Saturday, December 10, 2016

Election Musings in December

I woke up this morning, December 6, almost a month since the election and
realized that we truly are living in an alternate reality, a time and place that I no longer recognize.  Where our freedom and first Amendment rights are in jeopardy.  This is not the United States that I remember.  We are surrounded by a dark ominous cloud.  The president is no longer a person that our children can look up to. I truly hope that I’m wrong and that our country can come together. Sadly, I’m not feeling very hopeful at this point.

What do we say to our children? How do we let them know that bullying is wrong, that hatred and prejudice are wrong? We do this by talking to them and by being the person that they can look up to.  I came across this letter that a father wrote to his children the day after the election. He said what is probably on many of our minds.

“I know that you asked for me to wake you up when we learned who won the election. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I am very sorry to let you know that Donald Trump has won. He will be the President for at least the next four years.

Mom and I are very upset by this, and we know that you will be too.  We want you to know a few things:

1. We are not alone. Millions of people voted for Hillary Clinton. They share our shock and disbelief this morning.
2. You don’t need to be afraid.  Even though you have heard hateful things from Trump and his supporters, there are ALWAYS people that will stand up to that hate. Together we will protect each other and the values we find important.
3. There is a lot to be hopeful about.  This isn’t the end of a fight. This is just another chapter of a struggle that’s been going on for a long time.  If you look at the progress we’ve  made as a country and as a planet, you’ll see that there is much to celebrate.  This type of setback happens often, and it makes us even stronger.

You have learned in school about the dream of what our country can be. Today you might be learning that there is still a long way to go before that dream becomes reality for all of us.  But I still believe in that dream very strongly, and so should you.

I hope this experience helps you understand why Mom and I spend a great deal of time and energy fighting for things that we believe in.  Why we speak up when we see something that we think is wrong.  We hope that as you grow up and make up your own minds about things, that you’ll join us in this struggle.  We know that your passions will allow you to accomplish great things.

Days like this are hard. But they are also great reminders of how important it is to keep fighting for what is right, and we will.” by Joel Levin

After reading this, with tears in my eyes, I felt a bit stronger, I knew that
together we could make a difference.  So I’ve joined thousands of teachers to make our voices heard, to show kindness instead of anger and hate. To be the people our children can look up to. As  Mrs. Obama said, “ When they go low, we go high.”  We all need to remember that “Love Trumps Hate!”

Caught in the Act of Being Kind
With this in mind, I’ve put together a resource called, “Caught in the Act of Being Kind.” Whenever a child witnesses someone doing a kind deed for
someone else, that person will be rewarded with a kindness card that can be saved in their kindness booklet.

Since the holiday season can be a sad one for so many people. "How to Beat the Holiday Blues," is another creation meant to help those kiddos who are unhappy.

How to Beat the Holiday Blues
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I can’t think of a better time to show good will to each other than the holiday season which is upon us.

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful holiday season.

Deann
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This is a part of our December Teacher Talk blog link up. Please check out these blog posts from other educators.





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Thursday, November 24, 2016

GiveBackFriday





AFCA
During this holiday season, I’m participating in a one day #GiveBackFriday sale with a wonderful group of teacherpreneurs. I’d especially like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of my customers and friends by offering two products at 50% off. Since this is the time for giving, I’ll be donating 20% of my profits to an organization called American Foundation for Children with Aids (AFCA) run by my niece, Tanya Abadia. 

AFCA supports efficient and sustainable programs that promote self-reliance for children infected and/or affected by Aids as well as their families and caregivers.  They work in regions that are underserved and marginalized providing care that is measurable, real and hope filled.  If you’re interested learning more about this organization, here is a link. www.afcaids.org 

 All you have to do is go to Tpt and type in #GiveBackFriday and you will see all the items that are half price.

The resources that I’m including are a values lesson entitled How to Beat the Holiday Blues. Holidays are a time of sadness for many, and our children are not immune. This little activity will help them to feel better about themselves.  It involves having the children give complimentary notes to each other, and the teacher.


Socrates Lantern's Tpt Store
The second resource is a winter writing prompt bundle entited, Sno Wonderful Literacy and History Writing Prompts for Winter. It includes: No Prep Printables such as Writing Task Cards, and Posters for Narrative, Persuasive, Descriptive, Expository and Creative Writing.  History, Legends, Comprehension Questions, Rough Drafts, Graphic Organizers, Timelines, and  Final Copy Sheets.  Writing Activities consist of New Year’s Resolutions, Martin Luther King Jr, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, President’s Day, and; General Winter Themes.


