Monday, March 31, 2014

April Currently

April Currently... even though it is technically currently March.

Hello spring....says the girl from California who had 80 degree days in January this year.

Even still, I am glad it is officially a new season. And I am glad to be linking up with Farley for this fun!


LISTENING:

Okay so now that Bachelor is done... I'm searching for something new... and then guess what! The new season of 19 Kids and Counting is about to start.

Right now, I am just refreshing my memory with a little re-run action in the background.

But soon... we get the season of Jessa and her "courtship."

I am always intrigued by this family with so many kids and yet all of them are so polite and well mannered.

But even when based on a wholesome family, I always feel guilt after watching reality TV!

LOVING:

Elf products! Um, not the Christmas helper... the makeup line that stands for Eyes, Lips, Face. Have you heard of it?

I hadn't until last week when one of my friends who only uses Smashbox and fancy stuff like that told me she likes this brand that you can buy at Target or Walgreens....

I went crazy....
Each product costs $1, $2 or $3..... and the foundation was $6. And although it has only been a few days... I love this stuff.

THINKING:

I should clean now so that I can enjoy Spring Break when it arrives.

April 14-18 is when it comes and I don't want to feel like I should be cleaning. Plus I have a few fun little mini-trips planned and it is no fun to come home to a mess, right?


WANTING:

I want you to enter my giveaway!

Not to be pushy... but hey... who doesn't like to win things?

Two people will win my Pattern Block Math: Ocean Animals Edition... here's the best part... you'll get an e-copy AND a hard copy {in full color} mailed to you!

Yes, I like to use old fashioned "snail mail" still.

So go enter... CLICK HERE



NEEDING:

I go in waves with exercise....which isn't good. And of course with Spring Break on its way I NEED to get my act together.

When you are running do you ever play a game with yourself? I do. So this is me running on the path yesterday {Sidenote: I like stopping for a quick picture because let's be honest... I want to catch my breath!}
I will say things like, "If I can run past 20 more sets of palm trees without stopping I get to have a Starbucks in the morning!" The list is long of stupid things I say to myself to get a move on.

I love when that Runkeeper lady tells me "Workout Complete!" That is much better than any of the things I bribe myself with!


HOURS and LAST DAY!

First of all, I know... many of you people are going to be telling me about some day in May you finish... and I will be jealous.... and then I will let you be jealous in August.

And can we talk about June 17th being a Tuesday?? Weird! But hey, it is earlier than normal for us...so  I will take it!

Now pop on over to Oh Boy Fourth Grade to read some other fun posts!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Because I am Too Lazy to Make Puffy Paint

Yep... you read that title right. I can be lazy... not all the time, but I have seen so many posts about homemade puffy paint and thought my kiddos would L.O.V.E. that, but....ain't nobody got time that.

So if you want to make your own puffy paint {I applaud you} and you can check out this post from Meaningful Mama or this microwave version at Mommy Labs.

If you are lazy like me...read on.

I also read on many blogs of the idea to mix some food coloring in glue. Ok... that is sounding more my speed.

That idea works, but I chose to add paint to my glue. Why? Because the paint gives it a thicker consistency than just plain ol' glue has on its own.

So that is it: glue + paint = .....and well, I wasn't sure is it Glue Paint or Paint Glue?

I choose Paint Glue.
Those are all the ingredients you need: paint {any color you like}, glue and some type of stirring device. I use tempera paint, not the legit tempera paint with egg in it... you know, school style paint. I would think that acrylic paint would work too.

I wait for my glue bottles to be nearly empty and use those. Not sure where these strange brand of glue in the photo came from, but their tops don't clog up so I {heart} them. Click HERE to read my "Glue Problems" post about un-clogging bottles that stop working and drive you crazzzy!

I pour paint in the nearly empty bottle and stir. Then add a little more glue and a little more paint and stir again.... and repeat again. 
When you are done stirring it will look light blue {or whatever color} because of the white color of the glue, but when it dries it will be the original  dark version of the color because the glue dries clear. If anything, I feel like it may be a smidge darker.

