Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Washi Tape For Your Teacher Gift



Did you know that today is Wishy Washi Wednesday? I love washi tape and now own just a few rolls ( a few million to tell the truth.) What can you do with this stuff? Obviously it is perfect for decorating plain containers and this project took me very little time. Interested? Stick with me. I decided to make accessories to go on a teacher's desk. If your own child is high maintenance you might want to show up the first day of school with a gift! Right?

You will need a variety of  coordinating washi tapes. This is no big deal. You can find them in Walmart and they are not expensive. I am a crazy Starbucks coffee drinker and these little iced coffees can be found anywhere. They are a perfect shape for holding pencils and you got a coffee drink as your well deserved treat. Win-win here. Wash it out well, take the labels off with Goo Gone (in the Target Dollar Spot) and dry it off well. Now start at the bottom of the jar and work your way up. Begin in the same place each time you wrap the tape and overlap it at the end, cutting it cleanly so it looks nice. When you start wrapping be sure to do it tightly for nicer results. You screwed up already? Remember that washi tape can be removed easily and re-positioned. Yup, it rocks. Go slowly and make a nice design. Tapes can be layers on top of each other if you want to get snazzy. That was a piece of cake and it looks amazing... right? moving on...


Now you need to make fancy-smantzy pencils or why bother with this. This is the easiest part. Cutting the tape is the hard part and you know how to use scissors. I lay it right down on the sticky side, cut it off at the bottom neatly, and start rolling it on a hard surface. Smooth it out and you just made the cutest pencil. Remember to start the tape below the metal piece at the top and to trim it neatly. Got the hang of this? Mix up your coordinating colors and start wrapping. I made little flags at the top (it can cover up some imperfections hem, hem) and cut a "v" into it. Adorable and a nice touch of cuteness. Now the pencils might be too short for the jar so here's the secret. Stuff white tissue paper in the bottom (use a chopstick to get it all the way down to the bottom) and this will work like a charm. Put the pencils in, tie the bottle with some raffia and add the label on a cheap wood skewer. Cut the point off of the skewer so the teacher does not end up with a hole in her finger and a major injury! Just sayin'.  I am giving you the labels here so you can finish this project without stressing.

Are you still with me or are you on someone else's blog with a useful activity? Just kidding. Excuse the crummy photos but that's all I could come up with while I was working on this. The next part involves small canning jars you can find anywhere and you always thought could be used for something else (don't share that with Granny). I used this size but they even come smaller, but who knew? You can wrap them with coordinating washi tape but where it says "Bell" on the glass, I made that the back of the jar and the place where I started and ended. Does that make sense? Probably not... clear as mud. Take the jar lid out of the metal doo- hickey and cover that in strips of tape any way that you want. Just be sure to cover the entire piece. Go take a break... do not leave me for the day. You can get this puppy finished.

Trim carefully around the lid. Insert it back into the metal and voila... looks gorgeous. I filled these with colored clips and push pins that only cost a dollar a package in Staples. They have lots of nice colors to pick from. I just added a label on the front of each little jar and that's it... a gift any teacher would love. There's only one problem. Once she see's that you can do this she will be calling on you for other stuff.
Have a great Wishy Washi Wednesday friends. Now go get some tape... Don't forget to grab the labels.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everyone needs accessories to wear in kindergarten: Freebie #3


