Friday, July 3, 2015

July's Pinterest Pick 3

Hello Everyone! How goes summer break? How about a couple of good Pins! Thanks to  Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching for our monthly Pin link-up.  Love.

Let's start with a little fun for either home or school...

by using GOLF TEES to anchor balloons right where you want them. You can form a border, a word, a maze... who knows. Click the pic to get to the Life Hackable Pin.

And here's a little more fun...

for the classroom, or at home if you have little ones. Isn't it just terrific! And so easy with an inexpensive full length mirror, sold in many stores. Kids are gonna love it. Click to see more at Happy Hooligans.

Check out these great paint chip sliders. Lowe's here I come.

And a little extra bonus– click on through the Pin to the blog post for details and a freebie!

Now scroll down to the link-up and find more, more, more! Thanks Lisa and Marissa!

All for now!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June's Pick 3 Pins Linky

Oh, I am so happy to be at this point in the year. As I type, I have less than two weeks of school to go. Things are very uncertain in my district right now, as in many, and none of us know what we will come back to. I am just concentrating on giving my little kiddos the funnest last few days I can.

Lisa and Marissa, our linky sponsors, said that for June and July we can focus on some non-school activities, so I'm using that as an excuse to start my summer to-do list. And as always the hardest part is to narrow it down to just three ideas.

I chose one that appealed to Fashionista Kathleen, Chef Kathleen, and Designer Kathleen. Hope you enjoy them, too! Click on any of the photos to see the original pin.

I wear scarves all year, except for the hottest days. This video shares so many neat and different ways to wear them– you don't just see how they look like in the end, but you see how to wrap, knot, twist, and tie them that way. 

An added bonus is that it is a super well done video– a real pleasure to watch. My techie husband looked up how they made it– three days of storyboarding, both paper and digital, special directing, etc– and the result is pretty amazing. AND since it was first posted, it's gotten better: if you click on one of the scarf photos, you go to another video where she talks you through it as well as shows you. You'll never have another boring scarf day!

I love summer cooking and I love corn on the cob. I really wanna try this method and see how it turns out. It's time for a grilling picnic, I say. Anybody with me?

Okay, so neither New Year's Eve nor a wedding are in my near future, but I'm going to try this idea with the table out on our deck. We have a glass topped table and I usually cover it with a plastic tablecloth all summer because dirt gathers in the crack along the frame edge. This summer I'm going to scrub it really well, then cover it with a piece of frosted plastic cloth that they sell at JoAnn's. Or I'll drape the table with thin white cloth like above, then cover that with clear plastic. The light will shine through, and it will be easy to wipe clean. We have other lights out there and it is delightful in the evenings. I think this will add another nice touch.

You'll find lots of other fun stuff on my Pinterest boards.  Click below to go there.

Please let me know if any of these ideas appeal to you.  Love those comments!

All for now. Have fun at all the other blogs below in one of my favorite linkys!  And thanks so much to Lisa and Marissa for this great monthly link-ups.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Give Them the Words

I am inspired by Christina's Wordless Wednesday question over at Sugar and Spice.  I haven't posted in weeks because at this ending time of year there is so. much. to. do. I admire those teacher bloggers who can blog now. I'm going to dash this little post out because it might be useful to some of you in your last week.

Christina asks, "What do your students just LOVE getting to take home?"  Each year, although my kidpeople get to take home all sorts of stuff, their favorite items are the words from the word wall.

Yep, that's right. See those not at all fancy, handwritten on index card strips, words up there in the photo? Those become precious treasure in the last days.  I hand them out very ceremoniously, taking one down at a time while asking, "Who would like the?  Who would like with?  All the hands shoot up.

I think the biggest reason these words are so popular is that they represent so much of the kids' learning. The word wall is a resource they look at and use every day. The kidpeople help me build it when we do our word routine each week. Those basic words were the keys to reading and writing and the world that opened up when the kids could do both.

I stumbled upon this idea quite a few years ago when I decided to incorporate the kiddos into the clean up/take down process in the room. I used to resist this, doing almost all of it after they left for summer break because I didn't want the room to seem empty and sad. I've come to realize that it is a way for the kids to say goodbye to the year, and to ready themselves for first grade that lies ahead. They ponder the idea that brand new kidpeople will be in their space next year... which brings up some mixed feelings. We share lots of memories and laughs. And it does have the added bonus of getting just a bit more of the room packed up for summer.

