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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Start of School FREEBIES You Want

I don't know about you but I love cute and useful Freebies! Since today is Show and Tell Tuesday I'm going to show and tell you about three Start of School items that I made and that you might very well want, too, especially as they're FREE! Thanks to Stephanie at Forever in 5th Grade for the linky party!

1.  I posted about this one a few weeks back, as it is new this year.


This is a present for teachers to give their incoming students BEFORE school starts. You include it in a mailed home packet or give it out at Meet the Teacher Night, which most schools have now.

The freebie comes six to a page, in color or B&W, which you print and cut apart.



Then you add a glow in the dark star, easily found at most toy stores. A packet of stars is usually less than five dollars and that gives you enough for a whole class, and probably enough for next year's class, too. Put the star on the card with a little poster putty, which the kids use to put their star up in their room.



 I include a sample letter in the freebie that tells kids and parents what to do.  I'm going to put the card, star, and instruction letter into an envelope like this, and let the anticipation build.


After kids put their star up, they and their parents read the poem and make the wish, hopefully dispelling any nervous jitters in a fun, happy way. And by just changing the word "first" to "school" the wish and star can be used every night for the school year. Easy, peasy, and FUN! Click on the image below to grab it for free on TPT!




2.  My second show and tell is one for the first AND last week in class and is a fun way to see how much kids grow in the school year. It makes for a great end-of-year gift to parents that is sure to go in the "keeper box" at home.




Print this Freebie out on cardstock. It includes two poems– one about the string you use to measure the student's height at the beginning of the year, and one for the string that you use to measure at the end of the year.


The Freebie packet includes easy directions so just one teacher can measure each student. The poem comes in three versions– preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. In the coming weeks there will also be a Young 5s and Transitional Kindergarten versions- follow me to see notice of that TPT packet update. Click on the image below to grab it for free on TPT.



3.  And last, but not least, I share the ULTIMATE parent info card. (I didn't name it that... honest... my district kindergarten colleagues did when I shared it!) I include this in the packet that goes home before school starts (along with the Wishing Star) and ask parents to return it to me on or before the fist day of school.

This card asks for all the usual information and MORE– sibling names, who can and can't pick up kids from school (if parents put a "can't" that prompts me to ask about custody papers), expectations for the school year, preschool experience, and anything "unique" to their child or family– eating guidelines (vegetarian, kosher), two household living schedules, toileting issues, fears... info that teachers want and need, but that sometimes doesn't come to us for weeks into the school year.

It all fits on one half piece of paper, front and back. I copy them on bright green cardstock and carry them in my school bag... they have proven invaluable to me over the years. To make things easy, it is COMPLETELY editable in the basic font of Chalkboard, so you can tweak it as you like. Click on the image below to download this freebie.

ULTIMATE Parent Info Card Freebie from Kidpeople Classroom

If you would like more Start of School Tips click on the image in the right sidebar of my blog. You'll find out about Work and Mingle Night, the First Minutes and Day of School, and more.  (That photo is of my two daughters on their first day at our new school alooooong time ago... the years fly when you're having fun. They were carrying flowers to me, their teacher-mama.)

If any of these freebies are valuable to you I'd love to hear below, and I'd love for you to PIN! Click on back to Forever in 5th Grade to see more Show and Tells!


Have a great day, whether at school or prepping for back to school. Thanks for stopping by and see you next time!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Randomness, Recipes, and Real Bloggers

Truly Random. That is what you could call today's post. Might bring a chuckle or two, though. Thanks, Kasey, at Doodle Bugs Teaching for the ever popular Five for Friday link-up.

1.  First of all, does anybody else find this "new" typewriter ironic??


It is a regular, old-fashioned, gotta hit each key like you mean it, non-electric typewriter. The blurb says it will help you do "retro style" invites, and lend a "vintage air" to your office. Crack. Me. Up. When I saw the ad and saw they were two hundred dollars– good grief– I laughed and laughed. What goes around, comes around... although I don't remember any of the originals available in pink!

2.  And in the same vein, do you remember these?


Yep, that's a ViewMaster. It is still for sale, or maybe I should say, back for sale, and apparently all the rage. It costs TWENTY bucks and only comes with three disks. I have FIVE original equipment ViewMasters in a special collector box in my classroom with about 50 disks. Maybe I should put them on ebay and make back some of the money this classroom move has cost me, eh? No, the kiddos do love them and get them out for free choice. But twenty bucks?? They used to be five. Who woulda' thunk. I can recommend them though- if these new ones are just like the old ones they are very hardy. Mine have seen a lot of kid use, and most of mine came from garage sales so had already had a round of kid play.

