Friday, May 31, 2013

Five For Friday & Blog Anniversary Giveaway

Summer has officially started!! I started my summer vacation by meeting up with a friend at another school for lunch and taking an afternoon nap! I don't usually take naps but moving rooms during the past 2 days in the humidity and heat takes a toll on me!
 
 
1. I did not take many photos since it was a short week with my soon-to-be first graders! I used a cooperative learning structure for this particular activity. I had my students work in small groups of 4 students each. I had one group with less than 4, so I joined in. I asked my students what they were most proud of this year. I had them write and draw pictures in one of the boxes. Afterwards they rotated their paper so a friend could respond to their work. This was a timed activity- giving about 5 minutes for each round. We rotated two more times, so that all the boxes were filled. Some choose academics, while others wrote about other accomplishments. I didn't take pictures for my class this year, but here are samples I kept from one of my previous classes when I first did this activity.
 
I was proud when I learned to skate.

When I dive in the water without floaties.


 
2. On the last day of school, Wednesday, I participated in an end-of-the-year road rally with my school staff. It was fun! We played various games at four different locations in the community. Some of the games included unscrambling words, pictionary, balancing a frisbee on your head, flinging a rubber band, hitting a golf ball, etc. At each station, we earned tickets to raffle for various prizes. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant to celebrate our end-of-the-year. I didn't take any pictures... my team and I dressed in red, white, and blue. Some of the more creative teams dressed up as nuns, rock n roll band members, cowgirls, and hula girls. Very cute!
 
3. Thursday and Friday involved moving my stuff next door to a smaller classroom with a different type of storage space. So I just put things in cabinets and on shelves. Here are 2 pictures of some of my stuff. I will so need to reorganize when I get back!
 

 
4. I also took some things home to reorganize as a summer project. My living room quickly turned into a classroom library. I have tubs of books, bags of books along the wall, and bags of books on my bookshelves. These are the books that are not kept out all year, but are changed throughout the year as we learn about different themes. I have kept them in tubs, plastic bins, and ziplock bags. Now, it is time to change and try a new way. I have already ordered some bins from Really Good Stuff. They are suppose to be arriving on Monday!
 
 
 
5. I cannot believe I have embarked on this blogging adventure over a year ago! I have definately broadened my teacher's bag of tools and tricks. I have met some extraordinary teachers and bloggers. It has been a rewarding experience. I will be having a giveaway to celebrate this event. I will post it tomorrow! Here's a preview! Please come back and visit tomorrow for a chance to win!
 
 
 



Monday, May 27, 2013

End of Year DVD & Blogversary Giveaway (Help Needed)

Only 2 more short school days left!! This weekend, I took time to spend with my family and work on my class DVD. I love using my Apple IPhoto and IDVD programs to make it. I think it comes out cute each time. It went quicker this year, as I just deleted last year's photos/videos and added this year's photos/videos. Here are some of my favorite songs to use:
  • Dr. Jean's Songs: Rise & Shine, Hello Friend, Goodbye Friends!, and others we may have used for Morning Meetings or Fun
  • High School Musical: We're All in this Together
  • Jack Hartmann: The More We Move Together, Hello Around the World, and other theme songs to go with the pictures
  • Jack Johnson- We're Going to be Friends
  • Raffi- Going to the Zoo (to go with the zoo field trip pictures) and others depending on theme
  • Greg & Steve- It's a Beautiful Day
  • Vitamin C- Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Theresa Jennings- I'd Rather Be Happy (There are other great positive school songs by Theresa Jennings, but they are difficult to find to purchase.) I have only recently been introduced to her by the music teacher at my school. My group from last year  really liked this particular song.

 
I don't know why I choose to start a blog last year near the end of the school year! Must have been on a whim! Now it's past my blogversary and this is my 100th post! So I wanted to try something new, and celebrate in a way I've seen many other teacher bloggers have done. I hope to put together something for a fun giveaway to celebrate my belated blogversary and 100th posting!! Hopefully by next week, I will have it all together. Sign up below if you would like to donate. Feel free to pass the word on to others who may want to donate. Email me at learningwithmrsbrinn@gmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you! Thank you to those who participated... I will be emailing you!

