Saturday, January 31, 2015

EDExpo 2015

I am super excited about attending EDExpo 2015 this year! In just a few weeks, superintendents, curriculum coordinators, school purchasing officials, and retailers of educational brick & mortars and online venues will converge on Atlanta, Georgia for the premier showcase of educational supplies, materials, furnishings, and products. 

I was at last year's event in Dallas, and enjoyed learning about some pretty awesome products. I'm really looking forward to going to Atlanta, and can't wait to see what's in store this year. There promises to be innovations covering every facet of learning, from instructional materials, teaching aids, and technology products to educational games, toys, and supplies! Can't wait to discover them!

About 50 bloggers are going to be touring the exhibit floor, looking for the latest and greatest products that you're going to want to have in your classroom. I can't wait to meet up with old friends and new faces! What a terrific up with bloggy friends and discovering new & innovative products for our classrooms! Stay tuned.....three more weeks & we'll be sharing all about the latest gotta-have-it for all of our classrooms!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Valentine Sale! Stock up for February!

Are you ready to think about February yet? Ready to stock up on some Valentine resources? Some of my favorite bloggy friends & I are having a sale to close out the month & get ready for the sweetest month of the year! My entire store is 20% off, and you can grab some sweet Valentine resources, too!

These are some of my FAVorite Math Workstation/Center Activities:
Focus on fractions with this sweet Uno-inspired fration game. It's played just like Uno, so the focus is on the skill, not learning how to play the game. Equivalent fractions, anyone? It's all here! I also love that kiddos are practicing comparing fractions of a whole AND fractions of a set! And aren't these chocolate bars and chocolate-covered strawberries look super yummy? 

Here are a couple of super fun fluency games. One for addition and one for multiplication...

And, of course, Valentine I Spys!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sew a Circuit! #STEM

Being one of the STEM mentors for my building, I get to learn about, do, & be trained for some super cool stuff! Earlier this week, we learned about e-textiles...wearable electronics. The trainers brought
some examples: backpacks, purses, bracelets, and shirts with LED lights sewn right in (anyone thinking ugly Christmas sweater yet? haha). We actually made a bookmark during the training.

It is surprisingly simple! To do a similar product, you'll need

As part of the lesson on circuits, you can let kiddos explore with the batteries, LED lights, & some alligator clips....can they make their LED light up? Can they get two lights one one battery to light up? Can they get more than two? After they've discovered that you need positive to positive & negative to negative, you're ready to move into creating the bookmark.
Planning is the first step. They'll need to map out their design. Where will the battery pack be sewn on? Where will the LED go? They'll need to map out the line of stitches that will lead from the positive side of the battery pack to the positive side of the LED....& the same for the negative sides. **Make sure that the lines of stitches do not touch or cross. Doing so will cause the battery to short out.**

After planning, you're ready to start sewing. Starting on either the positive or negative side of the battery pack, take at least 3 stitches through the top hole to attach the pack to the felt. Use a simple straight stitch to follow the line of stitches previously planned (I chose a zigzag for mine). When you get to the spot where the LED will be placed, again make sure to use 3 stitches or so to attach the LED to the felt. The three stitches will help make sure that there is a good connection.  Then do the same for the negative side. 

After the pieces are sewn on, you're ready to add the decorative elements. I simply used felt to make a rocket ship on mine. Some people designed theirs with flowers, aliens, monsters, kites, etc.

That's it! It's pretty simple & extremely cool! 
I'm really looking forward to doing this in the classroom with my kiddos! They're going to flip! We're also looking in to the possibility of adding this activity to our Science/Math Family Night. And remember when I asked if anyone was thinking ugly Christmas sweater? How cool would this be as a PBL where kiddos design & create their own ugly Christmas sweater?! How would you incorporate this activity in your classroom or school? I'd love to hear more ideas!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just a little overwhelmed....

Anyone else feel like they could use a personal assistant? And I'm not even talking about the  dishes, laundry, & cooking here at home (although it would be MARvelous to have an assistant for that! Hint! Hint! Mr. PrimaryInspired!). Am I the only one who is feeling positively, absolutely
& exhausted 
this year? 
It's NOT just me .... right? It seems like we just have so many new things on our shoulders this year: new assessments to administer, new instructional strategies that are to be implemented, new meetings we're expected to attend, not to mention a new state assessment to administer (which we have not seen)....just too many news to keep track of! 
You too?

Phew! Just a little...stressed, I'd say. I've decided the prescription to combat this feeling of being overwhelmed comes in just two words:
I snapped a picture of my desk as I left my classroom this evening. If this isn't a sign of someone who needs organization & balance, I don't know what is! 

One of my first steps toward overcoming this stress is to tame this disorganized mess! can you not feel overwhelmed when you're faced with this each day? My good friend, Jen, over at 4mula Fun has an awesome series on her blog about organization. I've gotten some great ideas for getting my classroom under control. I am so looking forward to getting in there & whipping it back into shape.
Now. As far as balance......I have some ideas, but I admit that I need some more ideas! 
How do you achieve balance? How do you balance everything that's expected of you & keep all of the plates spinning successfully? Please share below! I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Day Back -- Now a Snow Day & BIG SALE!

Cuh.RA.Zy! Today was our first day back. So happy to see my kiddos! Then - SURPRISE! - Snow day tomorrow! You know what we always say....."There's SNOW better way to spend a day than with a $1 Sale!". Make sure to stay with me til the end to see all the terrific products that are on sale! There are over 100!!

