Monkeying Around

We have been SNOWED in and no school for 5 days!  Yes, this mom is going to lose her mind!  Snow days are great, at first!  I love the sled riding, snow gear, smiles, laughs, and cool air.  However, on day 5, I don't want to see any more wet clothes, make any more hot chocolate, or wipe up any more wet snow from the floors.  

So, today, this mom changed things up.  We did a service community project!  We colored these cute tags that said, "My parents said we are driving them BANANAS being inside, so we are now MONKEYING around visiting you!"  We then bought bananas and visited an assisted living unit to deliver them.  The kids loved it, but not as much as the residents!

You should have seen the residents' faces!  They lit up!  The residents wanted to talk about the weather, tell stories about their lunch, or just give the kids a hug.

The magic moment happened in the car when we were leaving.  My oldest son said, "Mom, that was great. We should really do a service community project every month!"  Yes, yes, yes!  This is what it is all about!

Today was a great SNOW day!  I don't know who got more out of it, the residents or my children.  Either way, it was a win-win situation!


Follow our store, leave a comment below, and you can grab this Monkeying Around Freebie here.  You can use the colored one or have your kids color the other option.  Both are there for you to use!  I hope you enjoy putting a smile on someone's face as much as we did today.

Are You Ready to Be the Wild Card

It's a New Year!  We're pumped to head into a year filled with learning opportunities and chances to grow!  Does anyone else get excited to see a calendar filled with....NOTHING??  Seriously, a clean wide-open calendar gives us goose bumps to think of all that will fill our 2018!

Already 2018 has come in with a bang! Just a week ago, two of our favorite teachers on the planet have published a book to help share their passion for teaching and learning!

And we'll give you the chance to win your very own copy!


Now, here's a little background, just in case you don't know Hope and Wade.  We had the pleasure of meeting Wade and Hope King at a conference almost a year ago, and believe me, they're the real deal! Their presentation was filled with strategies to keep your students engaged and learning—all demonstrated while standing on chairs, tables, the stage, and sometimes involving a guitar, costume, or mask.  The energy level was so high, I'm pretty sure the resort must have received a refund on their energy bill!

Have you heard of Ron Clark Academy? This renowned model school is where Hope and Wade practice and share their craft with many students and visiting professionals.  The vision of RCA is completely aligned with the vision the Kings have for transforming classrooms worldwide.

The Kings are now on a mission to share their unique brand of creativity with educators who can't travel to see them in action at RCA, thanks to their new book, The Wild Card.

How can DOES this book help me to be a better teacher? Hope and Wade share so many real-life examples of tapping into their creativity to make sure their students are not just engaged, but also share a myriad of ways to magically transforming your learning environment to ensure that students are totally captivated!  They truly show how creativity is the driving force behind student engagement.

Do you want to learn more about Hope and Wade's seven-step process to find your own creativity?  This book will give you the confidence to create your own memorable lessons and share the magic of learning with your students!

Here are just a few one-line wisdoms that had us nodding our heads and saying, "Oh YES!"

That's how every single child should feel every single day.

(referring to Hope's student Kaylie wondering what Ms. King's doing today; in the section on creativity driving engagement)


If you want to create magic, you must NEVER settle or "good enough," because that's what your students will become.

(in the discussion on the need for consistency to hold students to our high expectations)


Why be the barrier when you could be the wild card?

(referring to using your smile, passion, enthusiasm, and desire to conquer curriculum challenges)


We could continue quoting this book ALL DAY LONG, but we'd rather get it in your hands so you can feel its magic and use its power to discover how to deliver content creatively.  We'd love to send you your very own copy of The Wild Card - all you have to do is use the link below for your chance to win!!

RAFFLECOPTER:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9466be362/?


Magic Moments

In the meantime, we'd love if you'd share (find us on social media and share there—use the #bethewildcard hashtag) to tell us in one sentence about a magical moment of creativity you've experienced in your own classroom!  Plus, share a magic moment below in our comments for an extra entry to win The Wild Card.

We'll start: a magical moment in our classrooms....
for one of us...it would have to be the "talking box" moment when a box of goodies shipped to us from Venezuela "talked" to the students! 
(Let me tell you, the 52 students in that room were awe-struck.  Did it take money or extra time? No, it was just a silly moment when a not-so-creative teacher (me) stepped outside her comfort zone and created a magic moment.)

For the second of us...one magic moment was when a shy and quiet student felt empowered to take center stage in class by jumping up onto the "stage" in the middle of the classroom to share her thinking in solving a math problem. 
(Wow, what a moment when you see a transformation in a student! That's true magic!)

Thanks to Wade and Hope for helping us to create an environment where our students feel empowered to reach beyond their comfort levels and making them want to be in our classrooms!



Hour of Code and Beyond!

Did you participate in Hour of Code last week?  Our students loved learning about coding throughout the week as we did!!  Even if you missed it, it's not too late to jump in and introduce your students to coding.  Just in case Hour of Code is new to you, we'll share the basics with you to get you going!

Side note:  With the holidays upon us, are you looking for something fun and engaging for the last day (or that last week) before your break?   Trust us, THIS IS IT! Your kids will LOVE it, you'll be doing some very meaningful work as they tap into their creative side to problem solve!

Hour of Code (and BEYOND!) basics:
  • WHO?  Any age, grade, and level of learner can participate—seriously, there really is something for everyone!
  • WHAT?  Coding is really an opportunity to nurture logic, problem-solving, and creativity in our students!!
  • WHEN?  Well, the week of Dec. 4-10 is set aside for a huge push to get kids coding—BUT anytime is a good time for kids to become exposed to coding basics! We're planning to use some "structured-but-non-curriculum-based" time before the holiday break to extend our coding skills—yes, our kids are that intrigued and interested....they've been begging for more time to code!  These are 3rd graders, not middle or high schoolers!
  • WHERE?  Coding can be done at home or at school, on iPads or laptops or desktop computers!  Many of our students have wifi at home and have continued their coding at home.  Some have even taught older brothers and sisters to code!
  • WHY?  Beyond simple coding, this also is a chance to broaden students' participation in computer science activities, which will give your students a chance to develop a foundation for many skills they may need as they pursue many career paths in the 21st century. (Don't skip the brief into video on CODE.ORG, it's filled with many more "WHY's!"
  • HOW?  Visit Code.org for more information! 
    • Also, check out this link to program your own Google logo!

    • SCRATCH is a fun place for beginners, too.


    • KODABLE will be sure to have your kids engaged and coding quickly.


    • CODESTERS is a fun place with step-by-step directions and many options.


    • Our kids started with ANGRY BIRDS, and then went to anything they wanted after completing a dozen or so lessons on there.


There are certificates for all who work through the levels of coding, too.  Just have students click on "I've finished my hour of coding" at the top of their screen on Code.org.

Please be sure to leave us a comment below to let us know how your kids did with coding!  We're sure they will be just as hooked on coding as our kids are!