Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Hello, dear friends. So the past few months have flown by in a tizzy-a whirlwind of chaos in the Winkle household! My mother-in-law suffered a brain aneurysm, then a stroke and blood clots. She is on the mend now. Thank God!
I have had a re-occurrence for the third time in my life of Bells Palsy. It is a facial paralysis on one side (my left side). Sometimes it lasts a few weeks or six months to a year, or it could be permanent. I had it at age 5,  20 and now at 37. The other two times it lasted a little over a month. At age five it was on my left, and then my right side at age 20. Both times it was more embarrassing since I was in school. Even college kids can point!
Thankfully, while I initially was sad the position I held as an instructional coach was no longer available due to funding cut (there were about 60 of us let go in May), I am now thankful to be staying-at-home and homeschooling my son because of the reoccurrence of my Bell’s Palsy. So I suppose it is a blessing in disguise.
The stuff that makes it difficult is speaking (speech is slurred), eating ( I often bite my lip or food/& drink falls out the left side), and driving ( I cannot do it wit h only one eye working well). I wear an eye patch. I have chosen to find the silver lining and decorated some eye patches so I look super cool with my customized eye patch!

We have also had birthdays, a birthday and holiday party at our house, a death of a distant relative and a birth (my cousin’s little one). So that is why I have been an absent author. I hope I still make Santa’s good list!

Today I want to share just some of the many neat things I have found online lately that are holiday-related.

I saw this on Pinterest. You draw a snowflake and then put wax paper over it, and then use puffy paint to trace over it. Let it dry and then you have made a DIY window cling!

This was on Facebook on the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas page, and someone shared this snow globe her daughter made. I have a ton of these clear cups in my cabinet and so my little boy Harrison and I now have something to make!

At Living Locurto, you can download a fun scene for your Elf on the Shelf to be apart of. We do have our own mischievious elf named Skippy Dimpledot. He is a little chunkier than the usual Elf on the Shelf but still just as fun. Plus, we write notes to him daily so he helps us with our writing skills!! This is what he has been up to... 

Oh and I tried to make some Star Wars snowflakes!!

Also from the ABC Family FB page, check out these amazing nails that look like a Christmas sweater!! I am so jealous. I have never had a steady hand to really be able to do nail art. The best I could
do was this~ Frozen nails!!!

What a neat art project! Jingle bell painting! Found at Happily Ever Mom.

And this is a neat idea if you have a white treemake it into an Olaf tree!

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wikki Stix I love you~!

Love Wikki Stix. What are Wikki Stix? One of the greatest inventions evah!!!

 They are pliable strands of yarn covered in a wax coating. I often use them to teach students to make letters, words, or shapes. My son uses them at home for spelling. When I need to store them, I just have the kids put them back onto a laminated file folder. They stay sticky longer that way. Also, if one gets un-sticky, just rinse with water and it can stick again!

They help to develop fine motor skills and creativity. The best part is they are mistake-free, meaning whatever you create or bend can return to its original Wikki Stix form. 

They can be used:
-at an ABC/Spelling center
-making shapes
-to divide compound words
-to highlight words in the class daily news/morning message
-highlighting words in a big book
-coding words in a sentence like red-nouns, green-verbs, blue-adjectives
-art projects like sculptures
-underline beginning or ending sounds
-match items during centers, instead of drawing a line from word to object
-name recognition
-letter shape
-letter with sound to teach phonics
-measuring items around the room
-highlight sight words/word wall words
-teach short/long

You can make your own, too--recipe from a teacher...

You need;

- waxed paper (several sheets)
 -yarn or string pre-cut to the size you want ( about six inches long)
-a pair of long tweezers to fish out the yarn strands 
-a wooden or metal spoon. 
-paraffin wax or bottle/bowl sealant wax
I used thick 100% cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby. It was a three-ply yarn, so I pulled them apart. 
*You need very soft and sticky wax, so I used (believe it or not) a toilet bowl sealant ring. You can get them at Home Depot or Lowe's in the toilet section. You also need a very small amount of a harder wax like paraffin. I went to Michael's but didn't find the paraffin wax (I think its made by Gulf?) so I bought the cheapest basic candle wax I could find (actually it was bottle sealant wax, which is pretty much the same as the paraffin wax used for canning).

It worked best to use the whole wax ring with just a little bit of paraffin (maybe 1/8th to 1/4th cup melted). Inside the wax ring is a filament type of substance, similar to steel wool, I would just dump that in and fish it out once all the wax was melted off. Anyway, melt the small chunk of paraffin and then add the toilet sealant wax ring. Its messy, though. 

