Saturday, March 30, 2013

A-Z Days of School-Fun Activities for the Last Days of School

     If I counted correctly, our school corporation only has 37 school days left!  Do you know what that means?  It means it is time to send home the A-Z Days of School letter!!!  I look forward to this every year!  Yes, it does mean that summer is closer, but I know how much my students LOVE this activity!  For the last 26 days of school, I plan something fun for each letter of the alphabet.  For example, the letter B means my students can chew bubble gum in class that day.  The letter P means we will have a picnic lunch.  I cannot even count how many parents have commented on how much they LOVE the A-Z Days of School.  They tell me how excited their child is to come to school!  Honestly, I feel at times we have taken "the fun" out of school.  This is a quick and easy way to sneak it back into your school day (well at least for the last 26 days)! 

    I have a family letter, plus signs for each letter.  Be sure to check it out at my Teachers Pay Teacher Store.  If you purchase it and need to change the theme for the day (For example: "P Day".... change picnic lunch to Play-Dough Day) just send me an email and I can switch it for you.  Enjoy the rest of your school year!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Earth Day Activities: Create a Solar Oven

     I love Earth Day, because it means warm weather and opportunities to get outside!  One of the activities that I do each year with my students is to make solar ovens!  I buy pizza boxes from the local pizza restaurant for 10 cents each and everything to make the perfect s'more.  I normally send home all of the materials for students to make their solar oven at home, but you could make them in class.
    Once you have a sunny day, head outside with the solar oven and s'more materials in hand.    Have students face their oven toward the sun and watch it cook!  Students LOVE this activity!  Besides getting to eat a tasty treat, they learn how the sun is a valuable source of energy!

      Be sure to download for FREE the directions on how to make a solar oven.  I have an awesome Earth Day packet at my TPT Store.  It includes the solar oven activity  (and observation sheet) plus 12 more Earth Day activities.  Be sure to check it out.             

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Data Tracking Binder

    I jumped on the Data Tracking Binder bandwagon at the start of the school year and it has been the best ride ever!  I cannot stress the importance of having students keep track of their own learning.  I really feel students can track their learning at any age as long as you teach them how to do it

    The first week of school, I gave each of my students a Data Tracking Binder.  I had all of the tracking graphs already hole punched and placed inside.  For younger students, you might copy each graph on different colors of paper to make it easier for them to identify.  I took my time explaining and modeling each graph.  Depending on the grade you teach, you might introduce two graphs  a week.  However, you certainly know what your students can handle.  I would model how to write in the date, my score and color in a bar if applicable.  After a few times of modeling, my students became pros!

    To add to the fun, I made circle labels (using Avery labels #22817).  I created labels to indicate improvements with their Scholastic Reading Inventory (Lexile) Score, Monthly Reading Counts Goal, Math Facts, and DIBELS scores.  After any of these assessments, I would take five minutes to reward any student that earned a circle sticker.  Students decorate their Data Binder with the circle stickers.  Who knew such a small token would be such a BIG deal?!?!  My students take pride in celebrating the accomplishments of each other and showing off their own growth.


 I found the Data Tracking Binder to be so useful when conferencing with parents.  They were able to see their child's growth.  Also, it holds students accountable for their learning. 

     I have an awesome collection of Data Tracking Graphs at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  For many of the graphs, I created different levels of the same graph to accomodate various grade levels. Be sure to check them out. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mother's Day Class Activity

    I put together this packet to make your Mother's Day Celebration the best possible.  Invite mothers (or other special lady) to the Lovely Ladies' Cafe where they can order an appetizer (play a math game), main dish (read a book), a side dish (complete a reading activity) and dessert (share an acrostic poem) along with their child.

     As the mothers arrive, lay out the word search or making words activity on the table (included in my packet).  This will give students and mothers something to do until the cafe officially opens.     

     Once the cafe is open, have any students that do not have moms act as waiters/waitresses.  I purchase aprons for them to wear.  Have these students pass out the Lovely Ladies' Cafe menu and the Order Form (included in my packet).  Mothers and their child will mark on the Order Form which appetizer and side dish they would like to "order".  Have the waiters/waitresses "fill the order" (gather the materials needed for the two activities).  I always have everything laid out in baggies so my waiters/waitress can just grab what they need and deliver it. 

     For the appetizer section, students and mothers can select from two different math games to play together.  I have included both math games in my packet.

     For the main dish, have your students select a book they would like to read with their mother ahead of time.  After they read the book together, they will complete one side dish activity.  I have included both reading activities in my packet.

     When it is time for dessert, I have students share an acrostic poem they wrote about their mother.  I have included two different templates (in case the mother is not present) with this packet.

        After the dessert, I present mothers with their "Lovely Ladies' Carryout Bag."  It includes Lovely Ladies' Cafe Coupons (created by the child and included in this packet) and a mug (designed by the child and filled with Hershey Hugs and Kisses). 

     There are many other options of where you can take this day.  I always share a picture slideshow with mothers.  This gives them an idea of what we are learning and doing in school this year.  I also invite my mothers to stay and eat lunch with their child.  You can take bits and pieces of this packet or all of it to make your Mother's Day Celebration the absolute best!

Check out the menu below. I placed it in stapled plastic sleeves to give it that "menu" appearance. 
You can purchase the entire set at my TPT
store by clicking below. 
The first two people to leave a comment will
 receive this set for FREE.  Be sure to leave
 your email.  Please feel free to ask me any
 questions or leave a comment!

