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Hootie Who's Ready for the Weekend?


The flock is ready for the long Labor Day weekend, and we have the perfect kid friendly activity to usher in fall.  We can only hope and pray that fall is around the bend, because honestly there is enough heat and moisture in the air to cut it with a butter knife!  Nonetheless, we are super excited for the traditions that the season fall brings.  Back to school (you already know we love that!), college football, yummy food, family gatherings, pumpkins, and these adorable owls!

Making these cupcakes would be a perfect home or classroom tie in to Wednesday's Lil Sprouts Book Club choice.  Here's what you'll need:

Box of cake mix
White cookie/cake icing
Oreo cookies
Sixlet candies
Shaved almonds
Coco Puffs cereal
Goldfish crackers or Cheez-It crackers

Directions:

Follow the directions on the cake box to make cupcakes.  Let the cupcakes cool completely and then add your icing.  

Your mini pastry chefs can decide if they would like to create a brown owl or white owl.  If they would like a brown owl, have them put a handful of Coco Puffs into a resealable baggie and crush.  Sprinkle cereal crumbs on top of the cupcake.  Carefully twist apart two Oreo cookies to use as the owl’s eyes.  You’ll need to use two so that you can have two eyes that are covered in the yummy white frosting!   


Place a Sixlet candy on the icing to finish off the owl’s eyes.  Now using your shaved almonds create wings for the owls by making staggered rows.  Your final touch will be the beak.   


Let your kids use their creativity!  They can shape a Goldfish cracker into the beak, or even bite off the corner of a Cheez-It cracker.


 Extend the fun and learning with a journaling activity that has your little owls practicing their writing and sequencing skills.  Simply save the image below into a Word document and print for your kids. 



Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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Lil Sprouts Book Club: The Little White Owl


 
Living all alone in the snow under a starry sky, a little white owl imagines himself as a knight or as a rocket, blasting off to the moon. These fantasies inspire him to take off, he journeys to the tropics where he meets some very colorful owls. To the white owl, they seem just like him, but the other birds don’t feel the same, and order him to go away. After he tells the colorful birds his magical stories of castles, knights, and dragons, though, they are so stricken by his tales, that when the white owl goes back to his snowy home, the tropical crew begs to join him. The tropically hued, textured illustrations show the huge-eyed birds’ transformation from mean bullies to friends of the little white owl.

This is one of my favorite stories to read at the beginning of the school year to my students. The pictures are engaging and really capture the attention of my students, my little kids at home are no exception. They enjoyed listening to this story as well, captivated by the vivid pictures and colorful owls. This story teaches a very valuable lesson. That no matter how small, or different someone may be you can't really judge a person until you get to know them. Using the message of this story to bring together a class, a family or a group of friends helps little ones to see the importance of their actions and words towards others. As the school year gets started it's important to remind students, no matter what age they are, of the importance of being accepting and valuing each others differences. 

A fun little activity to remind students of this story and it's valuable message is to make little colorful owls. I did this tonight with my two little ones. 


 
The materials are simple:

2 patterns of scrapbook paper
scissors
favor box
white paper, black paper
orange felt
glue stick



Since my two little ones are too young to cut such small items I cut my pieces out ahead of time. You need to cut 2 white circles, two smaller black circles, a small triangle, and a heart from the felt. Use the scrapbook paper to cut small rounded rectangles (feathers) out (trace the tip of your pinky finger as a guide for size).


Leave the favor box flat, have your little one use the glue stick to attach the feathers in a  row, It is easiest to start at the bottom and work your way up. Leave about 1 1/2 inches empty at the top of the box ( for the eyes). Even my 18 month old son got in on the crafting action. He loved using the big glue stick most of all....I am pretty sure by the time he was done everything was stuck to the table. With a little direction he was able to keep up with his 4 year old sister.


Attach the eyes and beak and then assemble the favor box folding the top and bottom, then place the heart shaped (claws) at the bottom for the little owl to stand on.



 Lastly cut two oval wings out of the scrapbook paper, and attach them onto your owl. *as you see we forgot this step....I will update our pictures once my kids add them....I knew we were forgetting something :)


If you love owls as much as we do, be sure to check out our Back to School is a Hoot Kit!


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Hunkering Down for Hurricane Isaac


As native Floridians, we grew up realizing that hurricanes and inclement summertime weather is inevitable.  Marcy and I grew up in different parts of the state, Central/Southern Florida and North Florida respectively, and have lived through our fair share of rain, wind, and power outages.  Although the mighty power of a  hurricane is nothing to take lightly, there is some sense of excitement when battening down the hatches.  However, as we saw with a tropical storm that passed through our neck of the woods this summer, cabin fever quickly ensues!

