Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Would You Rather, Turkey FREEBIE & the Gingerbread Dude

This is going to be a PACKED post!

This week we're doing all fun Thanksgiving stuff and I found a gem this weekend!  It's a Thanksgiving version of "Would You Rather..." and I've been posing these silly questions to my students when we have a minute to fill or spare and they LOVE it!  It was created by Rachel Lynette and she's got other FREE ones too!

Click to get it!
Yesterday we played a fun probability dice game called The Great Escape and the kids thought it was the best thing since LEGOs...okay that might be a stretch.  It's part of my Thanksgiving Fun Packet. Today we're going to be an odd/even number game called Turkey Trot.  You can use dice or cards to produce a number and either move your turkey (a Hershey's kiss) closer to freedom or the farm.  It's free today!

And last but not least, I'm doing a Gingerbread theme for the month of December and created my own version of the beloved classic in Readers' Theater format.
Click to get it!
Run, run and I don't mean to be rude,
You can't catch me because I'm the Gingerbread Dude!

Tomorrow I'll share the gingerbread mischief that will take over my classroom during the month of December...I am SOOOOOOO excited!!


Sunday, November 24, 2013


This week is short and sweet and I'm ditching curriculum in lieu of Thanksgiving fun (math, reading and writing of course)!

This freebie will be 1 of 5 art rotations that my students will do on Tuesday morning.  I'm having a great time finding and creating art projects for my kids to do as I hardly ever do art in my room but am embracing the importance and fun of it!

Click to get it!
I'm linking up with the fabulous Charity Preston over at
So go check this one out and then head over and take a peek at some more freebies!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Doubles Scavenger Hunt

I downloaded and did a super fun math activity this week thanks to the weekly TPT newsletter that I get.  This fantastic activity was advertised:
from Learning Through Play UK
Since we had our doubles lesson last week and our end-of-chapter test was coming up, we did this activity to review doubles and have FUN!
First we brainstormed rules:
 Then the hunt began and it was awesome!
Students must write down the doubles as they find them. 
They can write the answer down right away if they know it or figure it out at their desk at the end of the hunt.
I hid all 10 doubles facts around the room by taping them in various spots.
 When students finished, they returned to their desks to work on a Hidden Doubles word find type worksheet.
Click on the worksheet to get this freebie.

I enjoyed this Scavenger Hunt activity so much I'd like to use it for other things and subject areas!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mr. Ugly

My students sit in "team" groupings.  Teams can earn points all day long for showing great behavior.  So each day a different student on each team is the Team Commander and takes care of adding points when they earn them.  Team Commanders can also do things like get and distribute supplies for everyone on their team.  This is what I use to show who is the Team Commander each day:
But I was walking around the grocery store the other day while my daughter was at ballet class and found a display of little gourds...that were so ugly they were cute.  I knew I could use them for something so I bought 5 of them and ended up gluing goggly eyes to them and, for this month, they've replaced the above statue to show who is the Team Commander everyday.  We call them "Mr. Ugly" and the kids love them!

For the month of December I think I'm going to find some cute snowmen and use them!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adding 3 Numbers Game

Our math lesson for today (we switched from EDM to Go Math this year) was how to add 3 single-digit numbers.  Our math lessons always start with a 'Problem of the Day' warm-up, then the concept/skill focus for the lesson and finally a chance to practice.  Most of the time a worksheet is the independent practice part but today we played a game.  This doesn't sound like anything special yet BUT it's a game that doesn't really require any extra materials and the kids LOVED it!
I'm not even sure what to call the game but here's how to play:

  -3 dice per person
  -small whiteboard/EXPO marker/eraser per person

  -play in groups of 3

  1. Round 1: Choose a 3-letter word and each player writes it at the top of their   whiteboard (we did animals).
  2. Everybody rolls their dice at the same time.
  3. Each player writes an addition sentence to match their 3 dice and finds the  answer.
  4.  Each player has to read their addition sentence aloud and the player with 
the highest sum wins and erases a letter from the chosen word.
  5.  Play continues until someone has erased all their letters and says the word 
   6.  Play again.  Round 2, choose a 4-letter word; Round 3, choose a 5-letter 

A few groups finished all 3 rounds so I told them to play once more and use one of their names as the chosen word.  
Hooray for math games!  
They beat worksheets any day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Story Writing with Writing Dude

We are going to tackle story writing this week...with the help of Writing Dude!
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to write a story about a farmer and a turkey and let the rest be decided by each student:  the beginning/middle/end, setting, characters, problem and solution.  Since we just learned about the writing process we'll go through the whole thing with this story.  
This Writing Dude lesson is FREE, so I'm linking up with Charity over at 
I love creating lessons for the dude with writing attitude and this new lesson has lots of bells and whistles: theme music, closing music, animation and hidden content that magically appears.  The bells and whistles grab and keep student attention but the content is what counts!

