Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Best of Two Worlds

This graphic combines two of my loves, children's books and Young Living Essential Oils.  If you would like more information on this marvelous oil, click here and scroll down this page.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Giants in the Land

The second book in author Clark Rich Burbidge's series, Giants in the Land, is a slam dunk.  The Prodigals is one of those flashlight-under-the-covers kind of books you can't put down.  The characters are tested and grow with each crisis they face and come to understand just what it means to become a giant.  You are compelled to keep reading to find out who survives.  I highly recommend this book as a family read-aloud and a springboard for some rich discussions.     

Friday, October 10, 2014

Inside Recess

What do your students do if it is raining during recess?  If your students stay in the classroom and play games and such, here's an idea for a different activity.


It's such a shame paper dolls fell out of fashion.  They provide a quiet, pleasant pastime and great fine motor development.  Plenty of imagination can come into play as the dolls become characters in stories.


I thought this was a clever idea to use the child's picture for the head.


The age span is wider than you think for this kind of activity.  Prek-kinder will do better with precut paper dolls on cardstock weight paper.  Magnetic paper dolls are another genre of paper dolls good for PreK through early grades.  They can be stored in a metal gift card tin.  See the tutorial here.  

As children become more skilled with scissors, they can cut out their own dolls and clothes.  Below is a set of Archie comic book character paper dolls.  I can remember my girl friend and I enjoyed designing clothes for teen paper dolls like the ones below.

Where I am today, it's a rainy, paper doll kind of day.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Way of Things

Did you have giants in your life who trained you, encouraged you?  As you matured and gained skills in various area, did you notice those giants retreated as you stepped forward in your life?  That is the way of things.


Author Clark Burbidge weaves a tale of long ago in which an unlikely hero learns much about himself as he struggles to overcome his fears and doubts to accomplish a task much bigger than himself.  Thomas is the only volunteer for a dangerous quest to save his village and bring back the giants who had always helped them.  Unsure of whether he will even survive the arduous journey, Thomas comes to learn much about himself and life in general.


If you're looking for that special birthday or Christmas gift that will engage and inspire, this is it.  This is a good, clean (rated G) read with plenty of adventure.  Young people, especially boys from 5th grade on, can relate to the life lessons Thomas learns.  You'll enjoy reading it yourself before you give it away! 

Giants in the Land is a two-book series.  I've tempted you a bit with the review above of the first book, The Way of Things.  As soon as I read the second volume, The Prodigals, I'll tell you about it as well. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Dark and Stormy Night

This is the earliest known manuscripts of Key's song.

       A storm raged over Baltimore Harbor in Chesapeake Bay 200 years ago this weekend.  It was a rain-wrapped bombardment of Fort McHenry by British naval forces.  

     On board the British ship, HMS Tonnant, a lawyer called Frank by his friends and the British Prisoner Exchange Agent, Colonel Skinner were trying to arrange the release of some American prisoners.  However, the British refused to allow them to return to their own ship as they had overheard some of the strategies being discussed and know the positions of the enemy.

     Frances Scott Key didn't believe in the war his fledgling nation had declared on Britain.  It was looking very bleak for America as the British had already burned most of the federal buildings in Washington, including the White House, and now were attacking Baltimore.  He was trapped aboard an enemy ship, watching what he assumed to be the demise of his country and hearing bombs exploding all through the night.

     As the skies barely began to lighten on the morning of September 14, 1812, he could just make out a flag flying over the fort--an American flag.  The American victory saved Baltimore from a British takeover and spelling the beginning of the end for them as well.

     Not long after his harrowing experience, Key was inspired to write about it set to the tune of a popular song of the day and entitled, "Defense of Fort McHenry."  It was quickly published in the local newspaper.  

     However, it was not until 1931 that Herbert Hoover signed legislation to make "The Star-Spangled Banner," as it came to be called, our national anthem.  Generally, only the first verse is sung, but Key wrote four verses, each ending with the words
"O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Fort McHenry's flag is on display at the National Museum of American History.  Read more about it here.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Did you know water is an important tool in your kit of excellent teaching ideas?  If you hadn't thought about it before, consider the following facts.

Water is a vital source of energy in the body.

Dehydration causes the enzyme activity in the body to slow down, causing fatigue.

When dehydrated, the blood thickens, the blood flow slows, and blood pressure increases.

Dehydration causes the body to produce more cholesterol as the body tries to prevent water loss from its cells.

  Toxins and acid waste in urine intensifies due to dehydration, thus creating the perfect environment in the bladder and kidneys for inflammation, infection, and pain.

  Lack of proper hydration impairs focus, as well as long- and short-term memory functions.

  Dehydration can exacerbate allergies and asthma.

