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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Back to School Medley of Products and Introductions


As these hot summer days draw us nearer to the end of August, we're approaching the beginning of the new school year (where did the summer go!!??), which seems a perfect time to recap some of our recent products. 

Calendar Time!

 If you've been watching our TPT store or this blog, you've seen some great Calendar and Bulletin Board additions we recently added that will work brilliantly for you as you plan out your classroom decor.  The theme is Bohemian, so think lots of bright colors and fun patterns excellent for lower elementary.     


Another fabulous product line, so often needed for the beginning of school, are our latest Craft packets.  If any of you have a Solar system theme going, our little Astronaut Craft (with room for student photo) will be perfect!  Check those out on our "A Crafts" Blog that shares about them in more detail.





A is for Astronauts!

I also want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our newest Glimmercat Education Team Member, Alana Holladay.  Alana is a mom of 5, with a passion for teaching them and a desire to share what she's learned in doing so. 






She enjoys reading, writing and assisting her husband in planning and prepping for his multi-grade K-7 ESL class. This, along with teaching her own kids, has given her the bug of creating fun and original teaching materials and she's excited to use the Glimmercat platform to share her unique ideas with the world!  Welcome Aboard, Alana!


And with that, all of us at Glimmercat Education would like to wish all our friends an incredible Back to School Year!




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Elephants, Envelopes, Eggs & an Elf! Crafts for Letter E



How do you choose which vowel sounds to focus on when you create a letter of the week format for young children?  I try to make sure that one sound is introduced: only one.  And it is always the short sound.  There will always be time later to introduce the knowledge that every vowel has a second sound.  That's what makes the vowels stand out! 


But I admit, this can make crafting tricky!  There aren't THAT many items that begin with the short e sound as you might first imagine.  And we want things that young children can actually relate with.  Things that are already a part of their world. 

I also always try to include one animal in the batch of crafts for letters.  Children love animals.  They learning about them and they love stories involving them.  And there is, of course, no better animal for letter E than the ever popular Elephant! 


Our Elephant Craft is a basic cut and paste.  You can see the example of the finished craft in the bottom right hand corner.  We also have a black and white version which is perfect for following up the story of Elmer.  You know the Elmer story, right?  By David McKee? If you don't, take a listen:


Elmer is such a great story, and one of my young students colored a VERY colorful elephant after she listened to Elmer.


This little elephant alone is enough to run over and pick up our new E craft packet

But let's check out the other crafts, too.  I want to show you our fun little mailbox that is so good for pretend playing with Envelopes.


Learning more about mail and envelopes is a perfect study for Letter E.  And so I also include our booklist for letter E, which has some fabulous suggestions for kids to learn more about mail.


Also included in our Craft packet is a marvelous Egg craft that involves crushing eggshells.  Small children love the tactile experience of feeling eggshells crunch under their hands.  If desired, you can even paint the shells before you crunch them, like we did below:


But regardless, the end result is this adorable little spring chick:


Lastly, our Elf Craft Sheet is fabulous.  Here's the colored version:

But we love it best when the children get to personalize their little elves, and color them up on their own. 



Learn more about this fabulous collection of crafts for E (the short sound), here in our store.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dandelions, Dogs, Dinosaurs and Ducks: Crafts for Letter D


When I am looking a little something extra for little bodies to do, my preference always leans toward the haptic activity.  I was such a haptic learner when I was a child:  anything I could pick up, grasp, touch, and feel was much more likely to be something I retained.  And I find as I teach, that probably most small children fall into that category at the Kinder levels.


This Dandelion craft seen above, is exactly that kind of activity.  Sure, we have the black and white version so the children can color it first, but the real fun begins as soon as they stick on the play-dough (or clay or Styrofoam ball) and start filling the thing full of Q-tips that have been cut into halves or thirds.  That is the best.

I love to follow up a craft with a great story, and yes, thanks to my Children's Librarian background, I even have a great story about Dandelions.  It is The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony and you can check it out on this read-aloud.


Thus begins our four new letter D crafts in our brand new D Craft packet which you can purchase in our store!


But let me give you a glimpse of the other three included crafts, too.  First, you can't let letter D go by without doing something with Dinosaurs.  Our Dinosaur craft uses shape identifiers (square, circles, triangles) to allow children to put the dinosaur shapes exactly where they're supposed to go.


Another fun craft that we offer in our D Crafts packet is a duck craft.  This little critter takes a lot of cutting and folding: perfect activities for those little ones who still need to practice this kind of hand-eye coordination.


