Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Fun!

I love celebrating Easter in the classroom!  I get to do a few more activities involving more than Easter Bunnies and Peeps since I work in a private Christian school.  I thought that I'd share a few things that we did in the classroom that you could use for Sunday School or at home.

We made these eggs with white crayons and watercolors.


First, we brainstormed words that went along with the Easter season like cross, Jesus, tomb, etc.

After we made a huge list, students were able to choose the words that they wanted to write (using white crayon) on the small circles inside the egg.

Then the students were able to use their watercolors to paint the eggs.  I loved listening to their squeals when they painted over the small circles and the words came through.

Once the paper dried, I had the students cut out the egg.

You can download the template for the egg HERE.

Next up was JELLY BEANS!  I sort the jelly beans into cups early in the day and their poor, little faces were drooling all over them.

The students colored the jelly bean templates from Ashley Reed's Easter Activities for the Christian Classroom or Home. (Go grab it - it's free!)

I had the students get two of each color jelly bean for their bag.  Their job was to share their jelly beans with a friend or family member at home and teach the person about Easter.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

3 Billy Goats Gruff

Last week, our story of the week was The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  The students are really getting into the folktale stories and I wish that there were more in the basal readers.  Honestly, I think they loved this story because the big billy goat Gruff "butted" the troll into the river.  And yes, I explained what a head butt was.  Never a dull moment.

Most of the year, my students have been reading different stories from the basal reader at different times, but I've really enjoyed having them read the same story at the same time.  I know it's not perfect for every time of the year, but it sure makes my life easier!

I made this packet to go along with the story.

Day 1 - Since I want to model fluency to my students, I read the story aloud to them while they follow along.  We pause to discuss unfamiliar words, make predictions, etc. They colored the cover of the packet and we complete the story map together.

Day 2 - Students read the story with partners.  Then they complete the story sequence page.  I heard lots of squeals about how cute the little billy goat was and laughter about the picture of the troll in the water.

Day 3 - Students read independently while I walk around the room helping as needed.  We work in the glossary, looking up words, drawing a picture, and using the word in a sentence.  

I always have students share their sentences because I can give suggestions on how to change it if they don't understand and it gives other students ideas.  Plus sometimes, they are outright hilarious.
Day 4 - I put up the Story Hunt cards around the classroom.  Students grabbed a clipboard and a recording sheet to write their answers.  

After they finished, we reviewed the answers.

Later in the day, during writers workshop, the students wrote a letter to the troll from the three billy goats.  They could apologize to the troll or tell the troll how they felt about his antics.

Almost all of my students earned 100% on the test (not included in the packet).  I call that a success!! Check it out in my TpT Store.  It's 50% off until midnight. Be sure to follow me on Instagram (polkadotfirsties) and on TpT to get notified when I post new things. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tornadoes & A Freebie

We've been studying weather since the beginning of the month.  Do you ever feel like there is just so much to cover??

My students were memorized by the different weather images I put up on my science wall.  I loved how they referred to them during class discussions!

This week we are discussing extreme weather storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes. I've been using Weather - Creating a Non-Fiction Text Features Booklet (by Teachers are Terrific) during Readers Workshop to help students learn about the different characteristics of the storm.

This was a real discussion in our classroom: 

Me:  Where should you go in your house if there's a warning about a tornado?
John: I would go in my basement.
Me:  Which part of your basement would you go in? The bathroom?  Does the bathroom in the basement have windows?
John: Well, there's windows there.  Maybe I should go to a bathroom upstairs?
Me: No, you really should stay in the basement.  Is there a room in the basement with no windows?
John:  I could always go to the room where my dad keeps the wine.
Me: (trying not to giggle) That sounds like a good idea!
John: Wait!  If the strong winds from the tornado come, it will break the wine bottles and I'll have wine all over me!  It is not a good place!
Steven: John!  Which is better - have wine spill all over you or be sucked up by a tornado and die?

The boys continued to have a discussion about which was the better choice (being 100% serious) while I laid my head on my desk because tears were streaming down my face.  Then my class proceeded to tell me that my mascara was running all down my face.  I love how they always look out for me (and for each other).

Here's a quick freebie to add to your weather unit!

