Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat #Inquiry Instruction with Kelsey Harrell!!!

Time to get your tweet-on!!! 
TUESDAY #TeacherFriends Twitter Chat: 
we're ready to visit with each other and support + inspire! 

Tonight we have Kelsey Harrell in the spotlight! 

Kelsey has designed a chat based on her passion for 
INQUIRY in Instruction! 

Here are the questions for our conversation this evening. 

We are so fortunate to have ESGI Software as our sponsor tonight! 
One lucky winner will receive a year's license to ESGI! 

Be sure that you get your name and contact information 
entered on our Google Doc, 
which will be tweeted beginning at 8:30 p.m.


As I type right now, 
we already have $3000 worth of prizes 
from a variety of sources
to celebrate our anniversary
and all that we've learned together. 

You're going to want to attend TONIGHT,
so that you will understand how next week 'works.' 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat on ALL Things #STEM 6/14 with Dawn Bick

Tuesday Twitter Teachers! 

We're just about ready to being our chat on Twitter. 
Follow the hashtag 

to expand your PLN {Professional Learning Network}
and support fellow educators from around the country, 
and sometimes across the globe, too! 

These are our questions for tonight 6/14.

Be sure to mark your calendar
for our 2nd Anniversary 

Monday, June 13, 2016

My HALF Birthday: A Celebration of Life in the Face of the Unthinkable

Today is my half birthday. Monumental-in-my-mind. I'm fifty-nine and a half! Why go public with my actual, factual age? So many reasons! After yesterday. After Orlando. 
Every additional day of life is something to celebrate, something to cling to, something to appreciate and savor. I have been watching with glee as I have approached this personal milestone. And NOW, today, the day, one day after Orlando, after the unthinkable, following the unimaginable? I have reached this day of celebration. MY day. I am going to claim it. I am going to own it. I am going to share it.

You may not know this about me, but I am a TWO time survivor of early stage Breast Cancer. That has involved a series or biopsies and surgeries, and 36 trips to the hospital for 31 doses of radiation, culminating in a bilateral mastectomy and being scarred from armpit to armpit, {NOT pretty} complications from surgery that amounted to months and months and months and months of physical therapy to regain the use of my right arm and constant concern-treatment for lymphedema [also in the shallow end of the pool] and most recently being fitted for my own personal prosthetic silicone Barbie Boobies built-in-a-bra.
When I was awaiting my BC diagnosis, I was given a pamphlet about BCO (BreastCancer.org) and my sanity was restored. My first job was to select a user-name. I thought for about 59.5 seconds and said to myself, "Well going into this I have my faith and I just turned 50." So with that much thought that became my user-name: faithandfifty.
And amazing things happened.
I kept living. I met amazing women. I became part of their story and they became part of mine. Most notably there was the "Faith and Saint" story, but that would require a book. Short version: I have my own guardian angel. She is 'my people.' If you look closely at the photograph of the two of us in Chicago, she came to help me at a workshop and she wrote on her name tag, 'my people'..... because she wanted me to know that she had my back and that I had 'my people' with me. That seems like a long time ago and like yesterday all as one gooey mash up. She made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me laugh some more. 

