Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Tag Freebies!

Ohh last week before winter break...how incredibly crazy you are! This week I have been working to get together and distribute staff, volunteer, and student gifts. 

I will grace you with some photos of my student gifts once I deliver them to them on Friday...but I thought I would share some of the quick and easy items I have put together for my staff and volunteers now and some freebie tags I stuck on em all!

First, I stuck these cute little puppies in each of my colleagues mailboxes. 

Cheap, easy, and cute, I think! Just a York Peppermint Patty and this happy little tag. I have seen this phrase a variety of places used with mints before, and just added my own little twist specific to teachers. You can grab a copy of these tags by clicking here
Font compliments of Hello Literacy.

I also baked up some cookies for my parent volunteers. This is another cheap way for me to provide something yummy and say thank you as my family bakes mountains of cookies each year anyway!

To grab a copy of the "Thank you for helping us to be "smart cookies"!" tag from me (I pulled off my name and Spanish section to make it a little more user friendly for all), go ahead and click here.
Graphics and fonts by Ashley Hughes and dafont.com.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Characters!

This week we have been focusing on character traits like it is nobody's business! To make it a little more relevant and exciting we have been tying it in with some good ole' winter reads! Here are the three titles we focused on this week:

We started the week with !Me gusta el invierno! After reading, we worked together as a class to brainstorm words to describe our furry, red friend. Here are some that the kiddos came up with:

We took the trait writing a step further the next day after reading the text "El Mitón" by Jan Brett. 
I put the students into groups of two and three and gave them a large notecard with a character name on the back. They had to work in their small group to draw a picture of the character and describe it in a sentence with at least two descriptive words similar to how we would introduce characters in an effective story summary. 

Here are some of their examples:

"The Mitten" is about a large, brown bear.

"The Mitten" is about a boy named Nicki that lost his mitten.

And our finished "mitten" with all of our characters and their descriptions...

Then this morning, we bridged our learning into English and read the classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" by Dr. Seuss.

After reading, the kids worked in small groups to select character traits that described the three main characters in the story. To add a little Christmas pizzaz to the activity, we created "character wreathes", by jotting down the traits on scraps of green paper and gluing them to a plate all around the character which was being described.

Here is one from a "Grinch" group:

And a few others who described his faithful dog and Miss Cindy Lou-Who:

I shall be hanging these tomorrow...gotta love free classroom decorations!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

December is one of my favorite months in my classroom. I love the holidays, the decorations, and the BREAK! ;). Each December we embark on a "Winter Celebrations Around the World" unit, which is always just so much fun! 

At the beginning of last week, I introduced my students to the unit by giving them the opportunity to share some of their winter traditions and memories. Each child wrote down a favorite winter past time on a post-it, then we sat in a circle and shared them as a class. We then created the following anchor chart to display our ideas.

Their homework that night was then to go home and select a photo (or I gave some of my kiddos paper to create a drawing if they shared with me that they did not have one) which portayed them either participating in this winter activity and/or another that they enjoyed during this season.

We shared these the next day as a class and the kids had the opportunity to ask questions about one another's photos. Then I create a border with all of our photos around our anchor chart to keep them on display throughout December. (Yes, it's on my door...I have to use any open space I can!)

After building our background knowledge and sharing our winter schema, we began taking a look at our first winter celebration- a familiar one for most of my kiddos- Christmas!

After reading a good ole' non-fiction text about the holiday and gaining some new knowledge, we set about participating in a acclaimed Christmas tradition- decorating the tree!

We took all of the students pictures next to the lit up (partially decorated tree) the day before. Then I printed them off, and had them glue them to their ornaments. I create the ornament with some simple glitter filled cardstock, and a ribbon and cut them out with my Cricut in no time. On the back, all of the students added "Merry Christmas, their name, and the year". It seriously took about 5 minutes, but gave them that experience of decorating the tree...and gave our tree a definite lift that it needed! Here is the finished product:

Finally to conclude our week, we discussed how during this holiday season, many take the time to give back to their communities and others who may not be as fortunate. We worked to brainstorm a variety of ways that we as superkids could work to exude this "giving spirit" and then the kiddos each created a light to add to our newest bulletin board entitled "The Superkids Can Light up the World!".  I got this original idea from Fun in First Grade. Click on the blog title to see Jodi's inspiring example!

