Thursday, February 20, 2014

Adorable shape monsters and some 3D shape fun!!

Hello again friends!

I'm super jealous of you lucky ducks who had Monday off!  We had a bad weather make-up day and our 2nd one is already scheduled for Good Friday.  :(  Thank goodness our Spring Break is only 2 weeks away!  I'm ready for a little rest and relaxation, although not as much as the poor testing grade teachers at my school.  It's crunch time for them and their classes and I don't envy the pressure that they are under right now!

Anyway...I'm here to share all the fun things we've been doing during our unit on 3D Shapes!

We had a great time using this 3D shape sorting activity from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade.  My kiddos sorted themselves into groups, using the real world object cards, before we created our anchor chart together.

We also had a ton of fun making Shape Monsters!!

We started with construction paper and folded them hot dog style.  Then, my students got to cut any shape they wanted along the side opposite the fold.  Once they opened it back up, they had the head to their monster!  (good for symmetry too!)  From there, they got to use the small 3D shapes however they wanted to create eyes, teeth and any other body parts!  After they finished creating, we did some writing to label the shapes we used in our monsters.

I think the final products are just adorable, don't you??

Today, we went on a 3D Shape Hunt!  They are getting really good at finding 3D shapes and this activity was a great way to wrap up our week!

As you can tell, we've been busy and I'm ready for the weekend!  My cousins and their twin boys are coming to visit this weekend and we're headed to the new children's museum here in Austin!  I'm excited!  What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five for Friday!

Hi Friends!!

It has been a Caa-rrrazy week this week!  Brief recap for ya- I was out Wed. and Thurs. of last week at TCEA, Friday was a "cold day" so Monday was already a major catch-up day for me!  Wednesday was the 100th Day of School, Thursday was Picture Day (both class AND individual) and then today was, of course, Valentine's Day!  Whew!  Thank goodness it's Friday!!!

And now it's time to link up with Kacey for Five for Friday!

Here are my cuties holding up their Word Clouds during the 100th Day of School Parade!!

And now a close up of some our our Word Clouds!  We wrote 100 words and then typed them all up in the computer lab!  Lots of fun.

We had SO MUCH FUN making these shape monsters today!  They all turned out awesome.

Texas weather is just insane this time of the year.  We had freezing temperatures overnight on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and almost had a late start two of those days.  Then today, we hit 83 degrees!  I'm not complaining, though- I'm ready for Spring!

Today's party was relatively painless and check out all my goodies!  I'm loaded up with chocolate for the next few months, at least!  Also got a Starbucks card so I can get some weekend chai teas!  Yum!

How was your Friday?

Be sure to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day + Friday + Full Moon = tired teachers!!

Happy Sunday, Friends!!

I posted this image on my FB page yesterday and it got a lot of reaction out there in cyber-land!!

It should definitely make for an interesting week ahead!!  A lot of you also told me that Friday is your 100th Day, to make matters even crazier!!!  Yikes!!  (And some of you lucky ducks have a holiday or staff development on Friday!!)  Our 100th Day is Wednesday, so hopefully that'll help spread out the madness!

We have a 100th Day parade each year at our school and it's mostly for Pre-K and Kinder, but occasionally us first graders will participate as well.  I like to do lots of 100th Day activities in the classroom as well.  I have a freebie for writing 100 words in my store that we do every year.  I've done different things with it over the years, but it's always been a lot of fun!

Two years ago, we made a giant grid of our words.  The kids each made their own and then we picked a few from each category and wrote them on paper to add to our giant grid.  It was a lot of fun!  (Please excuse the picture quality, this is pre-iPhone and taken off of my classroom blog from 2012!)

Then last year, after the kids each made their list of 100 words, I let them make them into crowns!  It was a lot of writing for some of them, but the crowns came out super cute when they were done!!

(They wrote the words on the strips and the name of each category on the squares, it's a little hard to tell since they are so floppy!!)

I just thought I would pop in and share some cute things I've been finding on Pinterest for both the 100th Day and for Valentine's.

This blog post has a ton of cute ideas, including these 100s that her students decorated and hung up around the school.

This post also has some great ideas as well.

Some awesome bloggers have their own 100th Day boards on Pinterest that are definitely worth checking out!  Just click on their names to hop over to their boards!

100 is a Magic Number
Erika Bohrer
Crayons and Curls
Miss Kindergarten
Time 4 Kindergarten
Kindergarten Lifestyle

For Valentine's this year, we've been asked to keep our parties small and at the end of the day, so I don't have too much excitement planned.  We're going to make this cute writing craftivity I found, pass out cards and then right before I send the kids home, I'll let them eat all the sugary treats they brought!!  There are plenty of cute things I wish I could do, though!

Making something like this would be simple and fun.

I've also always wanted to make these crayons, but never taken the time to search for a heart cookie pan!!

How cute is this guy??
Here are a few Valentine's boards that are definitely chock-full of great ideas!!

Valentine's Day in the Classroom
Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day School Crafts
V-Day School Crafts

What does your week look like?  I'd love to hear from you!  I know we're all counting down the hours until Friday is OVER!!  :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guess who I met today??

He's tall...

He's funny...

He's orange...

Did you guess correctly??  I met Moby!!

I was so excited to take a picture with him at the TCEA conference today!  My coworker and I literally walked down every aisle in the exhibition hall to find the Brain Pop booth!!  We also got some bookmarks and pins for our classes.  They are going to FREAK OUT when I show them this picture on Friday!

So today was my first day to attend the TCEA conference and I had a lot of fun!  There was one presenter in particular that I really loved and I have to share all the great things she shared with us!!  Her name is Tammy Worcester Tang and she had so many great tips to share today!  I'm going to look up the rest of her sessions tomorrow as well.  This will probably be a fairly long post, but I promise it will be full of great ideas!!

