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Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

End of School Craziness

Perhaps you've seen the owls circulating Facebook.
I am totally the owl on the right; so to celebrate all of us losing our minds, I've created a logic problem about us at the end of the year. It's called Tired Teachers, and it might give your third through fifth grade students a chuckle when they read about what exhausted teachers do in May.
You may purchase this little gem for just $1 
Plus it comes complete with an answer key-a necessity because let's face it,
We're Tired!
If you like logic, please check out my store. I have 
plenty of problems to challenge bright kids.
End of School

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Silly Sunday: Wacky Packages

Koduck
Fright Guard
When I was a kid, we dashed to the candy store, paid our nickels, and got packs of Wacky Packages. I had a thick stack of stickers after collecting for awhile, but somehow they've disappeared over the years. I wish I still had them because these vintage cards are going for several dollars a piece on Ebay. Some for a several lot of dollars.

Beanball
Drowny
It's funny to reflect on the goofy topics that appeal to kids. At my ten year high school reunion, my grade school classmates and I reminisced about how easy it was to make our sixth grade selves laugh. All we had to do was whisper, "Underwear," and everyone within hearing distance would laugh so hard they'd have to cross legs to keep from peeing.


Why don't these things make us laugh anymore? Adults take life too seriously. 
Does anyone else remember these?










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,,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cousin Katie's Super Heroes

My cousin Katie's baby is Spiderman.



She is expecting baby #2.

 Will it be:



a boy?


or




a girl? 

Either way, the baby will be super!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Travelers


My kids are quite the travelers.


Erica enjoyed being on a tropical island.


Judy traveled to the bottom of the ocean … without a diving mask.


My child even visited the moon … without a space suit!


Welcome to another dimension – The Twilight Zone.


Erica even traveled back in time to her grandparents honeymoon!






But Daniel beats all because he's been to South of the Border!



Now it's your turn to travel to the Picket Fence and vote for me. Thanks!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: King of Ithaca by Tracy Barrett

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
Ever pick up a book while thinking, I'm not going to like this but I'll give it a girl scout try; then you find yourself totally blown away from its brilliance? I'm talking about a book which might have been a catalog from a tool store as far as my interest in that subject matter was concerned. But OMG, "King of Ithaca" by Tracy Barrett is an absolutely amazing book!

Tracy took a teen, with a name I can't pronounce, and sent him on a perilous journey to find his missing father, none other than Odysseus. She threw in the wit of a stinky, cave-dwelling monster, the camaraderie of good friends, a few mythological twists, multiple near death experiences and voila, a page turner I couldn't put down. Tracy, your book is brilliant! Up there with Percy Jackson's fantastic quests but fresh in that it wasn't overdone in the area of monsters and myth. In fact, the scariest monsters were of the human variety.

I know my students will love "The King of Ithaca"; however, once one kid reads it and starts talking, it's going to become so popular in my classroom that I may have trouble prying it out of their little fingers. I've got to get Tracy to autograph my copy at the Midsouth SCBWI Conference, so do I let the little scholars circulate it or do I hold it at home until after the conference? Oy! Such a wonderful problem.

Don't forget to vote for me on the Picket Fence. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Silent pictures



Who said Wordless Wednesday has to be still pictures? Enjoy my talented daughter's first movie.



video 


... and to think, Erica can't decide what to major in.


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lost and Found #GBE2

#3 = Lost and Found

I'm not sure exactly when it happened, perhaps in the year 15 BC (before children), my mind started to gradually slip away. It wasn't anything dramatic like space aliens ringing the doorbell and asking for brain samples, but rather a slow deterioration of sanity.

Maybe it started in middle school when the dorks teased me for wearing my sister's powder blue, handi-me-down gym uniform instead of the sexy red ones on sale at school. With the red garbs, one could  turn them around backwards and slide the zipper down low. Ms. "McFeel," the questionable PE teacher didn't seem to mind as long as we wore a PE uniform and took our showers after class. If not the uniforms, perhaps the brain drain came when I was brave stupid enough to get on stage in a flapper outfit and dance the Charleston with Steve Noonan in front of the laughing student body.

"What was everyone laughing at?" I later asked a friend.

"Your costumes," she said.

Yeah, right! I was almost naive enough to buy it. Junior High School definitely chipped a good 10% of mind out of my clueless head.

