Monday, December 31, 2012

Learning Something New Happy New Year!

I'm always learning or at least trying to learn. I really love this quote from Van Gogh. You can get your own version here on Google Drive formally known as google docs. My children at school hear me say "I can't get into your brain but you can open up your brain!" at least a dozen times a week. One of my goals is to teach the children that they are in fact in charge of their learning. I am a facilitator, a hawker, a convincer, a story teller, an encourager, an actor and somehow a teacher! I tell them I have to learn all the time. As a teacher every year is an adventure in learning and I'm not always sure what will work and what will not work. So I must learn, retool and keep at it! January is what is famously known as the light bulb month in our profession. Will I see it flicker and burn in that little learner I have been trying so hard to reach? Or will I need to relearn and reteach again only time will tell! I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I know teachers around the world are. Happy New Year to everyone and here's hoping our hard work is continuing to make difference in the lives of children.
On another note I'm about finished with my Peace, Love and Learning Unit. Please check out the sample page below.
Follow my Teachers Pay Teachers Store so you will know when the unit is ready.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, December 28, 2012

Freebie for the New Year! Keep Calm..

This is just a fun freebie for you all. It is a Keep Calm Sign for the New Year. I couldn't resist becoming part of this trend. Print it free from my Teachers Pay Teacher Store or email me and ask for the Happy New Sign in the subject of the email. I will email it to you. Please follow my blog if you ask me to email you a copy! You can also download it from Google Docs here Thanks,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Screen Time Putting Kids on a "Screen Time Diet"

Helping our children to have balanced life is one of the most important jobs a parent has.  I teach at a science and technology magnet school so the topic of screen time is near and dear to my heart.  There is wonderful technology available today for educational and entertain uses but it is clear that many children spend too much time in front of screens.  I only use technology in my classroom after I researched the value of it and the appropriate use of it. I have seen families that are showing DVDs in cars as early as 6:30 in the morning. My first thought is wouldn't it be better to chat with your child, sing songs or look for things along your drive.  Parents and children have only so much time together and truly after the children are teenagers they really want to spend time with their peers rather than their parents.  When we got our most recent van my children wanted a DVD player.  Neither my husband or myself wanted that option. We believe the car is a great place for conversation after all as the kids grow it may be one of the few places you are all together.  Children today seem to have poorer social skills than they did awhile ago.  They anger easily and they are often unwilling to compromise on the other hand children who have conversations with adults and children have great verbal skills.  They are problem solvers and best of all they can entertain themselves.  The article below from Edutopia is a great resource and gives us all something to think about where screen time is concerned.

Putting Kids on a "Screen Time Diet" | Edutopia

Monday, December 24, 2012

Let's Love All Children Lessons from Sandy Hook

As we celebrate Christmas and move into the new year let's hold all children in our hearts. Around the world, on street corners and yes in our schools we are losing children to gun violence. I grew up in a rural area and in a hunting culture. While my Dad was not much into hunting many of my relatives were and continue to be. We do not own guns or have any in our home. People do not need automatic weapons that fire hundreds of bullets in a minute to hunt or even to defend themselves. We will always have guns in our country. We need some common sense laws that protect people who are defenseless. I do not want armed guards standing at the door of the school I work at. I want all children to feel valued and safe. I want to live in a country where the rights of children are more important than the rights of the gun lobby. I want children to feel safe in their homes, their neighborhoods and their schools. Let's love all children the ones who daily have to go to sleep hearing gun fire in their neighborhoods and have been fearful of guns long before the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. During this time of national debate about guns and gun violence may the many voices agree on the need to protect children from gun violence so no parent has to grieve the loss of a child.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snowman Fingerprint Ornament Created with Dollar Store Ornament

It has been a week of trying to seek a sense of normalcy when things don't make sense. I have reassured my children that I am there for them and I am keeping everything moving along. They are so excited about the upcoming holiday as children should be. I wanted to share with you all these adorable ornaments we created using dollar store ornaments. I found the ornaments seven to a box at my local Dollar Tree. The children created the snowman by making a thumb print, pointer finger print and a pinkie finger print with white acrylic. After the paint dried they decorated them with different colors of sharpie. They wrote their names on the backs of the ornament. I had a parent to help get the ornaments started with the thumb prints but all of the children drew their own snowman. I just love them!! They are so sweet and creative. They are going to make a great keepsake for the parents. We have three more days to go! Peace and blessings to all who love children.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reindeer Freebie Bump It Math Game

In case you were not able to grab it last week here is my Reindeer Bump It Math Freebie. The children played it today in Math Centers and loved it!

Enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas by The Learning Station

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

Friday, December 14, 2012

12/14/12 A Day of Great Sadness

Today an unspeakable horror took place in a place I know so well. A classroom much like my own, a school much like my own and a community much like my own. There isn't a teacher who would not protect our students' lives with their own as I'm sure a teacher and other staff members did today in Sandy Hook Elementary. The best schools are like big extended families. Everyone watches the children grow up. We celebrate the small moments everyday. We give hugs. We give high fives and we comfort children through tears. I pray for this community. I pray for the families. I pray for all of us returning to school on Monday. May we have a renewed sense of the value of all lives and take joy in every moment we are given to be together. Sarah Tharpe Winchell

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa Wars Elf Addition Fun and More

It has been a crazy week and it is just Wednesday well almost Thursday! We went on our annual trip to local historical museum on Tuesday. It is a favorite trip of mine because I love, love old stuff. I have a lot of vintage clothes, a spinning wheel and I like to make stuff that looks old. Like this vintage hat I made for my daughter to wear when she was working the Titanic Traveling Exhibit.
My Mom taught me to do this stuff..she liked old stuff too. It could border on potential hoarding but I always feel better after I watch one of those shows. I thank God someone can help those folks and hope I don't need it myself one day. Teachers have hoarder tendencies don't tell now. Anyway back to the story. One of the docents for some crazy reason told the kids you know your Mom and Dads put the stuff under the tree...oh my...scandal and southern indignation broke out. Well who knows what happened to that poor fellow well we had already had the Santa Wars as I call them in the class. I tell the kids I believe in goodness and love and if that is what Santa is about well I believe!!! Anyway the honeys are still believin' and all is good in my little corner of the woods! Whew....that was a tale. Now I haven't created this week but I found this cute elf activity for adding over at Teach with Laughter. You will love it. Check out it and leave some nice comments!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Monday Morning Wake up Song! Boom Chicka Boom - The Learning Station

Everyone needs a Monday Morning wake up song.  My honeys love this by The Learning Station!

Math Center Reindeer Bump It! First Grade and Kindergarten

I have been super busy this week. Our family helped our daughter's high school with the performance of "Charlotte's Web" I am super proud of my daughter, Olivia, who did all of the costumes! She is usually on stage so it was great to see her working in a different area. I am working on curriculum writing for our county and I haven't even put up the tree. I need to get a little busier I think! I wanted something new and festive for my math centers this week so I created this Reindeer Bump It game. I hope you all can use with your children!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gabriella wants to be an Astronuat :PBS LearningMedia

 I just found this great video link from PBS.  It is around two minutes and it is an excellent clip. The clip features animated characters as well as a live astronaut. It is very child friendly.  I plan on showing it to my honeys in the am.

Gabriela thinks she wants to be an astronaut that can fly inside the rockets May will build! Dr. Cordova, introduces the kids to an astronaut so they can learn more. Hear from an astronaut engineer who helps build and fix things in space.
: PBS LearningMedia

Solar System Art The Sun and the Moon

We have been learning about the solar system, the phases of the moon and the sun in my class. Our art teacher collaborated with us to help our children create some wonderful art using the moon and the sun. The children used white crayons and blue water color paint to create a crayon resist background. They each had a white circle for their moon that they of course wanted to cover with craters!
The suns were created in a similar fashion using a circle for the sun but the children colored the sun with yellow crayon. They outlined the rays with a black crayon and then used orange and yellow water color paint.
Our art teacher also used the lessons to teach the children about warm and cool colors. These are easy to make and they look great. I hope you can use this idea in your classroom. Enjoy,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Themed Morning Centers

Jill and Cathy over at The Curriculum Center have created these wonderful free Holiday Morning Centers. The emphasis of their site is first and second grade. There are also some wonderful activities for The Gingerbread Man. Thanks so much to The Curriculum Center for these wonderful centers!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Math Center Freebie Hootin for the Holidays Dice Roll

Enjoy this freebie. You will receive two dice roll game boards. One for three dice and one for two dice. You can differentiate as needed. These may be played individually or in pairs. The choice is yours. The games meet common core standards for kindergarten and first grade. The children will love these activities in your math centers.Hootin for the Holiday. Please check out my Reindeer Games Math Centers in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. There are eight math centers ready to use in your classroom.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Reindeer Math Centers for the Common Core

Check the Reindeer Math Centers in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. The centers include: Matching Game with missing addends and addtion and subtraction to 20, Odd and Even Sorting Game, Adding 10 using the 120s Board, 10 more, 10 less, +1 -1 Activity with two versions, Roll and Cover Sums to 20, Geometry Partitioning Circles and Rectangles, Dice Roll Game with Skittles Decorating the Tree Two Versions, Count and Graph Geometric Shapes. They are ready to be printed and used in your classroom. @sarahtharpewinchell 2012 Graphics by The Digital Bake Shop on Etsy Background Scrappin Doodles A Little Pot Font by Kevin and Amanda

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winter Wonderland Exchange Share with Other Classes

Maria over the First Grade Carousel has created a Winter Wonderland Exchange and it looking for a couple more classes to participate.Visit Maria's Blog to get the details. It sounds like fun. The focus is on months December, January and February so there are more options for ideas in the exchange. Check it out.
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