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!!!!!!!!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Turkey writing. winners and FREEBIES!!

This week we had a student move which doesn't happen too often at a magnet school. We each wrote a goodbye letter to her and I bound them into a book.

Doesn't this picture look just like her?

She even wrote to herself to save her memories

 We read The Great Turkey Race and wrote about where we thought the turkeys ran off to. The kids did a great job and I am starting to feel like I am making progress with them. Wahoo! You can grab the writing paper from Tammy.
Parachuting in space
a dance party!
Congrats to Kourtney, Pauline, Latoya, Kelly S, and Jessica who won copies of my Thanksgiving Read the Room! I will email them right out. If you didn't win you can grab your copy in my TpT store for only $1.50.

I also need to announce that Renee Saint Laurent won a free Wizard Wall trial pack! Look for an email from me.

This week we will be working on how-to writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure

I have been doing How to Cook a Turkey for the last few years and they always crack me up!
A cover if you want to make it into a class book
A flow map writing organizer.
Some students clearly have helped cook this holiday meal and one even told me about taking the gizzard bag out before you start!

Here are some focusing questions that help them...

What might you have to do to the turkey before you start?
Does anything go in the turkey?
Do you put anything on the outside of the turkey?
How long and at what temperature do you cook it?

If your students are better with sentence frames you can use this:

Final draft writing paper. 
 I have put all this together into a FREEBIE for you, just click {HERE}. If you like it give me some love in the form of a rating on TpT, becoming a follower, or a blog comment.

Imagine me virtually wearing this button.  :-)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Read the Room

Do your students love to Read the Room during word work? Mine go nuts for it! The challenge for me is to find new places to tape the words up!

We are focusing on clusters with s next week and to check that they are actually decoding the words the students will have to write the word on the line next to the matching picture.

 It is in my TpT shop for only $1.50! I am feeling thankful that my conferences are over and we have Monday off (can I get a woot woot? ) so how about instead of giving away 1 new unit like I usually do, I will give away 5! Told you I am feeling good. I will pick the winners tomorrow night so you can use them this week so let your friends know to enter lickety split!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats  to Elizabeth Delk who won my Bats Informative Reading and Writing Unit from last week!

I will leave you tonight with this video I saw on Jessica's blog. It was hilarious and SPOT ON! Do you have a few friends like this?


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wizard Wall

I have a cool product to show you today called Wizard Wall. It is special "paper" (it reminds me of the wrapper around a popsicle) that you can use to make your anchor charts but it has some super cool features.
No judging my handwriting! Real time is sometimes not pretty.
1. It is electrostatic so it can go up on any wall without tape, tacks, etc. Not only is this great if you don't have an easel handy but it also makes putting it on a wall for display quick, easy and won't harm your painted walls!

2. You can write on both sides with permanent or dry erase markers!

Here is a video of it in action.

 Visit them on Facebook to learn more or be eligible for giveaways they run.

Want to try a sample pack for yourself? Enter via Rafflecopter below and I will pick one winner on Sunday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's all for tonight my friends. Teaching half days and conferencing the rest has me pooped tonight. My conferences have all gone really well so far. My toughest one will be tomorrow so wish me luck!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bats & Halloween Tales

I am so sad Halloween is over. I LOVE it. I think next year I may start in September so I can fit more fun in! I am not kidding. I didn't get to spiders and they are WAY more interesting than apples. Although you can't taste spiders and I am a fan of anything involving food. Hmm...a decision for another day.  Here is what we did finish this week.

Just like last year, we read Spookley the Square Pumpkin and made our own unique pumpkins. We have been learning about describing words so we also wrote about them including adjectives.

A student immediately spoke up to say that Spookley is actually a cube and not a square. I was smiling to myself that he remembered our geometry unit from a few weeks ago but my grin grew by a mile when I realized that the speaker was a student that is NEVER with me. Seriously, this boy is on his own planet most of the time and I am constantly having to repeat directions or redirect him. It is little moments like that that make teaching worthwhile.

