Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Book Bash Linky

Summer time is a fun time.  Parents ask me all the time about what they can do to help their child over the summer.  My initial response is, "Let them be kids, have fun, play outside with them, climb trees, ride bikes, take a nature walk, and at bedtime read a good story together." I strongly believe in letting the kids be kids and to not overwork them. However, as a teacher I also know that there is a "Summer Slide" that occurs if the kiddos don't practice their reading skills at least a few times a week over the summer. I have a few suggestions that can help keep this "Summer Slide" from occurring.  The suggestions vary depending on my students reading level at the end of the year. 
For higher Kindergarten and First graders, I like to suggest that kiddos begin reading mini chapter books such as Junie B. Jones, The A-Z Mysteries, and The Magic Tree House. These books all make GREAT conversation pieces because the kiddos can really relate to them.  I tell parents to read a chapter a night (or every other night b/c you know there will be those Movie in the pool nights) WITH their kiddos. After reading and before giving those sweet good night kiss, I tell parents that they should quickly chat with their child about their favorite part, how the character was feeling and what caused the feelings to happen, or to try and predict what will happen in the next chapter. 

For my lower leveled readers I send home a letter (actually every child gets the letter) that tells the parents their child's current reading level and gives them tips on how to help them with their reading over the summer. {Of course I always tell parents and kiddos about Gerald and Piggie by Mo Willems (my absolute FAV!!)} I suggest to parents that they go to the Scholastic Book Wizard Website and search for books on their child's reading level. When they find the books, they can always look for them in a different store or on Amazon to find a cheaper price if they need to. I also teach my parents how to use the 5 finger rule to find "Just Right" books if they are out at Walmart, Target, or any bookstore and don't have the site available to them.  Here is a FREEBIE download of the posters I use to teach parents (and students) this easy book shopping technique:

I hope you have picked up a few good tips and books along our hop. Be sure to click on over to Kindergarten Squared to grab some more freebies and discover more AWESOME summer reading ideas and books!

Can you add any favorite mini Chapter book series to my short list?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!

I recently have been put on leave for a back surgery. My sweet kiddos sent in a HUGE envelope of letters.  I loved seeing these little tokens of love and appreciation from some of my most favorite people. It really helped to brighten my spirits.

This little cutie even added a punctuation hunt on the back of his card so I wouldn't get to bored. It  is these little things that really make me (as a teacher) feel appreciated. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and guess what? I appreciate all of you so..............

I have teamed up with some friends to host a GIVEAWAY just for you! Teachers are awesome and deserve a little something special! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kwik Stix Giveaway

In our classroom we LOVE directed drawings and to use paint to complete our masterpieces.  In my many years of teaching I have tried several different types and brands to paint with my kiddos. I have used the powder tempera paint, powder tempera paint mixed with dish soap, liquid tempera paint, and acrylic paint. Fact is if you name it, I have more than likely tried it, and we always get the same dull color, dripping paint trays, and the inevitable spill of the water cup at at least one table that gets ALL.OVER.ALL.OF.THE. PAPERS! Well, I am soooooo excited to share with you what I found. It solves everyone of those problems. Are you ready for this? It will blow your mind............ Kwik Stix (BOOM! Drop mic here). 

These are true tempera paints but in glue stick form. No water, no paint brushes, just the stick! This wonderful product comes to us by The Pencil Grip, Inc. I had the honor of testing these out  in my classroom with my kiddos. They are AWESOME and will definitely be on my supply “wish list” from now on.
  1. There is NO more paint tray mess. Students just remove the lid, use it like a glue stick, then put the lid back on.
  2. The colors are soooo much brighter as you can see in the pictures.
  3. There are NO more water spills because you don’t need water to activate the paint.
  4. The paint dries in about the same amount of time as traditional water colors.
  5. The kids LOVE them.
Look at the difference between the finished products:

**The only negatives I could find:
  1. The Kwik Stix are fat making it hard to get into small corners or circles in the drawings. This could easily be fixed by just rubbing the top of the Kwik Stix with a paint brush and then onto the paper. OR if the company reads my review, maybe they will create different sizes/widths of the Kwik Stix (pen width, marker width, etc). That would be awesome.
  2. You can get a 6 pack for 5.99. So to have enough for lets say 20 kiddos you would have to spend about $119.00 OR you could purchase their 96 pack for $96.00 (That seems quiet pricey to me.) - Maybe you could just purchase 4 of the 5.99 pack and switch out which teams get to use them.............
  3. They don't come in multiple skin colors. (Maybe that is something the company will add...)
I firmly believe that students should be learning how to use all different types of mediums when creating art so this will by all means not replace the watercolors and other paints in my classroom but it is definitely a fun new addition to our art tools.

AND Guess what? You could have these in your classroom too! I have been given permission by this company to have a giveaway featuring their awesome product. The giveaway prize will include a 12 pack of their Kwik Stixs. 

All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below! I just know you will love these as much as I do. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth Day Sale

I am joining my #kinderfriends in an Earth day sale.  My ENTIRE store will be 20% off from April 22-23. Just click Kindergarten Boom Boom to find some great deals! Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Earth Day Blog Hop FREEBIE

Welcome to the #kinderfriends Earth Day blog Hop! Earth Day is a day that is filled with ton of fun and learning for us. We take the whole day to read, write, graph, and help our Earth.  Here are a few classroom ideas and a FREEBIE (at the end **It will only be a freebie until April 30, 2016) that you can put to use in your classroom.

First, I like to read the book It’s Earth Day by Mercer Mayer. 