High school must have taken some more. Shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I got my driver's license and proudly drove into the car next to me in a snowy parking lot. Okay, I wasn't proud of hitting the car (multiple times when the honkers made me panic), but I was proud of the first time being alone in the car, until . . .

Being a mindless teen, I stuck a note about the size of a bobby pin on the damaged car's windshield wiper and crawled home to tell my dad. He took it well. In fact, he took it a lot better than the lady I hit. For the next year, my parents begged and pleaded me to take the car out alone, but by then about 20% of mind went missing, so no can do. I've only been in one other mild fender bender in over thirty years of driving daily, so maybe I found five percent between then and now.

College took more due to a little bit of drinking at parties. Alcohol has been scientifically proven to kill brain cells, so go ahead and remove the five percent I'd found plus 5% more and now I'm down to 75% sanity. Until my boyfriend said, "Will you marry me and live in Memphis?"

Marrying him was actually a fabulous idea, but I question my mental state when I said,"Yes to Memphis." If that ain't love, I don't know what is. Take away another 5% for moving to Memphis and becoming a teacher. A teacher? Did I say, "5%?" Better make that 5% for moving to Memphis and 25% for becoming a teacher. What am I down to now? 45%? Being able to do basic math means I have a little bit of mind left add 5%, but then I got pregnant. Three times. Three children.

Some comedian, can't remember who, once said we lose half of our minds with each child born. That would put me far into the negative category. Just because I scratched my head and hopped like a monkey to get my babies to smile does not mean I've lost my mind? I mean, doesn't everyone do that?

Since this challenge is called "Lost and Found," I must end with the story about how I got it all back. We put the baby on a bus this morning and sent her off to be a camp counselor for the summer. The middle one comes home in five days and stays for a few weeks, but come fall we will be official empty nesters. If that doesn't restore my mind, nothing will!



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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kindergarten

I'd always heard that whatever one needs to survive in life, one learns in Kindergarten. If you haven't seen Kindergarten in a while, keep in mind that it's now the new first grades. These little tikes, who are barely out of diapers, are already writing complete stories and completing real math problems. Forget about identifying numbers--that was so preschool. With such a tough curriculum, I wonder how any kid could survive without the pre-school experience.

I remember a carefree kindergarten year with Miss Meyers. She was a loving older woman, who I was lucky enough to have right before she retired. I loved her dearly. Apparently she loved me too because at the end of the year, I found her pink crayon in my bag. I went to tell her about it, and she said, "Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but I gave it to you because you're my favorite." Okay, here I am forty-four years later blabbing about it, but this little act meant so much to baby me. It gave me the foundation and confidence to continue on in school for another seventeen years!

I have three children who have made it through Kindergarten and way beyond. When my youngest started Kindergarten she came across the misfortune of having spoken to Ross. He was a foolish young man who worked at our community center. After Erica enjoyed her first day of Kindergarten, Ross asked her if she cried. When she gave him a puzzled look and said, "No," he didn't stop. He told my child how she is supposed to cry on the first day of Kindergarten. Everyone cries. So needless to say, she started an epidemic up and down the hall on day two. The worst criers were the teachers' kids whose moms worked right there in the building. Thanks a lot, Ross! I thought about payback when his kiddos started Kindergarten but had grown up too much to have fun at his expense. Dag-gum-mit!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Punishments

With all of the blogger outage mess, I messed up and posted my O piece first, so if you want to keep in this backwards order, scoot down one entry and that should be for today. You can pretend that I posted punishments yesterday, if that makes you happy. For those who don't care, here goes . . .

My husband and I were never ones to spank our children. Not to say we didn't punish them when they misbehaved, we just found better ways to discipline. Discipline doesn't need to leave kids angry or bitter, but rather to teach children right from wrong.

One of our most successful punishments worked well with our oldest two kids when they were very young. "Do what we say or we won't let you brush your teeth." The kids would scramble to obey because nothing was worse than a stinky mouth. Not only did we get them to mind us, but we changed their view of tooth brushing from something parents force their children to do to a privilege.

I remember another situation when our son was just a toddler.  I was struggling to load our large golden retriever into the back of our van. Daniel spun circles while I was distracted until a truck honked and nearly missed hitting him. Many parents would spank a child for going into the street, but in reality, whose fault is it? He was too young to understand his actions, and I needed to be more focused on him than the dog. If I needed to be angry with anyone, it should have been me. I let my instincts take over when I snatched that baby into my arms. Tears shot out of my eyes as I told him how scared I was at the thought of almost losing him because I love him so much. We locked in a hug for a long while, and that boy never ventured into the street again. Objective reached.

