Sunday, March 24, 2013

Calendars, Photos, and a Spring FREEBIE!

Happy Spring to you!  There is still snow on the ground here in Wisconsin, but it is (slowly) melting away.  Hopefully the sun is shining and the birds are chirping by you!
So I have some photos to share with you that show the calendars my First Graders created the last couple of months.  If you would like to read more about how we use calendars for learning in our classroom and where I get my ideas, please click HERE!

Here is an example of the artwork on the front of our calendars for the month of February.  The kids LOVED picking out scrapbook paper for the heart!
This is how we glue the writing / illustration and calendar on the inside of the construction paper.
Here is a close-up shot of my example writing and illustration.
This is a close-up of my example calendar.  We always highlight birthdays, special days at our schooll, and holidays.
Oops...looks like my kiddo on the left folded down one too many fingers, LOL!
No surprise that the ladies in this group chose PINK!
Here is a shot of my second group of First Grade students with their calendars.

"In February, we can give a flower to our girlfriends."  (Haha!  Yes, I did say this is First Grade.)
"In February, we can invite our friends."
"In February, we can give chocolate hearts to our moms and dads."

Of course, my kiddos were asked to present their hard work in the "Share Chair."
The students had 3 choices for their March artwork:  the Easter basket...

...the baby bird, or...
...the kite.
"What can we do this month?"
"In March, we can go to a friend's house."
Mrs. Unger's example:  "In March, we can find Easter eggs and baskets."  My students thought it was HILARIOUS that I colored my baby in the basket.  :)
And now on to your FREEBIE!  I whipped these up this morning and I am in love! 
Differentiated Roll, Add, and Read Spring Sight Word fun!  There are printables that are appropriate for ELL students as well as kiddos who are at the following reading levels:  Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade.
Here is how we use this type of activity in my classroom:
1) I assign each student a partner, depending on their reading levels.
2) The students take turns rolling two dice, adding the numbers together, coloring in the box with the correct sum, and then reading the corresponding sentence.
3) I give the students a little treat the first time they fill in boxes 3 in a row.
If you want to snag this FREEBIE for your students, please vist my TPT Store by clicking HERE!  I would love for you to leave a comment on my blog or at my store, if you do like this FREE product.  Comments brighten my day for sure!  :)
Well, my little man and I are going to spend some time together, so I am off.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Community Workers - Photos and FREEBIES!

Hi there!  Well, the snow is falling outside my window.  *sigh*  So much for "spring" break.  But still - I am happy to be home, getting work done around the house and spending time with my little munchkin (who, by the way, is 40 weeks old today)!
Right before spring break started, the Kindergarten class I work with finished up their Community Workers unit - or at least I decided they were finishing up the unit, LOL.  I did not want to come back to the same theme after spring break, even though I had SO many more fun activities I wanted to do with them!  I was really bad about taking photos throughout this unit, but we had a lot of fun with it.  Here are a few shots:
I only get to see these kiddos for a short period of time daily, so this "Community Workers from A to Z" anchor chart took us a few days to complete.  (Oh yeah, please ignore the fact that I totally spelled "optometrist" wrong on the anchor chart.  Mrs. Unger was not prepared for that one and I had to later look up the correct spelling!)
I had two sweet friends volunteer to visit this classroom and talk to the Kinders about their jobs.  Our first guest speaker was a photographer!  I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know him over the last few years.  He photographed our engagement, wedding, maternity, and five generation photos.  Great guy!  And he did an awesome job with the little ones.  :)
As you can tell from this picture, the kids were glued to him and his cool cameras!
Our second guest speaker was a sweet friend of mine from high school and she is a nurse!  After watching her presentation, you could tell this was "not her first rodeo," as my husband would say.  She had definitely worked with kids before.
Can you imagine how excited the kids were when they were told they got to KEEP the masks!?  :)
I made up a little card for each of them.  It says, "Thanks a 'latte' for visiting our classroom," and I included a small gift card to Starbucks.  All the kiddos signed the inside.
If you are interested in snagging your own FREE copy of this simple, little "thank you" card, please visit my TPT store by clicking HERE!
Annnnnd....after a failing attempt to sell my "Community Workers Matching Cards," I am giving them to you for free.  One can dream of becoming the next Deanna Jump, can't she?  :)  Here you go:  Grab the cards by clicking HERE!
Enjoy the rest of the week.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Open House Photos  I can hardly believe it myself...I am writing blog posts  UNBELIEVABLE!  (Teehehe.)  I heart Spring Break!
Anyway, I thought I would quickly share some photos that I snapped during our Spring Open House / Parent-Teacher Conferences.
As an ESL teacher this year, conferences have been VERY different for me.  Rather than inviting parents and leading the conferences myself (like I had done in the past, as a Kindergarten teacher), I only assist during a conference, if the homeroom teacher requests it.  In the Fall, I, zero students and parents visit me during Parent / Teacher Conferences.  *tear*  So - I decided I was going to bribe encourage my students to visit me this time around by entering their name into a raffle if they attended and made it a point that Mrs. Unger saw them there.
Here are the prizes I picked up for the raffle.  I had fun pencils, candy, treasure chest trinkets (like Playdough, mini frisbees, glow sticks, bouncy balls, and yo-yo's), coloring books and crayons, bubbes, and even a t-shirt that says "Proud Student of Janes Elementary School" - which, silly me, is being blocked in this photo by the red garbage can.  Grrrr.  (I ordered it from VistaPrint, along with the "Welcome to Janes! Thank you for visiting today!" sign that you see in the photo.)
Each student wrote his/her name on the back of a "ticket," which was just half of an index card with a personalized stamp that says, "Please return to Mrs. Unger."  (My sweet mommy ordered the stamp for me for Christmas!)  I will pull names from the little red garbage can after we return from Spring Break.  (Everyone gets a prize of some sort, but those whose names are pulled first will get first picks.)
I had some new business cards made up on VistaPrint, in case any parents wanted my information for communication purposes.  I also will stick these in the envelopes (with paperwork that parents need to fill out) that I sometimes have to send home with kids.  They were FREE...I just paid the shipping and handling.  :)  Oh - and that cute business card holder - I found that on Etsy years ago.  The shop, Green Willow, seems to still be open, if you would like to request one from her.
I always think a room is more inviting when it smells nice.  Don't you agree?  I turned on my wickless, flameless candle from Scentsy. 
My room is clearly identified - though one has to climb MANY flights of stairs to get there!
I made sure to hang some student work outside my door, so parents had something to look at while they were there.  Actually, after I took the picture above, I also hung student photos from our Dr. Seuss photo booth on the bulletin board.
I hung student work on the door, too.  These are the "Yertle the Turtle" opinion writing craftivities that my 2nd graders completed.
So - does your school have Open House in the Spring?  What do you do to encourage attendance and make it fun for the families?  I would love to hear about it!
As always, thank you for stopping by!  :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dr. Seuss Day: Lots of Photos and a FREEBIE!

