Friday, October 31, 2014

MOVEMBER... Havin' Fun and Doin' Good!

I love that motto! 
And this month, I found some ‘stache fun with a definite purpose!

Introducing MOVEMBER!

What is Movember, you ask?!

The Movember campaign is a movement which was created to promote men's health.  It’s no secret that in this busy day and age that finding time to get regular check-ups and take care of yourself is difficult, and perhaps just plain intimidating… especially if you are a man.

Thus the creation of MOVEMBER!
Movember is about bringing back the moustache (Mo), having fun, creating conversations and awareness, and raising funds for men's health, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

Check out this little video to be inspired "MO STYLE"...

Here is how it works…
Men are encouraged to “Shave the Date” on November 1st and start with a clean face.  Then, for the rest of November, they are encouraged to grow moustaches!   When other people inquire about them growing a “MO”… men use the opportunity to share about their participation in MOVEMBER and also encourage other men to go and get a health check up!

Sound fun?  You can become an official 
“MO BRO” or “MO SISTA” MOVEMBER supporter  by visiting or by clicking on the image below.

What a great cause!   My family is sharing their support of MOVEMBER by showing their ‘Stache Support!

Don’t you just LOVE these MOVEMEBERish Mustache Mania themed materials?!
Of course, they are from CreativeTeaching Press!  {I’m sure ya’ll already know how obsessed I am with all of CTPs stylish teacher resources!!!  LOVE. THEIR. STUFF.}   And in typical CTP fashion, they are 100% “in” to helping me promote this awesome cause!  
So… I’m doing a RAFFLECOPTER giveaway of a 
Creative Teaching Press MOVEMBER Mustache Mania product bundle! 

You could win a  bundle of some of these epic goodies!

I “mustache” you to spread the word about MOVEMBER
and sign up to win this awesome prize bundle too!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Looking for a Document Camera? Meet HUE! Just $49!

Have you secretly dreamed of having your own "Doc Cam" in your classroom?  Let me've seen the multi-hundred dollar price tags of the Elmos...or worse yet the $1,500+ price tag of the SMART Doc Cam.  Not possible on your school or personal budget? worries!  I have the answer for you!!!

Meet HUE...

Hue HD Webcam and Box

This little guy is the answer to all of your doc cam needs!
He simply plugs in to your computer and operates just like an expensive document camera!  He takes pictures, he records, he projects things onto your "Smart" board (or other interactive board), he can zoom in and out, he can SKYPE, and he can record sound!  He's a super flexible and re-positionable too! (It’s for MAC or PC!)
This little guy does it all!
And did I mention they come in PINK!  (And many other colors too!)

The BEST part is...He is only


It's one of the best kept "techie" secrets out there!

Are you excited or what?!!  The possibilities for making your content come alive are now limitless!   How about recording a video snippet everyday of those tadpoles in your science center...then combining the snippets to create a mini-movie of the life cycle of a frog?!  Or using "HUE" to record student reading behaviors and creating developmental portfolios for your kiddos?   How about using "Skype" to communicate with "pen pal" classes around your district, state, or world?!  Or... simply use this little man to project a regular book up on your interactive whiteboard screen for the whole class to view!


Here is what the HUE developers have to say about using it in Education...

The HUE USB camera is a cost-effective alternative to a standard classroom document camera/visualizer. Easy to use and portable, this camera is popular with teachers and students throughout the world.
The camera is 'plug and play' on Windows PCs and Macs and compatible with most video conferencing, streaming and web-casting software i.e., Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, iChat, FaceTime, uStream etc.
By connecting your HUE camera to your computer and a projector, you can share students' work, books, experiments and pictures.
Use the camera for real time live video and for recording sound and video. The HUE USB camera produces excellent image quality even when projected onto a whiteboard.
The built-in microphone allows you to record your presentation or a student speaking about a topic. With its weighted base and flexible neck, HUE can also be used to magnify very small items such as insects, circuit boards and more to share them with the whole classroom.

Click HERE to learn more about HUE!

HUE is getting a lot of attention…it’s been on Good Morning America and is featured in the Tech Buyer’s Guide in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions. Hue Animation Studio also recently placed first in the Best Arts and Craft category at the Dad's Choice Awards.

Many of our very own BLOG HOPPIN' authors are using them in their classrooms right now!

