Monday, May 28, 2012

Urban Myth or Truth: Do Teddy Grahams Weigh a Gram?

In our study of measurement (and while shopping for after school snacks for my own 2 kids), I started thinking about this.  So, being that they were on sale and the kids always enjoyed when we did "snack math", I grabbed two boxes of the individual pouches to use the next week at school.

Needless to say, my kids were excited.  They told me they felt like "math detectives"!  We grabbed our balance scale, opened a pack, selected a gram weight and a teddy...and voila!  One teddy did INDEED weigh 1 gram!  

We were thrilled! So, we added 5 teddy grams and a 5 gram weight......but wait, it didn't quite add up.  We actually had to add one more gram 5 teddies weighed 6 grams!  Hmmm. 

My ever enterprising students then suggested maybe they weigh a little more than a gram.  We then looked at the packaging and saw that there were 24 teddies in each pack, but the bag stated it weighed 28 grams.  Curiosier and curiosier.  

Needless to say, we had a fun time in each group looking at the teddies (and enjoying their own bag afterwards!).  It was an interesting experiment that I keep telling myself I need to write up....but time does not seem to be my friend lately. :(  Ah well.  Wanted to share the idea so at least you can use it this year or the next!  I felt it even had my lowest kids putting on their thinking caps and really diving into it!

Don't forget about the linky party going on over at Enriching Kinders!  You don't have to be a Kindergarten teacher to participate! Actually, anyone, from PK-4th can add their thoughts!  Be sure to link up!  Thanks for those that already have! :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting a Little Wet and a Sale!

Okay, feeling like my last post was a bit of a downer...thanks to those of you who commented!  Wanted to announce that I'm having a sale over at my Teacher's Notebook store!  50% off all items in celebration of 6 1/2 days left of the school year!  

While I'll miss most of my kiddos, I'm ready for a little break.  I don't know about you, but I spend at least one weekend day each week back at school, planning for the next week.  I cannot work at home, so it's a nice quiet atmosphere where I can focus and take advantage of high speed Internet! :)

So, it'll be nice to relax and be a stay-at-home Mom....well, until the bug hits again in July, and I'm back, setting up my room!  Fortunately, my kids are VERY understanding and actually enjoy going back with me and playing!

We have 4 days this week, then 2 1/2 the following week (but one day is Field Day), so I decided I'd do a bit of an Ocean theme.  I have a 30 day trial at Netflix I'm taking advantage of, so we're going to watch the "Coral Reef" IMAX and the "Dolphin" IMAX.  Then, we're creating Anchor Charts on each topic and creating murals! 


We still have two end of the year tests to go, so we're reviewing for Math.  On Friday, I had my kids use the scraps we've collected this year with construction paper to create "Fraction Monsters."  On Monday, we'll look at colors and shapes and create fractional problems for each one.  At this point, not sure what we're doing the rest of the week to review (Scoot?  Games?  More craft projects?), but it's something that will have to keep the kids engaged!  Their attention is GONE, so I'm trying to make everything seem more like a game or project.  

To go along with the ocean theme during Reading, I found some GREAT resources on TpT and TN to use, as well as creating some of my own.  So far, I created a word search from Worksheet Genius using ocean-themed words.  My kids are CRAZY for word searches, so that will keep them busy while I'm testing small groups for reading.  Also, I created an ABC order using an ocean theme.  It's available at the stores for $1.00 (psst....on TN, it's only 50 cents!).  Click on the image to check it out!

Here is also a FANTASTIC find!  Deana over at Primary Punch created these centers and is offering them FREE at TpT.  Click on the picture for the link, then head over to her blog to check her out!   
 Well, back to work...I've already had my husband calling, asking when I was coming home.  (He thinks the end of the year includes packing up and testing...what do I have left to plan, he asks?).  Sigh. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bummed and a Question :(

So, I'm a little bummed that no one has linked up to Enriching Kinders linky party (which I am co-sponsoring)....even when we offered prizes.  Not sure why....

Which leads to the question....

