5 Marvelous Math Ideas, Games and Resources to Teach and Reinforce Counting and Adding to 10

Looking for some fun ideas,games a resources for your Kinders to count and add to 10?  This is what you are looking for a I know you will LOVE #4 for SURE!!!

Kids love games....RIGHT?  We ALL love games, but teachers and parents especially love games that teach their children or students important concepts and skills.

In the lower grades from Pre-k to first grade, one important skill is adding numbers.  A teacher usually will start out with counting and then move on the adding numbers up to 10....you know the drill and if you present adding in a fun way...your kiddos and students will be "Hooked on Adding!"

So here are some marvelous math Ideas, games and resources to teach adding to 10:

1.  First:  We all will agree that kids LOVE to be silly!  Well....there is a great game where kids practice adding numbers to 10 with a silly staircase game which is perfect to add a little silly fun while learning math!   Education.com offers this great math game and more math fun on their site.  This fabulous game is complete with fun characters, stories and songs!  While I wait for a website URL that works, you can play the game by clicking the link below...we just have a little glitch in the system!!! Have fun playing!  Number Pair Staircase Game

2. I simply LOVE this idea for teaching students in younger grades the foundational skills of counting to 10. This Count and Clip actually goes up to 50 and as the numbers get higher the students are learning place value and adding 10's and 1's. it is a step up, but starts out lower and challenges students to discover place value in a fun way!

3. Everybody LOVES Ice Cream:  This game supports children in learning different names for numbers.  You can differentiate it by simply only giving out the lower numbers to struggling learners and higher numbers to advance learners or as partner challenges.  You can even add an ice cream treat!

4. So...I just LOVE this video to teach adding to 10. It is engaging and so much fun!

5. and here is a cute Freebie for you from Playdough to Plato. A rainbow for 10. This would be a great idea to decorate your classroom with math rainbows for all numbers or challenge your kiddos to fin and use other addition or subtraction facts that equal 10...like 100-90=10!

Well...there you have it...some marvelous math ideas, games and resources to teach and reinforce adding to...

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Everyone LOVES Pizza! 5 Great Ideas to Integrate PIZZA into your Curriculum

Growing up in a family who owned a Pizzeria, I always LOVEd to use Pizza in some way shape or form in my classroom. So I have rounded up some ideas for you to integrate PIZZA into YOUR Curriculum...I think you will LOVE them all!

Everybody loves PIZZA and the truth is...I grew up surrounded by pizza!! 

Yep...back in the 50's through 80's my family owned the most popular Italian Restaurant in Delaware County and what did it specialize in? 

You guessed it......PIZZA! Customers would line up around the block just to buy a delicious Marra's pizza...not to mention my dad's nickname was "Pizzi!"

That is the shore backstory as to why I love to write about and integrate pizza in any and all activities I can think of or find.  Yes...we have written about "How to Make Pizza," We have baked English Muffin pizzas in school and used them to describe fractions as well as made cute pizza crafts and written about our favorite pizza and we have also played games integrating pizza!

So here are a few ways to integrate that P word into your curriculum and have a little fun, too!

1.  Here are 15+ books about Pizza to get your students in the mood and maybe in the kitchen!

2. Pizza Craft:   Now...this is exactly what I used to do with my first graders...and then we would write about our favorite pizza. For upper grades, it would be a great idea to have them display a fraction by cutting equal parts and showing you various fractions using their pie or working with a partner and showing equivalent fractions!

3. Now there is one thing I remember most about being the "Pizza Princess" in school...pizza parties. ...yep my parents brought pizza to school at least once a month on Fridays for a special pizza party. I thought this game would be a great way to add a little fun to your lessons...especially if you are teaching Pre-K through First grade!

4. Now for a really fun way to end a unit on Fractions for the Upper Grades...I simply Love this game and would definitely use this if I were teaching fractions to third or fourth grade!

5. And Last,but not least, here is a freebie I found to add to these "PIZZA-ZZZZ" ideas!

So there you have it...some ideas to add pizza to your curriculum. I hope you have fun with these ideas...my dad would be proud if he knew you were adding some pizza ideas into your lessons! Have a great year!


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Drip, Drip, Drop a Great Craft for a Rainy Day and Few Extra Surprises to Make a Rainy Day a Happy Day!

