Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The One About 100 Day - with Pictures

The big day!

Well, last Thursday was 100 Day.  I'm sure you're busy planning your own 100 Day as you read this as I doubt there are that many people who started as early as we did.  One of the perks of being in a private school.  Sure, we may start earlier than everyone else.  But that also means we get out earlier!  No school in June for me!  It also means that 100 Day falls toward the end of January.

So, what are your plans for 100 Day?  As mentioned in the previous post, (sorry it's been a week again) I spend the entire day celebrating the big day.  The kids had a great time and it just so happens that this week we are studying number patterns in Math.  You know, counting on a hundred cart, skip counting, etc.  So last week's festivities were the perfect introduction to that.  They loved making the Froot Loop necklaces, as always, and the little book I made for them too!  Another hit was the 100 Day snack.  Although it came with its own frustrations.  For the first time ever, after 9 years of doing this, I didn't have everyone bring in what their parents signed up for!  I was 3 items short!  This wasn't 70 Day!  Luckily, after some rummaging through the Early Childhood snack supplies and a re-purposing of a bag of Lays potato chips (hey, I was desperate), we had our 100 items!  You've got to roll with the punches people, you know what I mean!  

I took some pictures of it all but I'm only going to show Braeden's face since he's mine.  I'm going to have to get creative next year when I don't have my own kid in my class.  I've blurred the faces of some friends out below but it kind of creeps me out.  Maybe a cute smiley face?  Anywho, I'll figure that out later.  On with the pictures:

Some friends working on their necklaces.

Another friend with his 100 year-old self

Two students reading our 100 Day books: The Night Before the 100th Day of School & 100 Hungry Ants!
Braeden making his Froot Loop necklace

Braeden and his 100 year-old self!

Braeden showing his 100 Day Project - a Lego car made of 100 pieces!
Another 100 Day project: 100 buttons on a shirt!


100 heart stickers, in the shape of a heart!

So, it was a ton of fun and by the end of the day I was exhausted and felt 100 years-old myself.  But the kids had a blast and we learned a lot.  100 Day is one of my favorites!  The other, Groundhog Day, is coming up!  But that's a post for another, hopefully soon, time. What are your plans for 100 Day?  Dressing up?  Projects?  Snacks?  Froot Loop necklaces?  Whatever your plans, I hope they're great!  100 kinds of fun!  :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The One About 100 Day

So, I'm still here.  Yeah, I've been MIA for a little while.  Sorry about that.  You know how it goes.  Things get busy and all.  So again I'll promise to post more frequently, this time I mean it!  I promise

Tomorrow is one of my all-time favorite days in 1st Grade - 100 Day!  Now, I'm sure you're the same way, I'm always up for a fun celebration of any sort.  An excuse to do fun thematic learning.  Crafts.  Make silly hats (a total other post I've been meaning to write).  You know, the usual fun stuff that makes this job totally awesome!  I pretty much plan the entire day to center around the number 100.  

Now, I'm not claiming to be totally revolutionary or anything in my celebration.  I'm sure you do some similar things on 100 Day.  How many ways can you count to 100.  What does 100 _____ look like?  What would you do with $100 (always one of my favorite writing assignments).  What would you look like if you were 100 (always one of my favorite crafts).  Then there is the 100 Day project that each student completes at home and brings in to share.  Obligatory, but always fun.  Then there's the 100 Day snack, made from 10 each of 10 different items.  Oh and who can forget 100 day necklaces made of Froot Loops!  And while I'm on it, there's a race to fill in a 100 chart the fastest, first boy and first girl win a prize!  I think you get the picture.  

I always enjoy the 100 day project as a teacher.  Seeing what the kids want to collect and how they want to present it.  However, being a parent of a 1st Grader, I was able to be on the other side if it all this year.  Yikes.  I felt a little bad for all of my former parents.  Just a little though, it's still a great project!  Braeden chose to make a Lego car with 100 Lego pieces.  Not too bad right?  Well, not until you factor in his indecisiveness and perfectionist qualities.  I thought I was going to pull my hair out in frustration at times, but it got finished and he enjoys it.  It will be fun to see him present it tomorrow to his friends.  I know he's proud of it.

