Mother’s Day

Isn’t this adorable?!  We will totally be making these next week!



I found it on Skip to My Lou

Hint: Use hot glue and not the sticker on the back of the magnet tape! Hot glue will hold much better!!

Click {here} for labels for the back of your flower!

I left a space at the bottom for the child to write his/her name.


National SIDS Awareness Day

Sorry, this isn’t a teaching post, but it is about a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Today is National SIDS Awareness Day, and I wanted to share my store with you on how SIDS has affected my life.  Five years ago, on May 15, I received the worst phone call that a mother could ever get.  I was teaching and my daycare provider called me and told me that my daughter, Nora, was not breathing.  The doctors were unable to resuscitate her.  On the day she died, I was planning on buying birthday invitations because her birthday was only 10 days away.  Instead, I found myself making funeral arrangements the next day.


The coroner’s cause of death was SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Which is a diagnosis of exclusion.  There were no other factors in her death, and they could not determine how or why she died.  She simply went to sleep for her morning nap, and never woke up. 

What causes SIDS?

There is mounting evidence that suggests many SIDS babies are born with brain abnormalities that make them vulnerable to sudden death during infancy. Studies of SIDS victims reveal abnormalities in the “arcuate nucleus,” a portion of the brain that controls most of the baby’s major bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, temperature and the ability to wake from sleep. This abnormality makes babies unable to cope with challenges in their environment that a healthy baby would be able to overcome. These challenges include tummy sleeping, bed sharing, use of soft bedding, overheating and tobacco exposure. (

I didn’t think it was possible for a nearly one year old to succumb to SIDS.   I have since educated myself on SIDS, and this is the reason for my post. 


It is not my intention for you to feel sorry for me or to make you feel scared or worried about your own children.  I just want you to educate yourself.  Current research has shown that there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent SIDS. 

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Nora.  The loss of a child is something that no parent should ever go through.  It is my hopes that in educating you about SIDS, you will take the time to hug  and kiss your children every day, because life does change in a blink of an eye.


If you or someone you know has lost a child, and want to talk, I am always there to listen.  There is a first-of-its-kind book that is in the final stages of printing in which I have shared the story of Nora’s death and the path that I have taken to heal.  I am not completely healed yet, and I don’t think I will ever be.  The e-book is available for purchase here: (click on the picture)


The paper version of the book will soon be available for purchase.  I will keep you updated on the status.

Thank you for letting me share my story and my Nora with you.



Is there anything parents can do to prevent SIDS/SUID?

Currently there is no way to predict which newborns will die from SIDS and no way to prevent it in all cases. However, there are lifesaving steps parents and caregivers can take to help protect their baby from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep:

  • Back Sleeping. Placing babies on their backs to sleep is the single most important step that parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since the Back to Sleep campaign started in 1994, SIDS deaths have declined by more than 50 percent. This means that more than 25,000 babies’ lives have been saved during the last decade alone with this simple step. It is important to note that placing babies to sleep on their sides is not safe. Babies that roll from their side to their tummy are 18 times more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Bedding. Babies should sleep in a crib that meets current safety standards. The mattress should be firm, fit snuggly in the crib and be covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet. Play yard style cribs are also a good choice. There should be no soft, fluffy or loose bedding or other objects in the crib, including blankets, pillows, quilts and stuffed animals. Bumpers are not necessary – soft or pillow-like bumpers should not be used. Use a wearable blanket or other sleep clothing instead of blankets to keep babies warm. Infants under one year of age should not be placed to sleep on an adult bed, waterbed, sofa, cushion, pillow or sheep-skin.

Never use wedges or positioners to prop your sleeping baby up or keep him on his back. These devices have not been tested for safety and have not been shown to be effective at keeping babies on their backs. These devices are particularly dangerous when your baby starts wiggling around during sleep.

