Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fairy Tales

This week we start our unit on Fairy Tales.  Each day we will read about a basic tale, discuss the elements included and fill out the "Recipe for a Fairy Tale" below.
Click the picture for a copy of this and my Fairy Tale Venn Diagram.

I love all fairy tales, but my personal favorites are the mixed-up(fractured) versions. The following week we begin to examine those.  This is a perfect opportunity to compare and contrast them. I use graphic organizers, venn diagrams, you name it.  I found a good Fact and Opinion activity on Pinterest to go along with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs HERE.

As we examine these tales, the children will also begin brainstorming their own ideas for a mixed-up tale, which they'll eventually write and publish into a book.

Stay tuned for some samples from my students.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Permission to Pin?

Do you know about Pinterest's pinning terms?  I didn't.  At least that was until I read Laura Candler's blog post HERE about Pinterest's pinning rights.
Side note: I love Laura Candler and her resources.  You MUST check out her blog/website!

So anyway, back to the pinning rights.  According to the policy when we signed up, we agreed to the following terms:

  • We own the rights to images we are pinning.  

  • We grant full rights to Pinterest to use those images in any fashion! 

  • Really...here are their terms HERE.
    It turns out that unless you have permission from that actual blog, you can't necessarily pin their pics or posts directly.  This means that from now on, unless I have permission from a blog, I will just be pinning from other pins.  Hopefully, more blogs will catch wind and post the following on their blog:

    Now, I know I am the most popular blog out there and my millions, I mean, thousands...ahem, 94 followers are worried.  I will let you know right now, you have permission to pin anything on here.  Rest assured, I won't report anyone to the "pinning police."   Oh and in case you were interested, you are welcome to check out what I have already pinned HERE.

    I still think Pinterest rocks and is an amazing resource.  I just wanted to give all my fellow pinners a heads up in case you have been pinning other blogs like I have.

    Happy Pinning!

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    To Be or Not To Be...

    AWESOME!!!  My class did an awesome job on their play.  I was SOOOOOO proud of them and I think the parents really enjoyed the performance.

    Here is how the stage looked. 
    Don't the backdrops look great? :)

    And here are my wonderful thespians.

    Congrats to my students for doing such a great job!

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    I didn't get the grant but...

    Back in December I applied for a $2,000 grant through my local teacher's credit union to help me purchase a few iPads for my classroom.   I just found out this past week that I didn't get it.  Needless to say I was pretty bummed. 

    I had worked so hard researching and writing the darn thing.  Oh well, I thought, at least I still might have a chance long shot at winning the contest to the right.  (Hint, hint....shameless plug, gentle reminder to help vote for me...)
    Anyway, little did I know the tech person at our school had asked to purchase 2 iPads through our school's PTO appropriations.  She is currently using hers and the other was to go to (Me, Me Me...Oooh pick me!)....5th grade. Ah, man!

    The PTO felt it would be best used in the upper grades since they have more projects and SOL tests. I was a little sad about that since I am dying to get one and I had put so much work into my grant back in December. I was also a little hurt because I know second graders could benefit from it too!  

    With my tech person knowing that, she is allowing me to borrow it (she rocks!) until 5th grade needs it in another month or so.  Hey, I will take what I can get!!! :)

    So I wasted no time downloading all of the apps I had planned on using so the kids could try them out.

    Since we use Twitter in my class, the kids have loved getting on the iPad to tweet.
    I love it because it is so portable.  Each child can bring it to their desk to work on.

    I have also incorporated it into my centers.  There are a few word work and spelling games/websites that I have. I found many of my apps through my Pinterest searches.  Check out my School Technology board for some ideas for yourself.

    I have been using it as an interactive white board.  It hooks right up to my projector, with an adapter, and I can project whatever I am doing right onto the chalkboard.  It has also been great for showing short video clips or pictures through the projector.  That way I don't have to lug my laptop over to the projector.

    I also downloaded an app that allows me to transfer whatever I do on the iPad right to my classroom laptop. 

    We are trying out Classroom Dojo as a behavior management tool right now.  The iPad has made it super easy to update the children on how they have been helping in class.

    Finally for my struggling writers and children with OT issues, I have been using Dragon Dictation.  It took them a bit to get used to recording their voice but once they figured it out, it has really helped them express their ideas without the writing slowing them down.  One child in particular refuses to write in my classroom.  As soon as I showed them this application, they immediately sat down to start a story.  I was able to get more out of them than I had seen in a while!

