Image Map

January 30, 2014

Research - Pin it to Win it!!!

 It's that time of year... the kids need to learn how to look up information and then use that information to form coherent paragraphs.  It's all about Student Research with me lately!!!  

I know I already posted about my new Arctic Animals pack, my Famous African Americans pack, my When I Grow Up pack (different careers), and What a Small World pack (my version of the Olympics, to get the kids learning about different countries) - well, I made up one with 12 American Presidents also, and I'm almost done with a Rainforest Animals pack too.  Seriously, I am in LOVE with the clip art over at Educlips.  It makes me happy, and my students have been going gaga over it too.  They want to color in everything!!

Now, you might be wondering how in the world am I going to have time to do so much research in my classroom.  Well I thought about it, and I've broken up all those above packs into things that I want my students to learn full class, and the ones that I want to give them the opportunity to choose... I want their interest levels to be high when they are learning.

During the Olympics we will be completing the Small World booklet together, but the other ones I printed off half size and put them into file folders at the back of the room on my computer table.  Now during workshop time/Daily 5, research is an option.  They get to choose someone or something that they are interested in and research information about it.  

These little pages will be turned into me and they get research points - at this point I'm thinking at least one per week.  We are blessed to be able to go to the computer lab every other week for about an hour (it ties into our library time), so if they don't have time to complete a research activity during class, they will have that time as well.  I'll be keeping track, and we will be using their notes as a jumping off for informational paragraphs.  This is going to be fun!  

So, here is the Pin it to Win it opportunity.  Simply pin one of more of the items listed below from all my new research options, and then come back and leave a comment with the pin.  This will go through the weekend and on Sunday night I'll choose a random comment to win a pack of their choice.  Sounds easy, right?  When you are over there on TPT, just remember that if you download the preview you get an automatic freebie of a couple pages from the pack.  Freebies are always nice.  :)    

Okay, here are all the links to go and pin:
What a Small World {Student Created Research Book and Jour
Arctic Animals Research and Writing Journal {Student Created}
American President Research Book and Writing Journals {Stu
Famous African Americans Student Research and Journal Papers
When I Grow Up {Student Created Career Journal}

Hope you had a great day!

January 29, 2014

I LOVE Binders

I have this obsession with binders.  It's probably because I really don't like filing, I like being able to just close a book and stick it on a shelf.  My issue was that I had so many binders with different purposes, that it got a little overwhelming. 

Now you probably already do this, and I was just late to the party, but this year for those binders that only had one purpose and weren't full, I decided to make flip binders.  Flip as in one direction it goes one way...
(looks totally normal right?)
But inside it's actually upside down - the only thing upside down is the pocket, but it still holds material in it.   
The "correct" side of the binder is flipped around - so I get 2 uses out of each binder that I use on a daily/weekly basis.  No use wasting binders when I can fit 2 pieces of curriculum in it.  
See - totally normal inside.
Here's another flip binder that I use a lot.  ELA answer keys are going in one direction...
Math are on the other side.  This way I don't have to always flip past the ELA to get to the Math, it's just a matter of flipping the binder. 

Do you do this too?  Am I just weird?  

January 28, 2014

Tried It: Word Searches and Research Time

It's the end of the unit this week - so we are reviewing our spelling patterns, getting ready for our big spelling assessment.  I wanted to share a little something that I tried yesterday. Yesterday I had my students pull out their unit spelling list, and they created word searches with as many words as they could fit.  It looked something like below (this was my example on the board).  

Have you had your students make word searches?  It was super easy.  My class each started with a piece of binder paper, then used a ruler to make vertical lines.  They left the bottom 5 lines of the paper blank so they had room to make their word list.  Then they went through their spelling sheet and used as many challenging words as possible from all the 6 word lists.  Horizontal, Diagonal, Vertical... I had to remind them to write the words at the bottom of their paper.  Then they just filled in the extra squares with random letters, and switched with a partner to solve their word search using a highlighter.  They LOVED this activity, and I loved how they were reviewing those tricky words.

