Saturday, March 5, 2016

Best Random Five for Fraterday

Sometimes the best stuff is random, and today, random it is. Thanks Kacey for Five for Friday!

1.  I start with one I'm really excited about doing- I'm going to call it the Bouncing Dice Game.

I call it the Bouncing Dice Game!
I just found this new math game on Pinterest. All it takes is one of these trays from the dollar store and some foam dice. There are several variations for kids from preschool to third grade. The kidpeople are gonna love it. Kathy even has a video on all the ways to play. Brilliant! Click to see.

2.  I combined literacy, art, and technology– specifically QR codes and Chatterpix– to make a neat display in our hallway at school. Parents and visitors can scan the code and see my student's artwork talk to them with the voice of each of the kidpeople. I posted about how I used ChatterPix and this guided drawing project on this previous post HERE. I put the display up just in time for our Kindergarten Round-up to get maximum viewing. Our fifth grade students went down with iPads to scan and listen, too. They will be using Chatterpix for some of their own future projects- it's not often kindergarten gets to teach fifth graders in the use of technology! Gotta love ChatterPix.

An interactive display using QR Codes

3.  We made clay snowmen, the kind of clay that is made of earth that dries hard without firing. (Google Crayola– one tub of it did twenty little snowmen.) We rolled them in glitter before they dried, though it's hard to see in the photos. The arms are real twigs- gathered before the snow covered the ground. We added tiny buttons and pony beads. Colored toothpicks made the noses. The scarves are fat yarn- easier to work with than ribbon. And the best feature is the headgear, I think. The kids could choose from earmuffs– chenille stems and pompoms– or caps– the fingers cut off of dollar store gloves! I had to use the hot glue gun to get them to stay. This is our display in a place of honor in our library. The kids were tickled with them!

Whee! I love the arms coming out of the head.

Lean to the left. Lean to the right.

Adorable and full of personality, each one.
My DH Jonathan, helped me set up the display on crinkled pink roll paper with tissue shreds on top, as they wouldn't have been as easy to see against white paper. (Okay, okay, I know snow can be blue sometimes, but we didn't have any blue... and pink was better than yellow.) He caught the spirit of these snowmen perfectly when he said, "Kindergarten art is always so sincere."

4.  Michigan at it's finest. Yesterday was just at freezing, brilliant sun, and no wind- rarely is it as wonderful as this. I grabbed several items as we headed out the door to extend the fun and learning outside. We were outside for almost an hour and terrifically happy the entire time. We hadn't done a good long recess in a looong while. I wear my phone and used it to snap lots of pics. It was SO sunny I was like a mole using the camera, unable to see much of anything. I managed to get some good faceless shots I can share, though.

Bilibos make good sleds

And good buckets

Which can be combined with real buckets
If you don't know about Bilibos click here to read about them.

It's difficult to see here, but bingo markers were a huge hit

When it's hard to climb in snowsuits you find other ways
to hang upside down

5.  And on a personal note, we took on one of those way-bigger-than-we-thought projects in the last month. (Jonathan chuckles at that line. It was a way-bigger-than-I-thought project. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he bowed to my request of an inside construction project in the winter.) We are a complete book fanatical family. We have books in every room of our house, and we were still in need of more storage space. I reorganized the bookshelves in my study this summer leaving in only teaching books to cover the full wall of bookshelves in there, but that meant that I needed to take out my storytelling books. They've been in boxes since then in my workroom. And I had multiple stacks of books all along the foot of our bed– books we've read but don't want to get rid of. (Remember, I have a little free library that is a regular source for my give-away books.)

We also were in need of quick and handy spots to hang coats. We have a coat closet, full of coats, but being the lazy and rushing family we are, we rarely actually get out a coat hanger and hang up our everyday coats. They stack up on a chair in the family room which looks messy and takes up seating. So we decided to maximize the space in our front hall with built in bookcases and added coat hooks.


Let your imagination fill in with ladders, lumber, paint cans, dry wall supplies, air compressors, tools and toolboxes, dozens of electrical cords, and dust, dust, dust.... right in the house. Ugh.

Almost ready
It still needed major dusting and cleaning at this stage. You can actually see piles under the shelves.

Well, almost ta-da... we are still waiting for the coat hooks we ordered to come in. There will be three sets of two on each of the vertical supports where coats can hang. I don't know if I've ever seen bookcases combined with coat storage, and you won't be able to see the books as well in the winter, but that is what we need so we are going to give it a try. We also built in a long horizontal support on which we can mount a ladder rail. I've always wanted one of those library ladders... we'll see. 

We had various little issues to solve- We wanted to keep the wardrobe, but still have a built-in look. We needed an outlet up high so we could install the lighting on the top shelf that shines up the pitched ceiling. And we have hot water heat– our house is now over 120 years old– which in this new addition of the house means baseboard heat, and we couldn't block that. In the previous picture you'll see that the bottom shelf is up rather high to allow for the heat to come out. The trunk under the window is only temporary until we build in a bench seat with storage. I simply could not stand the idea of even one more day of indoor sawdust, so the window seat is going to have to wait until the spring weather allows outside construction. 

I'll post better pictures that show the coat hook idea later. We are very happy with it and love the look in the hall.  We are also happy that it is finally operational and the construction is gone... though the dust remains and is a major item on this weekend's to-do list, right after report cards. We have loads more books, but we too pooped this week to sort and move any more. What do you think? I might get the credit for the idea that prompted all this, but Jonathan did the design and construction almost single handidly. I was sick with a humongous cold for weeks of this project and did hardly more than raise a paintbrush a couple of times. Thank the Lord above for this sweet, accommodating and "handy" man. Love. 

Click on back to find more! See you next time!


  1. Oh this ALL looks SO wonderful - the snowmen with those Q codes are fantastic - yay kindergartners teaching the older ones about technology!!!! Their super snowmen characters are just the best and I can see that glitter all the way over here in England :) The self-made hallway library at home is just brilliant - I would love that for all my books which like you are all over the place in boxes. You have made me so happy seeing all of this - it is what life should be, Kathleen - you are a star! Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  2. Well, what a great comment!! Hard to beat that.. though I challenge any other reader to do so- HA. Thanks! Glad it was inspiring! Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  3. I love the idea for the math game and the QR codes with Chatterpix! I am so going to do that ! Love your coat and book nook! Hope you will see spring soon!! Linda Groce- Linda's Learning Loot

    1. So happy you found stuff of interest. I hope you get to what you want to do... so many ideas, so little time :) Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen


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