Friday, November 22, 2013

5 for Friday 11/22

T.G.I.F.  This week was a zany one.  Monday started with a half day followed by conferences.  Then, the rest of the week was stuffed full of learning.  Check out what my firsties were up to as I link up with Doodle Bugs.


States of Matter

Teaching about states of matter is one of the highlights of my year.  It's so fun to get the kids involved in variety experiments etc.  This year, I made use of Kim's "Ch- Ch- Changes" pack to organize the unit.

Ch-Ch-Changes: States of Matter Unit

After reading What is the World Made Of?, we defined "matter" and identified the three states: solids, liquids, and gases.  The students took notes about the properties of each state.  

Next, we sang, "What is Matter?" to the tune of "Three Blind Mice."  We also rapped out some rhymes about each state of matter.  You can find all the lyrics by clicking here.

Over the next few days the students visited different stations to explore the properties of solids, liquids, gases.

Then, we used the following sheet from Teacher's Calderon to make a model of the molecules inside matter.  The kids loved learning such a "high school" word and they seemed to really grasp the concept. 

Free Preview from Teacher's Calderon

 Unfortunately, the beads did not stay glued down very well.  Now, I know why most people use Cheerios.

To wrap up the week, we experimented with how to turn solids in to liquids and vice versa.  The kids brainstormed how to change solid ice cubes into liquid water.  Then, they tested their methods.

Wrapping the ice cube in a coat.  So cute.
 Today we put some juice in the freezer in ice cube trays, so we can see if a liquid can turn back into a solid.  The kiddos can't wait to discover what happens when they come in on Monday.

Next week or after Thanksgiving, my plan is to end the unit with an Ooobleck experiment day.  I know it's going to be messy, but awesome.  I picked up this cute and useful freebie from Molly at Lucky to Be in First.


During reading, we transitioned from focusing on decoding to retelling.  I used some of my brand new Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems to model retelling the problem and solution using the "Someone wanted to...but..." sentence structure.  I love how his simple books can be so engaging and useful.  Once students had practiced retelling the problem and solution, I broke out the adorable retelling poster I made using freebies from Jodi at Fun in First.  

My students also practiced filling out the matching graphic organizer and using it to help them retell to buddies.
Free from Fun in First

Writer's Basket

A while back, I posted about my new Writing Jobs system.   Click the picture to learn more and to grab a freebie. 

Tonight, I wanted to give you an update on how the Writer's Basket job is working.  Right now, I assign one table group per day to Writer's Basket.  That means that at the end of writing workshop, they turn in their stories for me to read overnight and then return to them with suggestions.  This gives me an extra opportunity in addition to conferring to review students' writing.  It also allows me to prepare for conferring and gives the students an idea of what it's like to hand work in to an editor.  After I read each student's story, I jot a few good things and a few suggestions on little sticky notes.  That way, when they get their writing back, they can read the comments and begin to make changes.  Right now, it's mostly my stronger writers that are able to really make the changes independently, but all of my students are getting used to reading the comments and reflecting on their writing.

Yum!  How did it taste?
What did you play?

ST Math

Computer Lab has become an even bigger highlight for the kids since we have started using the ST (Spatial-Temporal) Math program from MIND Research.  Our district is just introducing this program for use both in school and in place of traditional math homework.  Although I am new to using ST Math, I feel like it has great potential to help students practice a variety of math skills and more importantly to learn how to problem solve.  The program does not provide the students with any written or verbal directions.  Instead it requires them to analyze the situation presented, predict a solution, and then test it out.  The scenarios/problems all involve a penguin named JiJi, who the kids love, and they increased in difficulty with each new level.  Students work through the syllabus objectives and the problems at their own pace and teachers can monitor all the data online.  I am really looking forward to seeing how this program works throughout the rest of the year.  My students are chomping at the bit to play it every chance they get.

Verb Brain Break

Since this post is getting quite lengthy, I will keep this last one as short as possible.  This week for a Brain Break, I've been having the kids play "Verb Four Corners."  For those of you who aren't familiar with Four Corners, basically, students move throughout the room to the four different corners during a short period of time.  When time is up, one corner is called on to be out.  Then, the remaining students move around to different corners.  The game is designed to be an elimination game, but I let everyone stay in because they need the movement break.