WARNING:  This will be a long post!  LOL  My baby rarely allows me to blog these days (I am doing this in the wee hours of the morning), so the pictures keep piling up and then end up in one big, 'ole blog post!  :)
I must admit:  I was probably more excited for Dr. Seuss Day than any of my students.  I started planning for and preparing my wacky outfit many months ahead of time and this is how it turned out!

So here are the individual pieces and where I found them:
I picked up this cute, little red hat at Charming Charlie - on clearance! 
Do you have these stores near you? It is similar to Claire's or Icing, but for women. LOVE.THIS.PLACE. Jewelry and accessories galore!
Believe it or not - I found these CUTE Dr. Seuss bows at a children's and babies' second-hand store near my house.  A woman who works there makes them and she offered to make me one that had my name on it!  How cool! 
I also found this red brooch at Charming Charlie.  It was FREE!  (Who doesn't love free!?)  They have buy-one-get-one-free on all clearance items frequently.
Okay, so this part was a flop.  I did not have time to paint my nails and I chickened out with the red lipstick.  When I was testing out my outfit the night before, my husband made a not-so-school-appropriate comment about the red lipstick and then that was all I could think about.  :(  But I had good intentions!
The tutu was made especially for me!  A family friend's boyfriend's granddaughter (Did you follow that?  There will be a quiz at the end.  I hope you were paying attention.  Ha!) made it for me.  The red leggings came from Target - yet another store that I love oh-so-much!
I randomly found these "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" boxers in the men's section of Target.  I wore them under my tutu and over my leggings.
The t-shirt also came from the men's section at Target.
Did you know that you can curl ribbon by basically soaking it in water, wrapping it around a pencil, and then baking it in the oven?  My sweet BFF passed that bit of useful information on to me one day.  So I was going to try it out, but then I (randomly) found some curly ribbon at T.J. Maxx on the cheap and decided to take the easy way out, LOL.
I pinned the ribbon on some flat, navy blue Aldo shoes I have.
I bought these "Green Eggs and Ham" from an Etsy shop years ago.  It looks like her shop, Karrie's Kreations, is still open if you would like to snag a pair!
I also picked up a few items from Party City to use in a Dr. Seuss photo booth.  The kids LOVED this!  They held the frame and other Seuss-like items and then I took their pictures.  I hung their pictures outside my door for our Spring Open House.
This little sweetie must have known I needed her face covered up for my blog.  How helpful of her!  (j/k)  I had her take another picture.
My second graders made these cute "Cat in the Hat" hats in their homeroom.  Their teacher is A-MAZING!  :)
All of the following photo booth items came from Party City.  This is a FUN store!  If you do not have a location near you, you can visit their website.
Dr. Suess "Happy Birthday" cake hat
I hung this banner in the back of our photo booth and then stuck it outside my door for Open House.
I also laid out a variety of Dr. Seuss books that they could "read" while I took their pictures.
By the way, when I was at Target yesterday, they had all of their Dr. Seuss books on sale!  The bigger ones were $10 and the smaller ones were $5.  I picked up these goodies:
One of my goals is to type up a book inventory on Google Docs, so wherever I am, I can access the list.  I swear I don't know what books I have and what books I need most days!
I made the frame by cutting out the shape from a big cardboard box that was headed for the recycling.  As you can see in the photo above, I had some "help" from my son.  :)
Then, I spray painted it red.
I made these treats for my students.  They are supposed to look like the hat that the "Cat in the Hat" wears.  They looked much better on Pinterest, LOL!
My kids enjoyed them anyway!
I am teaching ESL kids this year, so I get them in 30 minute spurts.
The treats that I saw on Pinterest were made using Oreo cookies - which I LOVE - but we have so many Girl Scout Thin Mints around our house, I decided to use those up instead.
(Nevermind the baby formula and medicine, haha!)
We also made "Suess Juice," which is just cranberry juice (or any red juice) mixed with 7-Up (or any clear soda).
