Sunday 8 December 2013

December Currently and Christmas Spirit

Oh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m a little late to the party, but here I am with my December Currently.

There are a lot of Christmas traditions that I love…. getting a real Christmas tree to decorate together, Christmas baking, dinner with families. I love Christmas movies and probably watch a million of them each year… Elf is my favourite. But I also love The Santa Clause, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, The Grinch, All I Want for Christmas, and Love Actually. Oh, there’s so many more too!! Just not enough time to watch them all.

This Christmas is pretty special to us because it’ll be the last one with just the two of us. Next year it will be us and our new baby girl (yes, just found out it’s a girl!!!) starting some new traditions. Can’t wait!
Here’s a few pics of our classroom from last week. I actually put up my classroom decorations the last week of November. I was too excited! Winking smile



We started our gingerbread study with this big gingerbread house story map chart. Looks pretty cute!


We made these adorable shape & pattern Christmas trees from Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits cute Christmas Art Projects Pack. It was a fun and simple art project with a little math thrown in. You can clearly see some of my peanuts are not grasping the whole pattern concept… lol



This was actually spur of the moment decision… I wasn’t sure if the classroom elf was going to make an appearance this year, but alas a brown wrapped packaged addressed to our class was left outside our recess doors! The kids were pretty excited. We unwrapped it together, read the story Santa left for us, and had to decided on a name. Well, one of my students had been playing with some “What is your elf name?” iPad app over the weekend and discovered her elf name was Glitzy Festifingers. Well of course that name made it to our list and was voted most popular, so Glitzy Festifingers it is. It really makes me laugh. Better than the usual Elfy. Smile with tongue out

IMG_2467 (2)

Here’s Glitzy in some of his hiding spots of the week:




Last up I just wanted to share my Christmas cake pops with you. I took them to a potluck last night and they were a big hit! My snowmen looked a bit like snow-ducks, but they turned out pretty cute! And were delicious!



Sunday 1 December 2013

Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale!!

28% off everything in my TpT store when you use the promo code CYBER. Click the picture above to check it out!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Christmas Around the World Make Over!!

It started simple enough... Make the scrapbook look a bit nicer.... Then I thought about adding a couple more countries.... A couple turned into six... And now I present to you, the updated, made over "Christmas Around the World" unit!

It used to be a 9-day unit, starting in the USA/Canada, visiting 6 countries, and ending up in the North Pole. Now it is a 15-day unit that visits 12 countries! I added Sweden, Holland, France, Italy, England, and the Philippines. The great thing about this unit is that you can pick and choose which countries you want to do, so the unit can be as short or as long as you wish! I only have time to do two weeks this year, so I'm only going to be picking 8 or 9 countries to visit.

I added scrapbook pages, suitcase stickers, and craft ideas for the 6 new countries.

I wanted to make the scrapbook a bit cuter, so I updated it with a cute border and new graphics.

This was one of the first units I created when I started my TpT and it is my best selling product! If you have already purchased it, log in to your TpT account, go to My Purchases, and download the new, updated file. I think you will happy with the changes! If you have not purchased the unit and would like to, click the pictures below to check it out at TpT.

Oh, and don't forget! TpT is having a big cyber sale on December 2 and 3! Time to checkout those items on your wishlist. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Science Design Process starring The Pigeon!

As I am in the middle of finishing up the dreaded report card comments, I just wanted to pop in and share a project that I did with my class last week.

With our new provincial report card, we have to report on the design process each term. I've never really done a design project so close to the beginning of the year. I usually save it for our five senses unit later on in the year. But because we have to report on it each term, I had to come up with a fun design project for my kiddos.

I fully admit that we have a very boring Grade 1 Science curriculum here in our province. The worst unit I think is called "Characteristics of Objects and Materials". I hardly every teach it thoroughly. It's all about the materials that make up different objects. Blah, blah, boring. There is one outcome in the unit that is kind of fun though (1-3-10 Use the design process to construct a useful object by selecting, combining, joining, and shaping materials. Examples: pencil holder, crayon box, desk organizer...). I've done Valentine's Day boxes or pencil holders, but wanted something different for this year.

Our author study this month is Mo Willems and his silly pigeon and friends. The kids are loving the pigeon books so I thought to myself... how can I use the pigeon in my design process? And that is how this project was born.

The Pigeon Wants a Chair!

We started off by having the pigeon send us an email asking the students to make him a new, comfy chair.

We talked about the criteria for making the chair--had to use more than one material, had to use some sort of joining material (tape, glue, etc.), and had to hold the stuffed pigeon without breaking. Then I just laid out a bunch of materials from around the classroom and recycling bin--plastic cups, paper plates, foam, construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, duct tape, q-tips, straws, plastic containers, toilet paper tubes... Then I let the kids have at it!

They came up with some pretty unique designs!

The next day we drew a diagram of our chair and listed the materials we used. 

Then the fun part--testing out whether or not the chairs would hold the pigeon!

Here's the sheet that I used for this project. If you are interested in trying out this design project, you can download the sheet from {here}.

