Saturday, April 28, 2012

Forgotten on Father's Day?

I have seen so many great ideas out there for some of the cutest Mother's Day activities. It made me reflect back on how many times we have done something for Father's (Perhaps being a father myself has made me more sensitive to the issue.) We definitely have not taken equal time to honor fathers the way we have mothers in the past. We make a point to celebrate the students' summer birthdays even though we will not see them on THE day. What ever happened to Father's Day? I decided to make an explicit effort to change this trend in my classroom. Well, if you find yourself in a similar situation, want to find a new way to celebrate fathers, or just want to find an excuse for another relevant writing assignment at the end of the year... this is what I came up with.

If You Give a Dad a Donut

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jellyfish Project

We have been learning about Jellyfish with Laura's Ocean Animal Invertebrates Writing Unit. My kids did a great job with their writing, but what I want to share today is the cool jellyfish they made. There is an art project with each writing topic in her unit. This is what our jellyfish look like. (No... that is not all of them. My class is NOT that small.)

The image is a little washed out with light, but it shows how great the jellyfish look with the light coming through. They look like neon signs. Thank you to Laura at Over the 1st Grade Rainbow for the wonderful project!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We have a WINNER! / BIG Sale !!!!!

We used the random number generator and came up with 26!

And comment number 26 is:

Congratulations to Kim. We have your email and will send you those units and the certificate this evening.

Anybody who is interested in the Magic Tree House Passport to Adventure can visit my TPT store today from 3:30 - 8:00 pm PST and get it for $6.00, that is 50% off!!! That is a blog follower special for this short window of opportunity.

If you are interested in the Ocean Writing Unit, please check with Laura at Over the 1st Grade Rainbow and she may be posting details of a sale there as well.

Thank you all SO much for your continued support and for participating in our giveaway. It was fun, so I am sure we will work something out again for the not too distant future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Classroom Library Management (and... KPM Doodles giveaway reminder)

This is how I manage 5 bookshelves full of books in my classroom library. When the students get a chance to be in the library and self select books to read, I still like to offer them a bit of direction. Each section of each bookshelf has a two sided label with velcro dots. One side says "Open", the other side says "Closed". This explicitly lets the students know where they can get books and where they can't. It assuages the control freak in me and still gives them choices. I can change which sections of the library are open whenever I want. Hooray for Velcro dots! They are a little worse for wear, but they have been in use for several years.

I am excited for the giveaway to end so we can actually give the stuff away. It seems fun! With only a little more than 30 comments, the odds are looking pretty good for people who have entered. Thank you all for participating. Your comments and willingness to play along make it fun to be part of.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Everything is HARD.... (and KPM Doodles Giveaway reminder)

Everything is HARD... until it is easy.

This and the Staples Easy Button are not my idea. I heard it several years ago at our local regional reading conference. I do not remember specifically who it came from, but I do not want to take credit for it when I know better. :P

I have a discussion with my students that goes something like this. "Everything is hard... until it is easy. Almost everything we do is difficult until we learn about it and practice it. Then it becomes easier. Then with more practice, over time you don't even think about how to do it anymore. It is automatic for us... it is easy. When we were little babies, we didn't know how to walk. We learned how, we practiced a lot, and we don't think about it anymore because it is easy for us. The same thing is true for almost everything we know how to do well." We talk about many other things, about how things that are easy for me used to be hard to do, and about the learning they are going to do in first grade. I also encourage them with the idea that just like all the other things that are "easy" for them to do now, hard concepts for them can be learned and with practice and time can become easy.

Enter the Staples Easy Button.

I choose a concept that I want to encourage the students with and when they reach a certain level of mastery, they get to push the Easy Button.

The class loves to hear as the button proclaims, "That was easy." Photobucket

Also... the giveaway looks like it is going to have very great odds for the few people that have signed up so far! Oh... and that collective 100 followers between Over the 1st Grade Rainbow and my blog has become a success! (We only needed one more.) Now onward to whatever the future may bring!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hoping For 100 Giveaway! KPM Doodles Clip Art!