Cheryl, from Primary Graffiti, shared these pics and this idea of making a mini movie and turning it into a mini-lesson.  Cheryl is working on creating a visual rubric, and the pictures here show how she is using HUE to show the progression!  Great idea!

So…How about you?  Do ya’ want one?    

Simply hop on over to BLOG HOPPIN' where we are giving one away!


Don't miss this chance to get a HUE for FREE!

HUE also has some INCREDIBLE stop animation software that is 


Check this out!


For more information about HUE's animation software, click on the picture below!

Buy now

Looking forward to hearing about all of the great techie projects y'all will come up with using the HUE!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spectacular Spiders!

It’s been quite the week, my friends… and that is why my post was a bit delayed.  You know how it is, I’m sure.  It’s quarter-end and my life has been full of assessments, report cards, and individualized student goal sheets for the upcoming quarter.  Oh! I forgot to mention a 2 day out-of-town teacher conference too!  Just returned home today… and after some snugglin’ time with my kiddos, I have finally managed to find a few minutes to squeeze in some blogging time! #whoneedssleep

Just thought I’d share just a few activities from my



Like usual, it took some Thursday night prep...

This week the goal was to cover my room in spider webs and spiders, of course.  I just made a quick stop at Dollar Tree and for just a few bucks I had the room covered! (And YES.. that is a spider scarf I'm wearing!   Picked that baby up at the Dollar Tree too!)  The crazy spider headband is a few years old (got it at JoAnn's)...but I saw several similar ones at Michael's just a few weeks ago!   

We started the morning with a quick spider introduction, compliments of Scholastic's latest "Let's Find Out" Kindergarten magazine.  {LOVE how interactive these resources have become!}

Then we met up with our 6th grade BIG BUDDIES and made some pretty spectacular spider art!    

Want to know how we did it?  

First, we pre-painted the black construction paper.  To be more specific, we filled cups with white paint and threw in some marbles.  We placed the black paper into the lid of a paper ream box, threw in the paint covered marbles, and then tiled the box top all around.   WA-LA!  Awesome spider-web-ish patterned paper!  (We did this the day BEFORE we met with our buddies to assemble the project!)

Next, when our buddies joined us, the kiddos cut their spider-web-ish {Come on.. roll with me.  It SHOULD be a word!} black paper into thin (about 1/2 inch) strips.  The buddies worked together to form their own spider webs on the paper.
 While all the kiddos were working on their webs, I called the buddy pairs over to "my" table and I painted the kinder's palms and fingers (NOT THUMBS) with black paint.   They placed the first had down on a piece of white paper.  Then they placed the opposite hand, palm part overlapping the already printed palm print, so that the opposite hand's fingers stuck out like legs on the opposing side of the spider "body."   Immediately after that, I had the student make a fist and I painted the bottom of the fist with black paint... and had the child make a "head" print with the fist.  

Finally, we cut out the dried spiders and glued on the two "primary eyes."   Then... we took a Q-tip dipped in white paint and added the spiders two fore-eyes and four lower smaller lower eyes, just to be sure were attempting to be as anatomically correct as possible. (Most spiders have 8 eyes.)


On cue, "Dr. Science" {our early childhood director and one of my best friends} stumbled in like a hot mess, completely tangled in a ginormous spider web!  

Note:  I do all of the planning for what Dr. Science is going to do.  I prep the activities and "scrips"...but my awesome (and crazy-fun) colleague, Mrs. Kidd, brings it to life when she comes over and we "team teach" the content.  I LOVE IT!   We are getting pretty darn good at playing off each other to keep the kiddos engaged! #couldnotdoitwithouther  I'm telling you this because I've had followers comment things like, "Well, I couldn't do that because I don't have a co-teacher or an aide."  People, I haven't always had one either!   But if YOU are willing to do the planning, I betcha' you can beg a parent volunteer to come in and play along....YOU CAN do this! And it's FUN!   Your love for teaching will be re-energized and you'll be singing the ole' SMASHMOUTH "Hey Now, I'm a Rockstar" song in your head in no time!

"Did I hear you've been studying about SPIDERS??" she asks.

Of course, Dr. Science always brings specimens or tools directly from her lab!  This week, one the kiddos favorite  items was this large wolf spider.   {Oh YES.  It is real... and it is ALIVE!}

Then Dr. Science showed us a multi-media, spider-factual {Hey!  Look at me!  Making up all these new words!  Mr. Webster, you need to update your dictionary! Woo-Hoo!} slideshow movie.  It is just typed facts, pics, and music.  You have the read the words out loud to your kinders, which I kind of loved for this "Dr. Science" presentation.  The kiddos thought Dr. Science made it in her lab and just brought it over to share!

