Saturday, February 23, 2013

Look What It Only Took Me Months To Figure Out!

I am so proud of myself!  Look what I made this morning... My very first product preview! It only took me, like, three hours (hopefully I get better at it with time...) and I'm sure I did it in the most complicated way possible, but I'm happy with it and I knew that only the world of bloggers would understand why I am so excited. There are some things the husband just won't ever get, and this is one of them.  Just click on the picture to see the actual product on TpT. Hopefully Part Three of these assessments will be out soon. They're a work in progress and my lovelies are impeding the actual progress. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Anchor Charts and Other Artsy Stuff- Five for Friday

Here in KC we've been pretty much swallowed up by snow.  Yesterday we got a foot in about two hours!  Needless to say, I'm at home with my kids and there's little hope of my leaving the house in the forseeable future... Stuck. While I love being with them, I also get a little bit of cabin fever and I must say, it has hit. Hard. Too bad for me. I don't think my car could even get out of the driveway if I tried.
Because I just love these Five for Friday posts from Doodlebugs, I figured this week I'd focus on five of the anchor charts I've been using lately as well as a couple of the fun artsy things we've done over the past couple of weeks. 
1. Here is the anchor chart I refer to when we're working on vowel teams.  They love the song from Starfall here and so we song it A LOT when we find these vowel combos.   

2. We've also been learning about George and Abe and I use these to record facts about them. I used this ScrappinDoodles clipart as inspiration to draw them.


3.  We've been working and working on Addition Strategies and my kids are STILL rather stumped. However, they have LOVED the strategy of Making a Ten since I started calling them "Ten Friends".  They get so excited when they see a "Ten Friend".  We've done lots to build up this skill.  I held up fingers and they held up the friend (for example, I hold up 4, they hold up 6). I did that a lot while lining up, waiting for specials, during bathroom breaks since it is quiet. I also used a deck of cards and turned one. They'd call out or write the friend on their white board.  We also played some matching games.  A few of them are still relying on the chart, and converting this to subtraction will be interesting, but for now I am just happy to see them finding the friends. I'm also including one of the matching games we used in our Guided Math tubs.  Just click on the picture.
4. For the culmination of Chinese New Year we always paint these banners. I think I got this from a Mailbox magazine years ago, and have done it for as many years as I've been teaching. They. love. it.  It's actually the chinese symbols for Gung Hay Fat Choy and they just emulate what I paint. I love that they all turn out just a little bit differently.
5. Finally, I have the good fortune of teaching right next door to one of my very best friends.  While I was away on maternity leave this fall, she went and found the world's most adorable apple craft. They made little stained glass apples.  I'm for sure going to do them next year so I'll post pictures of them then. Anyway, she was smart enough to think of adapting them for Valentines' Day! You just cut a heart out of contruction paper and lay it on contact paper. Then I cut up a bunch of tissue paper and put it in a bucket. The kids just picked out the colors and layered them inside the heart. I stuck them straight onto the window and Presto! Stained glass cuteness in about ten minutes.

If you're buried in the snow, hope you're enjoying another long weekend.  If you're not... Well... You probably have a beach nearby so I don't feel too sorry for you. :)

Head on over and link up!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Five For Friday

Alright, so I'm linking up again. These are like the world's easiest posts to write! Five random things? I can handle that.

1.  President's Day!!!  How I love this holiday. Not ONLY do we get the day off, but my students get so interested in reading informational text about our buddies George and Abe.  And does anybody else get a kick out of the way that "Barack Obama" sounds coming out of a first graders mouth?  I just love it. Anyway, here are some hats we made on Wednesday.  They were SUPER easy. 

2. Last week I wrote about Whitney. Well this week I have been all about The Walking Dead. Holy. Smokes. It is TERRIFYING but I just cannot turn it off! Daryl is totally my favorite character. Is that weird?

3. Our district adopted BIST this year, and most days I LOVE it. I think it really works. Then there are days where a fourth grader using my room as a Buddy Room knocks over an entire shelf and leaves me with this.  Awesome.

4.  We had conferences until 8:00 both Wednesday and Thursday so in return, we got today off!  Hooray. I spent the day looking at preschools for my baby.  Not hooray. :(  She is so excited to start and all it does is make me sad. 

5. Because of the aforementioned day off, I was home when THIS arrived and I almost squealed. Have you ever seen one of these? They are so. freaking. awesome.  It is an ArtWaxer!!  You put a big ol' chunk of wax inside and it heats up and rolls a layer of wax onto whatever you want to make sticky. This is by far the best way I have found to hang things from cinderblock walls.  Well my school had one and some dummy left it on over the weekend and it died.  Gruble grumble...  We've been looking and looking for a replacement but they don't seem to make them anymore. I found this guy on Ebay for WAY more than I should have paid for an old used one, but I decided I just can't live without one anymore.  And yes, that is my baby sitting patiently in the car seat waiting for me to unwrap the box and pay attention to him, Just call me SuperMom. :)

Have a great long weekend if you have one!! Go watch Walking Dead!!!  You'll thank me later.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

President's Day Sort

I made this packet last year after being inspired by Cara Carroll's fun President Day activities. She just makes everything look more engaging. I've used the heck out of her Pint Sized Presidential Fun packet. And did you see she's finally made FONTS??  Oh my gosh... I am SO excited to start using them.  Anyway... I digress. 

