Creative Writing with Greeting Cards

I am so excited about being one of the featured blogs on Welcome Wednesday sponsored by Take It From Me!  Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to hop over!  I hope you enjoy browsing my blog and find a new idea or two to share with your children, grandchildren, students, or even the random next door neighbor...our kids need all the support they can get these days.

When teaching creative writing or journaling, you will always have a student or two that can never think of something to write about.  Here is a cute idea to help them get past that...
  • Cut the picture part off of several greeting cards.  Some of my favorites include animals.  Ya know the one with a bloodhound driving an old truck or the little bitty, white dog that's having a bad hair day???
  • Take a page protector and insert 4 card pictures into it.  (front, back, top, bottom)
  • Give each child a page protector and let them pick a picture to write about.  
 Some of the pictures you find on cards are just adorable, and I have yet to have a student elementary all the way to high school not find something to write about after looking at the silly cards.  They enjoy this activity so much, and can't wait for me to get new pictures for them to write about.

For younger children or those that are not able to write, you can modify this activity a little and still get some great use out of your old greeting cards.
  • Let them pick their favorite card
  • Have them tell you a few things about the card.  
  • Write down what they say for them
  • Let them draw a picture to go with their writing.  They can either draw the exact picture or maybe what they think will happen next or what happened right before the picture was taken.  


Spring Counting Folder Games

Macy has been counting up a storm lately!  Forwards & Backwards ~ English & Spanish.  So, for those rainy days when you need something extra, here are some very simple Spring folder games that you can make at home to help your kiddos work on their counting skills.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

  • Find 10 birds in magazines to cut out (or draw them, or use a bird-shaped notepad, whatever works!) and glue them in the folder.  Write one number on each bird.  Give your child jellybeans and ask them to place the correct number of eggs on each bird.
  • Draw some ladybugs on the folder.  Make sure that each bug has a different amount of spots.  Cut out some green leaves from construction paper and write a number on each leaf.  Have your children match each leaf to a corresponding ladybug.
  • Draw several inchworm heads on the folder.  Write a different number on each inchworm's nose.  Give your child buttons and ask them to make each inchworm longer using the buttons.
  • Draw several flowers on the folder but leave off the petals.  In the middle of each flower write a number.  Provide your child with paper petals or even real petals to put around each flower.  

          Happy Counting!    

I Won! I Won! I Won!

I'm so excited that Loves2Read has awarded me with The Stylish Blogger Award!!!  It just made my day!

I hope you take time to visit her blog.  She does some great book reviews.  I especially enjoy her reviews on children's literature!  Click here to go to her children's lit page!

Receiving this award reminded me of the wonderful feeling that we all get when we are acknowledged for hard work.  Which then, reminded me to try harder to find time/energy/patience to acknowledge my daughter for her hard work, however trivial it may be, so that she can get this wonderful feeling, as well.  

Thanks for the reminder, Loves2Read!!!

The first rule of accepting The Stylish Blogger Award states that I need to tell my readers 7 new things about me, so here it goes...

  1. My favorite subject in school was math, but my favorite subject to teach is reading.
  2. I took clogging lessons when I was in college and loved it!
  3. I don't remember the last time I read a book without pictures. (excluding the Bible)
  4. I love going to Branson, MO for vacation.
  5. I am a firm believer in the saying, "There's no place like home."
  6. I absolutely love teaching children but hate working in a school district.
  7. I can still sing-a-long with every word to the Rainbow Brite tape Paint a Rainbow in Your Heart.
The second rule states that I must name 7 new blogs to receive The Stylish Blogger Award.  I have gotten inspiration, fresh starts and new knowledge from these 7 blogs, and I appreciate them greatly!

Gardening with my Preschooler

I have always wanted to grow a vegetable garden, and we are finally doing it!  Macy is so excited and ready to help with every part of the process.  I know this is going to be an awesome learning experience for the whole family.

Macy just loves to be outside, no matter what the activity is, so it didn't take much to get her enthusiastic about the project.  I did, however, want to prep her a little before we began, so we read some books about gardening and also watched a storybook movie that came on TV.  The movie, Planting a Rainbow, is actually a book, as well, by Lois Ehlert.

Even though the book is about flowers instead of vegetables, it was still a great resource to get her pumped about all the pretty colors that we will be able to grow in our garden.  

Not only will we plant a rainbow, but we will be able to eat a rainbow of veggies, too!