In other news... I have a plastic drawer in my classroom filled with word search books, courtesy of my dad when he was cleaning out my grandma's house.  My grandma was a collector of word searches... well, she was a collector of everything...  When the kids are completely done with an activity, I sometimes give them the option of tearing out a page to work on.

I also wanted to tell you that my students love researching, and with so many stories lately about winter, snow, and arctic animals, I wanted to take their interest and get them motivated to dive deeper!  Enter something that I created that I'm so excited about.  You know how I love making my students work, well - here's another research opportunity for them.

Included are 11 animals that students can choose from to research.  Usually I make them do the entire booklet when it's time to research, but this time around I'm planning on printing these off and adding them to my ELA workshop afternoon rotation.  Students can use the computers and books from the library to research the information.  I already know they want to learn about these animals (I see them reading animal information books and Zoobook Magazines during silent reading time), now I want to take that interest and give them something that I know they will eat up.  

Then they can write about them.  :)  LOVE IT!  Another fun activity that will get them thinking and working on those important research skills that they will need for their futures.

This new pack is over at TPT and I have put it on sale through January 29th for only $2.  

Hope this helps someone!  


January 27, 2014

Math Time: Coordinate Points

Hi everyone!  Jumping on here to share what my class has been working on regarding Math.  Last Thursday afternoon I was a busy girl.  I was also so tired after celebrating 100th day.  My oldest is "stuck" with me in the afternoons for those 40 minutes after school, so I usually put him to work doing something random (when he isn't working on his homework).  Anyhow, he and another teacher's son used sidewalk chalk and created a coordinate plane outside my portable.

The last couple of years I have had to make it myself.  I guess I haven't HAD to make it, but I love how engaged the kids are when they are physically moving through the motions of a human coordinate plane, forming the point plots.  So on Friday morning we used the outside grid for our lesson.  The kids sat on the outside ring of the grid, and each one had a turn to go through the movements.  I had the boys choose the number on the x axis that the child would travel, and the girls chose the y movement.  They all got the point of the movement.  Then we went inside and played battleship for a while to reinforce the movements - I wanted them to really understand that (1,8) is very different than (8,1) - that everything matters.

Today was the continuation of the lesson.  I picked up these whiteboards from Learning Resources on clearance 3 years ago, and they have come in so handy.  I only pass these out for these graphing lessons, it saves so much money on grid paper!!  Anyhow, we were learning how to use a table and make graphs from those points.  The kids got it so easily.  

More graphing tomorrow, and the next day... it's that time of year!  

Hope you had a wonderful day!

January 25, 2014

Saturday Motivation (Students and Slim Down)

Saturdays... a chance to relax.... YEAH RIGHT!!  My family is in a mad rush to get ready for my son's 4 year old Power Rangers party.  It's still a couple of hours away.  My house will soon be filled with 3 and 4 year olds... that I don't know from his classes at school and church... Wish me luck!  
This week for Student Motivation I wanted to share about my students celebrating the 100th day of school.  I tried something this year that was hilarious, I gave my students the option to dress up like they were 100 years old.  Now, I can't post their pictures - no point without seeing their faces - you wouldn't be able to see the wrinkles, gray hair, and facial hair.  It was so much fun!  I had 3 canes in class, lots of thick glasses, huge beaded jewelry, a full suit, some floppy hats, etc.  I totally forgot how silly they get when they dress up.  Worth it for one extra day of fun.  :)

As for my own Slim Down motivation...  well LOOK! 

Yes, that says I lost 5.6 pounds this week.  5 point 6.  I knew my scale lied last week when it was -0.  It might be lying again this week, but since it's in my favor, at the moment I don't care.  I did check it about 5 times this morning to see if the number would change (I was a little in shock).  