I spent some time today adding a couple of writing pages that I needed for use in my classroom this week anyway.  We focus SO much on Washington and Lincoln that I plan to use this as a jumping off point for the new CCSS regarding different characters and experiences.  Go check it out and tell me what you think!  Is this something you think your class could use? Would you use it whole group or small? 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Five for Friday (Saturday) and something for free!


So... I know.  It's Saturday.  Almost Sunday even.  I really tried to do this on Friday but this week was ridiculous and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch three minutes into Whitney last night.  Does anyone else watch that show?  It took us a long time to start it but it is so dang FUNNY!  If you haven't watched it, you should.  Let's make that my first random thing.

2. So, like I said, this week was nutso. We cellebrated the 100th day of school by doing these guys and writing about what we'll be like at 100.  We've been working on adjectives and my kids were so funny.  They'll be wrinkly, gray... One of them said prickly.  That was my favorite.

This little girl has beads in her and I guess she is planning to continue with the style for a while. :)

Not sure if this is a beard or chest hair. Hee hee.

3.  We also celebrated Chinese New Year. I LOVE using this holiday as a way to make my kids just slightly more aware of the world we live in and the people we share it with.  These are some quick little lanterns we made.  We also did a dragon dance using a long roll of crepe paper. They LOVED it.  I'd never done that before, but it is something I'll definitely do again.The picture stinks... Dang iphone doesn't take great pictures of moving objects. 

4.   Guided Reading, oh Guided Reading.  You're killing me, too!  We just changed up all of our groups and I went from having four groups of approaching readers to four groups of beyond kids.  I know I'm supposed to jumping for joy, but SNORE-FEST! I'm just not used to kids who don't have to work at it.  What I'm finding with these kids is that as they come to a word they don't know, they have no dang clue how to figure it out!  So I made this to encourage them to recognize that they don't, in fact, know a word. This week they told me and I wrote it. Next week I plan on letting them write them up themselves.  Once they're up there we'll use strategies to figure them out.  Wish me luck. And if you have any ideas for making GR work with high kids, let me know!  Oh, and if you like it, you can use it too.  Assuming I can get google docs to work...

5.  Um... I'm out of stuff!  Here's a picture of the influence my video game dork of a husband has on my sweet little two year old.

Thanks for reading this VERY long post!  Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Show Us What You Bought

First off, I think I have a shopping compulsion.  I've pretty much always suspected it, but it rears its head every time TpT has one of these dang sales.  Here's what I got yesterday- I'm joining in my first Linky Party (that's the dumbest word EVER, ps...)


Here's what I had been wanting and wanting but needed a good excuse to actually purchase. It's going to tie my Chinese New Year study up into a pretty little bow- thank you very much Teaching in High Heels!
Then I got this March Daily Sentence Editing packet along with the February packet from Randi at Teach It With Class because a BUNCH of my kids are missing these editing skills and our Winter MAP scores totally reflected it. I'm going to use them during our Tiered Intervention time. They are SO easy to prepare and I love their simple layout that's easy for my kids to make sense of.
The other thing I bought was a set of borders from The ClipArt Factory because I am obsessed with borders. I am not including an image because I can't figure out how to use their TpT thumbnail and not have it be all blurry! Anyone have any great ideas on that? For the other ones I just went to their blog and copied the image.  This having a blog thing has a steep learning curve!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oh Give Me a Home- Kansas Day in our Classroom

This week was completely and utterly nutsorama in my room.  Along with the 100th day of school, we also celebrated Kansas Day on Tuesday which is one of my very favorite things that we cover.  We are technically located in Kansas, but our district is very close to the Missouri border and completely urban.  When I ask questions like, "What does Kansas look like?" they have no stinking clue!  Most of them haven't experienced the Kansas that other people think of- wheat fields and prairies and cattle.  They've always been in the city and their families don't have the need or funds to just go out and see other things.  When I show them photographs of farms they are shocked!  They have no idea what a crop is, or that wheat actually grows from the ground.  It's so funny to see their reaction to what seems so natural.  I have a new student who just came to us from Abilene (which is in the middle of Kansas) and she looked around at them like they were joking when they didn't know what those things were.  Dumbfounded.  So funny.  This anchor chart took a LOT of background building to complete!

I put up this little bulletin board to get them thinking and offer some real images of the land to help them visualize it.

Anyhow, my first grade team and I always do a rotation during Kansas Week where we see each class and do some kind of Kansas Symbol activity. For the past few years I've done the sunflower and I just think they're adorable!  We also make a little Kansas Map where we mark the capital and our city, a state flag, symbols flip book, a paper Kansa Teepee, and a dang KU Jayhawk that I hate... I went to KState and it seems almost traitorous to let them do it, but it is one of those things I don't have much of a say in.  They try to convince me that we're all "Kansas Jayhawkers", but I'm not buying it.  Anyway... Here are some pictures of the bulletin board we threw together. 

The music teachers put together a little program based on the book, "S if for Sunflower: A Kansas Alphabet". They were awfully cute in their bandanas and cowboy boots!
Big Sale Tomorrow on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Don't miss out- my tiny little store will all be on sale. And shopping has to be more exciting than this dang Harbaugh Brothers game... Seriously? Ravens and 49ers?  Lame.