A place to share thoughts, ideas, gadgets, and giggles from my classroom. 💜

Five For Friday: December 18

Hey guys! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to give you my Five for Friday!
This was the last week before break...
My kiddos were CRAY! But we had a super week filled with lots of fun activities and "learning."
We made our ornaments to decorate our tree at school and their trees at home! They turned out better than I had even expected.
I cut out the circles and the stands for the snow globes. Students got some white paint and made "snow flakes" on them! After they dried I put their pictures on the globe! Then I laminated them. I just love how they turned out! 
A year ago, I was blogging a lot about my new house. We were in the middle of building and had just gotten the front door on! I just love Facebook's Time Hop for reminders like this. The whole process brought back such good memories of building our home. 
I just LOVE it!
Our little school really gets in the Christmas Sprit! Each morning, on the last week before break, after announcements, we play a school wide BINGO game. The kids look forward to this all of December. Student council pulls the words and uses them in a sentence and it's a race between classrooms to see who gets a BINGO and calls the office first! Friday is a cover all...the competition is REAL. Everyone will be racing to call the office. I'm sure of secretary loves this.. HA!

The winner gets baby candy canes. Today, Santa will also be making a stop into all the rooms. Boy oh boy, the room is sure to be chaotic for sure! 
This is Polar Express week. I can hardly get through the last two pages without choking up every. single. year. I just love this story! We have been working through the book with my {Polar Express pack}. I updated it this year, and I'll just brag a little...it's pretty awesome. 
We have sorted vocabulary words, played a matching game, and used them in a zillion sentences. I even noticed students using these words in their writing! I'm working on transforming the way I teach vocabulary and so far its having a positive effect!
We have sequenced important points in the story. Students enjoyed this more than I thought they would. It was like a puzzle for them. 
We also colored nouns and did a super hard word search that I did not make. Even the most advanced kids were struggling with it, but they did not give up!! These kids were determined to finish that word search! 
The Good:
My sweet friend from Education Lahne gave me this super cute clipboard!! I'm obsessed with R's, chevron, and gold...and boy did she know that!! I also LOVE the Tiffany blue that is in with the gold! This is just so me! My amazing husband let me open one gift tonight...and it was a big one! I LOVE Oreos. They are my weakness. I can eat the whole pack in one night, one setting, one hour. (trust me.)
We do not ever buy Oreos because of this... Well, I ate one whole row tonight. And my stomach hurts:) #worthit
The Bad:
OMG This kid had JUST asked me to sharpen this nub of a pencil...after I said no way, not even a full minute later I hear, "MRS. RIGSBY!!!..." UGHHH I was soooo angry!! The pencil sharpener didn't even work in the first place, which he knew. This Christmas break is much needed, for everyone!
Head over to {Doodle Bugs Teaching} to find out what everyone else is up to! 

How I Use Rooted in Reading Units in my Classroom with How to Catch Santa

Have you heard about {Amy Lemons'} and {Katie King's} {Rooted in Reading} packs!? They are AMAZING!!
Our school has the Journeys Reading Series, which is fine but the activities in the Rooted in Reading packs are just more engaging! Amy and Katie provide so many activities for grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. There are many options for each story so you can pick and choose what will work for you and your class! I don't feel so bogged down with all the worksheets and just junk that we have to do for Journeys. 

