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Friday, September 28, 2012

Linky Parties, Giveaways, & a Flash Sale - Oh My!

It's fall and that means it's time for some teaching fun.  Linky parties are a great way to find products and people/blogs that peak your interest.  Here are a few you may find interesting:

What could be more fun than a giveaway?  Check these out:

It's about time for a sale, a flash sale.  I'm offering 15% off everything in my TpT Store on Sunday, 9/30/12, only.  Hurry or you'll miss it!

Enjoy the last weekend of September!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's about time, teachers, to do some math activities with your scarecrow unit.  One of the anchor activities in my classroom is a daily graph.  While I'm completing attendance and lunch counts, my kiddos place their name on the graph, which we discuss during our morning meeting.

My daily graph looks something like this. However, I include enough rows to accommodate the number of students in my class, just in case they all select the same answer.  I highlight groups of 5 rows so that students may analyze their data using skip counting.  Of course, you can number the rows, if you prefer.

I prepare questions cards to post each day.  
For example: 

Other questions could include:

  • Do you think a scarecrow will scare the birds away?
  • Does a scarecrow need a hat?
  • Are scarecrows scary?
  • Can scarecrows scare other animals away from the field?

The questions I pose are not limited to scarecrows. They do, however, focus on farms/agriculture. For example: 

Other questions are like these:

  • Do you live on a farm?
  • Have you ever visited a farm?
  • Have you ever ridden a horse?
  • Have you ever touched a pig?

At the math center, patterns are always a hit. So, I provide a set of scarecrow pictures and task cards that tell the children what pattern they should make.

Ask the children to glue their patterns on long strips of construction paper. The cards have different levels of difficulty, allowing for differentiation of instruction. 

If you like these activities, you will find many more in my thematic unit, SCARECROWS. It is available in my TpT Store or at my TN Shop.

You may also like:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SCARECROW Craftivity

Halloween is banned at my school.  So, harvest themes are big for craftivities in the fall. One of my favorite projects is making scarecrows. 

You can get the directions and templates from Google Docs.

Check out a great Fall linky party by Valerie 

This craftivity is one of the activities you will find in my product, Scarecrows.  

It's available on TpT or Teachers Notebook.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It's fall!  That means it's harvest time, teachers, ... which means you can turn your attention to scarecrows and all the fun they bring to your classroom.

When I pull out my scarecrow unit, I love to focus on compound words.  After all, SCARECROW is a compound word and it's one of the best ones to explain how compound words work.

Once I've introduced compound words, I immerse my students in them.  For example, I create a farm scene on a bulletin board.  It's amazing how many compound words you can reap on a farm!  Then, as the kiddos identify compound word pictures on the board, we label them.

How many more compounds can you find in this picture?

Once we have acquired a bank of compound words, each student chooses one to illustrate for a barn craftivity.

A display of these barns in the hallway is sure to cause a traffic jam.

We routinely have a shared reading of a poem which later is placed in our poetry center. Each child receives a copy to place in his/her poetry anthology.  The following scarecrow poem affords us the opportunity to find and highlight compound words in text:

Another compound word activity could be used as a center printable, an anchor activity, or something for fast finishers. It's a word find composed of compound words. It's a Google doc so you can grab a copy if you like.

All of these activities and many more are available in my thematic unit, cleverly named "Scarecrows." 

It is available on TpT and TN.  You'll harvest a lot of learning with it.

Teaching My 3
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hanging Out with Stellaluna -- Pt. 3

Now that you've read Stellaluna to your class, it's time to extend the learning.  One of my goals with this study is to change my students' attitudes about bats.  To this end, I invite experts to come talk to my class.  I'm fortunate to live in a college town (Go ILLINI!) where it is easy to find a bat expert.  A professor from the U of I's Natural History Museum is kind enough to spend some time with my kiddos and brings lots of cool artifacts.  Moreover, I have a personal friend who is a caver and professor at the local community college.  She also gives her time to my class.

In addition to these awesome resources, I like to read several non-fiction books about bats to my class.  A couple of my favorites are Amazing Bats by Seymour Simon and Bats by Gail Gibbons.

Armed with new knowledge about bats, my class then completes a Venn Diagram comparing bats and birds.  I have always done this with the traditional 2 ovals intersecting in the middle.   Yesterday, as I was perusing Pinterest, I found this idea for putting the diagram on a bat.  Well, duh.

Well done Kinder by Kim!

Being a "poet-tree nut," I just have to include some poetry writing.  We write acrostics --

and bat shaped poems -- 


and stories -- 

Because I teach first grade, I don't assign factual reports to the class.  I do, however, challenge my gifted/enrichment students to create a factual report -- 

We make a bat nursery with origami bats --

and share our learning with the school --

Can you see the echolocation lines in Katie's drawing above?  They are purple lines right beside the bat's head.  

We publish a class book with all of our poems, stories, and reports.  One copy goes in our class library, one copy is given to the school library, and each student takes a copy home.

If you would like more ideas for teaching about bats through Janell Cannon's Stellaluna, check out my Hanging Out with Stellaluna product on TpT or TN.  In addition to the activities already discussed, Hanging Out with Stellaluna includes math journal prompts, origami directions, and center ideas, such as this phonics center vowel sort --

I don't need a standardized test to assess my students' learning.  It's obvious.