Wednesday, January 30, 2013

100th Day Glitter, Found Poetry, and a Yippee!!

100th Day Glitter

I am FINALLY starting to feel normal again and in honor of my new found energy I thought that I would share some super cool things will you all! First up is my 100 day photo prop that I made.  These were really simple and made of things that I had lying around. The base is made from recycled promotional yard signs that I picked up at RAFT for pennies each (see my post from last week to hear about this amazing place). The yard signs are made of a plastic corrugated material and are very durable. You could also use foam core if you didn't have the plastic. I free handed the numbers and cut them out using an X-acto knife. Once I had the shapes, I grabbed some colored card stock and a border punch and got to work. The paper was first cut into 3"x11" strips. I then punched the length of each strip and used a brown stamp pad to dirty up the edges and define the shape. Next, I used Tombo Mono Multi glue to adhere the strips to the plastic board.  This glue is great because it dries quickly and has a strong hold on a variety of surfaces.  Lastly, working from the back of the board, I used the X-acto knife to trim the extra paper off of the edges. After drying for a few hours, these were ready for the kiddos. These were Nugget-handled all day and still looked awesome when the day was done. Also, because they are so big the students were in awe when they walked in the room to begin their 100th day of school. I can't wait to bring them out again next year!


Found Poetry: Book Spine Poems

We are knee deep in our "How we express ourselves" I.B. unit on poetry and illustration unit and today we began our exploration into found poetry. This is a super simple activity that can easily be completed in one class period. Today was our library day, so we did this in the school library, but you could also use your classroom library. First we talked about what found poetry is and generated ideas of how and where we could create a found poem. I showed them examples of found poetry including blackout poetry, collage poetry, and book spine poetry. I then modeled the use of book titles to create a simple, yet powerful, three line poem. The nuggets worked in teams of two to three and "found" their poems. They really got into this activity. Each group only had to create one three line stanza, but a few of my high groups created multi-stanza poems and many groups created two or more poems. After they "found" their poem I took a photo of it and a photo of them holding their poem. I am going to print these photos and then the students can add them to their poetry anthologies. This was a great activity for those students who are not as confident with writing their own poems. It caused them to think outside of the box and their were so proud of what they created. Below are some of the poems the nuggets found.

Last up is a YIPPEE! 
I just confirmed my author for World Read Aloud Day! My class will be Skyping with Erin Dealey, the author of Goldilocks Has Chicken Pox and Little Bo Peep Can't Get to Sleep.

I am tickled pink and the kids are sooo excited! If you have not done this before, it is truly a must do! WRAD Author Skypes are a fabulous opportunity for students to connect with an author whose books they've read and even more importantly, it can ignite a passion for writing. If you would like more information about WRAD, see my post from yesterday for all the details.

P.S. Be on the look out for learning activities connected to these books. My creative juices are flowing!

That is all she wrote! Have a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SKYPE with an Author: World Read Aloud Day 2013 {March 6, 2013}

The last two years, I have had the amazing opportunity to participate in World Read Aloud Day. This event is sponsored by Lit World, an organization dedicated to global literacy. There are lots of different events that take place on this day, but my absolute favorite is Skype with an author. For the last few years, the talented children's author Kate Messner has invited published authors to come together and donate their time to talk to and read with classrooms across the nation via Skype.  Last year my class read with Carmela LaVigna Coyle (Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots). It was INCREDIBLE. The students were completely entranced and felt so special. She read to them, introduced them to her "writing space" and answered questions about what it is like to be an author. The students and their parents talked about it for months afterward.
Guess what?! The list of authors for 2013 is up! I was so excited to see that Ms. Coyle is on the list again this year. These spots do fill quickly, so don't delay. You can find the list by clicking HERE or on the World Read Aloud Button at the top of the post.
Have a wonderful night!

100th Day Celebration!

I LOVE the 100th day of school. It is always a bunch of fun and the kiddos get so excited! It is not as much fun when you have no voice and feel funky, but I made it work. Thank heavens for the student teacher extraordinaire who took the lead and spoke for me. Laura, you ROCK!

The writing/craftivity that I planned was a huge success. It can be hard to plan something that is Kinder-2nd Grade friendly as there is such a mix of levels, but having the scaffolded paper definitely helped. Even more amazing was the fact that we were able to knock it out in a 15min time period! You don't realize how little time it is until you are in the midst, but thank heavens for a super simple craft! Here are some photos from today. If you would like the 100th day freebie, check out yesterday's post.

                                KINDERGARTEN WRITING-

I will be posting some 1st and 2nd grade examples later. Right now, I need a nap and some Nyquil!