So it is time for the next freebie and I decided to give you a preview of a packet I am working on that I know you will love. I see many children over the course of a day and found it difficult to manage all the paper work that came with each class. Emailing parents became an effective means of communicating but I found "message bracelets" thrilled my students and parents were quite responsive to them. These bracelets can be used in a variety of ways and I have given you just a few so you can try them out.
Before you go wacko on me and think this is just another job, hang in with me and let me explain. Nobody needs another project, particularly me! Check out how simple this actually is.
Once you have given these to parent volunteers to cut apart (send home stacks of them with a short explanation and a sample) you can store them in a Target mini pocket chart right by the door. I know you bought a zillion of them once you found them in the Dollar Spot. As the kids leave for the day wrap that puppy around their wrist with a hit of tape and now you have given them special jewelry to wear home. Trust me, parents notice it and read the message. Does it help? Try it and let me know. I love stuff that works.Leave a comment if you want to suggest other possibilities. My students love these and yours might  too. I am over them dropping notes on their way out or better yet never putting them in their homework folder. Communicating with parents can be a challenge when you put it in the hands of a five year old. Click here to get this freebie or on the picture! I love comments... just sayin'

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Part2: More Visions of Vegas

So have I made one single reference to the classes I attended at the I Teach K conference? They were fantastic and I feel like it was money well spent. A few of them were not what I was looking for so I was able to change my mind and go elsewhere. That is so impressive to me! Here are some other pictures that are special to me.


Kathy Griffin is an excellent presenter and made my understanding of Common Core so much deeper. She is a really talented presenter who filled this time with great information and songs. I really enjoyed this and ended up attending a bunch of her classes. If you don't know who she is, click on this picture. Check out her blog. It has great information! Hugs to you Kathy.


If you are a kindergarten teacher you will recognize these two ladies. Both of them did a fantastic job of presenting and made sure we all had fun. Of course the bloggers made tons of noise and gave them a few woohoos and shout-outs. We had a blast being with them and supporting our kindergarten rock stars! If you have never seen them come to Vegas next year! You will be so glad you did.
Finally, I want to talk about some new friends I made. These are just a few pictures I was smart enough to take but there were so many other talented teachers, bloggers, and presenters. It was overwhelming to me. If you think education is going down the tubes come and meet some of these educators. I had coffee with them, sat with them in classes, ate meals with them, and just hung out between sessions. They are kind, generous, and smart women who left their families to continue learning during their summer vacation. Who else does that? These arededicated individuals who are making a difference... one kid at a time. Many are young and filled with enthusiasm and love for this wonderful grade called Kindergarten. I am so lucky to have been a part of this conference. This is what teaching is all about. Collaboration.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Part 1: Visions of Vegas

I thought you might like to see some of the photos I took at the I Teach K conference in Vegas and photos other friends of mine grabbed. It was a crazy and exhausting 4days. I attended all the classes I could because the quality was amazing and I paid out of my own pocket... just sayin' 
I don't want to bore you to death but here are some of the highlights: 


Debbie opened up the conference as the keynote speaker and she was fantastic. She has endless energy and enthusiasm for her work and is a true artist in every sense of the word. She energized the audience (at AM in the morning), talked about her passion for music, young children, and the beautiful books that she has written. On top of that she made us (her teacher bloggers buddies) come on stage and rock it out with her. Her fabulous costumes are designed and created by her. I am hooked on this wonderful educator. Please take some time to read her well written blog Rainbows With In Reach. Follow her to learn about young children and her music.


 There was so much dancing, signing and singing but the highlight of the morning was her piggy song which I have just a tiny video clip of. Take a minute to watch this because you will pee in your pants! Check out Deanna dancing, Deedee, MattChrystal and Jon. Jon? He is a friend from Twitter.  Who knew he could dance like that. Hilarious.
Check out the entire dance on You Tube by clicking here. I promise you will not regret this.




video

Wasn't that just the best! You can hear me woohooing in the background. Loved it!


Ron Clark was another keynote speaker. He was fantastic and jumped all over the room. He could keep anyone engaged with his passion and energy. If you have never seen him, GO. You will be changed forever.



The blogger meet up was so much fun and I loved watching people interact with each other. The room was filled with some of the best teachers this country has to offer and for a moment I felt overwhelmed by the talent and skills these young women have. If you feel like the system has beaten you down, attend this party next year to realize that there are so many of us who still love our jobs and are passionate about educating young children.Seriously, I was the oldest in the room... no lie. 


