Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back To School Bonanza!

What is it? A campaign to giveaway $10,000 in Teachers Notebook Gift Certificates to educators so they can get the educational resources they need!
How do we do it? We are raising contributions from corporate sponsors and parents between July 28th and Aug. 8th. Starting on August 9th we will run a sweepstakes each day giving away up to $5,000 worth of $25 Gift Certificates until all the contributions have been distributed! Make sure you come back here to enter.
How will it help you! In order to help make this campaign be more successful, we need to share stories of how the gift certificates will help educators. Please tell us how it will help you to receive a gift certificate.

How do you help? We need your help to spread the word! Tell your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors, everyone you can!. The more people that view the campaign, the more contributions are made and the more Gift Certificates can be given away!

Teachers Notebook is covering all of the administrative costs for this campaign so that every dollar contributed will go towards a Gift Certificate.
Just in case you forgot, Teachers Notebook takes no percentage of any sale. 100% of every purchase from a teacher shop goes directly to the teacher who created the item!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Playful Learning Science!

Hello friends,
 I was so excited to be able to participate in Chapter 4 on Science. I have always enjoyed teaching Science in the classroom with young children. In fact, Science has always been a favorite part of our day in Kindergarten. Before the book study I was unfamiliar with Playful Learning and all of the wonderful resources that they have to offer. The book is full of practical ideas for in depth hands on exploration that is perfect for home learning or extensions and it can be easily adapted to the classroom.

Earlier this summer I was able to take part in the Playful Learning Ecademy and I participated in the Theory+Practice miniCourse. I really took a lot from this course. I did not know what to expect because I had not participated in a course like this before. I thought it was very helpful and informative after reading through the book. I really liked the pace of the course and the interaction with the author. If you are working through this book and working on the learning experiences with children I really encourage you to give one of these courses a try. I do not think you will be disappointed. Before you decide to take a course jot some questions down so that you can ask them in the after share session.

Seeing the natural world through the eyes of a child is an enlightening phenomenon. Their innate appreciation of and fascination for all living things are qualities that can lead to many fulfilling learning experiences. Playful Learning
In chapter 4 Scientific Investigation we start off with a developmental overview just like in all the other chapters. I think this is extremely helpful and serves as a good reference when working through the learning experiences. Young children are natural explorers each day they are exploring to make sense of the world around them. Due to this natural curiosity, scientific exploration is natural to a young child.
As I was reading one of the previous chapters, Playful Learning Spaces, I really connected with Playful Learning Spaces large and small. As I was reading, it made me feel that I could achieve a Playful Learning space with ease.
As a Kindergarten teacher in a school you would think I would not have to worry about space but that is simply not true. Every inch of space is used and planned for. And when I was trying to make a dedicated space for Science Exploration, it seemed overwhelming with everything else to consider. I now realize an actual space of Science can be inviting and it can be...small. So much of our investigation takes place outside so an indoor large space is not necessary. We do however need a dedicated space for our Science tools and notebooks. We can explore, investigate and discover just about anywhere. So, that is why the picture of The Rock Invitation makes sense to me as an educator. Starting off small is a great way to get your feet wet. To me the Invitation is what invites the child to explore and the act of exploring is the engagement. In the picture above you can see that starting off small seems simple. It just makes you feel like anyone can achieve this. Looking at the bigger picture, maybe a few invitations in an area could be possible too. I will admit, I had fun thinking of the materials that would go into my Rock Invitation and it got me thinking of so many more invitations to create. It is these invitations that invite us to explore and be engaged in Science. Before we take a look at the learning experiences for the Scientific Investigation, I will leave you with this video.
Due to the amount of information in this chapter, it has been divided into a few different posts. I can't wait to share more with you!
To see what other teachers are sharing about Scientific Investigation hop on over to Teaching My 3 for more book study fun!

DIY Modeled Notebooking!

