Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inventors & Inventions

This past week we started wrapping up our study on Inventors & Inventions in Science/Social Studies. I guess I underestimated the interest my kids would have in the subject because they were SO into it!! We started by learning about a few very important inventors…Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and The Wright Brothers. We made a little anchor chart for the kids to refer to throughout our little unit of study.


After we learned about each inventor, I had the kids add to their “Inventors and their Inventions” notebook.

{click the pic to download}


I forgot to take pics, but after we studied Alexander Graham Bell, we made tin can phones. We asked parents for clean can donations. The kids got to experiment with the phones to see if they really worked…and they did!! They LOVED this activity!!

When we learned about Thomas Edison, we talked about what life would be like if there were no light. I had the kids do some creative writing using the prompt, “If there were no light…”. The responses were hilarious!! I had them add their writing to their science notebooks.

After we learned about the Wright Brothers, the kids made paper airplanes and tested them out to see which flew the furthest, fastest, longest, etc. It didn’t surprise me that they loved that the most!

The kids were so interested in inventors and inventions that they wanted to research a lot of inventions that we’re using today…toilets, cars, pianos, microwaves, etc. We brainstormed a HUGE list of things that we wanted to learn more about and we talked about SMART researching on the Internet…always research with a parent!!!! I had to STOP dead in my tracks when we were researching more info about the toilet. In BIG bold letters, one of the sites said that Thomas CRAPPER was the inventor of the toilet. Now, while this is sorta true, I didn’t think the parents would really enjoy the idea of me using the word “Crapper” in my classroom. Anyhow, we added these inventors and their inventions to our anchor chart so that we could use the info when we learn about timelines this week.

Finally, as our culminating activity, I had the kids make up their own inventions. Their job was to invent something that would make life easier. They had to draw their inventions and write about them and then present them to the class. I was SO super impressed!!!


Now it’s on to past, present, future and TIMELINES!! Woo hoo!!

In other news, I just added a new unit to TpT. The Great Coin Collection!! An 88 page coin-based unit filled with 20 games and hands-on activities. It’s on sale for $6 through Groundhog Day and then it’ll go back up to it’s original price ($9).


Click on the pic for your freebie and head on over to TpT to grab 18 more games & hands-on activities :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Celebrity of the Week

When I found out I would be moving from 2nd down to 1st last year, the wheels immediately started turning. I’d had a jungle theme in my room for several years, so I was ready for a change…and I knew “Hollywood” was the way to go! Last year, my star of the week was aptly named King/Queen of the Jungle. This year, my kiddos get to be “Celebrity of the Week”…and they LOVE IT! I have a special little celebrity corner decorated with paper lamps and pics of Disney stars, and a special celebrity chair that only the honorees are allowed to use {for the week}. Can I just tell you how much I love this chair?! I *might* have a chair obsession {my husband can attest to this} and I found this little beauty at one of my favorite antique shops for a whopping $15!! SOLD!


Here’s a little breakdown of the week’s events. I can’t take credit for this format, however…I got the idea from Mrs. Madden. I LIVED on her site when I taught 2nd grade!! LOVE her! I changed & added a few things to better suit my class, but I got a lot of the week’s ideas from her! If you’re interested in this format, you can download and editable version on her site.


I send home an “All About Me” poster the Friday before the big week and the Celebrity gets to share the finished product with the class on Monday. Then I spell out his/her name {first & last} with magnetic letters and I have the kids help me manipulate them to make new words. We record all the new words on chart paper and then I use them to make a Wordle to give to the celebrity on Friday.


On Tuesday, the kids bring in an item for show & tell…whatever they want as long as it’s not inappropriate or dangerous :)

On Wednesday, the celebrity brings in his/her favorite book to read to the class. Typically, the celebrity’s parent(s) will come in and read to us…our own celebrity reader! And my kids LOVE when they bring non-fiction books! Crazy, but true!

Thursday is “friends & family” day. The celebrity can bring in pictures and family keepsakes to share with the class. I love this day because the kids are so proud to share a little piece of themselves with everybody…and they LOVE bringing in their coolest pictures to show-off which inevitably lead into some pretty big stories!!

