Friday, February 28, 2014

5 for Friday 2-28-14

February is over!  The month of insanity has come to an end!  Hallelujah!

Grades are done.  Comments are done.  The evil math unit is over.  The holidays have come and gone.

Now, I just have to make it through conferences next week and then I should be able to slow down and breath deeply.   Sigh.

For today's 5 for Friday, I am celebrating the good parts of February!  Though the month is over, I hope you can pin this post for next year.

Black History Month Projects

This project is the highlight of my year.  I love having the kids teach and celebrate famous African Americans.  Here's how the board looked with still a few holes to fill in as kids presented.

If you never got my project freebie last year, click below to grab it today.

Day 100 Dress Up

Wish you could see their faces.  Note the white eyebrows on the girl in pink.  :-)
Anyone who knows me well knows that I jump at any chance to dress up and become a character.  Though I haven't done any official theater work since high school, the thespian in me is alive and well.  This week for Day 100, I embraced my inner old lady, Milly, and spent the day calling my kiddos "whippersnappers!"  Some of them even embraced old age with me and we all had a great day!

Day 100 Snack

For snack, we all munched on 100 tasty treats after counting them by tens using a cute template from Fall into First.

Day 100 Activities

Day 100 got colorful when students filled in 100 grids with their names and colored each letter.  It's always interesting to see the patterns.

My master artists also thoroughly enjoyed hiding 100 inside of pictures.  I picked up the template from Lucky to Be in First.  Also, I don't know for sure what to think about the zombie.  It is gruesome, yet impressive.


The question of the week was: "when's science?," "can we do science?," "I brought in magnets from home for science."  That's because as I just revealed, we were studying magnets all week.  The kiddos had a BLAST doing experiments to learn about what attracts and repels, magnetic poles, the power of magnetic force etc.  You should have heard the collective "WHOA!" that followed me using a magnet to attract another magnet from within a cup of water.  That activity came free from Megan Hurt, see below.  Students were also quite surprised that no coins are not magnetic.  

Magnetic Force Activity Worksheet

Congrats to everyone who made it through February!  Here's to a great March!

P.S.  Go see Son of God!  It premieres tonight and it's going to be great!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

President's Day Mentor Texts

It's Sunday.  The weekend is drawing to a close.  Tomorrow is the 100th day of school.  I am quite excited about all the fun I have planned.

Right now though, I want to rewind to President's Day.  This year, it fell during February break and the week after was full of snow days.  Therefore, it was hard to give Washington and Lincoln the attention they deserved.  Fortunately, I had two great books to read aloud.

Tonight I want to share these books with you for Collaboration Cuties mentor text linky.

George Washington's Teeth

This fun rhyming book tells the tale of poor Washington's rotten teeth.  Throughout the book, he gradually loses his teeth as he crosses the Delaware, shivers at Valley Forge, and serves as president.  Then, after the story, there is a detailed timeline with tons of extra information and pictures chronicling George Washington's life and dental history.

George Washington's Teeth is useful for so many reasons.  Besides obviously teaching students about George Washington, it fits perfectly into Dental Health Month.  Also, students can listen for and work with rhyming words and even solve subtraction problems as Washington loses tooth after tooth.

Looking at Lincoln

Looking at Lincoln is a unique look at Lincoln's life through the eyes of an admiring young girl.  This little girl goes to the library to learn about Lincoln.  Through her research she learns about the important accomplishments of this great leader, as well as little tidbits that made him unique.  As she reads, she reflects on Lincoln's honesty and his love of apples.  

Throughout the book, the author uses different fonts to distinguish the facts from the narrator's comments.  Some of what she says are facts, others are opinions/thoughts.

The quirky and colorful pictures are the icing on this peek at Lincoln's life.

Though this year's President's Day is past, I highly recommend checking out these books for the future.

One other thing you can check out in the near future is the premiere of the new Mark Burnett movie, Son of God.  For those of you who need a memory jog, Mark Burnett is the creator of Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Apprentice, and The Bible.

