1/30/15

Half-Time Surprise?


I love football... college football.

But the pros?  Eh.

I watch the Super Bowl because I don't want to be the only person at work the next day who didn't.  Mostly, I wait for cool commercials. Clydesdale horses tend to be my favorites.  Plus, isn't that what we talk about in the teacher lunchroom the next day anyway?  "Did you see that cute commercial about...?"  

And then there's the half-time show.  Usually entertaining on some level, although not typically who I would've chosen to perform if they had taken the time to ask me.  

FYI (in case you haven't heard)... Katy Perry is performing, apparently with lions and sharks, and she has promised a surprise "old school" female guest.  Any guesses on who it might be?

So, during the biggest game of the year, I:

• wait for good commercials
• eat Doritoes
• hope the entertainers have enough clothing on so my kids can watch it, too
• complain about how much money all these people are making
• and shop

If this is you too, and you need any teacher-stuff, this is a good time to save some money.  (I almost made a snarky comment about athletes' salaries, but I thought better of it.  No room for professional jealousy here.)

Head on over to TpT and see what's on sale this weekend.  I've marked everything down by 20%, with the exception of dollar items.  


Here's to a super Sunday!  And make sure you watch the half-time show so you can talk the talk during lunch on Monday.  Who will be the surprise performer? 

I'm guessing you can hardly wait.  :)

Happy teaching!


1/29/15

Go, Rosa!


Every time I think about how Rosa Parks said, "No," it reminds me of this safety program my kids go through at school where they learn the phrase Stranger Danger, and how to yell, "No!  Stop!  Leave me alone!"  

Rosa wasn't that loud on the day she took a stand by remaining seated, but it was no less powerful.  Her quiet courage led to a human victory that otherwise may have continued to be ignored.  Her story is history and it is certainly worth celebrating.

There are many children's books out there about Mrs. Parks, but this one is my favorite because it's the most kid-friendly I've found.  The children like it because it has the features of a graphic-novel and sort of resembles the style of a comic book with exaggerated illustrations, story boxes, and speech bubbles.  Take a look at some of the pages.  

Could she be cuter?

She shares a little about her childhood.

And how things didn't change much when she became an adult.

Then, there was that famous December day on the bus.

And her unwillingness to be treated unfairly.

I love how the bus company is begging her to ride the bus.  How ironic.

I made this page larger so you could read the text because the message is
clear and empowering for children.

This book is a great read-aloud to help the kids create a base of knowledge about Rosa Parks.  There are also age-appropriate videos for children that will bring her story to life.  You can search for these videos on the internet.  I also have a few of my favorites pinned to my Pinterest board, "Black History Month."


As a follow up activity, I love this Paper Bag Biography project.  It includes several standards-based activities that engage children in discussion, reading, writing, and performing.  (And everything tucks away neatly inside the bag... easy to store... easy to take home and share.)  


It includes:

• "Fun Facts" ... Facts written in cloze-sentences, supporting rereading and comprehension.


• A "Quick Quote" ... A famous quote from Rosa Parks... the children reread it closely, discuss and infer meaning with a partner, and synthesize their ideas in writing on the back of the quote.



• Props for an Oral History Retelling ... The children color and cut out props connected to Rosa Parks' historical story.  The props help facilitate the children's memories as they work together to sequence and retell this important story.


• A "Talk Show Interview" ... This is an ask-and-answer reader's theater script for partners.  The part of the Host is the simpler part, so the stronger reader in each pair should read Rosa's part first.  (Note:  A Rosa Parks "Monologue" has also been included, but it was written at a more difficult reading level.  It's perfect for the child who likes to work solo and has an interest in performing alone.)


If your children love making flip books, check out this easy-to-make flip book for Rosa Parks.  While making this project, children are reviewing important information about her life through a timeline, captions, and fun facts.  (The "Fun Facts" in this project are different than the ones in the Paper Bag Biography above.)


Here's a sample page from the flip book so you can get an idea of the reading level.  


Thanks for reading!

Happy teaching!  :)


1/26/15

Book Talk Tuesday: Mr. Hatch


There are a lot of good read-alouds for Valentine's Day, but this is one of my favorites.  It's called Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli.  Here's a summary of the story from Barnes & Noble:

One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch.  "Somebody loves you," the note says.

"Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room.  "Somebody loves me!"  Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town.  "But who could that somebody be?" Mr. Hatch wonders.

After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!

Do you have a favorite read-aloud for Valentine's Day?  Let us know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!  :)

1/25/15

Ten Things I Love About You


This picture book by Daniel Kirk is perfect for a Valentine's Day read-aloud.  It's about two friends, Pig and Rabbit.  One day, Rabbit decides to make a list of ten things he loves about his friend, Pig. And even though Pig is sometimes impatient with his friend, Rabbit always seems to find a way to turn it around into a positive trait for his list.  Meanwhile, Pig is also making a list of the ten things he loves about Rabbit... surprise for Rabbit!

