Monday, June 29, 2009

Color My Wardrobe

Very simple idea. Inexpensive. The best gift ever!



My daughter received a Crayola: Color My Wardrobe craft kit for her birthday in April. She just loves it. Not only does it stimulate creative thinking, but also role play and hours of fun. She still has dresses left to decorate after all of these months. It is something fun to do with her older sister as well. After making numerous designs, they hold fashion shows with the cardboard doll to share their new creations with the family.



I'll have to confess, I designed a few dresses myself. Hubby even made a camo-dress. What a great Dad- designing dresses with his daughters!
(Don't tell anyone. He, He!)


Blank dress



Dress after creating!



Another creative design

And Dad's famous......


Camo Dress

Although this product is inexpensive, you could make your own cardboard doll and cut out dress patterns for your child. Use small pieces of Velcro to attach the dresses to the doll. Also, you can use other art supplies such as ribbon, little fabric flowers, or glitter glue to decorate the dresses.

Enjoy your day and have fun being creative!

Jen

Monday, June 22, 2009

Digital Storytelling


Today was the first day of a series of teaching workshops that I will be taking all week. Digital storytelling was the topic for today's study and ways to integrate this technology into the classroom. The software that we explored was Microsoft Photo Story 3. I found it to be pretty simple to use.

Here is a quick overview of what you can do with this software:

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.
Source: Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows XP

Digital story telling can be used in the classroom by both the instructor and the student as a learning tool. The instructor can use it as a motivational tool to introduce content, as well as a tool to teach.

Students can use this software for a variety of classroom projects such as, a personal timeline or family tree, a culminating activity for a field trip, or to share research.

If you are interested in learning more, seeing examples, or trying your hand at digital storytelling, you can download the software for free.

Other resources that might be of interest:

7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling: Promoting Deep Thinking Through Stories


Be sure to comment and let me know if you give it a try or if you've used this software before. Beside in the classroom, this would also be a great tool to create our own family stories at home.

Take Care,
Jen

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hello!


Hello! I haven't been around lately due to my pregnancy symptoms- having a little bit of a rough time. I'm 12 and 1/2 weeks now, so I'm hoping that things will get better soon! I'm sure my family is hoping the same. We haven't been too busy with a lot of "planned" projects, but the kids still manage to be creative and curious even while Mom is resting or trying different cures for nausea. Here's what they've been up to!

Sunshine(age 7)
-sewing clothes by hand for her baby doll.(the best that she can- fun for her, though)
-playing her keyboard- she taught herself how to play Happy Birthday, Twinkle, Twinkle, and a little bit of Beethoven she heard on tv (I think that she has some natural ability that Mom doesn't have- need to find an affordable piano teacher)
-made a Japanese Koi (she was peeking over my shoulder while I was reading The Crafty Classroom and saw the craft on there and just had to do it. Go to The Crafty Classroom for directions. Fun craft.)
-summer gymnastics- 3 hrs a week
-archery with Dad

Peanut(age 5)
-using her imagination to send her Pet shop animals, polly pockets, Thumbelina dolls, and Tinker Bell on wild adventures!
-teaching herself beginning addition: writing down math problems using her fingers and then working on memorizing them(3+3=6, etc)
-drawing maps for her animals
-making up songs and performing them for me
-fashion shows throughout the house
-planting her cherry seeds outside after she eats her cherries

Also, swimming, fishing, biking, scootering, and church camp! So far a great summer start for the girls!

Take Care! Hoping to get back into the blogging groove soon!

Jen

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Ask Why?

To learn silly! That's why.

Well, recently I purchased the book Why? by Lila Prap from my online book store.



Yes, I'm my best customer- I can't help it. I love books and I get excited about the new products that we get in. It's great to test them out on my kids! Usborne Books merged with Kane/Miller publishing, so we have an even greater selection of books.

Why? has won many awards and has received a lot of great reviews. It is a very simple book that asks questions like Why does a zebra have stripes? or Why don't snakes have legs?

I think that children are attracted to this book because of its humorous pictures and answers. Factual answers are included, but along with some very silly answers. This would be a fun book to use with kids to encourage creative thinking. They can come up with nonsense answers to the questions presented as well. Another fun idea for older kids would be for them to choose a few animals to research and create their very own Why? book.

Guess What? I have good news! I'd like to share a copy with one of my readers! To enter a chance to win your very own copy of Why? just pop on over to my website and take a peek. Come back over here and leave a comment about a book that you found interesting over at my site!

For extra entries:

2 entries: write a post on your blog.
1 entry: tweet about the contest!
1 entry: Follow me or subscribe.
1 entry: Add me to your blog roll.

1 entry: post a link about contest on facebook.

Yeah- lots of chances there for you to win!

Contest ends on June 26th!

Good luck!! and Happy Reading!

Jen

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I've been Tagged!

Recently, I was tagged by Superhereos and Princesses to name 7 Unimportant things that make me happy!

So here goes!

