12.31.2011

Kindness Seeds

As 2011 comes to a close, I'm reflecting on all of the kindness I've been blessed to be the recipient of this year. And most of the things I'm celebrating aren't tangible things so much - compliments, support, comfort, warm fuzzies, hugs, encouragement, smiles, love - though this little pillow decor from one of my students and her family IS pretty special. Its powerful message is one that I want people to feel when they're in my office and take with them when they leave: Scatter seeds of kindness.


There's also a book that I discovered this year that brings me happiness called Max's Magic Seeds by Geraldine Elschner. And while there's nothing magical about flowers necessarily, this little boy's simple act totally transforms the village with color and life that it feels like magic. Get this - even Aunt Betty was in a better mood; such a nice kindness metaphor! Happy scattering. 


12.30.2011

Top Three Tribute

I'll admit it - I thought that my Top Three page-view stats might pale in comparison (which they do!) to all of the amazing bloggers whom I stand in AWE of (like Mrs. Parker - have you seen her #s?), so I almost didn't even participate, but a JOYful little birdie talked me into it, so I'm linking up with Fern in a better-late-than-never Top Three Tribute. 

The #1 most-visited post since I started blogging in late June is From Crayons To College with 1,450 views. I co-wrote this character alphabet for a bulletin board last January with my daughter, who was going through the rigor of the college-and-scholarship application process at the time. Jennifer from Runde's Room helped on this one when she posted our ABCs onto a bulletin board of her own AND published them into a book that you can download for free. Oh, and look at how a high school in CA has woven them into their Panther Pride academic bulletin. A.m.A.z.I.n.G!

My #2 most-popular post with 535 views is Friendship Is A Treasure. This one is a fun treasure-hunt spinoff that I put together after some third-grade girl drama called for some reflection about what it means to be a good-fit friend. I also think it has to do with the cute graphic because many of the visits seem to come from a google search for a cute friends graphic. 

Coming in #3 with 509 views - Words In A Window - was actually one of the first Linky Parties I participated in, so I credit many of those visits to Jodi at Fun in First. It was a back-to-school activity post and I wrote about Window Cards. Much like a fortune cookie, these are a crowd favorite with a secret inspirational message inside.


Selected by comments rather than views since I'm not privy to those stats, the honorable mention post - Cultivate A Winning Attitude - was my first guest spot over at The Teachers' Lounge and it got . . . drum roll please . . . 27 positive comments . . . without a Really Good Stuff Secret Giveaway attached! It's one that we can revisit now as we arrive at yet another pivotal renewal point in the calendar.  

So there you have it; gotta love data. What you can't tell by the numbers is just how much I appreciate our cyberspace collaboration. I am learning something new every day from all of the blogs I frequent and I thank all of you for stopping by the Corner on Character periodically for your daily dose of motivation, inspiration and J.o.Y!
  

12.29.2011

Every Little Bit

So much for my blogging hiatus; I was going to take a week off from writing (really, Kim, I WAS!) but I've GOT to normalize this behavior. Please tell me that I am NOT the only one who might find this on her kitchen counter in the morning - a bottle of canola oil inverted so as not to waste A.N.Y. before it’s rinsed out and thrown into the recycle bin. Waste not, want not, right? Good to the last dorp, really? Turns out I forgot that I put it there in the madness of trying to get dinner on the table last night –  making fried okra is so tricky because you have such a small time frame in which to get it battered, fried, and served while its still hot and actually get to sit with the family while they enjoy it. So there it is this morning, wedged between a bag of white trash from my sister-in-law on the left (Yum, Yum!) and a loaf of white bread (I know, I know, wheat bread is SO much healthier!) on the right, staring at me as if to ask, "now what?" I guess that last night I figured I’d try to use every last drop, but this morning I find it kind of funny to have saved, what, a half of a teaspoon of oil? 

That makes me wonder: What is it that makes me want to get every last bit? It’s not like we can’t afford to throw that last morsel away. It’s not like resources are scarce and there’s not any more where that came from.  And it’s not like I couldn’t get that okra fried without that last little drop. I keep going back to the pictures in my head of my mom with her spatula, scraping the bowl clean just ONCE I wanted to be able to lick the extra whipping cream out of the bowl! but can modeling really be that potent, that forty years later I’m doing exactly what I saw mom do when I was ten? I’m all for conserving our resources but this inverted oil bottle example seems a little extreme to me somehow. 