If you've hosted a linky party before, how do you get others to link up?  I thought by offering incentives, it would help.....granted, I know this time of year is a little rough for most of us, but I've seen other current linkies doing pretty well.

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sorry - it's been one of those weeks.  We've had two staff members diagnosed with cancer, than several others have family matters they're dealing with, so needless to say, it's not been the happiest atmosphere lately for our staff!  I promise I will post something more positive our teddy graham experience! :)   Also, I was given the "Lovely Blog" award and I'd like to pass it on as well!  

I just feel bad for Valerie over at Enriching Kinders since she's feeling bummier than I am right now.  On the flip side...MEMORIAL DAY! ;)   The kids asked what I was going to be doing....SLEEPING IN topped my list, which made them laugh.  I don't know what it is about this time of you get that way, too?

Anyway, if I made you feel sorry enough for me (hah hah) maybe take a few moments and link up over at Enriching Kinders.  It'll make her day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everything Graduation and Awards PK-2 Linky Party

I'm linking up with Enriching Kinders to throw a linky party AND giveaway!  Please be sure to go visit her blog and link up!  We're also doing 3 giveaways, including one of her fabulous math packs (zoo animals!!!), my Life Cycle Scoot/Life Cycles pack, and a $10 TpT certificate! 

So, the purpose behind it?  Our school system kind of threw us for a loop and told us that instead of doing grade level graduation/awards ceremonies, we are doing individual ones.  In our classroom.  Yikes!  I may have to break into the school on Memorial Day and do some serious cleaning!!!! (see previous post...while not my desk, it's VERY similar!).  Anyway, looking for some ideas on what YOU do for graduation/awards....sing special songs?  Serve punch and cookies?  Make up awards for every student?  Do a little song and dance?

I've seen some great awards out there people are throwing on TpT for free, which THANK YOU to those that have!  However, we're expected to have 30-45 minutes of a presentation for, you can see why I keep babbling on about this. :)  Am I the only one with stage fright in front of parents?  I mean, I SING to my students (and trust me, this can be scary!), but it makes me nervous being in front of so many parents!  So, please be sure to do the following:

1.  Visit Enriching Kinders and grab her graphic
2.  Blog about what you do
3.  Link back up on her site
4.  Please be sure to leave a comment for the drawing! :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again!

I think we have 10 days left.  Frankly, I don't count.  The kids do.  My assistant does.  However, if I began to count, the panic would set in on EVERYTHING I have left to do, and not enough time to do it in!  I mean, I need at LEAST a day to clean off my desk and we get a day and a half at the end of the year for workday/checkout.  AUGH!  Speaking of which, I have NO CLUE where my "end of the year" checklist is....probably on aforementioned desk!

But, that's the not point of this post. No, I have spend most of today working on review games for my students.  I need something to hold their interest and be fun and make me feel like yes, they DID learn something this year! :) 

So, I thought I'd share what I've done.  Hopefully someone else can use it as well....granted, these are based on Virginia standards, but after reading an article, I found that Common Core and Virginia are pretty well aligned (shhh....VA is trying to take credit that they helped inspire CC according to one of the articles, but I'm not so sure about that!).  

Okay, for Science, yes, I did a SCOOT!  I actually have been thinking of taking the cards though and using it for a game show type review, but I might just stick with SCOOT on this one. 

For History, I created review cards (whew!  56 of them!) where we're going to do a scavenger hunt type thing and kids will be running around the room, searching, and waving cards, shouting answers to me, wanting a sticker on their chart.  Sound hectic?  :)  Actually, I sit there happily on my reading table, taking it all in because they are so HAPPY to be reviewing and learning!  In the chaos, there IS a sense of peace!  Ha!

And, since this is something we did this week that my kids surprisingly loved (I mean, how can you jazz up dictionary skills?) I'll share with you our "Dictionary Detectives."  The kids had a GREAT time looking up unfamiliar words, as well as familiar ones they had no clue had other definitions!  Then, they went crazy and just started looking up words!  Can't ask for a better moment than that! 

