Saturday, December 31, 2011

Grinch Day Recap with Freebies

I know, I know, tonight is New Year's Eve but my class and I had so much fun during our Grinch Day that I just couldn't wait another 300+ days to share all the fun we had with you.

Our holiday party this year was the day before we got out for break, meaning I had to come up with something to hold my Christmas crazed darlings attention for the whole day when all they we could think about was: Santa, Santa and more Santa.  The other teachers on my team gave me a Night Before Christmas coloring book and assured me that it would keep my darlings busy.  While I love me some Night Before Christmas, especially that one holiday special with the mice, I wanted to keep things fun but still educational.  Luckily, I was able to find so many wonderful ideas out in Blogland to save the day.

We began the day by reading the book and completing a graphic organizer from Deanna Jump's Grinch Mini Unit.  We discussed how characters can change and discussed how the Grinch changed throughout the story.  My personal favorite was in the beginning he was a bucket dipper and in the end he was a bucket filler.   Precious.

Then we created the Grinch similes that I saw on The First Grade Parade.  We brainstormed words that described how green the Grinch was, as well as words that described how small his heart was on the Smartboard together and then my students created their own similes. They loved this activity!

Click on the picture below to get your own copy of the prompt that I gave my students.  Don't worry, my typo is fixed. :)  I realized I accident had The Grinch's on my original while I was in the copy room and decided to just roll with it.  Their similes are still adorable anyways. 

The we created the Grinch's from Deanna's mini unit.  They came out so cute, even though some of my darlings had to tape their Grinch's together because they didn't listen hear the directions about folding the green paper before tracing and cutting out his face.

If you liked the paper my students wrote on in the pictures above, click on the picture of it below to download your own copy.
I love how unique and different their Grinch's were.  I especially loved the long eyelashes and lipgloss in the picture on the right.  
After lunch and recess, we continued our day of fun by doing Grinch story problems!
I loved the concept of Made for First Grade's Grinch Problem Solving book, but since we just spent weeks doing double digit addition and subtraction, I needed to modify the problems a bit.  I created double digit addition and subtraction problems and it worked out perfectly!  Email me at if you would like a copy of the story problems I created for this great activity.   

I used a paper cutter to cut the problem solving squares to solve time.  I just put them in the back of the room and my students grab more as they finished the problems.  I also had the manipulatives included in Deanna's unit available for my early finishers to create growing, shrinking and repeating patterns. 
Obviously the last pattern is repeating, my friend just forgot to label it. :)

We finished the day by watching the cartoon version and passing out their Grinch dust. 
I wanted to give my students the Grinch licked candy canes I saw floating around Blogland but I could never find any candy canes packages that were all green and I had a hard time justifying shelling out $2.99 for a twelve pack of candy canes that had only 6 green candy canes.  Of course, today at Meijer I found some. 

Go figure.  The one grocery store I typically never go to had them.  Go figure.  

Here's a helpful tip, if you give your students Grinch dust (a.k.a. green glitter) make sure the bag doesn't have any holes.  My sweet grandma assembled them for me and kept wondering why glitter ended up all over the table she used.  Turns on the cute little bags we used didn't seal tightly at the bottom of the bag.  I got the idea for the poem from The First Grade Parade, click on the picture below to save your own copy for next year. 

I hope you enjoyed my recap of our Grinch Day as much my class did. My kiddos kept saying how much fun they were having and one little darling wished that "everyday could be Grinch Day."  It was great day of fun and learning and one I fully expect do with my class every year.

What was your favorite thing you do/did with your class during the holiday season?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Money, Money, Money

Before break, I did a week long money focus with my students.  We focused mainly on identifying coins and their values and counting coins up to $1.  Later in the year, we will focus on making change and incorporating dollars into their counting of money.

My district uses Investigations math and we played the game Collect 25¢ about a million times.  We also played Collect 50¢ and for my higher kiddos, they played Collect a Dollar. 

We also utilized Erica Bohrer's WONDERFUL Touch Money posters.

What a wonderful resource! The concept of touch money really helped my struggling students and helped most of class counting amounts of coins over 70¢.  Whenever I heard, "I don't get it!" I would reply, "Go use the touch money posters, and the "I don't get its" turned into "I got its."  I love when that happens.  I also hung up large pictures of the coins that showed the front and backs of the coins with the Touch Money dots on them in the front of the room, and my students really benefited from seeing the touch dots on the front and back of the coins.  

We also used several sheets from the following resource book.

I am often indifferent with resource books that you can buy at the teacher store but I loved this book.  I especially loved how the book builds with difficulty, making it easy to differentiate.   During choice time, I would have the students work on some of these pages and hung up a key for them in the back of the room.  I love doing this because students get to self check their work and you don't spend a lot of time going over work as a class, which can be beneficial but can also be spent doing other things. 

We also played several games from Lory Evans.  One was a freebie from her blog.

