Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Follow the Yellow Brick Road Retelling

I’m back today to report to you that I DID NOT have to suck it up and eat the larva for snack today. And…PTL…I remembered my math & literacy stations AND I got a full 7 hours sleep…minus 30 minutes here and there thanks to a cover hogging husband :) Yes friends, today was MUCH better than yesterday…well, except for having to control the LOUDNESS that is my classroom while our 4th graders took the STARR test today. Bless their hearts.

This week we’re working on retelling. I feel like EVERY teacher does a pretty stinkin’ great job at driving home this concept. I’m pretty sure we’re constantly asking questions before/during/after reading and encouraging to summarize stories in their own words. Did y’all see Kelli’s post last night about Retelling Ropes?? Am I the ONLY teacher who’s NEVER heard of this?!?!? I absolutely LOVED this idea!!!!!

Retelling Rope

GENIUS idea. Absolutely GENIUS!!!

I saw her precious idea late last night while I was promising myself I’d get to bed early. HA. Clearly, I didn’t have enough time to head to the Lob and pick up my goodies to make my own retelling rope…which I swear I’m doing AS SOON as I leave school tomorrow…so I decided to play a little game of “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” Retelling with my kids instead.

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We read the story, Bear’s Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson, and I had the kids follow the “yellow brick road” to retell the story in their own words. Ohmiword. They LOVED it. A few of my girls were even singing the song in between rounds of retelling.

As a whole group, we worked to “retell” the story together.


I used stickies so that we can reuse our chart throughout the week! When we finished adding to our chart, I had the kids retell the story in their own words using this recording sheet….


I left the yellow brick road out all day so that the kids would be able to practice retelling stories after reading to self/someone. They were slightly *obsessed*. I went ahead and hung up the yellow brick road at the end of the day so that we could use this visual as we continue practice our retelling skills.


I can’t wait to make Kelli’s Retelling Rope to hang up, too! The kids will LOVE it!

I went ahead and made these Retelling Anchor Charts for the kids. I’m going to run off a few copies, laminate them, and leave them in the reading center for the kids to use after they read. I also included a little mini copy…a desk version of the charts. I think I’m going to put these in the reading center also and let the kids use counters to “walk” on the yellow brick road as they retell the story as an option, too.


If you’re looking for some more Wizard of Oz themed units, check out Abby’s Wizard of Oz Math & Literacy Unit and Kelly & Diane’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz Math & Literacy Centers. They are BOTH to-die-for!!! Can’t wait to put them to use in a few short weeks!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

One of THOSE Days…

Today was one of THOSE days. Not in a terribly bad way…just one of those days. I’m sure you’ve had ‘em, too!

We were up ‘til about 3am this morning with my sweet Landon. I’m SURE he had an allergy induced asthma attack. He hasn’t exactly been diagnosed with asthma…the doctor blew me off when I mentioned it…but my mommy intuition is 100% certain that he has it. When Mr. Spouse gets scared, that’s when I know it’s serious. And it was. My little man was up ‘til all hours of the night…coughing & wheezing something awful fierce…and having trouble breathing in between the crazy fits of coughing. Ugh. We’re back on Zyrtec today and things are looking MUCH better. PTL.

Since I was pretty much dead to the world this morning and functioning on all of about 3 hours of sleep, I left the house and totally forgot ALL of my station work at home. All of my math tubs and literacy stations were sitting on my dryer and I didn’t realize it until it was time to set everything out when I got to school. Yikes! I was SO excited to get started on our weather centers, but we had to postpone our plans until tomorrow. Here’s what we’ll be working on in stations/tubs this week…

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You can read more about the Math & Literacy centers in my shop!

Instead of having my plans right in front of me, I had to think quick and come up with plans on the fly. I know I’m not the only one who’s ever experienced this phenomenon before. Right?! In a last minute dash to create a little something that would be hands-on, fun, and educational, I came up with these…



The kids had to solve a word problem, write out their thinking in complete{ish} sentences, and then show me a fraction to represent their answer. They had to determine how many carrots Roger Rabbit & Billy Bunny would have if 12 carrots were divided equally. They did awesome! And I love the way they explained their thinking. I LOVE this time of year…they’re such BIG kids now!! I hurriedly cut out all the parts and all the kids had to do was assemble…and cut the green on the carrot.

