Thursday, August 25, 2011

Manners Are a Must!

Politeness pays! Do you say please and thank you? Can you wait for your turn patiently? Are you well-mannered?

People are more apt to want to be nice to you if you are polite. The basics of please, thank you, and excuse me come in so handy every day! As a clown I give the patient, polite child a balloon much faster than the demanding rude child.

This applies to the classroom as well. School gets you ready for the “real world” for when you grow up and go to college or get a job. Being able to wait your turn and use courteous words gets you farther in life. Your teachers and fellow classmates will prefer that you not be rude!

How do you like to be treated? Do you like it when people are polite to you? It’s a two-way street—you need to be polite to others!

Do you use your manners? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are You Stressed Out?

Do you know when you’re stressed? I can usually tell when my students are overwhelmed—they’re crabby. Sometimes, though they hide it really well from me and I don’t have a clue until I get a phone call, email, or note from their parent. 

I feel sad when my students are stressed and I try to do what I can to not contribute to it. However, when a student is stressed over schoolwork, yet is highly overscheduled in afterschool activities, I’m really not the one to blame, right? It’s a team effort.

Procrastination is a big contributor to stress so my advice to you this next school year is to keep on top of your obligations. I like to say: “It’s easier to keep up than to catch up.”

Breathing helps you stay calm. Sounds simple? It is! Just sit quietly and breathe in and out, paying close attention to your breath. You can even give yourself a pep talk as you do so. I like to breathe in and think to myself, “I’m calm.” As I breathe out I think, “I’m relaxed.” It sounds silly but it works! Try it!

What causes you to be stressed? What do you do to decrease your stress? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Do you love to write? I do! Writing is so much fun. I love to write by typing on my computer. I can “touch type” that’s where I can type without looking at the keys on the keyboard. I learned how to do that in high school on a really old fashioned type writer! 

Kids today are so lucky: you get to learn to touch type in elementary school! I recommend that you practice touch typing at home, too. There are lots of learn to type programs available. They’re free and fun! They’re full of games that help you have a good time as you practice your typing.

Because I do my writing on my computer, not only is it fast, I can edit and correct my work much easier. I DON’T rely on spellcheck, however, and neither should you. I have found that spellcheck is not always correct! 

What? That’s right. A computer program is only as good as the people who wrote it. That, and the fact that spellcheck doesn’t catch grammar errors, can leave you in the lurch.

What is the best strategy to proofread your work? Proofread out loud, pointing to every word. Go slowly and listen to what you are saying. If it sounds weird, it probably needs fixing up. It’s your job to correct your work.

I think it’s safe to say that all writing needs editing. I don’t know of any writer that can just write something and be done with it. Writers love playing with language, selecting just the right word to convey their message is like a game or a challenge for us. 

When people read your work, it is an opportunity for them to create an opinion of you. If your work is full of errors, what will your reader think of you? You owe it to yourself and your readers to make your writing the best it can possibly be.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Love Music!

Do you love music?  I do!  When I was growing up my mom was our church organist.  We had an old pump organ (aka reed organ or harmonium) in our cellar for her to practice on!  You had to pump the pedals to make it work.  The pedals worked like bellows and pumped air through the reeds to make the sound.  We always argued who was going to pump the pedals!  We sang all the childhood classics to the wheezy sound of that old organ.
My childhood memories frequently involve music.  My mom loved show tunes.  She had a song for every occasion.  When she washed our hair, it was to “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair” from the musical “South Pacific.” 
While on road trips we took our shoes off in the car to be more comfy.  As we approached a rest stop, Mom sang, “Put Your Shoes on Lucy,” by Hank Fort.  That was our signal to get our shoes back on.
When we went camping, our fireside sing-alongs were a wonderful way to end each day.  We’d roast marshmallows and sometimes make some-mores.  Click HERE for the recipe.  My favorite campfire song is “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”  Sometimes we played “Name That Tune” and tried to guess a song in three notes or less.  Fireflies, glowing coals, and shooting stars—good times, good memories.
When I was about eight my favorite birthday gift was a book and record set of “Peter and the Wolf.”  It’s amazing how the different instruments can bring the characters to life!  To this day that music brings me right back to my childhood and the hours spent listening to that classic.
I took flute lessons through my school when I was in fourth grade.  This continued through sixth grade.  I was in the school bands:  elementary, junior high, and high school.  The band (or chorus) experience is not to be missed!  Ahh, band trips…a story for another day.  I still play my flute.  It’s in my classroom and I pull it out now and then to play for my students.  They learn the recorder in third grade.  I like to encourage them to continue it. 
My family enjoys “The Nutcracker” during the holiday season.  We like the dancers and costumes but most of all, we love the music!  The holidays don’t seem complete if we don’t get to see “The Nutcracker.”
Do you like music?  If you could take music lessons--voice or an instrument, what would you choose?  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!