Sunday, May 24, 2015

Throw Out The Worksheets and Engage Students!

That's right, throw out those worksheets and engage your students as the end of the year comes to a close.  I am seeing all kinds of quotes being passed around on social media that make me quite sad that talk about recycling worksheets.

I get and understand that you are very busy with all of the end of the year requirements, but I don't believe in giving busy work.  It IS busy work if you give children worksheets (includes homework) and you never look at it and just toss it.  Yes, I have given worksheets and most of homework is worksheets, but ALL of them are checked and returned to students or put in a portfolio.  Busy work is NOT okay, NEVER!

So what can you do if you don't have the time to check and hand back worksheets?  At this time of the year most skills have been taught so let your students play learning games.  There are many learning games out there that require NO prep other than a dice or spinner.  I have created No Prep Board Games for all of Fry's sight words 1 to 400!  Each 100 word set includes 4 different board games with words and 2 blank games that can be used with any set of cards even math!

What do you do to avoid giving busy work during this time of year or any time of the year?

Thank you for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings!  Keep on smiling!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Learn about the Body with Science Games for Kids

Catherine Ross is back to guest blog for me today with another blog post on making learning fun!

Learn about the Body with Science Games for Kids
The human body is an incredible thing, and to this day scientists do not fully understand the minute details of its functioning. You know what they say about the brain – if it was simple enough to be fully understood, we wouldn’t be able to! Children who encounter the human body’s incredibly complex systems in their textbooks may understandably feel overwhelmed by it all. You can help your kids develop a healthy appreciation and fascination for the human body and its functioning by letting them play cool science games for kids - whether online or offline.

Here are a few great science games that teach kids of various ages about the human body and its care.
Science Games for Young Kids
Disney Doc McStuffins  - Doc McStuffins is a toy doctor with her own TV show. Kids bring their toys to her when they fall sick, and she uses various doctor tools to arrive at a diagnosis. Then she treats them and sometimes gives advice on how to stay healthy. Whether or not your child watches the show, the game is great fun for kids. Players assist the doctor in her work, learning the names and uses of the different tools. They also learn how to stay healthy and play various mini-games with the doctor’s assistants. This science game can be played at no cost online.
Science Games for Older Kids
Re-Mission 2 – In this fun science game, kids learn about cancer and how the body’s defense mechanisms and the various treatments work against the growth of cancerous cells. The names and functions of the weapons and the enemies in the game are such that the player understands how the various medications work in real life. The six mini games are incredibly fun for everyone, and especially beneficial for cancer patients, helping them understand what is going on inside their bodies and motivating them to stick with their treatment. The game is free to play online.
Solve the Outbreak – What happens when a new illness suddenly strikes the population, and a large number of people start falling prey to it? The epidemiologists swing into action, trying to find out how the disease began, how to treat it and how to keep it from spreading further. In this cool science game, players get to take on the role of an epidemiologist, earning points and getting promotions based on how well each outbreak was handled. The game was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and helps educate the public about how they deal with the diseases affecting the nation. The game is available as a free app for the iPad.
BioDigital Human – BioDigital Human provides an incredible way to explore human anatomy in 3D. With stunning, life-like visuals and a set of controls that allow users to add or remove organs and body systems and turn the models any which way, this website is considered a wonderful learning tool for aspiring doctors! While not actually a science game, this website is so much fun to explore that it barely makes a difference. The basic features on this website are free to use, while additional features and services are available for a fee.

Author Bio:
Catherine Ross is a full-time stay-at-home-mum who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. An erstwhile elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can grasp the seemingly difficult concepts of learning easily. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding and blogs at

How do you make learning about the body fun for your students?  
Thank you for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings.  Keep on smiling!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale!

I personally appreciate each and everyone of you teacher out there.  Thank you for all you do for the children.  Having taught 9 years myself I know what all goes into teaching.  It sure isn't a 40 hour job.  It's far more than that, but we do it because we love kids and want to make a difference in their lives.

With that said I am participating in TWO Teacher Appreciation events.  One is Teachers Pay Teachers.  Their sale is going on May 5th and 6th.  Everything is 20% off in my store and if you use code ThankYou at checkout you get another 10% off what is in your cart for a total savings of 28% off.  Great chance to stock up on some bundles!  Click the button below to check out what I have in my store for sale!  I'd appreciate it if you would follow me while you are there!  Nearly 1,000 followers!

