Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I thank you for this day. I thank you for this time. This is how we start many prayers at The Neighborhood School, students and faculty alike. I'm not sure when or who it started with. It's just an unsaid thing that we do and rightfully so. Time. Not everyone has it, at least not earthly time. Today my prayers are with the family and friends of the dear little ones who lost their lives at Sandy Hook. I cannot imagine the grief. I pray that you are comforted by The Lord, who sent his little son that he might die for us. While I do not know your pain, I know that He does. Let us all thank God this Christmas for the time we do have with our loved ones and most of all for the gift of Jesus. Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sparkle and Shine

Does anyone else feel slammed this week? We take Think Link on Thursday followed by our class party Thursday afternoon  and we have a Christmas program on Friday. Did I mention my kiddos think its Christmas break already? Good thing I got to take a break from work and just enjoy my babies yesterday afternoon! Here's a little tip I just discovered that will hopefully help cut back on your classroom chaos. GLITTER. Yes, glitter. I used to fear it, now its not so bad!
Step 1: Pour glitter on paper plate.
Step 2: Apply STICK glue.
Step 3: Lay paper face down in glitter.
Step 4: Rub. 
And voila! All done! Less mess glitter tactics!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Great Commission in the Classroom

Matthew 28:19-20: "Go therefor and make DISCIPLES of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of  the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Last week we had a professional development meeting after work. Here is what we talked about:
Did I mention how much I LOVE where I work? Investing in our students, making disciples in our classrooms, this is what we are working on at TNS. I was reminded of David Platt's Radical as we discussed the differences between the American church today and the example Jesus set for us in the Bible. Jesus was focused on close personal relationships, on discipleship. So how do we create disciples in our classrooms? We take the risk and spend time with a few of our students OUTSIDE of school in hopes that what we do with a few will create a domino effect in our classroom and our world. According to our speaker, if Christians discipled one person a year, and those disciples in turn discipled one person a year... it would take only 35 years to reach the world for Christ. WOW!
I felt so convicted by this message. Last year I spent significantly more time investing in my students lives, taking them to church, doing zoo trips on the weekend, etc. We had some great times.

I'll never forget loading these babies into my car and opening a discussion on church rules... only to be reassured, "Miss Peden, don't worry, I already know how to act at church. You can't say no curse words, you can't say 'I'm gonna cut you with a knife,' and you cant cut nobody wit a knife either! And don't say the f word, or the b word, or even the d word!" Needless to say, I hadn't planned on covering any of the above in our discussion! Thankfully we survived just fine and had time for peanut butter sandwiches in the car before I took them home! :)

Since I have been lacking in this area this semester, I got a head start on my New Year's resolution to spend more time focusing on and investing in my students.
So this afternoon I had ice cream with one of my kinders.

Tonight, I went out to the Visible Community Music School to hear this adorable kinder play the piano...

and hear our Middle School students perform Mighty to Save.

As always, I am certain that spending time with them did my heart as much, if not more good than theirs. Isn't it funny how it always seems to go this way?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sw a in Sweater! Sale and a Freebie!

Today it was all about Christmas sweaters in kindergarten, where we are learning the consonant blend sw. I introduced the blend using The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book by Glenn Beck. The Christmas Sweater is a heartwarming tale of a little boy named Eddie who realizes that what his heart wants most for Christmas is a Christmas sweater, knit with love from his mom. Even though this is a longer story, my kids were absolutely mesmerized and wanted to hear it over and over. We took time after reading to create an anchor chart for the story, identifying characters, setting, and the main events in the story. (Forgot to snag this pic today, but I'll have it up soon!)

We made connections with the text in "share circle" by discussing  our own Christmas memories, not memories of gifts we received, but memories of time spent with our family and friends. After our share circle, we drew pictures of our Christmas memories and created these adorable snow globe crafts! Too cute!

After completing this craft, I turned my students attention to phonics where we began to focus on the consonant blend sw. I displayed a sw as in sweater sign and we located the sw blend in the title of the book. Students received paper sweaters with "sw" words on them. Students cut out the sweaters, colored them, read the word for the class, and hung them on our classroom clothes line! Students also received sw as in sweater badges to wear home to remind them to tell their parents what they learned about at school today! 

Learning continued in math where students completed leveled journal prompts involving sweaters and other sw words. Students first searched the prompt for the sw blends. They circled the blends and then used a combo of writing and drawing to respond to the math prompts.

Click here for my Sw as in Sweater math and literacy mini-unit, which is on sale for just $3.75 for a limited time! Did I mention this unit also includes my Christmas playdoh mats? Because it does! :D Click here for a Christmas sweater freebie! 

In The Christmas Sweater, Eddie thought a sweater was what his heart needed most for Christmas. Although I did not include this in my sw as in sweater pack, I clarified with my students that what our hearts need most is indeed a Christmas gift, but it is NOT a sweater. What our hearts need most is the gift of Christ Jesus, God's own Son, "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:14)." 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Liebster Award

I was so blessed to be nominated by Adrienne from A Day in the Life of a Kindergartener for the Liebster Award. This is just a way for new bloggers with less than 200 followers to help find other new blogs with less than 200 followers! I enjoy seeing new blogs so I definitely wanted to participate! 
Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Here are 11 random things about me:
1. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to glorify God by helping students know, love, obey and exalt Jesus Christ. 
2. I am "Auntie Em" to the two cutest, smartest, and best boys on the planet. 
3. I have a daughter named Deeohgee Spike Peden... She is a YORKIE and the LOVE of my life! 
4. I eat at BWWs at least once a week and I order the same thing every time.  
6. I am addicted to One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, and Parenthood! 
7. I'm a Lord of the Rings nerd. 
8.  Love, love, love playing games! Dutch Blitz and Agricola are currently my favorites. 
9. I have an older sister and three little brothers. They are my best friends in the whole wide world. 
10. I was born in South Carolina but I grew up in Alabama. 
11. I moved to Memphis because I wanted to teach at The Neighborhood School! 

Here are the 11 questions from A Day in the Life of a Kindergartener: 

1. What state do you teach in? Tennessee 
2. How many years have you been teaching? 2 years
3. Which holiday is your favorite? Why? Christmas, its the incarnation celebration! 
4. Do you sing with your students? If so, what song is your favorite? I sing ALOT and it does NOT sound good at all! Right now I am loving Heidi Songs... all of them! We also sing the Frog Street Press songs, but my absolute favorite is hearing my little ones singing I am a Promise at Kindergarten Graduation! 
5.  Coffee or tea? coffee
6. Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate! 
7. What is your favorite book to read to your students?  What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss 
8. Tell me about your favorite vacation. Disney World with my family. Enough said.  
9. What do you like to do in your free time? Play with Deeohgee and bake! 
10. What is your favorite Apple product? my macbook 
11. What is your favorite snack? cheese dip

Here are the 11 questions for the blogs that I am nominating:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. Teachers, how many years have you been teaching?
3. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it? 
4. What is the cutest kids craft you have seen?
5. What is your favorite children's book? 
6. Chinese of mexican food?
7. Walmart of target? 
8. Who inspires you? 
9.  What is your favorite tv show? 
10. What is your favorite snack? 
11. Do you have any pet? Tell me about them. 
Here are the 11 blogs I'm Nominating:

1. The Kindergarten Pod
2. The Kinder Wife
3. Dizzy for Kindergarten 
4. Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten
5. Miss Hookom's Kindergarten
6. The Crazy Pre-K Classroom 
7. Krazy About Kindy 
8. Special Teacher for Special Kids
9. My Colorful Classroom
10. Faith Made Scents
11. Chairein: Joy to You!