Saturday, May 27, 2017

Reading and Writing Love

Five quickies on this almost-to-the-end-of-school Friday. We get out in three weeks. Am I counting the days? Am I counting the minutes?? Thanks Doodle Bugs for the Five for Friday linky. I include a Funny Kid Friday below, too.

1. We wrapped up our Mo Willems unit today. Ya gotta know about Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny, and Pigeon books, right?? If you don't, go look them up RIGHT NOW. We own several copies of ALL twenty five E&P books (book lingo in my classroom). I save them for the end of the year, not only because they are a happy note to go out on, I mean funny even for adults, but because at this point ALL my kiddos can read them... well, read them after they've heard them, and read them with a partner. And they do love to read them. From the teacher perspective E&P are especially good for teaching dialogue, talk and thought bubbles, reading details in pictures, punctuation... so much. We've made Mo hats to celebrate his unit before, but only with Pigeon. This time all the characters prance across the front with a little directed drawing help.

Mo hats!
To show just how much we connect with Mo and his characters, I share what I found inside one little guy's hat.

Mo love
Cracked me up. I have about seventy Mo books altogether and they were worth every penny of investment. Most are available in paperback now, so they are a bit cheaper than when they first came out. Our school library is well stocked, too, as they fly off the shelves during our unit. Ya GOTTA do Mo if you don't already.

2. When the kiddos have the whole room to choose from at free choice and they choose this, you know something is going right, eh?

They LOVE the window seat!

3. Speaking of books and reading, I am going to be doing a book linky this summer so we can share the book love.

Teachers can share favorite kid books, teacher books, and books they read for pure pleasure. I've started my list already. It's going to run on Tuesdays for twelve weeks from June 6 thru August 22. Please spread the word and remember to stop back here when it starts in less than two weeks now. Keep your eye open for the book button!

4. I found these at Target this week.

Fun, cheap, and LOOK what you can do with them!

They make the CUTEST little first day of school gift for incoming students! I know it is early to be thinking about BACK to school, but you want to do this. I include a letter to students on how to use the wishing star that goes out to incoming families in their school start-up packet. I am especially proud of this idea because although you find great ideas all over the internet, the wishing star came out of my own little head. I happily share it because it brought me big kuddos with my new students and incoming families this past fall.

And people, my resource is FREE! You can read about how I use it by clicking on the family letter below.

Then grab the FREEBIE at my TPT store by clicking on the pack.

5.  We wrapped up a letter writing unit today... not letter, as in alphabet letter, but letter as in written communication. Letter writing for my class is a "bend in the road" mini-unit in writing workshop. In the past I have done this unit earlier in the year, but I found it to be a great end of year unit to do right now, too. The kiddos are getting just a bit nostalgic... if five year olds can get nostalgic... as it slowly sinks in that our year is coming to an end and they are not going to see all their friends over the summer as they do now. We spent the last three weeks writing to all sorts of people, but especially to each other.  The classroom mailbox has taken on new meaning.

For our celebration we played with our food, so to speak. I gave the kids licorice strings and they "wrote" the two most useful words in letter writing– Dear and Fondly. They loved it.

I really relied on my Let's Write to Someone letter writing resource, one of the few products in my TPT store. It helped me remember what I do in this unit, and the anchor charts, stationery and postcard are really helpful. You might check it out if you are looking for a way to refresh writing in your last weeks of school. You can find it by clicking below.

Along with this unit came a little Funny Kid Story I share in closing.

A favorite guest teacher was in our classroom during writing time this last week. Even though she knows our kids well she was rather taken aback when one of the littles asked, "What is the F word?"

She got quite a chuckle when she realized he was after the word Fondly!

Have a great last few weeks, OR congratulations on finishing another successful year of teaching, whatever your case may be.

Click on back to Five for Friday! Thanks, Kacey, for helping us find each other!! And I sure hope that Five for Friday will be back next Fall!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Talk News

Teachers loooooove books! I am linking up with Forever in Fifth Grade to tell you about something coming your way. This summer I am going to sponsor Teacher Book Talk Tuesday.

Teacher Bloggers can review favorite books for kids, books for teachers, and books that are just for pleasure. Share from any category you like and as many titles as you like. I'll post the linky party every Tuesday for twelve weeks starting June 6 and running through August 22. Write your review and then grab the button to link-up.

