Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Masterpieces & MORE BRRR! Oh--Five for Friday, too...

What is Five for Friday? Hugh? Oh, now we remember! It has been SO LONG... 

Weighing in a bit EARLY because we are off today due to the sub-zero temps and wind chills here in Illinois. BRRR!  Some extra time to blog today--time that may not be available tomorrow... 


Thought we would share some WONDERFUL winter art ideas in keeping with the cold...

We may have shared this fabulous website in the past, but Courtney and I cannot say enough how great this creative blog is---Art Projects for Kids by Kathy Barbo!! Love the kid artwork posted on her sight and the step-by-step directions she provides.  Here are a couple of Kathy's projects our kids have created--

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!  I get warm fuzzies each time I pass Courtney's bulletin board with her kids' masterpieces. These snow friends have character!!  Materials list--black paper, glue, and pastels.  Click here to learn more!

SIMPLE but striking is always nice!  Our classroom paparazzi took a few pics of our abstract masterpieces.  My kids love to use watercolors, and they have become experts at mixing just the right color for their needs--beautiful.  We followed the directions pretty much to the T, but triangle templates were not necessary after modeling how to draw a tree.  Click here to learn more!

Courtney and I have latched on TIGHT to Scholastic Storia--using it almost daily! If you haven't checked Storia out lately, take a look! Scholastic now allows the app to be loaded on multiple devices and enables teachers to create bookshelves.  As you probably already know, Scholastic offers oodles of nonfiction/informational texts for purchase in book orders.  You will be surprised at the number of these texts that are also available as Storia eBooks--many interactive.  Courtney and I have been using texts during core reading as well as during intervention time.  


Our kids' mental math snow friend craftivities turned out great! This is just one activity we did when exploring the POWER of mental math.  Our kids are becoming addition mental math wizards!

You can find this craftivity and other materials to use with your kids in my packet, Snow Friends Mental Math. Just visit my TpT store!


I have effectively differentiated instruction for my students for 20 years now--but as the expression goes, "Things get better with age."  I am sure many teachers use "to dos" to help guide their students.  I have found this a powerful tool to help build student independence--and I just started doing it religiously this year!  I found some great picture fonts from that help students know if tasks should be done alone or with a partner/s. To Dos are slipped in plastic sleeves and put in work areas.  Also, I adore Kimberly Geswein's font and The Enlightened Elephant's cloud page border. Here are some examples of to dos that I use with my kids.


Problem Solving discussion fans are something my students use during guided math rotations.  They provide an independent, yet guided opportunity for kids to talk about math. My students have become great users of this tool! Check it out in my TpT store!


I created the following word building activity sheets to give my students extra practice with various letter/sound patterns.  The letter/sounds chosen were specific to my students’ needs throughout the year.  I wanted to provide my students with more meaningful word work practice than simply letting them choose from different ways to write their spelling words.  My students also needed extra practice with chunking word parts.  Be a Word Builder Extraordinaire! has fulfilled these needs.  This product is newly listed in my TpT store!

Don't forget to fly on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Fridays!

All the best for a warm & cozy weekend--even if you aren't freezing!


  1. Your blog is wonderful! Very informative with lots of creative ideas!

    1. Thank you! I was glad to have found your blog through the Five for Friday linky as well.


  2. I had iPads last year and used Storia all the time. What I loved most is that I could buy one book and they could all access it to use during a reading group, etc. I think I was supposed to buy multiple copies, but it always worked so who knows. I'm a new follower. I'm off from school because of weather today as well! Enjoy your day.

    Literacy Spark

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Stay warm--we are due for more of the same early this week...


  3. I love this blog design. It looks like 3 dimensional scrapbook page...different from so many others. The problem solving fans look like a great idea too. :-)

    1. Thank you for the kind words! Heading over to check out your blog now...


  4. I have not tried the Storia app yet, but I really need to. Is it fairly easy to download the books, and do they take up a lot of memory?