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I've been busy, busy, busy working with Dr. Jean on our latest creation.  We've been working on these packets this past year- and we just love them. We couldn't wait to share these!

Last year, Jean and I were talking about how much we enjoy sharing ideas with teachers, and how much we want the JOY of teaching and learning never to be lost.  With all the trends and changes and standards out there, sometimes teachers get so caught up in having to keep up, they forget to enjoy the journey.

Dr. Jean wanted to put all of her best teaching songs together with practical, helpful ideas and activities, so they were all in one place for teachers.  We decided it would be most helpful to divide these ideas into monthly packets- full of one useful idea after another!  So - that's what we did.

Each month we have ELA, math, science, social studies, character education, and seasonal ideas to go with 15+ of Dr. Jean's songs (many with books to go with them).  We've also included different cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays for each month.  Jean made a little video for each month showing how to do all the new cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays with her granddaughter.  I know it's so much easier for me to learn new things when I see them, so I love these little videos.

There wasn't a lot out there for science and social studies for primary grades, so we wanted to be sure to include these subjects in each month's packet.

Character education is one of my all time favorites, and we have included many of these activities.   You can fit in activities and lessons all the time to help children know themselves and grow as kind friends.

We had so much fun putting these packets together.  One of the best things about the activities in the packets is that they can be made to fit beautifully with any curriculum.  For example, we have many sight word game ideas.  If you need to teach 100 sight words or 25 sight words, they will work perfectly for you- just fit your words into the game.

Each preview packet for every month has several freebies in it and an explanation of what is included in the monthly packet.  All of the songs are highlighted in RED in the table of contents, so you can easily see those. They will be downloads that come in the zip file.

Here is a little sample of some of the activities in each of the packets:

We have also bundled the whole year of packets together at a discounted price- so it's like you get 2 months free! This complete packet includes all 9 monthly packets with 1275 pages of activities, learning games, and worksheets for all subject areas; over 135 of Dr. Jean's songs to download (many with books to go with them!); 20 Prezis; new handshakes, cheers, attention grabbers, and finger plays each month; QR codes for many of the songs; plus assessments available on ESGI for each subject area each month!

Each month you will  receive 2 Prezis with LOTS of videos, songs, activities, online games, and anchor charts, that go along with that month.  I love Prezis.  They are a perfect way to organize your favorite online activities so they are all right there for you, in one place, ready to use whenever you have a free moment.  Never again will you waste those extra minutes before specials or before lunch.
I use the Prezis to introduce new subjects, to reinforce what I've taught, to leave up an anchor chart on my Smart TV during a lesson because I don't have a lot of extra wall space, and to play review games on the Smartboard or Smart TV.

So- all of these "favorites" are all set up for you to use and the links to these Prezis are included in these packets!  Here are some of the Prezis you will receive so you have an idea of what is included:

Then, to make this even BETTER- we have partnered with ESGI to include assessments in each packet for each subject area!  Every month, you will receive assessments for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies available through ESGI.

These assessments give you all the data your district could want!  Having the assessments to show your administration also helps to show them how hands-on learning, songs, and movement really WORK to help children learn and remember information.  We know that they will remember it so much better because they had FUN learning it.

These packets can also be purchased through school districts with curriculum money.  The assessments provide the data piece so many districts look for when purchasing curriculum.  But in the "teacher world,"  the data really helps us to see what the children learn and help us to guide our instruction as we move forward with our teaching!  That's why I love ESGI... Educational Software for Guiding Instruction.  That's exactly what it does for teachers.

I posted ALL about the benefits, bells and whistles,  and some examples of what ESGI offers HERE.  When you use the special PROMO CODE HAPPIES , you can try ESGI FREE for 60 days and when you see how valuable it is, you will receive $40 off your purchase for the first year using the HAPPIES code.  The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year.  Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you. They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too- for your whole grade level!  It's a great time of the year to try it out in the beginning of the year- when you are assessing so many different things.  ESGI saves you HOURS of time assessing.  The children love it.  It's fun!  There is no paperwork to get lost- and your data is available anytime for you because it's all online. All answers are Y (yes) and N (no).  You click the button right on the iPad as the student answers, whether he was able to answer it or not. The data is all saved for you and can be displayed so many different ways to help you create groups and see progress.  You can read more about ESGI's features HERE.     

