Friday, June 29, 2012

Tattoo You!

My Kinder kids love those temporary tattoos. Then one day during a lesson, I had a Vis-a-Vis marker in my hands, and while I was going around checking on their work, I impulsively drew a smiley face on their wrists.

They loved it!

Then on one Fun Fun Friday, I used 3 different colored markers to draw a little design on the back of each child's hand who turned in all their work.

They wanted more!

Which gave me the idea that maybe your child would love to have you draw, (or maybe they can draw on each other!) their own tattoos, even if it's only a simple rainbow, or flower, or smiley face. Just be sure you use temporary markers and paints that can easily wash off the skin, and don't stain clothes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Create a Card Game

Go to the dollar store and buy a card game. Any game will do as long as there are brightly colored pictures on it (like Old Maid or Crazy Eights). Also, try to pick one they may not know or have heard of.

Take away the original directions. Give them the game and challenge them to come up with a way to play. Have them teach it to you. You can always teach them the actual way to play later, which will then give them two ways to play!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tots and Technology Conference, Part 3 - Word Clouds and Tagxedo

One of the really neat discoveries I made at the conference was the use of Word Clouds. Now, Word Clouds are not new. A lot of bloggers use them instead of the standard number index. You can find them at the bottom or side of a blog. With the number index, let's say a blogger uses "summer activities" as a frequent label. In the index, the name "summer activities" will show up, followed by a number. This number represents how many times the blogger has used that tag with a post. So if you're interested in finding out all of her posts regarding summer activities, you can click on that label, and all the blogs will pop up for you to peruse. With a Word Cloud, instead of a number, the SIZE of the word gives you an indication of how many times that label has been used. The bigger the word, the more it's been used.

Tagxedo is a terrific site where you can build and save Word Clouds from any website or blog of your choice. Plus you can pick what style, color, font, and design you want! The above Word Cloud is from this blog.

So what can you use a Word Cloud for? The possibilities are endless! For one, I can see how many words they can find and write. You can graph the words by size, estimate how many times the word's been used (if you presume that the smallest words = 1), and so forth.

Have fun with it! Experiment! I know I will!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tots and Technology Conference, Part 2 - Great Websites!

I was directed to this website because they understand what it means to be a teacher without the proper resources to keep up with today's changing world. And they also realize how much of our own salaries we put back into the classroom. DONORSCHOOSE is there for us. Try it!

AbleNet as some great curriculum software and product ideas. This company also focuses on children with disabilities. Like them on Facebook and check back on occasion to see what neat projects and tips they have.

Although this site is primarily for upper grade teachers, I've joined just so I can connect with other Kinder and primary teachers. In short, it's similar to Facebook, but aimed toward a teacher with a classroom. In short, teachers can open up their site and invite their students. (And they can CLOSE the room and restrict others from coming in.) Teachers have access to a grade book, among other really neat tools. Students have a way to ask the teacher about an assignment, and can even turn in an assignment that's due. There are a whole slew of great things this site can do! It's simply a matter of going in and browsing to see what else is available.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tots and Technology Conference, Part 1 - QR Codes

I recently attended the TOTS AND TECHNOLOGY conference in Galveston, Tx. During this three-day convention, we were given many wonderful and useful ideas, tips, and tricks in using our classroom smartboards and iPads. We were also given some wonderful websites for teaching tools. And, of course, there were the new tools and gizmos demonstrated for us to buy.

One of the most-used gimmicks was the QR Codes. They were everywhere, and many sessions gave some great ideas how to use them. One of the better online sites where you can generate your own codes is here. Of course, a major restriction is having the scanner(s) to reveal what the codes are. At the conference, it was suggested the students use iPads, or use the classroom computers with video cameras attached to the monitors.

I heard a few teachers mention that the codes for classroom use are more gimmick than practical. Personally, I agree (as of now.) But to me there's always a time and place when the codes can be used for a special assignment, and not necessarily for everyday use.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kids Bored? Let Them Help You Tag the Keys

You can get brightly colored nail polish at the dollar store. Designate which keys get which color, and they can paint them to help tag them. (If the weather's nice, they can do it outdoors.) Not only will this give the kids a sense of being useful, but you'll find the color coding very helpful in the long run.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Summer Activity for the Kids - Make Their Own Shower Curtain

If the kids have their own bathroom (or even if they don't), give them some fabric paints and permanent markers, and let them design and create their own shower curtain. I did this long ago with my boys, using a plain white flat sheet.

(The picture is a representation, and not the actual sheet they made. Theirs had mutant ninja turtles and such on it. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Go On a Treasure Hunt!

Draw up a treasure map and leave it for the kids to discover at the breakfast table. Don't explain further, but watch and see what they do. Let them hunt down the clues until they find the treasure you've carefully hidden. It could be a new game or toy, or it could be tickets to a movie they've been wanting to see. Or it could be tickets to a water park. The possibilities are endless!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Science Gif - Bending Water With Static Electricity

Sometimes you don't need to show a whole video to instigate a science experiment. Sometimes a brief gif will work.

(Note: If blogger freezes the gif, here's what is happening. Rub the balloon briskly with the towel. Then hold the balloon close to the stream of water. The water will bend toward the balloon!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stay Tuned!

I'm attending a ToTs and Technology Conference this weekend in Galveston, TX, where I hope to get some great ideas that I can share. Our school has neither interactive boards nor iPads, so this is my chance to catch up with what's now available for the classroom, and to see it in action!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Summer Bucket List Linky Party

As promised, I post ideas and thoughts throughout the summer. I've also teamed up with several blogs in a Summer Bucket List Linky Party. So check back periodically to see if there's anything you can tag, copy, or save.

In the meantime, here's what I plan to do this summer:

*Be on the lookout for neat little ideas or toys that I can use in games.

*Make a few more 10 Minute Smarter games that would be suitable for the beginning of school.

*Check with other teachers to see what they have to offer that I can use or adapt. (Yay, Pinterest and blogs!)

*And have a Happy Summer!

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Been a Great Year

Today I'm in my room, shutting it down for the summer. Yesterday, I surprised the class with plain white cotton t-shirts (Hanes) that I bought at the dollar store. They got to sign each other's shirts with permanent markers. Yes, it was a bit of an expense, but I had been buying a package of 3 shirts (@$5.50 each) a month until I had enough for the entire class. The shirts were a huge hit, and several kids made sure to get other teachers and students to sign their shirts, too.

It was a memorable day, capping a very memorable year. Take care, Kinder class of 2012!