Friday, December 2, 2016

Five for Friday December 2nd

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey!

We had the BEST day EVER on Thursday!  Dr. Jean was in town doing a conference, and stopped by our school to do a concert for our children.   We all sing her songs all the time- and to have her in REAL, LIVE person was just amazing.  I know it's something the children (teachers) will remember forever. She is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. the way she captivates the children.  They were so star-struck.  I always am, too.   

Guess what song this is?!  

Here is a site our Literacy Coordinator shared with us. It's called BookBuilder Online, by Pioneer Valley Books.  It's awesome!  You can print  FREE personalized books for your students.  They have different leveled books and different topics. Here are a few to show you:

I printed out Christmas books for each of my kids.  I did it when they were in computer lab- and it took maybe 10 minutes to make and print books for each of my students.  (The color printer is right in the computer lab, so it was just perfect timing for me!)  Then, I just cut them in half and stapled them- so fast and easy!  Here are some pages of one I did for my kids to show you:

This is a post I wrote and just updated with LOTS of Christmas light freebies from TpT.   I just love Christmas lights! 

This is always one of my FAVORITE activities to do with my kids-

I used this fabulous Christmas Lights Pattern by Meredith Fitzhenry that she shared at her TPT store.  Thank you, Meredith!
Christmas lights pattern work sheet 1
I enlarged it 200 times and printed it on 11x17 paper.
I wrote secret sight words on each paper with a white crayon.  There are some on the paper above and you didn't even know it!   I made each paper different, and the children could watercolor however they wanted.  They loved this!  I got lots of "I love you's!" after this activity, so I knew it was a winner.  My kids love any kind of secret messages. Who doesn't?!

After the children discovered their secret words and read them to me, they wrote them on their paper.

I also enlarged Meredith's paper not quite so big and made some number papers for my little ones who still need some number recognition practice.

We followed this activity up by closing the shades and reading this sweet book that lights up.

I wanted to share  my Holiday Homework with you.   I love sending home some fun, simple family activities for the children (nothing too time-consuming) this time of year.  I used to make Christmas Countdown Chains for each child, and have an activity for them to complete on each link.  Then, I would send a bag with all of the "extras" needed to complete the tasks.  For example, on the night the chain said to "Drink your cocoa while you draw a picture to show how you like to stay warm in the winter. Write a sentence to go with your picture,"  I would put a cocoa packet in the bag.  This is what I sent home when I had the children eat a special meal on their Christmas plate and then write and label the meal they ate on the paper.
Everything was just something little, like a special holiday paper plate, a holiday pencil, a highlighter, special worksheets...   The Dollar Store is the place to go for the extra goodies!
I decided to change it up a little and make this Holiday Homework packet with activities in it.  I cut the activities apart, so I only send home one at a time.  I send about two or three a week. I attach the extra item with it, if it needs one. I tape the candy cane onto the paper for the first activity, etc.    I have found that more of the activities get done when they go home one at a time rather than when they were given all at once on the chain. (Even thought the chain idea was fun, too!)
I actually also think the children and the families appreciate everything more, too.

Here are some  pictures of the pages and the different activities:


I write a note to parents explaining that these are just for fun activities that don't need to be returned to school, butI wanted to think of something fun to put on the children's papers if they brought back something completed, so  I taped  a Starburst on these cut-out stars to put on the papers.  Sometimes I tape a silly band onto their paper.  I like to put on a little something special, because I appreciate the extra help at home!  Plus... it's that time of year for something special!

Finally- here's a quick little thing I have my kids do when they come in each morning before morning work.  I write a few sight words on a piece of chart paper, and they trace each one with a marker so we make class rainbow words.  I watch each child write because it's a good opportunity for a quick assessment, too, to see who is forming those letters correctly!  This day we were working on "m" words.   You could do this anytime- before lining up, for early finishers, after snack...  

Have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

STEM All Year!

Dr. Jean and I just finished putting together our STEM All Year Packet! This bundle includes 9 STEM packets- everything you need for a year of STEM- and more!  It has 440 pages of activities, challenges, anchor charts, book ideas, writing prompts, 10 Prezis (each with songs, anchor charts, videos, activities, and games to go with the packet topic), and downloads for 13 of Dr. Jean's songs. My children sing Dr. Jean's songs all the time.  And when they know those songs, I know they know what we've learned!