Friday is probably my favorite day of the week! The celebrity’s parents come in to have lunch with him/her on the stage and then come back to the classroom for a little “Wall of Fame” ceremony. This doesn’t last too long…maybe 5-10 minutes at the most, but it’s an awesome way for the kids to finish off their special week!

I cut out large stars {which I really stink at doing} and write their name at the top. When it’s time for the “ceremony”, the celebrity autographs the star & dates it.


Then I paint their little palms and have them stamp their handprints…just like they do in Hollywood!


And of course, the paparazzi has to get the money shot, too!



This has turned out to be such a hit! I hang all the stars on my “Wall of Fame” right above their cubbies. On Fridays, the celebrity also gets to take home his/her Wordle and a poster signed by all of our classmates. Unfortunately, I guess I forgot to take pics of that, but you can check out the idea on Mrs. Madden’s site…I HAD to borrow that idea because it was just TOO cute not to do! And the kids LOVE it!!


I’d love to hear how you celebrate your stars!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I’ll Give You A Guess

Q: What do these two things have in common?


A: The two places I’ve spent all of my time in the last 24 hours.

I’ve had a TERRIBLE case of the barf bug!! Dang the luck! I haven’t had the pukies in YEARS…and I hope I NEVER get them again! This is MISERABLE!!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Groundhog Day!

Y' husband LOVES that movie. Sad to say it just isn't one of my faves. However, as hokey a day as it may be, I love Groundhog Day! I always try to make a big deal out if it with my kids. We even start the day by going outside and repeating a little chant as we stomp the ground and try to wake the groundhog :). Anyway,I just posted my Groundhog Day Unit {$3.50} over at TpT. It includes 47 pages full of literacy, math, and science activities. If you're interested, you can head over and grab your copy before next Wednesday! I'm finishing up a dental health mini unit & a big President's Day unit that should be up for grabs by the end if the week!! Hope you're having a marvelous Monday!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Penguin Fun!

Oh how I LOVE learning about penguins!! They are just the dang cutest things, aren’t they?! I’ve tried to get my boys into Happy Feet, but they aren’t big fans just yet. Boo. Anyway, we had a lot of penguin fun this week and I can’t wait to continue with more in the week to come! First off, if you haven’t had a chance to purchase Deanna Jump’s Penguin Unit, GO.NOW. It’s FULL of awesome ideas and activities which is one of the reasons I’ve extended our penguin learning for another week. AND…you need to check out Babbling Abby’s post about her week of Penguin fun! She has some DARLING ideas too and a 5-day lesson plan to download. LOVE it!
This post is all shades of random because it was a wild week at school. We just started mid-year testing {thankfully not much!!}…and it was a FULL MOON…so I’m sorry if things are a little all over the place :)
We started the week reading a few non-fiction penguin books and added to our anchor chart. I got this idea from Deanna Jump’s unit and copied Babbling Abby’s anchor chart idea :) The kids DIED over this!!!!
One of our objectives this week was inferencing, so I introduced “regurgitation” and did a little inferencing lesson with that. I had the kids write about what they thought the word meant and when we finally learned what regurgitation really was, the kids FLIPPED. There were a few facts that the kids were “oooohing & aahhhhing” over, so I had them write using the prompt, “I’m glad I’m not a penguin because…” I got some really good responses!
Graphics courtesy of DJ Inkers

After we read a few non-fiction penguin books, I set-up this little activity at the writing center {another great idea from Deanna Jump’s penguin unit}. I had the kids write 4 facts they learned about penguins and then they made their own little penguins. They were all SO different and I just LOVE that!

We went fishing for –sh words {beginning & ending} for word work one day this week. The kids loved this one! I mixed up a ton of digraph words {ch, sh, th, wh} and had the kids sort through them to find the beginning and ending –sh words.
Graphics courtesy of Digi Web Studio

And here’s a fun little blend activity! I set out 3 baking pans {Dollar Tree, of course} and labeled each with a blend. The kids had to sort through lots of cut-up “cookies” and make real {gr, tr, br} words by matching the onset to the rime. Then they had to place the “cookies” on the baking sheet :)

Graphics courtesy of Digi Web Studio

OH…here’s a fun little problem solving activity I did a few weeks ago and forgot to share. I loved this!
Graphics courtesy of Digi Web Studio

