Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo's Wordless Wednesday.

My grandfather makes these every year for my WHOLE class.  My kids talk about them for days before we make them.  The turkeys are a classroom tradition.  What's a tradition you do in your classroom at Thanksgiving?
Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Writing Bundle

Do y'all love Thanksgiving week as much as me?  I get the WHOLE week off, so that means I get lots of naps, lots of free time to create, and oh, just a few dozen hours to watch Hallmark Christmas movies.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my class, but weeks like this are perfect heading into the three weeks before Christmas projects, rotations, parties, and all things that make school fun.

Anyway, last Thursday I was talking to a friend about teaching writing.  It is one of my favorite things to teach and honestly, I love how it looks in the hallway.  I think most of the time it is the best representation of the personalities in my room.  Does it take forever?  Sometimes!  However, I have to tell you, I skipped writing projects for the last few weeks to get in assessments and my kiddos actually asked me when they were going to do writing projects again.  They missed them which makes my teacher's heart happy.

So, now that I've gone off on a trail, let me get back to my friend.  We were talking and she needed a good writing activity for December.  I started thinking about it, and I have great activities for January, but not for December, so I told her I wanted to create something - a December Writing Bundle.

This bundle might be my favorite writing packet ever.  I created four separate writing activities so you can choose which ones you want to do.  I also tried to make sure that all types of writing were covered.  I also made the handwriting paper where it can fit K-2.  There are multiple sheets, so you can pick what fits you best.  The graphic organizers and the rubrics are editable, so they can be adjusted to fit your requirements.  If you want to check out my packet, click any of the images.  It will take you to the packet.
Now, I know what you are probably saying, "Faith, I don't have time to do this.  It takes too long and I'm one person."  Well, here's how I do it.  I have a parent come on Tuesdays for an hour.  She takes my lowest group.  We have a STEM Lab, so she usually takes them there to work.  That way they can focus a little better.  Then, I work with my middle students.   Since that group is a little bit bigger, most of the time I put a few of them on Headsprout or Nook Kids (iPads).  Once my middle students finish I rotate them out with the technology kids.  My high kids work independently.  Part of the reason I take my middle kids instead of my lowest is it helps me decide when they are independently writing.  Once I see that they are starting to write on their own and they aren't needing my guidance, I move them to the high group.  Many of my lower students are going to need ongoing help, so my goal is to get my middle and high kids working independently so that I can then focus on the lower students.  I am not going to tell you that this is the only way or that it is always perfect, but it has worked great for me 90% of the time.  I also see them transferring the skills we work on weekly into their writing assessments, so I feel like they are getting more of a foundation this way.

Another thing I do is we really only do this type of writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  On Mondays and Thursdays, I usually do 6+1 Writing Traits lessons.  This way when we are writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays we can talk about how what we learned the day before applies to our writing.   I picked Mondays because Mondays are usually crazy, so I want something a little easier on Mondays.  I picked Thursdays because if the final draft carries over then it's pretty easy to adjust the 6+1 lesson.  It isn't as easy for me to adjust my Fridays since a lot of our assessments and special school activities fall on Fridays.

If you have any questions, let me know.
Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Hop

Hi everyone! 

I am teaming up with some great teacher bloggers to bring you another Take a Closer Look blog hop featuring one of our favorite November productsWe want to give you a closer look and a FREEBIE from the unit to try out with your class.

I wanted to give you a closer look at my Thanksgiving Printables packet.  It is loaded with printables that you can use as assessments, homework, morning work, etc.

Here is a freebie from my unit!

Like it? Love it?

Gotta have it? 

We are throwing a 15% off sale for the next two days to celebrate! 

And now, I'm sending you off to another amazing freebie! 

Hop on over to my blogging buddy Anna's blog.  She has AWESOME stuff that I know you will love! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun!

Can y'all believe it is seriously November?  I am still amazed that we are in November!  Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and until a few days ago I swear I was wearing shorts and flip flops.  Well, I actually was since I live in Georgia, but still.  It's just crazy to me!

So, since we are in November and I'm doing my best to not procrastinate quite as much, I'm doing a Thanksgiving post.

Oh, and since it's Thanksgiving, I'm going to include two of my favorite freebies.

#1 - November Book Reports
Have you grabbed these yet?  Can I tell you a funny story?  So, if you've been collecting my monthly book reports, you will appreciate this.  My book reports started with the November one.  One of my sweet teammates wanted to have a book report that was on a kid level.  Do you see the turkey to the right?  Well, this was before I had tons of clip art, so I hand drew a turkey.  Then, I used a scanner to scan it and load it.  Every time I look at it, it makes me laugh at how much I've changed since that first book report two years ago.   My book reports have come a long way since the first one.

If you can use this freebie, feel free to click on the images to grab it.  Hope you enjoy!