The other event is Teacher's Notebook.  Their sale started on the 2nd of May and is going all the way through May 8th!  Using code Teachersrule at checkout you can save up to 55% in my store and other stores.  Click the button below to check out my store! I'd appreciate it if you'd follow me while you are there!

Thanks for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings!  Keep on smiling!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Daily Parent Communication

Many of us send home communication on a daily basis to parents on how their child behaves in school each day.  Some of us use planners that the school provides and others a calendar.  We mark it with a color or a happy, straight, or sad face and typically send home a note if the child had a bad day and/or call or e-mail home.

Graphic and Border from Ashley Hughes

I have had years where it was mandated to do this and other years where it was my choice.  Having done it both ways, it is my opinion that it works best without daily communication.  Why?

  • Parents don't need to know each time a child is in timeout and why.  It becomes a "you are picking on my child battle" with some parents.  I would rather notify parents after a child has had several tough days or done something sever that warrants a phone call.  Then they are more likely to help. 
  • It takes more time for the teacher to call, e-mail, or write a note about each child who has a difficult day.
  • Children are having to do something independent at the end of the school day so you have the time to mark the planners or calendars.  This takes away valuable instruction time.
  • It sends mixed signals home.  When I would mark a child had a yellow day, the parent would give the child a consequence at home.  Yellow for many of us simply means the child received a warning.  Last year, I had children who would cry when they were on yellow because they would get in trouble at home, even though, I made parents aware that yellow was only a warning.
  • Children tend to be much happier in school without a daily behavior report.
  • Many parents don't even look at the calendar or planner.
I would love to hear why you are for daily parent communication or why you are against it.  Leave a comment, which I will approve within 24 hours or hop on over to my Facebook page where we have many great discussions and I share ideas and free products on a daily basis.

Thank you for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings!  Keep on smiling!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teachers Are Heroes!

Teachers are heroes in my eyes and in many others.  We create all other occupations.  To celebrate, I am joining in on TPT's sale.  Using the code HEROES at checkout will save you 28% on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015.  Clicking on the banner, will take you to my store!

Check out some of my newest products by clicking on the pictures.
 Superhero Bump Addition and Subtraction uses cards and counters or cubes.

Also, new to my store is my Winter Primary Reading and Math Centers.  This is perfect for Kindergarten and 2nd grade and also for struggling 2nd graders as many of these skills are reviewed at the beginning of the year.  The centers include Addition to 5, 12, and 20, Subtraction to 5 and from 10, Decomposing Numbers, Counting Pennies and Nickels, Sight Words, CVC Words, and CVCe Words.  Many of these have already been tried out during tutoring and the children have been so engaged they are asking to play again and again!  2 freebies in the preview!!!

I have also bundled up my Fraction Task Cards.  This set includes Comparing Fractions with Like Denominators, Comparing Fractions with Unlike Denominators, Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Like Denominators, Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators, Fraction Word Problems, and Multiplying Fractions.  You can also buy each set on their own.  You can get those for 28% off the bundle price by using HEROES!  Click the picture!

Thanks for being a hero!  Please know that your hard money is helping me make a living since I don't have a teaching job right now.  Once I get a job all my money I earn from my store goes right back into the classroom.

Thank you for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings!  Keep on smiling!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brain Breaks Action Songs: Let's Move CD Review and Giveaway!

The Learning Station has a brand new CD out called "Brain Breaks Action Songs: Let's Move"!  Since I work for them, they let me review CD's and give one away to a lucky blog reader of mine!  They were so kind they even dedicated this CD to me and a few other huge fans.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now you have the chance to win this fun CD for your classroom or home!  Enter by doing as many things on the Rafflecopter form above that you would like to do.  Remember that sharing will give you 5 entries and you can share every 24 hours for more entries.  You will have to go back to Rafflecopter each 24 hours.  You will have 48 hours to claim your prize if you are the winner or a new winner will be chosen!   If you aren't the winner, you can purchase the CD by clicking on it below!

This CD has 16 highly engaging fun songs!  They work perfectly for brain breaks and indoor recess when the weather is too cold or rainy.  Research shows that children need brain breaks to be able to focus after long periods of sitting still.

