Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's the Hoot? It's Our 100 Followers Giveaway!

Welcome to our 100 Followers Giveaway! Become a follower and enter!
See K-2 and 3-5 giveaway details below...
A special thank you goes out to all of the wonderful donators to this giveaway!


If Rafflecopter picks your name, you will receive:

$20 Target Gift Card
$20 Gift Card
Teaching Maddeness - FREE Unit of Choice from Teacher's Clubhouse on TpT
First Grade Buddies - Star of the Week Packet
Learning with Mrs. Brinn - G'Day Mates Unit on TpT
Primary Buzz - Maps, Globes, & Community Helpers Social Studies Unit
Diving Into Second Grade - I Have, Who Has Place Value to the Thousands
The Lamppost in 1st Grade - Winner's Choice $5
Ideas by Jivey - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Unit
Hoots N' Hollers - Sarah E. Masters - $10 to Spend in My TpT Store 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway


If Rafflecopter picks your name, you will receive:

$20 Target Gift Card
$20 Gift Card
Collaboration Cuties - Winner's Choice - Pick Any Item!
Looking from Third to Fourth - Winner's Choice
Foreman Teaches - One Item from TpT Store (No Bundles)
Digital: Divide & Conquer - Winner's Choice (or) QR Code Adventure
Fab and Fun in Fourth - Winner's Choice
Ideas by Jivey - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Unit
Whooo's in Second? - One Set of Digital Stationary from TpT Store 
Hoots N' Hollers - Sarah E. Masters - $10 to Spend in My TpT Store 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
We wish you the BEST of luck!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text Link Up!

For this week's social studies mentor text link up with Collaboration Cuties, I have chosen to share a text called, Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.  

This is a wonderful text for teaching students about the extraordinary affect we have on others when we do ordinary things for others--an important character ed lesson.  The text starts with Mary picking blueberries and putting them on  Mrs. Bishop's porch, who then bakes them into delicious muffins that she shares with five people she thinks may have secretly given her the berries. And so the story goes... One person does something kind for the next until Mary's ordinary deed has touched the lives of an enormous number of people.  

This text sparked a thoughtful discussion of the things we do for others that make us extraordinary.  

I read this book aloud toward the end of this school year when I discovered it, although I plan to use it early this coming school year.  I also plan on putting together a couple of activities this summer to accompany the text...

This text is also available in iTunes for use on an iPad, iPhone, or iPad touch.  Click here to learn more and view screen shots of the text.

OK, I know I am a week late, but I thought I would piggy back on this post and share the science texts I wanted to share last week but did not have a spare moment to do so...

I won't go into great detail about each text, but just want to say how fabulously these texts incorporate poetry/riddles and non-fiction and important concepts related to animal adaptation, survival, and growth. Since the year has ended for us, I have been thinking a lot about the texts that I have but haven't used with the kids yet. Here are three I will be using next year with links to more information.

by David M. Schwartz & Yael Schy

Fly on over to Collaboration Cuties to view more must read mentor texts!

We would also love for you to benefit from six weeks of awesome freebies over at the Teacher's Clubhouse on Teachers Pay Teachers! It's all in celebration of their 6th birthday! Fly on over to Teaching Maddeness to find out more--TODAY!

Have a fabulous week!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Five for Friday, Friday Flashback, & Giveaways!

Linking up for Five for Friday and Friday Flashback...

Well, it has been a whirlwind of a week! Courtney and I have been finishing out the year with our students this week.  Lots of odds and ends have been done in preparation for their send off--Friday being their last full day with us.  What a wonderful year we have had!

1. Cinderella Stories

Both Courtney's and my students finished up their explorations of Cinderella stories from around the words and from different cultures.  We started out by reading a tradition/classic version of Cinderella (familiar to students), Cinderella: A Fairy Tale by Charles Perrault.

Courtney's students heard various versions of Cinderella read aloud and completed a comparison chart. Download chart here.

My students paired up to read a version of Cinderella with a partner and then did an oral retelling with another pair of students. Below are the various versions of Cinderella that our students explored.  