Monday, January 28, 2013

100th Day {FREEBIE}

Tomorrow is our 100th day of school. I have been under the weather so my grand plans will have to wait for next year! However, I was able to create a cute little writing activity and some photo props. At our school the K-2 team works together on the 100th day. We each create a rotation/activity and then the students travel through them in multi-age groups. We only have 15 minutes per group so the activity needs to be quick and fun. I typically take an art/writing activity. Last year we did "What I will look like at 100" along with a simple writing prompt. It was adorable, but I wanted to do something different as most of the students would be repeat customers! I ended up creating a fun little writing page that ties in the learner profile attribute of being "reflective." They will write about how they have grown as learners over the last 100 days. Then they will make a cupcake liner award rosette for the top oval. You could also have them draw a picture or fill it with 100 paint dabs! Tomorrow I will post all of the fun photos, but in case anyone else is in a 100th day planning frenzy, I wanted to give you the freebie first. The file includes three levels of writing paper (k-2 friendly) and the centers for the cupcake award rosettes. (Another idea would be to use a reflective (gold or silver) mylar paper and turn the center oval into a mirror.)
Before you download, remember that this is for personal classroom use only. It is NOT to be offered as a freebie on another site or sold in any form. Click on the photo below to take you to the freebie.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rainy Day Play Graphics & {FREEBIE}

I have been feeling a bit funky all weekend. This is what happens when most of my nuggets have been sick over the last two weeks. Apparently all of the E-mergen-C in the world couldn't save me from this! Since I have been in bed, I decided to clean up some of my personal graphics to add them to my Tpt. I finished a set today and thought that I would put up a preview for my bloggy friends! This set is called Rainy Day Play. It includes fun rainy day and weather related graphics.
I would love to know what you all think of my graphics. I have never offered them to the public before, so I would love any input! Just as a thank you, here is a freebie from this set. You can use this for personal or limited commercial use (for small, home based businesses only- TpT O.K.). To save the image, just right click and save or drag and drop it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

FREE Everyday Mathematics Apps!

I just wanted to quickly post this for any iPad/iPhone users out there. Everyday Mathematics has several of their Apps available for free in the iTunes Store. They do this every once in a blue moon and it is a great time to grab them while you can. They are great for your classroom, but are also fabulous for parents to download for their child to practice at home.
Simply head to iTunes and search Everyday Mathematics! Here are the apps that they have for free today:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home-made Story Cubes tutorial and freebie

I LOVE story cubes! I have a few sets of Rory's Story Cubes in my literacy centers, but they are pricy, not very cute, and have limited themes. I put my thinking cap on, took a trip to Beverly's Crafts, and got to work! These were super-dooper easy to make. The one at the top left is just doodled onto the wood with a Copic drawing pen. I like these because they don't bleed into the porous wood. The others were made using a simple transfer method (tutorial below).

Here's what you need:
1" wood craft cubes (Beverly's, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby should have them)
Citrasolve (Wholefoods)
Fine grit sandpaper 
popscicle sticks
laser printed images

1) Find images to transfer to your story cubes. I prefer line art images for this project because they are crisper when transferred. You can find some great free images online or purchase them on Etsy or Teacher's Pay Teachers. Some of my favorites I have purchased from KPM Doodles. If you would like a template, CLICK HERE. There are blank spaces for your images in addition to one pre-made story cube.

2) Print your images using the mirror image option on your printer page. YOU MUST USE A LASER PRINTER. I have heard of people using a copy machine that has powdered toner, but I personally have not had luck with this printing method and the laser printer images always work.

3) Next, gently sand the sides of your wooden cube and wipe of the dust until it is clean.

4) Then cut the images down to size. Choose one image and place it image side down on one side of the wooden cube.

5) Get a SMALL amount of Citrasolve on the Q-tip. Dab the image lightly until it is just transparent. Be careful not to saturate the image, because the toner will begin running and your image will be ruined. Once it is transparent you will see the image appear.

6) Hold the paper firmly in place (so that it doesn't move) and rub the image on the paper with the popsicle stick. Make sure that you rub the entire image so that it will transfer.

7) Remove the paper and you will see your newly transferred image! It is permanent, but I like to apply two coats of a water-based varnish (Triple Thick Gloss or Modge Podge).
*If there are lines in your image that are a bit faint, use a fine point permanent pen to fix it. To make it a bit fancier, you can also use a colored laser printer or color them by hand using Copic markers or colored pencils prior to varnishing.

I would love to see the story cubes that you create! If you make any of your own, please send me a link so that I can take a peek!