So today is my half birthday. I have ALWAYS celebrated half birthdays! Ask my daughters about some of their HALF birthday celebrations. I've been known to make MORE of a fuss over a half birthday, when it is least expected, than an actual date-of-birth. So much more fun. And today it is mine. My half birthday. Fifty nine and a HALF. Claim it. Own it. Share it. Celebrate it.
On my next birthday, I will be SIXTY, I will become faithandsixty..... assuming those days continue to accumulate -- one at a time. Today. On June 13th, in 2016, on Planet Earth, it is all too easy to see how so very abruptly, one can no longer assume that one will have one more day. Orlando. Sandy Hook. Add to that the fickleness of a misplaced stop sign, a falling grand piano or cells that run amuck. There is no guarantee. There never has been. But on June 13th, there are glaring realities of the unthinkable in every.single.headline.
So it is with great exuberance that I implore you to join me in celebrating being alive! 
Take back the living of life from the hate monger. Take back life from the errant cells. 
I ask you to raise your cupcake, pick a daisy, watch the clouds billow, smell some lilacs, taste a fresh strawberry, salsa dance with abandon, watch your child splash in a puddle, quack like a duck, dart like a hummingbird, and go ahead and plant that tree, draw a doodle, finish your iMovie and get it uploaded, lick the beaters, exhale, sing in the shower, skip some stones, cry over a favorite classic tear jerker, go for the gusto, call your mom, fill out the forms, write the grant, fold the laundry, practice your saxophone, do a cartwheel, seek your scholarship, read a poem, open your own business, pack your suitcase, weed your garden, paint your nails, visit a cemetery, go skydiving, lick an ice cream cone, soak in the hot tub, fill your memory card, smile at a stranger, do the right thing, quilt a square, buy the ticket, pay-it-forward, tour a museum, laugh until it hurts, rewind, stroll, forgive, slam dunk, drink from the hose, open an account on Match.com or all of the above.
Feel free to leave a note below and tell me how you celebrated my half birthday. You have my permission to share at the hashtag:
‪#‎FaithAndFiftyNinePointFive‬ ‪#‎SorryNotSorryForTheLengthyHashtag‬
BTW: My best BCO friends have shortened my nick-name to faithie.
Those of us that are indeed "people of faith" MUST use the sorrow of yesterday to shine the light of the rainbow prism into the midst of that greatest darkness, and reclaim today, by the grace of God. We can not wait another day. We must act today. 
We simply must rise up, shoulder-to-shoulder and reclaim this moment by sharing our story, by sharing the ugly details, and share our own story of triumph over sorrow. We have to cast away that sorrow..... and get to the happy ending part, where the rainbow rises above. Where good triumphs. Where the promise reigns supreme. We must live a life where we do indeed love our neighbors as ourselves. Everyone on the block. All of our neighbors. 

The rainbow that is within reach, shining at the very heart of the intersection of darkness and hope must be carried forth into the grocery story, the roller skating rink, the elementary school classroom, the farmer's market, the neighborhood cook-out and the sanctuaries that are found in churches, synagogues and mosques alike. We must, as people of reason and hope, as believing believers unite against the darkness of hate and evil. We simply must rise up and overcome. We must speak up. We must stare down. We must be both brave and child-like. We must hold hands together and sing a new chorus of KumBaYa. Literally. #KumBaYa.
We simply must use our circle of influence for the good. We must use our social media, we must use our platform, we must use our connections to proclaim, "I am going to live this day as though it were my last. I am going to use my God-given gifts to do all that I can, in every way possible to contribute to the column that will be remembered as being good, positive, right, worthy, supportive, contributive and encouraging." 
Sign me up. I have been given one more day and I am here to celebrate it. Will you join me? 
Image from article at Hope for the Broken Hearted

My Saint Pat, or Pat Saint or Guardian angel Saint, didn't get to live a full fifty nine and a half years here amidst the effects of gravity and aging. She didn't get to be a grandmother. She didn't get to see Molly graduate from college, or Luke fly off into the big world. She got to watch down instead from heaven and send her greetings on the wisp of spring's gentlest breeze and the turning of the brown dirt into a cascade of rainbow-like flowers instead. 

She lives forever in my heart and I cannot possibly imagine what heaven was like yesterday to open the gates to so many in such a sorrow-filled way. I can only imagine that Pat was there to get recruits for her angelic choir ensemble and regaled with tales of Heavenly hi-jinx. She reminds me daily of her transcendent journey.  

cathedral candles, Hope photograph, breast cancer

I took that picture on Easter morning at the cathedral in Milan, Italy. 
I can only imagine that it something akin to the tears cried by angels yesterday. 

Light your own candle against the darkness. 
Sing your own song. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#TeacherFriends Welcomes Kim Vij: Super Summer Segue

It is starting to feel like summer! 
Tonight at our weekly #TeacherFriends Twitter chat, 
we have the PERFECT guest in our spotlight. 

We welcome our very own Kim Vij back to our chat. 
She is going to lead us as we share about enjoying the summer season, while using the break to jump start the school year ahead.  

Kim has been ubber busy lately and the results are in...... 
her focus and determination have resulted in her first published book! 

Hot off the press it is a BEAUTY! 

One lucky participant will win Kim's incredible resource book. 
All you have to do is to register within our Google Doc 
which will be tweeted through out the chat, beginning at 8:30.

Here are the questions for tonight's chat. 
You can plan ahead. 
You're welcome to schedule your answers. 

If you are going to schedule answers......... a couple of reminders:
*Please schedule your answer in the minute FOLLOWING the question. 
***ALSO remember to account for the time zone reality. 
Most of us use the Free site Tweetdeck to schedule tweets.

We tweet questions above beginning at 9:00 PM EST. 
Our early bird chat begins at 8:30 -- if you need Twitter Support. 

