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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Working on Transitions...

Before track-out we started working on transitioning from one activity to another quickly, efficiently, and without so much talking and I've got a little friend that is going to hopefully help me with this when we head back to school on Monday.

Meet my Easter egg...

My family and I went to Disney World my senior year in high school for spring break...way back in 2007 - wow 8 years ago!!  Easter was the end of that week and we came home on Saturday - on Easter, the "Easter Bunny" had brought me this little cutie all the way from WDW.

So, how am I going to use my little friend you ask?

Since there is a Disney character hidden inside this Easter egg, we are going to play Transition Wheel of Fortune this week to figure out who is inside the egg.  Whenever we transition from one activity to another, the table that does it the best will get to guess a letter of the name of the character that is hiding in the egg.  They only get one letter guess OR attempt to solve.

So, not only are we working on transitions, we are also going to be practicing a little team-building, as I'm sure that they are going to be helping each other hurry up to show that their table is ready.

Now this character is not one I think they are going to guess right away, so I'll be interested to see how long it takes us to figure out who is in the egg...hopefully most of this week at least.

Now that you've read all about my plans, I'm sure you too want to know who is hiding inside the egg, so I'll share with you!

It's Eeyore!

I hope you have either a great week at school this coming week - or - a great spring break!  I'm just a little jealous that it is supposed to be nice and warm here in NC this week and we have to go back to school..oh well, 9 weeks to go!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I've been busy!

It is so hard to believe that I only have 2 more real days of track-out, since Saturday and Sunday are weekly givens.  Oh this 2 weeks always goes by too fast!  But I have stayed busy, TPT-wise.  Lots of updates for products that I will use 4th quarter, plus new products for the end of year stuff too!  Check out what I've been up to...

The first update I tackled was my 10 Day Countdown To Summer

Last year, all my QR codes were linked to Flickr...well this year my school blocked Flickr (for good reasons), but this meant I had to disconnect from the school wireless each day to scan the QR code and I definitely couldn't have the kids use their iPads to scan the codes, which I think I want to do this year.  So, besides updating the look of the product with new backgrounds and fonts, I also updated all the QR codes.  These codes now link to Google so hopefully you won't have the issues I was running into with linking to the QR code photos.

Up next was my end of year scrapbook

This memory book is a perfect and fun way for your kids to remember their year in your class.  Pages are included for friends, teacher, field trips, and more.  Fonts and clipart was updated mostly with this product.

You can also get both of these products together for a cheaper price!

The next update was my Just Beach End of Year review centers

This was a MAJOR update!  This was one of the first center packs that I made last year and I have changed my "look" so much since then, so I had to redo most everything.  Plus, I added a ton of new centers.  ELA & Math centers were included already, but I added more.  There are now 16 center activities included in all!  I know I will be using this the last week or so of school when we are all checked-out and ready for summer!

After updates were out of the way, it was time to start making new products!

First up was May math centers.  This is the final set of monthly math centers and I had fun dreaming of "summer, and warm, and all things hot" just like Olaf when I was making all of these spring and summer products.  It warmed up a little here last week, but spring in NC is just a roller coaster of warm and cold..then it will just be hot and summer!

I stocked up on all kinds of summer and spring clipart in past TPT sales and couldn't decide on a specific theme with this month's math centers, so it just became Fun In The Sun.  There are some summer themes to this math center pack, but it is also just about doing stuff outside in the warm weather - which we know we all love to do after Old Man Winter has left the building.  (Again - dreaming of summer and warmth and all things hot over here!)

The last end of year and summer pack I put together was my EOY Buckets of Fun games and activity booklet set.

The past couple years I have purchase buckets from Dollar Tree to use as part of my kiddos end of year gift that I fill with popsicles, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes and more...but we also fill it with educational stuff too!  I get my kiddos a book from Scholastic that I put in their buckets - always look for the $1 books that cost you less than 100 points if you use your points (which I do!).

Besides their book, we also make games that they have to play all summer to keep sharpening their academic skills in a fun way.  This pack includes all kinds of math and language arts cards with multiple game ideas for each set of cards.  We always take a day in our 10 Day Countdown to make the games for our buckets.  The kids cut out the cards and put in ziplock sandwich bags.  The directions/ideas for games are taped to the front of their bags and then all the bags go in their buckets.

But, wait there's more!  (no, you don't get a free set and have to pay shipping and handling - HA!) I also make activity booklets for the kiddos to work on throughout the summer.  This booklet is about 25 pages full of math, language arts/grammar, and writing activities with a summer twist.  All clipart is line art clipart, so they can do plenty of coloring too!
Here's a preview of what's included - just over 100 pages in all!