Hey Science Friends,
Do you use notebooks in Science? I have been notebooking for several years and I have to say I love it and the kids do too. Have you heard of Modeled Notebooks? Modeled Notebooks are like Big Books that you can make to use to demonstrate how to notebook with your class. In fact, they are perfect to integrate writing into Science. I was given this tip years ago from my Science Specialist in my district and once she made me one I was was sold on the idea forever.

I make a Modeled Notebook for the topics I teach in Science. When I finish a topic, I make a new one and place the old one in the library for the children to read. I love these because they are simple to make, easy and perfect to use during whole group lessons and they document our learning the same as the student sized notebooks I make for my class. I created some printables and made my first Modeled Notebook for the year to teach safety. If you are interested in making your own, I was featured on Classroom DIY where you can find complete instructions to make yours.

Classroom DIY

If you are interested in the printables that I used you can find them in my Teachers Notebook store just click the image below. .

I think once you make and use one of these you will be sold on the idea too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pets In The Classroom!

Pet Care Trust Logo
Hello Science Friends,
I was thinking about pets in the classroom when I saw something posted about this on Pinterest. I really enjoyed my pets last year and I have even enjoyed them at home this summer. I have to say that just picking the right pet for your classroom and for your personality make all the difference in the world. I have stress free pets. Truth be told, if I could I would have one of everything. So I had to think long and hard about what I could manage and take care of when the pets were not at school at Christmas and in the summer. I am so thankful that I thought it through because when I step my foot in a pet shop, I want to take everything home with me and take care of it. I swear, it is like some kind of maternal force of nature that I want to care for them all. This is why I had to prepare myself for the trip to the pet shop when I selected my pets last year. I had to literally not even look towards the adoption center or pets I was not even considering. It is hard.

As I was reading the site Pets in the Classroom I found an article on hermit crabs that I wanted to share here. Hermit crabs are so simple to take care of and they are interesting. In the classroom they offer tons of observation and notebooking activities and they are not disruptive at all. They are also very inexpensive to purchase and to care for.

Here is some great information if you are thinking about Hermit Crabs
Written By Cindy at Pets In The Classroom
Hermit crabs make an unusual and very interesting classroom pet. But don’t let the hermit crab’s name fool you – they are not “hermits” but prefer the company of other “hermies” to be at their happiest. In the wild, hermit crabs travel in packs of up to 100 crabs. One of the reasons hermit crabs need to be around other crabs is because it provides possibilities for new homes as they switch shells.
The best habitat for your classroom hermit crabs is a spacious aquarium big enough to hold food and water dishes, extra shells and things for your crabs to climb on. There should also be some open space for roaming. The bottom of the habitat should be covered with clean sand or coconut fiber substrate.
Hermit crabs are a great addition to your science curriculum. These crabs require their water to be treated with a dechlorinizer that can easily be purchased in the aquarium section of your pet supply store. A sponge or small stones can be added to the water dish so that smaller crabs don’t drown in the dish. Hermit crabs require consistent temperatures and humidity, so you may want to add a shallow dish of water with a natural sponge in it to create a more humid habitat. You can actually purchase a humidity gauge, which should always show at least 70% humidity.

Setting Up Science!

Hello Science Friends,

I guess the Christmas in July Sale felt more like a Black Friday sale with all of the computer glitches! No fear, the sale will be extended and it's better than before. I am extending the sale and I am including everything in both of my stores...just because!

