Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kidpeople!

Hello Folks! Just a quick word to say Happy Birthday to Kidpeople Classroom. The blog is one year ago today as last February 17 I hit the "Publish" button for the first time. I agonized over every word. I didn't have half the details and widgets I have now. I had a million more things to learn, but I did it. It's been a great adventure, and ninety two posts later, an adventure I highly recommend to anyone. It can take quite a bit of time and effort, but you can't help but grow, even as you hope to offer new ideas, growth, and smiles to teacher readers.

I have to offer two words of thanks. First of all, thanks to my DH Jonathan. He set up the blog, paying attention to all my whims. He still helps with brainstorming, editing, and photos. He is my biggest fan, even if at times he might wonder why I do it.

And second, thanks to all of you. Your little comments and encouragements bring great excitement, happiness, and sense of accomplishment. I don't think it will ever get old. I so appreciate all the friends I've made via the internet. Here's a big virtual hug to all of you!

I don't know what lies ahead with the blog, but it won't be boring. Never boring. So happy you're along for the ride.

The post Happy Birthday, Kidpeople! first appeared on

Friday, February 13, 2015

FitFlops, Pie Tag, and Stamping Fun for Friday

Well, here's another bitterly cold Michigan Friday link up with Doodle Bugs Five for Friday. I'm huddled under three blankets and thinking of you all in warmer temps.  brrr.

1. I don't usually blog about fashion too much, but a month ago I got a pair of boots that have become my comfort and joy. I have this bum knee with issues that come and go. I've always been really flexible and apparently really clumsy, too. Take a look at this photo that my mom recently unearthed.

A looooong time ago
Yep, my brothers and I were cute... but note my KNEES. Bandaids and I had a very close relationship when I was growing up.

Jump to current day and it's not too surprising that I have sore knees now. During the summer I wear nothing but FitFlop sandals and they do me very well. They have this special patented sole that really works for me. I thought I should try a winter version of FitFlops and YIPPEE! YAHOO! I'm so glad I did. They felt good on my feet from the first minute and I noticed a difference in my knee right away. No breaking in period needed. They are every bit as comfortable as the sandals. They go with everything and I've gotten tons of compliments.

New favs
They're not cheap, but the best price I found was on Amazon. I'm a FitFlop kinda girl I guess. Check them out for yourself.

2. If you live in the snowy states I hope you remember that new fallen snow is great for playing games like pie-tag. I took the kids out to the front yard where few people walk. Then I had them line up behind me and told them to stay in my path– a rather large challenge for kindergartners. I made a BIG circle, and twenty pairs of little feet turned it into a narrow walkway.

Making the pie

Then I tromped across the "pie" to cut six slices, designated the first "It," and let the fun begin. Kids had to stay on the path as they chased. It was interesting to see them use strategies to figure out how to change direction to tag someone.

Playing pie tag

It wasn't too long before someone's excitement got the better of them, of course, and they charged their own path across the pie, but it was fun even then.

Tuckered out from pie, but happy!

I have to be truthful– these are pics from years gone by... I forgot to play this year! Duh. I hope we get just ONE more big snow dump so we can play this year. Thought I should share the idea so you don't forget like me.

3. I seem to have lots of activities to help kids sort words by word families once they are familiar with the particular letter pattern. What I needed were more ways to let kids practice making words in one particular family right after I taught it. So I got out the letter stampers, of which I have two sets, and put out the letters for just that chunk, and then some letters to make words in that family.  To save on copying, I folded the paper into six parts so the kids had a specific place to stamp each word and an illustration to go with it.

Letter stamps and folded paper equal word family activity

I liked the easy set up, and the kids liked discovering all the chunk words they could make with the stamps I put out. Thought it was an idea worth sharing. If you have letter stamps, it's low-prep, low-cost, hands-on learning.

4. Have you seen this video? I found it SO inspirational! If you're fighting the Get Fit War and thinking it's a battle you'll never win, take heart because you're not alone, Sister! Here's 90 seconds of Pump Up!

5. I leave you with this little Valentine scene. All these Valentines around our classroom fireplace came from fourteen different states– note the little map in the display.

We loved sending our own Valentines off, then getting mail and reading the letters. I also loved all the new ideas for kid-made Valentines-- especially the heart peacock that is front and center. And this little project brought on all sorts of discussion about maps and climate. This coming week is a winter break for us, but I'm leaving the love letters up for our kindergarten round-up which takes place the Tuesday we're back. The incoming newbies and parents can see what's ahead. Check out this post at PAWSitively Teaching to participate next year.