The last product is an Easter activity!  With all of our snow & ice here in NC, we ended up having to make up 15 hours to meet the requirement for the school year.  Our first make-up time is going to be on Good Friday, we will have a half-day.  Wanting a fun activity to do with the kiddos that day, I created an educational Easter Egg Hunt that we are going to do that morning.

This Easter Egg Hunt has 21 questions that cover topics such as money, telling time, fractions, phonics, cause/effect, and more!  I printed 2 sets of the questions, stuffed each question in an Easter Egg (got a pack of 42 eggs at Walmart for $1.98) and labeled each egg with the corresponding letter.

I also got a super cute Easter bucket while I was at Walmart (98 cents!) that I put all my eggs in and now I have egg storage until next Easter!

I also bought these cute little packs of Happy Easter cups at Walmart that I was going to fill with some candy as their "prize" since they can't keep the eggs, but then I got this super awesome email from Krispy Kreme Tuesday morning with these lovelies...

The cups are going back and I'm getting the kiddos Easter doughnuts!  So next Friday morning I'll be up extra early to head off to KK to get doughnuts!  I have to go Friday morning because I really want the bunny bum ones the most - too cute!

Well I've been busy and haven't wasted my track-out, that's for sure!  Now, I'm just hoping my Wolfpack will make me really enjoy the last of my track-out by beating Louisville, making the Elite 8 and even heading to the Final Four!!  GO WOLFPACK!!

Shirt made by yours truly!  You can order one in my family's new Etsy shop!  I'll be adding more vinyl and personalized products to the shop soon!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Field Trip Recap!

Hi friends!  I am just over half-way through my 2 week track-out and am finally getting around to blogging about our field trip to the mall!  We had a wonderful field trip that was fun and very educational - we had tons of parents tell us this was SO educational and that all kids should have to do this as part of their education!

So, it started out the Monday prior to our trip on Thursday with hitting our economics lessons hard.  The plan was to work on activities from my economics unit for about 3 weeks during reading groups, but the snow had another plan.  That meant I had to pack it all in in 3 days, but it worked!

On Monday we read A Chair for my Mother and talked about wants and needs.  I had to convince the kiddos that they did not NEED an iPad to live, it took a little convincing though - haha!  By Thursday on the field trip, I could tell they did know the difference between wants and needs.

On Tuesday, we read The Little Red Hen Made a Pizza and talked about producers and consumers.  Then on Wednesday, we read Strega Nona Meets Her Match and talked about goods and services while also connecting back to wants/needs and goods/services.  Each day kind of connected together. We did Goods Road and Services Street project where the kiddos had to create 3 business that provided goods and 3 business that provided services, make a short business plan and then draw their businesses on their map.

In years past, economics concepts like these always seemed difficult for my kiddos to grasp, but this year, they got it.  While we only spent one morning for 3 days covering these concepts, they definitely seemed to grasp it easily.

Thursday morning finally rolled around and all the kiddos and their parents/chaperones met us at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, which is about 25-30 minutes from our school campus.  Since we are a charter school and don't do buses, we have high parent participation on field trips.  We have about 90 kids in 2nd grade and including teachers and parents, we had about 180 people on our field trip!

We started our field trip off at Kanki Japanese Steakhouse where the kiddos got a show and lunch.  Many kids had been to Kanki before and many had not, so it was a fun experience to watch them enjoy the show while also trying out some new foods.  

We got our field trip t-shirts from Whitney Daniels Designs.  They were wonderful and easy to work with - plus the shirts were only $8!

After a yummy lunch, we hit the mall for their economics scavenger hunt.  The kids had to walk around the mall looking for stores/business that provide goods and services, finding stores that sells wants or needs, as well as looking for producers and consumers in the mall.

The kids also had a "spending budget" that they had earned along with our daily behavior, and they got to decide if they would spend that money or save it for something to buy later.  It took about an hour for most to finish, but some lingered longer and took about an hour and a half.

The kids had a great time and were able to apply what they had learned about economics and the parents LOVED it too.  I had one parent email me that afternoon telling me that on the way home, she asked her daughter what she had learned and she said "don't steal" - haha - they were in Claire's and saw someone get arrested for stealing!  Another economics & life lesson learned!  Plus, many went shopping during or after their scavenger hunt, so they were helping to boost the economy - Build-A-Bear was busy with us there, for sure!

I highly recommend doing a field trip like this at your local mall.  Just make sure to contact the mall management and mall security prior to going!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Week of Celebrating The Doc!

This week was all about The Doc - Dr. Seuss that is!  This is the first year I have celebrated Read Across America Week with my kiddos and I know that I will continue to celebrate it in the future - we had so much fun!

We were out of school Tuesday - Friday last week, so I was a little stressed that I didn't have snacks prepared and books out when I got to school Monday morning - but that is why I get to school so dag-on early I guess!  Seuss was in full force by the time my kiddos walked through the door.  Luckily - I'm not a procrastinator, so the copies were made and the bulletin board was already up!

