Monday, December 17, 2012

If you wanna be a pirate...

I told my students that if any of them wanted to be a pirate when they grew up, they better learn to count money.  So, last week we learned to count quarters. We practiced counting by 25's by making paper chains. The kids worked in groups of two and had to collaborate in order to complete their chain. Their chains had to have 25 rings in it.  We hung the chains up in our classroom with labels by them: 25, 50, 75, 100.

We then gave each student a bag of quarters and allowed them to purchase a book and a candy cane from   my aide and myself . They had to count the money out for us and if they had trouble they had to count it out several times until they were comfortable counting by 25's.

The kids were proud of the books that they purchased and enjoyed the cherry flavored candy canes.

We also practiced counting by 25's on our worksheet and colored correct number of quarters to go with the price tags of toys. We talked about the dollar sign and when to use it. We talked abut the decimal and what it meant.

As always when we do our flipped activities, my students worked cooperatively and quietly.  I'm always amazed at how they love project based learning!!! It's a joy to me!  I feel confident that these kids will make fine pirates!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Best Elf on the Shelf Story I've Heard


I've really resisted letting the kids tell me Elf on the Shelf stories because it gets them all jacked up and  we have two more weeks of school until Christmas break.  I have a class this year that has a deep need to express what's on their minds even if a bomb is exploding.  They WILL finish their statement first no matter what.  One of my boys came into class and said, as he was unpacking, "You know what Scout did?"  I didn't have a clue who he was talking about and was concerned that there had already been an incident on the playground for the early arrivals.  "What who did," I asked?.
      The reply came, "Scout, my elf on the shelf." Ugh!  Okay, I would listen.  There weren't too many other kids in the room yet so I let him continue.  "He painted my nose blue," he exclaimed!  "When I woke up Scout was there with a note that said to go look in the mirror.  I went in the bathroom and looked and he had painted my nose blue in the night!  I got to get rid of that elf!"  It was hilarious.  I've not had a single kid tell me they wanted to get rid of their elf since the whole elf on the shelf thing started. I had to laugh!  The boy went on and on about how Scout had gotten into the paint box and left the lid open.  He told me that his four year old little brother also got his nose painted, but not his infant brother.  I thought to my self 'that was a good one'!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flipped Classroom Math Lesson

 Today for our flipped classroom math lesson activity we went on a scavenger hunt.  The students had to visit seven different stations around the school, count the number of objects at each station, record the number, and then record whether there was a dozen of that object or not.  At their final station, they had to pour cups of water into a pint container until it was full then record how many cups of water the pint container would hold.  All hands on activities to reinforce the concepts of dozen, cup, and pint.  My students told me this was the best day of their life.  Just a little creative thought and a little cooperation from my fellow staff members and voila, we have great math lesson.  The kids loved touring the school and counting objects.  They were VERY cooperative and VERY quiet.  The school staff reported to me that they handled themselves incredibly well.  I was so proud of them.  If you are interested in flipped classroom lessons, please e-mail me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kids Convict Themselves

For our big bulletin board in the hall we decided to do a Star Search.  Since I teach at a private Christian School we are blessed to talk about the true meaning of Christmas ALL day long.  We are on the hunt for just the right star to do the important job of hanging out over the manger in Bethlehem and lighting the way for the shepherds and wise men to find their way to baby Jesus.  The kids had to fill out an application for the job.  Of course, everyone wanted the job.  They had to tell if they had been naughty or nice.  Many of the students answered truthfully before erasing their answer and circling the politically correct answer.  After all who wants to hire a star who's been naughty?!  You can get my Star Application on TPT by clicking the application below. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Owl Reports

My students gave their owl reports today and did a great job!!! They learned so much about owls and had such a great time. Each student got an owl pop as a reward for completion. I just love doing this unit with my students. Available on TpT. Click here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Something to Hoot About!

We've been studying owls. I have a great three day SMARTboard lesson. Full of links and craft projects. This is one of the projects that we do during the week. The students also prepare owl reports for me with basic information about their assigned owl. Did you know some owls are only 6" tall? The kids just live this unit. Check out my owl SMARTboard unit and report on TpT.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hands on Hundreds Place

This week we have been working on understanding just how many is a hundred. Our flipped lesson this week was a video on place value and the hundreds place. Today in class the kids had to make rows of ten of whatever object I gave them. Then once they had ten tens, they were to put the objects in the hundreds place of their sorting mat and keep on making rows of ten. I could see by the twinkle in their little eyes that they were beginning to understand the concept of the hundreds place. They were so excited when they arrived at the number to correspond with the amount of objects they had.
You can get my flipped lesson video and sorting may by clicking here.

 This is how a completed sorting mat looks. And, yes, the kids did this one themselves.
These boys were just fixing to move their stack of ten tens over to the hundreds place.  
 This group used pennies.  They were on their way to a successful sort.
This group had a more difficult time because their objects were four different sizes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

VOTE 2012!

