Friday, April 24, 2015

Five for Friday April 24

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 
By the way, it snowed yesterday.  Snowed.  April 23.  I just felt like we should somehow get bonus points for putting up with that. Anyway, Happy Friday!

I have shared this company with two different people this week, so I thought I would share it with you in case you haven't heard of them.  I love Reading Reading (pronounced "Redding Reading" because it is based in Reading, Pennsylvania.) . This company has wonderful leveled reading books that are just right for kids- great text size, pictures/photographs, stories, book length, and story topics.
We have a book closet for our primary wing with our sets of guided reading books.  We share these books among all the classes, kindergarten through second grade.  I do not have individual browsing boxes for my students in the classroom because it became very time consuming to manage, and we never had enough books.  I felt like I always had to get them back to the book closet because other classes were waiting to use them. 

Instead of individual browsing boxes, I ordered the mixed sets of these Kris Bonnell leveled books for the last few years from Reading Reading with my textbook money. They come with one copy of each of the different books.   I have colored bins that coordinate with my group colors. I fill the bins with leveled readers appropriate for each group.

 When my students finish an activity early, after morning work, or even for independent reading on the rug, they go to their colored bin to choose a book to read.  I have enough books to switch out often so they have a big variety at their level.  When the group levels up to the next level, it's very easy to include some higher level books in the bin. 

I love it because when I have a few extra minutes to read with a child, I can easily choose a book that will be just right for that child because they are right there.

These book bins have worked really well for me.  The books are just the right length for the children to read and finish, plus the kids love the topics.   Lots of them have photographs which the kids really like. We do have lots of the sets of six in the book closet that we love to use for guided reading.

Here are some samples of the insides so you can get an idea.  I find the books to be on the "easy" side of the levels, which I like.  Don't you hate choosing a "C" leveled text and having it be so hard that you wonder who on earth leveled that book? I know...  #teacherproblems- right?

We had so much fun with the ChatterPix Kids App from Duck Duck Moose. I posted all about what we did with it as well as some ways I thought to use it here.

This sweet little raindrop will show you how we used it for Earth Day.



File this #3 under... What was I thinking?!?   Actually, I do love the sand/shaving cream mix. When we were on vacation last year, I saw some moldable sand at Brookstone. I sort of fell in love with it and was sure I would be the most relaxed person in the world if I owned it and could just play with it whenever I needed to.

I didn't buy it.  That's probably why I'm not all that relaxed.  

I found a post about it here and wanted to try to make it sometime.

Well, it was a rainy week.  So- during free choice, I noticed that I had both sand and shaving cream in the classroom.  The kids called it "science."  Bless their hearts.  It was a mess- but so much fun.  A tip may be to do this mixing ahead of time, without the kids, and then let the kids play with it- especially when you don't have a sink in the classroom. I was a mess- and never quite the same again.  I actually got a phone call and had to pour my water bottle water over my hand over the garbage can to rinse off my hand.  Science...

I know part of the fun is the mixing- but maybe not with everybody wanting to do it while you do... Touching it is just sort of  too irresistible.  Look at the eyes on that one on the right... that pretty much says it all.

I read that this mixture (sand and shaving cream)  is like that moldable sand, and maybe with quite a bit more shaving cream it would be.  The texture I got was not really that moldable, but perfect for us, though.  It is moldable, but still sand like. It is  cleaner than just dry sand to use in the classroom because it stays in one place better.  You know where it would be perfect?  Outside! Or in a bigger area like a sand table...

After it was mixed and we cleaned up a little, and as some of the children were playing with this, I noticed that it  has such a calming effect on some of my kids. They are sort of mesmerized by it, sort of like playing with putty does for sensory kids. Sort of like I knew I would have felt with my more expensive sand from Brookstone.

I also made some sight word stones to use in the sand with all of the little construction goodies.

The construction toys work great in goop, too- (cornstarch and water).  My own kids used to play with these in goop all the time- but outside is best for that, too, if possible.
Yesterday I posted about Trouper, the blind raccoon ambassador, who is a service pet on a mission to teach adults and children to be kind to all animals.  Trouper's story starts off sad- as he was severely beaten and left for dead when he was eight weeks old.  But, his life today is full and fabulous, thanks all to the wonderful Miss Dot, who rehabilitated and saved him.  Kyle Miller wrote a great book about his life, and has plans to write more.  My children fell instantly in love with Trouper, and could not get enough of him.  We loved the book, wrote about him, watched his videos, and learned a lot about loving all animals.

If you still need a Mother's Day gift idea, here are some of the things I've done over the last couple years. 

I loved this card with the "real" flower. I posted about that here.
I love these sweet ideas!  

This idea and free download is from Lovely Little Snippets - and I love it with all my heart. They turned out so precious! And... it's candy, so... what's not to love.

Stefanie was so sweet, sweet, sweet to share this!  Thank you, Stefanie!

Here is the front and back up close.

We wrote stories to go with the candy bars about our sweet mother (or grandmother).

Here are some of their precious covers:

Some precious pages:
My mom goes to the gym. When she goes there I miss her.
 I love my mommy because she does do good stuff.
 I like my mom because she makes me eggs.
 I can't live without you mommy because you are so special.
 I love my mom because she goes for a walk with me.

Kinzie's Kreations shared this adorable  M&M Mom freebie at her blog if M&M's are more to your liking!  

The finished products looked like this:

The children wrapped the candy and gave it to their moms with their book.
Kinzie shared this sweet printable from Over the Big Moon to go with this treat.
MM 2 444x575 M&M Mom & Me Moment

My sweet friend Sarah, from A Sunny Day in First Grade, shared this adorable Mother's Day Simile Poem that we had so much fun doing.   Oh, the answers were just precious. They did  them on their own and I didn't correct them as they wrote, because I thought moms would like it that way.
Mother's Day Simile Poem! {FREEBIE!}Mother's Day Simile Poem! {FREEBIE!}Mother's Day Simile Poem! {FREEBIE!}Mother's Day Simile Poem! {FREEBIE!}

 This is hard to see, but her mom is as pretty as sparkle, nice as chocolate, and cool as a horse.
 I liked "pretty as can be."  AND it is sweet as a 'baby' not 'bady.'  That darn b and d...

Sarah also included poems for Grandma and Aunt which were just perfect for a couple in my class.
He liked to draw the answer better.  I loved the little clown nose, and smart as science.

Sarah has such great products at her TPT Store- and so many awesome ideas on her blog, A Sunny Day in First Grade.

This is this year's gift to moms...  

Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by! 


  1. Lovely to read your post today - I blogged about your great reading take home fact sheet the other day and said how inspiring you are :) Have a great weekend! Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  2. These are wonderful ideas as always! I've been meaning to try that simile poem, so that's what I'll do this year! Thank you! xo


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