These ladies are all beautiful, inside and out and I was grateful to spend four days in their company. I am still trying to process all that I learned. This is just the beginning and I have more pictures coming.
Can you come next year? 




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Check Out the Toppings On My Pizza: Foundational Fun

Who has seen those pizza pans from the Dollar Store or Walmart? Are they collecting dust? Well I decided to finally use them for an interactive activity that focused on sounds and letters. I am giving you simple directions for making your own quickly and easily. Just follow these directions and it will come together in less than an hour. 


Use wipe off markers to model writing the letter you are working on. It will erase very easily. I put the cards in a pocket chart so students can go over and pick one and place it where I tell them to. Use vocabulary like top, bottom, left, or right to build that academic vocabulary stressed in Common Core.

Look what I created for your students to use:
So I created this packet for your students starting kindergarten as you introduce the letters and sounds. You can even make this bad boy into a book and staple the pages together. I have used this in my classroom for many years and the kids love it. 
How would first grade teachers make use of this? Model it and have them do this independently. Need more of a challenge? Have them label their pictures. Any other ideas. These are crucial foundational skills for our students to practice and the kinesthetic piece builds their fine motor skills. 
Warning: Never take your eyes off of a five year old who has a pair of scissors. Why?
Hummm... I have had them cut their eyelashes, hair, someone else's hair or the brand new outfit their mom dressed them in that day. Am I the only teacher with that kid in her room? If you want this packet you can click here or on the picture and it will shoot you to my store.
If you like this idea I am making more of these for other skills. What do you think?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back With My Freebie Download... Grab This Little Cutie



So I just walked in the door from my Common Core conference in Chicago and from all your sweet comments I know you all want this download. I can't unpack because they lost my suitcase (OMG) but the airline swears it will come on the next flight. Cross your fingers for me. I bought a million books, got samples to blog about and all my notes from working with Kim Adsit are in that suitcase. I will freak out if it doesn't show up but lets not go there. So, if you click here or on this adorable picture it will take you to my download. Pleeeeese follow me on Bloglovin' and Pinterest so you know when another Back to School Freebie shows up! This is a whole series to help you get ready for the big day!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Common Core Freebie #2 On the Way!

I am back from the best four days you can imagine in Vegas! I am washing my clothes and I am packing up to head for Chicago and the primary conference on Common Core. I catch a flight early in the morning. I am exhausted but pumped to go on to the next event. I am leaving the freebie I promised you so you can start to get your ducks in a row, preparing to go back. I know some of you start back soon. Where did the summer go? I am not ready for this but you probably are:
Drum roll please.... This freebie is not a big deal but you can use it on the very first day before they go home so the parents do not think they cried all day. You know what I'm saying. They act so depressed and then they look around at a million kids their own age and decide to join the party (or not). Do you always have one that cries forever? He is always in MY class. Stick with me on this. His birthday is in the fall and the idea of sitting on a carpet and listening to a teacher depresses him to the core! I hope that little boy does not show up in your room this year! Honestly he always has a parent that fills my ear with how much he knows and how smart he is. Oh well... the life of a kindergarten teacher! Stop laughing.


This is just enough literacy on the first day. Make them ahead of time in case your class is hard to manage. That means run them off and fold them up yourself. Hint: Never ask a five year old to fold up a book while they are crying! This is not guided reading at this point but you can read it "my turn" and "your turn" or all together blah, blah. Have them touch the dots as you do it and with all the drama you can pull together act shocked that they have been in school one day and can already read! Amazing!
I also made a necklace that they can color and wear home so mom and dad can appreciate that their day was fun even when they left them sobbing! Right?




Be sure to read them a great story about school before doing these activities and you can break them up  and way you see fit. What do you think? Can you use this?

What do you do the first day that is super cute? Leave me a comment and I will post the freebie as soon as I get back from Chicago! I ran out of time... gotta finish packing.

