Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'm Making a Comeback!

Dear Friends, Family and Amazing Readers,

I am so sorry for leaving you! Things got really crazy for me and I just couldn't keep up with everything going on. Right around Christmas I always get really emotional about not having my own classroom and for some reason it hit me harder than ever this year. I had days where I had to force myself to get out of the house and out of pajamas, which is a big deal because I am ridiculously stubborn. Then Christmas came and I got to spend time with my amazing husband and our families and I felt a little bit of the fog lift. I was not quite back to normal, but starting to feel more like myself everyday. After the new year, my husband and I took a trip to Las Vegas. We spent our time eating amazing food, seeing fabulous shows, and just relaxing together. It was all I really needed to get out of the fog and start concentrating on all of the good things in life.

That's when the real craziness started. And by craziness, I mean exciting things. A little back story first: I went to school in San Francisco. That is where I did all of student teaching, made all of my connections, and got all of my job offers. After school, I made the very difficult decision to move closer to my family and I've spent the last four years rebuilding connections and showing people down here what an awesome teacher I really am. That is where it was getting frustrating. The teachers that I was working with thought I was amazing and gave me steady work, but I really needed principals to notice and, as a sub, you just don't see a lot of them. This year though, someone did. I started getting phone calls to interview for teaching jobs that I hadn't even applied for, or knew existed. I went on three interviews and recently got hired as an ELD Intervention Teacher at a local middle school. Any one that knows me is probably thinking "Middle School? But you are an elementary teacher?" My thoughts exactly! But a lot of the students that I will be working with are the same students that I had when I taught fourth grade and I am so excited to be working with them! Plus, I have always been the teacher that really roots for the under dog, the students who are not expected to do well. I think it's my job as a teacher to help them to know that they can succeed at anything they want, even if they have previously been told that they cannot. These are the students that I will be working with everyday, and I am more than thrilled with this opportunity. I can't wait to share with you how it goes!

There are also some changes that you can expect from the blog from now on. Things will be a little more personal, I'm going to share with you more of what is going in my life. I will also post as many crafts and kid friendly ideas as I can, but some of my crafts will be more geared for grown ups. I also plan to share my blog obsession with you. I read so many blogs and find so many great things that just need to be shared. Finally, I hope to share my teaching journey with you and any tips and tricks that I learn along the way. I really hope that you will stick around because I think that there are some really exciting things to come!

- Jamie "Freckle Face" Snyder

Monday, December 5, 2011

I've been avoiding Christmas

Hey everyone!  I'm sorry that I haven't posted in so long, things got busy with work, and then the Christmas season started and I just couldn't do it.  You see Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday!  I dream in snow flakes and Christmas trees.  But things are a little different this year, and I was bummed about not being able to do Christmas my way, until I realized that this blog will be how I celebrate this year.  I will just celebrate the season with all of you!

So Merry Christmas to all of you!

To make these lovely trees, all you need are styrofoam cones, yarn, buttons, and pearl pins.  I happen to have the cones left over from a craft I was going to do in October, but never got around to.  They have a couple of sizes at WalMart for a good price, but if you want bigger cones then you will have to go to a craft store.

Simply tie in a knot in the end of the yarn, and pin it to the top of the cone and then just start wrapping.  The top is the hardest part.

When you finish it should look like this:

Then just add the buttons by pinning them onto the tree.

Sorry for the bad photo, sometimes I can't get the camera to focus no matter what I do.  I really love the way they turned out, and I can't wait to put them out to help put me in the holiday mood!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Easy Turkey Craft

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  What are you doing to celebrate?  This year I am going to two Thanksgivings.  I will start the day with my side of the family, at my grandmother's house, and end the day with my husband's family.  How will I eat two Thanksgiving dinners you ask?  Well, it's all about strategy!  I have favorite things at both places, so I take small samples of everything, but indulge in my favorite items.  Plus, there is nothing like your own family's food, and I am going to them first.

While I am busy obsessing over my Thanksgiving eating strategies, here is a craft to get you in the mood for the big day.  All you need are leaves, glue, brown paper or a brown paper bag, and white paper.

Step 1: Dry out and press your leaves by placing them in a book between wax paper for 36 hours.  This step is totally not necessary, but it makes them a little easier to glue.  It also makes them a lot less pliable.