Don't wish those clouds away...Let's turn those rainy days into fun days with this cute craft and some other ideas will be sure to put a smile on your face and turns that frown upside down

I am sitting here in my kitchen staring out my window watching the rain Drip, Drip, Drop and thought,
OH great! Another rainy summer day...UGH...Now what do we do?

Then I remembered about a cute raindrop craft:  Drip,Drip,Drop from Education.com

So...since you may also be stuck in the house with a few 5 or 6 year olds, Don't sing "Rain, Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day!" Instead why not try this fun, sparkly idea for you to use and you might just want to read a few books about weather that I have rounded up for you to read on a rainy day or any day!

On restless rainy afternoons, don't wish the clouds away—invite them to stay! These sparkly raindrops make for a fun weather-themed craft. This activity is a great way to introduce lessons about rain and water to your child. It's sure to keep the boredom at bay, and with all the cutting and constructing, it's great for honing fine motor skills too.

What You Need:
  • Blue washable paint
  • Blue construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scratch paper
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Metallic sequins
  • Tape (optional)
  • String (optional)
What You Do:
  1. Practice tracing raindrop shapes with your child on a piece of scratch paper. Once you've mastered the shape, you're ready to start creating raindrops.
  2. Help your child trace or draw a raindrop on the cardboard and cut it out.
  3. Now take the blue construction paper and trace a raindrop using your cardboard raindrop and cut it out around the line to make it larger than the cardboard piece.
  4. Squeeze a prominent line of glue around the border of the raindrop and cover the outline with sequins while the glue is still wet. Let dry.
  5. Now, paint the cardboard raindrop blue on one side. Let dry.
  6. Apply glue around the outline of the cardboard raindrop and cover with sequins. Let dry.
  7. Make enough of these sparkly raindrops to create a true April shower.
  8. Hang up the raindrops by taping the end of a piece of string to the unpainted side of the cardboard raindrop at the pointed tip.
  9. Glue the cardboard raindrop and the construction paper raindrop together with the sequins facing out.
Ask questions about why rain is important. Then ask what she thinks her backyard would look like without rain? What does she think the saying "April showers bring May flowers" means?

Here are some weather ideas and books to read or use on a rainy, snowy, sunny, foggy, dreary or happy day!

1. Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?

This is one of my faves....kids LOVE Dr. Seuss books with the whimsical language and rhyming patterns...so this would be a great choice to read on a weather filled day!

2.The Wind Blew

The Wind Blew is a great sequencing story about how the wind blew different items away. The kids LOVE IT! Teacher Love it too as it is predictable!

3. Why not try some weather Yoga?

This one of my Favorite ideas for a rainy day at home or in the classroom. We can all relax on this dreary day together...
Rain or Shine...this is a perfect idea to try!

 4.Thunder Cake

Yep...another favorite book for weather. You learn about thunder...and...you can make Thunder Cake, too! I mean what more can you ask for on a stormy day?

5. How's the Weather: A cute catchy song for younger students...I think first grade would like it too!

Here is an Extra Bonus for those young ones!!!

It's a Fun Freebie from ME to YOU! ENJOY!

If you have some older kiddos that you want to add a little weather fun and have them learn about weather, Here is a Weather resource that can be an addition to any weather unit!

I hope you have a great Rainy Day or Weather Day!

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Back to School Bulletin Board Ideas or Door Decorations to DIE for....

Okay so it is almost time to give up those lazy hazy days of summer and start thinking about the dreaded "S" word...wait who am I kidding...if you are a teacher, all you have been thinking about since summer started are ideas for Back to School...I mean that's what teachers do as they lay basking in the sun or lounging poolside or even while traveling by car, plane or train as they endure that flight or drive!

I actually remember one day calling my principal from the beach, watching he waves gently splash onto the the edge of the shore and "BOOM" an idea popped into my head and I just had to call the school and chat about the this magnificent idea I had...YEP...I was that teacher..Oh my!!!

Well I decided to make it easier for you and round up some ideas that I am positive you will LOVE and all you have too do is sit here and read this post by the pool, on the beach or while traveling...EASY PEASY as they say!!!

1. What I LOVE about this Bulletin Board is how the teachers have their pictures Blasting OFF in the rocket ship and the names of the students on stars....I might add a small photo of each student and attach it to the star.

