Monday, December 16, 2013

Old Fashioned Christmas Gifts & Winter Reading Challenge

At my old school, pretty much only kindergarten made parent gifts.  But I recently found out that all of lower elementary makes them.  So last week I was trying to figure out what to do.  My mom usually comes in and helps with projects, but that did not work with her schedule this year.

Well, on Friday night I went to Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village (Michigan).  If you live in the area, I highly recommend going!  I believe that this is my 5th year:)  My favorite part is when children hear Santa calling out their names from the top of the roof of one of the houses (he has radio contact with elves for parents to talk with).  The looks on their faces bring so much joy to those who are there:)
I students have been studying pioneers so while at the store there, I found this tin art project!  We talked about tin, and how it was used for many things.  I started with my kids today and they are loving it!!!

After hammering away, they were each able to choose their wrapping paper and a bow to go with it.  :) 

I also found a great freebie this week on TPT!  It is a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.  Students choose a marshmallow to put in their cup (read under the Christmas tree, etc.).  She has two versions: Christmas, and just winter.  I think that my kids will really enjoy this for a change and find a few new ways to read over the break.  You can click on the picture to pick up this great freebie!  :)

Winter Break Marshmallow Reading Challenge

Four more days to go! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Hug for the Holidays Fundraiser

I am joining up with several other people to help Erica from
with her fundraiser for a family friend who just lost her mother to cancer.  I truly feel that the holidays are about giving, and helping others.  You can read her entire post with all of the details here.
This is an amazing set of 29 amazing products valued at $120 for only $20 with every dollar going towards Michaelle's family during this difficult time.  Clicking on the picture above will lead you to the post where you can see all of the amazing products that are included in this package.  By purchasing this package, you are getting some amazing items for your classroom, and helping a family who has lost a loved during the holiday season.

You can purchase the package by clicking here.

Credits: Danielle Westvang of Crayonbox Learning for the design, and  Lidia Barbosa Clip Art for the image of the little girl.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pen Pal Idea

I hope that you enjoyed the TPT sale!  I know that I picked up some great items for my classroom:)
We have really enjoyed writing to our pen pals in Canada!  In addition to our most recent letters, we made a book about our community and published it.  I found pictures of each place for the students to write about.  They were able to choose which place(s) in the local community that they wanted to write about.  Some were right down the street (police station), while others were a little further.  I let them write about our local sports team locations, as well as places where they may go on a field trip, or a day trip with their families.  The kids really enjoyed writing about their favorite places, as well as places in the area.  We are eagerly looking forward to receiving our pen pals book about their community!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Facebook December Frenzy!

I am so excited to be taking part for the first time in the frenzy!  I am part of the 1st grade math/science group:)  I hope that you stop by my Facebook page during the frenzy!  There will be so many wonderful freebies for all grade levels so let your friends know too!  This is my product below.  I would say happy shopping but everything is FREE!  :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

TPT Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale

Are you ready for the TPT sale? I know that I am! I am really looking forward to transferring things from my wishlist to my shopping cart!  Make sure that you don't miss it!  You can click on the picture below to take you to my store where everything will be 28% off tomorrow and Tuesday.  Happy shopping!  And, as always...make sure to check out my many freebies as well:)
300 × 300

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun:)

We have had a lot of fun the last few days with Thanksgiving activities so I wanted to show you some highlights...

First, I found two FREE math games on TPT that were perfect for both my 1st and 2nd graders respectively.  Click on each picture if you would like to download it for your classroom.

First Graders played "Gobble Bump" which enabled them to practice their addition skills.

FREE Gobble Bump Math Game - Addition
Second graders are working on odd/even numbers so they practiced "Turkey Trot."  Students decide if they are odd or even.  Then, they roll dice and if the number is even, they move one spot (if it is odd, then they move).  You can differentiate this by having cards with larger numbers as well.
FREE Turkey Trot math game
They had a lot of fun. They seem to love math more when there is something seasonal involved to practice a given skill.

In writing, we made two things: "Thankful Trees," and "Unusual Things to Be Thankful For."

