Saturday, March 19, 2016

Five for Fraturday: Field Trip, Poison Prevention, Research, and Projects...Oh, My!

What a busy and productive week! We've had a lot going on and I'm happy to share some of it with you in this week's Five for Friday. Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting!

Field Trip to the Nature Museum!

Field trips are a mix of stress, fun, anxiety, and excitement for me. How about you?  All went well on our trip to the Nature Museum this week.  The kids participated in a class on Animal Life Cycles, explored the museum, walked through the Butterfly Pavillion, built a cabin and had the BEST RECESS EVER! and even took a short hike through the woods. We came back exhausted! The kids had the best time. Most agreed that getting to pet a real snake was the highlight of the trip. And no, I didn't remember to take a picture of anyone petting the snake. Sigh.

The Wonderful Nurse A and Poison Prevention Week

Next week is Poison Prevention Week. Our wonderful school nurse visited our class to share some information about poisonings and how to prevent them. You may not know that according to the CDC, "Every day more than 300 children in the United States ages 0 - 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned." That's a pretty scary statistic.  Nurse A. showed my students how easy it is for kids, especially those who aren't reading yet, to mistake a chemical for a soft drink, or an anti-itch cream for toothpaste. You'll want to check out to play a game that proves how easy it is to confuse medicine and candy. 

Research and Projects

I decided to let my kids take charge of their own learning this week by researching the life cycle of an animal of their choice. After finding out about the life cycle, students needed to create a project that would help them teach others what they learned. We began the projects on Thursday and we would finish on Friday so we could begin our presentations. Well, the highlight of my week came when one of my students couldn't wait until the next day to finish. She begged me to take hers home so she could finish that day. Here's what she brought back on Friday morning.

Didn't she do a wonderful job? She used a cereal box to make her display board. 

The other students were very creative as well. Here are a few of the other projects.

Gorilla Life Cycle

Turtle Life Cycle

I love that they used their imaginations and the rather random supplies I set out to create their models. So inventive!


It's been awhile since I shared a picture of my Bootsie. He was laying on my lap and didn't want me to go to work the other morning. I told him I would much rather stay home and pet the kitty, too.  LOL

My Latest Project

I'm working hard to finish my own project this week. It will include a lot of information and activities about honeybees. Right now, it includes an original poem, a non-fiction passage with questions, a word search, a mini-book about the life cycle, and a writing activity. I'll be adding some art connections, science activities, and some honeybee-based math, as well. I hope to finish it up and have it in my store by next weekend. Make sure you follow my store so you'll know when it's posted. I'll have it priced at 50% off for the first 48 hours after posting.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Five for Friday... on Saturday again

I'm later than normal with my Five for Friday Saturday, but I have a great excuse. Today, I spent the day with some fellow educators at the NCAEE Southwest District 6 Conference. Yes, I did go to PD on a Saturday. Yes, I did spend my own money to do it. Yes, I am a little crazy, but I'm so glad I went. I got some much needed inspiration.

Here are this week's five things.

I've wanted to share this one with you for awhile. These are the class buckets in my colleague's classroom. When a student does something kind and "fills someone's bucket," they get to drop pom-poms in their class bucket.  When they fill their bucket with pom-poms, they get to visit the treasure box. Then, they empty their bucket and start over. I think this is a great way to encourage and reward kindness in the classroom, don't you? I'm definitely trying it next year!

I saw these at Target this week in their Easter section. I'm thinking I could design some great math lessons that revolve around Goldfish. We could graph the different colors and analyze the graph. We could work on even and odd numbers. We could estimate and count the whole bag. We could work on place value. We could solve two-digit addition and subtraction problems. We could make up our own story problems. Hmmm.  The possibilities are endless. I'm thinking the weekend before Spring Break would be perfect for these. I'll let you know what I decide to do and how it goes.

Check out what I saw hanging in the teacher restroom at the school where the conference was held today. I think this is a great idea - both for teachers and for students. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder; something positive to let us know that we do matter, that there are people who care about us. So cool.

I won a door prize!  I chose this book by Ron Clark. I can't wait to read it. Visiting the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta is definitely on my bucket list.