For those of you that plan ahead....... 
Be sure to mark your calendar now for our upcoming 

There are some crazy amazing plans unfolding behind the scenes. 
You're going to want to be a part of all the fun. 
Last year our anniversary chat had 
worth of prizes up for grabs!!! 

Come help us celebrate all we've learned together!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

October 29th A Day with Mr. Greg and Debbie Clement: Nashville!

October 29th! 

There's something *EPIC* in the making! 
You want to be part of this historic day! 


Once upon a time I visited 
Mr. Greg of Kindergarten Smorgasboard fame---- 
at his school. 
A fun time was had by all! 

Whenever we get together we wear our very best..... 
our best hats and our best smiles! 

One year rolls into the next and I just keep finding him -- 
even if he changes schools. 

Every year I look forward to my grand, official welcome. 
We always remember to pose before the day gets started.

The two of us have a mutual admiration society! 
He has used my books (and songs) with his monsters and then with his mustaches.

Debbie Clement's Picture Books: The Power of YOUR Name in a Book!

Mr. Greg has his students create original 
and authentic art work in response 
to my picture books! 

These next pictures are in my power point presentation
as an example of fostering creativity and originality.

I could write volumes on "AUTHENTIC" art..... and I have previously. 
What I absolutely LUV is how completely unique and original 
each and every masterpiece turned out. 
Give them the materials and time and stand back. 

"I am wonderful because................" Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Class "Quilt" in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

It is a VERY big deal, when I finally arrive 
for our big day together! 

I LUV LUV LUV being part of the morning message!

photo of: Morning Message in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

And then blink and the day gets started in earnest. 
I may or may not be just a tad excited!

My goal is that students get excited about meeting 
an author/illustrator. 

Debbie Clement's Author Illustrator School Visit to Kindergarten Smorasboard

I've shared some glimpses into Mr. Greg's room in the past. 
I know how you like to take a gander into other classrooms. 

This puzzle idea is beyond precious. 
What an amazing way to connect home and school. 

I'm ALL about hopes and DREAMS! 
Seeing these spelled out is so insightful. 

photo of: Kindergarten Classroom Library via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Classroom Organization in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Classroom Organization in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

You know how some people are by nature 'over-achievers.' 
Mr. Greg is one of those. 
Truth be told, I may be as well.

He has such a HUGE heart for his students. 
Just as importantly his heart is huge for his teaching peers.  

When Greg invited me to launch his second day of professional development -- 
I was ALL in!

Peanut butter and jelly. 
Glitter and polka dots. 
Brass tacks AND inspiration. 

Behind the dreamers are the list makers and the i dotters. 
Fortunately for the two of us, 
there is another duo offering lots of support.

Here's a peek at how the day will begin. 
Click right here to see the full agenda and all of the details. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

NEW SONG for End-of-Year Slide Shows & Graduation: Kleenex ALERT!

Kindergarten Graduation End-of-Year Slide Show Sound Track from Debbie Clement.

PINCH ME!!! Look what happened! 
I made it back into the recording studio!!!
Believe in unicorns and pixie dust and happily ever after too! 

I am so very excited. I have BIG news!
My dear sweet husband said, "Yes."
He gave me the most incredible gift. 
The rest is history. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a little poem -- 
as a tribute to teachers.
  • I wanted to say thank you in a tangible way.
  • I wanted to express my appreciation. 
  • I wanted to acknowledge your hard work.
  • I wanted to affirm your many feelings. 
  • I wanted to offer support.
  • I wanted to recognize the milestone.
  • I wanted to attempt to capture the emotions in saying good-bye. 
  • I wanted to give you a new tool for your toolbox.
  • I wanted to contribute to your closure.
So much happens in a school year.

Starting with early fall's delight over new supplies and potential, 
{twinged with just the slightest apprehension of the unknown....} 
There's an onslaught of pumpkins and reindeer,
candy hearts, leprechauns and bumblebees


and it is all over!  

Kindergarten Graduation End-of-Year Slide Show Sound Track from Debbie Clement.

The ending of a school year is so very poignant.
When the finish line is tangible, 
every moment goes into hyper-drive captured in 'forever' mode.


People downloaded my poem. 
They thanked me for articulating their experience. 
They told me they cried when they read it.
They tagged their friends.
They were grateful.
They printed it. 
They sent it home. 
They shared it.
They used it. 
Then someone said, 
"I wish it had a melody so that I could sing it." 

