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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cinderella Fairytale Ball

Today was the day!!! The Fairytale Ball day finally arrived!  The kids were soooooo excited and so was I.  We had a fantastic day...but man, it took a lot of work getting it ready....

Early last week, we made formal invitations for our parents, inviting them to our ball.  The kids colored the scroll paper to look like an old scroll, then crinkled it up to make it look old, and rolled it up and tied it with some yarn!



I know it seems crazy, but they were so proud of those silly scroll invitations.  We even practiced giving mom and dad their best, "Hear Ye! Hear Ye!" when they presented the invitation to them!

As I blogged about last week, we also prepared the kids with formal manners lessons and waltzing lessons!  With our school population being so high poverty and ESL, it is so important to us to expose our kids to some of the "finer" traditions that they may not otherwise get to experience.  The whole process is truly a "Once in a lifetime" experience for most of them!

This week we researched our class' continent--Europe.  Each of our seven first grade classes chose a continent to study and present at our Fairytale Ball.  Our class chose Europe!  We read even more books about Europe.  {Throughout the Cinderella Unit, we read a book on a different continent each week and did some research.  This week we researched even more!}

Because of what seems like a gazillion meetings at the end of last week and this week, I only had one day to make our map of Europe and practice presentations with my kids.  Last year we took about 2-3 days to do this project: 1 day to discuss what should be made and have the kids watch me model how to make a picture for our pictorial continent map and letting the kids make their pictures with partners; 1 day to write sentences with partners about what we would say about each picture; and 1 day to focus on our presentation skills.

So...Phew! Doing it all in one day was like running around like a chicken with my head cut off...seriously!  But we survived...in less than 2 and a half hours we did everything.
****DISCLAIMER: It is absolutely not the best quality of work, but how could I have expected it to be with so little time to model and practice??  Despite it's imperfections, and teeny tiny pictures, the kids were SUPER proud of it and thought it was "awesome!" ...And it is 100% kid made.  And that's the most important thing to me.  All I did was outline the continent.

The sweet castle and crown for the queen of England!

For the trains you travel on in Europe...

Gingerbread, cars, cows with humongo utters {ha!}, and the Eiffel tower off to the Southwest of this picture...

...in the end, I truly love all of the imperfections!  All of our Fairytale Ball plans, the formal invitation templates, more pictures and materials are included in my full Cinderella Unit.

Wednesday after school, our team {and some amazing teacher kids} set up for our ball!  Luckily, I grabbed a few pictures then because I didn't have any chance Thursday morning to take pictures!

Our adorable castle entrance that covers our cafeteria doorway!

One of my teammate's precious girls wanted to make a sign for the entrance to our ball. Pre-shus!
My lil' man got dragged into helping decorate and I snapped a quick pic...that castle door is just the right size for him, don't ya think??
 Last year, our sweet colleague made the castle entrance prop, and this year, she added a rock wall for our stage.  Our goal is to add one new prop each year!  I love the rock wall on the stage!

This is our red carpet entrance for the lords and ladies to walk through!
We have had great luck with table decorations each year!  Last year, our PTA had left over flower arrangements from teacher appreciation week.  This year, we had a wedding shower the day before and stole their table decorations...fresh hydrangeas! So pretty!!


Thursday was the DAY!  We started by parading down our main hallway for our entire school.  The kids walked with escorts and curtsied and bowed on the way down.  Our principal played some trumpet fanfare music through our intercom to make it so special!  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the parade from this year because we didn't have a photographer this year. {Last year, my father-in-law took pics, but this year he couldn't come.  We were able to do our own pictures, but just not of the parade!}  But here are some of last year's pics....

...absolutely LOVE this sweet picture!

Once we all entered the ballroom {err...cafeteria}, each class presented on their continent.  Obviously, I couldn't take a pic of my class, so...sorry Miss Burris...you and your class made the blog!
 Then, the kids used their formal manners to eat their meal.  Each class was responsible for providing one food or drink item from each continent...{in case you're wondering...we used ice for Antarctica!} The loved eating the meal and were SO well behaved!  I think we should dress up in our fancy clothes more often!! *wink*

Then, it was time to practice our waltzing skills...






And oh how I love this sweet ladies!  My team is truly amazing and they are the reason our ball turned out to be such a HUGE success this year!

Throughout our Cinderella unit these past 7 weeks, I have hummed this song over and over...

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

What powerful, powerful lyrics woven into a simple kids' movie....Today as we were cleaning up the "mess" left after the ball, I was thinking of just how many of our first graders had dreams that came true today.