    I am REALLY wishing, hoping, and praying that I win the contest to the right.  I know it probably won't happen, but now that the grant is out, it is my only shot. 

    Unless some miracle happens where they give iPads away to teachers or they lower the price to $20, which I doubt, so back to wishing, hoping, and praying.

    For now, I am so grateful that I get to use one, even if it is on loan.  It is such a huge asset in the classroom and I wish more teachers could get their hands on them!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Another Matter Experiment

    Toward the end of our matter unit we conducted an experiment to show what happens to liquids and solids during evaporation.
    In a container, I mixed colored water and a generous amount of salt together. 

    The children wrote down their predictions for what might happen to the water and the salt in their science journals. 

    As the water evaporated, the children had a chance to begin observing possible results.  And just this past week, the water finally evaporated completely.  We examined the container one final time and recorded our observations in our journals.

    As you can see, we had some interesting results to write about.

    It is a great experiment to show that though water evaporates the salt doesn't necessarily evaporate with it and in fact can be carried by the water vapor as it floats away.

    Matter is such a fun unit. :)

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    And the winner is....

    Happy Valentine's Day/100th Day!  I hope you were all treated well by your students and/or loved ones.

    It's time for me to share my love with you and announce the winner of my giveaway!

    Drum roll please...

    Which means, Michelle B. you are my winner!

    I will be emailing you shortly with your prize.  Thank you to everyone who entered and joined my humble little blog. 
    I was only 9 followers away from reaching 100.  *Sigh*  However, I am very proud of my 91 bloggy friends.  Thank you everyone and...
    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    The Best Breakfast and Our Valentine Men

    A coworker of mine mentioned that she was headed to Ocean City this weekend.  I told her about these amazing sea salted caramels that I had the last time I was there.  Well, guess what she surprised me with this morning?Yup, those very sea salted caramels!

    Here are those little pieces of heaven...
    Now you see them...

    Now you don't!
    It was the BEST breakfast I have had in a while!
    (Yes, I consider chocolate breakfast.)


    And now on to our Valentine Men.

    Last week our principal told us to cancel all meetings for Monday. (We have early dismissal on Monday so we can have meetings and inservices. Joy.)  However, he was all secretive about it and wouldn't tell us why we had to clear our schedules.

    All week everyone was trying to figure out what in the world could be going on Monday.  Knowing our principal, we knew he had something up his sleeve.

    Well, today was the day.  We walked into the cafeteria to find 2 large circles of chairs and all the male teachers of our school, my husband included, greeting us as we walked in.

    The women were instructed to sit down and our principal went on to read a cute story using every teacher's name in the school.  As he read, we were to pass presents around the circle according to how he read the story.  When he was finished whoever was holding the present got to open the gift.  It actually was kind of cute.  Alas, I didn't get to win the Vday socks hidden inside the boxes.

    Then the men passed out cake and coffee to us.

    But wait!  They weren't finished!

    They then all gathered on stage...
    and serenaded us!

    Here's my cute hubby singing along.

    I thought the whole thing was so sweet.  It really was a wonderful Valentine's Day surprise. 

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all.  

    Tune in tomorrow to find out the winner of my 100th Day Giveaway

    Tomorrow's the Day and an Award!!!

    Today is the last day to enter my 100th Day/Valentine's Giveaway!  I will be choosing a winner tomorrow, so be sure to enter HERE for your chance to win a $15 gift card to Amazon.com!   I am only 11 followers away from 100 and would love to get there by tomorrow, so keep spreading the word. :)

    Also,  I woke up to a wonderful surprise.  I was awarded the

    Thank you Tanya at Mrs. Solano's Kindergarten for the honor!

    Here are the rules:
    ***Thank the award presenter and link back to their blog. *THANK YOU!*
    ***Post the award on your blog. 
    ***Pick 5 blogs with less than 200 followers
    ***Share with them and encourage them to pass it on!
    I am passing this award on to these wonderful blogs that are full of great ideas:

    These are some great blogs so be sure to check them out!

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Stuck in My Head....

    Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head?....I'm sure you have.

    Well, have you ever gotten one of your class play songs stuck in your head?  How about at 2 a.m. when you wake up randomly and find yourself singing it?  Then you start thinking about why you may be singing a play song immediately as you are waking up.  Then you ask, why are you thinking about why you may be singing a play song immediately as you woke up?   Then you keep analyzing this until you realize you are WIDE AWAKE!  Did I mention it was 2 a.m.? Actually now it is 3 a.m. because of course I had to pop on Pinterest, and play a game of Scramble...since I was already awake.  I thought, while I am awake, I might as well blog too.  Why not?!

