Thursday, January 26, 2012

Triops Life Cycle Awesomeness {with freebie}

Hey everyone!  I've missed you!  I'm back, after a week.  I've been super busy running all over the school.  I wanted to share this science activity that I started with my kiddos this week.  They have been looking forward to this for two months!  They have been so patient too!  

Well, it all started with this:

Have you ever seen these little guys before?  Don't they look so sweet and cuddly!?  Ya right, I know they look absolutely terrifying I mean the stuff nightmares are made of, right!

Okay, back in October during our rock unit we were investigating some fossils. I found some trilobite fossils and then low and behold I found this little package for sale in a scholastic book order.  These snugly little triops are ancient relatives of trilobites!  So... I purchased them with some of my teacher scholastic book club points.  You can get them here though.

This website has lesson plans, worksheets and loads of information to help you teach your students all about these ancient creatures!

Wowwy, wowwy, wowza!  My little darlings were SO excited when they came to school on Friday and saw this on the shelf! 

 Our school bought an aquarium for us from Wal-Mart for only $25.  It even has a light attached to the lid.

You have to use pure natural spring water.  So I bought some at Dollar Tree.  My students loved helping pour the water in the aquarium.  After the water gets to the right temperature we poured the capsule that contains the eggs into a cup.  I did this under the Elmo document camera and projected it onto my GIANT smart board.  

Can you see the teeny tiny eggs?  They are in suspended animation, that is just one of the cool words your kiddos will learn.  

Did you know I have a GIANT smartboard?!  They didn't look so tiny on this baby!  ;)

Here is the what the aquarium looks like today.  After  two days we still didn't have any triop babies.  I was getting a little worried! So, I took my lamp from my library and removed the shade and set it up behind the tank.  This warmed up the water quite a bit.  

Then today one of my students noticed we had FOUR little babies!!!  My students couldn't wait to have a turn at looking at them with the magnifying glass!   They are SOOOO small!  They are suppose to double in size every day!  

Today my students worked in their packet/booklet that I created for them.  You can use it too if you decide to take on this engaging project!

I copied the front and back onto 11 x 17 paper and then fold it down the middle hamburger style!

Then I made two of the journal pages and copied those onto the 11 X 17 paper, front and back.  That way you can slip them inside and staple it for a booklet. 

  My students are going to observe and record their findings daily.  

{Click the scientist to snag your FREE copy!}

It comes with three different covers and some surprises!
I made this cover in case you are doing a different project and want to use the journal booklet.

  Spoiler alert: it includes a life cycle of a butterfly coloring page! .  Hurry, go check it out!

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Morning Journal - Management Tip!

This is the system I came up with to make sure that I see every students journal and have a little conference with them each week. I use to have my students hand in their journals every Friday but then it was SO hard to make the time to go through and read each one.  Plus, then my little darling students weren't there for the feedback.  

This is what my new system looks like.

Things to notice:

* The date is at the very top.

*  Even though I really want them to be doing all of these things EVERY time they write, I just have one reminder that they need to work on that day.  This space will alternate with things like spaces between words, ending marks, complete idea, capitals in the right places, good handwriting.  

*I have the writing prompt in the big red box.

*Then I have all of my students divided up into a manageable amount for me.  I check between four to five journals a day.  This way I am able to get to everyone and they each get a little personal time with me to talk about their morning writing each week.  

I'm going to ask the hubby to send me the morning journal labels so I can share them with you!  They are on his computer :)

Hope this is helpful!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Outdoor Recreation

The administration and teachers at my school truly believe that in order to work together we first need to be able to play together.  So, lucky for us, once a month every grade has an outdoor activity that they get to earn. 

So far we have been hiking, rock climbing and had swimming lessons.  We also had a fun run race.  I love doing this so much because it gives those students that don't soar academically a chance to shine!  Everyone is good at something!!   

This months activity was ice skating!  This was such a unique opportunity for many of my students.  Only one of them had ever been before!  

Each parent is expected to complete four hours of volunteer service for the school each month and this is always such an enjoyable way for parents to accomplish their hours!  We needed lots of help with lacing skates!

Here's some pictures of all the excitement we had!

This is me with one of my little sweethearts!  

I saw many great acts of kindness and displays of true friendship!

Does anybody else have outdoor recreation time at your school?  I'd love to hear about it!!!

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter my giveaway!  

Drum roll please.........................................

The winner is:

Barbara from Grade ONEderful!  How exciting!  

Thanks again everyone!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program

Our school qualified for the fresh fruits and vegetable program.  This means that everyday each child in our school has the opportunity to eat either a serving of fresh fruits or vegetables separate from lunch.  The goal is to combat childhood obesity and give children knowledge of lesser known fruits and vegetables.  So we often offer produce to our students that many of them have never heard of and especially never tasted!  We also serve them common produce but the goal is to introduce them to as many varieties as possible.   Our child nutrition director, Ashley, does an excellent job at ordering an interesting selection of fruits and veggies!    It is a great program and my students love getting their snack everyday!

Here is an example of a weeks selection:

Lady Gala Apples
Brussel Sprouts

Today our snack was very interesting and got all of my students very excited!

How cool is that?!  Orchids, an edible flower!

My little darlings would probably never have the opportunity to try such an exotic food otherwise!

Here is a link to find out about getting your school involved in this awesome program!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!!  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hooray! It's A Gift Card Giveaway!