So what's my next move? I don’t have any recipes that call for that little bit of oil and I don’t have a new bottle of oil to pour it into. And what, if anything, does this have to do with the big picture and what's cookin' in my daily life? Is there anything else that I need to make sure not to waste, to use every little bit of, as we head into 2012? Oh, how I love a good metaphor!

12.28.2011

With All Your Heart

OK, more FUN-spiration from Stein Mart that I can hang on the wall in my new office. YAY!
It nicely complements the book I'm reading called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, in which she talks about Wholeheartedness. You can read her blog here.

I plan to ask my students what they think it means. 
I can't wait to hear what they come up with.
What does it say to you?



12.27.2011

Defining Success

Here's something that you'll want to pass along to future generations, but you have to believe it yourself first:

You are what you think!

Click here for powerfully-positive proof of that adage from Simple Truths. 
What are you preparing to plant in 2012?

12.26.2011

Positively Cheerful!

My favorite day-after bargain:  $4.66 at Stein Mart. Enough said!


12.25.2011

Christmas Pancakes

My sister, Debra, shared  this sweet sentiment she attached to a gift last year and I thought it might be something you'd enjoy putting together for a friend or family member next year.  Merry Christmas!
***************
Christmas Pancakes by Debra Bergman

There’s always been something extra special about Christmas morning. I don’t know; perhaps it’s being able to sleep in longer than usual with nowhere to go, no particular plans. Rising at my leisure to watch the sparkling snow fall lightly to the grown on a clear and crisp wintry day while I slowly shuffle around inside my warm and safe home, I enjoy the Currier and Ives scene outside my window as I sip a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I like to turn on Christmas music and read the morning paper and just relax. Don’t you? Or maybe too, you like knowing that your kids are home and that they will open the abundant pile of gifts that you have carefully shopped for and wrapped again this year; oh……. the anticipation of it all. Which one will Mellissa like best; what about Zack ,and we can’t forget Tyson . . . . 
     Yes, all of these Christmas morning memories and more are firmly imbedded in your mind as special traditions, I'm sure, but the one thing that makes them all complete is the Christmas morning Pancake breakfast. Mmmm……..Christmas pancakes.
     No time spent in the kitchen would be any fun at all without having every crucial item available to you, so we have assembled all that you will need to make the best Christmas morning pancake breakfast ever! First, let’s start with your kitchen attire. No cook is ever quite complete without a proper apron. Aprons have several functions; they allow you to wipe your hands when they are oily or wet, they keep your clothes from getting filled with flying batter, and they may even keep you just a bit warmer. The apron in your basket is most fitting for the season; it says it all….and, since it’s going to keep snowing, we have added a pair of matching fuzzy socks to keep the Christmas cook extra toasty.
     Martha Stewart says that having your kitchen looking extra inviting is half the trick to a special meal. With that in mind, we have added special cloth napkins for your place settings with; of course, cats on them, a personal statement magnet for your refrigerator, a Holiday decorative hanging towel and the last minute tree ornament…..'cause you can never have enough of those (and we couldn’t pass it up). To avoid any unnecessary kitchen stove burns, we have included the highly-rated amazing glove hot surface handler for all your baking needs.
     For your main breakfast dish….the pancakes; we have added the pancake mix, for drinks, eggnog and a special blend of pear cinnamon cider for you to serve. We suggest that you serve the pancakes with organically-produced Bergman Farm Grade A maple syrup. Not only does Wisconsin maple syrup have superb flavor, it also has a large variety of minerals and vitamins. 
     The traditional dinner bell was added as we could only guess that the kids will be engrossed in their gifts or on the phone with friends, perhaps even sleeping. Though we are certain that the wonderful aroma of your yummy Christmas morning cuisine will get them to the table, we added the bell just in case. After dinner mints have been included; they can help settle just about any over indulgence.
     The after meal clean up is our least favorite part of any meal, but to make it easier on you; we have added two handmade gifts found at this year’s Warner park craft fair, a wash cloth to help clean those just-eaten-from sticky dishes and a scrubby to clean those just-cooked-from pans. Now that the meal is done, isn’t it about time to go back to relaxing? I am usually still in my pajamas; I hope you are too. 
***************
To make your own Christmas Pancakes, mix together 1 cup flour, 3 T. sugar, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 cup Buttermilk, 1 egg, 3 T. cooking oil.  Pour batter onto a griddle.  Flip when batter bubbles to brown evenly. EnJOY with Wisconsin Pure Maple Syrup!         
                                                                                                 


