Sunday, February 24, 2013

Luck of the Irish: St. Patty's Day Centers for the Common Core!

Whoa.  {Cue the dramatic music.} It's Sunday afternoon, and my head is still spinning from last week.  I seriously did not stop to take a single picture.  Not even once.  I think I managed to eat lunch maybe once, and I managed to go to the bathroom maybe twice.  All week.  I wish I was exaggerating! Ha!   It was, quite possibly, the longest and most frenzied week of my teaching career, but here I am.  Alive.  :)  I have absolutely NOTHING to share with you from last week, but I am alive, and that is a beautiful thing.

I survived, and somehow I am surviving the painting and renovations going on at my house right now too.  We are in the process of finishing our basement, and right now, I am trying to keep up with cleaning.  The neat freak inside of me is crying.  Literally five minutes after I mop or dust, dry wall dust cakes back onto the freshly cleaned surfaces.  It's been great fun at the Nickerson homestead!  ;)  I know that we will be really happy when it's complete, but right now, I'd LOVE to press the fast-forward button.  I'm generally impatient though! Ha!

Anyhow, I did manage to finish my Luck of the Irish enters after pounding away at them for nearly a month.  I LOVE how they turned out!  :)   The bright colors make me happy, and they almost make me forget about the accumulation of dust on my floors right now.  Almost!  I am so excited to pull them out in a few weeks!  If you are interested, you can snag them HERE for 20% off through tomorrow {Monday}!

I also recently added a small 12 page file for informational text features!  There are little anchor charts in color and in black and white, if you're interested!  You can check it out HERE!

Lastly, I'd love to share a giveaway that's going on right now.  Sweet Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher is hosting a BIG one to celebrate hitting 1,000 followers!  You can snag my poetry centers, and several other resources from some of the most fabulous edu-bloggers out there!  :)  Click the image below to check it out and enter to win! :)  Good luck!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

UPDATED Shamrocks & Spuds!

A few years ago, I created a science unit for St. Patrick's Day, and it was a HUGE hit with the kiddos!  They especially enjoyed the spud races and leprechaun traps, and I won't lie, I had a lot of fun with it too! :)  I decided to give this file a major makeover, and I am happy to share the updated version with you today!  If you have already purchased this file, you can download the updated copy HERE!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Formative Flap Books for Social Studies & FREEBIES!

I know I have professed my love of literacy several times now.  You may or may not know that I also love history.  I love it so much that it was my minor in college even though it really didn't have any direct correlation to what I would be teaching in elementary school.  :)  I'm not exactly teaching my kiddos about American History or World History, but I am completely enamored by it nonetheless.  Truly, I think history has always appealed to me because of the great narratives... because it's basically the story of our human existence.  It shows us the common threads that weave throughout the centuries and bind us together as one people.  LOVE! 

Of course, in third grade, we are still laying the foundation for all of the meaty history lessons that will come later on, but that doesn't mean that our lessons can't be enjoyable and meaningful too!  The only problem is, most Social Studies textbooks are a little... shall we say... humdrum... and bare-boned.  They just, um, leave a little to be desired.  So, in an effort to beef up my lessons and add a little formative flair, I have created Formative Flaps to enhance my instruction.  I've had formative assessments on the brain lately, and Social Studies is one area that I knew I had to step up the game in that respect.  If you're interested in taking a closer look at this file, you can have a little looksie HERE.  {As a sidenote, you wouldn't have to use the flap books for assessment.  You could easily use them to enhance your vocabulary and concept development lessons instead.}

In other news, look at the cute hearts I found at Dollar Tree!  :)  They were perfect for a little preposition hunt...Valentine's Day style!  {The basket was also from Dollar Tree!  I picked up a TON of them in green, teal, and hot pink!  They made my heart go pitter-pat!} 

As you can see, I wrote words inside of each heart.  Vocabulary and spelling words... to be exact.  I simply folded little mini sticky notes inside of each heart, and then I placed them around the classroom!

The kiddos walked around the room to find hearts.  Then they recorded sentences that told where they found each word.  For example, they might have said, "I found the word commercial BESIDE the nonfiction basket."   :)  It was a nice quick lesson to do after our Valentine's Day Book Reports!   If you want to snag a copy of the recording sheet for next year, click the image below! 

We were also able to squeeze in our Valentine's Day Centers during our Morning Work slot.  Unfortunately, I ran out of room on my camera after taking a bazillion pictures of their projects.  So, I don't have any action shots.  :)  Instead, I just have my centers plans at a glance.  I will keep them out this week too, especially since it's a short week for us!

In closing, I want to share another resource with my RS peeps.  :)  Recently, I decided to print journals for each story to tackle the essential questions rather than having them glue the questions into their notebooks.  {I love my kiddos, but they can be a little bit on the slow side when it comes to cutting and pasting, so I took those materials out of the equation to maximize class time.)  So, to make a long story short, I uploaded the journal covers and writing template to my Google Docs, and you are more than welcome to snag a copy if you think you can use them!  We will be hitting "America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle" this week, but they are in the correct order in the file.  :)  Just click on the image below to download the file! Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

LOVING Valentine's Day Box Book Reports!

Oh my goodness!  I wish you could have been in my classroom to see all of the Valentine's Day boxes in person because they were just TOO CUTE!  I have almost sixty students, and if I am being honest, I wanted to share ALL of them with you.   Every single box.   However, that would use up a TON of bandwidth, and this post would easily become the longest blog post ever, so I decided to narrow it down.   Not that it was easy.  At all.  :)

Any-hoooooo!  This is a great way to take a non-academic tradition and give it a little ELA flair!   This project was a great way to get my kiddos to review story elements in a fun way too!  If you are interested in checking out this file for your own classroom, you can check it out HERE!  Happy Valentine's Day, friends!