Sunday 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Have a relaxing holiday break! :)

Monday 17 December 2012

More Free iPad Apps!!

I just found a new app that I wanted to share! It's called "Record of Reading" and it's free! It is for taking running records. I have been looking for an app for this and was so excited to find it! Click the link to find the app on iTunes.

It has a blank running record page that you can use when listening to your students read. You can save the files or email them. The neat things is you can also record the student as they are reading and it saves the audio file with the running record. Awesome for checking back or showing to parents at conference time.

You can use your finger fairly easily, but I bought a stylus to use. They are relatively cheap and make writing pretty easy on the iPad.

Here are 10 other free apps that are worth checking out. Just click the buttons to see them in iTunes!

1. This is a collection of interactive story apps from the Collins Big Cat collection. There are 8 free stories to download! 

 2. SpellingCity -- the app version of the website!

3. BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

4. ABC Letter Tracing -- Have students who are still having trouble forming their letters correctly? This is great practice for them!

5.  Cimo Spelling Sight (Lite) -- Adorable penguin game where students have to spell high frequency and Dolch sight words. Choose a level from K-3.

6. Geoboard -- No more snapping elastics flying across the room! Create 2D shapes and geometric pictures with this app.

7. ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard -- A personal interactive whiteboard. Record your voice and your presentation on the whiteboard.

8. Gingerbread Dress Up -- A cute Christmas app for decorating a gingerbread cookie.

9. Christmas Tale -- A Christmas interactive story.

10. Lastly, this is more a personal app favourite, but it does have some kid-friendly playlists! Songza is an amazing music player app. It has playlists of music for every mood/genre/artist/decade you can think of! The music is free to listen to... the only thing is you get a limited number of "skips" per hour, but that's more than you get with the radio! I listen to it all the time.

Hope you found this post useful! Go technology! :)

Friday 14 December 2012

Christmas Goodies {Bunch of Freebies}

12 more days 'til Christmas!! 6 more days of school!! Yee haw! So excited! Here are a few pics of the Christmas fun I've been doing at home. We tried to get the puppies to pose in front of the Christmas tree. This was the best shot we got. Bella is just staring intently at the treat. Hehe.

These were the cake pops I made this past weekend for a Christmas potluck with our friends. They were a big hit! I've made cake pops three times so far... this batch was the best yet! They take a lot of time, but so cute and so delicious!

After seeing these shirts on Pinterest, I had to order some! These are my ugly Christmas t-shirts from Vardagen. Love them!! Can't wait to wear them next week. I'm going to wear something Christmas-y each day next week. I also have a Grinch shirt, a "real" ugly Christmas sweater, and some reindeer antlers. Gotta spread the Christmas cheer!

And finally, here is my Christmas tree all prettied up. The presents are all wrapped up and waiting for Christmas now! This was take 2 of the Christmas tree. The day after we put it up, the tree fell over and all the lights and decorations fell off. Some even broke :( At least we got to decorate the tree twice, right? I am never going to be one of those people with the matchy-matchy tree, all in one beautiful colour scheme. No, sir! My tree has colourful lights and the most random collection of ornaments you will find--from Winnipeg Jets candy canes to a Mickey Mouse made out of walnuts to random ornaments from students of the past. I love it just the way it is! :)

Alright, onto some school-related Christmas fun! We finished up our Gingerbread unit. Look at all these books we read! We did a little tally on the side of our chart to see which book was the favourite in the class--The Gingerbread Girl won us over! The Gingerbread Cowboy was a close second. We just liked saying, "Giddy up!"

We decorated our own gingerbread houses using stickers, construction paper, and markers. They turned out pretty cute. Then we did some writing about the houses. You can download the writing paper from {here}. Candy clipart border is from KPM Doodles.

You can see some of our cute tissue paper trees. I give them the outline of a tree on manilla tag. Then they "modge podge" (glue/water mixture) tissue paper squares all over the tree. We cute them out and decorate with a BIT of glitter glue. So easy and so cute!

We also did Abby's "wet gingerbread" experiment (found for free here). We made predictions and observed what happens when a gingerbread man gets wet! Here's our soggy gingerbread man. Eew!

I had this colour by sight word worksheet from Kroger's Kindergarten (found for free here). I wanted to do a fun little activity to practice the sight words before we did the colouring page, so I made these sight word scramble cards. The letters for each sight word are printed on separate cards with a matching picture. I randomly passed out the letter cards and the students had to find the other students with matching pictures, then unscramble the letters to make a sight word! It was super fun and engaging! If you are interested, you can download the sight word cards {here}. Christmas clipart is from KPM Doodles.

Finally, we did some Christmas patterns today! I printed the patterns on 11x17" paper, so the Christmas items were really big. Students had to colour each row of items in a different pattern. It was good review on creating patterns. You can download the page {here}. This was actually a nice, relaxing activity this afternoon as we listened to some Christmas carols on the iPod. :)

Last up, I want to share a new freebie packet I made for TpT. It's called "Snowman Counting & Number Activities". I'm going to use one of the activities next week and then use the other ones when we get back from Christmas break. That's the great thing about snowmen--they can be used anytime, from November-February (at least where I live!! hehe). Click the picture below to check it out at TpT!

