Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Grinch Day 2015

Day 2 of Christmas break and I am loving it! I hope that you are having an awesome break too. I figured that since it was almost Christmas I should probably blog about my first ever Grinch Day!

When I saw all of these awesome teachers doing Grinch Day I knew that I had to do this in my classroom too, but there was one problem. Every classroom that I found online that had a Grinch Day was a primary classroom and I teach 5th grade. The more I thought about it the more that I knew I could have a Grinch Day too, just for big kids. 

I knew that I wanted to incorporate The Grinch in our day as much as possible, so I started with our morning work. Morning work for me is usually a review so I created a Grinch themed math review of diving, multiplying, adding and subtracting decimals and whole numbers to solve the Grinch's code. He said "Merry Grinchmas" of course! 

Next, I included some of the Grinch into your math and reading centers for the morning. Students had a choice to either find synonyms and antonyms for the word "Grinch" or solve Grinchy word problems, which were also review. 

For our reading block we started off reading the story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and looking for character traits of the grinch. Students worked in pairs to find character traits and evince to support their thinking. Since I only have one copy of the book,  and my students needed to have specific evidence from the text to support their thinking of character traits for the Grinch, I found on YouTube a read aloud version of the story and put it on our Google Classroom Website for students to listen to for their evidence. 
After my kiddos found character traits for the Grinch, they compared and contrasted the Grinch before the stole Christmas and after he stole Christmas. This lesson was a wonderful review for us since we worked on comparing and contrasting characters at the beginning of the school year. 

After everyone had time to work we shared together the character traits that the students found and made an anchor chart. 

Everything we did on Grinch Day was printed on green paper, which was a big hit with the kiddos. We even took our spelling test on green paper. The Grinch took over the backgrounds to our computers, and he even made an appearance at our holiday party at the end of the day. 

I have some pretty awesome parents who went along with the Grinch theme for our class party. I took the picture before the grinch punch made its appearance. 

Some of my parents sent in Who-Pudding and even these awesome Grinch cupcakes. All in all I would say that Grinch Day was a success and this will become a new tradition in my 5th grade classroom. From now on those primary kiddos won't have all of the fun! If you are interested in any of the activities that I used with my 5th grade class you can find them on my TPT store, Grinch Day for Big Kids. I plan on adding teaching notes and pictures to this resource soon. 
I hope you have a wonderful holiday break and enjoy your time with friends and family. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Snowflake Bentley: Winter Craft

4 more days, 4 more days I can make it...I hope. There are only 4 days standing between me and winter break and I can. not. wait. This week I am trying to do some fun and engaging activities to keep my kiddos learning, but having fun too, I mean its the holiday season after all. 
Today we integrated art and reading to create wonderful art pieces to go along with the book "Snowflake Bentley" by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. 

If you haven't read this book, it is a must. It is really unique is so many ways. The book can be used as fiction and non-fiction if you read it in different ways. For this lesson I read the book twice, once just reading the story of Snowflake Bentley for my students to make visualizations. I read the book a second time to read factual information about Snowflake Bentley and his amazing snow photographs. 

For this lesson I was really focusing on the standard below. We have been working on this standard for a week now and I really wanted to allow my students to have the chance to create their own multimedia. 

While I read the book, my students sketched out their visualizations and the evidence from the text that supported that visualization. We discussed what they visualized, what colors they saw and the tone of the text. My students then sketched out what multi-media they would add to the text in their reading notebooks for some pre-planning. 

Since this lesson was meant to be a connection between art and reading we discussed color choice and how that affected the tone of the art piece. We first used crayons to draw our snowflakes or images on plain computer paper. Students knew that the wax from the crayons would resist the paint and therefore the snowflakes would be the focal point of the artwork. 

After students had their artwork drawn with crayon they used water color paints to cover the entire paper. I bought some liquid water color a few years ago and have used it several times. I highly recommend purchasing liquid water color because its easy to use and lasts so much longer than regal water color. 

The kids loved this activity and I was impressed on how they turned out. One thing I would change if doing this in the future would be to not use white crayons, we though that it would show up nicely after we painted our paper, but grey or black seemed to work much better. 

If you are looking for a quick, little prep activity to get you through the holidays this is a winner! My kids loved it and it make a easy winter bulletin board! What have you been doing to make it through the holidays?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December Pick 3 Pinterest Party

I'm always up for a party, especially a Pinterest party where I don't even have to take off my pjs! Today I am lining up with Inspired Owl's Corner, Just Reed and Pawsitively Teaching for December's Pinterest Party. 