Today she shared her top 20 technology tips and we all loved them!  My coworkers and I kept looking at each other like "Wow!" "Great idea!" each time!

She shared a tutorial on printing on sticky notes, which I've seen on Pinterest, but it was still great to see it in person.  She also shared a lot of information about Google- tips for using Google Chrome, the Google drive and even doing better Google image searches.

If you use Google image searches, they've actually made it a lot more streamlined to find what you want.  She showed us the 'Search Tools' button and all the different features to help refine your search.  I did the same searches Tammy showed us and took some screenshots for you.

You can search by the copyright licenses to know how you can use the image.

You can search by color, because you always need to find purple cows, right?

You can even search by type of image to just show clip art, or just real photos.

Tammy also had some great tips about using Google spreadsheets for a variety of things.  She even shared something she created for automatically generating short URLs and QR codes.  If you are lucky enough to have iPads or other devices for your students to use and you have a website to share with them that is too long to spell out, you can just enter it in and it will create the short URL and QR code right there for you!  It's available on her website if you want to check it out here.

Another online resource she shared is called Flippity.  It is a site that can turn information from a Google spreadsheet into online flashcards.  I think it would be so much fun to use with my first graders to practice addition facts.  All you do is create the spreadsheet with 2 columns, one for the questions (or addends) and one for the answers (or sums).  From there, you publish it to the web, copy the link, paste the URL and press go!  Then you'll have your flashcards all ready to share.  You can set them to cycle through randomly and I can think of so many topics that would be fun- state capitols, vocabulary words, math facts, the list goes on...

I really enjoyed the tips Tammy shared about YouTube.  Maybe you already have your own YouTube channel, but I didn't know anything about that!  I love showing YouTube videos to my class, especially Harry Kindergarten, but I would be excited to have my own channel!  There are so many ways that this would be helpful, for example, a kindergarten teacher at my school wants to create a library of recorded read-alouds for our students to watch at home.  A lot of our students are not read to enough at home, or even at all, and it would be awesome if they could listen to their teachers at home!!  Each teacher would be recorded reading a few great books and the kiddos could pick them out at home.  Creating our own YouTube channel would be a create vehicle for sharing our videos!  Tammy also shared a resource she created for clipping YouTube videos through Google spreadsheets.  You enter the video link, type in the time parameters you want and then it will produce a new link or even give you code to embed into a blog!  It would be great to use for science and social studies lessons, when you just want to show a part of a longer video.  It could also be fun to show part of a movie and then have the kids make up an alternate ending or predict what might happen next.

She also shared a few iOS ideas that would work on both an iPad or iPhone.  There is a program called Reflector that wirelessly broadcasts what is on your device onto a computer screen.  If you have that computer plugged into an overhead projector, it turns your device into a mobile document camera!  You could walk around the classroom during writing time and highlight great work or students who remembered to use finger spaces.  You could project a science experiment, like plants growing on the window sill, so that everyone could sketch them in their science journals at the same time.  You could even highlight and model behaviors during center time.  She also recommended the app AirSketch free, which turns your iPad into a wireless, mobile white board!  You can draw Venn diagrams or practice spelling words without having to turn your back to the class to write on the board.  She also shared the app Notability, which enables you to write on any pdf document.  The possibilities are endless with that one!

The last thing I'll share are a couple YouTube video from StoryBots.  I wasn't familiar with this set of videos before today, but they are super cute!  We're starting on geometry next week and I found a video on circles and one on squares!  So fun!

Click the image below to visit Tammy's Technology Tips for Teachers!

What are your favorite technology tips?  I'd love to hear them!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop- Math Journals!

Happy Sunday to you!  I really hope you are enjoying this Bright Ideas Blog Hop- I know I am!!  Loving all these amazing ideas!!  Thanks for hopping over from Hilary's awesome post!

Today, I am sharing a few ideas on how I do Math Journals with my class.  Do you use Math Journals?

I teach first grade and we have a 90 minute math block.  I start with a short whole group lesson, sometimes including some hands-on exploration and sometimes including a Brain Pop Jr video, and then we go into our Math Journals and Math Centers.  Those are the activities my students are doing while I am pulling my small groups to do my Guided Math lessons.

Our Math Journals have 4 boxes, as you can see in this picture below.

I write the journal entry and put it up on the projector for the whole class to see.  They each have their own Math Journal to work in.

My students know that they have to come show me their completed journal entry before they can go get their Math Center tub.  I do a quick visual check and point out any big issues that need to be corrected, if necessary.  After Center time, we check the entire journal as a class.  I truly love this system for many reasons.  It lets them work at their own pace.  My table groups are mixed ability, so there is always someone available to help if they need it.  Additionally, while everyone is working on their journal, it is SO QUIET!  Once they start moving into Centers, it gets a little louder, but I have no problem with that!  I occasionally have to ask them to bring it down a bit, but as long as I can see that they are working- I'm a happy teacher!

Now, this is what our journal looks like at this point in the year- at the beginning of the year, we start off with just the top two boxes and we fill them in together.   Then, as the year goes on, I start adding more content, leaving things off and the kids have to build the whole thing with what's there and with what's missing.

Here's the basic breakdown for each box-
Box 1- calendar
Box 2- number of the day
Box 3 and 4- current topics and spiral review

I'll end my post with some more picture of each box, please feel free to comment with any questions you have- or to share how you do Math Journals in your classroom!!  I'd love to hear from you!!

If you are looking for more great ideas, please hop on over to Seconds At The Beach to read Elizabeth's great post about taking learning outside!! 

Don't forget, you can also visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

p.s. Bloggers love to read your comments, so please leave lots of love along the way, especially if you loved the ideas you picked up!  Thank you for your support!