#2 - Turkey Template 
This is a little different, but every year since I started teaching my grandfather makes me wooden turkeys.  Friends, he has done this for me for the last thirteen years.  I LOVE traditions, so these little turkeys are huge!  To the point if I've taught two out of three siblings, I have to give a turkey to the third one.  So, you may or may not be able to use this, but it's a turkey template.  If you have a handy friend or husband feel free to use this to make some turkeys for your class.  Oh, and a quick hint, go grab feathers right now!

#3 - Thanksgiving Packet
Well, I have a little Thanksgiving printable packet.  If you want to grab it, click on one of the images. Here's a quick hint that I'm ONLY telling my blog followers.  Right now, the packet is $3.00.  Well, I'm about to add a bunch of new pages this weekend and then the price is going to be around $5 or $6, so if you want to save a little, grab it now, and then download it late Sunday or Monday.  You will get it cheaper, but will also get all the new pages when it is loaded.

#4 Thanksgiving Extravaganza
Do you ever go through your files and find a treasure?  Well, I used this packet from Hollie Griffith last year and fell in love with it!  Friends, it is simply incredible!  Last year, I did the Pilgrims, but this year I am definitely going to jump in and use more of the packet.

This year, I hope to use her foldable about the Wampanaog Indians, the turkey hats, and the turkey craft and poems.  We did the turkey hats last year with The Great Turkey Race and my kiddos loved it!  It's pretty easy to make and I loved how it had a sequencing activity.

The foldables may be a little more complicated, but I think my kids this year LOVE hands-on activities, especially if they get to cut and glue.  I can't wait to see how these go!

Hope you love it as much as I do!  Oh, and I created this graphic organizer to go with the writing activity.

#5 Interactive Thanksgiving Books

Um... Yes!!!!  I have to tell you I was slightly geeked out when I got this packet.  I sent my Fluttering through First Grade friends one of my packets because they are some of my blogging BFFs.  Well, they sent me this packet back and it was the perfect gift.  I had been eyeballing it and had plans to grab it and my girls read my mind.  We will be doing this project the week before Thanksgiving.

#6 - Thanksgiving Roll & Cover
My kiddos love this game!  It makes a quick center or activity that they can take home.  I made it in color and black and white, so you can print, laminate, and use counters with it or you can let the kids color it and keep it for home.  You can click on any of the images to grab it.

Alright, so those are six freebies or packets I'm using over the next few weeks.  Hope you have an incredible weekend!  

Oh, and if it's cold near you drink a hot chocolate for me :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday and a Freebie

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo's Wordless Wednesday.

I posted a picture of my drawers a few weeks ago.  Where do you keep your centers?

Here's a little freebie that goes with mine.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Fun Activities

Every fall, I LOVE to do a few activities on a Friday that are far from ordinary.  I like to try to find things that I think my kids will enjoy and that will hopefully not cost too much money.  Plus, it gives me an opportunity to work in some parent volunteers that may not be able to volunteer weekly or even monthly.

So, yesterday was that day!  I found TONS of ideas just using Pinterest and Google.  Originally, I had around six activities planned, but I took out two of the activities.  I LOVED the idea of taking Mr. Potato Head pieces and freezing them and letting the kids try to get them out of the ice, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without making a huge mess and it taking forever.  Seriously though, I REALLY want to do this activity one day!

Anyway, here are the activities we did.

The pumpkin Play Doh was one of my favorites.  When I first started looking for something like this, most of the recipes called for you to cook.  Well, I didn't have time for that and I've done that before and it's a HUGE mess (at least to this girl that hates cleaning).  I ended up finding this recipe at Fun at Home with Kids.  You just need canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie seasoning, and cornstarch.

Now, before you start, let me give you a little advice.  In my mind, I thought it would just take a little cornstarch.  For the first group of kids, I had around a cup of pumpkin in their bowls.  Well, that was way too much because it was soaking up the cornstarch.  After that first group, I gave each student around 2 teaspoons (small plastic spoons) worth of the pumpkin.  Then, I gave them around 4 teaspoons worth of cornstarch.  The kids started off by stirring it with spoons and then they switched to using their hands.  Be prepared to add more cornstarch.

Also, for a class of 22, I used around 2 or 3 of the big containers of pumpkin, 1 small container of the pumpkin spice, paper bowls, and 4 boxes of cornstarch.  I also found all of the ingredients I needed at Target.  Sure you can get them at other places, but my Target did have everything.

Another of the activities I did was pumpkin bowling.  Now, I'm going to be honest, I've used the fake pumpkins before, but this time I couldn't find them probably because I tried to find them two days before Halloween.  So, I improvised.  I got a couple of sponge balls (around the size of a cantaloupe) from our PE teacher.  We set up paper towels and the kids threw the sponge balls at them to knock them over.  I've done this activity several years in a row and the kids love it!  I usually have a parent do this activity outside my classroom, since it can be a little louder than the other activities.

