Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Let's Look at 2017 Shall We?


Link up at www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.  We are so grateful for this community. 

Fearless.  My One Word for 2017.    Let's try this with some free verse-ish writing, shall we?

Isaiah 41:10:  "Do Not be afraid, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  I will help you.  I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
Fearless in Faith.
More learning to be had here.  
Less fear in trying to write and share my learning.  
Fearless in Friendships.
Uphold the ones that are critical.
Fearless in love.
It's for All People.
(That phrase, "all people" is in Luke chapter 2.  It's really been on my heart since Christmas.)

2 Timothy 1:7:  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."

Fearless in Running.
Find that girl and get her back.  

Fearless in fitness.
Cliche--I know.
But I've lost that too.  
I boldly need to reclaim that on all fronts.  

Joshua 1:9:  I command you-Be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Fearless in ambition.
I'm not afraid anymore.
Fearless in the work.

Fearless in the journey.
I don't know where it's going to take me.
But I know Who is going with me. 

And I'm going fearlessly.

Some music to get us started:


Thursday, December 22, 2016

More on Purposeful Play: When the risks kick in.


Have you read this book yet?  I've written about it a few times before.  And all fall, we've been dabbling in "play and project" time.  It's been good!

Then December happened.

You see, the short story is, in December, in our Faith-based school, the Christmas Pageant is the hard work of December.   The kids are engaged in:
  • Large group community work.
  • Shared reading in musical lyrics.
  • Exposure to reading basic melodies.
  • I was fascinated to watch as the kids were exposed to speech enunciation techniques.  
  • The self-regulation it takes to stand with a large community of kids and focus on singing.
  • The fun and festiveness of dressing up and presenting a beautiful story.  
Christmas Pageants are hard work.  And may I say, Music Education rocks?!?!  

A purposeful teacher is careful then, about how to proceed with the classroom setting.   I could have steamrolled through lessons.  I could have insisted on routine.  I could have ignored the needs of my students.  

None of those would work for me.  
Yet, we need to also be engaged and learning.  

Today, I want to share the work of Play and Project time and the moment I realized my Firsties were taking risks in their writing during this time.  

In our classroom, there was a place to work with foam, nails, screws, bolts and washers, and rubber bands.  First, the project encouraged kids to create Christmas Trees with these items.  They took these items and started to create Robots.  Hey, it's cool!

A safety note:  I have a small class size with kiddos who have a LOT of self-regulation.  There are years where this wouldn't have been an option.  

Enter the Robot Store.  Every good store has signs.  Come Now!  Play!  Love and Name Him!  
These three signs?  Made by a former reluctant writer.  In these moments, to protect her risk taking, I always ask what she thinks of them and I honor what she is saying.  Occasionally she will revise a sign, but she is also starting to monitor her work as she is creating it initially.

Come On to the Shop!

That last sign?  We've also been working on digraphs in our word study time.  When I asked her to read it to me, she did.  And she self-corrected herself on the placement and directionality in this writing. For this student, it was way more powerful than even a mini-lesson on editing and revising.  Because it revolved around her play.

She asked if she Had to make a new sign.  I left that up to her.  (She didn't.)  But as a developing writer, I was so pleased  to have the opportunity to have this conversation with her.  

The other thing you don't see in these few pictures, are the volume of signs that were taped around my classroom.  On desks.  On my desk.  On cupboards.  Tables, Doors.  They just kept writing.  

Keep in mind, this wasn't Writer's Workshop.  Intentionally, I didn't swoop in and conference on the writing process.  But I did observe risk taking, joyful writing, a large volume of writing.  

December showed me that play does encourage risk taking academically.  We'll be playing in January...February...you get the picture...

How are you using play in your classroom?


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Heart Maps-Part 2. Writing in December.


Link up at www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.  We are so grateful for this community. 

Hello Friends!  The last time I sliced, I was writing about Heart Maps!  Well.  December Happened.  This means Lots of work on Christmas Pageant.  Lots of learning and community is built during that time, but when you are back in the classroom, there's a shift.  You have to be so purposeful in what you are asking kids to do.  This includes reading, writing, math, the whole idea of your classroom.  

