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!


  1. I love that you made a map! All the teacher stuff can be so overwhelming!

    I love the message center idea. Can the kids write whatever they want or do they have a topic?

    1. Yep. It's pretty bad when you need a map for your classroom :P I think you can do the message center any way you like, or a combo of choice and directed, depending on your purpose that day. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  2. I hopped on over from the linky and I think a map is a fantastic idea! I so need one of those... I absolutely love the message center too! I think that would work in middle school too and I'm going to try it!! Thanks!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

    1. I hope it does work. It gives you ideas about how kids can connect through writing, doesn't it? Glad you stopped in, Lisa. Kathleen

  3. Hi Kathleen,
    I'm going to have to check out the sandals. I have bad feet and need super comfy shoes. Right now I wear a brand from the Walking Company. I think my Earth Day scavenger hunt could work for your kinders if you read the facts to them?? Check out the preview when I post it and you can decide. Happy Friday!
    Joya :)

    1. The flip flops are what they started with and they are the best! If you click around you'll find them on sale. I think we'd use your scavenger hunt for the week's wrap up when they know more about it. Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen

  4. I loved reading all of this! I am sending your message center idea to my daughter (she teaches first grade) and I love your shelf curtain idea. I hate cluttered classrooms and all that stuff we collect showing. Now inside my cabinets is a different story- but at least people can't see it! Have a great weekend!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

    1. Hi Carol. Oh, I am so glad. You hope that SOMEthing is useful, and something WAS :)
      When I read about Kristin's Message Center idea I knew it was a gem. I'm off to buy clothesline for next week. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  5. Congratulations on you organization! YAHOO! Doesn't it feel great! :) I'm glad you had a great break. And Popeye is adorable!

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. Wish it was more than one section of shelf! But you know, when it's "break" I can only push so much :) See you later. Kathleen

  6. Thanks so so so much for the shout out!!! :)
    I need to spring clean this summer . . . don't look in any of my cabinets! :)

    1. Any time, Kristin. It's a great idea. Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen


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