There's a pre-planning sheet to help your students organize their information.

Here's a snapshot of the final copy paper.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sunflower Life Cycle Posters

I loved making my Weather Posters so much that I had to jump ahead and make plant posters for next month.  You can pick these up for FREE in my TpT store!

There is one poster that shows the entire life cycle.

There are four other posters of the individual parts of the life cycle.  I plan on using these to make a large life cycle on my science wall.  Here's a quick snapshot of two of the posters.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Five for Friday: 3/6/15

I had the best inntentions of getting this up last night.  I made an effort to pick up around the house before sitting down at the computer.....and it just never happened.  At least now my kitchen table has been cleaned off!

I love my new blog design!  Check out Gabby's Classrooms if you are looking to get yours redone.

We started off the week making rainbow similes.

I got the ideas from Lindsey at For the Love of First Grade.  I used the rainbow template from A Cupcake for the Teacher's Over the Rainbow packet.

To help the project go smoothly, we make a class list of things that are red, yellow, orange, etc.  This way the students can choose from the board if they are stuck.

After they write in pencil, students trace over their writing with a pen before painting with watercolors. 

You can download this poster from GoogleDocs HERE.

Our fundraiser in the fall was for projectors in every classroom plus a Moby (a tablet where the teachers can write on and make it show on the white board).  I just got my projector installed last week and the students love it!

I'm showing them pictures of a sea urchin for our study of ur words.  For the last year I was able to display things on a flat screen TV, but this is even better!  I'm able to pull up documents and then write on the white board.  I know this probably seems behind the times, but it's new to me and so exciting!

I know St. Patrick's Day hasn't hit us yet, but I'm already starting to plan my Easter themed activities.  I made this freebie last night.

I'm giving away all of my new items (from the last month).  Enter to win!

Monday, March 2, 2015

March Currently

I'm excited to link up with Farley's Currently this month.

Listening to the Bachelor.  I have never actually watched it before, but Kristin's recaps are always so funny....and there is literally nothing else on. ;)  

Loving the warm weather. Don't be jealous, but it was absolutely perfect today.  Great breeze, sunshine.  Did I mention that we were closed for snow and ice on Thursday?  Only in the South, ya'll.  It's supposed to be rainy and dreary tomorrow.

Thinking about report cards and conferences next week. It is going to be crazy.  

Wanting to go spring clothes shopping.  I walked through Kohls yesterday and I wanted all of the maxi shirts.  I'm making myself wait until spring break to go shopping though!

Needing to fold clothes and get ready for tomorrow.  I. hate. folding. clothes.  And I only do my own clothes.  No kids and the husband does his separately.  What is my problem?  I enjoy fluffing them though. 

Spring Break Plans - none!  I have over a month until spring break!  It's not even on my radar yet.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Workin' Hard on the Weekend

After passing out at 9:30 on a Friday night, I've managed to work on school related stuff all weekend.  We have our accreditation team coming this week and I wanted to make sure that my room looked amazing and everything was super organized for the week.  It was really telling that there were still three teachers left on my floor when I left at 6:30pm Friday.  (This never happens.) I went back for a few hours on Saturday.  As I was leaving around 4pm, three teachers were coming in to work.  If they would have been there earlier, I probably would have stayed longer!  

My students are head over heels in love with "I Have, Who Has?" games.  I made a set for r-controlled vowels.  

It includes three different games - one for /ar/, /or/ and one for the sounds of /er/, /ir/, /ur/

My class really loves unicorns this year.  The girls gasped when someone read "I have core. Who has unicorn?"  

I also made sure to read Uni the Unicorn for a lesson introduction.  It's a sweet story - I highly recommend it!

I finished up my literacy centers for the beginning of March.  I don't really do anything Dr. Seuss related and skip straight to St. Patrick's Day.

It has five centers that cover synonyms, present and past tense verbs, long and short vowels, r-controlled vowels, and making sentences.

Both are on sale (50% off) for the first 24 hours.  (Click on any of the above pictures directly to the item you want.) Make sure you follow my TPT store and Instagram (polkadotfirsties) so you can see when I upload things.

Want to check out the quality of my centers?  Look at Category Sort: March Edition.  It's a freebie!