12.24.2011

Christmas Greetings

My Christmas Morning post is written, scheduled and ready to go, so before I sign off for a blogging hiatus until the New Year, I'm sharing a musical message from our family ensemble. We played at the children's service for Christmas Eve, John on tuba, Joshua on French Horn, Kaitlyn on clarinet, and Jacob on trumpet. Where was I? Well, I'm on piano, out of view of the camera . . . good thing, too, because turns out I have a touch of leftover performance anxiety from my childhood and my hands were shaking like the bells on a sleigh ride over the river and through the woods . . .  well, you get the picture. EnJOY! 

video

Sleigh Ride & Sweet Recipes

Whom am I kidding? There's no Sleigh Ride going on down here in Texas, not in the traditional spirit of the song, anyway.  But there is a LOT of Christmas cheer in our hearts and our home. Jennifer over at Rowdy in First is having a holiday recipe linky party, so here's the peanut butter ball recipe we've been enjoying for years. They disappeared so fast that I don't even have a picture!


YUMMY Peanut Butter Balls


1 stick butter, melted * 1 cup powdered sugar * 1 cup peanut butter * 5-6 cups crushed Rice Krispies * Stir powdered sugar and peanut butter into melted butter, add five cups of crushed crispy rice (and a sixth cup if needed). Chill overnight.  Form chilled dough into balls, dip into melted chocolate, let dry and enJOY!


Here's a bonus that I just finished trying;  Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits recommended it and she was R.I.G.H.T. about how amazing it is! 
Click on the picture to be transported to the recipe her friend Jessica shared.  
What a gift this cyberspace collaboration thing is!!




I'm not sure if it breaks blogging etiquette boundaries to post home movies, but I'm sending a musical greeting your way along with our wishes for a magical holiday. So make a batch of peanut butter balls or that amazing caramel corn - we put pecans in ours! - and enjoy our youngest musician tickling the ivories in a spirited version of 
Sleigh Ride.

video


12.23.2011

Holiday Awesomeness

Tell me I'm not the only one who has spent an inordinate amount of time watching those sentimentally sappy, holiday happy, festive flicks on cable television this week. There's Christmas Magic, Trading Christmas, Mrs. Miracle For Christmas, The Christmas Pageant, The Town That Forgot Christmas, The Town That Christmas Forgot, The Santa Incident, Annie Claus, Santa Jr., A New Mom For Christmas, A New Dad For Christmas, A New Dog For Christmas, The Christmas Cottage, The Christmas Carol, Fa La LaL-I-Day.
(Disclaimer: Some of these aren't actual titles - can you tell which?)
I've been in hog heaven - and T.E.A.R.S. - predicting watching in wonder and wondering as I watch 
just exactly how it'll all work out in the end.
(OK, well, actually I have figured a FEW almost ALL of them out!)  
In fact, I'm watching The Road To Christmas right now, and, while it might not seem like it, I think Jennifer Gray and Clark Gregg might are gonna end up together. Pretty sure, I think. 
That being said, I do have a few new books on deck 
for when this movie marathon is over. (Sniff, Sniff)
Like An Awesome Book of Thanks by author Dallas Clayton, for example; check out this adorable promo trailer. 
Oh, and I'm thinking about calling the Hallmark Channel and the Lifetime Movie Network 'cause I think that this cutie patootie would be a P.e.R.f.E.c.T fit for next year's awesome holiday movie marathon!



12.22.2011

The Spirit Of The Season

In the spirit of the season, my friend Tabitha over at School Counselor Scrapbook is having a Fa La La Giveaway of Carol McCloud's Bucket Book.
Hop on over to enter!

The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown is a TREEmendous holiday tale of generosity and gratitude. Hoping against hope to find its place in this world, the little fir tree just wants to be a part of something. Its wish comes true when the father of a bedridden little boy comes to get it from the meadow and take it home so that it can be a special part of his son's annual Christmas celebration. They decorate the tree and sing carols around it. After that, it became tradition for the dad to dig up the tree to bring it to the boy, then replant it for another year after the holiday has ended.

Then one year, the dad doesn't come and the tree is left feeling sad and alone. I don't want to give away the ending, but I think your students will be pleasantly surprised about why the tree no longer gets to go to the boy. 

