Monday, October 17, 2011

I Got Skills... Map Skills

As we were finishing our supper, I told my husband, "I've got to go post. If I don't, I think I'll die!" Okay, so that was a t-a-d over-dramatic. However, blogging, or lack there of, has been on my mind. I've had all of these ideas for posts, but I haven't had the time to get to it.

 I know I've read this often from other bloggers lately, but it is soooo true. BUSY, BUSY, B-U-S-Y! I am so busy! I don't even have time to sit in front of my computer for a spare thirty minutes while I watch my favorite shows. {I don't even have the time to get on my little smart phone!} I haven't blogged or read blogs in a week. The Horror! 

Oh, no! What is Cara up to? Did Abby create another fabulous lesson for me to drool over? Has Kerri posted about a new TLC art project that I'm dying to do? What about the Teeny Tiny Teacher??

I dunno??? I haven't had a chance to read about my bloggy friends' teacher lives.

Which is a nagging reminder to me that I am terrible at time management. Every year, I make a goal to work on this. AND every year, I find myself bogged down, staying at school late, bringing piles of work home, and spending my Sundays in my classroom. BOO! Will I ever get it right? Geez, I hope so.

Any whoo, one of the topics I wanted to post about was geography. I am totally repeating this from other bloggers, BUT it is an awesome activity! I first saw this on Pinterest which took me to Jenn's blog, Finally in First. This activity tied in with the story, Me on the Map. I used to have this story in my old reading series and I loved it so much, I got a copy of the book for my personal library. Which is good for me, since our new reading series doesn't have it. It has a similar story called, All on the Map {NOT as good!}

I make sure to include the story, Me on the Map, when I teach this other not-as-good story because it works well with the topic. I had the kiddidles make their own flap book like Jenn's class.

The kids used their pencils to draw and label the first two pages of the book. The rest of the flaps the kids wrote the labels but glued the map or picture onto the pages.

I really liked the color paper I ended up using. It makes the books look very pretty.

During the creation of said flap book, we hit a major pitfall in geographic knowledge of the continents.  My kids were l-o-s-t. They kept on saying country names, state names,  and I think I may have heard someone say our galaxy?? We needed an intervention, STAT! Luckily, I have this great game to play on the Smart Board which usually helps with this problem. {Side note: SmartBoard is only available at the computer lab. Can you say, "Bummer!"} Click {here} for the game.

This game is from National Geographic Kids and my kids love it. Oh, who am I kidding, I find myself playing it while the kids play, too. First, we'll play the game whole group and I'll choose one person to touch the board.  If the toucher needs assistance, the watching kids may only say the name of the continent rather than the color. It's like speaking english in a spanish class. NOT ALLOWED! The first day, they wanted to say the color names, not the continent names, so badly. But, as the days progress, they are learning those continent names, by golly!

Go play it. I dare you. You'll love it. BTW, may "all-time" high score is 14.

The next link is for a catchy 40 second song to learn those continents from Teacher Tipster. Click {here} for the YouTube song. 

My kids loved listening to this song and asked me to play it over and over and over again. I was singing it on my drive home from work today. I know my continents, baby!!

The next document is what I made to print the flap book for the kids. I added the page color on each sheet just as an idea for when I chose the colored printer paper. I didn't even use those colors. I found prettier colors, thank you!

Me on the Map Student Book

I feel so much better, now.
Have a great week and I hope to be back much sooner than seven days!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Being Eric Carle

Okay, so I am not on Fall Break or do I have one in the future, but today was Florida's State In-service Day. The kids had the holiday off. Not us. Sad! :( 
At my school, we've been hounded for the past month to make sure we sign up for workshops because we were required to attend workshops all day long. No comp time either. Geez, do they think we'll go to the beach or something? Have they seen my gigantic, falling over, pile of paperwork??

Anyway, this in-service day means that my district has to provide workshops for us to attend. Typically, I will attend workshops that I think will be worthwhile but then I get there and discover that it is really geared towards 3rd grade and up. Just no love for the primary teachers!

Well, when I saw that there were some workshops at our local Art Museum, I quickly registered to secure my spot. I'm not wasting any more time on workshops that I get nothing out of. Seriously, I was hoping that I may learn how to become a better artist.  Maybe my work can look cute like most of you talented teachers out there!

The first session was good. We appreciated art and how we can apply it to some reading strategies within our lessons (and, yes, this was geared for the upper grades, whateves...)

Hold the phone folks, the second session was A-MAZ-ING!
We had so much fun. The instructor was a local elementary art teacher.
She taught us how to make art and teach it to our kids in the style of the great  author/illustrator Eric Carle.

