Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Gifts That Will Make You HAPPY!

We made the
parent gifts today!

We found the votives at Walmart (12 for $5.97)! 
The acrylic paint and paint pens were from Michaels 
(they have them at Walmart also!)

During our morning centers we had 
our kindergarteners and first graders 
apply their finger prints!

After lunch we called them up a few at a time 
to add details! They are adorable!

We will be wrapping them 
and making cards tomorrow!
Four more days of school! But who's counting?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Grinchmas!

Cute and Healthy Holiday Treat!

I made these Grinch Kabobs to share at 
our Staff Holiday Breakfast this morning!

They were really easy!

This is what you need: 
mini marshmallows
strawberries (cut off stem)
bananas (slice)
green grapes

After a few tries, I found that this 
sequence was the easiest: 
put the strawberry on the toothpick first, 
then the banana slice, 
followed by the grape, 
and then top it off with the marshmallow!

Thanks to MOMables for their Pinterest post!

Happy Grinchmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Gingerbread Detectives!

Need a cute, easy Language Arts Activity?
Our school is using Thinking Maps and 
Write From The Beginning and Beyond and 
we are loving it!
We recently had a training for Write From The Beginning and are focusing on using 
mini lessons to help with writing.
We combined two mini lessons for this cute activity. The focus was on ending punctuation and capital letters. We begin each school day with our daily news. Our Busy Bee of the day helps us fill in information as he/she reads the news to classmates. After we completed our daily news, we read The Gingerbread Man. Any version or book will work!

We printed out a copy of our daily news, a copy of each page of text from The Gingerbread Man, and our detective work began! We talked about ending punctuation and the students helped highlight the periods and exclamation marks on the daily news.

Next, we sent pairs of students back to their desks 
to highlight the ending punctuation 
on their page of the Gingerbread Text.
Our next step was to underline the "capital" ("uppercase", "big") letters on our daily news. 
After we found and discussed each capital letter, 
the kids were ready to search their 
own text for capital letters.

They were so engaged and excited! Gingerbread Man cookies for all the detectives were well deserved!

The next day we worked on reading comprehension by putting all of the text passages in sequential order! This poster is hanging in our classroom for kids to refer to and read!

Hope you are enjoying the holidays with your class!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We Are Thankful For You!

We have been on a blogging break but are returning in time to thank you for reading our blog.
This year we put a new spin on our "Thankful Writing"!

We have been working with thinking maps and decided a tree map would fit perfectly with this lesson!  Our kiddos brainstormed a list of nouns that they were thankful for!  We had them break it down into people, places, and things on our map!

We then had them complete their own tree map listing at least two people, places, and things they were thankful for.  In a later center the students took they information from their map and wrote a sentence on their paper.

We used this lesson to introduce the use of commas in a series of words.  They had a great time and the finished product came out GREAT!  If you want to try this freebie please click here!  Hope you are have a great month!  Thanks for visiting our blog!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Come On A Safari With Us!

Countdown Fever!
12 days until our open house!
21 more days of school!

We spent Saturday morning at school doing some open house prep!

We spray painted palm fronds 
for our 
Savanna Safari Masks project.

Today our students began painting the zebras, lions, and cheetahs! 
So much fun and oh so cute!

We also hung up our darling directed draw giraffes! 
Aren't they beautiful!

We talked about how each giraffe is unique, just like each of us!
Here is a sketch of our directed draw steps:

We traced over each child's drawing with a sharpie. 
Then our artists used crayons to color eyes white and black, 
inner ears pink, and spots yellow or brown.  
Next they used watercolors to paint their giraffes. 
When the giraffes were dry they painted the background.

We just put the final touches on our Grasslands Unit!

Click here to go on safari with us! 
It's a super fun way to end the year! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When Is Your Open House?

When is Open House at your school?
Ours is about 4 weeks away!

Last week we did a post about our American Symbols mini units 
and ways to incorporate the theme into your Open House.
We include all of the adorable American Symbols craftivities in a book 
which is displayed on each child's desk for Open House. 
It is a true treasure for families to keep!

