For the Teacher

For the Teacher is where you will find inspirational and educational articles plus my personal life and story.

4 Steps to Your Greatest Teaching Year Ever

I have one of my favorite freebies for you – the Take One 2017 Toolkit.  It is a life-changing document that has transformed my teaching practice year after year.       I am so excited to share this with you. Feel free to share this with any friends or colleagues.

Meaningful Documentation in the Early Childhood Classroom

Providing meaningful documentation has many benefits in the early childhood classroom. Today I want to share some examples of meaningful documentation from Rosa Parks ECEC here in Tulsa, OK. What is Documentation? To put it simply, documentation is a way to track students’ learning and thinking. When done correctly, documentation should take it’s viewer on […]

Flexible Seating in a Reggio-Inspired School

Offering children flexible seating choices can be a great way to make the classroom environment more cozy and home-like. Let’s take a look at flexible seating in a Reggio-Inspired school. What is Flexible Seating? Flexible seating is simply offering students multiple choices of where and how to sit in the classroom. Traditionally, classrooms are supplied […]

Simplifying Documentation

One of the most important elements of Reggio-Inspired teaching is documentation. From experience, I know this can be one of the most intimidating pieces to implement. I want to share one example of a documentation panel I created along with my students in a first grade classroom. I want to share how I simplified this documentation […]

A Closer Look Round Up

I have read a lot of blog posts lately that have made me feel the need to take a closer look at the various approaches to learning. The post that really sparked this is from How We Montessori and is featured first. The following posts are ones that I feel really break down the Reggio approach and […]

Firstie Friday ~ Sight Word Tic Tac Toe

It is so strange to me that I have a first grader. When I taught first grade, my students seemed so big! Now that I have a first grader of my own, I can hardly believe how small they really were. My kiddo struggles with sight words so I have searched high and low for […]

Birthday Rocks

Celebrating birthdays with classroom traditions is an important component in setting up my class community. Each child’s birthday is celebrated exactly the same — and it is deeply meaningful. I am amazed at the comfort the children take in the sameness of the tradition. There is no competition. The sameness allows the class to bring […]

Construction Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Every time I visit Rosa Parks ECEC, I am taken aback by their creativity and dedication. Their rooms are beautifully adorned with child-made chandeliers, inspirational documentation,  earthy tones, and it is clean, very clean! It inspires me to come home and declutter my house every time! It is a win-win for all. On my last […]

DIY Blocks! So Easy!

When I made the move up in grades from PreK to First grade, I was a little taken aback that blocks would not be an item that was provided by the district I worked for at the time. I cannot use the word shocked as that would be exaggerating, but I was definitely bummed. Blocks […]

5 Year Blogiversary! Tossing Glitter and Give-Aways!

I am speechless! I can’t believe it has been five years since I started Fairy Dust Teaching!  I had no idea how much it would grow. I still remember asking my daughter – “Do you think I will reach 100 followers?” Today Fairy Dust Teaching is heading towards 20,000 followers. Crazy pants! Thanks to you, my […]

What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Misbehavior

Did you know there is DNA of misbehavior?   In my teaching practice, I have found the only real way to implement effective strategies with children with difficult behavior is to understand the deeper levels of their misbehavior.   Sounds complicated.   But actually, it is not when you understand the DNA of misbehavior. You […]

Light & Shadow Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Last week, I mentioned that I would be sharing a few of the light and shadow provocations I saw at Rosa Parks ECEC. These provocations were magical and inviting. They also added ambiance to the rooms. As beautiful as the pictures are, they can only attempt to capture the magic that the “real thing” provides. […]

BAM! – A Simple Sight Word Game

It seems as though I woke up one morning and I was suddenly a mom of a Kindergartener! What? How did this happen? Where is the time going? One minute he’s a playful PreK student coming home with dirt in his hair and paint on his hands. The next he’s coming home with sight word lists and […]

Nature Inspired Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Recently, I – along with the other members of ORIN (Oklahoma Reggio-Inspired Network) – had the pleasure of touring Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center. This is a Reggio-Inspired preschool in the Union Public School district. This school is beautiful inside and out. For the purpose of the ORIN meeting, the teachers had created nature-inspired […]

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Class Outside

If you should ask me – What do you remember about your childhood? – I would answer: playing outdoors.  I remember, like yesterday, creating a little hide-out under a group of tall bushes.   I would spend hours with my friends gathering twigs and rocks to make those bushes into a secret hide-out. Children have a natural desire to play […]

St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc.

