Thursday, July 30, 2015

Two Hoots & A Holler: Reaching out and Helping Others

Hoot #1 & #2
This story is so HUGE!  It exceeded any and all expectations we had.  This one story deserves BOTH HOOTS THIS WEEK! 
This is a great story of teachers selflessly helping other teachers... 
Earlier this month, Batesville Elementary School, in Batesville, Mississippi, caught on fire. The fire destroyed 17 kindergarten classrooms.  When I heard this news,  I was on my was to Florida.  Before I knew it, I was busy sending emails and coordinating drop off points, and Jodi was creating the flyer.  We were not alone in this at all. Missy Howard and Amy Cobb spread the word on Facebook.  The four of us created 5 drop of locations throughout DeSoto County.  We collected items for two weeks. The response was overwhelming!  Teachers from all over the county were donating supplies...even had some clean out storage units to donate! The DeSoto County Sheriff's Department offered to pick everything up and take it to Batesville! This was truly a community effort! We are so proud to have been a part of it.  

Here is the flyer that was sent throughout all of DeSoto County.

Jodi and I with Missy Howard as we loaded the items at one of the locations.

All packed and ready to make the delivery!!
I mean Desoto County's Sheriff's Department really deserves a HOOT all to itself!  They truly rescued the day by lending some helping hands!  Thank you Brad Branning for helping coordinate this for us!  Thanks to Sheriff Rasco for donating the time, truck, trailer, and helping hands to load and unload materials.
Saying "thank you" can't express the gratitude we have for the Sheriff's Department!    

Here is a picture of some of the teachers of Batesville, Sheriff Rasco, and others that helped
 unload our truck and trailer.

The BES PTO has set up a hub for all donations.  It is an old store that was not being used.  We were able to practically fill three rooms in their hub!

This is Ashley. She is the BES PTO person that created a hub for items to be donated.

 The donation drive even made the local news!  

Keep in mind, the heat index that day was in the 100's, so we do not look our best! We were BURNING UP, but for a GREAT cause!
We had no idea the news would be there, much less video taping us!

Click below to see Jamie Branning in her Oscar Winning Performance!
My Fox Memphis: Supplies Arrive for Batesville Elementary

Jodi's debut was not as graceful...she almost ran over the news man with her wagon, and she had NO IDEA he was recording LIVE!!!
My Fox Memphis:  Supplies Arrive for Batesville Elementary



This Week's Holler...
This weeks holler goes out to Brittany Lynch at Tickled Pink in Primary.  We love Brittany's new literacy bundle that she is currently promoting!  We also love that she is extremely organized (something we struggle with on a daily basis). We are sure that this kinder teacher has something to fit your need.  Heck, we even found a few things that we didn't know we needed! lol
Check her out!  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Two Hoots & A Holler: More Playing, Painting, & Cooking Please!!!

Hoot #1
We are so excited to start school with new playground equipment!  We are firm believers in recess, and we believe children need it daily!  We try not to miss recess, unless the weather doesn't allow us to go out.  Out of curiosity, how cold does it have to be before you decide not to go outside?  We go out if its 40 degrees or higher.  Even though we didn't have the new, up to date equipment on our playground, the kids still loved going out to recess.  When we went to work in our rooms, and we looked out our windows and saw the new equipment...WE WERE THRILLED to say the least!  This is now our view from our windows....

Hoot #2
We decided this summer that we don't play enough, paint enough, and cook enough in kindergarten anymore! Years ago when we started teaching kindergarten we painted all the time, had free play centers, and cooked at least once a week. Well, we are going back to our old ways of doing things!! We have begun our plans for our Fun Fridays this year that consist of some type of food/cooking activity.  Our children learned so much from doing these types of activities.  We are ready to begin doing more things that are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.  We seem to have gotten away from this over the past few years.  We are SUPER excited to begin implementing these activities in our rooms!  Here is a peek at some things we have in our Learning with Letters: All About the Letter Ll unit we just finished.  We can't wait to do these activities in our room!
Click on the picture above to go check out the unit on TPT.

Recipe for students to follow to make his/her own cup of lemonade. 