Until later!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I wanted to share an adorable project video made by one of my nuggets. This was his presentation report from our No Longer Neverland home experience. For this experience the students are guided through creating their own country. As part of our producers and consumers unit, this activity allowed students to dig deeper into understanding who/what constitutes a community and what resources are important to a local economy. The student gets to choose how they will "sell" their country to prospective tourists. I had everything from dioramas to plays. The most popular was a video project. I had 10 out of 22 students create some form of video project (new casts, commercials, interviews, etc...) The video below is a must share! This little nugget was so excited to create a movie and he did a fabulous job! (Thanks Yvette for your permission to post this!!)

Is that too stinkin' cute or what! I love that you have to go to the airport to go through the water. This nugget is adorable!
There are still more producers and consumers lessons to come! Watch out for No Longer Neverland. It is awesome!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

RAFT- Resource Area for Teachers

I wanted to share a fabulous teacher resource with all of my bloggy friends. RAFT is a non-profit that is located in Northern California (and now in Denver, CO) and has been a treasured resource regularly used by teachers. I haven't mentioned it much in the past, because I was worried that it might make some a bit envious and, being a pastor's wife, I really didn't feel that was a good thing for me to do to everyone! :) Now that they have a ton of resources available for free download and their kits can be purchased online, I feel a bit better. If you happen to travel to NorCal though, let me know. I would love to hook you up with a visit! So, here is the low-down!

RAFT is a teacher's haven. It is not a teacher store where you can buy a bunch of over-priced commercially made products. They have some of those items (at much better prices), but it is not typically what we all go for. RAFT is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and is the "dumping" site for tons of wealthy companies who do not want to throw out materials, but would prefer to donate it for educational purposes. Yahoo, Meri-Meri, Apple, Klutz, HP, and countless other companies regularly donate materials to RAFT. There is everything from printer labels, funky dice, and brand new flat screen computer monitors ($35!) to bulk bin barrels (dozens and dozens) where you can fill any recycled shopping bag for $2.50! You never know what is in the bulk bins, but there is always a wide variety. I have scored hot fix Swarovski crystals, new metal bottle caps (great for games). packages of fancy envelopes, file folders, CDs, magnet tape, velcro, etc.... This last Christmas I bought 24 large puff glass star ornaments (each one approx 8" across) for $5! They were perfect parent gifts and were easily filled and decorated! One of my favorite things though is the file folders. I have been known to take them to the workroom (I will explain this fab place next) and use them with the die cut presses. They are sturdier than cardstock and are great for 3d shapes, pop-up cards, and anything requiring some stiffness. Plus, I can easily get 100+ for $2.50! Over the years I have gotten some amazing things at RAFT and it has definitely eased the financial burden of having next to no classroom budget.

The workroom is AWESOME! In the district that I teach there is no longer a teacher's resource room. There are no laminators, die cut presses, button machines, bookbinders, etc... We either buy these things ourselves or go without. RAFT has filled this void for many teachers, including myself. While I do have a personal laminator and a Silhouette (with which I could not live without!), but sometimes I need to cut super thick materials or repeats of a specific shape and it would take forever on the Silhouette. Also, I have a laminating addiction so the giant laminators are my friends! The workroom is also a great place for teachers to collaborate and giggle as we share our funny teacher stories. In addition to these physical resources, RAFT also hosts seminars on a wealth of topics, all for little to no cost. It is truly an amazing place!

My favorite thing about RAFT is something that is available to everyone online, their kits. Most of the kits are focused on Art, Science and Math, but there are some ELA kits also. There are kits for all grade levels and topics and they are common core aligned! During my forces and motion unit I use countless kits from RAFT. Some of my favorite kits are Roller Racers and Roll Back Cans (great for potential and kinetic energy lessons), Car on a Roll, Buzz Off, and Puff Rockets (these are the bomb). What is cool is that you can either purchase the kits online or you can print off the activity sheet (free) and make the kits yourself. Most of the materials are cheap (if not free from your recycling bin) and accessible. The best part is that these activities are rich and engaging hands-on explorations. Other things that you can purchase online include their blank card decks and dice (SO COOL)! I buy these all of the time. They are great for name cards or creating your own games. Unlike laminated cardstock, they are very durable (just like traditional, high quality playing cards). When I use them for games, I will use a different color deck for the different levels of the students (red-emergent, green- grade level, blue-advanced). It makes it easy for me to remember what to pull for which group! Also, when they are in my math workstation tubs the nuggets can easily choose the cards that they are suppose to use.

Here is my RAFT score from their back to school promotion. I will warn you...only look if you have tremendous resolve, live in Cali, or are planning a trip to Cali soon! I spent less than $100 for all of this (and 30 $.10 cute animal posters for my treasure chest & the bulk bags which I didn't even bother dumping). The lines this day were CRA-ZY! I have never waited this long in line at RAFT, but boy was it worth it!!

I hope that you enjoyed this peek into RAFT!
Until tomorrow :)


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