It is a great story that teaches kiddos how to conserve energy, reduce, reuse, recyce, and to take care of our environment. It has wonderful words to extend vocabulary like: climate, energy, reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

We gather on the carpet to read and discuss this story and why it is so important to take care of our Earth.  While I read the kiddos are taking notes on vocabulary words, learning what can be reduced, reused, or recycled, and how to help our Earth. Here are some of the Earth Day Activities found in my FREEBIE at the end of this post:

A second fun activity is to take a “Trash Hunt” and walk around the school armed with several different types of bags for different objects we find. The students each get a plastic grocery store bag and then use permanent marker to label the bags plastic, trash, food, plastic, etc. Then they decide who is going to work together to find the most of whatever waste is written on their bag.

A third fun activity is to watch a brain pop video clip. The characters are great and kiddos can really follow the story lines. They have a great one on Reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can find clicking here.

Finally, my favorite thing of all is to make seed paper. This paper when made and used properly can be planted in pots or the ground and as the seeds grow the paper composts away leaving nothing behind but a beautiful flower or vegetable garden and no waste. You can also cut the paper into any shape and give as gifts to others to spread the word on helping our Earth. Here is how you do it:

First shred some paper into strips. (The kiddos love doing this part). The smaller the strips the better. Then soak the paper for at least an hour in a bowl of water. The longer the paper soaks the better it will turn out. (So if you can leave it overnight, it is probably the best way to go.) Then gently pull the paper out of the old water and put the soaked paper in a blender. Fill the blender half way with fresh water. Then blend the paper until you get a paper milkshake like looking material. Pour that mixture into a bowl or a pan and add the seeds. (You can add whatever kinds of seeds that you want to add. I like to use flower seeds.) Make sure that you have added enough seeds throughout the mixture and stir it well. You should be able to see the seeds clearly and all over the mixture. Next you need to use an old window screen or something similar. Pour the mixture into the screen and press it flat. You want it to be a very thin flat layer laying on top of the screen. This will allow all the access water to drain out. Let the mixture dry in the screen for a day or two.  Once it is dry you can pull it out and cut into any shape you want. Finally, you can plant the paper just under the soil in a planter, pot, or in the ground.  All you have to do now is keep the area you planted moist and watch the recycled paper grow into something beautiful!

If you are interested in trying out my Earth Day Activities, You can download the FREEBIE in my TpT store. Just click Earth Day FREEBIE!  

Have fun and thanks for helping to keep our Earth healthy! 

Now you can head over to the next stop Mrs. Byrd's Learning Tree on our blog hop!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Get A Grip Give Away

I have several students in my classroom who have struggled with their pencil grip all year.  I have used tons of different grips with them this year before I finally found some grips that actually work! Have you heard of the new Pencil grips from The Pencil Grip, Inc

I had the honor of testing out a few of their new products in my classroom with my kiddos. After two weeks of use the letter formation was no longer loose and letters were not floating off the page as much.  Just imagine the gains they could have been making if I had these grips at the beginning of the year.
Pinch Grip
Crossover Grip
My favorite grips are the Crossover Grip and the Pinch Grip. The Pinch grip allows the fingers and hand to rest in the proper position while giving even more control. The Crossover grip has everything the Pinch Grip offers but also includes these little wings that stabilize students’ little fingers and keep them from overlapping each other. This company also has a 3 step training kit

This kit includes the stage 1 Crossover Grip, stage 2 Pinch Grip, and stage 3 Pencil Grip. The kit allows students to gradually learn how to hold a pencil and improve their handwriting. I also want to add that ALL of the grips are made out of a very soft material that won’t cause indentions or blisters on those sweet little hands.

I have been given permission by this company to host a giveaway featuring their awesome pencil grips. The giveaway prize will include the above mentioned family of grips along with a User’s Guide.  There will be 2 winners. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to have a chance at winning these for your classroom. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Into Learning Blog Hop

Spring is almost here and I can't wait!! I love this time of year. The little minds are lighting up faster and huge gains are always being made. There is just something so special about seeing those little light bulbs go on! For every holiday my kiddos and I love to spread holiday kindness everywhere. One of the ways we do that is by opening a plastic egg everyday and performing whatever act of kindness is inside. Another way we do this is by "egging" other classrooms and the front office.

First we get busy making our easter bunny hats. (Because you can't deliver Easter Eggs if your not an Easter bunny right??) These hats are SUPER easy to make:

1. Get a manilla folder. and create the template (using the photos below). I created 5 templates so that I could have one for each team.
2. Get the large 9x12 construction paper. (White if you want to let them color, or any color that they think the Easter Bunny is....)
2. Lay the large paper flat on the table and allow the kiddos to trace the pattern onto the paper.
3. Cut on the lines.
4. Fold the center portion back and glue it to the left and right sides of the "left over" construction paper.
5. Wear them! They are soooooo STINKIN cute!

Personally I LOVE the first Bunny hats, but if you are short on time........another option for hats could be a paper plate:
(I found this one on Pinterest.)

The next step is too spread some kindness in the classroom and school grounds. Depending on how Easter falls each year, I prepare anywhere between 5-30 plastics eggs for this part.  All I do is print out some random acts of kindness cards:

Then fold them, stick them inside a plastic egg, and number the eggs with a sharpie. Each day a kiddo will pick a different egg to open. Then we simply read and follow the instructions inside.

The final step of our Classroom Kindness is to go around the school and EGG other classrooms. 
1. Fill Eggs with a special wrapped treat.
2. Write sweet notes using the egg writing paper and also put them in the egg.
3. Hide them in another classroom and hang the You've been EGGed sign on their door.
This is so much fun and the kiddos really get into it. If you would like to try it, you can get it in my store for only $1.50


I challenge you to spread a little Easter Kindness this year! Thanks so much for hopping by!

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