Use this heartwarming treasure to talk with your students about how the story illuminates the spirit of the season. What do your students suppose made the Dad think to go get that tree every year? Ask students what they think what it must be like to be the boy at the beginning of the story. Why do they think he can't walk? And what is it like for him in the end. What must have happened so the boy doesn't need the tree to come to him anymore? How must the dad have felt about that?




Congratulations to Mrs. Parker, whose name was drawn by Joshua in my century-mark giveaway; a donation is being made to the Leukemia Society in her name.

12.21.2011

Oil For Your Lamp

First things first - A HUGE thanks goes to Erin at the award-winning Kleinspiration  for my guest spot on her blog; what an amazing gift from an cutting-edge cyberspace collaborator! Congrats on your Edublog award, Erin!


The year is quickly coming to a close, and you know what that means; it's time to start thinking about those New Year's resolutions. What will you resolve to do differently? To do better? To quit doing all together?


  
Simple Truths has this wonderful video clip to help us to reflect on what we must do for ourselves so that we've got oil in our lamps and can call on those reserves when it's time to do for others. Reflect on the words of Mother Teresa:  To keep a lamp burning, we must keep putting oil in it. What do you do to replenish? Renew? Restore? Take a few extra minutes for yourself today, turn up the volume ever-so-slightly, and treat yourself to Oil For Your Lamp. 

12.20.2011

Christmas Cut-Outs

I'm linking up with Tammy over at Klinger Cafe to share our favorite Christmas Cookie recipe. It's the very same dough that I made with my mom and that she made with her mom before that. On the farm, we actually used fresh cream that had soured, but you can just sour the cream with lemon juice or vinegar. EnJOY!


Sour Cream Sugar Cookies


1 c. butter, beaten
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. soured half and half cream
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda. 

Soften the butter and beat with sugar and egg.  Sour the cream and add to butter mixture, then stir in dry ingredients and vanilla. Chill dough overnight. Roll out and cut into fun shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, then cool before gathering your family around the table to frost and decorate with sprinkles.



Merry Christmas from our kitchen to yours! 

12.19.2011

Dancin' For J.o.Y.

OK, so today I am DANCIN' for J.o.Y. as my Corner blog hits a century mark - 100 cyberspace collaborators - on the same day as I publish my 200th post. Sooooooo, to celebrate . . . . I'm going to make a donation to the charity of one reader's choice in his or her honor! 


Entering is E.a.S.y. B.r.E.e.Z.y! Just leave a reflection telling me what your favorite charity is and whom they help. We'll use the Gruener Generator to randomly select the winner from all of the entries on Wednesday, December 21st, at noon so that I can get our donation on its way before the New Year. Thanks for following!


This video clip makes me want to be a P.E. teacher (just for a few minutes!); aren't Ms. Bradshaw and Mr. Triolet absolutely adorable? You do NOT need a gym to infuse this kind of activity into your classroom routines, so why not bust a move with your little prancers and see what happens!


12.18.2011

Fleece Navidad

Some children in need will be a little bit warmer this holiday season thanks to some special second-grade students in Kristin Moffitt's and Julie Delka's classes at Westwood. After reading Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson, these students set out to do something extraordinary, too, with the inquiry, "What could we do to help?"


The decided on making fleece blankets to donate to two local charities, but that wouldn't happen without a lot of planning and curricular integration. First, the students set a goal; they'd each buy the fleece they'd need for one blanket to help someone in need. They then had to plan ways to get the money for the materials.  After deciding that they'd do chores for the cash, the worker bees wrote persuasive letters to their parents asking for their help in accomplishing their goal.

Once their parents agreed to help, students had to figure out how many chores they'd have to do to purchase the type and amount of fleece they'd need to make one standard-sized throw. That took a little research; did you know that fleece is sold by the yard? Then, they wrote a contract to do those around-the-yard jobs for a quarter each.

This project involved all sorts of math, including measuring and calculating how many yards of fabric they'd need as well as figuring out how much they'd save if they used a 40% off coupon! Once they earned the amount needed to complete their contracts and purchase their supplies, they took their parents shopping for the fabric that they wanted to use for their blanket. Fleece donations in all sorts of different colors and patterns came rolling in. Students met the week before winter break in the cafeteria, where they could spread out to work on cutting and tying the edges. The blankets, ready to cover their new owners with love, are a practical way to show that we care and to wish them all a heartfelt Fleece Navidad!
 

