Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Thanksgiving Fun & a few Freebies

I can't believe that it is almost Thanksgiving.  It still feels like it should be October - this year is flying by!   

I have blogged about this fun thanksgiving activity before but this year I have added a few more fun activities to my Pass the Turkey product and wanted to share it again!  

I love projects that involve families and this one is my absolute favorite!  

In social studies we have spent the month sharing about our cultures and learning about each other's family traditions.  This week we will focus on understanding what it means to be thankful and will create Thankful Turkeys to send home for this special project.  

Here are some pictures from last year where students created their turkeys and wrote what they were thankful for.  Once the turkeys were finished they took the turkeys home,  and brought them the table on Thanksgiving day and ask their family what they were thankful for.
We are going to make our Thankful Turkeys tomorrow and  will send  them letter home on to explain this project a remind them to have students bring turkey back to school on Monday. 


Here is a completed Thankful Turkey from last year:
The responses were wonderful and filled with love.  I was totally crying by the time we were done sharing!  A few parents told me at the end of the year that the turkeys were one of their favorite projects all year and that they planned on bringing their "thankful turkey" out each year. 

I have just updated my Pass the Turkey Please product to include some other fun activities to do with my kiddies this week!
Hop over to my TPT store to check it out!!  

Here is are a few other fun Thanksgiving FREEBIES!

To go with the Thankful Freebie, here is a link to a safeshare read aloud of the story Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy spending time with your families!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I am linking up for the first time with Ms. DeCarbo over at Sugar and Spice for her fun link up called Wordless Wednesday.  

What do you think this little cutie is doing? 
I bet your are right, and I hope it makes you smile today!

Happy Wednesday everyone!! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston & Scarecrow Freebies

The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston is one of my favorite fall books.  It is a beautifully illustrated storybook about a sad scarecrow who is longing for friends.  All the animals that come near him are afraid of his scary appearance but as the season changes and fall becomes winter he is transformed by the snow into a friendly looking snowman.

I love reading this story each fall and using it as a mentor text for practicing identifying the problem and solution and teaching central message.  As my sweeties uncover the central message, don't judge a book by its cover, it gives us opportunities to talk about friendship and the importance of getting to know each other.  This story also allows students to identify how the scarecrow's feelings change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.  There are so many wonderful ways to use this book...

Check out my latest product which has everything you need for a full filled scarecrow unit.  There are opinion writing activities as well as story maps, word work activities and vocabulary rich noun, verb and adjective sorting center.

Now for a few fun freebies!  Check out Enchanted Learning's fun and FREE printable scarecrow patterns!  My cuties just loved making their own scarecrows!  

Another fun scarecrow FREEBIE that I found was this great math center.  Click the picture below to check out Teach With Laughter's Roll and Add Math Station.  In case you have never used Roll and Cover centers for your class, they are the cutest simplest math centers that allow students to practice adding using 2 and 3 dice.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guest Blog Post - Small Group Instruction

Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom invited me to write about small group instruction and I was so excited! Click here to check out the post about small group instruction !

Click picture below to see my PowerPoint solution to managing small group instruction!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Great Ways to Bridge the Home-School Connection

I thought I would share a few great websites that have been really making a difference with the way I communicate with parents this year.

Remind is a quick simple way to send messages to parents (and students).   It is free and so easy to use, all you have to do is set up your class profile and then follow the directions to invite parents to join your class.  You can send messages from the computer or right from your mobile phone and parents get the messages as texts or in their email.  You can attach documents and photos, which is great for permission slips or to send a pic of those cute classroom moments!

Remind only works one direction, so parents cannot respond and the messages don't come from my cell phone number they come from my Remind number so it respects my privacy.  I almost forgot to mention that you can schedule your messages ahead of time, which can be a real life saver for people like me who forget things easily!  As soon as I get the monthly newsletter, I schedule reminders for PTA meetings, events, town hall meetings and any other special happenings in my classroom.  

This is the 2nd year that I have used Remind and I can't imagine not using it now!  The parents in my class absolutely LOVE it!  

Sign Up Genius has been a long time favorite resource of mine.  I first found this website years ago when my hubby and I were swim team reps for our children's large swim team.  We needed a way to organize the countless parent volunteer jobs for each swim meet.  Sign Up Genius was the perfect solution!!  We have used it for other PTA volunteer functions over the years so I can't believe that it took me so long to use it as a teacher.  Last year I decided to use the website to coordinate parent teacher conferences.  It was great!!  

