Monday, July 17, 2017

The 2017 Solar Eclipse

2017 Solar Eclipse

Will you be in school on August 21, 2017?  If so, you may want to see if you will be able to see the 2017 Solar Eclipse that is taking place that day!  My town is lucky enough to be in the path of totality and I am super excited about this!

Check HERE to see if your city/town will be in the path of totality and to find out how long you will see it!!

Since I'll be back in school on this big day, I am really looking forward to sharing this rare event with my students.  A local university actually purchased special eclipse glasses for every student in our that all students and teachers could safely watch the entire eclipse.  How cool is that?

So if you'll be watching the eclipse with your young students, read on.....I've got some things you may want to consider.  After all, kids will be kids!

 Our younger students are just learning about the world around them.  That includes things like the sun and the moon.  So they might not have any idea what an eclipse is.  Here's a great Brainpop video that might be useful to show your students to help them understand what will happen
I'm excited and you might be excited.  But our kiddos may not fully comprehend how rare this event is going to be.  If they have to miss something "fun" like center time or recess in order to view the eclipse, I can see them being even less enthused about the whole thing.  I have great plans to try and get them excited--just hoping my excitement wears off on them. HA!
So if you're in the path of totality, you will experience a couple of minutes of total darkness.  Day will literally become night.  I will be in awe, but I am betting some of my little ones might not be so impressed.  I am going to make sure my students are fully prepared for what will happen and I'm planning on doing some role playing too.
This one's going to be tough, but it is going to be SO IMPORTANT.  Seriously.  My kids can't keep anything on LOL.  So I'm betting that they won't want to (or won't be able to) keep the flimsy safety glasses on.  They will be too big or too small.  They will fall off randomly or will blow off in the wind.  Yall know how it is!  There will definitely be some safety lessons done beforehand so my students know not to look directly at the sun.
Ok this one's just a given.  It always seems that there's one kid who has to go to the restroom right in the middle of a fire drill or a guest speaker or a school-wide assembly.  I definitely don't want to be trekking back inside the school building and miss the whole eclipse, so I am planning to take the entire class for a restroom break BEFORE we head outside!

Will you be watching the solar eclipse with your students?  I'd love to hear about any fun things that your school has planned.  

If you're looking for a kid-friendly way to introduce your students to the solar eclipse and help them understand what will happen--check out my Solar Eclipse Writing and Interactive Reader Set.  It includes several writing activities and an interactive book for students to read and complete.  

Enjoy the eclipse!  I know I can't wait!!

Debbie :-)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Marble Run Fun in the Classroom

Marble Run Fun

Looking for a fun way to get kids excited about science, math, STEM, and more?  Let me tell you about the fun marble runs from Marble Genius!

When I received my first set, I wanted my students to be able to freely explore the contents...without me telling them exactly what to do or how to do it.  So to accomplish this, I simply opened the box and dumped the contents out on the table.

 I didn't tell my students what the pieces were for.  I didn't tell them how the pieces connected.  I didn't even tell them what they were supposed to do.  I literally dumped everything out and let them explore.

And explore they did!  A couple of my students had played with marble runs before, so they knew immediately what to do.  A few of my students had no clue what to do with the pieces.  The majority of my students, however, got right to work and began trying to figure out how the pieces went together.

It was pretty interesting to see how my students worked together and talked together as they tried to figure out how to build their marble run.  It definitely created a sense of team work, as they quickly realized that in order to be successful, they would all have to work together on this project!

 Several students asked for their marbles right away.  They wanted to try their marble run pretty quickly after starting.  Other students protested, and encouraged them to wait a little longer, to see how big and tall they could make their marble run.  I loved hearing my students have conversations about how to build and how not to build their creations!

My students had a ball exploring the marble run set!  They were all in agreement that today was one of the best science days ever!!! Today's fun was all about exploring the marble run set, finding out how parts fit together, learning how the process worked, and just having fun!  Our next project will be exploring how we can make the marbles travel faster (or slower) through the run and examining how different pieces can make this happen. 

I received four marble run kits for my classroom because I am a Marble Genius Ambassador!  Unfortunately the ambassador program is closed, but you can still get your marble run kits on the Marble Genius page.  I also highly suggest utilizing Donors Choose as a way to obtain marble run kits for your classroom!  If you need any help writing a project or getting ideas of ways to incorporate this project in your classroom, just let me know!  I'm always happy to help my fellow teachers!!

Your kids will thank you -- this I can definitely guarantee you!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Alphabet Brag Tags

Brag Tags in the Classroom

Have you heard of brag tags?  Are you using them in your classroom?  If not, read on....You may want to give them a try after you see all the fun you can have with them....even at the END OF THE YEAR!!

If you're not familiar with brag tags, check out my blog post here.  I explain what they are, how they work, and how I use them in my classroom!

Alphabet Brag Tags:  End of the Year Review

So since it's almost May and many of us are beginning to wrap up the year, I wanted to show you how I use Alphabet Brag Tags as a way to keep my students engaged and enthusiastic about our end of the year review!

Each year in Kindergarten our classes all do an ABC Countdown.  The last 26 days of school are filled with fun activities, letter/sound review, and a countdown from A to Z!  (ending, of course, with "Zee" Last Day of School...LOL)

There are several ways you can use Alphabet Brag Tags in your classroom....especially at the end of the year.  