Here are some samples assessment questions and how they will look on your iPad as you assess the students:

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you continue to have a "happie" summer!

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Happy Summer, everyone!  It's always such a great feeling to rest and reflect after the school year is over.  This summer, my sister and I have discovered such a fun way to do just that- and I couldn't wait to share it with you, because it's a great idea for the classroom, too.  (Of course- doesn't that happen with everything you do- your mind instantly goes to, "How could I use this in the classroom?!")

The latest trend in our area has been painting rocks.  Basically, people have fun painting rocks, hiding them, and waiting for other people to find them and be happy!

We have two groups locally since we are close to two counties-  Broome County Rocks! and Tioga County Rocks! Each group has a Facebook page where people upload pictures of rocks they paint and/or find, and then relocate for someone else to find.  We write, "Post to Broome County Rocks," on the back of our rocks, so people know where the rock is from.

We figure we don't have fun things like seashells to find in Upstate NY- we may as well paint rocks for people to find!

It's addicting.  And relaxing.  And just makes me smile.
We painted, watched my sister's dog sleep by us, and watched the rain outside.  It was my perfect summer afternoon.

Some rocks people paint are simple- and some are little masterpieces! Some are quilt rocks where someone starts a "square," hides it, and then the person who finds it completes another square, hides it, and keeps the quilt going.

Here are some rocks my sister and I painted:

It's so much fun to  check the site and see if someone found one of your rocks.  We might be a little addicted...

Hiding them is so much fun!  We drove around like we were on a mission!  We can leave some as we walk, but we wanted to spread the rocks around a bit.  We left some outside restaurants,  on benches, on playgrounds, and outside of a church.  They are fun to leave by hospitals and nursing homes, too, hoping to bring a smile to someone's day.

We MAY have seen a post on the site from a mom of a student I had in class a couple years ago, who was looking and looking to find his first rock, and was so excited.  And we MAY have hidden a rock or two on the steps to his house.  We may have...

I thought this would be such a great character education lesson for a classroom or an entire school. Kindness Rocks!  There are several Kindness Rocks programs around, which I found as I was writing this post, and which I just love. This one is from Crafts Unleashed.

This one is in Cape Cod.

Children love to paint rocks.  You can print pictures from Google Images or Pinterest to find sample rocks that would be simple for the children to recreate.  Just type in "painted rocks" and you will see more than you know what to do with.  You can spray a protective coating on the rocks after they are painted.  And... they are good to go!  I think it would be fun to send the rock and a note home to each family, so they could hide the rock as a Random Act of Kindness.  This would spread the rocks out a little better. You can put an email address on back to notify if the rock is found, or just know you've made someone's day and not put anything on the back of the rock.

I thought these would be fun for the kids to make.

OR you can keep the beauty at your school, like students from Sharon Elementary School in Newburgh, IN.  They painted rocks inspired by the book Only One You, by Linda Kranz, and made a beautiful stone pathway outside the school entrance.  I just love this.

The beautiful part is that every rock is special- no matter how it is painted. And even more beautiful is seeing the smiles and reading the sweet stories that go with the rocks that are found.

Have fun spreading kindness and joy!

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It seems like FOREVER since I have posted.  We've had so many things going on... and it's just plain been busy.  We moved.  Jeff's sweet mother passed away.  And then there's school.  You all know!

I have a few fun ideas if you are still in school like I am... (until June 23).
I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

First of all, our writing units are DONE!  We scored our last writing sample.  It always amazes me how far the children come in a year.  Yes- when we read the kindergarten 'sample' and it says something like "Spring is best because the wind blows through my hair..." I shudder a little because I know mine don't sound like that- but I couldn't be more proud of how far mine have come- even if the wind doesn't blow through their hair in their stories...

This time of year, I like to do some "fun" writing- the kind where the kids like it so much, they don't even realize they are writing as much as they are.

