Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Catch-up!

I took a little time off blogging. I had another incident with the my confrontational parent. It was bad. She is seriously schizophrenic and started making false accusations that could be serious. My principal has now told her she may not enter my room unescorted nor speak to me without the principal present. I have a plan to immediately go into my neighbor's room if I ever find myself alone with her. Even though I knew I had done nothing wrong I was very unsettled. Then Sandy Hook happened and I took it especially hard. I am not sure if it was because of the threatening situation I was in, the fact that I teach the same age, or if perhaps my reaction would have been the same regardless? The only good thing is it helped me have more patience with my students who have been acting like there is a full moon. I am hoping it was mostly Christmas excitement (thanks district for keeping us in school through the 21st this year!) Passing notes to cheat on the math test, punching on the playground, making clubs and not letting others join.... no problem, I just envisioned the news showing the pictures of those poor Sandy Hook children and we got through.

So to catch up...
I am not sure Jingles improved their behavior much but I had fun with him. :-)
Jingles tried to pull Santa out of the chimney.

I was pleased when someone yelled out, "Look, he made a growing pattern!"
Riding the ladybug!
Picnic with Pete.
Snowball fight!!!!!
I love Pinterest and found most of my Christmas projects there! I pinned the snowman Christmas ornaments last year so I bought the clear bulbs in the summer when I found them at RAFT for a great price. The only problem was I bought the medium ones and the holes were pretty small so it took me over 5 hours to fill 30 bulbs with the fake snow!!!! Luckily I spaced it out over a few nights but still not cool in this especially busy time of year. I also wrote each child's name and the year in black Sharpie.

We used tempera paint and q-tips for the face but I think Sharpies would have been just as good. I bought sparkly pom-poms and pipe cleaners and let the kids pick. Many liked to mix and match which drives me batty but I kept my mouth shut and hot-glued on whatever they told me!
We also decorated my door.
I filled these cute containers with all different mints and added the tag for my parent volunteers.

 We made nutcrackers and wrote about them. It always cracks me up why they say he doesn't eat nuts.

We read lots of gingerbread stories and wrote about how we ate a gingerbread cookie (yum) using Lori's packet. I pulled out various craft supplies and let the kids go to town decorating their own gingerbread person.

We performed our annual holiday chorus which is always a big hit with the parents.

I also need to announce the 2 winners of the Me on the Map unit giveaway. SO sorry for the delay.

Congrats to Bren P. and Julie Marciniak I will email them right out to you! Click on the picture if you are interested in a map unit.

Alrighty friends, I am off to go try to catch up with some of your blogs! I hope everyone is having a safe, relaxing holiday and enjoying your family. Hugs and happy thoughts to all!!!!!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Snow in CA, freebie, and giveaway

I think 2 weeks may be the longest I've ever gone between blog posts. Sorry friends, once December hits I start feeling overwhelmed. In addition to all the holiday stuff, I have gotten 2 new students so I've been a busy elf.

New girl is sweet, QUIET, and follows every rule. She does shake her head like she understands even when she doesn't so there is that but clay I can mold.

New boy on the other hand is a lot of work. Apparently in his last school it was acceptable to yell, "Teacher, I need help" across the room and talk nonstop.  And steal supplies from your partner when you are too lazy to look for yours. And to constantly get up for a new pencil and then break them ON PURPOSE!  I was pretty understanding at first knowing he has had a change in home situation as well as school but he seems to be pushing the limits so I started cracking down. Which is necessary but exhausting, as you know. He was out sick Thursday and Friday. I'm sorry he is sick but I have to admit it was nice to have a little break.

I finally got on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon. We named him Jingles and it is fun to say, "Jingles, are you watching to see who is following directions quickly?" Gold, I tell you!
Perched front and center to watch the first day.
Making friends with our snakes.
Hanging upside down from the projection screen

Reading a book.
Emailing Santa.
 My middle school son found a website to email Santa so he started filling it out from Jingles and set him in front of the keyboard. When the kids came in the screen saver was on so they started guessing that Jingles was playing Angry Birds Space, etc. So I said, "Let's see..." and moved the mouse to wake it up. The kids were so excited to see the email. A little chaotic but fun. :-)

This week we read Santa's Stuck and did the same project as last year that I originally got from Cara at The First Grade Parade. She used cotton as the snow and I changed it to glue/shaving cream for a 3D look.
The kids favorite part is adding the snow. I perfected my "snow" recipe this year. Instead of half glue and half shaving cream I used less glue and it stayed fluffy and almost feels like styrofoam when it dries! So cool! I tried to get a close-up for you.
We also completed a story map which you can download by clicking {HERE.} The cute Christmas frame is from Corinna at Surfin' Through Second.

There are antonyms written on the Christmas bulbs. This ideas was adapted from Precious Perks.

Me on the Map is coming up in our reading series and as I pulled out my templates to get everything copied I realized I posted that I got the packet up but I forgot to give a copy away like I usually do. I am so sorry my faithful followers! Thank you to the many of you who bought it already!!!
To make amends I will give away 2 copies!! Just enter below and I will pick the winners next weekend. To check this unit out click {HERE} or on the picture.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you all are doing well at this crazy time of year.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Me on the Map Unit

 I have had a zillion requests for the templates for the Me on the Map circle flip book I posted about last year.

You can read about it here if you missed it. As I mentioned during that post, this project was not mine but my teaching friend Robi's so I have not felt the templates were mine to share.

However, I have been told that others are copying it and making money from it and I feel badly that Robi is not getting the credit (or profit since she has a freshman in college!)

So, I finally talked her into partnering up with me to not only share all those templates and step-by-step directions but a whole 40 page unit packed with other activities we do during our map unit!