2. Ahoy Matey...This Class is a Treasure is an adorable way to show off your little pirates with a Pirate theme. You might even want to dress the kiddos up in Pirate hats and add a class picture to the treasure chest or individual images to the treasure chest popping out as the treasure!

3. This is one of my faves...I LOVE the flowers...they are gorgeous and the idea of growing...PERFECT. You could add student names to the leaves or small photos of your kiddos in the center of the flowers!

4. All ABOARD...Chugga chugga... TOOT! TOOT!....we are headed for Pre-School. This is adorable with the teacher as an engineer and the students as passengers!! What a fun idea for the little ones!!!

5. A Brand New Batch...of Smart Cookies...LOVE IT! The cookies look so real I could take a bite out of them...maybe you need to send home a recipe for chocolate chip cookies for an after school snack!!!

6. Look Who's in Our Class...whoooooo doesn't love owls. This is a great one for any grade level. You could have the students create the owls for a personal touch! Great idea!

7. Superheroes are ALWAYS Popular. I love how the students are flying above the buildings. It might be fun to have photos of the class on each superhero to personalize it a bit more. This is definitely...Super-califragilisticexpialidoscious!!!

There you have it...some great Bulletin Board Ideas to get those wheels churning! Enjoy the rest of your summer!! These ideas will be right here waiting for you...or...better yet...save them to your boards so you are ready to go!!!


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Have you Ever Played the Table Game?

Have you ever played the Table Game? Wait...did I hear a NO? Well you better get on it and check out this great game that kids of all ages LOVE to PLAY!

When I taught I was always looking for fun games that were also educational.  In fact, we played educational games so much that, at Back to School Night, I told parents,

If your child says that we played games in school today, he or she is being truthful, but they are always educational games... unless we have indoor recess and believe it or not...some children will choose these games to play during indoor recess! 

In today's Society everyone is tethered to technology, which has many positive attributes for classroom use, but many of these games are played ALONE!

So why good old fashioned classroom games?

1.  Games are a great way to introduce, revisit, reteach, remediate and review a given topic. 

2.  They can be played in any grade from first grade through college with a few tweaks here and there!

3.  Students are involved in their learning and motivated to learn.

4.  They are build community and teach important social and emotional life skills.

5.  They are FUN!


So.......drum roll please........Here is one of my all time favorite games that my kiddos asked to play over and over again and that's a good thing!


Before I tell you how to play the game, let me tell you...WHY I LOVE THIS GAMES AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL TOO!

🍭 Children play in groups and they have to work together so it teaches collaboration and builds classroom community!

🍭 It can be used for any topic or skill that you teach and with ANY grade level...maybe even your family(name our deep dark secrets😁)...YIKES!

🍭 One child is the scribe and everyone gives ideas...so it easily includes those who may have some OT needs or other needs. The scribe makes sure that everyone gives some new ideas.

🍭  You may not repeat ideas already given...so...it encourages critical thinking and problem solving...stretches thinking!

              What you will need to play:

1. Set up groups of children in various places in the room where they can all see you and the board! I had round tables designated by colors. So..this was an easy task.

2.  Paper and pencils or crayons for each group.

3. An idea for a topic that you want to use...This can be anything; such as:  Short a words, weather facts, ways to solve a specific problem, name ways we can be a good friend, what do you know about bats, Why is it important to be kind, names of states, names of countries, strategies used to read a word, things that are green, yadda, yadda, yadda...
The sky is the limit!

4. A way for you to jot answers...Smart Board, wipe off board, tablet etc.

5. A way to designate groups. For example: number the groups, station the groups around the room so you might have the _______corner or color code the groups...your choice, but each time you play keep the names the same so you do not have to reinvent the wheel...that is a pet peeve of mine!!!

6.  A way to choose the groups...I always put colored marbles or unifix cubes in my pockets ot in a basket and randomly picked which table answered first each time.

NOW How to Play...

1.   Choose your groups and designate a scribe. I changed them when we played again so children could take turns scribing when we played with different topics!

2.  Set the expectations: Mine were: 3 inch voices so others do not hear your ideas, good sportsmanship...no put downs, if an answer is repeated you get 3 strikes and your out(meaning you are in if you have a repeat first and second time, but if I call your table and you have a third repeat...YOU'RE OUT), if your table is out, you will help the teacher judge the answers.
3.  Share the topic or skill.