I had my 3rd graders write the procedural steps for making the "Suess Juice" and they had to describe the juice, using their 5 senses.  (Normally, I require much more - in terms of their writing - from my 3rd graders, BUT we were trying to pack several Dr. Seuss activities into 30 minutes, so I let it slide.)
These FREEBIES came from The First Grade Parade.  Thank you, Mrs. Carroll!!
I also picked up some fun Dr. Seuss pencils at Party City.  My kiddos each got one and MOST of them remembered to stay "thank you."  ;)
So with my 1st graders, I read aloud "There's a Wocket in My Pocket."  This book is slightly difficult to find.  I ended up picking it up at Half Price Books.  Don't you just LOVE that $4.49 price tag!?  I DO!  (My husband will not step foot into the Half Price Books store with me, unless I swear on our marriage that I will be in and out in 10 minutes or less.  Honestly, I do not blame him - I could spend HOURS in there!)
After the read aloud, I passed out this printable.  You can grab it it for FREE by visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
I also gave the kiddos a whiteboard and assigned them a word.  Their task was to think of other words that rhymed with their assigned word.  They were to write real words and nonsense words and sort them accordingly in the pockets.  The whiteboard was available to help them brainstorm.
When I went into the Kindergarten classroom, I was sure to bring a picture of Dr. Seuss with me.  Sometimes it seems that the kids, especially the itty-bitties, think that the "Cat in the Hat" character IS Dr. Seuss!  Hehe!
I read aloud "The Butter Battle Book," which just might be my favorite Dr. Suess book.  :)
While I read, the Kinders took turns shaking heavy whipping cream in a glass baby food jar.  I instructed them to pass the jar to the next person each time that I turned the page, so they knew just what to do without having to interrupt the story.  I had to jars going around, so everyone got at least one turn to shake, shake, SHAKE!
By the end of the story, we ended up with little clumps of butter!  The kids were AMAZED!  This was done in only 15 minutes.  If I had more time with them, I am sure all of the cream would have turned to butter.
I also bring a small group of Kindergarten and 1st grade students to my room.  These are my English Language Learners with the most needs.  We read "Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!"
Then, I gave each student a baggie full of shower gel and they got to sprinkle in some glitter - their choice on color!  We sealed the baggies tight and then I told them letters and words to write, using a Q-tip on the outside of the baggie.
When my 2nd graders came to my room, I read aloud "Yertle the Turtle."  I had never read this book before, but I quite like it - it sends a great message.
After the reading, I passed out this printable, which came from Fun in First.  Thank you for sharing for FREE, Jodi!  I printed my copies on light green cardstock, so we would not have to take the time (Did I mention I have 30 minutes or less with each group?) to color or glue on construction paper (for durability).

This is what our end product looked like!
Once again, I usually require MUCH MORE from my 2nd graders (as far as their writing is concerned), but today was a "fun day" and time was limited, so I settled for simplicity.
When I asked the kiddos where we should hang our turtle, one of my smart little cookies said, "Mrs. Unger, we should stack them on top of each other, just like in the story!"  Creative minds, I tell you!
One of the Dr. Seuss guest readers in the 4K classroom had to cancel, so I filled in since I was the back-up.  It was fun, of course, and they gave me a certificate AND a "Cat in the Hat" stuffed animal!  I was so excited!
What a fun day!  I am looking forward to Dr. Seuss Day 2014!  :)
Side note to any of my blog friends in the Midwest area:  I received a pamphlet in my mailbox at work yesterday...BIG NEWS!  The one-and-only Deanna Jump will be the speaker at the Wisconsin Kindergarten Association Fall Conference in Neenah, WI on Saturday, October 19th!!  Agghhhh!  I am so excited!  My school has little money right now, but I am going to fork over the $75 to see her, as I know she is totally worth it!
Well, friends - today is the start of my Spring Break.  I will be spending time with my boys and maybe I will even get in another blog post!  What are your plans for your Spring Break?  Enjoy it!  As always, thank you for stopping by.  :)