So. First day back. We had a great lots of things done (but not everything -- am I the only one that happens to?)

We made sure to disinfect our classroom. We had SO much illness before Christmas with 25% of my kiddos out -- including ME -- those last two weeks before break, I am on a mission to keep us as all as healthy as we can! Did you see my post about staying healthy in & out of the classroom? Here are some of the things I started doing TODAY:

  • Made sure to keep my drink away from kid areas like my small group table.
  • Moved the community tissues AWAY from my desk.
  • Disinfected the handles to the cabinets & the classroom door.
  • Washed my hands even more than I already did.
  • Disinfected our classroom tables.
  • Moved dry erase markers to containers that only I can access for only me to use.

Wish we were back in school tomorrow...I had have so much planned for us to do! But that's gives my Indiana blogger friends & I a chance to bring you all a little fun! It seems we're all either home Wednesday on a 2-hour delay or a snow day, so we know what? "There's SNOW better way to spend a day than with a DOLLAR SALE!" let's have one! So here ya go....over 100 products all marked down to just one dollar! Wednesday & Thursday only, you can grab all of these for just $1!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Without further ado.....
# 10 Colorize Your Classroom

#9 Guided Math Conferences

#8 Movies to Get Brains Moving!

#7 Busy Week!

#6 Shark Week!
(Pssst!! There are FREEBIES here!)

#5 Set Up a Classroom FAST!

#4 Puzzles for Centers?!

#3 Racing Thru Those 'Laps' - Elapsed Time

#2 Make Your Life Easier

#1 Talk So Kids Will Listen

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stay Healthy In & Out of the Classroom

Ugh...during the month of December, what started as a pretty mean sinus infection segued into a bout of pneumonia. I felt like I was functioning in survival mode for the entire month...& ended up having to be out of my classroom for SIX days right before Christmas break. December was kind of a bust....the holidays happened. That's about all I can say about that. haha!

During the last two weeks of school, 25% of my kiddos were also out sick. Notice a pattern? Yeah....for all of our sakes, it's time to pay attention to staying healthy in & out of the classroom. I scoured the internet, & asked real teachers for their own tips & tricks....

1. Stock up on antibacterial wipes, Lysol, & even latex gloves. Make sure to check your district's policy on antibacterail wipes & hand sanitizer. Consider sending home a note asking for donations from families!
2. Declutter! It's much easier to wipe down a clear surface.
3. Lysol all tables, desks, & surfaces daily. Don't forget doorknobs, faucet handles, or cabinet handles!
4. Wipe down computer keyboards, headphones, & telephone with antibacterial wipes. Wear latex gloves when using antibacterial wipes...the solution can soak into your skin & kills the good along with the bad bacteria. Your body needs the good bacteria to fight off illness.
5. Use latex gloves when cleaning areas in your classroom....especially areas like student desks or workstations.
6. Place tissues & hand sanitizer in multiple places around the room, near trash cans, for easy access for your students' use.

1. Never use the same tissues as your students. Keep the community tissue box away from your desk. Put it in another area so that coughs & sneezes don't land in your area. Establish
2. Never use students' pencils, crayons, or scissors. Consider wearing an apron in which to store your supplies, or purchasing a lanyard pen.
3. Don't allow students to use YOUR materials. Your scissors, pens, markers, & dry erase markers should be OFF LIMITS to students. Keep a basket of dry erase markers near your easel or whiteboard for student use (just make sure to routinely disinfect these!)
4. Never touch your face during the school day. Don't rub your eyes, scratch your nose, etc. It's a hard habit to break...but so important to do!
5. Make sure to keep your water bottle or cup away from student areas. Don't bring it with you to your small group table where kiddos may cough near it!
6. Wear latex gloves when sharpening student pencils.

1. Teach kiddos to cough or sneeze in their elbows instead of their hands. The material will stop the spread of droplets, which contain germs. Since the inside of the elbow rarely touches other surfaces, the likelihood of spreading germs is greatly reduced. By the way...did you know that research shows when someone coughs or sneezes in their hands, germs can live on the palms for UP TO 3 HOURS?!
2. Modify morning greetings so that kiddos aren't shaking hands. Maybe a fist bump or a silly elbow shake?
3. Teach kiddos to keep their hands away from their nose, eyes, or mouths. When you notice a child touching his/her face, give a gentle reminder, & have him/her go wash their hands.
4. Make it a habit to have kiddos wash their hands any time they enter the room. Kiddos are exposed to a wide variety of items that have been touched by others in playgrounds, cafeterias, gym class, & other common areas.

1. Wash your hands often. Hand sanitizer will kill bacteria...but does nothing against viruses. A good old hand washing with soap & water will wash away viruses.
2. Wash your hands & arms up to your elbows with hot water & soap as soon as you get home. This will prevent you from bringing home germs that will make your family sick.
3. Change your clothes as soon as you get home so you don't spread germs from school around your home.
4. Drink plenty of water daily. Staying hydrated is crucial to your health. Just make sure to keep your water away from areas where it could be exposed to germs from coughs or sneezes.
5. Get plenty of rest! Getting enough sleep each night helps your body fight off those germs & viruses.
6. Consider getting a flu shot each year.
7. Take a good daily multi-vitamin.
8. Consider looking into essential oils. Many teachers swear by them & diffuse them in their classrooms and homes every day.

Any other tips or tricks? I'd love to hear them!!