I am so proud to say that my creatures have made their way to the east coast! A teacher-friend of mine is using my puppets and the rest of my curriculum in her first grade classroom in Baltimore, Maryland. Now I’ve just got to work on the states in between…
When it comes to common animals that start with N, the options are limited. The puppet I created for the Letter N is a ‘night owl’ which is, of course, not an actual animal but rather a term for someone who stays up late. This has always bothered me ever so slightly but I am fond of Nathan’s story so I’ve kept him around for the last eight years. Someone along the way suggested a narwhal, and I liked the idea, but just couldn’t come up with a satisfactory story. This all changed when my two-and-a-half-year-old son was jumping up and down on the bathroom scale and noticed the “hand just like on clock.” I said, “That does look like the hand on a clock, but on a scale it’s called a needle.” He jumped up and down again and said, “Needle go n, n, n!” Why, thank you, my brilliant assistant! In that moment I retired Nathan the Night Owl and replaced him with the avid seamster Nathan the Narwhal. Now I am satisfied. If you would like to replace your night owl, contact me and I’d be glad to send you Nathan the Narwhal along with his story, outline, and handwriting pages. If you are the person who suggested a narwhal to me in the first place, let me know so I can formally thank you! This night owl is finally going to bed…
When I made my first set of letter bags eight years ago, my mom and I had so much fun filling them with tiny trinkets from A-Z. (And when I say “I made them” of course I mean my mom made them!) This week, the scavenger hunt was on again… this time to replace tattered items, get some fresh ideas, and do some rearranging now that I have separate bags for short and long vowels. It was quite a shopping spree; from the book shop to the party shop, from the grocery store to the toy store, and from Office Max to “we need to find some surf wax”. At the end of the day, I deemed my bags officially ready for action. I’m just waiting for my audience!
Leslianne the Lion was named after a student who was in my class the first year I created Teacher’s Creatures Phonics Puppets. Eight years later, when my husband and I took our son to Wild Things Animal Park in Salinas, I realized my mistake. Our guide asked the children in our tour group if the lion we were admiring was a boy or a girl. A sick feeling instantly came over me as I thought of Leslianne the Lion- my female lion puppet with a mane! When I designed Leslianne, a mane seemed like the obvious way to make the puppet look like a lion. The physical differences between a lion and lioness hadn’t crossed my mind. For the sake of accuracy, Leslianne the Lion will now be Les the Lion and he will warm up his voice before he sings. This change comes with a bit of sadness because I am altering one of my favorite puppets, but I will always remember the real Leslianne and smile when I recall my error. If you are already using Teacher’s Creatures in your classroom, feel free to join me in making this technical adjustment…if you haven’t already.
In March of this year, I presented my curriculum at a workshop at Kaleidoscope in Capitola, California. After the workshop, Teacher’s Creatures Phonics Puppets with Letter Bags and The Monaco Method for Early Literacy were given their own space on the shelves of the popular parent-teacher store. My curriculum in a real store; what a wonderful feeling! I am so grateful to be able to share my curriculum at this location, as well as on my website, and at the occasional reading conference. Every little bit counts!
As summer winds down, I’m gearing up for my ninth year at Santa Cruz Children’s School. I can’t wait to use my curriculum (both the new and improved and the tried and true) with a fresh group of kindergarteners. Don’t miss out on the Monaco Lane Sale: August 18th and 19th. All of my early literacy curriculum will be 15% off. With Teacher’s Creatures Phonics Puppets and The Monaco Method for Early Literacy, I guarantee you will have an amazing school year!
One of the best things about sharing my curriculum is that I get to hear what other teachers think about it. In the past year, because of input from fellow educators, I have changed two of my Teacher’s Creatures Phonics Puppets, included printable black outline drawings of each puppet in The Monaco Method for Early Literacy, and created an alphabet strip featuring all 26 creatures that children can refer to when trying to recall letter names and sounds. It is so helpful to get alternative perspectives on curriculum I have been using for years. Thank you for the advice, teachers! It is greatly appreciated.