When it was time for my literacy stations, I got by with a little help from my friends. Thank you Michelle, Kelly & Diane, Abby, & Mrs. Lindsey!!!! Y’all totally saved me this afternoon!!

One of my sweeties brought me these for snack today…


Just incase you’re wondering, these are REAL larva. Like, FOR REAL. I thought this was just one of those random fake type snacks, but not so. Larva was the first ingredient on the list of ingredients on the back of the box!!!!!!!!!!! I had to pretend like I was allergic to larva so that I didn’t feel guilted into giving them a taste. I wouldn’t survive for one hot second on Fear Factor.

I’m planning on getting LOTS more sleep tonight because we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow! I’m officially a “t-ball” mom now and little man has his first practice tomorrow. Okay, so he had his first game last weekend, but with all that crazy weather last week, practice was cancelled. This is the first organized sport little man has played and ohmiword…I LOVE IT!!! And so does he!!! I would’ve bet my life that he would’ve freaked out about staying in the dugout and batting in front of a crowd, but I was oh so wrong. He ate it up and loved every second! Thank the Lord. Sorry, but I think he’s the cutest darn t-ball player I’ve ever seen! HA!


Here’s to having a FULL night’s sleep and a better start to tomorrow than today :) And to having a much better snack than larva ;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Day Fit for a Foodie

If you know me well, you know I’m a foodie. NOT a food snob at all...I’ll eat ANTYHING. Especially if it’s deep fried and made with butter :) But I’m definitely a foodie!! Today’s activities were focused all around a couple of my favorites…pizza and cinnamon rolls!!! Both terribly fattening and unhealthy, but that’s not the point of this post :)

Before we started our math tubs today, we did a whole group fraction activity. I set out 4 pizza boxes on different tables and handed out recording sheets and clipboards. The objective of this activity was to get the kids to count the number of slices in each pizza box and then record the fraction of slices that had pepperoni/mushrooms/olives/green peppers. I made the pizzas out of construction paper, cut them into various slices {each box had a different number of slices}, and then glued each slice to the bottom of the box. The kids got to travel from box to box until all of the fractions were recorded. I labeled each box with a number, too. They LOVED this activity!!!

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I got the boxes from Domino’s last year. Actually, they were left at school…totally unused…so I snatched ‘em up knowing I could do something fun with them at some point. This seemed like the perfect time to put ‘em to good use! Click the pic below for a printable.

Pizza Box Fractions

Graphics copyright DJ Inkers.

If you’re looking for another appetizing fraction activity, Amy Lemons has this precious pizza craftivity you should check out! LOVE IT!!

During our literacy block, we talked about synonyms. I started with this book…


And then we made a list of synonyms. After that, it was time to start baking! Baking SYNONYM rolls, that is. I’m sure you’ve all seen this PRECIOUS idea on Pinterest! Well, for my little foodie lovin’ class, I knew this activity would be just perfect! I decided it would be fun to play the part of a baker, so I made all the kids a chef’s hat…and one for me, too…busted out the apron, and we got this party started.


First I had the kids make a list of synonyms. They actually got to choose what they wanted to do…either make a list of several different pairs of synonyms, or make a list of several synonyms for one word. They were all up for the challenge and it was fun to see what they chose!


Here’s a copy of this, too…

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Graphics courtesy of Scrappin’ Doodles.

Once they had their words recorded, I handed out their chef hats and they immediately transformed into “Synonym Chefs”. They baked their little hearts out making the most delicious little “synonym” rolls. Yum!


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I really wanted to make cinnamon rolls for the kids and bring them in, but I have several kids with severe peanut allergies, so I’m really nervous about bringing anything homemade into the classroom! While I was shopping yesterday, I found these little gems and since I knew they were peanut free {PTL!!!}, I thought these would be fun to share! {I saw this cute little idea, HERE. Genius!!!}

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Oh…here’s how our little antonyms turned out. I’m still missing a few of my kids’ feet, so I’ve got a gaping hole in the middle!


Antonym Andy!


Food wasn’t the only thing we worked with today. We also worked on lots of long /a/ activities from my little Long A Kids packet.

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If you want to make some chef hats for your kiddos, here’s what you’ll need to get started:


A sentence strip, 1 sheet of white tissue paper, and some tape. CHEAP. I had TONS of white tissue paper stored away…you can grab a pack of 50 sheets at the Dollar Tree!