I got the idea somewhere but can't seem to find it right now :(  For the "Thankful Trees," students chose 5 things that they are thankful for.  Then they wrote a page about why they were thankful for each thing.  After that, they made their trees and we stapled their writing next to their trees. They also added pictures on their book covers of the things that they are thankful for this year.  Thank goodness the art teacher is so nice in sharing her bulletin board space:)  Here is a picture:
We also wrote about unusual things to be thankful for.  I got the lesson from Sunny Days in Second Grade.  Students wrote about things such as the alphabet, shoes, band-aids, etc.  She gives them a nice list of ideas, and I let my students choose their ideas to write about (rather than draw a card from a bag).  You can get her lesson for free here.  I think that next year I might combine these two lessons together.

Today was the highlight though I think for many of my students.  We made a project that I remember making when I was in elementary school:)  I think that the kids really got a kick out of knowing that:)  We made apple turkeys with: apples, toothpicks, marshmallows, and raisins. 

Here is a picture of how they turned out:)  If you are wondering about the coffee filters, that is what we used to hold our turkeys as we made them.  I use them all of the time to hold snack!  I tell the kids to hold them like a flower that has not yet bloomed until they sit down so that they do not drop their crackers, etc.
Now, off for me to finish up my report cards!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I am so excited to have my blog featured at:

I think that she found some great highlights from my blog!

I would recommend following her as well as she has some great ideas there as well!  As an American, I felt that it was interesting to see what she did for Thanksgiving in Canada.  My class is pen pals with a Canadian class this year and my kids have been asking about this.

She has a Christmas freebie right now that you can learn more about here by clicking on her image below:)

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Watering Hole Growing in 1st with Mrs. Waters GIVEAWAY

I am taking part in The Watering Hole:Growing in 1st with Mrs. Waters GIVEAWAY!  It is starting tonight, and will last through next Sunday.  There are 20 amazing items for the K-2 classroom!  I am offering "winner's choice" so if you win, you can choose anything that you want from my store! 

You can enter it by clicking on the button below:)
 Displaying ErinWaters100FollowersGiveawayButton.png 
Good luck!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Families and Communities: Then & Now

Thanksgiving will soon be here! I don't know about you, but November has flown by!  I normally don't send a lot of homework over the holidays, but I came across this free product on TPT, I knew it would be the perfect thing for my 2nd graders to do while they are visiting with their families over the holiday.

Then and Now T-Chart Partner Project {FREEBIE}
It is listed as a partner project, but I plan on having students take home selected pages and interview an older family member to learn more about family/community life in the past.

I have a similar project for my 1st graders that a colleague of mine designed which focuses more on family life in the past.

Have you come across any great projects/lessons to help your students learn about family and community life in the past?  Thank goodness for Pinterest as it will give me a head start:)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grammar Wall

When I was in school, I did not like "grammar time." Yes...I was a child during "hammer time." :) I will never forget having to diagram sentences every week when I was in 6th grade.  Ugh...6th grade is a hard enough year:)
So now that I am teaching grammar to my students, I am trying to make it a little more fun.  So every week I am having them draw/write a sentence using that piece of grammar for our grammar bulletin board.  I got the idea from Step into 2nd Grade
After writing their sentence of the week using that particular lesson (this bulletin board was on the use of proper nouns), they draw and write about it on a sheet of paper.
These go along with my Grammar Lessons with Confused Cat book which you can read more about it at this blog post.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Oobleck & More Post Halloween Fun

We had professional development yesterday to learn more about our new math program.  I did learn a few things, but it was so wonderful seeing so many of my friends from the school that I used to be at.  I am blessed to have wonderful colleagues at both schools!

Anywho...the day after Halloween was a very relaxed day in my classroom.  I was missing 6 kids, so that was almost a 1/3 of my class who was gone.  We had fun anyway:)

Our shared book last week was Room on the Broom.  This is a great time of book for this time of year, and is perfect for teaching retelling!

So we watched the video version which I just learned about last week.
It is much better than the you tube version.  I highly recommend it:)  It was the perfect video to show the day after Halloween (it is not really Halloween themed).

We made pumpkin oobleck that afternoon! The kids loved it so much! I made oobleck in the past, but this was my first time attempting the pumpkin version.  It is basically oobleck with a little bit of canned pumpkin mixed in it.  I tried following a recipe, but ended up having to figure out the perfect mix just by experimenting.