For "Verb Four Corners," I called out different verbs for the students to do as they moved between corners.  For example, crab walk, bear crawl, hop etc.  During the break, things got a bit wild, but at the end, all my kiddos were tired out, yet happy, and ready to move on to the next learning activity.

Attempting to "float" around the room.
So, that's my Five for Friday.  Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Six for Friday!

It's Friday and I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs on time!  Hurray!

Unfortunately, I don't have tons of photos to show for myself this week, but I'm making up for that by sharing 6 things instead of 5.


Parent Teacher Conferences

This Thursday and Friday were my first two days of conferences.  Half days with the kiddos are always crazy, yet oddly productive.  How is it that I always get everything done within 4 hours when I always feel so rushed and run out of time on full days?

Anyways, conferences are going well.  It's always good to meet to discuss students' progress.  I am thankful to have very supportive parents this year.

Beanie Baby Reading Strategies

Adorable posters from Ashley Reed.
My kiddos have now learned all of the popular Beanie Baby reading strategies.  They are in LOVE with the cute characters and are really starting to own the strategies.  It's great to hear them thinking and talking about how they are figuring out words.  Today, I went crazy with excitement when I heard them asking their reading buddies if they wanted coaching or time.  That is one of my favorite Daily 5 techniques.  It is so beneficial for students to learn to not just tell words to their buddies, but to coach them to figure it out.  I give each one of my kids, one of these adorable Beanie Baby strategy bookmarks from Lisa at Growing Firsties to help them know how to coach each other.

Free from Growing Firsties

Fact Families
We wrapped up our subtraction unit with some fact family work.  I found some great free resources from the Utah Education Network.  The unifix cube one was great for my lower math students.  I had them work with cubes to show combinations for ten and then they wrote the fact families.  
Dice fact families worked well for my middle and higher level learners.  It's easy to differentiate if you give students different types of dice, e.g. 6-sided, 8-sided etc.

Scholastic Book Fair



Seriously, the Book Fair is pretty much the best thing ever.  I love seeing all the new books and the old favorites.  It's always tough to figure out which ones to put on my wishlist because I want them all.  This year, I tried to choose a variety, rather than just stocking up on one author or type.  So far, my students have already bought me the following books:

They have also astounded me with their extremely generous gift certificates.  I plan to use them to tomorrow to pick up the rest of my wish list and maybe some extras.  It's going to be so much fun!

Nike Running and C210k
For those of you who don't know, a few months ago, I decided to give running a shot.  I had always loathed running.  However, when my sister took it up and then completed a half marathon, I began to consider the idea of running more.  Then, she recommended an awesome program called C25k and I was off and running.  Literally.  You can read more about how I got started running HERE.

Well, it's been several months and I must say that this program WORKS.  I have now graduated from C25k to C210k and am able to run like never before.  This week, my intervals were 15 minute runs separated by 1 minute walking intervals.  I had failed this interval one day when I was worn out, but yesterday I was determined to complete the workout and I'm happy to say that I did!!!  I ran for 45 minutes total with only 1 minute walks in between.  My total distance with the warm up and cool down was 6.16 miles and my average mile was 9:34.  I really do not want to sound like I am bragging, I am just super duper pumped!!!

I am even more excited about the fact that this Thanksgiving my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, brother, and I will all be running the Columbus 5-mile Turkey Trot!  I feel like it's going to be a great family event that could become a tradition.  Plus, I will earn an extra helping of sweet potatoes and a nice slice of pumpkin pie!

Typhoon Relief

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to share that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.  The pictures of the devastation in the Philippines are shocking and horrifying.  It is surreal for me to realize how many lives have been lost and how many other people are without food, water, shelter, clothing etc.  It's going to be a long road to recovery for the Philippines, but fortunately we can help.

Click the picture below to learn more about Compassion's relief efforts and how you can get involved.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday Linkys Etc.

Hello my long neglected blog.  I've missed you.  Since, my blogiversary is coming up, I feel especially sad that I have not had the time to post much recently.  I hope to have time to join 5 for Friday this week to update you on all our first grade learning, but for now, I'm joining Denise and Tara for their Monday linkys.