Click on any of these images to see them closer on Teacher's Notebook.  They're also on TpT as well, but ahem, I priced one a little cheaper on TN and I'm thinking of throwing a sale REAL soon to celebrate the end of the year.  I will DEFINITELY let you know! (I'm just trying to load some more items on there first!).

Have a great week! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust (linky party)

I'm linking up to "Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher" (great name!) for her end-of-year linky party.  I think it's great to reflect on the great (and not so great) things of the school year.  The rules are as follows:

1.  Write about 3 great and 3 not so great things about this year.
2.  Link back to the original post here.

Okay, here we go.....

1.  Working with the Collaborative Class
This is not something new for me, but the SPED teacher and assistant I worked with this year were absolutely WONDERFUL!  I never felt self-conscious about being goofy with my kids or trying new things.  It was great to have the two of them to bounce ideas off of, to commiserate with during hard times, and vent to about "that student."  I cannot say enough good things about the two of was just one of those relationships that just "clicked."  I have already volunteered to take the collab. class next year as well! :)

2.   Pinterest/Blogging/TPT/TN
I figure this is going to make a lot of lists.My friend showed me Pinterest and having been a Google images searcher for years (I'd rather search the images than deal with all the descriptions!), it just seemed so natural to me!  From Pinterest came the discovery of thousands (I mean, really...have you not SEEN my blog roll???) of FABULOUS teacher blogs that are out there, which of course inspired me to start my own!  Then, that led to Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook (which saved me from having to spend my whole weekend working at a second job!) get the picture.  I HAD to combine it all in one since it all rolled into one another, like dominoes. :)

3.  Literacy Centers/The Electric Company
Okay, if you've read my blog for awhile, you know I am a HUGE MEGA FAN of The Electric Company.  Having watched from the 70s, this new reincarnation began showing in my classroom last year.  However, this year I took it several steps further and created literacy centers/reading activities for each episode.  One of these days, I'll get it all together and throw it on TpT or can read about it in my earlier posts, but I think this is such a FANTASTIC resource for low readers!  It grabs their attention and the students have responded so well to it!  This then led to my refurbishing my (very lacking) literacy centers into what they are today.....again, thanks in part to all the blogs out there giving me such great ideas!

1.  "That Student":  Yes, there is one every year and once they are out of my classroom, I still maintain a positive relationship with them, but this year's was very different.  There are times when I really don't like him (shhhh!  don't tell!).  He can be such a sweetheart, then turn into the biggest jerk in a matter of an invisible switch flipping for no reason!  Yes, I will probably maintain a good relationship with him out of the classroom, like I do with my others, but I have to admit....I realized today I only have to deal with him for 13 1/2 more days and...well....I did a mental victory dance.  Shameful, I know!

2.  The Earthquake
August 23, 2011 really changed a lot of lives around here and really screwed up our school year.  Being the darn epicenter of this east coast shaker frankly....sucked.  While I am soooooo grateful my school didn't receive anything more than cosmetic damage (and SOMETHING happened to our pipes....seriously....a 2 yr old school and our pipes creak and groan when you use the hot water!), it still STINKS that my students and my family JUMP every time we hear something that sounds vaguely like an aftershock.  That, and my house received damage as well.  Now, you CA bloggers...I love ya, and I'm hoping you're not rolling your eyes at this point, but when you live in a place that everything else happens (except tsunamis and volcanoes), it comes as quite a shock since you are so unprepared!  That, and having a hurricane go thru the county (fortunately no damage) and a tornado less than a month later....yeah, we were "disaster county" there for awhile!

