Monday, October 10, 2022

Spooktacular October Crafts

So many crafts, so little time! Unless it's QUICK or supports the curriculum in a meaningful way, I'll pass. Here are some that made their way into my October/Fall classroom this year.

Creepy Pair of Underwear has been a favorite the last few years. The writing activity that goes along with the craft is related to Jasper's saying: "I'm not a little baby anymore." It also ties in beautifully with my The Power of Yet theme in my class. The kids aren't the only ones who love making Jasper and his creepy underwear. I get a kick out of these every year. Fun!

Aren't these bats and pumpkins adorable? They are from this TpT Seller. What I love: I can use the editible template to make my own math problems. Most students solved "Add 1 more" and "add 2 more'" but a few solved addition to 20 problems.  They solved the problems one day and colored them in. The next day, they made them. The Pumpkin was super quick. The bat has more cutting but a pretty fast craft too.  (In her packet, she also has a cute ghost.)

The Fall banners have a small writing activity on them and look sweet around the room.  The best part? They are FREE from this seller. I sprinkle around the room but you can also string them together.
NOTE: I don't know either seller above. I use their products and wanted to share.

A 5 minute crafts that also looks adorable and supports Fire Prevention Week?  Yes please! 

I do put out some simple OPTIONAL crafty type activities during Friday centers and we usually make something Spooktacular during our Halloween party.

This week during centers, I have a cute paper color/cut/glue craft that my husband found recently. And it's FREE. Check back to see it on Friday...if the kids pick it.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Birthday Celebrations in the Classroom

I love to celebrate my little ones' special day in the classroom BUT I keep it pretty simple. Very! If you are looking for some tried and true (but easy-to-implement) ideas to celebrate birthdays in your classroom, you may find something here.

Straws and Crowns are given out to my birthday kids.

Years ago, I had a pretty elaborate display of their birthdays but no more.  Space became an issue and I just didn't want to give up that much real estate to a display that really wasn't used much. So here's my super simple birthday display that takes me 10  minutes to complete. (Shown with names/dates blurred out.)

Oddly enough, it gets WAY more "looks" from the kids than the fancy displays I had up. Pretty sure because it's eye level and straight forward. I made it using PowerPoint, added a border and first names/birthdays.  Easy. Done.  I usually have "Crazy Straws" but the Dollar Store was out so these large ones work fine. Easier to clean for parents!  NOTE: I'm now in a huge classroom but am sticking with this simple, yet, effective display.

My colleague gave me this large coloring sheet. Perfect for the birthday child to color in while others are making cards.  While it says the website address to access it for free, it's not active. I'm sure you could easily find another one. The appeal is that it's 17 x 11. This is the Do-Now of the day and I send home the cute birthday cards that day the kids make but I have some colleagues that compile them into a book.  I may try that next year. A nice memory all in one place!

They also get to pick out the books that I'll be sharing that day.  They tend to pick tried and true favorites, Some pick nonfiction...up to them! They can bring in books from home, too. 

Being a Cool Cat Helper of the day is always FUN but nothing beats getting to be one AND picking your partner. That's what happens on your birthday! It's such a simple system with no stress of changing jobs or having kids complain about their jobs!  I've been doing it this way for about 7-8 years now and would never go back to a full-blown job board. Each student gets to be a helper in ALL areas (like the coveted Line Leader every 10 days.)

They get a joke on the calendar and get to take it home.  I try to match up the child's looks as best as I can and the kids always say, "How did you make a picture of me?"  I have Seasons, Dinosaurs and Sports themes. All contain jokes.
We sing this fun Happy Birthday Song during Cupcake time!  Grab it if you want it,  It's my highlight! After we sing it (and add our Cha-Cha-Chas!) we give the Birthday student a "firework" with our hands and a "Truck Driver" which, if you don't know, you put your hand up in the air, and pull down while saying, "Honk, honk!" then pretending to talk into a radio, say in a deep voice, "Happy Birthday, Little Buddy."

Giggles galore! 

