Mother's Day Activities

Monday, May 8, 2017

Wow, what teacher isn't up to his/her eyeballs in report writing and end of the year mania right now?!  I've been totally MIA for the past week.  It has been nuts, between report writing, touching base with parents and ..... breaking the news that I am not coming back to my school next year to my littles and their parents, I've just been plum tuckered out! It's been an emotionally exhausting week but I am glad to say I have moved past the "sad" phase and I am completely focusing on making the most of every single minute of the next 17 days with my kiddos.  Power of positive thinking!

Anyway, I was remiss in wishing all you teachers out there a very happy Mother's Day, I mean we all are "moms" to our students for 8+ hours a day, aren't we? We spent every free minute of last week working on our Mother's Day projects.  This whole shebang started about a month ago with our "Top Secret" Planning Pages that went home as homework.  You know it always takes 3x longer than you would like to get all the responses back.

The littles had to "snoop" around and ask siblings, dads, grandmas, aunts etc some personal questions about mom.   We then turned these planning pages into a 2-3 page People Magazine "article" on mom!  They wrote and wrote and wrote and then I edited/proofed and made them rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

After all of the writing was finally finished, we began the artistic (my favorite!) portion of this activity.  The littles choose from three different covers {The Most Beautiful Mother in the World,  The Prettiest Mother Alive, or Mother of the Year} and drew a portrait of their mom.  

Finally!  THe finished product!  We backed the covers on pink paper, laminated them, and then collated all of the writing with grosgrain ribbon :) 

We have been working on the life cycle of a seed (sunflowers, they are so hearty!) in science, so why not give the moms our seed experiments?  We painted pots about a month ago and have been watching our sunflowers grow.  


Check Mother's Day off the list... up next, Father's Day!!!  

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Reading Snapshot: Diphthongs!

T.G.I.F!  I don’t know about where you all are, but here it’s Friday afternoon and it just started down-pouring.  Not a bad time to curl up on the couch with my laptop and a snuggly blanket and introduce my first ‘Reading Snapshot’.  Teaching reading is my PASSION!  Obviously, duh.  Probably every K/1st/2nd grade teacher out there loves it, but  I am seriously OB-SESS-ED.  Nothing makes me happier than planning out each group’s week of lessons.  Is there any better feeling than finding the PERFECT activity for your kiddos on TpT? 

I was gearing up to do a diphthong unit with my little ones.  I just finished covering digraphs  and wanted a similar high-interest unit for DIPHTHONGS.  Unfortunately, TpT came up dry.  I didn’t love the unit I used last year and found that the kids were bored with the all the worksheets.  After about 15 hours, my Diphthong Mega Pack  was born! Woo hoo!
Here is a “snapshot” into my finished product on diphthongs this week...

We start off with the flash cards.  I do a fun little activity where I literally throw the flash cards at the students.  They have to catch  the cards, read them, then identify the sound being used and the letters that make up that sound.  For example “Coin, /oy/ oi”.  This takes about 10-12 minutes.  I only focus on one or two sounds per day. 

Next up, we create word sorts.  I pass out a few (6-8) word cards per child.  DIFFERENTIATION OPTION: For my support group, I will tell the students specifically how to sort the words.  For example, 1. Sort the words by matching letters (all ‘oi’, ‘oy’, ‘au’, ‘aw’ ‘ou’ or ‘ow’,  in one pile).  OR 2. Sort the words by matching sounds (oi/oy in one pile, aw/au in one pile, ou/ow in one pile). My target group can create their own sort as long as they can explain it to the group.  And my enrichment group creates two separate sorts independently and explains their rationale to the group. This activity is another 10-12 minutes.

The second day we will again review with flashcards, but this time we will practice using my hysterical Hollywood Voices packet.  We are in stitches laughing every time we use this game.  They are just so stinkin' comical, especially when they do the 'opera singer' or 'Queen of England".  Each child picks a diphthong flashcard and a Hollywood Voice card then has to read the card in "character".  We also throw in a little “fun” sheet or two on the second day, like Spin/Roll-a-Diphthong.

The third day is some good old “I have, Who has?” games for review.  Depending on his or her ability level, each child is responsible for anywhere from 2-5 cards.  And again, some worksheet fun.

The last day is GAME DAY!  We play either diphthong BINGO or Connect Four. 

 {Even I play} Woo hoo! Party Time! 

So, that about sums up this week's edition of 'Reading Snapshot'.  I intend to make this a weekly installment of a little glimpse into my reading groups each week.  Hope you enjoyed it and if you think this is something you would like to try in your class, pick it up here! 
Have a spectacular weekend :)  

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Reading Snapshot: ED and ING Inflectional Endings!

Longest.week.ever and we only had 3 days of school!  Monday seems like and eternity ago, Tuesday we had off for Passover, Wednesday was PT Conferences and, finally, at long last- it is Thursday and tomorrow we have off for Good Friday.   Yippee!  I can't believe Easter is already here; Thanksgiving centers seem like yesterday.  Seven weeks left! Sooo much left to do. Seriously, where has this year gone?

I wanted to keep reading group plans light considering we had such a short week.  I figured I would breeze through endings lickity split and gear up for a new topic next week.  I thought wrong.  Monday's lessons showed me that endings, in fact, would not be "lickity split" this year.  Rather I would spent my day off on Tuesday creating some more activities to reinforce these concepts with the little readers.  