3.  Organization.......
Okay, so I really really really try to be an organized person....I really DO!  If I don't stop myself, I become the container hoarder....I buy and buy and will FIND things to put in them!  Two years ago, when the school I'm at now opened, I was shocked that there were NO closets!  I felt I was pretty organized before because frankly, I could hide things behind a closed door!  While we do have a wardrobe and metal cabinet to use, as well as cubbies, my pretty red countertop is often COVERED!  I go into other rooms and cringe, wondering why I'm having so much difficulty!  I'm slowly trying to tame the beast....I mean, after 14 years of teaching and three grade levels....I still have things in my attic!  I lucked out into finding some drawers at Walmart on clearance and I'm using those for my literacy centers.  I'm also using blogs and Pinterest for hopefully I'll be up to challenging myself next year to keep that counter CLEAN!  It's a slow but sure process....

*So there I am.  Nope, didn't say "Guided Reading" like so many others.  I actually really enjoy doing guided reading and have 3 binders FILLED with plans, from Levels D to T (some with more plans on levels than others!).  If you ever need help with it, please let me know!  Chances are I might have a plan for your book, or I can certainly help you create one! :)

Happy End of Year! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bye Bye Butterflies....

We were so excited on Monday to come in and find one of our butterflies fluttering around the enclosure!  Then, that moment of panic like...oh no, so soon??? Fortunately, it was just my two kids and myself (before the students walked in), so I was able to mix some sugar water together and roll paper towels for the butterflies to feed know, looking like the professional "I do this all the time" nonchalant attitude. :)

So, by the end of the day, most of the butterflies had emerged...including the one that had fallen to the bottom of the cage!  Six butterflies!  I think that is a record for our room!

Today, we decided, was "Butterfly Release Day."  Our state does standardized testing in 3rd and 5th for elementary levels, so we needed to wait until after the fifth graders took their Reading test today.  Then, we marched outside for the release!  Let me tell you, the butterflies were READY!  It was like they knew!  All morning, they had been flying around the enclosure.  While the kids were sorry to see them go, they understood we could not keep them as pets.

If you've never had caterpillars/butterflies in your room, I highly recommend it!  It's such a fun experience for the kids!  Once you have an enclosure, you can reuse it each year and all you have to do is reorder caterpillars each year, which costs anywhere from $12 to $20, depending on the company you use.

So, most of our butterflies took off as soon as the cage was open....FREEDOM!

Two took a little more encouragement.  Finally, there was Fred.  Don't ask me why he's named Fred, it just seemed "right" at the time.  My kids were chanting "Fly away, Fred!" and "Here We Go, Fred, Here We Go!" (clap clap).  Finally, I had to take the bowl he was clinging to out of the cage, yet he still clung to the paper towel.

All sorts of theories abounded with my students. He was getting a last drink.  He didn't want to leave us.  He was scared.  He just liked us.  He liked getting his picture taken, or being on video, etc.   

I will say, it did give us a nice impromptu lesson on butterfly anatomy, including pointing out the proboscis to the class!

Finally, in a rush of wings, Fred soared to freedom.....away from his companions (who smartly flew to the woods) the other side of the bus lot.  I was worried about Fred.  Fortunately, when it was time to take the kiddos to the buses today, there was no sign of Fred, so I'm hoping he finally made it to someplace nice.  Several of my students swore they saw him at recess (at the end of the day) flying around, so hopefully it's true.

Good luck, Fred!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Celebrating Our Mummies

We had a fun-filled week with finishing our Egypt studies as well as creating gifts for Mother's Day!  It was a bit tricky since we had our field trip on Thursday, and I was to be out Friday, so everything had to be done Monday-Wednesday.  It was tough, but we managed to fit it all in!

On Monday, we created mummies.  These were created from doll pins (craft store, like Michaels), gauze, markers, and (if not self-sticking gauze), a little tape.  

As you can see, students put a lot of thought into their mummies!

So, then, we moved on to a different sort of mummy...our own!  I have to admit, they're all Pinterest-inspired and are on my "Mother's Day" Pinterest board, if you're interested in checking them out! 

Students created flowers from pipe cleaners....I fudged a bit on this.  Number one, I could NOT get my flower to look like the one in the picture on my board....I mean, I'm not very crafty, but this was a LOT harder than I thought it would be! So, I gave my kids simple directions on how to wrap the stem around the 6 pipe cleaners, then told them to get creative.  I was sooo glad I did this -- what they did was AMAZING!!  