Inside the pack there are snowman cards from 0-100.

 And there are six different activity sheets to go with the number cards:

1. What comes next? -- counting on forwards
2. What comes before? -- counting backwards
3. Snowman Order -- ordering from least to greatest
4. Before and After -- numbers one less and one more
5. Greater Than or Less Than -- comparing numbers
6. Snowman Counting -- counting forward to 100

The great thing about these activities is they are so easy to differentiate! Just pass out different sets of number cards to each group, depending on their level (ie. 1-30, 1-50, or 1-100). Easy peasy! I hope you enjoy this pack! Happy Friday tomorrow, everyone! :)

Monday 10 December 2012

12 in '12 Linky Party

I gotta join in on the linky party fun! Hadar from Miss Kindergarten and Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting this awesome 12 in '12 linky party! I can't believe 2012 is coming to an end already... (Didn't mean to make that sound doomsday-ish!) It seems like it was just the first day of school last week, but it's already December 10th! Nine more school days, two Christmas concerts, and several more Christmas crafts to get through until Christmas vacation!

Here are 12 of my favourite things from 2012!
12. Favourite movie you watched:

Probably a tie between The Hunger Games and Breaking Dawn: Part 2. I loved the books and had been waiting forever for both of these movies!

11. Favourite TV series:

I have a lot of favourites: Glee, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, The New Normal, Criminal Minds, and Once Upon a Time. I think I loved SMASH the most though! I can't wait for it to come back on the air!!

10. Favourite restaurant:
Mongo's Grill

9. Favourite new thing you tried:

I just finished a 6 week Zumba course through our local rec centre. It was so much fun! I'm not the best dancer, but the moves are so repetitive that it's pretty easy to get the hang of it! I really enjoyed it and will probably sign up for the next one in January, too!

8. Favourite gift you got:

Is it a gift if you bought it yourself? In June, I used all of my saved up Scholastic bonus dollars and bought myself this beautiful piece of technology... an iPad! I love it!

7. Favourite thing you pinned:

I love pinning art projects. I always see such great ideas, but then forget all about them. I really loved this topiary sponge painting picture, based on the beautiful book "Grandpa Green" by Lane Smith.

6. Favourite blog post:

I liked my post about Starting the Daily 5 this year. It is my favourite time of day and so easy to manage. Besides rotating the schedule cards and throwing in some new word work centres once in a while, it requires no prep and is highly engaging for students! Plus it lets me easily meet with my guided reading groups.  

  5. Best accomplishment:

Hitting 500 followers on this little ol' blog! I was pretty amazed! :)
4. Favourite picture:

This is my favourite picture of my two babies! Bella the chocolate lab is 1.5 years old and Molly the yellow lab is 6 months old. They are bestest friends!

3. Favourite memory:

Our spring break trip to Disney World! We love having a chance to do all these fun things before we settle down and have kids! :) Here's the bf and I at Epcot.

 2. Goal for 2013:

Get myself a permanent job in a permanent school/classroom! After 6 years of term positions and subbing and moving classrooms every year, I am hoping that next year is the year I can settle down and find my "home"! :)

1. One Little Word:

Balance... I need to remember that my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my puppies, my house, my health, and my sanity are all important too! :)

Go link up if you haven't already and share your 12 favourite things of 2012.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Getting ready for Christmas!

How can you tell it's the beginning of December? Let me count the ways...

First up... Farley's Currently! Link yourself up at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and don't forget the rule or three.

Second... Christmas is in the air! I put up some Christmas decorations before leaving school on Friday. Even Pete the Cat, Pigeon, Gerald, and Piggie are sporting some Christmas hats. The bf and I started our Christmas advent calendars... yum! Our house has lights and some presents are wrapped. Just need a tree to bring it all together!

Third... We started our gingerbread study this week. I love reading all the varieties of stories and filling in this chart from Mrs. Jump's Gingerbread Man unit.

We read Mrs. Jump's adorable gingerbread emergent reader (free here). Instead of the students drawing themself eating the cookie, I made a large-sized gingerbread man and took their picture "eating" the cookie. The pictures turned out so cute and the kids loved seeing themselves at the end of the book!

And last... I created two new Christmas units for my TpT store. The first one is a pack of five word work centers that I plan to use during our Daily 5 time. There is stamping, rhyming, sentence scrambling, making words, and writing the room. Click the picture to check it out at TpT.

I am super excited about the second unit. It is a letter and postcard writing unit I will be using during Writer's Workshop. I plan to read "The Jolly Christmas Postman" by Janet Ahlberg. The unit contains mini lessons such as why we write letters, who writes letters, parts of a friendly letter, who to write to, what to write about, parts of a postcard, and how to write postcards. You can use this unit in many ways.... writing letters to Santa (or other North Pole friends), sending postcards to your classroom "Elf on the Shelf", or using it as a reader response and writing a letter/postcard to a story character (ie. Olive the Other Reindeer or Rudolph). Click the picture to check it out at TpT.

Happy Christmas preparations! :)