Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Class Book FREEBIE

Have you ever picked up a forwards-backwards book?
This is what I call a book that you can read normally but also turn it over and upside down and read it again but kind of backwards.  Well I was lesson planning and thinking about what to do for writing this week since it's a short week and it's Thanksgiving.  This class book idea hit me and I had so much fun making it (especially the turkey's escape ideas). 

Click here to get this FREE class book.

As I was creating the book though I started thinking about those who don't eat turkey or the thought of eating turkey and that's why I created this second, companion book, to go with the farmer's book.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Brain Breaks MENU

I know taking "brain breaks" is important during the school day but with everything we have to teach and fit in, I find myself just plowing through our lessons trying to get everything done and stay on track with pacing guides. 

But we also need to give them a break...

So I finally made the time to sit down and look into some ideas for brain breaks.  But as I looked and read up, I realized that what kids need is movement too.  So I prefer to call them brain & body breaks.  I finally decided to create my own tool and came up with a menu and a dice.  I took great ideas, tweaked some of these great ideas and created some of these great ideas myself and I'm ready to share! You can get this FREEBIE by clicking below.

Descriptions on the back for quick and easy reference.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pete the Pigeon is Baaaaaaaaaaack!

It's that time again. . .

This crazy pigeon invaded our classroom last year, the week before Thanksgiving, and he's going to do it again this week. I wasn't sure if I was going to do this again since we just had Scaredy Squirrel hanging out in our room but I remembered how much fun it was and got things prepped.
His nest.
His first letter to us.  Each letter tells us another interesting fact about pigeons.
I LOVE being the voice for this funny character and kids get a kick out of reading his messages each day.

If you want to bring Pete and his antics into your classroom, check this out 
(it'll be on SALE for the next 2 days):

And here are some fun Readers' Theater plays for partners or trios based on the books (also will be on SALE for the next 2 days).
Add caption
And check out the Pigeon section of Mo Willem's website here!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Snow Day and a FREEBIE!

Last Monday it was snowy here in Anchorage and as I left for work I didn't think anything of it.  But as soon as I crossed an intersection that was a mile from my school it became stand-still traffic and it took us an hour to get to school.  Luckily my kids had art first thing and there were only 6 of them.  
Fast forward to TODAY: It snowed like crazy in only a few short hours, but I did not think school would be cancelled.  First I got a call saying there was a 2-hour delay in effect (never had that happen in my 12 years here).  Then, 10 minutes away from leaving the house with my kids, another call announced that school was now cancelled.

I'm glad the district erred on the side of caution this time.  So we immediately got into comfy clothes and started playing.  The sun came out too and it was beautiful!  We went for a walk, me pulling them in the sled, and delivered some freshly baked cookies to some friends in the neighborhood....that was awesome!
Also awesome was that I was able to get some work done and finished a project I've been wanting to whip up for a few weeks and you can get it for free here!

Scaredy Squirrel Art Projects

On Tuesday, Scaredy Squirrel had the kids make acorns since he was unable to find any outside right now.  It was an easy tracing and painting project. The acorn top was traced onto light brown paper (with a tracer I made) and the bottom of the acorn was traced onto darker brown paper (with another tracer I made).  The two were then glued together.  The final step was using a small bit of sponge and brown paint to sponge paint the acorn top.   

Scaredy then punched holes in the acorns and strung them up over our classroom library and the kids loved it!

Then on Thursday, during small reading groups, I had the kids make Scaredy decoupage style.  I looked on Pinterest for something to use or copy but ended up creating my own.
Each student got a tray with the above parts and then assembled Scaredy after watching me do mine.
We added name tags the next morning (printed from the internet).

The next step with this project is for kids to write up a narrative of who Scaredy is and display them in the hallway.  You can get that project for free by clicking HERE.

Scaredy Squirrel and the 50th Day of School

Are you hip to be square cats and chicks?

I planned to devote a chunk of Friday morning to celebrating the 50th day of school 1950's style.  But of course I planned too much and finally, after looking at the clock too much and stressing....I said "screw it", fun is more important (sometimes) than curriculum!  So we had a BLAST dressing up, comparing the 1950's to today, enjoying Coke floats, doing a record glyph, learning the Hand Jive and ending our day with a Sock Hop in the gym with all the first grade classes.  I absolutely LOVE this day and am so glad we heard about it a few years ago because now we go all out Daddy-O!

Get this SmartBoard presentation FREE (full of images, music and a video) by clicking here.
Get this packet, full of fun ideas, by clicking here.

Scaredy even got in on the fun!
My poodle skirt
My fabulous 50's glasses

Long live keeping the fun alive in your classroom!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Scaredy Squirrel. . . on a fieldtrip!

In the very first book about Scaredy Squirrel we learned that Scaredy is afraid of EVERYTHING and prefers things to be safe and predictable.  But after falling out of his tree (which he NEVER leaves) he learns that you have to live life and not be afraid and decides each day to "jump into the unknown" and he did that today with our class. . .he came on a field trip and it was actually HIS idea:

After letting Scaredy know that he COULDN'T bring his tree with us on the bus to the theater, he did decide to come with us and got into my Emergency backpack and had a great time.

Tomorrow my students are going to create a decoupage Scaredy during our small reading groups (art group).  We'll add a writing piece to the art project so students can write a narrative piece about Scaredy to introduce him to other students and teachers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Scaredy Squirrel Invasion

I love Scaredy Squirrel!

This quirky character, created by French Canadian author Melanie Watt, is so entertaining with his paranoid view of the world.  And even though he is always prepared for unexpected moments, things never seem to go according to plan.

The books are cleverly written and HILARIOUS!

So I decided that Scaredy needed to invade our classroom this week, right after Halloween (the scariest holiday of them all).  This is similar to Pigeon Week (right before Thanksgiving) and the Gingerbread friends who come each December.  It's so fun to get the kids on board with this character coming to life!

It all started this morning when we came into the classroom and one kiddo noticed this:

The kids quickly noticed that Scaredy was clutching a note, so I read it to everyone during our 'Morning Meeting'...actually Scaredy read it because he put it on my old iPhone which I use for various things in the classroom. 
[I used GarageBand and changed my voice, then sent it to iTunes]

In his letter, he asked if he could stay a while and promised he wouldn't be any trouble.  While he wasn't exactly naughty, he did go ahead and change a few things in the classroom during the day.  Instead of listening to 'Click, Clack, Boo" at the Listening Center (during small reading groups) he substituted it with a non-fiction book about squirrels that he wrote.  Instead of playing a reading game (during small reading groups) he had the kids make him some acorns (paper and paint) since he was hungry and couldn't find any outside anymore (snow now...Alaska).  He also changed the last part of my math lesson (done on the SmartBoard) to a scavenger hunt math game about him eating acorns.  The kids loved it and are convinced that he has come to life!

He has also posted some signs (advice, if you will) around the classroom:

I'm going to change these's so fun and funny!
I'm trying to think of other fun things that I. . .I mean Scaredy can do.  Here are some ideas: setting out picture frames with pictures of his family, telling the kids he put 'acorns' in our bread (we have a bread machine and add a secret ingredient when we bake bread) but they'll really be mini chocolate chips. 

I also have been turning Scaredy Squirrel stories into Readers' Theater scripts!
The first book, 'Scaredy Squirrel' is ready to go!

Click above to check it out.

Stay tuned to see what happens next with our guest!