Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stitch Fix #4 Review, Link Up and Giveaway

My fourth shipment from Stitch Fix arrived this week and it was a box full of eye candy! I am so, so, so excited to share my latest fix with you. Are you ready? Let me take you on a visual tour of my fix!
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

How Stitch Fix Works

Just in case you haven't heard of the amazing-ness that is Stitch Fix yet, let me be the first to tell you ALL about it! Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. To get started, go to StitchFix.com create an account (it's free to join) and complete a style profile. This is a brief survey of your sizes, personal style, and price limits. The entire process takes about 10 minutes and you even have a chance to tell your stylist about any areas of your body that you like to flaunt (or hide!)

Once your style profile is complete, you can make arrangements to schedule your first fix. For a $20 styling fee, you will be sent a box with 5 items inside. (Shipping is free.) You can try on all of the items in the comfort of your home and with the convenience of your closet nearby. Pair each item with pants, shoes, and accessories that you already own. It's like playing dress up. Seriously, it is SO much fun. 

check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

Keep any items you want and return the rest within three days. A pre-addressed shipping bag is included with your fix. Returns are free too! Your $20 styling fee is deducted front the cost of any items you keep. (So even if you keep just one thing, you get a $20 discount on that item). 

Ok, that's enough information about the service. Let's get to my fix! 

Stitch Fix #4 - Whats in the Box

Opening the box revealed an envelop declaring that my stylist thought I would love the pieces in my fix.

check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

The inside of the box reminds me of the process, as well as a reminder that I should try on each piece (even if it doesn't seem like I will like it at all.)
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

I couldn't wait another moment. I had to tear open the seal and see the clothes inside! 
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

Oh. My. Word. 
The colors. The beautiful colors. 
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

I'm going to stop talking typing for a minute and let you take it all in. 
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service
check out Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service

I told you these clothes were some serious eye candy!
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

In my previous Stitch Fix blog posts, I only showed photos of the clothes that I felt comfortable in. And, of course, people would comment at the end of EVERY post that they wished they could see me wearing the items that I wasn't so comfortable showing off. This time I decided to share photos of myself wearing every single garment included in my fix. 

Playing Dress Up

First up was the Mada Chevron Sleeveless Dress. I loved how bold and graphic the print was. I did not love how washed out I looked with my pale skin. I had to pair it with black tights to add some contrast and since summer will be here soon I knew I would not be rocking out black tights very often in the coming months. The dress was also too baggy on top. This one was destined to be returned. 
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

My next item was the Julia Utility Jacket. I adored the bright kelly green and the navy blue polka dot detail on the inner seams (look at my rolled up sleeves). Unfortunately, this jacket was a little too big in the shoulders and collar. It felt too bulky on me and looked like I was wearing my mom's jacket. I had to wear a scarf to sort of "fill" the extra space. Sadly, this piece was also returned. 
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

My third item was the beautiful pair of Zoe Open Shape Metal Earrings. LOVE! The nice thing about earring is that they always fit! This pair was definitely a keeper. 
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

I tried on the Sophia Skinny Jeans from Kenzie with the purple Natasha Front Pocket Sleeveless Blouse. Just like the green jacket, I adored the color of this blouse, but it was a little too big on top. I don't generally wear v-neck tops and the arm holes were a little too big as well. It looked great paired with a lightweight dark purple cardigan, but I would feel very uncomfortable 
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

And there you have it! Another fabulous fix from Carmen, my stylist.
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that ships 5 hand-picked clothing pieces each month. Check out what this blogger got in her fix

Here is the breakdown of each garment, price, and what I decided to keep. 
Mada Chevron Sleeveless Dress, $68, return
Julia Utility Jacket, $78, return
Zoe Open Shape Metal Earrings, $32, keep
Natasha Front Pocket Sleeveless Blouse, $54, return
Sophia Skinny Jeans, $88, keep

Stitch Fix Giveaway

Now that you know a little more about Stitch Fix, are you ready to try it for yourself? I'm giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card. This will cover your first styling fee so you can try the service risk-free! You won't have to pay for shipping and you'll just be billed for the items you wish to keep. 

Enter to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card

Use the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Chances to Win

My good friends from Sharing Kindergarten and A Differentiated Kindergarten are also giving away Stitch Fix gift cards this week. Stop by their blogs for more chances to win! 

