Monday, March 19, 2012

Going Buggy!

We did a quick unit on bugs a couple of weeks ago. Our science curriculum has changed, so, I didn’t do as much as I normally do.  Instead of studying the life cycle of a butterfly, we had Isopods!  Has anyone every had these in their classroom before?  What did you do with them?

I didn’t know that isopods really aren’t insects! They are more like lobster or shrimp and they breathe through gills.  Thank goodness my big brother is a 7th grade science teacher and could fill my in with some great info about our new class pets. I had great plans to do a comparison/contrast with insects and bugs, but the week got away from me. Next year, right?!

Here is what they look like at my science center:

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Here’s an exoskeleton that one little guy found.  I haven’t had the guts to pick one of them up yet. ugh.

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We have both pill bugs and sow bugs – the goal is for the kiddos to notice that there are 2 different kinds of bugs.  We observed how they move, how they eat, and their similarities and differences.  We did a drawing of a pill bug too in our science notebooks, but I must have forgotten a picture.  I’ll try to get one and upload it.

We also learned this fun song:

(Shout out to Brandy for letting me know about this song!)

Even though we weren’t doing insects, all of our centers were insect themed.  The kids LOVED it.

Here is what we were up to:

Count the room and a vowel sort.  I’m so proud of my kiddos – they are getting so good at CVC words!

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We used a magnifying glass to look CLOSELY at the butterflies to find our sight words.IMG_2973

Some sentence reconstruction and handwriting practice.

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Saying words slowly and writing all the sounds we hear:

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Matching words with the same ending sounds.

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Stamping coin values. (I added coin stickers to the back of these to help my kiddos that still struggle a bit with coins)

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Practicing telling time to the half hour:

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Adding two numbers by counting on:

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Sequencing numbers:

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This week we are learning all about weather! Pretty fitting since we have some CRAZY weather here – it was in the 70s today – average temps are in the 30s at this time!! I’m not complaining though!! I am almost finished with the weather unit and will post it as soon as I’m done.  I’m still working on hubby’s laptop though.  HP has decided that it is not the hard drive that is the problem, but the motherboard. (Isn’t that a funny word?) So FEDEX picked up our comp today – hopefully it won’t take them too long to fix it. I miss my computer!  It’s hard when hubby has to grade assignments for the online course he teaches, and do taxes, all while I want to create!! I think we’ll manage though – there are worse things that could happen!  This Going Buggy unit is posted now if you’re interested – just click on my TpT button to the left.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Learning Resources Give Away!

The $100 gift card give away ends soon! Be sure to add your entry using Raffle Copter! See the post below for more info....

Happy St. Paddy's day!

Corned beef and cabbage on the menu for this Irish gal today. AND a 70 degree day today! Holy smokes! Clothes are hanging out to dry - crazy ND weather, but I'm not complaining!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Now!Board

So, by now, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the reviews of the Now!Board on other blogs.  It’s my turn now :)  This device is truly remarkable and it will take interactive learning/whiteboard world by storm!  Our district tech team says these small portable devices will eventually take over the larger IWBs (interactive white boards). And I believe them….for these reasons:
1. Cost – at $499, it is much more affordable for districts to put these in classrooms.  Throw in a projector and it’s at least a 1/3 of the price of a Promethean or SMART board. Calculate Donors Choose or other funding sources, and you could have one in your room before you know it!
2.  Installation – there is no bulky board to set up.  All you need is a flat, smooth surface – like the dry erase type white board that many classrooms already have.
3. Portability – In theory teachers could share these devices. Place one on a cart with an LCD projector, a laptop (if the teacher doesn’t already have one), and you’re good to go.
Here is a little video if you’re starting to get intrigued by this device:

