Saturday, April 18, 2015

Five or Six Tips, Bargains, and Vids

I'm telling myself I am only going to post if I can do it in just ONE hour, as I barely have even one hour to spare this weekend. If not done in one hour I stop and rework it to send another day... so if you're reading, I set new time records today.

Happy Friday and here's five with the help of Doodle Bugs linky party.

1.  This was a very depressing sight on my laptop last Sunday morning as spring break came to an end.

Oh, well, all good things must come to an end. And oh. my. gosh. there were only nine more weeks of school before summer break... and that was last week! Today as I post, there are only EIGHT. Yikes! So much to teach, so much to do.... I'm gonna start to hyperventilate as I think of it. I take comfort in knowing teachers everywhere are in the same boat and just paddling as fast as we can to keep the boat on course. No matter how much we prepare there are just a LOT of things to take care of in the last months of school that can't be taken care of at any other time. Hang on for the ride!

2. I mentioned in earlier posts that I did some reorganizing at school over break. Just before the kids walked in, I finished hanging my poetry strips in their new location.

I always kept my poetry sentence strips in a long bin. However the bin was not quite long enough, so the ends always had to curl and that slowed down flipping through them. The bin also took up a large valuable space on a shelf. So I paper clipped the strips for each poem together, sorted my poems into five categories– loosely based on when I use them in the year, and clipped them with a giant binder clip. Then I hung them from hooks on the back of my back door. Ta-Da!

Storage for Sentence Strips

I used Command hooks on the door, and the clips hang very well. A week's worth of opening and closing the door and nothing has fallen down.

Now when I need a new poem I can take down the clip, flip through the poems, take the one I want, and hang it back up again. As I finish with a poem, I hang it again at the back of that group. So far, so good. Is this a useful idea for your poems or other like shaped items? If you have another way of storing, I'd love to hear in the comments.

I posted before about how I do shared reading of a poem each week, and how I use a pocket chart to display. Pocket charts have several advantages over other methods of display for shared reading material. You can go to the post by clicking on the photo below.

3. Artie Knapp, a children's author from Cincinnati, Ohio, stumbled upon my blog and contacted me to see if I would share with readers his new book, Living Green: A Turtle's Quest for a Cleaner Planet.  Given that we are just a few days away from Earth Day, this coming Wednesday, I think you'll appreciate hearing about it. The print book edition was a short-list finalist for the Green Earth Book Award.  The on-line version is a free resource on You Tube that your students will enjoy. You can see it here.

4.  My daughter, Sameulina, is graduating from university in just two short weeks. I was on campus this week and saw this interactive installation up in the Art School. The artist used Post-it notes to form wall size words that said "I FEAR THAT..." Passersby left notes on individual stickies with their fears. I snapped a few quick pics because I found it interesting on several scores.

Interactive Art Installation

First of all, I think this idea of words made of sticky notes could be used in elementary schools for a special event. I think the students would really enjoy leaving their thoughts and/or small pics on the sticky notes on the subject at hand. I'm passing it on to my staff. Maybe you can think of an application, too.

And second, the fears that were listed by the university students took me by surprise with their seriousness.

This was a relatively new installation and these comments were written on the sections I happened to snap. I did not filter–

I will never pay off my loans
I'll die before I get to grow old with my girlfriend
confronting the death of family members
my sleep deprivation will shorten my life
something bad will happen in the future
something will happen to my family members
our government doesn't care about us
I don't have time to be the person I want to be
I won't leave a legacy 


I am thirty years their senior and I have some of these same fears. Did I have these fears when I leaving university? Somehow I don't think so. What does this say about our youth? What does this say about our times? What can we do?

5. Lookee, lookee all Star Wars fans... well, surely you ARE a Star Wars fan! Star Wars, and I mean the original Star Wars movie, came out when I was in high school. I and my group of friends saw it no less than seventeen times in it's more than year long run. If we had nothing else to do, off we went again. We had whole sections of dialogue memorized. That movie caused quite a buzz and we LOVED it... And I was in love with Harrison Ford. *sigh* It's okay to say. Jonathan knows.

ANYway, a new trailer for the NEWEST Star Wars movie was just released this week. Cute new droids... and Harrison, too! Another reason to look forward to Christmas. See here:

6... 6??  Last but not least, I leave you with five, five, five Dollar Store finds!!!

1. These eight inch plates were in the baby section. More durable than paper, and such a nice size. Anybody see manipulative number bonds?

Perfect for Addition Math Manipulatives

2. I've had my eye open for bins of this size and dimension to use as scrap bins to leave on kids' tables while doing cutting projects. I have used other bins but they did not hold enough or took up too much table space. These are just right for holding scraps. I show the large bottle of Mod Podge to give an idea of scale.

Just right as a table bin for cutting scraps

3. There are new stuffed monsters. Four models in all. Just right to use for passing or tossing with monster math games. I show one by the basket for scale.

Cute new monsters at the dollar store

4. These are too cute to squash bugs with. Just right for playing slap games with letter, word, or number cards.

Bug swatter to plan Slap with

5. A cheap little fishing pole to use with fishing games. Probably not sturdy enough for the reel to last for long, but even just tying a string to the tip will increase the fun factor. Better than the pencils and dowels I've used before and way cheaper than the play fishing poles found in school supply catalogs. I mean, it's a buck.

Cheap fishing pole to use when fishing
for words and numbers

HOW did I go from scrambling to find five in an hour, to SIX in an hour... well, just over an hour. Never doubt the power of a blogger who is always collecting details of life... the teaching life and otherwise.

Hope you had some fun. Click on button below to head on back to the linky for more fives... or sixes :) Thanks, Kacey!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!


  1. Thank you for the great ideas! I am definitely going to show my class video from Story Cub. What a great resource. Love the Post-it wall! I am passing that on to our upper grades, but I may try it on a smaller scale with my firsties. Congratulations for meeting your 1 hour goal for your blog. I love blogging but it is a time consumer. Have a great week.

    1. Well, I had the pics done ahead of time and that saves time :) Glad you got an idea or two. See you around. Kathleen


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