The other activity that we did was we made apple volcanoes.  Why apple volcanoes?  Well, I wanted to make pumpkin volcanoes, but I felt like those were going to be expensive and complicated.  I read all about the pumpkin volcanoes and started thinking, "Why wouldn't this work with apples?"  I wanted all my kids to have the experience.  As a group, it wouldn't have been as much fun and it would have only taken two minutes.  Plus, I couldn't figure out how I was going to not spend $200 on pumpkins and supplies.  I had never seen an apple volcano, but I just had a feeling it might just work.

I had parents cut a portion of the apple core out of the apples, so it looked sort of like an apple cup.  Then, I gave each student an aluminum foil tray.  Each student put an apple in their tray and then they were given a spoon and box of baking soda.  They filled their apples up with the baking soda and I told them they could put some baking soda around the apple.  Definitely make sure you supervise this!  Then, the kids put food coloring on the baking soda.  Just so you know, if you tell them to put a couple of drops, they will still use the entire little bottle of food coloring.  After that, I let the kids have half a bottle of white vinegar.  They poured it over their apple and got to watch their apple volcano "explode".  This was one of my favorite activities and out of all the times I've made volcanoes this was the best it's ever gone.  One thing that also helped us is we have sinks in our classrooms, so between groups, we dumped the liquid in the trays into the sink.

For this activity, we used eight aluminum trays, two dozen Granny Smith apples, 11 bottles of white vinegar, 8 boxes of baking soda, and 2.5 food coloring sets (10 bottles).  The one thing I would have done differently is I would have gotten more food coloring.  I had extra in my classroom, but if I hadn't, we wouldn't have had enough.  Like the pumpkin PlayDoh, I found all the ingredients I needed at Target.

Now, here are a few tricks I did to try to keep things from getting too messy.  First, I made sure that all the tables were covered with bulletin board paper.  This meant when we were finished, we just took off the paper and chunked it.  Next, I made sure I got a HUGE garbage can from our custodians. This allowed us to throw away the apple volcanoes as we finished.  It also allowed us to get rid of the pumpkin Play Doh.  Also, I decided before we started that the kids weren't going to keep the pumpkin Play Doh.  Since it was made with food, it molds pretty quickly.  I didn't want my kids to take it home, it stay in their backpacks, and end up molding over the weekend.

Hope you have a great time if you decide to do this.  We did all the activities in around an hour.  I also had four parent volunteers that helped set up, run the stations, and clean up.  Don't forget if this is a little overwhelming that you can do one activity pretty easily.

Have a great day and go Dawgs!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm actually remembering to do my Five for Friday post this week!  I can't believe it!  To read more Five for Friday posts, click on the image below and it will take you to Doodle Bugs Teaching.

I LOVE Pumpkins!!!  Actually, as a kid I don't know if I noticed that they even existed.  Then, I became a school teacher.  Can I tell you a secret?  I've still never really carved a pumpkin.  I tried a few years ago in my classroom.  I bought one of those pumpkin carving kits and was REALLY excited.  Well, let me tell you, those kits don't actually work.  So, still haven't carved a pumpkin.  That being said, I spotted these Sharpie pumpkins on Facebook and I might just have to make one of them.  No idea why or what I would do with it, but it looks like fun.  Oh, and I linked the picture to a tutorial of one of my favorite bloggers - Little Blue Boo.

This saying makes me laugh every time I see it!  Now, if I could just remember it when I jump into the circus :)

Why yes, this is a paper airplane.  I keep drawing paper in a drawer for my kids to use when they finish their work.  It's supposed to be for word work, but sometimes they want to draw and I'm okay with that because I love drawing.  Plus, brain breaks for some kids may be drawing.  It was for me!  Well, that drawer now has some new rules thanks to this little airplane.  My kiddos decided to get creative after morning work this week.  I should have known something was up when it was so quiet. This little plane went zooming across my front table.  Good news is my students are creative and I now know what we will be doing for our next Fun Friday.  I think I'll name it Paper Play.  Each kid will get three pieces of paper, scissors, glue, markers, etc. and they can create whatever they want.

For future reference, this is what happens when you let your kids try to color a glossy paper plate blue.  Stick with the crayons.  They won't fail you.

Do you like Oriental Trading?  Well, I love them, especially their sticker sheets.  We were studying frogs this week and I grabbed these.  My kiddos did the Life Cycle of a frog on a paper plate using the stickers.  This was an easy activity and the kids loved it!  A matter of fact, half my class asked if they could take them home to show their parents instead of filing them to go home on Monday.

I linked the picture, so you can go grab them if you want.

 Have a great Friday!