Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I LOVE a new font

I have a confession to make.  I have an addiction, okay another one (you already know about the Sharpies).  Fonts.  I love to find a new font.  I downloaded a gazillion (okay not really) but a lot of new fonts.  I want to share the font love.  Here a just a few of my favorites (click on the picture and it will take you to the place where you can download the font for yourself):

Would you like to see more fabulous and free fonts?  Head over to Mrs. Lyon's Teaching: The Art of Possibility (click on the image below) to link up with other bloggers and see what their favorite fonts are.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Favorite Things Sunday

Glad that you have joined me!  Every Sunday I share some of the best ideas I have found throughout the week.

Looking at Lincoln
I found a must-buy picture book (as in went to the bookstore and bought the next day) after reading Mary Lee's review at A Year of ReadingLooking at Lincoln is written by Maira Kalman.  The book is about a girl on the search for information on Abe Lincoln.  Besides the beautiful cover, the line in Mary's review that sticks with me (the little girl is speaking at the end of the book): "...At his memorial you can read the words he wrote near the end of the war. '...With malice toward none, with charity for all.' And you can look into his beautiful eyes. Just look."  I CANNOT WAIT until I get the chance to read this to my class.  If you would like your own copy, click on the cover below and it will take you to Amazon (I am not an affiliate...I just love this book and think everyone should have it in their library).

St. Patrick's Day Bookmarks
Nancy from Teaching My Friends created the cutest bookmarks for her students.  I am not that crafty, so I really liked these because they were easy to recreate...just need stickers, ribbon, and paint chips.  I can do that.  Hop over to her blog (by clicking her blog button below) to see what she created

Picture Writing Prompts
Ms. Wainwright from The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher and Selena from Classroom Magic are hosting a linky party for picture writing prompts.  From the linky party, they created a collaborative Pinterest board.  A plethora of resources for writing prompts in one place.  Check them out by clicking on their linky party button below.

History Music Videos
History for Music Lovers takes historical events and explains them through a musical video.  I would use these videos to introduce what we were going to be studying in history.  Then at the end of the unit, I would play the video again and have students explain why the creators of the video chose the information included in the video.  I would also ask my students to write about what they would have included in the video.

These are YouTube videos, so here are some options if YouTube is blocked at your school (like it is at mine):
 *just need the YouTube address of the video and it will convert it to different formats that you can download on your computer
*my personal favorite because it is so easy to use (I always choose mp4 and it saves as a QuickTime video)

YouTube Download
*Google doc with step by step instructions
*I did not create this document.  I received it at a technology professional development. Author is Jim Furniss.  He had us download the document into our Google doc accounts.

I hope you have enjoyed "A Few of My Favorite Things" and come back each Sunday to see what other fabulous finds I have gathered for your enjoyment and to add to your resources.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Make a Simple Class Book

I am honored to have Leanne Baur from Teaching Tales guest blog for me today!  Take it away Leann....

Hi!  I am Leanne Baur and I run the blog, Teaching Tales.  I have been a primary teacher for over ten years in almost every grade-level!  I am a mother to a little boy, Sebastian, and I have been married to my husband, Chris for the same amount of time I have been teaching. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world!

As a teacher, we all have times where we want to share a simple activity that is fun and engaging for all students.  If you are like me, you will want an activity that takes little prep time, few materials, and not too much of your planning block!  One strategy I use is to create a variety of class books. 

To make a class book,  you simply need to begin with a topic in mind.  Some that I have made are:  winter, money, A Bad Case of the Stripes, and words of kindness.  You can use any theme-related idea!  Basically, the students and I brainstorm ideas that correspond with the topic or book selection and create a web.  These ideas will be typed separately on sheets of paper (one idea typed at the bottom of a page) to be used the next day. 

Once you meet with the students again, you will have them select which page they would like to illustrate.  Remind them that because this will be added to a class book, it should be their neatest and most creative work.  When they are finished, they submit the illustrated pages to you and you can publish it in a variety of ways.  You can use a book-binding machine if you have one or you may simply use a three-hole punch on the sheets and fasten them into a folder.  You could laminate each page and tie it with a ribbon.  However you decide to do it, be sure to make a BIG DEAL out of adding it to the classroom library for everyone to read!  Students will be asking for the next book over and over again!


