Monthly Archives: September 2013

Spilled Milk

After four children, I know better than to buy gallons of milk with snap on lids rather than twist on. But, when you’re in the store and that’s what they have, that’s what you get. And, of course, little fingers come along and grab that gallon from the fridge by the lid and the milk fountain pours forth.

snap on lid=spilled milk
snap on lid=spilled milk

I love my little ones dearly, but spilling milk is like pouring money way. You can’t use the five second rule with liquid on the floor! Even I wouldn’t sop it up with a towel and squeeze it back into the container. Gross!

I’ve mellowed over the years about the whole spilled milk situation. I used to rant and yell about how wasteful it is to spill milk, like that matters to a three year old. They just want a drink! Now, I calmly right the container or cup (so it doesn’t keep spilling out), tell the child to stay still, grab a towel, and clean it up. Then, depending on my mood, I give them a little more milk or just some water. I know they are thirsty.

I’m not sure where the phrase about “no use crying over spilled milk” came from, but it is true. It’s just done and it was an accident.  It’s one of those things that happens, so you clean up, and move on. After all…morning comes quickly and I don’t want to miss the really good stuff because I’m fretting over a little spilled milk.

Maracas for a Crowd

Here is an economical way to make maracas for all your fantastic first graders! When I first made these, I probably had over 200 first graders in my music classes and wanted to do something special with them beyond the normal music class.

You probably have everything on hand in your kitchen right now. You will need one paper plate and baggie (zip or tuck) per student. Then gather a stapler, crayons, a tablespoon to measure with, and rice, beans, or both.

gather your supplies
gather your supplies

When you are setting up in your classroom, make a place for yourself at a small table or chair so students can come back to you when they are ready to fill their maraca. Keep the bags, stapler, rice, beans, and tablespoon with you.

Ready to put them together? It’s easy. Give each student a paper plate and have them fold it in half. Then, let them decorate away. If they keep it folded in half, they can draw a picture on both halves or if they open it and draw one big picture or design, it will still look great. I always let my students draw whatever they want. Some choose music and others pick out something else special to them. It’s a great conversation piece as they fill up their baggie later.

decorate away
decorate away

Play some favorite songs quietly in the background while they are working and you will find the students singing along and having a fun time. As they finish coloring they can come over to your area. Let them choose what they want to fill with. You only need 2 tablespoons total in the bag. If you do more, it just won’t shake as well.

let your students choose rice, beans, or both
let your students choose rice, beans, or both

Zip the baggie closed and get ready to staple. If you used tuck under bags, be sure to tuck it and staple it before closing the plate. Or else you will have one vigorous shake and a mess  (yes, I did this before). Loosely fold the bag and place on one half of the plate.

position the bag
position the bag

Now, fold the plate in half and staple around the open edges 5-6 times, so the baggie won’t slip out.

don't leave big gaps
don’t leave big gaps

There you have it! A smiling first grader walking away and shaking their own personal maraca!

hold along the edge and shake
hold along the edge and shake

This is a lot of fun. I usually have students sit together on the floor as they finish. This lets them look at each others and shake away. I’ve used the “Maracas” song from Music K8. We also just use them to shake rhythms, echo shake rhythms, or just play in their own, personal way along with a song.

Morning Chimes

4:44am. I peeked with one eye. I’ve been lying awake here for a while, listening to the chimes outside. They sat in my basement for about 5 years in a box. It’s not that I don’t like chimes, I just had other ones up. But, I’m sorry I kept them down there this long. They are more beautiful than any I’ve heard before. When the breeze blows gently, their sound just seems to flow out of the air. I guess enough listening though, time to get up.September 2013 001

Short sleeves or long? The weather has been up and down. Eighty degrees and all the windows open for a couple of days and then, I open the windows and it is fifty degrees. Shut them quickly. I opt for long sleeves in anticipation of a brisk chill in the air downstairs. I make my way to the bathroom and splash some water on my face. Sleep marks cover my face. If only they were an indicator of a good night’s sleep.  Contacts go in and the hair gets twisted up. Long hair is a love-hate relationship for me.

I grab a load of laundry on my way down, first things first. The light’s already on, my husband was up before me. Every day he’s up before me, working. He must have used my computer, it’s already on. I go right down to the basement and switch the load I put in last night. Forgot to put in bleach with those whites, I hope they came out nice and clean still. In goes the other load and start it up. Back upstairs I open the dishwasher since I forgot to do that last night so everything is still drippy. I’ll get that away later.

So, that brings me here, sitting in front of my computer. Something in my fingers is itching to write, to say something. Boy…morning came quickly.