Son of God is his most recent project, which premieres this Friday. 

Tickets are selling out fast, so you should grab them now while you still can.  I personally am excited to be attending the NYC premiere as a volunteer for Compassion International.  Hope to see you there!

I'll leave you with the Son of God preview.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fuel Your Faith Friday on a Saturday

T.G.I.S.!  Thank goodness it's Saturday!  Haha.

This week was a whirlwind.  February hit in full force.  DRA scores were do this week, grades are due week, conferences are coming up.  All of this was made more challenging by the fact that we have had tons of snow days, so I am behind in teaching things that need to be assessed for the report card.  Not to mention, Monday is Day 100, which I cannot just ignore.  Yeesh.  

It's a lot.

Teaching is a lot.

Fortunately, I have this Saturday free to focus and hopefully be productive.  Even before getting to work though, I need to share something for Fuel Your Faith Friday because it's something I need to remember during this hectic time.

It is time for me to confess.  I have a hard time loving my students sometimes.  In the midst of everything that needs to get done and the pressure of trying to prove that I am an effective teacher, I forget about my kids.  

I forget to care when they are upset.

I forget to laugh with them.

I forget to be patient when they don't understand a math concept no matter how many times I model it.

I forget to stay calm when they interrupt or refuse to sit criss-cross applesauce.  

Sometimes I forget that they are even lovable.

Sure, it's easy to love the students who are sitting up straight, raising their hands, using the manipulatives correctly, passing all the tests.  

They make my life easy.

What's hard is loving the ones who challenge my teaching abilities and push my management skills to the limit.

Yet, it's these ones that God has specifically called me to love.  He says in Matthew 5:43-47:

“"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?"

I'm not saying that my students are my enemies or that they persecute me.  They certainly aren't and don't.

What I mean is if I love only the students who are easy to love, then my love is selfish.  It's not Christ's love.

Starting today, I want to stop getting caught up in my to do list. 

Instead, I will choose to get caught up in loving my students when it's easy and when it's hard.  

I cannot do it on my own.

Thankfully I have a loving Heavenly Teacher to help me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's 5 for Friday and Fuel Your Faith

Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Singles Awareness Day!


Happy Friday!

That should cover everyone.  :-)

Personally, I am spending the day in sweatpants while lounging around my parent's house in Ohio.  Even if there hadn't been an insane blizzard, I was still scheduled to have the days off.

That gives me time to chill, bake Valentine's cookies, and blog.  

This week, I am so excited to be linking up with a BRAND, NEW linky party hosted by my best bud, Jessica from Joy in the Journey.

Joy in the Journey

Recently, God laid it on her heart to use her blogging platform as a way to share about her faith more.  Today she launched, Fuel Your Faith Fridays!

This is such a fabulous idea for a linky.  It's going to challenge me to really listen for God's voice and to step out to share what He teaches me.  Without further ado, here is what God impressed on me last night.

For more encouragement, check out the other links over at Joy in the Journey and be sure to add your own post.

Now, I will quickly link up with Doodle Bugs for 5 for Friday.


During math, we practiced our doubles facts using these adorable and low-prep games from Oceans of First Grade Fun.

The Cat in the Hat

A special visitor came to our school this week.  He was furry and wore a big red and white striped hat.  Yep, that's right.  The Cat in the Hat visited!  Though it's not Read Across America Week yet, the visit should get us all pumped up to read, read, read!

C is for Cookie

On Wednesday, my kiddos loved decorating cookies during our early Valentine's Day celebration.  Yes, I promise there is a cookie under all that frosting.  :-)

Then, yesterday, my mom and I baked and decorated our traditional Valentine's sugar cookies.  They are melt in your mouth delicious.

First it was a...

This year my class is full of aspiring artists and illustrators.  They love any opportunity to draw and color, so they enjoyed this cute "First it was a...Then, it was a..." heart activity from First Grade Found Me.  Check out the cute results.