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc. is an incredible resource for teachers. What is it, you ask? It is a place where all things “teachery” come to wait for their classroom home. If you are like me, you are always reusing items from around your house in your classroom. Things from jar lids to […]

All Around Child-Outside

I have been sharing the wonderful things I saw while visiting All Around Child in Overland Park, KS. So far we have explored the common areas, hallways, and the beautiful classrooms. Now you will get to see the masterpiece that is the outside play areas, but they are so much more than that. They are […]

All Around Child-Inside the Classrooms

Recently, I posted about All Around Child, a Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. I loved the school so much that there was no way I could have condensed my thoughts and pictures down to one post. We are about to explore the magic inside the classrooms and you will see why… I quickly learned […]

All Around Child-A Reggio-Inspired Preschool

I had the pleasure of taking a tour through All Around Child, a beautiful Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. This school serves children 6 weeks to 6 years. I was so impressed with this school that I took way too many pictures to put into one post. This will be a glimpse into the […]

Jennifer’s Reggio Inspired Classroom, Part One

I must admit. I am sooooo lucky. I work in a school where my colleagues are striving to bring amazing educational environments. Jennifer Dean, a kindergarten teacher, has created pure magic in her classroom. I just had to share!  Let’s go take a peek. . . Loose parts in the Math Center —  I love […]

Two Years Later – Miracles Abound!

Two years ago Easter Sunday, my eldest daughter mysteriously lost all ability to walk, hold her head up – – she became like a limp rag.   It took nearly 5 months to figure out – she had an aggressive form of MS.  She spent nearly four months in a hospital bed.  At one point, we […]

Markets in Nice

I must admit, I adore the open markets.  There are so many!  Here is a little flea market in Nice: Okay this is not a market but gee whiz – the blue in Nice is amazing.  We sat next to the sea and . . . well . . .  experienced such warm and glorious […]

Going South!

 It is 7:00 a.m. in the morning and it is time to say good-bye to Paris — for now.  I loved our little flat in the Latin Quarter.   So bohemian. There is something about the train station that is always so exciting. I love the European trains.  We headed south to Nice, France. (Notice the […]

A Little Paris Sparkle. . .

It was misting as we walked around the corner.  Damp, dark and cold.   I wondered why I was out in the rain to see this famous landmark.  I am sick.  This is crazy. Nothing could prepare me for the amazing view of the Eiffel tower sparkling. It was stunning! It was so magical – I […]

Paris Coco Style

If Coco Chanel loved Angelina’s – surely I would.   And further more, Audrey Hepburn loved this place.  It was a must do.  My friends and I were running late. We hopped on the Metro and quickly found ourselves lost. It was 6:15 p.m. and Angelina’s closed at 7:00 p.m. Against all odds, we arrived at […]

Books in Paris

Okay.  I must make a confession.   I am a complete book-a-holic.  I have way too many and still – crave more.  Nothing thrills me more than a good book.  I went into this quirky little bookshop. The bookshop owner was British and such a delight.  And I found two great old books – “Education Through […]

Sick in Paris

I woke up Saturday morning with a high fever, no voice, and my throat swollen & on fire.  My friends, worried, quickly found a doctor for me.  And here is what he prescribed.   He said my tonsils were swollen and perhaps infected.  🙁  He also felt I could have the flu.  I am unwilling for […]

