Sunday, February 24, 2013

She's Baaaaaack!

Well that's kind of a creepy little title. I'm imagining some little pale-faced girl whispering it...shiverrrrrs!

After a few weeks of sometimes taking-it-easy and sometimes going-full-throttle, I'm glad to be posting once again. February was kind of a crazy month! Crazy Ohio weather has been at it's finest lately, most recently on Friday giving us ice showers to cancel school and warm, sunny, 40's by the afternoon. We've used up ALL of our forgiven snow days and have one to make up.

Alrighty Mama Nature, I'm expecting March to live up to it's "in like a lion, out like a lamb" reputation.
I'm ready for spring
Bring it on!
Recently, my Hubs and I took a long weekend recently to Hocking Hills State Park, part of Wayne National Forest in Ohio. It's so gorgeous! The glaciers that came through Ohio missed this area and because of that, the geology is really fascinating. The science nerd inside loved to read the bios of the individual parks and the particular structures they contained.
We rented a cabin for a few days and enjoyed the silence and the stillness of nature.
We hiked, we grilled out, we hot-tubbed it up! The hiking paths were SLICK with ice, but we had good boots and NO FEAR...well, I was a little fearful but I got over it.
Naturally, I brought my camera and was able to get some pretty good shots of the cliffs and trails. Can't wait to visit again in the summer when everything is grown up. 

 Just looking at those photos again makes me feel a bit calmer. More serene.
Can't wait to go back.

Have a great week, everyone.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Currently

It's that time again! Farley has posted this month's "Currently" and just thinking up answers to mine has given me a lot to think about on this super-chilly morning. This month's design is SO pretty! The gemmy-gems at the bottom are my favorite...virtual bedazzling! Ooh, la-la!

I just love Katie Brown, and PBS as a whole.Her show is all about being crafty in your home, in your kitchen, and in your life in general. I've been flip-flopping between our 2 PBS channels for a few days and have picked up some nifty information and inspiration. Exotic cooking segments, historical documentaries, and travel programs are doing my little heart good lately. I remember watching a LOT of PBS as a Mom swears that it was Zoom and the Electric Company's doing that I was reading when I was 4. It's still wholesome, informative, and kind of down-to-earth. Good stuff.

This lovely throw was a TJ Maxx Clearance score and probably one of the best things I've bought in a while. The chevron stripes are white and a mustard-y golden yellow. It's chenille & SO soft. It's the perfect size for catnaps, getting cozy with a good book, or sharing with a sleeping dog (which is how it's being used right now).  It's also great for sitting by the window & watching it snow.

My husband and I recently joined our local YMCA and I'm impressed with the facilities and programs being offered. It's also fantastic that it's practically across the street from our house, too! So far, I've had a lot of fun at the Wednesday night hip-hop class and am thinking of adding in some yoga, too. Honestly, I've had a lot of fun just making my workout music playlists. I'm going to post my "Top 10 Tracks" in a blog post next week. Music is a non-negotiable where exercise is concerned, at least for me.

Read any good books, lately? It's been awhile since I've read the kind of book that you can't put down. 
I can't say that I don't have time for reading when I catch myself 20 minutes into a stupid t.v. show that I'm not really even watching. I'm trying to limit my t.v. time. It's just counterproductive.

Oh, live music. Summer's beautiful friend. Last summer I saw SO many amazing shows. 
Fall was fun, too, with Leftover Salmon and Old Crow Medicine Show. 
Tonight the Hubs and I are heading out to a jazz show that benefits local musicians. There will be a variety of jazz bands playing all kinds of stuff. Looking forward to dressing up & getting out. 
PLUS, I'm lucky I married a man who loves to dance! Dude can CUT A RUG!
Even if it snows a bunch, it's only about a mile ON!

I am REALLY peeved with super-critical people. These types are usually pretty easy to spot because they're constantly telling you about other people's shortcomings. "Did you hear about how so-and-so screwed up, failed, made a mistake? Arrrgh. Why does this kind of behavior appeal to people? 
Be grateful. Be humble. Be Quiet.
Easier said than done, I know.

Well, that's it! We're supposed to be getting up to 4 inches of snow in the next day or so, which will be pretty significant for our town. I love standing outside when it's snowing furiously, and yet it's so quiet. 
One of the little pleasures of winter. Gotta get em' when you can!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blubber Gloves

Yes, blubber gloves.

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea that such things could be created, or that introducing them to my 1st grade class would be one of the highlights of our week. 

Let me explain...

This week marked the final days of our PENGUIN unit. It's been fun reading lots of fiction and non-fiction books about penguins. Students have brought books from home, the library, and even the bins of books for morning reading in the cafeteria. I was impressed with the amount of penguin knowledge they had! Our Scholastic News/Weekly Reader had a whole issue devoted to penguins, too. We celebrated the end of our unit (and I scored some time to DIBEL students for middle-of-the-year assessments) by watching Happy Feet with the other first-grade class- so much fun! 

Our science activities have included discussions about habitats, identifying and researching KRILL (for some reason my students were VERY interested in what the heck they were), and performing an experiment that showed us how these arctic creatures swim around in the icy waters.

A BIG thank-you to Mrs. S., who made these blubber gloves!

Basically, blubber gloves are 2 press-to-close sandwich bags that have been reinforced at the top with duct tape. There is a thick layer of vegetable shortening between the bags that simulates the layer of blubber on an animal such as a penguin or whale.  
My kiddos were SO excited to try them out. We predicted what it would feel like to swim around in ice water like the penguins do. Sticking their hands in that ice water REALLY made that vision clear. Most students could comfortably submerge their hands for about 5 seconds. 

Then students dry their hands off and place blubber gloves on their hands. Sticking their hands in that ice water was a breeze. Their reactions were great!

We discussed how the thick layer of fat (blubber) keeps arctic animals warm in freezing temperatures. Students began chattering about how if THEY had blubber, they could go swimming in the WINTER! 

It was a great hands-on activity that really helped students make CONNECTIONS! 
It's certainly going to be a must-do activity in my penguin units from now on.

Speaking of the unit itself, I found a TREMENDOUS resource in 

Erica Bohrer's Pengin Unit from Teachers Pay Teachers

Erica's products are always so thorough! We'll be using these games & center activities for weeks to come.

  *Winter Weather Update*

In the time it's taken me to write this blog post, my school district has gone from a 2-hour delay to a FULL-ON SNOW DAY!

Well, that's a Friday bonus! That means that our 100th day of school will be pushed up to Monday, which is okay with me! What weird, wonky, weather we've had lately. This means that I can spend today preparing next week's lesson plans and this weekend's master's degree assignments...BEFORE the weekend begins!
Dare I say that ALL the laundry could get done, too? Whaaaaat?

Happy Weekend, Friends!
1, 2, 3...GO!