12.17.2011

Deck The Cards?

I heard about this fabulous (and practically FREE) gift idea when our music teacher said that she received the most thoughtful present from a friend, and it was . . . wait for it . . . a deck of cards.  Are you kidding me? I wondered silently. What could possibly be so s.p.e.c.i.a.l. about a 50-cent deck of cards?  She went on to explain that the cards were personalized with 52 things that her friend loves about her.  Not random, generic things, but very specific examples of things that connected them on a personal level.  I thought about that gift all day long, then I came straight home from school to give it a try.  I decided to type my appreciations; I'm leaving in a few minutes to go buy a sheet of stickers to type onto so I don't have to glue these sentiments down, but here's what the first few cards and the decorated box look like:



I'm going to make a deck for my sister (sure hope she's not reading this!).  

This little idea has B.I.G. potential . . . think 52 . . . yep, you could actually spread this gift out all year long, between holidays or birthdays or from January 1st to year's end . . . give one a week until your special someone collects the whole deck. And you can change how you personalize them, too.  How fun would My 52 Favorite Memories With You be?  Or 52 Things About You That Make Me Smile.  Maybe even 52 Ways That You Positively Influence People.  Or 52 Sparkle Words That Describe You! You'll be sprinkling JOY every time whoever gets this gift sits down with his or her favorite deck to play a friendly game of cards.


Here's the deck my sister and I made for our MOM!

12.16.2011

Amazing Rhema

My words cannot adequately explain this child's 
incredible resilience and strength, so I'll let Rhema do the talking.  
Grab the tissues and prepare to be WoWeD. Her voice is a gentle reminder that this is why we do what we do. Every. Day. They ALL have a story; Rhema's story just happens to be the perfect launch into the holidays. Happy Winter Break!



12.15.2011

Character Clips



Wanna turn up the H.E.A.T.?  (* H.E.A.T. comes from the Levels of Teaching Innovation Framework. For more information, visit The LoTi Connection)  Do you know about Film Clips For Character? They're fully-licensed, G-rated clips that are pulled from full-feature movies to help enrich your curriculum and enhance character development. Film Clips has the rights, for example, to the second part of the Pixar Short, Boundin'each clip ends with a reflection question and comes with a bountiful teachers' guide. 

Students of all ages LOVE these clips; try them and see.
Visit the Film Clips For Character website for a free two-week streaming preview or to order the collection that fits your needs. Tell them that Barbara sent you!


12.14.2011

Deck The Halls - With WHAT?

Done right, Flash Mobs are such a treat. Check out what happens when 300-plus choral students at the University of Minnesota visit the Carlson School of Management with their gift of song and dance.


12.13.2011

Angelic Artistry

Debbie from Rainbows Within Reach is having a Happy Everything, Show-N-Tell Linky Party for her birthday, so to celebrate, I'm sharing one of my favorite homemade holiday gift ideas. I received this cute cherub many years ago and it's still one of my favorites today.
  

Whoever saw an angel when they looked at that large paper clip is simply and incredibly creative! And whenever I wear it, guess what?  Yep, it gets ALL sorts of nods and notices. So here's a picture of this clever little craft so that you can replicate it with your little angels. All you'll need is these large clips, some little silver beads, a ring for a halo, and some colorful satin ribbon. 
Have fun sprinkling joy with these little darlings!

12.12.2011

Like Breakfast At The Table

Our faculty sharing in a back-to-school morning meeting.
You've undoubtedly heard it said time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You may have also heard that morning meeting is like breakfast at the table. Would it follow, then, that morning meeting is the most important part of your day?  I recently came across this amazing snippet of a fifth-grade morning meeting.  If you've got five minutes, you've got to see how nicely done their student-led meeting is. 
     We use the Responsive Classroom model so the meetings are typically 15 to 20 minutes in length. Our teachers who do morning meetings faithfully will tell you that they get that time back, and then some and that they are the most critical minutes of the day because you get to check the emotional barometer of your students and connect as a class family. It's also the perfect time to infuse some meaningful movement and get the wiggles out. When's the last time you circled up and had some meaningful social-emotional meeting time? Wouldn't that be a nice gift to you and your class? Let me know if you'd like to see a first-grade morning meeting in its entirety and I'll happy send you a link to a training video that I use. Happy sharing!  

