Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Peek into our Home Learning through Literacy: Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck

Some of you have asked me what I do during the day to establish a solid educational and play environment.  I have decided that I would blog about some of these things and maybe it can help you find a balance at home whether you are a stay at home Mom or just a Mom who wants to do a more 'structured' learning time.  Let your child's curiosity drive you and it will be an amazing experience for you to watch your child learn and grow and mature into a fine young lady or man.

As an early childhood educator, I cannot stress the importance of reading with your kids.  From the time Raileigh was growing inside me to the second she took her first breathe in my precious arms, I have made it a priority to read to her.  Reading is a bonding moment and to this day she LOVES books and I can't be more excited.  I hope that she always loves books and no one ever takes that love away from her when she is 'forced' to read books she may not like.

In today's society, everyone is busy.  It's true, but I hope that you find a moment everyday to read to your child.  It's a great way to climb into bed each night and get in those last snuggles and read a story to your child.  It's can be a very peaceful moment especially if it's a book your child wants you to read. I allow her to pick out the books we read unless it is a book that is tied into our theme of the week to incorporate various skills. 

Because I have taught elementary school, I have over 1000 books (I know call hoarders!), but Raileigh still loves going to the library.  Because our lives had been super busy, we hadn't been in a while. I mentioned going to the library to Raileigh and she lit up.  She loves to march over to the children's books, sit down and browse and pick out her stories.  She loves the feel of the book in her hands and she loves the scent.  She loves the big oversized chairs and the coziness of reading a good book.  She loves becoming the characters because I see them over and over in her playtime.  She has an amazing imagination. 

I am fortunate to get to stay home with my kiddo and make sure she gets some basic literacy before her wings are ready to fly into the world of kindergarten one day.  As a former kindergarten teacher, I have watched many light bulb moments where kids begin to connect all the puzzle pieces of reading together and the light comes on.  That is one of the happiest teaching moments ever!

I have decided to document some of my book talks and share with the world in hopes that more parents begin to read with their children.  If you don't have time, there's always If you haven't visited her, visit her.  She's also on youtube! She reads one of Raileigh's favorite stories, Pete the Cat, remarkably! 

My first book I am going to talk about is. 

Before we even start the book, I have her show me front of book and the back of the book. 

We then take a picture walk.  We look at each picture and since this book is about the beginning of the season of spring where it is still cold, we look at the pictures to talk about the weather and the characters and what the characters are thinking. 

I ask her where I start reading and where I will finish.  Sometimes we count the words on the page.  I point to the beginning of each word as I read. 

Here are some questions that I ask at the end. 

Why was little duck's pond stiff and white?
What did little duck's feet freeze to?
Which season was little duck thinking of?
 What made the ice disappearin our story?
What sound did the ice make when it started disappearing? 
What colors were the beetles in the story?
Who are the characters?
What was your favorite part? 

Since this story was read during our 'school' day, we then talked about different shapes we could use to draw the duck and I modeled a duck and wrote my sentence, The duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack."  Here is a picture that one of my littles that I work with drew.   I think it looks amazing!


For more activities visit Scholastic and Lisa Westberg Peter's Page

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Mom

Me and My beautiful Mom

Dear Mom,

All my life, I looked up to you as a role model.  All my life, I wanted to be just like you! You were an amazing Christian example and you taught me great morals and life lessons. You have always been the first person I call when I need advice and I thank you for always helping me sort through the pros and cons of each situation.   

You taught me to treat others the way I wanted to be treated.  You taught me to look inside people's hearts and not look at their skin or sexuality.  You taught me to love from within and you taught me to look at life's beauty.  

You always make sure I am okay in everything that I do and you gave me wings to fly and become a woman.  You always became Mom to my friends and you drove us wherever we wanted to go before we had our license! You opened your home to love and you always were a positive role model in my life.  

You have never once judged me for mistakes or disappointments.  You have always been an ear and have always been the rock that keeps me going.  You put up with my stubborn and strong willed ways as well as my eye rolling teenager days where I swore you were turning into Grandma! Guess what? At this moment in time, I am turning into you and it's a blessing!

You taught me what it was like to be the PERFECT mother and you gave me an amazing childhood.  You never once looked tired, you never once complained when you were sick, and you just kept going and painting a million memories for me.  You made me a priority and you always made me feel loved!
Thank you for painting a beautiful life for me! Thank you for always being my shoulder no matter what the situation was! 

You are an amazing Grandma to Raileigh and you have painted a million memories with her already! Thanks for being awesome! 
My beautiful Mom with my beautiful daughter

I love you, xoxo, Jamie

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Message to my Daughter

You are so beautiful! Photo by Scott Stevens Photography

Dear Raileigh,

I am so proud to be your Mom! As Mother's Day approaches, I want you to read that I love you to the moon in back.  You are my mini me, you are so much like me at times it's like looking at myself in the mirror.  At times, I think the only thing that makes you like Daddy is the fact that you don't like to sleep.  Daddy didn't either as a child.  You are strong willed and passionate, you are stubborn and loving, you are everything and more than perfect to us. 