Here are some examples of their ideas for how they could make the world a brighter place this winter season:

And here they are as a collective unit...

The kiddos were quite excited to share their ideas for giving back with their parents and I encouraged them to work to do some of them over their winter breaks to give back!

This week we are focusing on Hannukkah and Kwanzaa....photos to come later :)!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving has come and gone...

...and I am finally posting about it! Gosh I am behind! I swear we actually did these activities before Thanksgiving...I am just finally getting around to sharing them (maybe put them in your save bank for next year! ;))

We started off last week by reading "Turkey Trouble" by Wendy Silvano. Then we created some fab "turkeys in disguise". You can get the template for this activity by clicking here. Thank you for sharing Tori!

I know this is a project that most send home for students to work on with their families. However, as many of my students do not have the resources to complete them at home, I always do them in class. I ask them to bring little items if they can contribute and then I bust out my craft supplies! It is quite hilarious to see what the students come up with on their own anyway! Here are a few samplings:

A "fireman"

A "gift" and a "poodle"

Yea...see those beans along side the poodle...are you thinking the same as I was. The poodle did her business....you would be incorrect. I was informed that they are eggs lol...apparently we need to review the whole mammal thing!

A "rainbow and a "dinosaur"

Also please note the "Nemo" at the bottom of the page. When I asked this student why he was adding a fish he informed me because his face looks frightened and dinosaurs are scary. The things kids think of!

We also did an activity in Spanish last week to reflect on what we are thankful for. I only had time to snag one photo as we were scrambling to get it done at the end of the day....but he is our "Doy gracias..." mobile we created as a decoration for our homes!

If you would like a copy of the template for this (for next year...or if you get in the "thankful" spirit at another point throughout the year) you can grab it by clicking on the templates below. I just precut and hole punched the construction paper for my students to glue their work to in creating the mobile! This saved some serious time!

We also took the opportunity to make some comparisons between past and present last week. Here is a quick venn diagram we created as a class after reading the book "If You Lived in Colonial Times..." While reading, I gave the kiddos post-its, one labeled S for Same and one D for Different and as I read I asked them to jot down anything they heard in the text that was the similar or different to our present day lives. Here are some of the things they came up with:

We are finishing up past and present this week before embarking on our "Celebrations Around the World" unit the first week of December!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What time is it? Freebie

I found this latest math activity on Pinterest and thought it was just too perfect for our review of telling time to the hour/half hour. Here is the link to the original at Red Ted Art's Blog if you would like to check it out as well.

In the original activity, the students just cut circles and drew their own clock faces. To save some time on my end, I stamped a clock face on to a notecard. Then I wrote a specific time to the hour or half hour on the back of the notecard and each student was responsible for drawing the hands to represent the time on the back of their card onto the face of their clock. Once this was finished, we stapled the clock face to a strip of paper for a watch band. And voila...!

Once finished making our watches, I shared with the students that they would be walking around the room and asking their peers "¿Qué hora es/ What time is it?". Once asked, the classmate instead of telling them the time will simply quietly show them their watch face so that they can read the time. The students then record the time that they read next to the corresponding classmates name on the "What time is it?" recording sheet.

Here are some of my kiddos participating in the activity. They were so engaged. It was a great way to practice telling time vocabulary!

You can grab a copy of the Powerpoint to create your own "¿Qué hora es?/What time is it?" recording sheet by clicking the image below. By adding text boxes you can add your students' names to the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns. Then your students will fill in the time next to each peer's name in the correponding space in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th columns. 