    Well, anyway, we are in the midst of our class play, The Weather Show.  The official performance is this Thursday.  The children are getting very excited.  We created our costumes a few days ago and yesterday I was crazy brave enough to do the background with the kids.  I figured it was Friday, I am in jeans, what the hell, let's give it a go.

    I broke the children into four groups and each one decided how they would portray the type of weather I gave that particular group.  There are a bunch of songs in our play(i.e. why they are stuck in my head) that cover each of these types of weather.

    I was so proud of the great job they did.  Although, I always love how any of the second graders artwork turns out.

    Here are their masterpieces:
    Warm/Cold Air Masses and Tornadoes
    Lightning Storm
    Rainbow and a Groundhog

    These backdrops will be proudly displayed behind the children as they perform.  I can't wait to see how they do!

    On a side note, there are just 4 days left to enter my giveaway HERE. I have only 14 more followers to go to reach 100 for the 100th day, so keep spreading the word! 

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Less than a Week!

    Less than a week left to enter my 100th Day Giveaway!
    You have a chance to win a $15 Amazon.com gift card!!!

    Visit the giveaway HERE to enter.  Remember to leave a separate post if you follow me, follow my Facebook page, or blogged about it.  A winner will be picked on Valentine's Day.

    I would love to reach 100 followers by Valentine's Day, so spread the word and good luck!

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Love This New App

    In a post over at Lesson Plan Diva, she mentioned an app that scans right onto your phone.  It then turns the scan into a PDF file.

    I thought: "OMG, that sounds fantastic!!!  How great would that be to use when you need to scan homework or a document for a student or parent?!"

    She had an iPhone, so the app was called ScanPro($6.99) and someone else mentioned Genius Scan which is free.  However, I have a Droid so those apps were not available. 

    I went onto Market and found exactly what I needed.   It is a free app called CamScanr.  

    I just used it today and it worked perfectly!  It even allows you to crop the picture so you have exactly what you need.

    Now, if I have a document that I don't have a digital version of, I can scan it so I can keep it on my computer.

    I LOVE technology!!!

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    February Currently

    It's that time again!  Time for Farley's Currently over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

    Here is mine for the month:

    I love that Farley had us add in a Random Act of Kindness this month.  This is something I do occasionally, but I really should try to do more often.

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Biography Silhouettes

    I introduced Author's purpose a few weeks ago to the students.  You can read about the "persuasion" writing assignment and grab a freebie here.

    The children just finished their final drafts.  The final touch was to have each child make a silhouette of their partner.

    Time to trace

    The kids did a great job and they all came out pretty good.

    There were a few kids where I had to draw their nose or lips back on though. :)

    After the students cut them out, we added the write ups.  The children had a chance to share theirs with the class and they are now on display for all to see.

    It was the perfect segway into our biography studies this month.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    100th Day Giveaway!

    Our 100th day happens to fall on Valentine's Day this year.  What a fun coincidence!
    So, in honor of the 100th Day AND Valentine's Day, I decided to show the love by having my first giveaway!  Wouldn't it be great if I reached 100 followers by the 100th day?!

    What am I giving away you ask?
    A $15 gift card to Amazon.com

    Who couldn't use that!

    Here's how to enter:
    1.  Follow my blog.
    2.  Follow me on Facebook.
    3.  Blog about this giveaway.

    That's it! 

    Be sure to leave me a post for each thing you do.  I will choose a winner on Valentine's Day!

    Good luck and thanks for following!

    And I, I Will Survive...

    Inservice finished and I survived! 

    Once we did the first session and got our rhythm, the other 7 went fine.  The teachers seemed receptive to the very large unit (spanning 2 quarters) and are excited about the new subject matter.  I mean, who wouldn't be excited to teach about and raise live Monarch butterflies?! 
    Well, maybe Mottephobics or Entomophobics, but at least the general population would be excited!

    Here are a few pics from our session on Milkweed:

    In this lesson, the children learn about the growth of a milkweed plant and create their own diagram.
    The teachers had a chance to make a sample.

    We also introduced them to the lesson on the Milkweed Ecosystem.
    This is a cute lesson because each child is given a part of the ecosystem.  They then recreate that item using construction paper and add it to a class mural.

    Here I am going over one of the lessons.

    One stresser down.  Now, to finalize report cards, create a new math test and review packet, review matter and magnets with the kids and begin the class' AAP(GT) forms for the upcoming screenings. 

    Just a regular old week...