Saturday 2 November 2013

November Currently

Time for this month's Currently with our fabulous host... Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

Here is my yummy pin... I have been seriously craving Rice Krispie treats (the prepackaged stuff) constantly, but these S'mores ones look delicious... Yum yum! This recipe comes from Mallow and Co.

Friday 1 November 2013

Five for Friday! {thank goodness... and freebies!}

Hey everyone! Did you survive Halloween and the day after Halloween? I really think November 1st should be declared a holiday. Nobody (including myself) has the ability to concentrate on school after a night full of candy! It was our first Halloween in our new place, so I wasn't sure if we would get any trick-or-treaters seeing as we live in the boonies. So I went out and bought some candy just in case. Well, of course, no trick-or-treaters showed up... so that bowl of candy is all for me and the baby. We definitely aren't complaining! ;)

I am finally getting around to join in Doodle Bugs Five for Friday weekly linky party. I have some fun freebies for you, so stick around!! Some are Halloween related, so you might have to save those for next year! :)

We did some practicing with 2D shapes... One day I read the book "The Shape of Things" by Dayle Ann Dodds and had students complete their own shape pictures. They turned out pretty cute! I just photocopied some blank shapes onto some bright coloured paper and had them turn the shape into a picture. 

I enlarged the sheet onto large 11x17" paper so they had a large space to draw their picture. You can download the recording sheet and shapes {here}.

This next freebie is for one of my co-workers from last year. She mentioned liking my "Turkey Trouble" math game (seen here), so I made a new version called "Pumpkin Patch". Students roll 2 dice, count the dots, and find the pumpkin with the matching tally marks on it. My kiddos had fun with this game today! I made two versions--a coloured game board that you can laminate and use with cubes or a black/white version that students can colour. I like the black/white ones--easier to prep and takes longer to play! ;) You can download this game from {here}. Clipart is from KPM Doodles.

I teach in a community that does not celebrate Halloween.... they don't do trick-or-treating in the town and they don't celebrate Halloween at the school. Lots of my class still go trick-or-treating though... they just drive five minutes to the bigger city next door. I don't get the big deal, but to each their own, right? Well, last week our juniour high student council decided to plan a spirit week for this week. So we had pajama day Monday, opposite day on Tuesday, grade colour day on Wednesday, costume day on Thursday (Halloween = no, costume day = ok), and wacky hair day today. So we didn't have one day of craziness, but we had five!! It felt like a VERY long week. But costume day was a lot of fun. I only had three that did not dress up. I decided to make my costume match our author of the month.

I had them do a little writing about their costumes. They all had lots to write about for this!! For my students that did not dress up, I had them write about what they had learned about pumpkins so far. This pleased them too. You can download the writing page {here}. We called our day Costume Day, but I made one that said Halloween too. Clipart is from KPM Doodles.

On the back of this writing page, we did a little candy graphing activity. This is probably a Canadian activity because you don't have chocolate Smarties in the States. So crazy!! They're like M&Ms, but a bit larger and flatter. Anywho, they made a Halloween version of this candy called "Scaries" that were only brown and orange coloured (as opposed to the original rainbow ones). I gave each kiddo a treat-size pack and had them graph their candy. They did a great job with this activity! You can download the graph {here}. The border is from Pink Cat Studio.

After our little study of pumpkins, we did some investigating of our classroom pumpkin (using Cara Carroll's The Great Pumpkin Investigation journal). We measured it, counted the lines, weighed it, described it, saw if it sank or floated, and counted the seeds. Then we voted on how we should carve it. He turned out pretty cute!

With everything going on in October, I also had to have my first formal evaluation by the vice-principal! I read on someone's blog that they always tell the kids before hand that the principal is coming in to observe the students (not the teacher), so they are on their best behaviour! I tried this and it worked pretty good. As soon as the VP walked in, they all sat up a bit straighter and were trying their best.

For my lesson, I decided to do a writing lesson on creating proper sentences. If you downloaded my weekend journals or some of my other writing pages, you might have noticed I have a little check list on the bottom. I try and put this check list on the bottom of all my writing pages. The check list is capitals, punctuation, spaces, and sight words. We go over this list all the time and the students are getting pretty good at checking over the list themselves and making sure their sentences are correct. For this lesson I had them remind me of the four things we look for. Then I introduced them to Mr. Fix-It. Yes, he looks a lot like Felix Fix-It from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph" (which got them excited and engaged right away), but this is actually Ernie Fix-It and he helps us fix sentences!

I wrote an incorrect sentence on the board and had the students help me identify the errors and explain why each thing was a mistake. Then I rewrote the sentence correctly underneath.

Then I gave each pair of students a re-writable sentence strip with a different sentence on it (I used sharpie, but that can always be erased after). I also gave them a dry erase marker and a blank strip. Each group had to circle four errors in their sentence and then rewrite the sentence on the blank strip. Then I had each group read their sentence and explain why they circled each mistake. The lesson went really well and the VP seemed impressed with the students' presentations. Success! :)

Well that's it for me. I've got two puppies who need some cuddling on the couch, a fiance I haven't seen all week, and a movie waiting to be watched. Have a great weekend everyone!!