Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ketchup... and a bit of mustard...

First the ketchup! I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. There's sooo much to fill you in on! So grab a coffee and something to jot ideas down on. This is gonna be a long one...

Let's see, when I last left you we were wrapping up our Valentine's Day and teeth units. So, on to March... I usually make a pretty big deal about St. Patrick's Day in my class. I just love it! I'm not sure if it's because I find his story fascinating, because I get a kick out of the leprechaun who visits us, or because I just have so many cute ideas! Regardless, here's a snapshot of our learning...

I always begin by telling students the story of St. Patrick. In past years I would read St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons. This year I found an adorable video on YouTube that the kids absolutely loved! They even asked to watch it twice!! Then we completed a little mini book to retell the story. We ready several other books and completed many centers and activities. I like pictures better so here you go...

Since March is reading month, we completed many Dr. S related activities. Something new I added this year is Wacky Wednesday. This is one of those books that the kids love to read over and over. During the read aloud, it takes a good 30 minutes for me to get through the book because the kids are so engaged in finding wacky things. So... I decided to have a Wacky Wednesday in our class! Before the kids came in, I found 10 little ways to change the class...

Seriously, as soon as the first student walked half way into the classroom, the kids began noticing things! They are so observant! During writing, we jotted down a few of my wacky changes and illustrated.

We have also spent some time recently working on similes. I got this adorable activity and glyph for free last year, but I cannot remember where I got it from! If you recognize it, please let me know.

We also completed this mini book courtesy of yours truly!

Leave it to me to forget to take pictures of their work!

Then we wrapped it up by reviewing similes and adjectives with Pop Rocks! This was totally stolen from Abby at The Inspired Apple. I just loved how much fun the kids had using all of their senses!

Somewhere in these past few months we also worked on long e words. Last year I came across Sheep in a Jeep, a poem many teachers use when studying ee and ea. My kids love any time they're allowed to use highlighters, so I typed up a quick copy and they went to town. Then we made sheep and practiced writing some of the words.

Science has been fun because it's one of my favorite units... matter! I just LOVE all of the experiments you can do! For example, we had some liquid races...

and observed air taking up space...

This one blows students' minds! If you've never tried this, do it now! First ask students if they think you can put a piece of paper in water without getting it wet. Of course they'll all say you can't. Show students an "empty" container. Tape a piece of paper to the bottom. In a large bowl or bucket of water, place the container face down on the surface. Make sure it's flat so that you're  trapping air. Then submerge the whole container! Be sure not to tilt the container to either side! Lift straight up and reveal the still dry piece of paper. The kids had a lot of fun trying their hand (HA) at this! Just remember to keep a few paper towels laying around! 

This year I decided to have the students keep track of the things we're learning in a little matter mini book. We're still working on it, but so far I love how it reinforces what we've read. Reading this is going to be a great review before our assessment.

I am always interested in what's going on over at Teacher Bits and Bobs. They have so creative and I can only imagine how much fun the students have while learning! Every year they complete a huge rain forest unit. Then they decorate their class with all of the related art projects. What a great idea to wow parents for Open House, right?! Well, it just so happens that my students and I love all animals! We are even going on a field trip to the local aquarium! So... I decided to start my own ridiculously long unit in an attempt to enhance learning and transform my classroom. Instead of going with a rain forest theme, we are diving into the ocean!! 

So far I have plans for about 5 animals. We will focus on one each week. Last week we began with sea turtles. First I gave each student a blue circle (bubble) and asked them to write something they already know about sea turtles. Then, I had a super old phonics take home reading book with the perfect nonfiction story for the kids to read! We also researched sea turtles online and in my life cycles book. After reading, we recorded our new information on different worksheets and I put up this bulletin board.

 The blue bubbles at the top are their schema, green words label the picture, white eggs match our can/have/are tree map, bottom left worksheets illustrate the life cycle, and bottom right worksheets are our research notes. 

We are going to save all of our research notes as we work. After learning about all 5 animals, students will pick one to write about. This will be a good opportunity for them to practice staying on topic and writing supporting sentences. I'll let you know how it turns out...

And finally, and completely non teaching related, I have a BIG announcement! I am moving to Texas!!! That's right! From crummy Cali (sorry residents) to terrific Texas! The hubs and I spent our spring break house hunting in the Austin area. We didn't think we would actually buy a house, but we were presented with an opportunity we just couldn't pass up! We actually got to pick everything out since this is going to be a "new build." I'm talking exterior stone and brick color, interior paint colors, cabinet colors, flooring, granite, shower size, bedroom vs. study, and so much more! We were even able to choose the lot where our house will be built! And let me tell you, the view from our backyard is going to be ah-maz-ing! We're going from this...

 (notice the dead grass, pathetic palm trees and lovely view of the block wall)

to this...

I'm always looking forward to the summer, but this year will definitely be different! Is it too soon to start counting down the days?!

Best wishes,


  1. Wow! This post had lots of cute ideas. :) I loved the turtle board and worksheets! Congrats on your move!

  2. I tried looking everywhere for your email, but couldn't find one so I apologize for posting this here. Hope it's ok. :)

    Hi! My name is Melissa and I have a newish blog at www.teachertreasurehunter.blogspot.com. I'm close to 200 followers and would love to have a giveaway featuring "my favorite things". These will be items I've used in my 1st grade classroom and love! Your "Common Core - I Can posters" are on the list. :) I've used the 1st grade ones this year and loved them! I would love it if you would be willing to contribute to my giveaway. You would just need to fill out the google form (I'll have to email you a link when I hear from you so I don't have it public) so that I have links to your tpt store and social media. Each follow or like will be worth an entry. I would like to be able to offer the winner their choice of grade level for this item so it would have to be emailed afterwards to the winner from you. Thank you for your consideration!

  3. Are you looking for free Google+ Circles?
    Did you know that you can get these ON AUTOPILOT & TOTALLY FREE by using Like 4 Like?