Friday, September 30, 2011

LINKY PARTY and a Freebie: Science Experiments!

Soooooo...I started posting my Science experiment freebie on TPT last night and before I knew it, I passed out on the couch.  Can we say exhausted!?  Anyway, this post needs to be quick now!

Here is a Science experiment that you can do with your young learners.  I adapted it from McGraw-Hill's Science "A to Z Activity" book for Kindergarten.

"F" is for Fingerprint Fun!

1 - Lead a discussion about how everyone is unique and special and how no one is exactly the same.  You could also talk about how everyone is the same, in some ways.

2 - Explain that fingerprints are like our own personal stamps because no two people have the same fingerprint.  Have the kids check out their own fingerprints.

3 - Talk about how there are 3 types of fingerprints though they are all different:  arch, loop, whorl.  I suggest making some visuals or pulling some examples up on the SmartBoard from the internet.

4 - Now it is time for the activity!  Students use ink pads or they can just use a marker to color on the top part of one finger.  They press their finger in the oval on the recording sheet (see below to visit my TPT store).

5 - The students examine their fingerprint using a magnifying glass and then they determine which type of fingerprint they have and then circle that choice.

6 - Finally, students can create little pictures using their own fingerprint.  How fun!

Click HERE to get your own FREE copy of the recording sheet!  By the way, I do not have many items in my TPT stores, but all those that I do have are FREE!

Be sure to head over to Learning with Mrs. Parker in order to share your own fun Science experiment and see what other great teachers have to offer you!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LINKY PARTY: Science Freebies!

I am oh-so-excited for Day #3 of Science Week:  FREEBIES!

Science Week

My students will be learning the letter "Pp" next week, so I decided we will do a "P is for Paper Fun!" experiment.  Students look at different types of paper and then make a prediction about whether or not the paper will absorb water.  They color in a smiley face or frown face, depending on their prediction.  Then, the students test their hypothesis by dropping water on the paper using an eye dropper.  The students observe whether or not the water absorbs.  Finally, the young scientists record the conclusions on their data sheets.

Click HERE to visit my TPT store and get your FREE copy of the "Prediction / Conclusion Data Sheet" and a step-by-step procedural guide.

Be sure to stop by the Linky Party at TBA - Teaching Blog Addict - to join the fun!  Be sure to post and share your own awesome Science freebies!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Favorite Science Website and Videos!

I am fortunate to work at a school that subscribes to BrainPOP Jr.  If you have never visited BrainPOP Jr. (or BrainPOP or BrainPOP ESL), you just have to go check it out!  You do have to pay in order to subscribe (totally worth cutting into your school's budget, by the way) but there are a handful of free videos, if you look around. 

The quality of this video is not the greatest because I found it on (I do not think I can embed videos into my blog directly from BrainPOP Jr.)  But it gives you an idea of what you can expect.

Here are some FREE Science videos you can find on BrainPOP Jr. - Science!  Click on "Classifying Animals" or "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle."
By the way... be sure to take some time to explore BrainPOP Jr. as there are MANY videos for Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, and Arts and Technology.  Each video has corresponding games, activities, suggested literature, etc.
Be sure to stop by TBA - Teaching Blog Addict - and share your own favorite Science websites and videos!

Science Week

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

My New Favorite Science Book!

Okay, I have to admit that I did not actually read this book until TODAY, but it is now my new favorite Science book!!

What is Science? is written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and is illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.  The text is simple and straight-forward.  The illustrations are colorful and engaging for young learners.  I know of no better book that teaches the general idea of Science like this picture book does.

I read the book aloud to my students and then they went back to their desks to color a picture in order to show what Science means to them.  The students then dictated a sentence for me to write using this sentence frame:  "Science is..."  I was so impressed with their work!

Here are some close-ups of individual student's work.

This one is my favorite for sure!  "Science is finding stuff in the water."

I grabbed this "Science" image online, slapped the word "is" underneath it, and we had a sign!

I am starting to REALLY LOVE SCIENCE!!

Please be sure to stop by TBA - Teaching Blog Addict to find out what other great Science books teachers use in their classrooms.  Consider posting YOUR favorite book as well!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Super Excited for Science Week!

