Sunday, January 7, 2018

Are You Ready for the Yeti?

Hello to all of you out in teacher land! Could the fall months have gotten ANY busier?? Whew! My winter break, which comes to an end tomorrow, was so deserved AND so rejuvenating. Ah.

But I've been busy during break, too, so I wrote this special blog post to go with a new TPT resource Jonathan and I created... a FUN one! I fell in love with the Yeti books that I got for Christmas (surely I'm not the only teacher who finds a stack of kids books alongside a stack of grown-up books under the tree!) But I needed some classroom materials to go with them, so I made a bunch of Yeti learning cards– letter cards, word cards, and number cards– all adorned with this cute fella.

You'll want to see the cards, but first let me share my Yeti book finds.

No Yeti Yet
by Mary Ann Fraser

This one features two little brothers who set off in search of a Yeti. The big brother seems to know a lot about Yetis and is quite confident they will be able to take a photo. The little brother doesn't know what a Yeti is, so he asks a LOT of questions. Kids will enjoy finding the hidden Yeti in each picture. Do you see him below?

Needless to say the hunt doesn't go quite as big brother expects it to, and there is a fun surprise at the end. A little bit of lighthearted suspense and a very happy ending will make this Yeti book a good first read for my kidpeople... and I think it is my favorite.

Betty and the Yeti
by Ella Burfoot

This one features a little girl and her red sled. She has a habit of collecting lost things and then returning them to their rightful owners. When she finds some rather odd clothing...

...her hunt for the owner leads her to an unexpected character.... whoever heard of a Yeti in underwear? The kids will love this one, too.

Dear Yeti
by James Kwan

This book's protagonists are self described "wild, but friendly men." They, too, go off in search of the Yeti, but they do it with the help of a little bird. The text is written as letters which are delivered by the bird to the Yeti. If kids follow the little bird's path they will find the Yeti, a brown one this time, who also ends up a hero.

Spaghetti with the Yeti
by Adam & Charlotte Guillain and Lee Wildish

This book is part of the George's Amazing Adventures series in which George goes off in search of all sorts of creatures using all sorts of enticing foods. This time he is looking for a Yeti with the help of spaghetti. Unfortunately, George keeps finding the wrong sort of monster and each one suggests a different kind of food for the Yeti.

This is another silly tale illustrated with bright, bold colors that helps kids build on the Yeti lore they are collecting from their reading.

The Thing About Yetis
by Vin Vogel

I save this one for last, and will read it last to the kids, too, because it adds all sorts of interesting details to Yeti lore... even the fact that Yetis get cold and miss the summer. The illustrations are adorable and kids will enjoy knowing they have so much in common with Yetis. This one is also my favorite... a person can have more than one favorite, you know.

THIS is a Yeti after my own heart- snort!

And what Yeti unit is complete without a couple of furry Yetis...

Yes, this is my collection of Yetis that the kids are going to get to know. You'll probably recognize the biggest guy as the Abominable Snowman from the classic Rudolph stop motion animated movie. I saw this Bumble years ago and he brought back such fond memories of my own childhood with those Rankin/Bass productions of winter children's movies that I had to get him. He roars when you squeeze his tummy... think I'll take the batteries out before bringing him to school. snort.

The guy next to him counterclockwise is a modern fellow available from Aurora. He is super soft and squishy. He is also quite floppy as his hands are weighted to help him sit up, I think, but the effect is nice. The little one in the box (he comes out) is part of the Yeti Rescue Kit which includes a Caregiver's Manual and adoption papers, etc.– kids get to name him, decide what he eats, etc.

And the big box in front is the game, Yeti in my Spaghetti. It is sort of a mix of KerPlunk, Pick-Up Sticks, and Don't Break the Ice. In this version kids need to remove the plastic spaghetti noodles without letting the Yeti fall to the bottom of the bowl. That little Yeti can balance across the bowl on just two noodles if done very carefully... yes, I had to try it myself. *wink*

I very rarely put affiliate links to products I blog about, but because I just bought these in the last month I went to check prices. They are the same price, or even better than when I bought them... especially the Yulli Yeti. If you click on the buttons you can go see for yourself. Some of them are even available used if you'd like to get a better price.


