Friday, February 28, 2014

Students and I are Baking Some Ugly Pies!

Students and I are "baking in the kitchen," figuratively!



Students in grades K-2 and I are reading 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee Ugly Pie by Lisa Wheeler this week!

Students enjoy chiming in with repeat lines by the bear and his friends!

After reading aloud Ugly Pie, students are making their own versions of "ugly pie!"  Thanks to my teacher-librarian friend Sandi Ellis and her colleague and TL Melissa White for their collaboration and willingness to share their lesson activity for this book.  Also, thank you to teacher-librarian Alyssa Calhoun (Central City, Iowa) for sharing how her students made ugly pies on her blog.  You can read about Alyssa's baking adventure with her students by clicking here.


Each student is given a "recipe card" like this one created by Sandi Ellis.

To print off the "recipe card," you can click here.

Students draw "ingredients" in the pie, and then list their "ingredients."

Prior to letting students start, I did a quick brainstorm session with students, to get their creative minds flowing.  Oh my, the students come up with the grossest ingredients ever!  Suggestions were toenails, fingers, drop of blood, insects, animals, and food items the students didn't like to eat.  Please, check my blog this weekend to see pictures of students, hard at work, "baking" ugly pies!


A Techy Version of This Activity
Before I end this blog post, I would like to share a "tech version" of this activity I had created, but decided not to use.  While, I strive to integrate 21st century technology skills into as many of my lessons as possible, and I had created a "techy version" of making an ugly pie, sometimes, a lesson activity, like this particular one, just calls for the simple use of paper, pencil, markers, crayons, paint, etc..

I created a Google Draw version of a "recipe card."  Students can "draw" ingredients on the pie.  As I have done with past Google Draw projects, I was going to have students go to my SymbalooEDU account to access a Google Doc for their class, and click on a link to an assigned Google Draw page.

This is what the Google Draw page looks like.
You can click here to access the Google Draw Template.

So, obviously, there are different ways to bake "ugly pie" in the library.  Either way, these pies would be ones I would not want to eat! ;)




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ant and Grasshopper Teaches a Valuable Life Lesson

We just wrapped up another cycle with another amazing 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee!  This cycle the students and I enjoyed learning a valuable life lesson from Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray!

This was a great book to follow after Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine, another 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee.  You can read about how much the students and I loved discovering how delightful this book is by checking out last week's blog post! http://outrageouslywildwonderfullibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/02/2-lessons-i-learned-from-runaway-wok.html


Before we read The Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray, I showed the students a good old Walt Disney cartoon titled as "A Walt Disney Silly Symphony - The Grasshopper and the Ants!"  You can watch this fun cartoon by clicking on the video picture icon!


I do my very best to promote that a book is 9 times out of 10 better than the movie, because that is what I truly believe.  In this lesson, I decided to show the cartoon and then read the book.  As I planned this book and its supporting read aloud connection, I asked myself the following questions.

  • By showing the cartoon first, would students be "begging" me to read the book as soon as the cartoon ended, or possibly even sooner?
  • If I were to read the book first, would students be "bored" with the cartoon, something I didn't want to to happen?

As I planned this lesson, I wondered, what would capture the students attention and create an opportunity for students to possibly make this particular book a possible front runner of a favorite Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominee?  As I introduced each nominee during the first day of the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit, students declared their "favorites," even before I have read any of them during library skills classes!  For example, Press Here and Pete the Cat are two books that students immediately shouted out that they wanted them to win, as I introduced them during that first lesson.  I haven't even read those two books yet.  So, I try my best to promote EVERY book with the same consistent enthusiasm, but, I have to admit that it can be challenging when some of the books are clearly favorites of mine! ;)

As students watched the cartoon, before reading the story, I was completely mesmerized by how the students were engaged and drawn into the cartoon.  Even students who are restless and busy, sat still for the entire cartoon!  Check out these pictures to see how they were enthralled with the cartoon!









Even after actually showing the cartoon first, and then reading the book, and feeling like it was a success, I still contemplate (even as I write this blog post) as to whether I should have read the book and then show the cartoon, or cartoon first, and then book, as I had done in the lesson.  Why am I still reflecting on how I presented this lesson?!  After all, the students were on-task and fully engaged the entire time!  In addition, the students and I had wonderful, in-depth discussion after viewing the cartoon and reading the book.  I was quite pleased and excited to hear students use different reading and comprehension strategies they have learned from their classroom teachers in our discussions!  It could be that I am wondering if I would have gained the same results if I would have read the book first and then showed the cartoon!