So sometimes I mix in white paint as well to lighten the final product just so it will look more similar to its "wet version" that the kids see when they are using it.

I make labels.... and then you are done!
They aren't glamorous.... but they are fun!

Remember, the whole reason we are adding paint as opposed to food coloring is to make this concoction is little thicker so it won't bleed all over the paper and look like this:
Is that a six? Yes, it is, but how frustrating for the little ones. This means you have to much glue and need a little more paint!

I don't have exact measurements for you....just a little of both. Try not to fill the bottle to the top because it is easier to stir and you need to stir it A LOT!!

I will be be doing a post soon about ideas for using paint glue.... for now you can see these:

This is for a class book we made.... more info on that HERE

And here is another idea....

The possibilities are endless and it is so good for fine motor practice which kinder and preschool friends NEED! And you know what... some of our first grade little ones do too!

Stay tuned for more on Paint Glue!

P.S. Have you entered my Giveaway yet? Click HERE.... hurry it ends Thursday, April 3, 2014!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five for Friday

Is it Spring Break yet? Oh...no? Well, at least it is Friday...

That means it is time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday!

1. First up...TpT Spring Sale. No one told me about this... then I saw a lot of other peeps sporting a sale and I decided to get in on this fun. Click HERE to check out my store!


I know what you are thinking.... if a fellow TpT seller were to jump off a bridge would I do that too? Hmm... maybe?


2. Yesterday I uploaded a new little number to TpT....


The best part, if you ask me.... is that there is a giveaway and 2 winners will each get this Pattern Block Unit.... both by email and a "real" one in your mailbox. Click HERE to read more and to enter.


3.  We have been entomologists this entire month of March. We ordered caterpillars from Insectlore and kept butterfly journals the entire month documenting the changes of our tiny caterpillars to beautiful butterflies.

In the beginning some of our entries were done as a shared writing activity {above}. And later they wrote on their own {below.}

I was impressed at how many of them thought to look to previous journal entries to find words such as "chrysalis" or even "caterpillars." Smart cookies!
The butterfly you see me holding was the last to go. He literally wanted to stay with us. Okay with me... that meant so many of them got to have him sit on their finger.

This butterfly journal is part of my butterfly mini unit.... and in case you forgot, please refer to #1 of this post to remember.... this is on sale all weekend!

4. Last weekend my school had our annual fundraiser. It is such a fun night and unfortunately in no way do I help my school make money.... BUT I do have fun hanging out with everyone. This is me with a fellow teacher and this year she is also a parent in my classroom.
If you are wondering about the outfit of the man you see in the background.... well it was a pirate theme party.... and the best I can do is a red shirt? Shame on me.... I am usually the one all annoyed when people aren't festive and fun... but I was busy... I had conferences. And well, I was fresh out of pirate.

Maybe next year can be a chevron theme because then I will have plenty to wear. Yeah, I am sure that is high the list for possible themes.

5. Last up.... I will be in Vegas this summer for the Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Conference.... but earlier this week I got this in the mail:

And well, I attended it in 2012 and then in 2013 I was also there, but unable to attend as many of the sessions.... and I think we need to go for a 3-peat... where I do at least two days?  

How can I pass this up when I have a VIP number.... oh yes I do {see purple arrow!} That really made me laugh. I don't think I will be VIP for many other things when I am in that Vegas scene.... but don't worry I will be VIP at I Teach K! Are you going? 

Thanks for stopping by and thank you to Doodle Bugs Teaching  for hosting the Five for Friday!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Make it Rain Pattern Block Style

Tonight was a big night because I finally posted THIS to Teachers Pay Teachers:
Seriously this was a labor of love and I feel like I may need to throw a whole bunch of pattern blocks up in the air {"Make it Rain" style} to celebrate this thing being done. It has been in progress since January....so closure feels good!

Not only is it a labor of love... but this is a team effort.  That's right... my husband helps me with all things pattern block related.  He is extremely artistic and plays around with the blocks creating the animals while watching ESPN.... you know, the ever popular ESPN/Pattern Block combo.

