Monday, August 19, 2019

Who Has the Honey? (MM Activity/Game)

My principal at my old school showed me this game about 20 years ago.  My kids loved it then and they love it now.  It's a short and fun morning meeting activity that produces lots of giggles.  I usually play 3-5 rounds at the meeting.

Who Has the Honey?

1. Everyone sits in a circle except one child who is the Honeybee.

2. Honeybee closes eyes while you give one child a jar of honey to hide behind back.  (I have modified this to a laminated picture of a honey jar that child sits on to hide.)

3. Once hidden, the honeybee turns around while the rest of circle chants:

Busy Bee, Busy Bee, where's your honey?
Someone took it and that's not funny!
Listen to the buzz, the buzz of bees!
Find the honey and we'll feel sunny!

Everyone EXCEPT the child with the honey, starts buzzing really loud like a bee.  The honey holder PRETENDS to make the buzzing bee sound but is silent.

The honeybee goes around listening to each child and identifies the child who isn't buzzing.  Then that child becomes the honeybee.

Grab these certificates (and the honey picture if you don't want to hide a sticky jar) if you feel it would help generate conversation at home.


Monday, August 12, 2019

The Urge to Purge

John and I moved into our house almost twenty years with two kids.  We have a very large unfinished basement that can hold a heck of a lot of JUNK!  Furniture that's still good but isn't wanted anymore? "Let's store it in the basement."  All the kids sports equipment that they wanted "just in case?"  "Let's store it in the basement."  Books that couldn't possibly fit onto our shelves?  "Let's store them in the basement." The wedding gifts like a glass swan that you never used but felt guilted into keeping? Yep. The basement.  Here's one of those gems:

You get the idea.

After cleaning out my parents house with 50 years of accumulation over the past year, I had a sudden urge to purge my house..  The truth is, while fun to look at ALL the stuff my parents left behind, it has been overwhelming to sort through it all.  Lots of junk, lots of sentimental items, ALL needed to be dealt with. It was hard.  Emotional.  It made me realize I had to purge NOW.

Don't get me wrong, we've bagged unwanted clothes before and gave away to others.  But this summer, we had the VA truck come three times with 20+ boxes each time left for pickup.  But this time, everything that we hadn't touched or felt hasn't touched us, (Yes, we referred to it Marie Kondo style, "Bring us joy!") was put out.  That included almost brand new bikes, TONS of Lenox china, silver candle holders (a lot of them), perfectly kept games, RAZOR Scooters, anything with a tag still on it, complete sets of nice dishes, etc.  I bet 35% was brand new stuff never used.  Shame on us.

We had rented a dumpster about ten years ago but you'd never know it.  We are not hoarders.  Honest.  We just accumulated way too much stuff.  Things we bought, were given, emotionally attached to (like a crib which could never meet today's standards) or, in John's case won in a contest.  Like the canoe grill.  Really???  (For the record, john has won 5 grills to date!  Two gas.)

So what about the junk? The huge landscaping slabs of slate that were dangerous to have around? My daughters desk from childhood that really wasn't very stable and missing a side?  The 1990 over-the-top computer desk that was still up but not used in 20 years and was an eyesore?   (With old computer tower still in it?)  Broken down and tossed in one of these:

*Electronics brought to recycling

We're still not done.  Our goal is to conquer holiday directions and we are confident we can get rid of at least 35% which hasn't been used, broken, or just doesn't bring us joy.

Oh, one last thing.  When purging, you do find some treasures that may not be worth anything but make your heart swell.  I will keep those to myself but they involve my parents as well as my own family treasures that resurfaced and made my heart burst.  But here is one to share that is neat from my parents' house.  There was only a handful of stuff left on the dining room table to look through...again.  "If no one wants anything, it will go in the dumpster.)  What was left was really random, meaningless things.  Including a postcard type picture that I never bothered to pick up.  As my brother left the house, he picked it up and got a surprise.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

BTS Sale! (Freebies!)

