Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's Your Favorite Crayola Color?

Sometimes I impress myself.  Ha! Now what I'm about to show you may be known by the world but it's new to me and I'm thrilled to have figured it out...

You can make a SPECIFIC custom color on the iPad or on a computer! Not where you drag the cursor around and hope to land on something you like.  Actually make it.

My son was tinkering on the iPad and wanted basic green.  The greens on his screen were all shades of olive.  Getting a "Christmas Color Green" was proving to be a challenge. I know, I know...but sometimes you get deep into a muddy palette and can't get out.  Have you ever wanted a BRIGHTER yellow?  A specific pink...bright but not too bright?  Sometimes I try to scoot that cursor over just a smidge to see if maybe the color I'm thinking of is SOMEWHERE on the screen.  Have you ever referred to a Crayola Crayon Color?  Now you can make the EXACT color!  It's oh, so easy!

When Matthew asked for "Christmas Tree Green," we started naming our favorite Crayola colors and that led me to a Wikipedia page that listed ALL of their colors.  (Google it!) I started playing around and easily was able to make them.  I like seeing all of the colors on the page in front of me and I can start to pick out specific color combinations that I want to work with in the future.  (Covers, anyone?)

I love it!  Look at the Blue Bell example above.  The arrows are the same exact color.  Cool, huh? 

I hope this is helpful and welcome news to you, too.  Have a COLORFUL DAY!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's the Scoop? (TWO Clip Art Freebies, too)

Joining up once again with Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop. 
Here's my scoop:

Part of me would be just fine without a snow day this year.  This would mean a very extended Memorial Day Weekend.  I believe it's 5 days! Maybe 6!  Hmmm...then again, I'm starting to feel stressed with all my deadlines coming up. Either way, I have no control over it so I'll stick to guessing along with everyone else!
Speaking of deadlines...gotta go!  I'll leave you with two clip art freebies!  I think he's owlfully cute!  Enjoy and have a great day!
Want to join the Linky Fun?  Click button!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's a...New Student!

What do you do for a new student's arrival?  After I set up the child's desk, I have my kids make cards and letters and post a welcome sign by the door so it's the first thing seen by the students' family.  It's always nice to see your name front and center, isn't it?  Reassures them that I'm ready for a new student.
I assign a buddy that helps the new student unpack and "learn the ropes."  Once I'm sure the child feels comfortable in class- usually I wait until after lunch- we ask the child some questions.  I have pre-made questions ready.  Always insightful! The new student goes home with letters and cards (look at the letter that says I'm either 47 or...63!), a pencil, a picture of the "First Day" of school, and all of my newsletters to date.  (While I send via email weekly, I print out a few copies each week just in case I get a new student. Parents seem appreciative and it saves me time having to explain everything.  I always like to write a quick email during lunch to the family in case they're worrying about their little one and I call home in the evening just to officially welcome the family and reassure them that it was a smooth start.  Lucky for me, I've always had a smooth start!  In fact, last year, I had the sweetest girl join my class.  Lovely.  When I called her up to read with me, she said, "I'm a Level H."  (For the record, she was a K.) 

I have a small packet in my store if you'd like to check it out. I couldn't resist the cute storks and I just wanted to have something at my fingertips when needed. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Guided Reading Table Idea

My sweet friend, Maha, just returned from Maternity Leave.  When she came back to school, she brought these lovely benches with her which her husband MADE! How sweet is that?  She teaches K so she was sure to make them a bit higher for her little ones.

Aren't they adorable?  I LOVE the baskets under each one as well.  They're perfect for storing reading materials for each group.  Take a closer look at the top of the table:  GENIUS! 

The wipe-offs are simply laminated pieces of construction paper.  How easy is that?  Her kids love writing on them and it eliminates having to pass out whiteboards.  LOVE!  Saving time, cuteness, and functional all at once!  She's one smart cookie!

John's been adding to his clip art collection again.  Two talented husbands...lucky us!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Icy, Stormy Weather Makes Me...

Create flowers!  Can spring hurry on up, please?

