Monday, January 30, 2017

Groundhog Excitement

We started learning all about the groundhog today!  We visiting the famous Phil website. The kids were amazed at all the people that come out each Feb. 2nd to see if good old Phil will see his shadow.  We watched the clip from 2016 and they were HOOKED!

The kids loved our first read of Groundhog Gets A Say.  I've never used this story before, but I can say it is a KEEPER!  If you aren't familiar with the story it is about Feb. 3rd and the groundhog is not happy that no one is paying attention to him.  He lists all the reasons that everyone should celebrate the groundhog for a whole month!  The kiddos loved it and the facts presented in the story were great.  We were able to pick out the facts and opinions with ease!

This week I really wanted to review a BUNCH of skills that I am concerned we need a little more practice on.  So I have planned a different review skill for each day that ties into the story.

Today we worked on plot.  I projected this on the board and we filled it in together.

Tomorrow we are working on problem and solution.  I'm going to work at the table with some of my friends that are struggling with this concept and the rest of kids are going to work with a partner to create this flip book.  Don't you just love these fat groundhogs!

On Wednesday the kids are going to split into small groups and work on either vocabulary or cause/effect.  Thursday we are going to start an opinion writing piece.  Should we celebrate Groundhog's Day for a whole month?  (In the story the groundhog thinks he is so important that we deserves a month long celebration!)

We are also working on good old fashioned facts about the groundhog by making this booklet.  It's a great way to tie the science into the read aloud for the week.

This activity has everything you need to teach the whole booklet with projectable pages along with the student pages.  It even has their "I Cans" and exit slips already done for you.  It takes us about two days to do the whole thing. However, once we are finished we have read, cited evidence, discussed vocabulary, answered comprehension questions, and wrote about the facts we learned.  This activity is one sale for only $1 this week in honor of Groundhog's Day!  Just click the picture to see more!

I hope everyone has a FUN and eventful week teaching about Groundhog's Day!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Looking at Math Differently!

Just wanted to share some quick pictures of our math review today.

We have been working on different ways you can add two-digit numbers.  After learning all these different ways most of the kids have a go to strategy that they like.  When we practiced today it was SO MUCH FUN to walk around looking at their "method".  We explained our "method" to our Turn and Talk Partner.   I had them revoice how their partner solved it so they could work on explaining it back to the student that originally wrote it.  We had some tongue tied moments, but all in all they enjoyed it.

I really liked this one.  The model in the left corner was her first idea and then she said she "scrapped it" for another method.   When  I asked her why she didn't erase it, she looked at me puzzled and said, "You always say to leave everything, so you can see our mistakes!  That was a mistake, it was WAY easier the other way!"

It is completely amazing to see how differently they all think and what makes tick.  I think about how I taught math 19 years ago and it is NOTHING like what I do today.  I have no textbook, workbook, or a stack of worksheets.  We talk more than I ever thought possible and the kids talk WAY more than I do.  They experiment and try to figure things out for themselves.  They draw and question.  They discuss and create.  They are learning math at a level that I would have never thought possible.  OK off my math soap box!

Have a great weekend!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bringing Back Some Old Favorite Activities

It might be a NEW YEAR, but I'm bringing back a few of activities that I had completely forgot about.

Over the holiday break I was going through some old files trying to PURGE the pile and I came across some old games I used a long time ago.  They were ragged and I threw them out.


Then I realized that the game pieces were trash, but the concept was a WINNER!

Old fashioned memory cards and letter tiles need to be added to my stations STAT!

I found a cute packet on TPT for New Years and SNAP....  it had letter tiles!  We had the best time moving the tiles around and trying to make as many words as we could!  It was a great way to celebrate our first day of 2017 together!

I loved to walk around and watch how each of them organized their paper letter tiles differently.  Some of them lined up the vowels and then lined up the consonants. Some of them had them in random rows or just in a pile.  This little one spelled out Happy New Year and then pulled tiles out to try and make a word.  Then she put them right back into their original place.  When I asked her about it, she said well I already found three words just by organizing them into Happy New Year!  I love listening to them explain the whys and hows of their methods of doing things. It really makes me understand their thinking so much better.  

Another good old game we have brought back was MEMORY MATCH!  How did I ever forget this one?  I have no idea!

We have been studying geometric shapes and are struggling to recognize some of them.  A pentagon is a tough one!  Not to mention if a hexagon is thrown into the mix.

The words are on the blue cards and the pictures on the green cards.  The kids pick one blue card and try to match it with a green.  It they make a match, they keep the pair.  If they don't, it goes back into the game.

We played in groups and had the best time trying to remember where the different cards were. Not only did we practice identifying the shapes, but we had a great lesson on the strategies to help you win. Did I mention that we had two lose a turn cards and two put one pair back into the game cards?  This helped make the game last a little longer so they could work on their strategies to remember which cards were where.

I hope everyone is enjoying 2017 with their kiddos!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome in 2017!

I can't believe that it is 2017!

I spent New Years with my youngest son (he isn't little - he's in 8th grade) playing Uno and eating way too much food.  As we sat playing cards I tried to memorize each and every minute because I know that soon he will want to spend holidays like that with friends.  We talked about all of the amazing things that 2016 has brought us and even some of our disappointing moments.

I have no idea where I saw this idea, but instead of making a bunch of resolutions you pick a word to define the year.

He was able to pick his word quickly....  domination.  I quickly reminded him that domination doesn't just happen on the football field, but perhaps we can say that domination means doing better at everything.  Like in the classroom....  dominating the material.  He didn't love my idea, but he did get a good laugh.

For me it was a little bit harder.  I ended up picking organization.  Really?  I don't mean getting things clean and orderly, well it wouldn't hurt if I got somethings in better order.  I mean it more for my life. Organizing my time and efforts better.  Organizing my priorities and only keeping things I truly need in my organization.

Another big announcement for 2017 is the launch of our new collaborative blog!  Several months ago I had the opportunity to join in with a terrific group of educators that wanted to share what was working in their classrooms with other teachers.  This has been months in the making and I can't believe the friendships that I have built with people that I have actually never meet in person.

So without anymore chatter from me....

To celebrate our launch we have a giveaway posted on the blog today and will be doing TPT dollar deals on January 2-3.  Just search TPT for #NewYearNewBeginnings and score some bargains to start of the year off right!

We go back to school tomorrow!  HOLY COW!  Those 2 weeks went FAST!

We have teacher work day, so I'm hoping to get a lot of things ready to make 2017 the best year ever!

Happy Teaching!