As I was cleaning out some old boxes, I found these activities that I made FOREVER ago. This was before I knew I could get things done A LOT faster on the computer! I actually drew these penguins, ran a gajillion copies, and then colored EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE. And I cut out and glued the clip art to each and every little thing, too!!! My word. Clearly, this was PRE-kids. Wow. I don’t have the template to share because I’m pretty sure I made these my 3rd year teaching when I was in Kindergarten, so I have NO clue where that is anymore! But here are just a few little ideas…
For this one, each penguin was labeled with a different word. The kids had to find the fish with the picture that matched the word.
And for this one, the kids did a little digraph sorting.
Looks like I made this one on the computer, but when I left my old school, I didn’t save ANY of my files. This is a little CVC activity where the kids had to look at the picture and build the word.
I’m looking forward to another fun filled week learning about penguins! We still have a lot to cover!! And I’m SO happy that Sarah Cooley just posted her latest & greatest penguin activities! I’m DEFINITELY incorporating some of her fabulous ideas into my week as well!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Numerical Magic

I just heard this on the radio and thought it was really neat. Of course, I’m sure I’m the LAST person to have heard this useless trivia, but what the hay…

There are 4 dates this year that all share the same numbers…


Well, did you know that if you take the last two digits of your birth year & add them to the age you’re turning this year, you’ll get 111?!?! Is that numerical magic or what?! Try it for yourself and see!!!

My birth year is 79 {whoa} and I’m turning 32. 79 + 32 = 111

I tried this with my boy’s birthdates, too…

Landon…07 + 4 = 11 and Grant…09 + 2 = 11

I can’t wait to share this with my firsties on Monday!!!

**In other news, didn’t 30 used to sound “old” to you when you were younger?!?! HA! I’m thinkin’ 30 is the new 20 ;) And I hear 40 is even better!!!***

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winner, Winner!

Thanks to those of you that played my little “what-kept-me-up-all-night-and-caused-me-to-look-like-the-bride-of-frankenstein-this-morning” game to with my Place Value Packet of Fun on TpT.

Congrats to…


YES….SO true. And since she technically said it first, bwjules1 is the winner. BUT…there was another comment that HIT.THE.NAIL.ON.THE.HEAD. So…I’ve gotta give one away to this good guesser, too…zkelly

Girlfriend! GOOD guess!!!

YES. My little 3-year-old was up ALL.DANG.NIGHT just puking his little heart out…and everything else he ate yesterday. I’ve never seen so much vomit and I hope I never have to see it again. Y’all…I don’t know how we’ve managed to avoid it, but this is the FIRST time either of my boys have ever thrown up! And last night’s up-every-hour-changing-clothes-and-cleaning-the-carpet/sheets/bed/floor episode is further proof that I CANNOT handle another infant. The all nighters are NO FUN!!!! Bless his little heart! Thank heavens that’s over!

Ladies…email me at so that I can send you my Place Value Packet of Fun. And THANK YOU so much to everyone who’s already headed over to TpT to snag a copy for yourself!!

Place Value Packet of Fun!

For those of you that are in need of some new ideas for place value, I just uploaded my Place Value Packet of Fun to TpT. It includes 14 games and activities {for partners & individuals} and 42 printables…59 pages in all :) It’s on sale for $6 right now and will go back up to the original price {$8} on Monday. You can download the preview by clicking the pic below!


AND…I’ll GIVE AWAY one of these little Place Value Packets of Fun to the first person who can guess why I only got 2 hours of sleep last night {*yawn*}.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Place Value, MLK, and Snowmen!

