Sunday, March 31, 2013

The One About the A to Z Challenge Starting

It begins tomorrow.

I'm excited!  One because I had a blast last year.  Two because I finally have a theme for my other family blog!  So, between both blogs that's 52 posts in one month and I haven't scheduled any of them yet.  Crap.  There goes my happiness.

However, I'm not totally procrastinating.  I have ideas for many of the letters.  Between that and having the themes picked out, the hardest part is done.  Now I just have the writing left to do!

So, just to recap.  Here, I will be going through my extensive library of children's books and reviewing one per letter.  I am stoked about this.  I'll be sharing my thoughts on the books and how I use it in the classroom.  Maybe I'll enlighten you to read a new book?  Maybe I'll entertain you?  Maybe I'll inspire you to reread an old favorite?  Either way, I hope the next month and 26 posts are fun for you.  Now, as for regular, non-challenge posts.  I'm not so sure yet.  They may still happen.  I mean, I'll obviously still be teaching and doing fun things in the classroom, but I just don't know if I will have time to blog about it all.  It will just depend on how the scheduling of the challenge posts go.  Regardless, there will be a lot more traffic hopping through here and that is exciting.  

So, thanks in advance for following along and I hope that you enjoy it.  Oh, and my family blog?  My theme will be the A to Z of having our 3rd child, Stella.  Being a parent the 3rd time around to a girl after having 2 boys 5 years ago has been like being a brand new parent all over again.  Head over there if you'd like to check that out too!

Happy Easter and let the challenge begin!

Thanks so much for hopping by!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The One About Dr. Seuss

Yes, I know.

I know this post is terribly late.  Horribly Late.  No good, very bad late.  I'm sorry.  But, remember the break?  Well, it happened but the teaching continued.

Do you celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday?  I mean, what's First Grade without this momentous occasion?  The Father of Children's Literature.  Did I just coin that?  Probably not, not my luck.  But it's true.  I'm a huge Dr. Seuss fan and, as it turns out, so are my kiddos this year.  They tore his books up.  In fact, I still have all of my Dr, Seuss books up on top of our library's shelves where we keep the books that relate to what we're studying or interested in.  The kids just keep going back and I don't have the heart to put them away yet.  But I will soon.  Oh, that reminds me, I have to put out my Easter books!  I can't believe I forgot.  Sorry for my squirrel moment there (you know, like the dog in Up).  Anywho.  

Dr. Seuss, yeah, that's where I was.  I have a whole day of fun activities planned.  Dr. Seuss Day is what I call it actually.  It's always the Friday closest to his birthday because, let's face it, only a Friday can support such craziness and fun right?  I do many different activities throughout the day but sadly I did not get a picture of them all here.  Even though my iPhone is never more than a few feet inches away from me, we still got so busy I couldn't capture it all fast enough.  I'll detail the big things here for you and show you some of my favorite pictures.

Now, I am by no means claiming to be totally original in these ideas.  In fact, you likely do most of them yourself.  I just wanted to share what I love about the day.  Maybe you'll relate.]?  Maybe you'll get a new idea?  Maybe you'll just read along with me?  Who knows.  I'll list my resources at the end in case you want to hunt them down for yourself.

This year Dr. Seuss Day coincided, completely by accident, with our Science unit on Earth's Resources/Recycling.  It was totally random, but I think I'll orchestrate this from now on because it worked out so well.  After learning all about resources and the 3 R's, we read The Lorax.  The movie, although they have all seen it a gobzillion times, is still quite relevant so they were pumped.  I was surprised at the number of kids who had not actually read the book!  Gasp!  We read the book and related it to recycling and caring for the planet.  This led to a discussion about what we can do since, maybe just maybe, the Lorax was referring to us at the end of his book.  Each student then chose one thing they could do to help the Earth and wrote it on a little Truffula tree.  We hung these up on our door.  Sorry no pictures :(  But the kiddos loved it and came up with some great ideas.  We also did some comparing and contrasting with my beloved Venn Diagram as we worked on comparing the book to the movie.  

On Dr. Seuss Day we started off around morning snack by reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  I then gave them each a handful of the multicolored goldfish crackers and they sorted and graphed them.  Eating was off limits until their final count had been tallied and recorded.  We then shared our results.  Turns out that the usual color, orange, is by and large the most common color.

One of the other activities we read was I Can Read with My Eyes Shut.  The kids thought this was hilarious and it led us into a discussion about gifts and talents, whether or not they're done with eyes open or shut.  We each then created our own sheet stating what we could do with our eyes shut.  I collected these all and made a book out of them, giving each student a copy.  They loved having everyone else's page to read.  It was fun

No celebration in my class would be complete without a hat, so of course we made a Cat in the Hat hat.  It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with copy paper and a sentence strip!  