If you like Writing Dude, all his lessons (including his MEGA pack) will be on sale Monday-Wednesday at 15% off!

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Writing Dude

He's my favorite dude...with writing attitude:
Over a year ago I decided to turn all of my 'foundational' writing lessons into Smartboard lessons to better engage and motivate my young writers.  I knew I needed a mascot so, who better than a cool talking pencil.  Writing Dude was born! 

If you're intrigued by this dude with writing attitude, take a peek at his very first (free) lesson: Spacing.

I have a MEGA pack, 13 lessons total, over at my TPT store.  Or you can buy them individually to suit your needs.  There is another FREE one in there too :-) And I've created a new lesson and it'll be FREE....so stay tuned and I'll post it here tomorrow!  Speaking of tomorrow, all my Writing Dude lessons will be on sale (15% off) from Monday November 18 to Wednesday November 20!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chair Pockets

Do you notice something different about these two photos?

I've always wanted chair pockets for my students.  You know, the things that look like folded and sewn pillowcases that slip onto a student's chair?  That's where I'd like my students to keep the books they're reading (guided reading and from our classroom library).  Last year I used sturdy little bags I found at IKEA for .25 a piece and hung them on the back of each student's chair with those removable hooks.  It was awesome until the hooks started coming off and it drove me nuts.  I know you can order them from Lakeshore or Really Good Stuff but the shipping to Alaska is OuTrAgEoUs!

So I went back to the drawing board and hadn't figured anything out until about 2 weeks ago....the parent of one of my students (an angel sent from heaven this year) said, "Would you like some chair pockets?  My mom sews and can make you a class set and bring them up next week when she comes up to visit."  My eyes just about popped out of my head and my jaw hit the floor as I muttered "Yes please!".  

Here is what we got:

She even stitched our school name and a paw print on each one!  If you are interested in making chair pockets for your students, here's a great tip: reinforce each side of it with ribbon.  Just fold the ribbon in half and sew it onto each side and it'll help the stitching stay intact longer :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fishy Art Project

One of my goals this year is to incorporate more art projects into my classroom.  I'm doing a pretty good job and have found that making one of my Daily 5 groups an 'Art Project' group (once a week) works very well.  

Most of the projects have been fall themed so far but this week we made fish.  Living in Alaska, salmon are very important to the way of life here.  Second grade gets to dive into the study of these interesting (and dare I say 'tasty') creatures.  We have a big aquarium near the front of our school and right now it's covered in blue foam because we're trying to keep the eggs from getting too warm.  It's not very visually appealing so my principal asked if we could spruce it up a bit.  My answer was to create wax and watercolor fish!

I first found a piece of fish clipart online and printed it off.  I then added the inside wavy lines.  I printed them on blue cardstock.  The kids had 2 things to do:  trace the outline and inside waves with a black crayon -and- use watercolors to paint it.  I think they turned out AWESOME!

I cut them out and am going to glue them onto blue butcher paper and wrap it around the aquarium.

The best part about doing these art projects is the AMAZING table we're using!  I found it for $20 at a local thrift shop and it folds out and is stored into a rectangular box that is only 6" high and 3' long!  It's one of THE best things I've ever bought for my classroom!  I did spray paint it red to match the white/black/red theme in my room though :-)

I don't have a project planned for this week so I need some HELP.  I know I'll go surf on Pinterest but would happily welcome some of your ideas!

P.S.  Totally random but I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert this weekend and it was SOOOOOOOO awesome and brought back many memories of family car trips!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The 50th Day of School

2 years ago my first grade colleagues and I celebrated the 50th day of school by having a 50's theme day and now it's an annual tradition!
I grew up on oldies and love to dance so I truly look forward to this day all year!  We spend the day doing many different math, reading and writing activities focused on the number 50.  I also incorporate history, culture and fun into our day as well.
Making a record glyph
Working in our 50's packet
Making words with the letters FIFTIES DAY
A scavenger hunt to find as many 50's as they can
Scavenger Hunt
We ended our day with a Sock Hop in the MPR and it was so FUN!  None of my 21 students (for the record glyph) didn't like to dance.  And 80% of my class also dressed up...they were so stinkin' CUTE!  One kid was even practicing poses before he came to school, ha!

Coke floats for a special snack!

So I'll have to wait 364 days until I get my oldies fix again.  But if I had my druthers, I'd do a 60's day and 70's day and 80's day too!

If you're interested in more of the things we did, check out my 50th Day of School packet.