Tea Time in Paris

Ooh la la – tea salons in Paris! Today I went to Mariage Freres, which has been there since 1850.  They had over 600 varieties of teas from which to pick.  It was overwhelming so I just went with the first tea that caught my eye.  It was the “rouge d’automne the noir.  It is […]

A Paris Toy Store

It seemed like it would be forever before I would be on my long awaited trip to France.   It is hard to believe – I am here. Walking to the toy store.  Such a beautiful walkway. Looking in the window of the toy store.  Dancing fairies! Look closely and you will see her dress is […]

Resolutions: Day Five

Soul Food Nourishing ourselves is vitally important to a fulfilling year.  It is crucial to being a teacher with vitality and inspiration. True nourishment is found in the tiny details of life.   We can bring moments of grace into our daily lives.  One of my favorite tiny details is a special mug I love […]

Inspired Money for Teachers

I can not begin to express how much renewal and knowledge I gained in my two Fund for Teacher’s fellowships.  It was life changing at the very least.  This grant is tailor made for teachers who are looking for a specific type of professional development – heartfelt and passionate!!! I first applied for this grant […]

Resolutions 2013: Day Four

HABITS Fuel Goals. . .  Pesky habits!  When I hear the word habit – I think of all my bad habits.  But in reality – there are many more good habits than bad.  Habits are nothing more than the behaviors we repeat over and over again.   In fact, a habit is a behavior that has […]

Resolutions 2013: Day Three

———————— your beliefs become your values your values become your thoughts your thoughts become your words your words become your actions your actions become your habits  your habits become your destiny Gandhi ————————- Values-Based Goals Vs. Resolutions Goals can be thought of as stepping stones that move you towards your values.   The process we are […]

Resolutions 2013: Day Two

One Word There is something about the start of a new year.  It holds such power and possibility. Ending one year and beginning another is such an incredible opportunity.   I can’t imagine not seizing the vast open space in front of me – a whole year! As an artist – all I see is a […]

Resolutions 2013: Day One

A Five Day Series on Creating Your Year What, exactly, is a resolution? defined:  resolution 1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination. 2. A resolving to do something. 3. A course of action determined or decided on. Resolution defined is the act or process of resolving – the act of answering, the […]

Soulful Sunday

The Call of Teaching I will never forget the moment I was called to teaching. I was pregnant with my third child and decided to give my hand at volunteering in my son’s kindergarten class.  The first time I walked into the classroom a rush of knowing filled every pore. I was home. Like many […]

Soulful Sunday

Yesterday I was reading a book (Linchpin) by Seth Godin and had this ah ha moment.  It is a book about business and as I read – I realized I was reading about the state of education.  I just had to share it.  Listen to this (I will be replacing the word “business” with the […]

It’s an interview! It’s about Fairy Tales!

I am so excited to share a podcast of Melitsa from Raising Playful Tots interviewing me about storytelling!  She was so great.  I was not feeling well that day so I was a little nervous about how it would sound.  Melitsa is so artful in her capacity to interview – it is super.  Thank you […]

Your Soul Food for Summer

A friend asked, “What’s on your plate for this summer?”   When she said that – it hit me.   Just like having nourishing foods for our bodies – we need to have nourishing goals for our summer.   I wrote down everything I had to do on a paper plate.  Me oh my!  Super woman I am […]

Grateful Beyond Words

One year ago this weekend, my eldest daughter lost all ability to walk, lift her head — all bodily functions shut down.  My son had to carry her to our Easter dinner where we all broke down in tears as she could not keep her head up to eat.  Lizzie living life with grace and […]

Reflective Teaching – Free Journal!

