Celebrate Differences!

It's a new year....new class.....
It's time to celebrate our differences & start working together as a team! We like to talk about how we are all different...& we love that we are different....but even with our beautiful differences, we are still TEAM.

That came together beautifully this year!
 Creative Teaching Press has these awesomely gorgeous Color Me Apple Cut Outs. I was so excited when I came across them.....3 different designs that my kiddos could design any way they'd like! See what I mean? All different & all beautiful!

I loved that I would be able to visually show them that......and that even though we're all different....we are all an important part of the team (in this case, an apple tree!)

After everyone had designed their apple, we put up a big ol' tree in the hall & added all the apples. Now, we just needed a terrific TEAM quote to tie it all together.....& came across this one:
"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities." ~Stephen Covey

How do you help your kiddos acknowledge & celebrate their individuality and realize that we need those differences in order to become a strong team? I'd love to hear your ideas!!
I'm really happy to be a Creative Teaching Press Exclusive Blogger....they have so many awesome products for the classroom....& teachers are so creative using them! You should stop by Georgia Grown Kiddos & see what Valerie's done with CTP products!
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Back to School Book Favorite! FREEBIE!

One of the first books I read to my class at the beginning of the year is No, David! by David No, David! fits right in!
Shannon. We are a PBIS school & focus on positive...believe it or not,
After reading the book, we talk about being positive...about the problems David had & what we could say to David that he COULD do in our classroom.

Each kiddo writes & illustrates a page for our first class book: Yes, David! It's a great way to kind of peer teach & reinforce expectations: "Yes, David! You can walk in the hallway!" "Yes, David! You can raise your hand when you have a question!" It's always fun to read what they write about!

Just click on the pic to the right to download the writing paper from my dropbox. I hope your kiddos enjoy working on their own class book! 

Getting Ready for Kindergarten with Learning Resources

We're having fun this summer with what I'm calling "Piper & Catey School". Can you believe these two little darlings will be starting Kindergarten this fall?! Boy, time flies!

I'd already been planning our little Piper & Catey School when Learning Resources asked me if I'd like to check out one of their new "All Ready for _____" Kits. I love Learning Resources products & quality, so I jumped at the opportunity. We were so excited when the box arrived (can you tell from the picture?).

They've been having tons of fun with everything that's packed into this Readiness Kit...& there's A LOT packed into it! In addition to the Readiness Kit, we also got the correlating game, Picnic Party.
The girls are having so much fun, which makes my heart smile because I know that that's a fundamental step toward learning.

Of course, even though fun is important, you've got to have a solid base in foundational concepts and skills....and those are packed in here, too! (Which also makes my heart smile....because I want these girls to be ready for Kindergarten!) Check this out:

The activities support both Language & Math development, & I like that there are three levels for each activity, so you can move kiddos into the concept gradually....
Ready - a friendly little intro to the concept. If ready is too easy, move on the the next level. Ready seems a little too hard? Let your kiddos play with the materials awhile longer.
Set - move on to this step when your child is solid with the Ready level.
Go! - these activities are just a little more challenging than the Set level.

Here are some of my girls' favorite activities...
Picnic Party - One-to-one Correspondence, Counting, Greater Than/Less Than
My girls love this game! I love the math skills that they're acquiring! Check out all of those math skills that they're working on!

Pile of Leaves, Critter Pile Up, Measure Up!
Red Rover, Line Up!, Buggy Battle
More/Less, Beginning Measurement, Fine Motor Skills
Is it just me, or do kiddos come to you with lower & lower levels of fine motor skills? I really like how Learning Resources has built some fine motor skill practice into many of the activities in this pack. Kiddos have to use the Gator Grabber (otherwise known as fun gator-shaped tweezers) to pick up & move the bugs.

Line Up was a challenge....they had 10 seconds to move a group of matching-color critters to a leaf. Stressful! (not really --- but when you're under the clock.....) The we counted & talked about which leaf had more/less. You know, I'm a teacher..so I already think that way (poor kiddos! haha). Parents will love that directions are laid out explicitly: not just how to play, but also suggestions for conversations.

Shape Up!, Building Bugs, Home Run
Okay --- I'll admit my math teacher heart LOVES how this activity supports the mathematical process standard (I can see how numbers and shapes go together). It's also one of my girls' favorites because, lets. admit it....who doesn't love playing with & manipulating shapes? 
Match Game, Dancing with Letters, Lace-in-Line
There are many more language supporting activities in the kit, but my girls' favorites were any of the ones that used the lacing letters. There's just something fun about manipulating those colorful little letters. And when you get to string them? That's almost like making jewelry! haha

I'm loving how playing these fun activities are getting my girls ready for Kindergarten! Guess what.....Learning Resources has even more kits! If you've got littles, Learning Resources has a Readiness Kit that'll work for them....you may want to take a look at the Ready for Preschool or the Ready for First Grade Kits. 

OR....ENTER TO WIN A SET (your choice of level)!! Just enter your info in the widget below & cross your fingers!!

DOLLAR SALE! Christmas in July!