Other places to find Leanne:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Picture Writing Prompts

Getting started when beginning a writing piece is where most of my students struggle.  It doesn't seem to matter what grade I teach, they all have the same issue.  My eighth graders told me the same thing my first graders tell me now, "I don't have anything to write about."  One way to help students get started is through picture writing prompts.  A picture can get the student writer thinking...the biggest step.

In that spirit, I have created some picture writing prompts.  After the picture writing prompts is a link to a file that has the prompts as you see here, the prompts with no color in the background (to save on the ink cost if you need to print them), writing paper, and suggested use ideas.

Click on the picture below to get all the prompts and more in one download!

Need more writing prompts?  Be sure to check out the awesome linky party being held by The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher and Classroom Magic.  There is even a Pinterest board for the occasion.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Favorite Things Sunday

Welcome to this week's fabulous finds.  I hope that you find something that helps in your classroom.

The Lorax
Rachel from the Sub Hub brings you another great resource:  The Lorax Unit for grades K-5.  With the movie coming out soon and Dr. Seuss's birthday right around the corner, this is the perfect time to introduce (or reintroduce) your students to The Lorax, and Rachel has made that easy with this unit.  The unit includes lesson ideas for reading, language arts, science, social studies, and math.  This covers your entire day.  Hop on over to Sub Hub (by clicking her blog button below) to get your FREEBIE now.

Stop the Bullying
Are you worried that someone in your class is being bullied?  Do you have bullies in your class?  What do you do?  Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 can help.  She began looking for resources to help students who were being bullied but was only finding resources on preventing bullying.  What do you do once it is already going on?  She found some material from American Girl Company, but it was very bare bones, so she beefed it up.  Click on her blog button to be taken to her post on what she did for her classes.  

Science or Reading?
Leslie, the Science Gal, had a reflective post on how teaching science increased her reading scores on state mandated tests.  In my district, science and social studies usually take a back seat to math and reading instruction.  I believe that we are doing our students a disservice when leaving these subjects out?  What if we taught science like Science Gal does?  Where could our students score on the state mandated tests? More importantly, how much would engagement increase and how much would our students learn?  Click Leslie's blog button below and check out what she is doing to engage her students and embed literacy instruction in science.  She shares great freebies also.

Back to Back Assessment Game
Christina from Mrs. Bainbridge's Class created a video to show one way that she assesses and reviews information with her students called the Back to Back Assessment Game.  Two students stand back to back.  The teacher asks a question with a multiple choice answer.   The student decides on a answer and uses sign language to indicate which choice he or she believes is correct.  The teacher tells the students to turn around and show their answers.  High fives for getting the correct answer.  Go check out her video (by clicking on her blog button below) where she shows you the game in action.  One way I am thinking of using the game is to give the students whiteboards and dry erase markers so the answer could be longer than just a, b, c, or d.

Mrs. Bainbridge's Class

I hope you have enjoyed "A Few of My Favorite Things" and come back each Sunday to see what other fabulous finds I have gathered for your enjoyment and to add to your resources.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine Exchange

Be My Valentine

During the Be My Valentine Exchange (brought to you by Ms. Preppy and Kindergarten Korner),  I sent a gift to Amy at the Resource(ful) Room and was given a gift by Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles.  This time (forgot during Holly Bloggy Christmas exchange) I remembered to take pictures before I sent my gift and before I dug into the gift I received.

I had fun making Amy's gift.  I am not that crafty, so I went with scrapbook stickers to create the jar.  On side it has her name (gold stickers) and the other side says Smile Jar.  Her favorite colors are pink and green, so I added pink flowers and a green ribbon.  Inside the jar are Dove chocolates and mini milky ways.  I added a teacher to-do list and bus sticky notes.

My gift was pretty fabulous!  Caitlin sent me a framed quote (that she found on one of my Pinterest boards) and my favorite candy, twix.  I was really needing a chocolate fix (I do have an addiction) when I opened my package today, so it was perfect.  I am going to put the framed quote on the counter behind my small group table.  The twix are going to stay in my office (part of which you see in the background of this picture), so I can get a pick-me-up when I need one.

