Monday, December 31, 2012

I am breaking the rules! **Another Freebie**

I realize that it is a blogger rule to only post once a day, but this blogger is behind! Anyhoo, it means another freebie for you, so I hope that you don't mind.
Christmas break has been wonderful, but I am itching to get back to my classroom. We live in a smallish town, so I have been seeing my nuggets all over the place and it makes me miss them more! I truly have a fabulous class this year and I am really excited to start our new I.B. unit when we return from break. It is one of my FAVORITES, because it focuses on poetry and illustration. Hello- perfect for the English and Art teacher that will forever live in my soul! Those activities will be coming in the next few weeks, but I still have LOTS of producers and consumers lessons to share, thus the reason for blog post two of the day! I am almost finished cleaning up one of my favorite activities from this year, The Pinwheel Factory. This was a crazy fun lesson that had the kids truly become producers. They produce both independently and collaboratively and trust me, you will have a room FULL of pinwheels when all is said and done. We had some for show, made a bunting for the office, and still my nuggets were stuffing them in their backpacks for days. This is one of those activities that the kids want to keep doing (even during recess). I finally had to hide the supplies! Best of all, it is full of ELA and social studies connections. It is a writing teachers dream! I am offering one of the writing papers as a freebie today. Use it for your own pinwheel exploration or as a fun paper for your writing center! Check back tomorrow for the full unit posting.

More Producers and Consumers and another FREEBIE!

I realize that it is nearly the new year and many of you have finished with your Thanksgiving themed lessons, but this is a great Native American mini-unit to grab while you can! This is from my producers and consumers unit that I wrapped up right before Christmas break. It is stocked full of fabulous activities and lessons to teach your students about Native Americans and their culture. From cooking in the classroom to a cornhusk craftivity, it is 32 pages of fabulousity (yes, I made up this word, but it is so fitting)! It is full of engaging and thought provoking activities and, as always, it is filled with opportunities for writing! I can't help it though. This is what happens when a high school English/Art teacher begins teaching second grade! Also, I have included some modified writing papers to meet the needs of all writers.

I will be loading this to my TpT today and it will be priced at $3 for a limited time. Grab it while you can!

Because I am a sucker for freebies, I am offering this page from the unit. I love the critical thinking that happens when nuggets compare things that they love!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Bizarre Bazaar Giveaway!

My first Tpt file is online! I am so excited and am looking forward to sharing all kinds of goodies with my teacher friends. To celebrate this I am going to give a few lucky folks this fun unit. All that you need to do to enter is add a comment below and follow my NEW Tpt store. Next week I will choose two lucky winners.
Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Days 10 & 11: Elf on the Shelf, Christmas gifts for the kiddos, and a new *FREEBIE!*

Two more days with Snowflake have passed and boy has it been fun!
Day 10:
On Friday Snowflake took it easy and hung out on our I.B. wall. I think that she loves I.B. almost as much as I do! It was great to have a discussion with the nuggets about what Learner Profile Attributes best describe Snowflake. Many of the kids thought that she was a real risk taker, while others thought that she was very caring because of all of the sweet things that she has done. It was really a fun discussion and really got the kids to think and reflect on the attributes.

Day 11: Today was a fun little day. After the craziness of the last few days before break, having a head-ache and heart-ache from the tragedy on Friday, making parent gifts, and trying to finish the Bizarre Bazaar final assessment, I truly needed to see my nuggets smile. It always brings joy to my day and helps me to recognize why I do what I do. Today Snowflake helped me out. She was perched on a glittery bell covered wreath with a sweet little poem (thanks to my dd Madyrose) hanging below. She also brought bells and copies of the poem for each student. They LOVED it! Many of them quickly tore off the poem and glued it in their journal so that they wouldn't lose it. They then put the bell bracelets on and wore them throughout the day. It was such a fun little thing. Check out the poem freebie at the bottom of the post!

Next up, student Christmas gifts! I am a huge gift giver. It is something that I have always loved to do. Even more so, I love to make gifts for others as it always makes it more special. This year I made scarfs for each student. I purchased some yummy soft fleece and used my trusty rotary cutter to make nice straight scarfs. I then used a strip cutting tool to fringe the bottoms. Lastly, I used my Silhouette to make iron-on vinyl monograms for each scarf. The girls got polkadots and the boys got tie-dye. I used different colors so that no two are alike (and no one gets them mixed up)! The scarfs only took one Saturday to make, but, because I have a bad case of over-the-top syndrome, the wrapping took the entire Sunday. My Silhouette got a work out!