The songs are:
1. Good Morning - a fun uptempo song with movements to start your class off each morning on a positive note.
 2. Iggle Wiggle - a fun energetic song with movements and it will have your students laughing.  This one will have your kids barking like a mutt, sing like Smurf, blow a kiss, etc.! haha  It is one of my favorites on the CD!
3. Chili Chili - This one is a fun song that has kids doing the ballet, belly dance, Irish jig, pogo, etc. It also has them touching the ground, turning around, etc.  This is great when they need to burn off a ton of energy!  Check out the video below.

4. I am the Music Man - is a fun repeat after me song that will have your students pretending to play musical instruments!
5. Penguin Song - There are currently two great videos for the penguin song and both the live version and the animated version have the fun movements.  Read about my post on this song and watch the videos by clicking HERE.
6. Monster Shuffle - This is a fun line dance song.  It is perfect for Halloween, but also great for just a brain break as many children love monsters! Check out this fun video by clicking HERE.
7. A Turkey Dance - This is a fun original dance that is my absolute favorite turkey song I have ever heard.  This is one of my very favorites on the CD.  Many teachers do turkey activities during Thanksgiving, but it's also perfect for an animal/bird unit.  Also, just for a fun brain break!  Check out the video below, which is the best YouTube turkey dance video that I have ever seen!

8. There was a Crocodile - This is a fun animal song with animal sounds.  This is perfect for any animal unit!  Your students will have a blast making these animal sounds!
9. Happy Dance - This is a fun dance that will no doubt have your students smiling and feeling happy!
10. Sparkle -  This is a slower paced original song that is about spreading kindness.  This is a perfect song for Valentine's Day or any time when teaching the character trait kindness.  There are also movements to go with this one!
11. Tarzan - This is an uptempo brain break!  Tarzan is another fun repeat after me song.  It will have students doing fun movements with Tarzan and Jane!
12. Brain Breaks Skip-a-Dee-Doo - This is a fun brain break song that will have your students following directions.
13. Princess Pat - is a slower paced song that is popular camp/scout song.  It is a fun repeat after me song.
14. Zum Gali Gali - is a Hebrew song about friendship with very catchy lyrics that will have your kids clapping along!  This is one of my favorites on the CD. 
15. Ride that Pony - a fun brain break song that is perfect for any cowboy/cowgirl theme.  This is sure to be popular for children who love horses!
16. Goodbye Song - This is a fun song about saying goodbye in silly ways such as see you soon raccoon, take care polar bear, be sweet parakeet, etc.  It is a repeat after me song that will have your students doing some fun movements as well.  Perfect song to end any day!

Now you have the chance to win this fun CD for your classroom or home!  Enter by doing as many things on the Rafflecopter form above that you would like to do.  Remember that sharing will give you 5 entries and you can share every 24 hours for more entries.  You will have to go back to Rafflecopter each 24 hours.  You will have 48 hours to claim your prize if you are the winner or a new winner will be chosen! 

Thanks for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings.  Keep on smiling!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Valentine's Day Fun!

Valentine's Day is approaching very quickly!  I have some great ideas to help make this week fun for your students.

Graphics above from Ashley Hughes.

One of my favorite videos that ties in nicely with Valentine's Day is "You Are Heart" by The Learning Station

I have also been hard at working making some new teaching products that you may not have seen yet, including a freebie!  This first one is my CVC Valentine Word Work Centers.  Here are some pictures from it!
 These are self checking puzzles!
 This fun poke center you can get for FREE in the preview!
 This is a fun match game, matching words with pictures.

There is also a CVC board game and a Write The Room CVC activity in the packet!  

I have also made the same type of centers for CVCe words!  Click the cover to check it out.

Other products that I have with a Valentine theme include: Valentine's A Hoot Fraction Centers, Love Bird Prefixes, Valentine Phonics Board Games, Valentine Common Core Multiplication Games, Kindergarten Valentine Love Reading and Math Centers - 2 FREEBIES in the preview, and Kindergarten Valentine Decomposing Numbers Addition.

Finally, you can get a fun FREE Monster Valentine Sight Word Games by clicking on the cover below!

Graphics from Graphics From The Pond and Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

As always thanks for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings.  Keep on smiling!

