Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blog Hop + Swap Freebie, Guest Author Sharon

WHOOOOOHOOOOOO! 
The best thing about what I've learned this year in growing my blog -- is finally getting connected to other bloggers!! Today is blog hop + swap, sponsored by Top Teachers!! I've written a guest article for Krissy over at Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business. --Debbie-- 
Now let me introduce you to my blogging buddy........

photo of: Top Teacher Blog Hop and Swap
Get acquainted with DOZENS of Top Teachers at their blog!

Hi my name is Sharon Winter and I am from The Convenient Teacher. I am so excited to be here guest posting. Visit me at The Convenient Teacher.  I earned a BA in Education through the College of Notre Dame in Towson, Maryland.  I have been a teacher of Early Childhood for over 17 years and I have loved every minute of it!

Teaching is such a rewarding career.  I truly love creating my own products which are tried and true...in my own classroom that is, and seeing my students learning from my creations is such a marvelous feeling of accomplishment.  I love most of all, when my students beg me to play one of my created products.  

Starting off the school year can be very overwhelming.  I know from my own experience that time restraints cause feelings of anxiety, (in me anyway because I am a perfectionist).  In the past, I started working on my back to school stuff before school even let out for the summer because I was so worried that I would not get it done so today I am bringing you a FREEBIE that will help you during back to school time. 


This freebie will be a great way to welcome your students back school. It is called "A Beary Cool Welcome Kit" and it includes a welcome letter, name tags, writing activities and a coloring sheet that can accompany your welcome letter.  How cool is that? Your students will be able to start the school year with a coloring activity that they can bring to school on their first day! Click on the pic below to download the freebie...
I hope this makes your start of the school year a little easier and less overwhelming.  ENJOY!

-- Sharon --

Now you've got to check-out everyone else's guest post. Happy hopping. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fine Motor + Fine Arts: Insects!!

FRIDAY?!? FINE MOTOR FRIDAY!!! 
FINE MOTOR LEADS TO FINE ARTS!!!
photo of: Fine Motor Friday: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts, Issue #20, Insects, bugs and buzzy things
Welcome or WELCOME BACK!! 
It's #20 in the series! Who'd a thunk it? 
Creepie Crawlie things. Things that squirm. Things that buzz. 
Let's get started working those small motor muscles!
As promised yesterday, here's the insects created for the 'camping' adventures. [Missed those DIY campfires? Click here.]

photo of: Preschool Spring Insect, Bug and Spider Sculptures

photo of: Preschool Butterfly Sculpture from Modeling Material

photo of: Preschool Fancy Ant Creature of Modeling compound with Feathers

I LUV LUV LUV LUV LUV the way each of these kiddos has created a totally unique idea -- using the staples found in the art center: pipe cleaners, wigglie eyes, feathers, pompoms!! AWESOME! (This classroom is at Sutter Park and is designed to serve children with special needs and their typical peers.)

photo of: Preschool Insect Art Projects: bug sculptures from modeling compound

photo of: Crayola Model Magic modeling compound

These beauties were created with lots of rolling and squeezing and squishing the pinching. I asked the teacher for the material used and voila: Crayola Model Magic. She gave a near infomercial on how 'easy' it was for their students with special needs to use. Just imagine all of those muscles at work! Now let's go from three dimensions back down to two: markers on paper. 

I LUV LUV LUV LUV LUV the way these drawings have been labeled. 


photo of: Preschool Labeled Drawings of Spring Creatures

photo of: Preschool Labeled Drawings of Spring Creatures

photo of: Paper Mache and Tape Sculpture in Elementary School Project

photo of: Paper Mache and Tape Sculpture in Elementary School Project

photo of: Art Show in Elementary School with 3 Dimensional Sculptures

photo of: Science Table of Insect specimens for Examination in Preschool

All of these creepie-crawlies need to have somewhere to explore. Here's a shadow box photo -- back from my field trip in Italy a year ago. Seems fitting to bring it into this collection of goodies. Yes! I made Author-Illustrator school visits across Europe last year... including REGGIO EMILIA!

