Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Mitten

Do you feel a little down?  Maybe a little blue?  Or just a tad depressed after the holiday hustle and bustle?  Well...I have just the thing to cheer you up! More ideas! I have wanted to revamp my winter unit for quite some time now.  I found Jan Brett's website and I just loooooooove it.  I printed, cut, laminated and attached a popsicle stick to the animal masks from "The Mitten" and my class and I are going to retell the story by using the masks and acting out each of the part.  I am going to use a white sheet as the mitten and my students will have to crawl in it as we retell. 



Here I am pretending to be the bear and taking the picture myself. HAHA! What a dork!
 Then, we have a little creative writing activity where the students have to think of a different animal to crawl into the mitten and tell why.  The mitten is made with scrapbook paper and cotton balls.  Underneath there is a surprise!!!!  Here is my example (my kiddos haven't done it yet)...
Only glue the bottom of the mitten to the page.


A frog crawled into the mitten because he was looking for a fly to eat!

Clipart and/or fonts copyright DJ Inkers and used with permission: www.djinkers.com
Click HERE for the writing activity.  Click HERE for the mask downloads from Jan Brett's website.

Make sure you check out Swamp Frog First Graders & Once Upon a Time in 1st Grade for some more fabulous ideas and extensions on "The Mitten".

A Very Bloggy Christmas

Sorry this is so late! I've been spending almost every second of my break playing and cuddling with my little baby (he's 6 months old today).

I just wanted to show you some great ideas I got from other blogs, and how I used their ideas in my classroom.

Gifts to Parents: Ceramic Leaf Bowls / Ornaments


I got this idea from Fun Art for Kids (also shown on Deep Space Sparkle) and although mine did not turn out nearly as cute, I still thought it was a fun project.

Things I learned from doing this project...
Plan ahead!
Do it more than just a week before Christmas break.
Spend the extra money and order the special glazes. (I'm sure it's worth it, I wish I had ordered them.)
Put on more than one layer of glaze. (Which is also why you need more time to do this project.)
Make sure the clay has adequate time to dry - 2 days is not enough! (We had some explode because they weren't completely dry. Oopsies!)
Tell students to make it thin. A couple of them were really thick, which is also a reason why some of them were not dry and exploded...)
The more rolling pins you have, the better. One per group would've been nice. 

Gifts to Faculty: Personalized Stationary
I got this adorable idea from First Grade Teaching. Our class made them for all the administrators, secretaries, janitors, etc. I think they turned out super cute!

Things I learned from doing this project...
Create a template - Use a marker to draw little squares around the edges of your paper, and use that paper to put behind the paper your students draw on. (Even 5th graders struggled without the template.)
Call students back to do this in small groups while your class is working on another project.
First Grade Teaching scanned the images into her computer, added the font, then shrunk them down. I didn't. I merged the two pages together and shrunk them down on the copier. It was super tricky to figure out. And took a LONG time.
Also, plan ahead. Don't wait until the night before the last day of school to finish this. It will take you all night! :)

I think the most important thing I learned from doing these projects: Don't be afraid to try new things. It may not turn our perfect the first time, but that's okay! You'll learn from your mistakes and be better in the future! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Management Monday!

A part of having great classroom management is making sure you have a consistent schedule. I feel like if your students know what they will do next, it will make it easier for transitions.  Here is my classroom schedule that my students live by.  I just remade it to fit on my board better. I printed on card stock, laminated, cut out, and put adhesive magnet strips on them. I then put up them on my board and change them each day!  There are about 30 different cards to pick from.  Enjoy!

New and improved! I just added 9 new cards!

 Click HERE to download!


Here is an example of 2 of the cards......

I'm sorry, but I cannot make custom schedule cards at this time.



Clipart and fonts copyright and used with permission from Diane J. Hook {djinkers.com}

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

January Math Center



Laminate the Snowball addition and subtraction sheet, along with the snowballs.  Cut the snowballs out with the answers on it.  The students will match each sum or difference to the correct number sentence.
 I also made a recording sheet.  Click HERE for that download!  Did anyone notice the time that I posted this?  *YAWN*  I'm not even sleepy *YAWN*  I promise!  *YAWN*

{Parents, this would be a great download to practice math facts at home}

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

January Art Activities

As crazy as December is...as a teacher you have to start planning for January.  In January, there are a ton of fun things to do with the new year, snow, snowman, and winter.  Here are some fun projects we do in my classroom (and in most of the classrooms on my grade level).


Q-tip Snowflake
We write this poem on the back (on lined paper)
Snowflake, snowflake
Falling down
On the trees
And on the ground.