  The normal bodily function of excreting toxins through the skin is impaired by dehydration, and makes the skin more susceptible to all types of skin disorders, including premature wrinkling and discoloration.

Encourage your students to drink water as well.

New guidelines tell us women should drink 91 ounces per day, and men should ingest 125 ounces per day.

About 80% of liquid intake should be water and other beverages, while 20% of our liquids should come from foods.

Drink a glass of water upon rising and before retiring each day.

Avoid drinking 30 minutes before until 30 minutes after each meal to avoid washing away enzymes in your mouth and digestive acids in your stomach.

Switching out just one can of regular soda with an 8 oz. glass of water daily saves you 35 grams of sugar and 140 calories.  

Adding 1-2 drops of Young Living Lemon essential oil to your water gives it a refreshing taste and serves to boost immunity.  However, be sure to use a glass or stainless steel container.  The oil draws petrochemicals out of plastic or styrofoam containers, and you don't want to drink this.  I only recommend Young Living essential oils for ingesting because of their purity levels.

Add 4-5 drops or more to taste of your favorite Young Living citrus oil and some stevia to your water for a delicious "ade."


Monday, August 18, 2014

Games with Benefits

The games young animals play prepare them for adult life.  Likewise, childhood games like I played as a child help prepare children for the demands of school.  Large and small muscles develop and eye-hand coordination improve as these games are played over and over.  The mastery of these games build perseverance, concentration, and a feeling of accomplishment.  How many of the following games did you play?  How many are enjoyed by children today? 

How I loved to play jacks! I can remember sitting on the our linoleum floor in the kitchen crying with frustration, trying to master the coordination required to play this game.  I was so happy when I finally conquered it! My sister and I played many an hour at home.  My friend across the street from my house and I played jacks at recess with classmates many, many times.  I taught my second graders to play jack on inside recess days.  I started by first having them master the bounce-catch rhythm with the ball before we moved the bounce-grab-catch moves with the ball and jacks.  Here are the rules.

Pick-up sticks is a game that calls for a little more fine motor skills than most 1st and 2nd graders possess.  Most 3rd or 4th graders have the steadiness to master this game and possibly a few 2nd graders have the ability.  This short video shows a couple of techniques for getting a stick out of the pile without moving any other sticks.

I was a lousy yoyoer, but my brother and his friends got pretty good.  It sure is fun to watch someone who is a whiz at yoyoing, like these folks

Paddle ball is not too difficult for many children.  I played it a lot when I in grade school.  Watch this little girl.  She's like the Eveready battery bunny!

 I never played marbles that I recall, but my husband has very fond memories of playing them.  I don't know of any kids that play this game these days.  It's a game that calls for a great deal of eye-hand coordination.  Here's how to shoot a marble, here are the rules, and here are some other activities you can do with marbles.

My sister and girlfriend and I honed our cutting skills and imaginations when playing with our paper dolls.  We each kept our dolls and wardrobes in a special box so they would be ready for our many play sessions with them.  McCalls magazine printed Betsy McCall and her new set of clothes each month.  We made up stories to use our dolls in and even drew, colored, and cut out our own costume designs for our paper dolls.

Hula Hooping
Jumping Rope


As we played these games with our friends, we never dreamed such entertainment was also helping our fine and gross motor skills, concentration, eye-hand coordination, coordination, social skills, perseverance, patience, confidence, and imaginations grow and develop.  We were just having fun without depending on adults or technology to keep us entertained.


I've only listed a few of the childhood games I remember.  I'll bet you can think of more.  Please post your reminiscences below.  Consider teaching the children in your life some of these old favorites they don't know about.  You'll be helping their brains and muscles develop as they have fun like I (and probably you) did.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Bell Rings Without Me

Today is the first First Day of School I haven't had since 1956!  I began school as a shy little girl at Southside Elementary with Emma Hayes as my teacher.  I returned 15 years later to that very school room for my first First Day of School as a teacher.  Last May I completed my 43rd year of teaching and my last Last Day of School.


I have no regrets about not being involved in the back-to-school flurry of preparation.  It was nice to sleep until 7:00 and have a leisurely breakfast in my pajamas.  It just amazes me that more than four decades have passed since I began teaching.  It sure doesn't seem like it.


I retired, but God re-tired me, put new tires on me and gave me a new ministry.  I still get to teach, but I don't need a lesson plan.  Having long been interested in all things natural, organic, and healthy, I was delighted to discover Young Living essential oils, the purest on the market.  I teach classes on health and wellness classes, showing people how to how to incorporate these oils into their everyday life.



The focus of this blog will expand just a bit.  I will still include lots of children's books and classroom ideas.  However, I will also tuck in some practical ways to use essential oils to help you, your students, and your own family healthy.