Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun on the Farm and Reading Response Journal FREEBIE

A very special thing about the sweet little school I teach at is- we have a farm! The kids love taking care of the animals, feeding them and tending to our gardens. We have miniature ponies, goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, peacocks etc. We have an amazing animal care taker and she is so good at educating the kids about the animals. This year has been a very difficult year to fund our farm. With all the budget cuts in education in our state, the district dramatically cut our funding for animal feed. Our PTA stepped in and gave some money. We have written Donors Choose grants for funding. Today we had a Fun On The Farm fundraiser to raise money for the animals and bring some Halloween fun to our school. Each student donated money for the farm and each class had a special time to go to the farm and pick out a small pumpkin, take their picture with our goats or bunnies and they played carnival games and won prizes.
Kids playing carnival games on the farm.

Fishin' for prizes

Me feeding our sweet little goat.

The kids had a blast and we raised some of money to continue helping our animals. It was so successful, we might just have to do it again in the spring!

For all you Treasures reading teachers out there- I have just typed up reading response journals for Unit 3 for California Treasure. There are 2 questions for each story. The stories are the same (with a few exceptions on each unit), but introduced in a different order. Unit 3 stories include:
The Alvin Ailey Kids
Abuelo and the Three Bears
Music of the Stone Age
Click, Clack Moo
Stirring Up Memories



Click HERE to download your free copy! If you download them, I would love for you to leave a comment letting me know. 

To all my friends back east- you are in my thoughts and I hope you are all safe from Sandy.



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Binders,a Freebie and a Halloween SALE

This may sound silly to many of you but I LOVE 3 ring binders! They keep my organized and and I love being able to find my units quickly. My biggest problem is that my binders have been busting at the seams. I keep adding ideas to them and they keep getting fatter and fatter. I had to fix them and QUICK! I loaded up on 3 ring binders and of course plastic sleeves from Costco and created new spines and covers for all of the binders. 
A huge smile was on my face after I reorganized everything. I now have some more space to continue adding to my ideas to my units in math, language arts and monthly ideas. 

We wrapped up our geometry unit this week with this Freebie activity from Jamie Rector. Each student got a baggy with "treats" in it. 

They had to identify the 2D or 3D shape, the number of sides, vertices and real life objects of the same shape. The kids love anything with food and don't realize they are learning at the same time. I love that! 

I am throwing a SALE this weekend in my TpT store. Everything is 20% off through Sunday!

And don't forget I have these adorable pumpkin glyphs that will be great for this coming week.
Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Abbreviations and a Frankenstein Treat

This week I was teaching abbreviations to my class and during the lesson I got this feeling that they just weren't catching on to how many things are really abbreviated in our world. Sure they know Mr. and Mrs., but do they know Gov. and Capt., Blvd. and Ln???? I knew I needed to take the lesson a little further to reinforce the skill because they are going to be tested on it this coming week through our district ELA test.

I created and set up a center with apple abbreviation cards for the students to practice matching whole words with the appropriate abbreviation. Some groups played a game of Memory with the cards, while others worked in pairs to just match the words up. I loved the interaction between the students. They had over 80 cards to match up and really took their time and worked together as a team. When all the cards were matched correctly, they filled in their student response sheet. 




Each student then created their own Abbreviation Apple. They wrote the word on the leaf. Then they wrote the abbreviation and used it in a sentence to create this:



They also created their own flip book with 3 words that I gave them. The first page is the name of the whole word. On the second page, the students write the abbreviation and on the third page they use the abbreviation in a sentence. 


The kids loved the activities. Whenever I have them make a craft to go along with a concept I am teaching them, they have NO idea that they are "learning". They think we are just doing a fun project. When I point it out to them that we are reinforcing a skill I taught them earlier, I always see the look of "shock and awe" on their faces. It's hilarious! It's like sneaking vegetables into your kids food without them knowing-just cracks me up!

Check out these adorable Halloween treats! I made these cute Frankensteins with my 5 year old yesterday for his school bake sale.
Just follow the regular Rice Krispie recipe and add green food coloring to the melted marshmallow mixture before you add the cereal. Let them cool a bit and then cut them into squares. Take each square and dip one end into melted chocolate.

Use colored frosting to make the eyes and mouth.