3.  Did you see the super cute and good-for-kids Fine Motor Take Home Kit that Marsha McGuire posted on Differentiated Kindergarten? The FREE kit, I should add?
 
I think it is a terrific idea to send the kits home with kiddos for fine motor practice. Here packet comes with a lot of ideas, some activity cards, a parent brochure and a neat tag. I have gathered all the items for the activities and will be introducing the kits to parents on Curriculum Night. I like to build connections between home and school and I think this will help– kinders love taking things home from school. It also gives parents a chance to see what their child can do. I'm going to send two kits home with two kids each Friday, and make them due back on Monday, unless the kidperson is really into it. In that case they can keep them at home until Wednesday– just need them back in time to send home with the next lucky kids. You have to gather the stuff to go into the kit but the printables are a freebie and you can get them by clicking on the picture above and going to the Differentiated Kindergarten post. Thanks, Marsha!

I think my kits are going to travel between home and school in these adorable monster bags. Target's Dollar Spot had the CUTEST monster themed stuff this year– drawstring bags, pencil cases, notebooks... I got myself a new lunch bag. LOVE.



4.  I had a package of chicken in the fridge the other day, but when I remembered it there was only an hour or so before dinner. Who likes plain boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Boring. So I rummaged around in the fridge, then poured a little soy sauce, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar into a flat bottomed bowl, adding to that some crushed garlic and pepper. Sorry I don't have exact measurements. I've been cooking long enough to just sort of wing it when it comes to amounts. I usually only measure when I'm trying new recipes... with marinades... naw.

Ingredients I had on hand.

I stirred, then added the chicken breasts to it, sliced quite thin and punctured many times with a fork.


Chicken in marinade before going into the pan.

I covered and placed it in the fridge, turning them over after half an hour. I then put them in my new ceramic saute pan (LOVE!) and cooked them on top of the stove until they were no longer pink, which didn't take long as they were thin slices. I served them over rice and some chopped veges. Oh. my. gosh. SO good. SO simple. SO fast. I highly recommend! Sorry I don't have any pictures past the marinade stage– I was busy cooking and eating. Didn't think about pictures again until the kitchen was cleaned up. Rachel Ray has nothing to worry about as I just can't cook in front of a camera :)

5.  Teachers are terrific! I FINALLY got to meet some fellow Michigan bloggers. FUN!! We had a blast! One of the real perks of blogging is the people you get to "meet." I had a grand time chatting, learned some new tips, got some neat swag, and won a great prize, too... It is a Ellison Super Star machine that does die cutting. Here is a picture I pulled from the internet because I haven't opened the box yet.


I also won two set of dies that cut out a little boy and a little girl with various clothing options. I'm sure I and my colleagues (because it just seems like a thing for sharing) will put it to good use in the coming year, and I'll post about what I do with it. I will also post more about this meet up in the coming weeks as we'll have some follow-up photos and info to share. I want to especially encourage any Michigan teacher bloggers or TPTers to come to next year's meet-up. Sending off words and ideas into the black hole of the internet can be a little lonely. It is always good to put faces and personalities with the people behind the blog or TPT store. 

Hope you enjoyed my randomness today. Click on back to other Five for Friday posts. Thanks Kacey!



Now I'm off to get ready for a family wedding. Have a great weekend, especially those of you who were back at school with kids this week... my first week is fast approaching! See you next time.





Monday, August 8, 2016

Limited Time Target Funding

Well, this is a slightly odd Monday Made It, but I think I need to spread the word. Thanks, Tara for your special Monday Made It linky!

I wrote a Donor's Choose request last week on August 1. I got notice that Target was doing some special project funding... for the life of me I can't find that email and don't remember if it was from Target or Donor's Choose or an educational site I follow. There were specific guidelines for requesting Target money, but in a nutshell, Target is interested in funding projects that promote health and nutrition for kids.

I have been after Kore Wobble Chairs for several years now. I know five year olds need to move to learn, even when they are doing seated activities. Flexible seating is a truly wonderful concept and one that I believe in and have been doing in various ways for a loooong time. You can see one of my very earliest posts from this blog from years ago about how we do standing centers. Click on the photos below if you are interested.

 


I wanted Wobble Chairs but quite simply didn't have the funds to purchase six for a small group's worth, so I applied to Donor's Choose and Target. And. I. got. it!!!! Full funding from Target in only four days! Whoot! Here are the chairs that will arrive in a few weeks!  Six of them!


Wobble Seats have a slightly curved ergonomic base to allow kids to wiggle back and forth a bit, yet they are tip proof. They not only allow kids appropriate movement, which so many kids need to stay focused, they also strengthen core muscles while kids sit on them. Click on the image above to read more about all the ways they are good for kids... well, and grown-ups, too, as they come in many sizes.