Even though I teach 5th grade, I always want to make sure that I incorporate a little fun in my day. My first two years of teaching I struggled with this, it was so difficult to get holiday and common core to work together. One of my all time favorite teacher bloggers is Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire. She is always inspiring me to do fun and engaging activities with my kids while also teaching the standards. I've been using these wonderful Christmas books and activities for my reading centers this month and it is a huge hit! 

Crafts are always fun during the holidays and I love how students can put their fraction and geometry skills to work with this Candy Cane Play Dough recipe. This would be awesome for a review activity before break! 

What's Christmas without decorations?! I can't wait to use this coordinate graphing freebie in my classroom to review a math skill and make my classroom a winter wonderland that can last even through January! 

I have so very much enjoyed being apart of the December Pinterest Party! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently December

Every new month I cannot believe that it is a new month. There are only 100 days left in this school year, it has really flown by! 

I am currently listening to one of the old school Christmas movies on ABC Family. My favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, comes on at 9:00. You can check out the ABC Family 25 days of Christmas schedule here. What is your favorite Christmas movie? 

I am loving the last day of the TPT Cyber Smile Sale. I bought some awesome new Christmas resources. This year our math curriculum map changed so I was in need of some math centers for our new subject area this year. One of the resources that I'm looking forward to using the most is Christmas Coordinate Graphing Ordered Pairs that I purchased from Kristine Nannini. This will be great practice for my kiddos before we do some problem solving with the ordered pairs. 

I am thinking that I really need to get a move on my Christmas shopping. Every year it just sneaks up on me. I think I'm doing really good at planning, but I'm always rushing out for a few last minute items. 

I am wanting my dinner to be ready! Its been rainy here in Kentucky and soup was the food that I was really wanting. Right now I'm just waiting for my potato soup to be finished. The easy crock pot recipe from Pinterest is on of my quick favorites. 

I'm needing to get a move on grading some papers, but I really don't feel like it tonight. I'd rather just sit on the couch curled up watching Christmas movies with my dog. 

My Christmas tree is fake. When I was a kid my parents would sometimes get a real tree, but not very often. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Center Organization

Happy Cyber Monday! If you are anything like me then you just bought a bunch of new and amazing products from TPT. I can't stop buying centers and I'm not sorry about it...until it times come to organize. I have a ton of math and language centers and I've finally found a organization system that works pretty well for me. 
5th grade is the only grade I've ever taught and let me tell you, they've spoiled me. I have a similar rotation for my math and reading centers and students know my expectations. Each week I just take my centers and put them in their corresponding basket. 
When I'm I'm organizing a new center, I always laminate and cut out each part first. Then, I hole punch the top left corner of every item in that center. I usually use task cards as my math centers or sometimes games with different pieces. This helps me attach them with a book clip to keep them all together. 
Keeping all of the pieces together really helps me from year to year. I love being able to go into my decimal or fraction bin, quickly grab the center I want and I'm done. I've also found that it works well to include all pieces when I hole punch, even the answer key and recording sheet. It makes is so easy for me to make copies of the recording sheet and then take the answer key off for quick grading.  I don't have to go back to my TPT account and re-download to print the recording sheets again. 

The book clips that I use to hold all of the pieces together came  from Amazon for $7.00 for a pack of 100. After I purchased these I've found a million uses for them and repurchased them several times. 
When I'm not using the centers i store them in bins that I got from the Dollar Store. I found similar ones online for $2.75 each and I feel like the ones that I have aren't that much more expensive. I would recommend getting the bigger storage bins if you are anything like me and have a center buying problem.  

Each storage bin is labeled with the type of centers that are inside of them. I am currently working on organizing these bins more specifically, but as of right now it works pretty well. I would love to see how you organize your centers and if you've got any tips for me! 

Happy Cyber Monday Shopping! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

All I Want for Black Friday Wishlist!