Add a pretzel stick and mini marshmallows to each side to look like Frankenstein's bolts and there you have it folks-edible Frankensteins for you kiddos delight! Easy-peesy! Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Geometry Freebie and a Halloween Treat

We are finishing our geometry unit this week and my student teacher is teaching the last lesson before the kids take their test this week. We were discussing the lesson and she was looking around the internet for some ideas to inspire her. We came up with this cute activity for the kids to do as a great review of their skills before their test. Today, we had the kids make a riddle flip book of plane shapes and solid figures.


Each student chose 3 shapes with a combination of 2D and 3D shapes. They wrote how many sides and vertices the shape has and then decided if it was a plane shape or solid figure.


On the last page they wrote the name of the shape and drew a picture of it. The kids loved this activity and it was a great way to see what still needed to be reviewed before testing. 

You can grab this freebie HERE! If you do, please leave a comment or follow my little blog. I love hearing back from each of you!

Halloween is a little over a week away and my two boys could not be more excited. I am one of the room parents in my son's kindergarten classroom and we are going to have a party on Friday before their school Halloween carnival. I wanted to come up with something sort of healthy to share with them because they will be loading up on so much sugar in the next few days. I saw this idea on Pinterest and had to make them for his class.

I bought mandarin orange cups and drew jack-o-lantern faces on them, put them in a Halloween bowl and there you have it- a healthier Halloween treat! Have a great evening everyone!




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Literacy Centers,FREEBIE and a Giveaway-Oh, My!

I have been fighting a cold for the last few days and when I came home on Friday, I was ready to collapse. However, when I opened my mailbox a burst of delight ran through my body because I found my first TpT check in the mail! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think when I started my blog  5 months ago that I would reach this milestone. Thank you to each and everyone of you for all for support and inspiration!

As many of you know, my team partner and I have started an intensive intervention program with our reading program Treasures. You can read about the details of the intervention HERE. I will be doing enrichment and review with those students who are at grade level in language arts. So last week I created Gobblin' Up Thanksgiving Fun-8 Thanksgiving themed literacy centers and a writing craftivity to use with them during our intervention time. Here are all the literacy centers laminated and ready to be cut out for the kids to use in the next couple weeks.

The centers include: Making Words, ABC order, fixing sentences, contractions, compound words, proper and common nouns, plural nouns and parts of speech. 
We are going to start the week off my making these cute little guys and writing a descriptive story about them:


Here is a copy of the writing paper you can grab as a FREEBIE if you like. I hope it helps get your kids ready for Turkey Time!



Also, my fellow blogging friend Corinna at Oh "FISH" ally a First Grader is having a mega giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers. She has over 58 products she is giving away from an incredible group of bloggers. There is something for everyone Pre-K through Middle school. Head on over to enter and you might even winning something from my little store!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and have an amazing week ahead!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are You the Next Jedi Master?

Star Wars and Math Facts??? Who would have thought the two could go hand and hand? I don't know about you, but I am always trying to figure out ways to get my students excited about learning their addition and subtraction facts by memory. I have always given my students timed math tests to force them help them learn their math facts. This year, I decided to I needed to get some more "buy in" from my kids. I redesigned my math facts unit and now they are hooked. They ALL want to be the next Jedi Master in our class (especially the girls)!
This is an example of a 50 problem test I give my students. They have 4 minutes to complete it with no mistakes. The packet also included 15 and 25 problem tests for addition and subtraction practice too.

Each week, after my students take their test, I send home a slip of paper that tells them if they passed their test and are moving to the next level or if they need to keep practicing.

I copy these on colored paper and have the kids cut them out. We then write the answers on the back together, hole punch them and put them on a ring. My students keep them in their desk for practice throughout the day. I also send them home with those students who are "stuck" on a level.
I use these student data graphs so students, parents and myself can see how each student is progressing through the levels. A green square means they passed the level. A red square means they did not pass. I really like this visual because I can quickly see how long a student has been at each level.


Common Core Math Standards
Addition and Subtraction Flash Cards 
15, 25 and 50 problem Addition and Subtraction assessments
Weekly Awards
End of Unit Certificate
Student Data Graphs

Grab your copy and check it out at my TpT store. I hope you LOVE it! Let me know what you think :)


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reading Response Journal FREEBIE

I have been wanting to post about this for awhile now and just keep forgetting or writing about other things going on in my classroom. However, this is something that is very cool because I have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate reading response journals in a more meaningful and useful way in my classroom and  I think I have hit the JACKPOT!