Differentiated Kindergarten blog
Sharing Kindergarten blog

Stitch Fix Link Up

Calling all bloggers! Are you obsessed with Stitch Fix? Link up a blog post of your latest fix. We would LOVE to see what your stylist selected. Please be sure to include the button for the link-up in your blog post and post a link back to this post. 
Stitch Fix link up



An InLinkz Link-up

I'm also linking up with What I Wore Wednesday at the Pleated Poppy. 
pleated poppy

Give Stitch Fix a Try

Do you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself? Sign up for your first fix using my referral link (included throughout this post) and I receive a credit toward future fixes. 

You can also read more about my previous Fixes

Stitch Fix

I am already SO excited for May 14!
Do you use Stitch Fix? Are you new to the service and still curious about it?
Please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts! 


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Rainbow of Skip Counting Fun in Kindergarten

We have been learning how to skip count in my Kindergarten classroom for the past 2 weeks and the students have had a BLAST!  You know how much I love adding a fun twist to any traditional instruction, so we even made a few trips outside to practice skip counting in a kinesthetic way… with Skip Count Hopscotch! 
skip counting hopscotch

I have more information about the hopscotch to share with you further down in the post, but before my students could hop, they needed to gain an understanding of skip counting and visualize the process for how it works. So let's start with the basics

Skip Count Anchor Charts

I began my skip counting unit by adding a few colorful charts to my classroom calendar area. One chart was added for each skip counting set: counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s. 
Teacher anchor charts for skip counting

Learning to Skip Count

Even before the fancy charts were added to the classroom, my students were gaining confidence in counting by 10s and 5s. We started counting by 10s as we prepared for our 100th day of school and we use tallies each day to mark the date on our classroom calendar. 

Once the children started to gain confidence in counting orally by 10s, we started with our first Rainbow Skip Count page. The class and I worked together to fill in the missing count by 10 numbers on a 100 chart, using the big classroom chart as a reference. I modeled this process in our calendar area, and each child gathered on the floor around me to complete the page with me. 
skip count practice pages

As a finishing touch, students use a personal skip counting chart to trace their skip count numbers with markers or crayons to make it a rainbow counting page. In addition to the class anchor chart, each student was given a smaller 8.5x11 laminated student chart that showed the rainbow colors as a guide. 
Rainbow Skip Counting anchor charts, student chards and practice pages

Here you can see a child proudly displaying her rainbow numbers in front of our class skip counting charts. 
rainbow skip count practice pages

The next day we were ready to skip count by 5s. My students have certainly had less practice skip counting by 5s so this activity was more of a challenge for them. 
rainbow skip count practice pages

Differentiated Skip Counting Activities 

The great thing about my Rainbow Skip Counting pack is that it is DIFFERENTIATED. Students that have already figured out the pattern for skip counting by 5s can complete a skip count by 5s pack with lots of blank spaces. Students that are still working to gain the skill can begin by tracing numbers on the chart that are gray instead of blank. It's a great way to provide a little extra support for those who need it. 

DIFFERENTIATED Skip Counting Practice
DIFFERENTIATED Skip Counting Practice


 DIFFERENTIATED Skip Counting Practice

Once several students have mastered skip counting by 5s, we were ready to move onto skip counting by 2s! This skill is a particularly big one to master, so I break it into a few parts. The entire class started with a simple skip counting page that only went up to 40. This was a good first step. Several student writing pages for skip counting by twos are available in the pack to differentiate for the various needs of your students. 
Rainbow Skip Count pages

After any page from the pack is complete, I ask students to read their numbers and skip count for me. If students are able to skip count quickly, fluently, and easily, I know they are ready for a more challenging activity. For students who were quick to skip count by twos up to 40, it was time for a BIG challenge: going all the way up to 100!

Rainbow Skip Count pages

The rainbow design of the skip counting charts is a valuable tool for helping students keep track of the rows on the chart, but it is ESPECIALLY valuable for the skip count by 2s chart. There are SO many numbers and it is very easy for students to become lost or overwhelmed while they work. The rainbow rows remind students that they are on the orange row, or the blue row, or the dark green row and helps them to remain on task in the correct row with minimal confusion. 

Rainbow Skip Count pages

Skip counting by 2s up to 100 is quite an accomplishment!
Differentiated Rainbow Skip Count Practice

Differentiated Rainbow Skip Counting is available in my TpT store for $4. It has everything you need to help your students rainbow their way into skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s: teacher charts, student charts, and student practice pages. 