I ask my readers, What do you do to ready the kids for next year? Do you pack anything up with them?  Give them things?  I'll be happy to hear.

Click on the Wordless Wednesday button to find more ideas.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Whoot! It's Time for the Pick 3 Pinterest Linky

I share three ideas I found on Pinterest. Thanks for the linky, Lisa and Marissa.

Here we go.

I really like doing all sorts of things with photos of my kidpeople. I'm giving this one a try this year.

Thanks to Jo's Photo Mojo

I've got my brain clicking on this at the moment. Don't know just how or where yet...

Thanks to Peppy Zesty Teacherista

I found some great videos on erosion for our Dirt, Mud, and Water science unit. This Bill Nye video explains the process nicely, but there are others on my pin board. One in particular shows experiments that can be done with the kids. Check out the collection on my Science Vid board. I organize all my on-line videos using my Pinterest Boards. They're easy to sort and get to that way. 

That wraps it up for this month.  Love this Pick 3 Pins linky. The hardest part is choosing JUST three.  You are welcome to visit my pinterest boards by clicking on image below.

Scoot on back to the linky.  There are lots of quick but very useful posts to read from other bloggers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Five or Six Tips, Bargains, and Vids

I'm telling myself I am only going to post if I can do it in just ONE hour, as I barely have even one hour to spare this weekend. If not done in one hour I stop and rework it to send another day... so if you're reading, I set new time records today.

Happy Friday and here's five with the help of Doodle Bugs linky party.

1.  This was a very depressing sight on my laptop last Sunday morning as spring break came to an end.

Oh, well, all good things must come to an end. And oh. my. gosh. there were only nine more weeks of school before summer break... and that was last week! Today as I post, there are only EIGHT. Yikes! So much to teach, so much to do.... I'm gonna start to hyperventilate as I think of it. I take comfort in knowing teachers everywhere are in the same boat and just paddling as fast as we can to keep the boat on course. No matter how much we prepare there are just a LOT of things to take care of in the last months of school that can't be taken care of at any other time. Hang on for the ride!

2. I mentioned in earlier posts that I did some reorganizing at school over break. Just before the kids walked in, I finished hanging my poetry strips in their new location.

I always kept my poetry sentence strips in a long bin. However the bin was not quite long enough, so the ends always had to curl and that slowed down flipping through them. The bin also took up a large valuable space on a shelf. So I paper clipped the strips for each poem together, sorted my poems into five categories– loosely based on when I use them in the year, and clipped them with a giant binder clip. Then I hung them from hooks on the back of my back door. Ta-Da!

Storage for Sentence Strips

I used Command hooks on the door, and the clips hang very well. A week's worth of opening and closing the door and nothing has fallen down.

Now when I need a new poem I can take down the clip, flip through the poems, take the one I want, and hang it back up again. As I finish with a poem, I hang it again at the back of that group. So far, so good. Is this a useful idea for your poems or other like shaped items? If you have another way of storing, I'd love to hear in the comments.

I posted before about how I do shared reading of a poem each week, and how I use a pocket chart to display. Pocket charts have several advantages over other methods of display for shared reading material. You can go to the post by clicking on the photo below.

3. Artie Knapp, a children's author from Cincinnati, Ohio, stumbled upon my blog and contacted me to see if I would share with readers his new book, Living Green: A Turtle's Quest for a Cleaner Planet.  Given that we are just a few days away from Earth Day, this coming Wednesday, I think you'll appreciate hearing about it. The print book edition was a short-list finalist for the Green Earth Book Award.  The on-line version is a free resource on You Tube that your students will enjoy. You can see it here.

4.  My daughter, Sameulina, is graduating from university in just two short weeks. I was on campus this week and saw this interactive installation up in the Art School. The artist used Post-it notes to form wall size words that said "I FEAR THAT..." Passersby left notes on individual stickies with their fears. I snapped a few quick pics because I found it interesting on several scores.

