Friday, 30 October 2015

Mini I Have, Who Has Freebie Friday

It's time for FREEBIE FRIDAY with Fern Smith of Teaching Blog Addict again.  Click on her button at the bottom to head over there to see this week's goodies.
Last summer I made 3 new sets of mini I Have, Who Has games to play with my small groups.  I bundled them up with the 3 sets I already had on TpT.  They are for reviewing the diphthongs"aw", "ew", "ow", "oi/oy", "oo" (soft), and "oo" (hard).
I put one set on TpT for free so you can try it out and see how it works for you. To read the post and get the freebie click HERE.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Owl craftivity

I've noticed that my kiddos love doing craft and colouring projects.  And I love combining craft projects with a writing or math activity.  Yay for craftivities!  They make me happy because there's some academic content and the kids are excited to be cutting, gluing, colouring, etc. 

I've used various projects that I found on TpT or Pinterest, but I recently thought, "AHA!  I could make these up myself."  So I tried it.  And it worked. Being no artist (if you don't believe me see the testimonial by clicking on the "About Me" tab at the top of the post....) I used shapes from Word and they worked just fine!
We worked on making this AMAZING (to me, anyway!!) owl project yesterday morning and afternoon (not all morning and afternoon!......they took about an hour for my 2's and 3's to get them all done). 

We did the clues during Math and the owls after lunch when the kids are feeling kind of stir crazy. I showed the class how the final project will look during our morning lesson and get them to do the written part of their project before noon when they're more focused.  They could talk quietly while they cut and glue.  (I put some quiet music on while they were working which  kept the voice levels lower).
I was going to get them to make up an owl poem to glue on the owls, but decided to go with a mystery number under a flap instead.
They had to make up 5 clues.  We've been working on numeracy so they had to choose a 2 digit mystery number for under their flap.  The clues had to be:
1.  I have a ___ in my 10's place.
2.  I am > ____ (the number 3 before).
3.  I am < ____ (the number 3 after).
4.  I am odd/even.
5.  I am ____ + 10
(One sharp fellow came to me to protest that everyone would know the mystery number when they read the last clue!)

The kids were pumped about them and I think they turned out great.  I gave them the choice of cutting and gluing the eyes and beaks that I made in the kit, or drawing their own.  I like the way they added their own artistic touches to personalize their owls. 
I originally thought I would photocopy all the owls on brown construction paper.  But I decided it would be fun to let the kids choose, so I put out a sign up list and they selected their own colours.
If you'd like to try out this fun activity in your room CLICK HERE to see it at TpT.

We looked at this book before we started our work and the kids noticed the ear tufts and big eyes and banded feathers. 

We also started to read one of my favourite all-time novels, Owls in the Family, by Canadian author Farley Mowat.  Although this book is an oldie (written in 1962) it is timeless, and the kids are fascinated by the story.  There are so many hilarious parts (like where his friend puts eggs from a crow's nest in his mouth while he climbs down the tree, but then when he's just about at the bottom the branch he steps on breaks and he falls to the ground.  The kids were quick to predict what happened to the eggs!  There were lots of groans and exclamations of "GROSS!" "YUCK!!").

Next week we're going to make a ghost for Halloween.  We'll do the poem then.
It's been a hot item on TpT the last 2 weeks.  See it HERE.  

I'm joining Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays.  Click HERE to see more ideas to keep your students focused and loving school.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Skip Counting

I found some strip puzzles that were a freebie last spring (can't remember where, or I'd give you the link) and my class really enjoyed doing them.  I printed them in black and white and let the kids glue them onto a blank page and colour them.  They were a pretty rowdy class, but they were happy to work on these for as long as I'd let them.  There were only 2 in the freebie and they kept asking if I would get more. Which made me think about making some. 

I have been busy setting up my Math centers so that we can get to working in small groups.  When I was looking through my files for activities to put into the Math drawers I found a set of puzzles on my computer that I must've started to make in the summer and them completely forgot about. 

I remember that I made them so my class could practice counting by 1's, 2's, 3's, 4's, and 5's.  There are always some kids that have difficulty with skip counting and can use a fun review.  For those who need more of a challenge I started some of the puzzles at different numbers.  You can see below how the count-by-1's puzzle starts at 63.  My grade 2's have just started working on counting by 3's and 4's, and the grade 3's need to get these down pat because we'll soon be working on multiplication.