Finally, it would be nice to say that my children never fought with each other, but they did. Once they reached "our" limit of fighting, we sat them on the love seat until they learned how to love each other. We didn't need to punish them because they punished themselves more than we ever could have. To quote Bill Cosby, "Parents don't want fair, they want quiet."

Parents need to quit hitting their children and find quintessential punishments instead. I know I wouldn't do a better job at work, or any where else, if someone hit me whenever I messed up. What is the true message in spanking?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Snowdruff #AtoZ #atozchallenge

"Making Snow" By, Erica Lansky
I don't like to poke fun at my students, but one former pupil's antics are just too good not to write about. The young man came charging to the teachers with an excitement in his voice that can only be heard in children. "I can make it snow!" he said.

And snow it did. The boy leaned over the pavement and scratched his head causing multiple flakes to fall onto the ground. After he produced a heavy snow storm, a crowd of children gathered around him to see if they too could make it "snow." But alas, no one else's hair was quite that snowy.

For your video enjoyment, here's a clip from the Breakfast Club. Watch Ally Sheedy make it snow!




Tune in tomorrow for the letter T = "Taunting Siblings."






Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tina Fartingle - Tooth Fairy Extraordinaire #AtoZ

Our family tends to go by the old adage, "Once you know the secret, you become a part of the game." This is how it went once my oldest kids discovered the tooth fairy myth with baby sister who would often leave notes under the pillow for the money delivering tooth fairy. This wouldn't have been so bad had they not decided to answer the notes and name the tooth fairy.

Artwork by Erica L. Lansky
Being the kids that they once were, these two clowns named her Tina Fartingle. Miss Fartingle made many visits to Erica and left notes, money, and even toys under her pillow. Come fourth grade, Erica was starting to doubt the existence of the tooth fairy but had her beliefs renewed when a friend in her class had the same tooth fairy with the same obscene name.

It all happened when another mother of a child in the class, happened to call me wanting to know the tooth fairy's name. To make matters worse, I taught her gifted child in my special class. I hemmed and hawed and finally blurted out, "Fartingle! But I didn't come up with that."

Needless to say, Emily's tooth fairy was also named Tina Fartingle which made the girls sure that she must exist. Smart little Erica continued the charade for many years after that. Why not? Even if you were fixing to shave, would you admit non-belief in something that brings money under the pillow?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Empty Nest #AtoZ

Today, April 6, means it's been 23 years since I gave birth to our first child--and to think, I was only six at the time. My husband and I have vivid memories of bringing that sleeping baby boy home from the hospital, setting his car seat on a table, looking at each other and saying, "What the heck are we supposed to do with it?"
Happy Birthday, Danielson! 

We figured out what to do after dipping the poor kid in cold bathwater and sticking the snot snatcher up the baby's nose then squeezing. It's okay, the son is no longer cross-eyed and eventually we figured out how to suck his buggers out. In fact, we did such a good job at this that when Daniel woke after surgery from a soccer injury, he even asked me to pick his nose.

Judy Woo
Soon we added two female bundles of job (yes it's a typo, but I thought it was fitting) to the mix to create a full house of, "Mmmoooooommm! She looked at meeeeeeee!" Ah the pleasures of raising children! And of course big brother became a master at egging the little two into a fight then stepping back to watch.

Erica - Baby Bear
Yes, we've had many wonderful years of joy and vomit, but those days are quickly coming to an end for the youngest of the crew is now a Senior in High School. She has chosen to attend the furthest school possible, Zhejiang University in China. Just kidding, but she is going to UCF in Orlando, which is quite a jog from little Memphis.

Seriously, we will miss our baby as we do the older two, and once again my husband and I will look at each other and say, "What are we supposed to do now?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

This week my fifth graders read the first chapter of "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry and came across a scene where five year old Kirstie was not afraid of Nazi soldiers during World War II while the older girls, Annemarie and Ellen, were terrified. The reason a young child would not be afraid of something horrible is that ignorance is bliss.