  • Head Covering. Make sure your baby’s head remains uncovered during sleep. Babies are at an increased risk for SIDS if their head becomes covered during sleep. Avoid using a blanket or other covering over your baby’s face as a sun or weather screen, or to block out distractions or sounds while your baby is sleeping. The blanket will cause a build-up of exhaled air around the baby’s face. This exhaled air does not have enough oxygen, which can lead to a SIDS or suffocation death.
  • Bed Sharing/Sofa Sharing. Do not share a sleep surface with your baby. Sharing a sleep surface is especially dangerous for babies less than 12 weeks old and premature or low birth weight babies. It’s okay to bring your baby into bed to feed and cuddle, but when it’s time to go to sleep, place the baby alongside your bed in a separate, safe sleep space. In addition to the known hazards caused by pillows and comforters in the family bed, there is also increased risk for accidental suffocation or overly. Never bring your baby into bed with you if you or your partner is exhausted, smoke or impaired by drugs or alcohol. Sofas and chairs are particularly dangerous places to fall sleep with your baby.

It is important to note that bed sharing has not been found to be protective against SIDS, in fact current research indicates that bed sharing increases a baby’s risk to die by as much as 40 times. Research does, however, suggest that room sharing is protective against SIDS. Keep your baby next to where you sleep in her own separate space for at least the first six months. This provides greater safety for the baby and makes it easier to breastfeed and share closeness with your baby.

  • Pacifiers. Recent research shows that pacifiers can greatly reduce a baby’s risk for SIDS. Experts recommend giving your baby a pacifier EVERY time he or she is placed down to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, wait until nursing is going well (usually one month) before offering a pacifier.

While the exact safety mechanism is not yet known, there are many possibilities for this finding. One is that the presence of a pacifier in the mouth may discourage babies from turning over onto their stomach during sleep. Because moving or turning may dislodge the pacifier, it may encourage babies to stay on their backs. Another is that the pacifier and/or sucking reflex helps keep the tongue positioned forward, keeping the airways open. Pacifier use can also help quiet a restless infant who might otherwise move more aggressively around the crib. Because pacifiers stimulate the upper airway muscles and saliva production, it is felt that pacifier use may keep babies from falling into a deep sleep, which is protective against SIDS. Regular pacifier use is protective against SIDS even if the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth when he or she falls asleep.

  • Smoking. Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to die from SIDS. Exposure to second-hand smoke by mothers, fathers, grandparents and others after the baby is born also greatly increases the risk of SIDS. Studies have found that the risk of SIDS increases with each additional smoker in the home, the numbers of cigarettes smoked a day, and the length of the infant’s exposure to cigarette smoke. New research now warns of the dangers of third-hand smoke – the chemicals left behind on clothing and in homes and cars. Babies should always be kept in a smoke-free environment to protect against SIDS and other respiratory illness.
  • Room Temperature. Babies should be kept warm, but they should not be allowed to get too warm. An overheated baby is more likely to go into a deep sleep from which it may be hard to wake up. Keep the temperature in the baby’s room at a level that feels comfortable to a lightly clothed adult and avoid overdressing the baby.
  • Prenatal Care. Good prenatal care, including proper nutrition, abstinence from alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and frequent medical checkups beginning early in pregnancy, is critical to your baby’s overall health and well-being. Early and good prenatal care can also help prevent a baby from developing an abnormality that could put him or her at risk for sudden death.
  • Breast Feeding. Breast feeding has been shown to be good for babies by building their immunity against illness and infections, in addition to other benefits. Recent research provides the strongest evidence to date that breastfeeding may also reduce the risk of SIDS. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed for the first 12 months and exclusively for at least the first six months if possible.

Data analyzed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggest that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of death for infants in their first year of life. Looking at infants between 28 days and one year of age, researchers concluded that promoting breastfeeding could potentially prevent up to 720 post-neonatal deaths in the U.S. each year. Researchers compared CDC records of 1,204 children who died between 28 days and one year of causes other than congenital anomalies or cancer with those of 7,740 children still alive at one year.

  • Proper Health Care. Take your baby to the doctor for all regular well-baby checkups and make sure that your baby receives his or her immunizations on schedule.
  • Childcare. Babies who usually sleep on their back are at a significantly increased risk of SIDS when placed to sleep on their stomach by a well intentioned but ill-informed relative or caregiver. Be sure to share your safe sleep rules with baby sitters, child care providers, grandparents and anyone who cares for your baby. Since childcare practices have changed a lot since you were a baby, do not assume that everyone knows about important safe sleep practices in preventing SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep.

Source: First Candle

Easter Math & Literacy

We had a short week this past week at school and it was even shorter for me!  On Tuesday, I had curriculum meetings and was not in the classroom, and on Thursday, I was home again with my little one.  She just can’t kick what she has.  She has been fever free for a few days now, hopefully she’ll be healthy now!!