You know I love Science. And you know I am gearing up for a great year of Science Exploration and I can't wait. But first thing first, I have spent hours thinking about what I was going to use for Science Notebooks this year. After a lot of thought, I have finally decided to use spiral notebooks. I used composition books last year and what bothered me the most was the size and they would not stay flat on the table which bothered the children. I also noticed that the size of the composition book made for some very cramped writing. For most of the year we use our Science Notebooks and for special projects I make special Science Folders. My classes have always loved their Science Notebooks but last year the children really took pride in them. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I really went out of my way with the presentation of our Science Notebooks. I keep our Science Notebooks in a bin in the Science Center. We had Science Teams last year and our teams were different colors. Our Science Notebooks were color coded for each team. I printed big labels for the front of the composition book and I hot glued a ribbon inside the back cover so the children could use it as a book marker to hold their place. I also stapled stickers inside the back of the Science Notebooks so I would have them on hand for when I was looking over their work. All in all, I liked the entire system except for the size of the composition book. So I decided today to get down and dirty and get my Science Notebooks ready for a fun year. As I was about to print the labels from last year, I decided I would give them a little face lift! I like the graphics better than the last. Over the last year a lot of teachers have bought my Science Labels. The good news is this... I am updating the file and uploading the new version. If you have previously purchased the labels...your labels get a face lift too! And it gets better... I have added Large My Science Notebook Labels, Large My Science Journal Labels AND Small Science Folder Labels to the download! So, no matter what you call it you will be covered. If you are interested in them just click on the picture above!


Last year I really worked hard at improving my Science Center. I must have moved things around about ten times. I finally found an arrangement that worked for my class and my classroom pets. Once I finished, I realized that my Science Center needed to be decorated and I played around with that. I really wanted some Science Posters and could not find what I wanted. So, I made my own. And now a year later, I have decided they need a face lift for the new year too! If you purchased the posters last year then you can get the updated posters as well! But what is even better is that this new download comes with the Dizzy Dots you see above AND white ones too! So if you are thinking of a quick way to get a Science Center up and running then hop on over and grab your downloads and then you can plan and prepare for a fun year of Science too! If you are interested just click on the image above!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good Golly It's Jolly!

Hey Science Friends,
I am so excited to tell you I am joining some great blogging friends to celebrate Christmas in July. Starting July 25 at 12AM-11:59PM select items will be on sale! I might even be able to sneak in a science thing or too. Shhh, never tell but anything for a Science teacher, right? Hop on over to the Blog Hoppin Blog and see who else will be shopping too! Click on the Christmas add to take you to my store!

TpT will be down from 12AM until 8AM EST!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tattle Turtle!

Hey Science Friends,
Here is a quick one for you. Have you see the Tattle Turtle in those teacher catalogs for around twenty dollars? Yep, I bet you have. How about making one of your own? This is super simple. On your next trip to Target and while you are browsing the Dollar Spot look around and see if you can find the stuffed turtle, the green pail and the Lorax notebook. If you can find them, all you have to do is put this together and you have your own $3.00 Tattle Turtle. I always wanted one but could not justify spending the money on something I could easily put together. So, there you have it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Science Book Picks!

The Teacher Wife

Hello Science Friends,
I am joining The Teacher Wife and all the other fabulous bloggers to share my Must Have Picture Books for Science! At the end of the year I was starting a great collection and I have to say I have not slowed down adding books to my list and shopping baskets. I just love any new Science Book especially when it helps to teach a concept.

These are my new favorites to kick off Science!

S is for Science: A Discovery

Great for teaching that Scientists use tools to investigate!

Cover of: You Can Use a Balance (Rookie Read-About Science) by

Sample Images for WB-You Can Use a Magnifying Glass

And for teaching about My Five Senses!

Look, Listen, Taste, Touch,

Buy this book online, The 5

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kids In Need!

Please help me to help a child in need of school supplies. For more information click the image above!
Thanks Friends!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Deal Or No Deal?

