Monday, September 22, 2014

Learning About Landforms

I pass my old students daily in the hallways and it never fails to 
amaze me how BIG they get! They often pop in to say hi
and my current class loves it when 
"big kids" visit! Mostly so they can pepper them with
questions!  Most often they ask "What was your favorite
thing you did in second grade?" and making landforms
is high on the list! Our Continents, Oceans and Landforms project
is always a huge highlight and a whole lotta fun!

We start by reviewing continents and oceans (first grade 
spends a lot of time on this)then learning about and defining 
different types of landforms.

We worked with vocabulary, classifying landforms as water or land features,
labeling continents and oceans on maps, and defining different types of landforms
in our literacy centers.

Next we used Crayola Air Dry Clay to build imaginary islands.

Our islands had to have at least three landforms.

They could be completely made up but needed to be
in a real ocean near a real continent.

We made these on a Friday so they could dry over the weekend.
On Monday we painted our islands.

Next, we made maps of our islands. We just finished our unit on 
map skills and I love this PowerPoint from Teacher's Clubhouse
 I use it every year and keep it up as a reference while my class makes 
their maps, map keys, compass roses.

Students named their islands and drew maps that featured all of their landforms,
a map key and compass rose.

We carried this topic over into our literacy centers and writing block.

This is my favorite part!  My kiddos did some very creative writing and wrote 
imaginary personal narratives about life on their islands.

First we brainstormed a list of adjectives to help set the tone,  make
their writing stronger, and give their reader a more vivid mental picture.

We did some prewriting to solidify our ideas.  Next, we 
orally rehearsed our ideas turning them into a story
with a  partner.

We wrote postcards home to Mom and Dad from our islands too!

After all of these elements were finished we glued the prewriting 
and final drafts  into a folder with our postcard on the front and 
maps on the back to share with parents at our upcoming conferences. 
My kiddos begged to take their islands home as soon as they were finished 
but I didn't dare send them on the bus with a teetering paper plate!
 This way we could discuss their writing during our conference and 
Mom and Dad could carry the island home!  

These projects are keepers I tell ya!

Click on any of the images if you'd like to do this project with your class. 
 You can find all the landforms reference charts, assessments, printables,
literacy centers, lesson plans and templates for the writing project
 in my TPT shop and best of all it's on SALE for the rest of the week!

Happy teaching friends!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beating the Bulletin Board Blues 2: Make 'Em POP!

Welcome back to another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

Last month I shared some time-saving tips for hanging 
and storing your back to school bulletin boards in 

This time I'm back for part 2 with some fun ideas for making them POP!

Fancy up your boards with butcher paper! It's bright, 
 easy to work with, and readily available!

There are so many fun fonts out there its hard to choose 
which ones to use!  Don't be limited to the lettering you can buy 
at the teacher store.  Customize your boards with your favorite fonts
 in the colors you need.  No more running out of certain letters or having to 
work around pre-made lettering that is too big or too small!  

Your local party aisle has a treasure trove of resources for making 
your boards POP! They're inexpensive, easy to use, and best of all 
easy to store!  The possibilities are endless for what you can do with 
tissue paper, balloons, ribbon, and paper plates!

It is pure kid-joy for my students to get their pictures taken! 
They absolutely love seeing themselves in our displays and showing 
their friends is an added bonus!

It's not always evident how you got your students to where they are now.  
There's a whole lot of teaching that goes into each and every
project your students create. Share that process by including prewriting, 
graphic organizers, notes or journal entries in your bulletin board displays!

I hope you found some tips and ideas you can use in your classroom!

You can see Part 1 of this little series by clicking on the image below.

For more Bulletin Board Ideas visit my board on Pinterest!
Follow me on Facebook  or Instagram for teaching ideas, resources 
and giveaways!

Be sure to hop through the links below for lots more bright ideas! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Find Me For A Freebie!

Happy Sunday friends!  I'm over at Owl-ways Be Inspired today with
some fun book ideas and a freebie for teaching about cause and effect!

Head on over and check it out!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Girl's Gotta Have A Good Pen {Five For Friday & A Teacher Friend Freebie}

Happy Friday, teacher friends! I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching
for another Five for Friday!  Here's a little peek at my week...

I have to say that I'm loving these Frixion pens!
Fine line and erasable!
I found mine on Amazon.

