Thursday, November 15, 2012

Turkey Talk...

Well Thanksgiving is almost upon us and that means I've got one thing on my mind... turkey!! I love turkey! I love cooking turkeys, eating turkey and most importantly teaching about turkeys! 

As usual, we began by talking about what we already know. I'm usually impressed by the depth of knowledge in their little minds, but apparently there's not much room in there for turkey trivia. Most of the kids came up with something like, "Turkeys are fat." or "Turkeys say gobble gobble." Yawn. Nevertheless, I had them write their schema on turkey feathers while I made a serious mental note to amp up the turkey lessons and activities.

After reading some nonfiction books, we headed to the world wide web to find out even more. Gotta love SMARTboards!!The kids couldn't get enough of the pictures. They even asked me to find one of turkeys kissing! Of course we had to jot down this new information. So cut a few oval, had the kids write something they learned, and asked them to color their eggs.

Can you guess what we did next? Yup, we labeled!

Label That Turkey is just one of the activities in my newest unit, A Thoughtful Thanksgiving. There is also an adorable planner to help your little ones write a terrific turkeys paragraph (perfect for hitting a few common core standards). We're currently in the proofreading stage so you can expect pictures of the finished product soon! If you're in the market for some last minute Thanksgiving ideas, head on over to my TpT store.

Next week we're going to dive into Pilgrims and Native Americans. Seems like I do things backwards compared to everyone else in Bloggy Land, but that's what make me special :) Happy Friday Eve!

Best wishes,

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veterans Day...

This week has been ca-rah-a-zee!! Let me give you all a quickie recap... Regular day Monday, field trip (including 90% of my students' parents!!!!) Tuesday, half day Wednesday with P/T conferences, quarterly awards assembly WITH first grade performance PLUS half day AND more P/T conferences today! I'm so tired I can't even bother to correct the numerous flaws in that sentence!! PTL we have an in-service day tomorrow. 

The positive side of this short week was that I was able to really get into Veterans Day this year. I usually address it in a day or two because that's all I have time for. This year we spent a little time each day to really discuss who veterans are and why they should be celebrated. Both my grandfathers and my hubbs were in the service which makes me love and appreciate veterans even more!

On Monday we began by watching a short video on Veterans Day. The Veterans Day part begins around the 4th minute, if you're interested. Afterwards, we discussed who veterans are and if we know any. The kids are always so shocked to find out that my husband is one... and still alive!! I find that many students assume those who have served are dead!! They can't believe that someone can be in the Army/Navy/whatever and still be alive. Anyone else experience the same thing?? Anyways... next we took a quick poll and graphed our data.

Yes, I only have 10 students. Pick your mouth up off the floor and keep reading... (hehe)

Our field trip took up most of Tuesday, but I did set aside some time to read the short books I got from the library. I was able to find very kid friendly books about 3 of the 5 branches of the Armed Forces. And  let me tell you, the boys in my class have NEVER been sooooo engaged during a read aloud! 

On Wednesday we recalled some of the details from the books and completed our Veterans tree map.

As you can see, today we worked on our Veterans Day and Me mini-books. I was pleasantly surprised at how adorable they turned out!! On each page, I had the students write about how brave, caring, and responsible veterans are. Then they had to describe how they are also brave, caring, and responsible. It was fun to watch my students realize how similar different people can be! Does that make sense??

I mean seriously... how adorable are these responses?!

Then I put it all together on our bulletin board. Next Tuesday we'll spend a few minutes taking about how we celebrated Veterans Day and label our soldier.

Oh, we also journaled (yup, it's a verb) about which branch of the Armed Forces we would join. The kids had to choose one and tell why they decided that. Their drawings were seriously cute! I'll try and remember to snap a picture when I go back to class.

If you like these Veterans Day activities and are waiting until next week to work on it in class, let me know. The first 11 people to leave a comment with their email will get it for FREE!!

As if that wasn't enough, I also somehow found the time this week to change the small bulletin board outside our room. I'm sure you've seen it before, but it's one of my faves...

Have a happy Friday!

Best wishes,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores... Oh my!

Real quick.... When I decided to begin blogging this summer, I thought if I just wanted it bad enough, then it would happen. Sometimes I can be so naive!! I have truly learned so much about how to be a better teacher and how to make my lessons more in depth and engaging from reading other blogs. I even found a new energy and passion for my once repetitive job. Now there's this strong feeling of needing to pay it forward. Hence, the blog. However, I grossly underestimated the amount of dedication it takes to create and keep a thoughtful, resourceful collection of ideas and resources I can share with others. Now that the first quarter is over and I have a more realistic expectation of the true demands on my time, I vow to be a more present influence in the blogging community. That is all!

Moving on...

My kids have been learning about animals this month. One of the topics we cover is herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. The students are always eager to discuss anything animals related which make this activity all that much more engaging. After reading about the 3 groups in our Science book, we color small animals pictures and put them into the right category. 

After reading and discussing the definitions of each, we focus on their teeth. We look at pictures of fossils, bones, and living animals to come up with the conclusion that herbivores have flat teeth, carnivores have sharp teeth, and omnivores have both. Then we get molding! Each student uses play-doh to create one herbivore tooth and one carnivore tooth. Using our SMARTboard, I show an animal picture. The students have to hold up the correct tooth and say the correct group (herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore). If I show a picture of an omnivore, students hold up both teeth.

The next day we draw and make the teeth out of paper. We began with the carnivore. After gluing and labeling, I pass out tiny pieces of blank paper. The students draw something on each paper so they can "feed" the carnivore. Then we turn the paper over and repeat the process for herbivores. Here's the finished product.

If you would like, you can get a copy of the posters I made for FREE! Head on over to TpT to pick them up. If you use them, please let me know how they worked out in your class! Have a great week!

Best wishes,