Back in the saddle.

October 3, 2010

Seriously. 6 months? I haven’t been on here for SIX months!? Where does the time go?

Well, honestly… I know EXACTLY where the time has gone….

Time to catch you up on life at the Buckleys AND in Classroom 211.

I’ll fill you in on EVERYTHING!

Stay tuned…..

on the bookshelf: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

April 23, 2010

Parents and teachers should constantly be reinforcing strong, positive character traits in children. Reading books, role playing and discussing social situations- all help children learn how to handle themselves throughout the day. 

Have you Filled a Bucket Today?  is one of the books I started using with my own children at a very young age.  It’s not fancy. It’s not bedazzled and shiny. As I took it out of the mailbox- it was rather underwhelming.

It wasn’t until I started reading it to my children… over and over again- that I realized how significant the book could truly be. 

The idea is rather simple. Everyone carries around an invisible bucket.  You feel happy and loved when your bucket is full.

How do you create an overflowing bucket? Well, you do nice things for people. Smile. Say thank you. Share a toy. Include a friend. Hold the door open…. Each gesture adds to the recipient’s bucket…. which inevitably makes you feel better about yourself- so each gesture also fills your own bucket.

Molly won’t be 3 until July. Yet, she carries the toddler version of the book around in her purse all day long.  She sings the “Fill a Bucket” song to her dolls. She knows that smiling and hugging her brother and sisters will fill their buckets.  Does she truly “get it”?  I doubt it.  But, someday she will. Maybe later today. Maybe tomorrow.

The book is great for young families. The book is great for classrooms. Quite frankly, the book is great for some adults. 

The concept has really taken off in recent years. Many schools use it as a common theme throughout their building. Lots of real buckets are used in classrooms- being filled up by teachers who catch children doing good deeds.

It’s a great way to start a conversation. It’s a wonderful way to teach your children. It’s an amazing tool to help you be proactive about your child’s self-esteem.

It would be a much safer and happier world-  if everyone just took the time and care to fill a bucket everyday.

on the bookshelf: Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2010
All the World
Here’s to YOU, Mother Earth! This book is not about reducing, reusing OR recycling. However, it does show you… in BEAUTIFUL illustrations and very simple text….. why we make such efforts to keep the earth clean.
All the World is a book about being simple. Finding the joy and detail in all of earth’s wonders.
It brings me back to a time when TV only had stuff for adults to watch. Video games were not a form of entertainment. Family and friends gathered to sit around and chat. Trees were used for climbing.
The world was simple. The earth was undoubtedly less cluttered- as were our lives.
Marla Frazee’s illustrations follow that same idea. Simple. Clean. You just want to get lost in the beauty of it all. You can almost smell the fresh air.
So, have a GREAT Earth Day. Continue with your efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Clean the neighborhood. Pack garbage-free lunches.  And, also read books like All the World– and remember what it is we are trying to save.
Thanks, Mother Earth.

Learn from the lightbulb

April 22, 2010

My children are getting older. We’ve traded diapers, sippy cups, afternoon naps and training wheels- for ski practice, swim practice, history tests and movie night.

Jack will be 10 this year. As I see it, we only have 8 more years to make sure he has learned all the lessons we want to teach him. Then, we’ll hopefully be sending a responsible, hard working, positive,  well-educated, thoughtful, productive  young adult out into the world on his own.

As he gets older, I’ve come to the realization that some of the lessons we have taught him are embedded in his core. ONE of those lessons is centered around the lightbulb.

What do I mean by that?   It’s simple.

It took Thomas Edison two years and 6,000 attempts to successfully create the lightbulb. That means, he FAILED 5,999 times.


I said it.

And yes, my children will FAIL, too. They won’t always  get what they want. The outcome is not always going to be what they are hoping. They will FAIL at their attempts.

It’s my job- as a parent- to TEACH them how to acknowledge that failure in a positive way.

Failing is a part of life. At least it SHOULD be. It seems to me, however, that now a days- children are not allowed to feel failure. Everything is masked by a positive twist, a play on words, a safety net. 

I say… just let them fail.

You’re not always going to be the smartest, or the strongest, the fastest or the most gifted. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It doesn’t have to ruin a child’s self-esteem. If anything, each failure should be an opportunity to strengthen a child’s confidence.

One of the most important lessons I can teach my children is how to FAIL.  In fact,if you’re not failing at SOMETHING- than maybe you aren’t out there attempting MORE. Going to the next level. Taking a chance. Having faith in yourself.

Do I WANT my children to fail? Of course not. But they will.  And when they aren’t able to achieve their goal-whether it’s getting an A on a test or making a travel team, winning student president or landing their first job-I know they will use that failure as a lesson. They will accept it. They will learn from it. It will not discourage them. They won’t fall apart. And if they really want it- they will use that failure to FUEL their efforts.