 Magically Appearing Picture
This magically appearing snow scene can be made by mixing 3 parts of Epsom salt  with 1 part of water.  Stir really well! Use a paint brush to create a winter scene and wait for it do dry to see your picture!





 Marshmallow Snowman
The marshmallow snowman's body is made by dipping a large marshmallow into white paint.  The buttons and face are made by dipping a small marshmallow into black paint.  The accessories are made out of paper.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Management Monday....ehhh, Wednesday!

Sorry everyone!  It has been one CRAZY couple of weeks, right?  I am sure everyone is feeling the holiday rush inside and outside of the classroom.

I wanted to revisit this management tool  because I really think it will work for any classroom. 

*Power Pellets -Anytime I call out "Power Position" the students have to stop what they are doing, fold their arms, and look at me.  The first one to do so quietly will get a Power Pellet (aka, one skittle).  Seriously teachers, THIS WORKS! I don't even really yell the words, I just simply and casually say them and they stop.  It's magic what one Skittle will do for a kiddo!  Click HERE for a download of the Power Pellet tag for the jar!

Sorry, not the best picture!  This is the "Power Pellet" jar.



*This idea came from my team at my elementary school and I just love them....they inspire me!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Using Recycled Items

How am I going to use recycled items in my classroom???  Well how about using carpet samples that carpet stores don't need anymore?! Did you know you can get them practically free, if not totally free from carpet stores?  I paid .50 each and I am going to use them for a WIDE range of things. Here are 2 ideas for you.

This first idea is a management tool. I call this the "Magic Carpet".  I only have one piece of carpet out and I tell my students that if they would like to sit on the "Magic Carpet", they have to be listening quietly at the carpet area (our floor area where we listen to books and do calendar)  every day.  Then randomly I will pick a student to sit on it! They love being the only student to sit on the nice, comfortable "Magic  Carpet" instead of the thin carpet on our floor!



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This idea came from my 1st grade team- It's a welcome mat! It's an alternative to making Christmas ornaments and giving them as a present from your students to their parents.  I was in dire need of a new idea for the kids to make for their parents for Christmas!  It's so CUTE and quite easy. Here is what it looks like:
Tips:
  • Make sure you have parent volunteers to help you do this project.
  • Use acrylic paint (Roberts, Michael's, etc)
  • The tree in the middle is just a sponge that is die cut into a tree!
  • Use old rags and a tub of water to wash off their feet.
  • To wrap it up and make it an official Christmas present, get large brown paper bags from your local grocery store.  The students can decorate the brown bag by making a tree with their hand and green paint. Just stick a few pieces of red and green tissue paper in it and you have a great present.

Here is the cute poem that you send with each welcome mat:
Click HERE for a download of the poem. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll answer as soon as possible!

Check out these blogs that have ideas on how to use
recycled items in your classroom:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Math

First of all, I can't really take credit for this lesson. My eMINTS teacher, Mrs. Anderson, came and guest taught my class two years ago and taught my students how to use Excel and use the function tools to calculate the total cost of the 12 days of Christmas. However, I prefer the good 'ol pencil and paper to do the calculations. This is my adaptation of her lesson...

Task:
You’ve heard the song about the 12 Days of Christmas, haven’t you? Have you ever stopped to wonder how expensive it would be to actually buy all the gifts in the song? This fun Christmas math activity will help you figure outjust how expensive it would be.

Directions:
  • Go to THIS website.
  • Click on the game that says ‘Pin the Price Tag on the Gift.’
  • Play the game until all price tags are correct.
Then, students will use this chart and calculate how much all the items in the song would cost.

{Obviously this is for upper elementary students, but all you cute 1st grade and kindergarten teachers could probably adapt this somehow for your class...}

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rudolph

I have a new eBFF! 
She has the absolute cutest ideas! 

Today I tried out her cute Rudolph idea. Even though her idea was made for 1st graders, my 5th graders LOVED it! I adapted the job application to make it more appropriate for 5th graders. 

Here are how some of my reindeer turned out:
 I made one too! Hehe!

Some of kids wrote the funniest things on their application. Here are some of my favorites...