I can't wait until the next exchange.  The holiday exchanges have been so popular that Ms. Preppy and Kindergarten Corner created a blog totally devoted to them.  Check it out and follow along.  Be sure to check out Kindergarten Smiles and the Resource(ful) Room also.  All of them are great blogs with fantastic resources.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pete the Cat is a Hit

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin was a big hit with my first graders. What is so great about Pete the Cat?  He has the best attitude! No matter what happens to his shoes he keeps walking and singing his song.

I had recently bought the book and couldn't wait to share with my class.  First stop:  Teachers Pay Teachers to see what great things other teachers were doing with the book.  There I found Deanna Jump's Pete the Cat Literacy and Math Activities.  Next stop, look at some of my favorite blogs for more ideas.  I found Pete the Cat: Our Class Book at Made for 1st Grade.

First I downloaded the free song (the author reads/sings the book), and then I turned the pages while the students listened.  They really got into it.  It didn't take them long to take over the kids part in the song saying what he was stepping in and what color his shoes would be.  I had that song stuck in my head for days.  They, of course, asked for an encore performance, but I held them off and used it to entice them for the next day of activities.

After we read the book, we used Deanna's character trait map to discuss the physical and emotional characteristics of Pete.  Snuck a little grammar in with matching has and is to the characteristics.  It is hard to beat his great attitude.  Next we created a sequel to I Love my White Shoes using the class book template from Made for 1st Grade.  I am displaying the individual pages in the hallway.  When I take the pages down, I am going to make a class book to put in the classroom library.

To show you a bit of what we have done I created a small collage to show our character map, a few pieces of the student book, and what the book looks like displayed in the hallway.  A few students are still working on their final drafts, so some of the spots are empty.  My students came up with some interesting things for Pete to step in:  honey, cheese, and raspberries are featured.

I am linking this post to 3rd Grade Times Book Linky Party.  She would like you to share your favorite books and why you and your students love them.  Click on her blog button below to be taken to the post.

Remember to keep walking and singing your song!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I heart Sharpies!

Sharpies are an addiction I have as a teacher.  I have every color that is available at the moment.  Not only do I own the regular markers, but I own chart paper markers, pens (two different types), and pencils.  The school supply aisle is always a destination when I go shopping.  Whether I buy anything or not, I like to visit to see if a new Sharpie is available.

Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a party...You Know You're a Teacher When party.  Go check out what other teachers are saying.  They are hilarious!

Kindergarten Lifestyle

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Favorite Things Sunday

Welcome! I hope you are able to find some useful resources in the list below.

Reading Skills and Strategies Pinterest Board
Suzy Brooks has created an extremely useful and visually striking board.  Each pin is a picture that has an associated reading skill/strategy.  Each one would make a great way to begin a class period or to have students work on as they come in the morning and put there stuff up.  Make sure to check her other boards out while you are there.  If you don't have a Pinterest account, leave your email in the comments and I will invite you.  Click on the picture below to be taken to her board.

Make a Drawing Come to Life
This one is not really teacher related but I found it extremely awesome.  Child's Own Studio takes your child's drawing and creates a toy from it.  It is AMAZING!  If I had a child, I would signing up now.

Happy 100th Day
Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade put on a marvelous (and educational) 100th day celebration for her second graders.  She created a multitude of centers for her students:  count to a googol, find 100 hidden objects, estimate jars (greater than or less than 100), make 100 fingerprints, etc.  Go check our her post for the full details and pictures of the centers and student work.  She also provided many of the center directions as FREEBIES.  Click on her blog button below to be taken to her post.

Sunny Days in Second

Heartfelt Cause and Effect
Laura Candler is giving away one of the graphic organizers from her book Graphic Organizers for Reading.  Not only are you getting an organizer, she also included a very detailed lesson plan on cause and effect.  The lesson starts with reading Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch.  The end product involves students doing three good deeds and writing about the effects.  Click on the picture below to be taken to this great FREEBIE:

National Symbols:  The Eagle
Mary from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Dectectives (really love her blog name!) worked with her students to complete a cooperative learning group research project on bald eagles.  Click on her blog button to be taken to the post where you can see her students in action.  The post also includes a FREEBIE of the research graphic organizer she used during the research project.

Come back next Sunday for another installment of "A Few of My Favorite Things."  I really love sharing.


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