Interactive Art Installation

First of all, I think this idea of words made of sticky notes could be used in elementary schools for a special event. I think the students would really enjoy leaving their thoughts and/or small pics on the sticky notes on the subject at hand. I'm passing it on to my staff. Maybe you can think of an application, too.

And second, the fears that were listed by the university students took me by surprise with their seriousness.

This was a relatively new installation and these comments were written on the sections I happened to snap. I did not filter–

I will never pay off my loans
I'll die before I get to grow old with my girlfriend
confronting the death of family members
my sleep deprivation will shorten my life
something bad will happen in the future
something will happen to my family members
our government doesn't care about us
I don't have time to be the person I want to be
I won't leave a legacy 


I am thirty years their senior and I have some of these same fears. Did I have these fears when I leaving university? Somehow I don't think so. What does this say about our youth? What does this say about our times? What can we do?

5. Lookee, lookee all Star Wars fans... well, surely you ARE a Star Wars fan! Star Wars, and I mean the original Star Wars movie, came out when I was in high school. I and my group of friends saw it no less than seventeen times in it's more than year long run. If we had nothing else to do, off we went again. We had whole sections of dialogue memorized. That movie caused quite a buzz and we LOVED it... And I was in love with Harrison Ford. *sigh* It's okay to say. Jonathan knows.

ANYway, a new trailer for the NEWEST Star Wars movie was just released this week. Cute new droids... and Harrison, too! Another reason to look forward to Christmas. See here:

6... 6??  Last but not least, I leave you with five, five, five Dollar Store finds!!!

1. These eight inch plates were in the baby section. More durable than paper, and such a nice size. Anybody see manipulative number bonds?

Perfect for Addition Math Manipulatives

2. I've had my eye open for bins of this size and dimension to use as scrap bins to leave on kids' tables while doing cutting projects. I have used other bins but they did not hold enough or took up too much table space. These are just right for holding scraps. I show the large bottle of Mod Podge to give an idea of scale.

Just right as a table bin for cutting scraps

3. There are new stuffed monsters. Four models in all. Just right to use for passing or tossing with monster math games. I show one by the basket for scale.

Cute new monsters at the dollar store

4. These are too cute to squash bugs with. Just right for playing slap games with letter, word, or number cards.

Bug swatter to plan Slap with

5. A cheap little fishing pole to use with fishing games. Probably not sturdy enough for the reel to last for long, but even just tying a string to the tip will increase the fun factor. Better than the pencils and dowels I've used before and way cheaper than the play fishing poles found in school supply catalogs. I mean, it's a buck.

Cheap fishing pole to use when fishing
for words and numbers

HOW did I go from scrambling to find five in an hour, to SIX in an hour... well, just over an hour. Never doubt the power of a blogger who is always collecting details of life... the teaching life and otherwise.

Hope you had some fun. Click on button below to head on back to the linky for more fives... or sixes :) Thanks, Kacey!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Five Fav Things to Share

Well, hello there on this Friday when I have Five Favs to share. Thanks to Doodle Bugs for the weekly linky.

1. I am just finishing a week of break, and what did I do? I went into school for some spring cleaning. Here is the before pic... well, actually, the during pic.

And yes, that fuzzy creature in the midst of the mess is Popeye. See her? She loves to come to school to "help." No matter where I moved a bin, there she was. I didn't even know she was there until I went to take the picture. sigh. At least I wasn't lonely.

There are four sections to this stretch of shelf where I keep math and science materials. These items are mostly those that go with a particular unit, so I only need to get something out every two or three weeks. I keep these shelves covered with a cloth curtain which I love because it cuts down on visual clutter and provides a backdrop for student art display. Here is a pic from a few months ago. The blog post about how I attached the display strip can be found by clicking on the photo.

Problem is, when I lift the curtain to get things out or put them away, I can see only one little section. Over time, I forget what goes where and because I never have enough minutes in the day I shove don't take the care I should in putting things where they belong... stop judging. You know you'd do that, too. Anyhow, pretty soon pet supplies are with a set of magnifiers, measuring tools are with a box of magnifiers, human body parts are with a few random magnifiers, and planting supplies are with a bin of, you guessed it, more magnifiers. And when I need magnifiers, none are to be found. ugh.

