Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Literacy Work

Here is some of our new literacy center work (I needed a little spark to keep them working hard this time of year).  My students love "making sentences" activities, so we have done a series of four different winter themed activities.  Here is the final one:

Download Winter Sentences here

Another activity that I have added is Word Building Boggle.  I know that many teachers have created versions of this type of activity; however none of them seemed to fit the needs of my students - so, I created one of my own.  In order to make the activity even more individualized, I fill the boxes with letters from the students' current story activities.  It takes a little bit of time, but I sat down and did about five themes for each group all at once - no sweat.  My students have completed the activity twice, and have not only enjoyed it, but done quality work.

You can download Boggle here

I hope that some of you can use these, or copy them to fit what your students need.  Even though I love finding activities created by other bloggers, I truly enjoy making my own as well :)
Pin It

Mini White Boards

 In my ongoing quest to not only be organized but efficient, I came up with a new idea: erasable flashcards.  With four different reading groups, all at different places in the curriculum,  it seemed like all I was doing was cutting paper and making flashcards for each story we read.  With limited space, I have found that I have no more room for all of these activity cards.  The other day I came up with an idea that has already proved useful.  I cut up a stack of cardstock into 4 1/4 by 3 inch rectangles, and then laminated them, essentially making them into mini white boards.  I went through each group's word activites for the next day and wrote them on the cards with a dry erase marker.  I could easily change letters in front of the kids to make new words, which was a great word building activity.  When we were done, I erased the cards that I didn't need for the next day's lesson, and then wrote the new words on the same cards.  The best part is, they don't take up any space - just one little stack of cards.  I've only been using them for a week, so we'll see how it goes, but so far, so good!

Pin It

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Update on the eagle cam!

UPDATE: Right after I posted our eagle project and information about the eagle cam, I found out that the Decorah eagles now have 2 eggs in their nest!  We hadn't been on in a few weeks, but I made sure to show the kids as soon as I heard.  Since we are now entering a new Foss science unit on Plants and Animals, I am going to continue to show the eagle cam from time to time enhance our unit.  The eggs are supposed to hatch in about 34 days, so I know the kids will be eagerly awaiting the big day!

You can find the cam at It

No Bug Zone!

Here is the latest addition to my room and classroom management repertoire. I found the idea on The Schroeder Page, which I love (Thank you Monica!), and I immediately had to do the same thing. So far so good! the light is located right above my teacher/reading table. When I am meeting with a group, the students aren't allowed to "bug" us. We use the "ask 3 before you ask me policy," as well as the class question answerer trick, but lately we've need a little more reminding. The kids see the light and know to start problem solving.

The Schroder Page can be found at

Pin It

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

National Symbols Unit: The Bald Eagle

As part of our continuing Social Studies unit on national symbols and landmarks, we studied the bald eagle. We read books, researched eagles, and learned about the history of how the eagle became such and important symbol for our country. We even watched the live bald eagle cam from Decorah, IA - the kids loved this! I put the live shots on the promethean board during writer's workshop and let the kids write about what they saw, what they thought the eagles were feeling and thinking, and consider both the live birds and the eagle's place in our nation's history. This was the final project we made. It was inspired by numerous projects that I saw online. The only change I would make is to add tail feathers to the eagle. I had a tracer made, but when I laid my own sample out, you could not see the tail feathers due to the placement of the shield - the students did not have this same problem!We are going to add the tail feathers this Friday to make sure that the student work is as accurate as possible. Hope you enjoy!

Pin It

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cute Valentines

Valentine's Day is over, and most of us have moved on; however I did not want to forget these cute ideas for next year.  My daughter received these Valentine's at day care.  The first is a simple doilie on a heart, but the fun part is that her teacher included a heart shaped crayon.  I remember making these crayons as a kid in muffin tins with crayon shavings, and I loved them! 

The second card was so simple, I wish I had thought of this as an activity for our Valentine party - at our party we had 4 stations that the students rotated just like they do for lit centers. I love that only the sides of the small heart were glued down so that it made a little pocket. These were great Valentines~

Pin It

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Making Sentences

My student's really enjoy "making sentences" activities, so I made a Valentine version.  The basic words are simple, since the "holiday" words are a bit more difficult.  I will also encourage my stronger students to write a few sentence in which they add their own descriptive words.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Making SentencesPin It

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Love Bugs - A Quick and Easy Valentine Project

This is a project that I did with my students at the end of last week to add a little holiday flair to our classroom.  This was a last minute addition to our day, since my diligent workers finished their Social Studies activity in record time (In fact, I came up with this on my lunch break!).  I made a bunch of heart tracers, and this is what the outcome was.  My students loved this, and in fact, the kids immediately started calling these cute heart creatures, "love bugs".  I wish I would have had time to have them make antennae for them.  Oh, well, next year ....

Pin It

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Map Project

My students are currently studying maps in Social Studies; as well as state and national symbols and landmarks.  As we wrapped up the portion on our home state, Minnesota, I had the students make this project ( I had seen a similar one completed by another teacher in our building, and recreated it with a few changes.)  After tracing and cutting out a map, the students selectd pictures of state symbols and other important representations, and added them to their map.  We have created many projects this year already, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how proud they were of this relatively simple project.  They don't want me to take them down! (I tried on Friday in order to hang up a Valentine project, and they were really bummed - I decided to leave them up :) )

Pin It

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Student Work File

I needed a new way to organize completed, student work, and this is what I came up with.  Since I my partner and I share students for two subjects, that means we are both collecting work from 43 students everyday.  With these files, I can very quickly check to see how each student has done for a day or week.  It also makes it easier for returning and recording work.  I can do a few students at a time until I am done, and then staple their work and put it in their mail boxes immediately.  No more work piling up if I miss a day or two of correcting!

Pin It