So, when this blog post from Ruth Ayres showed up, I was so relieved!  It saved Writer's Workshop in December in my classroom.  A pause.  This doesn't mean that we didn't write.  We just paused on the topics of revision, editing, readability, etc.  We only wrote.  I asked for the kids to think about only writing when it was time to do so, and that was pretty much it.  

But, as December went on, some bumps kept popping up.  How was I going to honor my students, and yet maintain some sense of writing as we got closer to Christmas break?

Enter Heart Maps.

Once upon a time, I won this book in a #g2Great chat.  I have perused it.  I have tried some out on my own.
I just jumped in and shared the idea with my First Graders.

It was awesome.

These Heart Maps ask kids to map about what is important to them.  So-they did.  Many kids made more than one over these past few days.  And for some kids, it resulted in journal entries and writing.  For other kids, it gave them the chance to just reflect on what was important to them.  

As we move into January, I'm excited to see how they respond to Reader's Heart Maps.  I'll plan to use them in Nonfiction as well.  And of course with Poetry and Visualization.  There are guidelines for all of these topics in Georgia Heard's book.  

So, stay tuned.  There could be parts 3, 4, and 5.  This is developing into a highly useful strategy in my classroom.  

Have you used Heart Maps in your Writer's Workshop?


Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Gift Edition.

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.

Hey Friends, My Family?  We are nerds to the core.  Books all around for everyone.  

It's a tradition in our household to celebrate Advent and stop and reflect each week on what this means.  We also open a present or two.  Nothing fancy.  Clothes.  Fun.  Faith.  And Books.  Lots of books.  

Here's a snapshot of what we are giving and have received in books this year.  A span of ages and interests here:

Here's what was gifted to me:
A quick honest reaction?  I'm not enjoying this book at all.  I asked for the book.  I'll finish it.  But the short story is this did not resonate with me.  At all.  I'm a little angry at this book actually.  Does this happen to anyone else when they read?  It's a blog post for another day...

I'm loving this cookbook.  I love her stories and her voice.  I also learned she has a blog.  It's on my list of things to check out over Christmas break.
This picture book is really about me.

For the Mr.:
Image result for the man in the high castle book
What's funny is we both said no books for each other.  That we had enough.  Yeah, right...

For All the kids of each Shape and Size:








Does your family do books as gifts?  What are you giving/receiving this year?


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Celebrate! Christmas with the Cops...

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at www.ruthayres.com.  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

Two weeks ago, dear friends, I wrote about this...

But our Friendship with the police department is just beginning.  

This past week, we had lunch with them at school.

And it was awesome.  

We served them lunch.

First graders told them a bunch of jokes in the way a first grader can.  

Everyone had a blast.  

I'm celebrating continued friendships in the midst of tragedies.  Our kids were still hugging them and offering condolences for their losses.  And telling them how awesome they were.  And taking over their hats and jackets.  What gracious officers.  

As I think about this, I'm praying and thinking about what else we can do for our friends.  This has turned into Service Learning at its most authentic.  What else can we do?  I'm celebrating the fact that we get to ask that!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Celebrate! Space to Create!

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at www.ruthayres.com.  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 


This is one of my professional reads right now.  I've been to several dynamic, awesome conferences this fall, and I have Makerspace on the brain.
Let's be honest, I have a lot on my brain right now.  
All Good Things.  

Most of that creative work, as we know, takes place at home.  
At least it does for me.

Mine was taking place in the kitchen, in the living room, in the piano room...
Not a dedicated space for thinking and creating.  
(Read-Stuff was everywhere on our first floor.  That drives me crazy too.  Even though it's all mine!)

And my 12 year old?  
He loves puzzles.  

And we love to be together.  
So we were in each other's space.  
All the time.  
A good problem to have.

So after a conversation with the hubs, we did a little rearranging.  
And we have our own "Makerspace" here in what most people call a dining room.  

It's not that fancy.
I didn't need it to be.

I needed it to be a place dedicated for my work.  (And Mr.'s work too-he's been teaching ESL on the side...and he's a Nerdy reader too.)
I liked being in the space that we tend to land in here in our house.  We have lots of space in this house.  But when I'm working, reading, writing...I do like to be next to My People.  My kids are growing up fast.  I want to be accessible to them.  Not held up in an office upstairs away from the space where we really live.  