Then I take pictures of what he has made and head on over to the computer to create the digital version. This is the only TpT/blog related thing that he helps me out with and so that makes it fun!

I love pattern blocks! Why? Because the kids love them.... and they think they are playing and I am just tricking them into learning.

These puppies work on spacial awareness, reasoning and problem solving. And with problem solving comes a little practice in patience.

On top of that we are hitting on some of those Math Common Core Standards {K.G.A.2, K.G.A.3, K.G.B.6, 1.G.A.2 and 1.G.A.3}

This set has 4 levels of difficulty depending on your needs:


I like to print out the easiest version that has all the lines of every shape {green} and the most difficult version {purple} and glue them back to back on construction paper. Then the kids can choose which one to try.

Or they can do the easy way first and then flip it over and do it again on their own - and you know what the beauty of it is?  Once they start laying blocks down they can't turn it over and "cheat" ... not that it is really cheating... and yes, they are five years old and I shouldn't even use that word.

But you know what I mean... they just have to figure it out on their own because turning the paper over to see the "answer" will mean starting over....

And there are many ways to cover each animal and my "green/easy" version is just one way.... so sometimes they come up with a whole different combination as I noticed when I walked by and saw the crab above being made!

The dark blue version that has the color words listed works well if you are working on color words. I chose to use the color words as opposed to the shape names since those words are ones we are also working on in language arts. And maybe for others the version with the visual of the pattern block shape is the best {shown below}:

I am so happy these are done.... and my Make it Rain Party isn't enough. To celebrate I am going to give 2 of these away!! And guess what.... not only will I email you this 53 pages of Ocean Animal Fun! I will also mail, mail you a copy.

You know that old fashioned thing called the U.S. Postal service? I will send a hard copy to you so you can save some of your color ink.... and who doesn't like to get mail!?

The giveaway runs from now.... until next Thursday, April 3rd!

If you want to learn more then head on over HERE to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you are still reading this post and have a love of all things Pattern Block-y.... then you may want to know that I also have made a  Zoo Animal Pattern Blocks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Put me in the Zoo {Freebie!}

I have done a few posts sharing my love for Kohl's and their children's book section. {HERE you can find a post ....with a freebie..... for another book currently on sale.}

No, we aren't saying this is your new book store. But Kohl's always offers a handful of hardback children's books for just $5.00. And many times there is a stuffed animal to match {which also costs $5.}

And to make it better. The profits from these sales goes to charity. You can learn more on the Kohl's website. 

I am always scanning for new books. Right now one of the books featured is "Put Me in the Zoo" and you can even buy the matching spotted leopard from this tale.

Here's the thing.... once these books are gone Kohl's will get a new batch of titles in and these will be a thing of the past.  It seems each title is around for 3 months or so.... but don't hold me to that!

In case you are new to Put Me in the Zoo here is the gist: a spotted leopard really wants to live in the zoo. He shows off all the things he can do with his spots: change colors, put them in trees, make them tall, etc. But despite his talents.... they kick him out....

Finally the two children who have witnessed these random acts let him know that actually he should go to the..... wait for it..... spoiler alert...... circus.

And he finds out it is the place for him and he is quite happy...... the end.

This isn't a good book for plot or character development but it is fun as well as good for:
-rhyming words
-color words
-sight words
-simple and repetitive text

We made a fun little class book about what we would do with spots....and although it doesn't sound like the most earth shattering plot idea.... I am LOVING all of their entries.


 If I had spots I would put my spots on every animal in my fish tank.

If I had spots I would throw them in the sky.

If I had spots I would turn them purple and I would put them on a cat.

I have a post coming up soon explaining how we put the spots on these cute creations.

For now.... snag this little Freebie Here and head on over to Kohl's because who doesn't like a $5 hard back book?

And if you have a little zoo action going on in your classroom you may be interested in these fun zoo animal pattern blocks!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wish Fish... Asking Parents for Help

It is Spring Conferences this week and although I have intentions on talking about various ideas for what to share with parents at conference... that isn't today's topic. I'll get back to you on that one....

