Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter Freebies and Ideas


Happy Sunday. The sun is shining.....but the air is STILL frigid!! But Easter is coming even if the weather is not cooperating. I don't know about you but I find the week before a holiday is always BUSY - and I never get through all of the things I want to. I am taking time today to really focus my plans for the week so that I have some fun activities tied in with learning and we get it all finished in four days.

I thought I would share some things that I have made/used/shared in the past just in case you too are trying to carefully plan your week.

First up, calendar cards for April. Click on the picture to pick up your copy.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/heh6ltgbod5jrpo/bunny%20calendar.pdf

https://www.dropbox.com/s/heh6ltgbod5jrpo/bunny%20calendar.pdf


Next Bunny Bucks - a classroom reward system for these crazy days before Easter. I like using a class economy system around the holidays because it is so easy to pick up so many cool prizes for a class store at dollar stores right now. Click on the pic to pick up your copy.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0nm0n15nvr6gjt5/bunnybuck.pdf



Another class program - Bunny Pals - just like Secret Santa - only with a Bunny theme. Students select a classmates name and do nice activities for him/her all week then give them (or buy at your class store - see above!) a small treat on the last day. Read more about it here. Click on the pic to pick up your copy.




Reading this book....




and writing persuasive letters to become the Easter Bunny's Assistant. This is a super fun writing activity that my students LOVED.  You can read more about it here. Click on the picture to check it out.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Easter-Bunnys-Assistant-A-Persuasive-Writing-Activity-1184716


We also have done a math activity to find perimeter and area as the Easter Bunny's Assistant. Click on the pic to pick up your copy.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Easter-Math-Finding-Perimeter-and-Area-617135


Finally I have a few "bunny themed" products you might like to use at this time of year. Click on the pictures to check them out.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homophones-Synonyms-and-Antonyms-Sum-Bunny-Loves-Ewe-1206806


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Metric-Linear-Measurement-Activities-and-Posters-CCSS-Aligned-615940



I hope some of these ideas might help you at during this crazy week!!



Friday, 20 March 2015

My Bookshelf - The Secret Life of Squirrels



 
 
 
I could spend a lot of time right now making excuses for why I don't blog regularly.....or I could get down to the business of blogging.
 
When I first started blogging I wanted to share ideas and resources that worked for me in my classroom. One of my favourite things to share about is books. I love books. Love, love, love! I love to use picture books to introduce any and every subject I can.
 
But I noticed that I have not really been sharing much about books lately and decided that needed to change. So I made the cute little button above and now it is time to start sharing more about the books I love and use in my classroom.
 
Today's book is just too cute for words...
 
http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Squirrels-Nancy-Rose/dp/0316370274/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426872406&sr=1-1&keywords=secret+life+of+squirrels
 
 
The books is filled with amazing photographs, rich in detail, that I just can not stop smiling about.
 
 
This book works for me for a number of reasons.
 
#1. We have talked about squirrels and how they need to change and adapt to the seasons as part of our science curriculum. We have talked about how squirrels collect nuts in the fall to prepare for the winter. Now that it is spring (according to the calendar at least) we can revisit the life of the squirrel when introducing this book.
 
We also too the opportunity to expand into our structures unit and look at what other animals build homes and used Pebble Go to do some research to confirm our thoughts.
 
 


 
 
 
I will ask my students what we already know about squirrels from the fall/winter. We will brainstorm what squirrels would be doing in the spring. We will come up with some ideas for a typical day in the life of a squirrel (find food, find material for new nest or to maintain current nest, taking care of baby squirrels etc.) 
 
 
 
Then I will introduce them to the "Secret Life of Squirrels"
 
#2. This works perfectly with our writing focus. We have been writing retells (first, next, then and finally). But they have been dry, very dry, almost painful to read. But that is okay because in our class we are ready to BUMP up our writing. Our plan is two fold. One, pick one event and describe it in detail. Two use interesting words and adjectives.
 