Our main theme at Open House is HABITATS AROUND THE WORLD.
And it is a big extravaganza!!!
We have been focusing on this theme since January! 
We began with the polar habitats and then explored the desert and ocean habitats. 
We learned about the grasslands right before our spring break 
and become experts on the rainforest at the beginning of April.  
This week our students are each focusing on a different animal from one of the habitats.
 They will be researching that animal and completing a written report 
and presentation on their animal! 

Depending on how much time you have you can easily complete one unit! 
And if your school goes into June, your students would
love learning about two or three habitats! 
Our units are designed to be a cross-curricular learning experience! 
We include language arts, science, math, and art activities for each habitat. 

Here are some of the amazing habitat activities our first graders have been doing:

Our POLAR HABITATS unit includes the Arctic and Antarctica.

For more information on our DESERT HABITAT unit click here!

These adorable OCEAN HABITAT art projects are available here.

We have used the lessons from our habitat units with
 Kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders.
However each of habitat units can be easily modified for
younger and older students as well!

Please feel free to comment or email us if you would like more information!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ready for Open House?

Are you ready for Open House?
Our Open House is the last week in May...
just two weeks before the last day of school!
(anyone else counting down?!)

We love Open House! 
It is a really B.I.G. deal at our school! 
It's a ton of work for one night but our families L.O.V.E. it! 
It's a great confidence booster for our kids! 
Each child arrives that evening so excited and proud to share all of their hard work with their friends and family.

Over the years it has definitely become easier to prepare for the big night! We have become very good at figuring out what we need to save during the year to share at the end of the year. We will do a beginning of the year blog post in August to help you plan ahead for next year!

If you aren't set for this year's Open House or need something extra special, 
we are here to help you!!!
We have a fabulous American Symbols unit that would be perfect for a
 Social Science, Literacy, and Art themed unit
 that directly correlates with the K-2 standards!

You can customize your American Symbols unit based on how much time you have.

We have 8 American Symbol products:

Each unit includes a Non-Fiction Book, a symbol fact sheet, 
a Text Dependent Question activity sheet, a paragraph writing template with writing paper and a craftivity.

If you have time to do 4 symbols, 
then Bundle #1 
(Bald Eagle, Capitol Building, Great Seal, & U.S. Flag)
or Bundle #2
(Mount Rushmore, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, & White House) 
are your best bet!
Each of the craftivities make really cute bulletin boards! 
We actually make an adorable American Symbols book!  We glue the craftivities and fact sheets onto large sheets of construction paper.  Our kids glue scrapbook paper stars to the front cover and viola...the cutest American Symbols book ever!

If you would like to focus on writing, having your class write a paragraph on one of the symbols is a great way to show off their writing skills. This will also be incredibly helpful to you when it's time to do writing grades for report cards!

If you have more time, our Ultimate Bundle is a really good deal!

Another cute tie-in for the American Symbols theme is our 
If I were the President... activity. 

Believe it or not...this sample is from our TK class!
The self portrait was a directed draw and 
the kids dictated what they would do if they were president!
This makes a really cute bulletin board! 
It is also very cute sitting on each student's desk!

We hope this makes the rest of the year a bit easier for you!
Check back with us soon...
our next blog post will focus on 
using the Habitat theme for Open House!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lucky Leprechaun Writing Freebie!

March has arrived!
Our entire school is embracing Thinking Maps! 
We have been introducing them to all students from TK to Fifth grade.

Look at the fantastic writing our TK students created using a bubble map and a tree map.
They were so successful and excited to write a sentence describing a leprechaun
and then illustrating their sentence!

After reading, That's What Leprechauns Can Do by Eve Bunting, we brainstormed adjectives to describe a leprechaun and filled in a large class leprechaun bubble map.
Students then copied the adjectives onto their own bubble map.

Here is my class bubble map with the adjectives my students brainstormed
and a student's completed bubble map!

Large Teacher Bubble Map (Anchor Chart)
Student Bubble Map
Next the kiddo's chose their three favorite adjectives and wrote them on a tree map.  They then used this information to write a sentence describing leprechauns on the bottom of the paper.

Student Sample #1
Student Sample #2

Finally, the students published their sentences and added an illustration!

Student's Completed Project!

If you would like this FREE Saint Patrick's Day Descriptive Writing lesson, 
please visit our TPT store or click here.

Have a HAPPY St. Patrick's Day!  May the Luck of the Irish be with you!