We finally posted our heart critters yesterday...
you may recognize the fish and bear:
Enjoy your day off!  Stay safe!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Sunday Scoop and Clip Art Freebie Pick (Today only!)

Join Teaching Trio for today's Linky! Get link on button below.  
Here's my scoop:
Clip Art of Tree is from Creative Clips.  Banana, pencil, color monsters are mine...Dandy Doodles!

John is finishing up a cute set of animals with hearts.  We took two of the images and made these sets that we just posted.  Want one?  Just leave your email in comments section TODAY and tell me which set you'd like as a freebie and I'll send it to you.  Don't be shy now! 

If you want to follow my clip art store at TPT, Click HERE.
The good news: I'm just about to start writing four more books!  They are chapter books this time. The bad news?  My editor needs a synopsis for each book this week.  Trying to take a deep breath...  I want to get them written so I can work on my school portfolio.  Does your school require teachers to submit one?  It's mainly a reflection piece which IS helpful.  Just time consuming...

I am vowing to cut up my fruit when I get it!  I now buy 90% of my fruit at Costco.  It's incredible!  Great value and quality.  Downside is you get a lot.  Don't get me wrong, we can eat what we buy BUT sometimes I'm too lazy to cut it up and it goes to waste.  If I won a million dollars, I would have a full-time chef!  Yep.  One day!

And why do we have our tree (artificial, of course!) up this late?  Because it's filled with hundreds of ornaments that have such special meaning.  If not packed properly, they'll break and I'll flip out (I am pathetic, I  know.) so guess who must pack them up?  Me.  Everyone else is afraid to touch them.  Want to see some of my sentimental favorites?
For obvious reasons...
Barney because he truly did bring my kids joy, the faded ball belonged to my lovely mother-in-law, and the Charlie Brown was to celebrate writing my first book for Scholastic which was a Peanuts book...
Honestly, I could show so many more...we get one from each vacation, one to symbolize the "big happening" of each year with all of us (like a soccer ball and cheerleader when kids made teams, etc.)  Yes, our tree is filled with hundreds of stories that are close to my heart.  I'm always sad to take it down.  Sniff, sniff...

Want to join The Sunday Scoop Linky?  Click on button!
Have a great day! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Daily Helpers

After talking to my sister this summer about how much time I spent changing the kids' jobs and how I was forever forgetting to do it, she suggested I switch to a daily helper: one child that does everything. She got the idea from Peggy Campbell Rush at the NJ Kindergarten Convention. Peggy called it Lucky Duck and used one child.  After adapting a bit, Tracy came up with Two Cool Cats (2 kiddos) and I got to work making the cards.  I'm LOVING this new way of managing my helpers. 

On the first day of school, after reading Pete the Cat (the coolest cat I know next to my sweet 18 Firsties!) the kids colored in their cat. (Clip art from Melonheadz)  I printed these out on cardstock and went back and forth between having them use crayons or pencils.  (And for one insane moment, pondered markers!) Crayons won.  I have a boy and a girl stack hanging up and simply rotate to the next one in the pile each day.  The Two Cool Cats work together as messengers, lunch luggers, snack shack, etc.  When I need something done, they are my go-to kids.  It's worked perfectly!  They have even peacefully managed the Line Leader and Caboose situation each time without involving me.  Cooperation at its best!

For those of you who manage to change/rotate your students jobs weekly, accept job applications and all that fun stuff, God Bless!  I just never could get my act together when it came to this and my poor kids had the same jobs forever.  The Messenger never minded but the Floor Inspector went on strike!  :)

A long time ago, I rotated monthly and that was better.  But in my newish tiny room, I just didn't want to give up the wall space for a whole helper chart so this really is ideal for me.  The best part?  Kids get to do all the "cool" jobs every 9 days since I have only 18 kids.  It's a win/win situation! 