One of my professional goals for this year is to be better about integrating Science into our daily Math and Reading blocks.  Well, you can imagine my excitement when I read about Science Week that is starting TOMORROW on TBA - Teaching Blog Addict!

Science Week

Seriously!  I mean, how great is this!?

I will definitely be joining the party and I am excited that I have a few things to share myself!  :)  Won't you consider joining the party and sharing some ideas of your own!?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ms. M Teaches Us How to Make a Blog Button!

How great is this!?  The amazing Ms. M has provided all of us with an easy, step-by-step tutorial on how to create your very own blog button!  How exciting!!  I have always wanted to know how to do this...well, at least for as long as I have been blogging, hehe.  THANK YOU, Ms. M!  You are so kind and thoughful!!  I cannot wait until I have some time to sit down and do this.  If you want to find out how to make your own blog button, click HERE!  Have fun!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Word Wall Quick Tips

Here are a few tips to (possibly...if you are not doing these things already) spice up your Word Wall!

1 - Fabric:  A colleague of mine gave me this suggestion during my first or second year.  By my third year, I realized I should have listened to her.  Instead of using butcher paper as your Word Wall backdrop, use fabric!  First of all, it is way more fun than paper.  Second, you will not have to replace it year after year because it lasts longer than the paper.  (Whenever I taped something up on my old Word Wall and then took it down later, it left a mark or a hole.  Not the case with fabric!)

2 - Sign Language:  For your tactile learners, I suggest including the sign language alphabet as well.  Whenever my kiddos learn a new letter, they also learn that letter in sign language.

3 - Highlight the Vowels:  I know a lot of teachers already do this, but I never heard about it until my second year of teaching, so I just want to throw this out there.  Highlight the vowels with red in some way that works for you.

4 - Walking Word Walls:  The mini sign language Word Wall was a gift from Dr. Rick DuVall - an inspiring teacher and motivational consultant from Florida.  The idea itself came from Peggy Campbell-Rush or Cindy Middendorf. . . or maybe both??  Anyway, for those students who have a hard time transfering a word from the wall to paper, you can create "Walking Word Walls," which are simply mini versions of the real World Wall.  I hang mine on clothes hangers that have clips.

(Oh - the cords make for a lovely background.  Perhaps I should move these??)

What tips to YOU have to share??  I would love to hear about what makes your Word Wall great!  :)  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Idea for Integrating Art Techniques into Your Reading Block

Have you ever heard of quilling?  I had not... until I taught Arts and Crafts (grades Kindergarten through 5th grade - yes, all in the same classroom - it was CrAzY!) this last summer.
According to, quilling is:
Quilling or paper filigree is the art of creating designs with narrow strips of paper that have been wound around a quill or quilling tool to create a basic shape. The basic shapes are glued together and arranged to form all kinds of creative and interesting designs. Quilling is one of the easiest crafts to learn. Nearly all of quilling is done with just a few variations of basic rolls and scrolls.
We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, the students selected their favorite scene, character, or object from the story, and then they re-created that scene using this neat art technique.  Check out some of the students' work!  Believe it or not, most of these were done by Kindergarten students.  :)
Many kiddos chose to re-create the butterfly:

These students liked the sun on the very first page of the book, so they chose to re-create that scene:

We did not have any special tools.  The students simply wrapped some a whole bunch of paper strips around a pencil to create coils.  They then made what we called a "wall" to put all the coils in and give the scene formation.  The students used Elmer's glue to keep it all in place.

Like I said, we did this for Arts and Crafts, so we read the book and did the project, but then we stopped there.  If I do this art project in my classroom, I will also incorporate a writing piece that relates to the scene.
Give this art technique a try!  It is not that difficult, BUT it is a bit time-consuming - just to warn you.  (Maybe you could have parent volunteers roll the coils ahead of time??)

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Table Group Names

Here is a quick tip that can make transitions less chaotic.  This is certainly not an original idea, but it is worth sharing, in case you do not already use this transition strategy.

My students and I work together to assign each group of tables a name.  I hang signs above the student tables, so the students I remember what their table names are because they change every 3 weeks or so.  Whenever we move on to a new theme, the signs change:  "On the Farm," we use farm animal names, "Family," we use adjectives to describe different types of families, "On the Go," we use modes of transportation, etc.