I like this book for obvious reasons, but also because the text is simple and color-coded, so it's a fun choice for a partner-reading where each child takes the part of one character.  The kids like putting voices to the characters and I like the fluency practice they're getting as they reread.

If you need a simple writing activity for Valentine's Day, you can download this FREEBIE in my TpT store.  It allows the kids to mimic what Pig and Rabbit were doing in the story and the finished writing makes a great gift for someone special in each child's family.

There are two versions.  One has fewer lines with larger spaces... just right for emerging writers.  The second version has tighter spaces and would work better for children who want to write a little more about their loved one.


Happy teaching!  :)

1/23/15

Resource Round Up: February


Didn't we just put away our Christmas trees?  The older I get, the faster the sand seems to fall.  It's almost February!

Crazy.

And I'm thinking ahead.  I'm not sure I ever realized how many "special" days or events there are in February.  There's a lot packed into the shortest month of the year.     

• Groundhog Day
• Valentine's Day
• President's Day
• The 100th Day of School 
• Black History Month
• Dental Health Month

Just to name a few.

I can barely remember my pre-Pinterest teaching life.  I mean, I was able to come up with ideas, but it took so much longer.  You'd think I'd have a ton of extra time now to pursue other interests since Pinterest is a teacher's treasure trove, but there's the irony... now I'm just on Pinterest all the time!  

If you don't have your own boards or favorite boards you like to scroll through, or if you just want to gather more ideas, I've included my Pinterest boards that are perfect for February lesson planning.


The "Black History Month" board is fairly new, so I don't have many ideas on that one yet, but there are some pretty amazing ideas out there... plenty to help you plan a great February.  On these boards you'll find videos, art projects, book recommendations, lessons, and so much more. Honestly, there are so many creative teachers sharing their ideas!

If you have a "must-do" idea, book, or lesson for February, please tell us in the comment box below.  You can even leave a link for something you think we should see.  Share what inspires you!

Happy teaching!  :)

1/21/15

Come On, Phil!


I am, that's who.

Are you?

And, actually, I never cared until I moved out of Florida.  Floridians welcome winter.  It's a temporary break from the oppressive heat and humidity.  It's the one week of the year when your hair does what you always knew it could.  And, if you happen to have a coat and a cute scarf, you can finally wear them.

But now I live where it's cold.  And I'm cold.

I'm ready for spring!

And I'm counting on Phil to bring it.


If you're planning lessons for Groundhog Day, check out these two resources.  I love this student reader, What Is Groundhog Day?.  It explains when the holiday  occurs, who Punxsutawney Phil is, and what happens if he sees his shadow.  

The children can assemble the book by themselves... they simply cut the pages in half, put them in order, and staple inside the margin.  We read them together, tracing the sight words, highlighting and discussing key vocabulary, and asking relevant questions.  (Sometimes, we keep them in class for a few extra days and continue to work in them during small group instruction.)


In the photo above, you can see an example of how we use the book.  Not only do we practice spelling simple sight words, but we highlight important key words and write questions we have about groundhogs, like What do they eat?

I love the question.  It's perfect and it leads me right into another resource I have for them:  Flipping Over Groundhogs {An Informational Flip Book}.


Although the first book explains the holiday, this book contains informational text, which my kids always love.  (They love science and nature!) The flip book is also simple for the children to assemble on their own... all they need is a pair of scissors and a glue stick.


Here, they learn about the groundhog's body parts and about some foods groundhogs typically eat.  Throw in a few "Fun Facts" and suddenly the kids are groundhog experts!

Here's to hoping Phil does not see his shadow!

Happy teaching!  :)


St. Patrick's Day Science


Top o' the morning to ya!  :)

(Did you hear the accent there?)

If you're the type of teacher to plan way far ahead (the rest of us are jealous of you), take a look at these fun, hands-on science investigations for St. Patrick's Day.  There are five altogether, so there are a few different options to consider when planning your lessons:

• pick and choose your favorites to do or...

• do one a day during the whole week of St. Patrick's Day or...

• plan a "St. Patrick's Science Day" where different classrooms become different "Investigation Stations" for the children to rotate through... it's a great way to bring your whole team together for a day of smart holiday fun!

The packet includes:

• all five investigations
• teacher directions and tips
• student recording sheets
• 5 science-explanation sheets ("How did that work?")
• photos and anchor charts to use during the lessons


Discover the concepts of energy, force,
direction, and motion during this challenge:
Can you use wind energy to blow only the
marshmallows into the pot below?

Observe how some solids sink and float, and how
carbon dioxide can produce a gas inside a liquid.

Use your senses to identify different flavors of
candy in a blind taste test.  Yum!

Mix colors, see how water molecules move, and
learn how some solids absorb while others repel.

Observe how heat excites molecules and can cause
changes in the physical properties of a solid.

Here are a few sample pages from the investigations.  The student sheets provide an opportunity for the children to predict outcomes, collect data, record results, and share their ideas.  Because the prompts are open-ended and encourage both writing and drawing, they are developmentally appropriate for multiple ability levels within a single classroom.


Check it out... St. Patrick's Day Science!


Happy teaching!  :)