Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday

Seriously, it's crazy how much I've blogged this week, huh?  I have to tell you, I think I'm starting to find my rhythm again.  I guess that's what happens when you are snowed in a few days.  Oh, and real quick shout out - if you left me comments over the last few days, I promise I read them.  I LOVE reading comments.  I did try to respond, but Blogger has been a little moody tonight and for some reason I couldn't, so know I read your comments and I will do my best to try again this weekend.

Alright, now guess what day it is?  Nope… it isn't Hump Day!  It's Friday which means it is time for…

#1 - Puppet Pals HD
Monday I spent my day at iPad training and I have to tell you about this one app that I think you guys would absolutely love.  It's called Puppet Pals HD.  I ended up getting the version you buy, but they do have a free version if you want to check it out first.  Your kiddos get to pick different characters and can even take a picture of themselves to use as a character.  Then, they use a microphone and record the parts while they move the characters on the iPad screen.  Once they are done, they can watch their play like you would watch a movie.  I don't know about y'all, but I have a little friend that I know is going to LOVE making some puppet shows.  So, if you have an iPad in your classroom and you want something new and cool, definitely check this app out.

#2 - Giant Clips
I found these at Michaels a few weeks ago and I love them!  They will be great to hold up directions, center cards, etc.  I have to be honest though, I am going to be using at least one to hold up a sign that reminds my kiddos that they should not be anywhere near my table when I'm doing Guided Reading.  That is my pet peeve.  I promise, I'm not cruel.  The other kiddos are supposed to be doing their Read to Self or Read to Someone time and they know what they are doing.  I just have ten a few friends that are still working on not coming to ask me little questions during this time.

#3 - Fun Trick
So, I was talking to Tammy from Fluttering through First Grade the other night about how I have been smudging names out of pictures.  If you are a blogger, then you probably are doing this or you are wondering how do other bloggers do this?  I have gotten the trick down and friends, it is so very easy.  If you have Adobe Photoshop, you open it up and on the left-hand side you will see a little Band aid-looking picture.  On my picture it's the second one and kind of highlighted.  You click that and you just drag it across the name several times.  It will smudge it out.  Then, you just save the picture.  This also works with kid faces if you put those on your blog.

#4 - New Gadget
This really should be a Five for Friday: Tech Geek post.  So, since I knew I had training on Monday, I ran to Best Buy Sunday night and grabbed this new gadget.  Once you charge it for six to eight hours (Yes, it really takes that long), you can use it as a backup battery.  I knew my iPhone and iPad wouldn't make it through an all day meeting, so for me it was a necessity.  I had been wanting one for awhile anyway for vacations or shopping trips with my family.  Don't get me wrong, I love the shopping trips, but I do usually spend at least an hour or two in Barnes and Noble reading while my sis, Mimi, and Mom are in Charming Charlies.

#5 - My Weekend
Well, this weekend my church is doing Mystery Day for our fourth and fifth graders.  I ended up with the yellow team.  Friends, I have to be honest.  When I think of yellow, I think of two things - Big Bird and bananas.  I am not a huge yellow fan, so I improvised.  I added "accent" colors.  We are now the yellow team with just a little black and white polka dotted stuff.  Don't worry, I checked first.  Here's the room I have to work with.  I will make sure to post pictures of the room on Saturday.  It is definitely going to be a ton of fun!

Alright, so there are my five things.  Time to run!  Talk to you guys later and have a Fantabulous Friday!!!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

February Fun

I know that we are still in January, but February is coming very quickly.  February is jam-packed with fun crafts.  So, here is my February wish list.  Here is a list of pins that I'd really like to try out in my classroom over the next few weeks.  Oh, and I promise I remembered that teachers have crazy, busy schedules, so I tried to pick things that are possible to pull off without making you feel like you may pull your hair out.  My list varies from snacks to art projects to centers.  Oh, and since I've been blogging over a year (crazy, huh?), I pulled up a few things I made last year that went great.

#1 Groundhog Day Treats
To me, holidays aren't fun without a cute little treat.  I found this idea on Playtime with Mommy.  It's a reasonably cheap snack that you could easily let your kids put together themselves.  

#2 Groundhog Shadows
If you've been following me for awhile, then you probably remember that last year I kind of, accidentally taught my kids the wrong thing with groundhogs.  I'm not sure why, but I swear I have these little memory lapses where info just does not stick.  So, I didn't want to have a repeat, so I found this awesome little craft at Almost Unschoolers.  It is too cute and best of all, it explains what it means if the groundhog sees his shadow.

