Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Check Out What's Happening In The Library...

Guess Who Is Back...?

Our lovely Mrs. Pitts! She is back from here knee surgery and we are so happy! It just wasn't the same starting back to school without her. 
In The Library...

We are working on introducing to kindergarten students our "Book Character Wall" We have several book characters depicted on our library wall (as you can see below). I enjoy sharing these characters and their stories with all of my friends. 


From left to right; Koala Lou by Mem Fox, Cat In The Hat By Dr. Seuss, Curious George By H.A. Rey,  Franklin By Paulette Bourgeois,  "The Nook"  From Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,  Arthur by Marc Brown,  Clifford By Norman Bridwell and Corduroy By Don Freeman.

Many of the students think I painted these wonderful characters on the wall but our previous, art teacher, Mrs. Holaday is the amazing artist that recreated these book characters for Kennedy kids, to enjoy.

Our First grade kiddo's read The Strega Nona books by Tomie DePaola. We enjoyed Strega Nona,  Strega Nona Her Story,  Big Anthony And The Magic Ring  and  Big Anthony His Story.  We also learned facts about the author Tomie DePaola. We discussed some of the stories we had shared last year that we read of Tomie DePaola's  and shared some of the other stories we have in the library that they may enjoy checking out.


Books and Bloggers Swap:


My Swap partner was so amazing, I enjoyed getting to know her and checkout her videos.  I absolutely loved everything she sent.  See all the wonderful things my partner sent. Jen Wesner is my partner and you can find a link to her youtube channel here:    Jen Wesner  


My Next Swap:


Hey all I've decided to participate in Swapoween - a Halloween swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! When I saw this swap I knew I had to participate.  I've been involved in this swap for the last 2 years and it is a favorite.

Here's what's involved:


Get to know your partner and send them a fantastic Halloween-themed package with goodies that meet their style/preferences/favorite things about the holiday.


Include at least 5 Halloween-related items
Cost $20-$30, before shipping (to ensure relative value)
If you want to know more check out their post on SWAPOWEEN!

My Book Club:


At my book club we shared the story of Harper Lee's book Go Set A Watchman. I was very reluctant to read this book. To Kill A Mockingbird, is my all time favorite book. I read it the very first time as a freshman in high school. Since then, I have probably read at least 6 other times. I love to share this book and discuss it. 

Naturally, when I began reading Go Set A Watchman I came in skeptical, but I loved this novel for exactly what it is: a brilliantly written, beautiful southern novel about a young woman who discovers who her father is.

I also, can relate as to, why Harper Lee might want us to have this novel now, at this point in her life. She need the story to be told and let the readers decide. That is what I have done... curious?

I love the dynamics of the relationship between Scout and her father, Atticus Finch. Harper Lee was able to build on the foundation established from her first novel, reflecting the character development in a beautiful way. 

In our discussion of the book some felt Go Set A Watchman destroys the heroic portrait of Atticus Finch and erodes the adoration of his daughter, but I see it as an extraordinary coming of age story about Jean Louise. When faced with the humainty of her family and childhood community, questions about racial equality and women's freedom, surface. It seems tht these had always been personal convictions rather than family values. She has to decide if she can accept the people she loves most, despite their conflicting perspectives. 

She misses the feelings of belonging, that her small town provided her, she doubts their ability to accept her because of her progressive views. In the end she emerges with an identity all her own, forged by the very people she shares a history and possibly a future with.

In the end I am grateful to have read this book but To Kill A Mockingbird is still my favorite.


For my book club I made my infamous Pecan Pie Cheesecake. I have had so many people over the years ask me for this recipe and I will share it here.

 Pecan Pie Cheesecake

¾  cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar  cup butter, melted

Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
 cup dark corn syrup  cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pecan Filling:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Cheesecake Filling:

Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.


Happy Reading,

Mrs. Shamhart

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Dot.. Just Make Your Mark And See Where It Takes You


I am listening to the news as I attempt to prepare this weeks blog. I am absolutely loving the idea of spending time with all my kids, this long weekend. I am thinking about Labor Day weekend. I am desperately anticipating the cooler weather ( I love the fall).  I am needing new glasses.  My goals for this school year are much the same as every school year: Have patience, stay organized and believe in yourself, students and family this school year. 

In The Library:

The Dot by Peter Reynolds has to be one of my favorite children’s books of all time. If you only read one art-themed book to your stu­dents or child this year, this should be the one! This is the story of a young girl named Vashti who, intim­i­dated by a blank piece of paper announces, “I just CAN“T draw!”. Her very wise teacher is able to get her past her artis­tic block through the use of inspi­ra­tion and encour­age­ment, and then instill in her the con­fi­dence to keep going. This is a book you can (and will!) refer back to many times, so it’s a great way to kick off the new school year! I read this to my first graders, then use it as inspi­ra­tion for dec­o­rat­ing their own dot. See the video of The Dot by Peter Reynolds below.

  I really enjoyed working with some of the other specials teachers in an effort to bring this book to life. We read the story, sang the song, watched the video, created our own dots and shared them in the hallway. It wouldn't have been as effective with out all the support from Art, Music and Character ed. teachers, Mr. Ward, Mrs. Christner and Mrs. Coup. Big Thanks to all!

The quote from the book..."Just make a mark and see where it takes you". Then we also shared all the classes down this hallway: Library, Art, Music, Reading, Character Ed. Science and Booster. 

We also worked on taking good care of books in the library this week.
We discussed the process of checking out books and also shared this anchor chart. We then were able to check out on Thursday. We each received a bookmark and a letter was sent home, explaining that kindergarten has checked out for the first time. It really is an exciting time. Many of my kindergarten friends have never been to a library. They did a fantastic job!

Some smiles after kindergarten friends checked out books for the first time.

We then shared the book A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon. 

We created books for our class, see them here:


 We also have a new area we will be creating a garden in, it will be a prairie garden. In our science rotation, with Mrs. Goodman and in our classroom we will be working on the garden and learning about the garden. This is a photo of Mrs. Smith's 1st grade class taking their first look at the garden. 



My Current Read:


This week I am reading a wonderful book called Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave   
Happy Reading,

Tula Shamhart