4. Give them 10 seconds to brainstorm their answers while the scribe write their ideas. I gave a 5-4-3-2-1 STOP Pencils Down.

5. Begin to call on groups to give their answers. Write these answers on the board...I sometimes abbreviated answers. Once all groups have had a turn, give a 10 second brainstorm to regroup. Then start all over again.

6. If a table gives a repeated answer 3 times, that table is out.

7. You keep playing until there is one group left.

There you have it...my all time favorite GAME! EASY PEASY!

Have questions?  Leave them in the comments and I will answer them as quickly as I can!  Also, let me know how it worked for YOU and the topics you used!


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California Dreaming Giveaway...Take a Chance to Win 1 of 6 $50.00 Choice Gift Cards!!

This is the Gift Card Giveaway that YOU have all been waiting for…Take a chance and you just might be ONE of 6 LUCKY winners. You dream it and we will find that card just for you! Planning a trip somewhere????  You can win $50.00 toward that DREAM vacation….have some resources wish listed on TPT??? A TpT gift card will be waiting just for you. OH and that Kate Spade Purse you have your eye on…YEP $50 is yours to add to the stash you have been saving to grab up that cute accessory! Tag a friend and let them get in on this great chance to win a fabulous Gift Card of their choice!! GOOD LUCK!!!!  Enter Below Image!
This is the Gift Card Giveaway that YOU have all been waiting for…Take a chance and you just might be ONE of 6 LUCKY winners. You dream it and we will find that card just for you! Planning a trip somewhere????  You can win $50.00 toward that DREAM vacation….have some resources wish listed on TPT??? A TpT gift card will be waiting just for you. OH and that Kate Spade Purse you have your eye on…YEP $50 is yours to add to the stash you have been saving to grab up that cute accessory! Tag a friend and let them get in on this great chance to win a fabulous Gift Card of their choice!! GOOD LUCK!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Summer Activities to Keep Kids Sharp during School Holidays

5 Summer Activities to Keep Kids Sharp during School Holidays from beneylu PSSSST...you will LOVE it...Time to Check it Out!
Children all over the World need to keep their skills sharp through the Summer Holidays! Check out this fabulous article from Beneylu Psssst...You will love it and my ideas just happen to make the article with a few other great Bloggers!!!
 5 Summer Activities to Keep Kids Sharp during School Holidays

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4 Reasons to Let your Child Fail...Wait did I read that right?

Yes you read that correctly...it is important to allow your child to fail and here's why...(an opinion piece by Kathy Simpson Sunshine and Lollipops)
Yes...you read the title correctly.  We need to let our children fail in order for them to grow emotionally and be given the confidence necessary to be positive members of society. Not everything should be easy or come easy. We all can't win and get straight A's our whole life. That is not the reality of life. To read the full post on Educents Click Here.

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Are you Looking for Some Resources to use During the Summer?

I realize that parents and teachers alike are afraid of the dreadful summer slide and yet at the same time we want our kids to play and learn through the discovery about the world around them. Here are some resources that I have created to solve this dilemma. They are academic, yet fun and many can be completed while on the beach or while hanging out at the pool or actually anywhere, anytime. So, here you go...ENJOY and have a great summer! Don't forget the sunscreen!!!

⛅ Here is where you can find them ALL!  Summer Fun

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8 Fun and Easy Ideas for Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer

We all know that it can be difficult to keep kids working through the summer.  On one hand, we want our children to have fun and enjoy the summer and on the other hand, we don't want everything they have learned to simply rent space in their brains soon to take a hike once the school year is over...we want those skills and strategies to make a permanent home in their brains and stay as long as they can!

We also know how we wish our students would work during the summer to keep all the skills and strategies that they have learned all year long sharp without gaps and ready to go when school begins the next school year. You always have some students who never stop working over the summer and others who never work at all over the summer. There are so many ways to keep the kiddos that leave your classroom ready to "jump" back into learning come fall and bridge the gap between summer and fall.