Step 2:  Cut out your turkey body and place it on your white paper.

Step 3: Arrange your leaves around the turkey and glue them down.  Don't forget to add a face!

I love how it showcases the amazing colors of Fall that I am obsessed with!  I actually missed the turn to my grandma's house the other day because I was too busy staring at foliage.  Isn't it amazing how bright the colors are after pressing also?  I love it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Tree Craft

Hey everyone!  Can you even believe that Thanksgiving is this week?  I can't!   Well, this craft will help you enjoy the last few bits of Fall that we have left, before we dive head first into winter and the holiday season.

All you need for this craft is paper, water colors, coffee filters, and crayons.

First step:  Trace your child's hand and forearm on the white piece of paper.

Don't mind my terribly chipped nails!

Step 2: Color the hand, which will serve as our tree trunk, however your little heart desires.

You could also use paint for this, or even paint your child's hand.

Step 3:  Lay out at least 3 coffee filters.  I used a torn up paper bag to paint on, just don't use newspaper because the ink will run onto your project and make it look dingy.

Step 4: Paint the coffee filters with water colors, only using the colors of Fall.  If you do not have water colors you could color them with marker and then give them a quick dip in some water to make the colors run together.
Yes, it's true, I used a bit of green.  As I mentioned before, our leaves don't really change in So Cal.  I had to include it!  After they are painted you must wait for them to dry.  It shouldn't take very long.

Step 5:  Fold the coffee filter into eights and cut out a leaf shape.

Step 6: Arrange and glue your leaves around your trunk.  Don't forget to make one falling!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting over good, bad and got

I HATE when I'm reading a paper and the same words appear over and over!  "It was really good.  I think the book was good.  I think the character made a good decision."  This is a great way to help kids get over using the same words!

Create a tombstone for the most used words in the class, putting them to rest forever.  But be sure that you include the "survived by" part so that they have ideas of what else to use.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall in Southern California

I'm a HUGE fan of the Fall!  I love the crisp, cool weather, the fires we can light at night, and most of all I love the changing trees.  Unfortunately, we don't get a lot of that around Southern California.  In order to do this project I actually had to go on a leaf hunt.  It's true, you can call me "The Leaf Thief" because I had to go and take leaves off of trees so that they were a beautiful Fall color, and not the gross brown that was littering the ground.  Luckily, I have amazing neighbors who really didn't care to lose a couple of leaves for the good of crafting.  If you also have a leaf deficiency then I might suggest going to the park, or as a last result, going to the craft store and buying the fake ones.

Today, to celebrate the beautiful colors of Fall, and the coming together of families for the holidays, we are making Leaf People.  I was inspired by a Martha Stewart post where she made animals for each letter of the alphabet out of leaves. (You can check it out by clicking here)  That seemed way too complicated for me, so Jake (my youngest brother) and I made Leaf People of ourselves.  He even made them hold hands!  I knew he loved me!  It's hard to tell when they are twelve and full of eye rolling and face making.

To start, I gathered A BUNCH of leaves from the neighborhood.

Then we laid out our people.  Make sure they have heads, bodies, legs and arms.  I included feet for mine, and Jake included (giant) hands for his.  Work with what you have, anything goes!

He is so going to hate me for posting a picture of him, but he's just so cute!  Once the leaves are all laid out and you are happy with your person, glue them down.

If you can find your googly eyes, I couldn't, then go ahead and add them in!  It would really add a lot to this easy project.  If your child is doing this alone, have them do your family in leaves, or even a self portrait.  For the younger kids, they probably won't look much like people, but who cares!  As long as they are having fun, and enjoying an easy and pretty much free craft, then I am thrilled!

Here is how our little guys turned out:

Did I mention how much I love that they are holding hands?

I really hope you try this out, there is really no excuse not too, well unless you live in the Arctic and nothing grows.  That would be a good excuse!

Happy Monday!  And thanks for sticking around even though I was sick last week!  It's the curse of being a teacher.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am such a nice sub!

Apparently, I'm too nice of a sub. I really need to work on my Viola Swamp skills! Actually, none of that is true. I am a very strict sub, that's the only way to survive, but I'm also nice and fair. Apparently I'm also pretty an have green eyes (my eyes are blue), because I got these two pictures and notes yesterday. This is also the first time I'm posting from my phone, I hope it works!

I feel pretty special!