Students will complete a class graph after they have made and tasted the lemonade. 
                     We LOVE glyphs!  This is a glyph they will make after they have made and tasted lemonade and graphed if they liked it or not. 
Ll is for Lego Painting!  
We are giving away our Learning with Letters:  All About the Letter Ll unit!  This is our first give away EVER! 
Here are the Rules:
1.  Follow us on Facebook.
2.  Follow our TPT Store.
3.  Comment under our  Facebook Post about this blog post with your email address.
4.  We will have a drawing and a winner will be announced on Sunday, July 26 at 3 p.m.

This Week's Holler...
This week's holler goes out to Mel D. at Suesstastic Classroom Inspirations.  This awesome lady was at the Spring Teacher Blogger Meetup.  We did not get a chance to meet and talk to her because we were so overwhelmed by all the awesomeness filled in one room, but we definitely recognized her from across the room!  Let us just say, this woman is so upbeat, down to Earth, and spunky...that much we could tell from just seeing her from across the room!  Check out her latest blog post on classroom management to see how she uses "fuzzies" and reward coupons in her classroom.  Mel D., Kinder Glitter Girls think that YOU ROCK!  Thank you for doing all that you do, and keep doing what you do!  
Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Two Hoots & A Holler: Class Library and Word Wall

Hoot #1
Hey it's Jamie here! Brad and I decided to take a week for ourselves before the children came back from Arizona! Knowing that I was going on this trip, I spent everyday last week trying to get as much as I could done.  I finally was able to finish my library!

Here it is! I purchased boards and cinder blocks from Lowe's. The boards are to the length of my reading loft, which is about 6 feet. I decided to expose the holes in the blocks.  I plan to use the holes in the blocks to hold resources that the students may need such as pencils, post-it notes and bookmarks. I was able to get the buckets at Dollar Tree.  I was so afraid that I would not buy enough that I bought out two stores in our area.  Needless to say, I purchased about 12 too many!! If you don't know already, Dollar Tree does not allow you to return items. I then printed labels for each bucket.  I also numbered each bucket so that the students could look inside the book and match the number that is written inside the book to the number on the bucket.
 I have a book return bucket that I keep right outside of my library.  All books go to the "Book Return" bucket when students are finished with them. At the end of the day, the helpers get to place the books back in their appropriate bucket.

Hoot #2
I also was able to finish my word wall.  I decided change it a little by creating the word rings instead of listing them down the wall.  The words are based from the first 100 Fry words that we expose our students to throughout the year.
Here is what it looks like from a distance.  Excuse the mess but as teachers, we all know that it is going to get a whole lot messier before it gets cleaner!!

Here is a close up.  In my class, we are the Jitterbugs.  So, of course, the room is decorated in bugs.  For my word wall, I use ladybugs for the consonants and butterflies for the vowels.  For the rings, I used shower rings. You can usually find these at Fred's, or Dollar Tree.  They are much cheaper than the binder rings. These usually come in packs of 12.  This year, I purchased these from Fred's.  A set (12) cost $3.00. I purchased jumbo tacks at Office Depot.  The rings hang on the tacks.  As students need them for spelling or word games, all they have to do is slip the ring off the tack to take with them!

This Week's Holler...
This week's holler goes out to our great friend Annie Wilson at Ride Away with Mrs. Ridgway. This girl is a hoot! We have gotten to spend time with her during two blogger meet ups! We love the fact that she is a looping teacher. We have looped before and thought that it was one of the best educational experiences ever.  Annie has so much energy that you just want to join in with her.  She is our official photo bomber! Ha! She has so many wonderful things on her blog! You should check her out! We love her latest post as she linked up with other teachers for Shark Week! You probably will not see a blog post from Annie this weekend because.......................
Congrats Annie from Kinder Glitter Girls! May your years be filled with joy and happiness.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Two Hoots and A Holler: ESGI & Go Noodle

Hoot #1
 As many of you may know, we are absolutely in LOVE with ESGI!  We have used ESGI in our classrooms for the past 3 years.  We do not know how we fit it all in before we discovered it on other teachers' blogs.  We can remember testing every 9 weeks for report cards with stapled packs of papers for each kid, pulling them one on one, and taking days and sometimes weeks to assess the entire class; only to turn around and do it all over again in just a few weeks!  Not to mention the assessments that have to be done in between for intervention purposes or progress reports.  Those days are over with ESGI!  We can get assessments finished and have immediate results/data in 1-2 days!!  This amazing assessment tool saves so much time in the classroom.  If you are looking for ways to maximize your instructional time, then ESGI is for you!  There are hundreds of assessments already made for you to choose from, or you can create your own assessments to use.  All your data is stored, and can be printed off at any time.  This data can be used for instructional planning, interventions, parent communication, report cards, and so much more!  We are excited that ESGI is allowing us this opportunity to become affiliates and spread the word to educators about this wonderful product!  ESGI offers a 60 day free trial you can use to try it out before you buy it.  Once you use it, we promise you will want to keep it!  