Here are a few tried and true ideas to share with parents and colleagues:  Fun and Easy Ideas for Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer Months:

1.  Have each student make a "Summer Journal" to jot down daily activities that they did over the summer. This is a great way to keep students writing over the summer and they can add pictures and captions somewhat like a scrapbook filled with summer memories. This can be a great way for children to document memories. How much fun will they have looking back on this as a young adult? These journals can be brought form home and decorated, run off on paper or even purchased at a dollar store. Here is one I made especially for this purpose. It is a print, assemble and go product and can be found on my shop Sunshine and Lollipops  Oh and did I tell you that it is only $1.50?

2.  Use a blank calendar and brainstorm ideas with your class that they can do over the summer to keep skills sharp. Ideas such as counting how many shoes your mom has in the closet to how many steps it is around the neighborhood to measuring the perimeter or area of a room in their house. Your students can then jot these ideas down on different dates on their calendar and complete them through the summer.

3.  You can copy ideas from the class and type them into a calendar frame for each student to take home through the summer to work with when they are faced with a rainy summer day at the shore or traveling to a vacation destination...remember if a car travels 60 miles per hour and it takes 2 1/2 hours to get to Orlando, how many miles have we traveled? Oh how many of you remember those questions?? Oh, before I forget, if you teach first grade...I have one already made up for all you my "fun"tastic first grade BFF's...Oops! I am just assuming that I AM your BEST FRIEND right about now...Am I right? I did all the work for YOU!!! Yep here it is Summer Calendar for First Grade

4.  Make up a packet of review math skills that were taught throughout the school year for children to bring home over the summer. Sorry guys...don't have this one pre-made...but I bet someone else does...get over to that TpT search engine and start typing!!!

5.  Summer educational field trips are another easy way to keep kids thinking over the summer. Depending where you live, scope out some ideas, jot these ideas in a newsletter and send it home with children. Around where I live, we have a zoo, arboretums, the Crayola Crayon Factory, Please Touch Museum, lots of history and much more! I KNOW parents will love to have the ideas right at their fingertips!!!

6.  Make up a Summer Reading List of Books that are geared toward your student's grade level and interests and send it home with students. You might want to include some generic frames or book craft ideas for students to use to respond to their reading.

7.  Many times while students are sitting on the beach, they can, at times become...you know that infamous word that begins with a B and we dislike it when a child says it, but in today's world, I hear it ALL the time...even from my 4 year old granddaughter...how can you possibly be B-O-R-E-D at 4...so actually they might have this B-word happen on the beach. Check this out...yep pages to work on while your sitting at the beach or pool. Are you lovin' it?   Now, I know I will definitely be your BBF "Bestie Blogger Friend"when you see this...

8.  Here are some fun ideas to add a little math and ELA fun to your summer. You are sitting at the pool or beach or driving in the car and...OH NO the B-word again...so what do you do? Jot these down and you will be covered.
  • How many steps do you think it will take you to get to the snack bar? Estimate and check...where you right? How many more or less steps did it take you? See how many steps it takes your friend, sister anyone sitting near you. 
  •  In the car...do you remember the alphabet game? Give each child a piece of paper and you if you are so inclined to play and see how many items you can find that begin with each letter of the alphabet or look for signs and just jot down words you see that begin with each letter of the alphabet. You can do this for shapes (3-D shapes as well)...remember finding license plates from various states...list those as well and see who can find the most...then put them in alphabetical order! 
  • On the beach, find some seashells and categorize them according to color, shape, texture etc. Oh and did I mention recording how many times you can jump, hop, blink your eyes, do jumping jacks, jump rope in a minute...they can guess or estimate and see if they are right...I think you get the idea...put those little brains in action and tire them out!! What am I kidding...you will never tire a child. They have more energy than you and I put together! Maybe jot down these ideas in an End of School Year Summer Fun Idea Newsletter...who knows I might just create it as a freebie before the school year ends... and HERE IT IS: it includes a few of the ideas listed above compiled into a Summer Vacation Companion!  Free Summer Vacation Companion Activities and Worksheets Not Grade Specific  

I know what you are thinking: " Okay, this all sounds great on paper, but where is the accountability and are the students really going to do this over the summer?" Here is what I did with my first and second graders: I created a packet for my students to use so they could keep their skills sharp and move right on into second or third grade without missing a beat. Then I would have the children visit me in the fall during the first couple weeks of school and show me the work they completed. I then gave them a Summer Award and a special “second grade” or "third grade" school supply. I usually got a pencil that said,” Second Graders are Great”, "Third grade is Terrific" or something like that!! My school also gave summer assignments, but I still sent ideas, packets or Summer Calendars home because it was a super way to support our summer program and gave more specific ideas of activities to complete. I would staple a Summer Calendar into one packet and then a journal with response pages into another packet and send this home for summer work in a Beach pail. It worked with about 90-95% of the students I taught.