Instead, I am just sharing my Wish Fish.



This time of year supplies are running low.... and we still have 3 more months to go! Yep, we are still schooling it all the way until June 17th.

I display some "Wish Fish" {That goes with our classroom ocean theme} to request various items from parents.
I am lucky to be in a neighborhood where the parents have the ability to help and provide for us. However, I used to be too shy or worried about asking for more. I had asked for supplies back in September and didn't want to over do it and bother them again....

And just to answer the question some of you may be wondering... Yes, this is a public school and Yes, we need to ask parents to help with basic items such as glue. Our district budget has been cut and it still allows for paper, glitter, pencils and more... but there is plenty it doesn't account for.

I have found that the parents WANT to help. I have also learned that parents will have random connections that I may not know about until I ask.

So, now I ask.

I ask for little things.... and some bigger things... these are "wish" list items so it is okay to ask.

I make it clear that these are optional....
Quick sidenote: I had all my Wish Fish ready to go and then realized Holy Moly! There is no sign to explain this randomness... and that my friends explains why the note above is not written with as much finesse as I would have hoped... :/


I also add this little tidbit because I love me some plastic tubs to recycle and we are crafting like crazy. Plus, this is a nice way for parents who want to show support to help out in a FREE way.

So what do I ask for? Well it varies... and I bet you know what you need. But this is a list that I am sure isn't complete:

*glue sticks
*Ziploc bags {various sizes}
*aluminum foil
*wax paper
*plastic utensils
*paper plates
*tissue
*hand sanitizer
*Lysol wipes
*markers
*Avery labels
*cardstock paper
*astro bright paper
*anti-bacterial hand soap
*clothespins
*pipe cleaners
*googly eyes
*safety pins
*people crayons from Lakeshore {I'm obsessed with these crayons and think it is great for diversity chats}
*coffee filters
*water color paints
*paint brushes
*paper lunch bags

Here are some of the big ticket items. And let me say... last year a parent found out I was only allotted a certain amount of printer ink and she said, "I can get you some of that at a wholesale price and it is no problem- you should have asked me sooner." And I had a dentist one year bring me a lifetime supply of tongue depressors.... so you never know!!

*printer ink
*step ladder
*lamination pouches
*class set of mini white boards {yeah.... this one may not happen}
*new paper cutter
*3-hole punch
*fancy heavy duty stapler {I hate my school issued staplers....HATE}
*fabric iron-on papers and tote bags {to make class take home totes for various things}


What other items would you add to these lists? Please share... I may need to wish for them too!!

And you can tweak this whole concept to your theme! A colleague with a jungle theme puts her items on bananas. A cooking themed classroom could use the phrase "Ingredients to help us learn" and put the items on different fruits and vegetables. We could go on and on.....

I know this isn't the most novel post... but my point is to just ask because if you never ask you will never get anything and you may be surprised at the support you receive.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Glue Problems

Are you ready for what may be the most random blog post ever?

Last week we used more white glue than any classroom should in a single week.

I am a glue stick fan...all the way....all the time. Well, I guess not ALL the time.....

And this past week I am reminded to why I hate am not a fan of white glue....wet glue...Elmer's glue...whatever you call it.

Last week the kids kept telling me, "This isn't working" as they squeeze with enough pressure to burst the glue bottle itself.

I go over there thinking they hadn't twisted the top open or there was a bit of dried glue on the top.....

But no, they were right....They WERE NOT working.

These bottles are new and it's annoying. So today I just want to share my little solution to this issue.... and I have found that this little tip will make the flow of glue work for at least a few months.

So here is what you can do.....

I put the lids {twisted open} in a cup with hot water.
Now do you notice that glue bottle in the background?

Here is the problem.... it says "School Glue" which means it is the "washable" and "no run" style glue. What this means is the glue will "no run" through the cap and onto the paper. Avoid this type and just get regular glue.

I have parents supply our glue and this is how "School Glue" and I continue to meet! {And yes, I do say "please don't get the School Glue" on my supply list.} However, I am thankful for all donations, don't get me wrong....hence, this sophisticated system I have made up.