For some of them, prom will be the closest thing to another "formal" event that they will ever go to. {And let's face it, prom isn't winning any awards anytime soon for its classiness...}

For some of these sweet babies, this may have been the only day they will feel like a carefree prince or princess.

For some of my firsties, "no matter how {their} heart is grieving" with the things they deal with on a daily basis, their dreams came true today.  I love that I have a job where I can create memories and grant wishes for children...

And I pray they continue to have faith in their dreams and someday see their rainbow!


Monday, May 26, 2014

MORE Reasons To Celebrate!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Friday I posted about a few of the reasons we've been celebrating at school.  But this weekend, we've been celebrating with family! {{Personal Post Alert!!}}

My parents came up from Conway for...wait for it...the ENTIRE weekend!!  Anyone who knows my parents knows that they enjoy coming up to visit, but usually only spend one night up here because they hate missing all of their church commitments.  But this weekend they came up early Saturday and stayed all the way through Monday afternoon!!  I absolutely loved spending the extra time with them and Cooper ate.it.up!  At almost 20 months, Cooper is getting to that age where he remembers people a lot better and gets excited about seeing people he knows!

Saturday, Justin smoked ribs {{way yummy!}} and the family ate at our house!  Since we are getting ready to start packing our house to move, I haven't really kept up with our seasonal decorations like I normally do.  As of Friday {May 23rd} I still had Easter decorations out....*insert sad trombone here*

So Saturday morning I decided I might need to replace easter eggs with patriotic decorations.  With no time to buy anything {and no desire to since I'll have a new table in my new house to decorate}, I got out last year's Fourth of July decorations....

...and did the best kind of "re"decorating...FREE!  I really think I need to try this more often because it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to take what I already had and make it in to something new and different.  I think it turned out alright for no money!

I reused the burlap ribbon {and some I had left over} that I got last year at Hobby Lobby.  I doubled up the blue to make it wider and ran the red striped ribbon down the middle to cover the crease.  No gluing, no taping, just cutting and placing it in its spot!

I used star cookie cutters I bought last year to trace stars for my "USA" display.  The "scrunchy" stuff as I call it, was left over from Easter decorations!  And I used the red, silver, and blue paint pins I bought to paint Cooper's Easter basket, to make the USA.

I also used the left over scrapbook paper to make some double-sided pennants and stars.  Used left over kabob sticks and stuck them in mason jars with some raffia!  I love how they turned out!

Thanks to the Mr. the ribs were *fantastic* and we had a great meal with family!

Sunday was church.  My parents got to come to church with us on a Sunday which {I think} was the only time they've come to church with us since they moved to Conway 6 years ago besides Cooper's dedication!  Cooper loved having Mimi and PoppaDoc with him at church Sunday...he just kept giggling about it!

On Memorial Day, we continued our celebrations and grilled at my brother and sister-in-law's house {aka Uncle Ty-Ty and Aunt Lo-Lo as Cooper calls them!}  My brother, Tyler, grilled chicken and veggie kabobs and my sis-in-law, Loren, made cilantro lime brown rice, pasta salad, and strawberry shortcake...all so yummy!

Uncle Ty-Ty has a golden retriever named Lexi and even though Cooper has met her several times, we are never sure quite how he will do each time.  It took a while, and lots of coaxing, but they FINALLY became friends...but not until many tears were shed!

These next few pictures pretty much sum up our weekend...

Silly fun with PoppaDoc!


Having too much fun with Uncle Ty-Ty and Aunt Lo-Lo to smile at the camera!

 ...and it seems like Mommy got the short end of the deal with smiles...this seems to be his game these days...smile as crazy and not-normal as possible!

But I sure do love my crazy, grown up looking, baby boy!

Here's to a FULL weekend of family fun!  We are even heading to dinner with Nana and Pops {who live in town, but have been away celebrating their 35th anniversary} after Cooper wakes up from his nap this afternoon!

Tomorrow, we will be hitting it hard at school again and making our final preparations for our Fairytale Ball which will be Thursday! {I'll be blogging through it all so be sure and check back in or click the links at the top to follow me on Facebook or BlogLovin.}  It was nice to take a long lazy weekend break with family from the "busies" at school and work!  So, so thankful we have family that we *enjoy* being around to celebrate holidays like these!



Friday, May 23, 2014

Reasons to Celebrate! {FREEBIE}

This week has been about celebrations and preparing for upcoming celebrations!  After all, the END is in sight, ladies and gents!!  Let's hear some reasons to **celebrate**!!

CELEBRATE SUMMER!
Tuesday marked our 10 day countdown.  For a few years now, we have been sending the school year off with a <<BANG>> and doing a balloon popping countdown.