If you're not already, you soon will be, deluged with running records, 
phonemic awareness and phonics screeners, high
frequency word checklists and grading baseline writing assessments.
Am I right? 

Every day at lunch we compare notes on how many we have left!
I am not winning.

I made these for my teammates (because they think I'm funny)
and to remind them of Rule Number 1:
A girl's gotta have a good pen when she's checking marking like a maniac.

 We wrapped up our Louder, Lili book study this week.  
I love this book! It is the perfect beginning of the year story for talking 
about kindness,being a good friend, standing up for what is right 
and treating others the way you wish to be treated. We reviewed 
all sorts of skills with it and my class really connected with these characters.  
They were mortified by how one of them tries to treat the class pet!
I overheard them talking about it all week!

  Last week we did this Math About Me activity and defined 
ourselves using math!

   I got the nicest email from Gail Collins, a middle school counselor, 
to share how she used my Superhero Writing Craft 
for a back to school career counseling display!

How creative is that? I love the message!  Thank you for sharing this, Gail!

 Our center rotations are in full swing.  I wanted to do 
something different in my poetry center this year so we're doing it

Jen has a great poetry station routine that I just love!
A little fluency practice, a little sound/spelling pattern identification or skill
practice with a highlighter (Pure kid-joy!), spelling practice, illustrating and labeling
 and VOILA!

I've since added having students write sentences using the words from their list
 on the back for some of my kiddos.
and find them HERE.

I introduced this center routine with a sweet little poem by Kristin Smith
from A Day In First Grade.  I purchased this poem with 
her I Can Be A Pal  pack. It tied in perfectly with our 
how to be a good friend writing.

Just like Jen, I typed up the poems I wanted to use
from Scholastic's Big Book of  Phonics Poems plus some other random 
poems I've gathered over the years. You can purchase 
the Scholastic book HERE.

I had a parent copy and cut the whole year's worth and all I do is 
change the poem each week. I love easy!

  And since I also love these silly Hey Girl's so much 
I'll leave you with this...

Be sure to stop by Doodlebug's for lots more
Five for Friday!

Have a restful weekend, friends!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beating The Bulletin Board Blues!

I'm linking up with another Bright Ideas Blog Hop to bring you some time saving
 tips to help you beat those back to school bulletin board blues! 

When setting up my classroom I like to hang my boards first, before moving any 
of the furniture. Use the empty floor space to lay out your paper or fabric to help 
visualize where you want to place your boards on the wall.  Keep in mind the other
 things you'll be adding around the boards such as pocket charts and posters. 
You don't want to have to move them once they're up!

Putting up bulletin boards at the beginning of the year can be a real workout!  
Not to mention a little risky as you teeter precariously on any available 
surface so you can hang that top trim! The most time consuming part for me 
is climbing up and down a zillion times to see if they're straight.
This little tip has saved me a TON of time!

This year as I was using my handy dandy level necklace my teammate 
wandered in and said, "I was hanging pictures this weekend and
 I discovered I could put a level on my phone." I never even thought of that!

Most teachers know that fabric is a great alternative
to butcher paper.  It doesn't fade and is super easy
to store. I get most of mine at Wal-Mart or on 
clearance at Hobby Lobby or my local fabric store.

Think ahead about holidays, themes and content 
you'll be displaying in your hallway.   
Layer your fabric or paper to save time when changing them out. 
 Simply remove the top layer and replace the border. 

At the end of the year, store all of the parts and pieces for boards 
you know you'll use again together.  Make yourself a little board-in-a-bag 
so it's all there and ready to go.  I've even taken a quick picture a time or two to
 remind myself  how I had it set up.

 Often times our custodians aren't finished cleaning when we report back.  
We sometimes have to wait for the carpets to be cleaned before we can 
set up furniture.  Keep your bulletin board supplies in an easy to reach place 
so you can use that time to get started on your walls. When stuffing things into 
cupboards at the end of the year I always pack my bulletin boards LAST 
so I can get to them FIRST!

I hope you've enjoyed these tips and found an idea or two you can use!
You can see Part 2 of this little series by clicking on the image below.

 For LOTS more ideas for decorating your boards 

 I'd love to have you join me on Facebook, and Instagram too! 
 Be sure to scroll through the links below for more Bright Ideas 
from 150 other teacher/bloggers!

Happy Back-To-School teacher friends!