I know a lot of you are heading back to school this month...I feel like my vacation just started!  (I have about 3.5 weeks left!)  Hopefully, some of these freebies will help you out!  I can't live without my poems for The Daily Five, Choral Reading, Fluency Practice, Buddy Reading, and Poetry Binders. WHEW!  (The bundle will be on sale this week but these September themed ones are a great way to start off!)  


 My must for every first day of school: Magic Play-Doh!  If you've never done it, give it a try!  The kids always say it's one of their favorite memories.

I love Make-A-Word activities and they really come in handy for Daily 5 and to see who is APPLYING the sound/letter combinations we've learned.  This Sept/Oct. packet is yours for free!  And who can't use more story problems?  But these are SIMPLE ones!  Enjoy!

FREEBIE: Word Wizard (September/October)  First Step Story Problems: Addition to 10 FREEBIE! (Farm Theme)
Hip Strips are new and this Freebie is great for September if in K/1.  I am SO EXCITED about this fun and unique product that I just created. 
Battle of the Vowels is used for an activity during Morning Meeting.  Would be a great Grade 2 activity to start off year with for a review.
Hip Strips!  (MATH FREEBIE) Who Knew Sentence Strips Could Be So Cool? Battle of the Vowels

Recording Sheets for Apps: FREEBIE! 
 FREEBIE: Squiggle Writing Sample: Drawing + Writing = Creativity

One of my favorite books on tolerance.  If you haven't read The Sandwich Swap, put it on your list.  LOVE IT!  (YouTube Readings as well!)

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (The Sandwich Swap)

Here are some calendar pieces you can use in math center as well.

Pirate Duckies Theme Calendar Set: English and Spanish included!
And although not free, here are a few new products that could make your life easier. 
They are on sale today and tomorrow August 6-7 in my TpT store!

Hip Strips!  (MATH) Who Knew Sentence Strips Could Be So Cool? Hip Strips!  (ELA) Who Knew Sentence Strips Could Be So Cool?
 And the BUNDLE which, during the sale, is a crazy good deal!

BUNDLED Tic-Tac-Show What You Know Reading Workshop Editable Program

(This is my product that I'm most proud of!  If you aren't happy with your management of 
your Reading Workshop or need to structure it differently, you may want to check this out.  There are TWO versions but this has everything for a $66 savings!

Practice Makes Perfect: Friends of Ten
My Friends of Ten is brand new.  Check out full preview!
Classroom Helpers: Cool Cats
I've never been one to have had an effective Job Board because I forgot to change jobs.
This system is super easy and everyone is happy!  Read about it here!
Picture Book Favorites: After the Fall, Creepy Pair of Underwear, Mother Bruce
Three of my favorites all in one place!  Have you read them all?  If not, please check them out at
the library today!  You can thank me later!
Bundled Open-Ended Math Questions for Journals or Do-Nows (First/Second Grade)
And my most popular product can be read by clicking pic above.  Honestly, the sale is a perfect time to purchase this.  Be sure to look at the feedback! 
Have a GREAT school year!

Monday, August 5, 2019

John's Journal (3 Funny Bear Books.)

Guest Post: John is a K-5 Media Specialist, history buff, author, and my oh-so-sweet husband. He's going to post monthly book reviews/finds here. 

If you’re looking for a great read aloud with a bear as a main character, or simply seek a terrific stand-alone book that has some fun and sneaky surprises, any or all of these work beary well!

Image result for the bear ate your sandwich

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

I’ve read this story to Kindergarten classes over the past two years and I’ve been asked to read it again. It starts with a simple premise: a sandwich is missing, and  it seems certain that a bear ate it. We then learn that a bear accidently ended up in the back of a truck loaded with berries, falls asleep, and ends up in the city where he goes on a number of adventures of discovery. He eventually ends up on a boat and returns to the forest much in the same way he got there. The illustrations are bright, fluid, and bold and move the story along without the need of much text– and the narration creates a hilarious surprise (spoiler alert) – well, let’s just say that the end of the story begs to ask the question – WHO really ate the sandwich?

