Wednesday, May 21, 2014

End Of The Year Memory Book

Today was field day! It was a blast but I'm pretty sure the only person who goes home more tiered on field day than the kids is the teacher that partakes in every event right along with them. Ha!! So I'm just stopping by quickly tonight to show you the latest result of my Melonheadz clipart addiction. I got rollin' this week on making this little End Of The Year Memory Book for my class. I like my kids to feel like superstars during our end of the year celebrations so it has a Rockstar theme!!

I'm 28 years old but I still LOVE coloring with my Crayolas. It's relaxing. #justsayin

{Coloring some pages for my teacher sample.}

This cover says First Grade Rocks but there are covers for K-2 and also, a general one.

Back in the day I read somewhere (Most likely a Mailbox Magazine) about stapling  books that students make into folders as a "binding" solution. I particularly love this idea for the memory books because they look more "official" and will have longer durability. These make for some precious keepsakes that your kiddos will have for years to come!!

Keeping with the Rockstar theme...a Papparazzi page where you can add class or student pictures!

Lots of pages to choose from, you can pick the handwriting lines best for your class.
You can preview these rockin' memory books to see everything included. 

 I hope your last days together with your class ROCK!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Turtle Close Read Freebie

It's Ocean Week!! Today we were focusing on sea turtles. They're a pretty cute creature of the sea by my standards. Especially the babies. My kids wanted to know everything they could about those little guys. I also pulled out this baby sea turtle craft that I've been using for years now. It's also been a FREEBIE in my store for a long time, but I recently updated it. It's now a complete excerpt from my Ocean Life unit but also includes one bonus writing page.

We started off this lesson by doing some reading detective work about sea turtles.
My students know to highlight the "evidence" in the text to show where they got their answers.

{Two levels so it's easy to differentiate in your room.}

Then we pulled in some information from the books in our room to gather more facts. 

Each child picked a fact to write on their sea turtle. When you put the whole classes together they can see what it looks like when a freshly hatched group of sea turtles is headed for the ocean together!

If you're studying Ocean animals too, go grab yourself a copy!! :)

You can also check out my previous All About Ocean Life post, here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

All About Ocean Life

It's so crazy to be writing a post right now about our LAST SCIENCE UNIT OF THE YEAR....!!!!

It's that time though. We're going under the sea to learn all about Ocean Life.

If you saw my Insect Unit, you know my students were getting mail for awhile from an Entomologist named Eddie. They were a little bummed out when we stopped getting letters. But they sure noticed right away when the mailbox flag went up again this week! Inside was our first letter from Ollie, the Marine Biologist.

Ollie introduced himself then presented us with a task he needed help with, classification. Ollie sent us eight ocean animal photographs from his studies. He said he needed help classifying them. I went ahead and set us this little display above our ocean books.

As we learn more about each animal through our own studies, we move the pictures under the correct classification. So not only are they learning more about each animal, they also know the difference between fish, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates.

After we've sorted them all, we will write Ollie letters, and see how he responds! ;)

We're also diving into lots and lots of shared research with this unit. Which happens to be one of those CCS Writing standards. Not that you'd ever know because my kids are SO into ocean animals, it's insane. Perhaps it has something to do with Colorado being a land locked state, and thus the ocean and everything in it is still a big ol' mystery to many of my kiddos.

For every animal Ollie asked us to classify, we record information about them in our research journals. Right now our room is loaded with non-ficition books on the ocean and everything in it.

{Sharks, always a favorite. Love love love the images in these books!}

These are just a handful of the books floating around the room right now. A lot are mine and a lot are from our school library. Together, there are more than enough to go around.When you can't bring kids to the ocean, books are the best way I know of to bring the ocean to them. Even though we spend a lot of time learning about ocean animals, I also want them to learn about the different layers of the ocean too. This book is hands down my all time favorite for information about the ocean layers.  I mean let's be real, the Friz know her stuff!

Something new I tried out was making a jellyfish in a bottle.

{I think I tried about 100 times to catch an "action shot" for you. Ha! That jelly moves fast!!}

This is everything need to make one. I followed the directions in this video, here. My first attempt was a flop. The second time I cut the tentacles much thinner (than the one pictured above.) and followed the instructions of the video to not have more than 10-15. Which made jellyfish number two a much bigger success. I haven't introduced it to the class yet, jellyfish are coming up next week! They are going to want to get their hands all over it.

Another fun activity is making these little Octopus crafts. We make these every year. This is a picture from one of my cuties two years ago showing off their creation. Just ask parents to send in extra toilet paper rolls and add a little paint. Easy, but always a crowd pleaser with the kiddos!

The Ocean Life Unit is packed with text passages and questions for close reading, vocabulary cards, an experiment, graphing, writing, and crafts.