photo of: Reggio Emilia, Italy: Shadow Box of Nature Elements

Every week I make it a point to remind you to be certain to get YOUR writing in front of those pre-readers, early readers and even capable readers. 


photo of: Insect Song (Piggy Back) on Handwritten Anchor Chart

We want to move them from their first names..................

photo of: Preschool Signatures in magic marker

.......... to expressing themselves and their feelings!

photo of: Student's Handwritten Reflections on First Grade

photo of: Caterpillar Observations in Kindergarten, Charted and Documented

TOMORROW is a biggie!!! It's the TopTeacher's first ever blog hop and swap. I will have a guest post over at Krissy Miner's Monkey Business. I'm not telling who I'm hosting. You'll have to come back tomorrow and find out for yourself!! 

photo of: Top Teacher Blog Hop and Swap
First ever, Top Teacher BLOG HOP AND SWAP!!! 

-- Debbie --
The first 19 installments of this series are housed under the tag: Fine Motor Friday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Camping" Campout at Preschool

photo of: "Camping" as a Learning Center, complete with campfires and tents

CAMP-OUT!! CAMPGROUNDS!! 
CAMPFIRE!! S'MORES!
photo of: Camping Learning Center at Preschool with Fire Pit for Summer Fun

Summer-time fun!!! 
Are you going camping this summer? I grew up on cross country vagabonds from one national park to the next! 
Are you planning an adventure for the big holiday weekend? 
Are you in charge of a summer program? 

You've come to the right spot for inside-inspiration!!

photo of: Camping Learning Center at Preschool with Fire Pit for Summer Fun

All of the photos in today's post were taken during my two day residency at Sutter Park Elementary School at the end of last month. I LUV making my Author Illustrator School Visits to see such exciting fun as what I have to share with you today. They were making the 'transition' to summer for their students by having an entire building of camping fun. This program is the consolidated housing for the entire Worthington School District's children with special needs. They also have many typically developing children serving as peer models. 

I always judge a program by asking myself if I'd want my WonderPeeps enrolled. You can guess there's a hearty "YES!!!" in response to this amazing program. The building is filled with amazing teachers and their inspirational imaginations galore. I only had enough time to snap photos in four classrooms, so you'll see four different 'campfire' adaptations as we progress around their building. 

photo of: Camping "Tent" Created at Preschool with sleeping bags for reading nook

photo of: Camping Learning Center in Preschool, Making a 'tent'

I don't know who gets credit for this next oh-so-clever piggy back song. These words were hanging on the blackboard, just above the campfire seating. Please leave me a comment if you know who deserves the credit and I will happily come back and edit with the proper attribution. LUV LUV LUV it!!!!

Evening EDITOR'S UPDATE!!!!! I feel like a 'real' blogger now. This is a first. I had no idea where this resource originated this afternoon when I posted this article and now before bed, Laura has left the direct link in a comment below. It turns out that this song (and the vocabulary sheet down below) are available for FREEEEEEEE people!!! Go to HomeSchool Creations by clicking right here. What a fantastic resource from last summer! Thanks to Laura for bringing us the site and a special tip of the hat to Jolanthe for creating such a clever pack and making it available for free!

photo of: Camping "piggy-back" song

photo of: Campfire made from painted handprints

photo of: Differentiation between Day and Night time Activities

This room serves children who are focusing on the very basics of communication. 
Distinguishing between day time and night time is one goal for their camping unit. 

photo of: Preschool Summer Learning Center on Camping Theme

photo of: Indoor campground with campfire and fishing pond

photo of: Preschool Camping Theme with tent and pond

photo of: Make your own 'campfire' for indoor story telling

photo of: Chart for distinguishing Activities between Day + night

photo of: Preschool "Campground" Indoors, complete with two tents and forest

photo of: Camping Vocabulary Words for Writing Center

No camp out is complete until the S'mores are roasted. 

photo of: S is for S'Mores: Children's Picture Book for use in Camping Theme

Whether or not you're headed on a cross country adventure with sleeping bags as your best companion, or you're looking to create some summer time fun in your family room -- I'm sure that these images have you filled with ideas. The creating of a 'tent' by draping blankets over the furniture is a time honored classic that never goes out of style, needs no batteries and is an invitation to explore uncharted territories in depth. 

