Saturday, April 30, 2016

Currently Five for May Giveaway!

Happy Five for Friday and Happy May! This post is all mixed up because I'm late for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching and early for Currently with Farley. This post is funny because, well, kids are funny. This post is lucky for at least one reader! And this post is short, because it's mostly pictures. Read on!!

1.   Okay, so perhaps these are the stupidest weeks of the year to be doing giveaways– I am busy with a million things at school including my own evaluation, so it's hard for me to post. And all the teachers in the country are in some sort of end-of-year mode, having on average three to eight weeks of school left. Yet here I am with a book giveaway!  So if you are reading this right now you are VERY lucky. You have a very good chance of winning a special kids' book on gardening- one that has see through pages for added surprises. You can read about it by clicking on the picture, and enter the giveaway by entering below that! You don't have to be a NEW follower! Any of you who follow via Bloglovin or email can enter– I'll find your name! Just enter! And be quick about it as it close Sunday night!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AND MORE! As of Monday you'll have good chances of winning a TPT gift certificate as I join in with some Michigan Bloggers to throw a little love around for Teacher Appreciation Week! See, you couldn't be reading at a better time. COME BACK MONDAY!

2.  As the kiddos got out the sand toys this week they also managed to rediscover the periscope and had some fun with it...

I SEE you...
I see YOU...
NO, I see you...
I see you, TOO!
And so it went back and forth even as I grabbed the shot. Look at her little hand in there waving... aw...

3.   This took place as I was snapping the periscope picture.

   Kid, pulling on my coattail:  "Mrs. Wright, is that the Wicked Witch?"
   Me: "What?"
   Kids:  "There!"
   Me:  "Don't be silly... of course not... go play..."
   My camera was already in hand so I got her in the nick of time. You decide for yourself...

And your little dog, too!!

You can see why they asked, right?

What WAS our school neighbor wearing anyway??

4.  YES pool noodles come in curly cues! Don't know what, don't know how, but do know I'm going to use these in some great way...


5.  Ta-Da Currently!
As to that last truth... sniff.

Now click on back to the party... er, parties, depending on when you read this.  I'll see you MONDAY, too, remember? For the TPT certificate giveaway! And I'll let you know when you win the book Monday morning... you DID enter, didn't you??

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Garden News, Review & Giveaway!

I wrote this earlier in the week–

It summed up that day... and many days that followed. I LOVE kindergarten but I swear I spend as much time putting away as planning and getting out!

Thanks to Kacey for the Five for Friday linky– a super good way to find teacher bloggers!

2.  Okay, so that image up above was my number 1. I'm a bit pooped as I work on this tonight.

Ta-Da! For those of you who follow, you'll know I had plans to make some Earth Day hats, and WE DID!

This one's flower drooped to allow for incognito viewing.

They are made entirely out of recycled-reused materials: brown paper grocery store bag, white plastic shopping bag, and scraps I collected over two weeks. In this up close and personal shot you can see we used bingo markers for added color. The rose is just the plastic bag, curled up and stapled, with added permanent marker color... yes, Target makes the best bags for this and OF COURSE I could come up with enough without even asking parents. 

DH Jonathan (Dear Husband, not Dumb Head as he insists) helped me turn the grocery bags inside out so you couldn't see the branding, and after twenty he couldn't resist trying one on himself. 

My class looks like a bunch of Unknown Comics as we take a blog shot... I don't even know if the kids know what a "blog shot" is... but they know I don't want to see their faces if I ask for it. And I bet many of you are too young to even know who the Unknown Comic was!

I'm telling you those hats were a BIG HIT. Not only with the kidpeople but people throughout the building. We did a parade through the fifth graders' room, and went Earth Day Caroling through the building boasting ... showing off ... sharing our hats. Our carol was the recycling song I posted about last week.

And what is she drinking? I thought you'd never ask. Actually she's not drinking...

3. ... which leads to number 3, our dirt snack. Everyone knows about dirt pudding with gummy worms, right? Well, a made up a variation with these ingredients from the dollar store. I was inspired by all the gardening we've been doing in the new school garden, and thought Earth Day would be a great day to try it out. 

