Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five for Friday

Hellooooo! I was sick this week with what I suspect was food poisoning. I never, ever want to experience that awfulness again. And so, I don't have much to post about.
Here goes a weak week of Five for Friday pictures. Thanks to Doodle Bugs for hosting!

Our son graduated from law school on Saturday and it will go down as one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I started crying 2 hours before the ceremony even began.
And I never stopped smiling.
So many sweet things happened.
To begin with, my youngest drove for two days to be present for the graduation and his brother.
 It was so thoughtful and wonderful to see him. What a sweetheart.
(What is it about big boy hugs? They swoop in and encircle you with those giant arms. It's the BEST!)
Graduation was in the most beautiful place. Not a bad seat in the house.
At least that's what I thought...
Until a VERY tall woman sat right in front of Mama Welch.
And then she put on her sun hat.
Here was my view of the stage:

My sweet sister in law saw what was coming (more tears, but not happy ones) and quickly changed places with me. That was great until the tall woman's equally tall daughter sat next to her.
I moved again and harmony was restored.
As we watched the students walk across the stage to get their degrees, we couldn't help but notice the power shoes that some of the women were wearing. They meant business, I tell ya! I've never seen high heels like that. They sort of scared me.  I realize I spend my days with people who wear their shoes on the wrong feet or maybe even wear two different shoes... but still.
And then my son's adorable girlfriend walked across the stage in a pair of red Keds.
I love that girl!
Congratulations to them!!
Here I am with my boy.
I couldn't get that smile off of my face!

So proud, so proud, so proud!
I know that he has found a purpose, not a profession, and will do amazing things to help others.
I'm sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about my family, so we'll move on!

I posted about Cowboy Day last Friday and was asked if I had any pictures of the chair horses in action.

Nope. Sorry partner.
But I took a few pictures to give you an idea of how we use them.

We sing around the campfire while we sit on our chair horses. Yes, I realize that no one sits on their horse around the campfire and sings. That would be plain silly. However, I could justify it because we learned "Happy Trails to You," and that's a song about meeting a fellow cowboy on the trail. We also sing this song at graduation and what better way to practice than on a horse! HA!
It was something to see....

Carolyn from Holding Hands and Sticking Together wrote a sweet post about wishes. After I read it, I remembered a fun looking art project that I thought would go perfectly with her idea.

dandelion craft with Q-tips
This is the perfect example of why it's always better to be the second person to try an art project.

Use a darker green pastel.
Even though I kind like this "blown" look, you have to model how to work in a circle. I actually drew a circle around the center for some and that helped. There are always those who want nothing more than to finish and go crazy with big blobs of white paint.
Encourage them to barely dip the cotton swab into the paint. Some of the kids overloaded their swabs and had trouble.
Here's the finished product:

Some of the kids wouldn't tell me their wish because they said it would never come true if they did.
It's never easy, is it?
 I worked out all the kinks for you and hope yours turn out better!

This is another wonderful idea for puffs but I think it would be tough for kinders.

Straight line and dot--- dandelion

Make a wish!

I'm a little surprised I took this next project on.
It's going to be a lot of work!
I'm starting a heart rock garden with the kids for graduation.
Each child brought me a heart shaped rock to be painted with their name and graduation year.
We'll have a little celebration and place them in a special spot in our school garden.
What was I thinking?
I need to practice first! My hand's not too steady!
I'll need some Modge Podge to finish them off.

I get up at 5am every morning and look at blog posts while I have a cup of coffee. You all inspire me and have made my teaching so much better. Thank you! Today I read a post that resonated with me.
My friend Carolyn Kisloski wrote her Five for Friday post and, as usual,  it was wonderful.
All of it.
Her number 5 really hit home with me. I hope you'll take a moment to read it.
I've worried for a long time about how hard we're pushing academics and not looking at the importance of play in a child's daily life.

Social interaction, role playing, and imaginative play are vital to their healthy development.
My kids are with me for such a short time and, in order to get all the curriculum covered,
 they work hard.
And EVERY morning, someone will say, "Mrs. Welch, when do we play?" They know the schedule. It's been the same all year. They have to have station time and then they get a 15 minute recess.
I work hard to make learning fun, but it doesn't replace free, unstructured play time.
I love these quotes:

and this:
So, today was our weekly Indoor/outdoor  Day.
The kids get to go from inside to outside as they desire. I'm usually inside and my TA supervises outside. They are so busy dreaming up things, building, chasing, organizing, arguing and then working together. They are covered in mud or dressed in princess dresses. It's busy time and they always have a ball. Today it was all about butterflies and tea parties.

A group of girls set an elaborate table, colored a beautiful invitation and went to get the principal and our secretary for a tea party. (Our principal taught preschool, kindergarten and first grade for many years and understands the importance of play). They all sat together and ate mini Oreos and poured milk from a little teapot. Cutest thing EVER!
Social Skills and Manners 101.

 We  also happened to have a bunch of butterflies in our play yard yesterday. Out came the butterfly nets and all the hoopla that goes with them! The kids had to figure out a system for sharing. It was a very valuable lesson in negotiations. We got out our butterfly books and talked about how not to hurt them.

Earlier that morning, I found this note from the same little friend who wrote last week's "Summer is coming up" note. Let me translate his "kinderese" for you! It says,
Dear  Sandy (HA!),
It's me (his name).
I want a camera for taking pictures.
So, my buddy and I spent the morning running around taking pictures with MY camera of every insect and butterfly we could find. Here's one of his masterpieces:

( Don't your kids love when you stop to play with them?) 

While I know that my kids have covered the common core curriculum, and have the foundation to be academically successful in first grade, it 's equally important that they have been encouraged to work with others and to be kind, to listen, to celebrate differences. They have been given an opportunity to be creative, to solve problems in more than one way, to have empathy, to apologize and move on. They have failed and learned from their mistakes. They have had to start over. They have felt joy, they have laughed hard. They have sung songs and danced like nobody's business. They have been celebrated and challenged. These life skills aren't from my lesson plans. They come from PLAY!!!!

 I pray that my littles are happy people who can apply their knowledge in a productive and meaningful way in this very complex world. They will need to work together. They can be brilliant, but if they can't relate to others, there will be a price to pay.
As another year comes to an end, I'll tearfully send them off, but will watch from a distance as their biggest fan. I hope they play as hard as they work. 
I hope someday that they find a purpose, not a profession.

Whew! Sorry about that!
I hope you play all weekend!
Kids Project : Cardboard Slide


  1. As always- LOVE LOVE LOVE. I want to come explore with your class! Oh my goodness- that wish jar is the best thing ever. I adore that. I am going to make one! Right now! I love the paintings of the wish flowers and writing wishes. So sweet. CONGRATULATIONS on the graduation. You look so happy and proud and SHOULD BE! The hat picture cracked me up because it would totally be me!
    XOX Carolyn

  2. The wishes turned out super cute!! Love that idea.