Standing for Change #supportDPSteachers

Life's most persistent & urgent question IS 'What are you doing for others?' As we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I hope that you have had an opportunity to hear and think about the words of this amazing man. I'm joining in with other bloggers in hopes of bringing attention to the horrifying and intolerable conditions of the children and teachers of Detroit & hopefully make a difference.

You may have seen some of these pictures illustrating the conditions in Detroit's schools. If you haven't, do a quick'll turn up articles, you'll find posts and pictures on twitter and on Instagram. Search the hashtags #supportdpsteachers or #dpsteachersfightback. I find the images are sickening. I mean...these are not pictures from abandoned buildings. Nor are they pictures from schools in third world countries. These are pictures from schools in the great United States..... classrooms where children are supposed to be doing the important job of learning. Where teachers are tasked with the job of helping kiddos feel safe and welcomed and ready to learn. It's a travesty that children and teachers are expected to perform in these conditions. I am appalled. 
Toilets leak into a Preschool room
Mushrooms grow from a wall
I am appalled that adults are letting this happen. One teacher is quitting over health care concerns (& rightfully so!). Her KINDERGARTEN "classroom is connected to a dilapidated greenhouse that hasn't been cleaned in years. The windows are covered with a black substance & hasn't been cleaned in years. And it smells. The door to the greenhouse doesn't have a doorknob, insulation, or lock. She put bags in the doorknob hole after SQUIRRELS KEPT GETTING IN HER CLASSROOM." SQUIRRELS IN HER CLASSROOM, FOLKS. We are talking about real live, living in the United States kindergarten babies who have squirrels getting into their classroom. It's disgusting that adults are allowing this to happen.

 Students and teachers in Detroit are most assuredly suffering an injustice. Are we as a society okay with that? We better not be! As Dr. King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." And the quote that really resonated with me today as I read more about the educational system in Detroit: "Life's most persistent & urgent question is 'What are we doing for others?'"

So, what CAN we do for the students and teachers in Detroit? For starters, we can educate ourselves about the issue.

Take a virtual tour of a Detroit school.

Take a look at this news coverage which details Detroit's Mayor Duggan's tour of a Middle School Building.

Read the article linked above, or this article in which the author implores us to not turn away from this issue, believing that because we don't live in Detroit that this educational travesty doesn't impact us -- it does!

Do a quick search on twitter or Instagram for the hashtags #supportdpsteachers or #dpsteachersfightback.

Sign the petition.

Letters from Santa!

This is such a magical time of year...letters TO Santa...letters FROM Santa!! Magic!
It's not too late for your little ones to get a personalized letter from Santa

The last couple of years, I've ordered letters from Santa for my little from Educents, & I have been so pleased with the letters we've gotten! There's always just a little bit extra 'magic' packed in their envelopes. This year's is not exception! It comes in a special, large red envelope.....

inside, your little will find Santa's letter, reindeer food he's sent to be put out on Christmas Eve....AND a recipe for Mrs. Claus' Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies! So exciting.

I really, really like the way that you can personalize these letters: you fill out a document with your child's information (name, etc), AND three accomplishments. Potty training, wonderful job at your dance recital, helping a baby brother, doing great at swim lessons....I LOVE that Santa can specifically address your child's accomplishments! I'm telling you...that really makes the letter all the more magical!
It's not too late to order letters for your littles! You have until Thursday, December  17th to order! Just hop over to Educents, fill in the doc, place your order, & wait for the mail to be delivered!
Happy Christmas to you & yours!

Create More Wall Space!

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Round-Up! If you're looking for a way to maximize wall space in your classroom....I've got a Bright Idea for you!

Wall space is a hot commodity in my room. One wall is half window (yay!), the second is one-fourth SmartBoard (yay, again!), the third is all coat rack...and I completely opened the fourth so what could have been usable wall space is all gone! I desperately needed some additional space to post anchor charts, schedules, and the like.

I had seen this image on Pinterest, & was inspired to give it a try in my room. A quick trip to WalMart to buy the oil drip pan from the automotive department, & Command Strips from the hardware section, & I was in business.

I LOVE the added space that it gives me to post rotation charts, as well as the I Cans and the learning posters and charts that we're working on. If I decide to move it to another space (or heaven forbid...move to a different room! Gasp!)'s as simple as removing the command strips! Voila!
BONUS!! It's also a dry erase surface!! How cool is that?!

What would you use this extra surface for in YOUR room?

Like this Bright Idea? Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter for more!

Halloween Math FREEBIE

"Halloween is Saturday this year!" And the teachers all shouted, "Yay!"
I'm not gonna lie...Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year...but it does make for a high-energy day in the classroom! Why not join in the holiday madness with a little academics? We made our Fact Family Haunted Houses. LoVeD it!! My kiddos had so much fun & it was a fabulous activity for them academically since we've just been sort of dabbling in multiplication.  Of course, you can also do them with addition!

They turned out super cute! I do have one little pumpkin who does not celebrate Halloween. Easy adjustment...different color for the house, and people instead of ghosts.

Looking for a super fun Halloween activity that's also academic? You can grab the FREEBIE-- just click the cover!

Happy Halloween!

Go Noodle!

Do you Go Noodle? We LOVE Go Noodle!!

Kiddos need to move...they need that physical activity to help them refocus & get those brains ready to take in new information. Not only that, but it really increases engagement, too! That's a big benefit! I love that you can find clips that are just two or three minutes....just enough time to slip in a quick brain break & regroup for the next lesson/activity.

And it fits in perfectly with Daily 5! At the Daily 5 Conference I went to last spring, The Sisters were very clear about providing kiddos with some sort of movement between each rotation: ring the chimes, bring the kiddos up for some kind physical movement, then go into your mini-lesson. My first thought? GoNoodle! 

GoNoodle fits in with D5 so nicely! After the brain break, kiddos are ready to sit down & participate in the mini-lesson. Works perfectly every time! Pop See Ko is an all-time favorite, but we also like Roller Coaster, Maximo (my personal favorite -- calming activities!) and like to be challenged by Cat Man, too! Do you Go Noodle? I'd love hear some of your class favorites!                                                                I actually got to meet Freckles Sinclair & got my very own Go Noodle shirt over the summer! Boy, were my kiddos jealous when they saw the pic! (It's pretty awesome to get to meet celebrities your kiddos love!) 
Do you Go Noodle? I'd love to hear some of your kiddos' favorites!