Friday, March 29, 2013

Fraction Fun

It's amazing what you can fit into a week with a snow day, 2 hr delay, and a full moon!

I swear, the effects of the full moon did not wear off for days.....

We're right into the swing with our fraction unit.  I vamped up some past activities this year.
Learning parts of a whole - there's a great Discovery Education video where parts of a whole is compared to pizza.  Been using it for years!  Check out my math wiki page on fractions to see more (I use Internet Explorer for it, since Firefox does not like to recognize Windows Media).  We created pizzas, as we've done in the past, but this year I had a brainstorm, and we "ordered" pizzas and then made them, complete with a "box" (made from the large construction paper).

 We used the book, The Lion's Share to discuss how even though denominators may seem big, in "fraction world," the bigger the number, the smaller the piece!  We created animal pies to feed each of our hungry furry/scaly friends!

Then, we moved on to parts of a set - doughnuts.  We then became a bakery and created doughnuts!

Yep, it's kind of a "fraction foodcourt" outside our room right now.

Today, we continued our map studies and students had to follow clues and the cardinal directions to find their egg.  It was a big hit with my kids who apparently (I found out later) were bragging in the hallway to other kids during Title I about it.  Too cute! :)  For your copy, please refer to my earlier post about it!

At some point, (Spring Break?  Summer?) I will have the fraction unit up (we don't finish it for another week) as well as some map activities for you to use.  I think I've discovered that it's best to have my kiddos do it first, then tweak it.  For example, those "order forms" that go on the front of the pizza box?  Yeah, a little big.  Also, they were supposed to have a doughnut box to put those in, but 12 doughnuts were just too big.  It turned out cute, though! :)  

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter/Spring Break (whether it's ending or beginning) and stays safe!  We'll be traveling to my parents' house for the annual Easter celebration, then Sunday we have our men's breakfast (yum!  prepared by all the men in the church!) and then on to the inlaws for some celebrating and possibly another egg hunt!  

Monday is my "official" start to Spring Break for myself and my 2 personal kiddos, so hopefully something productive will come out of it! :)  Until then, thanks for reading and be sure to check out my TpT sale that starts April 1 (Monday) and the Teachers Notebook sale going on now! ;)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Egg Hunt Freebie

So, we are beginning our unit on maps and YIKES Easter is so stinkin' early this year, I decided to combine the two.

Since we are on another *sigh* S-word day, I've been mostly doing...well, nothing pertaining to school.  Shame on me! Slept in, spent some time giggling over funny stuff on Pinterest, playing with the kids, and reading an actual ADULT book (guilty pleasure!).  The "oh crap, wasted most of the day when I could've been catching up on what's in my schoolbag" hit me this evening. :(

So, I wanted to share with you the brainstorm I got for my lack of attention to the calendar/holidays, since you know, we JUST celebrated St. Pat's Day and I never got a letter out to my parents requesting eggs.

I stopped by Walmart and grabbed some of the large eggs for my kids.

Each of my students has a number for mailbox purposes and for my sanity - it makes it much easier to find out whose paper is missing!  So, I plan on numbering the eggs and handing each one of my kiddos a map of the room and instructions on how to find their egg (which I will be diligently hiding during lunch).  I even created a post sheet for those that find their eggs first, where they have to practice using the cardinal directions.

I intentionally left the map and cards blank.  I'm waiting to go in my room and actually mark off how many steps east, west, etc.  I also wanted to draw the map - or have the option of the kids actually drawing the map and coming up with their own symbols - when I was in my classroom.  I just don't trust my memory lately. :(

I just love these bunnies from!  So, if you'd like to borrow the idea, click {here} to take you to Google Drive, where it's a PDF.  

I'm off to complete another idea, this one inspired by Pinterest and have my students follow directions using habitat maps and plastic animals. Promise I'll share it when finished! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting a Little Lost With Maps

Well, kinda.  Just trying to plan out my Geography unit, taking in consideration one of my kiddos will be missing half the week AND we have a (potential) wintry mix on the horizon....soooo....should she miss learning the standards on places (continents/oceans/Great Lakes/rivers/mountains) or map skills?

Normally, I would just plug on, but this particular sweetie, she's special.  She struggles with concepts and since it doesn't quite matter what order I teach it in, I'm trying to think what she would have a harder idea grasping.  She's MUCH better with the concrete, so I figured I'd go with the map skills first.

So, I am getting a little lost with my Pinterest page and what I have so far...and of course, have been inspired to make a few different activities in lieu of the season - an easter egg hunt where they have to use map skills - and looking at the clock ticking away....YIKES!

Also, wondering why I have to rewrite things each year.  With each class.  Oh wait, that's right - with each class.  Do you have classes like that?  My lovely ones this year would not be able to quite handle what my former kiddos have accomplished.  Sad, but true.