The students had lab sheets to complete with different tests (ex. pour test, slow/fast poke tests).  I think that I can safely say of those students who were there that day, it was their favorite experiment that we have done so far this year!  It was a perfect combination for this time of year and teaching matter!  I sent home the regular recipe for oobleck, and many students (including those who were absent) have made it at home over the last few days:)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I had a wonderful Halloween with my class! I must admit that I was a little nervous because I have not had so many parent volunteers in a long time (we were limited to 5 parents at my old school). I had about 10 and the party went really well!

We started off the morning by the kids coming in and decorating their Halloween paper bags to hold their treats.  I pulled students a few at a time to make their "friendship potion" from all of the goodies that were sent in.  They enjoyed making their choices for their afternoon snack.
Our school decided to have our parade fairly early in the day, so after calendar there was not much time for anything else.  I have to say, it was very nice this year having the kids come in already dressed up!  As it was a very rainy and windy day in Michigan today, we paraded around the school hallways and then into the gym/cafeteria so that the parents gathered in there could see us as well.

When we got back, it was time for the party!  Our first game was called "trick or treat."  Normally I am not a huge candy promoter at my Halloween party type girl, but this game was too cute to pass up!  A friend of mine who also teaches first grade was doing it.  She could not remember where she got it.  I tried looking on TPT to purchase my own but was unable to find it.  If you do know, please let me know and I will do so!  :)
Each table had their own Halloween candy holder (thank you Christmas Tree Shops!).  I put in various types of Halloween candy, as well as a few other bracelets, rings, etc.  Each child also got a plate to hold their candy.  Everyone started with 5 pieces. Then they got a card telling them what to do (ex. take 2 pieces, give a piece to a friend, etc.).  They used the cards for about 10 minutes.  Anyone who did not have much/any candy in the end, I gave some.  The kids really enjoyed this game!

After that we played a Halloween version of 4 corners (witch, candy, ghost, and pumpkin).  The kids enjoyed this game as well.

I was going to play "Ghost" (like 7-Up) with these ghosts, but we ran out of time.  Students hand out a ghost instead of touching thumbs, and the students have to guess who gave them the ghost.  I learned early on in my teaching career plan extra!
Then we made an easy art project.  However, I seemed to have forgotten to take a picture.  Basically, it was black paper, and then the kids traced their hands and feet to make ghosts to glue onto the black paper.  They added "Boos" and other Halloween types things as well.

For food, we had cookies, doughnuts, and juice boxes.  This was perfect because lunch was right after the party.  Since it was inside recess, I let them start a few minutes early:)

After lunch, we came back we had read aloud.  We are reading Matilda right now and the kids love it!  I am a huge Anglophile so I usually read several British books a year including Paddington Bear, and Mary Poppins.

We made "haunted fact families."  I seem to have missed a picture of that too:(  Basically, they are houses with a fold-over roof where you make the fact family under the folded part of the roof.  They could then decorate them as they liked.

Then I think that the next thing was their favorite part of the day besides the party...a Halloween Scavenger Hunt.  The kids absolutely loved it!  I highly recommend this product!  My student teacher and I hid 12 ghost with math problems around the room.  I partnered up the 1st and 2nd graders as it is technically 2nd grade math.  They searched all around to see how many math problems that they could find and answer correctly.  I think that I will have to make some more of these for the future!

After gym, they came back and enjoyed their "friendship potion" while watching Spookley.  I had read the book before, but the movie is very cute too!
It was a very fun day in 1st and 2nd grade! :)  Happy Halloween!  Now...I am off to watch my favorite Halloween movie...Hocus Pocus!  Yes, I am in my 30s but know that I am not the only one my age who watches it this time of year ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Washi Tape and Organization

I have heard people talk about washi tape for a while.  I just want to share a use that I have found for it (although I am certain that I am not the first to do this out there!).

I love teaching in small groups as much as possible.  I tend to start the day with twenty-some pencils in my share bin at my small group table, and they disappear very quickly.  So this is how I solved that problem.
I taped the end of about 20 pencils with the tape and told the kids that they are to stay at my table unless then need to be sharpened (I have small bins for those).  The kids have been so good remembering to put them back where they go.  Now, I never seem to have a shortage of pencils!  :)

Anyone else out there have any things that they use washi tape for?