12.11.2011

Tuckered Out and Tucking In

I don't know about you, but I seem to get tuckered out more easily during the winter months. Stop laughing, we DO get winter in south Texas. Of course, we don't get the severe snowstorms that I remember from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, but our days do get a lot shorter and our nights can get nippy. I love the feel of the cold sheets as I crawl in for quality tuck-in time with my kids. Some of my favorite books over the years are the ones we read with sleepy eyes, all snuggled in and ready for dreamland.




If you're looking for a touching tuck-in tale to share with your special someone, then Pobble's Way by Simon Van Booy is a must for your book shelf. Much like the dusty powder of the first snowfall blankets the ground, the interchange between Pobble and her pop, complemented by Wendy Edelson's intriguing illustrations, will enshroud you with warmth as you walk with them through the wintry woods. What happens when the forest animals find the child's lost mitten will awaken your imagination and make for an excellent point-of-view discussion. In the classroom, you could make a double bubble thinking map to compare and contrast this frolic through the forest with the one in Jan Brett's The Mitten.


Click here to preview this Flashlight Press publication and here for a kid-friendly pattern so that you and your little knitters can make a pair of Pobble's handwarmers. 
Check out this tuck-in treasure; it will be a wonder-FULL addition to your library.

12.10.2011

The Little Drummer Boy

Dr. Jean's I Remember post suggesting kids host an interview with friends and family about their Christmas memories flashed me back to my formative years on the farm during this festive time. Since we were A.L.W.A.Y.S. working, and television time was so rare, my screen-time memories are incredibly lucid. One of our gifts at Christmastime each year was time off from milking cows for the one holiday show that we each wanted to watch. 
I picked The Little Drummer Boy every time!

Jacob's band played this hauntingly beautiful version of the song at their concert Monday night and, again, I flashed back. When I close my eyes and listen to the music (which features an oboe trio by three amazingly talented girls), I can still see Aaron's sad face, the fire, his little lamb getting injured. I can feel his sorrow and loss. And ultimately I share his JOY at the stable scene beneath that star as his story resolves itself at the end. So today I'm wondering, 
"What do you remember most vividly from your childhood about the holiday?" As you reflect, sit back, turn up the volume, and relive your memories as the Friendswood High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Gregory Dick, spreads some holiday cheer with
Carol of the Drum.

video

12.09.2011

Unwrap The Love

Can you feel the love? Barbara from Grade ONEderful sent some serious warmth my way with this little award: 


The idea behind this one is to spotlight 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.

So here's my list. These blogs are on my roll because they're creative and cheerful!  Ladies . . . tag, you're it! Have fun sharing the LOVE:


And my thought for the weekend?


Happy Unwrapping!

12.08.2011

Penguin Power and A Winner!

Today's post begins with the Great Joy Giveaway winner . . . drum roll please . . . 


Kim at Finding JOY in 6th Grade! Using the Gruener Generator, Joshua pulled her name from the hat; here he is holding the card he made after she reflected about the things that bring her Great JOY:
  
1) Watching the grin spread on the face of a child who just "got it" and now understands a concept
2) "Real" hugs... tight, squeezy hugs that come from the heart
3) The choir at my church... goosebumps too!
4) Visits from former students who come back to the classroom years after graduation and walk in and say, "Everything looks just the same... only smaller!"
5) Comments on my blog (I know, I should be beyond that, but it still makes me happy!) AND
6) Visiting the Corner early in the morning and finding that Barbara has already posted!

Thanks, Kim.  You have the gift of encouragement and now you, too, will have Great Joy! I'll be in touch today to get your address so I can get that book on its way to you in CA.  Thank you to everyone who entered; your reflections brought me Great JOY!

If you're looking for a penguin book, some activity suggestions and an engaging video clip about a real-life pet penguin in Japan, waddle over to PreK and K Sharing to read my guest post there today. There you'll find lots of penguin power based on the book My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. 
Here's a bonus idea: Have your students find a rock that they can paint to look like a penguin (or any other animal). My son did this one when he was in the fifth grade and it's one of my treasured keepsakes from his intermediate years. 

Oh, and Jennifer over at Herding Kats in Kindergarten (who also LOVES Osbert and even has the Osbert plush toy - insert envy here!) put together this AmAzInG Osbert packet that you can download here for free!


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