Since I am trying to incorporate the Common Core this year, I beefed up our bat unit with more informative reading and writing.
We started by recording what we already knew about bats.
The students wrote down facts on their circle map as we read a nonfiction text.

We shared out on a class anchor chart afterwards. Then students circled and numbered three facts on their circle map that they would like to write about. I walked them through completing a planning sheet like this. I can't deal with managing all the colored strips of Step Up so I use a flow map version.
Writing always looks better on paper that has been cutesified {yes, that is a word :-) }
The students did a great job! I was going to make a craft to go with it but Teri beat me to it and hers are always adorable! So you can grab your cute bat template from A Cupcake For the Teacher.
Of course some just had to make theirs vampire bats!
 We are learning about adjectives so we used a bubble map to describe bats.

We have been practicing telling the difference between fiction and nonfiction a lot! One great tip I have is this: When we get back from the library I ask the kids to hold up their book if it is fiction and then do the same for nonfiction. This is a way for the students to practice sorting, it gives you an assessment as to who is still confused, and it is interesting to learn the students' reading habits. This is a cute and glue we did as a more formal assessment. I had the actual books out in the front of the room in case the kids needed to refresh their memory.
I made this double bubble to address  CCSS RI1.9 Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic.
 I put all this into a packet called Bats Informative Reading & Writing for only $3 on TpT in case you want to save it for next year. 
I know it is late, but would you still like to win one for next year? If so, you can enter below and I'll pick a winner on Saturday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Halloween in the middle of the week was crazy, huh?  Six of the staff dressed up as Where's Waldo/Wenda with me but we forgot to take a picture! I basically looked like this: {Okay, add a few more pounds but you get the drift.}

During the parade my firsties kept saying, " Mrs. B, that teacher is dressed like you! Hey, there is another one!"  It was pretty funny. My parade story isn't quite as dramatic as last year, but when the teacher lap was done I came back to find my class all out of their seats chanting, "Go Mrs. Bates! Go, Mrs. Bates!" Seriously? Is it something I do? I guess I do joke around with them, etc.. Oh well. Everybody is happy and learning so I guess it is all good.

Then it was time for Round 2 at home. My hubbie and 2 boys like to make our house spooky. It never fails that we end up making some little kids scared to the point of crying. Here are pics in the daytime but imagine fog and creaky, howling, screeching sounds...
The ghost kids really freak people out!

I didn't get the grave with the arm coming out in the picture.

We have had SF Giants fever around here so my 10 year old made the panda at the end in honor of Pablo Sandoval. My kooky husband made the dual personality. :-)
And 4 days later....
California and Jack do not get along too well.

 To round out my crazy week we had Fall Festival last night. From 5:30-9 there are carnival games, cake walk, food, etc and the teachers always sign-up to do a shift. I ended up helping a lot at the glow booth which got a lot of visitors. It is a nice community event and I feel like a rock star because families current and past constantly wave or hug {yes, I am a hugger} or want to stop and say hi.

We have half days this week and conferences in the afternoon. Should make for another exhausting week! I am taking my 10 year old son Quinn to get his cast off between conferences on Monday (remember he broke his elbow?) My husband can't take him and was going to make him wait two extra days. Quinn has been such a trooper with his cast, not complaining at all, so when he sweetly asked if maybe I could somehow take him to get it off on time since it was getting itchy, I rearranged my schedule. I only had to ask 2 parents and they were super nice about it.

Alrighty, I have to get off this blog and go finish my report cards. I usually have them all done and printed by now but I've turned into Last Minute Lucy this year! I hope you are making use of my labels on the sidebar to look ahead for ideas because clearly I am not doing a good job posting them early. Sorry peeps! I hope to get back to my organized self sometime soon. I'd love to hear from you if you have a second to leave a comment.