LOVE my Dr. Seuss door hanger my mom made for me.  But, I'm so used to having my door covered with cutouts with the kiddos names - that my door looks bare.

Sunday, I hit up Target's dollar spot for some Seuss goodies.  Bought the Cat In The Hat whiteboards just because they were cute.  We didn't end up using them, but I've got them for the future years and I'll come up with a reason to use them.
On our snow days over the past couple weeks, I was able to get some Seussy shirts ready for this week too.  Have I mentioned I love my Cricut Explore?

So, here is a daily breakdown of our week!

We read Cat In The Hat and Cat In The Hat comes back.  I had a wonderful parent who prepped our cheese sticks to look like the Cat In The Hat for snack.  We also had jello cups topped with blue whipped topping to look like Thing 1 and Thing 2.

After reading The Cat In The Hat, we did a comprehension activity about identifying the narrator of the book, citing evidence from the story to support our claim (I forgot to take pictures of this activity!)  Then after we read The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, we compared the two stories.  Then it was craft time!  We made Thing 1 through Thing 23 hats and that went perfectly with my "Teacher of all Things" shirt, since they became Things!

On Tuesday, we read Horton Hears a Who.  For snack, we had a Nutter Butter cookie, to represent Horton, since a Nutter Butter looks like an elephant ear, and a bag of fruit loops to be the clover/speck.

For comprehension today, we talked about character traits.  We brainstormed character traits that could describe Horton.  Then, students had to pick 2 character traits and write why that character trait fit Horton.  They then turned those into 2 sentences that we put on writing paper that our Horton craft could go on!

Because our copier doesn't do well with construction paper, and having to color all these pieces would be torture (for me!), I made templates for each table on poster board to trace on their construction paper.  This worked wonderfully!  Each table had a bag of tracing pieces for each day and they just had to trace the pieces and then cut them out.

On Wednesday, we read a favorite - Green Eggs and Ham and had green eggs and ham for snack - kind of!  I have made these pretzel snacks with M&M's since I was in college, so I knew this would be a perfect thing for Green Eggs and Ham.  I used green Sixlets that I found a ACMoore to be the green dot on top.  They turned out cute and yummy!

After we read the book, we wrote about how the narrator felt about green eggs and ham at the beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning and middle is about the same, except he is annoyed in the middle because Sam I Am won't leave him alone.  We then did a little Green Eggs & Ham poetry where the kiddos had to write about something that they didn't like to eat.  The problem came when they had to find rhyming words - they just gave up to easily!

On Thursday we read The Lorax.  We had Teddy Grahams (Brown Bar-Ba-Loots) and marshmallows snack mix.  Note - don't mix these two far ahead of time like I did.  The marshmallows got hard the cookies got a little soft.  The flavor was fine, but it wasn't as good as it would have been if I hadn't mixed them early.  Next year, I'm going to nix the marshmallows and get fruity Trix to be the Truffla seeds/trees.

For our comprehension activity and craft, we did two activities - writing about how Dr. Seuss wrote this book with the purpose of Persuading, Informing, and Entertaining.  Then on the flip side, the wrote about the main idea with 3 details.  Our craft was making a Lorax topper and I let the kids choose which side of their worksheet they wanted to show on the front.

Today, we had a 3-hour delay due to rain yesterday followed by plunging temps last night with a fear of black ice.  Really, we could have gone to school on time, but I like sleeping till 7 AM, exercising, having an omelet for breakfast, and then going to school about 10 AM!

So, since school started at 11:15 AM and the kiddos went to PE at 11:35, we did math whole group this afternoon which made for a quick lesson, and then we did our Seuss activity for the day.  After we watched the original Lorax during lunch, I read If I Ran The Zoo for today.  After our money lesson in math, they made up their own animals for their Crazy Zoo and drew pictures of their animals.  All while eating animal cookies for an afternoon snack.

Our Seuss board filled with work from the whole week!

I was so thankful this week for wonderful parents who supplied most all of the snack items.  My mom and I just put them together at night.  I thing this week was memorable for all the kiddos and they wanted to know what we were going to do next week!

Well, I had to bust their bubble that we weren't going to keep having special snacks next week, but we are going to do integrated Language Arts and Social Studies activities everyday from my All About The Money economics unit.  We have a field trip to the mall and Kanki, which is a Japanese steakhouse.  After we eat lunch at Kanki, they kiddos are going to hit the mall for an economics scavenger hunt!  I'm excited about this trip and hopefully it will be a successful one that we can continue for years to come!

Have a great weekend y'all!  It is still freezing here today in NC, but 50's and 60's are in the forecast for next week, so maybe old man winter is leaving!