Friday, November 27, 2015

Cyber Monday Sales!

Both Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers are having "Cyber Monday" sales!  Be sure to check them out.  On TN, products in my store are marked 50% off and TPT has the 28% off as well with the special code.  My TN sale has started if you need to stock up before Monday!
Visit my shop during the Cyber Monday + Sale

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Little December Diversity

It's a little early, I know.  However, I am taking advantage of the time off for Thanksgiving break to catch up on a few things, including lesson plans!  Well, that and I am still pumped from attending the VAASL conference in Williamsburg last weekend, so it's nice that I have some time off to put some of these fantastic ideas swirling around in my head to work!

First, a little background. Every year, the resource teachers plan and present a "resource day" for our last day of school before winter break.  This year, we're working with our ELL teacher (because we finally got a full time one!) to do a "Celebrations Around the World."  In anticipation of that, I wanted the students to have a little background information on diversity and different cultures the week of our resource day (that Friday).  The world, lately, seems less tolerant of anything different, so I thought it would be a good idea for our kiddos.

So, after "researching" on my favorite site, Pinterest (hey, I'm a visual learner!), I found some great resources as well as ideas for books to use!

For K-2, I'm going to use the book, Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox.
Image result for whoever you are by mem fox

For 3-5, I'll be using The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf
Image result for crayon box that talked

I found some great resources to use with each of these books.  For K-2, they'll be completing a matching activity I found at From ABCs to ACTs.  I was also inspired by a blog post by The Inspired Counselor about The Crayon Box That Talked.

As I was writing this post, my brain started whirring about other activities, which led to this:

If you're interested, click on the picture below to take you to see more.  It offers several activities that I'll use as centers on locating the continents/countries we're featuring for our resource day, and identifying the flags as well as some of the traditional dress from the countries. (Since TPT and TN are both having cyber sales soon, take advantage!).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Community Helpers: Firefighters

We had a very busy month in October, so I couldn't do some of my "normal" lessons I love.  However, the Kindergarten classes are currently studying community helpers, so I loved the fact that even though November is not Fire Safety Month (October), I was still able to fit this in with my first and Kindergarten!

This is such a fun and high interest unit for these kids.  I have several that have parents that are volunteer firefighters in our community, as well as paid firefighters, so it really does make a big impact.

Since I was doing this with my PreK, K, and first grade classes, I used the following books:
*Firefighters A to Z by Chris Demarest (1)
*A Visit to the Fire Station by B.A. Hoena (PK)

*Firefighters at Work by Karen Kenny (K)
Image result for firefighters a to zImage result for a visit to the fire station bookImage result for firefighters at work book

The students have been loving the printable books we've been doing this year, as well as some of our poems, so I combined our "5 Little Firefighters" chant into our printable coloring book with sight words about firefighters.  I've been getting a good parent response to these books as well!  I plan on making more of them, so don't be surprised to see me making more and maybe adding our featured poem at the end as well (copyright friendly ones)!  The kids love tracing the words over and over and learning to read them with the picture clues.  It also gives me an excuse to keep up my clipart habit to my husband!

If you'd like to see more, here is the link to {Teacher's Notebook} or click on the pictures below for Teachers Pay Teachers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Comparing the Past and Present

It's another off week for me, which means a flexible schedule in the library.  These are fun because I get to teach a variety of things, make the teachers happy because I'm reviewing concepts (and it gives them a break!), and makes the kids happy because they still get to check out and do something fun!

This week with my Kindergarten and First Graders, we are looking at past and present.  We're also discovering QR Codes for the first time for some of them as well!  Students have had a lot of fun taking the tablets around and scanning cards to watch videos, see pictures, and see what the past was like!  I also have had a past/present picture sort waiting for them to do at one of the tables (complete with hula hoops that are labeled), as well as a cut/paste activity on comparing the past/present.  Plus, there's also the bonus of getting to check out this week!

For those of you that might be confused, our school has a STEM lab ("Innovation Lab") that meets 3 times during the nine weeks and it's during the library resource time.  So, my first week was kind of a dud with teachers signing up for a flexible schedule.  It was brand new to them and some of the sample lesson plans I sent out were a little ambitious and probably scared them off! (Mali marketplace, anyone?).  So, for the second week, I recruited teachers by making up a digital citizenship lesson a K class missed due to a field trip.....and when the word spread that it was like an extra planning period, well, my K-2 teachers went wild and all signed up!  They were really happy I asked THEM what to teach!  I was doing math patterns with my Kinders, pirate maps with the Firsties, weather with the second get the idea.  Now that we're on the 3rd week, I've been able to have a "soft opening" with my fourth and fifth graders with our Makerspace (planning to roll it all out after Thanksgiving), teaching past/present with K and 1, weather and economics with 2nd, character traits with get the idea!

So I wanted to share my Past/Present packet with you because my kiddos have had so much fun with it this week so far!  Click on the title page to see more!

These are "hunt keys" I created for my kids so they could mark off the cards they scanned and watched

Friday, November 13, 2015

Here There Be Pirates!

I had an amazing time with my first graders combining maps and pirates!  My first grade teachers had asked me to work with the students on creating maps.  What better way than with pirates!

We read a book called A Pirate's Guide to First Grade by James Preller to set the mood.
Image result for a pirate's guide to first grade

We also read a cool book on maps, to review map skills (there were some pages I skipped if it didn't meet the standards for first, i.e. too high):  Follow That Map!  A First Book of Mapping Skills by Scot Ritchie.

I asked students what pirates and maps had in common to get their juices going.  Then, we had a fun time with a map activity I created, where students had to draw maps (focusing on map keys, symbols, and compass rose) to find the treasure!  I differentiated among the grade level, so there are actually 3 levels of maps I used:  for our gifted class, I gave them the blank map template, then they had to draw their own map key, compass rose, and create symbols.  For another class, I provided the map template, map key, symbols, compass rose, and title BUT they had to cut them out and use them in the correct place.  A third class received the map with the map key, symbols, and compass rose on it, but had to create a title and draw the symbols from the map key on to the map (and there was a space where they could create more symbols, if they wanted to).

It made for a really fun lesson, so I hope you'll check it out!  Click on the picture below to take you to TPT or {here} for Teacher's Notebook.