I started off teaching about -ed endings with Lori Rosenberg's super helpful 3 Sounds of ED posters.  These provided concrete visual and auditory references for the students.  Followed by a simple cut and paste word sort of the /t/, /id/, and /d/ sound.  

On Wednesday and today, I continued with similar word sorts but also added in some fun games for  review and reinforcement.  I am totally anti-worksheets, so if I can turn something into a board game I most certainly will!  

The kids loved the spinners on these board games.   First, they spun the number spinner to move X number of spaces.  Then, once they landed on a word, they spun the ED/ING endings spinner to determine what ending to add.  For my enrichment group, I added extra layers of difficulty by asking them to also state which sound the "ed" ending made or use an "ing" ending word in a sentence.  

I knew these games were a hit when the little readers asked to keep playing them during their independent Daily Five station!  Jackpot!  Next week, I will put out the Connect Four game boards for review in my Word Work game bin.   You can snag this Inflectional 'ED' 'ING' Endings HERE

Okay, now it's time for me to TGIF TGIThursday! Happy Easter, one and all! :) 


Back to School- Tips and Tricks

Monday, August 3, 2015

With well over a month left before I officially meet my new batch of kinders, I am practically in full-on school mode!  Welllll, that's probably partially because I am immersed in the incredible Writing Institute professional development at Teachers College this week.  Seriously, one day in and I am HOOKED.  Lucy Calkins is like the human embodiment of teacher wine, chocolate, and pizza all rolled into one.  She is a spellbinding speaker.  I took 7 (!) pages of anecdotal notes today so, fret not, I will be sharing more on that next week!

ANYWAY, back to BACK TO SCHOOL!  I wanted to share a little bit of my Back to School FUN and organizational tips.  Here goes...

A small little something for your colleagues and administrative assistants or administrator!  Fill a mini glass jar (or baby food jar if you have those handy!) with some sweet treats (M&Ms for the Marvelous and Magical tag, Lifesavers for the lifesaver tag, and your favorite candy for the 'sweet' tag) then print these gift tags and attach with a ribbon! 

 I always like to give something a little practical and "teacher-y" to my new Assistant Teacher.  Last year I gave a super cute mini clipboard to my new AT.  I am SO psyched about the girl I am working with this year, I will have to find her something special! 
Now for the kiddos! 
About a week before school starts I send out the beloved jitter glitter! So the glitters doesn't make a huge mess on the floor where the letter is opened (great way to kick off the year with the moms- NOT!) I put the glitter in a little baggie.  
Here is a version I sent out a few years ago... 

Here is the template that you can purchase as part of my Back to School/End of Year Organization + FUN!
In addition to the jitter glitter, I also send my welcome letter.  You can snatch it up for grades K-5 here

  For our Orientation Day, I like to give the kiddos a little treat to enjoy after their first day.  Here was last year's snickety snack.  

This year I am going to give the kinders some bubbles to take out to recess the first day.  I don't have these prepped yet (I still have a month to go!) but here is the template I am using for the tag!

I don't like to leave the parents out, so I put these adorable little poems on a wire or plastic picture frame holder and give it to them as a little memento of our upcoming year. 

 I make sure to leave these poems right next to my super important parent contact sheet.  Yes, the office gives me a copy of all this info but I like to have it all right there in each parent's handwriting at my fingertips for when I need it quickly! 

At the end of the year I send my kiddos and parents home with these tear-jerkers, also included in the pack! 

 A little more organizational helper.... my teal, pink and green themed classroom labels. So I, or anyone else who may enter my room, knows exactly where everything is!

 All of these goodies are available for kindergarten through fifth grade in my TPT Store.  There is so much more goodness for back to school/end of year in there- be sure to check it out and HURRY! it's on sale through tomorrow.  All this for only $5.20!

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Mealtime Monday Roasted Onion, Tomato, and Garlic Dipping Sauce + leftovers!

Awl-riiiight, this one isn't exactly speedy, but it's so delicious I had to forgo the "speedy" factor for the taste factor.  Once you get some minimal prep out of the way, you get 120 minutes of FREEEEE time while the veggies roast.  Woo hoo.  Grab a magazine, check parent emails, orrrr write another blog post to link up below!

Okay, for starters, preheat the oven to a low 275 degrees. {Alternatively, you could roast these on 375 for much, much less time (30-45 minutes) but  I just love the slow and low roasting!}

Chop, chop, chop a tomato (1 large or 3 small) and red onion into large chunks.  Throw them in a bowl and toss with a generous pour of olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Spread the veggies out on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Throw a few cloves of unpeeled garlic on the sheet for a little garlicky goodness.  
Throw these babies in the oven for 90 minutes- 2 hours. 

Take them out and let them cool for a few minutes before putting them in your food processor. 

Pulse these up to you desired "doneness."  

Sometimes I like it a little chunkier if I know I will be using these as a savory dipping sauce or topping for some delicious bread toasts, or I make it super blended and pour it over chicken cutlets or ladle it generously into pasta.  Yummy leftovers! 

Monday Night!

Tuesday Night!

1 large or 3 small tomatoes 
1 large red onion
3-4 unpeeled garlic cloves
Italian seasoning (are you sensing a trend here with my recipes?!)
olive oil
salt and black pepper

What have you been whippin' up in the kitchen these days?!  Link up below!


    An InLinkz Link-up

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