First things first…I’m a fool! Y’all. I’m blushing red with embarrassment. For those of you who have purchased my Place Value Mystery Pictures…and those of you who have downloaded the free preview…I apologize. One of my firsties pointed out a HUGE mistake on the 100’s Chart this morning. There’s an 81 where there should be a 90!!! Yikes-a-bee! See…I TOLD you! Pregnancy brain strikes again…and I’m not even preggo! You can download the corrected 100’s chart by clicking on the pic below :)
SO sorry!!
Speaking of place value, here’s a fun little activity I made for my kids to do in their math tubs last week. It’s a snowman place value spinner!
Graphics courtesy of Digi Web Studio

Last week we were working on place value with teen numbers, so that’s what this particular activity reinforces. The kids spin the spinner on the middle portion of the snowman and collect that amount of ones cubes...or whatever kind of counter you want! Then they spin the spinner on the bottom portion of the snowman and collect the same amount of ones cubes as well. Then they count their cubes and see if they can make a set of ten. I always tell them, “If you can make a 10, trade it in!!!”. Then they grab a tens rod, place their base 10 blocks on the place value workmat accordingly, and then fill out the corresponding recording sheet. Y’all…they LOVED it!!!!

I LOVED our week of snowman fun!! It was absolutely the PERFECT week to learn about snowmen because it snowed like crazy last week {only 1 day} and the kids were SO excited! I took A LOT of ideas and activities from Deanna Jump’s Snowman Math & Literacy Unit. LOVED IT!!! It’s not too late, so if you don’t have yours yet, go grab it!
We read one of my favorites, Snowmen at Night, and imagined what it would be like to be a snowman in that story. I had the kids write about what they would do at night if they were a snowman and then create their DARLING snowmen with marshmallows & white paint! LOVED that idea!!
I originally saw these cutie snowmen on What the Teacher Wants and bookmarked it for this occasion! Rachelle said that they used black paint & tiny marshmallows to create the buttons & the face, but I just had the kids use construction paper for everything…except the white! They just dipped the marshmallow into the white paint and used it like a stamp.
Now…y’all PUH-leeze take a look at mister mister’s writing below. MERCY!! This one is a RIOT!!! I’m nervous to send it home :) And this just makes me wonder what the heck my boys will be writing about when they’re in school! HA!!

I also had the kids write a 4-step how-to on building a snowman. They had to use the words first, then, next, and last at the beginning of each of their sentences. Then they got to create their snowmen using construction paper. They all turned out SO different and I love that!
I had a lot of different writing activities for the kids to work on at the writing station this week. They couldn’t wait to finish one thing so they could move on to the next. They were really engaged and I was so proud of their writing! No pics of samples, but you can download the pack below.
Graphics courtesy of Digi Web Studio


And here’s one of several activities my kids did at word work…build-a-blend snowmen! Really…it was just a word to picture match, but we were working on blends this week and this just fit perfectly.
Click HERE to download your copy of the snowman blends.

And finally, I just wanted to share with you our sweet little MLK writing. We read a few non-fiction stories about Dr. King and the kids were TRULY shocked to hear about the way things used to be. It was really precious to hear their sweet hearts talking about how sad it must have been to live in a world where ALL people weren’t treated equally. We brainstormed words and phrases to sum up what we learned about MLK.
I showed the kids a snippet of his famous , “I Have A Dream” speech on Montage. Although it was hard for the kids to really hear…and understand…what he was saying, it was really powerful to show them how many people were there the day he gave his speech. Then I told them they had to write about their dreams…the kind of dream that’s in your heart, not your head.
I did this with my 2nd graders last year and I LOVED it. I got the original idea from one of my favorite websites, Little Giraffes. Here’s the LINK for the TLC directed art.
We also did this AWESOME egg activity with the kids. I originally found this idea on Teaching Heart. I did this with my kids a bit differently than she did with hers, but it made the same point. I showed them the brown egg & the white egg and we talked about the similarities and differences between the two. The only big difference being color. Then I went behind my easel, broke the two eggs, and brought them back out for the kids to see and asked them if they could tell which yolk was from the brown and which was from the white. Of course, NO ONE could tell! About that time, one of my firsties spoke up and said, “So…the eggs are like people. Dr. King knew that everybody was really alike and the only thing that was different was the color of our skin, so that’s why he thought that things were unfair.” Ding! Ding! Ding! I LOVE this activity…and I love my little GT kids who help the rest of us “get it” :)

In other news, I’ll be adding a Place Value Activity Packet to TPT tomorrow…Wednesday at the latest! It will include 15 games, workmats, printables, and ideas for you to use with your kids…and the games can be used for 2nd grade, too!! I’m just LOVIN’ place value right now!!!

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