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A Good "Ugly" Cry! It's good for you!

I'm sure you've all had one of those good, ugly cries.  The cleansing kind. The kind that makes you feel FREE when you're done.

Experts say a "good ugly cry" is healthy for you, and teachers might just need a little something to help the tears flow. These songs always help me!

Some benefits of crying:

  • Crying releases toxins.
  • Crying improves vision.
  • Crying improves your mood.
  • Crying aids sleep.
  • Crying relieves stress.
  • Crying dulls pain.
  • Crying boosts communication.

Sometimes I know I need to cry, but the tears just won't come. If I need to trigger the tears, music will usually help me out. 

For some, it's a good book, a romantic movie, or sharing thoughts with friends. 
Those often work for me. 

But mostly, it's music.

In particular, Broadway music. Many of my readers know my "other" love (besides teaching) is theatre, and I've performed in hundreds of shows. Broadway music touches me.

As I'm sure many teachers are in need of a "good cry" these days. I've been thinking a whole lot about children and their emotions. There are a whole lot of sad and scary feelings out there, and it concerns me. How do you teach about Lockdowns and Active Shooter Drills while holding onto your own emotions as well as those of the children? 

I've been in need of a good cry for a few weeks now.
Finally, I saw this video, and the floodgates were opened!

This is called "Found/ Tonight". It's performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hanson), both Broadway legends. These two musicals are both Tony award winners, and the performers are incredible. Most of the songs in Hamilton bring tears to my eyes, but The Story of Tonight is pretty amazing, as is You Will be Found from Dear Evan Hanson. The combination of both bring me a strength I didn't know I had. Hence, floodgates are opened!


This song from Pippin is one I used to sing (and still do) with good friends from college. I particularly like this version of Corner of the Sky, since it's sung by the original Pippin, John Rubenstein, whom I've actually met! (In 1990, he saw me perform in A Chorus Line!)  Sorry, there are no visuals with this one!


We're back to Hamilton. As I mentioned above, many songs from this musical make me cry. This one is when Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) meet their respective children.  
 


Speaking of children, (That seems to be a common theme in many of these Broadway songs that make me cry.) Far From the Home I Love is song by Hodel when she is leaving her home and family for a man she loves. Not a dry eye in the house after this one! This song is particularly poignant, since I played Golde in a production about 8 years ago, and my daughter played the role of Hodel, singing this beautiful song.
 
 

The story of a friendship. For Good is such a strong, sweet song from Wicked. I'm sorry I couldn't find a video with the amazing Idina Menzel, but at least I have Kristen Chenowith! The line, "you'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart" gets me going every time!
 


I played the role of Lady Thiang in The King and I back in 2001. My daughter was only 8, and this was her first musical ever. My dad was my motivation for Something Wonderful. I still think of him whenever I hear it. This video is performed by one of my very favorite Broadway performers, Lea Salonga. This video transitions into Being Alive from Company. Being Alive sums up many of my thoughts on relationships.


What I Did for Love from A Chorus Line answers the question "What are you going to do when you can't dance anymore." I think the beauty of this song is that everyone can have a strong connection to it. Just fill in the word of your choice... "What are you going to do when you can't ___________ anymore?"

For a real deep cry, ask "What are you going to do when you can't teach anymore?"

I was in a production of A Chorus Line back in 1990. (I was also teaching 1st grade at the time.) The show ran for 6 weeks, 4 shows a week, and I cried onstage every night when we performed this song.
 

Rent is a pretty amazing show. I wasn't in this one, but I did perform Seasons of Love with a group in a Christmas Concert. (Fun alto part!) But seriously, it's the context of the song in the show that brings me to tears every time!
 

Les Miserables has several songs that are tear jerkers to me, but once I heard this song in the context of the armed service, I lost it, and do every time I hear Bring Him Home.
 

This has been a guaranteed tear-jerker for me since the early 90s when I saw Miss Saigon in London. (Yes, this is another show with a lot of tear-jerkers. The storyline pretty much rips out your soul!) I Swear I'd Give My Life for You is a sweet moment of love for a child in the middle of the hell that was Vietnam. This was years before I had a child, but I knew I would love my child like this.
 