This book will help us with our writing goal. We will write a retell of a squirrels day - the boring way. First he had breakfast. Next he mailed a letter. Then he cleaned up. Finally he went to bed.
 
Then we will use one of the amazing photographs to zone in one part of the day. We will use the immense details from the picture to try and write about one part of the day with greater detail.
 
Example: It was a bright and sunny spring day when Mr. Peanuts walked down to the mailbox. He held the letter to his cousin in his hand. He stretched up to put the letter in the bright, blue mailbox. Then he skipped home excited to hear back from his cousin.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The book is a pretty simple retell but it does BUMP up the word choice. We will look at some of the sentences and see how the words make it more interesting by substituting boring words.
 
 
 
We will make an anchor chart of words for the students to use in their retell.
 
 
 
Students will pick a picture and write a retell with some detail and interesting word choice.
 
Here are the pages I created for their writing. Click on a picture to pick up a copy for your classroom.
 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B20koPwy0VFOTWJGX2IxWkRwcUE/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B20koPwy0VFOTWJGX2IxWkRwcUE/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B20koPwy0VFOTWJGX2IxWkRwcUE/view
 
 
If things go well (fingers crossed) we may just try another one "The Secret Life of Rabbits" - with Easter around the corner and all (pages included in the above download).
 
#3. He writes a letter - which is a perfect segue into our unit on letter writing.
 
The book also includes some great tips for taking your own nature photos and there is a Christmas book too!!
 
 
Now, I would love you to share with me...
 
 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Lucky You!!!


I am feeling very lucky to be linking up with some amazing teacher-blogger-creators to bring you a "Lucky You!" blog hop. Be sure to hop your way through to pick up all the "golden freebies".

This is my first year at a brand new school. Moving schools for the first time in 15 years made me realize that I am truly a lucky person.

#1. I am lucky that I have a supportive family, they realize that I do NEED to stop at the library and dollar store every other day, or even sometimes twice a day and that nothing or next to nothing that I am picking up is for them.

#2. I am lucky that I was able to stay at one school for 15 years so that I learned what it meant to make a family out of the people you worked with and taught.

#3. I am lucky that I have found new co-workers that are open to my sense of humour, crazy ideas and strong dislike of change.

I am hoping that the freebie I am sharing makes you feel lucky too. It is a set of 12 math operation problem solving cards and 24 operation review cards. Click here to pick up a copy.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Operation-Review-Task-Cards-1756380


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Operation-Review-Task-Cards-1756380



I hope you can use this freebie in your classroom. If it was your first time stopping by my blog or store I would feel very lucky if you decided to come back and visit, maybe even become a follower : )

Now it is time to hop on over to the next stop!! Head on over to Ideas by Jivey for another fun freebie.

Ideas by Jivey

 


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Lucky Math Problems



One more day...I think I can, I think I can. Ladies and gents, I do believe I am going to make it to our Spring break. Just one more day!!!

Since we will not be in the classroom for St. Patrick's Day we have been doing some St. Patrick's Day themed activities this week (cause, really, who can pass up the opportunity for holiday themed teaching!).




We are working on addition and subtraction strategies (we have been walking around the class all week finding and solving addition flashcards with cute St. Patrick-y clipart and using them for tickets out the door!!) and even more importantly on problem solving (more to come on our fun new acronym we use during problem solving!!!).

 I picked up these fun gold coins at Michaels (on sale, already 40% off) to use as math tools when we work on showing our thinking and proving our answer as a group. My kiddos are in LOVE with them.

I display the problem on my whiteboard and talk about the problem. We highlight, we reword. I give them a copy for them to highlight as well (there are two sizes included in the file). Then they choose a strategy and tool. They work on their own and then we get together to share and prove.

If you are teaching next week you might want to pick up a copy of the problems we used this week. There are 4 problems in total. Click here to pick up a copy.






