Monday, October 21, 2013

Busy, Busy October

Man, is it just me or is October really busy?  I just realized I never shared my kiddos work from our 12 Ways to Get to 11 project.  As a quick recap, we read the book and the kids broke up into groups to create their own pages based on the format of the book.  I have to say that the kids did a great job.  Many of their pictures were creative and their number sentences gave me the opportunity to teach them how to "chunk" numbers when adding more than 2 digits.  Here are a few of their pages:
 "One bat, 1 princess, 3 trees, and 2 pieces of candy"
 "There are 6 eyeballs and 1 broomstick"
"There are 3 clouds, 1 sun, and 1 rooster."

Each group had a different sum to make.  I let each group decide what they wanted the theme of their book to be.  Most groups chose Halloween (of course), but I did have a group choose a farm theme (you see one of their pages above) and one group chose a Christmas theme. 

Last week, we studied owls.  The kids had a great time and found out that some of the things they thought they knew about owls were actually misconceptions (like all owls are nocturnal or they all live in trees).  I wanted to share a fun activity we did.  When I started going through my owl stuff, I found these old paper bag puppets:

Now, I don't know how it is in your school, but we don't really have time to just make paper bag puppets unless there is some Common Core learning involved!  So, instead of just making puppets, we turned these into fact holders.  We had each child write 4 or more facts on paper squares.
Then, we stapled the top of the bag shut and cut a slit where the bottom of the bag folds.  The kids then were able to put their facts into the owl to take them home and share their learning with their families!
The kids had a blast with this and we were still able to incorporate some fun art into our day!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

21st Century Anchor Charts

    I can't believe it's October already!  I don't know about you, but I love Fall!!!!  Cooler weather (which here in Florida means the low 80's), Halloween, pumpkins, football...what's not to love?  As some of you know, we are departmentalizing this year which means I now have a  morning class and an afternoon class.  It's taken a lot of getting used to, but now that we're getting in the swing of things, I'm starting to like it.  It really gives me the chance to focus solely on math/science.

    One of the things I've had to get used to is making anchor charts.  The first time I started making one this year with my morning class, I got about halfway through it when I realized that I would need to do it again with my afternoon class, which meant using another piece of chart paper.  Now, I don't about y'all, but we are SERIOUSLY limited on funds, which means we have to be really careful about what we use.  So I got to thinking about how I could continue to make anchor charts for both classes and save paper.  I did see a cool post about using post-it notes to make anchor charts for each class.  I was going to put the link here, but I can't remember where I saw it.  If you know who posted this, let me know so I can put the link.  So I got all excited about that until I started to think about how many sticky notes I might have to get.  Sticky notes = money. to make 2 sets of anchor charts without spending a lot of $$$.  Enter the anchor charts of the 21st century:

Here is an example of a KWL we made on pumpkins.  The first two show my morning class - what they know and what they wonder.  After reading some books about pumpkins, we then added what we learned.  I added a small yellow star each time we answered one of their "I wonder..." questions.  The second 2 show my afternoon class.  As you can see, we hadn't written about what we learned yet.  We can then pull up each chart when needed, or you can print them out if you want them to be hung up for the kids to access anytime.

After doing these, I did have another thought.  You could also create one large chart after both classes have created their individual ones by combining the ideas of both classes.  I'm thinking about doing this with our owl unit next week.

I'll leave you with a smile.  I don't think I posted this back in September when we did it (but if I did, hey - I'm gettin' old and forgetful).  We read Officer Buckle and Gloria and then the kids had to write out a safety tip which we then bound into a class book.  Here is one of my favorites:
It says, "Don't wear high heels to school!"  Gotta love my girlie girls!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Scarecrow Math Stories

Oh my goodness!  I don't blog at all for an eternity, then two posts in one week!  Maybe I'm getting back on track.  If you've been following my blog, you know that this year, our school decided to departmentalize for all grade levels.  That means this year, I am only teaching math/science.  Although I still have not decided whether this is the best situation, I know that this is how it is this year and we have to make the best of it.  I have to say that one thing I do like is the fact that I only have to focus on and plan for 2 subjects rather than 4.  This does make it a little easier on me, especially since we are transitioning to Common Core, new standards-based report cards/grading, and now departmentalizing.  That's a lot of new stuff to take on at once. 
   We have 2 teachers that are teaching reading/language arts, 2 of us are teaching math/science and 1 class is self - contained.  So the other math/science teacher and I were planning together and we were talking about how the reading teachers have tons of cute book related activities that they can hang up outside their rooms, but we really didn't have a lot.  So we started looking at things that we used to use for reading activities and how we could adapt these things to apply to math or science. 
 Enter these cute scarecrows:

In the past, we've always had the students write a story about what the scarecrow sees as he stands in the field.  This year, after coloring the front and adding their names:

The students wrote and illustrated a math story inside:
The kids had a great time sharing their math stories.  And, they look really cute hanging in the hall (which is always a plus)!   Next week, we'll be reading this book (gotta incorporate literature in every subject):

12 Ways To Get To 11
If you haven't read this book, you have to check it out!  It's great for teaching different ways to make numbers.  The students will be creating their own pages for a class book based on this selection.  Come back next week to see what they come up with.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My First Five for Friday!!

 First of all, let me apologize for being so absent lately.  Am I the only one who's having a crazy busy year?  I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water here.  I'm going to try to be better about blogging though - we'll see...

Yeah!!! I'm so excited to be able to link up for my first Five for Friday post.  I've been reading everybody else's posts for a while now, but I never think about taking pictures on a Friday until I'm sitting in front of my computer Friday night and by then it's too late!  Luckily, I thought about it this morning, so now I can join the party!


This week, we've been studying apples.  We read stories about Johnny Appleseed, worked on labeling an apple tree and an apple, did an experiment with apples, and even did some math work with apples.  I had the kids bring in apples, so we could use real apples for all of our activities and they had a blast!


We also had a little quiz today.  Labeling the apple was part of it.  The kids did a really great job!  Especially since this happened right in the middle of our quiz:


Yeah, we've had a leak in the roof for about a year and a half.  They said they fixed it right after it happened, but I don't thik it was totally fixed as there were still little water spots on the ceiling tiles.  They had replaced some of the tiles, but left one or two out and just left a little hole in the ceiling.  So they come today right in the middle of our test!  Seriously??  But hey, it's (hopefully) fixed now - especially since there's a tropical storm churning out there that should impact our weather at the start of next week. 


 Our afternoon was just as crazy (but a little more fun).  We all gathered along the fence line and the kids were super excited for...

5 (and more)
our town's first homecoming parade in 20 years!  We live in a small town and our Jr./Sr. High School is right across the street from our elementary school, so we are all just one big happy family.  There were:

football players
 marching band
 and homecoming court
It was nice to see some of my former students as cheerleaders, volleyball players, homecoming court, etc.  I don't know why they stopped having the homecoming parade for so many years (that was before my time, lol), but it was lots of fun and the kids really enjoyed it, so I hope they continue the tradition.