Teacher Ideas

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Lighting Bugs and Mason Jars


Theme of the Week: Bugs

The theme around our house this week...bugs.   If you're just joining us, my son and I (really me, since he is two) have chosen different themes for our summer weeks.  We do some little, simple, and fun things throughout the week to encourage exploring and learning.  This week we've had fun with bugs.  Since fireflies, known as lighting bugs here in the South, are the unofficial summertime mascot, it seemed perfect to end our week with a firefly project.  

Did you know that fireflies use their flash as a sort of insect code to find mates?  They aren't just summertime favorites here in the South, they're lighting up the night sky across most of the United States in these hot summer months.  Head outside and try to capture some and time how long the firefly's abdomen stays lit.  Or how long it is between flashes.  Then uncap your jar and let them continue to make the sky flicker with magic.

Summer time is pretty magical, don't you think?  We have a lot of little friends around here experiencing their first sleep overs during these summer nights.  This Mason Jar and lighting bug print would be a sweet way to remember all the guests that lay their head down in your home this summer.  Have yellow paint or stamp pad handy, and let them leave their mark.  Simply add wings and their name and you'll be sure to remember their stay.  I can't resist tiny fingerprints (unless they are on my windows, walls, etc.), so our print lets me capture my son's little prints before they are bigger than mine!

Make sure to right click on the image below and paste it into a Word document.  









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Oatmeal Starfish


Theme of the Week: Oceans

As my two year old and I head out of town for a couple of days on a mommy and son vacation to the beach, we spent some time this week leading up to our trip talking about ocean life.  Making oatmeal starfish was a perfect toddler afternoon activity for him.  He helped me trace the shape onto construction paper first.  I cut it out and made him a mixture of glue and water that he painted onto the starfish with a foam brush.  His favorite part was sprinkling oatmeal all over (literally all over!) to make his starfish rough.  We brainstormed about other rough things that you might find at the beach, and smooth things too.  

We also talked about one of my favorite messages that comes from the Starfish Parable.  A shortened version graces our kitchen chalkboard along with his starfish now.  Every teacher and parent can find purpose in this message, and I hope that my son does too!


If you're looking for more ocean fun, check out our Ocean Explorer kits offered for the primary and intermediate classroom.  I used them this week with my summer tutoring students, and we had so much fun!

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Happy Father's Day


 

Happy Father's Day weekend to all of you Dads who are great role models, coaches, supporters, listeners, leaders, buddies, snugglers, readers, wrestlers, comforters, and most importantly teachers to our children.  

This little guy wants to be just like his farmer and engineer daddy one day!  I sure hope he's a good daddy like his daddy too!


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Ocean Explorers: Diving Deep Into Science

Studying the ocean is a favorite among students and teachers alike.  The beauty, vastness, variety, and mystery make oceanography an amazing science unit for all ages.  With water covering over 75% of our planet, it's important for children living on the coast or far from it to know about these marvelous ecosystems.



Get the Ocean fun started with some adorable projects we found on Pinterest

1. These beautiful sea horses are made from colored popcorn, check it out what a fun idea from ~CRAFT

2. Make your ocean unit come alive with this adorable octopus. Made from styrofoam cups and some construction paper. ~ Danielle's Place 

3. Practice those ocean themed sight words using a tray filled with sand, Have students trace their word in the sand. ~Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten

4. Make I Spy Ocean sensory bags, add a few shells, small ocean animals, glitter into a baggie filled with gel. Students can find hidden items and write down what they find. ~Simply Sprout

5. Make an aquarium and have students label their fish ~The Kinder-Wife

6. Have students depict what lives in each of the three zones of the ocean.

Check out all of these ideas and more on our Ocean themed PINTEREST Board

We are super excited to release our first Simply Science kits for the primary and intermediate classrooms.  These Ocean Explorer kits are an underwater adventure of hands on science, writing, reading, vocabulary, and more.  They're eye catching for students, but full of standards based learning for the teacher's to dive into.

Check out our
Ocean Explorers

 

 
This Primary Kit includes 115 pages of Thematic Ocean Fun!

Kit Contents:
Writing Prompt

Ocean Habitats: Fill in the Blank with Ocean Vocabulary
(provided in color and bw copy)

Fish Discovery Writing Activity
(provided in color and bw copy)

Ocean Animal Discovery Pages
(provided in color and bw copy)
clam, crab, dolphin, jellyfish, octopus, seahorse, shark, starfish, stingray, whale

Ocean Animals: Can Have Are Activity Pages
(provided in color and bw copy)
clam, crab, dolphin,fish, jellyfish, octopus,sea turtle, seahorse, shark, starfish, stingray, whale

Ocean Animal Exploration Graphic Organizers
(provided in color and bw copy)
crab, shark, dolphin

My Ocean Book (Cut & Paste activity Book)
(provided in color and bw copy)
clam, crab,fish, octopus,shark, sea turtle, whale

Vocabulary Word Wall Headers A-Z

Ocean Themed Vocabulary Cards

 

This interactive and standards based science kit is a valuable resources for the intermediate classroom.

