Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hooway for Wodney Wat: A Social Studies Mentor Text

I'm hoping this post will work.  I am now on vacation and had to schedule it.  I've never scheduled one before.  But, I just hate missing Collaboration Cutie's Mentor Text Link Up.  This week's topic is social studies.
Since we are out of school, I'm thinking about social studies books I use at the beginning of the year with my firsties.  The first few weeks usually focus on getting to know you and community building.  One book I love for community building is Helen Lester's Hooway for Wodney Wat.
This book tells the story of Rodney (Wodney) who is a rodent that cannot say his R's correctly.  He is very shy because of his speech and the other students at his school are not kind to him.  The illustrations of little Wodney are very relatable and tug at the readers' heart strings.
As the story progresses, shy Wodney inadvertently stands up to the class bully and becomes a hero.
This story is great for starting a conversation about how to treat others and how to take care of each other.  As a class community, we certainly want our students to take care of each other and to be kind.  
Hooway for Wodney Wat is not only a wonderful book to use to help build community in your classroom, it also lends itself to various literacy activities.  One activity that I like to use is a comparison between Wodney at the beginning of the story and Wodney at the end of the story.  
In the past we have done this activity whole group making a T chart on some chart paper.  However, I have created a graphic organizer that basically serves the same function as the T chart, but each student can have a copy.  Students can either illustrate or write about the changes Wodney experiences.  How you use it really depends on the level of your students. 
You can have your own FREE copy of this activity by clicking on one of the pictures below. 

Here's the breakdown for this week's Mentor Text for social studies . . .
Thanks for reading.  Be sure to visit Collaboration Cuties for more social studies text ideas.  These Mentor Text Link Ups are really great resources.  I'll have to catch up with the other Mentor Text suggestions next week after I return from my trip.  
Have a great week.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five for Friday: May 24, 2013

Today is the first Friday of summer break.  I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday.
Sorry, this week's post is very light on school related thoughts.  We had a half day on Monday.  I spent the rest of that day (late into the evening) and Tuesday cleaning my room.  I found this pic on pinterest that shows how I felt at the end of those days (especially as I worked under my computer tables).
please note, this poor kitty is not mine
Although I'm out of school, I still do have Five for Friday.  So let's get started.

Number 1
Time to clean and edit.  I am a fairly organized person.  I also have a ton, I mean a ton of teaching resources in my class (hard copies).  However, I have noticed over the past couple of years that I go to those shelves fewer and fewer times each week.  I am using 20% of my books 80% of the time.  More and more of my resources are stored on my computer or can be found online.  So I decided to open up some valuable real estate and bring some of those under used books home.  I cleared off half of a bookshelf.  I'm happy to be starting next year with some free surfaces.
next stop, the basement

Number 2
Last day of pre k.  My sweet daughter's last day of pre k was Wednesday.  I'm so thankful that my school was out of session and I was able to bring her and pick her up on her last two days of preschool.  I guess the countdown to kindergarten is officially on.  I'm trying not to think about it.

Number 3
Summer to-do lists.  Are there any of us not making them right now?  Every summer I plan all sorts of projects.  I get to some and others are left undone.  I usually feel a bit guilty for what is left undone.
Fast forward to sometime this fall, I ran across this quotation:
I'm going to keep this in mind, especially as my over ambitious summer plans take shape. 
I even had this quote stamped into a cool fortune cookie necklace I found on etsy, just as a little reminder.  

Number 4
The search for aviator sunglasses.  Over the past few weeks I have been trying to find a pair of aviator shades for this summer.  I ordered my first pair of Ray-Bans.  They were too big.  I ordered my second pair of Ray-Bans they were too small.  (Just kidding, they actually had these little rubber pieces that kept getting stuck in my hair and pulling it).  I ordered my third pair, which are Kate Spade and they are just right.  Thanks zappos for free shipping and free returns.  I think I'm finally set.

Number 5
Vacation.  Our little family is just about to leave for our vacation.  We are going to the Bahamas.  This spring has been unusually cold and rainy.  I am looking forward to some warm sunny weather.  I'm hoping to break in my new shades.
I'm sure I'll post a few pics on Instagram.  If you are interested you can find me @schoolisahappyplace.

Thanks so much for reading.  I'm off to pack.
Have a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Daily Five: Getting Started

Yesterday was the last day with students for this school year.  I spent most of today cleaning my classroom and packing up a few things to take home.  Summer break is on.
While many of you are not on break yet, you will be soon.  If you are like me, summer is a perfect time for planning for the next school year.  If you are thinking about using The Daily Five in your class next school year, I want to share five tips for getting started.
Most of the work with The Daily Five is on the front end.  Your organization before hand and training your students during the first weeks of school are really important to the success of using this literacy structure in your class.
If you have any questions, please contact me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Budding Blog for May

Thank you I {heart} Recess for hosting a linky that is near and dear to my heart.  The Budding Blog linky that showcases new bloggers with less that 200 followers.
I get to answer the following questions:
1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
3.  Describe your teaching style.
4.  Give three interesting facts about you.
5.  Do you have a Tpt store?  If yes, post the link.

Simple enough.  So here it goes . . .

Thanks so much for reading.  Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers on I {heart} Recess.  Also don't forget about Teacher Talk Tuesday (#teachertalktuesday) on Instagram.  Lots of fun!  
You can find me @schoolisahappyplace.

Pray for OK

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Me and My Amazing Body: A Must Read Science Mentor Text and A Writing FREEBIE

Hi friends.
This week's Must Read Mentor Text Link Up's theme is science.  The book I chose is Joan Sweeney's Me and My Amazing Body.  Sweeney is the author of Me on the Map.  If you like Me on the Map, I'm sure you will find Me and My Amazing Body fab as well.
This book is a great overview of the different parts of the body and how they all work together.  My students really seem to enjoy the illustrations.  In the end Sweeney highlights how our bodies are very much the same, yet we are all different.  What a nice message.