I got to spend time with one of my teaching idols today. I started reading Jen Jones' Hello First Grade blog soon after I moved to North Carolina. I've found and used so many wonderful ideas and resources on her blog over the years. Now, of course, her blog is called Hello Literacy. She is a popular TpT Author and a literacy consultant in high demand across the country. She's also an inspiring presenter. Just listening to her today erased some of the stress I've been feeling lately. I'm feeling reenergized and ready to teach students to become better readers and writers.

I'm grateful to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday each week. I enjoy sharing my week with you and finding out about what other educators are doing. Make sure you visit Doodle Bugs Teaching to check out the other great blog posts this week. I also welcome your comments on my blog. Make sure you follow me on BlogLovin' by clicking the link at the top of my page.

Until next time,

Monday, March 7, 2016

Math Tip Monday: Spring Math Ideas and a FREEBIE!

Kayla, from K's Classroom Kreations, and I would like to welcome you to this month's Math Tip Monday!

I'm excited to share my spring math idea with you this month. Those of you who have read my blog or used my products know how much I enjoy using poetry in my classroom. While teachers often teach poetry in the springtime, I wonder how many of us think about using poetry in our math instruction. This month, I created a poem that is perfect to use for a spring graphing lesson.  

After introducing the poem as part of my Poem of the Week program, I can easily connect the poem to my math lesson. First, my students use the data in the poem to complete a tally chart. Believe it or not, in second grade, I still have a few students who have difficulty with the concept of tallies. We review tallies as a way to record or keep track of our data.

Next, we create a bar graph to show the data.  My students love to make bar graphs, so this is a fun activity for them. We then compare the Tally Chart and the Graph to make sure the data matches on each. We talk about the importance of recording accurate data.

Our next step is to analyze the graph. I always start by having students volunteer things that they notice about the data. I find that my students often understand and analyze a graph more deeply when they are asked what they notice, rather than immediately asked to answer questions about the graph.

After our discussion of their ideas, which I note on chart paper, I hand out the questions for independent or partner work. I usually pull a small group of students to work with me.  

As a follow-up lesson, I'll have my students go outside with their math journals. We'll observe the creatures around our campus and note how many of each we see.  Later, we'll create a graph of our own data and analyze it. Often, I'll have students create their own questions about their graphs. Then, they trade with a partner to answer each other's questions.

Connecting poetry with math is a great way to keep students engaged and to present information in a different way. If you'd like to use this lesson, you can download it for free here

If you enjoy linking poetry and math, you may be interested in my Math Poems for Fun and Understanding K-2

If you'd like to find other math poems to link with your teaching, check out these online resources.

Smart by Shel Silverstein 

Can Teach Songs & Poems

Math Songs & Poems

Greg Tang Math

If you have other poetry and math resources that you use, please share in the comments below.

So that's it for this month. I hope you will check out the other great ideas in our linky by checking out the blogs below.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Five for Fraturday

Happy Saturday!  I'm back to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and share five things from this week.  

I love Dr. Seuss' birthday week, don't you? This week our school celebrated Read Across America week. My kids loved it!

I'm cheating a little bit because I forgot to take a selfie this time. The photo is from last year, but, of course, I had to wear my Cat in the Hat outfit again. 

Our lovely school nurse, Mrs. A. came in and read to my class on Friday.  She read the book, Inside Your Outside: All About the Human Body from the Dr. Seuss Learning Library.She had the kids rhyming right along with the text and made learning about the human body fun. We're lucky to have a school nurse who's a fantastic teacher, too.

We also had a visit from our local theme park. The Carowinds Reading Program sent a reader and a surprise guest. They were also kind enough to give each of our students a bookmark with a free pass to Carowinds attached to it. The kids absolutely went bonkers - in a good way. 

Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday, of course.  We spent a lot of way too much reading time looking for all the crazy things in the illustrations, but the kids loved it! Afterward, we did some critical thinking and writing about the book, so that made the time spent worthwhile.

Ultra mega mega fun, indeed.

I very sneakily planned some social skills lessons this week, too.  Last week, we had worked on determining the lesson or moral of a fable.  This week, I used some modern-day fables written by Dr. Seuss to talk about accepting differences (The Sneetches) and compromising with others (The Zax). Both of these great stories can be found in The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss.

That's it for this week. Make sure you check out all the great Five for Friday posts from my fellow bloggers. And don't forget to check my blog on Monday for this month's Math Tip Monday post. I'll share some ideas for connecting math and poetry in the primary grades.