Monday, March 31, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons... And Fourth Grade Math!

I hated Fourth grade math growing up!
(there I said it)

I hated it...

multiplication
division
fractions
word problems

none of it made any sense to me at the time

And now that my daughter is in the fourth grade,
I see her developing the same disdain for math,

but I have since learned

that when life gives you lemons...
you can make lemonade

A few weeks ago...

one of my colleagues gave me lemons

big
bright
fresh

lemons handpicked from the tree in her yard
that I brought home and sat on my kitchen counter


I laid down to take a nap and woke to find that my children had made lemonade!

My mind drifted back to

A few years ago...

when we made and sold lemonade with the children in our child care program

and the children were so excited for the opportunity that they

baked cookies
made signs and
put on their best smiles

to successfully market their business



A few days ago...

we had a community yard sale and my daughter and I decided to make lemonade again using

1 cup of lemon juice
1 cup of sugar
7 cups of water

and as we

poured
measured
filled and refilled our container

I realized that we were doing fourth grade math!

Moriah, since we already used the 1 measure cup for the lemon juice, let's use the 1/4 measure cup for the sugar 

How many do we need?

Four.

Ok, great but let's double the recipe...  so how many is that?

Eight.

Now let's use the 1/2 measure cup for the water...
and how many do we need if we double that?"

And when she answered correctly,

I grabbed a sheet of paper and scribbled the numbers out so that she could see,
and her face lit up when she recognized that she was doing fourth grade math

and getting it
and liking it

realizing that she doesn't have to hate fourth grade math because fourth grade math helps us

make sense of the world around us
solve real life problems and
make lemonade

Fourth grade math makes life easier and I'm so glad that my former nemesis came back
to give me the opportunity to teach my children exactly what to do when life gives them lemons.

Fourth grade math in action!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Same Black Dress... and a Man's Suit

I hang my black dress on the curtain rod in my room every Saturday evening
in preparation for church the next day, but on this particular morning I woke to also find...

his Sunday wear next to mine!


And I realized how blessed we are to...

be together
live together
sing together

And together have time to head out for another day of worship


 This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

(check out the one year anniversary of the same black dress)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finding Balance... A Lesson from a 3 yr. old and Fourth Grade Math

"Look, I can balance"

he said, standing on one leg and smiling in my direction
(just to be sure that I saw him)

His child care provider

didn't comment
didn't blink
didn't look up

but continued preparing his morning snack as he then announced...

"and I can do the other leg too"



I smiled back at him and marveled
secretly astonished
that this three-year-old boy claimed to have already mastered what takes years to learn

Balance: [bal'ens] noun, verb

steadiness
an instrument used to weigh something
the difference between the debits and credits of an account
to keep oneself steady
to make equal and stable
to compensate for

And as she finished preparing snack
he climbed into the chair at the end of the table

and ate without a care

as I quietly wondered how he had managed to find balance

(when balance seems to just keep escaping me)

Tonight I wanted to have dinner with a grieving friend,
but instead I had...

fourth grade math homework
fourth grade oral book report on "Comets"
sixth grade math homework
sixth grade science fair project
dinner
dishes
laundry

(and of course I still had to manage to find the time to type up this lesson)

It's true

my priorities are often a jumbled mess
but when tonight's fourth grade math review instructed my daughter to...

"Use the appropriate action for the appropriate problem"

I realized that this too is a lesson in balance
because there comes a time in life when we all must learn to

add
divide
subtract
multiply
find the lowest common denominator and
reduce

all while showing our work

And the math does not get any easier if we do not...

learn
understand
master

these basic fundamentals

so

Balance will not keep escaping me

because today

I was reminded by
a three-year-old

(and a fourth grade math review)

that healthy

growth
development
maturation

almost
always
also

requires

a lesson in balance

Click to read... A Lesson from Peter

Friday, March 21, 2014

So in Love

He caught me watching him

He was watching tv and
I was watching him

and when he noticed me watching,
he looked over and asked "What?"

and I smiled because when you're in love

sometimes just

watching
seeing
noticing

is enough

like when you bring your newborn baby home from the hospital and you watch him sleep...

or
when you see the children help one another with homework...

or
when you come home from work exhausted and notice

happy children
dinner on the table
and a clean kitchen

and you know that you're in love because you just can't stop
the noticing

and you're so grateful to have someone to

notice...
look at...
watch...

My daughter noticed a sprig of hope growing out of a tree in our front yard

she said...

"Today is the first day of Spring"



and as I looked
I remembered why I am so in love
and now I can't stop thinking about how this love affair came to be

He noticed and loved us first
then...

I fell in love with Him
then...

he fell in love with Him
then...

He introduced him to me
then...

he fell in love with me
then...