That's it.  Not a ton but I think it's the just right amount of birthday fun for my Fabo Firsties.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Fire Prevention Week Activities (October 9-15th)

Are you looking for some ways to reinforce Fire Prevention Safety in a meaningful way that doesn't suck up hours of your planning time or instructional time?  I have some simple ideas for you!
When I was teaching Second Grade, I was going to give a quick mention of Fire Safety Week and move on. But a Firefighter friend of mine told me to ask my 7 year olds the above question.  Not one student answered with the correct answer: ONE. Oh boy...there was work to be done!

If you subscribe to Scholastic News, I suggest starting there. 

If you do subscribe, I hope you're taking advantage of the fabulous online content. Top notch. You also get access to all of the older editions throughout at least the last five years. That means the videos, games, etc. Here are the back issues I saw yesterday.

The Fire Tech tools is one I'll be revisiting this year. If your school has funding available and you're not yet a subscriber, I promise you it's well worth the price. You get 4 "magazines" a month. Each child will get to bring home their own copy. Then of course, the online access which I use all the time.

We often have Fire Fighters come to visit the students.  Most of the time, they bring the truck but while fun and a cute photo op, I think it's best left to the Kindergarten classes. I think it's way more important to have them speak to the kids and introduce/review the importance of Stop, Drop and Roll as well as calling 911 when needed.  Our department brings SQUIRT who answers questions and interacts with the kids. 

After the visit, I have two poems that I like to use to reinforce the lesson shared.

I'm big into Poetry Binders so we add these to them and sing often! Read about a fun way I incorporate poems into my classroom via a Poet Tree! 

Of course I have books available to share with the kids and let them look through. I don't read all of them but do make sure they are easily accessible to the kids.

I usually have the kids make a headband / crown when the Fire Fighters visit. The kids make it as their Do-Now one morning so it's a quick activity.  It's also a good visual reminder to parents to continue the convo at home when they see the kids coming off the bus wearing them.

Another Do-Now (Which is done in the morning after arrival but before I take attendance and school officially starts) is to play a simple, Roll and Cover game.  I just added graphics to support the week but really a basic game. I have them play with a partner. Usually when someone wins one of our games, they pop up and yell, "Winner, winner chicken dinner." In the case, they pop up and yell out, "Stop, Drop and Roll."

Another tried and true activity...Origami Dalmatian Dogs that take under five minutes.

 I like to hang them around a "Fire Fighters Are, Can, and Have" poster we make together. In the past, I had them list a prevention tip or piece of advice on the back to share with the class and their families.

But this year, I'm going to add to our class library and have everyone contribute one page to a class book.  There is a pre-made cover that you can print or have a student color in the page.  (Note: I make these all year long, place in library and at the end of the year, each students gets to take home two of the class books. A great memory!)

Each booklet (Five booklets for each month) comes with lines paper or simply a drawing space for those not yet writing.  Honestly, I let them pick the one that is best for them. Most kids used the lines paper but I usually have 3-5 opt for drawing only.

I added these class books to my store recently. There are 5 books per month. Check out my October Books if interested.
If you know me, you know that I LOVE Which One Doesn't Belong OPEN-ENDED activities. There are always MULTIPLE ANSWERS. I use them for a five minute filler activity, a Morning Meeting Activity, during math (when I'm using my math focused one) and as Do-Nows, too.  One included in my October packet has a Fire Fighter theme. To see these in action, take a peek at my video of the students sharing answers or a blog post showing answers. Hands down, my kids favorite activity.

Here are some FREE Which One Doesn't Belong? slides for you to share with your class. I'm sure you will be amazed at their thinking. 

I hope you were able to get some ideas for Fire Safety Prevention Week here. Are there any you're planning on trying? Let me know. 

Elmer's Adhesive Spray: Problem Solved

Do you have cinder block or rough surface walls in your classroom that NOTHING sticks to?  Problem solved! Get yourself some Elmer's Adhesive Spray. It's amazing!