That one line of feedback started the ache. 
She planted the seed. 
It could be MORE!
It could be a song. 
Songs have legs.
Songs get play-time.
Songs stick with you.
I write songs. 

And a year went by. 
And then another. 

The feedback and gratitude accumulated. 
Like a gnawing water drip.....
so did that one request
ring over and over and over in my head. 
"I wish it had a melody so that I could sing it." 

Going into a recording studio with a poem on a piece of paper is expensive. This last couple years of my personal and professional life, we haven't had the 'extra' to even contemplate considering what it would take to go back into the studio. That's a long complicated story that is mostly sad, where we are still awaiting the triumphant conclusion. BUT......... stay the course long enough and the tide begins to turn. Have faith. Trust. Believe. Pray. Give thanks. HALLELUJAH.

So I squinted and in my best smiling wifey voice, I asked my dear sweet husband if this spring we were in a position to take on a new project. Hubby Allen said, 'yes.' 

Turns out that our efforts over at WobbleSeat.com could provide the financial resources necessary to answer her request to turn my little poem into a song. 

And with that go-ahead I got the nerve to talk to my UBBER talented producer-friend Ronn. His talent is legendary and his heart is even bigger. Ronn would have to agree to work for peanuts, or more accurately for peanut dust.... not even a minuscule fraction of his worth and value in the real world. The man has created brilliance in Nashville and Detroit. I thought he might be willing. I hoped. Just because he's the best. Just because he knows that for me to ask a favor -- it must be worthwhile. And Ronn said yes! 

And with that go-ahead we had to rope in Dan, the owner of the studio. It would take all three of us to bring this little idea to fruition. He too would have to be willing to make me the 'deal' of the century. Just because. As a friend. As an acknowledgement of our nearly two decades of projects together. Dan-the-man has a heart of gold. It would be fun to have the three of us under the same roof at Amerisound.  And Dan said yes! 

TRIFECTA. All three. Everyone on board. Tic-Tac-Toe!

So began the real work by Ronn to create the arrangement out of thin air. That is his specialty. We talked over the role of the song and how I envisioned it being used. We talked over the tone. We talked over poignancy. And then I gave him permission. Create. Use your gifts. Stay out of his way. 

I just had to get myself back to Columbus, Ohio. That's all. We left Vero Beach, FL just over three weeks ago.... driving to Green Bay, WI where I had the keynote. First must make stops in Augusta, Columbus, Cleveland, Green Springs, Ft. Wayne, South Bend and then actually arrive straight on to the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay. After that immediately down to Chicago for two days of work in Schaumberg at their library. Return to Columbus directly, to take the first flight out BACK TO FLORIDA! 

Return a couple days later to Columbus. Final annual school visit of the year in Westerville. Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. Hugs all around. Some of my VERY favorite people in that big road trip loop-di-loo. Some of my oldest and dearest friends.

Then time to drive to Amerisound Studios. TA DA. I could get there blindfolded.

While I was busy traipsing back and forth across the the country, Ronn was in a VERY serious car accident. Just mere days before our scheduled recording session. He testifies that it was his seat belt that saved his life. Angels watching over my dear, talented friend. How close do we come to our mortality on a daily basis? Sobering. 

What a back-drop to creative studio work. To say that we were all just a bit frazzled would be a slight under-statement. So when Ronn started playing his arrangement, it was no surprise that I was an immediate blubbering mortal. I just sat there and cried and cried as he added each track from his keyboard to the studio console. They weren't even the least bit surprised at my response. 

Time to blow your nose and sing, Debbie. It is at that point that I wish I am Celine. Alas. 

Preschool Graduation Printable Keepsake by Debbie Clement

The song version required some slight reordering of my poem's origianal stanzas. This is now the completed song lyric sheet. It is in Pdf format in the zipped file that is now available over at TeachersPayTeachers. 

I have decided to make the digital file available for free for right now. HURRY over to get it for FREE!!! 

Pay it Forward. Gratitude. Appreciation. Random Act of Kindness. Anyone that still has school after Memorial Day deserves an extra serving of support. I can't wait to hear your feedback. It would be very kind if you would leave your supportive thoughts at TpT after you download it. 

From the very beginning, I thought that the song version could be used in your slide show overview, as part of the sound track to photographically reviewing your year. Then my friend Maggie, suggested that it could be used as a "Kindergarten Graduation March." I'm excited to hear how you might put it to use! 

End of Year Performance Songs for Kindergarten Graduation

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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