As Floridian mommies now, we know that being stuck inside can be the best of times and the worst of times.  We've put together a kid "boredom survival" kit to help you make it through if you are a Sunshine State resident.  If snow or other crazy weather patterns keep you cooped up throughout the year, keep the list handy!  Obviously this does not take the place of a real hurricane survival list, and the importance of preparing a hurricane plan with your family.



We pray for safety to all of those in our wonderful state and neighboring states, that Isaac comes and goes on his merry way!


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Join in the expo today! Get your free ticket!


Teacher's notebook is covering the cost for 848 teachers to attend the event. Teachers can start claiming those tickets starting on Today at 12pm CST. It will be first come first serve - think of it as a "while supplies last" sort of deal! We encourage you to share the event and tell others about your fantastic experience at the Expo!
Click the picture below to claim your ticket starting at 12pm CST!
Don't forget the incredible speakers that you'll hear from...


 Join in Teacher's Notebook's Virtual Teaching Expo

Virtual Teaching Expos (or conferences) are an amazing way to attend and participate from anywhere in the world!
With each unique Expo, you get access to our phenomenal speakers. That means direct access to their presentation, ideas and you have a link to ask questions on their websites. Right away you can apply or dig deeper about what you learn. You attend when it's convenient for you!
Attending an Expo is simple, easy and you get to participate without leaving your home! You'll be provided your login access information via email after you've purchased your ticket. With a simple login and a few clicks, you're on your way to inspiration, application and teaching the way you really want!
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The Way I Feel: Helping your little one with their emotions

 
Little kids have a hard time expressing emotions. They often get frustrated, have an outburst or act out in a physical nature. Going to school, whether it is preschool or elementary, is sometimes hard. There are lots of new faces, expectations and skills each day. So helping them put a voice to their feelings is the best way we can prepare them to handle uncomfortable situations.
We developed the perfect kit for other teachers and moms looking to teach their children about their emotions.
You can purchase the kit from our Simply Sprout Store. The kit is designed to explore students emotions and feelings. Students can learn to define what their feelings are using this kit. There is a chart for your to print and laminate, just add velcro or magnets onto the back of the feeling monsters. Have students identify their own feelings and show them on the chart. Students can use one of the three pages provided to either draw, journal or record weekly feelings and emotions. For teachers there is also a bulletin board kit to display student work around the classroom.
The Way I Feel Kit Contains: 
The Way I feel Feelings Chart
8 Feelings cards
Daily Behavior tracker
The Way I feel Activity sheet
The Way I feel Bulletin Board Kit ( The Way We Feel Header and 8 emotion monsters with titles)
The Way I feel Journal Page
 
I Printed the kit and laminated it at my local Kinkos (I like using their small pouch laminator because the lamination film is extra durable and thick) I added small velcro dots onto the back of the monsters and to the circles on the chart. I mounted my daughters chart next to her bed. I used sticky velcro to attach a small mirror next to her chart as well as her emotions cards (which are attached together using a plastic luggage tag cord)

When I introduced her new chart we talked about each of the feelings and cards and reviewed what the emotion words meant. I showed her how she needed to look in the mirror and see her expression and then find the feeling that matched what she saw. Within a few minutes she was trying out her new skills on her baby brother...

After flipping through her cards, my daughter determined her brother was frustrated because he couldn't climb up on the bed on his own. So I asked her, "What could we do to help him with his feeling of frustration?" "Mommy I could help him up on the bed, and then he would be happy again!" She says ...Why yes Kaitlyn I think that's a great idea!

Now our little man is back to being happy and his feeling of frustration is gone!

When setting up this area in your home be sure to make it a comfortable private spot where your child can reflect and work through their emotions. Now instead of getting frustrated with my daughter when she is melting down I just send her to her bed to take a break and evaluate her emotions. With older children you can use the printables from the kit to have them write or draw about their emotions. Just copy several back to back and place in a folder or have them spiral bound at your local copy store.
 The sheet below help younger children to express their emotions through their drawing. Just right click and save the image below to print for your class or little ones at home.


Helping your children to see that they have the power within themselves to change the way they feel will give them encouragement to discover and work through their emotions. We would love to hear how you incorporate this kit into your home or classroom please write to us at simplysprout@gmail.com





Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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Join us at the Virtual Teaching Expo!

 Join in Teacher's Notebook's Virtual Teaching Expo

Virtual Teaching Expos (or conferences) are an amazing way to attend and participate from anywhere in the world!
With each unique Expo, you get access to our phenomenal speakers. That means direct access to their presentation, ideas and you have a link to ask questions on their websites. Right away you can apply or dig deeper about what you learn. You attend when it's convenient for you!
Attending an Expo is simple, easy and you get to participate without leaving your home! You'll be provided your login access information via email after you've purchased your ticket. With a simple login and a few clicks, you're on your way to inspiration, application and teaching the way you really want!

