Monday, December 28, 2015

20 Nice Things for Kids to Say

New Year’s Resolutions are stacking up.  A really good one is: I will say kind words.

Sometimes we forget to say kind words, even if we’re thinking them.  And kids have to be taught how to put their thoughts into words.  Here are some kind words kids might say:

1)       I like you!
2)      You’re a good friend!
3)      Would you like to share my...?
4)      You’re a great artist/writer/dancer/scientist/mathematician!
5)      I love to watch you think!
6)      You’re funny!  
7)      You make me laugh in a nice way!
8)      I love your smile!
9)      I love your sense of style!
10)   You have a great laugh!
11)   You’re beautiful!
12)   Thanks for listening to me!
13)   You’re so nice!
14)   You just made my day!
15)   I like you just the way you are!
16)   You’re really special!
17)   You can do it!
18)   Everything’s going to be OK!
19)   Can I help you?
20)   Thank you for…

It’s amazing how much impact we can have, simply by saying kind words to someone.  Watch, and you'll see their face and body language light up in an instant.

The important thing is, to speak the truth!  Really look at people.  Really notice good things about them, and then say them.

It becomes a beautiful exchange when they notice good things about you, too—and then say them out loud.

If you’d like to help kids think about saying kind words, you might like to use the sheet above.  It’s part of a New Year’s Fun Package that includes a Keepsake Book of Resolutions, as well as a New Year’s Mini Book, party hat, song, and a Chinese New Year Bundle of goodies—Chinese Flying Dragon Craft, anyone?  Your spirit flies like a dragon--really!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Weight Vest is the Best Gift!

I'm not big on gewgaw gifts.  A weight vest for health is at the top of my list.
 I finally sprang for a quality weight vest--the Hypervest Pro--and let me tell you...
The Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Unisex 10-Pound Adjustable Weighted Vest for Fitness Workouts, Medium, Grey divine!

It fits snugly around my chest and back, with tiny weights evenly distributed.  It literally feels like a second skin.  The design makes it easy to move around, bend, and do any exercise without the weights sloshing around, and threatening to tilt me over.

This weight vest leaves me breathless, in a good way.  Every exercise I do is more challenging.  And it's easier to burn calories and pounds off.

I like to put it on for 10 - 15 minutes at a time.  Do a little jogging or stepping up and down.  And the short time-frame makes me feel comfortable--like I'm not wearing and tearing, but rather toning my body.

Another big plus is it's cute.  Dare I say, fashion forward?  That's a biggie.  I would never wear my chunky sand-bag-filled police-style vest outside.  But I would wear this one.

I have another vest at school, which I put on whenever I'll be standing straight for awhile.  I would never wear it if I'm bending over to help kids at their desks.  Bending with weights on the back is dangerous for the spine.

This is my school vest:

The Infinity Weighted Vest, Blue - 6 Lbs
...which is also adorable, but not quite as second-skin as the Hypervest.

Experts will tell you that when you reach a certain age, walking is not enough.  To build healthy bones, you have to add pressure--which triggers sturdy, new bone growth.

Prescription medications don't do that.  They act more like a glue that binds your brittle old bones together.  Not to mention, creating side effects that would make a toughened old sailor blanch.   Bad news, I know--I'm sorry, too, that popping a pill won't bestow optimal health.

So this is my gift to myself, more precious than a diamond ring.  Gewgaws be gone.  I want health, and all that entails.

Weight Vests and Bone Health

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Card Craft - Torn Paper Art Tree

Here's a unique Christmas card that always looks beautiful:
It's torn paper art!
Christmas Card Craft - Renee Dawn - Teacher Ink

Fold colored Xerox paper in quarters; I used pale green paper.  Then outline a tree shape in pencil.  Kids will color their tree.   
Provide the children with construction paper scraps and glue.  They'll tear the scraps into tiny pieces and glue them inside the tree shape.  They can use any colors and designs they'd like.  Save a yellow piece for the star at the top.  

Tip: give each child a plastic tray to collect their tiny paper pieces before gluing.
Kids can draw a picture and write a message inside.   Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, or Have a Wonderful Winter!

It's a beautiful, frame-able, torn paper art tree.

For more Christmas ideas, take a look at these adorable and memorable Christmas Robots for kindergarten, Christmas Robots for K - 5, or Christmas Talking Bubble Creative Writing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Math Robots for Kinders

Have yourself a merry little robot!
Kindergarten kids will love creating, coloring and decorating their holiday themed robots.

Then they can brainstorm fun tags lines. 
 It's the math, literacy, art connection--a gift that keeps giving, and makes a lasting memory.  

Here are a few more suggestions:
•  Count and point to the number chart
•  Count while singing a counting song
•  Count by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s
•  Locate a number on the number chart
•  Compare and contrast different numbers
•  Compare and contrast different robots
•  Compare and contrast a 1 – 30 Chart with a calendar
•  Compare symmetrical and asymmetrical robots. Tell which you prefer and why. 

