Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Fun!

This week has been all about pumpkins in my room.  It is the first theme of the year that we have "gotten into" if you know what I mean.

Today was the big day.

You know the one.  Where you bring in an actual real live pumpkin.

I brought in a small assortment of pumpkins.

My students were shocked with the pumpkins that were colors other than orange.  It was one thing to see it in a book, but to see it in real life is a whole different ballgame.

We used the orange pumpkin to do some investigations.  First we knocked on the pumpkin to hear what it sounded like.

Then they felt the pumpkin to see what it felt like.  {It was so fun to hear them use vocabulary like rind and ribs as they felt the pumpkin!}

We cut the top off so we could peek inside.  I always love how excited they get when they see this.

Of course, we had to get our hands in there and see what the inside felt like.

As they were feeling the inside, I also gave them the task of pulling out some of the seeds.  I plan on roasting them this weekend, but wanted some help getting them all out.  My kiddos were more than happy to help!

Once we finished investigating the pumpkin, we went and drew a picture of a pumpkin in our science notebooks.  We also labeled our illustration.

We are just starting our math centers this week.  I know some people have been doing math centers for a long time, but my kiddos just weren't quite ready for them yet.  This has been a fun and easy center to introduce math centers.

Students worked in pairs.  One student pulled a pumpkin number card out of the bag.  The other student used manipulatives (Halloween erasers from Target $ Spot) to show that number on the ten frame.  Simple, easy, and very little prep.

Once the student made that number with the manipulatives, the other student had to check their work.  Then the partners switched roles.

I have to share my proud teacher moment.  The little guy in this picture below is extremely low and has made little progress thus far this year.  Today, he counted three little bat erasers.  This was a major victory for him and you better believe I showered praise all over that sweet kiddo.  Makes it all worth it right there.

We are having a fall break this year which completely threw off my units that I normally teach.  I couldn't decide if I should do bats or spiders next week.  Instead I let my kiddos decide.  I gave them a little voting card.  They circled their choice, we tallied the results, and bats won!  They were so excited to have a choice in what they are learning.  I plan on doing this more often throughout the year as a result.

Do you give your students a choice in what units of study you do?  If so, how do you let them decide?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating with a Giveaway

I have reached some personal milestones thanks to my amazing followers.  I wanted to celebrate with a sale and a giveaway.

I have reached over 1,500 Facebook Followers and over 1,000 TpT followers.  I am beyond excited to reach these milestones.  I just can't believe it.

First, I will throwing a sale this weekend that will end on Monday night.  Just click the button to head to my store!  Everything will be 20% until the 29th.

Graphics by Creative Clips, Fonts by KG Fonts

A sale isn't enough to show my appreciation to all of you so I am also having a little giveaway!  The winner will receive a $20 TpT gift card and a $10 Target gift card.  Just enter using the rafflecopter below!

Thank you for being so amazing!

Graphics by Creative Clips, Fonts by KG Fonts

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Number Sense Game {freebie included}

Last week was all about learning our numbers in math.  This week I wanted to focus on number sense....more specifically 1:1 correspondence and counting objects.

I decided that we needed some hands-on engaging activities to practice these concepts.  My kiddos were absolutely loving dice so I came up with a game for them to play using dice and teddy bear counters {although you could really use any object you wanted to}.

Students were paired up.  One student had a die and the other student had a bag of teddy bear counters.

Step 1:  Student A rolled the die.

Step 2:  Students count the dots on the die to know what number they will be working with.

Step 3:  Student B gets out that number of objects.

Step 4:  Student A counts the teddy bears to check Student B's work.

Step 5:  Student A praises or coaches Student B.  {We practiced a lot with this ahead of time.  What do we say when our partner gets the answer correct?  How can we coach our partner to get the correct answer?}

Step 6:  Student's switch jobs.  Now Student B will roll the dice.  Students will then go through all the steps again.

Once the students had played the game for a bit and I had a chance to go around to check on each group, I had my students complete a practice page so I could see what they could do independently.

On the practice page, I realized that my students did pretty well with counting, but struggled with writing the number to match the objects.  They could say the number, but writing it was a whole different struggle.  We will continue to work on that skill this week.

Tomorrow, we will do this activity again except we will be using some fall objects.....leaves!  When it is time to practice independently, my students will complete the worksheet below.  I am leaving it here as a freebie for all of you!  {Just click on the picture to download it!}

You will want to check back later this week because I have a fun surprise in the works.  I hit some personal milestones and I want to celebrate with YOU!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Teaching Personal Space

Want a simple easy idea for teaching personal space in the primary grades?

I use colored electrical tape on tables to create each student's own "space."  They have to keep all their items within their space:  their crayon box, paper, chair, and body.

When they are crossing the tape line I just remind them to stay in their own space and they scoot right back or move their things.  Works like a charm!