And last but not least, we also include a little Dog craft, using a toilet paper tube.  This is one of those projects that your little ones will go home, holding proudly, and maybe include in their pretend play.




As you know, if you follow my blog, I can hardly let a craft go by, without recommending some great read-alouds to go with it.   So, in our letter D craft packet, I include a letter D Booklist.  You will probably find some books you are familiar with, but hopefully, I have given you a few new ones to check out, too:



Each of our crafts has a place for children to write their names (or have an adult write the name) so that student works are easily identifiable.

You can find all these crafts shown here,  and our other fun Letter Craft packets in our store

Monday, April 30, 2018

Caterpillars, Cows, Cats & Crabs: Crafts for Letter C


Letter C is the time when you can really start creating with little ones if you are following through with a kind of letter of the week format.  They are now beginning to expect that their time with you results in an amazing creation that they have somehow personalized into their very own.  Followed up by a story or some sort of learning time that highlights this new thing they have made with their own hands. 

We can't disappoint them now!  We have created this fabulous Letter C Craft Packet to cover four letter C crafts that will come in so handy for students of later aged preschool through the 1st grade. 

Let's begin with our Crab Craft:


This little guy utilizes either a stamp pad or fingers dabbed in paint for his legs.  The only trick will be ensuring that the paint from student fingers only ends up on our specially made beach image, and not anywhere else.  (A box of handy wipes after paint use does the trick!)

I have such a fun story to recommend for this Crab Craft creation.  It is Bill Peet's Kermit the Hermit.  It is a longer story, and will be best for students who are age 5 and older, but the imagery is engaging and the little blue crab gains our empathy early on.   If you have younger kiddos, I'd recommend Eric Carle's A House for Hermit Crab.

Next, let's look at our Cow Craft: 


This sleepy-eyed fellow is a perfect follow up to any of Doreen Cronin's Click Clack Stories.  One of our favorites is Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.  The version of this read aloud that I found for you here, would work excellent for classroom viewing:



If you would prefer a Duck Craft as a follow-up to this fun story, I would also recommend our Letter D craft packet, which has a fabulous duck craft included!

All of our craft packets include both a black and white version and a color version for easy printing of your preference. 


We couldn't let the Letter C go by without creating a craft that included our favorite character, our very own Glimmercat.  But to those who aren't familiar with her, this craft can be simply a fun cartoon cat, white with gray spots.  This one turns out best if students use a slightly thicker paper: a light card-stock would be best!


As you have noticed, we like to recommend great children's stories for read-alouds with our crafts, and also included in our Letter C craft packet is our recommended Book List for these crafts. 


And last but not least, let's look at our Caterpillar Craft: 


Every Letter C Craft packet should have a good quality caterpillar craft included because caterpillars are so fun to learn about and discover.  My students have always loved making patterns with their pom-poms as they glue them onto their spaces, and cutting out the Caterpillar eyes and feet gives them some delightful hand-eye coordination to work on.

Check out one of the above suggested books for Caterpillars (Waiting for Wings and Ten Little Caterpillars)  for some great follow-up read alouds. 

Be sure to check out our Letter C Craft Packet in our store!  Happy Crafting!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Butterflies, Bats, Buses and Bears! Crafts for Letter B


Sometimes, you just want to pull out an easy craft to round out that Kindergarten lesson.  Or, maybe you read one of my favorite Mo Willem's children books, "Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus"...



And you were wishing you had one craft more to help make those little ones relate that much more with the pigeon.  I mean who doesn't wish they could drive a bus once, right?


We love this latest packet of our Letter B crafts and we can always come up with suggestions for how to use them, even if you don't need to teach the Letter B anytime soon!

For instance, let's say it's getting close to Halloween and you need a friendly Bat for kids to create...Voila! we have that for you.  Look how cute he is!


Or, it's Spring semester : time to teach about the life cycle of the butterfly, and you'd like to have your kids color in their own butterfly wings on a butterfly craft, but drawing them out sounds a little challenging.



We have you covered!

Since for several years I worked in the public sector as a Children's Librarian, I can't imagine these crafts without a good Children's Book read-aloud to go along with it.   So I've also created, a book list of recommended titles that includes some great stories that are perfect for reading out loud to little ones.



Hopefully, some of these books will be new ones to add to your own library.  Personally, I think you can never have enough good books.


We try to make sure that all of our crafts are doable by little hands and each one has been kid tested and approved.  This more challenging bus craft, shown above, might require a little assistance when it comes to taping it together, but what better way to practice all those excellent hand-eye coordinating skills then letting your students try?

