Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School with a BRIGHT IDEA!

It's that time of the month again...... Bright Idea time!!

I so look forward to this, because I can find so many great ideas from so many of the BEST bloggers.

I have an idea this month that solved a problem in our computer lab and made my year run smoother.

Here was my problem.....the headphones were always in various states of disrepair.  We do not have a dedicated computer lab person, so each teacher is responsible for helping to take care of things and making it work for their own classroom.  It seemed that you never knew which headphones were working and which were broken or about to fall apart.  Even when we bought new ones, it didn't take long until there were many that were not working.  It was a hot mess.

Problem number two....students could not remember their usernames and passwords (and neither could I).  It seemed that the weeks I forgot to bring my printed off cheat sheet were the weeks that that nearly every student forgot their username.  It was a huge pain to find it....and it was all time not on task for them while I worked my way through the maze of clicks and passwords to get the information.

Here is what I did....I spent a little money at the dollar store and gathered these supplies.

Now I know that each of my students have headphones (I tell them if they break them they will have to replace them).  I know they have their username and password with them. 

When we go to the computer lab they have no excuse to get right on task.

Headphones....25 for $25
Ziplock baggies....$4.50
3x5 cards..... $.25
Peace of Mind....priceless

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following me here at KinderKapers, on Facebook, or my TpT store.

For more Bright Ideas from more than 100 bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 11, 2014

HELP!!! It's a SHARK attack!

Baby,,  I think the sharks got me!!  If you saw this post yesterday, it was empty.

But I took care of that shark and I am back!  I brought reinforcements!

Teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!


I like to keep my students engaged by bringing in "stuff"  (realia).

I like to bring in things that relate to the lesson.
Cooking in a dutch oven and making butter during a Thanksgiving lesson.
I like to bring in things to touch and handle, and gain experience.

I bring my kids to our butterflies....outside in a screened tent.  They can get up close and personal.  Check it out here.

I am lucky to have a lot of "stuff" to share.
My nephew's luge sled.  It comes to school during the Winter Olympics.
My husband's saddle.  It comes to school during Cowboy Poetry Week.

Of course, picking topics the students are interested in always helps, too!

And what student wouldn't LOVE to touch these??
I bought mine on Amazon.

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Try this little game with your shark teeth.....a little missing addend fun.
Grab some teeth, count them
Player one hides some (while everyone else hides their eyes).  Try under a shell or in a treasure box.
Now player two (or three and four) open their eyes and many do you see?
Figure out how many are hiding.   Check.   Write your equation.

Click HERE to try it out!
What about the shark eating these little guys??  Same game, only now there is food and the shark is doing the eating.

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five for Friday....the week I found out.

It's Friday....and oh my goodness, it has been a week!  You would think I was one of the ones starting back to school (I have been here long enough each day).  Nope.  We haven't started back yet and it is a good thing.

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching just to give you a quick peek into my week.

What I really need is a big ole sign that says

Yup, that's right, I am moving to 2nd.  It might be a short trip....the higher ups said I can move back, but "they" need me.  How can you say no?  Especially when they say they need a strong, experienced second grade teacher (I did teach 2nd for about 12 years).  Even if they said that just to make me feel better....I will take it.

So I am going, and I am going with a smile.  There must be a reason, and if I have a good attitude and do my best...I bet I will figure it out by June. the middle of all that craziness and a bit of panic, I had an anniversary.  I married this guy 36 years ago!  He is my rock, my go to guy, and all around best friend.  We go on lots of adventures together.  We have raised a wonderful family, and even if he drives me crazy sometimes....I wouldn't trade him.

I spent part of my week watching this granddaughter at the pool.  Her brother was taking swimming lessons too until some "big kids" pushed him off the slide and he broke his arm.

The rest of the week I have been at school trying to finish up this organizing project before I start thinking about second grade.  It is coming along....just a lot slower than I thought.

Part of that project was making these with my daughter-in-law and her circuit.  More on that later.

I am blessed to have some great friends.  Unexpectedly a very good friend came by with not one....but two aprons for me.  She, and her daughter, made them just because I had commented on another friend's facebook page how cute I thought they were.  I am still overwhelmed with this random act of kindness.  The more I think about how kind and generous they were...the more I know I need to pay it forward.
That is my goal for this coming week...find a way to pay it forward and do three random acts of kindness.  Of course I also want to get my labels made and my library put back together.  Do you have plans??

Friday, August 1, 2014

Let's have some FUN!

Teaching is fun...Let's face it, if it wasn't fun I think we would all do something else.  I am linking up today with Sally from Elementary Matters to share with you a fun story and some fun things I use in my classroom.