Interested in a tour?  
I thought you would be.  :)

What most people see as a dining room table, is now my study area.  :)  That space to the left?  We were experimenting with bringing a desk into the space too, and realized a full sized desk would be too big.  But there is a space for puzzles now.  And other things a 12 year old Maker needs.  

So we aren't really dining room folk.  We do our eating, even with friends, in the kitchen.  This is perfect for us.  

Room for reading, writing, and studying.

What Make Space has taught me is to look at things with a more creative eye, and not to rush that.  This morning, the actual work took about 30 minutes.  We spent more time talking and mapping out what this space would be used for.  

The implications for school of course are swirling in my head.  I have some spaces to work in, but is there something else I could do in my classroom?  Stay tuned...

Let's celebrate space to create!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Celebrate: An Open Letter to My Mustangs...

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at www.ruthayres.com.  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

All You Mustangs (And Friends),

On November 2nd, we woke up to one of the worst things that has ever happened in our city.  I'll just link that story here if you need to read it.  

Obviously school was cancelled that day.  I sat a lot and just stared at the news as it continued to develop.  That's not the healthiest way to spend a day after a tragedy, but I just couldn't believe that This was invading our neighborhood.  Our space.  

It's one thing to see these tragedies on the news and be moved.  It's another thing to have it happen in your 5 mile radius.  I'll never react to these news stories the same again.  

What was I going to say to you as a teacher?
What were we going to Do to make an impact?

Thursday came.  
Through my choked up voice, I told you that this was our time to share Jesus.
And you know what?
Those words didn't even sound futile as I feared they would.
What else were we going to do?

What can kids do, you ask?

Beautiful cards for Police Officers.
I'm not sure I'm ever taking off the thin blue line you placed on the back of my car.
I wear the t-shirts that were designed with pride.
And then the offerings started to come in.

In just about 3 weeks, you collected offerings.  Oh my, did you collect offerings.  
To our "Big Kids", you lead the charge on this.  It just blew me away.
I cried every time I saw an update on the offerings.

Maybe you don't know. 
The officers coming, were a bit of a surprise. 
The best kind of surprise. 
The kind of surprise you see mentioned in passing on the news.
Get in the car, we have to buy cookies surprise.
The officers did come.  
They were so humbled.  
I wish we could have stayed and chatted all day.
You can't imagine the amount of love they felt.  
Seeds of Friendship were planted this week.
I can't wait to see how you continue to serve our Police Officers.

I celebrate your servant hearts in the midst of a tragedy.  
I celebrate the healing you provided.
I celebrate the opportunity for new friendships.  


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Slice of Life: Heart Maps


Link up at www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.  We are so grateful for this community. 

Friends.  It will be so good to catch up with you.  It's my 12 year old that is currently inspiring me to write.  (We are at the table again!)

So, a few weeks ago, I participated in an amazing chat on Twitter.  I'm sure you've heard of #g2great.  The moderators are so gracious and encouraging.  I'm really enjoying this one.

Georgia Heard was the guest, and my "lucky" self won a copy of Heart Maps:  Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing.


Well, I dug right in and made a few!  And I learned a bit about myself:

  • We are going to rearrange a few things in our house so I have a dedicated writing space.  :)
  • Writing for me is like running, I have to do it.  Things feel in balance when I do.  
  • There are more topics I want to explore and stretch myself with.  
  • I also need to keep making time for reading.  
A few shots of how I'm doing my Heart Maps:

Heart Maps really kept me writing this fall in my notebooks when I felt like I couldn't make time to process with the blog.  

What about teaching with Heart Maps?

I cannot wait!  

This year, I'm making plans to incorporate Heart Mapping with our Poetry writing.  I also couldn't help but notice the art component that goes along with Heart Mapping.  There is joy in considering the time to be creative and linger with a Heart Map.  

But I see the power in creating Heart Maps when:
  • we are writing small moments.
  • we are reflecting on books being read.
  • we are reflecting on service and ministry projects that we are working on.
  • we are free writing.
  • we are learning about what projects/nonfiction topics we want to explore further.  

Are you using Heart Maps?  What reflections do you have for me?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Celebrate! Food and Family and Finally Blogging.