Either way, The Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray was a delightful book!

And, what valuable life lesson did we learn from this book?!  Work before play goes a long way!

Putt Puff Puttedy Chuff...I Can't Believe What Arrived in the Mail!

Oh my goodness, I am still speechless, "on cloud nine," "flying high," and whatever "happy" or "excited" feeling to describe how I am still feeling about a special package that I received in the mail on Friday, February 21, 2014.  It is a package that means the world to me!  It is absolutely priceless!  Ever since I received the package on Friday, I have been searching for the right words to write about this package on my blog.  I almost have had "writer's block" because I am so mesmerized by the package!  Well, I have overcome "writer's block."  I just need to blog, and let the words flow from my mind and heart.  So, hear it goes...hopefully this blog post truly expresses how excited, proud, appreciative, thankful, grateful, and so much more I am feeling, on behalf on my students and the school library.

I received a package from the most amazing, talented, genuine author ever...New York Times Best Seller LOREN LONG!

Here is the package I received!

Soooo, just exactly what is in the package?!





Now that you have seen the package, I want to share the background of all this came about and how much this truly means to me...

Last year, for the first time, I decided to introduce and teach an Iowa Goldfinch Award unit in grades K-2.  You can read more about this award by clicking here to go to the IASL Goldfinch Award webpage.


Before I met Dallas Center Grimes K-8 teacher-librarian Sandi Ellis, I wasn't sure how to go about introducing the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominees, what order to read the books in, and what activities to do to support each book.  Thanks to Sandi Ellis, and her colleague Melissa White, I learned how to sequence the books in an order that makes sense, and how to pair the books to allow for compare and contrast opportunities, as well as support other reading strategies used in the general education classroom.



The very first book I read, as part of the 2012-2013 Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit, was Otis by Loren Long to students in grades K-2.  It a 2012-2013 Iowa Goldfinch Award nominee.  Of course, this was the week prior to meeting Sandi and learning from her.  I chose Otis because I loved the illustrations, and I could immediately make connections between the book, my husband, who grew up on a farm, and as the mother of two boys, I can relate to my sons' interest in tractors, farm animals, and the farm.  Also, I was seeking a book that would serve as a grand "kick-off" and spark enthusiasm for the rest of the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit.  Well, Otis certainly sparked more than just enthusiasm.  It allowed students and myself to build and foster a genuine love for reading, as well as develop and foster positive teacher-student relationships.  I LOVE how the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit has opened the door for students to eagerly ask me what is the next book I will be reading from the nominee list for the next library skills class.  Then, after I read Otis, I wasn't sure what to read next from the nominee list.  Of course, then it's Sandi Ellis and Melissa White who come to the rescue, and help me figure out how to go about teaching the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award unit!



Last year, I served two elementary buildings in Mason City.  I served Harding Elementary and Jefferson Elementary.  I read the book Otis three times in a row for six days, making it that I read the 18 times in 6 days.  One would think that it would get awfully boring to read the same book over and over again, like I did, but actually I fell in love more and more with Otis the tractor each time I read the book, thanks to the wide variety of students' warm reactions to Otis the tractor.  Little did I know, at that time, just how much of a positive and major impact that Otis the tractor and the author Loren Long would make on my students, and me, as well, for the 2013-2014 school year.



This year, Sandi Ellis and I teamed up to connect our students via Google Hangout class sessions.  During our first connection, we read Otis and the Puppy by Loren Long.  You can read about our first special connection by clicking on this blog post by Sandi http://dcgelementarylibrary.blogspot.com/2013/11/otis-and-puppy-part-i.html . Sandi and I also continued to make more connections with Otis and Loren Long.  You can read more about it in Sandi's blog posts by clicking http://dcgelementarylibrary.blogspot.com/2013/11/otis-part-ii.html  and http://dcgelementarylibrary.blogspot.com/2013/11/our-technology-follow-up-with-otis-puppy.html .


