Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful...and Some Black Friday Deals

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today, in addition to the things I am thankful for everyday (faith, family, friends, health, a job that keeps things interesting and the many other blessing I receive daily), I am thankful for a few days to catch up and enjoy time at home!  I plan to do some Christmas decorating tomorrow in addition to putting together a large stack of Reading A-Z books.

My "little turkeys" were thankful for snow on Tuesday.  It was a great day for recess: some snow on the ground, temperatures right around freezing and no wind.  They loved it!

I wanted to share a couple Black Friday deals that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your couch in your pjs!  I do not enjoy Black Friday crowds, but I am more than happy to stimulate the economy from my couch if you give me a good deal!

From Surviving a Teacher's Salary I found an Amazon deal for 30% off books. Good thru Sunday.

Walgreens has a free 8x10 print with the code TURKEY8x10.  This is good thru Saturday.

HeidiSongs is offering 15% off your order.  If you have never used HeidiSongs, you should go order now!  I have the DVDs which I love because they engage my kiddos, and it doesn't get better than that!

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dollar Tree Finds

I stopped at the Dollar Tree while out running some errands.  It was close to the area, and while not far from home, I don't always head in that direction.  I was in search of some plastic plates to use as individual dry erase boards, and where better than the Dollar Tree!

You know that aisle that has "teacher stuff"?  Danger alert!  Educational magnets, dice, certificates galore, math manipulatives and more.  Yes, I did get my plastic plates, and a few more items while I was there.

The yellow plastic plates are our new individual dry erase boards.  We'll see how long they hold up, but you can't beat $3!

I picked up 2 packs of magnets.  I purchased some similar at the beginning of last school year, but have not seen them since.  Yesterday I picked up sight words and short/long vowel words with pictures.  I have some stand-up magnet boards from Jo-Anns, and I know my students will love matching the pictures to words and making silly sentences.

The 2 packs of dice have sight words on them.  Each pack has 18 different words (6 different words per die).  I plan to make a "roll and record" type game for these to practice sight words.

The last item I picked up was linking manipulatives.  I bought these because they came in all kinds of fun shapes.  The red: link shaped, orange: squares, blue: round, purple: star, green: heart, yellow: triangle.  These will be great in the math center for addition, subtraction and measurement.  I'm thinking about picking up more for a family math night so students can take some home too.

Have you found any good deals lately?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five for Friday {November 15}

I'm linking up with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday.  I haven't been keeping up with this as much as I'd like, so hoping that as we are finally in a routine, it will get better!

1.  Parent-Teacher Conferences are complete!  We had conferences last Thursday and last night.  I had pretty good attendance both nights (only a couple I still need to track down!).  Overall, everything was positive!

2. We had our first snow!  We went out first thing Tuesday morning to do some snow investigating.  Each partnership had a piece of black construction paper and a magnifying glass.  When I started getting them ready to go out, the snow was coming down in buckets.  After 12 minutes of getting ready, there was nothing falling from the sky, but they still had a great time.  We couldn't catch snow on our paper (or our tongues) but they were more than happy to scoop the snow onto the black paper to examine.

3.  Our family turkey projects are complete!  I had 15/23 students return these.  A fantastic grandparent offered to donate a pumpkin for each child in my classroom.  I was looking for something creative to do with them and decided to have families turn the pumpkin into a turkey.  We are planning to use these to decorate the tables at our school-wide Thanksgiving feast. Love their creativity!

4.  I found some time to bake Sunday.  I made Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies.  My co-workers were happy on Monday. :)

5. I'm looking forward to what I hope will be a low-key weekend!  A few things to work on (the work is never done!), but no big plans.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday W.O.W {November 13}

I'm linking up with Curious Firsties for for their Wednesday W.O.W linky party.

I am proud to report that 3 weeks into the 2nd nine weeks, 5 of my kiddos know all their sight words for the nine weeks.  Thanks HeidiSongs!  We L-O-V-E "Miss Heidi" in our room! :)

Everyone is making great progress on their sight words.  Happy teacher here!

I found out recently that I am going to be presenting at "I Teach K!" this summer!  I submitted a proposal for the Practitioner Showcase, and my proposal for "Project-Based Learning" was accepted.  Some of the shock has worn off, and I'm feeling honored to present in the company of some of my favorite bloggers!  Looking forward to meeting lots of new friends this summer.

Yesterday was our first snow!  I like snow when I am on the inside looking out; I don't really enjoy it too much on my drive to work.  I look my kiddos out first thing yesterday morning to do some snow investigation.  As you can see, they were very into it.

What has made your week go well?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Plate

We spent the last two weeks learning about My Plate, healthy and unhealthy foods and where food comes from.  This week we tackled My Plate and finally got into our first bit of Project-Based Learning.

Our tech teacher teaches technology classes every other nine week period.  This nine weeks she more available to help with tech issues and support students and teachers with enrichment and intervention and other things needed.  I quickly jumped on this opportunity to have another set of hands in the room!

We were focusing on My Plate.  My kiddos were to answer the question: "What would 'My Plate' look like?" Students were going to create a plate and a menu for the day based on what they've learned about food.

This time, I decided to work with students while others in the class were at centers.  We started with the students who are a little more advanced than their peers.  I wanted to start with these students to gauge how long the project would take and what it would be like to start at this point in the year.

