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.