I also found this page that lists some great children's books about gardening:

Actually, Macy's favorite book came from the library and wasn't on the above list.  It is called Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown.  It is a very simple book about a little boy planting 10 seeds.  Different things in the environment come and destroy the seeds one-by-one, such as a slug, a cat, and a ball.  It counts down from 10 to 1 but in the end one flower prevails and gives the little boy 10 new seeds.  Very simple, but a great book.

<em>Ten Seeds</em> [Book]

We also planted some seeds indoors.

Crayola has indoor greenhouses for children.  Macy had fun with her Granny watering the little dirt packs and then inserting the tiny seeds. 

 Danonino Yogurt is giving away a tiny seed pack with each 6 pack of yogurt purchased.  Our seeds were chives, and we planted them directly into a clean danonino yogurt cup.

After all of that, we tilled the dirt for our garden with lots of help from Macy to get the grass out of the dirt!  We have also visited several plant stores to check everything out.  We will definitely have to invest in some of the absolutely adorable child-sized gardening tools in the near future.  They have put Macy's excitement over the top!  

Who wouldn't want a watering can that looked like this!?!

We can't wait for the planting and harvesting to begin!  I'll keep you posted...

I'm also enjoying a little blog hopping today!

And the Winner is...

The winner of Everyday Craft:  Fun Stuff to Make From Everyday Objects is Crystal (Ginger on GFC)!!!  


To everyone who became a new follower and/or posted a comment:  I appreciate you VERY MUCH!!!  I wish I had more books to give away.  I hope you all enjoyed the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop...I sure did!

Sensory Exploration ~ Touch

They aren't just pulling your earrings and reaching in the toilet water for nothing...they are learning about their new and crazy world!!!

So, here are some fun ways to engage your little one's sense of touch...
(without ripping your earlobe or ingesting the forbidden!)  
  1. Put some shaving cream in a zip lock baggy.  Put in a few drops of food coloring but don't squish it around to change the color just yet.  Instead, let your little one do the squishing.  Fun, yet non-messy!
  2. Sit in the grass with shorts on.  (don't forget that legs can feel, too and help us learn about our world, as well)
  3. Make your own touch and feel book with scraps such as fabric, carpet, aluminum foil, curly ribbon, cotton balls, sand paper, etc.  You can hot glue the scraps onto pages in one of those dollar store picture albums. 
  4. Put objects in a shoe box with a hole cut just big enough for your little one's hand to fit through.
  5. Finger paint ~ Yes, it's messy, but so worth the effort when you get those priceless pictures!  As the weather gets warmer, don't forget you can also enjoy art outside in swimsuits and then just hose off.  Twice the fun!!!
Here is our Touchable Teachable Moment from this weekend.  What fun we had with my precious nephew!!!  (shhh!!! Don't tell his mommy & daddy about the mess!)

I hope you get to enjoy a Touchable Teachable Moment with your little one this week!!!

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway

I am so excited to be participating in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!!!

I will be giving away a copy of
Everyday Craft:  Fun Stuff to Make From Everyday Objects
By Amber Carvan of

Macy and I just love the crafts that Amber does with her children, so I decided to buy one of her mini-books to enjoy even more crafting fun!  When I bought the book, it was BOGO, so I am excited to pass the extra on to one of you!!!

All you have to do to enter is become a follower and leave a comment saying that you did!  If you are already a follower, then just leave a comment.  Simple as that!  I'll randomly pick a winner on the 21st to be announced on this blog.  I will notify the winner via message, as well, and he/she will have 48 hours to send me their mailing address to receive a copy of the mini-book.  Good luck, happy crafting and enjoy those Teachable Moments that crafting inevitably brings!  

St. Patrick's Day Activities for Preschoolers

  • Sort & Count the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal 
  • Cut a green bell pepper in half, dip in paint and stamp on paper to make a shamrock print
  • Read That's What Leprechauns Do by:  Eve Bunting

  • Search for 4 leaf clovers outside
  • Make a rainbow out of Fruit Loops and glue 
  • Search for Gold ~ hide gold covered chocolates and let your little one find them
That's what we have planned for St. Patrick's Day.  How about you?  What fun stuff do you and your little ones do to celebrate/learn about St. Patrick's Day?