This last video is a little "treat." This isn't going to be bringing on any "ugly" cry like most of these others do for me. But it's a sweet, sentimental tear.

I hope you don't mind that this video isn't quite the quality of the others, but I do happen to be in it! I'm Lucy... in the blue dress.) This is the final song (Happiness) from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, from a production I did in 2007. I assure you, these people can sing a whole lot better than it sounds in this video, particularly that guy playing Charlie Brown!

I hope it brings you a little Happiness!


Experts say a "good ugly cry" is healthy for you, and teachers might just need a little something to help the tears flow. These songs always help me!

Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources!

I can't believe Easter is almost here! It's not even April, and we still have tons of snow here in New Hampshire!
 
Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!

But it's ok to keep an Easter theme AFTER Easter, too. After all, they'll still be eating chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, right?

When it comes to Easter, I go straight for the classics!

Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!     Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!     

I'm not sure this one would be considered a classic yet, but in my heart, it's a classic!

Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!
                 
How about a little Easter Music?

Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!

Did you know you can get a wealth of music, often with visuals, for free on Youtube?
Here's one example of a fun Easter song, complete with lyrics on the screen! 
(Yes, it counts as reading, too!)



There's plenty more music videos for kids on Youtube: Just go to Youtube and search "Easter Music for kids."  You'll find plenty, but definitely check it first... you never know!

I recently put all my Easter resources together into a bundle. It contains 6 different resources with printables, worksheets, games, and center activities, at an awesome mark down (Almost 50%off!)
 


These are the resources bundled into this set:

Easter No Prep Printables? 


Nouns or Adjectives Easter Sorting Game 





  Check it out here:
Of course, I wouldn't let you celebrate any holiday without a couple of freebies!

This is a sample of one of the items in the Easter Bundle:
 

This freebie was designed to use plastic eggs: but can be used in a variety of ways. (See suggestions in the freebie!)

Here's another freebie: click the image for this variety of writing paper for Easter stories!

 


I also promised Easter Stories. Explore these links for previous blog posts, with popular Easter stories!




Easter Stories, Freebies, Books, Music, and Fun Resources! Easter is coming fast. Here are some ways to bring Easter into your classroom without losing any learning!

This blog post contains links to items on Amazon. These are affiliate links. If you use them, I'll make a small profit from your purchase, but it won't affect what you pay Amazon!  If you use them, THANK YOU! (It's not much, but every bit helps!)

What Can We Do About the Violence?


As most of you, I've been very upset by yet another school shooting. I'm frustrated, but I'm trying to come up with things we can do about it.


As most of you, I've been very upset by yet another school shooting.

I've been upset by all the mass shootings we've had in our country in the last few years.

All those children that won't be coming home.
All those parents that can no longer hug their children.
All those children who survived, yet see the scene over and over again in their heads.

It's all too much to bear.

Letting this continue is unacceptable.

What can we do about it?

I know there are many responsible gun owners out there who are afraid of losing their guns. 

There's no way I'd ever suggest that! 

Arming teachers? As a teacher myself, I know there are a lot of us who could NEVER fire that gun, and would feel real uncomfortable having one in a classroom where there are small children. It might be my Catholic School background, but I believe "Thou shall not kill" is not negotiable.

I could never live with myself if I shot someone. 

Other teachers might feel differently. I just couldn't.


If you feel as strongly as I do about protecting our students, you can contact your senators and congressmen through THIS LINK.

You can find them through THIS LINK.

Or,  you could donate at THIS LINK.


What else can we do?

We can make our children feel safe. This is a tough one, since we honestly know the next school could be your school. It could happen anywhere. 

But we need to let them know you will protect them. 

(As we all know teachers will, the best they can!)

This video is worth watching. It's a song I sang with my singing group years ago, which answers the question, "What can we do when there's nothing left to do?"

We Can be Kind.

In honor of the need for kindness, this resource, (which typically costs $4.50) will be free through tomorrow (February 16, 2018) It's readers theatre, where children have typical school conflicts, and the ending is created by the audience, using kindness. I hope it brings more kindness into your life!
As most of you, I've been very upset by yet another school shooting. I'm frustrated, but I'm trying to come up with things we can do about it.

I honestly hope the killings stop, and students, parents, and teachers feel safer in school.