Just take the tissue paper and start bunching it just a *pinch* and as you bunch, secure with tape. Keep on doing this until the first side of tissue paper ends. Now wrap the sentence strip and staple


Now keep on bunching/pinching/taping all the way around the inside of the sentence strip. Once it’s all secure, fluff it and put it on :) SUPER DUPER EASY!


We’re halfway to Friday, sweet friends! I’m off to celebrate with a bowl of cereal and Modern Family :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Post Spring Break Craftivity

Spring Break gave me just the taste of summer I needed…or maybe not :) It’s never as long as I wish it were and I missed my boys terribly today!!! However, it’s pretty nice being back in a routine! We ALL needed that for sure!

So, we hit the ground running today. We’ve got TONS to do this week!! We’ll be working on synonyms & antonyms this week, so this little guy right here will be making another appearance…I LOVED this activity last year!


We’re working on /ai/ and /ay/ words for spelling this week. We brainstormed a list of words for both and then I had the kids practice writing their /ai/ words on a little raindrop. Nothing fancy, but it was supposed to rain here today, so I thought it would be perfect :) Ummmm…the rain never came {thankyouverymuch,Texas}, but now it’s pouring cats, dogs, and jungle animals outside. I’m about to batten down the hatches because I do NOT like scary weather!!!!


Since we started our day with a little rainy activity, I thought carrying on that particular topic would be perfect for the remainder of the day. We’re continuing to work with nonfiction text and use it’s features in our writing. We read several nonfiction books about rain and gathered lots of rain facts using a fun little KWL on a raindrop template {forgot to snap a pic!} After we were finished fact gathering, we talked about how we felt about rain and a few of my firsties told me some funny little rainy day stories. I decided to carry our conversation into a little craftivity and the kids did AWESOME!

We created these little nonfiction windsocks…perfect for ANY topic…not just rain! First up, I had the kids draw a rainy day scene/diagram. Since nonfiction text includes labels, I had the kids label their pictures/diagrams. They took 6 different colored strips of paper to use for streamers. On three of the strips, the kids had to write 3 different facts about rain…something they learned during our fact gathering. On the fourth strip, they had to write about how they felt about the rain or their own little rainy day story. On the fifth strip, the kids had to tell me how the rain affects our environment {we’re learning about the environment in our science curriculum so I thought this was a great connection!} On the sixth strip, the kids had to write about a book they’ve read that reminds them of the nonfiction books we read today.

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I’m still helping the kids assemble their windsocks, so I hope to have ‘em all up by tomorrow! We’ll be working on lots of activities from my little Long A Packet of Fun. I’d love to share that with ya right now, but I’m fixing a few errors I found, so I’m *hoping* to have it all fixed & uploaded to TpT before I go to bed. The Voice is on right now…and the rain is freakin’ me out…so we’ll see :)

For all my Texas teacher friends, I hope your first day back was a great one! I was sad today for sure, but my morning cup of coffee sure helped make things right in the world :) Looking forward to another cup…or two…tomorrow :) Have a fabulous night my sweet friends!!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Camping Capers, Open House, “Sadsville”, & Spring Break

