Get to Know the EI Staff: Product Manager, Marcia Gresko!

How long have you worked at Educational Insights?

I have worked at EI for 14 years.

What drew you to working here?

I’m a former teacher. I was a teacher for 15 years. We do materials and products that help kids in the classroom and help kids learn at home. It seemed like a natural extension of what I had done before, but it was also something different. After teaching for 15 years, I was looking for something different as well.

What did you teach?

I taught high school English for 8 years, I taught preschool for 7 years, and I worked in a pull-out program for a year with gifted kids, but I don’t really count that with the 15 years because it was part-time. I still volunteer in a classroom every week. I work for an hour in a local literacy program teaching struggling readers.

What was your favorite toy growing up?

[laughs] If I tell you that, then you’ll know how old I am! Did they have toys? Let’s see, we played with sticks! Well, I can tell you what I remember. Well, I loved skates. I had skates when I was a kid. Back in those days, parents just let you go anywhere. My mother wanted me and my brother out of the house. We skated everywhere. I also loved my hula-hoop. I had a doll that was called a Patty Play Pal that was 3 ft. tall. My uncle was in the toy business; he was a distributor. He got me this Patty Play Pal for the holidays one year…it was huge!

What’s your favorite toy here at EI?

Well, of course, Magic Moves wand. It’s my invention from last year and its fun because it’s deceptively simple. It really does teach kids a lot of things even though you’d think it was just a movement toy. The biggest thing is that kids get up and dance and move creatively, but it also teaches vocabulary. I had a lot of sophisticated vocabulary for the age group it’s designed for. It’s really designed for three-year-olds to maybe five-year-olds. It uses words like slither and soar, but it also uses bounce and jump, which are really simple words. It uses sophisticated words so that they are exposed to some rich vocabulary, which I think is really important for kids.

There are some technical things that as a teacher, if you were to work with kids moving to the tunes that I would actually do that would help kids surprisingly with things like the alphabet. So, if you swim and if you cross what’s called the midline of your body, that’s really that kind of physical activity that is supposed to be good for beginning readers. You move fast, and you move slowly. It’s really just a kind of deceptively simple thing. It’s well designed. I worked really hard with the team here. I worked with an outsider. I’m really proud of it and it’s doing well.

What inspired you to make that? What was your most unconventional inspiration?

What inspired me to make that game was that I was a former preschool teacher, and again, back in those days [laughs], we used records. I used records and I would give the commands like, “Okay, stomp like a dinosaur!”

First of all, it has all the light shows and everything, so it’s not just a command. It has entertaining and colorful light shows. It also allows kids to lead a musical session. It’s not always the teacher in control. So, when we filmed our little commercial here, one of the kids was actually in charge. It really allows kids to build self-esteem and build some element of control.

What’s a typical day like for you outside of work?

[Laughs] Who’s outside of work for enough hours for it to make a difference? The weekends are probably what I can speak to. Around here, we work very long hours, especially during the summer because it’s our busiest time since we’re trying to get product out.

I run errands. I love to bake. I love to read.

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September 9th, 2012 Deal of the Day: Spinzone Magnetic Spinners

Add a fun spin to your classroom activities with today’s Deal of the Day, SpinZone® ‘s Magnetic Whiteboard Spinners! Use these three giant 11″ spinners to turn your whiteboard into a custom game or activity for the whole class. Simply draw a circle, write in content, attach a spinner, and play!

Originally $19.99, Get three SpinZone(R) Spinners for $14.99 (saving you 25%) until midnight tonight PST over at http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/spinzone-reg-+magnetic+whiteboard+spinners.do

August 17th, 2012 Deal of the Day: The Dog Ate My Homework

It’s Friday August 17th and today’s Deal of the Day is The Dog Ate My Homework!

This paper organizer makes an adorable and fun addition to any classroom! Make turning in homework a real treat and take the bite out of turning in homework with Fido. Have kids feed Fido their homework and simply open the roof to collect papers. This sturdy cardboard organizer is easy to assemble and folds flat when not in use. Fits up to 9”W x 12”H paper.

Normally $19.99, today’s Deal of the Day is yours for just $11.99, plus free shipping with promo code EIFREE! Hurry, this offer ends tonight at midnight PST!

Get it at: http://www.educationalinsights.com/product/the+dog+ate+my+homework.do?from=Search

August 12th, 2012 Deal of the Day

It’s Sunday August 10th, 2012 and it’s our last Deal of the Day of the summer! But like all good things, they must eventually come to an end. Today, we have decided to feature our Woodsy Words™ Game!

It’s Pick Up Sticks with a reading twist! Great for ages 5-8, Woodsy Words enhances reading skills with simple game play. Simply hold all the sticks in one hand and let them fall onto a flat surface. Select one stick – if you can extract it without moving any of the others, read the word printed on it and select another stick. Continue play until you bump another stick or get stuck on a word. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins! Put them back and start again or try to use all your words in a sentence!

This game can be played with 1 to 4 players and it includes 30 earth-friendly vocabulary words on wood sticks and game instructions.

Woodsy Words normally sells for $12.99, but today you can get it for only $7.99 until midnight PST. As an additional gift from us to you, type in EIFREE at checkout and enjoy Free shipping with this Deal of the Day Purchase!

Deal of the Day may be over for now, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll stop having awesome sales and discounts for our fans. “Like” us on Facebook to get exclusive access to our giveaways and first-hand insights into upcoming and/or current sales. Don’t miss out!

Fun Metric Worksheets from Nancy B.

Nancy Balter is our math and science product developer here at Educational Insights. Not only is she brilliant in developing educational toys and games in her area of expertise, but she was also a teacher for 11 years! Today she has graciously shared with us some very helpful worksheets to help your kids learn their metric system.

A word from Nancy:
These two fun worksheets help students to learn the Metric System. The 2-page Optical Illusions worksheet has students using a ruler to practice measuring in metric (using centimeters and millimeters). Kids love optical illusions so it’s fun to do. The Cinderella worksheet has kids converting between metric units. (BTW: the answer to the riddle ‘Why did Cinderella get thrown off the baseball team?’ is: Because she ran away from the ball!) Both worksheets list the skill used on the bottom left corner of the page.

We hope you enjoy them!