I love these read-aloud books to get a lively robot-themed conversation going:
Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon
What Do Robots Do All Day by Richard Scarry
My Robot by Eve Bunting
If you'd like my easy printables of 30 robots, along with these extras for your kids...

•  Poster: Literacy Connection - Discussion and writing prompts about robots
•  Poster: How to Make a Robot (for a SMARTboard or learning center printout)
•  Posters with Sample Sentences for Smartboard or Writing Center (36 sentences in all)
...please stop by.  And above all, I'm wishing you fabulous memories, and a most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Math Robots

A Christmas mash-up from heaven:
Let's combine Christmas, math, literacy, and art.  What do you get?

 A crazy-fun activity in those last few days when kids are stir-crazy.  And a gorgeous display--or a collection of holiday robots that kids can put together as a book--with a book cover included.

If you'd like a stack of these holiday math number chart robots that kids can make at centers, or for morning work, or a whole-class project, stop by and take a look.  

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2015

High-Tech Toys for Kids

High-tech toys for kids are a must for the new gen. 

This is not your grandma's watch.  
It's a VTech 80-171600 Kidizoom Smartwatch DX, Royal Blue (2nd Generation) ...that is, a watch with a camera, video recorder, calculator, games, and fun features like a voice changer that will have kids enthralled.  And, yes, of course it comes in pink.  That goes without saying.  Neon Green and white, too.

If your child is musically inclined, this is a dream package:
  You get the whole kit and caboodle; a keyboard with a stand and headphones.  With simple instructions and a little tinkering, kids can figure out how to play a rad beat, record their own samples, add melody or lyrics, or play songs that are embedded in the piano and enjoy a range of repertoire.  There's even a link-up to your computer in case your kids want to save their masterpieces.

In a little aside, my kindergarteners needed only a quick lesson on which button to press first, next, and last.  That was it.  After that, they were up and running.  My piano center is a big favorite during choice time.

Casio Inc. CTK2400 PPK 61-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package with Samson HP30 Headphones, Stand and Power Supply is a best seller, and Casio keyboards have been at the cutting edge of the industry for over 30 years.   

If your child is into things that move, and is over 8 years old, here's a fun choice:

Snap Circuits Deluxe R/C Snap Rover Electronics Discovery Kit offers 40 experiments with 50 parts that snap together (no soldering required), including a voice recorder, to whip up a programmable remote controlled rover robot.  Cool, right?

And the ultimate challenge:

Osmo Gaming System for iPad, Standard Packaging, Genius Kit  Yes, a genius kit.  Just add your own ipad, and watch any child over 5 wade into a wonderland of creativity and brain-bending quests.  It's endlessly fascinating for your budding artist, scientist, mathematician, or thinker.  And, they'll never outgrow it.

Welcome to the next gen of high-tech.  These "toys" will give your kid a leg up into the future.  Maybe grandma wants one, too.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Teaching Kids Humor for the Holidays

Can you teach kids to write with humor?   Humor for the Holidays?

A Christmas wish isn’t funny.  Wishing for your 2 front teeth—and a kid-sized Ferrari—is. 
Humor happens when two worlds collide, and when they come together unexpectedly.   It’s funny, playful, and creative—as long as no one gets hurt in the crash.  Let’s watch humor in action...

Start with a character or a setting.  Add an unexpected or surprising detail…

          A look, expression, or object: a ghost with a… goofy smile, holding a tiny holiday tree

          A sound: a dog…barking a Christmas carol

          A feel:  a lady with tall gelled hair that’s filled with holiday lights

          A mood: an alligator…wrapped in ribbons and giggling

          An action: Santa flying…upside down, in his sleep

          An exaggeration: a kid who wants to fly with Santa, 24/7

          A usage: Santa on a…skateboard, a drone, or a bat

          A behavior: Santa planning peace on Earth…over a piece of pie 
That’s funny. 

I made it easy to be funny--or cheerful--for the holidays, with charming printables and plenty of writing tips.  You'll get a complete kit that's perfect for TAG kids, ELL kids, and everyone in between.

If you’d like my Christmas brainstorming posters, as well as 53 Christmas characters with speech bubbles, and cool Christmas writing paper for extended writing, please look under my holiday tree and I'll show you…

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Writing for Kids

Christmas writing for kids just got more fun--and cheerful!

Christmas Writing Bubbles - Renee Dawn

Imagine the usual suspects--Santa, snowmen, teddy bears, gingerbread boys and the like; lined up on your bulletin board, and decked out with a string of shiny little bells.
Christmas Writing Speech Bubbles - Renee Dawn
So cute they're criminal!

I made it easy for you to print and create your lineup, with 53 characters, each with a speech bubble.  All you need to add is...a sprinkle of good humor or seasons greetings.

