Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Webby Wednesday

So I went to my favorite nerdy place in the world, the local library and got this gem to read

It is supposed to include creative approaches to early literacy. That is what gets thrown by the wayside many times in educationcreativity. There is real value in creativity and brain development. I would go so far as to say creativity is necessary for survival! Creativity allows you to learn because you learn to improvise and adapt through creative means. It is how we become better at doing things. So hurrah for creative teaching!!!

Today is Webby Wednesday and I need to share some awesome, amazing, serendipitous finds with you

I have a special place in my heart for bumblebees. My first year of teaching and every year after (lol) the theme was “busy bees.”

So this little valentine bee owns me right now! I found this art project on Pinterest but could not find the original source.

One of the grades I taught was Pre-Kindergarten and every morning as a part of our calendar routine we reviewed shapes. This would be handy to use this shape wheel to do that. You could even take it with you during a class bathroom break time and use it for review in the hallway. You can download it here at Liz's Early Learning Spot.

Animation gif from

I found this wonderful website that shows how letters are properly formed. My son is a 4th grader but still struggles (like many!) with readable handwriting. We are using this to show him correct formations. This would be wonderful to pull up on a SmartBoard,computer, or tablet. The website is Donna Young's Manuscript Handwriting Animations. Check it out!

So I have been working on my mad drawing skills. This week I worked on some monsters. I have no idea why but I always associate cute monsters with Valentine's. This one I called "Lovey Dovey Monster" and you can buy this guy and other colorful versions HERE at my TPT store.

I also have some FREE sparkle hearts for you todownload HERE at TPT. I am already getting ready for Valentine’s Day!

Before I dive into my book I have to share this funny...get it?!?!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

A little love.

My little boy saw this commercial on tv and it is too cute-n-sweet to not share! 

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Reading. It's a Good Thing!

Online read-alouds are great for listening centers or to share a story with the whole class on the Smartboard. At home, I love to play read-alouds in the car for my son to listen to while we run errands. It is my sneaky way to get him reading and following along, and it also keeps him from asking Are we there yet? 

Sneaky mom educational methods aside, I find that research states childrens brains are being re-wired because of the technology we have. Read “Kids, Tech and Those Shrinking Attention Spans” here. So it seems if I put on a YouTube clip of a read-aloud my son seems more interested because he was raised in a visually stimulating world and that is what he identifies with. It is also good to change things up by having kids to hear other voices and/or to see authors, celebrities, or people they admire read. So borrowing a Martha Stewart line--digital literacy, it’s a good thing!
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The way to your {heart}

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So I am a little proud of myself for teaching myself to make graphics, html, etc. Today was a little milestone because I posted my first paid clip art for sell on!
Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?  I am just having fun making clip art that looks like kid art (yes, that is intentional). 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Where the magic happens...

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Let's talk about stepping out of your comfort zone. I feel that in life in general if you do not take risks then you are left with feelings of "what if?" and regret. 

It is easy to stay in your safe cave and hide sometimes because you are less likely to get hurt. But it isn't living.

Ever since this past summer, I have had to deal with some of life's wrenches that were thrown my way. I have tried my hardest to persevere and to continue to cheer everyone on and up. But even when I am sad, I realize that "hey, at least I took a risk!" and that makes me feel better. I know my worth. I know I am a hard worker that constantly looks for ways to improve, and someday that will be rewarded. 

So sometimes in teaching we have to take risks. Sometimes it is easier to just hand them a worksheet, but what are they really learning from that? No student has ever said, "Wow, I remember this really great worksheet." No. They remember the experience of learning. The adventures! When I was teaching, I was very hands-on and about active participation. Yes, I was tired at the end of they day but I was FULFILLED with the sense of knowing my students had learned. I gave them my best and that made me feel my best. 

I know the school year is half-over, but please don't let yourself fall into a teaching slump. Stay out of the teacher's lounge if negativity rules in there. If someone says something mean, just smile and stare at them. Don't let anything interfere with your ability to teach and your wonderful ability to help children! Shine! :)

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Webby Wednesday

Today I wanted to share some neat 
stuff I have found recently online. I 
hope you find something you can use. 
I love snow globes, but these don't 
break! I think my son would have fun 
making one of these. Found on 

I saw these cool math hacks at
Kids Activity Blog. I love the hands-on 
googly eye addition, and the hand cut-
outs for problem-solving!

 I absolutely love anything from Clever
Classroom. I was excited to see this 
free sight word resource. Students 
love to use magnifying glasses. You can 
grab it HERE.

This read-aloud video for “If You 
Were a Penguin” is great! This week 
my son Harrison is learning about 
penguins and this story kept his

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Learning laughs

I made a new YouTube video. Hopefully it will make you smile!

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Books are the bee's knees!

Wait?!? Do bees even have knees? This quote spoke to me so much because a. bees are awesome, duh! and b. books are the original transfer of knowledge. More importantly, words were. Our words can soothe, hurt, start wars, make someone fall in love, change history. Words are so very important!

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Welcome to Story Mountain

It is a little like candy mountain only it does not leave cavities!

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Comprehension Conversations

Comprehension Conversations
The single largest predictor of a child's success in reading and writing is experiencing large amounts of text.

When reading at home with your child, ask
them questions to help them think about their book.
  Some ideas are:

* What was the problem in the story?
* Talk about how the character felt at the beginning of the story and the end of the story. 
* Why do you think --- did ---?
* What was the real reason the character ---?
* Why do you think --- happened?
* In addition to the main part of the book, what are some of the other ways the writer told information about ---?
* What was the most important idea in the book?

* What were some of the facts that you learned from your book? (non-fiction)

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Thursday, January 1, 2015


The West Virginia Reading First site is an excellent resource for phonics intervention lessons! I recommend it for Prek-12th! The reason being is that if a student is still a struggling reader in the upper grades we must reach back and strengthen those foundational skills that are missing.
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Storytelling (Capitals and Punctuation)

A great lesson in a first grade classroom!!!

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Friday, December 19, 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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