Thursday, January 30, 2014

Groundhog Day…Can you dig it?

Great Groundhogs! Where did January go? Sunday is Groundhog Day for furry sake. IF (insert snow dance) we go to school on Friday, I'm planning to introduce Mr. Groundhog to my kinders.

Since I was home all day, I whipped up this interactive high-frequency words book. To introduce the sight words in a reading group, I'm going to use a pair of toy binoculars. I'll let each "groundhog" have a turn reading the words and building the sentences. 

Next week Mr. Groundhog—the geologist—is going to help us learn about rocks and soils. It's time to get down and dirty with some earth science. I'll post pictures from this unit next week.

Meanwhile, here's a poem you can use with a groundhog circle map. 

Mr. Groundhog's getting ready to pop out of the snow.

He's a little weatherman and he puts on a show.

If he sees his shadow, then he will surely go.

Now what about that groundhog. Tell me what you know!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Birthday to ME! A present for YOU!

Well, here is little ole me at 25…TWENTY-FIVE…years old.

And here I am today at 45…FORTY-FIVE.
Ha, ha…just kidding. That was on the 100th day of school.

Even though I'm older and wiser, I actually stick with some principles from twenty years ago.

You see, a long time ago in a land far away, I was the editor of the preschool edition of The Mailbox magazine. As the number one teacher magazine, we had high expectations for our freelancers and teacher-editors!

When creating teacher materials today, I ask myself some of the same questions as when I was editor of The Mailbox magazine.

Is this practical?
Will it take more time to make the materials than to use them with children? Do the items cost too much? Are they easy to gather or purchase?

Does this save the teacher time?
Can I provide the teacher with a pattern? a photo or illustration of the activity? If the class needs to brainstorm, can I do some thinking ahead of time for the teacher and give her some examples?

Has it been tested?
If it's a recipe or craft project, do I know it works as described? Will this lesson work in a real classroom with real children? Did I leave out any steps?

Is there "value-added" to the product? 
(This is my favorite one.)
Instead of just providing a graphic organizer, can I add a poem or song or rhyme to a page? Can I suggest a follow-up activity or cute extension?

Is it appealing to children? Is it age-appropriate?
Did I imagine myself teaching this lesson?

Well, I can't take twenty years off my age, but I can take 20% off the products in my stores to celebrate my day. Sale runs all day WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29th. Happy Birthday to ME! Here's a present for YOU!
My birthday is worth a Wednesday Wow, right Curious Firsties?

Want to leave me a present? Follow my blog!
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Friday, January 24, 2014

100th Day=100 Laughs VIDEO!

I arrived at school looking like I as 100 years old. By the end of the day, I was feeling like I was 100 years old. Geesh! The kinder teachers probably laughed as much as we have all year long. Here is our special southern 100th day blessing to you…
Here are five random things about our week. I love linking up with the weekly Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs.

1. Frosty's Five Buttons Book
Here's a cool book to work on addition fluency to five. While the class was working on coloring and cutting "buttons," I called small groups over to read the word cards and complete the number sentences.

2. Lift-the-Flap Persuasive Writing Prompt
These prompts make a great writing center. I put them under the document camera so students can share. This persuasive  writing prompt says, "Frosty must go or he'll melt to the ground. Can you convince him to stay around?"
"We can build a snow castle and put him in it."
"I will take you to the north pole."
You can see more prompts here:

3. 100th Day Interactive Books
These kept the kiddos busy for a while. We colored in patterns to count by fives and tens.

4. Math Problem Solving
My smart kiddos are great at giving the answer to a math problem. I use these problems to make sure they can explain their thinking.

5. 100th Day Activities
This year we did some simple, oldie but goodie activities. The 100 items snack, 100 years self portrait, 100 exercises, and more.  Sometimes the ideas that worked with kids years ago are the best! 
"100 Cans" Andy Warhol
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Free For All Starts at MIDNIGHT!

Smart friends, sit back and relax. Your lesson plans in February are going to be a breeze. Your students are going to  learn and fun. Here's how to make it happen. You are going to LOVE me when I give you the scoop! XXOO Here is it!

Just go to my Facebook page. (Link at the end of this post.) LIKE my page. If you have already LIKED my page, awesome. Thanks!
Next look for the free-for-all tab.

If you have liked my page you'll see the cover of my freebie. Click on my cover to download my free item.

Click on the arrow to see TONS more freebies. Here's a peek

Special thanks to Amanda at The Primary Gal for all of her hard work!

Now go get your free stuff! Click….go…press this button!

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Disney Family 5K for Tourette Syndrome Association

There's only one reason I would get up at 5 o'clock in the morning to participate in a 5K…my son! Mickey was awake..Minnie was awake…and Mrs. Gammons was "awake." Our family took part in the marathon weekend at Walt Disney World to raise awareness for TSA, the Tourette Syndrome Association. 
Jayne, Christopher (Eliot's TS best bud), Eliot (my son),  Keith

Here's the family…me, our son's best TS bud, our son, and my husband (who also has TS). So what is Tourette Syndrome anyway? Well, it might not be what you think…and it might be more than you think. TS is an inherited neurobiological disorder. TS is characterized by involuntary sudden movements and vocalizations, known as tics. A common misconception is that those affected curse. In fact, less than 10 percent of those affected have what is known as coprolalia. What causes TS is not yet fully understood, and to date, a cure has not been found. It is estimated that one person out of a hundred has a mild form of the disorder and one in one thousand has a severe case of TS.

In addition to funding research, TSA's mission is to provide educational programs, awareness activities and services for people living with TS and their families. 

You have taught, do teach or will teach a child with TS. Have you seen a child with repetitive movements or heard a child with repetitive sounds. Was that child just not able to stop? I hope with all my heart you'll learn more about it. For more info, go here:
or here:

Back to the fun. Here's proof that I was up. (That Rocky theme can inspire you to do anything.)
Here's proof that we ran every mile. (Ok. So we walked. I did run to the bathroom once.)

And here's proof that we finished!

If you want to learn more about TS or have experience with this syndrome, please leave a comment or email me!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Five for Friday…Books at B&N

It's Friday. You know the one before the Saturday and Sunday that make the last weekend before the Monday that school starts back in JANUARY?! Time to spend those B&N gift cards. No problem finding five books I'd like to have. Here are a few I found. I don't know if your store will have them…better head out today and take a look!

If you are doing a polar animals unit:

Now this one was a real find. If you teach writing, especially in older grades:

These little books have fantastic photos. If you are teaching nonfiction text features like labels, cutaways, glossary, etc:

Here's a new twist on Goldilocks. If you focus on Chinese New Year (January 31, 2014):

Finally, a snowman book I didn't have yet:

 Sorry B&N…it's all about the teachers…I linked these to Amazon to save you time.

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