Click on reflection page to download. I think if there is one thing that has made the most impact on my teaching – it would be my reflective practice.  At the end of the day I always take a moment to look at how the day went.  I do not linger on my answers.  Rather, […]

3 Steps to Effective New Year’s Resolutions

Photo Credit: http://travelguide.reservebranson.com/ 1.   Start at the end.  Create a compelling future. One of the big mistakes of most resolutions is that people make declarations that have little or no passion.  Most resolutions are an attempt to fix or correct a bad habit.  The negative intention behind the resolution is a sure fire way to […]

Oh How I Love Magical Birthdays!

I just had to share with you the magical day I had.  Today is my birthday.   Woot!  I am not mentioning how old I am (do the math, my oldest child is 29 years old. . . yikes!) I am used to little fanfare with a birthday so close to Christmas.  Hey, people are busy.  […]

Missing My Sweet Cat

It happened very suddenly.  Last week we thought my cat had been in a cat fight but it turned out he was in the final stages of cancer (Feline Lymphoma).  Yesterday we chose to put him down.  He declined rapidly and did not respond to steroids or other treatments.  We sought the opinion of two […]

The Waldorf Way: Silicon Valley school eschews technology

Loved this segment about Waldorf education on NBC.  Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Art Center & the Benefits of the Arts

I saw this for the first time in a preschool in San Francisco.  It was an arts integrated preschool and was so filled with creative opportunities for young children.  They had an art center that held a variety of materials for making art. It a free choice center in my classroom. Things I have put […]

My Best Friend, I Miss You

Today, it hit me.  My sweet daughter has been given another chance at life with the amazing drugs for MS.  I am on my knees in gratitude.  Lizzie is walking with a cane, back at work this week and improving daily.  While there are still impairments, her quality of life has returned. My sister, on […]

Matt Damon on Save Our Schools

This is from a hand held camera but worth watching.  We are in crisis as a nation in our educational system. 

With Deep Gratitude

I am so grateful to report to you that Lizzie is improving!  She has been home now for three weeks and we have already seen great progress!  It is amazing!  She has gone from being wheelchair bound to using a walker.  In fact, yesterday she held her father’s arm and walked without her walker.  We […]

New Diagnosis for My Daughter

This photo was taken the day of the new diagnosis a week ago. Dear Readers, I wanted to give you the latest on my sweet daughter.  A week ago Wednesday the doctor did a MRI that came back with an alarming number of new lesions on her brain.  Immediately, the doctor called in a MS […]

Update on My Daughter

Thank you so much for all the love, emails, messages of prayer and thoughts for my family and daughter.  It has meant so much to us all.  I wanted to let you know that my daughter was admitted into the hospital today for steroid infusions, further testing (more MRI’s and such) and finally, rehab to […]

A Momma’s Tears

My Lizzie Lou It has been a challenging weekend.  My daughter who was recently diagnosed with MS – lost the ability to walk with cane.  Her muscle strength is gone.  She cannot use her left leg.  She says it is like lead.  Her feet feel like ice blocks.  It appears her MS is taking an […]

One Day at a Time

My Heart I have been intending to post for the last few days but my heart has been focused else where.  Last week my eldest daughter received a diagnosis of MS.  The most difficult part has been the progressive nature of her disease and that she went from fully able bodied one month ago to […]

Self-Care

Photo taken at Ten Thousand Waves Spa, 10/29/10 It has been a difficult week.  My daughter, a teacher herself, has had an unusual onset of numbness on the left side of her body.  She is undergoing testing and we are confident we will find the cause.  But it reminded me of how important self care […]

Check Out This New Online Magazine!!

Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie has just published a new online magazine called The Wonder of Childhood.   It has five magazine sections – Parenting, Nourishment, Living, Education and Story.  This journal is filled with wonderful articles from people all over the United States, including myself!  I was so honored and inspired when Lisa asked me to […]

Simple Awe

Today while observing a two year old exploring a church nursery – I couldn’t help but notice her simple awe in everything she encountered.  There was this overflowing joy in just meeting the next thing to explore.  I quickly grabbed my camera and began capturing the gestures of joy she made.   I wondered as […]

Race to Nowhere

Tonight I finally had the opportunity to view the movie “Race to Nowhere.”  It really brought home the truth I know as a teacher.  The truth is simple.   I teach to create the love of learning for another human being.  This love will alter the way life turns out for the children I teach. […]

The Arts are Brain Smart!

