Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Leprechauns Are Coming...

So it's still a few weeks away, but let the record show my *FAVORITE* holiday to celebrate in the classroom is St. Patty's Day!! I love playing around with a little leprechaun mischief and seeing imaginations run wild. My very first year teaching I trashed the room, left little green footprints on the board, mixed up everyone's desk, wove green yarn between all the chairs. My kids thought it was awesome, but there were still few skeptics in the bunch. UNTIL - I was reading a book about leprechauns and all of a sudden someone began knocking through the wall. Not just any wall, but the only wall that didn't back to another classroom. Bless their little hearts, my students went cuh-razy!!! There was no way I could be pulling one over on them because I was sitting right in front of them reading a story! Suddenly every kid in my class was convinced the leprechauns were hiding in the walls. They would knock, and the leprechauns would knock back. By lunch time, they could now see those sneaky little leprechauns everywhere. And soon enough, they convinced the other two first grades and the two second grades that they too could see leprechauns everywhere too. By the end of the day the entire K-8 school knew there were leprechauns in the primary wing. It was hysterical! {They never did find out that it was just a mom hanging up papers for the Kinder teacher in the hall}

So every year since I throw as much leprechaun mischief into our St. Patrick's Day week long celebration as possible! It's hard to top that first year magic of which I couldn't have planned better even if I would have tried. But the shrinking leprechaun hats sure comes pretty close!

 I give every kid a Styrofoam cup and tell them to decorate it like a leprechaun hat with markers. Then, I have the kids set them up on their desks in a way they think will trap a leprechaun. Some kids set really intricate traps with pencils and a ramp or goodies inside. Other just slide it slightly off the edge of their desk hoping the leprechaun will crawl in. When they leave, I stick a sticky note inside each cup so I know whose is whose. Then, I bake them for about 15 second in a pre-heated oven and watch them shrink down to, well, leprechaun size.

It's pretty wild. I take them back in the next day and put them on the kids' desks. Not a single kiddo can explain what happened other then the leprechauns used their magic to do the job. Under the cup is usually a golder coin, or some skittles. (It all dependins on which store the leprechauns went shopping at that year!)

Another fun thing I like to do is ask parents to send in Lucky Charms for some graphing fun and some milk to enjoy at snack time. Kids bring in perfectly white bottles of milk but when Mrs. Stewart goes to retrieve it from the fridge in time for snack, the milk has turned green?! Yup, more leprechaun mischief. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to drink green milk. Until I explain that green milk is actually lucky milk and everyone who drinks a glass of it will actually have extra good luck for 3 whole days!! Most kids end up wanting second and third helpings and take joy in knowing they just bought themselves 9 days of extra good luck. :)

Of course, leading up to all the fun we have to plug some writing and language arts fun.

Here's a little freebie from my Leapin Leprechauns pack for the road :)

Do you have any sneaky leprechauns visit your classroom in March??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Team Teaching Tuesday: Reading Week in March

The first week of March is Read Across America Week!! It's also Dr. You Know Who's birthday on March 2nd. I've seen so many fun activities floating around Pinterest and so this week I'm wondering what fun you all have planned with your classes?

I blogged about my America Reads pack in detail {here} and introduced it to my class today at the very end of the day after I picked them up from Art. I wore the 50 State Challenge Chain around my neck and boy did that get them buzzing with questions. By the time I explained the challenge they were pretty pumped up about the idea!! They aren't officially getting their packs until tomorrow, but one kiddo asked, "Can I start reading for my challenge tonight!?" You bet you can buddy, you bet you can!

 {Introducing the challenge to my class and talking to the kiddo in front of me }

This is me striking a pose for our "Wall Of Fame" bulletin board that pictures of my kids will be added to as they complete the challenge.


There is more to the challenge than just a chain with 50 states on it. They have to read 50 books- 25 fiction and 25 non-fiction and answer a different question about each book they read in their Challenge Pack. You can better look at the whole thing in my America Reads pack {here}.

So what about you? How are you celebrating Read Across America? Grab the button, link up, and let us know!! I can't wait to add to my collection of ideas :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

MARCH-ing Into The Month

I know this week is still starting off in February but it's ending in MARCH!! Right about this time of year Spring Fever starts to kick in and pretty soon the calendar days start flying by! The first week of March always marks Read Across America Week and Dr. Suess's birthday. We will without a doubt be having some Suesstastic fun on Friday, but I also wanted to do something to kick-start some March reading madness that would extend beyond the week. So I put together this America Reads 50 Book Challenge pack in honor of Read Across America!!

I wanted something different to do with my second graders that they hadn't done before. The idea here is that they will read 50 books - 25 fiction and 25 non-fiction. With every book they read they will answer one question about that book in their Challenge Pack.

{Sample Page}

Then they will cut off and add another link onto their challenge chain. They write the title on the strip and then link it up. At the end of the challenge they will have a chain containing all 50 states and a finished pack. They will bring them back to school for a special prize from me, their proud teacher!!

{Here is a Sample of a Chain in Progress}

Introducing this one to my class. YUCK for the lighting here!!

Coming soon I will post more about these March treats and the fun my kiddos will be having with them...

{Read About The Hats Here: The Leprechauns Are Coming}

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hand Me The Hall Pass!!

Regan is handing out hall passes tonight and I'm not turning it down!!


Taking five to bring you my favorite product, space, signal, and sanity strategy.

 My favorite product has got to be my Weather Is Wild Unit. Why? Well for one, we're just wrapping up the unit in my room right now and I always seem to be most in love with whatever my class is currently working on and loving. It's fun seeing something I've made come to life in action in my classroom. I also love it because it's the biggest unit I've ever made and incorporates literacy, writing, science, math and hits those Common Core Standards! It is my *mission* to tackle CCS head on while keeping things creative and F-U-N in the classroom.  This unit does exactly that :)

My favorite area of my room is the carpet area. I got that carpet through Donors Choose last year and kids of all ages just seem to love it!! It's bright and fun and comfy - tripple threat! Also, it contains the Promethean board and my hot pink directors chair! (Which was a just for me happy purchase this summer!!)

I've blogged about my transition song before. It's one of many attention getter claps and chants we have in our room. Click here to visit my original post and download the song for free. I also bust out into random song pretty often. I tell my class I'm just practicing for American Idol.



My teaching bestie keeps me sane! We taught together for three years before leaving our old school this summer in pursuit of new ones. I miss having her just across the hall where I could easily wander over and tell her the three funniest things my kids had said that morning. But we're best friends out of school too and talk daily. This year we both teach second grade so we're constantly bouncing new ideas and finding things to collaborate on!!

{Rocking out best 80's day attire last year}

Before I go I thought I'd share my hall pass with all of you - the one's we really use in my room.
{If hall passes gross you out just a tad then it's a good way to go because every few weeks I replace it with a fresh one}

Click the pic above to grab a copy for your room :)