Back to our glue rehabilitation..... Then I pour nail polish remover into the lid.

I let it soak like that for a few hours and ...voila!!!  They work again!

I hate throwing things away that can still be used. I really do try to recycle and reuse things. So I know some people may read this and think wow! Just buy new glue lady......that would be easier, but it is wasteful.

So as annoyed as this glue stoppage is I just thought I would share my slightly cumbersome way to fix it.

And here is some of our gluing from last week that I shared earlier on:
{And P.S. this little caterpillar glue fest is a freebie on my Facebook page...glue not included!}

Click Here for another glue related post you may enjoy...... I sure have a lot to say about a product I apparently hate don't care for, huh?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five for Friday

Five For Friday time...again!?! Wow! Let's get right to it.

1. This first one is important. My sweet friend, Danielle, is raising money to build a school in Nicaragua using Pencils of Promise.

I am truly impressed that she is doing this and can't express what a sweet and kind soul Danielle is. Like me, she LOVES to travel. She has combined that passion with her love to help others!!

She plans to go there and help build it herself. Wait... did you read that sentence? She wants to help build the school herself.

She actually just got back from Central America in December where she was volunteering in schools for several months.

Here is a video one of our other friend's made to help Danielle:



And just for fun...here is me and sweet Danielle about a year ago at the Color Run.

So please consider helping Danielle at Pencils of Promise! You will really be helping a whole bunch of little ones who may otherwise not have a chance at an education.

2. This week my little ones made finished some cute little caterpillars with an Eric Carle flair to them. {Spoiler Alert: The template and directions for  this is a freebie on my Facebook page!}

Last week I showed you some action shots of us marble painting and "gadget" painting
{Here they are again in case you missed it}

Gadget painting is taking any toy and putting paint on it... the possibilities are endless. We used one of those bristle builder blocks this year...try toy cars.... it is a fun mess!

We also did string painting {my fave} and this Valentine post has a few more directions on how to do it.

I wrote a whole post about this last year HERE

But this year you don't even get a picture of them cute on a bulletin board...no we aren't to that stage yet...these are hot off the press!! aka.... on the ground drying still!
As you can tell... this project is time consuming.... but look at them! It's worth it. I'm just noticing that one caterpillar has seven legs and each should have only had 6..not based on science... based on how many legs each of them painted...so now I can't wait to see whose creation that 7-legged friend is.

Here is one of my little ones putting his together {that is my sample on the top and you can see how some of the painting is different because I change it up a bit each year}
 You can grab all the parts and directions for free to make this little caterpillar yourself

Just hop on over to my Facebook Page and click the yellow tab "Freebies for Fans"


3. So as you may have guessed we are learning about insects right now! The kids are so excited about this whole unit!

These painted fluttering friends prove that we have been painting machines lately with this and that caterpillar. There have been many a paintbrush washed in my classroom lately.


We have caterpillars in class we are observing and keeping a science journal on using materials from my Butterfly Mini Unit

4. I went to Malibu Wines with some friends last weekend. Um, it was a beautiful place and it didn't hurt that the sun was out!
And although my report cards were calling my name and causing me stress- I am so glad I still went.

And that is actually why it made my Five for Friday. The point is... Life goes on when we are stressed even though sometimes it seems like there is too much on my plate.

Sometimes when I have deadlines and work is on overload I say no to things like a girls' day...or I don't exercise... or skip out on whatever. And it isn't worth it.... and yes, I am sharing this with you, but more so, I am telling it to ME because I forget it way too often.

And in case you were wondering...yes, still finished the cards in time and life is just fine.

5. Did you hear about the Product Swap? A bunch of us bloggers swapped some of our products AND not only are we sharing all the fun new stuff we got to try out and use we are also giving them away too! 
Hurry it ends at midnight TONIGHT!! So click HERE and go enter!!

That wraps it up for me! Thank you as always to Doodle Bugs Teaching for this Friday linky! 

Enjoy your weekend.