There used to be a book review link-up several years ago when I first started blogging and I found lots of good books that way. I miss it and thought you might, too. You can even link-up for Show and Tell Tuesday and Teacher Book Talk at the same time. Hope you'll join me!! And I hope you'll spread the news of Teacher Book Talk Linky.

Click on back to see what others are Showing and Telling this month. Thanks, Stephanie!

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Money is Money!

Happy Show and Tell Tuesday! Today I'm going to share two things... well, actually two similar things... so really one... but who's splitting hairs. Thanks to Stephanie for the linky!

We have a friend who is a financial planner. He sometimes shares advice, and one of his regular quotes is, "Money is money." That's his way of saying make it and save it when you can because even small amounts add up.

I think of him as I share info on two money making programs– Ziggedy and EBates. I use both of them because they are so darn easy and they do help put real money in your pocket. Ziggedy is a program that helps teachers raise money for their classroom. Every time I shop online a little Ziggedy reminder pops up when the store site is part of their program. I click the button, then shop, and then a small percentage of my total purchase amount goes into my account. I get a check every quarter. This program is only for teachers, and the money is to be spent on the classroom, but what you actually buy for the classroom is up to you.

You can ask parents and others to sign up to support your classroom but you don't have to. If you do, when they shop a small amount of their purchase amount goes into your account. I don't have a lot of supporters- a few parents and a couple close friends. I have been doing the program less than two years. I have received just over $100. I bought some iPad covers and am about to buy an external microphone for recording with the kiddos. Not grand, but appreciated.

EBates works the same way, but you don't need to be a teacher. Anyone can sign up and usually get between 1 - 6% of the amount of purchase. I have been participating with EBates for less time, but because they give you a ten dollar bonus when you sign up, I got a small check even starting the first quarter.

Ziggedy and EBates get the money they pass on to you by charging the participating companies a referral fee. I have yet to run into any kind of hassle with either program. No excessive amounts of emails or reminders, or anything. And you don't have to hustle or sell anything. You just get small checks for the shopping that you'd do anyway.

You can check out either program by clicking on the Ziggedy or EBates buttons in my sidebar to the right. I don't do advertising on the blog– maybe I'll change my mind in the future but I really can't stand to run into advertising when I'm reading. I don't begrudge people who write good content some compensation, I just find the advertising annoying to look at. I would be remiss not to share something that has worked for me, though. If you don't want to click on the buttons, which will give me five bucks if you join up, then that is alright, too. But do google and check them out... unless you don't do ANY online shopping, or you don't need ANYTHING for your classroom, it behooves you to know about them. And remember you don't have to be a teacher to participate in EBates.

Money is money, after all.

Now click on back to Forever in Fifth Grade for more Shows and Tells.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Teacher Finds!

It's all my fault. You can blame me. I put my snow boots away on Monday and NOW look what came back!

Those are big fluffy flakes of snow coming down!


As I write this it has turned mostly to rain, and nothing is sticking outside. But still. Some Spring Break. sigh

Enough on the weather. I link with Doodle Bugs Teaching today to share something I did for spring break... I went shopping! Check out what I found at both Dollarama (yep, I crossed the border) and IKEA. The IKEA items you will only find at IKEA, I think. But if you don't have a Dollarama nearby, I bet many similar items are in your local Dollar Store or Five Below.  If nothing else, reading today might just give you some new ideas on how to use common items. Buying new classroom stuff to spice up the last quarter of the year for not a lot of money makes my teacher heart happy, and will make my kiddos happy, too, when they get back from break. And I do have to admit, today's Five for Friday is more of a Quick Ten for Friday– there's lots you don't want to miss!

1.  I picked up a few cheap bunches of silk flowers.

They were $1.50 each, I think. The kids will enjoy a spring theme in their small world play.  I cut them up so there are little flowers to scatter about on the "green grass," and the stems and leaves can be turned into trees with a little plasticine to hold them up. I found these big leaves that will make trees and habitats, too. Plasticine bricks were also at the Dollarama– rather good sized bricks of one color, as opposed to packs that hold several colors, and which the kids muck together to make brown anyway. 


2.  These little shells will be fun in small world, loose parts, and our counting jars. I will use the cute jars for something else.


3.  I LOVE these letters, especially the small ones in the tray. 

There are four of each letter and they were only four dollars. I would have gotten more, but they only had two trays left. Letters are always handy for letter and word learning, but I think I'm going to put them out in loose parts play, too.