This week I have parent conferences and I have been preparing for these meetings.  As kindergarteners going into first grade – every family wants to know how is their child doing; is their child ready?   I prepare a whole child snapshot to communicate where their child is at in cognitive development, social/emotional development, creative […]

The Sweet Delicious Details of Life

Where does love live?  On February 14?  We celebrate love every Valentine’s day with chocolates, bunches of roses, little notes of love and oh yes,  those expensive fufu meals.   But is this really love?  Maybe this is the mass market wrap it, stamp it and sell it kind of love.  Nothing wrong with it. Can’t […]

Sipping Education

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” Socrates   Recently a friend of mine told me she had roasted her own coffee.  Immediately, I was going to try it myself.  As an avid and committed coffee drinker, I love the process of making coffee.  Oh by how I love […]

Who is it that teaches?

Today I read this passage from Parker Palmer’s book, “Courage to Teach.”  It nails what I have been thinking about and I wanted to share it: The question we most commonly ask is the “what” question – what subjects shall we teach? When the  conversation goes a bit deeper, we ask the “how” question – […]

Good Teaching Scents!

According the Rudolph Steiner, the sense of smell has a direct impact on memory and thus is a great ally in the educational process.  However, he does warn to not over do it.  I think it is important to find subtle smells and use sparingly.  Remember that an adult’s sense of smell is much duller […]

Lunch at a Biodynamic Farm

This week I had the pleasure of a delicious lunch at my friend Sue’s biodynamic farm – Turtle Barn Farm.     Sue still has winter lettuce to pick.   We were each given a bowl to go out and pick our own lunch! What fun! The leaves were so tender and beautiful! Roasted chestnuts […]

Make a Madonna Shrine

This is a sweet project for families over the holidays.  A few years ago I had my mother, father and children all making one.  They all still have their work displayed in their homes!!  I also chose this as a project at the museum with kindergarten age children.    What you will need: a shell […]

My Twelve Holy Nights Notebook and Additional Resources

Over the last 10 years, I have developed my own creative process to the Twelve Holy Nights practice.  As a multimedia artist, the process is one of bringing my inner life to paper.   At the end of the twelve days I have a resource to look at and be inspired by all year long. […]

Why Educate?

To be capable of wonder is to be fully human.   – Carlina Rinaldi ?Photo taken by my dad – Arlen Fowler in Utah. Today I drove from Tulsa to Dallas and had a good five hours to think.  Lately, my thoughts swirl around our educational system and such things as the movies “Waiting for Superman” […]

Another Peek into a Kindergarten in Switzerland

 The sheer hanging drape was painted by the children and then used as a room divider.  The teacher told me she purchased the drape from IKEA. I love how they used so much wood and natural tones.  You do not see a lot of plastic!   Now this is a market!  Look at all the […]

New York, New York!

You might have noticed I have not posted as much in the last 5 days. . . . I had every intention of posting while attending a workshop in New York City.   That said, I just had to share a few of the highlights of my trip.   (I even found a few cool projects. . […]

A Peek into a First Grade Classroom in Switzerland

Here is a little tour of a first grade classroom I visited in Switzerland.  There were so many great ideas.  Outside the classroom this sun greeted students with their names. This is the helper “chart” if you will.  I love this idea! The Magical Alphabet chart!  I have made my own version of this.  Each […]

Weaving Curriculum in Switzerland Kindergarten

The classroom I visited in Switzerland was a multi-age classroom.  There was a completion project before going on to first grade – a circular weaving made into a turtle.  This circular weaving was the shell of a felt turtle. I noticed that the teacher provided several opportunities for weaving and circular weaving.  I loved this […]