Through all of this I have been in correspondence with Loren Long.   It started back in December, after the awesome things TL Sandi Ellis and I were doing with his books.  By the way, Sandi is also a HUGE fan of Loren Long. :)

Check out the first Facebook private message that Loren sent me...

After I received the package on Friday, February 21st, I wrote Loren a private Facebook message to thank him for the package.  He responded back with this, which is truly heart-warming and touching to read.


So...
What does this package and the connection with Loren Long mean to me?!
As you can tell, this truly means a lot to me, but more importantly, this is for my students!  The Otis books, and many others, allow me to model my genuine love for reading.  Books, especially the Otis series allow me to create and foster positive teacher-student relationships.  I am able to connect with students, which allows them to be able to connect and relate with me.  This package is all because of my genuine fondness, passion, and excitement for Otis the tractor and the amazing New York Times Best Seller author and illustartor Loren Long.

Students are watching me and hearing me talk about how I connect with authors via social media on Twitter and Facebook.  Now they are able to see how real and genuine authors and illustrators are, like Loren.  This package makes it more real for them.  The students' reactions are priceless!  They see how excited I am, and in turn, they are just as excited!


So...
What have a learned from this?!
I am a passionate, loyal, and committed teacher-librarian.  Everything I do as a teacher-librarian is done with love, passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and genuineness.  To think it all started with reading the book Otis, because I wanted to spark excitement, enthusiasm, and a love for reading and the Iowa Goldfinch award, and has now ended up with a special friendship and connection with author Loren Long, is incredibly heart-warming, touching, and fulfilling.  My intentions were, and are still not, to promote authors and illustrators and their books, with a selfish goal in mind to get expect or want something in return from these talented people.  I am just promoting out of a genuine love for books.  I was not at all expecting Loren Long to send me a package with true treasures.  I think that is why it means even more to me.

So...
Where do I go from here?!
I am going to continue to "putt puff puttedy chuff" on to promote books I genuinely love and want to passionately share!  I also hope to connect with more authors and illustrators, so it can help my students create and foster a love for reading!  When students become adults, I hope my students can look back and recall special and fond memories of the school library, especially moments like this when an author sends a package with personalized items!


Thank you, again, Loren Long, for connecting and reaching out to me!  I am deeply appreciative!  Your package is priceless and a true treasure!  I am displaying the package of Otis items and your personal messages with pride, gratitude, and a love for reading in the Harding Elementary library!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

World Read Aloud Day Blog Challenge #2

In previous blog posts I have written about World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) and the WRAD 4 week blogging challenge.  You can review these blog posts by clicking here for an introduction on World Read Aloud Day and by clicking here for World Read Aloud Day Blog Challenge Week #1 .



This week's blogging challenge #2 is the following...

WRAD Blog Challenge #2
Week 2: February 17 - 23
Adult & Child
Answering the following questions with a child. The child can be a student or your own. Age does not matter. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us.
  • I think everyone in the world should read…
    • Me:  
    • Child:  
  • If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
    • Me
    • Child:  
  • When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
    • Me
    • Child: 
  • The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…\
    • Me
    • Child:  
  • My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...
    • Me
    • Child:  
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. Staudt AND 1st Grade student Reese

Reese is a 1st grade student in Mrs. Milbrandt's class.  He is a new student this year at Harding Elementary, and I absolutely adore this quirky little boy!  He is so much fun and has quite a vivid imagination, as you will be able to tell by our picture we took together and his responses to the questions below!  He makes me smile and laugh every time I see him!

A picture is worth a thousand words!  Doesn't this picture just say it all?!

  • I think everyone in the world should read…
    • Me:  Oh my gosh, there is so many books I think everyone should read!
      • Otis by Loren Long
      • Otis and the Puppy by Loren Long
      • Otis and the Tornado by Loren Long
      • An Otis Christmas by Loren Long
      • Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
      • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Dewalt
      • Creepy Carrots by Peter Brown
      • Any of the Iowa Goldfinch Book Award nominees
    • ReeseCreepy Carrots by Peter Brown

  • If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
    • Me: An author
    • ReeseA zombie

  • When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
    • Me:  A character with attitude, where I can practice my drama skills ;)
    • ReeseZombie Spiderman

  • The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is…
    • Me: Loren Long
    • ReeseBooks about Star Wars

  • My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...
    • Me: watching students fully engaged and entranced in what I read aloud and the applause that comes after I read a book
    • Reesewhen someone reads with different voices

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2 Lessons I Learned From Runaway Wok

Last week I wrapped up another cycle of Iowa Goldfinch Award nominees with students in grades K-2.  Due to Valentine's Day on Friday, snow day on Monday, and other typical crazy-busy schedule obligations, I am now finally able to blog about last week's amazing book and two unforgettable lessons I learned about this particular Iowa Goldfinch nominee book!


