Friday, March 20, 2015

Go Home Winter, You're Drunk

So, according to my calendar, today is the first day of spring. But it's snowing, so I really don't know what to make of that...

No matter, because I am on SPRING BREAK!

spring break animated GIF

After a full week of parent teacher conferences that ended at 6:30 last night,

I celebrated by treating myself to a mani/pedi (in preparation for our trip to Florida on Tuesday!)

Along with a full-on Netflix binge of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Seriously, I was up until far too late and finished the entire first season in one sitting. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS. I found myself laughing out loud so many times and wishing that there were more episodes to watch when I got up this morning.

Since the weather outside is frightful, I do not feel like walking to the gym. I plan on enjoying my first full day of vacation with one of these yoga videos. Then I'll probably be snuggling up with a book (currently I am enjoying On Beauty by Zadie Smith). More likely, I will be snuggling up with Netflix. But hey, it's spring break, so I do what I want!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Favorite Biography Picture Books

I am so proud of my kiddos! We were in the thick of our biography genre study and getting ready for our publishing party. Then, BAM-- we miss two days because of a snowstorm. Obviously, I was sort of freaking out because I really didn't know if everyone would finish! But finish they did!

We read a lot of mentor texts to prepare us for understanding the genre and writing our own biographies. Below are a few of my favorites that we read:

From top left to right:

Malala: A Brave Girl From Pakistan/Iqbal: A Brave Boy From Pakistan by Jeanette Winter

Eleanor by Barbara Cooney

Monsieur Marceau by Leda Schubert

Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars by Mark Weston

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

The Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash by G. Neri

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh

There were so many meaningful and interesting conversations surrounding these biographies. It was wonderful seeing the kids make connections to other people they had read about in the news or to events happening today--for example, after reading about Cesar Chavez, a lot of the kids connected his method of using non-violence to Dr. Martin Luther King. When reading about Marcel Marceau, many children circled back to learning about Albert Einstein and how he also lived during World War II.  Many of the people we read about were unknown to the kids, but now they feel like they have gotten to know each person individually and reference them in many different parts of the day!

Besides using mentor texts to help find information about our biographical figures, kids used iPads and chromebooks to do research online. We categorized our research into paragraphs about the person's "early life", "adult life" and "accomplishments". Our librarian introduced me to , a great tool for e-resources. There is a section for child-appropriate search engines, like Searchasarus, SIRS Discoverer, and Kid's Search. All you need to access it is a PA library card number! I am sure there are search engines like this for most libraries all over the country. Find out from your local or school librarian!

Now that our publishing party is finished, it's time for me to begin gearing up for spring conferences next week! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Easiest DIY Ever

Sometimes it is hard for me to process that I am kind of a real adult now. I am married. I have a job. I pay rent! And car payments! AGH!

Recently, I have been on a sort of home redecorating obsessive-compulsive thing (thanks a lot, Pinterest). I think my husband is freaking out because I have been rearranging our furniture so often and he can't keep up...sorry dude!

I am by no means handy. Neither is my husband. So DIYs that I see online, while beautiful, just don't seem possible with our limited skills. However, whilst shopping at Target, I stumbled upon this adorable washi tape....

.....and I had an idea for an DIY!

I think this side table was the first ever piece of furniture I purchased post-college for my first apartment in D.C. It was a right of passage (Ikea) and a steal ($8!). I felt accomplished. I honestly can't believe it has lasted so long, moving from D.C. to NYC and through two apartments in Philly. Definitely time for an upgrade. I also really want to brighten up our living room and eliminate some of the black for a fresher look. Washi tape to the rescue!

I simply used a ruler and a pencil to outline a chevron pattern on the top of the table. Then I got to work arranging the tape in different combinations. Viola!

What do you think? It's definitely nothing fancy, but I think it spruces up the table nicely!

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