Hope you have a terrific Valentine Weekend! Scoot on back to Doodlebugs and catch what's going on with everybody else. Thanks, Kacey, as always!

Glad you stopped by. Hope you enjoyed your visit!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Five for February Funny Kid Friday

Happy Five for Friday AND Funny Kid Friday. I have five goodies to share thanks to Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching.

1. I've been saying for two months now that I was going to make a Valentines garland for our fireplace mantle, and last week's snow days finally gave me the time.

The basic materials are simple– playing cards and narrow ribbon. I got the playing cards from Dollar Tree, two decks for a buck, and the spools of Valentine ribbon from Target's Dollar Spot.

I pulled out all the heart cards, including the face cards and joker... usually there's a joker or two thrown into any game of love... heh, heh.  I also had another set of heart face cards that I pulled out from a deck that I used as number cards in class. I punched two holes at the top of the cards and strung the ribbon through. I had enough ribbon to hang nicely along our mantel by using two lengths of the ribbon that comes on those little spools. I strung the cards on the ribbon, putting a queen in the center as Valentines is all about the queen, after all  :)

I cut the other kinds of Valentine ribbon on the spools into short lengths and tied those in between the cards. It seemed to need a bit more so I raided my sewing and crafting bins, of which I have many, and came up with some sparkling rickrack, fine netting, and two red and white tassels. I had two gilded stocking hangers that I picked up cheap after Christmas to use for SOME thing SOME time and they gave it the finishing touch.

DO NOTE– the fire in the fireplace is there simply for the sake of the photo and you CANNOT leave the garland hanging down when you are using your fireplace. I don't want a part of anybody burning their house down! It is easy to pull back when the fire is lit as I just looped the ribbon ends. That's Popeye, the little photo bomber, sitting so nicely. I swear she runs in front of any camera that comes out. She loves being on the blog, too, I guess :)  This was an inexpensive, easy-peasy way to add a little festive cheer to an otherwise cold and gray February. Best of all, there is still time if you want to make one too.

2. I got a surprise email last week. The Little Free Library organization chose our little free library as a Library of Distinction. They write, "Its unique design and the creativity and enthusiasm you put into it make it an inspiring example for other Little Free Library Stewards to follow." Pretty neat, huh! I posted about it last summer when Jonathan and I put it up in our yard and you can read about it by clicking on this photo I took recently.

It's really Jonathan's design and little owl bracket that makes it so fun. We laminated a miniature version of the certificate they sent and put it inside. We didn't create our library for special recognition, in fact we didn't even realize there was such a thing. We enjoy it so much because we love sharing books and meeting passersby. The distinction from LFL is just icing on the cake. If you have any questions about how a Little Free Library works I'd be happy to share.  You can visit their site by clicking Little Free Library. 

3.  Here is a truly amazing video. I know how important ecosystems are, but this demonstrates how just ONE element can change everything, even the course of rivers. Everyone should see this, not just teachers and school kids.

4. And now a detail about the classroom... that's what I blog for anyway, right :) I participated in the nationwide Valentine exchange that Lisa from PAWSitively Teaching organized. You can read about it here so you know to sign-up next year. I combined a couple ideas I saw on Pinterest to come up with the valentine that each of my students made to send to other classrooms. I wanted it to be a bit interactive as kids are all about that.

Using Astrobrite red paper (easier to print on than construction paper) I drew writing lines on the front and lines for gluing inside. The kids wrote the Valentine phrase on the cover.

Front cover
Then I gave them a spiral heart. Someone had already cut out the heart around the outer edge when I took this photo, but they got just a square paper and had to cut out the heart, too.

Cut on spiral
I worried that this cutting would be too difficult for my little kiddos, but only one of them cut through the spiral and that was easily fixed with a piece of tape.

I had drawn a heart inside the card that matched the spiral heart's shape. They wrote Happy Valentine's Day inside the heart. Then they traced the heart in the card with a glue stick so the glue would hold down just the outside edge of the spiral heart. Using their thumb and an ink pad they drew a "love bug." They loved that part. Using their tiniest writing and a ball point pen they wrote "lift" beside the bug.

Glue down outside edge and make thumbprint love bug.

Here we go making the valentine "work."


See the message inside!

Cute, eh?