Hi friends!  To celebrate reaching 100+ followers, a new blog design and because I love and appreciate teacher blogging SO much I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader!

Here is what you can do to enter:

*Follow my blog and leave me a comment telling me you follow and what your favorite subject to teach is!   

*Post about my giveaway on your blog and use my button.  Leave me a comment letting me know you posted with the address to your post. 

*Add my button to your blog side bar and leave me a comment with the address to your blog.  

*If you have a Facebook page for your blog you can post about this giveaway there using my button for another entry!  Just let me know you posted it on Facebook.

So that is four possible ways to enter this giveaway!

Make sure to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you when you win!  

Good luck! 

I will randomly pick a winner on Friday the 13th!  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jellyfish Art!

This week the book in our Journey reading program is Jellies, The Life Of Jellyfish by Twig C. George.  This is an excellent informational text with great pictures!  My kiddos loved learning all about jellyfish!  

{click on the picture to get your own copy!}

Fun facts about jellyfish:

* Jellies do not have brains or hearts.
* They can only go up and down.
* Their tentacles sting for protection and to catch food.
*Australian box jellies are more dangerous than a cobra!
*Some even grow their own algae for food.
*The Arctic Lion's Mane jellyfish can grow to be as long as a blue whale!!!

I also made one of these awesome DYI jellyfish.  I used it as a motivational tool during whole group reading.  I moved it from desk to desk while we were reading.  They only get a turn if they are following along and reading together. I am going to have it out so they can play with it when they finish their work early.  

{click the picture to check out this fun moms great blog!}

Here are the steps to make the art project we did today!

Materials needed:

thin see through wax paper sheets
crepe paper
glitter paint
paint brushes
glue sticks

Helpful hint:  become good friends with the lunch lady (THANKS TEDDI!) then when she least expects it hit her up for large wax paper sheets like these ones.  ;)  They aren't very waxy at all.  They are more like grease blotting sheets. 

(I couldn't find a picture of the large sheets)

First, fold the wax paper in half, hot dog style.  Then, outline the shape of your jellyfish.  Make sure you start at the top of the fold.  You will need to be able to open them up.  Just like in nature, our class came up with many different styles of jellies.

Next, cut out the jelly body making sure not to cut the fold on the top so you can still open it up.  Carefully cut both sides at the same time so that they line up.  I tell my students to make sure to pinch the paper together so that it doesn't slide around.  Also it helps if they keep the tip of their scissors on their desk while cutting.  The paper needs to stay flat on their desk to do that.  

After cutting it out.  Open up the jelly and glue strips of crepe paper on the bottom for tentacles. 

 If they drape the tentacles over the edge of their desk then everyone has enough room to work create.  

After that pass out paint brushes and paint.  Paint the inside first.  It makes it easier if you paint the side with the crepe paper.  That way, when you fold it back together it's not as messy.  After it's folded back together paint the top.  

If you use the thin wax paper then when you fold it back together you can see the paint from both sides.  I also let them paint to top when it's closed because painting is just so much fun!

Here is the final product!

I'm going to hang them from the ceiling this weekend.  I'll add add a picture once they're up!  I just love how they turned out.  They are going to add some fun color to our room!  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crazy Contractions!

We went back to school today and honestly we had a BLAST!  I felt so refreshed from the break.  I turned my computer off on the 21st and didn't turn it back on until yesterday!  

The hubby and I went to Colorado to visit his family and friends for Christmas.  Along the way we even hit up two hot springs.  We LOVE hot springs and go as often as we possibly can!!!  We stayed at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge  nestled in the heart of the Rockies.  But I must admit I prefer this hippie dippy place over a 4 star chlorinated pool any day!  At Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah you can have an official hippie vacation complete with a stay in a spray painted hippie bus!  Check it out.

At school today we practiced contractions and had so much fun doing so!

First things first.  I copied this anchor chart word for word from the cutest blogger ever, I am sure you all know her, Babbling Abby!  The kiddo's took turns highlighting the letters that are replaced with the apostrophe.  Make sure you go to her blog here and see all of her fabulous ideas for contractions and so much more!  Thanks Abby!

Next, we practiced writing our contractions using this worksheet that I made.  


Note: I have my students read the words out loud while tracing them and say "plus" while writing a plus sign and say "equals" while writing an equal sign.

Then, my kiddos did surgery on their words to make them into contractions like  Lauren from The Weekly Hive did here.  I recently started blog stalking her super helpful blog.  She is so creative so make sure you check it out!  Thanks Lauren for the great ideas!

{you can download the contraction packet here for free!}

I am trying not to spend any of my own money on my class room.  So instead of using band aids my class used masking tape for the apostrophes.  Luckily for my kiddos our sweet office lady, who is also our principals wife (fun huh!), let us have a box of face masks!!   

P.S. An Aide from the high school side walked by our classroom and thought someone in our class had a bad virus or something.  She was confused about why everyone had masks on.  LOL

Finally, drum roll please........

This is the surprise my class will see in the morning.

Here's what you do!

 On two little pieces of paper write the two words that you are going to combine to make a contraction.

Fold up the words and stuff them into the balloon.  

Blow the balloon up and tie it.  Then write the contraction on the outside.  

Tomorrow each one of my little darlings will get a chance to pop their balloon and read the words inside!  I have a feeling they are going to LOVE it!