Monday, December 30, 2013

The time is always right to do what is right. ~MLK Jr.

I'm so happy and proud to share that I've finished my Martin Luther King Jr. project!

This Readers' Theater pack includes 3 plays that detail the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of peaceful problem solving.

In this day and age, the responsibility of teaching our youth morals falls more and more on the teacher.  It really does take a village though and many of us are fortunate that our students come from stable homes with dedicated parents.  But many of us also go above and beyond to make up for parents who, for one reason or another, aren't or can't give their all to their children.  

I know it might be cheesy, but that Whitney Houston song is playing in my head right now, "I believe the children are our future.  Teach them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the beauty they possess inside."

This is the last Monday of 2013, make it a good one!

P.S.  I have to give a shoutout to Melonheadz Illustrations for the fabulous MLK images I was privileged enough to use!!  Some Alaskan treats are coming your way Nikki!  Please go check out her FaBuLoUs clipart by clicking on the clip below!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm lovin' it...

I only started drinking coffee a few years ago but have found my go to drink, a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks!  I usually treat myself to one on Saturday mornings after I drop my daughter off at dance class.  
But I've been frequenting them more lately and actually sitting down to work on projects.  Creating Readers' Theater scripts is my thing and lately I've been itching to roll out some non-fiction scripts because I can tie science and social studies in to the reading benefits!

So this afternoon I stopped at a Starbys, put my headphones on and let the writing flow.  The Eric Satie station on Pandora drones out the nearby conversations and drink order calls and inspires me.  Today I continued working on a script about the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The thing I love about working on non-fiction scripts is that I get to do research to make sure my facts are correct.  And I'm a sucker for quotes-- love them!  I started reading his quotes and incorporating them into the script and I started getting pumped up.
  I'll admit, I've never really done anything special leading up to MLK day.  It's a day off and time to stay home in my jammies.  But one quote got me:  "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?".  I've always wanted to reach out and help others but have never done anything about it.  So now I'm wanting to participate in this day of service, as President Obama has deemed it.  And hopefully this play will not only explain why we celebrate this holiday but also inspire them to do something on Monday January 20, 2014.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Life Cycle of a .....

Humans, plants, butterflies, fish, frogs and the list goes on and on of things that have a life cycle.  First, next, then, finally is how it goes...over and over and over again.  I've been working on more Readers' Theater scripts, diving more into non-fiction.  As I started brainstorming ideas it hit me--snowmen have a life cycle too and that's what children are having fun building right now (if you live in snowy regions).  I'm excited to share this with you
We are going to do a snowman theme for the month of January and this will fit perfectly with all the other wonderful snowman stories I'm going to read!
And I'm doing something for this script that I've NEVER done before....I made an mp3 recording of the script (complete with music) that you get a link for, if you download the whole package.

Can't wait to go back to school and get my snowman theme on!  I've been pinning snowman activities, lessons and art project like crazy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ice Luminaries

I've been on Winter Break for a week now and wish it would last more like a month!  When you think about it, it's a loooooooong haul starting in mid-August and going until the end of November for our first bit of time off (4 days) and then finishing up the quarter to have 2 whole weeks off at Christmas time.  And if you're like any teacher, you're catching up on things you haven't had time to do and spending time with your family.

I love to do fun things with my 5-year-old and so the other day we made ice luminaries.  I saw something about it in the paper one weekend and thought it would be fun to try.  My class recently started a new science kit: The Power of Water and we'll soon be doing the "3 States of Matter" lesson and this fun activity fit right in, so I may have to do it with my students too.

Here's the final product
There are 5 of them lining the sidewalk up to our front door.

I didn't follow any particular directions and just went on what I thought would work.  But of course I had to tweak it and we added food coloring.  I learned the hard way though how to do it without having hands that end up like this

1. First add food coloring drops to the empty balloon.
2. Then attach it to the faucet and fill it up as big as you'd like.
3. Next tie off the balloon and place it in the freezer or outside.
4. Finally drill holes in the top (round) of the sphere until a tea light candle fits 
    down into the hole.

Before I drilled holes in them, we sat staring at them up close because they were so cool!  Each ice globe had, what looked like, a frozen porcupine inside it.

 And, interestingly, the food coloring (blue) didn't show up at all.  So we made 2 more the next night with red food coloring and made sure to add more drops.  It worked as about 50% of the globe was red.

You've got to try this, either at home or school because it's so pun intended :-)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gingerbread Palooza: Day 12 & Our Author's Tea

Our classroom was a little bit brighter and more festive when we came in today because the Gingerbread Friends hung up some Christmas lights!
When I turned the lights off, for the full effect, it was all "Ooh" and "Ahh".
Everyday my students have been journaling about what the Gingerbread Friends have done in our classroom and this afternoon they got to share their journals (and other written works) during our Author's Tea.  We showed and explained all of the many facets to our first grade writing program with students doing most of the talking.  This was our agenda:
When we were done, it was time to share!  Students and their family members spread out and found a spot to sit and look at and listen to student writing.
This was such a great event and the kids did a FaNtAsTiC job speaking in front of their parents!  I'm glad we did this 2 days before winter vacation (instead of THE day before), mainly because I have jury duty tomorrow.

It's aLmOsT winter break!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gingerbread Palooza: Day 11 & a FREEBIE

I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of what the Gingerbread Friends were up to this morning so I'll have to share tomorrow.  Let's just say they were having fun drawing with magnetic wands...

Maybe the reason I didn't snap a picture is because my brain has been taken over by the FRIGID temperatures here and the FULL moon!

We are in the midst of a fun month FULL of gingerbread!  We did a really fun measuring activity yesterday that allowed students to practice nonstandard measuring with various objects and various gingerbread men.  They recorded their findings on a worksheet (that had a word find on the back to keep early finishers busy until it was time to rotate).

To get it, click below

And finally, take a look at this FuN snack that a parent sent in today!
chocolate chip eyes, frosting nose, raisin buttons and pretzel arms

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gingerbread Palooza: Day 10

Who doesn't love LEGOs?  
Well boys, girls and Gingerbread Friends all LOVE LEGOs!
Did you know that LEGO is an abbreviation of the Danish words "leg godt" which mean "play well"?
The Gingerbread Friends even left us a new tub of LEGOs for our "Free Time" cupboard!

I know that snow in Alaska is like sun in Hawaii but this past weekend it snowed for 2 days straight and I just had to get a picture of the trees at my school.  They kind of look like Dr. Seuss trees.
Needless to say, kids had a BLAST at recess today with all that fresh new snow!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gingerbread Palooza: Day 9

Our Gingerbread friends reeeeeeeally wanted to go sledding but it was too cold, so they improvised of course and in a yummy way!
We got to keep the candy canes and our Friday ended on a sweet note!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread Palooza: Day 8

The Gingerbread Friends are causing some trouble in our classroom, so what game did we find them playing this morning..TROUBLE!
The nice thing was that we got to keep the game and kids had fun playing it during our "Free Time".

Students have been keeping track, via writing, of all the things the Gingerbread Friends have done in our classroom.  This little journal is part of their "Morning Work" routine.

I put a few words up on the board that they might need help spelling and then it's up to them to write a description.  Students earn a star sticker on their page for completing it and they earn 2 stickers if they added details!  We are going to share these journals next week with our parents when they come to our "Author's Tea" event :-)