A Clean Room with Sight Words

I have had all that I can take of my almost-4-year-old's messy room, so after spending practically the ENTIRE day organizing it for her, I have decided to try something that preschool teachers everywhere have been doing forever.  Why I have not tried this before, I have no idea...especially since I am one of those preschool teachers!

I have labeled her shelves and baskets with a picture and word of what goes on each one.  

She helped, of course, with gluing and picking her favorite color for the background, pink.  She was very excited to help tape the labels on, as well.  

I hope it works...

Use Your Words ~ Language Game

A fun way to get your children to use more words (and learn new words in the process) is to play an easy guessing game with picture cards.  All you need is a bunch of cards with simple pictures on them, like coat, apple, rubber duck...anything, really!  

You can use cards from a Memory game or you could just make your own from photos, magazines, or even clip-art.  

In a 2 player game, it is noncompetitive.  Each person takes a turn to draw a card, describe the picture, and try to get the other player to guess the picture.  

For example, if you draw a card with a banana on it, you might say, "It is a yellow fruit that you peel, and monkeys like them, too."  If your child gives up on a picture, take the opportunity to make a Teachable Moment and help her come up with words to say to describe the picture.  This can be a great word-learning experience!    

In a multi-player game, it is a competitive game to see which player can get the most cards.  If you guess a picture, then you get to keep that card.  

For a little extra enrichment, label each card under the picture.  This way, you will be exposing your children to the written language as well, but still allowing non-readers to play.

Snapfish Picture Books

If you haven't already tried it, I encourage you to go to and make picture books for your children.  They are amazing!  You just put in your own pictures and captions, and then they show up in your mailbox.  It is a marvelous way to encourage your children in the love of reading!

Macy revisits her picture books all the time.  She loves to read about herself and look at her pictures over and over and over again.  You can make them in anyway you want.  My next project is to make a book for her featuring our recent Disney World trip.  She always learns the words to her own picture books so much faster than regular old storybooks, and it is like a scrapbook and storybook all in one!  What could be better?  

Thank you, God, for Hand-Me-Downs!

Thank you God for loving me and thank you God for blessing me.  Thank you God for making me whole and saving my soul!

I would say that I am a pretty thankful person, and I definitely know that I have a lot to be thankful for.  One thing I am thankful for is that my daughter is generally quite thankful herself.  Every once in awhile, we will get a big trash bag full of hand-me-down clothes from cousins, and Macy goes wild with thankfulness!  She helps me sort them and hang them up and is so proud to tell everyone who gave them to her.  

Just this week, we were given the ultimate hand-me-down...

drum roll, please...

a Pink Barbie Mustang!    

Thankful is an understatement!!!  She is so excited!!!

God gives us all kinds of wonderful blessings...hand-me-downs included!  One of the biggest blessings of all is the opportunity to have reminders from your children (Parental Teachable Moments) to be thankful and happy!

Bang! for Sight Words

Macy has all of a sudden become interested in the words on the pages in books, and, oh, the teacher is coming out in me!!!  When I taught 1st - 3rd grades special education, my favorite thing to teach was reading, and my students loved working on their sight words.

Our favorite game to play with sight words was called Bang!

  • Make lists of the sight words you want your kiddo to work on
  • Break the lists into groups of 10.  Each set of 10 is a different color.  So, you have 10 red words, 10 pink words, 10 blue words and so on.
  • Write the 10 red words on red construction paper and cut them up.
  • Put the 10 words in a coffee can...we decorated ours.
  • Also, put 2 pieces of paper in the can that say, "Bang!"  You can change the word, if that word leads to violence in your world, but it was just a fun, silly word for us.
  • Pass the can around to each child.  (back and forth between child & parent works fine, too)
  • On your turn, draw a word and try to read it.  If you read it correctly, you keep the card.  If you miss, put it back in the can.  If you draw Bang!, then you must put ALL of your cards back in the can except for Bang! which goes in the lid of the coffee can.  (Each Bang! is only chosen once and never put back in, so that the game will end!)  
  • Whoever has the most words when the can is empty is the winner.
As your children get better at the words, add 10 new words of a different color along with a couple more Bang! cards.  This is a great game to play, because even if you know all the words, you may still not win.  Therefore, no one gets discouraged.  Enjoy!

Precious Childhood Collections

Does your kiddo like to pick up everything on walks from leaves to sticks to rocks and everything in between?  Well, Macy sure does!!!  We ALWAYS have to take a basket on our walks, sometimes even if we are just walking to the mailbox!