Hey Science Friends,
Let's talk about notebooking. Over the past several years I have really enjoyed notebooking in Kindergarten. This time of year I am always wondering what kind of notebook I am going to try for the coming year. I have tried making  cute thematic notebooks for each child for each different topic for Science. I will admit, I started thinking there has to be a better way. I have used spirals and I have used composition books. I have even just stapled paper together. I think out of everything I have tried I liked the spirals the most because I did not have to make anything, they lasted a year and it was the option that gave the most room for recording for children.

composition book

Last year I was able to get composition books for an extreme deal. I realize things have changed and I won't be able to get class sets of extreme deals like I did last year. I was able to get these composition books for 10 cents each. This was not my first choice for notebooking but with a jazzy label and some ribbon and I have to tell you they were cute. My class loved their Science Notebooks. I loved having something already made and prepared to take to school and the fact that we used it all year. But what I didn't like was the size. For the first time I noticed some very interesting writing that spanned the entire page or pages because of the lack of space. I struggled with this for a year. So now I am thinking of the coming year...

Spiral Notebooks
Several people have asked me if I thought the 17 cent spirals were a good deal at WalMart. People want to know if it is the best deal around. It made me think of last summer. I was able to get an extreme deal of spirals for 10 cents each. I was able to get a class set of 25. But I also had to fight the crowds, check out multiple times, beg for enough of the right color and make sure I had another five dollar additional purchase in order to get the deal. Granted, the five dollars I spent in additional merchandise I put to good use. I was happy to do it to get 10 cent spirals for Math Notebooks. Which brings me back around to the 17 cent spirals at WalMart. I can go in and get the colors that I want and there is no limit. So I could get writing, take home, science and math notebooks in one stop, in the colors I want, no reward card, no special permissions from the manager, no additional purchase and with no hassle.

So last year I paid 10 cents each for 25 spirals plus an additional $5.00. My spirals cost me $7.50 each set. If I decide to get mine this year at WalMart I am going to pay 17 cents for how ever many spirals I want. Let's say I pay 17 cents for 25 spirals and I have no additional items I am required to purchase. My spirals cost me $4.02. Let's compare each set... at 17 cents it is $4.02 for 25 and at 10 cents it is $2.50 which is a difference of $1.52. Kind of makes me wonder if the extreme deals were even worth it with all the hoops you had to go through to get it. And I had to remind myself that I have not seen a spiral advertised yet for 10 cents and there is no guarantee that this type of deal will even exist. So, it is something to think about. Is a 17 cent spiral a deal or no deal?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

MPM School Supplies!

MPM School Supplies

Hello Science Friends,
I was invited to try our the new website for MPM School Supplies. I was excited to give this a try because school supply shopping at home is just so much fun. I can plan and prepare for the things I need and do it on my own time and without driving all over the place. Classroom organization and storage seems to be such a hot topic right now.

MPM has the colors that you drive around town looking for all in one place! No more running around to stores that do not have the color or quantity that you need so you have to love that.

Storage is so essential when you are thinking about setting up Science Centers. I was curious if MPM had anything that we could use for Science. I was able to type in the keyword Science and find lots of things that any Science teacher would die for.

Chart Five Senses 17 x 22 Gr Pk-2

I was able to find bulletin board sets, borders and posters for Science. So setting up your own Science center is starting to sound a whole easier! I also was looking for those Science supplies that every good Science teacher needs.
Safety Goggles Meet Ansi Z871 Standards
Demonstration Thermometer 24 x 5-3/4 Fahrenheit/Celsius

I was even curious if I could find things that would be perfect for Science centers because I am always on the lookout for Science stuff and to be honest sometimes it is hard to find age appropriate materials.
Simply Science Magnet Mania Kit

Bug Viewer Extra 3 Without Guide

Jumbo Magnifiers Set Of 6
Hands On Discovery Lab

Color Mixing Glasses
Simple & Fun Science Simplified Book A Gr K-2

Sing Along And Learn Science

My wish list could go on and on... MPM School Supplies is offering us 15% off our first 25 orders! I have already used the coupon, shopped and received my order. I will post pictures when my stuff is set up. Science friends, this is a deal you do not want to miss out on. Give MPM a shot and let me know what you think. The customer service is super helpful if you can't find what you are looking for and shipping is fast. So get out there and get your Science stuff ready for a great year!  


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