Monday, January 19, 2015

WHAT's in the corner? CAPTURED ON FILM!

Since 2008, I've done several interviews and many people have asked me where I get my inspiration for my books and for writing. When I answer that question, I say "LIFE".  I know that may sound strange ... but it is really true. I am fascinated at the things going on around me. There are days I have a hard time focusing because of all the things happening around me. I tell children my books are Realistic Fiction ... because the things in which I write about really happen ... but they aren't Non-Fiction.

I wasn't planning on writing a book about going to get Muffin ... it just happened. When we brought her home and she was so tiny and fragile, she'd lay on my lap and I started singing ... "I went to the store to buy a donut, but I came home with a Muffin".  Every time I said her name, she'd look at me and I swear she was smiling!

I thought it would be fun to write a series of Muffin books, but knew that that would be tough ... there are so many books about dogs and puppies ... but Muffin gave me another wonderful idea.  When she was teeny tiny she'd run to the corner of our backyard and bark at a tree that is in the neighbors backyard ... but she'd look up and bark ... for months we had no idea what she was barking at! One day, the mystery was solved!  And today ... just moments ago, I was able to capture it on film ....

I wasn't planning on a blog post this morning .... but then this happened!!!!

What's In the Corner? What Is That???
Muffin checking out that elusive character in What's In the Corner?

OKAY .... I'll move a little closer and devil them some more!!!!!

 Muffin teaching Shadow about the whole What's In the Corner thing ....
 A stare down!!!!! 
 Muffin HOWLING at her ....
Oh my goodness ... it's the BIG BRAVE CAT!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Staples Education Site

For the past couple of years I have put in queries to HARO ... it is a cool way for an author to write snip-its for different publications - mostly on-line these days. I never had one chosen for publication!! At times I thought I should give up ... but every once in a while a query would grab my interest and I'd write away. When sending in your submission, it goes to a blind email -- you never know who will be reading it or who may be possibly publishing the piece! Recently, two of my submissions were accepted. Coincidentally, they were both for the same web-site ... here are the links to my portion of the work.  They are now up on the Staples Education Site .

The contributing writers pick and choose which parts of your work they will use!  I never knew Staples had an Education site, it's another great source for Teachers and Parents to check out!  Click on the links below to be taken to the site!

It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Texas ... and I wanted to share with you some exciting things happening in the greenhouse! I love digging in the dirt and the seeds, roots, & sprouts all amaze me!
I cut a piece of the poverty plant near school (the one where the Monarchs rested back in October!). The cut has growth and a good root system .... it is now repotted!
I can't believe how much growth it has ... I'm hoping that the greenhouse will help it flourish so that I can plant it in the corner of the backyard this spring ....  
SPROUTS!!!!!! Japanese Cherry Blossom, Tomato, Jalapeno and Saffron
 Repotted the Japanese Cherry Blossom!

 Jalapenos .... YUM!!!!!!

Basil, Tomatos, and Francisco's resting place!
The stepping stone was made by one of my students last year!!!

Repotted two of the tomato plants ....
Spending an hour in the greenhouse is so relaxing ...
I'm running out of dried basil from 2 years ago .... I hope the basil in the greenhouse makes it!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Raindrops - UPDATED

What comes down ... must GO up!!!
As we continue learning the water cycle ...
The children EVAPORATED ... they cut up their pictures as they turned to VAPOR
 They returned up to the sky with the help of the wind and the warmth from the sun!
 Our Water Cycle

The Water Cycle .... goes round and round the vapor goes up
and the rain comes down ....
I hope you have enjoyed seeing this lesson
sometimes I'm amazed that these kids are just in KINDERGARTEN!!!!!!

I truly enjoy being and author and my day job is thoroughly rewarding! Being a Kindergarten teacher I see amazing changes and growth through the school year. Some children go from not knowing all their letters and sounds of letters to writing sentences and reading! It is really amazing!

We have been studying water and I hope some of you saw the movie of our water filtration systems.

To begin our lessons on the Water Cycle and a quick review of Water Filtration we completed a two day project. We watched The Magic School Bus - We All Over. If you are not familiar with it -- Ms. Frizzle transports her students into raindrops ... they evaporate, become clouds, move across the globe, fall as rain in an ocean, repeat the cycle, fall as rain into a puddle, repeat the cycle and then fall into a filtration system near their school where they are filter into clean water!

After the movie we discussed the Water Cycle and discussed our water filters again. Then the children said "it'd be cool if we could make something and be inside a raindrop!"  They talked about using butcher paper, construction paper, tape, pins .... it was fun listening to their ideas.  Finally it hit me ... I was planning on making waxed paper and corn syrup raindrop (the kids paint corn syrup on a waxed paper shaped raindrop) the corn syrup beads up and you place a 2nd raindrop on top and it sticks together and looks like water on the inside ... I said to the kids "what if I take your picture and put you inside this?"  They were very excited!  So today, Friday, January 16, I took their pictures in cool poses looking like characters from The Magic School Bus.  I printed the pictures, cut them out and laminated them.

On Fridays, the children do a FUN write in their writing journals.  Today I had them use the following prompt "If I was in a raindrop ... "

The children painted their corn syrup raindrop, I added their picture and TADA ... they were inside the raindrops!  I made a storm cloud, a lake and put everything up in the hallway ...

A really fun way to introduce the Water Cycle and really get the children INTO the project!