Pretty neat, huh?
When Learning Resources contacted me and asked me to review this little gadget, I was super excited.  There are many teachers in our district that still do not have IWBs and are just dying to get their hands on one! 
The Now!Board works just like an IWB, but without the big screen.  You still need a projector, and you still need a computer.  If you can manage to get your hands on those, you’re good to go.
When I got the device in the mail, I was surprised by the small packaging.  It was neatly packed in a blue box with the device, the stylus and a neat little carrying pouch.
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In this picture, it shows an option of another pen-like stylus.  This is not included in the base kit, but can be purchased separately.  Learning Resources sent along this awesome stylus to try:
imageThe kids are already familiar with these kids of pointers, so they will be excited to see it! It is super kid friendly, and I love that it is longer than a standard stylus.  It allows those little arms to really reach the object that they want to move around!
The set-up process with simple, just insert the disc and follow the on-screen instructions.  Super easy.  I used it on a Mac and there were no issues along the way.
I had a few struggles with the calibration of the device though.  My LCD projector is mounted on the ceiling, and although the instructions say that you can still use the device with a ceiling mounted projector, I struggled a bit.  My cables were simply  not long enough to have the computer and Now!Board far enough behind the projector. 
image After some frustration, I decided to try it in a different classroom with an LCD projector that is on a cart.  After some trial and error, I did have success.  The device works just like an IWB.  In fact, I could even open up my Promethean Software and use the flipcharts that I have already created.
I think this device is a great alternative to schools/teachers that really want to have the features of an IWB, but simply can’t afford the expense.  This little gadget is portable, so it could be checked out and shared among grade levels.  Just keep in mind that each time it is moved it does need to be recalibrated. 
I really appreciate Learning Resources giving me the opportunity to check out this new technology!  I do think that this is the future of interactive technology!
And now…here’s a little fun for you all!  Learning Resources has graciously offered a $100 (yes, you read that right) Learning Resources gift certificate!   You could put that towards a Now!Board of your own, or towards something else that you may have had your eye on!
Here is what you need to do for a chance to win:
1. Go to Facebook and “like” Now!Board
2. Go to YouTube and “like” their YouTube page.
3. Follow MY blog :)
4. Follow my TpT store
I’m going to try out a new way to keep track of all of your entries! It’s called Raffle Copter! Let’s hope this works! Just use the widget below to log in and make your entries! This is new to me too, so bear with me if there are any hiccups!
Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

St. Patrick’s Week!

St. Patrick’s day is a very special time in my family.  My Grandma’s blood ran green.  Truly.  She was Irish and was not afraid to let anyone know it.  My grandma passed away about a month ago.  I miss her dearly, I was fortunate to be by her side during her last hours when I was home on my sick leave.  She was truly an inspiration in my life and an amazing role model.  A woman I strive to be. 

Growing up, we always wore green on St. Patrick’s day. ALWAYS.  My mom has a collection of St. Patrick’s day pins that we could choose from.  Corned beef and cabbage was the evening meal, and my mom always made green mashed potatoes, green jello-o, and green kool-aid.  Looking forward to our annual dinner this year, but we will all be missing Grandma!

On a happier note – my hubby was able to save all of my documents from our hard drive! Now we just need to wait for a new one from the computer guys.  I had 2 blogs all ready to go for you guys – Seuss stuff and my Now!Board review, but that will have to wait, I guess!  I’ll try to re-type it when I can.

Here is what is in my center drawers for this week:

Leprechauns are tricky! They’ve mixed up our sight words again!

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The children are practicing with “super e” at this center.  If you haven’t scooped up The Teacher Wife’s Super E unit – you must! The kids LOVE it!

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Here we are working on sentence structure and neat handwriting! Can’t ever get enough practice with neat handwriting!

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Here the kids are rolling for digraphs (wh, ch, sh, and th)

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And searching the room for leprchaun gold and writing the word with blends.

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At this center, the children will dig for gold in the pot – they’ll pull out 2 numbers (0-9) to make a 2 digit number, find it and color it on the number grid, and then switch the numbers around to make a new number.

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Still practicing with addition – this time we’re working on counting on!

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Which one is greater?  Counting and comparing practice in one.

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And some place value. 

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Counting in the 20s with gold!  This is a “count the room” center.

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If you’re interested in any of these centers, you can find them {here}.  It should be a fun week this week! With the weather in the 50s all week, I know the kids will have some major spring fever!  I’m just about finished with a bug unit and will be working on a weather unit tonight.  Hope you all have a great week, and for those of you on Spring Break – I am totally jealous!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

*Sigh* Hard drive....

Hi Friends, I've been a little MIA these last few days.  Report cards were due today, and I was slaving away on them.  Last night as I went to my computer to finish them, my hard drive decided to crash. ugh.  Thank goodness I'm married to a computer programmer.  He managed to recover all of our files and save them to an external hard drive.  Now, we just need to wait for the new hard drive to come.  So....blogging might be lacking over the next few days.  I can't stand using blogger for posts, I really prefer Windows Live Writer!  I have a Seuss post all ready to go for you guys, but I couldn't get it uploaded before the hard drive crashed (I knew there was something wrong....)  So, hang tight, I'll get it up as soon as I can.

This week we are doing a mini-unit on bugs - that unit is ALMOST finished for you all - just a few finishing touches. We are also exploring our new classroom pets - ISOPODS (totally not bugs!).  More on that in another post ;)

Next week is all about St. Patrick's Day!  My family is very Irish, and this holiday is a HUGE deal for us.  In case you missed the posting of my St. Pats unit - you can find it here.

Hope that hard drive comes soon!!!
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