I don't know about you, but I cannot believe that Thursday is Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner! This year has flow by.  Today I am linking up with Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching from the The Primary Pack  to share my Black Friday Wishlist! 
First off is my personal wish list. My birthday is in December too so its difficult for me to choose so many things that I want but these are the must haves for me this year. 
-Plaid Blanket Scarf
- J.Crew Herringbone Vest
-Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace is Opal
I feel sure that these will be my most worn items this winter! 
As for TPT there are is a looooong list of things that I want need this Black Friday. These are just a few of my top priorities. 
- 5th Grade Common Core Morning Work Daily Review 
- Christmas Carols Math & Literacy Task Cards 
- Merry Christmas Just Print
- Christmas Coordinate Graphing 
Edge It Ultimate Pack 

And finally my most wish listed, top purchased and newest TPT products. Keep an eye out for my Black Friday Sale! Also, all of my Thanksgiving and Fall items are currently 20% off until Tuesday! 
-Leadership Quotes
-Leadership Notebook
-Homophone Pack 
-Christmas Spin and Solve
-Decimal Interactive Notebook 
Don't forget to link up and share your Black Friday Wishlist! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Activities

This is my favorite time of the year! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas there it is so easy to add fun into teaching with all of the holidays. Teaching the bigger kiddos you might think that they don't love doing holiday related things in the class room, but let me tell you they love it just as much as the little kids. 

I have been working really hard this year on trying to motivate my students by trying to add some fun into every day. One way I have been doing this is with incorporating technology into as much as the day as I can. One way I've been doing this is with my Daily Five centers and my new Thanksgiving Themed Spin and Solve language center. My kids love using the QR code scanner as a self check and I love that they are practicing so many skills! 

In math we have been working on decimal operations and my kids have been loving this Thanksgiving Dinner task card set that is in my store. At first we use these as a write the room and usually we don't get completely finished, so my kids begged me to put them into our RTI math centers so they could finish up. You wouldn't believe how much more engaged they are when the task cards are themed and have cute graphics. 

Finally, it just so happened that we have been learning about explorers and colonization in social studies. Cute things just make students more engaged, I am a firm believer in that!
We all know that classrooms have a wide variety of abilities, but everyone has to learn the same things. The Mayflower Compact is a difficult document for some of my kiddos to read, so I find that close reading really helps them dig deeper into the text, and by providing abridged texts all of my students have the same chance to understand the importance of this document. So for my class I created a close reading pack for the Mayflower Compact. 

Finally, I know that this time of the year can be CRAZY for everyone! One the last day of school before Thanksgiving break I like to do a review with math and you know I've got to have something themed as well! Kids love this Thanksgiving word problem review! Grab it in my store for FREE until Thanksgiving! 

What do you do in your classroom to get in the holiday spirit and help your kiddos learn? I hope that maybe some of these products will help you the way they help me! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Peek at My Week

This year seems to be flying by! I can't believe its already November and I'm in full swing of using my November resources! I am linking up with Mrs. Willis Kindergarten to show you a peek at my week! 

This week we are using my Thanksgiving Spinners for morning work. My kids really love this for morning work because they get to use their phones, tablets or iPads to use the QR self checking sheet and I love this resource because it hits so many 5th grade writing standards, its a win-win for everyone! 

In reading we are working on idioms, proverbs and adages. We will have our unit test on Thursday and I LOVE this  Close Reading Passage resource from the ever so talented Jennifer Findley. I just these passages as open responses for my unit assessments. Writing we are working on the dreaded on demand writing and conferencing with our pieces. 

 In social studies we are working on exploration and we will begin to look into the first official colonies in the New World. My students have a wide variety of background knowledge on this topic so these differentiated passages really come in handy for me.  

Math is my FAVORITE subject to teach and I find that adding and subtracting decimals is one of the most important skills that I teach because students will need to have this skill for the 'real world'. I recently found a new teacher blogger that I LOVE. She has some awesome ideas on how to keep students engaged during math which I love. I will be using her Game of Life resource on Tuesday to have my students practice their decimal skills. Also, I will be assessing my students on Friday with an oldie but goodie from my store. This workshop model resource challenges my students thinking and I love it.

In my math RTI I actually have two groups. One of them we will be working on multi-digit multiplication with my Fall Themed Multiplication product. These are some of my more struggling students who need continual review. I am also going to be working with another group on decimal skills with my Fallin' for Decimals resource.

I hope you have a great week and can't wait to see what you are up to this week.

Update: I have made changes to my workshop model resource for adding and subtracting decimals. I have added it as a freebie in my store until 10:00 p.m. when Castle comes on! Hope you enjoy!