#3 Presidents' Day Video
I found this last year and my kiddos loved it!  I always have to share Harry Kindergarten videos.  If you haven't heard about him, check him out on YouTube.  He's great!

#4 Heart Mosaics
If you've followed me for awhile, you know I love crafty ideas.  Creating is fun and in my world, creating never feels like work.  Anyway, this little project came from my friend Corinna at Surfin' Through Second.  It would be a great filler for a day where you need a quick activity.  We will probably write poetry to go with ours.

#5 Heart Bags
In the past, we've done shoe boxes for all of our gifts, but it never fails that I have a few not bring their boxes or someone doesn't cut the hole in the top big enough for the cards.  After several years of cutting my fingers up trying to jam packets of Nerds into the top of a shoe box, I found this great bag idea.  Here's a picture of the ones we made last year.  They turned out great and were very easy.

#6 Heart Freebies
Well, if you have any of my printable sets you've probably noticed I don't have a Valentine's Day set of printables.  Last year, I created these printables to share so you would know what my other printables were like.  If you like these, please visit my TPT store and check out my other printable sets or even the bundle.  The bundle has all the printables I've created.  Oh yeah, to get these printables and a few more click on any of the V-day pictures.

#7 Heart Crayons
A few years ago, I made some of these (mine were square) and they were a huge hit!  I found these over at First Grade Critter Cafe and they are too cute!  She gives tons of pictures so that you can see the step-by-step process and the instructions for making the crayons work.  The other thing I loved is my friend has tons and tons of other Valentine ideas.

#8 Valentine Bookmarks
This was another find from last year.  My kids loved these!  I printed, laminated, and cut them apart.  When my kiddos grabbed their book bins on Valentine's Day, they found the bookmarks.  The creator is Aynsley Patton.  If you grab them, be sure to leave her some sweet feedback.  She's pretty new to TPT, so I'm sure she will appreciate it!

Alright, I'm sure there are hundreds of other ideas, but these were just a few of my favorites.  Also, in case you haven't checked lately, I have several packets in my store that cover February.  Below are the cover pages for those packets.  I hope you will take time to check them out.

Have a great Thursday and stay warm!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Maps and Some Snow Fun

I know a week or two ago I showed you one of the map packets I found, but I never got a chance to show you my all-time, favorite map project.   Back at the beginning of the school year, I signed up for a postcard exchange.  This exchange had one person from each state send postcards to the other 49 states.  I had all of my post cards by the first weekend of November, but kept them a secret from my kiddos.  I knew that they would be perfect for the two weeks we cover map skills.

So, we get to the first week and I know that I want to hang them in the hallway on the map.  I also wanted the kids to find the states and then us run ribbon from the postcard to the map.  The only thing is we had one, little problem.  I had the postcards, I had the ribbon, but I didn't have a map nearly big enough for this project.  So, what's a girl to do?  I went and talked to my instructional coach who also happened to know where I could find a map.  You know those big maps that are on the rolls in your classroom?  Well, several of our teachers took them down when they got their Activboards.  I took a pair of scissors and cut the map off.  Now, if you ever do this, you will realize pretty quickly that it rolls up when you are trying to unroll it for tape.  When that happens, roll your map the opposite way.

Here's a picture of the final product!  We do still have a handful of postcards to add, but I'm pretty excited about how it's looking.   Friends, I have taught first grade for twelve years and if I had a teacher bucket list, exchanging postcards would be one of the things on it.  This is definitely one of my favorite activities I've ever done.

Another project I did that week was this "Me on the Map" project.  I got it from Clutter-Free Classroom.  We read the story "Me on the Map" every year, so this was a nice little project to add to the story.

Then, for writing this week we wrote poems about snow.  This is the little craft we did.  It's based off of           a craft from The Applicious Teacher.  We just used construction paper, felt, chalk (for the snowflakes), and I had spray on fake snow, so we used a little of that, too.  My kiddos picked their scarf and shirt colors and put everything together.  To help it go a little quicker, I drew the main pieces for them to cut out.

Alright, hope you guys have a great day!  I'm going to go work on touching up a few packets and will hopefully knock out my fourth nine weeks morning work.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

100th Day of School

I know most of you realize I live in Georgia.  This weather is crazy!  Seriously friends, our governor called a state of emergency late this afternoon.  Yes, I know, my sweet friends in the north don't get it.  Here's the thing.  Last year, I didn't wear more than a rain jacket.  That's how temperatures down here usually go.  There isn't a need for snow plows because really that's a waste of money when we see snow maybe once every four years.

