Friday, 27 March 2015

A Change of Pace & Some Easter Writing

It's been 7 weeks since our new little peanut entered the world. Mama's are constantly telling me "time flies.... enjoy every moment". Now I am really understanding the true meaning of these words. My wee-little munchkin has already changed soooo much from the day we brought her home and indeed, time is quickly passing by.
Our baby girl arrived healthy, happy & punctual on February 4th (her due date).  

We are IN LOVE.

Life has been shifted in a different, yet wonderful way. The first few weeks was a fog, but now we are slowly getting into routines and a change of pace. If only the weather would cooperate with us, we'd be in business.

I love being a mommy, and I am blessed to be living in Canada, allowing me to stay home with my baby for an entire year. I am excited to watch my baby girl change and grow. Nevertheless, I still yearn to keep busy (outside of baby world), especially when my babe is napping. So...... I have been chipping away at a few things I've been doing in the classroom, but haven't had time to put together in a neat bundle.

With Easter coming next weekend, I decided to put together my Easter Perspective Writing pack that I did with my upper grade kiddos the last few years. It has always turned out great! A great way to teach and review The Easter Story with your students :)

This 33 page mini-package contains a great writing activity that allows students to revisit the Easter Story from the Bible (from Jesus' arrest to resurrection) and write through the eyes of a person or thing.

 This pack contains:
- Clear step by step instructions
- Sample pieces
- Bible Passages that are easy to follow and read (broken into manageable passages)
- Choice cut-out cards (person/thing)
- Writing Template Pages
- Writing Assessment Rubric
- Sample on how to display at school

This package is great for grades 4-8 or as a shared write for younger grades :)

Check it out HERE.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A step back in time, after a week away.

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs!

Fun in first grade!  What I love about first grade is how you can take any topic and turn it into fun learning. I can pick any topic and use to to teach language, math, visual arts science.  I can use topics that grab the students' interest and use it to make learning creative and engaging.

Here is what we are working on the first week back from our March Break.

Making Dinosaur eggs out of crushed oreo's and rice krispies and melted marshmallows. The recipe was so easy to follow and the class absolutely loved making these eggs. I put butter on the students' hands before they were given the batter to work. The recipe suggests a mold for the egg shape, but I found they didn't need a mold to shape the rice krispie treats into an egg.
The recipe for Dinosaur Rice Krispie Treat can be found at:

I found some great stories on youtube about dinosaurs and the students love these quick fact filled little movies. We have been watching one a day at the end of our literacy time. The video's are called "I'm a Dinosaur" and they have a video for different species of dinosaurs. 

These are math and language centers that I made over the march break from  TPT. There were so many to choose from, that you would need to look and pick a package that meets the needs of your little learners. 

For writing, I was thrilled to find out that my new favourite sentence puzzle activity had dinosaur themed pages. I came across this by accident and it restored my faith in believing
things happen for a reason. lol 

If I haven't shared already this sentence puzzle package with you yet, here it is. I hope you love it as much as I do. My students are very weak readers and writers and this is an excellent tool for all my students. 

The launch to our Dinosaur math, was having the students make a dinosaur pet with a spike pattern. They were given plenty of materials and I told to make a pattern. I was able to assess the students on how they described and used the different attributes in their patterns. We added feet to them so their pets could stand up on their desks. 

There is lots more to our Dinosaur Adventure , check back to see what else we have discovered and dug up....

Here is what is just around the corner in April

More details to follow this weekend. 


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Leaving lessons for when your away...

If you are like me, you hate having to prepare lessons for when you are away from your class for the day. Whether it is a workshop or your sick, preparing to be gone for the day always seems like more work than being at school.

I have found a go-to activity that I love to leave for the supply teacher. A few years ago I came across this book that has great GLYPHS!

What is a GLYPH?

Just as a graph or Venn diagram conveys information about data that has been collected, a glyph displays information in the form of a picture. Which is a great way in the primary grades to engage students. What is unique about glyph's is that it describes information about the person (student) that created it. Once the glyphs are finished I have the students look for similarities and differences among them. We put them in groups and try and figure out the sorting rule, we also look at and describe attributes and patterns. What is so great about this book is that it clearly labels and states how each glyph ties into science, social studies, math and language. The book gives step by step lessons on how to extend the activity into those extra curricular areas. I also really enjoy the literacy links to popular texts that compliment the glyph. (most of which I already have in my classroom) 
Check it out!

Here is the bulletin board from the Glyph the students did when I was away.  We sorted and played with them on the carpet for Math and then placed them on the bulletin board outside of the classroom for others to enjoy!

Here is what my desk looks like if I am away for the day. I like to leave sticky notes and the lessons all in chronological order, so the supply in for me has everything at their finger tips. I have had great feedback about the Glyphs, and the students feel like they are doing a craft.  I want the day I am away to be as much fun as if I was there. It helps with the students behaviour and makes it a smooth fun day for the teacher in for me. 
God Bless Occasional Teachers :)

Language Lesson on Vowels

I have been loving "sentence puzzles" during my language lessons lately. Our focus this month is sentence fluency and I just love this package on Teacher Pay Teacher. The student cut out the words and place them in an order that makes a sentence. 

I start with a focus lesson on a simple rules of the English language (here is one I remember being taught when I was a student, not so long ago), and I finish with the sentence puzzle. 

Here is an anchor chart I made to teach vowel sounds when they are in a word side by side. 

Hope everyone is having a great week!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Inferencing in First Grade

This past week in first grade we have been digging deep into what we know and clues from the text.

We have been INFERENCING. 

Using these two book series,we have been learning all we can about making great inferences. 

The "NO DAVID" books are great for looking at the pictures and guessing what happened. Each page has incredible illustrations and very little words. The students look at the clues and guess what might have happened in the picture. 

The 'PIGEON" books are great for character inferencing. The students look at the body language and facial expressions of the pigeon and inference how he is feeling. 

Here is our anchor chart that lead us into some great discussions. 

In addition to using these books we had a very special inferencing envelop that was filled each day this week with a secret item. The students had to guess what was inside. 
Using the sense of touch, hearing, sight, and sometimes smell they were able to make some really great guesses. 

As an extension to this secret package activity, I asked our principal and our secretary to place something in the envelope. The students had to think about who the envelope was being filled by when they were making their guesses. We recorded the guesses on this anchor chart. 
 When I filled the envelop the students guesses were things like food, smelly markers, and stuffed animals related to the text. When my principal and secretary filled it, they guessed things like a whistle, stapler, school key, etc. 
I would recommend this activity for all grades. 

What is coming up???? 

I am looking to do a Dinosaur unit with my class. Does anyone have any great ideas, resources and ideas for centers they have used and love? 
Please leave me a comment with your ideas. :)

Happy Sunday!