{Text Passages, Maps, Pictures from Ollie}

{Inference Craftivity is possibly my favorite.}

{Vocabulary cards to display}

  Check it out in my TPT shop. You can download the preview for an even closer look.
  Have fun diving into your underwater adventures!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Sale!!!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!!

You know what I appreciated most today?

Iced Coffee and Sweet Tea.
They got me through a looooong day on very little sleep.

But most of all I was thankful for this letter.

It was written by one of my students. Melt my heart and crack me up all at the same time!! These little reminders of exactly why we do what we do are priceless. Things like this show us so much more than any test scores will ever show. Our computer teacher is kind enough to put these books together for us from our students every year for Teacher Appreciation Week!. Speaking of Teacher Appreciation Week, the TPT site wide sale is on today and tomorrow!!

Use Code: TPTXO for an additional 10% off. 

My Science & Social Studies Common Core Classroom Units are on major discount.

And my OCEAN LIFE UNIT (the reason for the very little sleep) is the newest addition.

It's a great time to stock up on anything you might be needing for next year!!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

GoNoodle Is Changing Our Classroom

I absolutely had to stop by and chat with you a little bit about GoNoodle!  This little gem of a find houses interactive brain breaks, kid friendly graphics, and it's FREE to sign up. I played around with it myself a little first before introducing it to my crew. I knew they were going to like it, but I was honest to goodness BLOWN AWAY but how it has transformed our afternoons. GoNoodle has helped me channel the energy in the room like none other!

Building rainbows in the sky with "Flow" on GoNoodle

Starting this year we only get one recess in our school. One lonely little recess. It's not enough. After lunch we have just short of a 3 hour stretch to tackle before dismissal. Little brains and bodies are just not meant to sustain stamina for that long without some kind of a brain break. (The same can also be said for this 28 year old brain and body, just sayin.) Enter GoNoodle. I introduced it on a Friday afternoon...bless it. This little guy showed up on the screen. And I had em, hook line and sinker!

Only he didn't look like this quite yet. He looked like the guy on the far left. The more we move and groove the quicker we fill up the purple tube on the right. And when it reaches the top...BAM!  Freckles gets bigger. Stronger. Just like we do when we exercise. Ya see what they did there? ;) I'm not kidding when I tell you these kids are obsessed with filling up that purple tube, because they want to see what Freckles is going to look like next. 

GoNoodle has all the brain breaks I used to go hunting for on YouTube in one spot. My personal favorite thing about this is there are NO MORE COMMERCIALS like I always used to get when I was pulling them off of YouTube. Not all those commercials were appropriate for little eyes, so I'm happy to be rid of that inconvenience.

A few of the choices that pop up.

Everybody up and grooving. Nobody wanted to sit out.
I wish you could see the big smiles on their faces!!

I'm not even kidding when I tell you these guys beg for a GoNoodle fix everyday. We made a deal. They give me their very best brains and bodies during our math block and they can earn GoNoodle minutes. {Right where our second recess would have gone. Shhh!!}

 And after we do 2-3 of the fast ones, we do a calm down video. This is what took it to the next level for me. After they help you rev em' up, they help you calm them back down.  

We vote on attitude or stress and then pick a video from there.

"Airtime" and "Flow" are de-stressing videos. Here we are watching the bubble and taking deep breaths as a calm down. The bubble landed on a city in our state and gave us some fun facts about Boulder, CO. So then they were taking in some new info.

Here they are using their arms and breathing to create rainbows. This picture is dark because we almost always do the calm down video with the light off. 

However, this one is by far the class favorite! They go nuts for the "Happy Song".

So how exactly has GoNoodle changed my classroom? This is the first time we've ever not had a second recess in the day. The afternoon block is looong. But I know that it's precious time and I can't afford to waste it. There is such a noticeable difference in the flow of that last hour of the day after the kids have gotten their brain break in. Engagement goes up and they charge back up again. In just a few days I feel like GoNoodle has helped me take back our afternoons!!

Sounds like it's something worth trying? It's absolutely FREE, with no hidden costs- I checked. You don't have to sign over your first born or spend 30 minutes answering questions to get started. My account was up and running in less than five minutes. Make a demo account and explore on your own. It's super user friendly, but I know it always helps to get your feet wet solo before taking it into your room. They're continuously adding new activities to keep the site exciting!!! I promise you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain!! Click on the graphic below to get started today or you can sign up here
Then once you see the magic happen, shout it from the rooftops like I am doing right now. Tell all your teacher friends!! They will owe you big time...tell em' they can thank you in cash, check, or chocolate! :)

Alright, I'm off to finish up a unit over here and maybe even squeeze in a workout. I've got a new slogan...#gettingitdone ;)