Because it was a short week, I combined our math and literacy centers so that there were a total of 5. 

Here is a quick glimpse of what we did:

We had lots of fun on our IWB – my friend created this flipchart – we were practicing symmetry here.


Some jellybean graphing fun!  Each child got their own plastic egg filled with jelly beans and sorted, counted, made a pattern, and graphed their jellybeans.  I believe the original idea for this came from Mrs. Gagne’s Kindergarten.


This center came from Mailbox Magazine.  The children choose a carrot, clap the number of syllables, and write the word (and write the number of syllables).  This was a great review for my kiddos since we hadn’t really worked on syllables for a while.


I got this center from a friend – the kids choose 2 different colored eggs from a basket and fill in the number on the number grid.  Great practice for quickly finding numbers on the 100s grid!


I used the adorable chicks from Dollar Tree for this center! Last year, I just used an egg, but this one is too cute!


The eggs for this center also came from Mailbox Magazine.  The children match the picture to its ending sound and stamp the word.


At this center, the kids cracked the egg, and put the number word (zero-ten) in the write order.  They also wrote the number and made tallies for each number.


Donate Life {on a side note…}


April is National Donate Life month.  This doesn’t mean a lot to most people, but to our family, it does.  Five years ago, my mom fell very ill with Autoimmune Hepatitis.  She went to many doctors until being finally referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN who gave her her diagnosis.  Her only hope for survival was a liver transplant. 

Five years ago TODAY, she received her liver from an anonymous donor.  She now travels around North Dakota and Minnesota (as a volunteer for Lifesource) and speaks to high school students and adults about the importance of organ donation.

My mom never got a chance to get to know my daughter, Nora, who passed away shortly after her transplant, because she was sick for most of Nora’s short life. But, thanks to her new liver, she has been able to hold three new grandchild and watch her other grandchildren grow up.

This picture is my family (minus Annika – who knew she was already growing in my tummy?!) shortly after my mom’s transplant. 


When Nora passed away, I had the difficult decision to make about organ and tissue donation for her.  I received the phone call shortly after she passed away.  It was not a phone call that I wanted to take, but it was one that I needed to take.  I knew that an anonymous donor had saved my mom’s life, and donating Nora’s heart valves would be the best gift she could give.

Organ donation has impacted my life in so many ways.  I am a donor, are you?

Here are some facts about organ and tissue donation:

Source: Lifesource

1. Your Life is Always First

If you are taken to the hospital after an accident or injury, it is the hospital’s number one priority to save YOUR life. Your status as a donor is not even considered until every effort has been made to try to save your life and death has been declared.

2. Everyone Has the Potential to be an Organ and Tissue Donor

Your age or health should not prevent you from registering to be an organ or tissue donor.  Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor – the oldest organ donor was 92!

3. All Faiths Agree

All major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation and consider it a generous act of caring.

4. There is No Cost to Your Family

If you decide to be an organ and tissue donor, your family will NOT have to pay for any medical expenses associated with the donation.

5. One Life can save up to 60

One person can save and heal up to 60 lives through organ and tissue donation!

6. Everyone is Equal

When it comes to waiting in line for an organ transplant, we are all created equal. Wealthy or famous individuals cannot and do not get bumped up higher on the national transplant waiting list. Factors such as blood type, body size, location, severity of illness and length of time on the waiting list are used to determine the best candidate for an organ.

7. Your Decision Will Be Honored

When you register to become an organ and tissue donor you are making a legal decision and, even after your death, your decision will be honored.  It’s important to talk with your family to make sure they are prepared to honor your decision at the time of your death.

8.  If You Don’t Make a Decision, Your Family Will

If you haven’t registered to be an organ and tissue donor your family will be asked to make a decision about donation on your behalf.  Therefore, it is incredibly important that you have a conversation about donation and share your wishes with your loved ones.

9. You’ll be treated With Respect

Organ and tissue donors are heroes and are treated as such.  The medical professionals who perform the recovery surgeries treat donors with the utmost respect, just like they would for any other patient. If you and your family were planning on an open casket funeral before death, these plans should not be affected by organ and tissue donation.