Our school held their own elections today. Our 6th grade class set up the poll complete with voting booths. It was so cute. My first graders made driver licenses so that they could get voter registration cards since they had never voted before. And those 6th graders were very careful to check every driver license and voter registration card. It was a great activity after watching my Presidential Election SMARTboard lesson.

We each got a sticker that said "I VOTED" and a "VOTE" bookmark. It was a fun day!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Leaves Have Arrived

We sent off our pecans Friday and today we got our fall leaves from first graders in Waterville, Maine!! Also, my sweet son and daughter in law from Quantico, Varginia sent us fall leaves. It was interesting to see the difference in the two.

Our friends in Maine sent us apples from one o the local orchards. They are just the right size for my "little people". You know, everything is bigger in Texas and apples are no exception. Here in Texas our apples are four times this big. But, these little jewels are really juicy and sweet. Thank you, so much, to our friends in Maine at Temple Academy!! We will hang our leaves in our classroom window and pretend we live in the northeast.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flipped Lessons, flipped pecans, and flipping out over balloons

Wow! What a busy week we have had!! We had our second "flipped" lesson and follow-up activity in class the next day. The kids got to sort different kinds of crackers according to shape and then draw some shapes of their own. They worked busily and quietly. They all understood the difference between a square and a rectangle after the flipped lesson that they viewed at home. And, they enjoyed eating the manipulative afterwards! :-)

Then, we pulled in all our gathered pecans and packaged them to be sent to our friends in Waterville, Maine. We are looking forward to receiving our leaves and Maine apples. We can't wait to get a class picture from them so we can see what kids look like in Waterville, Maine.

Finally, we ended our week with a "balloon stomp" to reinforce addition and subtraction skills. I have NEVER had so much fun listening to my students practice their addition and subtraction facts. Thank you to Ron Clark from the Ron Clark Academy for the inspiration. Definitely worth it. I think this was more fun than Halloween for the kids.  Everyone cheered for everyone else and EVERYONE had fun.  The kids just kept thanking me and hugging me.


I had the parents blow up balloons and write one addition or subtraction problem on each balloons.  The students had to find a balloon that they knew the answer to and give me the whole equation out loud before they could pop their balloon.  Just Fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Flipped Lesson

All the elementary teachers from my school went to a technology conference this summer where I learned about "flipped" lessons. The idea is that the student views the lesson at home from their computer, then the teacher has more time to help students with their work on a one to one basis. Well, it's true. I recorded a lesson introducing the use of a ruler. The students were completely informed of how to use a ruler. Then the next day at school we measured all sorts of objects and recorded them. The students had to figure out what size envelope they would need to put their objects in. Our school administrative assistant (a.k.a. genius lady) gave us envelopes and we had to decide if each object would fit using our "greater than less than skills". Whew! This lesson became so much more than I ever imagined it could be. The envelopes were filled with their objects and the record sheet and was then mailed home. The kids had a ball. And, the parents were totally on board with talking about rulers and their uses at home without me even asking. I can't wait to make my next "flipped" lesson. I will post the recording sheet as a freebie this weekend, so check back.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Just Because It's Fall

I made these treats for my class and will give them out tomorrow just because it's fall. Fall gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about cool weather and the approaching holidays. I hope the kids like them. The pencil was my husband's idea and I really think it completed the little bundle nicely.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Leaf Exchange

My first graders will be picking something up off the ground and exchanging it for something another group of first graders will be picking up off the ground. What is it? You guessed it....pecans and fall leaves. Since we don't have fall leaves in our part of the country, I called a school in Waterville, Maine and asked if they could supply the leaves. They graciously agreed and the swap was on. My kids picked pecans up, we had them cracked, packed them, baked some pecan treats, and shipped them off to Maine. Both parties were happy with their newly acquired treasures. We hung the fall leaves in our classroom window and they were beautiful. The first graders at Temple Christian Academy sent us the most gorgeous red, orange, and golden leaves you have ever seen. They pressed the leaves between two pieces if waxed paper with an iron and they lasted until late spring. It was amazing. This will be the perfect time for my Fall Unit which has several leaf activities. What a great way to bring fall into a city that doesn't really go through fall.

This is Temple's playground with a tree full of gorgeous red leaves. 
This is one of the classes that we swapped with several years ago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SMART Exemplary Educator

This past summer I applied to be a SMART Exemplary Educator and I received confirmation today that I have been accepted into the program.  I am thankful to the  parent organization at our school for the successful fund raiser that they do enabling the purchase of SMARTboards for K-6th grade.  The SMARTboards have revolutionized the way we teach and are keeping us in-line with ever increasing technology.  The six and seven year olds in my classroom know how to use the SMARTboard as well as I do.  It is "the way" of their generation. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Presidential Election

Can't wait to show my little people my new SMARTboard lesson for the Presidential Election.  Super cute clip art of Romney and Obama.  I think they will understand the process a little better.  I made it nonpartisan so that didn't clutter their minds.  I think that's a little deep for them in first grade.  You can get my SMART notebook file on TPT.  Just click this link: Presidential Election

Punctuation Pumpkins

We have finished making our punctuation pumpkins and even painted them with a little "frost". This activity went great with our reading and discussions about basic punctuation. We also added our acrostic acorns to the bulletin board for a fantastic fall feel. The acrostic acorns are included in my Fall Fun Math and Literacy unit on TpT.  The Punctuation Pumpkins are in my Halloween unit. Each leaf has the definition for five different punctuation marks.
 The kids enjoyed coming up with words that remind them of fall for the acrostic acorns. They were also painted with a touch of "frost".