My next post (click here) will feature the bug sculptures that the students created. You'll want to see those I promise! What's your favorite 'camping' memory? 

-- Debbie -- 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Patriotic Peace Drum: Tutorial Tuesday

photo of: Patriotic Peace Drum: DIY Tuesday Tutorial

FIREWORKS!!! The fireworks are coming!!! Get ready now!
photo of: Fireworks for the Fourth of July
Fireworks Fun and BOOM
Have I mentioned lately that I LUV LUV LUV fireworks? This year I get to have an extra-special opportunity to participate in an amazing event! I'll be taking my newest picture book, "Red, White and Blue" to participate as an author at "Read, White and Boom" at the notorious "Red, White and BOOM!" event in Columbus, Ohio. Got that? Yes, I know its a mouthful!! 

photo of: "Red, White and Blue" picture book by Debbie Clement, based on song by same title

It's a very special fund-raiser for a very special project sponsored by Children's Hospital in support of "Reach Out and Read." A week from today! 

photo of: Fireworks for the Fourth of July
BOOM-BOOM-BOOM!!
I'll never forget the first time I took the girls to a BIG fireworks extravaganza. I was so hyped. We'd gotten there early, had our blanket in place and f-i-n-a-l-l-y once darkness descended the fun could begin. I was so ready.
Long story short. They hated  didn't like it. With the explosive booms their cowering turned to sobs. Were they two and three? Three and four? The specifics have blurred with the years, but their terror remains with me these decades later. "Not fun, mommy!"

As I begin to look forward to this year's fireworks that memory came streaming back. Thinking about loud noises and somehow I landed at the DIY project I call "Peace Drums" after having worked with master drummer Baba Jubal Harris. Maybe if we'd have had peace drums on that blanket those many years ago, the girls could have 'pounded' along with the percussive display. Would that have helped empower them? Need my time-machine Delorean to know for sure, but I'm thinkin' it would have helped. 

photo of: Painting Wood for Patriotic Peace Drums

  1. Take four lengths of wood and have fun painting.
  2. Once dry get them all nailed together. 
  3. Then you'll need clear, 'wrapping' tape to make your drum head. Wrap completely around your drum frame and cut. 
  4. Overlap your tape wrappings all the way going along top to bottom in segments. 
  5. Then go the other direction -- left to right, wrapping each time around, cutting and overlapping as you go across. 
photo of: Wrapping Wood Frame to Create a Patriotic Peace Drum

Voila!!! You've got your very own peace drum. It would be fun to take it to a parade and drum along with the marching bands as they pass by. 

You could make your life a little 'simpler' if you were able to locate some heavy-duty picture frames/shadow box style that were already assembled -- you could then just paint the frame and use the same theory of wrapping tape to make the drum head. Easy-peasy lemon squeezie!!

Make several for your classroom!! Pound out syllables in student's names. Drum along with dittie-singing, make up percussion patterns and see if the children can replicate. Use it in a therapeutic setting to pound out your frustrations. Possibilities galore!

Drumming offers so many opportunities. Create the wood frames in varying lengths and dimensions and you've got a whole science experiment of sound to explore. 

Thanks for stopping by Tutorial Tuesday. Thanks as always when you can 'pin' the image to your collection of Pinterest reminders. 