We filled each balloon with a fun surprise for the kids.  The last 10 days of school, I do not do my typical behavior chart stickers and treasure box prizes.  We do more immediate rewards {can I get an Amen???} to help with all of the end-of-year crazies.  Each day is a new celebration and the kids get SOOOOO super excited to find out who will get to POP the balloon!
 ....and POP!

Here are the 10 surprises we put inside the balloons.  Click to download the FREEBIE!!
   
The kids have literally shrilled and screamed over this every.day.  And I'm not gonna lie, while they are still ooooooober crazy, their behavior has been surprisingly good during our countdown.  They do NOT want to miss out on our fun!

CELEBRATE RETIREMENT!
Have a friend or colleague retiring this year? This retirement printable is a hot item in my store at the end of the year!  These look great framed and displayed at a retirement celebration!
CELEBRATE LEARNING!
Last week we wrapped up our Cinderella Unit {insert sad face here} and started preparing for our Cinderella Fairytale Ball which is next week {insert happy face here!}  Last year was our first year to do this and it is...

SO.

MUCH.

FUN.

I'm sure you are thinking that the boys are not into it at all, and there have been a few {okay, a LOT of} "eewwwws" and gross faces, but they are just smiling the whole time and have had a blast!  And last year, ALL of my kids---even the boys talked about the Ball for the rest of the year!

To prepare for our Fairytale Ball Celebration, we have been talking about our formal etiquette and manners for eating and for greeting each other {bows and curtsies}.

We also brought in private dance instructors to teach our kids the waltz!


Goodness, we have so many first graders {175} that it's hard to fit them all in one picture!!  The dance instructors did a fantastic job separating the boys and girls and teaching them each their steps.

Then, they practiced dancing with a partner to the fancy music.  I was too busy playing the "boy" dancer for a sweet girl to get any pictures of their partner dancing.  But I'm sure I'll have PLENTY of pictures next Thursday, when we have our actual Fairytale Ball.

We will spend the next few days in our rooms practicing our skills so that our dancing will be perfect by Thursday {read about the Ball here}!

CELEBRATE  PEOPLE!
Our week ended today with an absolutely flawless celebration of a special birthday.  Mr. Walter Turnbow, the sweet man our school is named after, turned 90 today!   His family planned a special day full of surprise celebrations for him and his first celebration was at our school.  It was one of the sweetest things I've been a part of in a long, long, LONG time.  I was fortunate to get to see more of it because I had a meeting at school today and was not in my classroom.  So, I got attend all of the celebrations, not just part of it.

Mr. Turnbow pulled up to our school in a "Party Bus" with his wife and family.  Our school honor choir was on the porch along with our administrators and district administration guests.  I was so lucky to get to be on the porch with them and see Mr. Turnbow's face up close!

When he got out of the bus, we greeted him and sang, "Happy Birthday," and then released 90 purple and green {our school colors} balloons.  The rest of our kids lined the parking lot and cheered and sang for him as he drove up to our school.  All 860 of our Turnbow kiddos.  It. Was. Beautiful.

After that, the kids went inside and the family and special guests went to the library for a reception.  {I got to sneak in there and watch since I was out of the classroom today!}  Our choir sang two songs, one of which our AMAZING choir director wrote especially for Mr. Turnbow.



We were all in tears.  Including me.  And I'm not a crier--at all!  Then, Mr. Turnbow received one gift from each grade level.  Two kids from each grade presented the gift to him.  More Tears.  Omigoodness it was the sweetest thing!  Kindergarten gave him a notebook full of notes from their sweet babies.  In first grade, we painted a tree on canvas and the kids made leaves with their thumbprints. Here it is before the final touches were made!
                               

Second grade made a handprint quilt.  Third Grade gave a photograph of kids spelling out TURNBOW.  Fourth grade gave Mr. Turnbow a frame telling him how old he was in years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds {ha!}.  Fifth grade gave him a photograph of their kids forming the number 90 and individually wrapped candies created in 1924 (Bit-O-Honey and Dum-Dums} for each of the guests.
**Mr. Turnbow's birthday pictures are courtesy of Springdale Schools.**

Watching all of the gift giving reminded me so much of being in the room with my sweet Grandpa Murry.  Mr. Turnbow's sweet, soft, and loving spirit captured everything I remember about Grandpa.  {Oh, how I miss that dear man!}

With the end in sight, this week was full of celebrations...from little to big.  And they were each so special and memorable in their own way.  We have a lot of reasons to celebrate: the end of a unit, the end the year, and growing older.  I hope I live a life that deserves the kind of 90th year celebration we had for sweet Mr. Turnbow today!