These photos show the signs we use for our "All About Me" theme.  I simply chose exciting adjectives that describe my students.  :)

I recommend using fun table names because it helps when you are calling tables to line up, clean up, whatever the case may be.  Oh yeah, one more sure to make your signs double-sided.  I learned this the hard way.  At first, they were only single-sided, but then I couldn't read them when they twisted and turned!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

LINKY PARTY: Transition Tips!

Head on over to Empowering Little Learners to read about a SUPER cute transition tip AND to snag your own FREEBIE poster that goes along with her idea!  (One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana Split...hehe!  Gotta love it!)

Anyway, here is a transition tip of my own to share.  (Well, I cannot say it is "my own" because I did not think of it myself.  I do, however, use this tip in my classroom.  I believe I originally read the idea in one of Peggy Campbell Rush's AMAZING books.  If you do not know this teacher / author, by the way, Google her books!!!)

Okay, here is my transition tip for you!

When my little ones are getting ready to go home at the end of the day, they know to wait in one of two places:  the bus line (see photo below) or the carpet, if they walk home or get picked up.

Once our Educational Assistant takes the bus riders outside, I then ask my walkers to line up on that same line.  I then pass out their apple sticks.

I purchased these from The Dollar Tree.  They are super cute, but I do not recommend them for this particular idea because they are made out of posterboard type of material and the kids bend them.  Mine are about to get tossed in the garbage can and they will be replaced by wooden ones.  (Does anyone have a better idea as to what I should hand out to the kids?)

Anyway...once everyone has their apple, we go out to the blacktop and they know they must stay in the yellow circle that is painted on the ground.  (It can get crazy with adults and kids running around everyone, so I like when they are in area.)  Finally, once each child sees their mom, dad, whoever...they turn their apples in to me.  That is how I know who is picking them up and that they are safe.  It is just a nice way to quickly check-in with me before they leave.  :)

 Hmmm...I cannot figure out why my pictures are posting vertically.  Strange...sorry about that.  Well, I keep the apple sticks in this cute little pencil pouch that I found at JoAnn Fabrics.  I know it does not make sense because there is a bus on it, but the sticks are for my walkers.  I just could not pass it up!

I hope you are able to use this tip in your own classroom!  Thanks for stopping by.  :)  Remember to head on over to Empowering Little Learners to join the Linky Party and share your own idea!

Useful Information for New Bloggers

As a semi-new blogger, I was super interested in this information that Jenn shared over at Finally in First.  Basically, she gives us the inside scoop on what is okay (and what is not okay) to do when joining a Linky Party.  Thanks again Jenn!  :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday FREEBIE: Tattling Turtle

A couple of years ago, I was flipping through one of those teachers' magazines that has GREAT resources at not-so-great prices and I came across "Tattling Turtle."  It was nothing more than a basket, a turtle stuffed animal, a poem, and some Post-It notes... so I thought, "I'll make my own!"

Here is what I include:
1 - green basket
2 - green Post-It notes or small green spiral notebook
3 - green pencil
4 - turtle stuffed animal (I found him at one of the vendor's booths at the Wisconsin State Reading Association convention two years ago.)
5 - the poem (This can be found at my TPT store for FREE!)
6 - non-fiction book about turtles (Unfortunately, ours is not displayed in the picture.  I think it is in the Book Hospital at the moment.)
7 - small aquarium OR blue marbles (An amazing teacher friend of mine simply placed blue marbles in the bottom of her basket and set the turtle on top of the "water" and that was super cute, too!)

You can visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to get the poem for FREE!  By the way...the version you find on TPT is much cuter than the one displayed in the photo.  With the help of Karen Cox's adorable polka dot borders that she has shared, I gave it a make-over.  :)  (You can visit her TPT Store by clicking on her link in my store.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Totally Cool Technology Teacher Tip!

An awesome blogger over at Vintage Teacher shared a super cool technology tip with all of us... and I just had to pass it on!

She gives us EASY step-by-step directions for inserting cool symbols into Blogger, Word documents, etc.  For example, if you want your students to write in a particular spot, you could insert one of these guys:  ✎  Neat-o!

Head on over to her blog to get the scoop!  Thanks for stopping by.  :)