Sunday, April 13, 2014

Updated Easter Centers

Do you ever wish you could revisit the past?  Well, yesterday I got the opportunity to do that as I updated the FIRST product I ever created.  Seriously, y'all, I didn't know anything about cute fonts, borders, and back then Krista Wallden and Enlightened Elephant didn't exist.  It was so funny to see just how much I have learned and changed over the last two years.  Much of the product was still great, but like an old house, it needed a little fine tuning.

Here's a side by side picture of the old cover and new cover?  Sure you don't notice any differences, right?  I think my favorite part is my title.  I was really original on my old version wasn't I?
Not only did I update the cover, but I added seven centers.  I decided twelve centers sounded a lot better than five.  Plus, my kiddos are needing to get some math practice in over the next few weeks.  I know for me, I don't like buying centers unless I can see what I am buying, so if you check the preview, there is one center for free.  Below I've also included pictures of 90% of what you will be getting.
If you are interested in grabbing this set of centers, you can click on any of the images to go grab them.  Oh, and I left the original price.  Until Easter, you can get all twelve centers for $6.  That's $.50 a center or in a way half off since I doubled the packet.  I'm also giving away TWO of these sets on my Facebook fan page.  Make sure you click the image below to go enter.
Now, last but not least, be sure to check out this incredible giveaway I'm getting to do.  The Learning Station and I have teamed up and they have given me an $80 BUNDLE of DVDS to give to one of my fans.  Seriously?  You don't get better than that and unlike most giveaways, it is only four clicks.


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Happy Sunday Friends!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas: Testing Treats

It's that time of the month again.  Time for the Bright Ideas Blog Hop.
I was on Spring Break this week, so I was struggling to think of a topic and then I remembered that in the next few weeks most teachers will be facing some sort of standardized testing or benchmarks and I thought, "What if I blog about testing treats?"
First off, I promise I don't do ALL of these in my classroom.  I just wanted some variety.  I wanted to give you ideas that may include candy, snacks, healthy snacks, or items you can use.

I found ALL of the things I needed at Target, but I am certain you can get most of them at the Dollar Store, Walmart, or the grocery store.



A few other things I do during testing week to try to help with any stress my kids may be feeling is I have their parents write them a note for each day, I have breakfast ready for them when they get to the class, and at the end of the week, we have a pizza party.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following me on Facebook, TPT, or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!



Have fun hopping!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday

It's time for Five for Friday by DoodleBugs Teaching.  This one will definitely be one of my favorite ones because I have some cool things to share.

I took these pictures last week.  Our kindergarten TAs are just amazing!  Love all the colors and habitats!  They turned out great!
Do you see this pile?  I got a new printer for Christmas and literally JUST hooked it up two days ago.  I am in love!  I'm trying to get ahead and get everything printed off that I'm going to need the next few weeks.
Freebies?  Did I hear that you wanted a freebie?  Well, since Easter is coming up and unfortunately so is testing, I pulled out a few of my freebies from last year.  I hope you enjoy!
Do you like Brain Breaks?  Well, I am in LOVE with The Learning Station brain breaks.  I found them on YouTube last year.  They are perfect for rainy days and my kids ask for them over a movie when we are stuck inside.  Here's the thing.  I ordered one of the DVDs a few weeks ago and thought, "I'd love to be able to share these with my followers."  Guess what?  We are doing just that!  I contacted my friends at The Learning Station and they are letting me give away ONE DVD bundle!  Friends, it is worth $80.  You have a week to enter and I seriously can't wait to make someone's day next week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, I've been looking for some fun things to do with my class that are more hands-on, especially after testing in a few weeks.  Here's a picture of one of my favorites - walking on eggs. Why yes, we will be doing that in my classroom in two weeks.  If you don't believe me, ask my friends.  I'll try anything once.  You can read more about how to do this on Playdough to Plato.  Oh, and make sure you check out Quirky Momma on Facebook.  She posts the neatest things to try with your kids and even in your classroom.
Have a Fantabulous Friday!

The Learning Station Giveaway

I promise I will keep this post short, but I am SO excited!  Last year, I started looking for brain break videos online.  I found some, but they were a little too long.  Well, I looked on YouTube and stumbled onto videos by The Learning Station.  I had never heard of them, but my kiddos and I fell in love.  Actually, if we are going to be honest, the entire first grade fell in love.

So, fast forward a year and I decided that I really wanted to have a DVD.  I bought one and as I was watching it, I immediately thought that I wish all my followers knew about them and how it would be awesome to be able to give away a DVD.

Well, I contacted The Learning Station and friends, I love them even more.  They immediately wanted to team up and not just offer one DVD, but their ENTIRE bundle.  Seriously?  An $80 bundle of DVDs that get your kids moving… what could be better than that?