I put the finishing touches on them this morning and printed up the coloured versions.  They're going to the laminator so we can start using them tomorrow.  There are also black and white versions of each of the 7 puzzles so that I can photocopy them for ordering and colouring for an alternative or for early finishers.
There is a freebie puzzle in the preview file.   

I'm joining up today with Fern at Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday.  Head over there to get more great freebies.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Leaf Art: final products! Finally

We finished up our leaf art project on Wednesday, but I forgot to take pictures. They turned out looking super (much better "live" than in my photos). I'm glad now that we took the time to paint a background. 

Before we glued the leaves onto the background we talked about how leaves don't fall off of trees in a neat, symmetrical arrangement with their stems all pointing the same way. I was pleased to see that the kids thought about this when they were placing their leaves. I noticed that there were several that had overlapping leaves and one or two that even glued a leaf a bit off the background!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Five for Friday: animals, art, and Thanksgiving

It's been a while since I joined up with Doodlebugs' Five for Friday.
By the time it gets to Friday I have a hard time thinking of ONE thing, never mind five! But it was a really busy week in my classroom and I have a bunch of things to share.  Teaching 3 days a week makes it so crazy trying to fit in everything you plan to do.  Especially when there's a fire drill and an assembly! 

Earth Rangers came to our school this week.  They are a conservation group that goes to schools to educate kids on protecting animals and habitats.  This is the second time that they've visited our school and it's always tremendously popular because they bring live animals to show the kids.  This year they had a tortoise, a martin, a barn owl, and a hawk.  The birds flew across the gym just over the students' heads.  Pretty exciting!
This picture is from last year - I forgot to take any pictures this year!
I started a fall art project on leaves on Monday.  I got the idea from That Artist Woman.  If I was smart I would've just made the leaves and mounted them on a black background like she did.  But No, I had to add a painted background, forgetting that it would mean 3 painting sessions  - the leaves take 2 because they're done on paper prepped with Gesso and tissue paper.  We did NOT have time to do 3 painting sessions in 3 days, so the leaves remain unpainted, but the background is ready to go (my last group was just painting their background when the fire bell rang........).  We'll finish them next week.  I think they're going to look great.  Here's Gail's sample and a link to her blog with the directions.

Not being particularly artistic (Ha!  Understatement!) I didn't have any Gesso on hand, or admittedly, even know what it was.  Internet to the rescue!  I found a recipe and made my own using 1 part water, 1 part plaster of paris, 1 part white glue (Elmer's), and 2 parts white acrylic paint (although there was none in the school, so I used liquid tempera and it seemed to work fine....).  It only took a few minutes to mix up and it did the job of making a nice textured paper for the leaves.  I used one cup of the first 3 things and 2 cups of paint.  It made enough for everyone's project plus about 1 liter left over.  Should be good for another project.  If I remember what it is.  And if it keeps.  We'll see.  If you make it be sure to stir in the Plaster of Paris and mix it up well before adding the glue and paint.  Otherwise it's hard to get the lumps out.  Can you infer why I'm telling you this?  The directions said to do this, but I dumped everything in at once (duh!).......I'm thinking that watered down glue might have worked about as well as the Gesso.  I'm even thinking maybe it would've been just about as good to skip the texture step and just trace and paint the leaves.  
Here's how they turned out.

Speaking of leaves.......the kids were burying each other on the playground yesterday. This is my sweet granddaughter. I'm thinking there's probably an art project .........
I always like to have an extra activity for the kids to do while I'm working with small groups on our main art project of the week. So while we were working on our leaf painting the others were making these.
We made these thankfulness pumpkins that I saw on Pinterest. The orange strips have sentences that they printed on:  I am thankful for _______________ .  They turned out really cute and the kids were thrilled to have a decoration to take home for the holiday. 
I have my turkey thawing in the fridge and am making preparations for our family Thanksgiving dinner here on Sunday afternoon.  I like to do the dinner a day early so that on Monday we can relax, eat leftovers and play games.  And be rested up to go back to work Tuesday!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

4 freebies: Work on Words activities

I'm This Work on Words is an essential part of my Daily 5 routine.  I have some activities that we do the same day every week and some that are choices that my students can pick. I'm going to share 3 of them today. 
I am joining up with Teaching Trio's Favorite Things linky this month. I always find some good ideas there.  