Lately, she has been really into collecting rocks.  We pick them up everywhere.  Heck, we have even pulled the car over to score a good rock or two!

So, to make a long story short...I bought this book to help with all the questions about the different types of rocks, and, well, just to make a Teachable Moment out of our basket of rocks!  This momma might know a lot about literacy and mathematics, but put a rock in front of me, and, well, it's just a rock!

Smithsonian Rock and Gem by Bonewitz, Ronald Louis, Carruthers, Margaret, Efthim, Richard, 9780756633424

We are planning to go on some really big rock hunt road trips to find even prettier rocks and then learning a thing or two together while matching our rocks to rocks in the book.

It should be a great Teachable Moments' Adventure for the whole family!

We are also enjoying a little hopping with...

A Different Kind of Teachable Moment

As a special education teacher, I guess I was under the false impression that my child would grow up automatically accepting other children with disabilities or differences.  Sadly, I was very mistaken.  I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to take time with your child discussing differences that other children might have.  Assure them that they also have many things in common with children with disabilities, one being feelings.  Everyone can feel acceptance and sadness...everyone has feelings.  

My favorite poster to keep up in my classroom...
If you don't typically come into contact with children with disabilities, you might look at some websites with your children such as  or search for children's books about disabilities. 

Remember that before you automatically tell your child to stop staring, that looking, learning, and being curious about differences is not only natural but a good thing.  We just have to teach our children compassion and acceptance.

I'm sure that parents of children with disabilities get tons of questions, but the main one I get as a teacher is, "Does he/she understand what's going on?"  The answer is, "Yes!"  

True story...
A boy with severe disabilities, not able to talk or walk, scoots over to watch another child play.  The typically developing child yells out, "Ooo, I don't want him over here!"  The boy with disabilities lowers his head, scoots away, and doesn't try to interact with another child all day.  Another teacher says to me, "Wow, it's almost like he knew 'Joe' was scared of him.  Do you think it really hurt his feelings?"  I was almost speechless.  Of course, it hurt his feelings!  Everyone has feelings!

I know it won't be easy, but try to make a great Teachable Moment out of this with your children, before any more precious children get hurt.  Let's all try to see with our hearts instead of our eyes!

Early Literacy Skills ~ Phonemic Awareness & Rhyme

Down by the bay...Where the watermelons grow...Back to my home...I dare not go...For if I do...My mother will say...Have you ever seen a pig wearing a wig...Down by the bay
Author Unknown ~ Traditional Children's Song

I loved this song when I was little and now Macy does, too!  It is such great fun!  This song is an easy way to work on rhyme with children.  When reading or singing this book, just leave off the last part of the rhyme about each animal and see what words your children will come up with.  For example, Have you ever seen a moose, kissing a _________?   Maybe your child will say, "Goose" or maybe "Foose!"  

Phonemic Awareness is learning about sounds, so if your child said a made up word like, foose, they are doing a marvelous job learning about sounds!  Made up words are even part of phonemic awareness testing at some schools!  

After your kiddo gets the last word being left off down pat, then leave off the entire last part of the sentence.  We have tons of fun with this activity!  Have you ever seen a bear dancing at the fair?  Then, we will write our own verses to the song and illustrate them to make our very own book.  

Another fun book to make your own verses and illustrations for, is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?  by Bill Martin. 

You could do... 

Leprechaun, Leprechaun, what do you see?  I see a green clover looking at me.  
Green clover, green clover, what do you see?  I see a black pot looking at me.  Etc.


Pink rabbit, pink rabbit, what do you see?  I see a blue egg looking at me.  
Blue egg, blue egg, what do you see?  I see a brown basket looking at me.  Etc.

I'm sure you and your child will enjoy many Teachable Moments while making your very own picture books!

Also join me in the Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop!!!

Ten for Tuesday ~ Our Favorite ABC Books

  1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
  2. Arf! Beg! Catch! Dogs From A to Z by Henry Horenstein
  3. Shiver Me Letters:  A Pirate ABC by June Sobel
  4. Animal Antics:  A to Z by Anita Lobel
  5. The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst
  6. Dr. Seuss's ABC
  7. Hooper Humperdink...Not Him!  by Dr. Seuss
  8. The Alphabet Book by P.D. Eastman
  9. A was Once an Apple Pie by Edward Lear
  10. Alphabet Soup by Scott Gustafson