We also make sure that all of our crafts have their black and white counterparts, so you will find a version that can be hand-colored in each of the crafts in our packets. 


Perfect for your Reading Literacy activities after a good bear story, our Bear Craft is a simple cut and paste.


And each craft has a spot for writing student names, so that these precious completed projects will make it home in the backpack they were intended for!

Check out more of our Craft Products in our Store!



You can find our printable B Crafts Packet ready to be purchased and downloaded today!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Apples, Astronauts, Ants and Alligators! Crafts for Letter A


There is no doubt about it:  crafts are an undervalued part of the education process for young children.  And yet SO important!  Those little hands still need opportunities for hand-eye coordination and those little minds delight so much in the ability to create things.  Using a craft to connect the dots between a letter/sound or a read-aloud story, take that learning to another level.  So while the temptation is to put craft-making on the shelf, I'm trying to remember that it is an all important facet of the daily process. 


Our latest Craft Packet tries to keep in mind the types of crafts that can be most easily implemented in the classroom, as well as keep them fun and entertaining for children.  Not too difficult, but still challenging those little hands with using scissors, and working in letters when appropriate. 

Above, in our Ant Craft, we use the Letter A to make the Ant's lower set of legs.  Children draw in the letter A before gluing on pom-poms to form the body.  It's a perfect follow-up to learning the song, "The Ant's Go Marching":


 ...or reading a favorite children's book about Ants. 

In fact, here's my recommended children's book list for letter A, perfect for reading out loud and perfect for introducing apples, astronauts, ants and alligators to little ones!



Our Alligator Craft will challenge those small hands with extra cutting, but it is a very rewarding finished product to little people who still see paper creatures as a kind of new toy. 



We love pairing this guy up with the story "Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator" by Mo Willems (see our Book list above). 


Apple crafts are a dime a dozen, but we suggest having students poke a little hole in their apple that their finger can stick through.  A little happy face drawn onto their "worm" finger will make their face light up with smiles. 

One of our favorite science videos is "Cat in the Hat:  Space is the Place".  


 There's no better way to follow up Nick and Sally meeting an Astronaut then to let children put themselves in space with the awesome photo craft. 

All of our crafts are also available in black and white, so if you want them to practice coloring their crafts to make them truly their own, that possibility is there:


Feel free to look at our Letter A Craft Packet in more detail in our Store.  This is a printable packet, requiring glue, tape, scissors, printing ability, and little else.  You can check it out here today.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Making a Masterpiece for Medieval Guilds


Our most recent dive into Medieval History has brought us to learning about the Guilds and how the Guilds drove business and trade during the Middle Ages.  I wanted to give the kids a taste of Medieval Business so we read about what it would take to become a Master Craftsman. 

First, several years were spent being an Apprentice, then a Journeyman, then a Craftsman, and finally a Master Craftsman.  In order to be approved to hang out a sign and begin a business, we learned that you would first need to get a "Masterpiece" approved by the Guild.  This sounded like we could create an exciting activity around it.  So, we began our Medieval Trades Activity (seen in the image below).


The kids chose a trade.  Then, they followed the Masterpiece activity suggestion for their trade.  For instance, to be an Armorer, you would need to create a shield or helmet (cardboard works great!) Here is my young Armorer, hard at work on a Shield to present as her Masterpiece:

 
She had to get her Shield painted and ready to present to the Guild (her teacher) and it was proclaimed an approved "Masterpiece".


Now she has confirmed herself to be a Master Craftsman at her trade.  She is now ready to prepare a sign that she can set up, showing off her Tools of the Trade, or a product that explains what she is skilled at. 

She chooses a Sign Page, and off she goes. 


This is always a fascinating study for children who are already reading or are beginning to learn how to read.  For of course, in Medieval Society, few could read and all signs must be designed for an illiterate clientele.  We have create the basic sign sheets (see below), ready to be designed with the "Tools of the Trade" or whatever image the children come up with that they feel most accurately depicts what they do. 

In the case of my little Armorer above, she is drawing an armored hand to depict her Trade.

 
Upon completion of her Sign, she was ready to start up work as a Master Craftsman Armorer!  What fun!

Everything needed for this activity can be found in our most recent product, Medieval Signs and Subtleties.



Not only are the Sign Sheets, the Guild Information, and the Medieval Trades Activity (above) included in this great packet, but we also include a lesson on how to create a Medieval Subtlety from Marzipan, one of the few delicacies of the Middle Ages.


Keep following us for more fun historical projects that help kids enjoy each facet of the learning process.  In the meantime, you can check out this latest product, Medieval Signs and Subtleties, in our Store.