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!


  1. Love your ideas Kathleen. I have just finished my week of spring break, hope you will have better weather than rain. I needed this break and the book reminder Let's Be Enemies is first on my reads when I return to school Monday!
    Do you have any book suggestions for self control?
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janet. Books on self-control... well, two come to mind quickly. One is Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker, about a little owl who cannot control her talking. I haven't used this one in a few years as I often wait for the right occasion to share books. And the other one is Thorndike and Nelson. In this book two monster friends get more and more out of control in their argument- students are quick to be aghast, though each of them can understand the feelings. I think it provides great talking points in kindergarten about the complexities of friendship. Hope this helps. And hey, I am going to do a book talk linky this summer. I'll email you! Kathleen


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