Maybe I should’ve just titled this post “Longest Post Ever”, because that’s pretty much what it’s gonna be. You can abandon reading now and I swear I wouldn’t blame you! HA!.
First of all, I just want to say “thank you” to all of you who emailed to make sure I’m okay! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but y’all…it’s been a rough week. First of all, getting ready for Open House was consuming all of my free time. Aside from the fun school stuff, my sweet first baby…our pug, Griffin…was put to sleep last Friday. As my sweet friend, Michelle, would say, our family has been living in “Sadsville” since last week :( Mr. Spouse got Griffin {or “Griffy Griff” as my Grant called him} in 2000. He was the absolute craziest, best dog ever. Think a pug version of Marley {from Marley & Me}. True story. He had a face only his parents could love.
I swear I never thought I’d cry when he passed, but ohmiword, I was a wreck. We made the tough decision after weeks of going back and forth trying to figure out what was best. He was blind…deaf…and could barely walk. Watching him attempt to take any steps was painful. We wanted to take all that pain away…we truly think he had bone cancer. He got so bad so quick. The saddest part was watching my boys’ react to the news. Just today Landon asked, “When is Griff coming home? You said that he was with Jesus and Jesus was going to make him better. How will Jesus get him back home when he’s all better?” Oh my. Tears. And my sweet Grant?! He will tell anyone and everyone who’ll listen that, “Griffy Griff is in heaven with Jesus now and God is making him all better!” Break.my.heart. We miss our little guy, but we’re relieved he’s not in pain anymore!!!
Mr. Spouse and I are on Spring Break this week and we started our little vacation with a road trip to Houston to celebrate my sister’s 30th birthday….80’s style. Mr. Spouse was a hot mess. He went all.out. I wasn’t far behind. We had a blast!
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The next day we woke up and headed to Galveston to stay for a 3-day/2-night kid-free getaway at our favorite little hotel. It was short lived, but SO fun. I’m now on a fried food detox. Ick.
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Now we’re back home and enjoying the rest of our break as a family of four.
Last week was Open House. Like I said before, the weeks leading up to Open House are nothing short of crazy!!! Planning, prepping, decorating…you name it. Open House is a big deal at our school and our team really tries to make it special for the kids…and parents! Since we were learning about animals & their environments in science, we decided on a camping theme and here’s what we’ve been up to…
Our kids learned in “cabins” during our 2-week camping unit.
We decorated our doors with pictures of our “happy campers” :) {We found this darling idea on Pinterest…the source of everything these days!} Just incase you’re wondering, I used 3 sheets of paper for this. I took camouflaged scrapbook paper and backed it with brown construction paper. I cut out two triangles {camouflage & black} and stapled them together. Then I took my scissors and cut a slit straight up the center of the camouflage paper and then folded back the flaps. LOVE the way they turned out!
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Of course, you saw this fun little graph we did and that’s how we started our unit of learning. It was a great way to gauge my kids’ prior knowledge on the topic and it really helped me to guide my teaching for those two weeks.
I checked out TONS of camping related books from the school library and bought a few from Amazon, too! Here are just a few I kept in our classroom library….
I also had A LOT of books about various animals available, too {bears, foxes, skunks, porcupines, owls, deer, etc.} both fiction & nonfiction. The kids LOVED reading these books!!! I swear they were obsessed!!!
Since animals & their environments were such a big focus in our curriculum, we learned and researched A LOT of different woodlands mammals. Have y’all ever heard of Pebble Go?! Absolutely AMAZING site. If you don’t have a subscription, I would HIGHLY recommend investing in one. We did A TON of animal research using Pebble Go. Each of our kids chose a different Woodland Mammal to research and ALL of their research was conducted using this site. We spent a lot of time learning about different animals we might see while we’re camping on Pebble Go. Our 2nd graders used Pebble Go for this AMAZING biography project the kiddos did. Honestly, a GREAT site!!!!! My kids spent a lot of time on Pebble Go during “listen to reading” while at their literacy stations during our camping unit. They LOVED it.
We learned a lot about skunks and ohmiword…the kids thought these stinky little furballs were hilarious. Me, notsomuch. Have y’all ever run over a freshly deceased skunk?! NOTsofunny. We read a book called Sweet Briar Goes to School , by Karma Wilson and then I had the kids write about a time something disappointing happened to them and they made a little skunk peekover to go with it. They were so stinkin’ cute {no pun intended;)}
We also did this cute little skunk writing craftivity to put out in the hallways…complete with a “puff” of stink coming out of it’s tail :)
skunk fact
Another animal we researched was the porcupine. After we learned some interesting facts about them, our whole team read the book, “How to Hug a Porcupine”, and then created these darling little guys that went along with a writing prompt, “How would you hug a porcupine?”
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I don’t have a template, but I found THIS on DLT-Kids…just replace the construction paper with toothpicks and you’re good to go!
Bears seem to be a popular campsite visitor, so we decided to research these guys, too! We created a KWL to start our learning and read lots of fiction books about bears, too. One of our favorites?! Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson of course! The kids wrote about how they feel when they wake up and then created this fun little bear craft to go with it.