Know what's even scarier?  ONLY TWO MONTHS OF SCHOOL LEFT!  Okay, the child in me is happy, but the teacher side is doing some major flinching - maybe even an eye twitch!

Taking deep breath.  Okay.

Anywho, hopefully later in the week I will post some of the ideas I've created/borrowed, and share!

In thanks for reading my ramblings, wanted to highlight a few new blogs I've found that have some awesome ideas!  Please go check them out if you haven't already! :)  Also, be looking for a "Spring Break/Easter" sale coming soon to both my teacher shops! Never mind - decided to start it on Monday for you early Breakers!  Hope you can find something you can use!!!  
*TpT will allow me to have the sale for 4 days up to 20%, so it'll be April 1-3.  

*However, hit Teacher's Notebook up for 25% off from March 25-April 7!!!:)

Hippo Hooray for Second Grade

Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

Primarily Au Some

Mrs. C's Classroom

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Plant Power! Bring on the Spring!

Ugh.  So tired of snow and sooo ready for Spring!  Right now, it's raining outside, but there's the possibility that it might mix with snow tonight.  Boo!

My family spent yesterday at Busch Gardens (Williamsburg) celebrating St. Patrick's Day with the leprechauns and generally just having fun! :)  The weather was FANTASTIC!  I mean, 60 degree day!  Snow - tonight???  ARGH!

Anyway, we tried to bash away the winter blahs this week by going full force into our plant unit after losing 3 days last week to the "s" word.

We used this wonderful golden oldie AIMS activity to dissect seeds.  I'd share, but I'm worried about copyright (hint hint:  do a Google search....shhh!  I won't tell). 

Then, we created this Pinterest-inspired (slightly altered) activity.  I like using the straw for a stem to help teach that it "sucks up" the water and delivers it to the rest of the flower.  It's impossible to glue, so we taped it down.  The flower is a cupcake liner.

We also "planted" seeds and are observing them day by day to see how they grow!  Students are anxiously awaiting the first stage with the roots!  We're documenting it each day in a plant journal.

We also had a visit from our "4H Lady" to get our 2nd grade gardens ready for planting!  Students learned about the different types of soil, how worms help gardeners, and pulled out the old plants (that our cafeteria uses in salads and taste testings which is too cool!) to make ready for new!


Since I was out Friday afternoon and will be Monday afternoon thanks to a cancelled and rescheduled doctor's appointment for my son, the St. Pat's activities were confined to reading and writing (because we are too behind on math!).  Students wrote a letter to the leprechaun asking him not to trash our room (with the sub).  I warned students beforehand that if they didn't use the correct letter format, he'd trash our room!  

When I went to school after hours on Friday, I checked where they had hung them in the hallway for "Lucky" to see, and most of them looked great with only a few errors!  Good thing - I told them that in the past, my classes had always gotten some sort of treat from the leprechaun, and that it often included a treasure hunt!  Students were MOST excited to hear that.  Of course, some asked me how trashed was the room in the past, and I told them that I didn't know, since my students had always written their letters very carefully!  hah hah :)

So, after resource (which we have at 8:15), students will find a note on the board from the leprechaun and the first clue in their hunt!  The "pot of gold" at the end are shamrock stickers and "gold" (Rolos).
I have the leprechaun hunt as a freebie at my TpT store from last year.  Click {here} to check it out! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snow? What Snow?

Typical Virginia weather - after being snowed in for several days, the temps yesterday and today were in the 60s!!!  Granted, we'll have a nice muddy playground tomorrow (ick!), but at least there won't be any snowball fights :)

So, I spent the last day of my unintentional 5 day Winter Break finishing up an idea that came to me one morning, as I am preparing to work on my prefix/suffix unit.

It's called the "Great Movie MixUp" and features adorable clipart from my favorite, and also the zombies from Creative Clips.  

 The actors, crew, and equipment has gotten mixed up! Students must re-sort and decide which go to what movie, meanwhile putting together base words with prefixes and suffixes.  I chose 8 to focus on (that didn't include spelling changes, since students will need to pick 3 to record from each movie set):  pre, re, un, mis, dis, ful, y, and less.

Movies include zombie, cowboy, space/aliens, detective, monster, sea life, pirate, and airplanes!  I incorporated a lot of "likes" from my kiddos this year (I have one that is NUTS for pirates!).  I thought about including some more licensed characters, but figured I wanted this to be "timeless" and "classic."

I thought it turned out cute!  If you click on the title picture, it'll take you to TpT or {here} for Teacher's Notebook!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snowed In and Missing Penguins (and maybe a few freebies)

Okay, so we did get the big snow storm and it knocked the power clean out of central VA!  Well, maybe not ALL, but enough that most of our schools STILL do not have power from Tuesday, and so we've been given basically a 5 day weekend.  Once again, I'm grateful for putting in that generator we did several years ago - especially to entertain the kiddos and for those cold nights!  I do NOT miss sleeping on air mattresses in front of our tiny fireplace, huddling together for warmth!

