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July 19, 2012

I Teach K! Treasure Hunt Pictures

Do you like to hunt for teacher treasure at conferences??  I do!

One of my favorite things to do at educational conferences is to go into the rooms where different people are presenting, and look at all of the goodies and gadgets that they have displayed there.  Then I search for the very best ones, and take pictures of them!  I like to call this process my “Treasure Hunt,” because it is often like looking for buried treasure amongst all of the things that they have set up.  And, just like Pinterest, a picture is often worth a thousand words!  So it is often possible to just look at what they have on display for all of their sessions and instantly just “know” what they are going to say about it!  It is the quickest way to get new ideas that I know of.  Sometimes, there are just as many great ideas in the exhibit hall as well.  Here are a few pictures of the treasures that I found at I Teach K last week!  I hope you enjoy them!

Gumball Machine from

I found this plastic gumball machine in the exhibit hall at the Helps 4 Teachers booth for $6.99!  The exhibitor is a teacher who created a bunch of neat things and then wound up selling them, much like myself.  She took sight words and printed them out very small, and used Mod Podge to stick them onto little rock-like jewels.  The children are supposed to push the button to get a few jewels out and then write the words on their papers.  However, I noticed that you don’t just get one jewel at a time with this gumball machine; you get several, depending on how long you hold down the handle.  So I was thinking of perhaps using this one as a math center and having the children count the number of jewels that came out.  Otherwise, they might only get to push it once and then have to write five words!  I love the idea, though, and I will be on the lookout for a “real” gumball machine that takes pennies and dispenses the jewels one at a time.  You can purchase this gumball machine here.

I Have, Who Has game from Julie Brinkley.

I saw these “I Have, Who Has” cards in Julie Brinkley’s room after her session on math workstations.  (It was great, by the way!)  I really like the idea of using pictures and names to introduce this type of game to the children.  I had never thought of this before!

Vanessa Levin’s New Book, and My Alphabet Action Book!

Vanessa Levin was displaying her brand new book, called A Fabulous First Year and Beyond.  She even gave me a free copy of it and it looks like a wonderful resource!  If you are familiar with her blog and website, Pre-K Pages, then you already know that she is an absolute WEALTH of information.  Since Vanessa is a Pre-K expert, she is my “go-to” person when I am out of ideas for remedial students.

Electronic Dice from

I fell in love with these electronic dice from the booth!  The only thing is that you have to take the dice and kind of slam them down on the table to activate them, rather than just roll them, for some reason.   I had some electronic dice like these for a few years back and the kids just loved them!  I was sad when the batteries ran out; that’s why I bought another pair.

Vanessa Levin’s Car and Letter Idea

This is another one of Vanessa Levin’s ideas that I saw on her display table.  She did not mention it in the session that I sat in on, but my assumption is that you would have the children roll the car in the direction that they should write the letter.  Love that!

Vanessa also had some of these cards on display.

It reminds me of a similar idea that Vanessa had on display from, in which you print out the letters and roll cars along them in the same way.  The letters are printed with roads down the middle of them.  They are really cute- and it’s a FREE download! (But watch out- it takes a lot of ink, and the ink is NOT free!)  The way I first heard about it, though, was that the children were supposed to make the letter sound as they rolled the car along the letter.
—- Newsflash!!!  Vanessa just left a comment below regarding these letter cards that I thought would be helpful for you to know:  “On the race car alphabet letters I added sticker dots, green for where they should start and red for when they should stop their car. This helps with proper letter formation and imprints in their muscle memory as they “drive” their cars across the letters.”—-

Oh, look!  What interesting looking DVD’s and CD’s from HeidiSongs!!!

Of course, it is always fun to go take a peek at my own CD’s and DVD’s in the exhibit hall and see how it looks all on display!  I remember the first time I saw my name on the display… what a thrill!

Alfie the Alligator, also from

This is a neat little manipulative to use when teaching the more and less symbol!  There is a book that goes with it, too.  You can flip it either direction; it is printed on both sides.

The Alfie Alligator book is in the middle of the display.

As I am looking at their website, it looks like the little manipulative above is sold with it, and you get 22 of them along with the book!  Looking at the picture now, I think I should have taken a better look at her Fact Family book.  (I deliberately try NOT to look at picture books any more because I have more of them in my classroom than I have time to read in a given school year- or maybe TWO school years!!!)  Do you think that there is such a thing as an addiction to picture books?

Clear hair gel plus food coloring: irresistible!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking:  this hair gel in a baggie idea is nothing new.  But I have never actually FELT it before, and I have to tell you, it’s irresistible!  This baggie was on Vanessa Levin’s display table, and I couldn’t stop touching it and drawing things on it.  What fun!  I am inspired; I’m going to have to implement this idea next year!!!  I understand that they sell hair gel at the Dollar Store, too, so it shouldn’t cost much.  My only concern is that I think it might be hard to keep the kids from opening up the bags….  The idea, of course, is that they should be writing letters, numbers, and shapes on the baggies.  Sounds good to me!
—NEWSFLASH!  Vanessa just left a comment below about how she avoids children opening up the bags:  she seals the tops of them with packing tape.  Thanks for the tip, Vanessa!— 

This is a jeep and army men counting workmat from Julie Brinkley’s session on math workstations!  I think that the boys would go crazy for this!

Here is another one of her workstations that I thought was very clever!!!  I like the idea of using recycled materials for children to count with, too.

Here is a barn and farm animal workstation.

Julie Brinkley also had this cute little barn and farm animal workstation set out as well.  And by now, you are probably wondering if this wonderful person has a website or blog!  And the answer is…. I don’t know!!!!  If anyone knows, please leave a comment and I will add her link to my blog here!

—-Newsflash!  Stacy just left a comment below with Julie Brinkley’s blog, and here it is:  Thanks so much, Stacy!—-

I will share more ideas with you next week.  For now, I’m off to Alabama for the Alabama Kindergarten Association Conference!  I am so honored that they invited me to come speak!  I have been wanting to come to their conference for many years, so I am looking forward to it.  After that, I am flying directly to Missouri for SDE’s Kindergarten Conference in Osage Beach!  I will actually have an extra day there to enjoy the Ozarks and look around a little bit!  AND I’ll have a rental car!  So I am excited to have a wee bit of time for fun as well.  If you are going to be at either of these places, then I’ll see you soon!