Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Top-It Tray Freebie

Hey there. Super fast post just to give you a math freebie. I bet you know the math game Top-It. Top-It has been around for years known as the card game War. I remember my two daughters playing it for hours on long vacation car rides, once playing into the night with the help of traffic headlights as we looped around DC's beltway. snort. Top-It gives students practice with number ID and fluency in number value– namely, which of two numbers between 1-10 is greater. When my kidpeople were first learning the game this year there was just way too much time going into figuring out where the card stacks go. So I came up with a Top-It Tray. I think I'll always teach the game with this now because it makes things so much easier.

Two players share one tray. They each place their cards of 1-10 in a shuffled pile on their corner.

Then on the count of "1-2-turn" (at least that's what we say in our room) they each turn over a card.

The player who turned over the bigger number gathers both cards and puts them in his "winning pile" on top.

When someone runs out of cards to turn over, both players gather their own winning piles, shuffles them, and places them in their own corners again so the play can continue. The rounds continue until someone runs completely out of cards. The one with all the cards is the winner.

This game has become a big hit. In part it is so popular because there actually is a winner– so few of our games in class are competitive that Top-It has a definite novelty factor. Don't get me wrong, winning games have a place in life, but I think that in most instances competition takes away from classroom learning games. Maybe I've followed Alfie Kohn too long. smile.

Click on the pic below to download the simple sheet. I copied a classroom set on colored cardstock and laminated them so they'll last a long time. When playing I usually place the sheet on a plastic tray so the cards don't slide off. We use regular playing cards, with the Ace as the number one card, but you can play with any number cards you have. And you can let kids play with double the number of 1-10 cards, or even with a hand of 1-20 each.

Thanks for stopping by! Pin, please.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Classroom Music Videos that Highlight Black Artists

What started out as me putting together a "quick" video playlist for my classroom has turned into a favorite project to share with you, too! You'll want to know about this...

February is Black History Month and, now, more than ever, I want my kiddos to see the many ways Black talent, inspiration, and leadership have influenced our American history. I consciously aim to represent diversity throughout my teaching, EVERYday, but February gives me a push to do more in new ways. I, like many teachers, bring in diversity through books, images and materials, but I pushed myself to think of more ways... hey! How about the music we play everyday! So I put together a video playlist of all sorts of music, collaborations, and dance featuring Black artists to use for our classroom dance party brain breaks, or just for listening to. I wanted a wide array of Black talent– here's a sample of who's on the list!

I found over 15 videos so far that I think kids will enjoy watching and moving to. I'll update this list as I find new ones. Although Black History Month motivated me to put the list together, I plan on stopping back here myself for dance parties for years to come... I told you this project started out just for me. grin.

Please note these videos were not specifically "made for children" like many video playlists shared on teacher blogs. I reviewed my selections for acceptable language, and with a teacher's eye, hoping the visuals added value for kids. I chose "clean" videos, finding a couple that even included kids, and if I couldn't find an acceptable version, it didn't make the list. Please watch them yourself before choosing the ones to use with your students. I added the length of each video to help you pick a couple on any given day. You might want to give a little background at times and maximize the learning as some of these videos are pretty old– black and white technology was as modern as it got for many years. I want the kiddos to see and hear the wide variety of music and dance that make up our American history and culture, as no matter how old, the music is still great in our ears today. My kiddos were as fascinated by the bit of scat singing and "flash dance" tap dancing in the Cab Calloway video with the Nicholas brothers as they were drawn in to trying the hiphop moves in Watch Me.

Hope this gives you some good choices for this month and WAY beyond. As for me? You know I'm teaching my kiddos the hustle! This summer I went to a high school reunion and still proved myself the Hustle Queen. snort. You'll find lots of variety in the list– jazz, soul, hiphop, R&B, rock n' roll, worldbeat, disco.... Here we go!

 5:34 min




 4:49 min

2:55 min

 6:19 min

 2:21 min

 3:12 min

 4:18 min

 3:00 min

 4:17 min

 4:00 min


 5:15 min

And I end on perhaps an unlikely note. This is the "Trading Taps" segment of Riverdance... you know I like to put a wee bit of Irish in there when I can. wink. We saw Riverdance in Dublin last summer and this number was fun and powerful. I'll use it (and the Hiplet Ballerinas up above) to discuss how many different cultures from all over the world influence music and dance worldwide. It will be fun to contrast the heel kicks and straight arms of the Irish dancers with the looser, more fluid movement of the hip American tap dancers. There is notable difference in music styles in this friendly competition, as well.

 8:11 min

Hope you enjoy this compilation of videos highlighting musical contributions of Black performers over the decades. Let me know in comments if you think I found good variety or if I've missed some great video that would be particularly good for the kiddos. And I hope you and your students can get down and boogie around the room. Whoot Whoot!

And as always, please PIN the post! See you around!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Easy Classroom Chocolate Fondue and a Valentine Freebie!

I could have called this post One Great Valentine Party because I cover the fancy treat, a cute hat that doubles as my teacher Valentine to students, and a crazy way of Valentine exchange, with a little Freebie thrown in for good measure. Here we go!