I am going to launch my fun Yeti unit with the help of Bumble because most of the kids will know him from Rudolph. (It's amazing that simple show is still around entertaining kids. It has seen 53 Christmas seasons now.) I'll start with him, gather what they know, then tell some of the legends that go along with the Abominable Snowman, Big Foot and the Yeti. I think this will provide a good base for discussion of how stories are passed down, where folklore comes from, and how some people want others to believe it so much, they make up a hoax or two, or three. (Just so YOU know, any kind of "proof" that anyone has presented for a BigFoot or Yeti has been disproven.) Then we'll make up the rest of our own Yeti lore with the help of the picture books and our own imaginations. Nothing too scary, you see– just happy, imaginative fun to get us through some long cold days when we probably will miss numerous outdoor recesses if this winter stays as cold as it started.

The picture books about Yetis that I listed above can lead the creative teacher into all sorts of additional activities– writing letters to Yetis, eating Yeti foods like spaghetti and hot chocolate, even a mid-winter beach party if you are really brave. And to tie the Yeti into reading and math activities I came up with Yeti Cards.

This pack is a basic set of playing/flash cards, but what makes them special is their adorable Yeti illustrated by my hubs. Isn't he full of character with just a touch of grumpy like his creator... surely I didn't just write that!  

There is a set of cards with upper and lowercase letters, a set of sight word cards with a mix of over one hundred Dolch and Fry words, and number cards 0-120 and + - and =. All together there are over 300 cards. You can use them for all the things you use such cards for- upper and lowercase matching, alphabetizing, memory and matching games, word work, number cards for playing or putting in order... you get the idea.

I included a sheet of blank cards so you can write other cards as you need them. And there is also an 8.5 x 11 full size blank Yeti to use as a sign, or a mascot, or whatever you choose.

TODAY and TOMORROW the Yeti cards will be on sale for half price! Their regular price is only two dollars, but you might as well grab them for a buck while you can. And don't forget to leave some love if you can! So appreciated! Just click on any of the Yeti card images above to see.

I am so excited about this unit I want to launch it tomorrow, but I'll show some restraint. We have a lot of snow and snowman stuff to read, write, draw and learn about for January. I'll save this guy for the week after Valentines when the long gray days of winter seem to keep dragging on and on. It might be cold outside, but baby, we're gonna have Yetis to keep us learning and playing! Whoot!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know below and don't forget to PIN! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jump Ropes, Caterpillars, Pumpkins and a Chuckle

Happy October! Thanks to Stephanie at Forever in Fifth Grade for Show and Tell Tuesday. Stephanie, you can never stop doing this linky– it is often the kick in the butt little nudge that takes me to the keyboard to share the latest. Thanks!

Today I have a handful of goodness. I hope your life has slowed down just a tad since the first weeks of school and you have time to find a good tip or two among these. And don't forget to Pin the ideas you want to do.

1.   We have monarchs caterpillars in the classroom right now. They came after a Praying Mantis and a Walking Stick. It's been a rather buggy start to the year, but I can't pass up unusual insects when they come my way– such great learning opportunities. We have been doing all sorts of learning about caterpillars– comparing factual science books with fictional books about butterflies (Sorry, Mr. Carle, butterflies do not make cocoons,) scientific observation, guided drawing, labeling, and a fun art project I made up that incorporated math and literacy.

The kids practiced making patterns as they glued the strips to form a caterpillar, and the leaf will be placed on a page where some writing will take place, too. Here is a picture of the materials and resulting caterpillar.

2.   This is one of a plethora of letter activities we do at the start of the year. They create letter dot-to-dots, connecting magnetic letters placed on paper on a cookie sheet, which entails learning letters and abc order.

It is interesting that even in this simple activity you can see what kids do know and don't know yet– I bet none of you are surprised to see the b and d reversal. That tricky t with a tail is often taken as an f... why do they make that one random letter with a serif in most sets? This activity has fast teacher prep and the kiddos liked doing it. Put it out with a lower case alphabet chart as most will need it.