Students had the option to try their own spelling or have one of us spell for them.  2 of these advanced kiddos decided to do their own writing while the other 3 chose to have us spell for them.  We wrote the words on white boards for students to copy.  After reviewing the food groups, students decided on their breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day. Once the menu for the day was written out, students drew the foods on the correct sections of My Plate.  They then assembled their plates.

For the remainder of the class, I put them in groups of 3 to complete the project.  One student was responsible for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner.  These students all chose to have us help them write.  Each student did their own writing and illustrating for the meal they were in charge of.  Students presented their projects in groups as well.

After center time, the individuals/groups that completed their projects that day had the opportunity to share their menus and plates with the class.  Completed projects were also displayed in the classroom in time for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

I wish I would have taken pictures of groups presenting, but the thought didn't cross my mind that day!

I was impressed with how many students were able to quickly and correctly identify the sections of My Plate foods should be placed in.  They were very confident in their food choices!  While we worked, books about each food group were available for students to use to find ideas of food choices and to see what they should be eating each day.

Breakfast: eggs, toast, chocolate milk; Lunch: strawberries, ham sandwich, chocolate milk; Dinner: broccoli, hamburger, banana, milk

Breakfast: waffles, milk, egg; Lunch: sandwich, milk, cheese, grapes, carrots; Dinner: noodle soup, crackers, water

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five for Friday {November 8}

It has been awhile since I've had my act together on a Friday night to link up with Kasey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

1. I had a family donate a small pumpkin for each child in the class.  I sent these pumpkins home for students to turn into turkeys.  They are starting to come back in; so creative!  These were the first few returned.  We are hoping the last until our Thanksgiving feast to decorate our tables.

2.  This week we read our first issue of National Geographic Young Explorer.  Thanks to, I have a year subscription for my students.  They were IN LOVE with these magazines.  I have 2 more issues sitting in my room because we got our back issues.  I can't wait to share these with my kiddos!

3. We've been working hard on our writing.  We just had a project funded to get new journals.  My little authors will be excited to see these come.

4. This week was our second week of learning about food groups, healthy and unhealthy foods and "My Plate".  We completed Project-Based Learning this week.  Advanced students made their own breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as a "My Plate".  All other students worked in groups of 3 to create their menus and plates.  Check back this weekend because I plan to do a more in-depth post on this project.

5.  Our first night of Parent-Teacher conferences is complete!  My conferences went well last night; I'm looking forward to finishing up with the other half of my families next week.

How was your week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Candy Corn Math

We've been working on Candy Corn Math over the last week or so.  My preclinical (she will student teach with me next semester) has been working with students in small groups to complete my Candy Corn Math packet.  The addition has been a bit of a struggle as was greater than and less than.  We just introduced the concept of addition the week prior (formally), and we have not discussed the greater than and less than signs (though students do understand the words).

Measuring with candy corn

Graphing with candy corn

Adding with candy corn (yes, I ran the books upside down when I double-sided them.)
Starburst candy corn are great too!  I am not normally a huge fan of candy corn, but these are very fruity- consistency of candy corn, flavor of a Starburst.

My students enjoyed these activities, and I'm excited to watch them grow as we use my conversation hearts and jelly bean packets, which follow the same format.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Our Halloween party was actually last Friday (10/25).  We had an Early Dismissal day thanks to it being the last day of our first nine weeks.  We like to take advantage of Early Dismissal days for parties (there just so happens to be one on Valentine's Day too).

We start the day with a parade.  All the classes sit around the gym and watch as each class parades by, one at a time.  After all classes have paraded around, we go through the atrium where parents are waiting to see the parade.  Once the parade is over, we head back to our own classrooms for parties. Our party was set up in 5 "centers".

1: Gummy Worm Hunt:  3 gummy worms were placed on a paper plate.  Using only their mouths, students had to find the gummy worms, which were hidden under a pile of Reddi Whip.  It is a messy activity, but the kids LOVE it, and it is nothing baby wipes can't clean up.

2: Mummies: Students were partnered up.  Each partnership received 2 rolls of toilet paper (cheap is good).  Their job was to wrap one another as mummies.  I learned that having multiple adults here to keep order was necessary!  This group got a little out of hand if the adults weren't firm about the rules.

3: Don't Eat Jack!: I'm not sure where I got this (somewhere on Pinterest, but I didn't pin it:(.  The game board is covered with food (we used M & Ms).  One player is "it" and leaves the group while the others talk.  The group chooses a "Jack".  "It" comes back and begins to eat one M & M at a time.  Just before "it" eats the M & M on "Jack", the group yells "Don't Eat Jack!".  The parent that I had running this game did a great job, and my students liked that they were allowed to yell in the room.

4: Crafts: Students had 2 crafts to choose from.  There were foam masks to make and bracelets (using pipe cleaners, foam monster beads and pony beads).  Most students had time to make both.

5: Cookie Decorating: Our school provides each student with a cut out cookie.  Each classroom gets a can of icing and some sprinkles.  Children decorated their cookies and enjoyed them with either juice or milk.

I hope this gives you some ideas for next year!  Does your school/classroom celebrate Halloween?