Let's hear it: Oooo! Aaaaa!

THAT is something I made! My own mother wouldn't believe it.

What's great is our instructor has used this lesson with Kindergarten and 1st graders.
And they could do it! Oh, yeah!

This is how she does it:

Start with this nice sheet of finger paint white paper and have the kids section it off for each part of the picture. {We used the goldfish from Brown Bear, Brown Bear}

The student will paint each section of the paper. Show them how to mix colors to make new colors, make dots, splashes, or use the back of the paint brush and make scratches. Be creative!

She drew the fish herself on the white paper. I can do that, right?
The fish has been photocopied for each student. They cut the body out of the picture.

Lay it on the painted section for the body, trace it, and cut it out.

Lay your copied goldfish paper {with the body section cut out} on a piece of white cardstock or tagboard. Glue your colorful head on. We used just white Elmer's glue.

Do the same procedure with each section of the fish until it is done.

Afterwards, we decided to use any scraps from the painted leftovers to add details to our pictures. I made sure to take pictures of some of the other ladies' art work. They are sooo cute!

Our instructor says that she uses many of Eric Carle books in this style. The K kids make the Very Hungry Caterpillar, the older kids will get a more difficult picture like the Very Grouchy Ladybug.

Oh, wait, that was not all. She also showed us how she incorporates science by dissecting squids! Apparently, when the kids get to dissect their own squid and really learn each part of the squid's body, their artwork is better because it stems from that hands-on experience. Huh? Go, figure... hehehe
Oh, please, disregard my hair. LAZY morning for me!

She was right! Although, everyone at my table said my squid looked a bit phallic. Which was NOT my intention. They have those fins at the top, I swear!

All in all, it was a fun day. I have a million and one things to do in my room and at home, but it was so nice to take the time and enjoy art!

Support your Creative Arts Programs!!!

Goldfish Art

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

Well, it has been a different kind of Saturday for me. First, I was awoken at around 4:30am in the morning to a howling little kitty. I was just about to nudge Mr. Spouse and tell him to feed the cats when I noticed he wasn't sleeping next to me. The first thought in my head was that Scott had fallen ill and was passed out on the floor in the living room and my little Gus was having a Lassie moment and tried to tell me to go help him.
Yah... I totally got that wrong.
I hobbled out into the living to find, not a dying husband on the floor, but an awake husband playing on the computer because he couldn't sleep. So, I turned around to go back to bed. Then, the darn cat was howling again and this time he jumped on the bed and curled up on my chest. I'm like, "What is wrong with you?" He hasn't slept on my chest since he was a really little guy. But as I tried to fall back asleep I heard it... the rain. It was coming down pretty hard. Gus usually isn't afraid of the rain, but we have had hard pounding rain for the past two days. I guess he must think the giants are coming to get us or something. Whatever it is, he is spooked!
I went back to sleep and got a few more hours of shut eye {with Gus on my chest, my head, under the sheets next to my arm, he could not stay still!}
By lunch time, Scott and I decided to brave the storm. We had some errands to run and didn't want to put them off any longer. It was raining pretty hard, so we didn't do too well in the "staying dry" department.
One of our errands was to the local book store. We were stuck in there for a long time because it was raining sideways. My feet were soooo cold. Flip flops were a bad choice in footwear. While I was in the children's section, I noticed they had a Christmas aisle put together. Now, I am in-like with Halloween, but I am in-LOVE with Christmas! I was so excited to see some new Christmas books that I MUST have for this season:

We just love the Bad Kitty books! The book is called, A Bad Kitty Christmas, and it is written by Nick Bruel.

I read Aliens love Underpants last year and thought it was hysterical! Mrs. Jump had some really cute activities to go with that story, too. Now they have a brand new story for Christmas! In the first book, the aliens steal the underpants. In this book, the aliens give away underpants. They put underpants on the elves and the reindeer. It is too cute!
I can't wait for Christmas time!!!

Speaking of Christmas, check out Ms. Preppy's blog

She's organizing a Teacher Blog Christmas Exchange and it looks like a lot of fun! Click {here} to learn more.


Let's move on to something fun! I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Crunch on Landee See Landee Do's blog and I knew I just had to make it! I love pumpkin pie, but I haven't found a Gluten Free pie crust that I am over the moon for. I always drool for the pumpkin pie my family gets to eat on Thanksgiving and I cannot. Not ANYMORE says I. This recipe uses cake mix! I have found a cake mix that I like, yipee! It was on like Donkey Kong. After a very wet trip to the grocery store and about 90 minutes later, I had my very own Pumpkin Crunch!
It doesn't look great, but it tastes awesome!
It was sooo good. I'm not going to lie and tell you that I only had one serving of the crunch. Okay, we had two. I blame my Boo, he's an enabler.