Grab the pic of the cool cat below if you'd like!  Just insert into Power Point Slide, make a text box, and you're good to go! Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Freebie: Place Value Exchange Game


I went back and edited my last post to include this freebie game but wanted to be sure those who asked when it would be posted saw it was available.  Grab by clicking on the picture:

I also offer a Money Exchange version in my store if you're interested:
Gotta give a shout out to John for posting his latest clip art:  Immigration!
Have a super day with your students!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Sunday Scoop...

Join The Teaching Trio for today's Linky! Get link on button below.  
Here's my scoop:
This year, I AM NOT, I repeat, AM NOT, going to sit down and try to do all of my report card comments at once.  If I commit to just two a day, I'll get them done in plenty of time and won't feel so stressed out about them.  Two a day is a walk in the park, right? Yea to stress-free anything!

Check back later if you want my Freebie Ones/Tens/Hundreds Place Value Exchange Game.  Hope to have done it today but most likely tomorrow.  I'll link it here.  UPDATE: It's DONE!

My team and I are super close and I'm lucky to work with women like them.  Simply AMAZING!  Finding a mutual date where everyone is available for a get-together has been tough.  But we've finally found one at the end of the month!  FINALLY!  Starting to plan it today.  Dinner and then fun or skip dinner and concentrate on a loooong cocktail "hour" with tons of appetizers and desserts??? Hmmm....Decisions, decisions.

Have a great Sunday and an even better week!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Linking up with The Teaching Trio today to share three of my favorite...picture books!  I picked one that just hit the stores, one from the past few years, and an almost classic by Robert Munsch.  (Not Love You Forever!)

After you read Children Make Terrible Pets, whip out the second book starring Lucille: 

Have to get ready for school but I leave you with the "story behind the story" for Peanut Butter and Cupcake. 

Thanks to The Teaching Trio for a fun Linky!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Time Travel Series is Out!

John and I are thrilled that our The Art of Time Travel Series was published this week by ABDO Publishers.  We are in love with our covers!  Aren't they amazing?  Courtney Bernard is the illustrator and she knocked our socks off!  Take a second to enjoy the beauty...

The DESIGN of the books is simply amazing!  Our Art Director, Candice, really outdid herself  We cannot be more impressed with her work and dedication to this series!  Look how beautiful the INSIDE design is:

I wish I could show you ALL of the inside designs.  Each one has a color theme that just blows us away!  The design concept...all the touches you can't see, makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 
The series was not our idea.  We were approached by ABDO to write it.  John (my husband) and I were excited but a bit nervous as we had many elements we had to mesh together.  While we had written/published historical fiction before, we didn't actually use real people in our past stories...just historical events but with fictional characters.  And time travel proved to be very tricky especially because we had to find a pivotal moment in our artist's life.  BUT, our incredible, insightful, editor, Tam, was SPOT ON with each and every piece of feedback/advice given.  John and I will be forever grateful to Tam for keeping us focused and pushing us to dig deeper into our characters. I've published dozens of books and truly think they are the strongest books I've written.
John and I had worked on two past books together.  One was a book for Scholastic's Book Club and the other was The Johnstown Flood. 
Illustrated by Dana Martin
John is a stickler for historical detail and spent hundreds of hours researching the lives of the people above.  This project was especially intriguing for John because, as an English major in college, he had a few classes of Shakespeare and a class just about the influence of Mary Shelley.  We were both excited about writing about Monet because we visited his home in Giverny, France while on our honeymoon.  Ella was the one we started off pretty much knowing very little but it ended up to be my favorite of the group.  We're huge Ella fans now! She  was amazing and such a strong, determined person.
Here's a description of the series from  ABDO's website:

Ella Fitzgerald was the queen of jazz. Mary Shelley created a monster. Claude Monet captured moments time with his paintbrush. William Shakespeare used language like no author before him. But what if their great works of art never existed? In the Art Of Time Travel, readers follow modern young people back in time and encounter each of these artists at a defining point in their lives. The artist is on the verge of making a choice that would deprive the world of his or her great art. Can our time travelers influence the past so the art will exist in the future? Calico is an imprint of Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO.

They should be available in your school library soon.  If you read one, let us know what you thought! 

Happy reading!