Dreidel Freebie, Hanukkah is Dec. 24th-Jan.1st!

Hello Fun Followers!

Here is a freebie for you today. Teach your students to play a dreidel game and use it in your math center! Great way to practice math.
Enjoy and Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!
While you are in our store, check this out! Lots of holiday products to enjoy.
Celebrations Around the World {Informational Text, Crafts

Homework Calendars

Do you have trouble coming up with authentic homework for your Preschoolers? Looking for ways to involve parents without sending home tons of worksheets? Take a look at this FREE calendar. Calendars are posted for you every month.
Enjoy and we are thankful for our FUN followers!
December Homework Calendar ~ Pk/K

Thank a Veteran!

My HERO, my DAD!
  My dad, brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law and son-in-law are all veterans. Everyone is touched by a veteran in some way. This is a time when we should reach out and thank them.
  No matter what your political views are, these men and women have sacrificed something to help protect ME (us). All have stories to tell but most won't share those stories.
  Growing up I did not understand nor appreciate what all my dad sacrificed. I didn't understand (and still don't) what he buried deep inside (psychologically) or the physical pain he endured but never complained about.
  Let's teach our children. Reach out and thank a veteran this week, this month, this year. So........to all the veterans in my life, thank-you! But my biggest thank-you goes to my HERO, my DAD! Thank-you. I love and miss you!

Everybody's Got Sumpin'

     As Robin Roberts says, "Everybody's got sumpin'."  We all have a story to tell. Usually I don't write about personal things on this blog. However, it has been dormant for awhile and so I have decided to share MY story. Then I will go back to sharing my head-full-heart-full teaching ideas.  I hope this will speak to you.
     "Life" doesn't care what color you are, how much money you make, what religion you are, how old you are, where you live, etc.
     My husband came down with the flu. It went into double pneumonia and then heart failure. He spent 2 weeks in ICU. He lost 30 pounds in 2 weeks. (How is that even possible??) We prayed and had people all over the world praying. By the GRACE of GOD he survived and came home. We went out with friends for his birthday to celebrate life and received a call from my son. We were wondering why he wasn't at the celebration.....Well.....
     My 20-something year old son is healthy, athletic (a rock-climber) and energetic. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (cancer had spread to his lungs, around his kidneys and lymph nodes). He recently had been laid off from his job and had lost his insurance. His temporary insurance did not cover cancer. (Who would think you needed that at such a young age??!!!)
     To get him in the door at M.D. Anderson (we live in Houston), we had to come up with $18,900! That was just to get an appointment! How many school teachers do you know have that kind of money sitting around??!!
     My best friend and TpT partner started a Go-Fund-Me account and others organized fundraising events. People all over the world started praying.
     Due to the overwhelming generosity of family, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers, Randy started treatment exactly 1 month later. He has 3 out of the 4 types of testicular cancer. One of those does not respond to chemo. We prayed. People all over the world were praying for him. He is 2 weeks out of chemo and had his first scans. The cancer is gone for now, including the tumor that doesn't respond to chemo! We believe that is God's hand in all of this!!
     If you have continued to read to here, I am writing this on the anniversary of my brother's death due to liver cancer. The MORAL TO MY STORY: 1. Tell your family you love them EVERY SINGLE DAY. 2. Never leave the house or hang up the phone without telling them you love them. 3. Don't let "toothpaste" fights upset you because they are not important.  4. Tell your friends how much you care about them often. 5. Help people when you can. 6. Be GRATEFUL for things you usually take for granted.  And...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 7. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! 
   The old saying, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" should be, "Because of God we can handle what we are given."
   I would love to hear from you!


ADHD and Learning Differences

  This is a personal post. I want to talk about one of the (BIG) reasons why I believe in hands-on, FUN learning for young children. My son is ADHD and a "different" learner. As a teacher/parent, I know what his "IQ" is. He is very smart. However, what happened to him as a young child/student/learner scarred him for life.
  You know those phonics worksheets? Like the ones that are to "practice" beginning sounds. They might show a picture the gate of a fence or a coffee "mug" etc. Well, one day he brought home a sheet with every. single. answer. marked wrong with a big red X and a big fat 0 on his paper!
   Knowing he knew his beginning sounds, I began to ask him why he missed all the answers. I pointed to the "gate" and said, "What is this? What does it start with?" His answer was "fence". "Fence starts with 'f' '". Then when asking about the "mug", he said it was a "cup" and that "cup" begins with "c".
   We went through the entire sheet and for each picture he named, he knew the beginning letter. Soooo....I went to talk to the teacher. I was told that she gave the directions and went over each picture before they were to do the sheet independently and that my son had NOT listened OR followed directions. AND she was RIGHT! However, THAT is a different skill from knowing the beginning sounds of words!! What was the objective of the sheet? Listening and following directions or knowing beginning sounds?
   ADHD children have trouble listening and following directions.
   This is food for thought and NOT meant to point fingers. That experience made me a different kind of teacher. Before grading papers I always made sure I was clear on what the objective was that I wanted to assess. Many times I realized it was just to keep the kids busy while I worked with my small groups (let's be honest here). I thought at the time I was having the kiddos "practice" a certain skill. Well....if a child can do a worksheet without any problem, why give them a worksheet? They already know the skill. If a child can't do the worksheet, why give them the worksheet? They don't have a clue what it's for and will learn nothing from it!

Patterning and Community Helpers

This is the time of the year to study community workers. October is Fire Prevention Month so it makes it especially fun to study and focus on firefighters. However, it is a great time to study about many people who are “helpers” in our community. Here are is an idea of what you can do for your community unit.What a fun way to integrate math and social studies! One of the teachers in our early childhood center made this cute center activity that is a hit with all the kids.
She dressed her kids in community helpers costumes and then took their pictures.  She laminated the pictures and cut them out.
At the pocket chart center the children are suppose to make patterns with the community helpers pictures of each other. (fireman, fireman, vet, fireman, fireman, vet)

I grabbed these pictures real quick (before center time) so I could remember the activity, so the kids have not made patterns with the pictures yet.  I can't wait to try this!

Hi Everyone!  We are sorry about being MIA for the last few months....we have had some family health problems.  Hopefully everything is better now and we can reconnect. 

I don't know about you but as a teacher/mom one of the things that causes the most stress is homework.  As a teacher I always hate to put a great deal of weight on homework grade because I always wonder how much help the students get while doing it.  And as a parent it seems that sometimes we don't get the directions right or even the assignments.  We have created FREE homework calendars for Pk/K for those very reasons.

Each monthly calendar is one page and includes easy, meaningful activities for parents to do with their kids.  For example,

  • Ask your child to follow simple directions of 1 or 2 steps (go to the kitchen, get a spoon).
  • Identify how numbers are used at home. (address, cooking, telephone, etc..) 
  • Draw a picture of something that rhymes with “bat”.
There are "assignments" written on the calendars for all week days.  Weekends and holidays are not included. 

Parents seem to really like the ease of the calendars and are actively involved in their child's learning.

You can get your free calendar here.  All 2015 calendars will be uploaded during the previous month to give you time to print it for your students by the 1st.

Hope your families have fun with these and learn along the way!