Saturday, February 28, 2015

EDExpo 2015 *TOP 10!

Wow! I had the opportunity to attend EdMarket Association's EDExpo a couple weekends ago......and would not believe how many truly awesome, innovative products that are out there! A group of 50 bloggers were invited to tour the floor & select our Top 10 products. Those 50 lists were all compiled & tabulated into an overall Top 10. Here are the Top 10 products that earned an 'Eddy Award'. You are going to love these:

Touchtronic Numbers & Letters from Junior Learning
Combine physical & digital with these cool letters and numbers that work with an app to make learning come alive. The app includes games for teaching letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and word building. 

The Reading Game
I loved how this game supports early reading skills! Kiddos play a game to learn the words....the words then are moved in to phrases & sentences....and then it all leads to reading a book into which all the words are built. 

Say It!
This is a super fun game that supports vocabulary acquisition. (And here's a's fun for adults as well as students!).

We have a tie for 4th Place:
Boinks Fidgets!

The F.U.N. Empty Number Line System from Learning Advantage
Lovin' this awesome product for math instruction. Empty number line can be difficult for kiddos...and this makes the concept hands on for students. 

 Math Bands from Learn in Style
Helping kiddos master math fact fluency....

 Busy Fingers from Fiddle Focus
These are going to be valuable additions to classrooms for kiddos who have sensory processing or even attention issues.

Pencil Grips
I really like how this company actually has a progression of grips that move kiddos toward the proper pencil grip. Start with the first one, which has more support & holds kiddos' fingers in place...move to the next one, which has a little less support than the first one...& the last one that allows kiddos more freedom, but still requires them to hold the pencil correctly.

Circuit Sticker Books from Chibitronics
Love me some STEM! I am super excited about the possibilities of this one!

And another tie for Number 10.....
Kapla Blocks from Tom's Toys
The construction plank for big & small...

Cool Circuits from Science Wiz
Lay down a puzzle card & solve the challenge by making a loop, & watch the board light up!

Ready to check these out more closely for YOUR classroom?
Stop by EdMarket & check out the zip code searchable database for retailers near you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Teacher Hero

"Not all superheroes have capes.....some have teaching degrees".
I think almost everyone has a story about a favorite teacher...or a teacher who made an impact on their life.  For me, that person was my high school English teacher, Mr. Carran. He taught Literature. Mr. Carran was a young teacher who really had a passion for Star Wars. 

It's amazing how many literary themes pop up as part of Star Wars!! haha! Almost every book we read had some kind of literary analysis that was also evident in Star Wars. The obvious joy & enthusiasm he had when talking about & analyzing literature was truly exciting! I myself gained a true appreciation for not only literature, & the deeper meanings behind it, but also movies, as well. It really is true what they say...."There are no new stories". 

Mr. Carran, clothed as Obi Wan and a student costumed as Darth Vader once reenacted a fight scene from Star Wars in the hallway between lunch periods. Pretty exciting stuff when you're in high school!

Teachers, remember that YOU make a difference for the kiddos in your classrooms! Even if you don't dress up like Obi Wan or Darth Vader & stage fight scenes for your students! haha! On behalf of all those sweet kidlettes...ThAnK yOu!!
TPT is hosting a SALE just to say THANKS to all you teacher heroes out there! Use the code HEROES for an extra 10% off.  Lots of stores (mine included) are also on sale for 20% off.....add the code for a total of 28% off! Happy Shopping!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Spark of Inspiration Blog Hop

Have you heard the news?! Our collaborative blog has a fresh new look and brand-new name!! We're so excited about it that we decided to celebrate with FREEBIES & GIFT CARDS!! Big thanks to my sweet friend Ciera from Adventures of Room 129 for sending you over to see me!

We've got some terrific freebies ready for you! Make sure you hop all the way through and grab them all! And we can't forget about the gift cards! Just enter your info in the rafflecopter widget below then cross your fingers!!

Just click the pic to download a copy from my dropbox!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bright Idea: Store Extra Bags for Kiddos

"Forgot my backpack. Do you have a bag I can use to take my stuff home?"
"I can't get this art project in my backpack!"
"I can't get everything in my book bag!"

