.

Me: I get that. HOWEVER, you won't know if it's a boy or girl until you catch it and get STUNG!

This conversation went in circles for a few minutes. I was becoming quite exasperated....

Me: Here's the new playground rule - You will not catch bees at recess! It is not safe!If you are trying to catch bees you will lose all of your recess! THE END!

Sassy female student: The boy bees are all lazy and just lay around while the girls do all the work just like people!

End of discussion! Uuuggghhh!

Monday, March 22, 2010

We got 3 hours of sleep to pull it off...

This weekend I helped my sister do the flower arrangements for the annual Gala (banquet) for the private school that she teaches at and her kids attend. It's their big fundraiser. There are many items up for auction that have been donated by local businesses. The speakers this year were former UGA football players David Greene and David Pollack. They were both amazing speakers with really great testimonies! Here are a few pics:

My sis and me - We look pretty good to have had only 3 hours of sleep!

David Greene, David Pollack, my sister with her family (and autographed football)

The flowers for the head table.

All the flower arrangements had tall vases with fish....I didn't know my niece was taking a pic of my fish face!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I thought the sky was the limit but I was mistaken...

Dear friends,

Most of you know that I am quite skilled making cheesecakes. I accept flavor requests and have even created my own recipes to oblige. I have come across a cheesecake that I will not create for any of you no matter how much I love you. Tofu Cheesecake! Okay, technically it's not even cheesecake because the tofu replaces all cheeses. So please understand that this is one flavor profile I will not oblige (yes, I know that's the second time I've used the word oblige in this post. Impressive huh?).

AKA Cheesecake Queen

P.S. Yes, I have tried tofu before. It was horrible. Don't let anyone try to convince you it isn't.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Review: The Voice of the Psalms

One of my favorite books of the bible is Psalms. So, I was really excited to receive and read this version of The Psalms from Thomas Nelson Publishers. After reading it I have mixed feelings about this version.

Things I liked:
This is kind of "The Message" meets "The Amplified Bible" (both of which I am a huge fan. The language is more contemporary and lends itself to an easy read. I like that includes several different reading plans. It would make a nice daily devotional.

Things I didn't like:
If you are not using this as a "devotional" book then I feel like it can be a bit difficult to naviagate. While I like the commentary and footnote approach (as used in The Amplified Bible) it kind of got in the way of reading the actual Psalm. Another thing that I didn't love was the some of the language. While it does make for an easier and culturally relvant read it offers too much emotionalism. I also didn't love the fact that they replaced "Lord" with "Eternal One". Albeit HE is the Eternal One but I don't see how changing the wording enahnces it's relevance.

Here's a sample:
Psalm 23:1-3 - The Eternal One is my shepherd. He cares for me always. He provides for me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He washes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.

Two Thumbs up for use as a resource or devotional.
One thumb up for use as a primary bible translation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I've been sick pretty much since August. The main causes are environmental from my classroom. I can't really explain how run down and defeated one feels after being sick for so long. Every time it seems things are getting better they get worse. But fear not dear friends, this post is not meant to be a pity party. It is in fact meant to be a declaration of the goodness of God.

The enemy takes the opportunity to kick you when you're down. To whisper lies that you begin to struggle with as you try not to believe them. But I'm here to declare that the devil is a liar!

Thanks to some God time and a dear friend praying me I know the word of the Lord for me (and you) is THIS IS NOT MY PORTION! SICKNESS IS NOT MY PORTION! This is the circumstance I am in now but what the enemy meant for evil MY GOD will turn into good. Out of this season will flow new songs of healing and hope. I will "Sing to Him a new song...For the word of the LORD is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice" (Psalm 33:3-5). HIS justice will prevail. I don't need to fight in my own strength. I will not bow to the plans of the enemy. THIS IS NOT MY PORTION!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How'd they do it?

This post is a day late but worthy of posting anyway. Yesterday the power went out at school from 9:40ish to the end of the day. No power meant no computer, no smartboard, and no copier. Technology is a crucial part of my daily routine and instruction, especially for math. So I found myself having to get creative with the materials I had. That meant creating an Addition Bingo game on the fly. It was WAY to windy and cold to take the students outside so inside recess it was. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I depend on technology to deliver my instruction. How did teachers teach before computers and copy machines? Boring lectures and reading from a textbook?! Blah!

What I learned: Always have an emergency stash of work and games in case of power outage! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tales from the 1st Grade: Church

We've been working on "staying on 1 topic" during our writing time. Most of my students are to do this relatively well. Today I worked with one of those students in an effort to guide his writing. Here's our conversation:

Me: Let's think of something you can write about. What did you do this past weekend?

Student: Went to church.

Me: Well, you can write about that. What do you want to say about church?

Student: We stay too long. They sing. It's too loud.

Well, I got him to stay on topic! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: The White Horse King

This novel, The White Horse King, documents the life of England's first king, Alfred the Great. Admittedly I don't usually lean toward historical biographies but I decided to give this one a read.

The book is filled with facts about the life of Alfred the Great. He is not someone that I knew much about. I did find the stories of what he did for his kingdom (i.e. He changed the roadways and legal codes. He also restarted Christian worship and learning about God.)

The author transitions back and forth between the story and offering historical facts. It was sometimes hard to stay focused because of that. There were also times that while offering interesting facts I found myself becoming bored and wanting to skip ahead.

If you are into history and biographies then I'd recommend this book for you. If that's not really your thing, I don't think this book will cause you to become a lover of historical biographies.

If you'd like to purchase a copy for yourself click here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: The Sweet By and By

Recording artist Sara Evans has added "author" to her repertoire. Her book, "The Sweet By and By", is a lovely story of redemption, grace and reconciliation. The story is about a girl named Jade facing her past and her troubled relationship with her hippie mother. She realizes she must face things that she and her fiance had decided to leave in the past. The characters are well developed and really draw you in to the story.

I didn't expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. I'm not big on romance novels and thought that's what I was getting in to. I was pleasantly surprised and how easily I was drawn into the story. The family dynamics were interesting and realistic.

Having said that, I would still have to categorize it as a chic-flic type book. It would serve as a great summer poolside read!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Making Room

I'm getting a temporary roommate! A friend of mine was laid off recently and needs a place to stay for a while. After agreeing to have her come stay with me I realized I needed to make room for her. You see, the guest room closet and drawers have served as storage for me. She stayed with me a short time last year. At that point she was only coming to stay a weekend. There was no need to clean out the closet. The room and bed were clean. Now she's coming for an extended period of tine. I want to clean out the unnecessary stuff filling the space so that Ginger (my new roomie) has a space. I want her to feel welcome and to know that I prepared a place for her.

During the process I began thinking about my relationship with God. Am I making room for Him? Have I removed all the unnecessary clutter to create space for Him? I want Him to know that He's welcome. To know that I've prepared a place for Him. I don't want a short visit I want a habitation. So as we begin this new year I challenge you to consider these questions for yourself. Have you made room for Him to inhabit your life? Have you removed all the unnecessary stuff filling space that can be occupied by Him?