Differentiated Rainbow Skip Count Practice

Skip Count Hopscotch

Paper and pencil activities can be very valuable (especially when I let my students use markers) but I wanted to add a kinesthetic element to our skip counting unit. One day while were were outside for playtime, I brought some sidewalk chalk outside and set about the task of quickly drawing a hopscotch board that would count by 5s. I had a few girls that were VERY curious and eager to help. All I had to do was draw a quick outline and add the numbers to the spaces. My little helpers happily grabbed some chalk of their own and traced all of my numbers and lines to make them more bold. The entire board took less than 15 minutes to complete. Then the REAL fun began! 
skip counting hopscotch

To help my students HEAR the number patterns and gain fluency while they skip counted, I made sure each child recited the numbers allowed while they hopped. 
skip counting hopscotch
You can purchase a 48 pack of Crayola brand sidewalk chalk on Amazon for less than $8!

This was a great follow-up to the Hop by 10s hopscotch I created an an indoor option for our 100th day of school. 
skip counting hopscotch

You can read all about how I created the indoor hopscotch board and download FREE number printables to create your own Hop by 10s board. 
make your own indoor hopscotch

Do you have a great tip or activity for skip counting in the classroom? 
Please leave a comment telling me what you do… I would love to hear your ideas! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Earth Day Student Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Integrate a little fine art into your Earth Day lesson plans with a simple (and sweet) watercolor painting. I completed this activity with my own kindergarten students last week and it was a huge hit. This blog post breaks the entire process down into small, easy steps that will give all students a feeling of success!
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

I love, love, LOVE the simplicity of this project! 

All that you need is a piece of white cardstock, water color paints, a pencil, black crayon and a hearty-shaped template. (I created mine from an old file folder.)
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

Have students place the heart template in the center of the cardstock and trace around it with a pencil. 
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions

Use the pencil to add a few "blobs" to the heart and create the appearance of land. 
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions

Then, add lines that extend from the heart to the edges of the pages. This will give the appearance that the heart-shaped earth is shining.
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions

That's is all of the drawing that's required!
The next step is simple but oh-so-important to help prevent the paint colors from running together. Use a black crayon to trace on top of each pencil line. Encourage students to add a little extra pressure and make nice dark lines with the black crayon.
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

Once all of the pencil lines have been traced with black crayon, your students will be ready to paint!
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions

In my kindergarten class, I gave step-by-step painting directions so the students would be mindful of using the proper colors. Each student began by painting the land "blobs" green.
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions

Then, they used blue paint to add the oceans to their heart shaped earth.
Earth Day watercolor painting project with EASY step-by-step directions
Finally, the rays of light around the earth were painted with red, orange, yellow, and purple. 
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

The completed project is stunning. 
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

Now that you have seen the tutorial, let me share a few photos from when I did this activity in my own classroom. We completed this painting during VIP day so each of my children had an adult by their side for the project. Having an extra set of hands is not necessary, however. I would gladly do this same project even on a day without any classroom volunteers. As long as you provide step-by-step directions and only give one or two instructions at a time, kindergarten students can have success completing this project independently. 

Here you can see students carefully tracing their pencil marks with a black crayon. 
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

Then it was time to paint! Notice that the students used green watercolors to paint the land first, then added blue oceans to the picture.
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

It's important to tell students how to use watercolors successfully. They don't intuitively know how much water to use. I always give plenty of reminders to keep the paints wet, but not soaking wet. I remind the class that if they want dark colors, the paints should only have a little bit of water in them. The lesson is worthwhile because every single painting that my students created was just as vibrant as this one! 
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

I mounted the completed paintings on black construction paper. 
Isn't this just gorgeous?!?
EASY step-by-step directions to make this Earth Day watercolor painting

More Ideas for Earth Day

Need a few more ideas for classroom Earth Day projects? Use handprints from the entire class to make a giant painting of the earth. Or create a pretty "stained glass" window decoration of the Earth with tissue paper. Click on a photo for more information! 
giant handprint painting of the Earth
Earth Day window decoration

Interactive Sight Word Readers for Earth Day

Integrate literacy into your Earth Day lessons with the Interactive Sight Word Reader "We Can Take Care of OUR World." Students will work to spell the sight word "our" while reading about many items that we can recycle to care for the Earth. 
Perfect emergent reader for Earth Day!

Get Your School Involved

Teach your students an authentic lesson in ecology… create a school-wide recycle center! Many standard classroom supplies (such as glue sticks, crayons and markers) can be recycled! Read all about my school's Recycle Center and discover resources to establish one at your school too!

tips and resources to create a Recycle Center at your school

What are your classroom plans for Earth Day?