Graphics and Fonts by Creative Clips, The 3am Teacher, and Kevin & Amanda.

Once the students had sufficient time to walk around the room finding the time, we came back together as a class, and I called on each student to share the actual time on their watch to check our work. They did a great job with it, and it made for an authentic learning experience with telling time!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Super Citizens

This past week we have been focusing on how to be good citizens! 

After learning what a citizen is, we worked to come up ideas relaying things we could do to be good citizens of our communities! 

Yes, yes....I made a boo boo and used a sentence strip to cover it up rather than re-do the whole poster! You can barely tell right?!

Here are some examples of what my kiddos wrote on their post-its:

The next day we put our ideas into action. I shared with the kiddos that not only were we going to learn about being good citizens, we ARE going to be good citizens!

We went about writing these letters to the our parents sharing our plans. 

We discussed how one way to be a good citizen is by giving back to others in our community. Thus, we started collecting cans...and after just two days...here is where we are...

I think I am going to need another container! We will be collecting them until Thanksgiving break when I shared with my students that I will be bringing them to the pantry. Each morning we add tally marks representing the cans we bring it....good tie in to math too!

This week we also learned about what a law is and how good citizens follow the laws of their community!

We then created this class book reflecting laws that we follow in our community each day!

"The Superkids Always Follow Laws"

Here are a few pages that were created:

Okay all...use your picture clues...what do you think this law is?

(If you guessed putting on your seatbelt, you are correct!)

And of course....we should not steal from houses or stores!

We will be continuing our government unit this coming week, so I'll share more as we get to it!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

So I have been boo-ed by Lita Lita @ Learning in Spain and Miss. Nelson @ Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. While I know, I know....I am getting to this a little late...at least it's still October! And I had to make sure to give both of these lovely ladies the credit they deserved in "boo-ing" me ;). Be sure to check out their blogs as well. 

So here goes...some of the highlights of our Halloween festivities and activities that maybe you could use if you are continuing your celebration tomorrow...and/or keep in your activity banks for next year!

First, here are two of my favorite Halloween themed stories that we read today in class.

I tied "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" by Joe Troiano into math by doing a review of shapes and their characteristics. 
"Boo!" by Robert Munsch also comes in Spanish. For some reason, I could not locate a cover of the Spanish version, but we read this one and did a retell with it this morning in Spanish. It's a cute story about a boy whose makeup is so scary for Halloween that he ends up getting mountains of candy as everyone who sees him passes out in fright! Just a fun, quick one to celebrate the day!

During math today we also did this cute activity from Jen @ The Teachers' Cauldron to practice our addition and number grid skills. This was a perfect one for practicing counting down on the number grid to add by 10's!

The kids first fill out the "Mystery Picture" addition sheet by solving all of the addition problems. They then used the key at the bottom of the page to color and decipher their "Mystery Picture" on the number grid page. We had a lot of fun with it! Did you figure out what it is?

Grab your free copy from Jen by clicking here.

Finally, during our Fall Party today, I busted out a quick game of "Four Corners"- Halloween Style! For those of you that have not heard of this ever-so-simple game, here is how it works: First, grab your favorite Halloween cd, and play music for the students to walk around the room to. Whenever you feel appropriate, stop the music. The students must then head to the nearest of the four corners of the classroom. In each corner, I placed a Halloween themed poster with a different title. I also placed the same themed posters on my board with a magnetic spinner in the center. Here is what that looked like:

(I know they aren't pretty colors. We do not have access to color printing in our building...and I am going to be honest and let ya'll know I created these quickly during my planning period today!).

Anywho....after I spun the spinner, wherever it stopped, the students that were in the corner with the correponding poster had to return to their seats. We kept playing until there was only one student left in a corner that had not been called, and this student was deemed out winner! With 27 kiddos it still took less than 10 minutes, and it is such a simple game to explain!

If you would like a copy of the posters I created for free in English or Spanish, click on the image below. Maybe you can use them next year :)! Fonts & Graphics: Kevin & Amanda, Google Images, Creative Clips, and Shery K. Designs.

