Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Interactive Story of the First Thanksgiving

We realize Halloween is tomorrow, but we're pretty sure all teachers everywhere would agree that we are done with October now...And November is just around the corner. We're always trying to work a week ahead, so we don't Fall behind, so here's what we're prepping now...
Reading and Writing about the first Thanksgiving during the month of November is one of our favorite times of year. Here are a few titles we use to guide our learning all month long. 
We love getting our students involved in the story of Thanksgiving by using our new Interactive Story of the First Thanksgiving
 These lessons allow our students to read, write and create the story of the first Thanksgiving in an interactive way that helps them learn a lot of non-fiction information FAST...Just in time to take these keepsake books home to share at their own family feast tables!

Learn about Transportation, Shelter, and Food from the first Thanksgiving. With 2 options to choose from, you can customize or differentiate the book to meet your own class needs. The Copy and Color option allows students to color their pictures and trace pre-written sentences to create their story. The Make and Create option allows students to create their own guided art projects and write their own Thanksgiving facts. We've used the Make and Create option for years, but have added the research and brainstorming pieces to this unit, which our class needs right now. 

We will use the Fact Finder Posters to focus our daily lessons, read stories related to the topics, collect facts on the brainstorming posters. Then, we'll have the kids create their own brainstorming pages, write their own facts, and create the art projects for each page of their book. They are so proud to take their books home and we hear from parents that they set time aside during their own Thankgiving feast to get "schooled by their first grader". LOVE it! 

Here's What's Included:
-Teacher Directions
-Copy and Color Book Cover
-Make and Create Book Cover 
-8 Thanksgiving Vocabulary Cards for Pocket Chart or Bulletin Board
-1 Color Thanksgiving Mini Word Wall Poster
-1 Black and White Thanksgiving Mini Word Wall Poster
-6 Fact Finder posters about the First Thanksgiving
-6 Blank Bubble Maps for Class Brainstorming
-6 Student Brainstorming Worksheet Printables 
-6 Prewritten Text Boxes with First Thanksgiving Facts for Tracing
-6 Blank Text Boxes for First Thanksgiving Creative Writing
-6 Copy and Color options for art projects 
-6 Step by Step Teacher Directions for art projects
-Complete information to teach the following areas:
Transportation (Mayflower and Canoe)
Shelter (Log Cabins and Wigwams)
Food (Hunting and Planting)
We've just added My Interactive Story of the First Thanksgiving to our TpT Shop and it's on sale through Halloween. Early birds turkeys catch the worms deals!

Happy Hallogiving...Or, Happy Thanksoween...Or, at the very least...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spooktacular Celebration ~ Complete Halloween Class Party Package

Halloween is the perfect time to celebrate with fall centers and 
activities that give your guys and ghouls a spooktacular time! We work hard each day, and everyone deserves a little treat. So, take a time out and give your kiddos a celebration they’ll never forget!

Here's What's Included
*Donation Sign Up Sheets
*Donation Request Slips
*Donation Reminder Slips
*Toilet Paper Pumpkin Craft
*Monster Mind Game
*Ghostie Glider Craft
*BOO! Bingo
*Monster Munchies Food Art
*Spooky Water & Recipe Writing

We play BOO Bingo!

We tie in our Solids and Liquids science learning by mixing liquids to make Spooky Water.

Cheers to Spooky Water! 

We craft Ghostie Gliders!
Our kids love playing this game we created called, "Monster Mind"

The Monster gets to wear a headband with a vocabulary word tucked into it. This witch used her hat. 
The ghouls give the monster clues about the word hiding on their headband and the monster has to guess. 
 We make toilet paper pumpkins... Our favorite crafty treat! We use fall fabric instead of Halloween, so they can last the whole season.
It's Spooktacular Fun!

To manage all this Spooktacular Fun, we provide each student with a "Haunted House" at the beginning of our festivities. These are just large pieces of newsprint with their names on them, like this...
Each time we finish a station, they walk their finished project over to their Haunted House for safe keeping. This saves our sanity tremendously and keeps our party moving along without any scares over lost creations!
We've just added a new activity to this party package...
As an extra special treat, we pulled together these Monster Munchies!

Aren't they cute creepy!!

Be sure to update your download if you have our Spooktacular Celebration ~ Complete Class Party Package! 
This pack includes everything you need to throw the ultimate class Halloween party! With 6 activities to choose from, you can rotate the kids through centers, or choose one for each day of the school week! 

We’ve included directions, donation request notes, sign up sheets and everything in between! Use the complete supply list for all of the activities included, or use the blank sign up form to write your own list of needed materials for the activities you’ll be doing. If you prefer, you can assign supplies to each student and send the Spooktacular Celebration announcement home to families to request their specific donations. If you’d like to simply collect money and fulfill the supply list yourself (or enlist a volunteer to shop for you), you can use the form to ask for a monetary amount. There are lots of possibilities to choose from to meet the needs of your own class celebration!

As materials arrive, we keep separate tubs in our classroom labeled with the activity for easy sorting and organization. 

There is some prep work for this event, but once the materials are gathered, and possibly with a few helping hands from class families, you'll have your class party in full swing. 

Our Spooktacular Celebration is a fall highlight in our classroom and we hope it builds memories with your guys and ghouls too...Hapy Halloween!

Spooktacular!! ;)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Batty for Bats!

