Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday: January 31, 2014

I just love Fridays, don't you?  ;)
  • Thematic Center: Farm to Table 
We have been having a good week this week! We've been rather busy with a "Farm to Table" unit. This activity is my favorite…

I originally came across this idea at Mrs. Saylor's Log, and she provided a wonderful resource for the activity!

First, we read the Gail Gibbons book Milk Makers. If you want to make this text really come to life for your kiddos, you can watch a video of the Reading Rainbow version here.

After that, we used the resource provided at Mrs. Saylor's Log, and the students sequenced the events for processing and distributing milk. The students used this sequence of events to create a cow-themed flip book!

It turned out to be such an interesting, thorough depiction of this particular farm-to-table concept.
  • Math: Adding Double Digits
It has certainly been interesting kicking this topic off this week. In all honesty, I think the introduction provided in our curriculum really did more to confuse my kiddos than anything else. So for yesterday's lesson, we pulled out these faithful little number cubes and worked with partners to build two-digit numbers and add. Practice makes perfect, right???

  • Read-and-Roll Question Cubes
If you don't have question cubes to use with your reading groups, I highly recommend finding a set to use. I found this particular set at a local teacher supply store; they are the soft, "squishy" kind, so the kids are a little amazed just by the way they feel. Actually, they love using these things. They just don't realize how much it helps them to consistently practice reading and answering these questions in response to their texts. We use them almost daily.

If you want an easy option for question cubes, you can visit The Tally Tales TPT store for my version; I created printable question cubes that I could send home with children or set aside for specific tasks within the classroom. Each of the question cubes available in my product are designated to use at different points throughout reading. The questions on each cubes are appropriate for before, during, or after reading, so you can use the cube you need at each point of reading! Check out my Reading Response Question Cubes here
  • Cozy Reading
It has been cold, cold, cold this week. However, before the chill set in, I managed to snag a few minutes of front-porch reading, curled up under a blanket with a warm drink. How's this for cozy?!?

I hope you have a lovely weekend! Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY: Rustic Wooden Lettered Sign

In my recent chalkboard label jar tutorial, I mentioned that I am gradually working on our laundry room. This tutorial describes the steps I took to make this "laundry" sign to sit on top of our cabinet…

Start with a stained wooden board. 
Use a hand-held sander to distress the edges of the board.
Select stencil letters in the appropriate style and size for your project. I purchased this entire pack of reusable stencils at Hobby Lobby.
Use a tape measure to arrange each letter in a straight alignment along the board. This is probably the hardest part of this project because it is a bit tedious.
Use painter's tape to secure each letter according to the correct alignment. I measured and taped as I went.

With your letters secure in each position, you are ready to begin painting. I used this clay chalk paint for my letters. If you follow my blog, you have already seen me use this paint for several projects. I love it. I know most people would assume you would use a roller brush to do this paint job. I started with that, but it really didn't leave the smooth surface I wanted for these letters. That may have been due to the type of paint I used; I'm not sure. Either way, the sponge brush worked best for me here.
Once you have painted each letter, allow time for the paint to dry thoroughly.
When the paint has completely dried, carefully remove the stencils.
Again, if you follow my blog, you have already seen me use this wax in combination with the chalk paint for multiple projects.
Simply use an old cloth and dip it into the wax. Then, begin working the wax over the paint to create the desired appearance for each letter.

Allow time for the wax to dry completely. If you are using the same kind as I used, this should take long at all. Mine was dry in 10-15 minutes.
Finished product...

Here, you can see my sign in its new spot in our laundry room. I'm saving before-and-after pictures of the full room until I've completely finished, but you will see another project (maybe two) along the way! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading? 01-27-14

Starting the week with a little book love...

This Monday reading-list blog link-up is available through Teach Mentor Texts. This event was originally hosted by Book Journey, but I also love the idea of establishing a link-up with a kidlit focus. Therefore, I am linking up with Teach Mentor Texts and sharing my recent "must reads," but I will also link up with Book Journey  since some of my texts fall outside the kidlit genre.

Just Finished
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The only reader reviews/responses I have encountered toward this book have been raving with support and favor. My own review will join the club. To say that I know anything about the personal thoughts and experiences of a cancer patient would be a lie. Therefore, this story, written from the perspective Hazel, a teenager who suffers from lung cancer, revealed to me a world of thoughts and insights that seemed altogether foreign. At the same time, I was irresistibly drawn into that story, and I was captivated by the struggles, the pain, the raw emotion on every page. This isn't a feel-good book with a happy ending; it's a raw, emotional tale of struggle with a final resolution. 

And it's worth every minute of reading. 

I was surprised by the dynamics of the characters throughout this story. Green left no character undeveloped, and for that reason, each detail of the plot carries weight. Each name has a story within the complex narrative. This is, without a doubt, a 5-star read -not because it leaves you with a "happy feeling" when you are finished reading, but because you will, without a doubt, close the cover on the last page and utter a breathless, "Wow." 

Currently Reading
This will be an ongoing read for a while.
This will be an ongoing read for a while.
To Read:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five for Friday January 24, 2014

A few snippets from this week…

  • Focus on Chinese New Year: "The Year of the Horse" lantern crafts
  • Phonics Study: Long e tree maps and four-door foldables with cut-and-paste magazine letter words

  • Focus on Martin Luther King, Jr. and reflective writing

  • Guided Reading Poster Project: Main Idea and Supporting Details
This was one of those last-minute ideas that emerged from our small group discussions, so it isn't extremely elaborate in design and appearance. Forgive my quick marker-sketched thinking map. As far as the students' work is concerned, I was so pleased with this group's organization of ideas on the thinking map. They were so proud to share their work with the class!

  • This is a weird "five" to include, I suppose, but one of my favorite snapshots from this week is this latest screenshot here. The Tally Tales has changed a bit lately, and I'm just loving the little "tweaks" we have made along the way. I hope you are pleased with the view! :)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The 100th Day of School!

I had so much fun preparing for our 100th day of school in first grade this year. I planned for various centers, each of which included a task that focused on using -or making- 100 of something. This is an overview of a few of our activities for the day. I have compiled all of the materials I made into a new TPT product: The 100th Day of School.
  • 100's necklace with fruit loops
The students thread fruit loops onto a string of yarn. As they create the necklace, they mark each group of ten with a label. Then, when they are finished they have a student-created manipulative to use as they practice counting by 10's to 100!
  • 100th Day Scavenger Hunt
As the name implies, this activity involves a scavenger hunt. The students have a checklist of items, and they have to find ten of each item on the list. By the time they finish the search, they will have found 100 things at school.
  • 100th Day Snack
This sweet little treat was perfect for our 100th day. I know there are a lot of versions out there, including healthy alternatives such as using a baby carrot with cucumber slices. I made my snacks a couple of days in advance, so I went with easy options here! You could easily make this one your own, though. I simply stapled the tag onto the front of the snack bag, and viola! Done!

  • Finger-print Gumball Machine
You guessed it: these sweet little gum ball machines contain 100 finger-print gum balls! The kiddos loved this one. 
  • 100th Day Photo Booth
Oh, yes we did! The students made their own "100th Day Glasses" (available for free through Scholastic) and wore those, along with the necklace for a little photo-booth snapshot! How adorable is this…?!?
They were having way too much fun here! I had to get in on the photo booth action for just a minute as well.

Can you tell that we had a great day??? These activities, along with a few others, are included in my new TPT product: The 100th Day of School! You can access it here if you are interested in using any of these materials for your own 100th day.