The other was from her Scholastic Book.  

I ordered my copy of her book from Scholastic with my bonus points and use it almost weekly.  My students LOVED the game "Make a Dollar" from her book.  

I also used this Pinch and Total activity from What the Teacher Wants.  I loved this activity because my students were able to move through the activity at their own pace and it made a great formative assessment as well. Win, win. 

One of our focus indicators for money is representing an amount of money multiple ways.  I made the following flip books for my students to practice this skill.  I had my students show three different ways to show the amounts on their flip books and then they switched with a partner.  Their partner checked their coins and made sure their partner's coin drawings were accurate.  If there were any disputes, I quickly jumped in to referee.  My students loved these activities and I heard lots of good math discussions while they were reviewing each others work. Click on the preview below to download your own copy to use with your class.  I did one flip book a day during the week we studied money. 

My students have really mastered the art of collaboration and partner work lately, so I wiped up this partner activity for them to use at the end of our unit.  It was also a hit.  Click on the preview below to get your own copy. 

Overall, I was so happy with our study of money and level of mastery my students achieved! When I taught third grade, most of my students struggled to even identify coins and their values, making teaching making change and making money amounts using the least amount of coins possible, VERY difficult.  So I wanted to make sure I gave my second graders a solid foundation on identifying and counting coins, as well as making sure they were able to show multiple ways to make a certain amount of money.

Enjoy your weekend! :) Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

First Post: 11 in 11

Hello friends! Welcome to my new teaching blog! However, I am no stranger to the blogging world, I've had a food blog for over a year now and have fallen in love with the blogging community.  However, during the course of the past few months, I have found myself visiting teaching blogs more than food blogs and have been anxious to start my very teaching blog.

While I will be sharing soon some of the activities I did in my classroom for Christmas very soon, I am excited to be linking up to Hadar's and Kristin's 11 in 11 Linky Party. That way we can get to know each other better. :)

11. Favorite movie you watched: 
I saw a lot of funny movies this year that I really enjoyed.  However, I would have to say my favorite of the year was Bridesmaids.  I went to see it with some of my girlfriends and to this day, my maid honor when she calls me begins every conversation with, "You are more beautiful then Cinderella! You smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine."  
10. Favorite TV series:
 My favorite new series from this year is Up All Night.  Hilarious stuff.  I mean have you seen the episode featuring Mr. Bob's Toddler Kaleidoscope and epic fight between Amy's mom and Kayla's mom?

My all time TV show is King of Queens.  I own the entire series on DVD and watch it way more than I should.

9. Favorite restaurant:
This is a hard question! Although we eat lots of Panera and Chipotle, we are quite picky about the restaurants we go to.  I would have to say my favorite meal of the year was at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D.C. for my birthday. We had a wonderful meal and they really know how to make a birthday girl feel special!

8. Favorite new thing you tried:
I have actually been blogging for awhile now, so I can't say that! I would have to say coaching with Girls on the Run and teaching second grade.  This is my first year in second grade, I taught third grade for four years before that.
7. Favorite gift you got:
It's quite sappy really.  In June, my husband resigned from his job.  His job required a lot of travel, as in he was only home two weekends a month.  He came home and now manages at a popular restaurant chain that is referenced in question number nine that specializing in picking two things. ;)

6. Favorite thing you pinned:
Goodness.  I have pinned LOTS of things.  I am head over heels in love with Starbucks, so I giggle every time I see this photo.

5. Favorite blog post:
I would have say the recipe for cake batter doughnuts I developed on my food blog.  It was my most viewed recipe last year.

4. Best accomplishment:
I was involuntary transferred from the school year I student taught and taught for the first four years of my teaching career due to budgetary reasons a week before school started.  Packing up and moving my classroom was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  Surviving that mess and not requiring therapy in the end, is something I'm very, very proud of.

Oh and starting to run again.  Once upon a time, I ran a marathon.  Then I met my husband and stopped running.  It's been wonderful doing something I love on a more regular basis again.

3. Favorite picture:

This picture was taken when I celebrated my birthday at my inlaws house in Virginia this summer.  I remember wishing to "see my husband more" and he resigned from his job that next week.  Wish granted. :)

2. Favorite memory:
I have two.
1. Crossing the finishing line with one of my students while she completed her first 5k as a coach with Girls on the Run.  I was SO PROUD of her!

2. Going to Southern California to be in my best friend's wedding!

1. Goal for 2012:
I just have one word: Strength.
I hope and pray for the strength to endure the rest of the school year as a part of a very challenging team of teachers.  I am the youngest by twenty years and it makes group planning and collaborating difficult.
Strength for my body to endure half marathon training.
Strength to stick to the budget my husband and I have put in place to save for our first home.
Strength to just trust God and the journey he has planned for me personally and professionally.

Hope to see you over at Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher to join all the fun!

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