3.  I switched up recess a bit. My kiddos love jump ropes, but they are tricky for kinder kids to use, so I keep several Chinese jump ropes on hand. You can find them cheap in toy departments, or simply make one by tying a long stretch of elastic in a circle. The static rope allows more kids to get in on the act of jumping or stepping over, and you can vary the game by raising the loop up and down from ankles to knees as the kids' legs hold the elastic.

The loop can also be used for circle games. It's so simple that after some fast demos they can play all by themselves. It usually launches us into learning jumprope rhymes, too... Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?...

4.   Buying pumpkins, counting pumpkins, cooking pumpkins... pumpkins everywhere!

This is the season for using pumpkins. And I don't just mean Jack O' Lanterns... in fact this year we aren't doing Jack O' Lanterns as I have a little one who does not celebrate Halloween. There are still lots of autumn things to do, though. At our morning meeting we've been rolling small pumpkins, both real and plastic as we sing The Pumpkins Go Rolling Two by Two. I vary the verses so we can sing, One by one, Two by two, three by three, etc. And I've rewritten that last verse to lines like– the little one likes to bump into your shoe, the little one always goes a-choo, the little one has a dot that's blue (I put a little blue dot under one of them). You can tie counting, addition, and rhyming into the song in lots of ways, keeping it different and fun.

We also did some cooking. First of all we had to get the seeds out of the pumpkin- small pie pumpkins are about a buck right now at the store.

Oh, the faces were priceless as kids get those seeds out of the pumpkin guts with their fingers. Then we counted them... there are a LOT of seeds in even a small pumpkin– 544, to be exact. So how do five year olds manage to count all those seeds? With the help of a math tool, of course. We work in pairs to put one seed on each number of a 50 grid.

Why work in pairs? Cooperation and faster results. Why 50? We are counting our school days to 50 right now, when we will have a "half party." A half party is a small party that comes half way to the full 100 Day party. At the half party we talk about the fraction 1/2, breaking Kit Kats in half, dividing ten Skittles equally, pouring half a glass of juice, cutting our napkin in half... you get the idea. I've blogged about it before and you can see it here.

But I digress... we kept filling the 50 grids until all the seeds had been placed and found our total number. Then we gave the seeds a good rinse in hot water, blotted them, and tossed them in a bowl with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and a generous amount of soy sauce. We let them sit for half an hour then spread them out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and baked ten minutes on each side. They were indeed yummy. We ate all 544!

We also made pumpkin pudding. It's a super simple recipe.

Make instant vanilla pudding with just one cup of milk instead of three, and add a big can of pumpkin puree. It involves a lot of mixing so everyone can get in on the act. After it sets for a refrigerated hour or two, it is very yummy. And the pumpkin is pretty good for you.

5.  And to make this a true Kidpeople Classroom post, I add a funny kid tale, even if it is not Friday.

One afternoon our principal came in as we were just starting quiet time. When he saw everyone get their carpet squares he asked if he could have one, too. As I invited kid by kid to use the bathroom, he laid down on the floor with them, much to their delight. He got several messages on his phone and in a couple minutes he had to leave, quietly signaling a goodby.

A few minutes later one of my kidpeople said to me, "Mr. E forgot his phone."

Knowing he had taken his phone with him, and thinking she was a bit confused, I responded, "Did you hear Mr. E's. phone ding a couple times? That means he was getting messages. I think someone needed him somewhere else and he had to go."

This Little didn't say anything for a few minutes, and then she said, "Mr. E left his phone."

"Hmmm, nope. He had his phone in his hand when he left."

Several more minutes and several more kids off to the bathroom, and I'm looking for a book by my chair that I'm going to read after quiet time.

I hear her little voice again, saying very slowly and distinctly, "I. Can. See. His. Phone."

I looked at her. She is looking at me, but then turns her head so she is looking under the bench beside her, and once again deliberately says, "I. Can. See. His. Phone."

I stand up and there indeed is a phone on the other side of the bench. I go over and pick it up and muse, "Well, there is a phone here. I guess it's Mr. E's."

Little Miss smiles up at me and says, "Of course."