Now for the FREEBIE! Click the link below for a copy of Snowflake's jingle bell poem.
Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Producers and Consumers Freebie!

Over the last 5 weeks I have been knee deep in producers and consumers. This I.B. unit is under How we organize ourselves and focused on economics. It was a unit that was very frustrating to plan, but incredibly successful. Teaching economics to second graders can be tricky, but they always amaze me. I have TONS of activities and resources that I have created for this unit and will be finally adding to and launching my Teacher's Pay Teachers page! So keep an eye out for what is soon to come! I will be discussing the unit activities here over the next few weeks. Thank heavens for the holiday break!

It may be strange to start at the end of the unit, but I LOVE this activity and can't wait to share it! This week I started the final assessment activity, The Bizarre Bazaar. For this activity the students were placed in groups of 2-3 and were each given a budget. They toured our "supply shop" and then brainstormed potential products that they could create. They then went through the process of choosing the final product (many times synthesizing their ideas) and the writing step by step instructions, pricing, creating supply lists, and creating. As you can guess, my classroom has truly become the Land of Glitter. That stuff is everywhere! Even after two showers I still sparkle! Next week we will be doing profit calculations, becoming consumers by shopping in the other class, graphing data, and comparing and contrasting the economies of each classroom. Of course, in true I.B. fashion, we will conclude with reflection. Here is a photo of a little bit of the creating:
The kids have really gotten into this activity. They don't even want to go to recess! I love it!!! As the freebie today, I am going to give you the Brainstorming and the Product pages. The rest of the activity should be up on TpT by the end of the weekend!! YIPEE!!! Just click on the photo below to get your freebie!
Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

Day 9: Elf on the Shelf

Day 9 was a funny day. Our elf was a stinky little bugger. She toilet papered the classroom. It was quite a mess! The funniest part was that apparently these hijinks are not as common as they were in my youth. Many of the kids did not get it. Some said "Gross! She is going to the bathroom in the library!" A few others had a discussion about her going to jail because she was messing up the classroom and toilet papering is against the law (really??). was funny anyways and they had a lot to write about!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elf on the Shelf: The Journey Continues

I am so glad that I decided to Elf-ify my classroom this year. My students absolutely love it! Every morning they search for her and then pull out their journals, eager to write all about what she was up to the night before. Many of them are writing 2-3 journal pages today and would likely write more if I didn't stop them. It is such a cool thing to witness. Below are days 6-8. Enjoy!

Day 6: A Sweet Treat! Snowflake surprised everyone when she brought in creamy hot chocolate and more marshmallows than any elf could eat. It was the perfect thing for a cool December morning. She is such a thoughtful little sprite!
Day 7: Snowflake was hard at work! She spent the entire day checking us out. I wonder who is on that little list of hers?
 Day 8: A Little High Flying Fun! Today Snowflake flew through the air with the greatest of ease! She is the daring young elf on the flying trapeze. Such a talented little thing!
 Well, that is it for the last few days. Check back later for more elf antics!
Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Elf on the Shelf Journey & Freebie

I have seen lots of fabulous Elf on the Shelf ideas in the blogosphere, but I thought that I would share our daily journey this year. I have also created a great little journal for students to record what the rascally little elf has been up to. They write about what they think happened while they were gone and what clues helped them figure it out. Look for the link at the bottom of this post.

Here are the first five days. I will post the next five days next week.

Day 1:
This year we began with our elf arriving in a fancy little box with a marshmallow pillow and a polka dot blanket. After reading the book together, the students had a chance to name her. They decided on Snowflake. Before long, Snowflake had found a place to perch.
Day 2: Snowflake was up for an adventure, but there was a stink'n binder clip in the way so her ziplining was cut short. Oh well, it was a great place to keep watch for the day.
Day 3: Day three was literally sweet! Snowflake got her fill of Pixy Stixs and then made snow angels in what was left!
Day 4: Snowflake decided to get crafty and glitter-fy! She must have gone wild with the glitter, because we found some on every surface of the classroom. The kiddo's thought that she wanted to share her magic with them. I think she might just be a bit messy

Day 5: Snowflake makes a friend. Our bearded dragon, Sprout, has made a life-long friend in Snowflake. Imagine the adventures that they might have!

That is our journey thus far. While you are here, be sure to download the Elf Journal! It is a great way to capture all of the excitement in words!

Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Giveaway at Teaching with Love and Laughter

I almost forgot! Teaching with Love and Laughter is having a fabulous giveaway sponsored by Learning Resources. Be sure to check it out!