In January, when I first introduced the 2013-2014 Iowa Goldfinch Award nominees to students, I admit there are some books I was instantly excited about, some books I wasn't sure if I would like, and some books appeared to be, well, blah and boring.  You can read about how I introduced the books by clicking here to read Iowa Goldfinch Award Kick-Off. 

I learned two unforgettable lessons about Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine.

1st Lesson I Learned... When I saw this book on the poster and unpacked this particular from the box of Iowa Goldfinch nominee books from Follett, I embarrassingly admit that I wasn't too excited about this book.  The cover didn't scream "this is a must read" or "you will love this book" to me.  Despite hearing the famous quote, "don't judge a book by its cover," I clearly was judging this book by its cover.

As I read the book to students with different voices for the characters, I couldn't help but get more and more into the story.  This story was a pleasant surprise!  Going into it, the book cover wasn't appealing and I wasn't sure if I would like this story or get excited about it.  Well, I can definitely say that this book is amazing and one I highly recommend.  As I read the last sentence of the story to the students, each time, "And to think it all started with a rusty wok with no handle," I couldn't help but think to myself, each time, "And to think I judged a book by its cover, shame on me!"


2nd Lesson I Learned... After reading the story, thanks to Dallas Center Grimes K-8 teacher-librarian Sandi Ellis and K-4 teacher-librarian Melissa White, the students and I enjoyed playing a Chinese New Year's game.  You can read about their delightful experience by clicking on their blog post they wrote about Runaway Wok.

This Chinese New Year game is a freebie from Sandy Cangelosi's blog Sweet Integrations. You can access the game documents when you CLICK HERE.



Not only did I truly learn the meaning of "don't judge a book by its cover," but I also learned quite a bit when teaching, modeling, and having students play this game.  Due to the fact I don't have a paraprofessional this year and a time factor, I had students play the game a certain way.

On the first day, this is what I did...

  • Read Aloud
    • Run-away Wok by Yang Compestine
  • Read Aloud Connection
    • Run-away Wok - Chinese New Year Board Game
      • Resources
      • Teacher-librarian explains and models how to play game
        • How the groups will be assigned
          • Teacher-librarian will assign students to work in groups of 2-3 students
        • Materials needed for the game
          • Each student will have a place marker
          • Each student will receive a paper with coins on it
          • Each group will have a group of crayons to use to color in the coins
          • Each group will have 1 dice
        • How to Play (see attached game rules for further understanding
          • 1st = Each student will roll the dice
            • Highest # will go first > then go around the circle
          • Each student will take a turn to roll the dice
          • Land on…
            • animal = Color in 1 coin
            • horse or coin = color in 2 coins
            • 1st person to palace = color in 2 coins
          • Everyone must travel to the palace
          • Who wins?
            • Person who colors in the most coins WINS

After the first day, I reflected and made changes to improve the game.  Wow, did it make everything so much easier and better after making the changes!

This is what I changed and improved upon, after the 1st day...

        • Teacher-librarian explains and models how to play game
          • How the groups will be assigned
            • Teacher-librarian will assign students to work in groups of 2-3 students
          • Materials needed for the game
            • Each group of 2 will receive a game board (in plastic protector sheet) and an envelope
            • In the envelope, there should be…
              • A place marker for each student
              • A pile of paper coins
              • Each group will have 1 dice
          • How to Play (see attached game rules for further understanding)
            • 1st = Each student will roll the dice
            • Highest # will go first > then the other student
            • Each student will take a turn to roll the dice
            • Land on…
              • animal = Take 1 coin from the large pile
              • horse or coin = Take 2 coins from the large pile
              • 1st person to palace = Take 2 coins from the large pile
            • Everyone must travel and reach the palace
            • Who wins?
              • Person who has the most coins WINS

Just by changing the materials, delivery of materials, and how to play the game, students were able to play more rounds of the game.

