Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mother's Day Drawing

I had a request from someone using my Mother's Day booklet to help with drawing ideas.  I snapped some pictures of the one I made with my class last year and added them to the pdf so you can download the revision if you already have your copy.

We read the whole poem, then work on two pages a day so it doesn't get overwhelming. We brainstorm ideas for each page and I draw one of them using the document camera. I encourage the students to use their own creativity but those who find drawing intimidating are comforted to have my model.
The kids' drawing is always much cuter than mine. This one cracked me up last year.

I follow the same procedure with the bag drawing. This sweetie had the good idea to draw her mom's eyes closed.

Hope these pictures are helpful! 
If you don't have a Mother's Day gift idea yet you can get this one {HERE.}


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Earth Day

Earth Day is a pretty big deal for us since we are an environmental science magnet school. We have a an outdoor assembly and invite parents and special guests to attend. Every grade performs songs, original poems, or skits. Then all the classrooms are open and we walk around looking at the different Earth Day projects. First graders are studying insects so we made "Litter Bugs."

This family was remodeling their bathroom!
A lemon and a lime!
Some classes leave students behind to explain their projects or quiz students on their environmental I.Q.
It was adorable to see the students avidly listening to other students explanations.

4th and 5th graders also give professional tours of our one-acre outdoor classroom. On Sunday, the kids came and gave tours to the public since we were a stop along the Going Native Garden Tour. Our students always wow the adults at their knowledge of California native plants and how well-spoken they are!

My students loved seeing the 3rd graders totem hats. Each student picks an animal to write a research paper on and as a culminating activity they create these amazing hats to wear during the closing ceremony. Everyone goes all out! 
This hat was immense!

There were so many more adorable hats but this post is already over the top with pics! I'll leave you one last picture which I've told you before is a common sight at our school...
Yep, those girls are walking around campus with live snakes. I am so lucky to work at this outstanding school!


Friday, April 20, 2012

A Sweet Countdown

Valerie at All Students Can Shine is counting down the final days until her c-section by having a giveaway!

Every day she is giving away a $20 shopping spree in her TpT store (wow) and an item from a fellow blogger. Today my Sight Word Superstars is up for grabs so head on over for your chance to win!
We have a huge Earth Day Celebration at school today so I am hoping to remember to take some pictures to show you later. 6 more weeks and I am counting them down like I have never done before!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where Have I Been and a Freebie

So much for my plans for my last few days of Spring Break. I have been laid up with terrible migraines for the last 3 days.   I can't do much but lay in a dark room, with a cold compress over my eyes, can't read, computer, tv etc, just enduring major pain and trying not to vomit. {Sorry, probably a little too much info there.} The first day it felt like I had an arrow through my eye socket and out the back of my skull. Today's was more of the "I must have a tumor at the base of my skull/spinal cord" variety and I was wishing for an ax to chop my whole head off...I often say it feels like my head is in a vice so I thought this picture was fitting.

I went to the dr. AGAIN and he gave me something new to try. After about 7 hours of torture I am now up and have the residual after headache but can at least function. I should not be on here since the computer could trigger another episode but I had the below post already written so I am rationalizing I will be quick.  I had grand plans for making some insect literacy centers and an Earth Day craftivity  but that doesn't seem likely now so I may have to risk a visit to TpT later to see if some of my bloggy friends can save my bacon.

If you are a healthy person, take a second to be thankful. I try to look on the bright side that I usually only get two migraines a month and I don't have cancer or something life-threatening that would take me away from my boys. My 4th grader, Quinn, was so sweet taking care of me this morning (the other two are camping.) He brought me meds, coffee, cold compresses and made sure to talk in a quiet voice. SO sweet!

Below is the post I had saved...I better get off here!

Here is another activity we did before Spring Break that I didn't get a chance to share. I had ordered this book from Scholastic and made a writing prompt and art project before it even came.
To be honest, instead of inspiring creativity from my students, it listed so many ideas, many students just copied the author.

I think next year I will change the prompt and use this Jan Brett book which is of higher quality. I was very pleased when we read it that my students made a text-to-text connection with Horton Hatches the Egg BEFORE I even asked!!!! Love those moments when you feel like what you are teaching is actually sinking in!

I made these bunny templates so all the kids had to do was cut out the pieces and add the details. They loved using the chalk on a cotton ball trick for the cheeks!

Anyway, here were the samples I made for the kids with the scrapbook paper bow in different places to make it look like a girl or boy.

Many of my fashionistas decided the girl's bow looked better on the ear :-)

and of course long eyelashes are a must.
A couple of the boys decided they wanted to put the bow on top even if that meant it was a girl. GASP! We are forward thinking here in California so that was fine by me. My girl who ALWAYS wants the "boy" stuff was absent or I'm sure she would have had a bow tie. :-)

I also wanted to let you know I uploaded a new book club packet for on-level firsties! I bought a six pack of this Little Critter book from Scholastic because my on-level group is super envious and has been asking if they can do book packets, too. Love that first grade enthusiasm asking for harder work! The AR level says 1.2 (which I don't always agree with) but with the packet it should be challenging.

Questions on story structure, inferring, antonyms, etc...

Sea animal ABC order cards
 And since you stayed to the end of this long post, your gift is this syllable cut and glue for FREE. Just download the preview on TpT.  The whole packet is just $2 if you'd like to try it with your kiddos.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Save the Earth!

I finished my latest book club packet that I know some of you have been waiting for.  Save the Earth! is a Ready Freddy book all about Earth Day so I can't wait to use it with high kiddos next week!

22 comprehension and vocabulary questions

A thinking map using adjectives to describe a character.

In the story, the students are given this challenge sheet so I made one for our students, too!

When the characters complete the challenge they get pins so I made these sticker labels for our students.
Only $3 in my TpT store if you are interested. 

I am back from Palm Desert to rainy and cold San Jose. Boo! Plus I am spending most of my day harassing encouraging my middle schooler to work on a report. I HATE reports!!! Reality is ruining my vacation.  I am still in my pjs and I only have 2 children driving me crazy instead of 30 so I guess I will choose to look at my cup as half full.  After I peek in on Mr. Moody (yes, that is my son when he has work to do) I will be back to check your blogs and hopefully, finally, have some time to comment!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Psanky Eggs

 I just finished a round of golf and got some nice color. Spring Break is AWESOME! After a late lunch we will head to the pool. Before we do, I thought I'd share something we did last week since the giveaways dominated my blog last week.

We made these Psanky (Ukranian) inspired eggs...

 after reading two of my favorite Patricia Polacco books. I explained a little about how Psanky eggs are made and we marveled at how intricate the eggs were. I gave every student an egg template copied on white construction paper, black sharpie marker, and watercolors. I  demonstrated using the sharpie to draw divided sections and outlining patterns. I also showed them how they could use a little crayon resist if they wanted to. We reviewed good watercolor technique and then I let them loose! Didn't they do a great job?

We have been reviewing story structure so I also had partners draw and fill out their own tree maps! I am so pleased at how well my students are doing with thinking maps. The Neat Nazi in me finds it hard to let the kids draw their own but I know that they internalize it much better that way. That was one of our signature practices that enabled us to be named a Distinguished School. Woo Hoo!

These two even wrote about their frame of reference!
I have more to share but my kids say they are ready for the pool so it will have to wait for my next post. Hope you are enjoying (or already did) your Spring Break as much as I am. I SO needed this to recharge my batteries!!!