4.  More for small world play. 

The cutest little character erasers. Look! The pandas have already escaped from their neat plastic test tube jars... something else I will put to further use later.

5.   Google eye magnets? Are you kidding me.

I can see these popping up on the white board, the kids lap boards, lots of places. The pack was just $1.25.  It always feels like, somebody's watching me...

6.   How fun are THESE! 

Colorful emoji tacks. They belong on a special bulletin board display... which I have yet to make up– snort. But I Will! 

7.   I sure hope these are not just a Dollarama thing because I'm going to regret not getting more.

Very handy and inexpensive gadget bin boxes to keep bitsy bits in. One has adjustable compartment sizes, too– loose parts all the way. And only three bucks. Whoot! 

8.   I don't know about you, but I need lots of attractive trays and bins to use when I put out all these little parts, whether they are for small world or loose part play. 

I have round compartmentalized snack dip trays to use on our round tables. They are easy to find for just a dollar at the dollar store. However, we have two rectangular tables, too, and the round trays take up too much room. These long trays and the compartment bin trios were exactly what I was looking for. They will work well when lined up right down the center of the tables.

9.   Now for a couple IKEA items. Our green grass bases in small world play comes from this throw rug from Ikea. I didn't buy it on this week's trip, but I share it here because I saw they still have them and took a snapshot. Isn't it a lovely green grass color? And the knapp height is grasslike, too.

I cut the big piece into six pieces, making each about 10 x 15 inches, and less than two dollars a piece. And the back is really neat and easy to cut in straight lines. Even with lots of kid play they have not frayed at all. 

Here is a piece in action. 

10.  And this last little share I am really excited about. I know I have seen these at IKEA before, but just never thought about them. 

Note the size– 8.5 x 11. The exact size of a sheet of plain copy paper. My kiddos use this paper the most when creating freestyle in the Light Bulb Lab. Their creations will fit perfectly in these frames. I think I am going to find a place to hang two to highlight the "Artists of the Week." This little gallery won't be juried and everyone will get a chance to put things in, but it will be a little nudge for the kidpeople to do their personal best work, and give them incentive to look with a reflective eye at what their best work is. Teacher Happy!

AND I took off the backs and plexi on six of the frames and spray painted them black. (IKEA might very well sell them in black, but they didn't have any the day we were there.) 

These I'm going to use as simple empty frames. When put them out on the table top as part of loose play it defines the space nicely for kids and pushes them to design more in the space. The plexi pieces from the frames will be handy for some other project, knowing me. 

And BEST of all these frames are just THREE bucks each! Nice wooden frames, at this large size, and only three dollars. Whoot! 

Well, there you have it. Some people get out of town to warm and sunny places– I drive over the bridge in cold and dreary weather to shop for teacher finds. So much fun.  I HIGHLY recommend checking out Dollarama if you can get into Canada, or even look for these things in the States. If they exist in the world, they'll be coming to a Dollar Store near you soon! And as most of you know, IKEA is a teacher treasure trove and worth the trip. 

Hope you found some new ideas! Don't forget to PIN so you remember later. Scoot on back to Five for Friday now and see what other ideas you can find. Thanks, Kasey, for your weekly linky.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Glad I Know!

Happy Friday... and if you're like me, happy start of spring break! I didn't think it was ever going to get here!! Today, I'm sharing some useful stuff that makes life my life easier and that I'm glad I know about. Thanks to Kasey for Five for Friday, as always.

1.  "I'M NOT GOING TO BE YOUR FRIEND ANY MORE!" If you work with kinder kiddos you have certainly heard that before and it means someone is mad. Our role as teacher is to help kids talk through the conflict... and talk it through, and talk it through, and talk it through again. It is one of the most important things that teachers of young children teach. And you want to have a variety of ways you help your students learn and grow their social skills.

Well, I have a little book, a really old book actually, that is a great help in discussing friendship. How you can be friends, and be mad at the same time, and how it doesn't mean that the friendship is over. It's called Let's Be Enemies, written by Janice May Udry and illustrated by none other than Maurice Sendak. It was published back in 1961, if you can believe it. Fortunately, it does not contain any of the sexism or racism that sometimes seeped into books back then. My husband says that he actually remembers the book from when he was a kid, with it's small 5x5 inch size and recognizable Sendak drawings.