I also used cardstock/scrapbook paper for students to write 8 things they loved about their mothers, and we combined them with a ring.  They completed two sheets about their mom, then they decorated a bag.  I put a sample in below.  

The kids were VERY excited to take these home on Wednesday, and I'm sure some moms got some GREAT surprises!  It was very sweet to read how much my kiddos love their real "mummies"!  
Hope you have a great Mother's Day for all the moms/aunts/grandmas/....and heck, TEACHERS, because as my kids told me "Shouldn't we make YOU something for Mother's Day, Mrs. Youel?"  Yep, I have 18 more kids, I realized, because aren't we really moms as well as teachers???

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A BIG Secret about Teacher Appreciation Sales!

Wow!  Everyone seems to be blogging about their sales today. :)  I added the graphics to the side earlier this week, but I think I'll brag about mine as well, plus let you in on a little BIG secret! :)  

At Teachers Pay Teachers, when you enter the code TAD12 at checkout, you save 28%! (That includes the 20% from my store, plus the 10% from TpT when you enter the code).

Now, don't shoot me...but I think my sale at Teacher's Notebook is a lot better....I am offering 50% off of everything at my store, PLUS they have a contest going where you can enter (without even making a purchase!) a drawing for $100 worth of credit on their site!  You can enter once a day.  Plus, their sale lasts until the 11th.  

Don't ask me why their graphic was bigger when I posted it on my site....but I have to seems to be a better sale!  Most of my items on TpT are also on Teacher's Notebook, so if you want some real deals.... 

(the only ones I believe I haven't uploaded on TN that are on TpT are my seasonal items!  If you see something you want via TpT that is NOT on TN, leave me a comment!) on the link and head on over.  PLUS, if you've never been to Teacher's Notebook before, they have some AWESOME graphic stores!  (And does anyone know why you can discount up to 50% on TN, but only 20% on TpT?  I think it has something to do with the commission...).

Anyway, have fun shopping!  Have a GREAT week and I hope your school/parents/kids are spoiling you this week!  We deserve it! ;)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Currently and Life in Ancient Egypt

I'm linking up with Farley of Oh Boy 4th Grade for May's Currently.
We are continuing our ancient civilization studies with Egypt.  The students were VERY excited we were moving on to mummies, pyramids and in, watch out when you sail along the Nile for the hippos and crocodiles! :)

Several years ago, I won a Playmobil grant and earned the Egypt collection.  After "traveling" to Egypt through Google Earth (visit my wiki learning pages to download that journey!), viewing 2 pop up books (Tomb Hunters and Ancient Egypt), and watching a Brain Pop Jr. video on Egypt, students had a pretty good grasp on what the geography and area were like. 

The kids had a BLAST recreating what it would have looked like, and we created our desert out of brown bulletin board paper and the Nile from the blue (complete with student drawings of hippos and crocodiles!).  Had to share...turned out too cute!

If you ever have a great idea using Playmobil products, please look into their grant!  You create a lesson plan and they usually select 6 winners each year.  I believe this year is over, but keep it in mind for next year.  There is more information on their website under "education" I believe.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Limas and Butterflies

We've been quite the Science classroom lately!  My class faces out to the playground and this week, I realized that we truly looked like a working lab!  Bags were hanging in our window to help encourage our tickle plants to grow, lima beans were sprouting like crazy in the other window, plant books lined the windowsill, ready to be read.....and of course, our caterpillars we received a week ago are now starting to form their cocoons!  It made me feel proud that my students were so actively engaged in their learning!  

Of course, now the limas are transplanted and growing outside in our school garden our second grade is staffing this year, the bags have been taken home, but our caterpillars remain!  Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll be able to publish their release!  Till then, I included a pic from last year of our butterfly release, in anticipation. :)

Our first day (April 25th)
"Moving on Up" (yesterday)

Attaching themselves to the top...VERY exciting! :)

Butterfly Release 2011 (Painted Lady Butterflies)