So I took everything off the shelves. Then I sorted and regrouped and rebagged and rebinned and matched one kind of item with the space that they needed, keeping in mind which items need easier access than others. And now it looks like this. Ta-da.

In my mind's eye these shelves were going to be full of matching bins all labeled with cute color coded stickers. What really happened was that so much of this stuff was of odd shapes and sizes it would have been really difficult to find matching bins to hold it all. To say nothing of the expense of all the lovely matching bins if I could have found them. And sometimes it will just be handier to pull an item off the shelf without taking out a bin to rummage through. The curtain is there to hide mix-matched stuff anyway, right? I won't win any classroom decor awards for these shelves, but they will do the trick.

The best detail of all might be that I made a little map for myself. It shows the four sections of shelves and what things are on each. I'll keep it nearby for easy reference. NOW things will stay neat and tidy forever for a while.

2. I hope you didn't miss my Monday Made It!

These are DIY math manipulatives that I posted earlier this week. They are great for lots of kindergarten math, and they also have a very satisfying feel when you slide the beads with just the right amount of pressure. They can also be used as a fidget for kids who need to keep their fingers busy to keep their mind engaged. They are easy and inexpensive to make and you can read all about them by clicking on the photo. Oh, and there is a freebie to go with it :)

3. I spent a good bit of break working on various school projects. One of the projects was searching for new center activities. Not just new kinds of resources on TPT (though I found some of those, too), but new activities that can be done repeatedly and which we haven't done before. And. I. found. one. I am most excited about this– the Message Center.

This idea comes from Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher. She has kids rig up clothesline between two chairs, then gives each one paper and a clothespin. The kids write messages to each other, clip them to the rope, then pull the rope across. Talk about incentive to WRITE!

My guys are gonna LOVE this. I can hardly wait! Kristin gives all the details on how she does the activity on her post, actually several posts. You can find all when you click on her button below. THANKS, Kristin. It's just the kind of thing I was looking for.

4. I gotta share... new FitFlops for me, again. Whoot, whoot! I don't usually post about clothes, but these shoes are less about fashion and more about comfort. I have bum knees that give me periodic issues... but not if I wear FitFlops. I wore FitFlop boots all winter, but as it started to warm up I needed a transitional pair of FitFlops before I could slip into their sandales. I chose the Shuv clogs.

No, Silly, they don't come two colors to a pair, and I don't wear them this way... though I suppose I could... I teach kindergarten, after all, and it's not like I haven't seen mixed up shoes before. While shopping for the black patent pair, which I found on sale, I also found the red patent ones, on an even better sale, so both went into the cart. I've been wearing them for about a month now and it is LOVE! I can wear them with socks, or without.

They have the same feel and support as any of my other FitFlops. Click on the pic of the boots to read about them in an earlier post.

I highly recommend checking them out. They have TONS of cute styles for summer. I'm contemplating the sneakers next... hmmm.

5. Pop quiz! What are these?

They are the most adorable little shovel spoons I've ever seen! They come from Orange Leaf– and I'm not talking about autumn foliage. Orange Leaf is a frozen yogurt spot. Really good frozen yogurt! Really low cal, low fat, good for you, good frozen yogurt. The entire place is done in ORANGE. Like, you could never think you were in any place other than an Orange Leaf when you're inside. It is orange to the nth degree– ours even has an orange Christmas tree inside... where did they find an orange Christmas tree?? I just discovered them, but they have been around for a little while.

And the BONUS for teachers are their little spoons. SO CUTE. I have no idea WHAT fantastic project I'm going to think up yet, but I'm definitely taking them to school. They'd be great fun in the sandbox for working small, or for digging something out of a sensory bin at a center, or for making finger puppets, or... or... I'll let you know when I figure it out. For right now, building my collection is the reason I'm going into Orange Leaf on a regular basis... okay, the spoons are another reason. If there is one near you, I suggest you check out the fro yo AND the spoons!

AND I'm not the only one who loves the spoons... I tell you, this place was made for teachers. They have a whole special page on their site about the SPOONS! You can submit pics and projects and stuff. Great fun. Click on the photo below to go there!

Whew. That seemed like a lotta stuff today. Hope you found some useful tidbits. Head on over now for more Five for Friday. Thanks, Kacey!

Hope to see you around next time!

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