Ironically, after school I found a terrifying email from my Rabbi that once again proves this saying. I'd been at work all day and hadn't heard the news about a bomb exploding in Jerusalem. I became aware of this situation through this part of an email:

It is with great anxiety for Israel and the world that we learned of the horrific act of terrorism that reared its ugy head today in Jerusalem, barely a week after the Fogel family tragedy in Itamar.  After several phone calls and emails to friends and family to hear their assurance that they were "okay" I could hear in their voices a hint of their frustration: that not only is peace elusive, but the dream of it is becoming more faint, more distant.  But we are not permitted to give up hope or to become complacent with a destructive status quo.  My daughter's name "reported in" to her family here and, like the Israelis around her, is going about her normal activities. 

Am I worried? Sure. But it's better to find out about this at the same time I found out that my daughter is okay because . . . ignorance is bliss. Or is it? My husband tells me not to worry about Judy; after all, her dorm room is a bomb shelter. Perhaps in my next life it would be fun to come back as a dumb blond or free spirited surfer dude with no worries about the world. Bring on the summer!


Monday, March 21, 2011

RIP: Apple Blossom


I once was the proud owner of a Liddle Kiddle doll named Apple Blossom. Her flower-covered green hair flowed over her two inch body as she populated the stores sometime around 1967--which means I must have been negative fifteen years old when I got my treasure. Not only was Apple the most beautiful doll I ever owned, but also, when locked inside her container, she carried a fresh perfume scent that stuck around well into my adulthood.

So at age -15, I made a decision. Apple Blossom was too special to be just any doll. I kept her perched in her bottle on top of my dresser. Sure, I played with her. She was the captured princess who couldn't escape her cage. Every so often, I'd open her, take a whiff, stroke her soft hair, and wrap her back in plastic. But I was sure to keep her in mint condition because I knew one day I'd have a daughter and I'd give her this special doll.

The years flew by and sure enough I became a mom. My daughter bubbled when I gave her that amazing doll. Then on that very same day, she lost it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Organizing Your Writing

I have a friend who has literally walked around for two years with an idea percolating in her head without writing a single word until the entire novel is structured and ready to go. Then there is moi. The ultimate pantser. I've tried some pre-planning for my novels but find it cumbersome, and I rarely stick to my plans anyway.

Currently, I'm enrolled in my second course at the Institute of Children's Literature with an instructor who pressures me to plan. This has been difficult at best. True, I've mapped out my work in progress (WIP), but I find myself veering away from those plans as my fingers tap the keyboard.

It's interesting to have readers sometimes comment on how they love my characters yet wonder if they are ADD. I hadn't planned them that way. :o



Recently I attended Mark Diamond's workshop on teaching writing to kids and found myself walking away with tips that are even helpful to someone like me. http://www.anyonecanwrite.com

I especially found his WOW line useful. Here's what you do:

(1) Draw a horizontal (hamburger) line across a sheet of paper.
(2) Divide said line into three equal parts. These parts represent the beginning, middle, and ending of your story.
(3) Place a star between the middle and ending of the story. This is your WOW moment. That's right! The one place where the most exciting thing happens.
(4) After jotting down your idea for the WOW moment, return to the beginning. What happened a little before the WOW moment?
(5) Next write an ending that sums up the WOW moment. You could even work out some sort of connection between the beginning and the ending because you now know what you are going to do.
(6) Finally, fill in the missing pieces of your story.

Voila!

Mr. Diamond has several books available on his site, and I was pleased to have had my school purchase all four of them for me. I especially like the one about Narrative Writing.

Being a certified pantser, I had to try this technique on a recent Monster Challenge. The competition called for a five-hundred word story about a human slaying a monster. I don't know if I'll win, but I've gotten a lot of positive reviews on my piece.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dumb and Dumber

As I heard the latest bill to rise from a Tennessee congressman, I didn't know if I was listening to a soundtrack from Dumb and Dumber or Scary Movie. It certainly has nothing to do with Aretha Franklin's Respect. The latest: HB 1375 sponsored by Niceley is aimed at removing license requirements for teachers. And this is supposed to improve education how?

Once again the Republican congress has swooped to a new low in the name of political payback. I figure this is their insurance against the projected teacher shortage after they pass all of their punitive bills. They could go ahead and hire all the people who have lost their jobs or can't find ones due to the poor economy. It won't matter that these folks know nothing about educational methodology. After all, isn't teaching so easy that anyone could do it? Talk about another slap in the face!

