Sunday 28 April 2013

Here Little Piggy!

During our Writer's Workshop time, we are in the middle of doing a "Three Little Pig" mini-unit. We started by reading many different versions of the 3 pig story, such as "The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark" or "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig". Each day we read a story and completed an activity from my new "The 3 Little Pigs: Reading & Writing Mini-Unit". I have included several reading comprehension activities, as well as a few creative writing activities. Click the picture below to check it out at TpT!

I put all my pages into a cute little booklet.

Here are some student samples from my class. On the first day I just read a regular version of "The 3 Little Pigs". We used this story elements mini bulletin board set to talk about a story map, then filled in our own story map with characters, setting, and beginning/middle/end events.

One day we talked specifically about characters and how characters can change (in "The Three Horrid Little Pigs" the pigs turn good at the end). Another day we talked about the setting and described the setting from "The Three Little Dassies". Then we spent a day talking about cause and effect and gave two examples from the story "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig".

After we read "The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark" we used a venn diagram to compare and contrast that story with the origianl version. We also got to do some comic writing by filling in the speech bubbles of the three little pigs and the wolf.

Then we did some writing activities. We wrote an alternative ending to the original story. Here's a few of them:

"The wolf got out of the pot can never came back. And they lived happily ever after."
"The wolf became friends with the pigs. And they lived happily ever after!"

Awww... I have the sweetest kiddos! They all want happy endings!

"The wolf got his revenge and turned the pigs into fried meat."

Oh... maybe not... hehe!

We also pretended to be one of the little pigs and wrote a letter to the wolf. They were pretty cute!

"Dear Wolf,
I wish you would be nice. I would like it if you would be nice. It is rude to be bad. 
Sincerely, the Pig"

"Dear Wolf,
You were a big bad wolf. I wish you can be good. Do not send a letter.
Sincerely, the Pig"
"Dear Wolf,
I wish you can be nice and won't blow our houses down. We want you to be nice for us so we will let you in our houses.
Sincerely, the Pig"

Finally we graphed which story was our favourite and wrote why we liked that one.

Next week we are going to start writing our own fractured fairy tale. I have a story map and good copy book included in my mini-unit. Students will choose different animals to be the three little ____ and another animal to be the big bad ____. Then they will pick three new materials to make their houses. I can't wait to see what creative ideas they come up with! I promise to share some pics once they are all done.

I have also put together a mini-unit for "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". This unit has the exact same activities as the three pigs, but based on different version of Goldilocks. Check it out by clicking the picture below!

Friday 26 April 2013

Five for Friday on Friday

It's here! It's Friday! The weather is beautiful! :) The sun is shining. And I get two days without my little monkeys... hehe. It's also time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs. Can't believe I made it on time today! Woo hoo!

{1.} On Earth Day, we watched the free movie of the week from Brain Pop Jr. on Recycling. We also watched this cute video on YouTube from Loop Scoops on PBS. Oliver has one minute to reduce a large pile of trash. This was a perfect lead up to our recycle/garbage sort.

We sorted images of common items into the recycling bin or the garbage can. Then we took a look at the items in the garbage can to see if we could reduce the trash further. We talked about composting, reducing, and reusing. You can download the sorting cards {here}.

{2.} Our grassheads are growing! Ok, yes, the grass is growing right on their faces, but it's still growing!! I succeeded! Woo hoo! :) The kids are pretty excited about these little guys.

{3.} This is the first year I have tried a take-home sight word program. I have been using A Teeny Tiny Teacher's awesome pack {found here}. I love her pack! When my students complete all their lists, they get a Sight Word Champion Trophy and Certificate. {You can download my ceritifcate here.} I just had my fourth student complete all the lists. On the other hand, I've also had six kids not bring a single list back. Oh well, what can you do?

{4.} For the last two weeks, we have been reading various versions of "The 3 Little Pigs" and doing some reading/writing activities from my new mini-unit (out sometime in the next week). Today we graphed which story was our favourite and write about why we liked it. Next week will start writing our own version of the story. The kids are pretty excited to start their stories!