This week we read {How to Catch Santa}. I had never read this book before, but it is a great read aloud for kids and perfect for this season! 
Each vocabulary word has a page for you to dig deeper into the word. I tried to work my dog Willy into each of my sentences and illustrations and the kids just loved it! Coming up with antonyms for some of the words was difficult... thank God for Google! 
We trimmed around the edges and glued them into our notebooks. I think next time, I would like to make a vocabulary book! There is a challenging vocabulary quiz that will help you assess too. 
This story had a sequence that went along with it. We worked on those transition words and I just loved how we practiced with random things then did the actual graded writing part(or the part I was grading anyways!) The random activities were making s'mores and making a PBJ. 
Students had to cut and glue the pictures in the right order. Then they had to use the transition words to write about what happened. They did SUCH a great job knowing when to use the words since they had a visual of what they were doing. My whole writing block wasn't full of groans or whines. It was just fun and made us hungry! After some practice, we started to get down to business.
Making a plan on how students would catch Santa was so much fun! They had some wild ideas. Santa just happened to actually be visiting our preschool that day. One of the teachers came in to tell the kids who was in the building...They FREAKED out! OMG MY PLAN IS OUT!! There was lots of rushing around to finish and put away plans. It was hilarious! 
Comprehension/Guided Reading:
Not only did we learn how to catch Santa, (BTW there is a comprehension quiz included too!) we also compared Christmas to Hanukkah! Katie and Amy put together an amazing informational text about both holidays. 
The kids loved learning about Hanukkah traditions. In our small town, there is not much diversity. It was nice to step outside of small town Indiana and show the students how others celebrate. 
Rooted in Reading comes with several interactive notebook activities. I have to confess, I rolled my eyes when I first saw this because I have NEVER been able to figure out how to incorporate these into my lessons...with Journeys anyway. They fit in so perfectly, we weren't rushed, they didn't even take long when we were rushing, and the kiddos loved doing them! 
We made connections between our own traditions at home and Hanukkah traditions. I really enjoy the weeks we skip a basil reading story and do a Rooted in Reading pack. If you are on the edge about spending the money, just DO IT! It is so worth it, for you and the kids. 
Not enough books:
Yeah, okay, I understand you can't afford to get a book for each student. I bought a teacher copy and used it on the projector. Cassondra typed up the words from the story so students could echo read the story and read at home. We didn't buddy read this story because it really isn't fun to read without the pictures. This story has amazing illustrations. Whether you decide to purchase the unit or not, you should FOR SURE purchase the book! Your students will LOVE it!!
Both gals blog about using Rooted in Reading in their own classrooms too, make sure to check out their posts(by clicking their names at the top of this post) and Amy's {FAQ about Rooted in Reading}!

Make Solids, Liquids, and Gasses fun by Making Butter!

Some of my FAVORITE things come from Pinterest! One day, as I was looking around aimlessly, I ran into a post about making butter from {Cinnamon's Synonyms}. I thought, oh that's pretty cool, so I shared it to {Taking on Second's Facebook} page. I had SOOOO many comments about how easy it was and how much students had liked doing it! I decided to give it a try!
We started by talking about the states of matter: Solids, Liquids, and Gasses. 

We practiced seeing how gasses take up the space of the containers they are in by blowing up balloons of different sizes. 

Cassondra, my teaching partner from {Primary Scribbles} had been saving baby food jars. She found enough for both of our classes!
If you can't use baby food jars, it is just as easy to make a class size batch in a mason jar, or any clear container with a tight lid. The one with the white inside is salt. We thought it would taste a little better with a pinch of salt.

 I filled the jars about half way with heavy whipping cream from Wal-Mart.
We listened to how it sounded in the jars as we started to shake. Some of the jars started to leak a little, so we just put them inside a baggie. This completely took care of the issue! 
Then it was time to get serious...
We logged into {Go Noodle}, and Whipped and Neigh, Neighed that heavy whipping cream until it started to become solid! It took a lot of shaking, but we paused the video to listen to our jars every few minutes. 
Once we began to be able to see through the jar again, we shook the jars through the Cha-Cha Slide, to be sure they were done. The students noticed the change in sounds their jars made.  I had never done this before and was not sure what to expect! When we opened the jar, it looked..well just like butter!
I don't really like butter unless it is inside food or on my potato, so I didn't really try it. The kiddos took full responsibility for that! 
The ones who ate their bread and butter LOVED it! They said it was really good! I'm pretty sure this will become a yearly experiment before Thanksgiving Break!

Boost the Writing Process in Primary Grades

Hey guys!  I want to tell you about my favorite writing product that is my lifesaver...basically every week! When I teach writing, I like to have a routine. This pack follows the writing process perfectly!
First, I like to have students practice stretching out sentences. This is a great exercise to help students create more detailed sentences. 
We do several together before I give them the little sentence and they stretch it themselves. My kiddos love seeing how many words they can get in their sentence. 
After brainstorming, which this pack has two webs to choose from for brainstorming, we move onto our rough draft. Students have to have a topic sentence, three details, and a closing sentences. These are labeled in the rough draft section. 
I also have an editing checklist that includes my sentence rules. We practice editing our pages with a colored pencil so they can see the changes that need to be made. Students can also make notes about their mistakes. 
I love his ciduve=kind of! Sometimes I like to grade their editing instead of the final piece. This helps me know if they are really taking the time to fix mistakes or just rushing through this part. 
These are available in my {TPT Store}!