You don't need a license to be a state legislator. We need a bill that specifies who can and cannot be a politician so we can get rid of dumb and dumber at the state capitol.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3 minute Cake-in-a-Cup

This recipe belongs to Shallee at http://shalleemcarthur.blogspot.com. It looked so wonderful that I had to copy it to my blog so that I wouldn't lose this cool idea. My daughter is putting her mixture in the microwave right now! Uh oh, rising. She needs a larger coffee cup. It oozes upward then sinks down.

And . . . it's . . . a . . .homerun! (With a little Hershey's syrup squeezed over the top). Yeah!

3 minute Cake-in-a-Cup.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 dash vanilla
1 dash salt (optional)
1 dash baking powder (optional)

Mix all ingredients and microwave for three minutes, and voila! Cake in a cup!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chain Letters


Tonight my sister sent me another one of those messed up chain letters. It was about July having five Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and that's supposed to have something to do with money. Send it off, and you'll get money, don't and you'll lose it. Who writes these things? Do they not have enough to do?

Fine. If someone can make up horse poop about July, I'm going to write lies about March. Let's see, hmmm. March has four Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. That must have something to do with monkeys. If you send this little known fact off to five friends by Friday, no monkeys will swing through your house, but if you don't . . . Gilbert the 900 pound Gorilla will escape from the nearest zoo, break into your house, and eat all of your bananas. Chain breakers beware.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Funny Scenes in Every Day Life

After I ventured into the restroom at Cosco, I headed out with a great new idea for a comedy scene that I've since added to my work in progress (WIP). It all began when I stuck my hands into the automatic hand dryer, and I thought what would that goofy kid Slater do with this device? Next I knew, I was laughing out loud at my keyboard.

The $1,000,000 question: Do you think my scene is funny?

“Cool, Knob! Look at this.” He pointed to an automatic hand dryer with two silver slabs that faced each other. The top part had a section that curved outward to allow room for a guy to stick his hands inside. A bright yellow line did a crappy job at trying to make the machine pretty.

Slater lowered his hands into the drying machine and caused a deep swooshing sound to fill the bathroom. The motor yelled so loud, I could barely hear him speak.

“What if a guy’s hands don’t fit in this thing? I mean if he weigh six-hundred pounds or something, his fat hands ain’t fitting in here!”

“Not many people weigh six-hundred pounds.”

“But what if he some sumo wrestler or a super hero? Some guy with big old hands that wrestle alligators; he gots to dry his hands too!”

“Maybe there’s a way to push these panels out.” I patted the bottom of the machine for some sort of lever but didn’t find anything. That wasn’t good enough for Slater. He lifted his hands out, leaped onto the floor, and nosed up under the dryer. I couldn’t help but think of all the dirt on a bathroom floor.

“The floors filthy. Get up.”

Slater ignored me. “Here it is.” He flipped some kind of switch and the panels spread outward.

“I need it to dry my hands. Hope it still works.” I lowered my fingers into the dryer. Even though the panels were further apart, my hands got dry. I just had to move them around more. After I pulled them out, I rubbed the back of my dry hands.

“Hey, Knob. Watch this.” Slater lifted himself to his knees and put his head into the machine. The engine roared and noisy air shot out of the panels. The skin on Slater’s cheeks wiggled back and forth like a bulldog shaking loose jowls. As Slater giggled, he must have hit something because the panels moved inward and snapped. Slater tried to move his head out of the machine.

“It stuck, Knob. I is stuck!” As Slater opened his mouth, the dryer caught his spit and sent droplets catapulting across the bathroom floor. The inside of his cheeks ballooned out wide enough to use his face as a parachute and his eyes squinted to keep the air out. A smoky smell filtered from the machine. “Find a knob, Knob. Get me out of here!”

“Let me get help.”

“No-o-o! Some manager dude come in here and he yell!” Slater must have shouted so he could be heard over the roaring motor. “Look below! There a lever down there. Pop it!”

As much as I hated being on that dirty floor, I got on my knees and looked around for the lever. Finally I found it and freed Slater. When he stood up, his cheeks glowed red and his once centered Mohawk had shifted to the left side so that it shot out of his head like a one horned elk. Singed hair lined the tip of his Mohawk.

I hope someone will find this scene funny; but if not, I had a blast writing it!