You can now get a $40 discount when you initially sign up for ESGI.  Go to this link 
to sign up for your subscription and get your discount today!  You can also use the Code B6125 at checkout to receive this discount. 

ESGI also has an AWESOME customer service, and they are very quick to respond and help in anyway that they can.  ESGI supports its teachers, and they are always willing to help out teachers in anyway possible.  ESGI ROCKS!!  It's a must have for every classroom teacher!! 

 We honestly cannot say enough great things about this software, and thats why we are giving a HOOT to ESGI!  If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact us.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Hoot #2
 Since we have been introduced to the blogger world, we have been to 2 blogger meet ups.  Both times GoNoodle has stepped up and helped out TREMENDOUSLY both times.  GoNoodle truly cares and supports teachers everywhere.  It is so awesome to have companies such as Go Noodle to lend a helping hand when needed.  

GoNoodle made our PJ party a HUGE hit at the Spring Teacher Blogger Meetup in French Lick, IN by supplying the teachers with all kinds of snacks and food.  Of course we had some KOO KOO KANGA ROO songs and dancing going on at our PJ party!  

They also pitched in and provided a catered lunch for the teachers at the Nash Teacher Bash!  And when we say lunch, we mean a true southern lunch!! BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, Mac and Cheese (that was to die for), corn bread muffins, and baked beans.....make you wanna slap yo' momma good! Good food and good company...who could ask for more?  It was truly unbelievable and amazing to see first hand how much GoNoodle cares for teachers. 

Because we were so impressed, we decided to reach out to them and ask them if there was anyway we could help them.  They asked us if we were interested in being a GoNoodle blog contributor!!  We are so excited to have this opportunity!  So stay tuned folks, we are on the calendar to do a blog all about GoNoodle!

Not only were we impressed with how giving GoNoodle is, we are also impressed with what they have to offer our classes! There are tons of fun videos to get your students engaged and to get your students moving.  If you do not use GoNoodle in your classroom, then you should start this year!  It is a great tool to use for brain breaks, rainy day recesses, or just for FUN!  The kids absolutely love it and beg to do it!  GoNoodle definitely deserves a HOOT! 

This Week's Holler...

This week's holler goes out to Amy Alvis!! We were given the opportunity to meet her at the French Lick Spring Meet-up.  We were able to hang out with her again at the Nashville Meet-up and really go to know her.  She is a wealth of knowledge.  Amy teaches 5th and 6th grade, but has a ton of great ideas on her blog that can reach teachers of all grade levels.  We are so glad we got to know Amy and look forward to hanging out with her in the future! Check out her blog, Math, Science, Social Studies Oh My..
Math, Science, Social Studies...Oh, my!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Two Hoots and A Holler: Baseball and Classrooms

Hoot #1
Over the past 2 weeks, we have suffered a great loss in my (Jodi) family.  My brother-in-law passed away, leaving behind my sister and nephew.  My nephew, Nicholas who is 8 years old and going into 3rd grade, is a HUGE part of my life.  My sister and her husband adopted him from Guatemala, and Nicholas came home in March 2009.  Since he was old enough to sit up, he always had a ball in his hand to throw, and he had a pretty good arm at a young age!  Baseball has become his passion, and his father taught him all he knows about the sport.  He LOVES playing baseball, and he is really good at it too (I am not just saying that because he is my nephew, haha).  This summer, he made the All Star team, his father and him were so excited he made it.  This past weekend we gathered at the baseball fields with lots of family and friends to cheer him on in a tournament.  It was wonderful to see this little guy smile and have fun.  Baseball is his therapy, and he is the happiest  boy when he is on the field.  With every ball he threw, ball he caught, ball he hit, he knew his daddy was watching from above. It melts my heart to see Nicholas happy after everything he has been through the past 2 weeks.  My sister and him are the strongest people I know, and I know God has an extraordinary plan for their lives.  I am so blessed that God allowed me to be a part of this family.  In memory of my brother-in-law, I would like to dedicate this Hoot to him, my sister, and my nephew.  May he rest in peace and may God continue to watch over my sister and nephew! 
The All Star Banner hanging proudly outside the dug out. 
The team put this on the banner because he was a HUGE supporter of the All Star Team. 

