Saturday, November 22

Do You Wanna Build A ....?

An island
A marble run
A bridge
A house for the frogs
A museum

Yes, building has become a daily part of our day. Actually it is how we start our day. Yes I am probably crazy for doing this. Especially since I much prefer the little or no chaos to any chaos, but I have started to let go a little bit and I am enjoying it more and more. I'll admit sometimes it is the highlight of my day.

The favorite building materials. Something I can best describe as a treehouse. 

The attribute pattern blocks. Students decided they were easier to use when sorted.
Also rulers, yard sticks, and wooden blocks have been used plenty. 

I have done the traditional or more popular morning approaches with morning work. Each year it is a little different with sentence work or math exercises. I tried the no morning task approach too where students got to come in and socialize. It had its up and downs.

This year I start with morning work yet not in the traditional sense. Some days it is getting a head start on an art project I know we won't have time to completely finish. Another day it might be choose a spot to read when we get new books in the room. Another day it might be make as many words as you can out of a larger word. Another write sentences about a recent event to put on our class blog. Then after since I have such a difference between when students can be 45 minute difference...I give them three options everyday- read, work on their journals, or build. Build is again and again the most popular option and I am loving the result.

Why chose build?
It lets students be creative and problem solve with each other.
It provides a daily opportunity for students to work as a group. They come up with the task and the process.
It is student led.
I have a class with many who like to be leaders. It helps give students the opportunity to lead and follow.
It creates problems but also opportunities to talk them out and figure out different solutions.

Here are some of our more recent creations.

Both of these are islands. Just within these building processes there had to be a solution to where to use the dark blue pieces (It is where the deep water is. They figured out deep water is not always far from shore). 
They had to figure out the best place to put a house, how to do it, and who was going to do it.
They had to decide if there was going to be a bridge and where to put it to connect to another island.

As a teacher I love watching this daily process. I'm always amazed at what students come up with. 

Happy Building! 

Saturday, November 15

Five For Fraturday

I finally made it to this party. 
It seems like one extremely crazy week, but I have 5 things that stick out.

It was our 50th day of school on Wednesday. We looked at the toys and clothes from back then. We used lincoln logs and legos for math that day. We learned the hand jive. We tried root beer floats. I was amazed how many of them have never had tried root beer before. My favorite of the day was having my students do this:
well, not sit and watch a movie, but the fact I introduced them to I Love Lucy and Harpo Marx. We talked about how TV shows are so much different today. 

Favorite quote was "Are we watching the one where Lucy thinks she is going to get murdered?" Ahh, a kid who knows what good TV is. 

Parent teacher conferences are over with great success! As much as I can dread them at times they are so helpful.

Since I had some long gaps between my conferences I had time to completely prep for the week. I got my new reader theater's all highlighted too.

These are from my latest packet. 

IT SNOWED!! More is coming. I love snow. It makes everything so pretty and makes it feel like the holidays. I am one Michigander that has no complaints about the snow, even in May it is an adventure.
View of our playground

View from my house. Sorry for the screen effect.

I know it is hunting season or at least rifle season here. It is a huge deal. This year was the first time I have ever gone out bow hunting. I loved it. Didn't manage to get anything yet. Here was the view last night from the blind. Can you tell it has a bit cold here?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 12

Class Book Freebies

One of my most popular freebies has been my Homophone Class Book.
I have used this with my first and second grade classes. From the wonderful comments teachers have left, I have learned others have used it with first graders to even fourth graders as a review. Some teachers have added pages as they introduce certain homophones and some do it all at once.

My class this year has loved sharing and reading our book to parents at morning drop off.

This past week we worked with Amelia Bedelia and idioms. One of our activities was making our class Idiom Book- It's All Greek To Me.

It is a freebie for you. There are 60 pages to choose from for your book including a blank page to add your own idioms. Click here to get your copy!