So, last night some counties canceled school and some counties decided to go for it.  Well, tonight I am so very thankful for my county because we didn't go to school and the last few hours the news has covered bus accidents, students caught on buses for four hours or more, and schools with students and teachers spending the night because their isn't a way to get home.  I am sure that it is hard to decide what to do, especially when the snow we were expecting two weeks ago never came.  I'm just thankful that I'm home and my hubby is home (which was a four hour drive that usually takes 40 minutes).

Anyway, I'm saying all of that so that hopefully if you live in a northern state, you will take it a little easy on your southern friends.  Oh, and I promise my dog was not harmed in this picture.  We put her in the snow for a second to see what she would do and then brought her right back inside.

Alright, in other news I kind of skipped right past the 100th Day of School.  Well, not really… I have this packet that I fell in love with making, but it just took longer than planned.  So, I ended up moving it… not once, not twice… but three times.  Instead of celebrating the 100th Day of School, we are going to celebrate the 104th Day of School :)  I decided my kids would be okay with it and even though my task cards are for the 100th day, they can really be used whenever.

There are several pictures below of my new task cards.  Look through them and if you like them, then you can click on any of the pictures to get them on TPT.  All of the tasks are aligned to the first grade common core standards.

Now, when I do task cards, I pair my kiddos up or put them into groups of three.  They use their clipboards and a pencil for their recording sheets.  I spread my task cards around the room and let the quiet kids pick where they would like to start.  The kids are given around 6 or 7 minutes and then they switch to the next group.

Have a great night and stay warm!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Five on Sunday

Alright, I promise I know today is Sunday and that Friday was several days ago, but I really love Five for Friday.  Some weeks I am so disorganized, but this week I worked hard at being intentional and getting some pictures of what we are doing.

So, here's my Five for Friday… on Sunday.

1. Snowmen
I love making snowmen.  I could seriously spend an entire month just doing snowmen crafts and writing projects.  Here's a picture of our snowmen.  If you need a template for them, you can click one of the pictures and go download them.

2. Snowmen Writing
What would a snowman be without working in some sort of writing activity?  Well, when I made my Winter Printables packet, I made sure I included a "How to" writing on snowmen.  We made the snowmen on Tuesday and worked on our rough drafts and final drafts Wednesday and Thursday.  They turned out great!

Here are a few pictures of our writing folders.  I found these cards back at the beginning of the school year from Michelle Oakes and we use them all the time.  The best part is they are editable, so you can put your own words into your mini word wall.

3. Map Skills
Another thing we spent TONS of time on this week was map skills.  We made two different Me on the Map books.  We also spent time comparing globes and maps.  All my map stuff was a little outdated, so I decided to look on TPT.  Here is a pictures from one of the packets I bought.  It's from Amanda at One Extra Degree.  She usually makes upper grade stuff, but when I saw this I had to grab it.  Friends, I was easily able to use around 75% to 80% of the packet.  My kiddos loved the activities and the best part is I was able to make most of the activities small group or hands-on activities.

4. Homemade Snow
I found this at Momma's Fun World last year and my class loved it so much that I had to do it again.  Ins.  Here's what you need - 4 large, deep pans, 6 to 8 bottles of coconut conditioner (Dollar Tree), 16 small boxes of baking soda, 6 large boxes of baking soda, and plastic tablecloths.  Instead of measuring out everything, I dumped either 2 large boxes or 8 small boxes of baking soda in each pan.  Then, I added approximately a bottle of conditioner and mix it up.  Oh, and be prepared.  It will be EVERYWHERE!  You could see our little footprints all the way up our hallway.  The good thing is it is easy to sweep up once it dries.  Hope if you make it that you have as much fun as we did!

5. EBay Books
Shhh!!!!  I have a secret.  How many of you need more books in your room for your kiddos?  I'm guessing all of you thought, "I do!  I do!"  Well, every month or two I ask my kids to tell me what they are wanting.  This go around they wanted Sponge Bob, horse books, Charlie Brown, Junie B., etc.  I made a list and I went to see what I could find on EBay.  I ended up ordering around 75 books for $50.  The only ones that I had to pay a little more for were the Junie B. books.  If I took those out, I would have gotten 40 books for under $20.  Oh, and the best part is when you run it through Buy Now, you don't have to keep going back to bid.  One of the sets I ordered Friday was on my doorstep Saturday.  Plus, my kids are really learning to love reading and it gives them more options and choices.  So, be open to EBay.  Most of the books I have gotten have been in great shape and if I bought them anywhere else they'd be $3 or $4 a piece (if not more).