{5.} Here's the view from my front door. The snow is finally melting! We can see grass! I don't want to jinx it, but I think spring might be here! Yipee!

Have a relaxing weekend! I'm off to help build the basement bathroom walls! :)

Monday 22 April 2013

Late or Early... Five (Plus One) for Friday {Freebies}

I can't decide if I'm really late for last weeks link up, or really early for this Friday. Either way I've got five (plus one) randoms for you. It's the Five for Friday link up over at Doodle Bugs Teaching. Click the picture to check out everyone else's five things as well!

1. Check out our spring bulletin boards. We wrote some five senses spring poems, then practiced our typing skills using Max's Toolbox (kid version of Microsoft Office... have you tried it before?? Love it!). On our spring math bulletin board we made some Easter subtraction craftd (inspired by Kinder by Kim's Jazzy Journals). We also completed Miss Kindergarten's Math Flowers. They turned out so cute!

Here is our rough copy of our spring senses poem. We wrote them in pencil first, then typed them and added clipart. I skimped on the colour printing though. Oh well! Click the pic to download your own copy.

2. We have been doing a mini plant unit last week and this week. We labelled parts of the plants, completed the life cycle, talked about needs, and graphed our favourite type of plant (a la The First Grade Parade). We also made our own grassheads! They were super fun and pretty easy to make! Just get your boyfriend to make a pit stop at the Dollar Store to pick you up 8 sets of beige panty hose and you are ready to go! :) We just stretched the panty hose over a plastic container, put a spoonful of grass seeds into it, and then filled it with potting soil. Tie a knot at the base of the head. Use a tiny elastic to make a nose (some chose not to). Hot glue wiggle eyes and a pipecleaner mouth and/or mustache. Decorate the styrofoam cup. Last, water them! We put water inside the cups and I also let them squirt the tops with spray bottles eveyr morning. I was a little worried these guys wouldn't grow because I have no green thumb or fingers at all, but we saw a few little sprouts here and there this morning. Success! :)

Every morning I have my students take out their observation journal, draw a picture of their grasshead, and write a sentence about how it is growing. You can download the journal by clicking the picture below.

3. Last week Thursday was our Open House. It's pretty low-key. Usually we just display artwork created by the students when our "Artist in the School" visits, but ours had to cancel due to a family emergency, so we had to change things up this year. Our principal wanted us to demonstrate how we use technology in our classroom, so I had my Mimio and document camera set up. Students could show their parents how we use the document camera and then they could show our calendar routine (complete with fancy calendar video menu). Parents were pretty amazed at some of the high tech things we now have! We also put out our autobiographies that we finally finished! They turned out really good and I am pretty impressed with some of their writing.

4. I got some sweet comments on my Weekly Plans from last week. I have to confess, my plans don't look like that all the time. I just tried it out so I could link up with Deedee! This is what my actual day planner looks like. I like having the whole week spread over two pages. This works pretty well for me.

5. Here are my students enjoying some fun Daily 5 time! I had to snap that sweet shot of my two boys listening to the same book. They were really engaged in the story. I have about 60 different "Listen to Reading" books right now. I just picked up a few more from SuperStore this week. They were Disney stories--Wreck It Ralph, Phineas & Ferb, Tinkerbell, and Tangled. They were only 5 bucks each and the kids love them! The other picture is a student completing a newly added word work centre. This is a Beginning Sound MP3 Match from K is for Kinderiffic. They loved it!

So I did it today. I counted how many days left. 46! Eek! The snow is finally starting to melt a bit, so the kids are feeling a bit wrangly. I don't blame them. I just want to go sit outside in the sun too! Today I felt that the blurting out was becoming a big problem again so I decided to bring out the Whole Brain Teaching scoreboard idea again. I used to do Students vs. Teacher so that everytime a student blurted I would get a tally and everytime someone raised their hand or waited their turn, the students would get a tally. This worked fine except I would get the students that just raised their hand to get more tallies! "My tooth is loose." "My fish died yesterday." "I think blue is my favourite colour." Ugh! I don't care! Anyways, I decided to change things up a bit and change it to Boys vs. Girls! They ate it up! If a boy blurts, the girls get a tally. If a girl blurts, the boys get a tally. Sweet! The reward? Whoever has the most tally marks by last recess gets TWO EXTRA MINUTES OF RECESS!! Hahah. Really I just let them get dressed first and go outside a tiny bit earlier. Easy peasy! It worked like a charm! The girls won today. We'll see if the boys can make it tomorrow! :) Click the picture to download your own Boys vs. Girls Scoreboard and give it a try!