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at www.ruthayres.com.  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

It was August 6th the last time I typed a Celebrate post!  Wowza!  I'm learning how to write in notebooks, and lately, I've been exploring Heart Maps.  Stay tuned for a post on that one.  But I have been writing.  I swear.  I'm excited to catch up with you.

It was my 12 year old who asked me if I wanted to sit and write with him tonight.  He sits across from me and works on a #nanowrimo project that his tremendous teacher assigned him.  We just talked about doing a writing challenge in December to keep the writing going.  I'm growing a writer!!!  Be still my heart, I'm not sure how that is happening...but he always has a notebook, and now a laptop.  (Update:  He just asked for Adele on my YouTube Channel.  I might explode over here...I love this kid.)

Let's celebrate food for a minute.  So, now that we are full on the holiday season, the Hubs and I are committing to Sunday Dinner.  Tonight we had:  Chicken Parmesan, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Baked Bread, and Apple Slices.  (I did not take pictures!  Next week...)  If you are a serious foodie, maybe skip over these next steps:

  • Get some chicken that is already breaded.  You can do it yourself, but I did not feel like I had time for that.  Spray a cooking pan.  Put the chicken in the pan and cover it with red sauce and mozzerella cheese.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  
  • With the bag of brussels sprouts, chop these friends up.  Cover them with oil and garlic.  I like to use the Roasted Garlic Dipping Oil from Wildtree.  I used 1/3 of a cup of oil for about a pound of sprouts.  Roast these at 425 for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle with garlic powder when done.  
  • Use the bread dough from the freezer section of your grocery store.  Let that rise all afternoon.  Bake it at 325 for 20 minutes.  
It was an intentional time that we really enjoyed after a long weekend.  It was purposeful cooking, but it didn't take the whole day.  

Let's talk about school a minute shall we?  I am really thinking and reading tons about Maker Spaces.  It's a goal of mine to build one and incorporate it with the philosophy of Purposeful Play (Mraz, Tyler, Porcelli) leading the way.  This is a project that I celebrate every time I get a chance to reflect on it, read about it, talk to people about it, etc.  What are you celebrating about your work these days?  

I can't wait to catch up with you!  


Sunday, October 30, 2016

My One Thing...So Far... #GafeSummit

  (Glances around furtively to see who is watching...)

I wasn't excited about jumping in the car.
Don't get me wrong.  I love learning.
We just returned from Grand Rapids after attending the Lutheran Education Association Convocation.
We squeezed in a birthday celebration for my 12 year old.  (Bless it.  My 8 year old is still waiting.)
Conferences are coming.  A Fall Concert with my Rusty Piano Playing is coming.
And now I'm going to leave town again for the weekend for some more PD?
(Are you sensing the weight yet?)
I pack the bag and jump in the minivan with a super colleague.


A day of completely amazing learning!  All those thoughts before?  Go ahead and forget I had them.

I'm still processing Maker Space.  (A blog post is brewing...)  It was excited to have play time and try some tools out.

I loved spending time looking at Matific's resources and what they had to offer in the area of math.

I spent some time listening and watching and learning about extensions that support primary readers and writers.

The One Thing

But you guys.  Here is The One Thing that rocked my world.  You may be already fluent at this.  Go ahead and skip out if you have mastered this already.

I've been struggling with Blogging in First Grade.  You guys.   I just felt like it was taking up so much time.  I wanted to give my students an authentic voice.  But I also wanted them in the writing process, not the "Hunting and Pecking" process as they pecked out a tiny blog post.  I felt like writing was suffering because they simply weren't ready to type!

Here's the One Thing:

1  Open up a Google Doc.
2. Use the Voice Typing tool under the Tools section of the document.
3.  Allow the students to record the story they wish to tell.  (A response, an answer to a question, a story they need to share.)
4.  Install Read&Write for Google Chrome in your extensions.
5.  The students can have their writing read back to them to make sure it is correct.
6.  Publish and connect with the world!

A huge thank you to Stacy Behmer for showing us extensions that can impact our classroom instruction.  The time to use and experiment with this extension was my One Thing that is coming back with me.

What are you learning at #GAFESummit?


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Loyalty and Faithfulness.

Link up at www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.  We are so grateful for this community. 

What’s funny is I’m reminded of annoyances as I start to write this.  