This is one of our first pictures taken together. 

When Mommy had you, they said that you would have to have heart surgery, but you defied the odds.  At one year old, your PDA heart murmur closed and to this day your VSD is still open.  You have grown past the failure to thrive and turned into an amazing young lady.  They also said you may have problems learning but you are right on top of where you should be for your age.  You are so smart and we are proud of who you are.

So Perfect even from the start!
Recently, we were at a gathering and you overheard two adults ((that you admire greatly) mocking another adult ( that you admire greatly) because he was in a wheelchair.  I heard the conversation, but noticed you were not 'listening' so I said nothing.  The next day, I learned you did however hear what was being said because you asked me why so and so was making fun of so and so because he was in a wheelchair. My response was I'm not sure, but it sure wasn't nice.   You also said that it would make your friend Rachel very sad because she was in a wheelchair too.  In that instance, it reminded me how easily those around you make an impression.  In that moment, it made me realize you got something that most adults do not.  It is not okay to make fun of someone who is handicapped no matter if they brought the handicap upon themselves or were born handicapped.  I took that instance to remind you of the Golden Rule.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

I have also told you, my princess, on many occasions that you will meet people that are not so nice, but to use your love to rise above them.  There are times I wish I could wrap a bubble around you  and protect you from the world.

If only life were this magical all the time...

That's one of the reasons Mommy chose to stay home with you. I wanted to make sure you got morals that would last a lifetime.  I wanted you prepared for the future and I wanted to make sure I was there for all your firsts.

People often make the comment that you are so attached to Mommy and Daddy and all about Mommy and Daddy.  I am okay with that because I think it's important to need your parents as a child.  We don't like to see you upset and crying.  It breaks our hearts just as much as it breaks yours!

This year you were in dance once a week and away from Mommy for the first time ever.  You walked in the first day like such a big girl and like you owned the classroom.  On the second day of class, you said that you would drive yourself to dance when you were six.  I told you that I really hoped that your bike didn't have a flat tire on the way.  You have grown your big girl wings and are ready to take on the world.

Your First Dance Pictures Photography by Scott Stevens Photography

Recently at your very first dance recital, you got to stay in a room with your friends from dance and two new teachers and get ready together and hang out until you had performed both your dances.  I went to get you at dress rehearsal and you looked up at me and said, "Mom, why are you here? I am okay.  I am with my new teachers and we are having fun!" I told you I was there because it was time to go and you were okay with that.  In that instance, I also knew that you were going to be okay.  In everything that you do you will be amazing.  It doesn't mean that at times you will not disappoint me, but you are going to rock this world just like the princess you are!

Until about a month ago, you said when you grew up you wanted to be a princess.  Now you say with your big blue eyes shining bright, that you want to be a pediatrician just like yours, Dr. Hilbert.  That makes my heart smile with happiness to know that you look up to him so much!

Your Professional Role Model

You never meet a child that's a stranger.  Wherever we are you always seek out children to play with and to include in what you are doing.  You look at each child with an open mind and you make us so proud always including everyone you are around in your playtime.

You can be shy around adults, though.  Until we hand you a microphone or get you on stage.  You are a performer and you love to entertain.  Since you were a tiny tot, your favorite thing about Daddy's concert is going on stage and helping him conduct.  Recently, at an academic banquet, you got on stage and sang a tune from Jack and the Neverland Pirates.  A year ago, you sang God our Father at a band banquet and this year you also beamed with pride as you danced your dances in front of an audience.  This is another trait from Daddy.  He loves to entertain others :).

You love roller coasters! You love to sing! Your favorite music is folk and you love to rock out to Raina Rose.  You love to dance and you love gymnastics.

You also have your future husband picked out.  Not long ago, we were at HEB and you got a buddy buck to put in the machine and after you collected your points you said that you wished you had more.  Out of nowhere came a brown eyed boy who gave you his buddy bucks and points.  He then proceeded to open the door for you.  I told you to make sure when you dated and got married that you married a guy that looked out for you and opened the door for you because your Daddy still opens the door for me.  You looked at me and said that you would train R.J. to do that.  I think it's amazing that you already have love for a perfect little gentleman. 

The future husband is very handsome indeed!

My sweet pea, my angel, in everything that you do, I want you to do it to your best ability.  I want you to always be nice to those around you.  I want you to be that exceptional person that you are.  Your strong willed and stubbornness as well as your love and compassion will continue to help you blossom into an amazing young lady.  I am so proud that God chose YOU to be my DAUGHTER.  I will never stop being proud of you.
At your Recital: Daddy and I are super Proud of you!
I love you,