This map unit covers:
Cardinal Directions cards, map worksheet and activities
Map Features including a brace map and cut and glue worksheet
The Compass Rose
Models versus Maps clay project including a double bubble map and writing activity
Vocabulary matching cards and activities
A Make Your Own Pirate Map culminating activity (the kids love this one!)
and other teaching ideas

You can grab your copy of our new unit here or by clicking on the picture below.

And don't forget that I am offering 20% off everything in my store Monday and Tuesday!

I have been on the computer literally ALL day trying to get his finished so I must go rest my eyes now. Tomorrow is put up the Christmas tree day. Thank goodness we still have one more day off...yippee!!!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Many Thanks and Freebies

How can I feel so exhausted by a 2.5 day week?
Maybe it was the...
*2 new students (One yells out questions to me from across the room. Yeah, we don't do that here.)
*headache 3 days running
*psycho parent incident

I REALLY wish I could elaborate on that last one but I will just generally say this woman literally makes things up to be mad at and then verbally accosts me, then the principal, and even the district office. My team member was walking by when this woman started a scene in the hallway and later told me she stayed close by because the woman's hostile attitude made her worried for me. It has now been decided that all communication between this parent and myself must be with the principal present. I am relieved and very thankful that my principal has my back. I SO wish I could tell you some of the details because your jaw would just drop but I'd better err on the cautious side on this one. I have NEVER had a parent complain about me so it still irks me that she is going around saying bad things about me even though I know she is crazy.

Besides my principal, I want to also take a second to say that I am thankful for my fellow bloggers. The ideas and downloads that you share save me valuable time and make for a better experience for my students. For example, this week we made these cute pilgrims from First Grade Wow. Thanks so much, Nancy!

And more than one student wrote that they were thankful for ME! Aw, how sweet. I really needed that today!
We also made pilgrim hats and sequenced We Gather Together... Now Please Get Lost! but I posted about that before so I'll just link back rather than repost.

I am also thankful that I found our missing snake and finally got a new cage! It didn't have a pin so I had to get creative and use a paintbrush. Hopefully those sneaky guys will stay put now and my parent helpers will come back. I am so thankful for my wonderful parent volunteers! I almost never make copies or laminate anymore.
To show my thanks to all of my loyal followers I'd like to share a subtraction game I used this week I called FEAST. Maybe you can use it next week?

We are working on different subtraction strategies and I wanted them to focus on using doubles facts to solve a subtraction question. This aligns with the CCSS 1.OA.6. After we practiced on whiteboards, we took turns sharing our answer using this sentence frame.  For example, to solve 4-2=? they would say, "I know the doubles fact 2+2=4 so 4-2=2."
Then I gave partners a set of 18 cards to cut apart, 2 FEAST boards, and 18 counters.
If the student can answer the question using the double fact sentence frame, they cover a picture with a counter. If they cannot answer it, no picture is covered and the next player takes a turn. You could play this without using the sentence frame or I also included a blank set of cards if you want to change the skill. You can download this FREEBIE by clicking {here.}

Are you one of those bargain shoppers who braves the crowds on Friday? I prefer to shop online in my jammies so I will be offering 20% off in my store to add to the 10 % off already offered by TpT during the upcoming Cyber 2-day SALE. I will be spending the weekend adding items to my already large TpT wishlist in anticipation!!

I hope you all enjoy your family and relax over this break. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIsguises, Snakes & Subtraction {freebie}

"Mrs. Bates, may I speak to you a moment?" my principal formally announced in the staff room the other morning. UT OH!!! What could this be about?

"I was notified that your room was not cleaned last night ........due to a loose snake," she finished with a grin.

Yep, my sneaky snakes got out again last week! One of my non-snake loving parents found Mini-Me when she reached into the back of a drawer. She proclaimed her surprise with a loud shaky exclamation appropriate for firsties' ears, thank goodness.

Striker is much more crafty and only comes out at night. The janitorial crew was so alarmed they left the lights on and hightailed it out of there. That snake is going to get a stern talking to when I find him because some of my parents have stopped volunteering due to their fear of snakes. Doesn't he know his thrill seeking is LESS important than my pilgrim art project getting prepped? And if I have to start vacuuming my own room he is going to lose his hide (that's a fake rock to hide under) for a week!

I read online that you can put painters tape sticky side up along the floor and sometimes the snake will get stuck. I am not sure I am desperate enough to try that. If he is stuck that means it would take some careful work to get him off unhurt and I really can't imagine me rubbing baby oil on a hungry grumpy corn snake.

Needless to say, a new snake cage is on order so this madness can stop.

On to some academics.
This week we worked on Subtraction. I focused on the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices and tried for the first time to have the students explain their process in written form.
#1. Students make a solution plan.
#5. Students use tools strategically.

I made this anchor chart to organize our thinking.
We have been practicing using the vocabulary of strategies and tools.

I asked my son Quinn to demonstrate what I call Bump (counting on with fingers.) We used this first with addition 2 + ?=6 and now again as a possible way to solve a missing part question like 6-?=2
The bumping part is key because young children often make the mistake of counting the starting number.  The bumping action gives them something to do as they say the starting number and the fingers up truly are the numbers counted on.

This is the son who broke his elbow. Notice how he has that one at a different angle. Interesting.

Okay, back to my class. Partners were asked to work together to solve Thanksgiving-themed word problems. This format is similar to the PBAs (Performance Based Assessments) my district used to do. Students were asked to:
1. agree on a strategy
2. pick an appropriate tool
3. write and draw about how they solved the problem.

I think this is a great start!  If you'd like a copy of the anchor chart and word problems click {HERE.}

 I'll leave you with some pics of our wonderful turkey disguise projects. I wish I could post them all!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!