Monday, June 30, 2014

Motor Skills Monday with some Beads and Pool Stunts!

Because 90% of the things I do with my kids I find on Pinterest, why not share another great fine motor activity?! And this one also encourages counting skills. Super easy (& inexpensive) to make too!

Counting with Beads and Pipe cleaners

I came across this on Mess for Less blog, via Pinterest.

5-6 pipe cleaners
2 pieces of paper (I used card stock)

I actually had a great pic of the materials but my little wanna-be photographer (ahem...Myla) accidentally deleted it.

Anyway, you take the 2 pieces of paper and tape them together for a wider page.
Cut the pipe cleaners in half (or a little more than half) and tape only the top ends to the paper.
Leave the bottom ends free so the littles can place the beads on that way.

Then write the numbers 1-10 across the top ends of the pipe cleaners.

I love that this activity required very little instruction from me. She saw the numbers, beads and pipe cleaners and said, "Oh! We are going to make mini caterpillars!"

Sure, honey, sounds good. 

I just told her to match the number with the beads and she was all set. 

 I placed the beads in a small bowl because I wanted her to count out what she needed for each one. 

Turned out that she just grabbed some and counted them in her hand to see if she was right. A couple times she was!

About halfway through she complained that she was poking herself with the pipe cleaner. It was all because of how she was placing the beads on. She was pushing her finger into it to get the bead on instead of holding the bead on the sides and threading through. Does that make sense?

It was a great chance for me to say, "Ok, figure out a way where you won't do that anymore." By pipe cleaner #8, she had figured it out. :)

She did it and she's so proud! 
She also thought it was neat that the beads didn't fall off when she lifted the paper up. 

"So, mom, can we make mini caterpillars now?" 
(Great idea for the leftovers, btw!)

I liked that this encouraged lots of counting as she had to count the beads from the bowl first, count as she placed them on and we went back and double-checked her beads to be sure she had them correct. 

Extension ideas???
*Take the beads off one by one and count backwards(we may do this tomorrow as I just thought of it)

*See how many beads the pipe cleaners can hold

*Make color patterns with the beads

* Make mini caterpillars with your leftovers! ha ha

*I'm sure there are more...let me know if you try it!

Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I really like for the things we make to last longer than a day, so I plan to keep this around for M to do again and again. 

That was the extent of our motor skills activities for the day and that happened before 10am. 

We spent some time at the library...

Playing on the computer after checking out our books...

 Once we left the library and were headed to the car, N stopped and said, "Mommy, TOP! (stop), let's take a picture!!" Poor kids are so used to posing for the camera. 

AND we spent some time in Nana's pool. 

Someone was super excited...

Don't feel bad for N here, he is a mad man and absolutely loves these stunts with Daddy.

Myla and I worked on somersaults in the water. Guess we did work on some motor skills after all. :)

The kids really love hanging on daddy. 

I mean, he is the biggest kid out of them all. 

What?! You didn't know that I had 3 kids??

Well, I do. And I love them dearly. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Because we all love the BRIGHT & SUNNY....

Just updated for 2014-2015!


With over 130 pages including 65 covers/dividers for all your needs, this will surely provide you with a great jump start at the beginning of the school year! Organize all of your student and parent info, monthly notes and calendars, grade book, assessment data and more into one amazing binder. And with the popular and fun chevron style added in with a little zebra makes this binder POP!

**This product also comes with an EDITABLE file with 53 pages for you to add your own info and customize just for you! Most pages also come in black and white for easy printing!

Here is just a snapshot of what's included...

Covers/Dividers for...
K-5 grade level
All subject areas
Student Info
Parent Info
Parent Helpers
Parent Conferences
2 page Parent Questionnaire
Grade Book
Assessment Info
IEP Info & Tracking
BIP Info & Tracking
Professional Development
Meeting notes (for all your meetings)
ARD Info
Staff Contacts
Emergency Procedures
Sub Info
Student Birthdays
Field Trips
Technology Tidbits 

The PPT file includes 53 EDITABLE pages including...
Student and Parent Info
Parent Helpers
How We Get Home from School
Monthly Notes pages with an encouraging word of the month
Monthly birthday pages
Spine Labels for your binder
Lesson Plans template
Grade Sheets for each subject area

You could use the contents of this product in separate binders in your classroom or you can have it all in one large binder! The possibilities are endless.