This weekend, I finally got the chance to bake.  I decided to try one of the many tempting pumpkin recipes I've been pinning this fall season.  After some debating, I settled on these Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins.  Click the picture for the original source.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins were easy to make and turned out great.

They look beautiful and taste AMAZING.  The pumpkin keeps them moist and the white chocolate chips are creamy and smooth.  After warming these beauties, I have been drizzling some caramel syrup on top to complement the butterscotch.  Mmmmmm.  It's like having dessert for breakfast.

Now, before I go, several quick updates.

One Meal, One Day went great.  I skipped breakfast and lunch and was able to fast until sunset.  Surprisingly I did not feel that bad, which actually made me think even harder about what it's like to go hungry.  True, I can skip two meals and not feel that badly because I ate plenty the previous day and I know I will be able to eat late.  Most people who go hungry do so over a long period of time.  They may never eat enough to be full and satisfied and they rarely know where their next meal will come from.  Their physical hunger is compounded by fear and the results are tragic.

Fortunately, the One Meal, One Day campaign was a success.  Although I didn't reach my goal of raising $200 due to my late and limited efforts, the whole effort has raise $22,902 since 2012!!!  How awesome is that?

Two more things.  First of all, I am SO excited to announce that if all goes well and God allows, I am going back to India next summer!!!  WAHOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I am just a tad excited if you couldn't tell.  

My friend Emily, founder of E & Co., a business that sells goods made by Indian street vendors and helps them and others break out of poverty, and I have banded together to co-lead a team to India next summer.  Both of us fell in love with India when we traveled their on separate mission trips.  After lots of prayer, we have decided to take a leap of faith and lead a team to go back with us next summer.  We can't wait for others to get involved in ministering to orphans and widows and to experience the amazing things that God is doing in India.

We created a little promo video and a Facebook group to spread the word and recruit team members and supporters.  I would love it if you would check out the video and even join our Facebook group.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to encourage you to check out E & Co.'s new twist collection and all of their great necklaces.  These are just a few of the new styles.

Image of Pink, Red and Green Multi TwistImage of Black and White TwistImage of Red and Yellow Twist

I have to tell you that literally every time I wear one of my E & Co. necklaces, I get complimented on it.  All of them really are beautiful and what makes them even cooler is that the proceeds from sales and other special projects have already helped start a sewing class for widows and build a new boy's orphanage.  In fact, right now, they are collecting donations to provide 7 bunk beds for the boy's home.  You can read more about that special project by clicking the picture below.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So, that's it for all the cool stuff that's going down.  I've decided this post is M themed.  I didn't plan it that way, but that's how it turned out.  Check out all the M's: Monday; M Truth, muffins; One Meal, One Day; Mission2India2014.  Wow, I am such a teacher.  Haha.

Have a marvelously, majestic, magnificent night!

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Truth About Becoming a Teacher

It's time for My Truth Monday with Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade!

What's your truth?  Link up with Denise to share!

Also, One Meal, One Day is only 2 days away!  

Will you skip a meal and donate the money to help feed hungry children?  

Click the picture to learn more.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently!

It's CURRENTLY November!!!

Listening: This makes me feel like an adult.

Loving: I get to see a best bud from college and one from high school today!  They both live in MD, so I'm up early to drive down there because my college friend is competing in Miss Maryland today!  My high school friend is now friends with her too (I introduced them), so the two of us are going to cheer her on.  I have no idea what to expect, but I'm sure it's going to be a really fun experience!

Thinking: On that note, I should not be blogging since I need to leave for MD....

Wanting: I really want to bake!  It's been too long since I've whipped up something scrumptious.  My upcoming yummy pin is further motivation to get into the kitchen.

Needing: Lately, I have noticed that my work pants don't fit comfortably anymore.  I am not gaining weight (well maybe muscle from running), but I think the problem is that most of them are still junior sizes.  Yikes.  Stacy and Clinton would not approve.  I don't want to break the bank, but I think I need some updated pants that are made for women, not for teenagers.  Time to hit Macy's.

A Yummy Pin: Had this amazing pumpkin cream cheese roll at a friend's house a few weeks ago.  So yummy and impressive looking.  I want to make it soon.

LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll
Original Site
That's my currently, now it's time to get out the door to MD!  Have a great weekend!

P.S. Remember One Meal, One Day is coming up.  Check out my last post for details.