The book is very simple with just a line or two on each page. John, the narrator describes how he and James were friends, but then how they aren't any more, and then, in a blink, they are friends once again. It beautifully captures the fluidity of friendship among young children. My kids were instantly drawn to it have asked to read it several more times. It is especially useful if you have a little person who gets a bit stuck on the "injustice" done by others and tends to hold a grudge. It really normalizes getting mad, and then moving along.

 I just checked AbeBooks now and they have plenty of copies for under four dollars with free shipping. I suggest you pick up a copy to keep in your collection of getting along books.

2.  Please do tell me you know about AbeBooks! Used books of all sorts can be found there– I get them for the kidpeople, for my teacher-self, and for my own reading pleasure. And many of them are less than four dollars with free shipping.

I have had nothing but great service and fast shipping from any of the book sellers on AbeBooks. They are a nice alternative to Amazon... which I am mad at right now for reasons that you can probably guess. I'll do business with Amazon again when they change who they advertise with. It's hard not to shop at Amazon, but I am finding some really good alternatives.  Give AbeBooks a look-see by clicking on the logo up above.

3.  Do you know about this can opener?

It opens cans by taking off the lid in a SAFE way so that both the cylinder and the lid can be used without hurting fingers. My kiddos love our can collection and I've used them for all sorts of things... seems that might make a good blog post in the future... hmmmm.... 

What better way to learn "cylinder?"

Check out the OXO version of the safe can opener. Click to see it at Target, but there are several on the market at many different stores.


4.  Have you seen this lovely animated video of the book Going on a Bear Hunt. It's based on Michael Rosen's version which is illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. My class doesn't watch videos very often, and many of the ones we do watch are for science content. But occasionally I find a really well done video version of a favorite book.

We started the year by doing oral retelling of Going on a Bear Hunt. Then we did it with simple props. And then we moved on to the book. So when I found this rendition, I was really pleased. It is quite well done... though I do need to forewarn you– it is "kindergarten exciting." Not too scary in my opinion, but it has just a bit of the shivers, which might be too much for some kids. So you should watch it with your own littles in mind. It's about 28 minutes long.

5.  Today I saved the best for last. Do you know about Google Photo?? It is an app you can put on your phone and your laptop. It stores your photos in the "cloud" but not in your Google drive, so it doesn't take up any of that space. The Google Photo capacity is UNlimited and... wait for it... it's FREE!

I back up my laptop, including photos, to an external hard drive about every other month or so. (I should do it more regularly, but alas.) If anything should happen to my laptop, I will have the photos. The problem is that unless I tag my photos, which I rarely do, when you look at photos via the external hard drive, they are simply listed by their automatically labelled NUMBER. You have to put them back in a photo app to see what they are. PAIN!

So I was looking for another way to have a second back-up in which I could VIEW the photos, and I stumbled upon Google Photo. Maybe the best thing about the app is that it is SO automatic. You don't need to tell it to save the latest photos, it does it when it is open. And the BEST added bonus is that the app AUTOMATICALLY makes collages, movies and animations from your photos. It uses the latest technology to put photos together so they make sense. It has GREAT face recognition, too. It's like having a photo assistant working for you. Below is a funny little animation of my class in the woods from several years back, and a movie that Google Photos made of a family visit to a special farm with a baby zebra. It's an oldie but goodie- my daughters are grown now.

And you don't need to request that the app create something for you, or sort through the photos, or anything– all automatic. The "Assistant" feature on the app sends you notices when it makes something new. You can view it, cry or laugh over it, and save or delete it. What a terrific treat. It did one of my daughter that included photos from when she was a baby, all the way through now. HOW does it know. I cried when I got that one and I've watched it a dozen times. Although I could have made my own movie, I was not likely to put in the effort.

One more important thing, I found a GREAT video done by Steph Clay from Modern Photo Solutions which gives a very thorough explanation of how Google Photo works, complete with little tips. It is FREE to watch, too. Just click on icon to go.

I HIGHLY recommend Google Photo- here's a link to check it out. Enjoy!

Well, I hope you found some goodies in the line-up. Let me know if the post was valuable or if you have any questions.  And don't forget to PIN stuff so you remember!

Thanks to Kacey at Doodle Bugs for the Five for Friday post. Head on back to find more good stuff.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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