Lots of Back to School and additional products coming soon! Be sure to follow my store to get updates on special discounts and freebies!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thinking Thursday: Turtle Research & Tiny Trucks with the Cousins!

Look at the cute little turtle we made today. :)

Today was a special Thinking Thursday since we got to share it with our cousins! My sister had lunch plans with friends so we kept her crew for a couple hours.

After a delicious lunch of PB&J and peaches, the girls and I started our Turtle Research. Last Friday when we went to the turtle pond, a few questions came up..some from the kids but also from my sister and me. So this was a perfect topic for Thinking Thursday. 

I figured we would research 3 questions they wanted to find out and then make a turtle something. Snagged this cute idea on Pinterest HERE.

Got the materials ready while they played for a bit. We had checked out a couple of Turtle books at the library earlier in the week. 

Then I asked the girls what they wanted to learn about turtles...
I wondered about the last question...I knew it was a long time!

I had my Macbook and iPad available but I wanted them to look thru the books first! I told them to think about their question and then look for pictures that might show their answer. 

They enjoyed looking through the pictures. :)

The books told us what they ate and we could assume what turtles do. We watched a few turtle videos too. The girls really wanted to see baby turtles racing to the ocean after they hatch. 

Learning is fun!

O wrote that turtles "swim". 

We did research and find how long they lived by using the iPad. 

A healthy turtle can live to be 80-100 years old! Crazy.

The girls took turns writing that down on our board.

After we found our answers we talked a little bit about it. 

Here they are telling about what they learned... (just excuse the noisy little brothers in the background!)

After sharing our knowledge, they were excited to make their turtle. I had shown them earlier a picture of the one similar to what we would make. Myla really wanted to make a turtle purse but this had to do. :)

Easy Turtle Craft


Green and yellow Card stock Paper
Paper bowls (green would be best)
Double-sided tape
Masking tape
Yarn or string

Since we did not have green bowls, I had the girls color their bowls with a green marker to make the turtles shell.

While they were coloring, I drew the face, legs and tail on the green paper for them. 

Then I sketched out the pattern to glue on top of the bowl to make the shell. It was AFTER this that I noticed that the blog I found it on had a pattern to print out. Oh well...this worked just fine!

We colored the whole bowl green for the shell...

And added the legs to the underside of the bowl using double-sided tape.

Myla drew her face (red eyes with eyelashes, of course) and we taped that on too.

Then she started placing the shell pieces on the top.

Olivia did such a neat job coloring. She made sure to take her time!

Last step was punching a small hole in the "shell" above the head and tying a piece of yarn (so the girls could pull it behind them and "take them lots of places"). I used masking tape on the underside of the bowl so it would stay better. It came off twice as she was playing with it before I figured that out. 

Now Olivia's was almost done too!

Done and taking their new turtle friends for a walk. 

So fun!

The whole activity was pretty easy and they could do most of it on their own. It took about 30-45 minutes to complete! 

Now, I knew better than to involve the boys in turtle research and crafts, but I still wanted to do something with them for Thinking Thursday. Something that would hold their attention and be something they would enjoy....TRUCKS!

I found this online and printed on card stock...

It has a set of 9 trucks on one page and the same trucks on a separate page (which I cut out to make cards) only tinier. The objective was to have the boys use the magnifying glass to match the tiny truck to the big truck. This was using their thinking skills, right?!

First we just noticed the big trucks and named them. 

 We then explored a little with the hand lens to see them up close. 

 Taking turns looking at the little cards and placing them on the matching big truck.

 So serious...

They were so good at this....
 It's a match!

One more!
 Way to go, E!!
 Got them all...took a whole 4-5 minutes which reached the max of their attention span. Noah actually checked out a little earlier!

Olivia came by the table and snapped this cute pic of me and Myla. 

Just love having this time with them. 

Teachers HEART summer break!

Tomorrow is Fun & Friendly Friday but we don't have any playdates lined up. Kinda snuck up on me so we might change it to Fun & Family Friday and make it a family day. 

Unless anyone wants to meet us to play...let me know!!