You can get EVERYTHING from the dollar store for under ten bucks.

I crushed the sandwich cookies so that they looked like dirt and filled the cute flower cups with this "soil" almost to the top. Then I put out the sunflower seeds, edamame, nuts, and pumpkin seeds (which didn't make it into the picture.) The kids poked their finger down in the crumbs to make holes in the dirt, then dropped in the seeds.

Apparently some of them didn't realize that the dirt was cookies. When I said, "Go ahead, take a mouthful," and then did so myself, oh my, you should have seen their faces!  One Little said, "Do we HAVE to eat it?? My mom won't let me eat dirt!"  hmmm... how does he know this.... I assured them the "dirt" was cookies, and to convince them this was a fun treat, I handed out the gummy worms. I meant to give out the popcorn, too, as it is another example of seeds we eat, but we were all so taken with what was in our cups that I forgot. We'll have to have it another day. I bet they'll hate that.

I have to tell you, we had just been outside planting, with the kids poking their fingers in dirt to make holes for sunflower seeds, and this little made up treat did look an awful lot like those pots outside.

As it turns out, sweet cookie crumbs with salty nuts and seeds are a great combo. Yum. The kids went off to special with dirt all over their faces, and when I got back I found I had walked around with crumbs all over my shirt... yikes. A GREAT Earth Day or Garden Day treat! I recommend you give it a try!

4.  You can never go into the dollar store for two things without coming out with twenty... or at least I can't. Here are the other useful things I picked up, several of which I had never seen there before.

Stacking letter trays, kid tweezers that have a nice amount of tension- neither two tight nor too loose, plastic test tubes in holders– wouldn't they be cute with planted seeds so you could see the roots, and silicone dishes– squishy as I show here. Might be good for sand cakes... and yes, I really mean SAND cakes.... as in PRETEND, IN-THE-SANDBOX sand cakes.... only one dirt recipe per post. snort.

5.  AND finally, a GIVEAWAY, the second in a series of three four!  Yep, I have yet another one lined up for June. This week's giveaway is another book... but not just "another" book, a very unique book about gardens no less. Secrets of the Vegetable Garden by Carron Brown and Giordano Poloni.

This nonfiction book about gardening is wonderfully illustrated...

with a surprise, because behind each picture, is MORE to the picture...

that you see when you hold the illustration up to the light. See?

Kids will love holding a flashlight to the pictures. In class I used the lamp on my document camera. They LOVED it! Every page was another surprise. I had to read it several times so we could get all the details. And I got a special pleasure out of seeing my kiddos enjoy such low tech book happiness with no screens involved. Funny how the novelty of seeing through the paper held such interest. Don't get me wrong, screens have good purpose, but so do books... and flashlights.

Here is the page as you look at it:

And here is the page with a flashlight behind it:

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden has all the facts needed to learn about plants. It can easily be read at spring planting time or autumn harvest.

It has some rather unique gardening information, too.

Lots of children, adults, too, don't know what a cloche is.  Pronounced  klōSH  it protects plants from creatures like snails and slugs, but it can also hurry up plant growth. I have used one in the classroom as the greenhouse effect works beautifully, and I find them beautiful to look at as well. You're not going to find a cloche in every children's book.

Thanks goes to Candice Currie, an independent consultant with Usborne Books and More for supplying Secrets of the Garden for the giveaway. Usborne Books and More is a wonderful book company that specializes in non-commercial, engaging, and educational books for children of all ages. As an independent consultant Candice shares these books through home parties, online parties, fundraisers, book drives, and book fairs. For more information you can contact Candice at or on Facebook here.  You can also see the great selection of books by clicking here. There are some terrific books I have to say.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is follow my blog via Bloglovin' or Email, both of which you can do with a click to the right sidebar over there. I'll find your name and email address to verify. You do want to follow so you don't miss anything, like this book and the next giveaway I'm doing of a HUE camera and animation kit! More info coming on that SOON! Now click away and get into things below and I might just be dropping Secrets of the Garden in the mail to YOU!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you enjoyed today's review of life in the classroom and a great book. Now it's time to click on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday to enjoy a little more teacher reading.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to enter! See you next time!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy National Kindergarten Day!