If these problems are not quite right for your classroom and you are looking for something a little more challenging be sure to come back tomorrow for an super fun Lucky You blog hop full of helpful freebies!!





Sunday, 1 March 2015

March Calendar Cards - Freebie


I was looking around trying to find where I had shared these bad boys and realized it was on FB and that was the last freebie I posted over there!! Eek, feeling a wee bit guilty.

But if you did not snag them over there in the last 12 months : )  click on the picture below to grab a copy of these adorable monsters for March.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f4a41dwxgclk79g/green%20calendar.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f4a41dwxgclk79g/green%20calendar.pdf?dl=0


Saturday, 28 February 2015

Interactive Activities for Teaching Measurement



Linear Measurement is one of the math units that I really enjoy teaching. What's not to love - we get to use measuring tools, there are tons of real-life applications, you get to send your students scurrying around the school measuring objects and people. You get to try and point out the difference between perimeter and area over and over and over again. Sigh. Oh yeah, there are a few glitches when teaching measurement.

Last year I tried really hard to address some of the common misconceptions and difficulties my students encountered (year after year) during our measurement unit. I really tried to focus on 3 main problem areas:

1. what does it REALLY mean to measure
2. how to compare units of measurement
3. the difference between perimeter and area

Of course, I had to have a fun theme to tie it all together. So we had measurement monsters.

On the first day students brainstormed all the ways we could measure a monster. I displayed the monster on our screen but also had a monster stuffed animal (helpful for thinking about mass).
 
Then I directed the conversation into linear measurement. We created an anchor chart showing what we knew at the start of the unit. Then I gave each student a copy of the monster and had them measure the monster anyway they wanted. I wanted to check out their skills at using a ruler and recording their measurements (shockingly many did not record the unit of measurement and we still struggle with where to start on the ruler!! Ugh).
 
The next day we tried to work on what measurement really is: the comparison of an object to a known unit - it is not using a ruler. A ruler is not necessary at all!! We just need a known unit (paper clip, straw, centimeter, meter) and use it to make a comparison. We used this little activity with broken rulers to get a better understanding of how to measure.

 
No, I did not chew on and break all of our rulers!! I gave students paper rulers that had only part of the numbers showing.....like from 3 cm to 7 cm  or the ruler started at 11 cm to 15 cm. They had to figure out how they could use the ruler to measure. This lead to some great discussion and brainstorming.

Next we worked on selecting the best unit of measurement for objects in our world - a great way to develop benchmark measurements.
Students created their own interactive note for each unit of measurement. On each ruler they wrote an object they would measure with that unit (some even included an estimate - smarties!!)
Then the best day of all. We had a Monster Mash Game Show. There were two monster contestants. Each thought their unit of measurement was longer. Students had to construct the measurement, compare the measurement and prove who had the longer measurement. Students worked in pairs (Contestant A and B). Of course some people had cards with cm or dm or m!!
We used meter sticks, classroom rulers, centimeter cubes and base ten blocks to build our models.
We continued this activity by using the cards to do independent practice in our notebooks. We also created this note for our books.

Next we moved on to perimeter and area.
Students created their own monster - but it is a monster - it need to be in a cage! So we could figure out the area and perimeter of the cage!! Check out the heart monster : )

Next we created these one-eyed monsters, placed them around the classroom and found the perimeter of the object. They were placed on desks, charts, nametags. They were everywhere!! This lead to another great discussion on how the unit we use to measure effects the answer - some measured with centimeter cubes other with square counters.
 
Then it was time to build our monsters out of modelling clay. These monsters needed a home so we made plans for a Monster Manor. Students designed a floor plan and calculated area for the manor and each room.



All in all we had a great time and I feel that this was my most successful year teaching measurement concepts. If you want to check these activities out they are available in my TpT store.
Click on the picture to check them out.
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Metric-Measurement-Interactive-Activities-and-Notes-1730249