Another small bonus to me as a teacher as I set up my space, is that they take up less room in the room and allow for better traffic flow as kids go about their daily activities... so important as my new classroom is smaller and kids need space for all sorts of movement, even just getting around the classroom! 

So, no, I didn't make the Wobble Chair, but I did write the proposal. And Donor's Choose and Target did  Make. My. Day!!  Yippee! As Nacho says:


It you've never made a proposal through Donors Choose you may be curious as to how much effort it is. First of all, DC has really made it as easy as can be, keeping teachers' busy lives in mind. You'll need to complete background info on your student population– leaving off specifics like school name. Then you'll write why the items/project will benefit your students and how you're going to put it into action with your class. And you then "shop" for the items right from the DC site. You can post the project to your social media and share with parents and friends. The more you get the word out, the faster and more likely you'll be funded. When your project reaches it dollar goal DC will let you know. There are various ways you and your class will thank the donors. Your items will arrive in the mail. It does take effort, but so worth that effort when you see the project benefitting your students. Everything is very clearly laid out on the DonorsChoose site, complete with examples of what other teachers have done. It is hard to go wrong.

I hope your wheels have been turning as you've read this post and you've come up with ways you could help your kids live healthier lives through movement and nutrition. Target wants to hear your ideas. You can always write a proposal to Donors Choose for anything, but the Target healthy funding is only available for a limited time. So, make your fingers run, not walk, to the Donor's Choose site by clicking below and check out the Target funding. When you go to Donor's Choose you'll see the Target banner across the top. Click on the Get Started button and you're off!! They are funding 5 Million Dollars in projects! Good luck to you and your project!!


Thanks, Donor's Choose! Thanks, Target! Target is great... but then you already knew that... you're a teacher!! 

Click on over the Tara's Fourth Grade Frolics and find lots more Monday Made Its!



Happy, happy Monday! See you next time!



Friday, August 5, 2016

Little Room Details Sneak Peek

I'm all about classroom details today. Mind you, I'm not anywhere ready to show you the whole new classroom, but there are some things I'm doing, or thinking about doing, that might be worth sharing now to spark your own creative juices. I share through Five for Friday! Love.


1.  This is a "Thinking About It" idea. I found this on Instagram on Laura's Teach and Organize account. (Laura also does Luv My Kinders on IG and is one of my favorite bloggers... we teach next door to each other in our fantasy worlds. She has so many creative ideas I know that I, at least, would have a blast... funny, the friends you make blogging.) The picture itself came from The Classroom Creative.

I don't know if the suitcase would work well for picture books, which is what the kinders usually read, but I love the idea. I'm trying to come up with some ways to display books after we read them so you see the cover and the kids have access to them, of course. Space is at a premium in my new room, so I'm really thinking about this. Love the old suitcase idea, though... hmm...


 

If you don't do Instagram, consider it. And if you do do Instagram, follow me. I'm having more fun than I ever thought I would, and it is way easier to bop something on there in photo and soundbite than it is to blog! I'm find tons of new ideas from other teachers, too, like this suitcase display. Love IG!

2.  This is an "In Progress" report.  My able bodied assistant, DH Jonathan... 


building me this...


... have I told you lately that I love you, Hon??

I just threw some stuff up there to see how it would look. I have been exploring maker spaces and want this to be a feature of my new room. I have always had a Lightbulb Lab, but not to the extent that I hope to have it this year. One of the issues has been the storage of tools and I think the pegboard wall will help solve some of the issues. More on that in later posts.

3.  This is a "Couldn't Wait to See Something Fun in the Room" project.  


Weeks ago I found these at Target for $3 a box. (When I was there last week my Target still had some.) I bought them with the intent of making signs with the letters. When I took them out of the box, much to my delight, they had a different letter on the back than the front. That means you can get up to four of any given letter, with two on the "front" with two sets, and two more on the "backs" of the blocks... hope that makes sense.

I went over to my just installed fireplace mantle to play with letters... When I told families at school that I would be changing classrooms, one of the most common reactions that I got was, "You're taking your fireplace to the new room, right?" snort. Jonathan had to make some adjustments to make it fit in the new spot. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture yet of the whole fireplace in my book nook, but here is just the mantle itself.



Sorry, I digressed...  When I took the blocks to the mantle I came up with three different phrases with the letters. I think they all make sense when surrounded by my book characters, and fit my students as well. I'll put them out in this order as the year goes on.

We all have stories.


We live in books.

We love to read.
Fun, eh? I'm sure I'll discover other phrases as the year goes on. My little investment of $6 ends up being well worth it for the all the signs I'll be able to make. You might scootch right on over to your Target Dollar Spot. And if you like this idea, Pin!