I bet you didn't know today was National Kindergarten Day, did you? Yep, it is. National Kindergarten Day falls on April 21st each year– the birthday of Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel, the founding father of kindergarten. He started the first kindergarten way back in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany. He laid the foundation for modern education by recognizing that children learn through play and experience. Kindergarten has changed and morphed over nearly two centuries since then, but kindergarten teachers today still know all too well that our students learn through play and need hands-on experience as much as ever.

Herr Frobel

Now, you are probably asking, "Kathleen, how in the world do you know about National Kindergarten Day?" I'll let you in on a secret: I am not naturally random, I have to work at it. snort. I know about Kindergarten Day because I check out the National Day Calendar each month. I stumbled upon the site... somehow... I don't remember now. The National Day Calendar lists all the days of the year and the special "holidays" that fall on each day. There are MANY.

Still to come in April are National Take a Chance Day, National Pigs in a Blanket Day, National Tell a Story Day, National Take Your Son and Daughter to Work Day (see, there are honest to goodness observed days on the list), National Honesty Day (should be EVERY day), National Hairball Awareness Day (honest), and even National Zipper Day! Zipadeedoodah! My mind is boggled with the possibilities!

I'm not saying that we need to make a big deal of these holidays, but they can be a great way to engage students in learning. At the beginning of each month go to the National Day Calendar and peruse the list with your students. Decide which day you'll celebrate that month, and how you'll celebrate it. You can vote on popular choices or make a graph to help you decide, thereby throwing in a little Civics and Math. I bet your kiddos come up with all sorts of hilarious interesting celebration schemes. You can turn it into a history lesson, too, because the site gives some background on each topic. Great fun! Click on the image to go to see the calendar now.

So today, go find a kindergarten teacher and give her a big thank you for the special ways she helps kids grow. And if you are a kindergarten teacher, here's a virtual hug from one K teacher to another! Have a great Thursday!

See you next time!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

What Are You Doing for Earth Week?

Happy Spring! I can finally say that as here in Michigan we actually have spring weather– hard to believe just a week ago we had ice and snow! What great weather we're going to have for Earth Week. Never heard of Earth Week? Well, Earth Day has lovely timing this year falling on Friday, so I am using the whole week to focus on ecology and nature, culminating on Earth Day Friday.

There are so many great Earth Day activities to find online that it is hard to narrow down the list to just the things you can do in one week. There is already a lot to focus on in the classroom with our district computer testing around the corner and several units left to teach. And I have a new student starting Monday– one with no English yet. Yep, I'll be busy... but not too busy to fit in some great science and share some easy ideas today. I think these will be just enough to go along with the teaching I'll do about caring for our earth. I am linking with Five for Friday, and Show and Tell Tuesday, and Small Victories, too, so more than just my regular readers find some ideas.

1.  I'll start the week by teaching the kids one of my favorite simple songs which very nicely launches our ecology discussion. I'll also put it in our pocket chart to be used as the week's poem, too. It's sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together."

Reduce Reuse Recycle
Recycle Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It's easy to do.
'Cause your trash and my trash
Make up way too much trash
Reduce Reuse Recycle
It's easy to do.

2.  I always think it is important to do a little planting for Earth Day, and because I want fast results before summer break, growing grass is a good option. This year we are going to make caterpillars. I found the idea at Parent Map. You can click on the photo to go to the site.

This little creature is easy to make from an egg carton, soil, seed, and pipe cleaner. I might have the kids draw a face and little black dot feet along the bottom with Sharpies as caterpillars do have a face and many feet. I'm going to keep the grass caterpillar swarm... hmmm, swarming caterpillars is an odd notion, isn't it...  along the window ledge with some plastic shot glasses. No, the shots won't be for the kids, but for the grass. Over the years I've found that kids do a better job of watering their projects if they have just a small container to hold water– less overwatering and less mess. And they can do it every day when they first arrive as those little bits of soil will dry out fast. We're going to put together the caterpillars on Monday so there is a chance we will see some sprouting seeds by Earth Day, and if not, certainly by Monday of next week.