Monday, March 18, 2013

April Center Give Away

   I am giving away my new April Centers Set to the first ten people that become followers to my blog.  Just leave me a comment with your email and I will send you out the packet!  Thanks! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Math Egg Hunt

  Have some fun reviewing math problems (or really any skill). For this activity, type or write out as many questions as you want to use.  Be sure to number each of your questions (#1, #2, #3, etc.).  Then, place one question inside a plastic egg.  Write the number of the question on the outside of the egg.  This makes it much easier for students to know if they have already solved that problem.  Students are to "crack" the egg open and solve the problem inside.  Students can write their answers on the Egg Hunt Answer Sheet (download below).  Have students place the question back inside the egg, place the egg where they found it and continue until they have answered all of the questions.  For added fun, I hide my eggs outside as long as the weather cooperates!  This is always a spring hit among my students!

Mystery Unit: The Case of the Missing Earrings!

  My class just spent the last two weeks on a mystery unit.  We read Cam Jansen and the Basketball Mystery and Nate the Great & the Phony Clue.  My students really enjoyed putting on their detective hats and trying to crack the case before the main character! 
On Friday, I presented my class with a "real" mystery to solve called "The Case of the Missing Earrings!"  Prior to letting my super sleuths interview the four main suspects, I had to set the stage for this engaging activity.  First, I asked four colleagues to act as a suspect.  I presented them with the case and their alibi.  Days earlier, I showed off my beautiful earrings that I had just gotten from my husband (not really :).  Come Friday morning, the earrings had VANISHED!  Now it was time to solve the case!  Students brainstormed questions to ask each suspect.  I was fortunate, because our local police department always provides me with junior police badges to give to each of my young detectives.  With their clue collector sheet in hand and detective badge on, it was time to get this case solved!  
After interviewing the four suspects, each student created a WANTED poster on the suspect they felt was the guiltiest.  We created a class graph showing our results.  In the end, my principal safely returned the earrings.  Download for FREE the WANTED poster.  Please be sure to check out the ENTIRE unit at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by simply clicking on the image below.  Let me know if you have any questions on how to create a mystery in your classroom.  Your students will love it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bathroom Sign Out Sheets

    If your class is like my class, there always seems to be students that need to go to the bathroom.  With so many things going on and students coming and going, it is important to know when a student leaves to go to the bathroom.  Earlier this year, I also realized how often some students leave to go to the bathroom just by looking over my sign-out sheets.  I have these sheets on a clipboard near my door so it is readily available to students.  I have to admit that I do use a digital clock, because I want to make this trip QUICK!  Just click on the link below and download them for FREE!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Featured Vocabulary Word

     Each week, we select one vocabulary word from our featured story to go on our "Vocabulary Wall of Fame."  Once we select a word, we come up with a definition and how it can be used in a sentence.  We complete the Featured Word page as a class.  Then, we determine how we can "show" the meaning of the word.  I get my camera ready and capture the pose.  I staple the student picture and the Featured Vocabulary word page back to back.  Each weekly word is suspended from the ceiling for my students to see and refer back to.  This is a fun way to teach vocabulary.  Feel free to download the Featured Vocabulary sheet below.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Garden Probability

      I am so ready for spring!  I think that my brain is already thinking warmer weather, green grass and flowers!  I appreciate you stopping by my blog.  Here is a free "Spring Garden Probability" sheet.  Happy spring!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rock and Roll with Reading!

Last week, we celebrated reading  in my class with a Rock and Roll Reading Day!  Students were encouraged to bring in a sleeping bag/blanket and pillow.  We found the perfect spot in our school to spread out and read!  During our Rock and Roll Reading Day, we stopped and took part in some hands-on activities that revolved around reading.  Students  read a recipe to make root beer floats, played "Character Rock and Roll" and a reading board game.  Students had so much fun and didn't even realize they were reading the entire morning!  Please check out my entire Rock and Roll Reading activity packet on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking below.

Important T-Shirts

   Our Important T-shirts are finished!  I am so excited to share these with parents!  After reading The Important Book, students tried their hand at writing their own version.  After selecting their favorite piece, students drew an illustration to match their writing.  I used fabric transfer paper to print their writing and illustration.  Next, came the ironing!  My arms did get a great work-out from this!  Finally..... the finished product!  Super excited!    

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Activities

     Can you believe that it is already March?!?! It is hard to believe that I am already planning St. Patrick's Day activities for my second graders! I wanted to share a packet that I put together for St. Patrick's Day. It contains 11 different activities that would be suitable for first-third grade students (depending on their levels). Please be sure to check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can download a free measurement activity below. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


St. Patrick's Day Writing Idea

     If you are like me, I always like to add something special to my writing lesson plans. I like seeing my students get excited about writing! This week, my class wrote about the perfect hiding spot for their pot of gold. Instead of reading a story to my class to kick-off this activity, I had them follow "the clues" left by a clever leprechaun! This really got them excited about writing about the perfect hiding spot! I have put together 7 days worth of lesson plans for this writing activity. Please be sure to check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also download for free one of the two final copy papers.

March Madness

Are you ready for MARCH MADNESS? I know that I am! Go Hoosiers! Spread the basketball spirit in your classroom with fun, educational activities all connected to basketball! I have a complete March Madness set complete with over 15 different language arts and math activities posted on Teachers Pay Teachers! Please be sure to check it out!
 Click below to download two free March Madness graphs!




Hello! I am so excited to welcome you to my blog! I am excited about sharing ideas with other dedicated educators! I would love to hear your comments and ideas!