10. Registering is Easy

Registering to become an organ and tissue donor is simple. You can register right now, online, in Minnesota and North Dakota and by mail in South Dakota.  Or you can check the box to register to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license, state identification card or learner’s permit.

Other Resources:


The Exquisite Wedding of Q and U!

There was a very special event in our classroom last week:


I do this wedding every year to help the kids remember that u always follows q in our writing, and together they make the /kw/ sound.  The kids LOVE this fun day!

I send out fancy invitations – rolled into a scroll and tied with a ribbon, and the kids come dressed like queens and quarterbacks!  We have a BLAST!


Don’t ‘cha just love me Q and U hanging behind the kids?  One of our paras made those for me a couple of years ago! The kids LOVE them!

I also wrote a little story to go along with the wedding of Q and U – the kids LOVED it! (Especially the surprise ending!!)


After the ceremony, we did all the typical wedding dance songs! The Hokey Pokey, The Macarena, The Electric Slide, Hot, Hot, Hot – we had SOO much fun!

We had wedding cake and punch too!

We made a special quilt for the bride and groom too!


Amidst all of the fun, I forgot to take pictures of the activities that we did!  So, I made my 8 year old complete some of the activities so you can see some of the fun we had!

I showed the children many words that have the qu sound – many of these words are new to them, so we had an additional vocabulary lesson.  The children each chose a vocabulary word and completed the following page.  Later in the day, they took their same work and made a quilt square (illustrating the word).


We did a qu and /k/ sort:


And made a special page for a class book:


The children also signed their name with a quill pen (from a party store) on a special guest book page.  It was too fun!!  I can’t wait until next year!

Wouldn't this be fun to do in correlation with the "REAL" Royal Wedding on Friday! I still remember watching Princess Diana walking down the aisle! (and I was only three - what a lasting impression!)


Read the fine print! I’ll send this unit FREE to the first three people that leave a comment! Be sure to leave your e-mail!!

Schedule–Morning Work

Awwww….the bane of my existence.  Constantly evolving and changing.  If you asked my friends, they would tell you that I can never quite figure out my schedule. I think my schedule changed at least once a month this year!

At the beginning of the year, you never know what your kiddos can do, how long they can listen, when the specialists come in, RTI time…..Then they start being able to work a bit longer, listen a bit longer, do more “real” work. 

I’ll break this up into different parts – today, I’ll start with what I do each day for morning work:

Morning Work {8:05-8:25ish}

We have a morning breakfast program which doesn’t start until 7:55…which means all of my little kindergarten sweet hearts aren’t back from breakfast until about 8:30 – especially in the winter with ALL of their winter gear.  This is a tough time because not all students are eating breakfast.  This year, I have a pretty big number that are, so I can’t really go on with something with half of the class gone! I’ve tried lots of different things this year: random worksheet pages (hate), math centers (worked pretty good), and now I have a set thing day to day..

Monday: Math Masters Monday (more to come!) Here’s a sneak peek:


Tuesday: Tubaloo Tuesday: The kids get new A-Z books to work on through the week on accuracy and fluency (at home). They use a Toobaloo to read their books – how exciting! They also write down their sight words for the week to hang on their fridge. (Thanks Miss J. for this rockin’ idea!)


Wednesday: Word Work Wednesday: This is usually some sort of sentence cut apart and re-assemble and re-write.


Thursday: Think it Through – usually some sort of math problem solving or other activity. (Often it’s anything that I had left over from the previous week!)


Friday: Fix-It Up Fridays –  The kiddos LOVE these fix it sheets!!


As always, if you like what you see, leave me a quick note!


Sharing this BEAUTIFUL board that one of our reading para’s made – she is UBER talented! Read last night’s post and you’ll see why I titled this post “ha!”
But this one keeps me going….
(summer HAS to be around the corner!!)
(and it’s actually 25 days now!)
I’ll be back later today or tomorrow with my morning work schedule and some goodies for you!

Ummm..What? SNOW?

You’re kidding me.  Twice over the past few weeks we’ve had forecasts for a boatload of snow.  The kids thought the meteorologists needed to go back to school.  It never came.