Get Ready for Saint Patrick's Day! POTATO HEAD Freebies!


Our homework project this month is to create a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head.
It was such a hit last Saint Paddy's Day!
Last year our First Graders created Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head
characters to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. 
They were amazing! Aren't these potatoes the cutest?! 

Each student completed a profile about their character 
and then wrote a paragraph to share on Saint Patrick's Day! 

If you would like to grab our FREE Potato Head Project packet, 
please visit our TPT store or click here.

We are looking forward to attending 
the Southern California Kindergarten Conference this weekend!
Hope to meet some new friends!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Desert Unit is finally ready!

Ready for some DESERT fun?
Our first graders are having a great time learning about the desert habitat! 
We began reading The Desert Habitat book from our unit 
and also shared some other wonderful books about the desert.  
Our kids really enjoyed the riddles in Guess Who's in the Desert!

We are truly excited about the learning we are seeing using Thinking Maps! 
After our introduction we used a modified Circle Map to help our two classes 
get ready to write a paragraph about the desert habitat.

Our Water Storage investigation was a home run! 
All the information you need is included in our Desert Habitat unit
We bought sponges at Trader Joe's and used clear cups left over from our Valentine's celebration. 
We used two Bubble Maps with this investigation to help students complete their observation sheets.

We read Cactus Hotel just before the investigation which was full of factual information. 
Our students loved drawing pictures of their own Saguaro Hotels with all kinds of guests!

Visit our TPT store to get our cross-curricular unit focusing on the Desert Habitat.
The 130+ page unit includes Language Arts, Math, Science, and Art activities!
It can be used as part of study of several habitats or as a thematic unit on the desert.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Polar Fun!

Happy 2016!
I made it back from Antarctica...we had the most amazing trip! 
We saw incredible animals and the scenery and tranquility in Antarctica was truly unforgettable!

New Year's Eve on ice!

We started our Habitats Unit as soon as I returned. No surprise, we chose the Polar Regions to kick off our cross curricular mega-unit! Our study of habitats includes: The Polar Regions, The Desert, The Ocean, The Grasslands, and The Rainforest. It sounds like a lot but our first graders LOVE it! And we all know when children buy into what they are learning, they soak it all in and excel!

We've added Thinking Maps to our Polar Habitat unit
Our first graders are able to really demonstrate their learning! 
We started out with a Brace Map to review the two polar regions. This is so important! 
I can't tell you how many adults asked me if I would be seeing polar bears in Antarctica!

After reading The Polar Habitats, a non-fiction reader included in our Polar Habitat unit, we completed a Tree Map. The kids used the Tree Map to write a paragraph about the polar regions.

After completing our polar crafts we used a Double Bubble Map to compare polar bears and walruses. Our kids came up with an amazing amount of information to include!

Here are some pictures of our adorable Polar Animal Crafts!

The kids are also working on our Polar Animal Count and Rhyme Book.
We added a Directed Drawing board on Pinterest.
I especially liked the Adelie Penguin directed draw because it really did look like the Adelies that I saw on my trip!  One of the kids in my class asked (in kind of a whiney voice) "Can't I just draw an yellow beak?" "No!" I said as I whipped out my photos to show him they actually have black beaks!!

I'm also driving my first grade teaching partner (and TPT/Blog-mate) crazy! I insisted that since our recycled water bottle penguins have feathers on their heads, they had to be realistic.
Again I shared my Rockhopper and Macaroni penguin pictures - they needed black and yellow feathers and pinkish feet!
I must say after my Antarctica trip, I am quite the penguin species expert!

Today we squeezed in some Chinese New Year fun!
I found this cute directed draw of a monkey for the front of a card to send home.
 Inside the kids practiced writing Happy New Year in Chinese characters.
One of our kids attends Chinese class on Saturdays and he taught us how to say Happy New Year correctly! We all chanted Happy New Year in Chinese as our school's Kindergarteners came through our classroom during their annual parade! So cute!
Click here to go to our Pinterest Boards for links - check out our February or Directed Drawing boards.

Thanks for checking in with us! 
We are just putting the finishing touches on our Desert Habitat unit for our TPT store.  
Please follow us for updates and ideas to go with all of our Habitat units!