Today, Tuesday, February 18, 2014, students came to IC Skills (Library Skills) and immediately asked if we get to play that Chinese New Year's game again.


So, I learned 2 lessons from this amazing book Runaway Wok by Yang Chang Compestine.
1. Don't Judge a Book by its Cover
2. When a teacher reflects upon a lesson, and then makes changes and improvements, it truly is a win/win for both the teacher and the students.


Check out these pictures of students having fun playing Chinese New Year Game.








World Read Aloud Day Blog Challenge #1

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, I received a tweet from elementary teacher-librarian Matthew Winner (Twitter @MatthewWinner), known as "The Busy Librarian."  His tweet is challenging World Read Aloud Day participants to accept the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge.  It is a four week blogging challenge.  You can follow Matthew Winner's blog http://www.busylibrarian.com/ . More specifically, you can read about World Read Aloud from Matthew Winner's perspective by clicking on http://www.busylibrarian.com/2014/02/world-read-aloud-day-2014.html . Even more specifically, you can read about the World Read Aloud Blogging Challenge by clicking on http://www.busylibrarian.com/2014/02/world-read-aloud-day-blogging-challenge.html.



As a recent newbie to blogging (established January 2014), of course, I am up for this World Read Aloud Lit Day blogging challenge.  On Monday, Feburary 10, 2014, I wrote a blog post on how I will be Connecting with Others to Celebrate World Read Aloud Day on March 3-7, 2014 . I missed last week's WRAD Blog Challenge #1, so this week I am writing 2 blog posts, last week's challenge #1 and this week's challenge #2! Ever since I started blogging in January, I have discovered how much I enjoy blogging, so this World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge is one I am eager to participate in.


WRAD Blog Challenge #1
Week 1: February 10 - 16

What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?

I have always enjoyed listening to someone read aloud to me, ever since I was a little girl.  I will never forget the year The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg came out and it was read aloud to me in 3rd grade.  After listening to the book, I wanted a copy of my own for Christmas.  On Christmas morning, I will never forget opening the package with the book, a cassette tape, and that magic bell.  I LOVE how this book still brings magic to students today, because it certainly has brought magic to me!



As a junior in college at University of Northern Iowa (UNI), I will always remember that first semester, when I took Children's Literature!  By the way, a side note, since my undergraduate degree in elementary education from University of Northern Iowa, I have taken Children's Literature for my K-12 reading endorsement (Buena Vista University), and now my library media education master's degree (Minnesota State University Mankato).  Despite the fact that I have completed three Children's Literature courses at the college level, I consider it to be one of my top favorite classes that never gets old.






I will never forget the day that my UNI professor invited a guest storyteller into our room, and she read aloud to us.  She read three stories that day, but the one book I will never ever forget and still makes an impact on how I read aloud today.  I will never forget all the fun voices this storyteller used to read Piggie Pie by Margie Palantini.  In my head, I can still hear this storyteller using a loud, obnoxious voice for the Grinch, which is the same voice I try to replicate today when I read aloud to students. :)




Another person that made (and still does) quite an positive impact and influence on me with read alouds is Del Brink, teacher-librarian at Westridge Elementary and Western Hills Elementary in West Des Moines Community School District.  I had the privilege of watching Del in action when I was a student-teacher at Westridge Elementary (Spring 2004).  I was mesmerized by his voices, expression, enthusiasm, and passion during read alouds and book talks.  He is a master at giving books talks!  Watching students eagerly listen to him is something I will never forget!  Del is absolutely 100% spot-on when it comes "the power of read alouds and book talks!"



As I read aloud to students, I always keep in mind those who modeled the best read alouds, especially those mentioned in this blog post!  I strive to model the best possible expression, voices, passion, and a genuine love for each book.

I hope, one day in the future, the students I have taught can recall one of "their earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud."  Who knows, maybe it will be a book I read aloud to them?! ;)

You can read my previous blog post on what I am doing for World Read Aloud Day 2014 by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Join Me in Jump Rope for Heart...It Takes Heart to be a Hero

On Monday, February 10, 2014, Harding Elementary students and I enjoyed attending a Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) assembly, followed by a Jump Rope for Heart Kick-Off assembly.