I first saw this idea from Courtney at Swimming Into Second. She came up with this brilliant idea to design  at least two meaningful questions from the story of the week and have the students respond in a journal. I am using California Treasures so many of the stories are the same, but with a few variations. Many of the stories are not taught in the same order as traditional Treasures apparently. So I have come up with my own questions for Unit 2.

Here is what I have my students do: The main story of the week takes one to two days to complete. I have either used questions from Treasures or designed my own to have the students' use their critical thinking skills to explain and prove their answers (No multiple choice here). Each students cuts out and glues their prompt to the top of their journal page.

We then use a bubble map to organize our ideas and thoughts as a class. This helps get their ideas flowing so they are not just sitting their "thinking" about what to write. It is also a great scaffolding technique for those students who are not the strongest writers. It gives them a reference point. Then I have the students complete their journal entry. I always tell them, "Pretend I have never read the story before. Prove your answer to me with supporting details."  Here is a student sample:

I hope this process helps my students connect more with the story each week. It forces them to dig deep into the story and really think about what they have been reading. Here are a couple sample questions from second grade Unit 2 California Treasures. The first is from the story, Babu's Song.
The second sample is from One Grain of Rice.


If you are a second grade Treasures teacher, I am offering Unit 2 prompts for FREE. If you grab them, I would love for you to leave a comment or follow my blog.

By the way, this is my first time uploading anything to Google Docs. I am so excited I figured out how to do it. Now I can share more freebies with all of you!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I hope this week is "spooktakular" for you!





Saturday, October 13, 2012

Laminators and Pumpkins OH MY!

As many of you know, I have been wanting a personal laminator for awhile now. I have read so many blog posts from all of you, explaining the absolute love you have for each of your laminators. Our laminator at school broke at the beginning of the school year and it is not being fixed anytime soon. So the need for my own laminator is a MUST. My mom has been taking my laminating to Lakeshore for me and needless to say, it is a bit annoying to have to go there all the time. I was super excited when Jeannine at Creative Lesson Cafe was having a giveaway for a Paper Monster laminator from MyBinding. I crossed my fingers and entered her giveaway and look what arrived on my doorstep last night!!!

I opened the box and to my delight I found ALL of this inside it!


I had brought things home to laminate over the weekend so instead of driving to a store to have it done, I got to do it in the comfort of my own house!


The Papermonster laminator is amazing! First, decal stickers come with it so you can personalize it and make it your own. It adds a bit of personality to the already awesome machine.  Another great feature,  it can laminate 11x17 poster size items as well! This machine is so super easy to use. It takes all of 5 minutes or less to warm up. I put my items to laminate in a sleeve and in it went. Seconds later, my perfectly laminated items were smiling at me from the other end!

Tada!  I am one giddy school girl over here! Thank you Jeannine and MyBinding! 

Also this week, I made pumpkin glyphs with my kiddos. We stuffed them to make them 3D and hung them in our room. The kids loved making them and graphing the data.

I am currently working on a little something to share with all of you for Thanksgiving! Hopefully it will be done in the next week. Keep your eyes open for it! Have a great weekend everyone!








Thursday, October 11, 2012

Frank N. Stein Writing

I love Halloween and I love getting the kids in the mood for Halloween too! I found this great pack of activities from Amy Lemons which had this adorable writing activity in it. I started this lesson by reading my students this book Frankie Stein by Lola Schaefer
If you don't have this book, it is a must read for your students during Halloween. Your kids will love it. After the story, the kids made their own Frankenstein heads.



I wanted the kids to write a descriptive story about Frankenstein. We have been discussing adjectives and describing words for the last week and I wanted to connect the two concepts together. We brainstormed adjectives and used this anchor chart to help them get their ideas down on paper.

The students wrote their rough drafts. Some were able to peer edit and others needed adult help. When they were finished, their final copies were displayed with the head of their Frank N. Stein. 




I have never seen my kiddos so eager and excited to get down and write! They loved sharing their stories as well.