Five year olds keep the faith that they CAN get through to dense teachers if they just keep trying :)

Hope you got a chuckle and a few new ideas. I have two other posts in the making... wonder if I can get to them before the next Show and Tell Tuesday??

Click the Show and Tell button to see what others are sharing today. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Winners and Funny Kid Friday

Whew. There ain't nothing like the start of a new school year, is there? I live, breathe, and sleep in teacher mode, as I'm sure most teachers do. My class this year is full of the most terrific little kidpeople and I look forward to this year with them. I'll just be glad when all the "other" stuff that has to be done at the start of the year is done, and my life takes on just the regular busy rhythm.

I decided to make this a Funny Kid Friday post because we can all use a chuckle.

But first, I need to share a few words about the winners of our book and Amazon card giveaways... yes, I know, that seems like years ago now.

The winner of our second giveaway was Mary who, as a teacher, strives to encourage her students to love reading and become lifelong readers. She plans to use her book for great discussions.

And the winner of our third and final giveaway, winning No More Noisy Nights, was Angela and she shares that she is a kindergarten teacher. She knows her kids will love this book and she looks forward to the discussion that will follow. She also hopes it will spark some creative stories in Writers Workshop.

Congratulations to both! I hope they enjoy their book and a bit of shopping.

And special thanks to my blogger friends who helped spread the giveaway news at:



Now for some funny kid stories. 

This story was shared with me by one of my parents.

Mom: So how was your first day at school?

Kidperson: I made a new friend.

Mom: Great! Who is it?

Kidperson:  It's a girl. She has braids.

Mom: What's her name?

Kidperson: Mmmm..... Braid-y.


And on the third day of school, as the kidpeople and I finished up our closing circle, I said, "Okay, guys, it's time to get your backpacks on."

One little guy said, "How come?"

It takes a while for the Littles to make the connection with "closing" and "end of day," I guess.

I answered him, "Because it's time to go home."

"Awww-man!" he said, which started everyone else protesting, too. "Nooo...Nooo"

A colleague and I just looked at each other, chuckling. I guess it's a pretty good sign if they never want to leave!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Last Week of Giveaways!

This week we have our last week of Teacher Book Talk Tuesday and our last book and Amazon gift certificate giveaway.

Week Three Giveaway! Last One!

Time to focus on moving back to the classroom. You have just enough time to slip into the giveaway. Best of luck to you. This week we have a very new book from Flashlight Press which also happens to be written by Holly Niner, who wrote our featured book last week.

But first I need to announce that last week's winner was Mary L. I sent a happy email to her and when I hear back, last week's book prize, The Day I Ran Away, and her Amazon gift certificate will be on the way.

And remember our winner of Too Much Glue? Well, she sends a word of thanks and let's us know how she will use her book. Tina is a learning disabilities teacher who teaches Math and English to K-5 students in Kansas. Her older students work on reading fluency and she plans on having them practice reading Too Much Glue to the younger set. The K-1 students love that and the older ones get fluency practice and a self-esteem boost in one. She will also use the book to teach gluing rules– anything multi-sensory makes a huge impact on her kids and glue is a part of that. Tina is a regular reader of the blog and says she finds lots of kindergarten ideas here that with a tweak or two she can use with her full range multi-age of students. Thanks, Tina! We are happy Too Much Glue found a good home.

No More Noisy Nights
by Holly L. Niner and Guy Wolek

What do you say about a book which stars a mole, a ghost, a boogey monster, and a Pixie? What?? I say that's a rather unlikely cast of characters, but the kiddos will like 'em all.

Mole has a new house! He works hard to make if feel like home, moving all his things into place. He happily settles in for the night... until he finds his new house is too noisy to sleep in. After making some pretty silly mistakes in the morning because of his sleepy, muddled brain, he decides to take action and that's when he discovers he has housemates. Mole must get creative to keep everyone happy.

This book is a great one to get students thinking about problem solving when things aren't going well among classmates. How can you keep everyone happy when you are all so different and you all like different things? And if you are a parent who wants a new bedtime read, No More Noisy Nights certainly lends itself to that... put qualms about noises that go bump in the night to bed with the friends in this book.

