Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ending Our Year In A Life Cycle Garden

Oh, sweet summertime! Friday was my last day at school
and before I forget I wanted to share some of the fun things 
did for our end of year open house.  
Every year I take all kinds of pictures of this wonderful event 
but by the time I finish purging and packing up my
classroom I'm too worn out to post them!
I know you can relate!

This year for our celebration of learning we
decided to turn our hallway into a life cycle garden! Our last quarter is 
all about life cycles and insects.  We studied the life cycles of  frogs,
ants, bees and of course butterflies!

We  incorporated a lot of writing...

This one made me giggle...

"If I was a butterfly......I would fly on to my sister's door and listen to my sister 
on the phone." Ha!

This one made my teacher heart happy! I love it when kiddos use the 
vocabulary they've learned in their writing!

We made these little caterpillars to illustrate the stages of a 
butterfly's life cycle.

My teammate made this butterfly writing craft with her class. 

These were a HUGE hit!  We turned ourselves into butterflies 
to go with our writing.  My kids LOVE it when they get to
use pictures of themselves!  

I took pictures of each of my kiddos then had them cut them out.
I gave each student about a 6" by 8" piece of tissue
paper to fan fold, then we stapled them to the back of
the photo. So simple, easy and FUN!

My awesome teammate made this honeycomb with her class to
showcase their writing about bees.  We've been
working with our students on learning to take notes while reading nonfiction 
as well as watching video clips. BrainPop Jr. and Discovery Streaming are 
perfect for this and we're lucky to have both!  

What's a garden without sunshine?  We made these arrays of sunshine 
from my friend Amanda Madden's FAB-U-LOUS blog Teaching Maddeness

We also made butterfly life cycle booklets to showcase all of our learning. 
I've wanted to pull our butterfly activities together into a unit for my TPT Shop
for a while now.  I'd love to make a companion to my Plant Life Cycle unit and
I've been tweaking this one for two years.  I just can't quite get it to be the way I want it yet!

These are some of the things we did while learning about the frog life cycle.  

I posted a few weeks ago about these little guys. You can see that post HERE.

I love it when our families come to visit.  It's so much fun to see them enjoying all of 
things their child is learning about!

Well, I'm over and out! I hope you all have some rest, relaxation and most of all, 
some fun planned for the summer!  

Monday, May 19, 2014


It's been a bit since I last posted with all of the end of year 
craziness I'm trying to stay ahead of!  Before I show you 
what we've been up to (besides a multitude of assessments, a field trip, 
our end of year open house, hit or miss specials/prep time, report cards,
  IEP and MET meetings, team meetings and after school PD's...yikes!) 
I just wanted to say that

I swooned when I saw her Hashtag Fluency For Digital Natives unit but thought 
maybe my second graders wouldn't "get it".  Oh boy, was I wrong! Ha!  
When I asked who knew what a hashtag was every 
little hand started waving frantically! I guess that was a pretty 
silly question! I forget how savvy they are sometimes!

 I broke out these little ipads to all kinds of ooohs and ahhhhs! As I explained all 
of the fun things they were going to get to do with these my kiddos were practically
drooling! I added all of Jen's brilliant little ways to practice fluency to 
our literacy centers for the week and my class FUH-LIPPED!
Honestly, they were in hashtag heaven!

Partners used these timers and took turns to see how many phrases they could 
read before the sand was gone.  They graphed their progress each time they played.

Students also sorted "hashcards" (as one of my kiddos named them..Ha!) 
 into piles of YES or NO depending on if they could read them correctly. 

My students take home weekly fluency passages so they're very familiar with 
how this works. I used these for partner reading.  One partner read the 
phrases while the other followed along marking any errors then counting 
the number read correctly.  I placed the lists in page protectors and had kids 
use dry erase markers. After both partners had a turn, they choral read
all of the phrases.

This next game was another HUGE hit! Not only did my kids get the biggest 
kick out of what the hashtags said but they LOVE using spinners and highlighters!

Let me back up a minute and tell you that before introducing my class
to all of this awesomeness I was a tad worried that I would undo all of 
my hard work in getting them to use capitals and punctuation each. and. every. time.
they wrote a sentence.  So before I even showed them all of the fun things
we were about to do I showed them this.....

I projected this on my SMARTBoard and made my kids
pinky promise that they would ALWAYS remember these rules!
Feel free to grab this image and use it with Jen's unit.  (Google Docs is
giving me fits so I can't share it as a download but you can copy and paste it 
into a Word doc or Power Point slide and print or project it from there.)

My class will be working on a super fun memory book next week
that is a real keeper!  I wanted a memory book of my own to keep so
I thought it would be fun to make a {hashtag}memory book!
I used Powerpoint and shapes to make the little ipads 
then cut and pasted  my favorite pictures.

Well, my kids were already in bliss over all of this and then I told them about our
 hashtag hop.  Oh. my. gosh!  They laughed and giggled and thought it was
 the greatest thing ever! So we had ourselves a hashtag hop and went to town 
hashtagging all of the fun things we did this year!  

