Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Idea: Story Souvenir

Friends~Welcome to another Bright Idea post!  Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite ways to connect home and school.  Story Souvenirs!  They are super easy to do and my students from K-2 have loved them. (So, have their parents!)  
Have you ever gotten your own child home and asked what they did at school and the response was...I don't know or nothing?????  Well, a story souvenir will take care of that in a jiffy!
Yes, story souvenirs are an extra step and sometimes cost a bit but they are so effective!  You can make them as elaborate as you want or as simple as you need.  
Sometimes, I add a poem or a quote from the story. 

We might make a hat in class or I will print off a coloring page of a character.  I try to be consistent in how I send them home so that my parents know what to look for. I simply use a sandwich bag or a gallon bag with a label that reads Story Souvenir: Ask me!
 (This was our Hedgehog hat last year.  I sent it home in a gallon bag.) We read this nonfiction animal book.  
Story Souvenirs can be used with any type of book.  Check out some of my fun examples below!
Swedish fish, Grocho Marx glasses, Cookie Crisp, Crayon Erasers.  
Be sure that is you have a food allergy you stay away from edible souvenirs. 
Bugles(Shark Teeth), dinosaur puzzles ($ Store), plastic spiders ($ Store).  
Once you get going you will be able to come up with tons of possible ideas!
Birthday candles, vampire teeth ($ Store), Dem Bones Candy, Eye Patches ($ Store). 
 I don't do a story souvenir for ever book I read but I try to do one for each theme.  Believe me, once you start the kiddos will remind you! 

If you liked this post, I would love for you to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and on my Facebook page!

Be sure to head back to the linky and checkout all the other great Bright Ideas! 

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    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BTS 2014 YouTube Party and Giveaway

FriendsI am SERIOUSLY excited (and a little bit nervous) about this post. You see, my blogging friends and I at the Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you. When I say big I really mean HUGE!!!!

It's a You Tube Party filled with tons of tips and tricks to get your school year started right!

Now this isn't just any party!  It is also a fantastic giveaway that will make heading back to school just a bit easier.

Would anyone like a.... 

$100 Amazon Gift Card 

$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card

 or A fabulous Michael Kors bag? 

So what do you need to do?

Did you see that?    

 You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopte
(but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5 new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and enter every day!

Here is my video tip!  

It is called Individual Celebrations.

 I love praising students 

for extraordinary behavior and kindness.  

Click the video below to see just how easy this can be!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Friends~In honor of SHARK Week on Discovery Channel, I am going to share some of my most favorite shark lessons and activities! Be sure to check out the different fin cams on the site above. AWESOME!

I like to start with a KWL before we read.  It is always interesting how much background knowledge your student's have on a topic or what information they have that is correct.  Here is a quick tip: Make your KWL on a huge sheet of bulletin board paper in the shape of a shark.  Then pass out white triangles (TEETH) for the students to add their thinking on. Tape the teeth to the KWL.  
Sharks The Schroeder Page
I leave out (Teeth) in our research center during the week.  We add to the learned section as we answer our questions.  We even add questions as we learn. I love keeping it interactive! 

You can even serve bugles (TEETH) while you read a shark book!  They make a great story souvenir for students to take home!
Shark Teeth The Schroeder Page
 I also have collected several shark teeth samples from trips to the beach.  I always place them in the science center for my students to explore and measure. I got the shark teeth pictures from Enchanted Learning.  
Shark Teeth The Schroeder Page

I love the world of sharks!  They are amazing creatures with tons for us to learn about.  One of my favorite books to introduce shark facts is Sharks! by Gail Gibbons.  Her books are always perfect for sharing facts and diagrams in a picture book kind of way.  
Be sure to have a tape measure on hand while you read this because it is so cool to show the students just how long these creatures are as you read.  
After we read this book, we measure the sharks in students.  I love the look on my kiddo's faces when we get to the whale shark!
(I pre measure yarn in the lengths of the sharks below.)  I then lay the yarn out and invite students to lay next to the yarn on the floor.  They fill in the table below.  
Shark Measures The Schroeder Page
I then share this video!

I love this book for my guided reading groups! The pictures are fantastic and the students are always super engaged. 
My kiddos also love my Flipping Fins Math Game.  It is so simple to play.  Just grab some plastic sharks like the ones below.  Print out the center and you are all set.  

Click the picture below to grab a FREE copy of my Flipping Fins Math Game!
Shark Week Freebie
If you are interested in more SHARK fun click on my SHARK file below.  It is filled with more fantastic shark learning fun!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All About Owls: Freebie

Friends~HOOT!  We have been learning about owls at my house this summer.  It has been such a fun adventure! We have been researching owls, experimenting and dissecting owl pellets!  I had no idea how amazing these nocturnal creatures really are!
To start we headed to the library and stocked up on some books for our research.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Click any of the images to check them out!