To get the recipe for Pumpkin Crunch click {here.}
Even if you don't love pumpkin pie, you will LOVE how good your house smells! 
Welcome Fall!


Also, I have to throw in this picture of one of my little cuties.
 He was ready for the rain AND for Fire Safety week!

Every time it rains he wears that red, old lady visor. I'm not quite sure how well it keeps his head dry, but he loves it. Ha!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thanks for Pledging to Read for the Record | We Give Books

Currently {October}

It's that time again! Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade is having her monthly linky party.
October is magical. Even if it doesn't cool down in my little town AT ALL, we still get into the spirit of Fall and Halloween. Plus, I love watching Halloween episodes from my favorite TV shows. My husband and I still recite Sofia Vergara's line from last year's halloween episode, "Welcome to your nightmare, hohoho!"

Here is my list:

Here's the links to the above mentioned blogs:

*The Teacher's Cauldron - New blogger and I'm loving what I'm reading. Plus, she comments on my blog and I'm a total sucker for people who will take the time to write a comment!
*Waiting on the Butterflies - She is a fellow teacher but her blog is mostly about her life. She is SO FUNNY!!! I crack up every time she posts. She's a trip! Anyone that can post about a trip to Home Goods and make me cry from laughing so hard is an awesome writer in my book!

Head on over to Farley's blog and link up!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fire Safety Science Project

During Fire Safety Week, we like to discuss the three things fire needs:
heat, air, and fuel.
The other day when I was on Pinterest I found this great idea to demonstrate these three things. It is from a homeschool mom's blog. This is such super cute blog and she has some fabulous activities to do with her kids. It made me wish I had a little homeschool class! Click {here} to go to her blog.

I REALLY wanted to do this with my class today and then I thought, "Why not try to make it a science project?" Maybe it could be our class project?!?!

You will need the following materials:
three balls of clay
 three birthday candles
 spray bottle (full of water)
 drinking glass
baking sheet
stop watch
 recording sheet

First, I had them record their hypotheses.

Next, we tested to see if fire really needs heat.
I lit the birthday candle and had a student spray it with water. I had another student time to see how quickly the fire went out {or if it didn't.}

Then, we tested to see if fire really needs air.
I lit the birthday candle and put a drinking glass over it to take the air away. I had the same student time this again.

Last, we tested to see if fire really needs fuel.
I lit the birthday candle and we waited until it burned down all of the wax. Once again, the same student timed it. This one takes the longest but it will go out. The kids were getting really nervous. One asked me if I had asked the principal's permission to do this experiment. I was like, "I AM a grown-up, you know! It's okay!" However, I did mention that I could just put the glass over it or I could use the fire extinguisher if need be.

We recorded the data collected on our recording sheets and afterwards we discussed how fire DOES need these things and that it is important to learn about something so dangerous. Especially if they were ever to consider playing with lighters or matches. You never know!

Fire Needs Recording Sheet

Also, I didn't think to include the tracers for my fireman writing project yesterday, DUH!
Here ya go!

Firefighter Tracers 2

One more thing, don't forget to check out Rebecca's blog, Teaching First. She was really cool and gave away a copy of her spider unit to 10 followers yesterday. This fantastic unit is available on TPT, so make sure to head on over to her blog and check it out!

Thanks for reading my blog!
It is so nice to have teachers helping teachers!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fire Safety Week! and Big Alan

Sound the alarm, Fire Prevention Week is coming!
Technically, fire prevention week is October 9-15, but I'm a little early {I'm either late or early, what's new?}
I love talking about fire safety and prevention with my kiddos. It amazes me every year, how little they know or are prepared for a fire! One video that I like to show my kids is from Discovery Education/United Streaming called, "Sound the Alarm: Firefighters at Work."

Then, we completed a Tree Map about Firefighters.

Some of their answers were pretty funny. One little guy remembered the "jaws of life" and another stated that they have to be "physically fit." Which almost led to a completely different conversation about weight. I had to steer it back to firefighters! So many stories to share, ha!
 Throughout the whole lesson, I would refer to the Essential Question: Do you have a plan? I told them that when they go home they should have a talk with their family members about fire safety and to ask about what to do if there is a fire in their home. Where is the safe meeting place? What about the animals? Etc.
They were completely engaged. "What if my room is on fire? What if the front of the house is on fire? What if? What if?" Holy moly! Lots of "What if's!"

