The reason play-dough makes me pause

ingredients for play doughAs a preschool teacher, one of the “Rights of Passage” is being able to make play dough. This gooey mixture of flour, salt, oil, water, food coloring, and cream of tartar is an art form all its own. No matter how perfect my measurements, it never comes out the same every time.

This tool is used to create all sorts of imaginary friends, foods, and creatures.

As I begin the undertaking of making play dough, I find it best to be prepared for each step. Making a plan for myself, I thoughtfully lay out my ingredients, careful to measure according to the recipe, knowing my outcome will be different from the last time, no matter what. Instead of being frustrated by this, I embrace it, regardless.messy play dough

The steps of this process are specific, and if one is missed, it can leave you totally exasperated with a big mess on your hands.

The same can be said of being a preschool teacher. Each child is a little different. They all have their basic needs which are the same: food, water, shelter, safety (thanks to  Abraham Maslow).maslow's heirarchy of needs Each comes from a different home, and a different background. No two will turn out the same. We need to take the time to look, read the history that parents provide us, and truly listen to student and parent when they talk.

It is easy to look at the play dough recipe and rush through the process, skipping integral steps along the way. Sometimes, this can be done, and the turn out is good play dough. Other times, this is done, and leaves you with a liquid or crumbly mess.  The same can be said of parents and teachers. Sometimes we want that next step to be here. We crave knowing when they will sleep through the night, roll over, walk, say mama, be potty trained, write their name, read a book, go to high school, go to college. It often feels like life is a series of next steps. When we look at the next step too much, we may be unable to see the simple steps being taken in the right now.

perfect play doughWhen play dough is made correctly it is soft but firm, is not sticky, has a smooth consistency, and can be used to teach little fingers how to pinch, roll, and make a mistake and then move on from it. It also can be used to create a masterpiece, left to dry and become concrete, and given as a present that will become a memory for a lifetime.

The same can be said about teaching. If it is done correctly, it is soft, but firm, not attached, but loving, and will teach little minds to think, be confident, Make connections, and move on from trials with grace. It also will create a pattern of memories that will become concrete in thinking, reading, and dealing with others that will last a lifetime.

Play dough and teaching go hand in hand.

creative play doughNow I am beginning to understand how this once bane of my existence as a preschool teacher is a tool that has helped me to become a better teacher.

love play doughWhen I work with a student, I am always looking for the right consistency to use with them. I have to stop, look at the recipe, and make sure I am not skipping any steps. This isn’t always easy.  It requires planning, reflection, and implementation. Reflection as a teacher is key to helping my students succeed, and learning about their family, home, and past helps me realize which ingredients have already been added so I can mix appropriately, kneed the dough of their beautiful young minds, and help them create those memories which become learned to shape their future.

It is not about the product but the process!
It is not about the product but the process!

What life lesson could you learn from a simple recipe?

Play dough – cookies – brownies – stew – lasagna -fudge

Share with me, so we can all learn from each others life lessons!

Keeping the fun in our house

With the process of finding a house, getting ours on the market, and just life in general. The boys have felt off balance. We are trying to find a balance for them in this crazy busy life.

a snow mamaOne thing we let them continue to do is jump up and go outside with their friends when they knock on the door. There are a few kids in the neighborhood that all play together, and this playing outside is so awesome for the boys. Playing outside is crucial to mental and emotional health in a child, and this outdoor play is so energizing for our boys!

 

 

a minecraft mamaWe also have removed most of their toys from the house right now. This means that boredom can set in easily. Each boy has a special “Treasure” box where they kept their favorite toys. a boys treasureThese boxes are now in their bedrooms, where they can dig in and find a special toy. They love that their treasures are close at hand, and safe. I love that they can play.

a star wars mamaMy boys also love to create. In the past they have created art work and adorned the walls of our house with their creative energy. For over a year our dining room was labeled “The Bat Cave” on construction paper cut in the shape of a bat.a bat cave mamaTheir bedroom was the movie theater, and there was a “Coming soon to a theater near you” poster in the hall. There was also a “Minecraft” Enderdragon a end for mamamade out of several pieces of construction paper on the wall. a stop sign mamaThey need this creative outlet. We now encourage journal writing with pictures, and origami.   They are planning out their creations for our new home.

We also managed to keep their crazy video games in the house, a video gamebut keep them from being a focal point of the entertainment area. We packed away the games they play rarely, kept the new ones from Christmas, and made sure their iPod’s and Kindle’s were accessible.

a baseball mamaAll of this is important to keeping them happy, and keeping our house looking ready at any moment for someone who may want to make it their home. We do not know what the next chapter will look like, but what I do know is that it will be filled with love, creativity, energy, a lot of video games, and boys. We are not in the market to pretend we don’t have kids, we are in the market to be certain our boys have what they need to be happy, and the tools they need to be successful! We also are looking forward to finding our future home.

So what is your story? How did you keep your children entertained while trying to make your house ready for sale or moving?

 

I wrote a book!

It was an assignment for class, but I wanted to do it really well.

So, I wrote a book.

I wrote the book using my dog as inspiration and creating a fictional story.
I wrote the book using my dog as inspiration and creating a fictional story.

It was a quick adventure, but I hope it will not be my last.

I started with an idea.

My dog

Silly, but I started to write about my dog liking the fall.

I edited my words after finding actual pictures of my dog.

I ended up with all of the seasons.

There is a website that allows you to create, upload, print, and even sell your own books!

So I downloaded the software, and I went to town.

I never in a million years thought that I would be writing a book.

Then I brought the book to school and other teachers said it was cute.

Then I showed my boys.

the start of her journey!
the start of her journey!

They want to read it over and over.

seriously on iBooks store!
seriously on iBooks store!

So, I made it available for purchase. This website which prints actually sets the pricing. So if you want to take a look, feel free. You can preview a few pages, or just take the plunge and buy it!

I hope you like it! Be looking for more in the future!

You can purchase it in several formats here:

my book!

iBooks store!

Thank you!

FULL DISCLOSURE: If you do purchase a book, I will receive compensation for it. The website I used has given me nothing in return, and I have not been compensated for this post directly from the website.