 PS- It might be fun to keep a Summer Journal or scrapbook to share with your incoming students next year! I hope this brings a little sunshine your way! Have fun you deserve it! Soak up a little sun for me while you are at it!!

Oh...and here is another fun summer idea...so...I guess I really have 9 ideas...Oh Well...Summer Charades Game 

This is fun for everyone...children and adults!!!

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Lazy Hazy Days of Summer: I Hope Your Summer is Filled with Many SUNNY Days...BUT...Here are 5 Activities Just Incase for Home and School

Just a few ideas that you may want to check out...just in case you have a rainy summer day!

Although school is still in session in many Northeastern States and it is hard to think about a rainy day in summer...(say what??? It's rainy Oh no..we can't go to the pool, the beach is out and everyone will be at the museums...I need some activities that we can do at home!!!) there will definitely be a day when in rains, I mean pours, I mean thunderstorm and hail...Summer Storms...Ya gotta love them or hate them. If this weather approaches, you DO need something for the kiddos to do while you are stuck inside the house. Well...Sunshine and Lollipops is here to save the DAY...that means that ideas are on the WAY!

So...before I give you my BIG FUN Sea Creature IDEA, I am going to list some easy fun ideas that can be done on a rainy day or any day! These are tried and true ideas that I have used with my own kiddos in years past! I do think they are a bit better than being tethered to an electronic device all day!!!

1. My kids and I loved making popsicles out of various juices...actually sometimes we used various sodas or pops, but in today's world that is a no...no...so here is a pin I found that gives you many ideas to chose from...Oh BTW if you have small paper cups and popsicle sticks from the craft store on hand,you will not have to use or use fancy molds and the kids can partially freeze and layer the pops.
2.  Now this one is daring, but I did it with my younger kiddos, but you do need to be present and watching...well...I guess you need to present and watching for most of these ideas!! I used to have the kids get into their bathing suits and play in the bathtub with water toys.  They LOVED it and it was almost as good as being in a pool...perhaps not quite as fun, but none the less a fun time in a pinch!!!
Of course I would be right there watching and splashing with them!!!

3. Finger painting with food or make your own editable pretty good tasting finger paint...
                          Finger Paint to Eat??
I have also "painted" with pudding, peanut butter, raspberries, blackberries and yogurt...Oh and if you want to add a little learning...give the kiddos sight words to write or sentences!!

4.  Fruit and Veggie Prints:  Cut some old fruit in half and dip it in paint. Then stamp it onto white paper, tee shirts, white napkins or pillowcases for some fun creating!! Apples, pears, oranges, peppers, celery,lemons, limes, orange sections,carrots and potatoes work great!!  I am sure you can think of a few more!! i would suggest putting a fork through the top as a handle for stamping.  There are so many examples on Pinterest that I decided to give you a link to all of them...WOW! 

5.  I have a zillion ideas, but this post would be way to long.  So...Now..it is time for the Sea Creature Idea...actually Jellyfish fun idea!!!
First: You will need plain white paper plates cut in half with 4 holes punched across the bottom. I used pipe cleaners and had the kiddos connect them to the paper plate by threading and twisting the pipe cleaners. You will also need an assortment of beads, macaroni/pasta, cut up straws and anything that you can find that has a whole through...buttons might work as well.  We also used google eyes, but beads or buttons work too!  To add a sensory piece for Kinders I used the large fuzzy pipe cleaners, which you will see as the kids are working.
Then they decorated the front of the paper plate (names on the back) and began to thread the beads and pasta onto each pipe cleaner. Everyone was able to do this...some with a tiny bit of help!

BTW...you could have heard a pin drop during this activity...if you try this at home it MAY be a little different! Ha ha!
Next we added eyes!!
This is what we had...some VERY Cute Stingy Swirly Moveable Fun Jellyfish!!
Add a little phrase, some cute fish with names and it becomes...
A BULLETIN BOARD!!!  or for home add another pipe cleaner and it can...
Hang from a light or the ceiling and decorated your child's Room or playroom!!

