Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Study: In Pictures and In Words

I just learned about an online book study of the book "In Pictures and in Words," by Katie Wood Ray.  This book looks perfect for supporting the teaching of writing to Kindergarten students, especially at the beginning of the school year.  I just ordered a copy from Amazon and though I missed the beginning of the book study, I'm hoping that I can join in late.

Here's the LINK to the blog post on Mrs. Jump's Class blog where I learned about the book study.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book: Awakened!

I have often felt that STRESS is the one thing that keeps me from being the best teacher that I can be!  I'm pretty good about being positive and calm in the presence of students, but some days I take a long time to recover and get re-inspired once the school day is over.

This book that I recently discovered addresses how to overcome this from a different perspective than most books, which often focus on better time and classroom management.  This book shows you how to change your thoughts so that situations do not end up feeling so stressful.

I'm reading it over the summer and working on trying to change my mindset.  I feel like there have already been positive changes, though I know the real challenge will come when we are back in school!  Either way, I'm finding it very inspiring and would highly recommend it to any teachers!

Classroom Secret Storage Seats

So I discovered this idea from another teacher blog.  You basically create seat cushions that fit right into the tops of crates so that you can convert them into little stools.  Plus, there is storage underneath.  You can add tabs to lift the lids easily if you want kids to have access to what’s inside.  Here’s the link to website where I discovered these, which also has directions for how to make them:

How to Make Colorful Pasta!

Food Coloring
Rubbing Alcohol
Ziplock bags
Wax Paper

Mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with about 10 drops of food coloring in a ziplock bag.  Add 1 or 1 1/2 cups of pasta, seal the bag, and gently mix.  Put together as many different bags (and colors!) as you want. Lay the bags flat, flipping occasionally, for 1-2 hours.  Open the bags and dump the contents out on waxed paper lined cookie sheets.  Let the pasta air-dry over night. I like to use this pasta for a Phonics activity at the start of the year where I write students names out on a big sheet of paper, have them (or a grown-up) trace the letters with school glue, and then students can build the letters of their name with colorful pasta! 

Kool-Aid Scented Play-Dough

This recipe is the best home-made play-dough recipe I’ve come across.  The final product looks and smells like a giant wad of bubblegum!  It’s safe to eat, but has enough salt in it that kids won’t want to.  This year I made enough 6 different batches (flavors).  
Ingredients for 1 batch:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar or Alum
2 packages (unsweetened) Kool-aid
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water
Mix the dry ingredients.  Then add the boiling water and oil.  Stir quickly and then set aside to cool. When cook knead with hands.  Store in an airtight container.