Our Valentines went to 21 different classrooms in 14 different states. One of the nicest features of this project was finding and marking the states that sent us Valentines on the map. Several of the classrooms also wrote accompanying notes which gave details of their state and what the weather was like now. It made geography meaningful in new ways. As the Valentines arrive, I put them up around our classroom fireplace. Fun learning all around.

5. And last but not least, this is the first Friday of the month so I have a Funny Kid Story for you.

One of the greatest things about being a teacher is all the hugs you get, especially in kindergarten. At least daily, a little one will throw their arms around me for a quick hug. Just a couple weeks ago, I sent the kids from the carpet to line up for gym. One little guy, a frequent hugger, threw his arms around me before I could even stand up. Then he stepped back, and putting his hands on both my cheeks, said "I love your face."

I almost fell over. I just looked at him and said, "Wow, R, that's not something I hear every day." He looked thoughtful and said, "Why not?"

You really never know what they are going to come up with next!

Remember, if any of your posts include a funny kid story or saying, you can link up right here. We all like to hear them.  The link will be open all month.  I try to mention Funny Kid Friday at least once during the month to help readers find a chuckle or two. You can grab the Funny Kid Friday button to put on your post or not.

Now scootch on back to Five for Friday and check out some more blogs by clicking on the button below. I love to hear what's going on. I find out the neatest stuff.

Have a great month, folks. See you soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February Pick Three Pins Linky

Happy February! Time for Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner Pick 3 Linky!  Here are my top three pins that I'll use in the classroom this month.

I guess number one needs to be this video of snowflake making. It is particularly good for early elementary. It shows many snowflake photographs, explains how snowflakes are made and shows them being formed in the lab, and introduces Dr. Libbrecht, a physicist at Caltech and leading expert on snowflakes. It's a must for any discussion or unit on snow. It is one of my most repinned pins, too.

Be sure to check out my Science Video Pin Board. There are all sorts of goodies on there for every kind of science unit. Click on pic to go.

This simple idea lets kids use bingo markers to their heart's content. The pin shows a snowman that is highlighted, but the dot covered paper could be used as a background for art projects or writing pieces. Think how pretty a poem would look mounted on this handmade paper. Keeping this one in my tip bag.

You'll find lots of general art and craft ideas on my Pin Board. I think it is so important to bring arts into our daily life in kindergarten, as well as all the grades. And I can and do find ways to tie it to curriculum and appease the time use monsters, too. Find it by clicking on it.

And last but certainly not least, I found a great use for this editing page. The latest wave in education is the idea of keeping students informed of their learning goals– which ones they mastered and what their next ones are. This sheet will work beautifully for that.

I am going to give each student the page and go through their writing pieces using the checklist to help us focus. When we see evidence that they've met an objective, they will get to draw a smiley face in that checkbox. I know all of my students will get at least one smiley at this point in the year and most will get several more. Then we'll decide together what writing skill they'll focus on next. To remember the chosen target they'll color in that checkbox with a yellow highlighter. They will keep their goal sheets in their notebooks and when we see that they have reached their next target, I'll let them put a smiley face in the highlighted box. Then we'll choose the next one they'll work toward.

For my purposes I am going to white out "Editing" and put "Goal" at the top of the page. It will be important when I first give out the sheet that the kids realize the list is for kindergarten AND first grade, so it is okay if they don't reach all the goals this year. I think it is going to be a very handy list. And did I tell you that it's FREE! Yep. There are lots of other useful pages in the editing pack, too. It comes from Nancy at First Grade W.O.W. Absolutely check it out.

I go to my Writing Pin Board on a regular basis. It is loaded with good ideas to do things in new ways and spice things up. Click on it to go there.

THANKS to Lisa and Marissa for the Pick 3 Pins Linky... they could have made this a Pick 12 Pins Linky, and I'd still be making hard choices. TeeHee Hopefully you clicked on my pin boards, too, to see the other stuff I've come across lately.

That's all for now. I'm off to check out everybody else's top three Pin Picks. Yippee. You can click below to do the same.

Monday, February 2, 2015

ChatterPix for Monday Made It

Happy Monday! Happy Snow Day Monday for ME! The snow fell for over 24 hours and our total is somewhere around twelve inches. Another few inches are expected today and Wednesday. This is a biggie. Hope everyone up here in the Northern States is safe and warm. When I heard we weren't going to have school today I used my Sunday time to post for a link up with Tara for Monday Made It. I've got to share my newest, funnest thing!

