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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Win Educational Games Worth $65 - Give Away!

I have a real fondness for games in the classroom.  O.K., that's not exactly true... I LOVE using games in the classroom.

Games meet so many learning goals.  They give children the opportunity to:

  • Develop cooperation and collaboration skills
  • Practice being graceful losers
  • Practice being humble winners
  • Exercise impulse control
  • Practice memory and concentration
  • Read and follow directions
  • Fully engage in an activity for an extended length of time
  • Learn and practice critical thinking and strategy development
  • Practice math and literacy skills
  • Enhance and practice their oral language skills
  • Engage in a fun and stress-free activity
Really good, high quality games do almost all of these things each time a group of children play with them. Really, really good games also become a regular rotation in our centers on "Fun Friday" afternoons because they also meet Common Core Standards.

I received a box in the mail yesterday and yes, you guessed it- it was full of fabulous, high quality games from Blue Orange Games.

These games meet all the high-quality games criteria.  Apart from the games themselves, I must mention that they all come in tin containers.  That's right, no more broken game boxes on your classroom shelves.

For those of you with little ones still struggling to learn their numbers and letters, you can't go wrong with Spot It Numbers and Shapes and Spot It AlphabetSpot It Numbers and Shapes also teaches color recognition.  Spot It Alphabet has three ways to play.  When I play the game with little ones I have them find the match, say the letter name, and the letter sound.  You can keep these games rotating in your centers all year and the kiddos will never get bored!

The tin "rounds" keep the cards and directions in great shape and don't use much of your precious storage space.

If you have the "curriculum cops" roaming your halls be sure to label each game tin with the appropriate Common Core Standard.  I like putting the standards on a mailing labels and sticking them on the bottom of the tins. 

Spot It! Numbers & Shapes
K.G.2; K.CC.3

Spot It! Alphabet
R.F.K.1d; R.F.K.3.a; S.L.K.6c

Two excellent math games by Blue Orange Games are Bendomino and Pixy Cubes.  Bendomino plays like regular dominos BUT with a fun little twist, the tiles are curved so they must both match and fit in order to connect them.  The game introduces strategy, critical thinking, and beginning geometry to your students.  The tiles are beautiful, sturdy, and fit perfectly in the tin container making clean up a breeze.

K.CC.1; K.CC.5; K.CC.6; 1.OA.3; 1.OA.6; 1.NBT.4; 2.OA.2; 2.NBT.5

Pixy Cubes is a great way to introduce spatial reasoning to students.  The game easy to learn and has multiple versions of play, some are competitive, some cooperative.  All of the versions are great fun. Pixy Cubes is a great way to support beginning geometry skill, creativity, concentration and memory, and logic and reasoning.  It's perfect for your students ages 6 and older.

Pixy Cubes
Common Core Standard: K.G.6; 1.G.1; 1.G.3; 2.G.1;

I don't want to forget about language arts and neither did Blue Orange Games.  Their game Tell Tale has 120 delightful image cards that your students will use to create stories.  The cards include images of characters, settings, objects, and emotions.  Talk about endless "story starters" for students ages 5 to 12!  For those of you that have fairy tale units Blue Orange games has a Tell Tale Fairy Tales version (perfect for children ages 5 to 9).

Tell Tale

Common Core Standard:  W.K.3; W.1.3; W.2.3; W.3.3

Now for the really exciting part of this blog.  Blue Orange Games and I have teamed up to give one lucky winner all five of the games that I have reviewed.   I will be sending the winner Spot It Alphabet and Spot It Numbers and Shapes.  Blue Orange Games will send the winner a copy of Tell Tale, Bendomino, and Pixy Cubes.  Entering is  easy, so enter soon and be sure to tell your team mates about the give away.  These games would be great to share among grade level teams.

And the winner is :

Congratulations Rachael!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Have a great week!
Granny (Cindy)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm So Lucky... and a Freebie

I'm AM so lucky... I have a great family, fabulous friends, and a wonderful job. I enjoy good health.  I live in a beautiful desert environment.  I get to enjoy the outdoors anytime I want.  I have met wonderful teachers from around the world through blogging.  I consider myself so lucky because I have so much to be grateful for.

I like to take time each day and reflect on the things I am grateful for.  This practice helps me start and finish each day with a smile on my face.  I thought that St. Patrick's Day with its magical and lucky themes would be a good time to create a writing prompt that encourages our students to reflect on their good fortune also. 

Hence... the "I'm So Lucky Because..." leprechaun craft and writing activities. Your students are sure to enjoy this easy lucky leprechaun craft and writing prompts. The packet contains:

* Compare and Contrast (graphic organizer)
* 18 Word Wall Cards (St. Patrick's Day themed)
* Move and Make Words activity
* I Remember a Time When I Was Lucky-writing prompt/primary lines
* I Remember a Time When I Was Lucky-writing prompt/secondary lines
* Illustrated step-by-step directions
* Patterns
Click here to go to this packet at my TpT store

I am also offering "Leaping Leprechauns", a math game freebie.  It's fun, quick, and easy.  Just click on the image to download it and enjoy this game all month long!
Click on image to download

Before you go, don't forget to enter my give away for educational games worth $65.00.

