Saturday, February 27, 2016

Five and Some Funnies

Oh, I have five goodies to share today so thanks to Doodle BugsTeaching for the weekly link-up... though at this time of year I find it hard to get to weekly!

I'm also linking up with Small Victories Link-up. I think readers will especially enjoy numbers 1 and 5 below. Everyone needs a chuckle here and there. If this is the first you've heard of Small Victories you might want to check it out– you'll find recipes, DIY, kids activities, healthy living... a whole bunch of neat information.

1.  Click to get a chuckle. It's in German but you only need to know that the daughter is asking her father how he likes the new iPad she bought for him.

I found this on Diane Ravitch's blog and I thank her for it. I just cracked up. I was surprised by the number of comments that said the video was putting older folks down, though. I didn't see it that way at all. I think the technology we use is the technology we need. It doesn't depend on a person's age. As a teacher I hear about all sorts of apps and devices and techno short cuts for doing all sorts of things. If they don't have any real use in my life, I let them go and think, maybe later.

My sweet daughter shared this quote with me a while back. I had fun turning it into a meme using a very old photo of my youngest.

2. I found a new resource! Our district is putting extra emphasis this year on the teaching of vocabulary. I found a great site with good resources.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Literacy page has some very useful downloadable free teacher plans. The vocabulary lessons help you set purpose, contextualize the word, give a student-friendly definition, show other contexts, and engage students with a variety of quick activities.

Here is a sample so you get the idea

I find  the format easy to use, so I printed the single sheet for some of my favorite books and then just stuck it in the book so it is ready to go the next time I read that title. There are many different texts to choose from. Now that I've used a couple of the plans, I find myself transferring the format into my own thinking about vocabulary as I read other books to the kiddos. Very useful to have my own thinking expanded. Check out the site by clicking on their icon above.

3. Michigan Bloggers! Check out the button change!

Over there on the right sidebar you'll see this Michigan button that links my blog to the list of Michigan bloggers kept by at Fifth in the Middle. It's a handy spot to go to when looking for a blogger in a specific state.

Well, a reader contacted me about the old button, which only had the lower peninsula on it. As iconic as the mitten is, it is only half our state. So I contacted Fifth in the Middle and it was changed to a more complete button in short order. If you are a Michigan blogger you might want to change your button, too. Your spot on the state list won't change if you just swap out the button. Let's hear it for Michigan... all of it.

4. There are oodles and oodles of 100th Day activities to do, aren't there? It's hard to pick and choose which ones are best for your students– there are a finite number of minutes to the day after all. The kidpeople and I had a blast with our 100th day, and I managed to cook up a new little activity, too. I hesitate saying it is original... I think it is... but the longer I'm in the world the more I think there isn't any original thought. As we all strive to teach the same concepts in new and interesting ways, and share on the internet, it's only a matter of time before you see the same idea in completely different places.

My kids were greeted on our 100th day with this sign, "Can you Limbo under 100 centimeters?"

Limbo under 100 cm on the 100th day of school

I put a meter stick in the door frame, marking 100 centimeters, and stretched the sign across the doorway. My Littles had to limbo... duck... creep... slither.... under the doorway to get through. It was just one more way to demonstrate 100 of something. I left it all up all day... yep, I had to limbo crawl through the door each time, too. Even parents got in on the act.

How low can she go on the 100th day?
I put together a little freebie sign for you to download to save you some time. Print up as many pages as you need to span your doorway, taping them together. (My original sign was made from a roll of paper, but I realize not everyone has that handy. The freebie sign marks the 100 cm level, too, so I'll use it next year.) I put transparent tape all along the bottom of the sign so it was less likely to rip. It did indeed stay up all day with twenty kids going in and out numerous times. Hope you have fun with it, even if it is for next year. Click here to download.

Another thing we did was take a fun "100" photo in our goofy 100 hats. (The kids stamped ten bingo dots on ten strips of paper that they then put on the headband hat.) We put ourselves into a "100" and then I took a photo from above (yes, I was standing on a table... a low table... the kids promised not to tell on me.) To get us all into the picture I had to use the panorama feature on my iPhone– those kids were v-e-r-y patient as I figured this out!