I used to keep a stash of those plastic grocery bags in my closet, but that got to be kind of a mess. They were just tucked in on top of the boxes of ziplocs....and tended to kind of fall out, and get in the way. I LOVE this bright idea! 

Keeping extra grocery bags in an empty tissue box keeps them organized and handy. You can get quite a few bags in there, too....and I'm always prepared when one of my little sweeties needs an extra bag to take something home!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider joining me on Facebook or Instagram for more great ideas!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

EDExpo 2015

I am super excited about attending EDExpo 2015 this year! In just a few weeks siperintendents, curriculum coordinators, and retailers of educational brick & mortars and online stores will converge on Atlanta, Georgia for the premier showcase of educational supplies, materials, furnishings, and products.

I was at last year's event in Dallas, and enjoyed learning about some pretty awesome products. I'm really looking forward to going to Atlanta, and can't wait to see what's in store this year! There promises to be innovative products covering every facet of learning....from instructional materials, teaching aids, & technology educational games, toys, and supplies! Can't wait to discover them!

About 50 bloggers are going to be touring the exhibit floor, looking for the latest and greatest products that you're going to want to have in your classroom. I can't wait to meet up with old friends and new faces! What a terrific up with bloggy friends and discovering new & innovative products for our classrooms! Stay tuned.....three more weeks & we'll be sharing all about the latest gotta-have-its for all of our classrooms!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Valentine Sale! Stock up for February!

Are you ready to think about February yet? Ready to stock up on some Valentine resources? Some of my favorite bloggy friends & I are having a sale to close out the month & get ready for the sweetest month of the year! My entire store is 20% off, and you can grab some sweet Valentine resources, too!

These are some of my FAVorite Math Workstation/Center Activities:
Focus on fractions with this sweet Uno-inspired fration game. It's played just like Uno, so the focus is on the skill, not learning how to play the game. Equivalent fractions, anyone? It's all here! I also love that kiddos are practicing comparing fractions of a whole AND fractions of a set! And aren't these chocolate bars and chocolate-covered strawberries look super yummy? 

Here are a couple of super fun fluency games. One for addition and one for multiplication...

And, of course, Valentine I Spys!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sew a Circuit! #STEM

Being one of the STEM mentors for my building, I get to learn about, do, & be trained for some super cool stuff! Earlier this week, we learned about e-textiles...wearable electronics. The trainers brought
some examples: backpacks, purses, bracelets, and shirts with LED lights sewn right in (anyone thinking ugly Christmas sweater yet? haha). We actually made a bookmark during the training.

It is surprisingly simple! To do a similar product, you'll need

As part of the lesson on circuits, you can let kiddos explore with the batteries, LED lights, & some alligator clips....can they make their LED light up? Can they get two lights one one battery to light up? Can they get more than two? After they've discovered that you need positive to positive & negative to negative, you're ready to move into creating the bookmark.
Planning is the first step. They'll need to map out their design. Where will the battery pack be sewn on? Where will the LED go? They'll need to map out the line of stitches that will lead from the positive side of the battery pack to the positive side of the LED....& the same for the negative sides. **Make sure that the lines of stitches do not touch or cross. Doing so will cause the battery to short out.**

After planning, you're ready to start sewing. Starting on either the positive or negative side of the battery pack, take at least 3 stitches through the top hole to attach the pack to the felt. Use a simple straight stitch to follow the line of stitches previously planned (I chose a zigzag for mine). When you get to the spot where the LED will be placed, again make sure to use 3 stitches or so to attach the LED to the felt. The three stitches will help make sure that there is a good connection.  Then do the same for the negative side. 

After the pieces are sewn on, you're ready to add the decorative elements. I simply used felt to make a rocket ship on mine. Some people designed theirs with flowers, aliens, monsters, kites, etc.

That's it! It's pretty simple & extremely cool! 
I'm really looking forward to doing this in the classroom with my kiddos! They're going to flip! We're also looking in to the possibility of adding this activity to our Science/Math Family Night. And remember when I asked if anyone was thinking ugly Christmas sweater? How cool would this be as a PBL where kiddos design & create their own ugly Christmas sweater?! How would you incorporate this activity in your classroom or school? I'd love to hear more ideas!