27 April 2012

Oceans Freebies!

Lots of craziness and excitment this week! We started our end of the year Ocean Animals unit, and I have been having so much fun! Hopefully the kids have been, too (oh, and learning some things as well, haha!)! We started the week off by learning about the five oceans--I feel old since I was only taught about four main oceans, you know, way back when there were nine planets...Anyways, I found this song on Proteacher last year and fancied it up a bit for our song book...I do not know the song's author, so please let me know if you do! Click the picture to download it for free!

 

We also did a lesson on the ocean's zones and made a fun foldable to hold facts about each layer. The kids were totally into all of those creepy creatures down in the twilight and midnight zones! The original idea for this flipbook came from this site.  I tweaked it a little for my kiddos, and have included directions and a printable for you below if you'd like to add this to your Ocean file (or should I say, binder?).

 


Click the pic below for the freebie!



Next week, we are going to become marine biologists to prepare for our Ocean Animals Museum.  I am so pumped!  My team is doing a grade level Museum Day, with each class studying a different animal group.  It is so much fun to watch all of our little firsties give their speeches and show off their published "All About" books, models, and posters.  If you think your class would like to become wildlife biologists too, please check out my newest unit. It is common core aligned for grades K-2 (standards included) and it can be used to study any animal!



Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Ocean fun and freebies in the next few weeks! And, if you have any great Oceans activities you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them!

20 April 2012

A Chocolate Lover's Lesson on Matter (with a freebie for you!)

It is no secret at our school that I almost always have a huge stash of chocolate in my classroom.  I've been known to eat more than my fair share of chocolate at school (dark is my weakness), and my teaching neighbor may or may not have caught me eating chocolate before 8am this week;).  As a true lover of chocolate, I cannot help but use it in my teaching!

This week, since I had a good excuse, we did a fun chocolate investigation to study the changing states of matter. Here's how it went...

First, I had the kiddos observe their baggie of chocolate chips.  They used a graphic organizer to draw the chips and circled to describe their state of matter.  Then, the students "applied heat" by squeezing gently or lightly breathing on their bag for two minutes--for some reason the boys really loved breathing on their bags!


Next, they drew what their chocolate looked like and circled to show the state of matter.


Then, we put the chocolate baggies in the freezer for five minutes. (During this time, we watched a quick BrainpopJr. video on the Changing States of Matter).  After the five minutes were up, we opened the bags to see that the chocolate had in fact returned to a solid shape--this time, the shape of the bag.


Afterwards, we discussed what they learned about temperature and its effect on the states of matter. Yay for this sweetie, sounding out temperature!


If you'd like to try this fun experiment with your class, click the image below to get the graphic organizer for free! Oh, and don't forget to leave a few chocolate chips for yourself! You know I would!


Have a great weekend!





18 April 2012

Wonderful Wallets!

I introduced money yesterday, and it went great, so I thought I'd share!  First off, we did an anchor chart to show our schema and what we learned about money from reading some nonfiction texts and watching a United Streaming video.  I also showed the students money from different countries, which they thought was pretty neat.

 

Then, I tried something new to teach my students about the coins and their values, and I am so glad I did! The kids loved it, and it was definitely a nice change to the usual Money Tree Map we make when learning about the coins (don't get me wrong--the tree map was great, but I was getting a little bored).  What did we make, you ask?  A money sorting wallet, of course! Here are a few pictures of the finished product:

 


The wallets were pretty simple to make...Here's how:

First, fold a regular sheet of construction paper "hot dog style." Then, cut it down the middle.  Each sheet of construction paper will make two wallets this way, which makes them a little easier on your wallet, too!


After cutting, fold the half sheet into thirds to create a folded "wallet."

Lastly, have the students glue on money sorting sheets, color the coins, and sort the different names for each coin onto the wallet.  Piece of cake!


If you'd like to make a Money Sorting Wallet with your students, just click the picture below to head to my TPT store!


Have a great rest of the week!

15 April 2012

Tax Day Sale! 15% off!

Yay for sales! I'm joining in on the Tax Break Sale--Click the picture below to save 15% off my TPT store! Happy Shopping! I'm off to do some as well!



11 April 2012

Happy Earth Day, Birthday to You! (And a Freebie to celebrate!)

Phew! What a busy/crazy week! I figure I must be excited about our school Carnival today because it is my morning to sleep in past five a.m., and I'm already up thinking of kinds of things that I could be doing! At least I'm getting caught up on my blog reading!

Next week is going to be a hodge-podge learning week in my class as we are finishing up and starting new units in math and science, conducting benchmark assessments, and going on a field trip to a local farm--I might be more excited than the kiddos for this week! We'll be introducing money, making Ice Cream for science, using Fruit Loops for phonics, and we may even make Dirt and Worms for Earth Day (like the ones I found on pinterest, below)! I was planning on making a cute how-to writing craftivity for the Dirt and Worms, and was super-excited to see this morning that Mrs. Lemons took the work out of it for me! Can't wait to use her Dirt Puddin' Writing Craftivity Kit instead of making my own!


In case you're out shopping this weekend, I thought I'd share a super-cute, brand-spankin', new book I found for Earth Day--I cannot wait to read it to my kiddos! The book is called Earth Day, Birthday! by Maureen Wright, and it is adorable! The monkey and all of his jungle friends celebrate his Earth Day, Birthday by performing lots of planet-friendly tasks such as planting trees and recycling plastic bags. I just thought it was too cute to pass up!

If you pick up a copy of the book for this year or next, you may want to check out the mini-unit I made to go along with it. It includes a story sequencing Snip, Flip, and Fold 3-D Graphic Organizer, an Earth Day Tree Map, a cute (if I do say so myself) Birthday Monkey Writing Craftivity, and more! It is only $3.50 on TPT!