I see she has a new book out that looks every bit as fun but I haven't read it yet.  It's on my list. 

Image result for there are no bears in this bakery

Now for my second pick...

 Image result for bear came along

Bear Came Along by J.T. Lewis; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

This brand new story is almost like an amusement park ride. It starts off simply: There was a river that flowed all night and day and then … a bear came along.
The bear falls in the river and realizes what a river can do – like a “Lazy River” ride he begins to flow down the river on his adventure and along the way meets some “new friends”: a frog, some turtles, and a beaver among others. They’re all riding along on a log when a waterfall appears. What next? Is it scary or fun? Or maybe both. The bottom line is that either way, it’s great to have friends to have fun and take on new challenges together rather than alone. This story has  a great deal to offer for a read aloud. It’s great to have a good time on your own, but sometimes it is better to bring some friends with you. It encourages kids to invite others to play – “the more the merrier”. This book has expressive, fun illustrations and text with lots of repetition which adds to the fun…and a great surprise: the illustrations early on are more muted and black and white BUT as each friend joins the bear on the log, they become brighter and more colorful.

Image result for horrible bear
Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman and Zachoriah O’Hora

Is Bear really horrible? According to the red-headed girl in the story, he is! Bear accidently broke her kite when it snapped from its string and flew into Bear’s cave and she is determined to let everyone know it what a horrible bear he is! Bear really isn’t horrible at all, but after the run-in with the girl, he might have to act horrible to prove his point. Instead, Bear ends up saving the day and helping the girl “fix” her favorite stuffed animal. This story is told with sparse text with bright colors and bold lines. There are hilarious, almost TV sitcom-like moments and some wonderful characters. Repeated readings reveal surprises as the story moves up and down a hill – from cave to house; across a field where a goat is attempting to have a picnic – the story ends with “everything being patched up” even the kite. That is until we see the same goat enjoying a snack, a snack that flies on a string! Horrible Goat! The giggling never stops when I read this book. 

Read on!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Freebie Alert!

I have a new product that I'm excited about!  

It solved a few problems for me: What to do with my overflowing sentence strips and how to display projects in my teeny tiny room?  (And a quick project is best, yes?) So I came up with Hip Strips!  A fun way to review math and display it.  They fit anywhere and really brighten my room up super quick.  Great for Math with Self for Daily 3 and Do-Nows, too.  Honestly, I just feel sunnier when I see them!

I'm making a Language Arts packet for First Grade and a combo math/language arts K one too.  They'll be up by next Friday.  BUT- I wanted to give a freebie away now so I picked one that could be used in K and 1 now.  Grab it if you want it!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Friends of Ten (Freebie, too!)

TEN is such an important benchmark number!  I love teaching Friends of Ten / Combinations of 10 because it really is a necessary skill to master that leads to soooo many other skills.  This year, my colleague and I really made sure our kids knew the combinations inside and out.  We reviewed it way more than usual and of course that helped solidify mastery.

Our kids really had an easier time counting larger numbers/3 addends and were quite good and looking for combinations of ten and then adding on.  They also seemed to grasp that if they knew 4+6 was 10 then 4+7 was 11 much faster.  I make such a big deal out of the number 10 that one of my kids bowed to it when it was written on the board!

I love these two activities.  The crown was reworked a few times because when I had to fit it to their tiny heads, some combinations were covered.  Now, they are smaller and fit fine and dandy.  My second activity is a display with ten frames and uses the turn-around facts, too.  I use sentence strips for both and when I hand the ten frame Friends of Ten up, it makes a good visual and fun display.

I just posted it to my store.

If you think you'd like to use the poem with your kids, click on the picture.  It's free for my Blog Readers.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Superhero Teachers!

I woke up at 4:30 today and turned on my local news.  There was a terrible story about an abusive teacher.  Heartbreaking.  It's now 11:43 and I've read 2 additional negative stories about educators.  Makes me sad but I know there are so many uplifting stories out there and since I heard 3 negative, I'm bringing you 3 positive!  Enjoy!