“We’ll come see you when he’s out of town…”  (Please don’t do that…)
“The soccer game is cancelled.”  (But I was going to have the house to myself...)

I’m reading about Ruth right now.  A lot of you know passages from Ruth.  They are usually read at weddings.  

For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  (1:16-17).

You know what?  Ruth is talking to her mother-in-law.  Who has lost her husband.  And two sons.  
Ruth is declaring loyalty and faithfulness when she could have turned and ran.  

What struck me here is how this declaration happened in the middle of a mess.  Ruth isn’t dancing through a bed of roses when she’s making this declaration. There are tears, there have to be.  Orpah did take the blessing to leave, so a family member has taken off.  She’s declaring her loyalty and faithfulness at some of the hardest times they have experienced together.  (I won’t even get started on the judges and the famine….)

So what’s up?  Where’s the connection?

When my family shows up unannounced (which always makes me nervous), I can declare loyalty and faithfulness.  

When my “me time” is interrupted by a not empty house, I can declare my loyalty and faithfulness.  

Maybe it needs to be to my spouse.  Maybe to my parents.  Maybe to my in-laws.  Maybe it is simply to coworkers and friends.  

I love the conviction that loyalty and faithfulness are resounding themes with Ruth.  We can be loyal and faithful to each other in the mess of life.  

Who do you look at today with loyalty and faithfulness?  


Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Status Quo and Spiritual Journeys from Kendra. :)

Before I begin, I realize this is a chance for me to tell my story.  

It might not be your story.

Our collective story is what makes us better.

My story swirls around me, especially in these past two years.  

I often wonder how that story can encourage and inspire others to journey.  

So I'm going to give it a full shot.

The story began to come out with a tweet:  

Screenshot 2016-09-28 at 7.15.45 PM.png

Look at the tweet from Mary Ann Reilly:  “Status quo is often a resting place.  Before I interfered, I’d want to honor resting.”  (Also, follow her if you don’t.  She is quietly brilliant and unassuming. Sometimes I think social media is a weird place to be.  But I always feel Something when I read and look at her work.)  It was this tweet that stopped me in my tracks and caused me to pause and reflect on everything I’ve been considering over the past 2-3 years.  

Where in education are we?  Are we constantly looking to stay a step ahead and be considered innovative, that we’ve lost sight of rest and reflection?  

In a culture of compliance and the trend to be innovative, I fear we are losing our best educators.   
Test more.  Organize your data.  Be brilliant with the spreadsheet.  Innovate and create amazing lessons that make kids want to come to school.  Really, who can be all these things all the time?  And do them well.  

The culture reminds me of a roller coaster we went on this summer as a family.  You would be riding along peacefully, and then you would be jerked to the left or right.  You’d get to the top of the hill and then fly to the bottom, only to start the climb again.  My youngest and I, not being crazy about roller coasters, left that ride feeling a little tired, bewildered and ready for a good cold drink.  I think this analogy fits for how I felt at the end of my tenure as a public educator.  

At my worst, I would sit at our kitchen table and cry.  I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t writing enough lessons, my newsletter wasn’t like the kindergarten teacher's (words said to me), I wasn’t teaching what I knew what was best practice.  And then I’d pick myself up (or my husband would push me up) and I’d get back at it.  But I only held that frantic pace for about 3 years.  

And by the end I was burnt out.  And wounded.  All I could do was look at the pacing guide and go through the requirements.  Status quo.  But even in those moments I was rebuilding my spirit as an educator.   I just didn’t know it yet.   

Colleague support?  Yes!  But they were (and still are) working at the same frantic pace.  With meetings, and requirements, and the push to continue to innovate.  And I worry about them.  How long can they continue to push at this pace?

What I can only describe as a spiritual journey, I crashed-landed at a Lutheran Day School.  I went searching for this position almost out of spite based on what I had experienced.  (Because I love these people, I want to tell you it is definitely ministry based, not private minded.)  

And it was here that I began to rebuild a spirit inside me that I didn’t even know was there anymore.  I use music daily.  I dance in the classroom.  Today we laughed because I prayed for my 7 year old Birthday Girl to be an old, old, Granny someday.  :)  Kids were eager to show me their writing, they are tackling books, and they love science.  I have time to consider books written by experts and what they mean for my students and my teaching.