Who's ready for a little bit of Christmas in July?! How about a DOLLAR SALE to fill your back to school stocking? The Indiana Blogger Peeps are back with a fab sale! Seriously.....I've already filled up my cart twice (& going back for more).

Wanna get the most bang for your buck? Here's  a secret: Go into your purchases & leave feedback
 for any purchases that you haven't already. Then use the credits from your feedback towards your purchase. REPEAT. Those credits really add up!

I've got some great stuff for back to school marked down to a dollar:

Periscope! In the Classroom!

Have you heard the buzz about Periscope? It has just blown up in the teaching & blogging world world the last few weeks. If you haven't heard, Periscope is an app that streams live video. It's connected to Twitter, so if you're already on Twitter, you'll be able to feed your live video directly through Twitter. You also can broadcast and view live videos just on Periscope. My sweet friends Angie & Ashley have great blog posts about how to get started on Periscope and 25 Periscope Must Knows. Make sure you follow them both...they'll be posting lots more great content & tutorials about the app.

Periscope has proven to be a powerful tool: it's been a terrific way for teachers to connect, collaborate, & network. It's a wonderful way for us to be able to share in real time how to do something, specific tips or ideas. I feel like it's almost a way to get some fantastic PD! Just a few hours ago, Hope King (Elementary Shenanigans) was sharing how she uses music to engage students. In real time, peeps! How cool is that!?

Even cOOler?! Periscope is going to be just as powerful, if not more, in the classroom! I'd already taken note of how Kayla Delzer over at Top Dog Teaching has her kiddos tweeting on their class Twitter account. Love it! Periscope is going to make tweeting even more amazing! If you have any more ideas to add to this list, please let me know in the comments!

Before we dive into the awesome-ness of using Periscope in the classroom, let's talk about safety & privacy. If you've been on Periscope, you know we've had to block commenters a few times. Yeah...that cannot happen in our classrooms. We can still use the app in the classroom with a few safeguards:

        • Set up a seperate account just for your classroom
        • ONLY allow parents to follow
        • Turn off the location when you broadcast
        • ONLY allow comments from followers

1. Broadcast Games/Activities from the Classroom
How cool is this? "Today, we're playing a game called Mama Mia. We've been learning about equivalent fractions.....this is a great way for us to practice". Or just record their conversation as they work on a task. Imagine parents being able to take a peek into what their child is doing in the classroom via Periscope! Amazing...right?

2. Broadcast Presentations

A little caveat here -- I am not completely comfortable with kiddos broadcasting their faces....but you can broadcast a lovely presentation just by focusing on the artifacts being used: posters, models, manipulatives, etc. Even without faces, still a powerful way to both let kiddos share their learning & offer parents a glimpse into the classroom!

3. Broadcast Performances

Easy to get around the no faces issue with this one...most performances either require or use MASKS! Boom. Done. And think how dynamic this app is going to be for parents! An easy download on their smart phones & they'll be able to watch readers' theatres and plays right from their phones. Video stays live on Periscope for 24 hours, so parents can view broadcasts as they have time.

4. Create a Gallery

Working on a special art project? Kiddos can set up a gallery & broadcast live. In my classroom, we do lots of 'museum' type projects where kiddos set up displays & we invite other classrooms in. With Periscope, we can also broadcast our museum! Think about the speaking & listening skills we'll be developing & polishing!

5. Virtual Visits

Speaking of museums....how many times have you thought to yourself, "I'd love if my kids could see this?" Maybe you were at an event in your community, or a museum in the next town, or even just speaking to someone who has information you'd love your kiddos to hear. As long as you're going to be with your class in the next 24 hours, you can broadcast your visit or your conversation & then view it with your kiddos. Powerful? Yes!

6. Help with Homework

Record yourself running through an especially difficult problem, or perhaps even just explaining the assignment. Or better yet....have your kiddos record them! Families will be able to access the help over the next 24 hours. (No more "I didn't know what I was supposed to do"). My classroom is about 50% ESL...often, parents aren't able to help with reading the directions. A quick view of the broadcast should be enough for the child to remember what the task is supposed to be.

7. Conduct a Survey

LOVE this real life application for math! You know those assignments in math in which kiddos are supposed to ask others in the classroom their favorite snack or favorite animal? How super awesome would it be to have your kiddos Periscope the survey out? And parents (or even grandparents) can respond?! Wow. I can't even imagine how motivating that would be! They could even broadcast the data after it's all compiled! Personally, I can't wait to do this one!

8. Deliver the News

Got news to share? Event coming up? Need to send out a reminder for something to be turned in? Kiddos can deliver the news! Imagine how excited your kiddos will be to deliver their own newscast?! That's some real world writing application right there, peeps! Not only that....excellent speaking & listening skill building opps, too! (Pssst! Again - this is easy to accomplish without kiddos having to record faces...signs & pics will work perfectly!)

Interested in more ways to use Periscope in the classroom? Make sure you're following me (@fradyb1).....there are more to come! 
Enjoy this bright idea? Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, too for more great ideas!
For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!