Have you discovered ChatterPix?  Loooove it! What a great tool for the classroom... and the rest of life, for that matter. With ChatterPix you can make pictures talk! It's easy and fun. Here are various ways I use it, and I've only had it a month.

My first student project was bringing our art, based on Snowmen at Night by the Buehners, to life. After completing our directed drawing of a snowman at night (go to my Pinterest Snow Board to find it) I asked my Kidpeople to say what their snowman does at night. I have a little ELL student who has worked hard at becoming comfortable with English. Getting to make her picture talk was a BIG hit. Notice she combines "big" with "playground" for her own unique word.

It really doesn't take long to do even with a whole class of students. To tie in writing with my next student Chatterpix project, I'm going to have them write out their 30 second blurb first, and then read it.

Here is Elephant giving a little lead-in to one of his stories. You could also have a book character summarize what he learned in his story and use it after reading the book.

Here is one of our beanie baby strategy helpers telling us what he reminds us to do. Don't you dare laugh at my weird eagle voice. You should hear the other beanie babies! For the kids, I have no pride... and they are such an eager, and forgiving, audience.

If you don't know about beanie baby reading strategies, you are missing out. My students have remembered strategies for solving unknown words MUCH MORE since I started using beanie babies. I think Look Who's in First Grade has the best beanie resource, which I just noticed is on sale right now. Find it here. 

When we start the human body unit I'll launch it this way. Thanks, Jonathan.

Here is my classroom sign brought to life. Don't know how I'm going to use it yet, but I will... maybe in my first August email that goes out to incoming students.

The maximum recording time for each ChatterPix is 30 seconds, but each of the recordings I've shown you is much less– look what you can do with just a few seconds. Also, when you send a ChatterPix via email it comes out as a talking picture right in the email. The receiver does not need to go to YouTube. To share them here on the blog, though, I needed to upload them first to YouTube and create a link. If anyone knows another way to share on the blog, please let me know.

Best of all the ChatterPix app is FREE. Just download it on to your smart phone or iPad and you're off. The app walks you through each step of the process– easy, peasy.  You can use pictures from your own files or take new photos. You can make ANYthing talk. And you can easily share them via email. Imagine the delight when my classroom parents opened their email and their child's snowman spoke to them. THAT'S a keeper. What an engaging use of technology! 

Now, of course you can use ChatterPix outside of the classroom, too. From sappy to silly, I sent off talking elves, Christmas stockings, snowmen, and even our dog using words for her usual silent pestering, much to the delight moans of my own family. I spread the word among my staff members too, and it has really taken off– I think I've seen everyone's dog talk :) Have fun!!

Scootch on back to Fourth Grade Frolics to check out more DIY teacher projects by clicking on the button at the top.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently February

Oh Boy! It's February! I'm linking with Farley to stop for a minute and take a pulse on life.

We have had almost 24 hours of snowfall, and it's not supposed to taper off until tomorrow morning. Everybody is clearing it away every few inches so the task is doable.

Got notice just a bit ago that we don't have school tomorrow. How do you spell teacher happiness:
S-N-O-W  D-A-Y!

I found the cutest heart garland to make for Valentine's Day. You use only the heart suit from a couple decks of cards. I bought cheap cards at Dollar Tree and Valentine ribbon at Target's Dollar Spot a while back, so maybe the snow day is the excuse to make it. I think it will look festive hanging from the mantle with some little lights. You can see it here.

Okay, like the rest of the world I'm following up on New Years Resolutions to eat better and exercise more. Sort of getting sick of the same old food choices though. I have sugar snap peas to use up so I think I'll stir fry them as a vegetable side dish.  And my doctor and physical therapist have recommended a recumbent stationary bike to use for strength training and cardio even with my bum knee. My PT cinched my decision to buy it when she said the best thing about it was that you can multi task while you ride, and hence people use them more than other pieces of equipment. Should have it up and going by next weekend. Yippee.

Not going out in this mess of snow, so tomorrow I'm going to plan as much for next week as I can from home. And, yes, the age old issue of taxes. "Ugh" about sums it up.

This post is as close as I'll ever get to a pageant, so I guess I'll chose Ms. Multi-Task. I ALWAYS have multiple "stuffs" going on. It's both a blessing and a curse.  sigh.

Click the button to read more Currentlys. The pageant answers are funny ones to read!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...