Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What to do with your Chalkboard. . .-Kids Project

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I made a chalkboard for the kids earlier this year. It was very exciting for them at first, but then the excitement died down.

Recently, I've had some ideas running through my head of ways to make the chalkboard more appealing and fun.

My first idea was to do a "Question of the Day". Each day, I would write a question and the kids would write an answer. It was great for all levels. For instance, my older daughters could write a complete sentence versus my four year old, whom I told him that he could just draw a picture but had to write some letters with it.

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I love that he put that Mom and Dad make him happy. I also love how I look very slender. You can tell that my oldest is still thinking about Thanksgiving and my middle told me, "I'm being funny." when she wrote "Spiders make me happy." I know my kids love it, because if I don't have a question up, they ask me what it is for today.

This activity is SO GREAT because it. . .

#1 Practices writing skills.

#2 Practices sentence structure.

#3 Gets kids excited about writing.

#4 I use it at dinner time as a discussion tool. We talk about our responses.

You know when you start thinking about one idea, that tons of ideas just pop in your head? Well, here are some of the ideas I had. . .

1. Make it a word wall (a word wall is a bank of sight words), where you continue to add words that your child learns.

2. Have a "Problem of the Day" where you have them solve a math problem. Pick a concept that they are learning.

3. Have them make lists. Grocery lists etc.

4. Give a list of words and have your child put them in ABC order.

5. Have your child practice spelling words each week on it.


I love making learning everywhere, don't you?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey Crafts-Kids Projects

Turkey Craft
How to make it:
1. Begin with a 6X12 piece of brown contruction paper. Glue on one end to make a cylinder. Hold until sealed. You may have to hold longer than expected.
2. Next, take some different colored contruction paper around 6X4.5 inches. Have the kids trace their hands and cut out.
3. Glue the hands on the back of the brown cylinder. Hold for a while until secured.
4. Make eyes using white paper and a black crayon.
5. Use orange paper to make the beak and feet. Glue everything on according to the picture.

Other Turkey Craft Ideas
1. Give the kids a copy of a turkey and have them disguise it because the turkey doesn't want to be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. You could use fabric, construction paper and whatever else you can find around the house. This particular turkey is a bride. Other ideas could be: cheerleader, baseball player, fireman, ballet dancer, a different animal like a dog or a cat etc.
2. This one all you need is a copy of a turkey. I tried to scan my copy, but my scanner stinks! Anyways, the kids can decorate it with things they can find around the house: rice, beans, seasonings, feathers, fabric, popcorn, etc. The only criteria is that the kids have to be creative!
3. There's always the turkey made out of a pine cone. All you need for this project is feathers, brown construction paper, red pipecleaner, moving eyes, and a popsicle stick broken in two and colored orange for the feet.

Turkey Game

I shared an idea last month with the Halloween Activities called, "Don't eat my Halloween". This is another version for Thanksgiving called, "Don't eat my Turkey". You can find the rules to play in the October Archives under Halloween Activites.


Other helpful and fun websites:
Craft Ideas:

Music Ideas:

All sorts of ideas:

Thanksgiving Printables:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bella

Meet Bella. Sweet, curious, and loveable Bella.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Just for me" Series

Took the lil' ones out on a walk the other day and brought the camera. While I pushed Zoey around, Xander had a hatful of poses for me!

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I love fall. I love how the leaves change color and cool weather, although, here in California, we have had a warm spell. Everyone tells me they have an Indian summer here. I don't mind summer being extended as long as we still get nice fall weather.

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Believe it or not, these pictures were taken behind a Safeway. I think when you have a cute subject like Xander, any picture is going to look cute!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Stockings


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I was asked to post the instructions on how to make Christmas Stockings. I made these a couple of years ago and have loved them. They are by far, my favorite stockings that I have made.

What you need:
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My friend Tina, taught a class on how to make it and here are her instructions.

I also have these instructions where she adapted hers from.

I wish I had taken pictures as I was doing them so I could make a tutorial for you. One thing I do remember is that the heel was the hardest part. Some of my heels were too big or too small. I think I have one stocking where I felt the heel was perfect. I guess practice does make perfect.

This is a pretty simple project and beware, you just might be hooked! Get it? Hooked??

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Project 7

Today as I dropped my first grader off at school, an unexpected feeling swept through me. For a moment, I had a desire to be teaching in the classroom again. This is the fourth school year that I have not taught. I love being home with my kids and there is no other place I would rather be, but every now and then I miss aspects of teaching school. I think most importantly, I miss the kids. As a teacher, I felt like a super star. My little first graders depended on me. They were eager to learn and to please. They said the funniest things and worked hard.

I have so many good memories teaching children. I also have thought about my students over the years. A first grade teacher, whom I adore and admire told me that she would send a graduation card to her former students. I thought that was amazing! How would that make you feel, 12 years later, to receive a graduation card from your first grade teacher?

Well, next year, if you can believe it, my first class that I taught will be graduating highschool! I can't believe it myself. I have decided that each year for the next 7 years (that is how many years I taught), I will be locating my former students and congratulating them on their upcoming graduation. I call it Project 7.

Thanks to Facebook, it might turn out to be an easy job. I'm really excited for this and can't wait to see who I find. I'll keep you updated on who has been found.

Here are my first graders from my first year. Ready or not, here I come!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Indian Crafts-Kids Project

Indian Neckless
Materials:
Dyed Noodles
String
Potatoes cut in chunks
Needle
Feather

1. Bead noodles onto string in a pattern. You can easily dye the noodles using food dye and rubbing alcohol. Then lay out on a surface to dry.
2. Use potatoe chunks and incorporate into the pattern.3. Hang to dry for a day or two. The potatoes will harden.
4. Use a hot glue gun and glue some feathers inside one of the noodles.
Thanks to my colleague while teaching, Kathy Wilkins for this idea.

Indian Headband
Materials:
Brown construction paper cut into a strip long enough to fit around your child.
Various colors of contruction paper for feathers
Paper Shapes


1. On the brown construction piece, have your child make a pattern using the shapes.
2. Cut out feathers on the various colors of contruction paper, using the scissors to feather the edges by making several cuts along the edges. Glue to the brown construction piece.

3. Measure on your child, then staple together.