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Fun - Math and Literacy

Check out my new unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It is FULL of fun fall activities to reinforce math and literacy skills.  Can't wait for this years group of kids to make their Acorn Acrostics adorned with a little fall frost (glitter).  I just love fall and this is a great way to get the kids in the mood with fall themed activities.  You can get my unit by clicking on this link Fall Fun.

Columbus Makes an Impression

I got an email from one of my student's parents this past week and the mom was telling me that her child was trying to do "something" that mom had to say "NO" to.  Not sure what it was but she kept telling him "NO", he could not do "that".  His response to her was, "Mom, you're breaking my dreams!  I wanted to do something like Christopher Columbus.  He discovered that the world was round."  Love it!!  Thank you little SMARTboard lesson!  And a little note to my student:  Keep trying,!!  I'll be watching in years to come for you to do something great.  I truly believe that you have what it takes to make a difference in our world and in history.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Day Fun

What a fun day we had learning about Christopher Columbus with our SMARTboard lesson and movie. We made pencil toppers from Oriental Trading and had spice cake cupcakes. Why spice cake? Because, Columbus was looking for riches, spices, and slaves to bring back to the king and queen of Spain. And, anyway, they are delicious! We made a craft to remind us of Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria, that was shipwrecked on the voyage home after discovering San Salvador. We glittered the water and the kids thought it looked like real water.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We Love our Grandparents

Today was Grandparents Day at our school. Grandparents were invited to come to class for 30 minutes, have lunch with us, then take their grandchild to the book fair. It was fun showing the grandparents the SMARTboard. And what better to show them but my Columbus Day SMARTboard lesson. They loved it!! They were so impressed with the kids knowledge and modern day vocabulary. One of the little girls in my class told them that there are no photographs of Columbus because "there were no electronic devices back then". You should have seen all the heads spin around to look at her. I loved it. After all, as teachers we aim to impress. Don't we?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Halloween Math, Literacy, and Science

Can't wait for my "little people" to see my math and literacy unit for Halloween.  They will have fun this month reinforcing learned skills while thinking about their fall costumes.  We will be making "Punctuation Pumpkins" this week.  We've already been talking about punctuation and the "little people" are so proud of themselves when they remember to use them and what they mean.  You can't blame them.  I'm pretty proud of them, too.  But these pumpkins will really help and will get our classroom ready for fall. Check out my Halloween Math, Literacy and Science unit on TPT.


Columbus Day is on its way!

Columbus Day is next Monday, October 8, 2012.  We will be celebrating in our classroom this week since we won't be at school next Monday.  We will celebrate with a 2 day SMARTboard lesson and of course "spice" cupcakes.  Did you know that Columbus was looking for spices and riches in the indies when he discovered the Americas?  He did not actually discover North America.  He actually discovered San Salvador and surrounding islands.  But, he did prove that the earth was not flat and opened the door for later explorers to discover our great land.  Check out my Columbus Day SMARTboard lesson on TPT.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Fair

We're promoting the Scholastic book fair at our school this week. Some of the more popular book characters came and visited our class with the help of our 6th graders. Can't wait to help my little people pick out some books to get them started on their life long reading journey. I just want them to love reading. They don't even have to be good at it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Made the Paper

So proud of my little people with their creative Johnny Appleseed costumes.  We even made the paper.  It was a great day!

Click the picture to read our quick little article.  We had fun with the editor of the paper and he learned a little himself about ol' Johnny Appleseed.

Sneaky Little People

I'm not really a fan of sneaky little people (or big people for that matter). But today, my little people were supposed to be putting their books and folders in their back packs when I saw a little girl in the back row writing on a small spiral notepad. I normally don't let them write, much less have little notepads because they tend to be a distraction. She was sitting on the floor and by the time I got over to her to ask her to put it away she was already tearing a page off and handing it to me. I felt a little guilty for fussing at her and quickly gave her a big hug. This is what I got:

You know you're doing the right thing when you get a note like that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Johnny Appleseed!!!

Today we celebrated the big day!! Johnny Appleseed's birthday. Our local librarian came and read to us and played her guitar for us! Oh, Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Appleseed. Thank you, Mrs Lulu!

We made a cute apple craft and had carmel apples for a snack!!

We drew pictures to go along with our new vocabulary words: pioneer, wilderness, orchard, and frontier.

This is a sample page from my math and literacy unit. You can get this Freebie by clicking on the picture.

Here's all my Little Joannie Appleseeds.

And, all my Little Johnny Appleseeds.
These two really had fun with it!!