 This week we are setting our heebie jeebies aside and teaching our class all about bats! Our first graders are batty for bats, so we will have a great time learning all about these flying mammals. We even have a class visit scheduled with a real bat and their owner! Creepy cool, huh? 
(We are kind of freaking out...EEEK).

We flew through prepping our Bat Bits unit. 
Here's What's Included
Bat Label Me
Bats Can-Have-Are
Bat Facts
“Bats, Bats, Bats!” Build a Poem
“Bats, Bats, Bats!” Little Book
“Bats, Bats, Bats!” Fluency Building Bookmarks for Little Book
Counting by 5s
Bat Craft

We wrote a poem called, "Bats, Bats, Bats!" which we will recite and rebuild in our class pocket chart all week long. 
During independent work time, they will use our poem fill in to spell the missing words from the poem and illustrate. They will also see this poem in our Bats, Bats, Bats! Little Book which will test their reading comprehension skills as they have to illustrate the pages to match the text. 

Christy made this cute bat craft to help our kids who still need help cutting and following directions. Plus, it's fun...But, we are told we aren't allowed to use the "f" word in our lesson plans...So it's a fine motor/following directions skill builder activity...
AKA Bat Craft to you fun teachers. ;)

You can click below to fly over and take a closer peek...
Plus, we created a free bonus Batty for Bats opinion writing activity for you. You can download it for free from our Bat Bits ~ Across the Curriculum Activities product preview in our TpT Shop. 
We will add this to our Sharing Pages plans for this week, thanks to a great idea from one of our readers! Fly on over and grab yourself a copy too...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Stinks…

There, We Said It! Somebody Had to…

Teachers everywhere are already tired.
Parents everywhere are already tired.
Students everywhere are already tired. 
It's been 1 month since we started school...ONE month. 
But, we’re still going. We don’t give up. We don’t give in. We never, ever sit down. For if we do, we will crash or get sick...or both.
September as a teacher...
It’s like waking up one day and running a month long marathon.
It’s like getting engaged, planning a wedding and getting married all within one month.
Sleep is a long lost friend and Non-Stop Work just handed us the other half of their BFF necklace.

It’s exhausting. Exhausting.

But, you’re not alone. We’re all feeling it. The daily grind. We are jumping through the hoops. We are attending data meetings. We are assessing to drive instruction. We are calling parent conferences before and after school. We are selling the standards. But above all the things that weigh us down, we remain passionate about one thing...The kids. We will go to the ends of the earth to protect them, teach them and instill a love for learning that will set them up to be lifelong learners. We are, for lack of a better term, working our butts off! (No butts were actually worked off through that statement…They are still there…And more out of shape than ever because who has time to exercise right now!?!)

We all want our classrooms to get up and running smoothly. 
Pay now or pay later, we always say. 
This is what good teachers do... 

But, at what cost?

We see teachers in tears, imploding under the pressures of moving mountains without enough time or tools to teach and reach students.

We see parents in tears, imploding under the pressures of new standards, higher accountability for their babies and the dreaded syndrome of too much homework.

We see kids in tears, too young to comprehend the "rigor" and "fidelity" we are being told to bestow upon them when all they want to do is play. 

Is this how we develop a love for learning? 
Is this how we set our students up for lifelong success? 
Our text to world connections tell us no, unfortunately it is not. 
Something has to give...Something has to give...

Our own families stare at us awkwardly on Sundays as we half listen because our minds are wandering to such thoughts as, 
What on earth am I going to teach during guided reading? 
How can I get them to stop picking their noses? 
Maybe if I rearrange my entire classroom, that will help them focus.

We are lucky to stay awake past 9:00pm on a good Friday night. We may get grumpy (our husbands made us add that)…We are tired. Just tired.
We take school work with us wherever we go. 
Waiting 20 minutes for a doctor’s appointment? 
We can grade papers!
Sitting for a relaxing pedicure? 
We can write lesson plans!
Waiting in the car to pick up kids from school? 
We can cut lamination!
Sounds all too familiar…But, this is the reality of  many teachers' lives.

A few years ago, we compared notes and decided it was imperative to our sanity to just embrace the nuttiness that September bestows upon us...For this is the path we have chosen. To teach...

Each year, we place the same sticky note to ourselves on our September calendar at home that reads, 
“September is crazy! You know this, but you child birth. Don’t plan anything…Don’t do more than you can handle because school is nutty!” 
True story…
So if you’ve felt the life being sucked out of you this September, just know you are not alone. We teachers are in this together. 
We can do this! 

Remember why you are doing this...because you love kids. 
They deserve a good teacher, and you have a gift that truly makes a difference in molding and shaping the future through teaching. 
We will make it through. The calendar says so...
So, bring on October! 
It really isn’t as scary as it seems. 
We hope…

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GoNoodle Giveaway!

Does your class use GoNoodle? It has quickly become our favorite time of day in our classroom. 
We're sharing 3 Genuis Tricks for Using GoNoodle as bait with our students over on the GoNoodle blog today...Yes! They have a blog...And, there's tons of great ideas, freebies and fun! So, be sure to read our post {here}. But before you go, head down to the end of this post for a swag bag from GoNoodle of your own! 
 We're giving away a bag of tricks to one lucky reader. 
Plus, 5 winners will win a class set of GoNoodle Stickers too!
Winners will be announced on Sunday...Good luck!

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