A Ton of Fun with Life Cycles

Clearly life has gotten away from me as it has been two months since I last posted! I promise that I will be making up for it over the next week! Watch out for some fabulous tips and ideas and several fabulous freebies!

 We are just wrapping up our Sharing the Planet I.B. unit that focused on life cycles. The students were incredible inquirers and dug deep into the content. We explored the life cycles of mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds. One of my favorite parts was hatching chicks in class.
Here are some photos:

 Our class incubator
I placed it in the writing station and the students would record observation & predictions, but many of them also wrote creative stories about the eggs and the chicks to be.
We also spent time candling our eggs. I was able to rig a low wattage light unit and my projector to get a great view of what was going on inside. The details were amazing. We could see veins and body parts as they were developing! This was one of the class' favorite pictures because you can see the feet. The nuggets would scream with glee whenever they saw something new during candling. It was quite exciting.
This is a picture from our hatching day. Our first chick had begun breaking through when we arrived in the morning. It spent the day breaking free and the nuggets got to see the whole process. It was awesome! It did however make us late for lunch because it made its final escape right before they were to be excused! Oh well, it was worth it!
Meet Eggdrop! This was our first hatchling.
 The chicks stayed in our class for almost two weeks. The students love it and it was not as much of a distraction as I thought it would be. They even read to them during read to someone else!

I will post some activity pages later today. Right now I am off to get ready for a luncheon.
Bug hugs,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Family History Freebie

It has been a CRAZY week. Between a field trip, Back to School Night, and Labor Day, I feel like my head has been spinning! Unfortunately that meant that my poor little blog was neglected. To make it up to you all I am offering another home experience freebie. This one is "We are Family" and focuses on family histories. It includes a heritage section, an interview, and a fun artifact box activity. As with all of my experiences I have included a reflection piece for the conclusion of the experience. Later this week I will be posting some in-class companion pieces. If you download this experience, please let me a little note. It will bring a smile to my face!
Hugs, peace, and chicken grease,

To download, click the picture below or use the Google interface at the bottom of this post.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Turning-point Teacher

Today I would like to celebrate a teacher that made a difference in my life. I am rarely this sappy, but as the school year begins I am reminded of the reasons why I do what I do and love teaching so much. My hope is that one day my students will be able to look back and feel the same way about me as I do about this stellar teacher from my youth.

Growing up in a small town, our teachers were often a part of our lives in and out of the classroom. This particular teacher lived in a little blue house, around the corner from my childhood home. Her yard was perfectly manicured and her driveway flanked with pristine white rose hedges. When I found out that she was going to be my teacher I was a bit nervous. I had seen her out in her "perfect" yard with her boys every Saturday. She always made them work until everything completed, even in the hot, sweltering sun. Slacking was not allowed and they could not come play unless all of their chores were done. I also knew that she ate apples in their entirety, core, stem, seeds, and all. Needless to say I was quite anxious on the first day of school, thinking that nothing short of perfection would be acceptable to her and at this time in my life I was far from perfect. I still remember entering the room and trying to find my seat, hoping that it was in the very back of the room. Of course, that wasn't the case, but little did I know that this was truly the place that I needed to be and that it was intentional on her part. What I found out, later in life, was that she had learned about something that was the mortar to a wall I was building as a child.  The previous spring I had been informed, through a cousin in spite, that my father was gay and had contracted HIV. I had never known why my parents divorced when I was so young, but when my mom confirmed the facts I shut down. I didn't know how to cope with or express what I was feeling.  I was confused, I was angry, I was scared, and as a child of the eighties I didn't feel like I could talk to or share this with anyone. Throughout the school year this teacher was intentional in her interactions with me and slowly the wall came down. She never talked to me about what was going on in my life, but her kindness, compassion, and endless encouragement made me feel safe again. Under her tutelage I learned that writing was the lifeline that I so desperately needed. She taught me to journal, to create imaginary places to which I could escape, and process my emotions in a reflective way. That school year, which in the beginning I dreaded, turned out to be the year I became a passionate writer.  This teacher still lives in the little blue house, around the corner from my mom. Her rose hedges are not quite as perfect as they once were, but she will always be the teacher who taught me the freedom that comes in putting a pen to paper.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

I am having another fun day of blog hoppin! Today is Where I Teach Wednesday. I did a complete make over this year. I posted a bunch of pictures not long ago, but in honor of the blog hop, here it goes....again!

Be sure to check out all of the other amazing spaces!


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