April 13, 2014


We just got a fun package in the mail. . . just in time for my birthday!

I wasn't expecting anything so when I opened it and found a brand new pencil sharpener and pencils I was sure there was a catch! Was I expected to have to review this new art supply? But as I read through the letter there was no catch and no reason for them to send this. . .

If you would like me to review this new pencil sharpener, I'm afraid I can't. You see the test of a good sharpener is time. Most usually die in about six months. This one is really powerful, but only time will tell! I'll let you know if it is any good in about. . . six months!

In the meantime thanks TICONDEROGA!

April 2, 2014

Simple 2nd grade Animation

Testing Testing 1, 2

This is my first test making a GIF simple animation out of the students' drawings.

This GIF WINS the prize for "Most Annoying Gif in the WORLD!" True to the Pigeon character in the Mo Willems book.

 photo birdie_zps10fe4a0d.gif

We used the Mo Willems Pigeon series for inspiration. . . much more annoying animations to come. Hopefully the new method we used today will be less annoying because they drew a few more pictures!

March 30, 2014

Teach like an INTROVERT

A talking stick. . . the perfect solution
for the introvert and extrovert in your classroom.
Everyone learns the value of speaking AND listening.
This is one that I made with some very special girlfriends,
we each added something meaningful the stick.
Some of us use them in our classrooms.  

This weekend was my birthday and I asked myself one question. . . what do I never get to do that would really make me happy. The answer was SIMPLE. It involved a list of activities only involved my closest family and a longer list of activities that involved spending time alone. Now this might weird to about 70% of you because that's about the percentage of extroverts in the world.  But to me time with family and time to reflect alone is absolute bliss that I don't experience that often being surrounded by 600 kids a week, being a full-time mom, and wanna-be full time photographer!!!! So my little moments be with just my own thoughts are cherished and few.

As a teacher, being an introvert can be tough in this profession that is geared to extroverts.

But first, what is an introvert and extrovert?
Let's play TRUE OR FALSE

An introvert doesn't leave their house, ever.
FALSE: That is a hermit.

An introvert feels most comfortable in black.
FALSE: That is Georgia O'Keeffe and that guy from SNL's Sprockets skit

An introvert feels drained with large amount of surface conversation.
TRUE: Mingling? What is that?

Noise with no sign of an end is the introverts nightmare.
TRUE: A new ring of hell that's all I'll say.

Extroverts feel "stuck" when they are talking to one person at a gathering.
TRUE: Can I get you a drink? A friend?

Extroverts feel energized by lots of noise.
TRUE: "The more the merrier."

Introverts would rather go out with one friend then ten.
TRUE: An introvert never said "the more the merrier."

Extroverts see the ONE person in the room enjoying their presentation.
TRUE: "I am totally rocking this, that one guy in the back thinks I'm great!"

Introverts see the ONE person in the room who rolls his eyes during their presentation.
TRUE: "I need to change course quick!"

Extroverts need time to reflect on their day.
FALSE: lol come on! That sounds like sticking toothpicks in my eyeballs. Isn't it Happy Hour?

So before you hang your head in shame INTROVERTS and watch a DARIA rerun . . . let me give you some hope! We are in good company! Some of the BEST teachers in my life have been introverts. Abe Lincoln, Einstein, Buffet, Ghandi, don't tell me that you have to be an extrovert to be an effective leader. When I realized finally that NOT BEING AN EXTROVERT is not a curse but a gift I immediately saw a change in my teaching.

How can an introvert be a good teacher???????? I always wondered the same thing.

1. We have an uncanny way to sense everyone's energy in the room, really quickly.
This is awesome when you learn not to take it on and just notice it. In the beginning this was the worst part about teaching. Everyone's energy was totally draining mine! I am not kidding when I tell you I would go home sit on my couch and feel like I was hit by a truck. Literally. Every day. Until I learned to block some of it.

2. An introvert doesn't always need to talk to get the students attention.
When I realized that talking didn't work for me, so many doors opened! Students will listen when I am still and counteract their chaos with calm? What an epiphany. Students engage when they see me interact slowly and deliberately with other students? Yes and they speak slower too!

3. We can totally understand the approximately 30% of kids who aren't being heard because they are introverts. Yes! Many of our students are not being heard, not because they are shy, but because they are listening, thinking and not willing to be the "loudest."

4. In a loud western world we can model an alternative pace. Sometimes the only thing our students know (both introvert and extrovert) is "go go go." School seems to be another place to go. We can teach our students to slow down and be more reflective. Whenever we have a conversation about our art, I can always pick out the extroverts and the introverts. The extroverts are raising their hands saying "when are we going to start art" and the introverts are participating in the conversation reflecting on the art. It is good to stretch the extrovert to listen and challenge the introvert to speak up.

5. Which brings me to 5! Listening is our NUMBER ONE advantage. While other's are talking, talking, talking, we are listening to what they are really saying. (Most of the time they are just saying I NEED ATTENTION;) This comes in handy when meeting with parents and students. Most of the time when I meet with parents and/or students about an issue I try to talk very little. This is easy for me as I hate to talk. This is great for them because they often feel heard and sometimes even come up with their own solutions to the given problem.

So now that I've totally given props to introverts, I need to say that EXTROVERTS are awesome. It's when we own our style and stretch when necessary to the other side that we become better people. I'm still working on it.

And here's my favorite part of the post . . .

                                  How about you? 

Are you a yoga loving, book reading, coffee house chilling introvert or are you a happy hour, karaoke queen extrovert (sorry for the generalizations:)? What is your teaching style?