One way I use this book is as a jumping off point for a writing lesson when we create our Boo Boo Map graphic organizers.  If you are unfamiliar with a Boo Boo Map, it is basically a graphic organizer where students mark places on a body outline where they have had injuries.  You know how much kids like sharing about boo boos.
Each marked boo boo can be an idea for a story.  Students keep these graphic organizers in their writing binders all year.  If they have a problem coming up with a topic, the Boo Boo map might me the perfect resource.
If you would like a free copy of this activity you can click on the picture below.  I included some different versions of the boo boo map, one is super modest (just in case).  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

Me and My Amazing Body is a great science text to support this writing lesson and a great book on its own.  If you do not have a copy in your class library, you really should check it out.
Here is the break down:
There are other great science text recommendations at Collaboration Cuties.  Be sure to take a look.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five for Friday: May 17, 2013

I made it across the overly booked, last week of school finish line and now it's time for Doodlebugs Teaching's Five for Friday (on Saturday).
It has really been one of those weeks that I have trouble sleeping because so many extra things are going on and I'm afraid something is going to slip through the cracks and leave me scrambling.  But as of Saturday morning, I think I'm in the clear.
So, let's get started.

Number 1
Yesterday was our Awards Day at our school.  We had a little singing and a little presenting followed by an ice cream party on our playground.  We had a great time.
Here we are lining up in class getting ready to go to our auditorium.

Number 2
End of the year gifts.  I keep it really simple.  I like to give out books and write a little personal note inside the cover to each student.  I usually try to find a summer themed book in the Scholastic book order to give out.  I want my last message to my firsties as they leave my class to be read, read, read!

Number 3
Water Day was this week.  As cool as this spring has been, I was really worried about this event taking place.  But luckily it warmed up a bit and we could go on with our original plans.   A  even stopped by to have a little fun.

Number 4
Tuesday was  A's  last preschool outing.  Her little class made boats in art for their annual boat float.  We went to a local park and watched the boats make their way down the creek to a waiting teacher who fished them out.  After the float we had a picnic and played.  It was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon.

Number 5
I've been a bad, bad girl with my exercise routine.  I am a very consistent exerciser.  However, the past couple of weeks have been a challenge.  I am still moving along, but I certainly have taken more days off than I wanted.  My ipod has been neglected.  I think he's feeling a bit lonely.  But, now it's time to get back to work.

Thanks for stopping by and reading.
Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Rad Dad: A FREE Father's Day Booklet

I know we are a good bit aways from Father's Day.  But if your school calendar is like mine, you will be on summer break when Father's Day rolls around.  My students only have a few days left.  I am going to squeeze in a couple of little Father's Day activities before the end of the year.
One activity my firsties will do is a booklet about their own sweet fathers, My Rad Dad.  If you would like a FREE copy of this booklet you can click on the picture.
The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.  It is a companion to the booklet we did for Mother's Day, My Marvelous Mom.  You can click here if you would like a copy of it for next year.
There are loads of daddy/child books available.  One I will use is Eve Bunting's A Perfect Father's Day.
This book is really sweet and can help your kiddos start thinking about ways to make Father's Day special for their dads.  
Good dads certainly deserve their props.  (Especially when they have to coach 5 and 6 year old girls soccer.)
Here's to Coach Daddy.
Also, don't forget about Teacher Talk Tuesday on Instagram (hashtag #teachertalktuesday).  It's a lot of fun to check out what other teachers are into today.  You can find me @schoolisahappyplace.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jumping in Feet First

Hi friends.
We are under the one week mark until the end of the year and everybody at my school knows it.  I could tell you some stories . . .  but I'll spare you.  Let's just say it's safe to say that first graders forget themselves this time of year.
Anyway, Saturday night after all the grandparents left our house (we hosted dinner for both sets) and  A  was in bed, I decided to take the Teachers Pay Teachers plunge.  So, as my husband watched the latest James Bond movie, I sat with my little laptop working my way through adding my first products to Teachers Pay Teachers.  By the end of the movie I was finished.
I added my OI and OY Roundup.  You can check it out by clicking on the picture below.
It includes mini lesson ideas, posters, literacy center activities, recording sheets, and printables all focusing on oi and oy.
I'm excited to have accomplish the goal of opening my little store at tpt.  I can check one of my New Year's resolutions off my list.  Now I need to work on planning better for meals and going to bed earlier, which were my other resolutions this year.  Sorry I'm getting off track.
Moving on . . .
If you have any questions let me know.
Happy Monday.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Emily's First 100 Days of School: A Mentor Text for Math and a Class Book FREEBIE

It's time once again for Collaboration Cuties' Mentor Text Link Up.  This week's topic is math.  One book with a math theme that I really like using is Rosemary Wells' Emily's First 100 Days of School.  This book has 100 different entries by bunny rabbit Emily about events at her school and in her life.

This book is longer than your average counting book.  I usually start reading it at the beginning of the year and continue on until the 100th day.  The illustrations are very cute.  It also provides a great jumping off point for an on-going class book project.
I've created a free class book printable that you can have to use with your class by clicking on the picture below. 
The clip art is from KPM Doodles.
For my class books I really like using three ring notebooks and plastic sleeves.  That way at the end of the year I can disassemble the books and easily send pages home with each student.  I used to use the binder at school and the pages would always start ripping out when the kids would handle the books too much.  For me, the notebook with the plastic sleeves is the way to go.  If you have any questions, please contact me.
So here's what you need to know:
Be sure to read some of the other recommended math texts links at Collaboration Cuties.  

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope you had a great day with special people in your life.