4.  The Reality of the Room RIGHT NOW!






Yep. Big mess. That blue thing blows the dust from within the hermetically sealed chamber (how often do you get to use the phrase hermetically sealed?), down the tube and out the window. That is all well and good. And it is all well and good that I am getting a new cabinet and sink– the old one was over 50 years old and prone to leaks. However, the cabinet guys said they would "aim to have it in before school starts." Does that mean I'm going to be living with this for the remaining month before the littles arrive?? And what if they don't make that deadline... nope, not going to think about that... It's not like there isn't other stuff to work on in the room... it seems to be never ending. I'll live. sigh.

5.  And for my last point, if you are a regular reader you already know about this, but for those of you who didn't see it, this is a Night Before School teacher gift for students that I made. You can download the poem in color or B&W, and it comes six to a page to save ink. You pair it with a glow-in-the-dark star and hand it out at Meet the Teacher Night, or send it in the mail before school begins. It comes with a letter so parents and kids know they are to put it up and make a wish the night before school starts. And, best of all, it is FREE! Just click to get it.


Okee doke, I think that is all I have for today. My progress report on the classroom set-up will continue with future posts. Setting up in a smaller space has it's challenges, but it's fun to share. 

Skooch on back to Doodle Bugs for more great Five for Friday fun. Thanks, Kacey!



Hope to see you next time!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Pick 3 Pins!

I used to love Pinterest. For some dumb reason it appears they have changed the dimensions of the board covers. I spent a good deal of time creating board covers, and now you only see half of the image. And when you click on the board, you don't see the board cover at all. The whole layout has become too white and sterile. I want them to change. it. back. UGH. I was so bummed out I almost didn't do the Pick 3 Pin Linky. I guess I'll just get on with it. sigh.

I always find August a bit frantic and sad as I delve into school prep and get ready to say goodbye to summer. sniff. It is exciting, too, to anticipate the kids, but that comes later in the month for me. How about you? The best thing for me to do is to find some fun student projects that both I and the kids will be excited about when school begins.

I think we don't give enough credit to the learning power of hands-on creating of "stuff." There are many simple techniques that even kindergartners can learn to do. It helps differentiate instruction and helps us teach to all the different smarts that kids have so the brain grows in all sorts of ways. And what kids can't use some fine motor practice as they cut, glue, paint, draw. It seems for most teachers there is a bit of leeway with time at the start of the year as we ease kids into routines, and that can allow for some extra fun crafting. I have been pinning ideas that kids can do with minimal instruction and prep, but maximal learning. Many you've seen before– this is just a reminder. Here we go!




 
 
This is an oldie but goodie. Ask your friends to donate a few of their magazine- I pull out whole pages of faces so kids don't bump into any unacceptable ads or articles in adult rags. I get out the scissors, glue sponges and mirrors and let them go at it. Mirrors? Sure. Help kids focus on their own face while they cut and paste facial features to make their self-portraits. What can be better at the beginning of the school year than that. This pin is part of a big list of 29 crafts so you'll find lots there.




      

I love this idea with part of the picture being hidden in the fold and I think kids will, too, It can be applied to other things than arms and teeth.. though these sure are cute. I will do the folding ahead of time before I give the kiddos the paper.



 


How fun is this? Gather lids for the rest of the summer. Then all it takes is glue, food coloring and toothpicks. When completely dry it makes a great suncatcher to catch the last rays of summer. Directions are on the site.  


4.  Bonus...


Okay, can't get simpler.  Just remember to add pipe cleaners and google eyes to the playdough... in fact, just scatter google eyes all around the classroom... the kiddos will find ways to use them. You remember that ad when that adorable second grade teacher said you can't have too much glitter? Well, in my classroom we can't have too many google eyes.


5. And one. last. idea. For this one YOU need to be crafty, but I think it will make the cutest display.


Won't student work look great out in the hall? It will be a bit of teacher effort to make, but if it is up all year I think it will be worth it. I think I'll prep the bodies before school starts then add photos of student heads to my list of first day photos to take during recess. 

And one. more. thing. Did you see my Night Before School Wishing Star teacher gift for students? I think you'll like it, and the wish and card are free! Just add the star. Click here.



For more ideas for all SORTS of things, follow me on Pinterest... gotta LOVE Pinterest... well, like Pinterest... maybe I'll go back to love when they undo the board view issue!

Special thanks to Marissa at Inspired Owl's Corner, Lisa at Pawsitively Learning, and Ashley at Just Reed. They host this very popular linky party where you can find so many terrific ideas!

Now back to school planning!!!






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