I printed out the pages and set them out on all of the desks.  I made sure I had 
a page for each desk and that each student appeared 2 or 3 times total. 
We moved all of the chairs then students hopped and hashtagged all 
of the pictures.  

 I LOVE how positive and encouraging they are toward each other.  
They had a blast looking back at all of our pictures and remembering 
the fun we've had this year!  

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's a Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
To celebrate, everything in my TeachersPayTeachers store 
is 20% off May 6 & 7.
Use the PROMO Code TPTXO to save an additional 10%!

Don't forget to leave feedback on previous purchases 
so you can redeem your points at checkout and SAVE even more!

Thank you Michelle, for sharing your adorable button!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Graphic Novel Style Memory Books for K-3!

 My end of year To Do List is long I tell ya!  We've been busy, busy, busy
reviewing for our last quarterly benchmark, getting everybody's
end of year literacy assessments done, and finishing up projects
for our open house!   My class is getting pretty squirrely and we're all 
about ready for summer!

One of the ways I keep everybody on track and still learning 
is with these end of year memory books!

Friends, these aren't your Mama's memory books! 
Designed in the style of a graphic novel your class will love
these end of year memory books for K-3 include LOTS of fun ways 
for students to showcase their memories as well as their learning. 
Students have FUN writing about their favorite events and activities, 
highlighting their learning superpowers, as well as writing and drawing about the 
powers of friendship, laughter, celebration, kindness, and respect.  
I've also included "show what you know" pages for each core subject to 
keep it academic and help your little superheroes review! Use all of the pages or 
pick and choose the superpowers you want your students to remember most!
Click on any of the pictures to take you to 

Memory Book Gr. 2-3

Here's a little peek at all of the pages!

This little writing craft compliments the memory book and makes 
a great open house display!

Students write an accomplishment or ability they are proud
of on the lightning bolt.  Inside the chest is a booklet for students to 
write about their goals and accomplishments, why they are proud 
of them and how they developed their learning superpowers!

I've had lots of requests for a K-1 version and I'm happy to say it's finished and 
posted in the TPT Shop!

I've included a cover for Prep Year for my Australian teacher friends!

Here's a peek at the K-1 writing craft for little Superheroes!
Students write about accomplishments on the lightning bolt!
Inside the chest shield necklace they write about how they met their goals or 
achieved their accomplishments and developed their learning superpowers!

Each of these pieces can be purchased separately
or in a  bundle. Purchasing the bundle saves 
you money PLUS as a little time saving BONUS
I've included printable parent and student gifts!

            K-1 Bundle                                                        2-3 Bundle

Gr. 2-3 gift tags are shown below. The K-1 bundle includes K-1 versions 
as well as Prep Year.  All of the student gift tags are included in 
both color and black and white. 

I hope these help to save you some time, money, and sanity PLUS help you 
check some things off of that long end of year To Do list!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Office Staff Appreciation Freebie

We wouldn't make it a minute at my school without our wonderful
office staff.  They are the first responders for all the little ins and outs and 
unexpected events that naturally happen when you work with children.  
They truly are the glue that holds it all together
and we can't thank them enough!

Here's a little way to treat your office staff to lunch, and say 
thanks for all you do!  I attached In-N-Out Burger gift cards to
this fun little tag but a gift card to any favorite lunch spot would do!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Leapin' Life Cycles!

Leapin' life cycles we had fun with these frogs! So far we've learned 
about the life cycles of butterflies, plants, and now frogs. My team 
and I decided we'd use life cycles as the theme for our 
end of year open house and we've been busy thinking of ways 
we can incorporate life cycles across our curriculum. 

We read lots of nonfiction books about frogs and my class wrote 
things they've learned about each stage of the life cycle on
 these lily pad sticky notes.  I drew the shape
then copied it on construction paper.  We used repositionable
glue sticks to turn them into sticky notes. I used clip art
from Scrappin'Doodles for the pictures.

I've been working with my students on how to take notes and determining what 
information is considered important and note worthy.
We watched some video clips on Discovery Education as well as 
on Brain Pop Jr. and students took notes that they would 
later use to write about the frog's life cycle.

One of the things we've talked a lot about is that taking notes means 
writing down important vocabulary, main ideas, and facts rather than 
complete sentences.  This was so tricky for them at first and I'm
so proud of how far they've come!

As a culminating project, we made this
 Frog Life Cycle On A String craft which will be part
of our open house display.

There are two versions of this in the download.  An easy-cut 5-stage cycle
for younger students and a crafty-cut 7 stage cycle. I did a combo of both 
and did a 5-stage crafty-cut since my students are able to cut out 
more elaborate shapes.  Students used their notes to write about each stage 
 in the little lily pad booklets. 

We assembled all the pieces in order on the string glued on some
wiggly eyes (my kids LOVE wiggly eyes!) then added black dots
 to the beads eggs with a Sharpie! Fun, fun, fun!!

Everything tucks into the large lily pad pocket for display and students simply 
pull the string out slowly to reveal each stage!

Here's a little look at the 7-stage version.

If you're looking ideas for your life cycles unit and need some frog fun
click any of the pictures to find this in my TPT shop!