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We wrote facts about owls underneath the little “chest fluff” on their bellies. The kids LOVED this activity and absolute LOVED being able to put their owls in our tree! SO fun!!
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Speaking of owls, we also connected our learning to a little math craftivity. We drew a camping scene and then used our fingerprints to place owls in the picture. The kids had to write about the fraction of owls that were in the different parts of their camping scene and then create a little owl to go with it! They LOVED this one!
You can download the template & instructions by clicking on the pic below.
As much as I hate the idea of running into frogs while I’m camping…or anywhere else for that matter…we created these little handprint toads to review our “tOAd words” {/oa/ words}. LOVED this idea when I pinned it! Our TL had the idea to use it with our spelling words…perfect way to tie it all together!
Deer are always fun to see on a camping trip, so I thought it would be great to incorporate these little guys into our learning as well. Pebble Go taught us lots about deer and we learned SO much!!! I also thought this would be the *perfect* opportunity to read “Dear Deer” by Karma Wilson and teach them about homophones. We wrote a letter using pairs of homophones in our writing and then created this little deer craft to go with it. I don’t know about the kids, but I LOVED this activity! HA!!
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Needless to say, we learned A LOT about animals!!!!
We also threw in some fun camp themed writing activities, too! We created these cute little hiking legs and wrote an acrostic poem to go with it. We brainstormed a list of camping related words that started with the letters in HIKE. Whoa…that was hard! One of my babies suggested we use a “resource” to help us, so I called on the Internet for some help :) The kids had to choose two words to use for each letter when they created their acrostics. Our TL found these cute camping scrapbook paper packs that we used and I LOVE the way they turned out! Sorry I don’t have a template to share!!
We also learned some funny camping poetry! My TL found this cute idea on THIS website. We practiced reading the poem and learning familiar patterns within it. Then we copied the poem to practice our handwriting and created these cute little sleeping bag campers. I cut out the sleeping bags {using the scrapbook paper from that same pack} and the heads and the kids added everything else.
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We worked on fractional parts of a set with Goldfish…
And with marshmallows, too!
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Speaking of marshmallows, one of our culminating activities was a day full of nothing but S’MORES!!!!! Aaaaahhhh!!!! I don’t know who was more excited…me or the kids?! HA! We spent the morning knee deep in marshmallow math and then headed right into S’more themed literacy centers in the afternoon. We even made our very own S’mores and then followed it up with some expository writing!!!
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As the kids were eating their S’mores, we brainstormed a list of adjectives to describe them.
The kids made their own little S’more and wrote some of the adjectives on their copy and then I hung them from the ceiling. The kids wrote how-to books {all about making s’mores}, investigated & wrote about them using their 5 senses, and determined the fractional parts of their s’more, too! If you’re interested, ALL of the s’more printables mentioned are included in my Camping Capers unit…the s’more craftivity is NOT!
When it was finally time for Open House…and time to show off ALL of this learning…I got busy making the room presentable. Sadly, our desks were beyond the point of cleaning, so I threw some butcher paper on top of them and then made little makeshift campfires on each table using tissue paper and leftover twigs that we used for a different project.
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I set out “Brain Bait” {sour gummy worms} for the kids to take home…
I placed their “backpacks” on their seats {you might remember these from Open House last year}. Their backpacks held all of their camping related work inside! They made the little nameplates using twigs {they collected during recess} and glue….a hot mess, but cute!
We also set-up tents! I didn’t bust this out until the night of Open House because trying to find space for it was a little nuts! However, we had a big camping day the very next day and I kept it up for that. The kids brought in sleeping bags and flashlights and we did lots of flashlight reading!! We also told lots of “campfire tales” around the campfire…the kids had been working on their stories ALL week!!!
Our TL’s hubby made these tents for our team…I wanted them for my boys so badly that I had Mr. Spouse make me two more! HA!! Now we’ve got three just hangin’ out at the house…perfect for movie nights or camping in :) The boys LOVE it and they were SO stinkin’ easy to make!!! We found the tutorial on Pinterest!! You can find it HERE. I added a little half sheet to the front of my tent to make it a little more “private”. My boys are LOVING it and they demand breakfast, lunch, AND dinner inside :)
Our halls this year were pretty cute. Nothing like last year, but cute nonetheless. We were visited by Mr. Fire Marshall a few times before Open House, so we didn’t want to go too crazy and make him mad ;) HA!
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I didn’t make it around to the other hallways to take pictures, but I gotta say that they were pretty dang cute, too. With Griffin on my mind, I was just in another world!
If you’re interested in having a little camping unit in your classroom, you can check out my 135 page Camping Capers packet in my little shop.
I’ll give away 3 copies of this little unit to the first 3 friends who leave a comment.
For those of y’all on Spring Break, I hope y’all are enjoying every little minute!! For those of you still teaching, I don’t envy you…but I will in a few weeks!!! HA!!!

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