We also read Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  This is one of my favorite books and I always try to read The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins prior to it, if I have time and remember, since he is the main character in both.  Of course, we then make our own oobleck out of water and cornstarch, with green food coloring.  This is so simple but it never fails to impress them.  I got applause with it this year.  Seriously, applause.  I mean I couldn't take all the credit, I found the idea long ago on the Internet.  But I did let them clap, my adoring fans.  I mean, who am I to deny them that?  So we made this and talked about solids and liquids.  We haven't covered this yet in Science so I'll be able to use this when we do to connect it all.  I explained the basic idea of a non-Newtonian fluid and then let the kids get their hands in it.  The expressions on their faces was priceless and I with I could show them all to you.  They LOVED it I tell you.  I'll show you Braeden's picture, it's a good example of the general population's.

The final activity of the day came with Green Eggs and Ham.  They've all read this before and when I pulled it out, they instantly knew what our activity would be!  As it turns out they do like it Sam!  I went easy with the ham part this year, opting for ham lunch meat as I haven't found a great way to get green meat?  The eggs though?  That's easy.  Those little guys tore it all up.  All 18 of them.  I only had one container of lunch meat and one dozen eggs.  What was I thinking?  I could have easily used triple that amount.  You'd have thought they had never eaten eggs or ham before.  That or it is just their all-time favorite meal.  Regardless, I've made a mental note to up the count for next year's activities!

The day ended, along with out green eggs and ham snack, with watching the first half of The Lorax.  I mean, after a day like this I needed a little bit of down time and they had been amazing.  They deserved a little movie time.  Plus, it did tie in with our Venn diagram and discussion from the morning!

All in all it was a very successful day.  Nothing too fancy or extraordinary, I told you that before.  Just great opportunities for learning fun!  I did other small things throughout the day with some other books, but these were the biggest.  How about you?  How did you celebrate?  Did you celebrate?  Any tips, tricks, or ideas you'd like to share?  I've already created a board on Pinterest for Dr. Seuss activities for next year.  I got it started this year but did so too late to incorporate much.  There are so many awesome teachers out there with amazing ideas!  I can't wait until March 2014 to do it all over again!  

Thanks for hopping by!  

- Oh the Places You'll Go - Jodi Southard:
- Dr. Seuss Noun Sort - Mrs. Saoud:
- Dr. Seuss Rhyming Memory Match - Michelle Tomaszewski:
- Oh the Punctuation You Will Use! - Annie Minor:
- Oh the Thinks We Can Think - Abby Mullins:
- Seussy Synonyms - Christie Berlener:
- The Lorax - Rachel Friedrich:
- A Unit for March 2nd - Rachelle:


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The One About Spring Break

Well, I'm still here.

I just needed a break.  You know what I mean?  Sometimes you do.  So I took one.  It just so happened that it conveniently coincided with Spring Break last week!  Were you on Spring Break last week?  This week?  Mine was great!  You can read all the details about my adventures at my personal blog here.  Suffice it to say I had a great time, despite the fact that both boys were sick for the majority of it.  However, that forced us to stay home and relax, which is always a good thing.

My kiddos were remarkably calm and normal when we returned on Monday.  Honestly, I was expecting a rough day or so as we adjusted to being back and the realization that it was the final break before summer and we still have a lot to do!  But they were troopers and jumped right back into the swing of things.  A few friends were slow to do so, but I quickly redirected them and reminded them of their in-school behavior and routines!  How are your kids after a break?  I find it varies so much from class to class and even student to student.  Teaching 1st Grade it also has a lot to do with maturity.  The friends who still struggle with immaturity often seem to have a more difficult time adjusting back.  Do you have that same issue?

It's great having 2 teachers in the family because Amy's Spring Break was last week also so it turned out to be a great family vacation!  It made us begin to long for the fun vacation days of summer!  But there's too much to do just yet before we begin thinking about that!  So many things happen here in the next 2 1/2 months at the end of the school year.  I'm sure you're familiar.  I'll be posting about it all, as well as some back posts about things from before Spring Break, namely Dr. Seuss!

Also in this post, aside from catching up and mentioning Spring Break.  You may have noticed the badge in the upper left corner of the blog.  What's that all about you ask?  Well, I have signed up to participate in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  Feel free to click on the link for more detailed information, but it is basically one massive blog hop for the month of April, set to the tune of an A-Z theme.  It is loads of fun and I did it last year on my personal blog and had a great time.  I found some great new blogs and met some great people too!  I'm hoping to have the same luck here this year.  Although the thought of doing 52 (26 posts for each blog) posts in one month is slightly daunting, I'm hoping to get a head start and schedule some of the posts.  

My theme for this year's challenge is Children's Books.  I love reading, which comes in handy in 1st Grade right?, and I have an obscene amount of children's books.  So, I thought that the challenge would be a great way for me to share some of my favorites with you.  I'm thinking of a quick review of the book, nothing fancy or professional, just my thoughts, as well as how I use the book in the classroom.  What do you think?  Sound good?  I'm stoked about it and cannot wait to get started on my posts.  It helps that I have a spreadsheet created listing all of the books I own so finding them will not be hard at all, with the exception of some of the tougher letters (I'm looking at you q, x, v!).  

So, join along with me in April and I hope we will have some fun and meet some new people.  I think that about wraps this post up.  It wasn't totally about Spring Break since I got off on a tangent a bit, but I was so excited about the A-Z challenge that I couldn't wait for another post!  

Thanks for hopping by!