Nothing has stuck to that dimply steel door. Ever!  I've used almost every kind of tape/mounting tabs you can think of. The leaves would fall within a minute or two. Even my tried and true Scotch mounting tabs failed me on this surface.

How well does Elmer's Spray Adhesive work? These leaves have been up for almost two months without a single flitter flutter to the floor!

What to know:

1. While it works amazing, it DOES have a very strong odor. That door leads to a courtyard and I'm glad I could spray it outside when kids weren't in room.  I wouldn't use with kids around. Once item hung up though, no lingering odor.

2. The back is so tacky, be careful you don't get it on you. Yes, it comes off but took a few rigorous scrubs with a towel to get off hands.  BUT- I wasn't being careful. Now when I use it, no problem. I'm just extra careful.

3. I've had luck repositioning an item when I'm using it. That's a plus!

4. Items removed easily from all surfaces. No ripping or tearing AND it doesn't leave any residue behind. That was a relief! 

Shop around for best pricing!

Have you used it? Planning on it? Let me know how it works for you.

Interested is reading my other PROBLEM SOLVED posts? You never know if one of my solutions could be just wat you happen to be looking for.

Happy hanging!

Monday, October 3, 2022

Adult Books I've Been Reading

Here are the books I've read since July.  I belong to BOTM Club which I LOVE!  My sister and I make sure we pick different books so we swap our books eventually.  I buy SOME books but also get a lot from the library. Hey- in these times, you can't beat FREE! Maybe you'll fins something here!

I love every book by Fiona Davis that I've read. Historical Fiction. Master storyteller. Compelling!

This was one my sister grabbed from BOTM.  Fun! Fluffy summer read.

I thought I'd love this.  Many do.  I did not.  (I don't like to blast books but if you 
want my insights, happy to chat via email.

I like Taylor's books. If you're into tennis, I'd imagine a must read. 

Fiona Davis again. I heart her!

I had this at 4 stars. Reduced. Don't want to say any spoilers so I'll keep mouth shut!

I'm late to Kristin Hannah books! I LOVED this.  Listened to it. 
Have thoughts though. Would love to discuss with someone!

I loved 90% of this book.  I mean, I was LOVING it.  The writing. Plot. I was really sucked in.  I HATED the last 20% of book.  Yep. Hated.  So I'm not even sure if I really want to keep that rating. I was so so so disappointed in the last 20% and would love to discuss in comments.

I never read anything by Adrian McKinty. I really liked this. Was shocked by some scenes. But loved. Very suspenseful and is soon to be a Hulu series.

LOVED! I know it's old but there were 124 holds ahead of me at the library and I was patient! The sequel, It Begins With Us is coming out this month! Yippee!

My BOTM Club pick last month. Fun! Enjoyed! Especially since I am almost that certain age, too!
This was either a Reese or GMA pick and as soon as I heard it was a pick of the month, put on reserve. I was only hold 2 so got it fast. I didn't know what to expect going in and I really liked it a lot!

It was okay. I told my sister to skip it. So many others on our lists!

Finished LISTENING to this on Friday. LOVED IT! A miserable cast of characters which usually makes me NOT like a book but this was a traditional "whodunit" and each chapter was another layer revealed. Loved the ending.
So....I really can't recall much about this book but looks like I liked it.  Maybe that's a review in itself!

This is so popular but I didn't like too much. I had many issues BUT 
I think I should have read instead of listened to this one.

This was either a Reese or GMA pick. Good but a bit confusing until you get used to the format.

I use such a SIMPLE FREE app to keep track of my books. You can scan your barcode and it uploads the books for you to rate if you want. You can keep track of books, movies, TV shows, etc. I THINK you may be able to have it public but I don't.  I've had a few apps but the simplicity of this one won me over. Head over to the App Store and download. 

If interested, here are Five More Adult Books I posted about a few months ago. A few are all-time favorites!

Happy reading!

P.S. My awesome friend, Patti, got me my first BOTM 3 month subscription right before I was scheduled for my first surgery. It was such a sweet, thoughtful and much appreciated gift.  Keep BOTM Club in mind if you're looking for a gift for someone too.