I will post about these conferences next week. You won't want to miss it... trust me.






Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Bags Are Packed... I'm Ready to Go!

I cannot believe all the fun that will be happening in Vegas in the next few days! I cannot wait to get there and learn more about Common Core at the  I Teach K conference and meet up with all my blogging buddies. How lucky am I! I hope you are coming and we get to meet each other. I will take tons of pictures and jabber about this soon!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Common Core Freebies from Kindergarten Crayons





A New Tradition: Freebie #1
So I decided to post some Common Core freebies to get the new school year rolling and here is a  little preview of  the first one. I want to give them to my followers before the start of the school year so that you can get a head start with your prep. I still get butterflies in my stomach on the first day! Do you?


This is my favorite way to make books. I call it "Stack and Whack" because you stack all your pages, staple them, and cut on the line to make 2 books at a time. A parent can put these together fairly quickly using a paper cutter.




Here are some simple options for filling in this book. Use what you have or just let them color the dots in the ten frame. I just know that some kids struggle with coloring and might prefer using another method to represent each number. 


Does this look like something you might be able to use? It is perfect for meeting the CCSS and children can put manipulatives right inside of each circle to be sure they have the number sense to complete this successfully. This can be done during small group instruction and created again for math workshops!
Do you have any other ideas for filling in these ten frames?Please leave a comment with any suggestions. I will post this book tomorrow for you to download. Thanks for your support and here is the book. I would love for you to leave a comment :)
Fran

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

OMG I "Flipped" Over This!







Are you familiar with Teaching Channel? This is a fantastic site that you can subscribe to free of charge. Why? It is filled with high quality videos that show you best teaching practices and strategies for student engagement in our schools. I cannot recommend this enough if you are working towards understanding the CCSS. I really find these videos interesting and helpful. Check this one out and see if you agree with me.
Anyhow, they ran a contest for a free flip video camera and I entered and won. Me! I never win anything and I was so shocked and excited. I love taking video of kids and using them in my presentations for teachers. You can talk the talk but watching a lesson take place is so much more powerful. Right? I cannot wait to go back to school and take advantage of my new tech "toy." Do you use video in your classroom? How?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

School Supplies Addiction: You better read this today






In the last few weeks I have shared some of my true addictions with you (left out coffee and it's a big addiction). Now I am sharing just a few of my super, duper favorite, can't do without school supplies since we are heading back soon... shhhhh  The office supply stores are already starting their sales. I am not there in my head yet. These supplies are ones that I buy whenever I am out and about and cannot ever resist. When they are on sale I go "ape" and purchase too many and just remind myself (little voice in my head) that I must have them to face the next day. So lets go through these and I will explain why they are more important than food or shelter from the rain!

1. Mr. Sketch Markers: These are available in most office supply stores and are really reasonable in price. Why am I so addicted to these? Each marker has a delicious smell that does not give yo a blazing headache when you take the cap off. When you are writing on a large pad of paper they do not leak through the next ten pages and ruin the entire pad. I love them soooo much. I keep them in containers under my easel and the kids love using them to interact with the Morning Message. I never make them available at any other time.

2. Twistables: These rocked my world when I first discovered them. Do you know about these? Honestly, I became addicted to these and never use regular crayons. Parents love them as much as I do and were willing to send them in with their students. Woohoo! What's the big deal? When the tip wears down you just twist it up and voila- it works again. Yes, the children go crazy when they first get them into their sweet hands but like everything else you have to make a huge,dramatic point about using them appropriately or THEY WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THE TABLES NEVER TO RETURN. If you work in a school where parents cannot afford to buy these (bit pricey) I suggest you pick up a few sets and use them for projects during small group instruction. You will thank me for this. You can also head to Target with a sob story and see if the manager has a heart and wants to support your classroom and become  a superhero. Work it.  These are worth the money and come in a variety of sets. Now have I mentioned that the teacher will love having a set of Twistable colored pencils and might not even be willing to share them with her own personal children. Yup, they bring out the selfish in you! They are fantastic for coloring in small pictures and the results are so much nicer. Do you need to get in touch with your coloring lust again? If you have a little doodle at home and want to grab something special- this is your ticket. You will get a lot of kisses for this one. Just sayin'. Only buy the Crayola brand (trust me on this one) and I am not a fan of the washable version. No. I know what you are thinking. I am not getting a kickback from Crayola.

