Sunday, September 13, 2015

Classroom Decor Tip

Today I just wanted to share a quick classroom decor tip with you! I know, I'm a little late...I've already been back to school a whole month! :/

To start here are a few pictures of my classroom...

Now here is a little tip for ya...
If you are like me, you like to use your whiteboard for many purposes. In the past it was really easy for my whiteboard to become cluttered and unorganized, looking just like a big hodge podge at the front of my classroom. I started to use borders a few years ago to create separate areas on the board. It would take lots of time to cut the border and add tape or hot glue magnets to make it stick. I really wanted to purchase the magnetic border that you can find at many teacher stores and websites, but when I calculated how much magnetic border I would need I couldn't fathom spending that much money! One day while I was at the Dollar Tree I discovered these little cling borders. 
I bought one pack and thought I would give it a try! I am so glad I did. I took the border to school, cleaned the white board with a damp cloth and stuck the border on. This is the third year I am using the border and it works perfect. 

The best part was that to create the border for my entire white board it only cost me $10.00!!! In a close second place, it is also sooooo amazing to come in on Monday morning and not have any of the border on the floor as a result of the a/c being off all weekend {which is what used to happen when I tried to put the border up with tape or magnets}.

Happy Decorating! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eric Carle {Author Study}

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this week we have started an author study on Eric Carle...another one of my favorite authors and illustrators! Here are some pics of our week so far!

We started the week off learning about who Eric Carle is. My kids are already referring to him as if he is a close personal friend. We read Today is Monday, and sang the song. During math we used the book The Tiny Seed as a springboard for some "seedy" addition practice. I let me kids paint a flower. I was using this craft as a "test run" to see how this group of kids would do painting in an "unsupervised" setting. I'll admit that although painting is something that my students absolutely is not something that we do too often...and if we are being really honest, painting usually means me dipping their hand in some paint and stamping it onto a paper. However, when it comes to learning about Eric Carle I feel like painting is NECESSARY. Since my day doesn't allow tons of extra time for painting, this was an activity that I expected my students to do independently. I went to Michael's and got some supplies which have turned out to be very helpful. The sponges are really easy to paint with and give great texture! The flowers came out so great, I decided that we had to keep them as part of our Mother's Day gifts.

On Tuesday we read Little Cloud. After we did a sorting activity, we did word work with clouds {shaving cream}. The kids also drew what they would be if they were a cloud. We did a little Water Cycle investigation and even did some cloudy addition!  

Today we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It is a favorite FOR SURE! We did a little butterfly research and created our own beautiful butterflies.

The kids wrote about a time they were very hungry. One of my favorites included cereal and throw up. :/ {Due to the graphic nature of the illustrations I didn't post that one! ;)}
{One day I was very hungry. I ate pizza and sour patch kid extremes. But I was still hungry.}

In math we worked with making numbers using the food from the story. A few months ago I found these stickers at Dollar Tree, and bought a bunch! I let the kids use them to create math problems.

At the end of the day we created some window art using coffee filters. SO much fun!

I hope you enjoy Eric Carle's books as much as my students and I do! Here's a little freebie for you to get started! {Click pic below!}

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mo Willems {Author Study}

On of my favorite things to hear is children giggling. Even thinking about kids laughing and chuckling makes you smile, no?!

An author study that I love to do in my classroom, that ALWAYS brings lots of giggles, is Mo Willems. Reading one of Mo Willems' books is entertaining no matter how old you are. {Sometimes I probably think the books are even more funny than my students do!}

A few weeks ago I posted this picture on instagram. My class was having a little BIG issue with using the restroom correctly {YUCK}, so I went to the library and checked out this book. Who knew a book with the word "pee" in the title could work "Bathroom Miracles"!? :) Thank you  Mr. Willems.

After reading the "Pee Book" {as it was referred to by my students} my kids were so excited to start our Mo Willems Author Study. We mastered many of our ELA standards, just by focusing on this one author. Mo Willems makes reading fun!

Here are some of the activities that we did...
We learned all about Mo Willems and examined what he does as an author and illustrator. As we worked through this unit we tried to be an author and illustrator just like him.

We examined characters in Mo Willems' books and compared their adventures and problems in the stories. Of course one of our favorite characters was Knuffle Bunny!

Pigeon was a big hit too! The kids loved changing their voices while they were reading to sound just like Pigeon.

Probably one of the favorite characters that my students got to know was Wilbur from the book Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. They were so creative when they got to dress their own Naked Mole Rat! 

Piggie and Elephant {my personal favorite Mo Willems' characters} were a huge hit! The students are still selecting these books for in their independent reading book baskets! If you don't have Mo Willems books in your classroom library...they are a MUST! I recommend purchasing hardcover ones, they will be read over and over again--getting lots of wear and tear! 

As we read Mo Willems books we discovered that as an author he uses his characters to teach us lessons. Even though we are done with this unit, my students still refer to books and characters that we read during our author study. I will randomly hear, "You should share like Piggie." or "I am a leader like Wilbur." Melts my heart! :)

If you are interested in doing a Mo Willems Author Study, I recommend this unit to you...
Included in the unit is all the chart parts, printables and crafts shown in this post! Click on the picture or HERE to go check it out!

The best part of Mo Willems' books are the joy and fun that he brings to reading...something that is so important as we develop our students as "Reading Lovers"! Here is a little FREEBIE to help you celebrate this amazing author!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thank You to Martin and His Friends {A FREEBIE TOO!}

Every year my little ones are surprised and saddened when they are taught of the injustices that people of the past faced. They are inspired by the bravery that each hero had in their fight to make changes in our society. My heart melts to see the compassion in my students' eyes as I teach them about a topic that can sometimes be uncomfortable to discuss. Martin Luther King Jr. becomes a quick hero, Rosa Parks is instantly incredible and Ruby Bridges is almost like another student that is in our own class!

Here is the journey we took to learn about Martin and his friends...

We read lots of books.

We watched a simple BrainPOP Jr. {found here} and this youtube video.

Another online resource is this Scholastic News Magazine.

We learned about Martin's Rainbow of Dreams. The students got to create a bracelet to help remember Martin's dream. I loved how they wore the bracelet for the rest of the week! 

We completed several activities and crafts from this unit.

We also did a Martin Luther King Jr. directed drawing...I always love how they turn out!
The students shared the dreams they have for making the world a better place too.

Another activity that we completed was inspired by lots of pins on pinterest and this book!
{Again, I can not take credit for this idea...I saw tons of pins on pinterest and I stole the idea.} We read the book and reflected on how things look so much better with lots of colors and diversity. The kids definitely got the connection!

{Idea inspired by Read Write Sing!}

Grab your free copy of the activity and the bulletin board pieces by clicking on the picture above! {This is an editable file (so you can personalize it with your own name) that you will open in powerpoint!}

Looking for more resources to teach about MLK? Check out these on TPT...

Hope this post helps with your MLK plans! Happy Weekend!!


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