Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There Was An Old Lady Who...

Don't your students just love these stories?! Mine get so excited every time they find an Old Lady book in our library. Feels like no matter how many things that woman swallows, it'll never get old for them! Well, I recently purchased There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books from our school book fair. I read it to the kids and they were (not surprisingly) just as entertained as ever. That's when it hit me... Why not have the students write their own Old Lady story?! I became even more convinced that this would be the perfect assignment once I realized how much non fiction writing we have been doing (thanks Common Core). I can't wait to get started on this tomorrow and see their imaginations run wild!


If you're interested, you can pick up a copy for yourself at my TpT store. Or you could be one of the first five to leave a comment. Be sure to let me know about your favorite Old Lady activity and you'll get one for free! Don't forget your email address!!

Looking forward to letting you all know how it turned out!

Best wishes,

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Turtles, manatees, sea stars and jellyfish... Oh my!

I can't tell you enough about how much inspiration you all out there in Bloggyland give me! A few months ago I was reminded of the amazing rain forest display Teacher Bits and Bobs does for their open house. I didn't want to copy it exactly (mostly because there's no way I could EVER duplicate something that awesome), but I wanted to do something similar. So, I decided to have a theme for my open house. I tossed a few ideas around and settled on an ocean theme.

Each week I would introduce a new ocean animal. Honestly, since there are sooooo many to choose from, I picked the animals that I had books on and the kids were interested in. For each week we would read a few books and do some research online. (I have a projector system in my class that comes in really handy!) We would take notes and complete a few worksheets to record our learning. At the end of the week we would complete an art project for that animal. Then I would display everything on our bulletin board. Actually, I kept the art projects hidden until open house. I think it turned out quite nice...


Each student wrote something they thought they knew about manatees on a post-it.

Our art projects...

Sea Stars 

I proposed three questions before we did any research. The students answered each question. Later, we reread the questions and decided on the correct answer.

We wrote the can, have, are on our worksheets and then on the pick sea stars you see at the bottom.

For the art project, I had the kids draw a star on paper and cut it out. Then we used pastina to add some texture to our stars. Warning, glue bottles may get clogged with pastina! 

 After drying for a few hours, I taped them to another piece of paper. This helped A LOT! The students were able to hold the larger paper which kept their star still while keeping the paint off of their desks. Next, I had everyone paint a first coat in any color they choose. Then I added a little black OR white to their bowl and mixed. Last, they used to the new color to add stripes or spots to their sea star. 


Here students wrote their schema on the tentacles. They thought that was hilarious BTW! The purple fish are the "cans," the pink fish are the "haves," and the green fish are the "ares."

Want to see the whole jellyfish board? Well then I hope you brought your time machine because someone forgot to take a picture of it!

We also spent a week learning about sea turtles. Check out my previous post!

For the art, they colored an outline and then cut it out. I stapled the shell together in a few strategic places (otherwise known as the labeled places) and viola!

Finally, I took all of this down and decorated for open house. Out with the worksheets and in with the art...

I had the students fold a large sheet of blue construction paper in half and draw an ocean scene. Then I asked each one to choose a title for their book. All of their research was stapled inside. The scuba divers just completed the theme!

See our jellyfish hanging from the ceiling?! We painted a bowl, let it dry and then added streamers. Simple and easy!

Perhaps their most favorite part... seaweed hanging in front of the door. They still won't let me take it down!!

So, what did you do for open house?

Best wishes,