We've also included Reading and Art ideas for each packet- so really they are "STREAM" packets!

The topics included in this bundle are: I am a Scientist; Colors; Living and Nonliving; The Five Senses; Healthy Body! Healthy Me!; Birds and Bird Nests; The Water Cycle, Water, and Clouds; Going Green; and Bugs and Insects.

We wanted to put everything together so it's easy to access and can be used anytime throughout the year for a big savings.

I know there are some packets that I use at very specific times- for example, I use Going Green around Earth Day.  But other packets, I use parts of in the fall and parts in spring- like Bugs and Insects. Healthy Body! Healthy Me! I use throughout the  year.

Here is a simple "engineering" overview sheet I use for our projects to get the children used to thinking like a scientist. I've had the children use these papers during a center time as they plan to build anything at all.  It just helps them think ahead and learn to plan, and then rethink what changes they could have made to make their plan even better.

 Just click on the picture below if you'd like a copy.

I'll give you a really quick overview of each packet so you can have an idea what each includes. Every packets has a preview you can look at as well.

I start the year with I am a Scientist, because it gives my students a great overview of what it means to be a scientist.

I use the activities in the Colors packet right along with I am a Scientist, in the beginning of the year. It's a great introduction to science activities using what they know and a great review of colors in September and October.

In October and November, I like to talk about Living and Nonliving Things.  This is a fun unit for the children, and I've found that it actually works well with our fiction and nonfiction reading and writing units.  We talk a lot about stuffed animals vs real, live animals, and make the connections with fiction and nonfiction stories.  I also like working on the Living and Nonliving Unit in October because we do many activities with apple and pumpkin life cycles, so this unit fits in perfectly.

I love teaching The Five Senses in December.  The holidays are such a fun time for the children to realize how important their senses are!  There are so many wonderful smells, fun things to see, different textured items to touch- as well as different temperature items (hot chocolate and snow, for example!), happy holiday songs to hear, and of course... plenty of great opportunities to taste different things.  I teach this unit with Mr. Broom. He is a favorite every single year.

January is a perfect time for Healthy Body! Healthy Me!  for all of us- for the kids and for me!  This is one of my favorite units.  We visit this unit all year long, actually.

If we have a lot of children with colds one week, we work on this activity:

During Valentine's Day week, I love to teach about keeping hearts and blood healthy.

We learn about our bones during October when skeletons are all the rage. We learn what different vitamins do to help our body stay healthy and what foods we eat to get these vitamins.

We also learn about what we can and cannot eat to stay safe and healthy with an activity using these:

We use this packet in February for Dental Health Month.

And anytime we need a lesson about being a kind friend, feelings, or healthy habits, we use our Prezi...

 I use the Get Up and Move Prezi all the time, all year long for brain breaks and exercise.

In February, I begin our Birds and Bird Nests Unit.
We make our nest kits and prepare to help the birds get ready for spring. 

 I like working on this unit at the end of winter, because we are still seeing winter birds here that we can talk about like cardinals, blue jays, and geese flying back for spring. We prepare to look for signs of birds in spring and learn about what we will be seeing and what to look for!

March is all about The Water Cycle, Water, and Clouds.  I love this unit.  I sort of love the water cycle way too much for some reason.  It's so much fun to teach.  My children love learning the songs and can teach anybody all about the water cycle and clouds when they are done with this unit!

We Go Green in April for Earth Day.  This is a really important unit that gets the children thinking about our earth and keeping it safe and clean.  I love teaching the children this unit, because they are at such a great age where they take it to heart and want to make a difference.  Having fun activities to remember will hopefully help them remember what they learn for the rest of their lives!

May is a great time for Bugs and Insects.  The children LOVE to find bugs- and are so interested to learn all about them.  Sometimes I'll do some of the activities from this unit in September- like when I find a centipede or fun looking bug in the classroom, and we need to study that.  It's a great time to play a Bug Game during center time when this happens to reinforce any skill we are working on.  By May,  the bugs are out in full force and we have fun taking magnifying glasses outside and finding all we can find.

I hope you enjoy this STEM bundle.  We know that if you can make learning fun and meaningful for the children, it's important to them and they remember it.  That was our goal with this unit.

Thanks for stopping by!

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