Sunday, September 21, 2014

Die Cutter Fun and You Can Win Your Very Own!

I had the awesome opportunity to try out an Ellison Super Star die cutter. I was so excited to try it out and cut out all sorts of goodies during the summer. Of course, I've been busy training my munchkins and have just gotten around to putting them to use! 

The first thing I wanted to use was the 'flash card wheel' as a way to partner up the kids. So, I got out my new Ellison AllStar die cutting machine, these dies, and some brass fasteners. I used various colors for the top and I laminated them first to make the spinner a little more durable. I used white construction paper for the die with 10 sections, but didn't laminate because I wanted the kids to write on them.
After I got them all put together, I gave each child in my math class a spinner with their name & the numbers 1-10 on it.
Then, I had them all turn their spinner to number 1. They went to another child in the room and asked to be their partner. Then, they traded spinners and wrote their own name on the other child's spinner.

After writing their name, they raised hands in the air together so I could make sure everyone was partnered up. I highly recommend taking this process slowly and one step at a time. Otherwise, you will end up with chaos ensuing! Check out this video of one of the rounds.

So, now when I need the kids to find a partner, I can just say "Find your number 8 partner!"

I'm so excited to use some of the other dies that I got with my AllStar. I got this really nifty card die that will hold several sizes of pictures. I cut these on some of my scrapbook paper that I never seem to get around to using. 

See the slanted cuts? You can just pop a picture in there and let the kids make a special note for Mom, Dad, or another special person in their lives!

Isn't this a neat little tool to have for your classroom or even for your kiddos at home? Well guess what! You could get one of these puppies of your own with all the dies above AND these to boot! I know if you are like me, your brain is thinking of all sorts of things you can do with these goodies! I think I'm going to make some envelopes to put at my writing station. The kids LOVE to write little notes! 

Are you ready to win one for yourself? Just enter the contest and you can have this awesome machine and ALL the dies to go with it for your very own. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Word Endings Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Well, if  you aren't in school yet, I bet you are heading back in a day or two! I'm going on week 4 already! Time sure flies and I have really been MIA this summer. I guess I really needed some ME time! I was reflecting on that as I realized there are a lot of things I haven't even told you about yet. 

One of the new things that I am LOVING, are my word flippers. I was inspired to make these because of a picture I saw on Pinterest. Every time I tried to make them out of sentence strips, I couldn't get them folded just right. I wanted them to be a little more accurate, so I made these. They are a neat way to help kids see the new word immediately. 

Here's a video so you can see just how to put these flippers together!

Once I made some for endings, I decided to even try abbreviations! It's a flipper folding frenzy! Click the pics to check out them out!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Back to School Tidbits from Who's Who Blog!

In January, I started an awesome blog with some of the newest sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers. Well, let me tell you, these are some amazing educators! As I was reading through the posts, I thought they would be good to share for back to school. So, without further ado . . . Just click the pics to read the rest of the posts. Trust me, you are really going to want to read these! Good stuff!

Elementary teachers all know the craziness that comes with the first day of school. However, if WE slow down and take time to make connections, fantastic things happen. Read this article to see just how to get a calm start to that all-important first day of school. There is even a little freebie to help you out as well.

I don't know about you, but the Dollar Tree and Big Lots are two of the best stores EVER! (and the Target dollar bin isn't too bad either!) Read this post will show you some really neat items you may want to check out this school year!

This post is chocked full of great ideas to make your life easier this school year. I'm sure you have experienced the frustration of getting all your kids on the same page, at the same time, and in a timely manner. I love this idea about taping a ribbon in a book to make a type of bookmark. You definitely need to read the rest of this article because there are 9 more great ideas you need to check out!

If you are still in denial about going back to school, and you respond like this to reminders about only a few more days, you need to see this post! It's a HOOT!

Remember to stop by Who's Who and Who's New for new and fresh posts several times a week! Oh, and don't forget about the BIG Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Playing to Learn ~ Counting Money and Making Change

Over the past 25 years of my teaching career, I have noticed several shifts in kids' ability to count money and make change. When I first began teaching, I had to teach the students the names of the coins and their worth. Then, the kids recognized the coins and their values and did a pretty good job of figuring out the total amount of money, but making change has always been a bit of a struggle. Now, credit and debit cards are taking over and kids don't see their parents using money much anymore. 

{Personal Creations} contacted me about helping parents keep their children engaged over summer vacation with a 'School All Summer' project, so I thought "Why not play store?" for something fun and educational this summer. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Have your child gather some toys to put price tags on. You can also go through the pantry and put price tags on some food items as well. Have them help you with the prices. This will help your child start to recognize the values of items.

  • Arrange the items that are for sale into rows or just use the furniture! It is really fun if you have a toy shopping cart for your child to use too.
  • Give your child some money to spend at their store. It is best to use real money so your child will get the feel of the money, especially coins.    
  • Let your child go shopping! Remind them to pay attention to the prices and the amount of money they have. When finished shopping, head to the cashier. Your child can help you figure out how much they owe and how much change they should receive! You can use a calculator for the total, but let the kids count up to make the change. For example:
Let's say the total comes to $19.33 and you pay with a $20 bill.
  • Start by counting out pennies: 34 (give a penny), 35 (give a penny.)
  • 35 is divisible by 5, so start counting with nickels from 35 to 40 (give a nickel.)  
  • 40 is divisible by 10, so start counting with dimes from 40 to 50 (give a dime.)
  • 50 is divisible by 25, so start counting with quarters from 50 to 75 (give a quarter) and from 75 to $1 (give a quarter) and that gets you to $20.
If you would like a computer challenge, {Change Maker} is an online game for practice making change. So get those kids counting money and making change and let them have a blast doing it!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

10 Terrific Activities for Your 'Not-So-Lazy-Days' of Summer

Ah, the lazy days of summer . . . so they say. But if you have young kids at home, I'm sure that saying doesn't quite fit! So, to keep your kiddos busy, I compiled a list of ideas of my favorite activities that might help you survive the 'not so lazy days' of summer.
Ellis Benus

Laser Training for your super spies. This looks like so much fun, especially on a rainy day when the kids can't be outside playing.