Tomorrow, I plan on having them make this little guy:

Isn't he cute?! I got the idea from the ladies of The Lemonade Stand. Great blog!

We will write about ways to protect your family from fire:
* Having a fire escape route
*Practice fire drills,
*Checking smoke detectors,
*making sure the stove tops are clean,
*don't play with matches or lighters,
*check to make sure doors and windows can open easily,
*know who to call in an emergency.

If you want some more information or lessons click {here} to go to the National Fire Protection Association's website. It is really helpful and a good source to send home to families.
Also, I found this neat-o blog with oodles of information about fire safety. Click {here}

Update: I had to move this lesson on adjectives from last week to this week because I simply had too much to do with apples and I ran out of time!

We call him, Big Alan. This lesson was a great way to culminate our apple study. We discussed what describing is and then we came up with lots of words to describe apples. I wrote them down and we covered Big Alan with these adjectives. I was super happy when  Lilleigh said, "delicious." What a fancy word!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Last Week in Review ... Apples!

First and foremost, a huge THANK YOU, to all of my friends in bloggy land for making this the most wonderful apple week ever!

We began our week with an introduction to apples. Thanks to Mrs. Lee's blog we have this great observation sheet:

Wowzers, our first time using a scale was pretty interesting! Thank goodness one little smart cookie figured out the best way to use the cubes with the scale to weigh that heavy apple. He isn't my usual 'go-to' guy with all of the answers, so he was OVER THE MOON when I stopped the whole class to discuss his method. {I love that!!!}
Such hams!
Also, we started the week with a KWL chart {Thanks to Mrs. Carroll!}
They really love to help filling in Anchor Charts.
I had to stop them at one point because I ran out of room!
Next day was all about Apple Tasting! They were SOOOOO excited about that! Yep, only too bad for me, because by the third apple my apple corer broke!
Dang! I could not get that sucker out of the corer. It was too funny.
Luckily, I brought in a knife and cutting board {just in case!} I've had the best laid plains fall apart by little accidents just like this too many times to not be prepared for a contingency plan!!
Using a knife is just NOT as much fun as the corer.
Afterwards, we graphed the results of our favorites using this great bar graph provided by Mrs. Hodson at Today in First Grade ...

I tried to remind them that this is THEIR favorite not their buddies, but somehow word travels in a quiet room. When I revealed the final results, some cheered for the winner. I told them, there was no winner when you tell each other what to pick!  I showed them that I liked one of the unpopular apples because it was my favorite, not my friend's favorite. I doubt that will make a difference. Needless to say, I'll have to review "Being Yourself" a lot more than usual this year.

We transitioned from our bar graph to a picture graph using some wittle apple die-cuts.
Our pictograph, I loved how this turned out!
On Wednesday, we were labeling again. I brought my dad's apple corer to school. You know the kind where you spike the apple on a crank and spin the apple towards the peeler, corer, and slicer.
If you don't have one, you should add it to your christmas list because they are super duper fun!
We passed around the apple parts and learned their names.
Then, we filled in the anchor chart together.

Thanks to Mrs. Nelson's Apple Page for the inspiration of my Apple Parts Chart and Mrs. Hodson at Today in First Grade ... for the kid version, the next step was for the kids to complete their own apple parts label sheet independently.

The next day, we learned all about Johnny Appleseed. I read a book about him to the class and we watched the Disney version {which is so cute.} We completed this tree map together and then they filled their own map using facts of their choosing. Thanks to Kristy at Teachin' First for these awesome graphics and Eberhart's Explorers for the kid freebie!

We ended our week with an art project provided by Kerri at Teacher Bits and Bobs and I'm so happy how they turned out. I really didn't think they could follow directions and complete this without the help of tracers, but they did. I took it slow, REAL slow.

Last, but not least, was the yummy applesauce we made on yesterday. I think I may make it everyday. My classroom smelled soooo good. Thanks again to Cara at The First Grade Parade for the recipe. The kids loved it!
They practically licked the bowl!
I still have a few things I didn't get to do with them because they took too long with everything else. Next week, I will teach an adjective lesson using 'Big Alan.'
Big Alan
This past week was fun, but I am wooped!

I don't know about your schools, but mine has added more and more and MORE to our plates and this paperwork is killing me! By the time I get home from school, it is 6:30-ish and I am too tired to even open my computer for fun blog reading. I feel like I missed out on so much. I know I missed Science Week. I really hope this in not indicative to how the rest of the year is going to go because I can't be the best version of me with ALL of this work!!
If I'm writing prescriptions for each and every one of my students {the new term from the big up's at my school} then I should be treated like a doctor! Have an assistant, secretaries, respect, and way better pay!!!!