One of the BEST treats we have all year is "Chocolate Fondue" for our Valentine's Party. Ok. So I use the term "fondue" loosely... no flames are involved. snort It is more like chocolate dip... but it IS warm. And it is easy. And it is nut-free. And it is DELICIOUS!

Simply get a jar of Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl spread.

I tell you this stuff is wonderful in any form on anything you choose. I found out about it from the mom of a nut allergy student who could not have many forms of chocolate, but could have this stuff. What a find!

Put some in a safe container and microwave for ten seconds at a time, stirring in between ten second blasts. It doesn't take long to turn it into smooth, warm, liquid heaven. It mixes the two flavors into the BEST chocolate flavor. I put the fondue in little sauce cups, another reason why the chocolate should only be warm, not hot. If it cools down it is okay because once liquified, this dip won't harden again. Also put out whatever items you are going to let the kids dip– pretzels, bananas, crackers, marshmallows...  it's all good!

Then let the kids have at it! Voila! You will be the most popular teacher in the school. One of my parents gave glowing praise, "It figures you'd figure out a way to do Chocolate Fondue with five year olds! My daughter can't stop talking about it! I think we're going to be having it this weekend." Hee

If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, not to worry because I found it on Amazon! Click on the pic below to go there. And if nuts aren't an issue in your classroom, I'm betting good old Nutella would work, too, though I have not actually TRIED warming Nutella, so experiment first!
Click to find on Amazon

Now, take a look below at the kids' Valentine hat close up. I think they are the CUTEST things around and I use them as my Valentine to each kiddo. Here's how you can do it, too, with the help of my FREEBIE download.

Print out the "Happy Valentine's Day, Love Bug!" sheet on pink paper, one for each child, and cut the paper in half lengthwise. This message is printed on the back part of the headband, which you can't see in the photo. And it's printed in bubble letters so the kids can color it in.

Print out eye sheets on white paper– you get six pairs of eyes per sheet and each child needs a pair.

Include a small heart sticker, paper heart punch-out, or those press on foamy hearts for a nose. Do Love Bugs have noses?? Mine do!

Add two pipe cleaners or one pipe cleaner cut in half, or if you don't have pipe cleaners handy, just cut skinny strips of paper. They'll need four more hearts to make the antennae. The kiddos will sandwich the pipe cleaner tips in between two hearts to form antennae that can be taped to the hat's inside edge. As you see, the hearts don't have to be red or pink.

To turn the hat into a Valentine for my kids, I sign my name under the word "Love Bug" on the message at the back of the headband. Then I make little Valentine "kits" by rolling up all the parts into a scroll tied with red curling ribbon. I hand one to each kiddo as our party begins and let them cut, glue, color and tape their hats into place. It makes a lovely, wearable Valentine and a great valentine party activity.

Hat making is followed by the fondue, and then the big valentine opening event. We open Valentines with everybody sitting in a circle on the floor with their lunch bag mailbox of Valentines in front of them. On my signal everyone starts to take out their Valentines, one at a time, and when they figure out who it is from (it takes a while for five year olds to read five year old handwriting!) they then yell, "Thank you, So-and-So" across the circle. Then So-and-So has to yell back "You're welcome!"

You have never seen or heard such chaos!!! So much happy yelling. Warms my heart! I've done it this way for years and won't do it any other way. Then all the Valentines go back in their bag with any candy that came in Valentines, so it can all be taken home.

One heck of a good party, and a level of prep that I can handle. Try it! Bet you like it!

OH! Almost forgot! For the simple freebie hat download, just click on either of the photos with kids in hats! Kuddos to DH Jonathan for putting the hat handout together to my specifications. Life would be SO much harder without him... it's why I keep him around... well, that and a few other reasons. TeeHeeHee

As always, Pin Pin Pin please!!!

See you next time! News Flash– Next time is TODAY. I put together a compilation of dance party brain breaks featuring Black artists performing a wide variety of music over the years to use throughout February. This collection for Black History Month is coming out in a couple hours! You'll want it for easy reference. AND going BACK in time, don't miss my post with the Safe Youtube QR Code cards for students to use to watch Storyline Online! Click HERE for that one.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

ByeBye Google+

Super quick post here. Google is doing away with Google+. It won't change much about Google,  just specifically Google+  If you have a Google+ account you should check into it because they suggest that you delete it. If you do a general search for information, you'll find lots and they will probably send you an email if they haven't already.

I am posting this specifically for the 203 people who chose G+ as their means to follow the blog. If you value knowing what's going on at Kidpeople Classroom, you might want to follow via email or Bloglovin' now. The links to do so are right over there in the righthand sidebar, so just a few clicks and you're set. You can follow via any feed tool you already use, too, of course.

I spent time this afternoon going over my Google+ account and following bloggers I don't want to lose track of via email and Bloglovin'. I also did away with the G+ follow button here on the blog as Google+ accounts will no longer exist as of April 2. It is sad to lose any readers, sniff, but my other means of following show steadily increasing numbers, so that brings some comfort. Yay.

See you around!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...