When I consider the journey I’m on, yet, I reflect on Mark 6:31.  And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”  Even Jesus, you know, Jesus, instructed his people to rest.  

So, back to status quo and rest.  I’ve learned to observe.  Step back.  Learn the story.  Everyone has one.  Everyone.  

I’m reminded that God wants his people to rest.  He’s equipped Teachers to be who they are.  He tells them to rest.  

I’m not left with many answers.  I know that Public educators are not really being invited to do that at this time.  How do we honor the resting that takes place in some status quo, or in good frameworks in teaching?  

I’m learning Lutheran educators are better, but still not great at rest.  The ministry has to be done people.  Giddy up.  Let’s go!  Where is the rest?  It is almost a badge of honor to not to.  How do we change this mindset as Christians, who have been commanded by, you know, Jesus, to rest?  I don’t know.  

Meanwhile, if you see a teacher who seems to be caught in status quo, I would now encourage you to be gentle with them first.  Step back and see them.  See their story.  Find the rest that they need, and honor it.  Be careful about pushing them too quickly.  

Let them rest awhile.    

Joy! (And Rest!)

Monday, August 15, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.

Back to school time is here.  As we traveled to the library last week, I took the opportunity to stock up on some read alouds for the first 3 days.  

I've been taking this book on home visits with me.  It is such a gentle read on the power of reading and the fun that comes with it!  

This is a beautiful book.  As the child wanders through the book and interacts with each animal, he's having so many experiences.  But there was no tribe of kids.  When he finds the tribe of kids, you have to wonder if he was really lost, or if he was simply on a journey.  I think this is a beautiful read about community.  


What a relaxing read aloud.  Simply calming, as children relate to bedtime routines, and the adventures one can have at bedtime.  

When all the little friends go to music class, everyone is having a blast!  One small friend is watching from the side at first.  A joyful read about joining in when you are ready.  

A read aloud for fun!  I adore Snappsy and his voice in this story.  

Finally, I keep marveling at my own kids and their reading.  Big A pulled this book off the shelf for me and said, "Mom, if you recommend books to me, I'll do the same for you."  I have a couple other books I'm trying to finish as well, so I'll need to get busy!  



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#pb10for10: Books to Promote Dreaming and Creating.


Thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for this yearly celebration of picture books.  Join in to share and learn here.

So this past school year, everything was a possibility. 
It opened up a part of me to dream again.  
The best part was getting to share that feeling with my students.  

Here are 10 books we used to promote Dreaming and Creating.  (And a little bit about how that went.)

Often, I would read and simply pose a question about the ideas in the book and off we went creating and dreaming!


I love this book, because part way in, what she is dreaming about isn't coming out!  How frustrating!  That was such a beautiful conversation to have with my kiddos this year.  And of course each time we read it, we had to stop and fiddle, adjust, and tweak.


This is my favorite way to start out the school year.  After we read, we stop and consider what our unimaginary friends look like!


A simple paper boat and the possibility of a rainy day was all we needed to create our own boats and adventures.  This wordless picture book was a favorite of my students last year.


What if your next friend was a ghost?  A friendly one of course.  A lovely story to dream about friendship.


So, the truth is my kids didn't really enjoy this book as a read aloud.  However, They Loved looking at it together and talking to each other in robot voices.


A perfect book for dreaming about what you might be when you grow up.  Paired with a spirit of thankfulness, this book is simply lovely.


This book has more of a biblical spin on dreaming about the future.  (See Jeremiah 29:11.)  It encourages readers to dream about the future and believe those dreams can come true.  I loved how the voice in the book lead children to believe there is a path just for them to travel on.   After reading this book, it was great to do some writing on what we were dreaming of being when we grow up.


While this book seems to be about a bus ride and the greatness of the neighborhood, it really opens up the opportunity for kids to dream and see the greatness in their own neighborhood.


What happens when you dream of a friend and one appears?  What if your imaginary friend isn't needed anymore?  A lovely story about dreaming of friendship and what to do when that dream comes true!

And I couldn't let today go by without:


Whether it's a dream, or an idea that needs to be tinkered with, I love that kiddos are so eager to share.  After this book, I've seen stories, artwork, block cities...the list could go on.

What do you dream about?  Has it lead to any creations you are excited about?  Want to share?