Tag Archives: life

Readers Are Leaders

Okay…so they graduated last week and are now ready to conquer the world. Okay…so maybe there is a little time for that for our newly graduated kindergarteners, but what do they need for the next step in their lives? What will they need to be dynamic first graders? READ! Readers are leaders! Here are a few reading ideas that we have used in our teaching careers and reading life (but really—what other kind of life is there?! 🙂 ).


Putting a book into the hands of a kid is a sacred act. #IRA14 @wimpykid

Reader Warren


Here are just a few ideas for our young learners and teacher candidates:

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. No matter where we live or what we do, we all will have a bad day now and then. And that’s okay because tomorrow is a new day. Alexander will be coming to the big screen in October!

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. This is a great book for rhyming and choral reading with your first-graders. Read it early in the day then serve green scrambled eggs. Visit Seussville.com to fill your toolbox with Dr. Seuss ideas.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert. Warning…this appetizing book may leave your first-grader hungry after reading it. One simple way to satisfy this hunger could be to go on a scavenger hunt looking for foods in the newspaper. Find more activities for this cute book at Fabulous First Grade.

Max’s Words by Kate Banks. This is an enjoyable story about Max who collects and organizes words. Have your soon-to-be first graders collect and organize words that they enjoy and then put those words in a book just like Max’s.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin. The moral of this story… no matter what you step in, just keep on walking along and keep on singing your song because life is good.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. Even though two people may be very different, they can still be friends forever. Follow Frog and Toad on Pinterest.

More books to share with your students: IRA Teachers’ Choices Project shares those great books that reach out and tap us on the shoulder to get our attention as author Chris Van Allsburg illustrates so well for the 2014 Teachers’ Choices.

And just because we LOVE books…here are a few more for you to check out:

The Day the Crayon Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

The Dot by Pete Reynolds

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Happy Summer Reading! May you find the sunshine on your back and a book in your hand (and probably sunglasses would be helpful along with a glass of lemonade) this summer! 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

100 Years

It is Teacher Appreciation Week this week, and we certainly appreciate our teacher candidates!! It’s hard to believe another academic year is coming to a close with finals week and commencement this weekend.

This is always a bitter-sweet time for us ol’ profs. We are elated to have “passed” yet another year. We are excited for all of our teacher candidates’ accomplishments and for them to begin their next chapter. On the contrary, we are sad to see our seniors go! During the busyness of the end of the semester, it is easy to get caught up in our to-do lists and forget what this means.

What does it mean? It means it is time for us to take the next giant leap. It is time to get ready for the next set of intriguing minds. It is time to shape yet another bunch of teacher candidates to work hard and do their very best.

One way our teacher candidates showcase their very best is through an Action Research project— a project carried out over the course of the academic year. Our teacher candidates were paired with area classrooms, selected a topic of study, thoroughly researched it, carried out the action for a specific outcome, and then reported their findings in a poster presentation grand finale. One of our teacher candidates stated “these poster presentations are like the Emmys of our education program.” Yes, we rolled out the red carpet for our kids. 🙂

Action Research provides our teacher candidates opportunities of growth and change based on literature and research. It involves meeting students where they are, and helping them to learn and grow. A few of the Action Research topics this spring included:

The Effects Recess has on Fifth and Sixth Grade Students’ Behaviors
~Researched by: Tyler Glynn

The Impact Written Feedback Has on Student Improvement in Mathematics
~Researched by: Ms. Katie Kienitz

The Effects of Teacher and Student Feedback on Lessons and Homework
~Researched by: Ms. Morgan Peterson

The list of great research goes on…. Great job, Action Researchers!


Action Researchers

Keep on keepin’ on, action researchers, and keep on keepin’ on graduates. Every day is a new day…a gift! Each day brings us a chance to change and make improvements in our teaching. The journey lasts a lifetime, and the future is counting on all of us. “100 Years…there’s never a wish better than this.”


Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Be A Light!

I write today in honor of Sue…my friend, my teaching colleague, my spiritual mom. My heart is heavy because she has gone home to heaven, and I will miss her.  My heart is happy because of the positive impact she has left behind.

Sue’s children and grandchildren honored her with a beautiful visitation and service. The visitation ended with a time of sharing memories. Many people shared times of happiness, love, and giving that Sue had role-modeled for all of us. Friends and family shared funny stories, sad stories, stories of Sue’s unwavering faith. And they shared stories of Sue’s smile and positive, always positive, attitude!

I wanted to stand and share. I give presentations all the time; sometimes to over one-hundred people at a time. Do you think I could stand and share at Sue’s visitation?  No!

I was too afraid. Too scared I’d break down and cry in front of all those people who were there. I wanted to share the same memory I shared on the Hartquist Funeral webpage…

Sue was the Godliest woman I knew. I had so many chats with her since her classroom was right next to mine. She was always there for me when I needed to visit about anything in life. One of my favorite memories of Sue at Brown Elementary School was when we had the same prep time together. While I would be eating something in the teacher’s lounge, Sue would come in there to rest. She would put a spoon in her hand; lay her head back on the lovely orange couch and close her eyes. When that spoon dropped out of her hand, it would hit the floor with a ‘CLANG’ which was like an alarm clock going off and it would wake Sue from her power nap. She would be rejuvenated and off she would go with a bounce in her step. This put a smile on the faces of all who taught with Sue.

Sue’s service was heartwarming. The whole service was lovingly led by her grandchildren. They shared memories, sang songs, played the guitar, and read scriptures all to honor their Grandma! Sue’s positive influence on those grandkids was evident.

Sue’s oldest son shared the eulogy. He said that he thinks of four “L’s” when he remembers his mom: she was a leader, a learner, a listener, and a lover.

  1. Leader: Sue was a positive leader for the many students who had her in fourth grade. Furthermore, Sue led many people to Christ.
  2. Learner: Sue was willing to learn. She was almost 79 and was on Facebook and she loved using the iPad.
  3. Listener: Sue was a listener. She stopped what she was doing and she actively listened to what others had to say. After she intently listened, her four favorite words to whoever she was listening to would be “Let’s pray about it.”
  4. Lover: Sue was a lover. She loved people more than anything. She emulated that love by her actions…opening her home for others, hosting bible studies, making time to have coffee, being involved in ATLAS, Aglow, Sagio, PEO, and many other organizations.

I wanted to raise my hand and tell her son that he forgot one important “L.”

  1. Light: Sue was a light. Her contagious smile and positive outlook on life would light up every place she went! Sue was a light for her students, for her friends, and for her family!

Sue’s celebration of life has caused me to sit back and reflect. Reflect on my own life. What will I be remembered for? What have I done to positively impact others? Do I generously share a smile with others? Do I openly share my faith? Do I truly listen when spoken to? If I were given a time of remembrance, what would others share in my memory? Would they share anything at all?

I have a picture hanging on the wall in my office that reads:

 “One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, or what kind of clothes I wore.  But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.” ~Forest Witcraft

The words on this picture have new meaning for me now!  Thinking of Sue and the person I hope I have been and will continue to be, I have changed the last two words:

“But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of people.”

I hope to be remembered for my effervescent personality. My positive attitude. My enthusiasm for learning and life. My passion and love for people. I hope to clothe myself in the 5 “L’s” like Sue did because I honestly believe those five “L’s” are some of the most important gifts we can give to each other!

Thank you, Sue, for touching my life in such a positive way. You will be missed!

How about you? How do YOU want to be remembered after you leave this Earth?

More to come on living and grieving with focus on children so stop back for Part II…

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.