Have a great week!
Granny (Cindy)
Pin Addict

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hall Pass Linky

 I'm linking up with Regan at TTT for "Hall Pass".

Product: I really don't have a favorite product.  I guess my favorite is always the one I just finished making!  I love "craft-linked-learning" so my favorite (because it's my newest) is my St. Patty's Day leprechaun and writing prompts.  It's just so dang easy to put together. 

Area:  My favorite area has always been the reading corner, level books, and library.  So much happens there.  Books are such a springboard for adventure, fantasy, introspection, and investigation ... how can anyone not love that area? 
Bozeman Public Library

Signal: I really enjoy using the "fire drill" transition.  At the end of a lesson, I ask the children to stop and think of two things they just learned.  Then I call "fire drill".  The children must find a partner and take turns sharing the two things they have just learned.  After about a minute I call "fire drill" again and the children must scamper about and find a new partner to share "learnings" with.  I do this 2-3 times.  It gets the kiddos up and moving, it's a great review, it's a great brain break, and it's lots of fun to boot!  BTW- I do this with my college students also.  
Sanity:  I swim and love it.  In Arizona most the pools are outdoors and it never gets too cold to swim.  I enjoy swimming and hiking year round and it keeps me happy, grounded, and healthy!  I've got a great hiking canyon about 2 miles from my home.  Lucky me.

Have a great weekend-
Granny (Cindy)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five for Friday and a Freebie

This has been a CRAZY week!!!  I'm linking with Doodle Bugs on her Five for Friday linky. 

1).  Had a great start to the week in San Francisco.  Finished my conference on Saturday but stayed until Monday enjoying the sites, sounds, and good eats in the "City by the Bay".  Weather was amazing- almost 80 degrees and sunny!
View from the bay tour boat.

2)  Headed home and enjoyed a freak snow storm in Tucson, Arizona.  That's right - I said snow!  It was incredibly beautiful. 

Saguaro National Monument
Snow covered cactus

3)  Headed to the dollar store and found these cuties.  These cut outs come in the following pairs: peanut butter and jelly; paint and brushes; frogs and lily pads; mice and cheese.  There are 24 to a bag.  They are ready to add words, math problems, or anything else that you want (on the back of the cards) so the kiddos can match and record.  All I need to do now is laminate and make a few "record your work" pages! They also had cute St. Patty's Day glasses.

The mice and cheese; and frogs and lily pads are also darling!

These cute little glasses would be perfect for March "read the room" activities.
4). Had Thursday and Friday off for (get this) Rodeo Vacation.  Yes that's right- all the schools in Tucon, including the college where I teach, get rodeo days off.  We have a huge parade on Thursday morning and rodeo festivities all weekend long.

Just one of the many floats at the parade
 5).  Made these cute little boxes out of old Nintendo cases and designer duct tape.  The kids love opening each box and unscrambling the sentences.  They are so versatile, I'll be filling them  with all sorts of fun activities, math problems, etc. 

Numbered each box and made a generic numbered recording sheet. 

Now that you've heard about my crazy week, let's hear about the students' crazy week.  Just download the writing prompt (there is a primary writing line and secondary writing line version) and let the kiddos share.  It'll be a hoot I'm sure.

Have a great weekend
Granny (Cindy)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

San Francisco Conference and a Freebie

My conference in San Francisco was great.  If you ever get a chance to attend a Learning and the Brain Conference I strongly recommend it.  Great ideas, new research, and lots of books added to my "must read" list. 

In addition to the conference, San Francisco is wonderful city to visit.  I did have a chance to get to The California Academy of Sciences and it was unbelievable.  They have a great rainforest exhibit (actually it's a three story rain forest dome).  Here are some pictures.

Rain Forest
Resident Parrot
Butterfly Garden
Visiting Bird 

Interactive Amazon Felt Board
The last picture shows an interactive Amazon felt board that the docent was using with children.  Not sure of you can see it but there are clear plastic pockets on all levels of the board.  The children selected plastic snakes, insects, birds, and animals from a basket and placed them in the correct pockets on the felt board.  It was very cool and I am definitely going to make one!   I'll be sure and show it off when I'm done!

Speaking of adventuring,  I created a fun Sentence Safari for the firsties that I am tutoring.  They have the root words down pat but add an "ing", "ed", or anything else and they struggle with decoding.  I'm offering a copy as a freebie.  Just click on the picture to download.

Have a great rest of the week.

Granny (Cindy)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Z is for Moose... What?#!

Have you read Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham?  It's HILARIOUS!!!  Moose will remind you of your little ones.  He is so excited about being in the alphabet production that he just can't wait for his turn.  Does this sound like about 25 little ones you know? When he thinks he has been overlooked, he begins to "act out".  It's just too funny.

I enjoyed the book so much that I created a mini-craft and writing prompts packet to go along with the book.  The mini- packet would also be a great addition to your camping or forest units.