Friday, February 6, 2015

MobyMax Giveaway

MobyMax has generously given me a full 1 year personalized learning curriculum to give away to one lucky blog reader.  I have received a free subscription as well to this incredible online program in exchange for a review.

MobyMax is perfect for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.  It uses the Common Core Standards for Reading and Math.  It pretty much has all the standards except for phonics and sight words.  They are working on adding Science and Social Studies to it!  What I love about it most is it individualizes the curriculum for students so they can go as fast or as slow as they need to go.  You may have a 2nd grader who is working on a 1st grade level or maybe the 2nd grader is working on a 2nd grade or higher level.  MobyMax has placement tests in reading and math that will put the students exactly where they should be!

It also includes a Fact Master where students can practice learning their math facts, numbers to practice number sense, vocabulary, literature, and informational passages and more!  Once they answer so many questions correct they earn time to play games.  They earn a few seconds at a time per section so they aren't playing games all day long.  I tried out a neat Pac Man style game that had some math thrown in!

The teacher section let's you assign specific assignments to students, homework, tests, and even shows you how much time the student spent on MobyMax at home and at school.  You can monitor how many questions they get right in each section and what grade level they are working on.  This program is perfect whether you are homeschooling your child, extra practice at home, or for your own class when you go to the computer lab, have a class set of laptops, or for center rotations.  This is a program I would certainly love to use as a teacher.

Now here's your chance to win a subscription to MobyMax.  Enter on Rafflecopter by doing as many of the things you would like.  If you comment on the blog as an entry please realize that it won't show up right away until I approve it.  If you don't see it within 24 hours, it must not have gone through as I do check my e-mail frequently.  You can share this Giveaway every 24 hours, which gives you more entries!  Contest ends on 2/11/15 at midnight.  You will have 48 hours if you are the winner to return the e-mail or a new winner will be chosen.  MobyMax also has a free version you can check out on their website by clicking HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for hoppin' by.  Keep on smiling.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fun With Penguins

One of my favorite topics to teach about each year is penguins.

Graphics above from Ashley Hughes.

I always read a lot of fun books on penguins both fiction and nonfiction.  The Tacky The Penguin series of books was a huge favorite among my past 2nd graders. For nonfiction Penguins by Gail Gibbons has always been a huge favorite among both my 2nd graders and Kindergarten students  Her books are also excellent to teach labeling and nonfiction text features.

I also am a big fan of using music in the classroom.  The Learning Station just released two versions of Penguin song.  One is animated and the other one is a live version.  Both have the motions to go with the songs making them excellent brain breaks! Let us know in the comments, which penguin video is your favorite!

For some reason the 2nd video won't show up so click HERE to see the animation video for The Penguin Song.

I also love taking them on a virtual field trip to Sea World to see the penguins live!  Check it out by clicking HERE.  Your students will love it as well so I hope you take the time to watch both of them!

I also have some fun new Penguin products that can be placed at a centers.  Check out my Penguin Multiplication Blast game that has a fun addition twist to it by clicking on any of the pictures and my fun Penguin Missing Number Equations Task Cards!  The cute graphics are from Mel at Graphics From The Pond.

Also, if you look to the left of the page you'll see new Social Media buttons that my friend Carly made for me.  You can visit her incredible blog by clicking HERE

Thanks for hoppin' by!  Keep on smiling!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year everyone!  I for one am glad last year is over as it didn't end too well when I didn't get rehired for my teaching job due to not enough space for me and I just dealt with a big plumbing issue, which discovered a mold issue. :(

However, on a more positive note, I gained many new friends from around the world thanks to my teaching blog, Facebook page, teaching stores, etc.  Thank you to each and everyone of you for your support.  Don't forget to check out Facebook all day today for Flash Freebies and Always Free products from me and some of my friends!  I also blessed to work part time for The Learning Station.  They believe in me, appreciate all of my help, and have truly been the best bosses I've ever had!  I feel very blessed.

Today, I have put the following products on sale for just $1.  Did I say $1?  Yup, I sure did!!!  I did this last year and somebody bought all 10 of them!  Let's see if anyone makes the plunge this year.  You won't see them at this price again until maybe next year!  You will also notice I'm redoing my covers!!!  I hope you like them!  They will stay at this price until I wake up on Friday!!!

Thanks for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings!  Keep on smiling!

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