The best part?  It is extremely easy for my students to distinguish which color table they are sitting at.  I use the tape to color code my tables.

If you would like to see more bright ideas like this, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook so you don't miss out any ideas!

Check out some of these other amazing bright ideas below.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week ~ Keeping It Real

I wanted to post my first peek at my week for the school a couple weeks ago, but honestly I was a little intimidated.

I love reading about everyone's plans and looking at how other teachers organize their day.  Why was I intimidated then?  Well, it was because my students seem to be quite a bit further behind than other teacher's blogs I am reading.

Am I worried about this?  Well, honestly, yes, I am.  Only because I know where I need to get these little pumpkins at the end of the year.  I am not, though, going to stress about how my class is doing compared to other classes.

This week we are still focusing a lot on procedures.  Last week was a bit of a mess at our building so things were out of whack a bit.  (You can read about why here).

I am planning to have a 15 minute (or more if needed) to just review procedures again.  We will be reviewing and practicing everything from bathroom procedures to how to get a new pencil.  I know this will help in the long run of the year as it will my students.

Without further ado, here are my plans:

Reading:  We will continue working our way through the alphabet, but our main focus this week will be names.  (I have quite a few pumpkins who do not know how to write their name)  I plan on using my ABC book and then Deanna Jump's Name Unit.

Writing:  I am not sure if we are quite ready or not for this, but we are going to start using Deanna & Deedee's Writer's Workshop Unit #1.  (You can grab it here)

Math:  We are learning about numbers 1-10.  Last week we focused on 1-5 so this week we will focus on 6-10.  We will use my Number Book and Math Centers Starter Pack to help us learn our numbers.

Word Work:  We are going to start by trying to learn the difference between a letter and a word.  Then we will learn about our first two sight words:  a and I.  

Science:  We are learning about what a scientist is and then will complete some color mixing experiments.

My goal is do either my fall or farm unit next week, but I am not sure yet.  I need to see how my pumpkins are doing at the end of the week.  I would also like to introduce literacy and/or math centers next week, but once again we will see.  I don't want to start it before they are really ready.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


This week has seemed like it was at least a month long.  It was the hardest and most heartbreaking week of my life.

I debated on whether or not to share this on my blog, but I decided that teachers are the most loving, caring community.  I know that no matter what we are there for each other and support each other through thick and thin.

On Saturday night, very late, one of my co-workers got a hold of me asking if I had our principal's phone number.  (We have a new principal this year so not all of us had her cell number yet)  I told her I did not.

Then the shock of my life came.  She said, "Well I have some sad news to share, Jennifer passed away tonight."  I had to read that sentence at least five times before it sunk in.  My heart was breaking and tears were streaming down my face.

Jennifer was our resource teacher, or special education teacher.  Her passing has created a huge hole in the heart of our school.

I don't think you need me to share the details of my week.  I went through the motions of teaching but didn't really feel like I was there.

Instead today, I just want to remember Jennifer.  She was the most kind, most gentle, most patient person I have ever met.  She always thought of her students first.  She would do anything to help anyone who needed it.  She loved to wear long, warm sweaters.  Her son was the light of her life.

A couple years ago, I had a student who was severe special needs.  Jennifer never once complained about the extra things she and I had to do with this student.  Never once complained about the issues we faced daily.  Instead, she would come and get this little pumpkin from my room with a smile on her face each day.

That is how I will remember Jennifer.  As the sweet, caring teacher who loved to wear her long sweaters and always smiled at everyone she passed in the hallway.

I am thankful to my fellow co-workers in my building because without each other I don't think we would have made it through this week.  I am also extremely thankful to our school counselor for bringing in a grief counselor so that we could start our healing process.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you and keep Jennifer's memory alive.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

I can't believe that it is September.  I think the older I get the quicker time seems to fly by....anyone else with me?

It is time to link up with Farley for the September Currently.

Listening:  My little princess is sick and fell back asleep with our little puppy by her side.  I love listening to them sleep.

Loving:  I am so thankful for the extra day of the weekend.  It gave me time to spend with my sick little one today.

Thinking:  I have a huge to-do list, but when my kids are sick I push that list aside and just focus on cuddling with my little one.  The things on that list can get done tomorrow or another day.

Wanting:  I wish there were always three weekend days.  It has been so nice to have this extra time with my family.

Needing:  We are having an open house/commitment night tomorrow night at our school.  I need to get everything finished and prepped for it.

3 Trips:  There are many different trips I would love to take as I haven't been to very many places.  My top 3 places are Italy, Greece, and Hawaii.  I would love to go on a Mediterranean cruise so I could go to both Italy and Greece in the same trip.  My mom goes to Hawaii every other year.  Her pictures always look gorgeous and they have a great time.  I would love to go with my hubby for our 15 year anniversary.  We shall see!  :)

Have you linked up yet?  If you not, what are you waiting for?  This is one of my favorite linkys!