I even made that easy--with suggested phrases and ways to generate humor.
For your older and TAG kids there's lined paper with a holiday border.  Also, prompts for divergent thinking as well as extended writing.

You'll find nondenominational Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and winter characters, too.  So no excuses.  All aboard and let's spread some good cheer, shall we?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Teacher Resource Sale

Are you bitten by the shopping bug?  TeachersPayTeachers is having a sale.  A big holiday S-A-L-E!  

With an additional 20% off my entire store, you will get up to 28% off at checkout---sweet!  

Want to spark some holiday cheer and creativity?  This Christmas Writing Bubbles pack is wonderful for brainstorming ideas, and then creating a bulletin board display that's--well, made in heaven.

With New Year’s coming up fast, here's a HUGE bargain:  It's a ton of New Year’s Fun including an 11-page keepsake book of resolutions PLUS a feather-and-curling-ribbon-ready-party-hat…

PLUS a special bonus: my Chinese New Year PackNo, you haven’t really lived till you’ve danced with a flying Chinese Dragon (instructions included)!  And yes, you can dance with your dragon any day of the year.  It’s an unforgettable thrill to hear the dragon tail fluttering as it whirls and zigzags around your head.

Martin Luther King’s birthday is only a few more weeks away.  It's not too early to shop for deep conversation starters about brotherhood and kindness—and create a gorgeous display with photo montages of Dr. King and students’ drawings.

 I have a soft spot for this Math Bundle:
It's a fun way to bring math into your class using literacy, music and art.  The number chart robots are--ROBOTS!  Need I say more?  They are so much fun to create and write about.  They're the math centers that run themselves, and have kids begging for more.  

The counting songs--soothing vocals over relaxing instrumentals--it goes without saying, they teach counting effortlessly.  But much more importantly, they work as an instant behavior management, and by the way, are also useful and known as my Teacher Insomnia Pack.   I could write pages and pages of poetry about those MP3s.

The first days of school are long past.  Still, you may want to review this best-selling refresher course on lessons, classroom set-up and behavior management.  The reference guide includes step-by-step teacher scripts, and will serve you well for years to come, no matter what grade you teach.

TeachersPayTeachers is a treasure trove of great resources at reasonable prices.  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be there—and my shopping bags will be full, too.

Many thanks to Glitter Meets Glue Designs for her eye-popping sales banner at the top of this page!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving Writing for Kids

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to launch creative writing for kids.

The pilgrims went on a long voyage of self-discovery and re-invention.  I ask my kids: what if you went on a long voyage...
  • How would you travel?
  • Where would you go?
  • What would you bring with you?
  • What would you wear?
  • Who would you hope to find? 
  • What would you give thanks for?
These are just some of the questions I pose to my kindergarten kids--with creative and unexpected answers.

It's fun to explore our hidden wishes, then share our stories, display them, and wrap them in ribbons to send home to parents as a holiday gift.

If you'd like to create a 10-page keepsake creative Thanksgiving Book, with divergent thinking that pops off the page, I'll make it easy for you.  Just sit back and enjoy the trip.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Veterans Day Gift

Veterans Day is a good day to show appreciation and respect for our American heroes.
This beautiful Veterans Day Keepsake Craft Box is a great way to start a conversation about veterans, heroes, soldiers, America, history, war, protection, respect, remembrance, and appreciation.
  • What is a veteran?
  • Do you know a veteran?
  • Why do we need an army?
  • How is an army different than a police force?
  • Would you want to be in the armed forces?  Why or why not?
  • What makes someone a hero?  Can a child be a hero?
  • How is America different from other countries?  How is it the same?
  • What would you say to a veteran?
  • How can you show you appreciate a veteran?

It also makes a thoughtful gift to a veteran.  Kids can leave the top open, to store a veteran’s keepsakes.  This makes a sturdy and handy box for practical items, too.

One teacher wrote:

“Just exactly what I was looking for. My children are putting paper mache hearts inside and giving them to veterans at a local hospital. Thank you.”

I wish I could see those hearts, and the looks on those veterans’ faces.

To our all veterans, including my father, a heartfelt thank you for your service to our country.  Your service is a gift to all of us.  Here's a gift for you.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thanksgiving Creative Writing

Thanksgiving creative writing is a way to give thanks to your life, as well as to your hopes and dreams.
Thanksgiving Keepsake Book
This 10-page Keepsake Book will record your students' imaginary voyage into their ideal world.  They can compare and contrast their "journey" with the pilgrims' trip to the New World.
What’s a Keepsake Book? It’s made of the unique, unexpected, unforgettable, and priceless, things that kids say—and then write about. 

Amazing things happen when you ask kids (or grownups) about their opinions, dreams, and wishes.  Just try it.

Bon voyage, y'all!

If you'd like this Thanksgiving Keepsake Book--which makes a beautiful display piece, as well as a lovely gift to parents--and a boatload of fun Thanksgiving crafts, too, stop by and take a closer look.