I was going to do the whole "Dress Like You're 100 Years Old" idea, but I didn't get it together.  I couldn't make up my mind about it so I just put it off for another year.  However, I did come across a neat photo shoot on Facebook the other day that I think I will share with my students tomorrow prior to their craft of what they will look like when they're 100 years old.  It is a photo shoot a photography set up of men and women who are 100 years or more older.  From a photography standpoint (a little side hobby of mine) they are beautifully done.  They are awesome pictures and it is so amazing to think that these people have been alive for 100 years.  The things they have seen, done, experienced.  It's awesomely mind-boggling.  But I digress.  You can find the pictures here.  I'm going to try an impress the awesomeness of this upon my students but I'm sure there will be giggles and silliness, but I think they will enjoy it.  I mean, what is the likelihood that they have ever seen someone who is 100 years old?  I'm stoked about it.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, one last thing I have planned for tomorrow is a fun little book I created for my students to work on throughout the day.  It has some writing prompts (some I've mentioned above), some math work (how many sets of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25 are in 100), a some fill-in-the blank page, and a word search.  My kids (and I if truth be told) love these kinds of little booklets with work with so I try to make them when I can.  If you're interested head on over to my TPT store here and check it out!

So, what are your plans for 100 Day?  Do you go all out like I do or do you stick to just a few activities?  Any neat plans/thoughts/ideas you love doing?  My 100 Day is early, earlier than most of yours I'm sure, since we start in mid-August.  I'll try to make it back tomorrow or Friday to share the 100 Day fun with you and hopefully have some cute pictures of the writing and crafts my kids complete!  Until then, hoppy teaching!  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The One About the Christmas Gift

So, I haven't been teaching for decades, although next year I'll be wrapping up my first one.  Yikes, where has the time gone?  But I digress.  Anywho.  9 Christmas seasons into my teaching career and I have had my share of gifts as I'm sure you have.  There are your usual ones: candy, gift cards (Starbucks being my favorite!), and ornaments.  Then there are the thoughtful handmade ones.  Then there are the random ones.  You know what I'm talking about.  The ones that make you think, "Huh?!"

Now, don't get me wrong.  I truly to love and cherish everything my kids give me.  I always believe it is given in love.  Even if I can't for the life of me figure out what would have possessed someone to purchase it.  Like my first year teaching when, I kid you not, I received a nose hair trimmer.  Seriously.  You can't make that stuff up.  I of course hightailed it to the nearest mirror to see if they were trying to hint at something.  Thankfully that was not the case.  But still, huh?  

As random as that is, it is not the gift I mention in this post's title.  Nope.  This gift is far more random than a nose hair trimmer.  See, it was a few years ago, 4 or 5.  I still remember the little girl, Marcia.  Sweet.  Great parents.  Good student.  So Christmas came around and I have never been a fan of opening presents in front of the kids.  Too intimidating.  Plus there's always so much going on at the Christmas party that sitting down for any extended period of time seems pointless.  So, I always open my presents after the day is over when I'm enjoying the quiet of a classroom and as many leftover sweets as I can consume.  Anywho.  I opened up the present from Marcia.  I was dumbfounded.  It was a giant ostrich egg.  But folks, this was no ordinary ostrich egg.  No sir.  This one was painted with a charging elephant.  But wait!  There's more!  It also came with a stand that was carved to look like, you guess it, an elephant.  I didn't know what to think.  It isn't a horrible gift by any means.  Just random.  A giant painted egg.  An elephant.  I wrote my thank you note and brought it home.

But what do you do with a giant ostrich egg with a painted elephant?  It was not really in keeping with our decor.  So it stayed in its box in the garage.  I guess in a way it's fascinating and I'm drawn to it.  I think about it every Christmas and have occasionally taken it out to look at it.  In a way I guess it has served a purpose.  I remember it.  I remember Marcia.  I'm blogging about it.  It just got me thinking.  What random gift(s) have you received.  Anything better than a nose hair trimmer or painted ostrich egg?  

This post wouldn't be complete without pictures of said egg.  Now, I have to warn you that the pictures do not do it justice at all.  It's extremely glossy so it reflects any kind of light.  But I did my best and I think you get the picture.  Thanks for hopping by!  :)

The egg, in all its glory

Close-up of the stand

It's huge!

It's an elephant.  Painted on an ostrich egg.  How random and awesome is that?!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The One About Google Maps

Well hello! By now everyone should have returned to school and should be getting back into the swing of things. How is the new year treating you? I hope all is going well. I've been back for a week today and so far things are good. The 3-day week last week was good. A 3-day week like that after a long vacation is a catch-22. On one hand it's a bummer to return for only 3 days. I mean, you can't really start anything new and the kids are still all wired and hopped up on Christmas. But, on the other hand, it does give you a brief transition time for them, and you, to ease back into routines and schedules. So I guess it's all in how you look at it. I'm a glass half full kind of person so I'll go with the latter. By the time this Monday rolled around we were fully ready to begin everything and didn't need many reminders or reviews. Anywho.