My students did a wonderful job problem solving new words when reading, as all versions read by students provided a healthy challenge.  I was impressed with how well they worked together in pairs to make sure what they were reading made good sense.  I was equally as impressed with their ability to orally retell the version they read to another pair of students.  Students completed a chart on 11" x 17" paper so they could easily compare each version.  Click here to download.

2. This & That

All of the end of the year happenings went on this week--cleaning desks, taking down displays, participating in end of the year incentives, etc.  Our last full day was a Read-a-Thon! It turned out to be a beautiful day!  Kids read to self, with partners, read outside, listened to reading, etc.  Fun and snacks were had by all!  
3. Summer Buckets of Fun!

Courtney and I put together end of the year buckets for kids after reading Amanda's post over at Teaching Maddeness. She is also offering her summer bucket unit as a FREEBIE this week in her TpT store, the Teacher's Clubhouse--so head over and check it out! After we saw Amanda's original post, we were off and running, making buckets of summer fun for our kids...

We purchased our sand buckets at Dollar Tree and Target for $1. Thanks for the great idea, Amanda!  Click here to download a bucket tag and popsicle wrapper.

I included some of Lory Evans' Summer Fun in the Sun math games, many of The Teacher Cauldrons' Math with a Deck of Cards activities, 3 die, 20 counters of two colors (circle punched from cardstock), a deck of cards, paperclips for spinners, a bookmark and our local library's summer reading program information, a list of 100 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV/Playing Video Games (inspired by Amanda at Teaching Maddeness), a MovieMaker movie containing all of the photos the kids and I have taken during the year, an addressed envelope (with colored lined paper inside) so the kids can use their friendly letter writing skills to write me over the summer, a class autobiographical poem book, freezer pops, and some shades (from a previous inferring lesson).  In about half of my students' buckets, I also included a set of addition flashcards labeled, "Brush Up on Your Facts". I put a note inside each box--download here. I also wrote the kids' names on the front with a jumbo permanent marker.

4. 100 Followers Giveaway!!

We have almost reached 100 followers and will be gearing up for a giveaway!  We are thrilled and will have some goodies to giveaway soon!

UPDATE: Thanks so much to all who donated to our 100 Followers Giveaway! We will have the giveaway up and running this Thursday...

5. Fabulous Blog Giveaways!

Check out these great giveaways this week--ending SOON! You can win $10 from my Teachers Pay Teachers store and much more!


Last, but not least, please take the time to head over to The Teacher's Treasure Chest to learn more about a wonderful fundraising effort.  Our hearts go out to those in Oklahoma...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

End of the Year note

A few years ago I found a poem online. I'm not sure exactly where I found it, but I've been using it for years.  I love the wording in the poem and it is exactly how I feel when "letting my little ones go" at the end of a school year.  

I always put it with their end of the year report cards.  I have had several parents say how much they enjoy the poems.

Here they are for you.  One is for boys and one is for girls.  I hope they speak to you as much as they do to me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blogiversary Giveaway @ New Concepts 4 Teachers!

Just wanted to let you know about a wonderful Blogiversary Giveaway over at New Concepts 4 Teachers that is perfect for second grade teachers!  Fly on over to visit Jamie's blog to participate in the giveaway... Good luck!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Math Mentor Text Link Up -- Greg Tang

For this week's mentor text link up, with Collaboration Cuties, I have chosen to focus on a wonderful series of math picture books by Greg Tang.  His well-known books are designed to help students develop number sense, problem solving skills, computation, mental math, and conceptual thinking.  

The following three texts I have used with second graders and plan to purchase the fourth.  The books are available in our classroom library for individual exploration, BUT Greg Tang also has a WONDERFUL website that makes it possible for students to interact with the content of each text as a class.  Simply project on a screen or, even better, an interactive whiteboard!

This is a screen shot of the online version of Math-terpieces, my personal favorite. 

Check out Greg Tang's website for games, app information, videos, and more...

Don't forget to stop over to Collaboration Cuties to check out more math mentor texts...

Happy Mothers' Day to all of the mothers out there!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday! A busy week...

Linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

It's been a busy week... 

1. Mothers' Day Masterpieces! 

Courtney had the fabulous idea of having students create water color paintings in the spirit of Vincent Van Gogh! They are truly masterpieces that will undoubtedly be appreciated by all of the moms...