At TpT only $1.50

My 18 page mini-packet contains:
Book suggestions
Writing prompt: "Sometimes I Just Can't Wait For..." - primary lines
Writing prompt: "Sometimes I Just Can't Wait For..." - secondary lines
Writing prompt: "If I Met A Moose..." - primary lines 
Writing prompt: "If I Met A Moose..." - secondary lines
Writing prompt: Acrostic Poem - primary lines
Writing prompt: Acrostic Poem - secondary lines
Describe - graphic organizer
Illustrated directions

Please leave a comment and I'll draw (random) two names to receive a free copy.  Please remember to add your email address to the comment.

Valentine Freebies: In case you missed any of my Valentine freebies you can click below to pick them up.

I am thrilled to be featured on New Teacher Blog Tuesday.  Dana at Fun in 1st Grade hosts this great "get to know new bloggers".  Hop over if you get a chance, it's a fun way to learn a little more about fellow bloggers.


Have a great week... I'm off to San Francisco for a Learning and the Brain Conference.  I'm so excited... I can hardly wait (moose and I have something in common!) 

Granny (Cindy)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY- Fun Packets with Little Surprises

As many of you may know, I teach at the college level (Early Childhood Education) but still have the fun of working with the little ones when I volunteer as a reading specialist at a local school.  I am working with kindergarteners and 1st graders and LOVING every minute! 

I was delighted when I was asked by three other teachers in the school to read to their classes for "Love of Reading Week".   I always like to leave the kiddos with a little something like stickers or erasers.  What doesn't work for me is the process of the children trying to choose the eraser or sticker they want.  This can take FOREVER!  It drives me nuts. 

I decided to "hide" the options in cute little packets.   This way the selection process can go a lot faster (and have an element of surprise).   Here are the packets I made. 

First:  Cut scrapbook paper (12 x 12) into 3 rows that are 4 inches wide.  Cut each strip in half, resulting in 8 rectangles that measured 4 x 6 inches. 
Second: Use double-sided tape and placed a strip on one of the 4 inch ends.  Do this on the front of the paper.  (It's somewhat visible in the picture below).

Third:  Roll the paper (toilet paper roll style) adhering the front to the back utilizing the double- sided tape.

Fourth:  Apply hot glue (to one end of the tube) and use a paper crimper to close it tight.  

Fifth:  Fill each tube with either an eraser or a bouncy ball (or candy, or whatever) and hot glued the other end closed.

I was able to make 80- that's right 80 - of these cuties in about an hour and a half.  I will be reading to 4 classes so I need a bucket load of these.  The prized came from Target where the balls and erasers came in packages of 25 for $3.00.  As you can see this is a very inexpensive treat to offer the little ones.

I can't wait until Easter- I think I'm going to make some cute prize-filled baskets for my grandchildren.   Hummm - thinking about asking my daughter to hide one a day per child for the two weeks prior to Easter- just so they get a little practice hunting for goodies.  Oh - the possibilities for fun are endless :)

1)  The balls are great prizes but don't package quite as nicely.  
2)  I did this assembly line style which makes it go VERY quickly.
3)  Paper crimpers are about $14.00.  Amazon has this one one sale for $11.00:  Fiskars 12-93408897 Paper Crimper This baby is well worth the price.

Have a great weekend!
Granny (Cindy)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine Countdown

I really enjoy the countdown to a holiday.  Every year at Christmas I make 24 brown bag surprises for each of my grandchildren.   Every bag has a little treat inside.  They get to open their bags after school each day from December 1st to December 24th.  They look forward to this every year and start reminding me about the bags sometime in October.   

I was thinking about doing a variation of this in the classroom for Valentines and came up with Valentine Countdown.
Download the FREEBIE by clicking on the picture.
 I created a file with print and laminate cards that can be placed in a bag or bucket.  Each card has an activity "treat" printed on one side and Valentine graphics printed on the other side.

 Easy preparation directions:
1) Copy the three card pages.
2) Cut the cards horizontally so that each long card has an activity and graphic- side by side.
3) Fold the cards in half and glue them together.  You now have double-sided cards.   
4) Laminate the cards and put them in a hat or bucket. 

The idea is to spend about 5-10 minutes at the end of the day (up until February 14th) enjoying a Valentine "treat" activity.   Just pull a card from the bucket and enjoy a fun Valentine activity.   Some of the activities cannot be finished in 5-10 minutes, but don't worry.  You can use the state of play to help with dismissal.  For example: "Everyone with both hands still in the circle may get your backpacks and line up."

The activities are fun and would also make for good Valentine party activities and games.  Oh and did I mention that this 15 page fun pack is a freebie? Just click on the Valentine Countdown image to download the packet.  I hope you and your students enjoy it! 

Also, be sure to head over to Nicki Thigpen's blog  Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten for her 100 Followers Give Away.  Her blog is great and she has some wonderful ideas to share.  The winner of her 100 Followers Give Away will get 10 great units from 7 different bloggers.  You can head right over by clicking her button below.

Have a great week!
Granny (Cindy)
Freebie Fridays