Monday, September 27, 2010

Making Their Mark

A child's first introduction to writing letters often starts with the child's name. If your child is showing an interest in writing letters, try this lesson on learning how to write your name.

Indirect Aim: Writing.

Direct Aim: To make the child aware that sounds have symbols.

Age: 3 to 4 years.

Materials: Sandpaper letter(s), pencil, paper.

Example of child's name: Sarah

1. "Today we are going to write your name." (Or you can just write the first letter of the child's name: "Today we are going to write the first letter in your name.") "What is the first letter in your name?" If the child gives the name for the letter 's' (es) you say, "Its name is 's' (es) but it says the sound ‘sss’ like snake.

If the child has a blend, like 'ch' for Charlie, 
say "The letters 'C' (see) and 'h' (ay-chu) make the sound 'ch' like chair. 'ch' is the first sound in the name Charlie.

2. Take any kind of paper (or chalkboard) and a normal size pencil (or white chalk), and start with first letter in child’s name. Use a capital letter. Trace the capital letter 'S' with two fingers (use pointing finger and middle finger and always top to bottom, left to write) then write it. Do a whole line of the letter 'S', if the child can wait. Or, at some point, ask the child to have a turn to trace the letter 'S' and write it. Trace it first, then write it, trace it again, then write it again, repeat this pattern of tracing and writing, tracing and writing.

3. "Now we are going to write the second letter in your name." (Or you can write the second letter another day.) "The second letter in your name is -------" (for our example, Sarah, it would be 'a').

4. Use a lower case letter 'a'. Trace the lower case letter 'a' with two fingers (use pointing finger and middle finger and always top to bottom, left to write) then write it. Do a whole line of the letter 'a', if the child can wait. Or, at some point, ask the child to have a turn to trace the letter 'a' and write it. Trace it first, then write it, trace it again, then write it again, repeat this pattern of tracing and writing, tracing and writing.

Continue with the next letter in the child's name, or wait until another day.

You can also have the child's name written out on a piece of paper or cardstock, and place it near the pencils and paper for her to go and get when ever she wants to write her name. Later, she will want to write her sibling's or her friend's name, have that child's name written out on a piece of paper or cardstock, and place it near the pencils and paper for her to go and get when ever she wants to write it.

Optional: You can use dots to write the letter(s) and have the child trace over the dots.
The adult writes the name in yellow marker and the child traces the name in a darker color.
In our classroom we have a cornmeal tray.  This is a shallow tray with a thin layer of cornmeal.  The children trace the letters they know in the cornmeal.  This is great fun and is used by all the children. 

Markers: allow the child to decorate her paper with markers after she has practiced writing her name in pencil HOWEVER, for children who have difficultly writing (or may be hard to motivate) allow them to use markers to practice writing their name.  Our goal is leaving the activity with a feeling of success!

Encourage the child to always write her name on her artwork.:)


‘Crows & Scarecrows – Unite!’ at Church Street Festival

Everyone is invited to the super-silliest event celebrating the harvest and creativity of Waldo County, the 31st Annual Church Street Festival and zaniest MythWeavers Parade on Saturday, October 2, from 10 a.m. till 3 p.m., at Church and Spring Streets right here in Belfast.
“Crows & Scarecrows – Unite!” captures the essential conflict under intense scrutiny, beginning with the MythWeavers Parade, explains Mary Weaver.
“Crows have a primal desire to eat the corn.  Scarecrows are created to bear the responsibility of guarding the corn.  They are at fundamental odds,” Weaver wanders.  “Scarecrows are stationary and solid stick.  But crows can fly!”
Anyone may choose their costume and character, then march in the MythWeavers Parade.  Crows and scarecrows and other creatures – including longtime favorites Bela the Big Pink Elephant and Babe the Little Blue Elephant, along with Fritz the Lyin’ King – are most welcome to gather at 49 High Street at 10:00 a.m. where the parade begins.
MythWeavers Parade begins at 11 a.m. as the crows and scarecrows flabbergast each other on the way up to Church Street.  Parade watchers are also welcome yet warned not to provoke further conflict among paraders.
Then at 12:30 p.m. on Church Street, a MythWeavers Theater Performance will be challenged to seek peace and resolve the definitive differences between crows and scarecrows so that all may unite in community and harmony.
Meanwhile the Church Street Festival will host fun and games, contests, live music and performances, and various vendors and organizations.  The Belfast Bay Fiddlers will entertain on Church Street beginning at 10:30 a.m.
For those who crow, there will be a Crow Caw Contest with prizes and open to those of any age.  Another contest will feature Scare-downs for Scarecrows.  Plus the “Win-A-Cake Walk” (to win a cake from Molly’s Kitchen), the Bounce House, face painting and creating the colorful chalk mandala on Church Street itself will return to the festival’s festivities.
Anyone may submit a limerick or a sonnet on the theme of Crows & Scarecrows, and the best in each category will win a special prize.  For more information, contact Jacob at or Mary at
There will also be a Pink Elephant Sale where anyone may choose to offer (or purchase) unique items for sale.
Custom costume photos will also be provided by Light in the Forest Photography (next to The Playhouse).
“There will be lots of things to see and do and fun for everyone,” promises Mary Weaver.  “We can only hope that crows and scarecrows will somehow learn to get along together after squawking at each other like crazy.”
For more information, contact Mary Weaver, 338-5777,  “Come and join the parade!” she urges.  “Crows and scarecrows: Don’t fight!  Unite!”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