So, this week I started a new unit in Social Studies. You know the one. regardless of your curriculum or what you teach, it's all pretty similar at this level. Fun and exciting, but similar. This is the unit where we study where we live. You know, like neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, country. You get the drift. Well, I decided to try something new this year. Keeping it fresh and all. In addition to learning the general information and definitions, I decided to have the kids work with Google maps. Oh my.
Now, I am by no means claiming to be the first to have this idea or try it out. I know that is far from the truth. But if you have not done so yet, I highly suggest you try it. Today, after reviewing the terms and defining them again, I introduced Google maps via the SMART Board. I showed them how they can type in the name of our state and see it from a satellite view. Then, how you can do the same with a city and neighborhood. Then it was time to totally wow them and type in an address. I did mine as the example and they were stunned. Clearly they had never used Google maps at all. That or they had no clue of its capabilities.

We zoomed into my house and looked at it from the street view. The kids were thrilled. Having Braeden in my class only made it even more hilarious as he was over the moon about seeing his house on the SMART Board. They quickly jumped ahead and guessed at the next part of the lesson - finding their own house.

We have what we call a COW (Computer On Wheels) that has 24 MacBooks. They each got their computer from the COW and were given the instructions to: log on, open Safari, go to Google, and find Google maps. While they were doing this I wrote their addresses on index cards and gave everyone theirs. The next part of the assignment included typing in their address, finding their house, zooming in, and printing the picture. I blew their little First Grade minds. It was amazing to watch them. Out of 17 kids there wasn't one who wasn't fully engaged and enthralled in the lesson. A few needed some assistance along the way, but most were fully independent. I had a blast watching them and seeing the pure joy on their faces. It was one of those teaching moments. You know the one. You're strutting around and proud of yourself. Best. Teacher. Ever. All 17 finished the assignment. Lucky me, it doubles as a Social Studies grade and a Technology grade! Bonus!

Possibly the best part of this all was that Braeden immediately told Amy about it when we got home and cited it as the "best part" of his day. Later he even insisted Amy sit down so he could show her what he learned. What up!

So, maybe you've used Google maps in the classroom before or maybe you haven't. If you have, do you have any suggestions/hints/secrets to share? If you haven't then what are you waiting for? Do it tomorrow or now if you're reading this at school! I don't know why I waited this long to try it. It is definitely something I will be using in the future. I'm already brainstorming ways in which I can use it more! I think it will be the hot topic in the classroom for a while. I foresee the kids spending a lot of time on Google maps on our classroom computers! What fun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The One with a Math Journal Freebie!

Happy New Year!  Again!

Well, today we returned to school after a very short Christmas break.  How about you?  Did you return today?  Tomorrow?  Or are you one of the lucky ones who has off until next week sometime?  Anywho, it's no big deal I guess.  Returning for a 3-day week has its benefits I guess.  It will at least give me time to get all of my mid-year assessments and running records done.  It can also serve as a smooth transition back after a break rather than jumping in head first.  

All in all it was a good day.  My kids were super talkative and very excited to see one another.  You'd think it had been weeks longer than the 9 short days since they'd seen each other.  We took it easy, not starting too many new things.  Tomorrow and Friday we'll get a bit more into things and then fully begin all of our subjects next Monday.

One of the new things we began today was time.  Ahhhhh telling time.  A biggie in 1st Grade.  One of the reasons I enjoy teaching time, and money for that matter, is the fact that the kids get so excited.  They feel special, like they've finally been privy to some grown-up secret.  The ability to read and control time, and money.  It's cute.  Today we started off with the basics - vocabulary, how it works.  time to the hour.  You know, nothing too intense.  Laying the groundwork.  It did inspire me though to finally crank our the January Math Journals that had eluded me the entire Christmas Break.  I truly meant to finish them and have them posted to TPT before the new year, but oh well.  

So, given a new drive, I was able to pound them out today and I'm pretty excited about them.  As I've blogged before, my kids do love Math Journals so much and I find they are a fun and easy way to reinforce some of the basic concepts we are working on in Math.  This month I chose to work with both addition and subtraction word problems, time (to the hour and half-hour), money (pennies and nickels), and growing patterns.  I intended on starting them Monday, but I may begin tomorrow.  One of the first things my kids asked when they walked in this morning was, "Where is our Math Journal?"!  Ahhhhh, I love me some routine!  I was so proud of them/bummed that I wasn't prepared!  That also served to kick me in the butt and get them done!

While I was making them I thought it would be fun to offer up the first week as a Freebie at my TPT store!  You know, to ring in the New Year and to apologize for getting them out late!  Click on the picture below to download the first week of my 4-week January Math Journals.  That or you can head on over to my TPT store here to get it, or to get the whole month!


So, now that I have that finished I can begin working on some other things I've been meaning to make and post!  Hopefully you'll be hearing about those soon.  Until then I hope that you're enjoying the remainder of your Christmas break or enjoying being back in the classroom with your kiddos.  Whichever pertains to you!