 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Five for Sunday? (& Science Mentor Text)

My kinderkids only have 7 school days left!! I have 2 weeks to complete all our end of the year items. Let's hope I manage to stay on task as my mind is slipping quickly into summer mode! I am linking up a couple days late with Doodle Bug's 5 for Friday. Here are my top 5:
 
1. My kinderkids really enjoyed hearing, Hey, Little Ant. They sat on the floor in groups with 3-4 children each. I used a Kagan Cooperative structure to have them interact with the story and make personal connections. Afterwards, I used a freebie to help my students think of 3 reasons to save or squish the ant. Not sure where I got the freebie. If you know or are the creator, please let me know so I can give credit- thanks!!

 
2. We had fun retelling the story of The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly. My kinderkids also wrote why they thought she swallowed the fly. Here is one example. This is included in my Investigating Insects unit.
 
The old lady swallowed a fly because she was chewing with her mouth open.

 
3. We also used TLC's free graduation art project to make covers for our memory books. Just click on the picture to go to TPT to get it.
 
 
4. We are also learning about different parts of a plant and their life cycles. Through Scholastic Book Clubs, I ordered a set of plant books. Flowers, one of the books, will be in my district's newly adopted reading series, Reading Street. After reading one of these simple books, my kinderkids each took one index card to write one fact learned. On the other side, they each drew a picture to match their words. Then, I had them use Kagan's HandUp-StandUp-PairUp (click HERE to get my freebie to make your own cooperative learning poster) to share their facts with each other. Partner A would listen. Partner B would agree or ask for clarification. Afterwards, Partner B would tell Partner A something positive. Then they switched roles. When completed, they did a cheer with their partner, and looked for a new partner. Sharing this way allows my students to move around and talk more often. Perfect for little bodies and minds at work!
 
 

 
We planted bean seeds and sunflower seeds. My kinderkids took home their bean greenhouses on Friday. They will take their sunflowers home this upcoming week. We used our handprints and footprints to make a sunflower to label and measure. The flowers look a little weird to me, as they are missing the bottom petal... they still look cute to me though!
 
Fran from Kindergarten Crayons has a great freebie to keep track of a bean seed's growth. Click here to go there.
 
 
These plastic roaches creep me out!
 I have a few sunflower books that I do enjoy reading with my kinderkids. I got them through the Scholastic Book clubs. These two can also be found on Amazon.
 
 
 
 


5. I am looking forward to the summer break. Besides having fun, visiting family and friends, going to the beach, taking workshops, and reading, I plan to start my first linky party for the summer. I would like to learn more ways to use cooperative learning strategies in my classroom. In a couple weeks, please come back to visit and link up your own cooperative learning strategy or tips on a Thursday!
 
 
 
I am linking up with both Collaboration Cuties and Doodle bugs Teaching Five for Friday linky parties. Click on their buttons to see what others are doing in their classrooms! Have a great week!
 
 

 




Monday, May 13, 2013

We All Went on Safari

I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties for the math book linky. Here's one of my favorite books I use when we learn about African or zoo animals.
 
There are bold pictures and rhyming words too!
 
 
 
 
After reading this Swahili counting 1-10 book, I have my students work in pairs to make a page for our classbook about going on a safari. In the past, my students have used numbers and number words, and they drew matching pictures. I have also used addition math stories. This past year, we were working on greater or less than so my students wrote a math sentence using the symbols. Here are samples from my current class:
 


 
Typically I have my students work in pairs for a page in our classbook, We All Go On Safari. I have an odd number of students (19), so sometimes I have one group worked in a small group of 3 students. Sometimes, I may work with an individual student. Here's a freebie to use in your class.
 
Check out other great tradebooks used in math at Collaboration Cutie:
 
 
 
 


 


Monday, May 6, 2013

Fabulous Feedback Linky Party

I am joining in on one of my favorite teacher bloggers, Christina Bainbridge, in her Fabulous Feedback Linky Party. Love this idea! Just about a year ago, I opened up my TPT shop. It is slowly growing as I become better at transferring my activites into digital format. Here are my top 3!
 
This was the first feedback I received. :0)


This made me smile BIG all day!