I also think it is nice to see Halloween-ish characters in a non-Halloween book. If you are a teacher who doesn't do Halloween in your class, you might think about using this book to show that sometimes ghosts and monsters have nothing to do with the holiday.

Guy Wolek's illustrations include lots of techniques that kids can use in their storytelling. Cutaways that show what's happening in different places, sound words, and motion lines help tell the tale of the cute and colorful characters. Students will love looking over the pictures, finding details.

And this Flashlight Press book includes About the Author and About the Illustrator blurbs, too. They're such a good way for kids to see authors and illustrators as real people, and learn ways to write their own blurbs. Whenever I need an example of what authors share about themselves, I grab a Flashlight Press book because I know I'll find blurbs there. And as to the end papers– you know I always mention the end papers– well, your kiddos are going to have to think a bit harder about these because it is not obvious. A bit of mystery that can probably be solved by the end of the book.

You can find my Flashlight Press book reviews by using my search lists on the right side bar and see Flashlight Press books by clicking below.

This cozy tale will come to live in some lucky teachers classroom, along with a ten dollar Amazon gift card. Some of my blogging friends are helping me give away the books– The Teacher Desk 6, STEM is Elementary, Peach, Love and Primary, and Kindergarten: Hand in Hand We Grow. You can check out their blogs by clicking on their icons below after they link up to this post. By following any or all of this diverse group of bloggers you can get up to eight entries. Winners need to have a US address in order to win due to shipping costs, I'm afraid. I'll announce the winner next week. Thanks to Flashlight Press for the books and The Teacher's Desk 6 for the Amazon card. (Note- to follow me on YouTube click here.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now I'm off to prep my night before school student gifts so I can deliver them next week. Click on it below if you'd like to see how they work– it is FREE to say thanks for stopping by!

Good luck to you! See you next time!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Giveaway Week Two and Bad News

Week Two Giveaway!

Hello on this happy Tuesday! I'm happy because today is a double duty day– it is my Teacher Book Talk Tuesday and the Show and Tell linky from Forever in Fifth Grade. I'm afraid my Show and Tell this week is bad news– not typical at all here on the blog, but something you must know about.

I get to start out with a congratulations to Tina B, last week's winner of our giveaway. Too Much Glue and a ten dollar Amazon card will be in the mail as soon as I hear back from her. If your name happens to be Tina B, check your email!

While last week's Too Much Glue is on it's way to becoming a classroom classic, this week's book just came out in the last few months.

The Day I Ran Away
by Holly L. Niner and Isabella Ongaro

Have you ever been so mad that you wanted to run away? I have. I think I was about five when I got the big idea to run away to my Nana's house... it made no difference that she lived three hundred miles away, I was going to walk there. I knew it was far but it wasn't the distance that made me give up the idea of walking. No, it was knowing that I'd have to walk over the Ambassador Bridge. It was the tallest bridge I knew of in my young life and it made a huge impression every time my family crossed over. Then I decided I would find someone to drive me to Nana's. The only people I could think of who knew the way, though, were my mom and dad, and since it was mom I was running away from, and dad always seemed do what my mom said, I had to abandon that idea, too. I ended up just writing Nana a letter, which I think I still have in a box in the basement.

In The Day I Ran Away, little Grace decides to run away from her mom, too. The actual story has various twists and turns– some of them quite humorous– but for me it is not the actual running away adventure that makes this book so interesting, but the clever telling as a narrative between our precocious heroine and her dad. The story is told entirely through their dialogue at bedtime, and the recounting from the daughter's perspective, with the dad's supportive responses, is really priceless. Every little kid needs a dad like this one. And every little kid needs a mom like this one, too. Grace's feelings and actions won't surprise kids, and discussion will help them understand mom's reactions, as well– a great text for teaching character point of view.

Another notable technique used in The Day I Ran Away is found in the illustrations– on the lefthand pages we see Dad putting Grace to bed and on the right we see scenes from the day. Half of the pages of the book are spent putting Grace to bed– plenty of time to dance, stretch, hang off the bed, play with the dog, and get tucked in as the story unfolds... ah, the bedtime shenanigans of young kids. Our students will again be able to relate. The reader gains more insight into the feelings and actions of the day as the illustrations on the opposing pages depict many small details that help round out the story.