~Wordless Wednesday~

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Yoga with Miss Mallory

Can you stand on one leg like a flamingo? How about arch your back like one of Jennifer's cats? Stretch your arms up high like a tree on the first day of Autumn? Yoga with Miss Mallory is all this and so much more. :)
Ask your children to demonstrate for you!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Molly's Kitchen

Molly's Kitchen
FRIDAY Bake Sale -- September 17
10:30 - 5:30

PIES:  $20
Maine Blueberry
Apple Crisp

CAKES:  $20
Dark Chocolate with Mocha Frosting
Brown Sugar Spice with Caramel Frosting

COOKIES:  50¢ each
Molly's Chocolate Chip
Oatmeal Raisin
Walnut Butterscotchies
Chocolate Cherry Almond
Anise Seed Shortbread
Pecan Shortbread

Cinnamon Raisin
Oatmeal Molasses
Sesame Honey Wheat
Boston Annie-a white cornmeal annadama type
Yankee Anna-a traditional yellow cornmeal annadama type
"Savory" Baguettes with Roasted Garlic, Rosemary, Roasted Red Pepper, & Asiago Cheese
"Savory" Baguettes with Roasted Garlic, Rosemary, Basil Pesto, & Asiago Cheese
Classic French Baguette  $3
Rustic Green Olive Rolls $1

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Barb's Garden

I've been working on a mural I plan to paint this weekend in the yellow classroom. I'm so excited. I love to create things and I love flowers. This weekend I will get to pay tribute to the previous resident of 44 Northport Ave, Barbabra Marshall, Emmet and Barlow's grandmother. I will paint her garden.
All summer I have been enjoying the gardens she loved and cared for, that later went on to be tended lovingly by her family. Now my family has become the caretakers and we know nothing about gardening. Neither of my thumbs are green. But I know one day they will be. Some how, living here these past few weeks, I have started to notice more the way flowers give. The children remind me to stop and smell the flowers daily. How did I ever get so lucky? The power of flowers is amazing. Searching for a certain color flower is an exercise in color recognition, counting how many buds the rose bush has is a math lesson, smelling the one full rose blossom is practice in taking turns and waiting. This garden is fabulous! Everyone is learning from it and enjoying it and loving it.
Thank you Barb~and the whole Marshall family~ I hope my painting makes you and all the Helping Hands families smile.
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Miss Jenn celebrated her 25th birthday this week~all of the children added a handful of stars to the rug and wished their beautiful teacher a happy birthday. She carried the globe around the sun (a few less than twenty five times) and we all sang for her. Today we celebrated Rosie's 3rd birthday. It was a gift to have practiced the birthday walk with Miss Jenn the day before; all went smoothly and beautifully. A yummy birthday snack was enjoyed and Rosie pulled the affirmation card: "I am an artist". Which of course is so true.
A lovely week so far~ more photos to follow soon. And a brief update about Date Night....
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday~

Today was a day of settling in, choosing new works and working together.
Today we demonstrated the ground rules of our classroom, elementary movements such as rug rolling, tray carrying, pushing in one's chair and waiting for a turn with something that you really, really want. These are exercises we will repeat over and over again throughout the year. One day (usually in January) it all flows together and the children do these things (while here at school) with little or no reminding. There were several occasions today when the children worked at their own individual rug, quietly and no one spoke. It was really astonishing how peaceful and settled the classroom felt, so early in the school year!
Outside time brought plenty of running about and joyful yelling!
It was a thoughtful cloudy day.
Have a beautiful evening.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Our day began with glitter dough/pipe cleaner sculptures and ended with harvesting lupine seeds from seed pods.
Of course, there was much done between those two activities.....
like dancing, counting, building, singing, painting and even rock hopping!
It was a great day.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Tuesday was......
New faces, new friendships.
Sand dough and sea shells.
Counting and naming.
Sunshine and showers.

Tuesday was wonder~full.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The First Week of School

Hello Helping Hands Family School families and friends,
Here are some quick pics from Friday.  I don't have a photo of every child yet but I will soon. 
Our first three days were lovely and full of smiles. Here Marley and Jack shared a seat on the fence while waiting for a cold drink. All the children seemed happy to be here and to enjoy playing with one another.  The outdoor space is so big and beautiful; it was fun to watch the kids run here and there and every where when they first reached the play yard.

 Some of our outdoor explorers (lead by Emmet who knows his way around) discovered the blue berry bushes and quickly devoured any of the summer season's lingering blueberries.
A fuzzy caterpillar was also found climbing a tree and several inquisitive friends made observations while they watched him crawl away. Drew and Emmet stayed until the little creepy crawly made his way high up into the tree.  What a wonderful first three days~  Thanks everyone, for having these amazing little people and for sharing them with me, Jenn and Mallory.  How blessed we are!  Enjoy your weekend.