3.  Check out this great video of an activity that includes drawing, math, fine muscle practice, science, and even secret messages! It has very well done instruction that starts by showing how to draw a flower using a compass. You wouldn't have to use a compass but my guys will love that part. If you don't have any compasses you can borrow from upper el classrooms. Kids then color and cut out the flower– cutting has been a huge challenge this year for some of my littles. Very regular cutting activities incorporated into every week is paying off though ,and they are all getting it now. Then when those flowers land in water–Voila– they open. So simple but so neat. You can reuse them or even put in secret messages. I KNOW this will be a hit.

4.  I'm going to do a variation of this art activity.

We will use flattened circular coffee filters with blue and green bingo markers to approximate land and ocean. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to paint the kids' hands black to stamp a hand print, or have them trace their hand on black construction paper and cut it out. Might depend on time this week as the hand stamp would take less time for the activity, but would involve me more. I've done these before both ways and they turn out really nice either way, especially if you put them on the window for the sun to shine through. The pledge is a good idea as an end of week activity to wrap-up our learning on ecology. You can click to see the SmileBox where I got these photos... if I could only remember to take photos of my own classroom when we are in action. I'm getting better at pulling out the camera but I still get too wrapped up as teacher to be a regular photographer.

5.  And no teaching is complete without BOOKS! Here are some I'll use this week.

This one is funny and my kiddos love Charlie and Lola.

I love this one– it lets kids know just how useful a tree is, not just to us, but to many creatures.

And of course we'll be reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  I also have it on a DVD that we'll enjoy.

I've been saving this little word family writing project for this week. It comes from School Time Snippets. Click to see.

And for fun we'll go around as the Lorax with the help of these mustaches.

DH Jonathan drew these up for me. If you run them on cardstock you can tape them to a straw to "wear" them. Arby's and Taco Bell have clear straws... just sayin'.  Let the kids color them or run them on goldenrod. Click on the image to download yours.

One last tip- click on my science Pinterest Board if you'd like even more ideas.  There are lots for Earth Day suggestions, and all things science for that matter. Don't get lost or Pin-happy!

Now I send a lotta LOVE to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching

And Stephanie at Forever in 5th Grade (Gosh, I love that little puppy dog mascot.)

And the ladies at Small Victories

for all their wonderful linky parties. So many good ideas to find and use. Just click on the images.

Hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

p.s. And oh my gosh, I almost forgot the HATS! If you didn't see these Earth Day hats a few posts back, click to watch a video of how they are made.  I've been collecting bags all week. TTFN

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hats, Hats, Tree Pins and a WINNER!

Everyone looking forward to April? I am. We start the month with a break, and then Spring comes breezing in with all it's blooming splendor. Yippee! Here are three pins I'm going to use this month and thanks to the pin pals Marissa at the Inspired Owl's Corner and Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching for the linky party– one of my favs!

Aren't these hats adorable? I love making hats with the kids and we do it quite a few times during the year. This one comes from a recycled paper bag and the directions are in the video. Doing it!

Such a cute learning idea. I'm saving this one for the week of Earth Day when we read The Lorax. The kiddos will get good cutting practice creating the tree tops and it ties right into our word family practice.  

Yes, another hat. I told you I like them. And you know, testing season is right around the corner... what do hats have to do with testing? After we do a testing session we run back to the run to counterbalance the badness by doing something really fun and creative, and oftentimes that is hat making. (No, I don't tell the kids the "computer activities" are bad. They just like doing fun stuff anytime.) What could be sillier than this monster hat where you just add google eyes and anything goes?? I love little monsters and we have fun with all sorts of monster stuff in the classroom. And if you want to give it a spring theme, just make those 3D bouncing doodads on top flowers! Check out my monster board while you're there though, cause there are lots of neat ideas!

And now...

dum dada dum!  (That's some big drum bangs....) the winner of the blog giveaway of the book Hammer and Nails is Michelle M.  Michelle should look for her copy of the book, courtesy of Flashlight Press, in her mailbox soon.

Adn don't forget, more giveaways coming up in the next few weeks- a Hue camera/animation kit and a great "see thru" book from Usborne. Follow so you're in the know!

Click away to find more great Pins. 

Thanks for stopping by and see you next time!

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