1)  Use a brad and create a fan of letters that students can use as little flashcards to review, quiz their friends, or just practice by themselves.  You could give students all the letters at once, or if you do an ABC countdown, you could give them one each day!

2) Have students color their own brag tags to show which letters/sounds they have learned throughout the year!  

3) Hole punch the Alphabet Brag Tags and put them on a binder ring.  Again, you could give students all the letters at once or simply pass them out as you review each letter.

4) Hole punch the Alphabet Brag Tags and string them on some yarn or a chain.  Kids love necklaces and whether it's a bunch of Fruit Loops or a bunch of ABC Brag Tags.....they're going to want to wear the necklace everywhere!!

Students love brag tags and Alphabet Brag Tags can be a fun way to end your year AND help your students review their letters and sounds!  

My ABC Brag Tags include tags with letters/pictures, tags with capital letters, and tags with lowercase letters.  In case you'd like to save ink, I've also included ALL tags in black and white!  Simply print the B&W tags on color paper or have students color their own for added fun!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

10 St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Here are some great simple and easy crafts for kids that are also pretty fun!  
Most can be completed with minimal supplies which makes this teacher's heart super happy!
Click on the picture to get more information about each craft!

I love this idea and it's so simple!  Once students paint, color, or decorate their paper plate the fun begins!  Cut out a shamrock shape and use a brad to attach it to a straw.  The brad will allow it to spin and I guarantee your kids will love the end result!

This rainbow craft is sure to be a big hit with the littles!  Using only cotton balls and Fruit Loop cereal, this is a simple craft with a lot of color.  Can't beat that fine motor practice either!!

My kinders always love making this St. Patrick's Day hat.  Grab a paper plate, let them decorate it with paint, markers, or even crayons.  Cut a shamrock shape out of the top (being careful to leave the stem attached) and you'll have yourself a super cute shamrock hat!

Popsicle sticks, paint, and some googly eyes are all you'll need to create this creation.  This craft would be fun as a puzzle for kids to take apart and recreate or even as a magnet for a parent gift!

Last year this was my kiddos' favorite St. Patrick's Day craft we made.  They loved it!  Fill an empty water bottle with gold painted beans or rocks....add colored streamers.....and voila!  My kids had so much fun with this noise maker in the classroom. 

I remember making these types of crafts ALL the time in elementary school.  Although they take a long time to make, they really are quite simple.  Tissue paper, glue, and a pencil are pretty much all you'll need.  Students enjoy it and they get lots of fine motor practice wrapping the tissue paper around the end of their pencil.  

St. Patrick's Day crafts don't have to be all green!  This one is colorful and would be a perfect decoration for your classroom.  Imagine 20 rainbow hangers all around your room!!!  Grab some paper plates, cotton balls, and streamers or construction paper and you'll be all set. 

This cute craft can be done with any type of patterned paper or you can let students decorate their own papers before cutting it up into little pieces.  Use the little pieces to create a mosaic on a shamrock pattern shape.  Easy and cute!

These always turn out so cute when we do them!  Using markers and coffee filters students can create stunning shamrocks.  No two will ever be the same!

This is a fun printable set that I created for my kinders.  It has three super simple crafts for kids to complete.  A necklace, a bracelet, and a crown/headband are included.  You could either have each child create all three OR let kids choose which one they'd like to make! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

10 Valentine Photo Projects

I love Valentine's Day because there are so many fun crafts you can do in your classroom.  My kinders always love creating cards, pictures, and crafts for their parents and friends.  So I started scouring the web for some fun things that we could create using real photos!  Here are some of the cutest things I found.

How sweet is this book mark that uses photos of a child "signing" I love you!  This would be super simple to create and I bet the parents would love it.  (In the pic the little boy is pointing to his eye which just makes it even cuter!)  

Here's a neat idea that would be fun to create!  All you need is a heart shaped chocolate or candy and a photograph of your student holding out his/her hand.
<3 this idea from Smashed Peas and Carrots!

 Ok this one is just plain fun!  If you are making Valentine boxes as a class activity, then this one's for you. Blow up a photo of each child holding their mouth open wiiiiiiiiide.  Attach the photo to a box or bag and cut out a hole where their mouth is.  The end result is hilarious!
See how it's done over at Parent Hacks!

Have a chalkboard in your classroom?  Grab some chalk and get creative!  Here are some neat ways to create a photo backdrop for students to get in front of.  They make great photos and would be fun to send home as cards for parents!

How fun is this?  Students can make a bee and you can use their photo as the bee's head!  The little heart says "bee mine."  Would even look cute with the head a little bigger for a fun effect!

These Valentine boxes are so cute when you use student photos!  This is definitely one way to make sure no one's box gets lost, mixed up, or accidentally taken! LOL

For this one you'd just need a photo of your students appearing to hold something in the air.  Then have your students use construction paper to create the grass, sky, and a big heart on which they can write their own sweet message.
Such a fun idea from Teach Junkie!

If you're feeling really crafty, this salt dough frame would be cherished for years by your parents!  The handprint can be personalized for each child and the added photo just makes it that much more special!
This special keepsake can be found on Messy Little Monster!

If you've got conversation hearts left over from last year, here's a great way to get rid of them! :-)  Students will love creating this frame made entirely of heart candies!  Add a photo and you've got a great gift to send home!
Directions can be found at Simply Crafty!

Who doesn't love snow globes?  Grab a bottle or a baby food jar, add some water, red glitter, heart confetti, and a photo....and you've got yourself a fun gift!