I am OBSESSED with the Olympics.  I watch everything!  Well, everything except biathalon, which I just don't get.  Anyways, one of my favorite, yet bittersweet, moments was last night when Jeremy Abbott fell during his skating program.  

USA Today
He was hurt and discouraged and I felt terribly for him, but he got back up and finished.  He was incredible and my heart went out to him.  You should Google his story and watch the recaps.

So, that's my week.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Daily 5 on the 5th with a Freebie

Well, it's another snow day and I've been cooped up at home trying to find ways to occupy the hours.

Seriously, who knew there was so much time in the day?

Flourless Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies | | #chocolate #dessert #glutenfree
Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Today I ventured out over icy roads to the gym, baked Flourless Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies, cut out lamination, cleaned my apartment, listened to some podcasts, and watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and it's only 8 o'clock!  I still have time to watch Thor, the other movie I yanked out of the RedBox yesterday.  Geez.  Wish I felt like I had this much time in the day when I was teaching.  Or maybe I don't.  :-)

Anyways, now it's time to add blogging to the list of today's activities.  Hurray for having time on a day other than Friday!

Tonight I'm linking up with Mrs. Foxwell for Daily 5 on the 5th!

Daily 5 continues to be a favorite part of the day for both my kiddos and me.  This past week, I have been rejoicing in the fact that my students' stamina allows them to work independently for 45 minutes or more while I am DRAing!  Amazing!  It is so valuable to follow the gradual release model prescribed in the Daily 5 books.  Though it takes awhile to get things up and running, the results are totally worth it.

Here's a few tips that make my Daily 5 routines so engaging.

Dessert Books

For Read to Self, my kiddos each have their own gallon-size Ziploc bag of books to read from.  Each reading group has a scheduled book shopping day on which they exchanged their books for fresh ones.  My rule is that they must choose 4-5 "just right" books from the leveled library, so that they can practice on their instructional reading level.  Once they have met this quota, they may choose one "Dessert Book" to add to their bags.  The "Dessert Book" can come from anywhere bin in the rest of the library, which includes bins for specific authors, Caldecott books, genre books, more nonfiction etc.  The Mo Willems books are especially popular.

Leveled library for "just right" books.
One section of the "Dessert Book" area.
The benefits of letting students choose a "Dessert Book" include that they can enjoy books not on their level, be exposed to a wide variety of high-quality books, and most of all read for FUN!

My one rule though is that during Read to Self, "dinner" (leveled books) comes before dessert.

Word Work Pens

 Anyone remember Gelly Roll pens?

They were such a craze when I was in elementary/middle school.  I must have had a pack of almost every different kind: "Metallic," "Stardust etc.

Sadly, after a few years, these pens faded into oblivion.  Kind of like Beanie Babies.

Fortunately, some resourceful teacher out there resurrected Beanie Babies and now many of us use them to teach reading!  

Not sure what I'm talking about?  Check out this post.

Anyhoo, when I was at home over Christmas break, I came across my old Gelly Roll pens and decided that they too could be re-purposed for classroom use.  

As a result, they are now the highlight of Word Work.  Seriously, my students rush to get to the supply area, so they can choose their pens.  I have actually had to break up a few fights over specific colors.  Might have to take those out.  Still, it's so exciting for me to see my kiddos motivated to practice their sight words and phonics rules.  Okay, so they may not be motivated to practice them, but they are motivated to use the pens, which means that they are practicing them and that's what matters.  :-)

Word Work Bookmarks

What words are my kids practicing with their Gelly Rolls?  The words on their bookmarks of course!

Awhile back I posted about how I am using bookmarks for Word Work this year.  You can read more and get a freebie here.

Tonight, you can pick up the most recent bookmarks I've made for free by clicking the pictures below.

How's your Daily 5 going?  Link up with Mrs. Foxwell to share.