First, my story....I teach Kindergarten, so there are a lot of stories to pick from.  The one that has been on my mind and in my heart is a little guy who had to move last year when his dad's back (from old injuries) required specialized treatment.

This little guy was not quite ready for Kindergarten.  How do I know that?  He would often dive and roll onto the carpet and use his spiderman hands (complete with noise) to "shoot" spiderwebs into the air.  He had a wonderful imagination and lived by himself in that imaginary world quite often during the day.  One day he was peeking out from behind my puppet stage with his finger guns at the ready (picture James Bond).  When asked why he wasn't at his seat working his response, as matter of fact as could be, was, "I have bad guys to kill".  You cannot argue with that, except to say you will have to kill them later....right now you need to work on this.

Love that boy!  Miss him and wonder how his ex-army dad is doing.

Every year I start the year with this fun activity....Friendship Salad.
We make a "salad" using all kinds of fruit that I relate to different character traits I want to emphasize.  Then I try to stick in a rotten banana.  I love to hear my students yell NO!!!  We then, of course, describe those rotten banana behaviors.  The activity brings us together and gives us a common experience to refer to throughout the year.

You can purchase Friendship Salad story and activity on TpT (and they are having a sale Aug.4-5).

One more fun thing.....
Look at this little cowboy!  

We have the National Cowboy Poetry Festival in my town the last week of January.  When I put this little guy together with Melonheadz Illustrating's graphics I just had to write a story.  This is his story:  What is Under Your Hat?

His little smile reminds me of my dive and roll guy.  Love them both!  He is also available at my TpT store and he is on sale too.

Still Looking for some fun??  Head over to my facebook page and pick up my free get to know you game there.  Just like my page and look for the button that says Fan Freebie

Have some fun with your teaching this year!!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Do you have any of these?

Our reading and Social Studies series came in them.  We seemed to have a bunch laying around in the workroom that no one was using.  They are strong, sturdy, and I was sure very useful.  I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics and Made it Monday to show you what I did with mine.
I thought maybe my students could use them.  Five tables....I needed to round up five boxes  (and a couple extra for me)

I didn't like the writing on the boxes.  Let's face it, I like matchy match and a cleaner (cuter?) look.  I figured duck tape was the answer.  It comes in so many different colors and patterns. 

I just wrapped the boxes with the colored duck tape first around the top and the bottom, then the gap in the middle was filled in with the pattern.
They fit nicely on my shelves and under my computer desk.  This one is holding ten frames, hundreds charts, and other math work mats.
I made this for my principal...but then decided to keep it for myself.  Love when I get to show school pride.  Right now it has student folders (for writing), but I think it will find it's way behind my desk as soon as I round up one more box.
Easy Peasy.....all ready to go!
What are you working on?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for decluttering journey has begun.

It has been a VERY busy week for me.  I started.  I started cleaning out my stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff, school stuff, things I bought for others but haven't given them stuff, stuff that belonged to my children, and books. 

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Five for Friday to share my journey with you.

I know I said last week that I was going to start at school....but I decided to start at home first.  I pulled all my tubs out and sorted them between house stuff, school stuff, and books.

Then I ignored house and books and got busy on my school stuff because that is where I wanted to focus first.

I lined up tubs for each month...August through May.  Then as I was sorting I discovered I needed some tubs for topics as well as months.  So I grabbed some more tubs for reading, math, Dr. Seuss, farm and cowboy (they will be separated later), and then odds and ends (I was sorting at home and this was stuff that belonged in the classroom in different places).

I also know I said my first sort would be yes or no.  Turned out it was easier to sort by month or topic first.  However, I did keep that question in mind....Did I use it, Yes or No?  If I knew I didn't use it (and wouldn't use it) I tossed it right there.  I did start a stack of things that belonged to other grade levels.

I found some treasures while I was sorting.....

This is my prom dress from my junior year (1973), you do the math.  It will become Little Boo Peep at Halloween!  So glad I found it again.

Lots of old pictures in my house stuff.  I was missing some of this and wondered what happened to them.

See the package from Oriental Trading??  Those are the penguin thermometers I wanted to make in January.  Now they are in the right place and I will be able to find them.

Here are the stamps I wanted to use with my 100 Valentines book.  Now they are also in the right spot and I will not be panicking trying to come up with a plan B.
Yesterday I took all my school tubs to school and now the emotional work begins.  What to keep, what to toss, and where to best store things.  This is where it really will get worse before it gets better.  I have my monthly tubs and I am determined to stick to that plan.  But topics and files are going to be trickier.

Stay tuned...I still have my storage unit (that is where my file boxes are stored right now).  And don't forget my books!