Part of me cheers about this missed time.  Time to do things, at home and for school!  The other part of me groans - my kids have a tough enough time coming back after a 3 day weekend -- what will Monday be like???

So, I've headed off to a friend's school, which is one of the few to have power, to access the network, Internet, and get a few things done.

After grading papers and writing prompts (as well as rearranging my lesson plan book to make up for 3 lost days!), I started on my sticky note pile.

Do you have one of these?  I love sticky notes and any time I get an idea, I jot it down and either stick it in or on top of my plan book (depending on the urgency).  So, I've been working my way through that today (while visions of a fraction unit dance in my head!).

Part of that list was to finally polish up the Polar Unit I've blogged so much about.  Easy peasy, right?  Oh no.  First, I thought somehow my Google Earth tour had malfunctioned - as in, erased all its little stops, videos, pics, etc.  FINALLY found the RIGHT version stuck in my science folder.  Whew!  So, finished "cleaning" and thought about powerpoints - in particular, the Antarctica one where the penguins frolicked and I had some pretty cool pics of a leopard seal.  GONE.  Did a file search.  My only saving grace is if its at home on my personal laptop. (fingers crossed!).  I had 17....17!!!.....different types of penguins with pics and names listed, and I remember just how long it took me to get it done!  ARGH!

Okay, so anyway, had to vent about my lost penguins since between that and the KMZ file fiasco, I gave up a good hour. :(

So on to what I DID accomplish so far....figure if you've held on this long to reading my post, I would throw in a couple freebies.

The first one uses time dice I purchased from  EXCELLENT buy.  
You gotta love those, right?  Only thing was, after using it in group, my kids REALLY wanted them for a center (and hey, when the kiddos want a center we've done in group, I'm happy to oblige, knowing they'll play it without distractions!).  So I created an activity sheet to go along with it.  Funny as it sounds, there's 2 versions:  one with colons, one without.  I have the collaborative class this year, and as such, I do a lot of leveling with my centers.  Some of mine are doing excellent with time and don't need those silly ol' colons.  Others, well, it helps them remember that there's an hour side and a minute side.

The next sticky note I tackled was for having something for time/money for the kiddos to put in their math journal.  I have not religiously stuck to it this year, but have been trying to put in things that will help them for 3rd grade and for summer remediation.  So, hence, came up with a time review sheet and two money activities:  they have to list how many of each coin make $1.00, and the second sheet they have to come up with 4 different ways to make $1.00.  We did posters of this in class, but I thought it would be nice for them to have it to reference in their journal.

I actually do have my students reference the journal during the year, especially during review times.  I keep them in a container underneath my table so there's no "I lost mine" in the black holes of some of their desks, but they can always borrow and return them!

To access these freebies, click on the pics and head over to Google Drive to download!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Currently and a Meerkat

First up, March Currently with Farley

Everything is self explanatory....Busch Gardens Williamsburg is about an hour and half drive for us and every year, we have season tickets.  Soooo worth the money!  I love going opening day since they always theme something around St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.  My kids (12 and 6) are also huge fans.  It just makes a great afmily outing!

The three "c's".......
I really enjoy creating things for my class.  I love to see their faces light up when they see familiar characters or just have fun with something I made! ;)  Gives you a big ego boost!  

Casino....bad word, I know.  Especially since we're doing "Dave Ramsey" system and trying to pay off debt.  I almost put that under "wanting," but refrained.  Joked (sort of) with my husband about going with the emergency fund and doubling it - hah!  I can't help it - I was raised on the horse track by my grandad!  They just make slots waaay too much fun! :) 

Crappy attitudes - 'nuff said.  I don't mind listening to people vent - I've done my fair share as well.  But sometimes, though, just DO something about it!  Don't be so negative about everything or eventually, there will be no one to vent to! :(

So...past the negative....on to meerkats! :)

I LOVE this book.  Well, honestly, I love ANYTHING about meerkats! (Oh how I miss you Meerkat Manor and the Whiskers clan!).  This was a Virgina Choice Reader's Selection several years ago.  I'm using it, along with the Ike LaRue series, to teach friendly letters.

My students will be creating postcards (shortened friendly letters - we'll discuss the differences) after reading the book from Sunny to her family if she decides to go on another trip, or from one of the places she went to during the book.  I decided to just be lazy go cheap and use 4x6 index cards with lines on one side and blank side for the picture.  This is such a FANTASTIC book because it actually has postcards in there for you to flip and read.  Too cute! ;)

My other favorite books to use with friendly letters are Ike LaRue by Mark Teague.  These are funny, but also teach friendly letter format.  I love using books to teach concepts, so when I can, I'll fit them in! :) 

One last thought - if you haven't linked up to Fifth in the Middle's "Where Ya'll From?" linky, do so!  It's great to find neighboring bloggers!  I know here in VA, we aren't Common Core, but we do have the SOLs to lament over! :)