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener: New Color!!

I received an email a few weeks ago from my friends over at {Classroom Friendly Supplies}. They asked me to review a new color of their Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpeners!! I was so excited, and could not wait to find out the new color! I could not wait to find out the new color...Are YOU ready to find out!?! Two of my best friends will be so excited to see...(insert drum roll here)
Popular Purple is the newest color for the #quietestsharpener! 
First of all, this color is amazing! It's bright, vibrant, and absolutely amazing! The next thing to do after checking the new color is USE IT!!
To sharpen the pencil, you have to squeeze the two black pieces together and pull the metal pencil holder out. Stick the pencil in, and you are ready to go!
There are two options to sharpen the pencil. You can hold the sharpener yourself, or there is a kickstand that can hold the pencil sharpener. I find that holding it yourself is the best way to get a good sharpen each time. The kickstand really does not work well. 
It also is difficult for the younger kiddos to sharpen pencils using the kickstand. They also have a hard time holding it and sharpening the pencil at the same time. I usually do not let my students sharpen pencils in my electronic pencil sharpener, so this would be no different!The nut tightens so you can use several different types of surface thicknesses. I also found out that you can't tighten it too much or it will go sideways. The sharpener is made to be portable! 
Look at that sharp points! I feel like the ISTEP (Indiana's standardized test) officials would be smiling at the sight of this point! 
-Super sharp pencil
- Portable for taking to students during testing
-QUIET- this sharpener is way quieter than the old crank one and my electric one. 
-You don't have to keep checking and checking to see if it is sharp
- The shavings holder is tighter than it use to be! This makes it practically impossible for the tray to pop out unless you want it to! 
- Not very stable unless you buy the permanent mount. I'm sure you could use Velcro or a strong glue to fix this also.
- Super sharp pencil- I did one for a student and then he kept pointing it at another student's face. This made me very nervous because it was so super sharp.
Check out the sharpener in action! 

I would 100% recommend this sharpener to you. Whether you let your students sharpen their own pencils or not, it is always nice to have a super sharp pencil. They are also great during test time when you need to quietly sharpen pencils as to not distract everyone else. Head over to Classroom Friendly Supplies to check them out!

Five For Friday: Happy Fall!

I'm so excited to be linking up with {Doodle Bugs Teaching} this fine Friday to tell you what we have been up to in my class!
This week we worked really hard on getting things ready for our October bulletin board! Let me preface this with, " I HATE doing a bulletin board..." It's my least favorite thing ever, honestly. I'd take parent/teacher conferences and PD the day before school starts any day over trying to make my bulletin board cute, but this month is different! You know it's a big deal when your teacher neighbor calls you out on Facebook! 
We started with making a pumpkin using a glyph that I loved! It came from {Teacher's Take-Out}. We read the directions, and highlighted our answers. Then out came the construction paper! We wrote a rough draft describing our pumpkins, and typed them up today! I finished my board this afternoon! 
My favorite part is my "Happy Fall" banner! Get it {here} for free! {KG Fonts} are my absolute FAVORITE! 
Like I said earlier, we typed our first paper today! I cannot believe how smoothly this went! The kids opened Word, indented, typed, and many of them changed the font and size all by themselves! I was very impressed and proud of my kids for either already knowing these skills or picking them up so fast!

My friends over at {Classroom Friendly Supplies}have some exciting news to share soon!
Clipart from Melonheadz
I can't spill the beans yet, but you won't want to miss it! Keep your eyes open! If you haven't heard about the quietest pencil sharpener, click {here} to read my review!
Since we have happily ended our relationship with Accelerated Reader, my kiddos have been working hard on getting in the hang of their new reading routine. I have been slowly introducing them to the different things they are going to be doing with the books they read. I can't wait to really get started and start making commercials and hosting book talks! If you want to check out this pack, head over to {my store}!
This may have been me a little this afternoon. We have been reading the story Super Storms, which is one of my favorites because I love storms.  We watched YouTube videos of hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, and lightning storms. We ended the lesson with a little Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus. These are so fun and even a little educational! 
Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to find out what everyone else is up to!

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