I fell in love with him

and now we're all in love because He loved us first!

And now that it's spring again, I just can't stop
singing
smiling
seeing

because I am so in love
and that sprig of hope reminds me that...

As long as we stay connected to the Tree,
our love will always keep right on growing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Monday... Up Above My Head



"Up Above My Head"
as arranged by Kirk Franklin
 
Up above my head I hear music in the air
Up above my head there's a melody so bright and fair
I can hear when I'm all alone
even in those times when I feel all hope is gone
 
Up above my head I hear joy bells ringing
Up above my head I hear angels singing
There must be a God somewhere
There must be a God somewhere
 

Wanna hear the original version?

Check out Sister Rosetta Tharpe here
(written circa 1940)

Let the music play!!

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Still Believe

When I was in first grade my teacher painted a surprise for us on St. Patrick's Day...

small green footprints
leading up the wall and
into the vent near the ceiling

As soon as we entered the classroom,

we all

noticed
questioned
wondered

and many of us also believed...

Then after lunch recess
we came back to our desks to find

personalized
hand-written notes

to each of us (from Patrick) the leprechaun who claimed to be visiting only for the day...

and yet

he stayed with us for years

as many of us would return to her class each year to witness
the "new" believers receive their letters

And no matter how big we had gotten, each year she would let us back in to see...


Her only rule?

You still had to believe

Well I get it now...

As Early Childhood Educators it is our job to plant seeds of

faith
hope and
belief

in something

higher...
greater...

We provoke

thought and wonder
curiosity in the unknown and
give permission to believe in that which cannot even be seen

Then we protect those newly planted seedlings
by not allowing anyone to

trample them
destroy them
impede their growth

Yes, I get it now...

and I am grateful for all of the people who God has used
to cultivate the seeds He's planted within me

So, to Mrs. Sammons (and so many others along the way)

Thank you...

for teaching me

to notice
to hope
to dream

I am looking up
and yes...

I still believe!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

ONE mistake... FOUR weeks of fun!

Becoming a mother and early childhood educator has allowed me to reconnect to the childlike persistence and resilience that we so often have to fight for as adults.  The night I spilled cornmeal became a defining moment in my personal and professional journey as I learned to see more.  And although it has been almost two years since that lesson, I continue to see more (from the creation of a "Who Spilled the Cornmeal?" child development workshop, to an article proposal for an online child care publication that has been accepted,) my message to you is...

"Don't allow one mistake to keep you floored
Get up and use THAT to make something beautiful"

Please read the entire original post


to discover how one mistake led to four weeks of fun!
 
The activities for the first three days included using our sensory table for... 
 
Cornmeal and funnels
Beans and Cornmeal
Cornmeal racetrack
 

On days four and five the children enjoyed...
 
Cornmeal and colored sand art
Cornmeal tracing 
 
 
During week 2 we introduced...
 
Cornmeal and rainbow rice
Cornmeal maracas
Blindfold sensory game
Cornmeal sand castles
Cornmeal textured painting
 
 
 
 
Click here to read the interesting thing that happened
during week 3 when we made cornmeal play dough


and finally click here for week 4 activities and a video... 

Cornmeal letter search
Cornmeal goop
Play dough sensory pie
Cornmeal and shaving cream

 
We had such a great time making the most of one mistake, but we
know that there are even more activities that we could have done!
 
So let me know, how would you have used your spilled cornmeal?
 
Sharing this over at No Time For Flash Cards and also at
Living Well Spending Less for the 1-year anniversary of Thrifty Thursday! 
 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lord, Show Me A Sign

The campus was undergoing construction and I wasn't sure if I would know which way to go,
so I said a quick prayer before heading out...

"Lord, please make my path straight and show me a sign"

Sure enough when I arrived
I found parking being redirected

as several men waved large signs pointing to where I was now supposed to park

I smiled and pulled into the parking garage and found a spot

Volunteers in brightly colored vests were strategically placed along the path that led to the

conference registration
free continental breakfast
keynote address

A quick glance at the program indicated that each of my three workshops
would be held in Building T

I headed out of the gym and began walking and there it was

a sign showing me which way to go

"Lord, show me a sign", I had prayed

and now this...



And the irony was not totally lost on me because
God has a sense of humor and I know it

T is also my nickname

and as I read
the sign

Building T, go right

I also read it as
for "building" T, go right!

Only if life were always this easy
(a sign with our name and an arrow pointing which way to go)

But God has left us a sign...

His message
His Word

The Holy Bible

which points us in the right direction

And when we open it and begin to read
He makes our pathway straight

So today if you're...

unsure of where you're going
unsure of how to navigate this confusing world

or if the place you've always known
is now under construction

take a moment

to

slow down
look to the sky
and pray for direction

Proverbs 3:3-5