Monday, July 10, 2017

Happies in the Classroom!

I've been busy, busy, busy working with Dr. Jean on our latest creation.  We've been working on these packets this past year- and we just love them. We couldn't wait to share these!

Last year, Jean and I were talking about how much we enjoy sharing ideas with teachers, and how much we want the JOY of teaching and learning never to be lost.  With all the trends and changes and standards out there, sometimes teachers get so caught up in having to keep up, they forget to enjoy the journey.

Dr. Jean wanted to put all of her best teaching songs together with practical, helpful ideas and activities, so they were all in one place for teachers.  We decided it would be most helpful to divide these ideas into monthly packets- full of one useful idea after another!  So - that's what we did.

Each month we have ELA, math, science, social studies, character education, and seasonal ideas to go with 15+ of Dr. Jean's songs (many with books to go with them).  We've also included different cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays for each month.  Jean made a little video for each month showing how to do all the new cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays with her granddaughter.  I know it's so much easier for me to learn new things when I see them, so I love these little videos.

There wasn't a lot out there for science and social studies for primary grades, so we wanted to be sure to include these subjects in each month's packet.

Character education is one of my all time favorites, and we have included many of these activities.   You can fit in activities and lessons all the time to help children know themselves and grow as kind friends.

We had so much fun putting these packets together.  One of the best things about the activities in the packets is that they can be made to fit beautifully with any curriculum.  For example, we have many sight word game ideas.  If you need to teach 100 sight words or 25 sight words, they will work perfectly for you- just fit your words into the game.

Each preview packet for every month has several freebies in it and an explanation of what is included in the monthly packet.  All of the songs are highlighted in RED in the table of contents, so you can easily see those. They will be downloads that come in the zip file.

Here is a little sample of some of the activities in each of the packets:

We have also bundled the whole year of packets together at a discounted price- so it's like you get 2 months free! This complete packet includes all 9 monthly packets with 1275 pages of activities, learning games, and worksheets for all subject areas; over 135 of Dr. Jean's songs to download (many with books to go with them!); 20 Prezis; new handshakes, cheers, attention grabbers, and finger plays each month; QR codes for many of the songs; plus assessments available on ESGI for each subject area each month!

Each month you will  receive 2 Prezis with LOTS of videos, songs, activities, online games, and anchor charts, that go along with that month.  I love Prezis.  They are a perfect way to organize your favorite online activities so they are all right there for you, in one place, ready to use whenever you have a free moment.  Never again will you waste those extra minutes before specials or before lunch.
I use the Prezis to introduce new subjects, to reinforce what I've taught, to leave up an anchor chart on my Smart TV during a lesson because I don't have a lot of extra wall space, and to play review games on the Smartboard or Smart TV.

So- all of these "favorites" are all set up for you to use and the links to these Prezis are included in these packets!  Here are some of the Prezis you will receive so you have an idea of what is included:

Then, to make this even BETTER- we have partnered with ESGI to include assessments in each packet for each subject area!  Every month, you will receive assessments for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies available through ESGI.

These assessments give you all the data your district could want!  Having the assessments to show your administration also helps to show them how hands-on learning, songs, and movement really WORK to help children learn and remember information.  We know that they will remember it so much better because they had FUN learning it.

These packets can also be purchased through school districts with curriculum money.  The assessments provide the data piece so many districts look for when purchasing curriculum.  But in the "teacher world,"  the data really helps us to see what the children learn and help us to guide our instruction as we move forward with our teaching!  That's why I love ESGI... Educational Software for Guiding Instruction.  That's exactly what it does for teachers.

I posted ALL about the benefits, bells and whistles,  and some examples of what ESGI offers HERE.  When you use the special PROMO CODE HAPPIES , you can try ESGI FREE for 60 days and when you see how valuable it is, you will receive $40 off your purchase for the first year using the HAPPIES code.  The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year.  Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you. They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too- for your whole grade level!  It's a great time of the year to try it out in the beginning of the year- when you are assessing so many different things.  ESGI saves you HOURS of time assessing.  The children love it.  It's fun!  There is no paperwork to get lost- and your data is available anytime for you because it's all online. All answers are Y (yes) and N (no).  You click the button right on the iPad as the student answers, whether he was able to answer it or not. The data is all saved for you and can be displayed so many different ways to help you create groups and see progress.  You can read more about ESGI's features HERE.     

Here are some samples assessment questions and how they will look on your iPad as you assess the students:

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you continue to have a "happie" summer!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kindness ROCKS!

Happy Summer, everyone!  It's always such a great feeling to rest and reflect after the school year is over.  This summer, my sister and I have discovered such a fun way to do just that- and I couldn't wait to share it with you, because it's a great idea for the classroom, too.  (Of course- doesn't that happen with everything you do- your mind instantly goes to, "How could I use this in the classroom?!")

The latest trend in our area has been painting rocks.  Basically, people have fun painting rocks, hiding them, and waiting for other people to find them and be happy!

We have two groups locally since we are close to two counties-  Broome County Rocks! and Tioga County Rocks! Each group has a Facebook page where people upload pictures of rocks they paint and/or find, and then relocate for someone else to find.  We write, "Post to Broome County Rocks," on the back of our rocks, so people know where the rock is from.

We figure we don't have fun things like seashells to find in Upstate NY- we may as well paint rocks for people to find!

It's addicting.  And relaxing.  And just makes me smile.
We painted, watched my sister's dog sleep by us, and watched the rain outside.  It was my perfect summer afternoon.

Some rocks people paint are simple- and some are little masterpieces! Some are quilt rocks where someone starts a "square," hides it, and then the person who finds it completes another square, hides it, and keeps the quilt going.

Here are some rocks my sister and I painted:

It's so much fun to  check the site and see if someone found one of your rocks.  We might be a little addicted...

Hiding them is so much fun!  We drove around like we were on a mission!  We can leave some as we walk, but we wanted to spread the rocks around a bit.  We left some outside restaurants,  on benches, on playgrounds, and outside of a church.  They are fun to leave by hospitals and nursing homes, too, hoping to bring a smile to someone's day.

We MAY have seen a post on the site from a mom of a student I had in class a couple years ago, who was looking and looking to find his first rock, and was so excited.  And we MAY have hidden a rock or two on the steps to his house.  We may have...

I thought this would be such a great character education lesson for a classroom or an entire school. Kindness Rocks!  There are several Kindness Rocks programs around, which I found as I was writing this post, and which I just love. This one is from Crafts Unleashed.

This one is in Cape Cod.

Children love to paint rocks.  You can print pictures from Google Images or Pinterest to find sample rocks that would be simple for the children to recreate.  Just type in "painted rocks" and you will see more than you know what to do with.  You can spray a protective coating on the rocks after they are painted.  And... they are good to go!  I think it would be fun to send the rock and a note home to each family, so they could hide the rock as a Random Act of Kindness.  This would spread the rocks out a little better. You can put an email address on back to notify if the rock is found, or just know you've made someone's day and not put anything on the back of the rock.

I thought these would be fun for the kids to make.

OR you can keep the beauty at your school, like students from Sharon Elementary School in Newburgh, IN.  They painted rocks inspired by the book Only One You, by Linda Kranz, and made a beautiful stone pathway outside the school entrance.  I just love this.

The beautiful part is that every rock is special- no matter how it is painted. And even more beautiful is seeing the smiles and reading the sweet stories that go with the rocks that are found.

Have fun spreading kindness and joy!

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