Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autism Speaks pt 2

We had crafting day #2 and made close to double the amount of ornaments we did last time!  Plus we're up to $130 raised so far!  All for the great cause of Autism Speaks. 

By the way, did you know autism now affects 1 in 88 American children? With the prevalance being 1 in 54 boys!? By comparison, more children are diagnosed with autism each year than with juvenile diabetes, AIDS, or cancer, COMBINED. We need to raise money to help with research, education, and support of children with autism and their families.  Please join us!

I also was able to get out to some local retailers today and three shops are now selling these lovely creations.  If you're in the area, stop by Kidd Coffee, Mims on Main, or Main Street Sweets for your very own ornament.  Thanks in advance for your support!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autism Speaks Fundraiser

Autism is a cause that is close to my heart.  I've had close to 20 students with Autism or Aspergers in my 6 years in the biz, all of whom have been special and awesome in his or her own way.  I've loved learning about fish, Jedis, cats, trains, Shamu, American Idol, Legos, the Babysitters Club, and tiaras through their eyes.  Their sweet spirits and unique ways of seeing the world inspire me.

So I wanted to do something to support them.

A few months ago I saw this image on Pinterest from Lisa's Craft Blog and it made me think about the puzzle piece as the symbol for Autism awareness. 

And voila, our fundraiser was born.  Even better, we were able to get all the supplies donated by Scrap4Art or school staff members. 

Sweet students volunteered to stay after school and help make the ornaments.  (By the way, we had just as many or maybe more boys than girls, woot! Go, boy crafters!)  We made about 90 ornaments following the blog directions, with some creative twists.  Some students went with the small pieces, others got a little crazier with large puzzle pieces.  All were decorated with glitter and fun ribbons. 


I love the flair that only kids can bring to a project like this.  It went so well that we scheduled a second session for this week.

Now comes the fun part!  We're selling these ornaments to local retailers, families, and staff for $5.  I hope it goes well and that we're able to make a difference for individuals with autism and their families.

By the way, if YOU would like to support the cause, leave a comment with your email and I will hook you up!  Thanks in advance for your support.  I hope it helps inspire you to do what you can for the cause that is closest to your heart.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving.  Currently, I'm enjoying the down-time between food prepwork and full-on cooking before all of the family arrives.  It's great to celebrate a day of reflecting on all of our blessings, big and small.  Today I'll share some of the items on my school thankfulness list.

Pinned Image

1. I'm thankful for my teaching team.  They are hard-working, gifted, passionate educators.  They are supportive and yet challenge me to grow and get better every day.

2. I'm thankful for my past teammates.  I've worked with some wonderful teachers who have all made me a better teacher.

3. I'm grateful for administrators I respect and trust.  I am aware that is the exception in education and I don't take it for granted.

4. I'm grateful that there are professional communities like the Ohio Writing Project.  I love the way my experiences with them have grown me as a teacher.  I am grateful to still be involved in the work they are doing to teach, support, and empower teachers.

5. I am thankful for my classroom.  I love the smell and the coziness and knowing it's my own space to create community that impacts kids.

6. I am thankful for books.  For the chance to share them with my students and to have discussions everyday about great literature and characters.

7. I am blessed by my department.  There are so many amazing ideas and resources housed in that group of dynamic women. 

8. I am grateful for days off that reenergize me for the days ahead!

9. I am thankful for moments with students that remind me why I became a teacher.  This past week we had our first poetry slam competition.  We had a student with autism who "hates writing" perform his original poem about Bengal cats and another sweet girl share publicly about the recent death of her father.  Neither won, but it was amazing to watch them confidently share with our team.

10. I am grateful that even on the hardest days I know I am still called to teaching.  Very few enjoy the blessing of not only knowing what job God created them to do, but actually get to do it in a place they love.

Thanks for letting me share some of the reflection this day brings.  Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day!

On Friday we celebrated Veterans Day at school.  It's one of my favorite days of the year as we honor more than 300 special vets, some of whom have never recieved proper recognition.

My favorite sweet visitor to our team is a 92-year-old veteran who came to visit one of my students.  Her dad works at a nursing home and had a special connection with him.  He spoke a bit about his World War II experiences and even brought in mementos to show the students.  It was awesome to see so many 10-year-olds crowded around to look at his photos and treasures.  (And funny to help him get out to his bright red Camaro after the program!)

After a parade through the building, the vets enter our packed gymnasium and are honored with songs, thank you's, and poetry.  Two great teachers established a "Just Three Words" slideshow the students help create.  It's a special part of the program and you can view it here.

Thank you, Veterans.  Thinking of you today, Grandpa Ted!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

There is Only One You

Today I have a beautiful quote to share with you...

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
-Martha Graham
Lovely, eh?!  I need to find a place to put it up in my room- not only for my students but for a personal reminder on rough days, too!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kiss Your Brain!

ATP introduced me to the phrase "Kiss your brain!" Have you heard of it?? Basically we say to a student when they say something really smart and spot on. Then they have to mime kissing their fingers then touch their brain. It's adorable. And then the best part...

The student gets a Hershey's kiss!! It's a fun (and yummy) way to reward great thinking!

I'll tell you soon about our team shirts to go along with 'Kiss Yo Brain!'