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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thinking about 2014-15


Can't believe how fast this year flew by-- It was a record in my book! The end of the year is always bittersweet but it is nice to have a change of pace, revamp activities and take a breath.... It will be over before we know it and we'll be back in the swing of a busy year!  I don't know about you but I cannot get school out of my mind during the summer. Next year I will be teaching a 1/2 multiage! It will be quite the undertaking but I am excited for a new challenge! One perk of multiage is that I will have the same group of 1st graders for two years-- however, this means a lot more planning to keep things fresh and engaging. One activity I have done since my first year is our class time capsule--my 2nd graders absolutely LOVE it! They ask multiple times when we are going to un-dig our capsule and they are always floored to see how much they grew over the course of a year. I want to be able to keep the tradition of a time capsule, so created a booklet. The information is the same in both so we can see how we change over the course of the two years but a different format keeps it new.... at least I hope! 
Depending on the age of your kiddos you could cut and assemble prior or let then try once they fill each page out.  It may require a bit of patience but I love when the work is fully "theirs." Inside the time capsule I also include a string to represent their height, a photograph, a hand tracing & letter writing page (both included) The booklet will print well on white copy paper or you can print on colored as pictured to add some spice. In the past I have had kids decorate a paper bag or decorate a piece of construction paper and wrap it around a paper towel roll. Then we pack them away in a waterproof tub and "bury it" with the help of our wonderful custodian.   Here is the original link to the time capsule packet or you can find the booklet here! Have a blast-- would love to hear how you used this in your classroom! 

Included in both packs you will find:
Cover Sheet
Portrait Page
About Me Page
Favorites Page
Goal Page
Letter to self page
Handprint page

Do Not Open Tag  



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rocks & Minerals!

A long time ago I shared these tid-bits on my parent classroom blog and pinned them...it was my first go at "pinning" and it was fun to see my pin shared among others. We did these same activities again this year during my rocks and minerals unit. 



My kiddos always love making these Earth representations out of clay. They are always in awe when we cut down the center and reveal the layers. I find that this really solidifies the idea that the earth is made up of several layers and helps them identify each layer. 


We also made rock cycle bracelets to remember the 3 types of rocks (Sedimentary, Metamorphic & Igneous) and to help us understand how heat, pressure & erosion play into the transformation of rocks. 
 Shiny brown Sedimentary
Orange- Magma/heat transforming rocks
Black- Igneous rock as it cools and hardens
Blue-weather and erosion breaking down into sediments  
Light brown- represents Metamorphic rocks

We learned this fun song (to the tune of row, row, row your boat) 
SEDIMENTARY Rock

Has been formed in layers 
Often found near water sources 
With fossils from decayers 

Then there's  IGNEOUS Rock
Here since Earth was born
MOLTEN lava, cooled and hardened 
That's how it is formed 

These two types of rocks 
Can also be transformed 
With pressure, heat and chemicals 
METAMORPHIC they'll become. 


Here is a link to an interactive Rock Cycle that we used on our whiteboard to better understand each part. 



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Martin Luther King FREEBIE Literacy Pack!



I have to admit I didn't realize we had no school this coming Monday....time is flying by! Here are a few activities I have done in the past to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and talk about the important role he played in American history. Does your school have a subscription to Brain Pop Jr.? My kids and I love it! It is a great way to introduce a topic or reinforce current learning. You can sign up for a free trial to try it out-- The video is a great way to educate students the life and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. We also do an activity with two different colored eggs to talk about equality. It always sparks meaningful conversation among my kiddos and a lasting impact about the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity. Check out these links for other ideas! Also check out my literacy pack with activities to engage your learners! Would love to hear how you use it in your classroom!



Martin Luther King Jr.: Everything You Need | Scholastic.com

Monday, December 30, 2013

Skip Counting-Work Station

One way we settle into our day is through work stations-- they are called work stations because there is usually some type of accountable work to do--we have an important job! I love starting the day this way as it keeps kids active and engaged from the start. They love having a new activity each day and it is a great way to supplement literacy and math, preview concepts and reinforce trickier areas. I have some new winter workstations in process-- but they have not been kid approved yet! In the meantime, try this skip counting activity! I love using pocket charts for workstations so that kids can spread out and organize. All you need to do is cut out the penguins and copy the recording sheet! If your kids finish early have them try a challenge--scramble up all the penguins and try counting backwards without looking at their recording sheet. This tends to be trickier for my kiddos! Follow my tpt store or blog (also have bloglovin') for updates on easy to set-up workstations to start your new year! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Math Fun!

I hope you all are having a nice, relaxing break. I don't know about you but it was very needed! My kiddos were beyond excited the week leading up to the big day...there was lots of energy to be had! To me, the best thing about the holidays is spending time with family. Luckily, my sister and brother in law were able to fly in from Dallas for a few days! It is so nice to have them back home in NH. Thank you to those who have followed my little blog... I appreciate each and every comment and "follow" and love the collaborative part of teaching. Although I do a lot of blogging for families I was ready for something new... connecting with other bloggers and teachers was the first step-- I am in awe of the educators who shared their ideas while balancing their profession and family-- making it seem so seamless.  Wow! I still have a long way to go in the world of blogging but this has been a great start and I appreciate your support! I am excited to share that I figured out how to share a file so you can see what you're getting... being a visual person I tend to go towards resources that I can see first. Click on the image to get a "free" preview of this packet. Would love any feedback. Enjoy!  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Spreading some holiday cheer!

Over the past few years our class has created Christmas ornaments to raise money for a local community outreach. Here are some quick, fun ways to get your kiddos involved in spreading holiday cheer. You are probably familiar with using acrylic paint to create a marbleized look inside the ornament. 
These came out beautiful but took some time to dry. 
Another year we used cut up squares of seasonal tissue paper (about 1 in. each) and used "Modge-podge" to adhere them to the ball. We found that plastic ornament balls were a lifesaver (if you can find them)... much less breakage and worry! Wish I had a picture of the final product... guess I got too busy in the fun of creating...there is always next time. 


Looking for a less messy, quick option? Just add some tinsel, plastic berries, or ting to create a whimsical look and tie off with some festive ribbon. 






Saturday, November 23, 2013

Character Study and Graphic Organizer Freebie

This past month we have been thinking deeply about characters in our stories through read-a-louds and independent reading. We have learned about character traits, noticed how characters change throughout a story, and thought about the components that make up a story. We have studied how a character reacts to a problem in their lives and how they go about solving that problem. This has also translated into Writers' Workshop as we work to create realistic fiction stories with a developed character. 

This week we have worked specifically on comparing the characters from two different stories. How are the characters different and what similarities do they share? We have also been working on backing up our responses with evidence from the text. 
 

Characters can teach us many important lessons about life. Although we read and discussed many different characters we focused on the main characters from Kevin Henkes books- Particularly Wendell, Chester & Lily. Who are some of your favorite characters to explore with your class? Click here or on the venn-diagram below to get a copy for your class... plain and simple but gets the job done!