Sunday, February 27, 2011

Armadillo’s Orange

If you use the Scott Foresman Reading Street Series, this book will probably be familiar to you!
It’s a cute story of a little armadillo who uses an orange to find his way back to his burrow.  When the orange rolls away, he doesn’t know how he will find his way back to his home.  What he never realized is that there were landmarks all around him to help him find his way home. 
I’m very particular about the Tier 2 vocabulary words I teach the children this year – my final research project for my master’s degree is about vocabulary acquisition, development, and teaching.  I love when I teach a word like landmark and the children continue to use the word!
We paid particular attention to the sequence of the story and made an adorable story map:

We read some other books that had armadillo’s in them as well and compared/contrasted the setting and characters in each story.
We read some non-fiction books about armadillo’s and made an armadillo tree map.

We also did a directed drawing of an armadillo using directions from Jan Brett’s website.
I think they turned out super cute!
I know we did some math problem solving with this unit too – but I forgot to take pictures! It’s been a few weeks since we did this book, so I forgot!  I’ll try to remember this week to snap some and add them to the post!
Don’t forget to check out the post below for all of the great organizational ideas from all of our bloggy friends! I’ll slowly make my way through them! Link up if you have a great idea!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Organization Linky Party!

As I was standing in my classroom today, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly unorganized it is right now! I have stacks of filing to file (to be honest….files from AUGUST!), trade books that I need to weed through and get rid of, centers to organize, piles to get rid of, games to put away…. aaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!! STOP.THE.MADNESS.

I really WISH I was organized.  I think I am a little bit – my room looks good outwardly, but don’t you dare look behind the curtains or open the cupboard door – you may be injured from falling alphabets, books or dice. 

So, that got me thinking – how do YOU organize YOUR classroom? Share with us your best tips and tricks – I bet I’m not the only one who has some spring cleaning fever (although at –15 today, it hardly felt like spring!) So, leave a comment and tell us your best tip, or link up at your own blog! I (and many others!) would love to see some photos of your best organizational tips!

So, grab the image below – link up, and post away!!

get organized

Thursday, February 24, 2011


A friend of mine  made showed me this game last year, and the kids love it!
It’s super easy to make too! Just some popsicle sticks and plastic coins.  You can use stickers too – I like the coins because the kids can feel the edges.  I used a large “nut” container, and the popsicle sticks fit PERFECTLY inside – you can even put the lid on for storage!  Hot glue (or super glue!) the coins on to the sticks.  On a couple of the sticks write “Bankrupt. ”  Kids sit in a circle and pass the can around – when it is their turn, the child takes one and says the name of the coin (you can also have them say the value).  If they are correct, the stick goes in the center, if they are wrong, the stick goes back in the can.  If they pull the bankrupt stick, all the sticks go back in the can.
I love it because the kids don’t say “bankrupt” – they always say “bank robbed!” Too cute!
Here is the download for the label if you would like it:
i like money

Sunday, February 20, 2011

President’s Day

Here are a couple of quick and easy printables for President’s Day! Enjoy!
If I were President:
Sight Word Bear:
america bear
For those of you that have the day off on Monday, I am jealous – my hubby is even off, but I have to work!  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Some Valentine’s fun!
During play centers at the end of the day, the children have been wanting to learn how to make a heart. So, we decided to do some interactive writing. We talk about the steps of making the heart, write about it, and practice it.  The easiest way I’ve found to teach kids how to make a heart is to tell them to draw a 2.  Some kids get it, some don’t! We have lots of fun trying to make hearts though! {And I love getting lots of sweet hearts from my kiddos!!}
I haven’t wanted to do these window decorations before because they are such a pain!  During my prep it was contact paper mayhem … OLD contact paper that wouldn’t peel off nicely…argh…but, the did turn out soo pretty Smile
On Valentine’s Day, the children made these adorable little hats.  I saw them on a website a couple of years ago, but I can’t remember where! {If you know, please leave a comment, so I can give credit!}
You can download my version here.
These turned out absolutely ADORABLE!  However, I learned my lesson to not make the arms sooo long and to use bigger hearts – maybe I die-cut next year… (They are from Kim’s Valentine Pack)
I always do a ice cream sundae party on Valentine’s day, but thanks to the girls over at What the Teacher Wants, it became extra special!! The kids had a fun scavenger hunt to get their ice cream.  You can download the recording sheet here.
I have ALWAYS wanted to recycle our old crayons to make the cute shape crayons, but never had.  This year for Valentine’s Day, I saw this blog post and decided to do it!  I had already bought the ice cube trays intending to make them at some point, this was just a nice kick in my you know what to get them done!  I can’t wait to make another set for my girls! I love my 8 year old for helping me to peel all of the crayons!
Literacy Centers for the week:
Short U and I vowel sort:
Short A and O vowel sort:
(This is also from Kim’s Valentine Pack)
Building word families:
Listening Center:
Lift The Flap Syllable Center:

Phoneme Substitution:
I had this AMAZING idea when I was putting this center together to keep all of the pieces together.  First, I printed the game pieces on the white side of scrapbooking paper to keep everything all coordinated.  You could also mount on construction paper, but this is SO much faster.  THEN (and here’s the brilliant part) instead of using a baggie to keep all the pieces together, I stuck a library pocket to the back! I just cut off the top part and stuck it on!  The cards fit nicely in the pocket, and the kids are doing a great job keeping all the pieces together!
Valentine Spin And Write – the kiddos LOVED this new twist on the dice roll sight word graph.  They spin the spinner to determine the word they are going to write, and then spin the second spinner to determine which tool they use.  Too Fun!
You can download the Valentine’s version here!
Valentine Math Centers:
(No action shots here, just snapped some quick pictures of the centers in their drawers!!)
In this center the children count the number of hearts as indicated by the response sheet and place them on the 20 grid.  They then color in the corresponding number of square on their sheet. (The dice don’t belong in there!)
Measuring hearts with standard and non-standard units (conversation hearts and inches)
Time concentration for reading clocks to the hour. (Again printed on the back of scrapbook paper – not my idea, but brilliant!!)
Odd and Even Numbers (don’t you just love the heart shaped pasta! I snap shaped pasta up when I see them! You never know when you can use them for counters!)
Coin identification: (I’ve fixed the spinner! It was missing the dollar!!)
Subtraction with Hershey’s kisses.  I also have the subtraction cards from Making Learning Fun.  They really help those kiddos that need an extra hand!
Vertical addition with the fun heart shaped pasta shapes!  I used a 12 sided dice for this one.  The children have a good handle on adding with manipulatives with the numbers 1-6, so I wanted to push them a bit further! Those kids that still struggle with higher numbers use the regular dice.
Up next on my blog list:
Calendar Book
Armadillo’s Orange
President’s Day
Writing Rubric

(Not necessarily in that order!!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dry erase markers on clothing….

Anyone have any solutions to this dilemma??  How do I get it off my pants?? and my darling daughter’s brand new jeans….?? 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Catching up–100th Day

Phew – it’s been crazy these last few weeks!The weather was a balmy 40 degrees here in the upper midwest, and I think we all are getting a little loopy!  But, mother nature is just playing a cruel trick on us – melting the snow, teasing us that we can put away our thick parkas…Friday it is supposed to get cold again…and snow…. which my husband is okay with since he wants to ski more! 

Here are my sweet little snow bunnies Smile Their Norwegian grandparents had them on skis when they were both 3.  Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a bit more snow so we can ski some more! {Mostly to see how adorable these two are when they ski!}


Anyways… on to 100th day.  Here is a glimpse of the fun and excitement we had!

Yay!! It’s a party! Boy, were the kiddos excited to see this! Can you believe it stayed in one piece for the whole day!?


I decided to set up 5 rotating centers throughout the day.  I had to stay pretty tight on the 25 minute allotment for each center.  I whipped up this little chart to keep the flow.  The kids do so much better when they can SEE where they are going next.  {It’s not super cute – did it on the fly – I need “fancy it up” for next year – as Kim A. would say!}


I set up everything the night before, so I wouldn’t have ANY stress in the morning!


On the agenda:

1. Hats.  We have an AMAZING volunteer come into our school to put together all sorts of things for teachers – she assembled these hats for me.  In the past, I’ve had kids put 10 stickers on each strip, but I’ve also used letter stamps and had them stamp 10  letters on each strip.




2. Necklaces: I use the “melty” beads.  I’ve used this jar for 3 years, and I think I’ve got a few more left in it! Grab a Michael’s coupon and get one so you’re ready for next year!  I cut off two of the sections of the egg cartons and labeled each section {10, 20, 30, etc.}  I also placed inside the divider for each section.  It takes the kiddos a while to count out and string the beads, so I give them all the help I can!



3. Counting 100 legos {In groups of 10} and building a lego sculpture.  This one was FANTASTIC to have as a center, because it didn’t really take any teacher support.  IF they finished their sculpture {I think only 1 or 2 did} they could draw a picture of it.



4. 100 Dots: I use bingo dobbers for this one.  The kids dob 10 in each section.  My colleagues have used stickers as well.  Each family sends in 100 stickers, and the kids count out 10 stickers for each section.



When they were finished with their dobbing, the kids then drew themselves and their classmates that have been with them for 100 days! Too cute – don’t you love the pink eyes? And the multi-cultural pictures Smile


5. When I am 100 portraits.  This idea is from Deanna Jump.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this one!  Their elderly versions of themselves turned out so stinkin’ cute!!


This isn’t the greatest picture, but the kids also went on a 100th day scavenger hunt – they have to tally 10 of each thing on their sheet. (windows, blocks, markers, etc.)


Each family brought in one item and we put together a 100th day trail mix.  This is what I do to manage it well:  I have everything all laid out and ready to go – the children each have their 100s grid.  Each table has a plate in the middle of the table – I fill that plate with each item and they count out 10 and place it on their 100s grid.  As each table is counting, I pour out the next item on another set of plates.  When they are done, I switch them out.  Any extras go in a big plastic baggie.  It really works smoothly once I get moving!  I tell the kids if they talk too much, I’ll eat one of their pieces! They DO NOT like that! The room is virtually silent!  This works really well for me and the children can really SEE how much 100 is.


This is another favorite of mine – we read this book:


And discuss what she was worried about. Then each child gets a baggie to bring home to collect 100 items.  I stress that they bring in 100 of the same item so the kids can see what 100 looks like in so many different ways.  These are hanging on the bulletin board outside me room … those pretzel M&M’s taunt me everytime I walk by Smile


I also have an assessment packet that I have the kids work on throughout the day and the next day.  They write to 100 by 1s, 2s,5s, and 10s (if they can!), they draw and label their friends, write words they know, write math problems, make patterns, and so on!

My first grade neighbor had her kids gather 100 items from around the room … another fun – no stress activity to do on the fly!


I hope you all had a fantastic 100th day!

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