Allison McDonald
Make parachute guys and drop them from the slide and jungle gym. This is a great physical activity because after the 'guy' is dropped, your kids have to run down to fetch it and climb back up to drop it again!

Hello Kiddo!

Make a tin foil river and let kids see what will flow down the river. Make little ice boats for a more authentic touch!

The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide

Another great rainy day activity is to have a 'Camp-In!' Make S'mores in the microwave and you're in business. And just think, NO BUGS!

Make ice cream in a bag. It's so easy and so yummy too! Click here for the recipe.

Play 'Drip, Drip, Drench.' This game is played like Duck, Duck, Goose, but with a sponge and water. Great for hot summer days.

Mamas Like Me

Draw a bulls-eye on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. Give the munchkins a wet sponge to see who can score the most points.


Grab an old sheet and let the kids express their inner artist in the middle of your yard. No one will think you are too crazy!

Six Sisters Stuff

Have the kids go on a treasure hunt to find items for each letter of the alphabet. What a great way to reinforce beginning letter sounds. 

Frugal Fun 4 Boys
I know the kids at school LOVE eraser caps! Why not put them to use in a mini-bowling game with a marble?

Have a great summer with your little ones!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Tribute to My Dad~John C. Jenkins

This past week has been the hardest week of my life.

A little over 2 years ago, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors told him that if he didn't receive treatment, he would probably only be around not much more than 3 months. He still decided not to take radiation or chemo because he said he'd rather spend 11 weeks living than 11 weeks dying. 

Last Sunday, June 1, 2014 I had a date to meet my dad in Scottsburg, Indiana at the Cracker Barrel. We loved to meet there to eat and chat. We had a fabulous time! Daddy didn't look great, but he didn't look as bad as I thought he might. He told us he hadn't been eating much, but ordered the meat loaf anyway. I asked him if he would like to share it, but said he thought he could put a pretty good dent in it. After eating a few bites, he asked if I wanted some and when I said 'no' he asked where the dogs were!

My dad loved to joke around, and Sunday wasn't any different. He was teasing all of us! After our great afternoon, my daddy went home and took a nap and never woke up again. I am so thankful he went peacefully and that I was able to spend the day with him, but selfishly, I wasn't ready for him to go.

My sister and I drove down to his house after he died to comfort our step-mom. On our way back home it started raining very hard, but stopped quickly. The next thing we saw, was a complete rainbow from end to end. It was just what we needed to comfort us and remind us that everything was going to be okay. The next day, my sister saw a double rainbow and yesterday I saw another one. 

At his funeral, each of us kids decided to share a few memories that we had of our father. Some of my memories are:

  • Playing airplane on daddy's feet~I felt like I could really fly!
  • Pushing daddy's car out of the driveway when he went to work.
  • Playing checkers in the garage and ALWAYS losing . . . I think the losses helped me become a good sport!
  • Hitting rocks with golf clubs and getting a real butt-chewing!
  • Getting to sleep in the back window of the car because I was the oldest. Safety first - NOT in those days!
I am going to miss my dad so much, 
but just like when daddy held me in his loving arms
. . . everything is going to be all right!

Thanks for stopping by to read. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Travels with Charlie: North Dakota #bookingusa

Hi everyone!
Hope you are keeping your head above water during this busy time of year! 

I've had the awesome opportunity to check out some amazing books called 'Travels with Charlie.' In these books, Charlie, an adorable dog, hides in pictures of states for kids to find. The states are packed with pics of special places in that state, so while the kids look for Charlie, they are checking out state highlights! Genius! 

I pulled together with other bloggers for Booking Across the USA and we each took a different state. Now YOU can find great ideas for all 50 states.

As you may have read above, I picked North Dakota for my state. I know you are thinking . . . 'Hilary lives in Indiana!' Well, did you know that my middle son actually lives in Williston, ND? Yup! He's a chemist in the oil fields of Williston. 

I know it doesn't seem like there would be a lot of things going on in North Dakota, but it is a beautiful state with a rich heritage. Did you know that Lewis and Clark spent more time in North Dakota than anyplace else? Did you know that North Dakota has more sunflowers than any other state? 

One of the things that intrigued me about North Dakota is that there is an 'International Peace Garden which is on the border of Canada. There is a little stream that flows between the USA and Canada and there are flowers galore on both sides. There are even flags from each country made from flowers.

Beautiful, right? I thought it might be fun to make a little Peace Garden with tissue paper. I don't know about you, but I used to love putting little pieces of tissue paper on the end of a pencil, dipping it in glue, and sticking it to a piece of paper. What a better place to make tissue flowers! 

I made a page to guide the kids on their flower making skills. Just click the pic if you would like a copy for yourself and your little ones.

If you would like to check out the rest of the states with Charlie, just keep on clicking! 

Win some Charlie books for yourself!

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