Wax has a low flash point so keep the temp very low. Once your waxes are melted, start dipping your yarn strands. Let soak a moment until saturated and fish out with the tweezers. Let wax drip off the end until not dripping anymore and then transfer to the waxed paper to cool. Once cooled down, the strand should be sticky to the touch but not as sticky as the toilet seal wax. The wax shouldn't harden to the point where it cracks. It should be soft and pliable and sticky when cooled.

 I only used three colors of yarn, red, blue and white because that's what I had on hand. You could easily use other colors and types of yarn and even color the wax by adding food coloring. 

After I got cleaned up, I thought about trying shoelace tipped stringing yarn that you get from Discount School Supply (which is polyester, I think) and even the bright neon floss and wondered how those would work.

 The waxes cost about ten dollars but you could easily split the costs with a co-worker and make more than enough for both of you. 

I had about half a cup of wax left over and probably ended up with 50 strands of waxy sticks. I could have done a lot more.

I found that Orange Glow citrus cleaner (wood cleaner) worked pretty well in cleaning up the wax that dripped on the counter and stove.

Share in the comments if you have more ideas on how to use Wikki Stix!!!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

My thoughts on dyslexia

Think of how hard and frustrating it is for our students. It isn't just writing/seeing things is about missing the phonemic awareness and phonics components. So as teachers, we have to go backwards and start at a very basic level or students will never get caught up!

Graphic from Project Eye to Eye
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A Wicked Witch Lives Here - Beware!

Don’t be scared, I am not going to get you my pretties, because to quote my neighbor (yes, for real) Sugar Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I have been too busy prepping for a Halloween Birthday Bash. Since Harrison was born right after Christmas day, we usually have his party at various times of the year so our friends (and us!) don’t feel a financial crunch. This year we decided to stick it during our annual Halloween party to kill two birds with one stone. And it is so fun! 

So here I am getting down with my crafty self...

P.S. Fun fact--Maggie Hamilton who played the witch in The Wizard of Oz was a teacher when she was younger! She rocks!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Uh uh uh! You didn't say the magic word! Uh uh uh! Uh uh uh!

We saw something at the grocery store that is too awesome to not share…
 Dr. Ian Malcolm: [as they pass through the gigantic park gates] What have they got in there, King Kong?
We give you…a Jurassic Park jeep!

Cool, right?

Now that the school supplies have been tossed off the shelves (seriously now is a good time to find them on clearance if you are a school supply hoarder like me), we must prepare for Halloween and yes, even some Thanksgiving has appeared at stores.

My son wants to be Godzilla. That is easy to make a homemade costume for...NOT. Well, not for me--the lady who does not sew and gets burned repeatedly when near a hot glue gun. So I saw online at WalMart they had the Godzilla costume with the body suit and mask. They were sold out online. I went to the store and did not find it either. Insert sad face. I am playing with the idea of somehow making a papier mache body suit but who knows...I may just call all my local WalMart stores tomorrow lol.

We did find some things for our Halloween party...all edible!

 This makes you hungry, right?

I plan on putting these on top of cupcakes along with…

the red icing, eyeballs & gummy “shards of glass”.

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Somewhere over the rainbow...

Let’s talk about alphabet arcs. It is the alphabet in the shape of a rainbow arc.

I have seen some where the arc is all lowercase or uppercase, and some that have two lines displaying each. You can find some info about alphabet arcs at . I first learned about the arcs in the summer of 2004 at an off-site course my Master’s Degree program required from the Payne Education Center.

They focused on using the arcs to teach phonics. Remember, phonics is when you tie the sound with the actual letter. The arcs were already printed and laminated onto 12x18 paper. 

They provided little blue letters that resembled magnet letters but without the magnets. This is so students can match the letter with the print while exploring the letter sound. 
(This is my son using them!)

I received a class set of 20. I had to pay out of pocket for this course ($500 or so) so while I used the class set in my classroom, I have kept them with me throughout the years.

One way we used this in the classroom was I would have the students sit around the edge of the rug in our circle time positions. The arc was in front of them. If it was PreK, and I was introducing a letter-I only utilized one letter during each session. I hid them in baby socksa letter in each sock. The students had to feel it first. Then they had to describe it and guess the letter/sound. We would take the letters out and then match them onto the arc. We would talk about the sounds and the letters before/after that letter.

Older students would match the arc with the letter manipulatives and pull them down to make words. I made a teacher-friendly sheet of arc activities you can use in your classroom. Download it for FREE here!

I have also included an alphabet arc for you to print. It would be great if you could enlarge it onto at least legal size, but we do what we can. I also encouraged teachers to just trace magnetic letters with a Sharpie on large paper to make arcs. 

The letter manipulatives can be purchased here:

at Abecedarian .

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