Learning and Fun

As an elementary school teacher I learned the importance of adding engagement to my lessons. Young students with short attention spans need to move and be actively engaged.. Adding a game can help them stay connected and learn while they are having fun. I am reminded of this quote by Alfred Mercier: “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

There are many ways to help children learn while having fun at the same time. A Dollar Store shower curtain liner provided space to create tic tac toe, Alphabet Bingo, Sight Word Racetrack, and handwriting practice. I used washable markers.

We raised trout in our classroom. A guest speaker brought samples of pond water for students to examine and classify bugs they discovered. We took a field trip to a nearby lake to release them.

Sorting seashells by color, size, shape, then counting how many are in each category is fun.

A cardboard box can be transformed into an airplane.

Use Qtips to learn about bones.

Have students draw a scene from a story you read aloud. They can then write about their drawing.


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The Ride of my life

Proud owner of a Gordon and Smith surfboard

The palm tree out my window reminds me of my trip to Hawaii almost fourteen years ago. Two weeks before our planned adventure my husband bought me my first surfboard and wetsuit. Being an avid surfer himself, he wanted me to know how thrilling it can be to ride the waves. He made it look easy.

When we got to Oahu, we couldn’t wait to get into the warm water. Here on the Central Coast the water can be numbing. There were already more surfers out than I could count. I did exactly as he said and carried my board like a pro. My husband told me he would be watching me and to remember what he taught me. I didn’t tell him that I forgot it all.

“Go have fun. I’m going to be watching you.” Off he went to join the line up of surfers while I remained close to the shore. I spotted an old man giving lessons to kids and started paddling to get within earshot. I later learned the old man was “Rabbit Kakai” who is a famous surfer. As I paddled, a beautiful Hawaiian girl paddled toward me and shouted, “Howlie, stay in the channel.” I didn’t know what the channel was so I nodded and paddled on. I listen as the old man told the kids what to do. I followed each command from a distance. The people on the sand seemed miles away. When the old man shouted, “Stand up,” I did exactly as he said and I was riding a wave. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was actually upright and surfing. I will never forget the feeling.

The waves would seem to end, yet reform and I was still surfing. It was gloriously exhilarating and I was so proud of myself. I kept thinking, “I hope my husband is seeing this.” I did not remember how to disembark and I saw the shore drawing close, so I jumped off. Later he told me that he saw me surf and our next lesson will be on how to turn around and go back out. He tends to lose all track of time when he is surfing. Now I know why.

This has been a very tough 15 months. The future is looking up. This summer my husband will teach one of our granddaughters to surf. The beat goes on.

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Have Golf Cart, Will Travel

I saw the ad for a used golf cart in my Nextdoor app. There were two available, a red and a blue. The owner was storing them in a horse corral.
I was saving money for a golf cart (even though I don’t golf) because I live in a small beach town with one main street and gorgeous scenery. As a recent retiree, it seemed to be a good idea. I would be one of many golf cart owners in my little town.

I can’t believe I was able to convince my husband to drive out to a horse ranch to take a look. The owner was a gregarious lady who raises thoroughbreds and uses the golf carts to get around her property.
I wanted the red one, but it was out of my budget. The blue one looked like it needed a lot of care, but it was affordable. The owner even delivered it. I couldn’t wait to try it out. It gets plenty of use on weekends and on nice summer days. We have a lot of those.

What joy it brings to take in the often overlooked sights on the way into town. Feeling the air on my face and smelling the salt air while going 22 miles per hour helps me appreciate that I am alive during a pandemic. I realize that a walk would very likely achieve the same results. Yet there was something about saving for a goal, visualizing me riding in it, and then actually finding one.

I know how important it is to slow down. My brain needed to disconnect from the bombardment of negative thoughts that don’t serve me. If a golf cart can remind me to get outdoors, it was worth my small savings. I call it The Bluebird of Happiness.

No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness-or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. ~Henry Ward Beecher

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