You don’t get to win- just because you show up and do the time. You win because you have the faith and confidence in yourself to keep on trying.

You will succeed if you have a good attitude, perseverance, courage and determination. 

So, yes, we’re halfway through childhood. Halfway through our lessons. Some conversations are harder than others. But each lesson is important- and part of a bigger picture.

The lightbulb? It’s a  message. You are not entitled to your dreams. You need to WORK  for them.

Someday we will send our children off into the world. (Someday is coming faster and faster.) If we do our job- Jack, Lily, Kate and Molly will know how to take care of themselves. They will accept constructive criticism as a way to improve. They will take chances with the assurance that it will be okay- even when they don’t get what they want.

Failure will mean nothing more than going back and trying again, working harder.

Yep. Jack is 10. It’s going fast. But he knows all about the lightbulb. That’s one more lesson to cross off the list.

Turning 8 is GREAT!

April 14, 2010

I don’t know how this little face

turned into this beautiful face so quickly.

But, I’ve LOVED




Happy Birthday, Lily.

May all your wishes

come true.




April 4, 2010

Pit Stop: Amherst, MA: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

April 3, 2010

Those of you that know me well,  realize that Eric Carle is one of my favorite authors.  My family AND my students have been enjoying his books forever.   I’ve met him twice- at various book signings. To tell you the truth- I think he is just adorable. Such a nice, smiley man. And…. the whole famous children’s author, unbelievable artist stuff– that’s just icing on the cake!

So, OF COURSE, we had to take a pit stop at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art on our way home from a VT ski trip last week. The museum is just a few minutes off Interstate 91- in beautiful Amherst, MA.  The building is located in a charming apple orchard. You could just picture the Hungry Caterpillar hanging out on a juicy, red apple out in the yard.

The museum is amazing.  As you could imagine- there are various galleries filled with original art work from popular books. The museum also provides activity sheets/clipboards for guests- to help guide your tour and get the most out of your visit.

My favorite spot, however, is the library. For me, it was like walking into a little slice of heaven. Every book from every single author I have ever loved is organized on the shelves. There are colorful couches, chairs, play tables, puzzles, blocks, wooden dollhouses, Eric Carle coloring sheets, little books, BIG books, board books. It just made my heart happy to sit around with my family in a room filled with so much to explore.

Next up… the hands on ART room…. a sun-filled room with HUGE windows, full of art tables, paper, pencils, markers, glue, collage fixings, ideas. Amazing. Everything is geared toward the children so the tables are low to the ground and everything is within arm’s reach. 

We were so preoccupied with the art studio that we didn’t even venture to the snack store…. where I heard there are Hungry Caterpillar cookies. (cookies with a hole in them- inspired by the story!)

HOWEVER, we DID use the bathrooms. They were so clean and pleasant that they deserve to be mentioned. Some of the stalls even have tiny toilets for the littlest artists.  Familiar Eric Carle character tiles are intermingled around the walls. Lovely.

The whole Buckley crew is looking forward to a long relationship with this special, little place in an apple orchard. There is such a quiet sense of calm throughout the whole building. Can’t wait to go back!

warm weather + ski slopes + Buckleys = A PERFECT WEEK

April 1, 2010

Snapshots from our trip to Okemo Mountain in lovely Ludlow, VT. The week was filled with sunshine, warm temperatures, great skiing, bunk beds, board games, long dinners around the table, laughter, good books…. and did I mention GREAT skiing!?

Pit Stop: Norwich, VT: Montshire Museum of Science

March 28, 2010

Okay, all you Vermont/New Hampshire friends! This museum is AWESOME! We spent a rainy day inside the Montshire Museum of Science and had a FABULOUS time. There was SO much to see and explore. It was clean, safe- and completely child centered. (Though Tom and I DID have just as much fun as the kids!)

The museum is located right on the Connecticut River. You could stand in Vermont on one side- while looking across the river to New Hampshire. The grounds outside were FULL of trails, activities, explorations. Unfortunately, it was a little too rainy for us to check them out. (which gives us an excuse to head back another time!)

Don’t worry about the weather, though…. the inside can EASILY keep you busy for HOURS!

The website if full of great information for your visit. As far as hands on museums are concerned… Montshire has been one of our very favorites!

Meet Eloise.

March 20, 2010


Meet Eloise.

The fun, spunky, full of life, six year old

is the star of the Eloise books written by Kay Thompson.

Now, meet Kate.

She waited all year for Character Day in kindergarten

to dress up as Eloise.


All year.




Need I say more?

The books are WONDERFUL for little girls

with a joyful pep in their step.

You won’t be able

to read