Interested in checking it out?  Click below...

Then, I shared this little snippet...

{BTW peeps, you should really check out the whole line of "All Things Animal TV" videos if you are ever in need of simple animal research or facts!}

Earlier, we had a class discussion on what we already knew about spiders and what we wanted to know.  {Le' ole K-W-L chart activity}  The kiddos came up with two REALLY great questions that I knew I needed to turn into research experiments.   

The first question was, "How does a spider eat its prey?"
So we challenged each student to use their imagination and take the roll of a spider.  I'll share the general idea of our experiment here for you....but it's important to let you know that the brilliant DeAnna Jump has a FABULOUS TPT science experiment packet that does a much more detailed and thorough experiment and data collection activity on this!   Not to mention, the packet contains DOZENS of other simple experiments that are PERFECT for every kinder-topic that you teach!   If you have special science activity days or "Fun Friday" days, like me,  it's a MUST HAVE!!!  
Check it out here:
  Simple Science Volume 1
  We used cups as our "webs" (I think bowls or even paper plates with webs on them would have been better!) and then placed some "insects" in the webs.   (We used sugar cubes to represent the insects.) Next, we put some "spider spit" (a.k.a. water) on our prey (sugar cubes) to mimic how a spider inserts venom into its prey, which then liquefies the insect.  Result: the water liquefies the sugar cube.   Then the kiddos used a straw to suck up their liquefied "prey," just like a spider! YUM!  

The next great question that they came up with was "Why do insects stick to spider webs, but the spiders never do?"  Well, again.... you have to check out Deanna's Science packet (above) to get all of the details, but let me tell you....the key is that spiders have oily feet!  Yep!  True story!

As always, a themed snack is an essential part of our Fun Fridays!   But this week, it wasn't me that was doing the preparation.  Our sixth grade buddies worked hard to create these yummy darlins'!  

(Chocolate donuts, pretzel sticks, frosting and m&ms)

We also headed to gym with a giant skein of yarn and made our own spider web!
Here are a few pics.   I wish I had more of us trapping our people prey in the web....but I was having too much fun playing along to snap pics at the same time!

Whew!  What a day! 
Again... filled with fun, but filled with rigor as well! Wish I had time and space to post about everything we did...but hopefully you picked up at least a few new ideas/resources!

It's all about "Setting the Stage 2 Engage" as my friend Hope King would say!
If you would like more information on this philosophy of engagement, check out this "change-your-life" e-book!

  Student Engagement: A Guide to Teaching Outside the Box

Oh, And I have to include this...

Never a dull moment, people. Never a dull moment.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Going "BATTY!"

It's that time of year, my friends!
The days are getting "shorter."
The air is getting cooler.
The trees are changing colors.

It's October.

Halloween is right around the corner...

So it's the PERFECT time of year to learn about another nocturnal animal...

That's exactly what we did in my classroom this week!

Check out just a few of the BATTY things we did...

This is what the kiddos saw as they came down the hall!
{The black material is the new SmartFab fabric-like bulletin board paper they sell at all the teacher supply stores.  It's reusable and costs the same as regular bulletin board paper!}

And, oh yah... I'm fully equipped with a themed costume, like usual!  #yesihaveacostumecloset
Click HERE to getcha' one for about $13!

If you've followed my blog or Instagram for very long, you've probably figured out that I'm all about "Setting the Stage 2 Engage."  {If ya'll want to know more about how to change your teaching 4-EVER (not to mention be eternally inspired!)... then check out my dear friend Hope King's TPT e-book...

Student Engagement: A Guide to Teaching Outside the Box

Seriously people,  I attended Hope's "Setting the Stage 2 Engage" workshop at the SDE conference in Vegas this summer and it changed the way I teach!!!  Not only am I having SO MUCH MORE FUN teaching.... but my kiddos are more engaged than ever and I'm able to teach them more rigorous content because of it!   LOVE.LOVE.LOVE this resource!!  GO AND BUY IT NOW! I mean, the girl teaches at Ron Clark Academy, my friends.  
ENOUGH SAID.  #instantinspiration

To start off our unit, we completed the K (what we KNOW) part of of our K-W-L chart!