Enjoy your week peeps!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Book Review: "Aesops' 1st Book of Childhood Adventures" by Vincent A. Mastro

If you have been by my blog before, you know how much I love books. It's almost to the point of obsession. I collect books by certain authors I like or series that I think are fun or books that fit with the themes I teach... and so on! I am always interested in finding new and exciting books to share with my students. So when Vincent A. Mastro, an author from Massachussettes, contacted me to check out the first book in his new series called Aesop's 1st Book of Childhood Adventures, I couldn't say no! I love Aesop's fables. They are classics that never get old. I'm always shocked when my students haven't heard some of these old tales!

Vincent's book tells the story of Aesop, a young inquisitive raccoon, who goes on three adventures throughout the book, interacting with characters from three fables. In this first book, the fables told are The Tortoise and the Hare, The Friends and the Bear, and The Crow and the Pitcher. Each fable is it's own independent story, so you can read the whole book in one sitting or read it over a few days! I read it with my own students over the last three days and each day they were excited to see what kind of adventure Aesop was going to go on!

 Check it out here:

After reading the entire book with my class, I asked them to give me their personal opinions of the book (since they are the target audience anyways). Here it is, straight out of the mouths of babes:

"I liked the tortoise and hare story because I thought the rabbit was going to win the race, but the tortoise really did. It was a surprise."

"I liked when the bear came [in The Friends and the Bear] and then the kids were safe."

"We learned lessons at the end of the stories."

"I liked the pictures in the book. And the colours. The raccoon is really cute."

"I liked the whole story!"

"I liked listening to the race [in The Tortoise and the Hare]. It was really exciting!"

"I think the hare should have won the race. He was faster!" <-- Some didn't get the message of the story... so we talked about it again! :)

"We learned big words, like per... per... perseverance!"

"I liked everything about the book!"

"Are there more stories?"

And to answer the last question... yes, there is a second book out and I believe more planned! In the second set of adventures, Aesop tells the story of The Goose That Laid Golden Eggs, Three Equal Shares, and The Oak and the Grass. I will definitely read this second book to my class as well.

Check it out here:

Each of the stories starts and ends the same way. In the beginning of each story, young Aesop is asking his Grandmother "Why?" and she says that she does not have all the answers... some answers Aesop will have to find for himself. I found that this really sparked some deep and thought-provoking discussion with my first graders! I asked them what they thought Aesop was asking about. We came up with a large list of "why" questions. "Why is the sky blue?" "Why are my eyes green?" "Why are my feet so big?" I had them choose a question that was important to them and had them write it on this page. {Click either picture to download your copy. Clipart from Ashley Hughes and border from The Bubbly Blonde.}

This was a great way to think about inquiry (perfect for new provincial report card next year!!) and get students asking questions about things that they are curious about! I definitely recommend checking out this book! Great for a fable study or character education lessons.

Monday 8 April 2013

Peek at my Week Linky

This is my first time for linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at my Week Linky! I put together a brief overview of what we're planning (hoping) to cover this week! I'm not sure if I will do this every week, but I thought I would give it a shot and see if it interested anyone! :)

Here we go! If you click on either picture it will take you to the Google Docs link where you can download the PDF of my schedule. In the PDF you can click on the pictures or the blue links to check out the products I plan to use this week. There are a few of my own products and many from other fabulous bloggers!


Now I have a little freebie for you! I always start my calendar time off by watching a few song videos from YouTube on the projector. We have a lot of favourites, mostly from Mr. Harry's Kindergarten. I decided to make a little menu of our favourite songs. I just took screen shots and put them together into a file. I added links to each YouTube video, so if you click on the picture it will take you directly to the video.  I let my star of the day choose the 2-3 videos we watch each day. They are pretty excited to be the one to choose which songs we sing! :) Click the picture to download your own menu! Enjoy!