Socrates Lantern's Tpt Store

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thanksgiving Recipe Swap


Don’t you just love the aroma of turkey roasting in the oven? Sometimes I think that it smells better than it tastes. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Since Thanksgiving is the time for savory, mouth watering delights, how about having your class participate in a favorite recipe swap. This will get them ready for the holiday and have some fun while doing it.

Introduce this activity by talking about foods eaten for the holidays such as Easter, Yom Kippur, Chinese New Year,Thanksgiving Christmas, etc. Write all suggestions on the board. After this is finished, let them know that they will be participating in a recipe swap. Ask them to choose their favorite Thanksgiving recipe, write it down, and make up questions about it. I've come up with blank recipe cards as well as question and answer cards. By the way, you should make a copy of your favorite recipe too.

When the anticipated day arrives, they can break into their collaborative groups, have one child read their recipe, and then ask questions about it. Make sure you have enough time so that everyone can participate.

Collect the recipes and photocopy them so that each child has a copy. If this is too tedious, have the children choose the recipes that they like the best and have them copy them on the cards. Once finished, they can be stapled together and put into a little booklet that can be taken home and shared with their families.

As a culmination to this activity, and if time permits, have a tasting party, let each child bring in their favorite dish. if you decide to do this, you can let your class decorate festive placemats for the occasion. 

*Turkey image by: Sticky Foot Studio

Thanksgiving Recipe Swap
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This is part of our November Teacher Talk, check out these great blog posts.



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Sunday, October 09, 2016

It's BOO-Tober, Time for Some Sensory Poems



It’s BOOtober and the perfect time to get those creative juices flowing in your 5-8 grade students. Fall is the perfect season for this. Can’t you just hear the rustling of leaves under your feet, or the howling wind as the days begin to grow colder. How about biting into that first crisp red apple of the season. I just love Macouns, my tongue waters as I think about the tart sweetness of my favorite fruit.

Flip Book:Sensory Poems @Socrates Lantern

                                        I love the smell of maple syrup as it’s being removed from the trees? A friend of mine tapped hers one year and I remember the sweet, delicious aroma that permeated the air. I could just taste the syrup on some buckwheat pancakes, yum!

October is the perfect month for using your senses, the sights, sounds, tastes of the season are all around us. Why not take advantage of it with a poetry writing activity that I've finished in time for Halloween.

To get you started, bring in some paper cups or paper bags. Place a different object into each one. The children are to close their eyes and feel it. With Halloween in mind, use some items that work well with the holiday, for instance, a grape feels like an eyeball, yuck!  Silly putty, marshmallows, even those squishy spiders or snakes that you can purchase at a dollar store, would do the trick. A dog toy shaped like a frankfurter would feel like intestines. I know the kids will love the creepiness of this and they'll want to write about it. Other objects you could use are tiny pumpkins, sandpaper, hair, something rubbery. Pumpkin seeds, chocolate, hard candy, those weird tasting jellybeans would be great for tasting. Use your imagination and you'll come up with more.


This other activity is called Halloween Spooks, it's a great way to get those minds thinking and writing some spooky stories in collaborative groups and or individually.




Halloween Spooks Creative Writing @Socrates Lantern
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This is part of our October Teacher Talk. Be sure to see what these
other educators are doing this month.






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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Teacher Author Appreciation & Autumn Solstice TagDay Sale and Giveaway


I hope everyone has had the best back to school year ever. In honor of the fall equinox and Teacher Author Appreciation Day,  I'm teaming up with some 15 other TpT sellers and collaborators to bring you an amazing weekend of steals, and #tagday deals and giveaways for grades 3-6 and SPED. You don’t want to miss out on this SALE, so be sure to mark your calendars. It begins Friday Sept. 23, 2016 @12 am EST and ends Monday Sept. 25, 2016 @ 12 am.

Fall Writing Activities
First up a set of Fall Writing Activities with everything you need for the season. 32 Writing task cards consisting of Expository, Persuasive and Narrative writing ideas and story starters. Themes include Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Sandwich Day, Election Day, Candy Day and Cake Day. As an added extra, a humorous poster of a thinking turkey with the quote,"If this Turkey Could Talk, What Would He Say?" Great for discussion and or written assignment.
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Halloween Spooks
Next is an excerpt from my BOOtober Creative Writing Resource. The teacher will read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving. You may choose a different story if you like. Discuss what makes a scary story. Be sure to let them know that suspense and surprise endings are important elements in this genre. For a collaborative activity, they will write a scary Halloween tale with their partners and each person will contribute. To spark their natural competitiveness, let them know that they will read their piece to the class who will choose which tale is the scariest. You could give the winning group something special for Halloween. When the appointed day arrives, have them sit in a circle and pretend they are around the
campfire, they can use flashlights for the effect.  Turn off the lights, play some scary music and set the stage.
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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and my final  resource being offered , is called, What am I Thankful For, and includes a values lesson that will help your students  think about this.
What am I Thankful For?