During the PBIS portion of the assembly, teachers and students celebrated those students who did not receive a referral in the month of January.  Each classroom teacher recognized students in his/her classrooms by reading aloud the names of students in his/her classroom.  Students clapped for each other as names were read.  I love watching students proudly stand up when his/her name is called, as they are proud for following our 3 school rules: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe.

While the PBIS recognition is important to me and I am a huge supporter of PBIS, it is the Jump Rope for Heart Kick-Off that really captured "my heart" and is something I am excited to be a participant!




During the Jump Rope for Heart assembly, when the speaker, Amy Knoll, asked the audience, if they know someone who has had heart problems, I immediately thought of several people I know who have heart problems.

My very own Grandpa John, who I love and admire very much, has experienced heart problems. When I was a college sophomore (12 years ago), he suffered from a serious heart attack.  At that time, I almost lost him, but he was shocked back to life.  He is 82 years old now, and still going strong.


Then I think about Hayden Despenas...
He is an incredibly sweet and bright 10 year old boy, and son of my co-worker friend Sarah Despanas (Harding Elementary and Jefferson Elementary Guidance Counselor).  His smile lights up a room!  Hayden is diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia.  Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is a relentless, genetic disease that will not only rob your child of the ability to walk, but also to speak, see and hear…The devastation doesn't stop there.  FA also causes scoliosis, diabetes and heart disease with the outcome being an early death, usually in the late teens or early adulthood.  You can help support Hayden and others with FA by clicking on http://curefa4hayden.com/ , or by going to Hayden's Hope (Hayden Despenas) Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/HaydensHope .

Another co-worker friend, Darcee, lost her brother-in-law last Friday to a heart attack.  He would have been 50 years old on Tuesday, February 11.  I immediately thought of her and her family as they cope with this difficult and unexpected loss.

At the assembly, I was also reminded of another awe-inspiring person, Iowa State Men's Head Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg!  Jump Rope for Heart speaker Amy Knoll, informed us that Fred has a heart pacemaker.  By the way, just a side note, Fred's mom was my 5th grade math teacher!  I will never forget her Family Math Nights at Sawyer Elementary, special events starring Fred Hoiberg, Loren Meyer, and Julius Micalik, and many more special 5th grade memories.  I am incredibly pleased and honored that Mrs. Hoiberg and I are still connected, thanks to Facebook!


Of course, I have other family and friends with heart problems, so I don't mean to leave anyone out, but these are the people I immediately thought of during the assembly!

As I sat at that Jump Rope for Heart assembly and listened to Amy Knoll explained how much money it takes to save one life, it was a sweet reminder of life is a true gift.  Amy explained to the students that is is Jump Rope for Heart's 35th anniversary, and there were special gifts to be given out this year.  For certain dollar amounts, special gifts could be earned.  As she continued to share each goal level, the prizes, and how many lives it would help save, I couldn't help but get just as excited about this worthy cause.  While the gifts are motivating, I liked how she reminded students that donating money towards a good cause is truly what should make us feel good and from our hearts, it's not about the prizes.  Then the assembly concluded with six 4th graders and staff volunteers to go up front to jump rope.  There was a contest to see how many times we can jump rope in one minute! Of course, I just had to "jump right in" and participate!   Whew, it has been quite some time since I have had to jump rope for 1 minute, as fast as I can.  It sure brought back great memories of my high school and junior college volleyball days!  :)  What fun it was! :)  In one minute, a 4th grade male jumped 120 times, compared to my 86 times.  LOL! :)  I will have to post a picture someone took of the 4th graders and staff up front jumping rope. (to be posted later).

That day I decided I am going to join Harding Elementary students in Jump Rope for Heart! So, I am sharing this on my blog, as this is something that means a lot to me, particularly since I know of more and more people experiencing heart problems.

As of this blog post, I have raised $20.00!  While the most important concept is helping a cause, I can't help but get excited about the lanyard and 2 duckies I have earned so far! ;)  It is so much fun to join in on this worthy cause with students!


So, pretty please, help me to help others!  You can go to http://jumphoopsmwa.kintera.org/sarahstaudt and donate!  From the bottom of my heart, I truly and sincerely thank you for your help the fight against heart disease!