Do YOU see the 100? The kiddos were happy with how it came out in the end... one shouted, "I CAN see the 100!" in amazement... that's when I realized some of them had NO idea why I was climbing around on a table trying to take a picture... just another day in wacky life with Mrs. Wright...

See how we made 100?

5.  And here's a little 100th Day Funny Kid Story

I used the Aging Booth app to age the kids. (The app is free to download and easy to use.) The kids got a huge kick out of seeing themselves "old." We then discussed what it would be like to be 100 years old, with me acting as scribe for the list. It started out like this.

When you are 100 years old...
• you have to use a walker
• you have to sit a lot
• you can't drive a car any more
• you have to have lots of help...

"Hey, wait a minute! This sounds horrible. Maybe you guys don't want to live to be 100 years old, eh?" I interjected with mock shock.

Hmmmm.... some silent, big eyed reflection.

The list making continuted.

When you are 100 years old...
• you can reach things
• you can eat what you want
• you get to have a candy stick to walk with (new use for candy canes ??)
• you are not afraid of the dark
• you don't have nightmares
• you don't worry about wild animals coming into your house (??)
• people will do stuff for you
• you can play lots of games because you know lots of rules
• you don't have to fold clothes (??)
• you have grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren
• people love you and there are lots of people who love you!

Whew! Now that sounds more like it!

Happy 100-something days of school! Here's to the 80-ish more!

Click on back to the either link-up to find more good stuff and leave a little love below.

Mom's Small Victories

Friday, February 5, 2016

Five for Friday and a Funny

Happy chilly Friday in February. Here are five random things going on in this Five for Friday... including a Funny Kid Story. Haven't had one in a while.


Gotta have this up near my library book bin. It is going to mean LOVE for some of my short fellows. And who knows, maybe they'll remember their books more often. Comes from Imgur.

2.  We learned about symmetry in the past weeks. I tie it each year to our trip to the art museum because we'll sure see it there. As we were talking about how symmetry is everywhere, even right there on our faces, an art project occurred to me. I'm sure I've seen it somewhere over the years, but who knows where.

Here's how I did it. I took headshots of the kiddos and then printed on a regular black and white printer on regular paper. I cut the photo straight down the middle of the face. I then cut out the head and shoulder and glued it to another plain piece of paper. I demo'd with my own photo which the kids loved. I decided to give them only drawing pencils to keep with the black and white mode and to allow them the opportunity to shade. Our drawing pencils are fat number two pencils without erasers. (I use black vis-a-vis pens and black flairs for a lot of drawing projects, as well, but I thought those would be too harsh a line. My illustrator husband sees good value in kids not being able to erase, and over the years for a variety of reasons, I've have found it to be true.)

Boy, did they put in effort. The room had barely a murmur as they worked, totally engrossed in reproducing their own face. They had to really pay attention to detail and they LOVED it. The adults who have come into our room where they are on display have not failed to comment. They are pretty impressive and "Picasso-like" as one dad said when they are all seen together in the collection. It really is a worthwhile project and I highly recommend it, whether for a symmetry lesson or an All About project.

3. Our latest FAVORITE math video.

It is a favorite for the kids because the timing is just right to sing along to. It counts all the way up to 100 with a pause before each ten number. I say "Tell me" in that pause, and they say the next ten number, which is the tricky part in counting to 100 and you see some of them putting in extra thinking effort. There is a bonus for the math wizzes, too, because it counts past 100 going through the thousands, millions, billions, to one trillion. I tell you, one trillion is a very exciting number. In addition to great counting practice, I love it for it's sound. It is a more melodic tune than the raps, yet isn't babyish, and the singer articulates the numbers very well. Try it. Listen and you'll see why the kids love Big Numbers. KidsTV123 has other videos up on YouTube as well, and there are more goodies to be found. It is nice that most classrooms these days have the ability for just a few minutes of engaging number counting in the form of videos to keep kids on their toes and engaged. Ah, technology... and to think when I was in Ed School I had to learn how to load a film projector...

