Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Charlotte's Web Character Traits

Thank you "Mailbox Magazine" for saving my life when I needed a quick Charlotte's Web activity last week!

We finished the book on Tuesday and watched the movie on Thursday- the original, animated one... you know "Cause we've got lots in common where it really counts, where it really counts we've got large amounts..." and "A fair is a veritable smorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasboard... after the gates are shut...". I hope I'm not the only one singing along right now! :)

Anyway, we finished the movie and had about 20 minutes before PE which wasn't really enough time to do what I had originally planned. Well, I remembered seeing this activity in my "Mailbox Magazine" and so we did it... and the kids LOVED it!

We talked about character traits for Wilbur, made our own webs with a white crayon on black paper (10x10 in. paper) and each kid wrote their trait on 2in. squares of paper and glued the on the web! Later, we added a little spider (a ring that I cut the ring part off of) and some glitter in strategic places to make the webs glisten!

Anyhow, I know lots of teachers read this wonderful book in the fall and I thought you might enjoy seeing what we created!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Observation Book Freebie!

Happy week before Halloween!

Below you'll find my pumpkin observation book... please leave me a treat in the comments if you like the treat I'm sharing with you!

Head over to Me and My Gang to get more treats... and maybe a few tricks too!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!

We had a GREAT time on Thursday having "pumpkin morning" in my classroom!

We recently got a "Zoomscope" from a project I had on Donor's Choose... and if you don't have one you HAVE to get one! It plugs right in to my LCD projector and magnifies up to 50x. My students did pumpkin rotations to do sink/float, measurement, drawing, and describing. Everyone loved using the "Zoomscope" to investigate their pumpkin for the describing station.

Check out the pics below of us using the "Zoomscope"... and stay tuned for "Me and My Gang's" week of Trick-or-Treats starting Monday. I'll be sharing the pumpkin book we used for the festivities!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Long and Short A and U Sorting Cards

Did you see my "short O sorting cards" last week? I'm still working on I and E cards- hopefully I can share by the end of the weekend... but that might be pushing it! Also, I am using these as SOUND discrimination... so the spellings might not be typical for that sound, but I want to make sure my students are sorting by sound, not spelling patterns.

All I ask is for a shout-out in the comments if you can use them! :)

I hope to do a "here's what we've been doing/are doing in school this week" post soon. I've put a lot of freebies up this week, but haven't had time for any "meat" on my posts!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tricks and Treats- a Halloween party game!

Hold on to your hats, teacher friends... I'm super psyched about this party game! A parent in my class actually described this game to me... I'm not sure if she dreamed it up or what... but now it is a reality!

I can't WAIT to have my kiddos play this at our Halloween party! I think it would be great for a math workstation too!

Enjoy! I'd love you to leave me a "treat" in my comments if you think you'll be able to use this game!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Next Week's "TRICK OR TREAT"!

I just wanted to give you a sneak peek of my "Trick or Treat" freebie I'll be sharing as an author of "Me and My Gang" starting next Monday...

It's a 6 page booklet for your kiddos to use to make observations about a pumpkin!

Keep posted for next Monday... if you use the link above, you will be directed to TONS of great freebies!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Printer Woes and a Fact Family Freebie

At the risk of sounding like the world's biggest baby, let me tell you about my printer this past week...

It has been finicky. After running out of ink when I had just two pages of my long/short o sorting cards (at which time I cried for 15-minutes because it was after 9pm and the nearest store for ink is 15 minutes away... luckily, my wonderful husband saved the night and went to get some ink), then jamming up yesterday while I was trying to print things, today it isn't working at all. AT ALL. I'm panicking! I print all. the. time. Every day. Doesn't it know that today is Sunday and I have a newsletter to print as well as fun activities for my kiddos for next week???

So, now I've e-mailed several documents to myself at school and will have to print them there tomorrow. But, here's what usually happens when I e-mail myself stuff to print at school:

I get there a little earlier than usual so I can print my things off and then make copies. And, almost without fail, every time the internet is down. Or I can't log on to the network. And then I can't print. Hopefully I'll be able to successfully print my items tomorrow morning!

Anyway... here's something we're doing in math this week since my 2nd graders are working on fact families.

If you find it useful, please leave me a little love in the comments! Also, do you have a printer you love that isn't an HP? Let me know about it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Math + Reading = Fun and Learning!

I'm so glad Marygrove College has started this linky party on literacy during math time. When I was receiving my degree from them a few years ago, one of my courses focused heavily on using literature in the content areas and I realized I wasn't doing a good enough job of that. So, I went out and bought a ton of math picture books. I was so excited to put them in my classroom library... but finding time to actually use them like I should... well... it just couldn't happen often enough. And then, this summer, I read about math workstations!

And when I started organizing my Debbie Diller inspired Math Workstation tubs (which I might need your help on in a post or two!), I disassembled that basket in my library and divvied up the books into the different tubs.

The result is that I am actually using the books to reinforce math concepts and my students are actually reading them too!

I have several great sets of math picture books. I have these three from Lakeshore Learning that I was able to get funded on Donor's Choose!

I have other books too that I put in the math workstations- Math Curse, Goldilocks and the Three Squares, The Grouchy Ladybug, Cookie's Week, Ten Apples Up on Top, and lots more. Some of the books I do not read to them- I just put in the workstation bin. Others I will read before I put in the bin.

