Rakin' In Learning

Here's a fall themed center that can be easily adapted to meet the needs of your students.

To make
You will need a leaves which can be easily found at your local craft store or dollar store, bags or buckets for sorting and a rake.  I found the buckets and rake at Target.

Next, using a Sharpie write on the leaves whatever concept that you would like your students to focus on.

I created this center for Word Work.  Students had to sort words, letters and numbers.  But it could be easily turned into a math center by writing number sentences on the leaves and having students sort the answers into the appropriate buckets.

To play
Students will toss their leaves up into the air or scatter their bucket.  They will rake up the leaves and sort as they go.

If needed, you could easily add a "worksheet" for students to fill out for accountability purposes.

Honestly, though, my students have loved working at this center.  They love it because it gives them the sensory experience of playing with the leaves.  I like that I can incorporate the sensory and learning.  

Happy Fall!

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Lessons Learned - Not School Related

In life, we will have people who will impact you in many ways. They teach you lessons about life, love and/or career.  Within a month, I've lost three people who have influenced my life. This post is a tribute to them.

Mr. R was my first principal.  He hired me as an intern with only a few weeks of student teaching experience. He was a man of conviction.  He taught me to stand up for what I believed in.  Even if it meant going against the norm.  He believed in teaching first; not better test scores. He trusted his teachers and staff. In fact, I taught his grandson as a second year teacher.

Mr. R did what all great teachers do.  He let you learn; sometimes from your mistakes and then, he shared his words of wisdom. I remember vividly during my first year teaching, he told me that I had the "ganas" to make it as a teacher. When I feel down about myself and my profession, I am reminded of his words and it gives me the courage to continue to have faith that I am doing the right thing educating the lives of young people.  I will always remember Mr. R with a smile on his face and his love of being an educator.

Sometimes, friendships cross multiple generations.  I've known E. since my early 20s.  For almost two decades, a group of us have met regularly for tea.  And, when I say tea, I really mean: tea, crafting, games and a full weekend of fun.

This group of woman have stood by me on my wedding day, handmade the quilt my son used as a baby and comforted me when I miscarried.  Now, our group has suddenly lost one.  It's hard to describe the loss each of us feels.  E. was always the one who organized our games, kept us on time and always had some tidbit of wisdom to share.  What I loved most about E. was her ability to do it all.  Even in her 70s, she managed to have a calendar full of dates, volunteering, and family gatherings to attend.  She devoted her life in helping others as a wife, mother, volunteer and friend.

You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family.  T. welcomed me into my husband's family from the moment we met.  He always had a smile and a joke to tell.  Over the years, we've spent summer vacations together, shared birthdays and holidays with one another.  He lived life to his fullest. He worked in the aerospace industry and was invited to Cape Canaveral to watch a space shuttle launch.  In fact, he has his fingerprints on a machine which is on the moon.  T. was never one to boast and I only learned this recently.  He was like a second grandfather to our son.  Donald drew this for T. while he was in the hospital to remind him of all the great times they shared together.  He will be missed.

In fact, I will miss each one.  All lost their life while battling cancer.  Each lived their life fully.  Each taught me lessons that I will cherish for years to come.  In my heart, I know that heaven is a better place because they are there.

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