I'm not going to stop praying, but it's no longer enough. 

We need to act!

As most of you, I've been very upset by yet another school shooting. I'm frustrated, but I'm trying to come up with things we can do about it.

Academic Winter Sports Team Building

This time of year, I find the kiddos are starting to get on each others' nerves. Little things can turn into big arguments. They start having "friend troubles." They're cranky. 

What they really need is spring, fresh air, flowers, warm sun, and so on. But we can't actually give them that, can we? But here's something we CAN do:
We can shake things up!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!

I'm a huge fan of the Olympics, and I like to bring winter sports into the classroom! Plus, it's a great way to bring Team Building into the classroom!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!

1, Have fun!
2. Give the students a taste of what the Olympics are like.
3. Give the children a taste of what some countries around the world are like.
4. Review important skills we've learned.
5. Liven up the dreary days of winter.
6. Promote teamwork and positive feelings for each other.

Doesn't this sound exactly like what your students need right now?


Here's how I do it!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Four or five students per team is plenty. I try to spread the wealth of "talents" for each group, making sure I have strong readers, mathematicians, artists, etc. on each team if possible. I prefer to establish the teams and assign their countries at the end of the day, so they leave school excited and might even ask about their countries when they get home!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
The first day is pretty much preparation. (I prefer to spread the academic winter sports out over a week, but you might want to squeeze it into a day or two.) The children need to make a flag for their country, and a banner for their country. They need to make sure they know the colors for their team, so they can wear those colors for the days of competition. Of course, this will take some research. They'll be looking for books in the library, and online. (Plus, they're excited about the research!)  I count these banners as the first competition. and I have guests come in and judge the posters for accuracy, neatness, and how well they represent the country.
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Some of our banners, with some of the medals each country earned!


Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
I absolutely love the rituals of the Olympics, especially the Opening Ceremonies! Did you know that Greece is always the first country in the Parade of Nations? (This is another place where a guest could come in, and the Greek flag is easy to make!) The other countries proceed in alphabetical order, except that the host country always comes last.
Since we're competing in the USA, I take the big flag off the classroom wall and carry that at the end of the parade. (I'm no fool, at the end of the line you can see all the kiddos!)
Yes, we march them all over the school! (I have a recording of the Olympic theme that gets played over and over during the parade.)
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
I wish I could show you how much pride they have in their faces!
After the Parade of Nations, we return to the classroom, where an "honored guest" arrives with the torch. (Secretaries, librarians, and custodians are ideal for this job!) We recite the Academic Creed and the Academic Oath, (See resources below) then we all recite those important words: 
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
You can turn most anything into a contest! Be sure to have plenty of ideas. There can be group games, like scoot, or individual games, where each country chooses a team member to represent them. I try to stick to the regular curriculum each day for part of the time, but I'll let the countries sit together and award "behavior" medals each day. There can be brainstorming activities, (How many nouns can you name in a minute?) speed activities, (math facts) a read-a-thon, physical activities, (jumping jacks?) and perhaps even a S.T.E.M. project!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Toward the end of each day, I have a medal ceremony for each contest completed that day. The children help me get desks and chairs in place, and we announce 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st place countries for each contest. The 3rd place winners stand on the floor to the left of the "podium," The 2nd place winners stand on chairs to the right of the podium, and the first place winners stand on the desks in the center. Then I'll play that country's national anthem while everyone cheers. (They've always been great about cheering for all the countries!)

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Again, I wish you could see the pride on their faces! If you notice in the lower left, there's a guy in a blue shirt who was nervous about standing on a desk. We still celebrated him!
Yes, these team building games shake up the "hum drum" of winter, encourages teamwork and friendships, gives the children the break they need, and gets the children excited about school again. 


Here are a few suggestions and resources: 
Academic Winter Team Building Games (This has many suggestions for contests, as well as the Creed and Oath as mentioned above for the Opening Ceremony)

Academic Winter Team Building Games Freebie (A free version of the one above.)


If you're looking for National Anthems, these images will bring you to Amazon.

     

Of course, books are essential! Here are some great choices from Amazon.

                                       

I hope you and your children enjoy your winter games! 
If you decide to try this, I'd love to hear how it went in the comments below!


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