I've got the kettle on, ya got a minute to visit?

I'm so happy you dropped by! Stay and visit awhile and please leave me a comment- it's so encouraging to hear from you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

TOS Review: Dive Into Your Imagination

I have a new hero. Her name is "Ocean" Annie Crawley.  She is should go check her!...Then come right back....

In an attempt to raise ocean awareness in children, Annie founded Dive Into Your Imagination.

With books, DVDs, educator guides, and websites Annie has set out to change the next generation's view of the ocean.  I admire her drive to see change and her passion for the natural world.

We were given the opportunity to review one of Annie's dvds entitled "What Makes a Fish, a Fish".  First let me say that this video is visually stunning!  There is no question of the quality and professionalism in Annie's videography.  While we were on the high end of the intended age spectrum (3-8), we felt the images were captivating and the information given was clear and well presented.  What is fabulous is the educator guide that goes with the video!

What Makes A Fish, A Fish Educator Guides are available in two age-group versions. Each educator guide covers eight chapters with 6-7 activity station per chapter aligned with common core and next generation standards. As your students explore amazing animals such as frogfish, clownfish and sharks, they will learn literacy, science, math, geography and more. There are more than 150 extension ideas to keep your imagination flowing!

This baby is over-flowing with great ideas, printables, tips, ocean characters, and fun!  All 374 pages of it!

Other dvds include "Dive Into California", "Explore Coral Reefs", "Dive Into Diversity", "Who Lives in the Sea", and "Visions of the Sea" and are $19.95 each. There are three educator guides available.  These are available in print for $299.00 for all three or PDF version for $69.95 each.  Annie is offering free shipping through the month of June through her store here

Disclaimer: We were given a copy of "What Makes a Fish a Fish" and the accompanying educator guide in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Holding out forThursday....

The question these days seems to be the same no matter where I go.....

"What are your plans for the summer?"

Often I feel the urge to reply...

"Have you HEARD about what kind of year I've had?  I'm diggin a hole under the house and not movin!!"

But that wouldn't be entirely true.  What is true is that we have cancelled most of our "big plans" for the summer.  I mean I haven't even signed my kids up for one summer camp!  I'm exhausted, and have been, since April 26th, 2011!! I'm positive life will get back to normal soon...... very positive.

But this week-well this week I'm holding out for Thursday.  Thursday I'm GOIN'!  My only planned trip of the whole summer.  Recognize this?

While I'm very excited to see THAT, I'm VERY VERY excited to see THIS...

It's been four months since I got me some Momma luv....way too long!

Momma is working in Shelby, NC temporarily so we are driving up Thursday.  We'll go to Biltmore Friday, hang out with Momma for a few days, and perhaps drive home Monday or Tuesday. 

I have always wanted to go to Biltmore.  My love of period homes, dress, movies, photographs,....well, period anything!... has drawn me to Biltmore.  I can't wait to walk the halls and smell the flowers in the gardens.  It's one of the few "things" in the South that I haven't experienced yet.

So we'll make our trek Thursday.  Two days after tomorrow....60 hours away...

Eek!  I better get to the laundry! (She says giddily!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TOS Review: Write Shop

I have a great language arts/litersature curriculum for the kids that we really like.  Write Shop could possibly change my mind, and course of instruction, regarding next year.

We recently had the opportunity to review Write Shop Junior Book D.  This particular book is geared toward 3-4th graders, so I've been working on it with Abby.  She LOVES it!  She ASKS for it each day!

In my box from the company I received the Teacher's Guide, the Student Activity Pack, and the Timesaver Pack.  The Teacher's Guide includes lesson plans, scripts for lessons, teaching instructions, and useful tips from parents that have used Write Shop.  The Student Activity Pack includes the Student Worksheet Pack plus the Level 1 Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack.  The Worksheet Pack contains:
  • Pre-writing activities
  • Skill Builders
  • Journal prompt pages
  • Brainstorming worksheets/graphic organizers
  • Reading log forms
  • Self-editing checklists
  • Evaluation Charts

  • The Level 1 Fold-N-GoGrammar Pack is described on Write Shop's website as "Fun reference tools with simple exercises that introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Printed on brightly colored paper, pages are assembled inside a file folder to form 10 large flipbooks, one for each lesson in Book D."  Each of these are completed at the very beginning of each lesson:
    • Punctuation Marks
    • Self-editing
    • Nouns
    • Pronouns
    • Verbs
    • Adjectives
    • Adverbs
    • Prepositions
    • Capitalization
    • References
     The Time-Saver Pack includes print outs on bright colored heavy paper, such as game cards and spinners.

     I really loved this as I didn't have to take the time to print everything out before the lesson.  Everything came together in a flip-pad style portfolio.  Very simple prep!

    From the start, I knew I was going to like this curriculum.  Some courses have no intro or orientation of sorts.  Not so with Write Shop.  Their introduction is thorough and complete.  The best part?  It even includes daily lesson plans to help you determine a schedule that best fits with your needs- two week or three week plans per lesson. I like how this book teaches Abby how to organize her thoughts and brainstorm before beginning her writing.  She also began to learn to self-edit in a positive way.  Another plus is that this curriculum is chock full of fun games and manipulatives- it's definitely not some dry "Copy these sentences over and over until you hate writing" program!

    Please go take a look over at the website!  There's just so much to see- including a free sample lesson that you can download.  Here's a quick snipet of a lesson:

    I saved the best for last for you!   Here's a word from the folks over at Write Shop just for you!

    "We’d like to offer a special discount to your blog readers! When you post your reviews, feel free to include an offer of 15% off any WriteShop Primary and Junior products in the WriteShop store (including e-books) using coupon code CREW15 at checkout. Offer valid through June 15, 2012."

    Disclaimer:  I was given the Write Shop Junior Book D program in exchange for an honest and objective review on behalf of TOS magazine.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Day 5: The most important thing...

    "...Read to your bunny often.....AND....your bunny will read to you!"

    For some reason, when Abby was but a wee baby, those words of Rosemary Wells found their way into my momma-heart and never found their way back out again.  I have recited them upteen times and chanted them like a mantra when I was bleary-eyed from "Just one more?????PUH-LEEEEEEEEZ, Momma???!!!"

    Now, my bunnies read to me!  And I have such emotions when they do- pride, joy, satisfaction, pride....lots of pride.  When teaching my babies to read (which, by the way, is the most rewarding thing a person could EVER do!), I remember telling them over and over when they would get frustrated, "Don't give up, Bunny!  Once you can read, you can do anything!" And now at 7 and 10, I truly believe they can, in fact, do anything!

    The most important thing?

    More important than choosing the good tasty literature treasures?  Than finding them and bringing them home to your bunnies?

    Why, READING them, of course! Books impart no wisdom, no sentimentality or desire if left upon a shelf.  Some days it may feel like you can barely squeeze the time in to brush your teeth, let alone sit down to read Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
    Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
     for the 426,153,456,435,467,988,779,861th time!  If you're having THAT kind of day, may I invite you to adopt my mantra?

    "...Read to your bunny often....AND...your bunny will read to you!"

    Thank you for joining me on this 5 day blog hop!  I've really enjoyed it and hope you'll check out my friends as they round out their week as well!