 The Ocean Explorers kit includes:
Ocean Habitats: Fill in the Blank with Ocean Vocabulary
(provided in color and bw copy)

Fish Designer Science Activity
(provided in color and bw copy)

Ocean Animal Discovery Pages
(provided in color and bw copy)
clam, crab, dolphin, jellyfish, octopus, seahorse, shark, starfish, stingray, whale

Under the Sea: A Study of Endangered Ocean Life

Simply Science Lab: Why Saltwater Doesn’t Freeze

Simply Science Lab: Water Displacement

Science Reading Comprehension and Questions: How Do Fish Float and Sink

Science Reading Comprehension and Questions: A Living Reef

Comparing and Contrasting Sharks and Dolphins

Seven writing prompts
A combination of narrative, expository, and persuasive writing prompts
(provided in color and bw copy)

Ocean Animal Exploration Graphic Organizers
(provided in color and bw copy)

Vocabulary Word Wall Headers A-Z

Ocean Themed Vocabulary Cards


We hope you take a dive into our latest resources for the classroom!




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Father's Day Printable



These seem like simple sentences, but become ones to cherish when little ones fill them out about their Daddy.  Many schools do similar lists for Mother's Day, but sometimes fathers get left behind because of the school being out for the summer.  Right click on image, copy, and paste into a Word document.  Looking forward to filling these out with the boys for years to come!

Be sure to grab this cute printable banner for Father's Day



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Recycling Bin Robot


Theme of the Week: Re-purposing

This week's theme is expensive, Earth friendly, and creative.  Yes, my friends we are re-purposing around here.  Bringing new life to things that have seen their better days.  Our first project was to head to the garage and pay a visit to the recycling bin.  My son did a great job of helping pick items that would make "an awesome" robot.  In my classroom I've challenged students to create bugs out of litter, and art work solely from the scrap basket, so why not a robot made of recyclables!  All I had to do was be the keeper of the hot glue gun, but design work (I love his little crayon scribbles!) was up to him.  

Visit our Teachers Notebook store for this FREE writing activity to add some umph to your Recycled Robot creation!






Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


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Good Job Jars: Printable Tag



Theme of the Week: Responsibility

Now that summer has officially started, relaxation can begin right?  Marcy and I are like polar opposites when it comes this (and it's why I adore her!).  She takes things as they come, doesn't need a schedule (in fact loathes them), and surely does not need a set routine in the summer.  I on the other hand relish in organization, consistency, and knowing what is around the bend (or at least thinking that I do!).  She sounds a lot cooler, right?!  So now that summer break is upon us, I told her that our household would be instituting "themes" for each week.  She probably laughed on the inside, but was kind enough to smile on the outside.

I tried to think of themes that were educational, character building, and ones that I could use at home and in my classroom.  This week's theme is RESPONSIBILITY.  Having a two and a half year old at home will cause you to laugh a lot, and also want to pull your hair out.  With long summer days ahead, and a new baby at home, I thought it was important to start out with this theme.

There is a lot of redirecting going on around here, and at times I feel as if I only say, "No" or "Don't do that". However, there are a lot of great things that our toddler does as well.  So we made a Good Job Jar.  Each time our son does something that warrants significant praise, he gets a pom pom put in his jar.  We have had many discussions about good decisions and responsible choices.  We have the jar out for display, so that he is reminded that he does great things throughout his days.  When he fills his jar we will celebrate!

This is probably against a thousand and one child psychologists' recommendations, but it seems to really motivate one little boy.  Teachers have used this concept for years in their classrooms, and praise is a powerful tool.  I love when my students (and child) receive compliments from others.  It makes us teachers (and mamas) beam with pride!

Right click on the tag below to copy and paste it into a Word document.  Then you can adjust the size to fit the jar of your choosing.




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Summer is Sizzling with Fun





You have probably seen by now tons of cute ways to kick off the summer with a great bucket list of ideas.  The idea is simple, keep kids busy!  The actuality is quite the opposite.  It's week one of summer vacation, and this mama is already scratching her head.  A little brainstorming ahead of time, can help alleviate the "I'm bored" statements of tomorrow.  Sit down as a family and think of some fun, educational, out of the box, near and far adventures that you can do over these dog days.  Whether it be a trip to a local museum, a BBQ at the pool, or a scavenger hunt at home, you'll be sure to make some fun summertime memories.

Decorate a bucket and allow the children to add their submissions.  This will be your go to for outings with your family and friends.


Since learning doesn't take a vacation, make your memories count with this colorful and fun Summer Bucket List Journal.  A great daily or weekly activity that will become a wonderful way to cherish this summer for years to come.



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