Make sure that you enter the giveaway below!  Unlike most giveaways, you just have to like four places to be entered to win.  It is that simple.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about their awesome DVDs and other products, you can visit www.learningstationmusic.com.
Happy Friday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

STEM Day

Alright, this post is a few weeks overdue, but it's one of those posts that is going to be jam packed with information.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss anything.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on my fan page that I was getting ready to do a STEM Day.  In case you don't know what STEM is it stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math.  Basically, STEM gives your kiddos a chance to practice problem solving.  You give them a task and within that task you mix in at least three of the four areas.  For example, if they need to build a bird house, you may work that into an animal unit, have them research how to build a bird house, actually build the house, and then graph or measure all the materials used.

That sounds like a lot, but it's really a lot of fun.  Plus, your kiddos will think that they are playing all day.  I know this because that's what my kids said to me.  Over and over they kept telling me it was the best day ever because they thought they got to play all day.

So, how do you pull off a STEM Day?  Here's what I did.  I made a schedule so I knew what I was trying to get done in one day.


Then, I made a list of all the materials I needed to get.  Honestly, I had most of the materials already.  The materials I didn't have were pretty cheap.  I managed to get everything I needed from The Dollar Tree or Target.

Alright, so here are pictures of the lessons we did.  I found several of these on Teachers Pay Teachers, so if it's from TPT, I'll give you a link so you can grab it.
This was one of my favorite challenges.  You break your students into groups of four.  You give them 40 mini glasses (I found mine at Target).  Then, they have 20 minutes to make the tallest structure possible.
You can get this activity from Smart Chick.
This challenge was fun, but I have to say it didn't go as planned.  No idea what we did wrong, but we kept stacking boxes and boxes of crayons on my kids' bridges and it held it all.  I gave my kids the exact tools that it said to give them.  We used crayons instead of pennies as the weights.  My kids figured out very quickly to spread the straws out, tape them down, and stack everything on top.  

 I'd still recommend this activity and even this packet.  Several of my teammates did the activity where their kids had to build a Peep boat that would float.  It turned out awesome!  Here are some pictures from one of my teammates.

You can get this packet from Smart Chick.
I have to say, this was one of my favorite activities.  I got the idea from the Pumpkin Roll by Regina Davis. Since an Egg Roll didn't exist I just made it up as I went.  I gave my kids 12 straws, 20 small popsicle sticks, 7 pieces of paper, tape, and a plastic egg.  My kids had to build a ramp and see which team would have an egg roll the furthest.  Once the kids got started building their ramps, I decided to build a ramp too.  We had tons of fun on this one!

Okay, so are you good at reading directions and looking over all your materials?  Well, I have a way of not doing that.  I had a ton of fun on this challenge, but to be honest, first off, we used materials recommended and then grabbed whatever else was out of place in my classroom or what we could find outside.

The next part was fun.  We talked about zoos, looked at pictures of zoos, and then each kid drew a picture of an animal habitat he/she wanted to create.  Then, the kids went back to their groups and had to pick one drawing to use as their model.  Surprisingly, they narrowed them down pretty quickly.

So, here's where I messed up.  My kids get their models done and they looked great!  Well, I go to return supplies to one of my teammates and I notice her landform models and her Activboard.  Oops!  We did habitats, but we were supposed to build specific landforms.  Probably why it's named Landforms, huh?  So, I have pictures of my teammate's boxes so you can see it done right.  Honestly, I kind of forgot to get good pictures of mine, so I'll try to add them after Spring Break.  By the way, we ended up moving this to the following day and we worked on our boxes for around an hour and a half.
 You can find this project at Ivy Taul's TPT store.
This was one of my favorite activities because it was following a solid week of rain.  My kids really related to the fact that they had to come up with a way to keep the playground dry for when it rains.  I gave my kids 10 notecards, 8 straws, Play-Doh, tape, and a "Playground" (An 8x11 piece of paper with a playground drawn on it).  I also had a spray bottle, so when 15 minutes was up, I went around and sprayed the top of each playground five times.

As crazy as it sounds, this was the hardest ones for my kids to figure out.  It also ended up being the one that caused them to argue a little because they had differing opinions on how to do this.

Now, I know you see Challenge 6 at the top.  We did Challenge 6, but I completely forgot to take pictures.  It went okay, but it required a lot of adult help, so I'm going to try it again next year and hopefully then it will work perfectly.

So, if you've gotten this far you are probably thinking this may be fun.  Here are a few tips.
I put breaks between each activity so I had time to pull things together.  I kept all my supplies in one bag.  Then, I would take what I needed and put them into plastic organizers.  This helped a lot with getting things passed out and with clean up.
 Each packet had recording sheets with it.  We did the sheets together using our Activboard and our Ladibug.  We still wrote down different answers on certain parts, but it made it much easier to discuss doing it together.  It also gave me a few minutes to redo containers and to clean up all the materials between each challenge.

 Alright, I hope this post helped you some.  I know my teammates and I have decided that we want to use some of these next year for our Fun Fridays.  Most of these activities are just right for that amount of time.