#1.  CHUNK SPELLING. I love this Spelling program that I found at Second Story Window blog a couple of years ago. I have always given my class a combination of sight words plus words from a "family" (-at, -ick, -ail...). This program gives the students practice working with the word families, and also allows them to choose the words they want to work with from the list they generate. (I still pick their sight words). This allows for a wide range of spelling abilities, since they make 3 different lists to choose from.  Words in the first list have a single letter before the stem (cat, sat, bat). Words in the second have 2 letters before the stem (brat, slat, chat). List 3 words are the "challenge" words with letters before, after, or both (catcher, attack, battle, matter). 
Pretty much everything you need for the word family lists is included here in the post, including a year's worth of word families for first, second, and third grades!  The post gives a detailed explanation of how the program works in the classroom. You can click HERE to see the original post and download the Sound Spelling sheets (pictured above is the flip side, the front has single letters), word list suggestions for the year and chunk tabs for grades one to three. 
My only reservation was how to manage the Friday Spelling quiz when everyone has different words. My solution was this:  students buddy up, trade lists, and give each other their quizzes. Works like a charm!  It's our Friday Work on Words. 

This is the sheet I made for them to practice their words on after they make their lists on the back. By the way, they don't actually choose off their own lists. Way too many chances for errors!  We make a chart together (example from Second Story Window in the top picture above) and they copy their words from it. I made versions for a 10 word Spelling list (interlined), and for 10 and 15 words, too. They're not fancy, but they get the job done. If you want them click HeRE.
On Tuesday my students choose one of these two activities to practice their Spelling words. Both are tremendously popular. 
Race to the Top is played by rolling a number cube and graphing the result. I originally saw it done with numbers and adapted it for Spelling. I have them print the 5 sight words in the first 5 spaces and their word family rime in the sixth. When they roll a six they can print any word from the family above 6 on the graph. To make it more fun I let them print the words with felts.  Dice and felts together are a sure winner!

Colour Coder is similar to a word search, only they don't actually have to find the words on the grid.  They just colour in the letters used to spell the word.  I have them put an X on the letters because there are always those kids who will take a big chunk of time colouring in the spaces perfectly. 
Get these 2 word work activities free at my TpT store by clicking HERE.

I love this activity from The Primary Gal!  It's a great way to work with homophones.  The students pick a card with a word that has two meanings, then illustrate both meanings.  There's a FREEBIE SAMPLER HERE  or the FULL MEAL DEAL HERE!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Pinterest for your classroom: 3 Pins Worth Checking Out

I was so pleased to find this linky. There is so much amazing stuff out there, but so little time to find it. So you've got to love Pinterest!  It has the best of the best. But STILL not enough time!  So what a great idea to have bloggers pick their favourite pins of the month and post them. Thanks to The Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching for hosting. Click on the picture to check out more wonderful Pinterest ideas. 

1.  I'm currently working on parts of speech with my class. Yesterday I was shocked to discover how many of my students had no idea what a noun is. It's Grade 3, People!  Last night I was cruising Pinterest, looking for nothing in particular, and came across these posters from Hannah at The Classroom Key.  I love songs both as great student motivators and super memory devices. I can hardly wait to get to school to introduce them!

I'm including two pins here because the nouns and verbs are in one post and the adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns are in a second post. 
I had trouble singing the adverb song to the tune of Skip to my Lou, but found it worked really well with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star if I repeated the first 2 lines at the end. 
2.  Next up is a a PIN FROM KAREN at Adaptable, Flexible, Versatile on how she uses Rory's Story Cubes. I love that she provides an example of a story that she wrote using the cubes and a freebie template to use. After I read about these story cubes A couple of years ago I knew I had to have some for my classroom. I had a hard time finding them where I live and was going to order them off the internet but we went to Disneyland that summer, and was able to duck into a Barnes and Noble right in downtown L.A. and get some. 

There are several other good pins about these cubes on Pinterest. Several of them also include freebies. Like this one.  Or this one.
3.  My last pin goes to a blog I wrote about EPIC!  The best book app I've seen for kids. And it's FREE for teachers. I originally saw it on another blog, but that post didn't have much info about what Epic! is. Basically the message was:  Check out this app, you're going to LOVE it. So I did and I do!!
Go to the pin here  and follow it  to get information on EPIC!  Or just go straight to my blog post HERE.
The kids in my class were so enthused when I showed them the app.  They loved that they each had their own profile that they could customize (they have to earn new backgrounds and avatars and frames by reading books - I haven't told them that lots of the books have audio yet.....).  They were also excited that they could rate the books they read and they would be offered personalized book recommendations based on their ratings.  (I love these features, too, but the thing I like best is that EPIC! has ALL of the Scaredy Squirrel books on it!)

I hope you have a great weekend.  Happy pinning!