3. Sharpie Pens: This is the best product to come out since peanut butter. You read that right. Seriously. They have a nice tip for writing and do not bleed through to the next page. They don't smear and are permanent. Does it get any better? AGAIN, NO SMELL TO BRING ON A MIGRAIN AND KILL ALL YOUR BRAIN CELLS. I certainly can't afford to lose any. I worship these pens and have them in all kinds of colors. I have been know to obsess on them a tiny bit... If you have not purchased any go... Now come back and leave a comment thanking me for changing your life in a significant way. I take all PD notes using these and teachers are always asking me if they can try one out. Trust me, this is a serious keeper!

4.Avery Tabs: I tab everything in sight and these are my favorite kind by far. I have tried them all. They are well priced and you can write on them easily (I hate the plastic ones that smear). I buy these for my teachers when they tab their Common Core binders and they love using them. They come in tons of colors, even purple and turquoise. Avery also makes tabs with the months of the year already printed on them. They go on sale all the time because no one knows what to do with them- except a teacher! Use your imagination!
Who's in love with adhesive dots? I know... I get it. Now they come in a billion colors and sizes and the cuter ones are made by sticker companies. Teacher supply stores have loads of them and they often hit the clearance bins. Dots in all colors and sizes make me super happy and dollar stores have them in neon colors. I color code everything in sight and use them on name tags so kids know what group they are in. I use them to group kids for instruction, group them for field trips, on their materials so they can find them, etc.I use they to sort my books too. Kids love to use them in their artwork if you are willing to let them. Someone should write a book on 100 Ways to Use Adhesive Dots.

5. Scrapbooking Chalk: I have talked about scrapbooking chalk before but I had to include it in this list cause it is such an easy way to fill in big areas with beautiful chalk. It has super intense pigmentation and 
is easy to apply with a cotton ball, rubbing it lightly in a circle.It makes my Thinking Maps, Anchor Charts, and Pictorials look beautiful. Often I will add a touch of blue chalk to the background of a child's artwork and it makes it look so special. You can buy this at Michael's Craft store but make sure to download their app so you can use the 40% off coupon. 

That's it for today. I just got back from Colorado and the laundry is calling me. If you can add to this list and tell me about something you can't be without we can grow this list. I might need one of your suggestions and not even know it exists-EKKKKK. Thanks for stopping by. Now go shop


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Teacher's Addiction

So there it is. It's out in the open. I adore Pinterest and spend way too much time looking around. I am a visual person and this feeds right into my addiction to look at interesting and beautiful things. Yesterday I decided to make the covers for each category beautiful and now I feel more organized (hey I didn't say I cleaned up all my pins so don't go crazy). So now I am feeling a little better. Please click on this picture to see these covers for yourself and leave a comment telling me how amazed you are that I did this. It took all day!  Crazy. This is virtual shopping at its finest... right? Do you have a passion for Pinterest too? Please be sure to follow my Pinterest boards cause some of them have some wildly creative ideas and I want to share them! Okay so I want more followers..whatever. Next post: Why every teacher needs to have a Pinterest account to make her a better teacher. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader and Hello Bloglovin'

So by now it comes as no surprise that Bloglovin' is replacing Google Reader. Believe it or not I think I might even like it better than Google Reader since the app is simple to download and I can easily stay connected to the billions of blogs I read and follow. Thank goodness I figured it out before I went into disaster mode. So now I am hoping you will follow me on Bloglovin' cause you love me. Pretty please?