FINALLY, we’re holding a RAFFLECOPTER for a chance to win a product of your choice, from one of these awesome stores. So be sure to enter by FOLLOWING my store and /or  others. The more stores or Facebook pages you like, the more chances you have to win. Type #tagday at Tpt to find all the shops that are in this FALLWONDERFUL SALE!


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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Remembering 9/11


I remember September 11 as if it were yesterday. I woke up to a spectacular morning, not a cloud in the deep blue sky. The day was simply perfect.  I went through my usual morning routine, got in my car and drove to work thinking about my class and the kind of day it would be. I arrived at school, went to my room to gather my thoughts and prepare for what was ahead. Soon my students began to trickle into homeroom, announcements over and Channel One, our news channel had ended. We had our morning meeting, switched classes and World History began.

At 9:20 we escorted our 6th graders to the gym for their P.E class, it was now our planning period. As is our usual custom, my partner and I went to the office to check our mailboxes. Unfortunately, this was not to be an ordinary day, I turned when I heard a loud noise coming from the TV set that the secretaries were watching and was horrified at what I saw, it was the 2nd plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I felt as if I were in a nightmare, disbelief and terror filling my head. We both stood there speechless, unable to comprehend what our eyes were showing us. I called my husband and told him what had happened, he spent the day glued to the tv. Being a New Yorker for a good many years, he was affected deeply. To this day, he is unable to watch videos of that fateful day.

Back to reality, I knew that somehow I'd had to get through this day. The principal told us not to tell our students, he didn't want them to panic. He planned to break the news to them at an assembly later that afternoon. With my heart in my stomach, I picked up my class and had to continue teaching as if everything was fine.

The time just dragged on, I felt like a robot going through the motions, though the children had no idea that anything was wrong. During lunch the teachers were glued to the television set that was in our lounge. I couldn't eat a thing, my stomach just kept turning over.

Lunch finished, we picked up our charges and brought them to the auditorium where the principal broke the news. There was an eerie silence, you could hear 
a pin drop. He really didn't go into much detail, but answered any questions that the kids had. I remember that one of our students an Afghani went home early, he was picked up by his parents, they were afraid That there would be repercussions.

Back at homeroom, a few kids broke down and cried, others were worried about aunts, uncles, friends of the family who worked at the towers. I tried my best to alleviate their fears, and keep them calm. Needless to say we had a few group hugs. The day finally ended, buses were called and when the last person left, I put my head on my desk and wept.
Remembering the Vigiano Brothers

My cousin's wife lost two of her relatives. They were first responders, one was a fireman, the other a policeman. Wonderful courageous people who gave their lives to help others. Though I never met them, they will always be in my heart as will all of those who lost their lives during this horrible tragedy.


 Deann




This post is part of our September Teacher Talk Blog link up. Please check out what these  dedicated teachers have to say.









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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

RESTORING HOPE: to Louisiana



On August 11th, 2016, a stationary weather system resulted in torrential downpours with upwards of two feet of rain that devastated several parishes across South Louisiana. The extreme amount of rainwater, close to 7.1 trillion gallons of water, caused rivers, lake, and other bodies of water to reach and exceed flood stages in the following days. In the blink of an eye, the water began rising and encroaching upon not just areas that typically flood, but the flooding waters found their way to places that had never even had the threat of flooding before. The widespread devastation of the rising water quickly destroyed countless homes, businesses, and schools.

As the water began to recede and people were allowed into the areas that were flooded, the full extent of the damage was visible. For many people, they lost an entire lifetime of memories and personal treasures. While the loss of personal property and people's livelihood were tragic, an equally tragic loss was the impact that the flood waters had on area schools. There are over 30 schools, both public and private, across several parishes that suffered significant water damage to their campuses. Livingston Parish alone had 15 public schools that suffered water damage with at least 8 schools that experienced extensive damage that will take months to repair. While the school buildings will have to be repaired to be safe for students and staff to return, this work will be done and funded through the individual school systems, but what can be done to help the individual teachers replace their classroom materials, personal items, and everything else that made their classrooms whole?

I'm pleased to announce that I have joined forces with an amazing group of Teacher Authors from Teachers Pay Teachers to create a fundraiser, Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers. The core team behind Restoring Hope is comprised of Kristen fromTeacher Playground, Andrea from This Literacy Life, Shannon from OCD in First, and Stephanie from The Creative Classroom. We came together and created the fundraiser as a way to help our fellow Louisiana teachers rise up and rebuild their classrooms. Our fundraiser has been made possible by the generous donations that we have received from 90+ TPT sellers that include high-quality products ranging from Kindergarten to High School. In total, there are six product bundles available and four donation options. The TPT store will go live on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 and will remain open for at least 30 days. You can click the banner below to visit our store and support Louisiana teachers by buying product bundles or simply donating money to the fundraiser.