To get started, you have to create a free account and then simply follow the very user friendly steps to set up your event(s).  After you have all your days and times set up you can "publish" your sign up and it gives you a link to send out to parents.  You can also send parents emails directly from Sign Up Genius but I liked used the link because I simply cut and pasted the link into a Remind message and shot it out to parents in Remind!

Parents follow the link and pick their conference time!  One of the great things about Sign Up Genius is  the reminder feature; it will email parents before the event!  No more sending those endless flyers home trying to coordinate conference times!  I love it!  

Sign Up Genius is also great for setting up parent volunteers in your classroom!  Last year was the first time I used Sign Up Genius for my conferences and to help coordinate classroom volunteers!  

Volunteer Spot is another free website that is similar to Sign Up Genius (SUG) but is truly intended for coordinating volunteers.  I decided to give it a try this year to see how it was compared to my beloved SUG!  So far, I really like it!  I have all my conferences scheduled through SUG but my monthly volunteers are coordinated using Volunteer Spot.  

I know the internet is full of great resources for teachers and parents.  I hope you liked learning about my favorites!  What are some of your go to websites?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Batty for Bats!

Batty for bats!!!  This week we are just loving these furry little mammals!  It's Halloween week and we have been spending our time reading and devouring facts about BATS!

Here are a few fun SafeShare songs that my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Beware, you will be sining Echo, Echo, Echolocation! After you view this cute little JumpStart song!!

After we researched and learned all sorts of fun things about Bats we started practicing sorting facts from opinions!  We practiced this all last week with our spider research so it was a fun way to continue practicing.  My kiddos did an amazing job of taking their opinions and supporting them with facts!  

 In math we are working on surveys and bar graphs, so of course we had to take a survey about bats!

Do you think bats are cool or spooky?  COOL won by a landslide!
The bats they created turned out super cute and are hanging all around our classroom making everything look very spooky and decorative for Halloween!  This cute little bat even made his way into my guided reading tree!

Check out my brand new Batty for Bats Opinion Writing Unit!  It comes with everything you need to take all your bat research to the next level! 

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Happy Halloween everyone!! 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fun Spider Fact and Opinion Writing with Freebies!

All week we have been having such fun reading and researching all about spiders!  One of the best books I found was a National Geographic Kids book with awesome text features and full color photographs!  We cleared out our library of all their non-fiction spider books and dove right in!   I found some great spider freebies on the Kidzone website to supplement our learning.  My kiddos had a blast learning about our 8 legged friends.

After all our research, we used Amy Lemons cute little power point freebie to practice seeing the difference between facts and opinions!  This was the perfect activity to help bridge the facts that they had learned and their thoughts and feelings about spiders.

After our whole group lesson on facts and opinions, students worked in pairs to sort their research sentences into facts and opinions.  After students sorted their sentences, they wrote their first opinion pieces and created cute spiders to decorate our room just in time for Halloween! Their writing turned out great and they were so excited to create the spiders!!

Click below to pick up my Spider Opinion Writing Freebie! 

Next week we are going to focus our research on Bats!  I just love this time of the year...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Safe way to use YouTube in the classroom

Who doesn't love YouTube?  There are so many great educational videos out there.  I love finding songs, brain breaks, book read alouds and even the occasional indoor recess movie!  What I don't love about YouTube are the ads that pop up after the videos!  Yikes,  they can be so distracting and occasionally they are down right inappropriate!

So, what's the solution?  Safe Share. SafeShare.TV is a simple website where you insert your youtube link and Safe Share gives you a SafeShare.TV link that eliminates all those distractions. 

Here's how to create a SafeShare link in 3 easy steps:

1. Copy the link of the YouTube video you want to SafeShare.

2. Open SafeShare.TVand paste the link from YouTube into the box in the middle of the page.

3. Click on the green, General Safe Link button and a the click the red link to safely view your video in a new window.  You can copy and share that link in emails, power points, and documents.  

Bonus, you can click on Customize video and edit how much of the video you would like to see.

Here is the SafeShare link for this cute little Adaptation video that I found on YouTube!

Here are a few of my favorite SafeShare (YouTube) videos:

Echolocation - cute song with catchy tune!

Continent Song - I love the graphics and photos in this video and the song is so easy to sing, the kids will be singing their continents in no time.

Bruno Mars sings Don't Give Up with some Sesame stars!  I love showing this to my little guys and reminding them to work hard everyday!

Friends of Ten is a cute little song about all the combos of making the number ten! This has been great for the beginning of the year in 1st grade!  

What are your favorite classroom YouTubes?  Please share below and check out SafeShare for yourself!  Oh yeah, did I mention that it's FREE?  Gotta love that!!