{Note that I made this K-W-L chart so that I can re-use it each year.  I simply tape on new white rectangular papers to write on each year....then replace them with a new one the next year! #keepinitreal #timesaver]

Then, of course, we complete the W section (what we WANT to know).  That simple intro K-W-L activity got the kiddos SO excited.  I was sincerely surprised at how excited they were to begin our bat investigations.

We began our investigations with THIS little ditty...

Kids Discover Bats! DVD - Product Image

It's an awesome, VERY kiddo-friendly, super informative 22 minute video all about bats.  It was available at my local library, but honestly after using it in my classroom a few years ago, I bought it because I knew I'd want to use it every year.  You can grab it for $13 by clicking on the pic above!

We learned that there are MICROBATS and MEGABATS.  
Megabats are bats that eat fruit.  So of course, during one of our snack times, we had to do THIS little learning activity...

(Just FYI, I used blueberries, pineapples, strawberries and grapes for this!)

We also practiced our measuring skills during math time with this activity...


We also had our local Children's Zoo bring their mobile zoo program to our school to share their "Winged Wonders" program with us.


LOVED it... of course because it was interactive, but MOSTLY because my kiddos (and our first grade class) were blowing the zoo ladies away with big scientific words and things they already had learned.... like "zygodactyl" and "oviparous."  LOL! {Proud teacher moment! I just LOVE it when visitors are blown away at the depth of knowledge that kinders are capable of soaking up!}

We learned about how microbats (insect-eaters) use ECHOLOCATION to locate their prey.  I gathered the kiddos around a round container with water and quickly poked my finger in the middle.  The kiddos watched as the water formed ring after ring that moved from my finger toward the sides of the container...and then "echoed" back to the center.   I explained that bats produce a high-pitched sound that makes a sound-wave that moves out.... and when it "hits" an insect it "echoes" back to the bat, telling them exactly where the insect is located!

Using echolocation, dinner is served!   {QUICK FACT: Bats can eat up to 1,000 insects in one hour!}

Then we took that new little oracle of knowledge and turned it into a game!  We all joined and made a giant circle.  The kiddos in the circle were the "trees" that served as our game perimeter.   Then I selected a "bat", blindfolded him and placed him in the center of the circle.   I also chose a few "mosquitoes," who were kiddos that I pulled forward from the tree circle and instructed to stand still or move ultra-slowly inside the circle of trees.   To  play, the "bat" called out the word "FOOD."  The "mosquitoes" were instructed that each time they heard the bat call out, they had to quietly echo the word back to the bat, thus simulating ECHOLOCATION.  The bat then kept calling out, listening, and trying to touch ("catch") his dinner.  When the bat "caught" a mosquito, the mosquito then became a tree in the circle.  This was repeated until the bat had eaten all the mosquitoes.  A new bat was then chosen.  :)   SO.MUCH.FUN.   The kids totally "got" echolocation.

We also did an incredibly fun and hands-on activity that simulated how a momma bat identifies her baby, among hundreds of other bat family babes.    I chose a momma bat and told her the sound that she needed to both repeat.... AND listen for one of the babies to call out. (Oh!  I blindfolded the bat too!)  I lined up all the kiddos on the gym wall and had each of them call out an assigned letter sound softly AT THE SAME TIME.  The mother bat had to call out and listen for HER BABY'S sound... searching for her baby.   We repeated with other students until everyone had a turn to be either the mother or the baby.

We did the same activity with SMELLS also, since bats can use their sense of smell to locate their young too!   I used necklaces made out of yarn and cotton balls and used a variety of food extracts to play this game!  I used black bats with matching scents taped to the wall for the babies!  {If you want more info on this game....hold tight!  I'm working on getting a mini-bat unit posted to TPT soon!} EEKS!  I just loved this one!

No bat study is complete without a super cute, themed snack! 
Check out these babies that I whipped up!

Don't you just want to eat them up?!

 And I don't know what it is about this pic that I took.... but it just makes me giggle!!!

OOOH!  And don't miss this awesome little gem that my friend, Deanna Jump, suggested!  It's super catchy... as in CAN'T GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD catchy!  LOL

WHEW!  This is post in gettin' long!   I'd better wrap it up!   If you are looking for more incredible BATTY resources, check out these resources that I use every year...

Bats Math and Literacy Fun Aligned with Common Core  

 Have a Blast with Bats! - Literacy and Math Activities