Hoping for 100 Giveaway! Many blogs celebrate 100 followers by having a giveaway. My friend Laura at Over the 1st Grade Rainbow and I are hoping to get to 100 followers. Collectively we have 99 followers. (That is clearly within reach.) We are striving for 100 each. So what does this mean for you? A GIVEAWAY! Kirsten at KPM Doodles is practically my neighbor and she has graciously offered a gift certificate for this giveaway. Her work is amazing and SO cute. Visit her Etsy shop KPM Doodles at Esty and her blog as well KPM Doodles Blog.
So here is what is at stake:
A gift certificate from KPM Doodles good for 3 combo sets or 6 single sets.
Laura’s Ocean Invertebrates Writing Unit.
Mike’s Tree House Passport to Adventure.

Tree House Passport to Adventure
Here is how to enter (each is worth one entry):
1. Leave a comment saying that you already follow both of our blogs.
Here is Laura's: Over the 1st Grade Rainbow
2. If you are not a follower, then sign up to follow both of us and leave a comment here.
3. Blog about the giveaway and leave a comment when you do!
4. Follow both of our Teachers Pay Teachers stores. Then let us know with a comment here.
Over the 1st Grade Rainbow @ TPT
First Upon A Time @ TPT
Good luck to everybody who takes the time to enter. We will random draw for a winner on Thursday, April 19th.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Reading Review

What says spring more than sheep and penguins? With reading assessments just around the corner I put together this small pack of reading review materials. It has an original reading passage (focusing on skills they will need in the reading assessments). The story features a sheep and a penguin racing. I have had some teachers tell me that the suspense and action in this original story rivals that of the Hunger Games. Now I don't know about that, but for $1.25 the story and the activities are a steal!
We use this to review Theme 7 and 8 in the Houghton Mifflin reading series. But reading skills are fairly universal, so I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Table points

I know a lot of teachers that offer table points when tables can pull it together and do a good job, or when participation starts to taper off a bit, table points can re-energize student's interest in helping out. I have seen many ways to manage table points. Here is how I like to give out table points. I hang cups from the ceiling above each table. When I want to reward tables I toss them monkeys from the Barrel Of Monkeys game. If they fill the cup, the monkeys get to link on to the sides of the cup and overflow from the sides hanging on for dear life. Why Barrel of Monkeys? The kids love it... and that is what occurred to me at the time. I like it because they can put their points in their own cup, the cup is basically out of reach when the kids are sitting (so they are not tempted to play with them), and I can carry them around with me or toss them to tables from the front of the room. I even found a variation on the Barrel of Monkeys game that uses rabbits instead, which makes it perfect to use during spring. At the end of the week we count up the points and the tables with the most points get first choice of ribbons to hang from their cup string. All the tables end up with ribbons, but there are some that are definite class favorites. (More on the ribbons another time.) Silly? Perhaps, but it is the small out of the ordinary things that the kids really enjoy.
A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men. -Roald Dahl

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Magic Tree House Question/Activity pack

It is finally ready. I have been putting the packet together for a while. It has questions for all the chapters of Magic Tree House books 1-16 and a handful of other activities. I wish this was available before I started out to make all of this. My kids love the Magic Tree House books and they also love to track their progress as they work through things. This is my very first for pay TPT item. If you would like to check it out click the picture.
Tree House Passport to Adventure

If your students read the Magic Tree House books you really should consider giving this a look! It is on sale for an introductory price!

New FREEBIE - Math Activity with Common Core poster

I have been busy trying to get some projects done. This is one of them. I can see adding more to it in the future. But for now I hope you enjoy this. My class did a great job with it! Click on the picture to visit the download page.
I hope you download it and like it. If you do, please provide some feedback. I have been busy and hope to have more freebies and projects finished soon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

5 Days of giveaways at Finally in First!

Here is an incredible giveaway over at Finally in First!  Five consecutive days of giveaways.  First day is a home laminator! Wow!  That's good stuff! Go check it out!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bunny Poem Project

This is a project we did just before going on spring break.  I love to do fun little projects illustrating poems. It is a fun way to get a small art project in and share some poetry. (The kids love to read short poems!)

 The poem is by Susan Olson Higgins.  I am 95% it is from her book The Bunny Book. It is no longer in print but you can find used copies online.