Background from Dreamlike Magic Designs.
Other images belong to the video creators!

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

Saturday 6 April 2013

Five for Friday!

It's time again for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching! Technically it's Saturday... but I'm still awake so I'm going to count it as Friday. It was our first week back after Spring Break and it was a whirlwind of business! We learned about oviparous animals, started our new Easter math centres, did some Spring math activities, and started an Eric Carle author study! Woo! No wonder I was tired after work today! Not to mention I couldn't sleep til noon everyday like I did on Spring Break... boo!

1. This was a cute little Easter present from one of my students on Monday. Just a few chocolates and a mini chocolate bunny, but the bag was just precious!

2. On Monday we wrote about our Spring Break.The paper was one I got from a retired Grade One teacher... she used to make everything by hand! Can you imagine?? lol. I'm getting so impressed with my students writing! I don't have to help them spell every word now. They are taking risks and sounding out their words like pros!

3. Here's our author study bulletin board. I love how it turned out! Unfortunately I can't share any of the pictures with you, but really I just Googled "Eric Carle" and printed some of the images I found onto cardstock.

I have this DVD so we watched one of the stories today as a little break treat at the end of the day! :)

The kids are loving his books so far! And if you have never heard the song to go with his book "Today is Monday", you might not want to watch this video... This song has been stuck in my head for a week now. Hehe!

4. I had bought these divider plates a while ago, but never really pulled them out. When I saw this adorable "Peas & Carrots Addition Game" from Frog Spot, I knew it would be perfect for these plates! The kids had a blast adding their peas and carrots together. We used a dry erase marker on the big part of the plate to write our addition sentences.

5. We did a few activities on oviparous animals as well. I did this mystery egg activity last year, but this year we got to put the small pictures under the document camera for everyone to see. Woo! Exciting! ;) We learned about some interesting oviparous animals!

This sort is from Chalk Talk. Love it! We also read the poem "Oviparous" from Deedee's March Poetry Pack. The kids loved it.

Until next time! Happy Weekend!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

April Currently!

I love Farley's Currently. I can sum up all my thinking into one cute picture! :)

So the snow here is *starting* to melt, but we still have way too much. At least two feet of untouched snow in our front yard. At least in the backyard the puppies are there to trample it down for us. We still have big drifts against the fence though. Big enough that both puppies can stick their heads over the fence and check out what's going on! Haha. Oh my, the first time we saw this happen we were just getting into the car to go to Easter supper and we just killed ourselves laughing. One of our neighbours said she was walking her dog and they popped up and her poor dog didn't know what to do. Haha. My silly puppies are just big people watchers. They love to know what's going on!

As for school, I'm still waiting to hear where I'm going to be teaching next year! Hopefully I will stay in Grade 1, but you never now!

We've been busy getting back into the swing of things this week after Spring Break. Monday was fairly quiet... I had 9 students absent. Apparently they were all taking Easter Monday as a holiday... even though it's not a school holiday here! :P That left me with only 17 students. It was a dream! I didn't want to do too much new stuff, with a third of my class away, so we wrote about our Spring Breaks and made this cute Duck/Rabbit reversible puppet freebie from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten. The other side of the rabbit is a duck! My kids loved the book and loved making the puppet.

And did you see my fancy piece of technology on my blue shelf! I got a document camera on Monday! Woo hoo! I've only used a bit so far, but I can see it coming in really handy. Before if I wanted to show something quickly on the screen, I would take a picture on my iPhone and email it to myself. Pretty lame, huh? Now I can just place the document under the cam and voila! It appears on the screen! I can even take a picture of it from there if I want. I love technology!

Well that's it for now. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday 1 April 2013

Proud to be Canadian

So excited for a linky party to celebrate us Canadian bloggers! If you are a Canadian blogger, go check out Patti's blog Madly Learning to link up. Then head over to Teaching is a Gift to link up with your exact province/territory. Such a fun way to find other Canadian blogs. I didn't realize there were so many of us. Yay! I am proud to be a Manitoba blogger.