Hi there, my name is Kathy. I am glad you stopped by to browse a bit! ENJOY!
When I first thought about including a page about ME…I thought to my self do I divulge all my deep dark secrets, as one of my seconders referred to when I asked, “What do you have in your diary?” or do I just let you in a few little guilty pleasures and such? Well…I decided to go with the latter. It might be a little boring, but hey I am NOT a member of the Kardashian Family nor do I ever plan to be!
This is my family. My husband and I have been best friends and married for 43 years…we met in high school in 1967. I know…I am dating myself, but I mentioned this because in today’s world this does not happen too often! We have 3 children who are all married and 3 grandchildren…so far….fingers are crossed for a few more! Marra is my maiden name so I am thrilled that one of my granddaughters is named after ME and my middle name is Joy, which is also my younger granddaughter’s middle name…another score in the name department!
Look closely at this picture…can you pick out the teachers? There are 5 teachers in our family! Yes, you read that correctly…5! 2 music teachers, 1 kindergarten-first grade special education teacher, 1 assistant principal and 1 retired first/second grade teacher…that’s ME! Yep…retired after 30+ years of teaching. Now…I volunteer in my daughter’s classroom and help her out! I LOVE doing this…it is every retired teacher-mom’s dream! Her kiddos call me Mimi, which is my grandmother name and I love to hear them call out, “Hi, Mimi!”
I could not continue this blurb without mentioning our grand-dog, McCoy. I am sure you are wondering right this second, just like everyone else who meets “Coy” “What kind of dog is he? No…he is not a golden doodle! He is an Irish-doodle (part poodle and part
Irish Setter)! If I wiggle my hips McCoy jumps up and puts his paws on my shoulders and we dance. I am the only one he will dance with in this manner…I guess I have the right moves! Now…imagine this…I am almost 6 feet tall…yes you read that correctly…so just think how big “Coy” is! We are face to face when we “dance!
Yep...l have been around a LOOOOOOOng time and my teaching career started in 1973 after graduating from West Chester University, which, at that time, was West Chester State Teacher's College. My very first job was subbing for over 10 years while raising my children. Then after 17 years of being a stay at home mom and part time teacher I taught first and second grade full time for 25 years. I looped with my first and second graders tor 13 years my leaching career! It was amazing to see how much growth these kiddos made during their 2-year span with me. I must say those years were the BEST years of my career! I made so many amazing connections with families that I still see and run into former students while shopping or sometimes they stop by my house to say hello. This is a perk of living in the same town as you teach.
Although I have to admit...l can't just run to the store without some make up and being dressed appropriately! I have been around long enough to remember buzzwords like...Basal Readers, Whole Language, Round Robin Reading, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Guided Reading (which I pioneered in my classroom over 20 years ago!). No Child Leif Behind, Centers, Literacy Stations, Daily 5, Core Curriculum and I have watched The pendulum swing bock and forth and spin round and round enough times to make everyone dizzy and simply close their doors and teach on!
As I pondered retiring I knew that I wanted to retire when I was still perceived as a good teacher, young enough to enjoy my grandchildren as well as the remainder of my journey here on earth and I definitely did not want to overstay my welcome to the point that I might overhear someone say,
"When is that old _____ leaving? Her ideas are from the dark ages!!" Everyone said that this would never happen to me, but you never know and I was not about to take a chance on this happening!
My teaching style was and still is to keep all lessons fun, hands on and whatever each child needs to learn and grow! I LOVE to differentiate instruction as much as I can! Even though in today’s classrooms standardized testing and strict control over curriculum prevails, I always tried and continue to try to find new ways to make learning fun! I realized after the dust settled from my 5+ retirement parties and a severely sprained ankle, that retirement did not mean sitting around and doing nothing...retirement to me meant to start a new chapter of my life and do what I want to do, when I want to do it at anytime I feel like doing it! No...I realized I am NOT too old or too tired to create and inspire! So...HERE I AM! Welcome to Sunshine and Lollipops where you will find activities and lessons that can be differentiated and many ideas that encourage joy, sunshine and the love of learning!
PS In case you are wondering about some of my guilty pleasures…I Love shoes all kinds of shoes, red shoes, hot pink shoes, yellow shoes, actually any shoes that fit…I have over 120 pairs…which makes it a bit difficult to choose a pair to wear every morning! I love relaxing at spas, tootsie pops (especially orange), long leisurely walks, reading historical fiction and romantic comedy novels, cooking, hanging out with my family, vacations, vacations and more vacations, playing word games, chocolate ice cream, chocolate(mocha) coffee, chocolate Sophisticakes cupcakes, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, actually any kind of chocolate and life!
PPS Some Additional Educational Information: I had a short lived preschool teaching career where I substitute taught the 4 year old class for about 6 months while the teacher was out on leave. I have piloted many new programs over my teaching career, presented to our board as an advocate for differentiated instruction through Guided Reading over 20 years ago when our district first began their journey in this direction, developed running records to assist teachers in assessing fluency, decoding and comprehension, led report card committees, written curriculum as needed, written grants to start a homework club for those students especially ELL students who may not have strong support at home and most recently I worked to redesign our previous curriculum to realign with Common Core. I am also trained in Responsive Classroom and have been using this approach for over 20 years s well as Wilson Fundations. I am also featured in a book written by Dr. Sharon Kletzien published by the International Reading Association called Informational Text in K-3 Classrooms. So all of the products I have in my shop use the framework of the Common Core LA and Math Standards and curriculum.
Now that I have more time to share and create more activities and lessons, my hope is to create products that are hands on, differentiated and useful in your classroom. All the products I have listed in my shops and on my blog are tried and rated by the enthusiasm of all the "kiddos" I have taught over the years. I am hoping that these products will encourage your passion for teaching!
I am hoping my shop reflects my experience and my love for teaching and creating.