-- Debbie -- 
**as always when you use the promo code "great" (grass roots efforts are terrific) at my website, you will receive a 10% discount on your entire order

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pete the Cat: Response to Picture Books


photo of: Pete the Cat Classroom Response through Extended Projects

You're going to LUV LUV LUV these ideas!!! As an author-illustrator of picture books myself, I LUV seeing how teachers 'extend' the life of a book in their classroom -- for their students. There are so many possibilities with Eric Litwin's work. The illustrations by James Dean just beg for interpretation by teachers and students alike! Wait till you see this 'hand-made' version to support early literacy efforts!!

photo of: Pete the Cat Goes to Preschool, a class book response to popular picture book
Today marks a new day here at Rainbows Within Reach. NEW day alert!!!
As my old-time readers realize, I have been on a quest for the last year to get my blog connected to a wider world. I've made tons of progress and learned so much in the process. I'm learning from my analytics how readers are responding and what type of articles bring more interest from Pinterest. Today marks my transition to being an Amazon Associate! It's time to bring links of interest to you directly.... make your life easier and support my efforts all at the same. We'll see how it works.

In my travels making Author-Illustrator school visits I'm in and out of oodles of schools seeing tons of ideas in classrooms across the country. Today I'm featuring classroom responses to the ever-wildly-popular growing-more-classic-by-the-minute "Pete the Cat" series of picture books. Let's start with a unique teacher created 'class' book for preschool. 

photo of:Pete the Cat Goes to Preschool, a class book response to popular picture book
YUP!!! That's a LOT of teacher LUV to create an entire 'personalized' book for your classroom. Personal student photographs, watercolor adornment and lamination: bingo-bango you have your own rendition of the instant classic. 

Guarantee those kiddos are gonna-wanna turn these pages over and over again! I know I would!!
photo of: Preschool Class Project in response to Pete the Cat picture book
photo of: Preschool Class Project in response to Pete the Cat picture book

photo of: Preschool Class Project in response to Pete the Cat picture book
From this preschool material let's move on to a kindergarten response. Take a look at these handwritten inspirations!! I LUV LUV LUV the 'invented' spellings found on this bulletin board. Of course I'm also wild about the actual handwriting itself.
photo of: Pete the Cat Kindergarten Writing Response
photo of: Pete the Cat Kindergarten Writing Response

photo of: Pete the Cat Kindergarten Writing Response Project

photo of: Kindergarten Photographs for Writing Project in Kindergarten in response to Pete the Cat


These same kindergarten kiddos took their response one step further for a technology infused 'extension' project. First they had photos taken of their favorite pair of shoes! From there they then worked on the computer to draw their shoes and then write about them. What a brilliant leap into technology. 

photo of: Pete the Cat Response in Kindergarten using Technology

photo of: Pete the Cat Response in Kindergarten using Technology

photo of: Pete the Cat Response in Kindergarten using Technology

photo of: Pete the Cat Response in Kindergarten using Technology

I know you are inspired by these 'adaptations' of what are becoming instant classics for children. I believe when we make books 'come alive' for children we foster their desire to decode and do the work to read. These children will have an affinity for all the work of Litwin + James and that enthusiasm will continue to expand to works throughout the library collection. 


photo of: Picture Book Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement through graphic quilt collaboration
Author Illustrator School Visit: Kindergarten Response, Long Island NY

My own school visits have been filled with amazing responses from students across the country to the illustrations I've created for my picture books. I LUV LUV LUV to see what they've come up with to extend the use of my books in their lives. I have TONS of articles here to share with examples. Here's a favorite link: Classroom Response. It has a YouTube video to introduce you to the song which is the text of "You're Wonderful." 

Keep on creating!!! Visit often and pin to your heart's content! I now have a *new* store over at Teachers Pay Teachers to offer immediate digital download of some of my songs (for purchase and a FREEBIE!) I'd be so honored if you'd follow my store there. 

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com



-- Debbie --



This post has been added to TBA's international blog hop under the "Check out my Shoes" category!
Also added to Kindergarten RoundUP  Also added to the linkie on all things Pete over at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Now added at Read it Again, Mommy.


Ruby Red Slippers
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