I hope you have many sunny days this summer, but if you need a filler...Why not try one of these fun ideas??? Don't forget to comment with some of your favorite ideas!

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Happy Mother's Day to My First Teacher...My Mom

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14th...a time to set the day aside to remember all that our Moms have done for us whether they are still with us on this Earth or watching over us from above. Although I do believe that everyday should be Mother's Day...I mean, think about it, where would you be without your Mom? She was your first teacher. She taught you how to talk, walk and eat. She fed you and took care of you as much as her life would allow. Yes, she was your first educator and she did not, in most cases, have a degree in education, yet she taught you everything she knew... the best she knew how! So, on this day that we set aside to honor our Mothers. I would like to take a few minutes and share with you what I have learned from my Mom. The pages of my memories and lessons go on and on and it is hard to put a lifetime of lessons in one post...so i will give you the abridged Reader's Digest version!

Let me ponder a bit and chat a bit with my Mom who now looks down on me with loving eyes...did I mention that I never heard you raise your voice?  Hmmmm...did I have a chance to thank you for everything you have taught me? I'm really not sure, but I am hoping that I did.
I remember sitting in that hospital room thinking about all that you have taught me and wondering if I had thanked you for all you have taught me, but at that point you were not really aware that I was even there sitting at he bottom of your bed...except one time as I decided to refreshen my make-up( something you always told me to do...you said it was important for my husband to see me looking my best...where did those days go?...any way you looked up and said, "You're putting your make-up on."

Every so often I discover a note from me to you that you tucked away in a small corner of a box or folded neatly in an envelope all torn and brown around the edges...and I can tell through these clippings and saved treasures that you were a gatherer of memories... you saved everything and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from cards I wrote to you in elementary school to newspaper articles that had a slight mention of my name, report cards...some of which I would rather forget, awards and even a thank you note I wrote to you and dad for my wedding not to mention all the clippings, photos, drawings and treasures from your grandkids. OOPS! There was also the recording of dad singing to you when he was in the service that he sent you in 1940's...see...Mom, these discoveries show me that you loved your family and family was important to you.  This was the number one lesson you taught me. I didn't need to find these momentos or trinkets to recognize and feel your love for family...

You showed us, through your example and our life's experiences that family was and should be a number one priority! You were selfless through all those years and always, always put your family FIRST!!

There are so many values you taught me from your example. You showed me the importance of being kind and loving, to help others...I can't even list all the people you helped in so many ways from relatives, friends, employees to strangers..... but you also remembered to take time for yourself to recharge your batteries...not the car batteries, but your mind and body.

"One day, as I recall, you told me,"Kathy, it does not mean your a bad mom if you leave the kids with a babysitter and take some time for yourself. Get a good book and go have lunch by yourself. It will recharge your batteries!"  GREAT ADVICE!

You LOVED to dance and you always danced like no one was watching and everyone knows how much I love to dance. That showed me that it is also important to have FUN ! You were classy, funny, sophisticated, a creative thinker and loved to dress up!  You were a trend setter...I have fond memories of riding in our 1959 powder blue caddie with the top down, you with your new hair color (blonde) and a french twist that was the newest trend back then. I thought I was riding with Barbie!

You demonstrated the importance of commitment, understanding, empathy, perseverance, working hard to reach your goals. to never give up, do your best, replace curse words with phrases like "hells bells and Christmas trees (lol)" and the list goes on and on and on.

"You were ahead of your time, extremely independent and an entrepreneur with the restaurant business..."

You were the backbone of "Marras" taking care of E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G...if someone did not come in,  you became, a waitress or a hostess or a cook...oh and did I mention what a creative and fabulous cook you were?  You always wanted to write a cookbook, but that was something that never quite happened....I did find all the recipes that you saved in the cigar boxes...yep that's where you always put your treasures... in the flip-top cigar boxes from the days you sold cigars in the restaurant!

It has been over 20 years since you left us but I feel your presence everyday sometimes, I go to the phone and think about calling you...wouldn't that be awesome if we had a direct line to call our loved ones up in heaven?

So on this Mother's Day if I could chat with you for just a minute, I would say...thank you for all you taught me and for being YOU!  Happy Mother's Day...and as you would say...I love you too much, Kitten!


