Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We are the Shapeshifters!

Today (April 15th) I had the opportunity to complete my bulletin board assignment. So, I got to teach a mini lesson with the students and do an activity. I read The Greedy Triangle to them.

They were completely glued to the story. It was awesome. I guess that means my voices and expressions passed the second graders test. ;) Then, I gave them their instructions, showed them an example and we worked on our anchor chart.

The bottom one is the sample with the sample also written on an index card in the corner for my shape sample. I also asked them for words they thought they would need help spelling and wrote them on the top chart. :) The parallelogram stumped both the teacher and myself. LOL! We had to look that one up. I told them that was a very good word. ;) haha!
Here are some examples of what the students' did. There are two boys who have autism in this class as well. Both of theirs are pictured. I just loved the creativity. I know, you are thinking, "Why didn't I give them something to trace?" Well, I did this for a couple of reasons. I wanted them to know the shapes and to do them on their own. The other reason, and much more important reason, was that I wanted to students to be creative and make their own shapes. I wanted all the shapes to be different, just like they are. I wanted the shapes to show character. There were two girls who did pink stars. If they had things to trace then the stars would have looked exactly the same. However, they didn't have templates or anything to trace so they looked completely different and totally fabulous! I loved the way the students used their own imagination to create their shapes.

Here is how the whole thing looked. Two students were absent so theirs will be added later. ;)

I had so much fun!!!

By the way, I earned an A!!! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Reads: How Do Apples Grow?

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

This is non-fiction and science-y. ;) We've been doing a unit on plants and while he was focusing on flowers -- the pistils and ovaries and reproduction of flowers, we decided to read this book. It starts with winter of an apple tree's life and goes through the process all the way until the next winter. It includes the bees, parts of a flower and everything. It's the perfect book for a plant lesson. I wouldn't recommend it for preschool but it is great for elementary school!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


There are two things I have recently learned about that I have incorporated at home but could easily be incorporated in a classroom as well. All students need brain breaks, right? Especially since so many students are only given one 15-20 minute recess each day. That's crazy!!! Most teachers do "Movement" in their class. It's an opportunity for students to get up and move. I recently learned about a website called Go Noodle! It's a fun opportunity for brain breaks. You can set it up for FREE!!! :) Just go to https://www.gonoodle.com/.
You set it up for your class and choose a class champ. The champ is sort of like a mascot. As the students complete different brain break activities, they get more points and the champ grows.

See, here is our champ. This is actually our second champ because we completed the first champ. The program is cool because all you do is click that big green "PLAY" button on the bottom. Then, it takes you to a screen where all the activities are. You can favorite the ones you really like. My kids favorite the ones they like, I don't. I can also decide if they choose something from the Energizing section or the Calming section. If they're falling asleep on me or just plain lethargic and bored then they choose a Energizing activity to wake them up. If they're too energetic or stressed from school then I put on the Calming section and let them choose one from there.

Here's a screen shot so you can see some of the options. There's dancing too, it somehow hasn't made it to our "favorites" section yet. And, yes, that's Frozen in the corner. ;) Some of these are olympic sports where Olympians actually exercise "with" the students. My kids think that's really cool. They have them stretch a bit and then they show them how to do their sport and then they do it. Collin really likes those. Ryanne prefers the dancing ones. Neither of them mind Frozen and the calming videos came in very handy when I had a very frustrated child on the verge of tears. YAY!!!

OKAY, now for the second resource I discovered.... Wonderopolis!! This is a fun site that has a bunch of things kids have wondered like... How long is the longest bridge? Why is the ocean salty? What do you mine in mincraft? Why do fireflies glow? Why does skin get wrinkled in water? and many, many others!

So, now you're probably asking what do I use these for? Well, writing prompts! :) We watch the video and then I ask the kids the question. They think about it for a moment and then write about it. Once they've written their thoughts, I show the answer with another video or reading the article.

Today's question was "How are gummy bears made?"
Then we watched this video:

Haribo gummy bears from kolbovskiy on Vimeo.

Afterwards I asked them the question and then they got to writing. Ryanne wrote that jellyfish are cooked with strawberries and then cut into bear shapes. She said she knew it was wrong but didn't know the right answer so she decided to get crazy. Collin wrote about making gelatin and putting it in bear molds. Then... we watched another video to answer the question...

Modernist Cuisine - Recipe - Olive Oil Gummy Worms from Modernist Cuisine on Vimeo.

The kids said this was the best writing prompt I've ever given them. They've already picked out the writing prompt for tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Reads: Bink & Gollie by Katie DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Bink and Gollie
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780763659547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763659547

This is about two friends who are a bit quirky and seem to be complete opposites yet they are always the most marvelous of companions. They get into fights, they go on adventures and they test their friendship. It's mixed with plenty of humor and fun to keep students engaged.

The young reader who read this book really enjoyed it. He opened it up just to see what it was about. Soon, he was enthralled in the story and thirty minutes later he was finished. He laughed at himself because he hadn't meant to even read it. He just wanted to flip through the pages. This is a really cute book. 

AR: grade level 2.5
Lexile: AD310L

This would be a great addition to any classroom. It's a fun read and something many of the students would enjoy and laugh about. It teaches important skills of friendship along with improving learning. There are a few words in it that are tricky and would be a wonderful opportunity for students' vocabulary to grow as they learn words like implore, compromise, outrageous, baffle, and several other larger words. The character Gollie likes to use larger words and quite often baffles Bink with her vernacular. A fun little book and great story for a classroom.