I also have made activities for several of the book. For Cookie's Week, students have "days of the week" cards to sequence after reading. Right now my 1st graders are learning about time, so in workstation bin #1 (which is the one that will always have books in it), one of the stories is The Grouchy Ladybug with some little clocks so they can use their clocks as they read the story.

Integrating books made for math along with books that are just easy to use along with math topics is a great way to help kids make connections to what they are learning to the real world... and is just plain fun. My students like reading the math books because they like math... which make a teacher's heart so happy!

Please head over to Marygrove College's blog to join their linky party and share how YOU encourage literacy during your math time. As someone new to the world of workstations, I'd LOVE to hear your take on things!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Little Critter Winners!

I know, I said I would post this on Wednesday... but after a day full of meetings, working with a grade-level partner on a new progress report, creating the progress report, writing them for my students, making dinner, and just doing "life"... I had not a second to breathe yesterday night!

Soooo... I've chosen 5 winners!

They are...
Well... I tried to do the screenshot thing... but it doesn't look great! So... #6 cmh06, #21 Kelly B aka Queen Bee!, #22 Amy, #33 Amy, and #4 Jen R. please e-mail me at christina4062@hotmail.com ASAP so I can get this item to you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Short and Long O Woes

Yikes! My kiddos have had quite a time identifying long and short o words this week! I know they know them... but the automaticity in identifying them just isn't quite there yet.
I made these short and long o sorting cards to use in small groups this week and *eventually* these will make their way into my word work bins for Daily Five.If you like them, leave me some love in the comments! :)

ALSO... my bloggy friends at Marygrove College shared a blog post here a week or so ago about field trips and today has posted a great little video with a little more explanation and a free guide full of extension ideas for the classroom. I truly hope you'll head over and check it out! It's a super cute little connection between their blog post and real life!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News of the Day

I've had a few e-mails about how I am able to make time for grammar every day. One sneaky way that I sneak in extra time for grammar lessons is during our "News of the Day". Whoever brings the snack each day is the leader. They get to lead us in calendar and give the "News of the Day" during our PM Meeting.

"News of the Day" is an interactive writing time where I don't share the pen a whole lot, but my students are helping spell and "grammarize" the entire time.

The "News of the Day" goes something like this:

We gather on the rug, the kid of the day stands by the easel, and I begin...

Me: Today is

students: Capital T-o-d-a-y i-s

Me: Monday, - if you don't know how to spell that word, check the calendar behind you. Give me a thumbs up when you are ready to help spell.

students: Capital M-o-n-d-a-y comma

Me: October 10capital O-c-t-0-b-e-r 10 comma 2011 period

As they spell, I am writing this down. If they chorally spell a word wrong or forget a capital or punctuation, I continue anyway.

Then the leader spells and writes their name on the chart paper...

Me: said

students: s-a-i-d comma quotes

The kid says their news and we follow a similar format for writing their news. This is where I am able to model, teach, and have us practice strategies for spelling unknown words. We do a lot of counting sounds and thinking about resources we have around our classroom that could help us.

At the end of their news, we make sure everything is correct and the leader reads it to us. Then we read it aloud together. The leader takes it back to their seat to draw an illustration.

At the end of the month, I staple them into a big book, hang them on a hanger, and it becomes a favorite reading activity for my students.

As the year goes on, we study all sorts of things through our news... we make contractions, search for "hunks and chunks", swap out common words for better synonyms... we even find words that talk about common misspellings. I always have kids who spell saw "SALL" because they tend to say it that way. Last week, someone's news said they saw four deer before school that morning so we had a great chat about how to correctly say the word so we could correctly spell the word.

I love doing "News of the Day". I think it's a fun way for us to write and learn together... and we love re-reading old news too! :) Here's a picture of some of my sweeties reading the news together this afternoon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Little Critter Freebie and Giveaway!

I finished my Little Critter/Mercer Mayer author study! Thanks Amanda, Jennifer, Eva, Wendi, and Cindi for your feedback. I think I made some good changes! The unit will is available at my Teacher's Notebook and TpT stores, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek, give you a chance to win the whole unit, and give you a little freebie from the unit as well.

First up is the SNEAK PEEK! This 17-page unit includes summary conversation cards, a short i hunt page, tally practice with Little Critter's favorite little critters (how's that for a tongue twister?!), writing activities, and more!

Second, a chance to win the whole unit! This Wednesday, I'll choose 2 winners at random to receive a free copy of the unit. Just leave me a comment to be entered. If you blog about this giveaway, leave a 2nd comment for twice the chances to win!

Third, a little freebie from the unit! Click the picture below to snag your copy of the summary conversation cards. In the unit, you use the cards to model the re-telling and then students complete their own re-telling of the story. I'm going to place these at my partner reading station for kiddos to use for a "check for understanding" when they read with a friend. I have Ms. Fiorini's "Fiction Walk and Talk" cards there and my readers LOVE to use them so I know they'll be psyched about these too!

Ok! Happy Sunday! I'm gearing up for a great week. Michigan kiddos will be taking the MEAP this week... good luck WP students! :)
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