This is feedback from a quick freebie I made and posted on TPT.
 
If you are the creator of one of my top 3 feedbacks, you will get to choose one item from my TPT shop for free! Thank you! Thanks to Christina Bainbridge for this wonderful idea of a linky party!
 
 
 
There are big sales going on...
 
Thanks to Learning With Mrs. Leeby for this graphic. Click above to check out
other teacher stores linking up with Learning With Mrs. Leeby.
 
 
I have a winner from yesterday's giveaway. I had my husband pick a number. Congratulations Kimberly Ann! I am sending you my Investigating Insects unit via email. :0)
 

 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

TPT Appreciation Sale & Animal Actions Freebie

TPT is having a sale this Tuesday & Wednesday!! I am already moving some items off my wish list to my shopping cart. I love sales!
 
 
 
I am linking up with Collaboration Cutie's Language Arts Mentor Text. I have 3 books that I use to teach action words (verbs) with my students. My favorite is Who Hops? and a close second is Animal Actions.
 
       
 
 
 
After reading one of these books, I have my students brainstorm actions with their shoulder partners. We write them on an abc chart. Afterwards, I use large index cards to write our favorite ones for each letter. On one side of the index card, I write one set of letters (Aa, Bb, Cc, etc.) and the other side is the action word that starts with the sound. On the other side, I have my students illustrate a picture to match the action words. I use these cards as a brain break. I show my class the letter and they act out the associated action. I do not have an example here at home, so I created a visual for you to give an idea of what I am writing about. (I am such a visual person... otherwise it is blah, blah, blah to me.)
 
 
 
Another activity that I do with my students is a pocket book. In kindergarten, my students write one action word on each pocket. Then, they use strips of paper to write an animal that can do that action. They also illustrate the animal doing the action. In first and second grade, I did the same pocket book, except my first and second graders wrote a sentence using the action word. I do not have any samples currently, but click below to get a freebie Animal Actions pocket book for yourself to print out.

 
 
Use these directions to help prep the Animal Actions pocket book.


 
 
In my newest packet, Investigating Insects, I have included an Insects Can... action pocket book as well. It is on sale, and will be another 28% off on Tuesday & Wednesday. Remember to use the code TAD13 to get more than the 20% off.
 
 
 
Now that I have completed another unit for TPT, I would like to give one away. If you would like to win it, leave a comment and tell me what is your favorite tradition for the end of a school year. One of my co-workers is starting a tradition in hanging up 15 balloons for the last 15 days of school. Inside each one is a way to celebrate on a slip of paper: popsicle party, borrow a classroom pet for the day, etc. I think I may try this for the last 10 days of school. One of my traditions is to put something away that I no longer need, and my students try to figure out what I put away. The student who guesses it, helps me decide what to put away next. It's a great way to start cleaning up for the summer. I will pick a winner tomorrow evening (Monday, May 6th).


 



Friday, May 3, 2013

Five For Friday


We started this week learning about insects- focusing on ladybugs and butterflies. I used an entomologist craftivity from Caitlin Clabby's All About Insects unit to start our discussions about insects. I have little jars with magnifying lens on top to help my little entomologists observe insects better. We found out the little ants are great escape artists! They find the breathing holes and crawl out.
 
 
 
My kinderkids made such funny grouchy faces and I used them to make our Grouchy Kindergarteners bulletin board. I am working on a mini insect unit which hopefully will be completed by the end of this weekend. I am using it this week and into next week!
 
 

 
At the parent center, my kinderkids reviewed the butterfly life cycle by making a paper plate one with rice and pasta. A grain of rice or a bean is used as an egg. A spiral noodle is the caterpillar. A shell noodle is a chrysalis. A bowtie noodle is the butterfly.
 
 
 
At the independent center, my kinderkids made their caterpillars to count by 10s. One of our Kindergarten Common Core Standards is to count by 10s to 100. I do not remember where I originally found this freebie activity. I did find another version at Kelly's Kindergarten.
 

 
I finally found them! I found some dry erase crayons at the nearby Office Max! My kinderkids used them and they worked nicely on the plastic sleeves for their independent activities. One of my co-workers warned me not to use them on the whiteboard since it did not clean off easily.