I can see a variety of purposes for using The Day I Ran Away in the classroom, beyond just enjoying the book. Helping kids handle angry feelings is a good first logical choice. Everyone has moments when they'd just like to run away from the person or situation that is making them mad. Teaching how to write dialogue is another possible teaching point. Katie Wood Ray, in her book, In Words and Pictures, which I reviewed two weeks ago, lists many illustration techniques that can be used to teach the qualities of good writing. The Day I Ran Away is a great example of crafting a backstory, two sides of a physical space, and passage of time. Oh, and last but not least, like all the Flashlight Press books I'm familiar with, this one's book jacket includes an About the Author and About the Illustrator photo and blurb. These help kids feel connected to real life authors and illustrators, and teach students how to write their own author blurbs.

I just gotta say now, having reviewed over half a dozen Flashlight Press books at this point, this publisher has a terrific eye toward picture books chock full of teachable elements. The subject matter, the writing and illustration style, even the book design make each book a good mentor text to use in class. You might want to cruise their selection to see for yourself– click the image below. You can also click Flashlight Press in my search lists to the right to find my reviews.

The Day I Ran Away would be at home on any classroom shelf. We'd like to help one copy on it's way– maybe yours! Teacher Desk 6, STEM is ElementaryKindergarten: Hand in Hand We Grow and Peace, Love and Primary are helping readers win a copy of The Day I Ran Away.  And to sweeten the deal Teacher Desk 6 is throwing in an Amazon gift card of ten dollars. Follow in any of the ways listed below in the Rafflecopter, or if you already follow us, write ALREADY instead of the follower number and we'll find you in the lists. This giveaway is open through Sunday night, so tell your teacher friends. The contest is limited to U.S. addresses only I'm afraid because of international shipping costs. We'll announce the winner next week. Very Special Thanks to Flashlight Press for donating the book!

Last week I realized that some people had a difficult time subscribing to the Kidpeople Classroom YouTube channel. When you search in YouTube it is sometimes hard to find the little guys, which includes me, so I include a link on the YouTube button. When you get to my channel you will find two videos– a classroom tour for teachers and a video to use in the classroom about a bird on my head... you just gotta look at that one to understand. grin. Click to go.

And now I have to share something very important, which is the bad news of this post. I just found out, though it happened months ago, Indiana passed legislation that allows for "virtual reality" PREschool. With just 15 minutes a day on an app, four year olds will be ready for kindergarten, says Indiana. This online program is targeted to the neediest, low income kids. And it takes one million dollars of the four million dollar state preschool budget AWAY from real brick and mortar preschools. I just cannot believe it. I don't want to believe it– time in front of a screen equals a preschool experience??? SOMEone is making big bucks off our youngest, most vulnerable children, and taking away the REAL experience of a quarter of the kids who get it now. I not only fear for Indiana's children, but for all the other children who will be impacted if this bad idea spreads to other states.

I found the news on Teach Preschool. Deborah does a great job of describing the situation, and even more importantly, points out so many reasons why this is such a bad idea. As I commented on her post, how many years, millions of dollars, and missed opportunity to grow a whole child will it take for this LUDICROUS idea to GO AWAY? I have to keep faith that our country will swing back to solid thinking, implementation, and funding for education SOON. If any of you know signs of this happening, please share below. It is really hard not to be utterly dispirited over what we are doing to our children right here in the United States. It seems that throughout my long career there has always been a strong need for advocacy for our youngest kids, but our voices have never been needed as much as right NOW.

Click on the bee to read Teach Preschool's post on Indiana legislation. 

Sorry to end on this frustrating note, but I bet you'll read happier news when you click and check out what others are sharing at Forever in Fifth Grade. Thanks to Stephanie for the link-up. 

AND don't forget to check out the book reviews by my blogging friends. Their links are below. I have purchased or reserved at least a half dozen books from their linked up reviews this summer, so I thank them all again from my own happy reader heart.

So glad you stopped by. Next week I'm reviewing and giving away No More Noisy Nights–it's a new one. I left this favorite for our last giveaway. See you soon.

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