Where will we be donating the proceeds raised from the fundraiser?

One of the biggest pieces of this fundraiser was trying to decide where we would donate the money we raised for Louisiana teachers to ensure that it would be fairly and equally distributed to those in need.100% of the proceeds that are made through our TPT store will be donated to the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana's Disaster Relief Fund. This organization is donating 100% of all money that they receive to public and private schools teachers who lost some or all of their classroom materials due to the flooding.








Our team knew that we wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing teachers who have supported our fundraiser by purchasing a bundle or donating money. Shannon from Blogs Fit For A Queen has graciously donated a FREE BLOG DESIGN. When you purchase one of the bundles from the Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers TPT Store, you can enter for a chance to win! All you have to do is complete the form that is attached in the product bundle or donation page by October 15th, 2016.


We would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors who have donated resources to the fundraiser bundles. Without your help and generosity, none of this would have been possible. 
DEANN
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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Teaching Tolerance During this Election Season




I don’t know about you, but this was the first political convention I’ve followed with interest and a great degree of concern.  We need to embrace our diversity, to look for the good in each other, and notice the positive things we see happening every day.  I was appalled by what I saw occur during the Republican convention. It was shocking to witness such divisiveness, hate, pessimism and fear mongering. Everything was dark and ominous.  Our country wasn’t built on that. It was built on faith, optimism, a genuine caring for each other and working together for the greater good. That is the American way!  We teach our children to be compassionate, to respect each other no matter their race, or religion, and to find something positive in everything and everyone. How can we expect them to believe us when they see a bully running for president, an individual who has no respect for women, disabled people, minority groups, immigrants, even experienced judges, let alone heroic veterans and those in the military who have dedicated their lives to serving our country and protecting our freedom.

What if this irresponsible, inexperienced, bigoted person, whose only accomplishment is enriching himself while cheating and taking advantage of others less powerful, were to become leader of the free world? Will he stop and erode all the hard fought progress made by honest, hard working champions for our way of life?

So how do you respond when a young person asks, “Why is this bully running for president, I’m afraid of him,” or “Why doesn’t he like Mexicans, is he going to send us back to Mexico? We have to let our kids know that just because he has succeeded at something, doesn’t mean he’s someone to follow or vote for.  That freedom of speech is part of our constitution and the law of the land allowing anyone to exercise it freely. Sadly, has taken advantage of this.

Let your kids know that anger is a normal emotion, sometimes we all feel this way. The main goal is to allow one  to express his/her feelings and not to keep them bottled up inside.  We need to let them know that sometimes people say hurtful things when they are frightened, unhappy, immature, and jealous of those who have been successful in their lives. Bullies often feel threatened by the accomplishments of others so they lash out.


1. Parents and/or teachers should ask questions and listen to what the kids have to say.
  Here are some tips.
· Ask what they think about the presidential nominees
· Who are the candidates?
· What kind of people are the candidates?
· What are some of the things they’ve been talking about?
· Who would you vote for and why?



2. Express how you feel and give clear reasons why. This will help children learn coping skills when they feel unhappy, angry and fearful. These actions will aid them in understanding that they have choices, are connected and empowered.
· This is an opportunity to hold a discussion about differences of opinion, how to debate respectfully, and how to fight for a cause. Create various scenarios that they can role play.
· Use historical events to help make sense out of what is happening today. Spend classroom time talking about current events on a daily basis. Do not try to sway their opinion with your own.
· Parents should also join in with a statement of how they feel about the election.
· They could do the following with their children, view anti-racial speeches. attend a rally, write a letter to the candidate, take their child to vote with them.
3.  Last, but not least, allow the children to speak freely about anything that is 
    on their mind. Be honest and sincere when answering their questions.

The way influential adults act and talk about women, immigrants and each other is important. It is the basis for how our kids view the government, society and relationships.  If this negativity continues, it will change our world for the worse and we don’t want to go to a place that we will never be able to return from. As adults, it is our responsibility to say what is on our mind, to let our voices be heard by voting, and to be role models for our charges.

I have strong feelings this election season, and I hope that I haven't offended anyone with this post.  Thanks for reading....
Deann


http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/How-do-you-talk-to-your-kids-about-Trump.html
http://time.com/4263213/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-donald-trump/
http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/how-to-talk-with-your-kids-about-donald-trump-20160415



Back to School Activities

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This is part of our August Teacher Talk, so head on over to the other posts to see the tips/ideas from all of our educators.

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