Happy Halloween everyone!

PS....Considering tomorrow is Nov. 1....I will let any of you who I may have potentially "Boo-ed" off the hook this time ;)! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fact Family Fun

We have been reviewing fact families using dominoes, fact triangles, you name it over the past couple days. We have discussed how fact families, just like our own families, have numbers that are related and stick together! To hit this point home, today, we create fact family houses (or apartments if you will)!

First, I gave each table group a container of fact triangles that we had been practicing with for the past few days. They selected from these triangles four to use in creating their fact family house chain.

Then we set to creating our family homes! To create the chain of houses, you simply fold the paper in half "hamburger style", then fold it in half again in the same direction. From here, you select one of the short ends, and cut off each of the corners to form a point that looks a bit like a roof/triangle. Open it up and voila, 4 beautiful fact family houses!

Here is one of my student's finished products. I had them copy the info. from the triangle they selected onto the roof, and then write the fact families on the walls!

Nice short, simple activity and the look pretty cute too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Superkid of the Week

Behold my newest product! A pack to set up your very our "Superkid of the Week" routine in your super classroom :)!

Here she is. A beaut, right ;)!

This 20 page pack includes activity instructions for you as well as activity instructions for your students/parents in both English and Spanish. The presentation portion of "Superkid of the Week" that is included in the student/parent instructions explains in a nutshell the poster creation process for their special week, the super information they will include about themselves, as well as asks each student to bring his/her favorite story to share with the class! Examples of posters myself and my students have created are included for your viewing pleasure.

The second main component of this activity pack are templates included to create a "Superkid of the Week" book with your class. Each student will create a page after the presentation relaying what they have learned that they have in common with the superkid, something different about them, and why they think that kid is "super". They also draw a picture of the two of them together. Book page templates are included in both English and Spanish as well as for boys and girls. 

Here is a little sneak peak of one of the examples of my student's book pages. More examples can be found with explanations in the pack!

The pack in on sale for $2.00 currently at my TpT store! If you purchase one, I would love and appreciate your feedback!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Short Vowel Word Families

During our intervention block, I am working with a group of my students on reinforcing short vowels. This afternoon, I threw together this fun little short vowel word families mini-book to create with them during our time together that I thought could serve as a great resource for them in reading/writing words with these short vowel patterns throughout the year. 

For each short vowel, I created a page of the mini-book with a graphic organizer to assist them in indentifying the most frequently used short vowel word families and examples of each. Here is an example of the "Short A" word family page of our book we completed today in class.

Of course there is a page for each of the other four vowels as well...we will be working on those in the days to come! Also, feel free to print multiple pages of each vowel if you would like to incorporate more word families with your students that just the four allotted. Use it as your wish!

Click on the image if you would like your own copy of this word family mini book!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Author Inspiration

We have been working tirelessly to collect a variety of ideas and topics that we can use for inspiration as writers! One of the ways we do this is through studying the work of other authors and taking the time to learn about what inspires them to write their stories. We read several of their books including the dedication and "About the Author" and we also visited the websites of the authors to investigate and see if we could find out more about them. After doing this, we created posters with short snippets of information we learned about what inspires each author. Here are the finished posters for the first three authors we have studied:

The students also had a graphic organizer to document the same snippets of information:

They all glued this once we finished inside of their "Writer's Notebooks" in their "idea" section along with all of the other idea envoking activities we have accomplished!

I also give the students the option, if they would like, to reread the stories we have read by these authors in class and/or select new ones to read during their idependent reading time. They always get so excited about the stories, once we begin to dive into learning about these authors and recognizing patterns in their stories! Here is how I work to set out some of the books for easy access for them:

Love my magnetic walls and shelving!

I also love the cheapo frame holders from Walmart- perfect for books!

Finally, if you are interested here are the websites for the authors we studied (seriously...these are such a great tool for learning more about them!):