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Join the Spinning Craze and Make it a Learning Experience: 10 Ways to Use Spinners as a Teaching Tool!

Let's turn the Spinning Craze into a learning experience with these 10 easy ways to use spinners as a teaching tool. I am sure you will LOVE #7!

Are you as tired, but as intrigued as I am with all the different types of spinners there are everywhere you go and the fact that they get hundreds upon hundreds of new shipments practically everyday? I have seen sports themed spinners, USA spinners, Light Up spinners, black, tie-dyed and rainbow spinners to name a few! I have to admit...they are mesmerizing!

Mention the s-word and right before your eyes someone says, "Oh, I have one right here!" They do have a purpose, but they are also the 2017 craze like Pokemon cards, Cabbage Patch Dolls and all the other toys you HAD TO HAVE when you were younger.  They have been banned from schools and I am sure many teachers are a bit crazed, for lack of a better word,  at how many of their students own a spinner. They can be purchased everywhere: AMAZON, 5 Below, Learning Express, Hallmark, Wawa, 7-Eleven and I might just set up a stand in my front yard!

Today my grandson was off from school and we went to Learning Express to spend a gift card he received for his birthday and what did he pick out?  You guessed it a Tri-Spinner and a Bi-Spinner with cases to hold the various spinners one has...now mind you as of today, May 5, 2017...he has about 5 different spinners and has even made a few with coins and bearings, but this is what he wanted and it was HIS money!!!

Interestingly enough while we were in the shop, they allowed him to come behind the counter because a shipment of brand new spinners had just arrived. So...Brady went behind the counter and took a few hours to pick out the precise one he wanted...that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  I can now tell you where every toy, book, game and trinket is located in the store because I walked around so many times waiting.  A few parents walked in looking for...YES...spinners and Brady began to share his knowledge as when they were first created and where(A bit of history) to which one was better and which one should be selected...the phones rang and the sales lady declared that Brady could answer the phones and give the info needed because 90% of the calls were about...YES...spinners! He was offered a job after school as we left, but he really is too young to work.

So as all he-- breaks lose in schools and the craze that is supposed to calm the soul has been deemed as a distraction to many, there is a solution to the craziness especially at the end of the year...USE IT AS A TEACHING TOOL...yes you read that correctly and here are 10 ways you can do this with your kiddos...I guess what I am saying is to have a Fidget Spinning Day.


1. Have a contest using a timer to see whose spinner can spin the longest.  Start out with pairs and then the winners will proceed to the next round. Keep it going until there is one winner.

2.  Graph the results of the time it took for the spinners to spin and stop and then find the mean, mode median and range of the times.

3.  Make predictions based on what they know about spinners and see who can come closest to the amount of time the spinner will spin.  So the students, predict, then write the actual time and last, find the difference.

4.  Calculate which surfaces( floor, blacktop, wood, desk, metal surface etc.) support faster or slower spins. Which surface made the spinner spin faster, explain your thinking? Does the spinner spin longer on a surface or in your hand? Explain your thinking.  On one finger or between your fingers? Explain your thinking.  Which kinds of spinners spin the fastest, slowest and graph and compare the results.

5.  How many spinners can you spin on top of each other? Graph the results.

6. Have your students spin their spinners and see who can focus using their spinners while reading to self, listening to a read aloud or doing math( try your best not to get distracted by their spinners spinning). Evaluate the experiment by having them answer questions about the lesson taught.   Then have them write an opinion piece on spinners about help or hinder students' concentrate.

7. Write to persuade by having students write you a letter convincing you or the principal that students should or should not be allowed to bring spinners to school.

8.  Write a piece on how to spin a spinner correctly.

9. Write an opinion piece on which spinner is better or is the Bi-spinner or Tri-Spinner  better and why they feel that way.

10.  Create a game that can use spinners in some way.  Have each team or partnership write about his/her idea, make it and present it to the class and play it!

I hope you find these ideas helpful...you know the old saying: "When in Rome do as the Romans" and "If you can't beat them, join them." Well...my new saying is: "When the spinner spins, spin along with it!

And I have  freebie for you that you can print and use and GUESS WHAT? It contains some of the ideas above...what more could you ask for!!  

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day and have a little fun with spinners the last few weeks of school!  Keep spinning and smiling!


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