All of the team members have "CP" on the back of their helmets in memory of Chris. 
Nicholas and Jamie, AKA Lemon Head, at the tournament. Nicholas loved hearing Lemon Head cheer him on from the stands.    And if you know Jamie, she did some cheering!!  haha  I tried to photo bomb the picture, but I wasn't quick enough...Just got my hair!  haha
Nicholas is so proud to be a part of this All Star Team!
Nicholas in action!  Swing batter batter!
Hoot #2
Jodi's rule of thumb is start working in the classroom after July 4th, but Jamie starts way earlier because her kids are in Arizona visiting their grandparents.  Here it is 2 days before the 4th of July, and we both are freaking out a little!  Have we done anything we said we were going to do??  Well, of course not!  We are the poster children for PROCRASTINATION!  But have no fear, there is a plan in place.  It is a very rough draft of a plan, but its a starting point.  So I guess that deserves a hoot because we are no longer procrastinating!  We have a rough draft of units we want to make to use in our classroom, and to share on TPT.  We got a pretty big jump ahead in May, we used all of our free time to prepare for August as much as we could.  That is a HUGE help!  It is actually very funny because at school, we both are on top of things and always thinking ahead of the game; but at home, we are not on our A Game!  Like I said things are looking up!  As we sit and make lists of everything we need to do, we both realize there are things that we do not have to worry about.  Last summer one week before school started, Jodi woke up late one Sunday night and she decided she was going to paint her room.  Of course we both thought this idea wasn't a good one because school was about to start!  Because she did it last summer, now she doesn't have to worry about it this summer!  Take a look at what she did that will help her in preparing her room in the years to come.  Here are some great time savers.....
Jodi allows her children to help decorate her walls.  They are asked to bring in objects for letters and colors.  She usually puts up pieces of long construction paper for each letter. Instead of taking down and putting up paper for each letter every year, she painted the rectangles on the wall.  This is the beginning of the project. 

This is the end result of the project.  After rectangles were painted, she framed it with zebra print duct tape and black duct tape and put her letters above the rectangles.  The rectangles that were painted served multiple purposes.  The objects students brought in for each letter were hung up on the corresponding rectangle, and it could also serve as a word wall. 
As she was painting rectangles on the wall, she thought..."Why not paint bulletin boards too?"  So after recruiting help from her nephew and daughter, she painted all the bulletin boards in her room.  This didn't fade or rip.  The bulletin boards will last for years!  One thing she did find out is that you need to use 2-3 base coats before putting actual color on.  The cork does soak up the paint, so the base coats help the color be more vibrant and bright. 
An after picture of one of the painted bulletin boards.

Table skirt....this was the best idea yet, thanks to Pinterest!  It added spunk and color to the room!  It also hid some of the stuff that would get collected during projects or guided reading.  Jodi got someone to hem the bottom of the fabric so it wouldn't unravel.  Then, she turned the table upside down and stapled the skirt underneath with a staple gun.  It lasted all year and never ripped or came off!  And its ready for years to come!
This was our work display in the hall which lasted all year long.  It didn't have to be changed out  several times, it was just a simple clip of a clothespin to display work.    Jodi saw this somewhere on the internet, not sure where.  The cardstock circles were purchased at Wal-Mart in the craft department, the strips are made from duct tape with a construction paper backing.  These were assembled, then laminated so they would last longer.  She spray painted clothespins to clip onto each strip.  The clips were used to hold the student's work, and students' names were printed out and put on the circles. 
This Week's Holler...
This week's holler goes out to Brenda Frady at Primary Inspired.  She attended the Spring Teacher Blogger Meet Up and the Nash Teacher Bash, and we were able to get to know this incredible woman better!  She organized the linky party for everyone after the Spring Teacher Blogger Meet Up.  The most interesting fact about Brenda Frady is that she teaches a multi-age classroom!  She has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students!  Can you imagine what a learning experience that is as a teacher?  She is currently involved in book studies with other bloggers.  Her blog is full of good information for teachers to know!  You should definitely hop on over to her blog to check it out! 

Primary Inspired