(Imagine the impact this teacher has had on these kids for them to gift him with Broadway tickets!)

I love reading about Superhero Teachers and it reminds me once again that not all superheroes wear capes!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

John's Journal (3 Books About Apollo 11)

Guest Post: John is a K-5 Media Specialist, history buff, author, and my oh-so-sweet husband. He's going to post weekly book reviews/finds here. 

Fifty years ago this July, I was in the living room of a rented beach house in Belmar, NJ watching the spectacular events of the first moon landing and moon walk unfold on a small flickering black and white TV across the room as was millions of other people around the country and the world. Yet somehow, I was watching history being made – alone! 

Even as a six year old I couldn't believe that I was the only one who seemed interested at the time. Where was everyone?! The beach? Porch? Backyard? Gone fishing??  I still don’t know! I did know that is was cool – and it fascinated me for years to come. I collected anything that I could about the Apollo program – newspaper articles, toys, plastic model kits, and of course, books. 

There are numerous books that have been published and many stories told over the years, and of course as the Apollo 11 mission celebrates fifty years, there are many new ones to honor and commemorate the event. I’m familiar with several wonderful editions about the Apollo program for young readers, but the three above stand out as favorites.

Earthrise is my favorite of the three...

To see more illustrations from the talented Christy Lundy, visit this page. 

Earthrise: Apollo 8 and the Photo That Changed the World by James Gladstone with Illustrations by Christy Lundy is one of my favorite picture books of the past year. It tells the story of one of the most iconic and famous photographs ever taken – the Earth from the viewpoint of the Apollo 8 astronauts orbiting the moon. 1968 was a time of tremendous unrest and turmoil in the world - wars, political uncertainty and racial strife. The photograph taken by astronaut ----- as the spacecraft was probing the surface of the moon showed the Earth from far away – a planet not with maps or borderlines, but a place where all humans lived as one. The story is told with clear and concise text; there are not technical and scientific details, instead the story is focused on the astronauts traveling to explore the moon and then being able to take the photograph. The illustrations use muted tones and colors and a style that is reminiscent of the late 60’s. I also noted that many of the illustrations that showed gatherings of people watching the mission on TV contained many people of color which adds to the significance of the period in time.  As a read aloud this books can operate on many levels – it tells a story that was significant to mankind and was a prelude to further amazing feats in the space program; for older children, it can be a lesson on artistic style and symbolism for a spectacular scientific event in a turbulent period in human history. 

Visit this section of Brian's website to see more of his art from the book.  

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca is a visually stunning and great narrative of the first landing on the moon and the process it took to plan and carry out the historic mission. The author is also a Caldecott-winning artist (Locomotive). The illustrations carry the story along – even for the earliest readers, but the book is also an excellent  read-aloud story for all ages as the narrative builds throughout – similar it an actual countdown before lift-off. All three Apollo 11 astronauts are treated as main characters – as well as they should considering the dangerous and daring mission that they completed. This is a great example of narrative nonfiction that reads like an adventure story. For readers who want to know more, there is adequate space at the end of the book that contains facts and figures related to the entire Apollo program.

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh – In all of human history, the NASA space missions are all to be considered the true example of teamwork. The astronauts were naturally the focal points and the “stars” of the missions, but it took thousands and thousands of dedicated and talented people from varied walks of life all working towards the same goal to actually make it happen. The Apollo 11 mission exemplified the ultimate goal and in this book: landing on the moon – we learn about contributions from  seamstresses (who carefully sewed layers and layers of fabric to make the space suits), engineers, scientists, photographers, navigation experts, telescope designers, and of course members of mission control who all demonstrated expertise in their field to get the astronauts to the moon and back – an amazing accomplishment still do this day. Team Moon is an attractive non-fiction book for all ages as it contains an abundance of photographs, however I feel that this would be more suitable for middle grade students – it works well as narrative non-fiction and is perfect for a book talk – about the Apollo 11 mission of course, but also as an example of the true meaning of teamwork.
This was published in 2006 with a recent reprinting.

Read on!