Qualifications: What talents and skills do you have that would help you be a good employee?
  • My skills are either playing video games or being lazy.
  • I have a unique scence of fastion.
  • I am good at resisting boredom
  • I found some pixie dust the other day so I can fly really good.
  • I believe in Santa and I have a shiny red nose.
  • I'm kind of a night person.
  • I love carrots and apples.
  • I'm actually kind of immortal.
  • I'm a fast thinker, I could get you out of some situations.
  • I love milk and cookies so I could help santa out.
  • I have very good math skills and can do multiplication, so that might come in handy.
  • I'm good at dodgeball.
Why do you want to work for Santa?
  • I want to know who he is and if he's real.
  • Well... to be honest, I want free toys.
  • I love Santa. Probably my favorite thing about him is he's sososo sneaky.
  • Well I believe in everything - Santa, Heavenly Father, tooth fairy (kind of.)
  • I'd also like to get to play with magic everyday.
  • I don't want Christmas to be cancelled.
  • I'm never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever busy on Christmas Eve.
Why would you make a good reindeer? 
  • I've watched all the reindeer movies.
  • I hate brussel sprouts.
  • I will not whine, cry, be mean, or eat chocolate bars before or while flying.
  • I do not show off and I'm not bossy.
  • I would help Santa, like if he needed me to move a couch I would move the couch.
  • I'm kind of sneaky and I can keep a secret.
  • I've never been on the bad list or gotten any coal.
  • I think I'd be a good reindeer because I can read signs (that are in English).
Once we made our reindeer and filled out our job applications, I got out my student laptops (yes, I have a half classroom set - I'm an eMINTS teacher...) and my students started making an audition video to send to Santa. I am teaching them how to use iMovie to film and edit a video of themselves. If I have enough time, I might even turn this into a persuasive essay project and have my students write a 5 paragraph essay on why Santa should hire them. 

Thanks for the great idea, First Grade Teaching!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Wordsearch

My students LOVE word searches! Did you know that word searches can help with letter/sound recognition, learning vocabulary words, phonics, and they are super fun?  Here is one I made for this wonderful holiday season! Click HERE for the download.



You can also make your own online!  To be honest, they aren't very cute and that's why I just make my own...but they get the job done!  Click HERE for the puzzle maker website.  They are GREAT for weekly spelling words or sight word practice.

Management Monday

Tip for management while showing a movie: Always have something for your students to do.

Here's something fun I do to ensure students are paying attention, not goofing off, and are engaged in learning during a movie...

I call it:
WORDART

It looks something like this:
My students LOVE it! I've only done it twice this year. (I don't think you should over-use it.) The first time was for social studies when we watched a little movie on the Aztecs. We did it again a couple weeks ago when we watched part of a movie about the Mayflower. You can see by the words they've chosen to write down that they really paid attention, looking for the important information about the subject.
P.S. Sometimes, when I show a movie, I just have my students write down 10 interesting facts. Click HERE for a download.

Word Families

We are working on the {__AY} word family and I made this Christams tree to help us out. The {__ay} word family is on the star and the students cut out the ornaments and write a word that ends in {ay}. Then they can decorate their ornament and glue it on to the tree. This is an example of what it might look like when finished. I only have the students do 4-6 words. If they would like to do more....OF COURSE!

Click HERE for a download of this activity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reading Project Cards

I was given a set of these book project cards (I'm sure there's a better name for, but I can't think of anything more clever...) a couple years ago from my teacher-friend, Cindi. I like to pull them out every once in a while during guided reading to give students a fun way to demonstrate their comprehension.
Download my sample version of the project cards: HERE!

I set the stack of cards on the table and tell my students to:
  1. Read their assigned guided reading book with their group.
  2. Write a summary of the book using the four target words: first, then, next, last.
  3. Choose a project card and complete (I let them choose to do a group project or an individual project).
  4. Turn their projects and guided reading books into me and receive their new book.
I like this for a couple of reasons: it let's students have some choice in how they demonstrate their knowledge, allows them to use their creativity, and keeps them busy while I do guided reading with my small groups.

Here are some of the finished projects:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Writing Activities

I try to give credit to those of you that inspire me to do these activities, so if I ever post anything and don't give a shout out to you.....let me know! My 1st grade team (the best team ever) uses these books for writing prompts.  Check them out! Feel free to leave some love (aka, COMMENTS)!
Here are a couple of Holiday writing activities that can be adapted for any grade level. First, we read "Twas the Night Before Christmas...." (any version of the book). We talk about what a tradition is and what traditions did the family in this book have. Then, we talk about traditions that we have with our families.Then, we write about our favorite holiday tradition and we illustrate it.  You can make it into a class book or use them for a bulletin board.  Click HERE for the download.





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Another writing activity would be to first read "The Polar Express".  After reading we talk about writing with imagination.  Then, the students write about what they would do on a magical train and where they would go. At the top of the page, the students illustrate their writing. Click HERE for the Polar Express Download.



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