We also watched this video of a Great Gray Owl video on YouTube! The eyes on this little guy are amazing! 
We dissected an owl pellet!  It was so awesome!!!!!  My son Ian was totally into it.  
Check him out below. I think we were both shocked at all the bones we found.  We are pretty sure it was a bird that our owl ate.  
It really was the coolest experiment.  Ian was so gentle as he pulled the bones from the pellet.  
All About Owls: The Schroeder Page
We used the bone chart that came with our pellet.  Here is the pellet we used.  You can click to purchase if you are interested.  
All About Owls: The Schroeder Page
This is the bone chart that was provided with our pellet. 
All About Owls: The Schroeder Page
Download a FREE Investigation Sheet by clicking below!
You can also dissect your own owl pellet virtually with this cool site called Kidwings!  Click the image below to check it out!
All About Owls: The Schroeder Page

The world of owls is truly amazing and unique!  This is a perfect unit to share with your students this fall! 
All About Owls: The Schroeder Page


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Idea: Doorbells in the Classroom

Friends~Welcome to our July Bright Ideas Linky!  I am just getting myself up from my summer slumber and thinking about school. 
I am moving schools and grade levels this year so I have a ton to do!  This year,  I will be heading back to one of my favorite grades...FIRST!  I am super duper excited about it!

Today,  I am going to share one of my surprises for my sweet firsties!  DOORBELLS in the Classroom.  Yep!
I use a doorbell for all sorts of things.  Check out some of my fun ideas below.   
(I love the cute classroom door from ScrappinDoodles!)
The Schroeder Page

First, head to your local Home Depot or Lowes and grab a plug in doorbell. They are around $15 but are totally worth it. 
The Schroeder Page

Second, find a place to hide your button.  I like my kiddos to have no idea how the doorbell works.  
Here are some of the places I have hidden mine in the past: in my desk, the back of my office door, my apron pocket, behind my file cabinet.  The possibilities are endless. 

Once I have it up and running, here are some of the ways I use it.
~ A simple ATTENTION getter.  Just push the button and once the chime stops my kiddos look at me and respond with," Hello?" (It is hysterical!)
~Add some review questions to a pocket by the door. When you ring the doorbell, have them freeze and raise their hands.  Choose a student to ANSWER IT by heading to the door and choosing a question. 
The Schroeder Page
~Ring the doorbell and tell students that once the CHIME is over, they must be in their seats. 
 Use it as a CELEBRATION!  When a students does a great job, hit the chime!
~Use it as a TIMER to show that time is up on an assignment or center.  
 ~Place the doorbell button outside when you are expecting a special VISITOR

I sure hope you found some ways to use a doorbell in your classroom.  I love keeping my kiddos guessing at what I will do next.  Doorbells are a perfect way to mix things up in your room!
The Schroeder Page
Be sure to check out more Bright Ideas in the fun Linky Party below.  You are sure to find something special for your classroom!

Monday, July 7, 2014

5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED!

Friends~I am going to share my summer tips for keeping your kiddos busy-no more I'm BORED!

As a teacher and a Mommy,  I get to experience both sides of the summer game.  I get to spend some much needed down time away from my job and get to spend some relaxing time with my own kiddos.  

With that being said, it is not all sprinkles and rainbows at my house.  I totally hear the I'm BORED! Or we fight over how long is too long with the TV or iPad or Kindle or DS or anything with a screen.  

This pin has been floating around and it has really inspired me to provide activities for my family to keep us off the I'm BORED list! I think it links back to the blog I Lift Heavy Things but it is not a direct link. 
(I made my own visual for my kiddos if you want to grab a copy just click the printable below.)
   5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page
I thought I would share with you some of the tips and tricks I have come up with to keep my kiddos active and engaged in the summer.  

#1 Set one day a week to head to the library!  There are more than just books.   It sounds simple but your local library packs a big punch in summer learning.  
(There are even computers that you kiddos can use some of their educational websites on.)
All libraries are different but many of them offer classes and clubs for the summer.  
Better yet, head to a library that is not your local one.  Often times you can visit nearby libraries and check out what they have to offer and still grab books for your family.  
Below is our local library and their activity calendar for July. 
5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page  
#2 Stay active!  Take a walk or head to a local park. We love to head to the metro-park near our house for miniature golf, paddle boats, and fishing. We also like to get a group of friends together to go on a picnic.  Peanut butter and jelly always tastes better outdoors!  
5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page

We totally get a kick out of a good scavenger hunt!  Check out these great FREE printables from How to Nest for Less!
5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page
#3 This may seen a bit nutty but pass out the soup cans and do an exercise video with your kiddos! 
(You use some weights of course.)  Not only will you get some exercise in, your kiddos will love trying out some of the tricky moves.  
(Keep in mind they will look hilarious too!) 
Check out GoNoodle.  It is a free site that also incorporates learning and movement!  
5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page
This is the video I am using now.  
We love some Jillian in our house! 
(If you are an Amazon Prime member be sure to check out Jillian's videos on instant play.  I know for sure the Yoga Meltdown is free if you are a Prime member.)
#4 Get Planting and cooking!  We planted strawberries this year and made our own strawberry jam.  It was so delicious and fun to put together.  My kiddos are lucky that their grandma lives with them and is an avid gardener.  They have learned so much from her!
 (Click the image to grab the recipe!)
Just for something nice, we shared some jam with friends and neighbors.  The kiddos were so cute knocking on doors with jam in hand!
5 Summer Tips to STOP the I'm BORED! : The Schroeder Page
#5 Summer Science is a total favorite at my house! I love getting messy.  My little guy told me I was the best mommy the other day because I let him dissect an owl pellet.  It actually was pretty disgusting and cool at the same time.  Click the video to see what we have been up to this week!
We also have been bubbling it up with Bubble Science
Please note: In the video, my daughter asks what he is doing and he tells her he is blowing bubbles.  Her words, "I'm pausing the game." A video game that is!
Music to my ears!

I sure hope you found something fun to try out with your family.  Leave a comment with any fun ideas you use so I can join in!