Students started by learning about the artist using a PowerPoint presentation created for kids. Students also created acrostic poems that were attached to the back side of their artwork and laminated to stand the test of time. Download her acrostic poem template (border art by Krista Wallden). The coordinating water colored paper on the back-side made for a beautiful finished product.

After viewing Courtney's students' masterpieces, as they were drying in the hallway, we were inspired to create watercolor masterpieces as well.

We also learned about Vincent Van Gogh, his life and style. Then students did still-life drawings of a vase of sunflowers, traced their lines with Sharpie, and water colored using colors similar to Van Gogh.

The kids also created a poem for mom that was attached to the back side of their artwork.  Click here for the poem example, template, and final draft writing paper

2. Measurement Line Plot

If you have not already discovered the resources posted on the Georgia Department of Education's website, head over to take a look.  They have posted a series of tasks (aligned with common core standards) for each grade level K-5.  I wanted to have students explore making a line plot for the first time, so I downloaded the task, Measurement Line Plot.  Click here to download the task.  To view and download the tasks specific to your grade level, go to Georgia Department of Education's website.  There is a wealth of resources waiting for you!

For this task, students chose 10 items in the room to measure (less than the length of a ruler) and then they charted their lengths to the nearest inch and centimeter. A data collection chart is not provided with the lesson, so you may download the one we used, Measurement Line Plot: Collecting Measurement Data.

Then students used the inch measurement data collected to construct a line plot.  I provided the line with equally spaced numbers after students told me what numbers should be represented on the line.  This was their first experience with a line plot, so I created a line with equally spaced numbers to provide an accurate model for future reference when they construct their own from scratch. Download it here. Students then plotted their data on the line. 

Finally, we compared and contrasted the line plot to a bar graph and a pictograph (tools that we have previously explored and created). 

This activity created thoughtful discussion, and students always have fun putting their measurement skills in action.

3.  Inferences: "Reading Between the Lines"

I saw a wonderful post some time ago on First Grade Wow in which she shared how she taught her students what it means to infer.  I loved how she likened inferring to "reading between the lines".  Click here to read the post that inspired our exploration.  

First, we created an anchor chart for inferences.  I asked students what they noticed about the boy's glasses, and they immediately said they knew just what kind of glasses he was wearing.  On that note, I gave each student a pair of slatted shades to wear (purchased fro Oriental Trading).  We talked about how the slatted shades made it a bit difficult to see everything.  They noticed how they had to hold their heads just so to get a good view through the glasses.  We compared this to reading and how we sometimes have to use clues and what we already know to help us "see" (understand) what we are reading.

We also focused on inferences during guided reading this week.  We began by using task cards created by Teaching with a Mountain View.  One set of cards has scaffolding questions, and the other set simply asks what can be inferred and asks students to support their inferences. The short passages on the task cards were perfect for practicing making inferences. Then we applied our inference skills when reading picture books.  The texts were selected to provide a healthy challenge and are pictured here...

Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazen provided the most challenge for the highest group of students, as students lacked some background knowledge/experiences, and they had to rely largely on text clues to help them infer what it means to have "tight times".

The ultimate goal was for students to be able to support the inferences they made. We are off and running!   :0)

4. Interview with a Friend

Students began an exciting writing activity this week called Interview with a Friend.  I purchased the packet from Teaching with Love and Laughter that includes oodles of interview questions and various writing templates. I created a list of questions for students to choose from and used the writing templates included in the above linked product.   Students selected 6 to 8 questions to ask a friend. Click here for a copy.

Then students interviewed each other and recorded their friend's responses. They are in the process of writing an article about their friend.  More to come in a future post...

Last, but not least, Teacher Appreciation Week!

We have such a supportive group of parents at our school who make us feel so appreciated throughout the year, yet this week they treated us extra-special like queens and kings. Not to mention, all of the wonderful thank yous and kind words we receive from our wonderful students, were heartfelt and touching.  We feel truly blessed to serve the kids and families in our community! Many thanks!

Stop over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read about some great happenings from bloggers this week--Five for Friday!