I'm still avoiding sugar like the plague (going to be hard today since I ordered a cake for the party that I actually like).  I got on the bike again during our nightly shows, and I am still Power Walking with the Biggest Loser contestants.  I have been wearing that Activity Tracker every day and have been making sure to get it to 100% of goal.  I forgot to bring my water bottle to school this week - partly because I was hauling so much other stuff to school and didn't have a free hand.  Next week that will change.  I also forgot to pack a snack a couple of days at school, so by the time I got home I was so hungry I wanted to eat everything in sight.  I need to do better with that.  I did finish up the book Made to Crave.  Such a good read, I think it got my head on straight.  I just started the devotional book that corresponds - just a tidbit a day to help me remember the point of this all.   

That's me.  How did you do this week?  

January 24, 2014

Five for Friday!

Hello Friends!  I wanted to share what's new with me after this last crazy week of school!  
ONE - First up, to celebrate my 1,000+ friends over here on the blog, 2,700+ friends over on FB, 3,500+ friends on Pinterest, 1,000+ friends on Instagram, and 700+ friends over at TPT I decided to hold a special 20% sale for the next 2 days on my Top 4 Wish listed Products.  I do have the writing journals and task card sets in bundles as well, but these were the top wish listed so I'm going for it.  

TWO - This week my laminator has been humming, but my colored printer decided not to work...
That didn't stop me though - I printed in black and white, laminated, and had my early finishers color in the clip art.  My fast kids (also perfectionists) cut out the lamination for me.  They did a great job!  

THREE - I love our alphabet rug.  It's been up in my youngest son's room, but last weekend in my rearranging I brought it downstairs.  My boys might be weird, but they absolutely love the "game" of jumping on different letters.  My 3 year old has fun jumping for letter recognition (I say a letter and he goes to it), my middle and older son had fun doing their spelling words by bouncing around.  Simple things...  

I LOVE spirit days.  I love how I don't have to figure out what I'm going to wear.  I love the glitter that PTO decided to put on our spirit shirts.  It makes me happy.  It also makes me happy that my double chin is disappearing (yes, I did just say that).  :)  

Over the months you might have gotten sick of hearing me talk about California History.  I love it though.  I love how California is one of those states that has a little bit of everything.  The beautiful mountains, the never-ending ocean, the fertile valley, and the crispy desert.  I live in the valley, tons of crops around us (the stinky cow smell in the mornings), but it isn't that far away from San Francisco (about an hour without traffic), and about an hour from Sacramento.  So much good stuff to see first hand!
California History makes me smile.  I love teaching about the regions at the beginning of the year, then learning about the traditions of the Native Californians, the Explorers, and the Mission system.  We are about to move on to our next unit that involves the Gold Rush, and then we will finally talk about how California became a state.  It's a story that I look forward to telling every year with the new batch of students.

Over the years I have figured out what works with my class in CA History, and those projects I shared last year over in my store.  I realized though that I didn't share with you that I bundled all 8 of my CA products.  Sorry about that... In the craziness of December it slipped my mind.  

So, here's what's included:

Bundled saves the buyer 20% of buying everything separately.

Hope this randomness helps you in some way.  Have a great weekend!

January 23, 2014

Edible Math!

Edible Math... YUMMY!  
I usually use a lot of food in my lessons, but this year with the kids' severe allergies, I have cut back a lot.  Here are some things that I have used in the winter and spring:


In January we are working with data a lot - so many graphs, etc... I found this freebie from Smart Chick last year.  It was easy to grab some candy necklaces over at Winco in their bulk aisle (I think 15 cents each), and this makes for a fun Friday.  
Data Landmarks with Candy Necklaces ~ FREEBIE!

Product Details
For Valentines, I usually give each student a box of conversation hearts and they find the fractions for the different colors.  The below sheet is located over on this post from last year.  


For St. Patrick's Day I scoop a bunch of cereal into baggies and give them to my students with a tag that "I am so LUCKY to have you in my class".  They then use the cereal for this math project by Fifth in the Middle.   
Lucky Charms Cereal Math


Skittles Math (Easter Party)

Skittles Math Printables for the Upper Grades *17 Pages of
Teaching with a Mountain View has this Skittles Math that I used last year for my Easter party.  It works with probability, fractions, etc.    

I love this time of year with so many review options.  :) 
Go check out the rest of the ideas over at Jivey's!