Also, since some of my friends(the little ones, of course) are having some trouble with r-controlled vowels, I made this Earth Day-themed word sort to use this week.  You can grab it for FREE by clicking the picture below! Enjoy and have a great weekend!


09 April 2012

Math Facts Practice: "Scoot" (Freebie) and "Math Telephone"

The last few weeks, my firsties and I have really been focusing on getting their math facts memorized--especially since we're moving on to harder skills where it is sooo important to know those facts in a flash! To make this basic skills practice a little more exciting, we've been trying out some new (maybe just new to me:) games in class.  My kiddos have always enjoyed doing whiteboard races and playing "Swat!," but those were getting a little old.

When I heard about the game, "Scoot," we just had to give it a try! The kids loved it right away, and I did too! Here is how you can play with your class...

First, number your students' desks...if your students' nametags already have their class numbers on them, you don't have to worry about this. 

Next, put a flashcard on each desk.  (Easy, peasy!)

Have the students solve the problem on their desk and record it on the corresponding numbered box on the recording sheet. 

Say, "Scoot," to signal that it is time to rotate to the next desk and solve the next problem in its corresponding box. 

When the students have rotated through every seat and solved every problem, check over the answer sheet with the whole class.  My kiddos really enjoy using a red crayon during this step to "be the teacher" as we share our answers.

Here is a quick freebie for you if you'd like to try "Scoot" in your class.  I made two different recording sheets--one for addition and one for subtraction.  It really helped speed up the game and keep my students' work neater to have the addition and subtraction symbols already in the table rather than just an empty box.  Just click the picture below to download!


We also tried a game of "Math Telephone," which was pretty fun and totally inspired by my favorite indoor recess game as a child!  I put the students in rows and gave them whiteboards.  Then, I held up a flashcard, and the person in the front of the row recorded and solved the problem while the other kiddos did the same on their boards.  When the first person in the row figured out the answer, they whispered it to the person behind them, who passed the answer back.  The last person in the row stood up and shared the answer aloud.  If they got it right, their team earned a point.  Then, everybody shifted up, so different kiddos would be responsible for solving and sharing the answer.  I liked this because it kept them all engaged, gave them a chance to talk with purpose, and got them moving, which was great for my wigglers!

What do you do for math facts practice?  I'd love to try some of your ideas out too!

05 April 2012

Three Freebies and A Big Reveal!

Phew! I've got a lot to say today (stick around, there are three treats mixed in for you!) You know how some weeks (or days) you just seem to have it all together, whereas others you can't seem to get anything right? Well, this week has been a little busy, but I seem to be on a roll! My husband would insert a "butter" joke there, by the way.  All sillyness aside, I am very proud of how productive I've been!  In the last few days, I've "made over" several TPT files, even uploaded a new one to be revealed in a little bit, plus I've managed to keep our house clean, work out, and even cook dinner several times (major accomplishment!!).

I also have a few semi-cute (and educational, of course) activities that I can share with you!  The first activity went along with our reading story, A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds, which I must admit, is not my favorite.  I really prefer to teach using units of study in a Reading/Writing Workshop style, but my county requires that we use our Treasures basal as well, so the story is a bit of a must.  To spice it up a little bit, my kiddos and I made these little "Fruitcases" as I keep accidentally calling them. 


They were very easy to make, and I was super excited that they only used one sheet of copy paper(since the copy police have really been laying down the law at our school).  You can grab the printable by clicking the picture below.


All you have to do is copy the paper front/back, fold it in half and staple to a brown paper "suitcase" (just a half sheet) with a folded handle.  The students responded to the text by writing three fruit facts, listing fruits with one vs. many seeds, and finally creating a double bubble map to compare two fruits after having a class taste-testing party.  It may sound a bit silly to have a fruit taste-testing party, but every single year, I'm amazed at how many of my students have not eaten fruits such as strawberries or grapes--nevermind the more interesting fruits like kiwi, starfruit, mango, and papaya!

The second activity and freebie is a quick synonyms/antonyms sort.  There are blank cards included so your class can add synonym/antonym pairs and sort them as well.  Just click the picture below to download it.

Now, on to the big reveal and the third freebie I promised...I have been working very hard the last few weeks to get this latest idea out, and it is finally ready!  Drum roll, please...


My kiddos always have trouble when it comes to creating their own folded graphic organizers, so I decided to help them out a little. And once I started, I just couldn't stop--the ideas kept coming! So, I am now proudly introducing my Snip, Flip, and Fold 3-D Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension.  They focus on skills such as questioning, making connections, inferring, sequencing, and more, so they align with the Common Core Standards and Reading Workshop wonderfully!  My students have love, love, loved using them during their reading response time, and I have loved how independent they've become through using them!  Here is a preview of the full set... 


All you do is print the graphic organizers front/back, then have students snip on the dotted lines, fold on the solid lines, and the flip up the flaps to record their thinking as they are reading.  Here are some pictures of Snip, Flip, and Folds my students have used recently (sorry for such poor quality photos--I've got horrible lighting in my room since there are no windows--its hopeless!):


I will be giving away one of my Snip, Flip, and Fold 3-D Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension packs to the first commenter who leaves me their email!  Also, if you are not the firstie, don't worry, you can always download the preview file for your third freebie, which includes one Snip, Flip, and Fold that you can use with ANY story!! Hope you like it!

Enjoy, and have a Hoppy Easter Weekend! I'm super-excited to watch my girlie hunt for eggs now that she is walking like crazy!

01 April 2012

April Currently

I'm linking up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her Currently Linky Party! Click on over and join the fun!






 

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