Saturday, October 4, 2014

Monster Math, Germs, and Funny Kid Friday

Happy October! Well, five weeks of school have come and gone. Hard to believe. There is NOTHING like the beginning of the year in kindergarten and I have lots to share. So happy that I can link up with Doodle Bugs to share five things and Always a Teacher & Forever a Mom for Fabulous Freebie Friday. And I include my monthly Funny Kid Friday tale. And shop-a-holics beware, there is great stuff to know about as well as freebies to grab, too.

1. Our new math curriculum suggests that we have a classroom math mascot, and this fit in perfectly with what I already do. I've had "monster math" for a long time– monster themed math bulletin board, fun little monsters that help us do math, this insane monster hat that I wear every once in a while to give us a dose of happy.

Okay, so I can't believe I put that picture on the internet, but the kids love it– his ears... or are they his arms... go up and down when you squeeze the flaps hanging down. I have another fuzzy monster hood style hat, which smooshes my hair down a little less. But hey, kindergarten teachers can't be vain, so I wear them both.

You can see either hat if you click the captions under the hats. Be sure to look at the adult style in the second version as that's the one that's nice and roomy. You can't go wrong with either one for about $12. And if you don't use it for math, you can use if for Halloween. Hurry. They'll go fast.

Here is our math mascot– a monster puppet who brings big personality to our math lessons. Keep it engaging to enhance learning, right?  His name is Ten-Ten. Ten-Ten Twenty... the kids wanted him to have a last name. You can click on the caption to find him for sale. He is brilliant and the kids are in love!

If you don't use puppets in your classroom I encourage you to try. You only need one to get started. You don't even need to make them talk. I have a puppet, Baa Baa Black Sheep, who is very shy. Only I can hear him when he whispers into my ear. The kids know what he says by the way I respond to him.

Ten-Ten has a low voice because I had a cold when I first introduced him. He is easy to manipulate as he rests on my lap. An arm stick helps animate him- he points to objects we are counting, and he shows his heart is pounding when he gets excited over how smart we are. Not hard. And let me tell you the kids LOVE him. They would have him come out every day. I limit him to math, and sometimes he just watches us. That is allowed, you know, if you just don't have the time, or aren't in the mood.

2. I would be amiss if I did not share a GREAT DVD that I found.  It's called Monster Math Squad. I don't know how I hadn't heard of it before. It has 30 episodes, each about twelve minutes long. Each one highlights a different math concept. We've done numbers to ten, shapes, size, and pairs so far. It is a great way to begin or recap a lesson. The kids love the monster characters and little stories, while I love the math emphasis the videos bring. I have surprised at all the kids retain. Again, highly engaging stuff to fire up those neurons.  You can get it for just five bucks now, about half of what I originally paid for it.

3. The folks at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have come up with a great info graphic poster... well, not great in that it shows there are a LOT of germs hanging out around school! Yikes! It is definitely something you'll want to see and share. Click on it to go to their site. They are planning on making it downloadable soon, so leave word in the comments and bookmark the page. I'm going to laminate mine and make a display in our main hallway.

4. And while on the subject of germs, how about a FREEBIE from my TPT store to help your kiddos wash their hands better?  It includes several posters, a song, and even a bookmark for the kids to take home. Click on the picture below to download it.  And if you want to hear how the song goes, click on this previous post to get the idea.

5.  And last but not least, my funny kid story.

It occurred to me several times this month that perhaps I was caught on the set of a Three Stooges movie. When you step back and watch newbie kindergartners you just have to smile. I watched one little tyke clear up after a special snack. She took a stray mini-chocolate chip to the garbage. Then went back and took a crumb to the garbage. Then went and took her napkin to the garbage. Then back she went to take her juice cup to the garbage... she eventually made it to the carpet with the rest of us.

At another point I called one little guy to come over and get something for his table. He got up and headed toward me, followed by everybody else at his table. Instead of going through the main traffic path, they all headed between two chairs which barely allowed one to pass, let alone five. They were sort of like pinball steelies trying to get down the shoot at the same time. I opened my mouth to give direction again, but then it struck me as so funny that I just sat chuckling and marveling until the five made it to me. The biggest marvel was that there was no angry pushing involved, just bounce, bounce, back-up, bounce, try again, until there they were, standing in front of me, happy as larks that they had made it, and ready to do whatever I wanted.

I'm chuckling again as I relive these video snippet memories in my mind. There is NOTHING like teaching kindergarten.

Now it's time for you to share your kid tale. Just grab my pic up there and use the in-linkz button to link up. Be sure to link back so everyone can find more. This will be up all month, so you can jump in any time. You can leave a tale in the comments, too, and bloggers leave your link so we can check you out. So many ways to share the fun.


  1. I love your monster hat and puppet! I have 3 puppets who live in a box in my classroom and very rarely make it out! You've inspired me to get them out this week. Now I just have to decide what for!
    Growing Little Learners

    1. Glad you're inspired! I have my fav puppets sit out in various spots in the meeting area. I find I use them more in an impromptu way- 3 minutes here, 3 minutes there, presto, they are part of the classroom. And I assign them different roles- one leads singing, one does math, one practices sight words, etc. Hope you have a grand time with yours! Kathleen

  2. Great monster hat!! I also love using puppets in the classroom and I have found that most children seem to relate much better to them in being able to explain things rather than to either me as the teacher or their classmates!! A great post :-)
    Special Teaching at Pempi's Palace

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Puppets, too– I knew we had lots in common :) See you around! Kathleen