4. Have you tried a new trend– Small Worlds? I have to chuckle as I type "new trend" because imaginative play in this way has been around for a long time. I particularly like, though, how this is "packaged," and it's given me new ways to group items for play centers.

In a nutshell, you gather small items- toys, blocks, items from nature, scraps– and put them together in collections which lead kids to play in smaller, quieter ways around a theme. As I thought about it I could come up with several themes just with the stuff I already had. Here are some photos of one collection over a few days.

Small World play is fun!

I pulled Jenga blocks, popsicle sticks, micro cars, small signs, trees, figures and animals. The astro turf squares come from Menards– they are free samples– put you could just as easily use felt squares. The kiddos were totally engrossed. They worked individually and in groups to form roads, fences, buildings, cities, zoos, farms, forests with all sorts of things going on. They LOVED it.

I also put together a beach themed collection, and have stuff ready to go if we ever get snow again to do a winter themed one. Bringing snow into the classroom is always a hit, but now with the small world theme, it will have yet another purpose. I'm even working on an alien planet– the sky's the limit... er, rather NOT the limit. You can't imagine all the doodads I'm finding around the house and classroom to put to use this way. Have fun.


Do you ever wonder just HOW much your kids keep track of you? I was coming down with a cold the other day and to combat it I was drinking plenty of fluids, with the usual result. I was in the bathroom, which is in our own classroom, when I heard through the vent in the door:

Child A:  Where's Mrs. Wright?
Child B:  She's in the bathroom.
Child A: No...

I emerge at this moment.

Child B: See, she was in there.
Me: Teachers have to go to the bathroom, too, you know.
Child A: But you only go once a day, and you've already been today.

Hope you have a great weekend with no little eyes watching you. Thanks for stopping by.

Click on back for more posts. Thanks, Kacey.

P.S Anybody going to this retreat? I am planning on it, but am looking for buddies. Let me know. Midwest events don't come too often.

Self Portrait Symmetry- Great Project

Just goofing around with PicMonkey and making things Pinnable. Hope you'll Pin away!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 3– Love Scrolls, String Hearts, and Leap Year Goodies

Hello Folks! Happy February. Cannot believe it is February already, and such a weirdly mild one at that.,, at least for us here in the lower corner of Michigan. Where is the SNOW?? Here we go with three Pinned ideas for the month. Thanks to Lisa and Marissa for their monthly Pinterest Linky!!

Okay, so originally this scroll was for Father's Day, but I think a "love scroll" is a great idea that can be used this month of February. Make patterns on the sticks, paste on the paper, make the love list and tie on the ribbon. Can hardly wait to let my students make these for whoever they want. Fun.

This idea is an oldie but goodie, so I was glad to find it. My class really needs extra fine muscle practice this year, and the little math activity is a bonus. The FREEBIE printable has the holes already placed and numbered which makes the prep extra easy. I'm just going to print one copy, then use it as a template to trace and let them cut. I'd rather use red and pink cardstock than a lot of red printer ink.

When we flipped the calendar from January to February my guys were fascinated by the idea that one particular day was on the calendar only once every four years. I don't know if my five year olds understand the calendar completely, but they still loved the idea that they wouldn't be having another February 29th until they were in fourth grade. This packet is a FREEBIE from TPT- Thanks, Barb Evans. I'm going to save some of the activities until February 29th to emphasize the specialness of the day.

You can find a lot of pins on my Pinterest Boards. It is one of my favorite ways to collect ideas. I am very close to having as many followers as I do Pinners I'm following, which I didn't ever think would happen. My bucket list is full of Pins I hope to make, cook, build, try, travel to...

Click to visit my Pinterest Site

I look forward to using today's three ideas in the coming weeks with the kidpeople. Hope you like them, too. Click away on the blog links below to find more good stuff for this month. Happy Pinning!!!

Now I'm back to nursing my cold and Pink Eye!!! Haven't had THAT in a million years. Oh, the hazards of a teacher's life. 

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