Each page has an idiom at the top. In the left box, students draw the picture they visualize when they hear or read the idiom. In right box, students draw a picture they visualize when they think about what the idiom really means. The lines are used to explain what the idiom really means. You could also have students include the idiom in their own sentence.

Here are some of my second graders' pages.

Sunday, November 9

Native American Reader Theater Scripts... A First for Me

Today was a first for me...

a real first as a blogger/teacher/TpTer

I made a product in one day!! The whole start, finish, and make it all pretty. 

Say what?!? (at least this is what I am saying). 

I can't wait to use it with my second graders these next few weeks. Yes that was the point of rushing around today. 

So tada... Click here to check it out. Plus it is on sale until Tuesday!

I have actually used some of these last year but finally added more to the collection. My third and fourth graders did a school play with these scripts. My second graders are just realizing how much fun these scripts can be. 

These are just in time for Native American Heritage Month but are great to use when studying folktales. 

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 8

Our Spider Writing Potpurri

I must preface this post in that it is not oh so pretty. Also I am a little late in posting. This is one of those things that kept growing and working as part of our mini writing lessons tied in with our spider theme and skills for the week.

It started as a review to what a sentence is and should have at the beginning and end of it while tying in our spider theme. It seems like we are always working on this skill, but we are getting it. But this mini writing lesson grew into just about a week of mini-writing lessons.

Day 1- I had posters taped around the room. Each had a different picture of a spider. Students went from poster to poster and wrote down something they observed in the photo. Students moved once they heard music. I like to use the many alarms sounds on my phone for this to spice it.

Day 2- We were also working on adjectives that week. I noticed with our observation sentences many were used. So students were paired up. They were each given a highlighter and shared a poster. They worked together to find and highlight adjectives. We even got into a discussion on similes thanks to one student's sentence. Love when teachable moments happen like that!

Day 3- We revisited our posters after working with facts and opinions. Just like Day 2, students paired up with a poster and each with a highlighter. They had to read each sentence decide if it was a fact or opinion and marked it with an F or O once they decided. As a class we kept a tally of facts and opinions to see what we wrote more of. 

This is definitely an approach I plan to use again. Thinking it would be a great thing to do when we working more in depth with inferencing.

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, November 2

Why Hello November

October flew right by. It is time for the wonderful holiday season to start! Thank you November and thank you Farley for bring us all something fun to do once again. 

Listening: Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows. Loving the fact all the seasons are so easily available for me to enjoy for the third or fourth time...or maybe more. 

Loving: At times I would say fall is my favorite season. The food, clothes, boots, all the colorful beauty around me. 
View from one of my hikes

A tree on a camping trip. Picture doesn't even do it justice.

View from the hunting blind.

Our playground is completely covered like this. 

Thinking: We had the craziest Halloween day. In short there was a potential raccoon, two different school power outages, tree falling down in the road, and having to eat a school wide lunch by jack-o-lanterns and candle light before having to close school. So I need to catch up. A relaxing day will be nice. 

Wanting: I have been traveling a lot. Teleporting abilities would greatly help. 

Needing: To find balance to do all the things I need to do and fit all the people in that I need to.

Reading: Current read is Love Does by Bob Goff. It is about seeing the extraordinary in everyday life by choosing love in all different types of situations. It is a book I want to last awhile. 

Happy November!

Saturday, October 25

Place Value Monsters

Over the years, math has become one of my favorite subjects to teach. It is not just memorizing facts and doing worksheets even though I am someone who would love to take a math class and work out a set of problems. I know Nerd Alert.

Math has become my favorite. It is so easy to incorporate games and crafts while still doing math. I know that is still a shocker for some. This week we reviewed place value and starting to work on expanded notation. To make it even more engaging we practiced these skills by making our Place Value Monsters.

All that is needed for this math craft is founded in my newest packet. I have four monster fact sheets that allows students to work on recognizing hundreds, tens, ones, adding them, multiplying or doing expanded notation. Here are two previews.

You can pick up your own set of materials to make your Place Value Monsters here. It is on sale for $1.50.

Happy Saturday!