Friday, April 17, 2015

Earth Day is April 22nd

Happy almost Earth Day!

I am hoping that the warm weather finds us up here in North Idaho.  I need to warm up my bones a bit.  Not much snow this winter, but since the official first day of spring we have had a storm every week that has dropped a few inches of white stuff on us.

Things are still freezing into the 20's at night and my bulbs are shaking in their leaves!  It looks like Earth Day might be more like what people traditionally consider the first day of Spring in these parts.  From today until Earth day, our temps are supposed to finally hit the low 70's during the day!  Yeah! But just to keep us on our toes, the nights will still drop down into the 30's...brrrr!

Earth Day is on Wednesday, April 22nd.  In our school it will probably be an Earth Week.  Monday is Art so that is when I will do my Art project.  Tuesday is when I do my whole class writing cuz that's one of the few days I have my whole class.  Wednesday we will plant something...not sure what yet. Thursday is supposed to be computer lab, but it turns into science day after spring break each year because the upper grades take over the computer labs for ISAT's. And then on Friday we have Garbage Pick-Up Day around our little town.  Each class takes gloves, big garbage bags and their hiking shoes, picks a street and starts walking and picking up trash.  They love being out of the classroom and so do I!

Here is the project that will encompass my writing and art this next week.  The kiddos love it!

You can find it on TPT...for only $3.  15 pages of fun :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

BubbleGum Ideas --Chewing and Learning

So we do Accelerated Reader at our elementary school.  We have school point goals each quarter.  The 1st graders work hard to do their part, but with their books only worth .5 per's really a small part.  I create my own goal chart in my room with flowers that work their way up the vine -- to go along with the progress flower on the computer program.  The kids love it, I love the simple way of keeping track of their's a win-win.

But the school rewards are kind of odd sometimes.  This quarter the school reached the school-wide goal and so they get to chew bubblegum!  The principal delivers it to our rooms....the kids love it, but I want it to be a bit more fun and meaningful or rather memorable!

This year I decided to turn the bubblegum into a mini theme for the day.  Here are a few ideas and things I found to do that day.

Here is a fun math bump game with the bubblegum theme. I found it on TpT:

Here's the writing project I'm going to do....How to Blow A Bubble

Then of course I had to get this Opinion Writing Activity too....Should Bubblegum Be Allowed in School?  There is no such thing as too much writing...right?

This next one on TpT has a combination of math, science and art.   It's a clever approach to bubblegum chewing..

My 1st graders are going to have fun while they are learning on bubblegum reward day this year!  It might just make it fun for me too!  If you don't have a bubblegum reward day at your school...maybe these are good reasons to give it a chew and ponder it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tech Tuesday --The Walking Classroom

This is a really cool tool for 4th and 5th grade classrooms.  It's called The Walking Classroom.  The materials are aligned with the 4th and 5th grade Common Core Standards for Language Arts.  

This is how the program is described on their website:

The Walking Classroom Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and education of all students.  The Walking Classroom program is an in-school obesity intervention that promotes health literacy and develops and supports lifelong fitness habits for all students while addressing different learning styles.  The method combines standards-aligned academic content and exercise during the regular school day.  Using WalkKits pre-loaded with a year's worth of standards-aligned audio content students walk, listen, and learn.

It is a bit pricey, $3,000 for a class set, but they do have scholarships available to apply for on their website.  It would be cool to purchase and perhaps share with the other classes in your building.  And the teacher blogs I have seen this mentioned on tell about how their students just LOVE it.  After you get things set up, the podcasts are only about 15-20 minutes.  Perfect for those inclement recesses or an afternoon break from the walls of the classroom and their desks.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Third Wheel

Today's blogger is Mrs. D at The Third Wheel.  She is a special ed teacher turned 3rd grade teacher turned instructional coach.  This morning I was reading her class management tips.  As an experienced 20 year teacher, it is still good to sit and read and be re-inspired about class management.
This year I do have the dream class...the kind of class that substitutes leave gushing notes and messages about and can't wait to return to...15 um, I mean 16 as of last week of the best 1st graders ever!  If only I wasn't being dragged down by meetings and more meetings and new curriculum to ponder, then I could spend more time enjoying their 16 smiling and eager faces!  Ah, such is a teacher's life :)

Back to Mrs. D....

She shares great insight from the perspective of a teacher and a coach.  She also has a very well stocked TpT store HERE.

I love the Edible science experiments, as I'm sure her students do as well :)  They say they are geared to 2nd-4th grades, but I'm sure you could find some inspiration for a 1st grade or for you STEM class lessons!

I also found that she has a large number of novel studies...for many popular titles. I bet you could find one that you use each year!

And for those of you who haven't gotten a raise in a number of me...there is the FREEBIE STUFF.  I mean A LOT of Freebie stuff!  Very exciting to find a talented author/teacher with free stuff!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Martin Luther King Lesson

Just found this awesome idea for teaching about Martin Luther King and his message.  It's from Elementary School's Counselor Blog. The blog seems to be inactive since last spring, but she has some wonderful ideas that still work today and can be used.

This M & M lesson is very simple but very clear and powerful for young minds to understand the concept that we are all the same underneath the color of our skin.

The lesson actually begins with two wrapped presents.  One neat and pretty and the other poorly wrapped with old torn paper and tied with a string.  The students get to pick which one they would open.  As predicted, most of them pick the pretty one.  When they open it they find it is filled with rocks.  Then they open the other one and find M&M's.
You can start with the M&M's wrapped in the boxes or just skip the gift box part as time allows.  Either way it is a creative way to illustrate your point.

It is a great warm up to the MLK Art/Writing activity I created and have done the past couple years.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Fun - Creative and Useful Bathroom Passes

I teach 1st grade and I can tell you that little boys go to the bathroom very quickly and though most of the time they remember to zip their pants, they do not leave time to wash their hands.  I know my classroom is fun and they can't wait to get back to me and the lesson we are in the middle of...

ok, well maybe it's just because they are preoccupied with the way the toilet flushes or they were talking to the other little boy who came in as they were finishing, but they seem to forget to wash their hands quite often.

Yes, I know the girls do too....but honestly it's just not as often as those little fellers.

Here is a very cool find that I started using this week.  (I don't believe in overusing hand sanitizer and we wash our hands every day before lunch with soap and warm water)  I look at is not an alternative, but as a helpful reminder to them that they should wash their hands after going potty!   

Some of them go to the sink when they get back and wash and then some just use the sanitizer.  Either way, I am hoping that it cuts down the flu germs that have yet to fully hit our classroom this winter.  Fingers crossed and sanitized!

I found this on Stephanie's blog: 3rd Grade Thoughts.  She also has a link so you can print out these handy little labels...or you can make your own like I did.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Having Fun While Learning in 4th Grade

As the importance of Common Core Standards and Teacher Standards and Merit Pay and Testing all get bounced off the walls of every teacher's meeting and staff room, we forget the the two most important parts of teaching.  First that to learn, students have to love to learn and second to learn to love HAS TO BE FUN!

Today's blog hop find is Heather from Read and Black and Learning All Over. She is a 4th grade teacher in Pennsylvania.  And she knows that learning has to be fun for it to stick!

She has intermittent posts on her blog, but I was inspired by her Synonym lessons she created.  I don't get to spend a lot of time on these in depth word studies in 1st grade, except with the high readers, but the first graders love when I can fit in a lesson here and there such as this one.  I might be able to fit it in when I do my insect study in the spring....

Heather does have some great things posted in her TPT Store, so stop by there and see what will fit into your lesson plans this winter...your students are sure to find them FUN!