One of the children's favorites is directed drawing and writing. It's one of my favorites, too because there is so little planning.  First, I check YouTube to find some fun directed drawings.  We did castles this week. You can read a story to go with your lesson, which I usually do.  This time, we brainstormed all sorts of things we know about castles.  We shared who lived there (princesses, kings, queens, Beauty and the Beast, Disney characters) how it is protected (moats, alligators, army guys, you name it- we heard it!), what they are made of, and what the inside may look like.  Then we did the directed drawing. This is the one I used- it's very simple and was just perfect for my kids. I paused it if anyone seemed to need a little extra time.

How To Draw a Castle - VERY EASY For Kids - YouTube

After we drew, the children could decorate their castle any way they wanted, remembering to use at least 5 or 6 colors and details. (Most of my children are 6 now, so that's our magic number!)  Then, they wrote about their castle and tried to fill the front and back of the paper.  That was it- and it was so much fun.  Finally, we shared our castles and marveled at how special each one was.

 (My castle is big and colorful because it is special because it is protected by sharks.)

 (I have a castle.  My roof is gold.  I have alligators and sharks surrounding my castle.)

Sticker writing is always fun.  We read lots of animal books to get some ideas about illustrations and facts.  Then, everyone gets a paper with two stickers on it.  Nobody knows which ones they will get. I put them face down on the table, and they turn the paper over and have to draw a detailed background and write something about their animals.  They love this writing!  Nobody even complains.  Last year when I was handing the papers out, someone started saying, "You get what you get, and you're thankful for it!"   I love that little saying.  I love it so much better than "You don't throw a fit."  It makes it so much more positive.

The gorilla was looking for a friend.  The fox was looking for a friend, too.

I live in the jungle.  I know, I know.  I am big and strong, but I am nice.  

Here is another fun drawing activity for this time of year!  The children really WANT to know how to draw different things- and directed drawing makes them feel so successful.  We read Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm and Otis to go along with our farm drawings.

We drew the pictures after we read the stories, and then wrote about our drawings later in the day.   I printed out these papers from Activity Village and let them go!

I loved that when he added details, he added TEETH to the farmer. 
Loved the wind!

I didn't want to leave you in suspense...  

My class LOVES to play Sparkle!  We play it probably almost every day during those extra minutes we always seem to have.  The game only takes a few minutes and we practice spelling so many sight words during that time. 

If you don't know how to play, here you go!

The children stand in a circle.  You say a word for the children to spell.  One at a time, a child says one letter of the word, as you make your way around the circle of children.  If the word is "at," the first child says, "a," the next child says, "t," then the next child says, "sparkle," and the next child sits down.  You continue right on with the next child spelling a new word:  You say, "The word is 'you.'  And the children spell   "Y," "o," "u," "sparkle," then sit.    I go right around the circle and point to each child as  it is his turn to say the letter to keep the game moving right along quickly. 

I always put my hand on the head of the child that has to sit and make a funny sound as they sit down so everyone is laughing, and it's never sad.  You continue spelling around the circle until only one child is left standing and is the SPARKLE CHAMP!

Well, we love this game for learning sight words so much, so when we did our Opinion Unit in writing and the children needed to know how to spell because,  we played this game and ONLY spelled because around the circle.  "B," "e," "c," "a," "u," "s," "e." "sparkle," sit, "b," "e," "c," "a," ...   
You could use this game to have your children learn to spell any word!

I put together my Summer Journals for my class this week.  It is FREE at my TpT store!  Dr. Jean and I had lots of fun putting this together.  Usually, we do a few pages together before the children go home for summer. Then, I send home the rest for them to have for the summer. These have always been a big hit with the kids!  Here are some sample pages:

Dr. Jean and I also made 20 different designs for 17 sayings for our Gift Tag, Gift Card, and Gift Idea Packet.  Each saying is on both a half sheet of paper to use as a gift tag or a full sheet that can be printed, folded, and made into a card that your class can sign. 
Last year we gave everyone a Thanks a Latte card with a gift card.  You can use them anytime of the  year- and for any occasion!


Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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