So, in the week there was an outburst of cheers during our calendar because we finally hit “green” on our Everyday Math thermometer (in the 40s – it’s the morning, remember?), and we were experiencing the warmth of 60 degree temps (which means break out the flip flops here in the upper Midwest), THIS happened:

{The view outside my classroom window – a progression from 8 to 3}


Um, yeah.  So there’s about 5.8 inches of snow.  ALL the snow was gone. The snow boots and snow pants were put away. Grrrrr.  We usually have an average temp in the 60s in April. It’s been a looonnnngggg winter!

And my city is also fighting a raging flood from the Red River of the North.  Thankfully, after the disastrous flood of 1997, they build a “flood wall” that blocks off the river from the city.  This video depicting the rising river this spring is pretty neat. The monolith shown in the video depicts the height (at the top) of the flood of 1997. 

No worries, though, we should be okay Smile Just THINK SPRING.


I had this entire blog post written once – Windows Live Writer crashed on me and I had to start all over again!  I hear my husband saying, “Did you save?” Yep, he’s right again. Next time, I’ll save.

We did our unit on transportation a couple of weeks ago.  I was gone for a 2 days that week for curriculum meetings and IEP/Transition meetings, so needless to say, it was a wild week!  I am so behind on blog posts too – seeds and plants, April Fool’s….I hope to squeeze them in sometime, but my plate is overflowing right now while I am finishing up my last 3 weeks of grad school.  I can NOT wait until May, when I do not have to write any more papers!

So, here is our unit:

We started off the week reading this book:


In this book, the mom wants to go to the beach, but her car breaks down.  She needs to find another way to get to the beach, but with each way that she finds, she has to leave 1 of 5 things behind.  The children have to guess which thing she has to leave behind.  We made a flow map to sequence the events {and cause and effect} of the story.  I forgot to take a picture of this – sorry!image
The kids loved this fun rhyming book! The teacher (whose car breaks down!) is late for school – he has a rule to NEVER, EVER be late for school.  He tries many different ways to get to school.  Of course, he ends up being late, and has to change his rule.  Super cute.

We read two books for our Scott Foresman reading series.  These were the days that I was gone, so nothing to exciting to report with these books! The children wrote about different types of transportation and the ways they come to school.


Our last book of the week was my favorite!


The kids loved this book, and the illustrations are fantastic!


When we finished reading, we brainstormed a list of all of the items that the boy put on or in his car.  Then the creativity happened – the children got to dream up their own car!  I loved their creativity!


LOVE the fairy car! You can download this sheet here.

We also read Hot Air Henry and wrote aboimageut a balloon adventure we might have. I got the balloon idea from a friend a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorite ideas!  The kids love designing their balloon, and their writing is so fun to read! At this point in the year, they are such amazing writers, some kids will write 3-4 pages!!{It might be hard to see from the picture, but the kids’ pictures are inside of the baskets!



We also made a fantastic transportation mural!  We brainstormed a big list of all the different types of transportation – on land, on water, and on air, and then put it on a tree map.  The kids chose the type of transportation that they wanted to make for our mural and they made it all on their own.  No patterns.  I love this kind of art! So fun!  They also made pipe cleaner people and glued their pictures on as well as labels for their vehicle.


These are some fun stoplights that our head start class made.  They used caro syrup to make the stoplight colors! They always look so pretty hanging up, but I’m afraid to attempt this in Kindergarten – not enough helpers! I can just imagine the mess!


{Math and Literacy Centers}

I love Julie Lee over at Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten!  Some of these centers came from her – make sure you head on over and check out her blog!

This idea came from Julie – I added a few more steps on it to meet the needs of my class – the kids love it!


The kids matched trains and wagons to find the correct time and write it on their recording sheet.


This center was challenging for some of my kiddos.  For the harder coin combinations, I added money stickers to the back of the airplane so they could take a peek if they needed to.DSCN0745

In this center the kids measured with standard and non-standard units.


This idea came from Julie – the kids pick a car, listen for the sound that is on the car, and write it on the correct traffic light.  I also had them stretch out the words and write them.DSCN0747

Boating for Blends – the kids wrote the word with the correct blend.


They stamped the missing letters.


Practice with silent e.


At this center the kids matched the sight word truck with the color word and then stamped the sight word.

You can download these centers {here}, {here}, {here}, {here}, and {here}.  If you choose to download these documents, please leave a note to let me know that you did as well as publicly follow my blog.  Thanks for your support!