Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It's crazy to think that I've been blogging for a whole year, but it's true! I wrote my first post on October 2, 2010!  I honestly can't believe how many wonderfully talented teachers I've gotten to "know" over the course of the year, but wow!  You all amaze me!  Thanks for sharing your talents, thanks for "following", and thanks for letting me learn from you.  I love hearing from teachers from literally all over the world!  Before I launch into a really neat story about one of the emails I received, I want to remind you all that everything in my store is on sale through midnight to celebrate my blog's first bloggiversary.  :)

Any-who!  I'm pretty sure that I've never mentioned that "when I grow up", I'd love try my hand at writing children's books, but it's true.  I, admittedly, have my own Writer's Notebook.  It's partly to use for examples with my kiddos, and it's partly because I love to engage on language play.  I have also used writing as an emotional outlet for most of my life.  It's seriously therapeutic for me.  :)  Well, ladies and gents, I have a new role model, and her name is Dicy McCullough.  She is the most precious lady ever.  Ever.

Dicy McCullough is a retired music teacher who is the author of two books, "Tired of School" and "Tired of My Bath".  Anyway, in both rhyming stories, a little boy named John Allen grows tired of something, but eventually changes his mind.  :)  Dicy surprised me one day by sending a very sweet email offering to send me copies of her books!  I was so blown away by her kind words and her generous offer.  I was even more blown away when the books arrived at my door.  They are adorable!  I love the bright colors and fun rhymes.  I love how relatable they are for kids.  I love how she named the character after her own father.   That was such a great example for my kids to see... to see that authors use inspiration from their own lives to create fresh new stories!

I read the books to both of my groups today, and we talked about how people write books and publish them.  We talked about using our lives as inspiration for characters and stories.  Mostly, the kids talked about how much they love the dog in both stories, how funny the stories are, how much they enjoyed the rhyming, and how much they liked the illustrations.  Dicy, if you're reading this, my students wanted me to tell you that you are a very talented author and they think you did a great job!  They said that you should definitely write more books!  :)  Both groups requested to put the books in the spotlight so that they could read them during independent reading throughout the week.  They were a hot commodity!  I wanted to snap photos of the kids reading the books, but I just couldn't get away from my small groups in time to go full-on paparazzi.  Rats!

If you're interested in finding out more about Dicy and her books, you can find them on Amazon.  You can find out more about the books and her journey at her website: or at her blog  Make sure to stop by and show her some love!

Lastly, I have had a few questions about our Stress Box.  I do think it could be useful as a tool for your whole class, but my teamie and I use it with one particular student.  It's a tool that our principal thought up that was facilitated by our school counselor and the kiddo.  It travels with our little pumpkin back and forth between our rooms, and it's used only when needed.  The student uses emotion cards that were self-created to show us how he/she is feeling.  If indicated, we ask if he/she needs to use the Stress Box.  We keep it near the back of the classroom, and the child is permitted to take 3-5 minutes to diffuse any anger or anxiety at the box.  There have been some casualties... namely a Koosh ball that has been picked apart and a slime-filled ball that was punctured... but all in all... it's a very effective tool.  We tried to fill it with sensory goodies that can be squeezed, ripped (Play-Doh) and manipulated manually.  Like I said, this could probably be used with a whole group, if you have a need for it, but we're using it for an accommodation in our rooms.  I'm thinking that something like this might fit nicely with something like Cara Carroll's Peacemaker Conflict Corner to use with her guide to problem-solving! Friends, I know this is still sort of vague, but it's just the nature of the beast when we're talking about accommodations and modifications.  I hope that answers any questions you have though.  Let me know if I can clarify anything else.  :)   I think I may make a personal Stress Box to cope with moving  to our new home over course of the next week!  Ha!


  1. i love your box! i work with special needs early ed so i have a box like that as well! if is a life savor for some kiddos :)

  2. Hi Amanda,
    Congrats on your bloggiversary! Love your blog!
    Funky First Grade Fun

  3. That's a GREAT idea! I'm on fall break this week and I will definitely be making a stress box. I teach special ed and all my kids could use it! Thanks for the idea.

  4. I am an early childhood special education specialist and teach SDC Kindergarten and my box is filled with "fidgets" that some of my students need when sitting at circle so I am familiar with this concept. However, I LOVE your idea of the "Stress Box" and think I will definitely make one to sit next to my "Quiet Spot". Thank you for sharing such a fantastic idea!


  5. I just found your post on Dicy! She used to teach in my school district and still subs from time to time! She just happened to sub for my teammate earlier in the school year at the same time we were studying poetry. She had all her books and poetry with her and went to each 3rd grade room to read and discuss how she became a published author. I bought some of her framed poetry and books. She has attended our family reading night too. I worked with the illustrator of her poetry too. Great, talented lady!