What an AMAZING deal this is!
For your $10 contribution you will receive the following:
  • A ticket to the event ($19.95 value)
  • 30% discount on hundreds of items
  • Well over $100 worth of items in the Goodie Bag
  • Two teachers will get tickets to the event for free
The vendor hall , filled with lots of teacher materials will only remain open to attendees who visit Aug. 25 - Sep. 1. You will receive 30% off your purchase from these vendors.
What a great way to get tons of quality resources for your classroom!
So swing by the vendor hall and check out Simply Sprout, we will have our top selling items on sale for 30% off as well as one of our classroom favorites for free in the teacher freebie bags!


We hope to see you there!


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Lil Sprouts Book Club: The Way I Feel

This week we have seen a range of emotions around our house. With the start of school always comes a variety of emotions from our little ones. Children often use play to calm their fears and understand their emotions. Which is why play is so important in primary learning and should be encouraged both in and out of the classroom. Today's Lil Sprouts Book Club is a perfect story to introduce emotions and feelings and give words to what your child might be feeling inside.

 
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
This story is filled with silly colorful characters that experience a variety of emotions. It helps little ones to put words to those sometimes unexplainable feelings.


 
My daughter started VPK (preschool) this past Monday, it is her first real time being away at school. She has dealt with a wide spectrum of emotions in preparation for her first day of school. She did a lot of role playing and dramatic play with her younger brother a week before school even began. She practiced walking her brother to his new class (her bedroom) Practiced hanging his bag up (on the door knob), prepared his snack ( goldfish crackers in a bowl), put his sweater on in case he got cold... We had a whole week of her working through her anxieties and preparing herself. So this book was a great selection for us. We read this book together and talked through some of her emotions to help her put words to what she was feeling inside.






After reading this book you might find it helpful to talk with your child about their feelings, the page below will help them illustrate what they are feeling. I had my daughter draw how she felt after her first day at school. We looked in a  mirror and talked about what she saw and compared it to what she was feeling inside. She determined that she was indeed happy about the first day of school.


If you enjoyed our selection from book club please check out our  
Later this week we will be featuring the items from our kit and show you some ways to incorporate them both in the classroom and at home with your little ones.



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Mommy & Me Mondays: Starting at the Beginning

I made a difficult, but exciting decision late last school year.  I decided to teach part time this coming up school year, and leave the role of a fifth grade teacher which I've adored for almost a decade.  My attachment to my position is understandable I think.  I teach at the same school, and in the same classrooms that I was taught in as a child.  I teach alongside some the hands down best teachers in America, and I really love fifth graders.  This is probably the most shocking part since, "Fifth graders are so sweet and cute," said no one EVER.  Despite the word on the street, they are really special and interesting little grown ups.  Needless to say, this is a big change for me.

Mommy and Me Mondays are one of the reasons why I made this decision.  No, not so I could write blog posts about activities to do with your toddlers, but to really be more present in some wonderful years with my son.  My husband and I were both raised by working mothers (both teachers), and spent very valuable time during our childhood with them.  This was a selfish decision on my part to be a more equally balanced mama!  There are millions of moms and dads that know how challenging finding a balance is, and we all get to a point where we have to think what is best for ourselves, our families, and our profession.

It's a perfect balance too for our son.  He is a very social child, who loves to explore and learn.  Now he gets the joys of preschool and to have me as a teacher too (lucky him...wink, wink!).  Since school started for him a couple of weeks ago, we are following the school's learning themes at home too.  This month they're focusing on back to school basics, friendships, and family.  We jumped on board with a shape and alphabet activity.


We've been pointing out shapes around us for awhile now, so we put our knowledge to use.  My son helped me hunt around the house for two circles (one for the apple and one for the leaf).  I would point objects out to him and ask, "Is this a circle?"  I love to hear him say, "No, mama."  Well at least I like to hear that sometimes.  I traced the circles with his "help" and cut them out along with some rectangles.  The different sized rectangles would act as our apple tree trunk and branches.  Once all the apple tree pieces were cut, the Brusier helped me lay them out to resemble a tree.  He practiced his fine motor skills by using a glue stick (and his tasting skills...I don't know what it is about glue and kids).  If you look closely, some of the apples even have glue on the front side too!  He giggled when I held up the little circles and cut them in half to make green leaves.

We finished our apple tree off with a big A, pointing out words that started with the short a sound, and a heart full of love.  We're looking forward to many more Mommy and Me Mondays together.  But remember, quality mommy and me time can happen any time of day, any day of the week!


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Celebrate Back to School with 20% off!

 
Teachers we are celebrating back to school with 20% savings in our online Simply Sprout store! Please stop by to see our educational materials. Be sure to become a follower of our store and blog, and be the first to receive updates when we add new items! 
 
 
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