1. chocolate and peanut butter icecream
2. coffee (when I'm not pregnant)
3. early morning quiet time outside in the summer
4. cooking a new recipe for my family
5. tiramasu
6. a good book
7. watching animals in nature

Now it's my turn to play tag! Ready, Set, Run! Caught ya! Your it:

The Snail's Trail

A Duck in her Pond

Little Toes and Cheerios

Jamerican Spice

Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

The Masked Mommy


Here are the rules:
Answer the question.
Mention/link who tagged you.
Tag 6 of your favorite bloggers (or someone you want to learn more about!)

Have a great day!

Jen

Monday, June 8, 2009

Preschool Graduate!


My big girl-the graduate!



Peanut's big cousin is proud of her!






WAY TO GO PEANUT!!

Love,
Momma

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Creative Woman at the Pond!

I'm so excited to be featured as Creative Woman over at A Duck in Her Pond! If you haven't met the Blonde Duck, be sure to check out her blog. Not only is she an extremely creative writer, but she has southern charm and great pie baking ability!

Therefore, you can see why I am honored to be interviewed by her. If you'd like to learn more about me and what I'm passionate about, go head on over to the Pond!

Have a great day!
Jen

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chocolate and Books!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my childhood favorite films! My eldest recently checked the book by Roald Dahl out from the library. Only 7 years old and a little over a 1st grade reading level,Sunshine is unable to read it independently. It is about a 5th grade reading level. Therefore, it has now become our nighttime read-aloud.

Well, it has been such a joy reading a couple chapters each evening before bed. They beg me to read more and to peek ahead.

"Who gets the next golden ticket, Mommy?"

"Please read one more chapter!

Okay, I have lots and lots of fun activities to share that relate to this story.(appropriate for Pre-K with assistance and up)

Activity #1: Invent a new candy bar
Invent a new candy bar for Mr. Wonka. Create an advertisement or write a letter to Mr. Wonka persuading him to market your new candy bar. Create a wrapper for your new bar. (Wrap it around a Hershey bar for fun!)


Activity #2: Create Chocolate Balls
Here's a recipe that you can use to make about 5 dozen chocolate balls! YUM!

Ingredients:

3 cups of semi-sweet or white chocolate chips or white chocolate chips
1 can (300ml) of sweetened condensed milk
finely chopped nuts
cocoa powder

Directions:

Melt chocolate chips and remove from heat.

Next, stir in the milk.

Chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1 - inch balls.
Place on wax paper-lined trays and chill until firm.
Roll in nuts, cocoa, or dip into melted chocolate chips of a different color.
Chill.
Have fun eating your homemade chocolate balls with your kiddos!
Resource: Can Teach

Activity #3: The Chocolate Room
Read over chapt. 15 and discuss the chocolate room.
Ask your kids if they can think of any of the other rooms in the factory.

Now ask the children to make up a new room for the chocolate factory, making sure that they are as descriptive as possible.

Resource: Teaching Ideas
Extension- have your child illustrate and color or paint a picture of their new room and have them share their creation with the family. Another idea is to use a box and have your child create a model of their room.


Ideas for Intermediate kids: Teacher Vision

And last but not least, I found this really neat game that I'd like to purchase for my girls.



Time to go and eat some chocolate!

Jen

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wildflowers!



We just love flowers in our house- at least the girls and we outnumber Dad!

Recently, Peanut came home with a Wildflower seed packet with directions for planting. She was so excited to plant her very own wildflower seeds. If you love wildflowers and would like to join us, look over the simple directions below.

Materials: Wildflower seed packet, cardboard egg carton, soil, water

Directions:
1. Cut the top off of the egg carton.
2. Put soil in each of the small cups.
3. Plant 3 or 4 seeds in each cup.
4. Water.
5. Sunlight.
6. Once the seeds begin to sprout, you can transfer the whole egg carton into the
ground.
7. Watch your wildflower garden grow!

Take Care!

Jen

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Chesapeake Bay


Simply Beautiful!


Mom being curious on the beach. Hmmmm. I wonder where my kids get it from??



My best friend- the beautiful bride!



My other best friend- my handsome hubby!



Hubby and I on the balcony! I wish I could remember what we were laughing about!
Probably excited to be away for the kids for a couple of day. (Sorry girls- we love you and all!)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
For more WW, be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Logic Puzzles

Often, I would use logic puzzles in my gifted classroom to encourage higher levels of thinking. My students loved it, because not only did it challenge them, but it gave them an opportunity to do something different than the normal classroom work. Eventually, I started bringing logic puzzles into the regular classroom to challenge all students, not just the ones who were identified as gifted. One student in particular really surprised me. He was in Title I reading and had such a difficult time learning to read. But boy could he solve a logic problem. I had to help him by reading the clues, but he was able to think analytically about the problem. It gave him such confidence and the smile on his face just made my day!
Recently, I introduced simple logic problems to my 7 year old. She fell in love with them and when she woke up the next morning, begged me for more problems. One of the resources that I have found great logic puzzles in is titled Logic Safari. It is listed for grades 2 and 3, but I've used them with advanced first graders.



So Mom and Dad, are you thinking "I want to have some logic fun!" Well, you came to the right place. I found a website with printable logic puzzles just for you! http://www.printable-puzzles.com/
It is important that we exercise our brains along with our children's.

For more fun puzzles for the whole family, be sure to visit Squigly's Playhouse!

Jen

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