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December 28, 2016

Memory Jars

I can't believe it's almost 2017.  A couple of days to go... I wanted to share a little project I created for my family.  We hosted Christmas and I made these memory jars for anyone that wanted one.  I cut out the numbers using my Silhouette and vinyl, and placed them on the outside of a mason jar ($1 at Michaels plus a teacher discount), then added a little ribbon on top.  We've done this in my little family for a couple of years - when big moments happen that I want to remember, I write them down on a small piece of paper, and then place inside.  On New Years eve we open the jar and reread the slips.  It's nice to remember those moments that are sometimes forgotten in the craziness of life.   

This time around my boys want to use their jars for coin collecting (since they have now learned that the Coinstar machines will turn their spare change into an Amazon gift card).  I'm also thinking of using a jar to have the kids place their New Year's resolutions in and then compare them at the end of the year.  Since I love the look of Mason jars, the more the merrier around here.

I hope you have a great day! 

December 17, 2016

Winter Party {TP challenge and Sugar Cube Missions}

What a party!  Yesterday was so much fun.  We had our Book Exchange in the morning, then finished up our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie with (crock pot) hot chocolate.  We had a couple of minutes before lunch, so I pulled out a quick time filler and the kids played the toilet paper snowman game.  Each group of 5 were given a roll of toilet paper, and only 10 minutes to create a snow person.  They got so into it, and took it very seriously.  Accessories were used, toilet paper was flying into designs, and the kids were showing some major teamwork.

After lunch we made our sugar cube missions.  I've done them in past years too - it's just my thing I love to do (instead of gingerbread houses).  We are right in the middle of studying about missions, and it just ties it all together.  I ask for sugar cube and white frosting donations, and from there the kids create their buildings.  They decorate them with our candy box candy, spice drops (for the bells), and lasagna noodles for the clay roofs.  At the very end the kids do an earthquake challenge, and walk their mission on an obstacle course.  If they can complete the walk without it falling down the mission would have withstood the natural disasters.  :P  The kids get a kick out of it.  

I love my home traditions, but also love the traditions that I have at school.  It means a lot to me to share these activities with the kids - to have fun with them after half of year of pushing them constantly.  I recently ran into one of my past students - that I had over 10 years ago - and she still remembered some of the fun moments.  It does make a difference. I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing break!  

December 15, 2016

Rocks and Minerals

I love teaching about Rocks and Minerals.  I have a side table set up with magnifying lens, rocks to sort, charts to help categorize, read alouds for silent reading time... It's such a hands on time.  I wanted to wrap it up in a fun way too.  

My teammate found a Dice Simulation activity from Teaching in the Fast Lane that was about the Rock Cycle, so I decided to buy it too.  I'm so glad I did!  I had tried her Explorer Dice Simulation, so I was already convinced of the process - 6 stations, and at each station the kids roll the dice to see where they would move next.  I printed off the stations, laminated the sheets, and then used bright sharpie to circle the process to get to the next rock.  

my whiteboard example - I love moving around the room to show the kids how to complete it

As the kids went from station to station they needed to record both the process and the rock they ended up at.  We went 20 rounds that first day as they recorded on the included sheet.  This was the Wednesday before winter break, so the kids were VERY ready to be up and moving, using up some of that extra energy.  :)   

found the beads on Amazon - since it's the first year doing this I chose a multi color bead box for $10

The next day we took out our recording sheets, and at each rock station I placed a certain color pony bead in a tub.  On my front table I placed all 6 of the process beads (again, one color per container).  Each student took a pipe cleaner, and walked through their recorded rock cycle, adding the rock bead, process bead, rock bead, process bead, etc.  We stopped as a class every 5 beads and took turns telling the rock story to partners and to ourselves.  I kept track of the amount of beads on the board.  The pipe cleaners held about 31 beads before we decided to call it a day.

Back at their desks, the kids had the opportunity to use the doc camera to share their rock story with the class.  Most of them could share it without using their paper by this point, they just needed to look at the beads to share rock, process, rock, process... It was an activity that I will definitely do again!  

December 12, 2016

Snowman Ornaments

Every year I like to have my class make something to give their parents for Christmas.  This year I saw a cute idea over on IG to have the kids use glass ornaments and fill them up with marshmallows to create snowmen. I changed it up a bit and they filled it with 2 cotton balls, then used black sharpie for the eyes and a smudge of orange paint for the nose.  It was super simple, pretty cheap, and the kids were so proud.  I will definitely do this again!

December 6, 2016

Blue Dog Art

I have 4 art docents for my class this year.  It is amazing having so many parents that want to come in and teach the kids about different artists.  Each lesson is about a specific artist, the parents come in, share about the artist, different examples of art, the techniques used, and then the kids create art inspired by a certain painting.

  This last month our art project was inspired by the Blue Dog.  I had never heard of Blue Dog paintings before... so teaching this teacher too.  

After learning the history of George Rodrigue, the class did a directed draw of the little blue dog.  Oh, they were so engaged.  Face (circle shape, nose - beaker shape, eyes, ears, mouth), shoulders and front legs, then back leg and belly.  They drew in pencil, traced in sharpie, then painted with blue paint.  

Then they were able to add a background of their choice using crayons.  Some did different colors, some did a certain setting.  But they all popped using the different mediums.  So proud of my kids, so thankful for parent volunteers that make art a priority.