Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A free Vets and Pets unit full of fun-

Are you familiar with STEM projects? Two weeks ago we did one on veterinarians. Here we are doing some of our
Engineering and
Engineering the front desk 


A pet owner paying for services

Waiting in the Waiting Room with our pets

STEM projects are really fun! The kids set up the waiting room, front desk and Vets office. They were each given a folder of money and had to pick a card that listed was wrong with their pet. Then they found it on the list of charges and paid the receptionist. That was great for money, adding and subtracting! When they went into the Dr.'s office, the Dr. had to fill out a report. We read "On the Job with Dr. Martha Smith" and watched a bunch of awesome vet videos. We also compared tame animals and wild animals and wrote a 2 point paragraph about whether we'd rather be a wild animal or tame animal vet. Cross-curriculur!
I'll be honest, the projects the students did that were part of the PBL were challenging. But the kids worked in groups and really did a great job. One team made a ppt slide for Career Day, one came up with a daily schedule for a Vet's office, and one made a poster thanking vets and listing what Veterinarians do for the community. In first grade it's the process as much as the product.
So if you need something fun to do at the end of the year, but still use some higher level creativity, as well as reviewing so many skills, check it out.
This unit is on sale in my TPT store for $2! And I'm giving 2 away for free. Just leave me a comment! Thanks for reading!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, February 2, 2014

a science unit freebie

My morning started with a call from the Mom of the friend where my youngest is staying overnight. She's throwing up. Sigh. Those poor people. And they're SO nice. And my poor daughter.

Anyway, my TPT store is on sale 20% today.

And I just made this new product that I use for my science unit on rocks. I posted it last night and I am very curious to see what people think. I'm wondering if I have enough direction with it. So I will email one to the first three people that respond, if you would be kind enough to tell me your honest opinion.

Thank you for your help and time!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Using Prepositions- and a $1 flash sale!


I am so excited about this product. I made a book of prepositions that my kids use everyday when we write in our journal. We write using sentence patterns. I transferred that over to journal time in order to enhance their journals and give them more of an authentic writing time. We started with the pattern:
subject noun-verb
subject noun-verb-adverb
and now we are doing sentences like this:
subject pronoun- verb-adverb-preposition-article-object of the preposition
article-adjective-subject noun-verb-adverb-preposition-article-object of the preposition
My students draw a line between the subject and predicate. They underline the subject once and the predicate twice. They label all the parts of speech. It's amazing. But when writing prepositions, their vocabulary can still be somewhat limited. So I made it easy- I made a list, of sorts, and I put it into this book. Now whenever they're writing and get stuck on prepositions, they go to the book and find one. I've noticed this has also helped them remember prepositions for the future, so they start to use the book less until they want a new and exciting one to try.
For the next 24 hours it is only $1 on Teachers Pay Teachers. So get it now because that price will not last!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*] 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Uses for Dollar Store Gloves

Have you seen these cute gloves from the Dollar Store?

They have tons of really cute ones! I bought some thinking I could use them for something! So here's my first attempt. I wrote the 5 rules of capitalization (a Shirley English thing) on an address label and stuck them on the fingers. Then I held up the fingers (you have to get inventive with that middle finger!) and we learned the rules!
Just wearing the gloves is enough to make it exciting, but we played it as a game, with kids blurting out the answers as I held up the fingers, and kids working in partners to quiz each other. This little dollar glove cut down on my teaching time by DAYS! The rules of capitalization was something that took days and weeks of hounding for them to get into their little brains. With these bad boys, we had it in a day.

I also plan to use them for "who-what-when-where-how" questioning. And any other 5 pt. teaching lesson I can come up with. Maybe for clapping out syllables as well. A little quiet clapping is never a bad thing.
Enjoy your day off!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Crabby Eraser

Wow! October 27th. That was my last blog post. Haha. That's so...reality. Writing on a blog, trying to think of ideas that are valid, thinking I really don't do anything in my classroom that's worthy of others doing the same thing...that's just the way it is.

So here's something I do that's quirky and weird, but I think is valid.

Yes, it's on its side. But for some reason, after 15 precious minutes of trying to download it, I can't correct it. Technology is not my friend. Anyway, the one with the M&M sticker on it used to belong to a student of mine. He was (and is) a great kid. I found the eraser the summer after he left my room.  It had his little "Jackson" sticker on it and I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. Plus, pink erasers are like gold, aren't they??? So "The Crabby Eraser" was born. The Crabby Eraser comes out mainly during penmanship class, but also makes appearances whenever my kids start to get lazy in their handwriting prowess. He's crabby because he's hungry and he likes to eat messy handwriting. So when kids aren't writing neatly, instead of preaching at them and annoying all of us, I just get out TCE. I don't say anything, I just walk around erasing. The kids LOVE to HATE TCE. Try your own Crabby Eraser. It's quirky and weird and works wonders.

So this Christmas I created TCE's brother (the snowman eraser) "Professor McGonagall". I know how sometimes you just say whatever pops into your head at the time? Well, that was the name for the new eraser that popped into my head. I think in spring I'll be finding a new Easter themed eraser.

So after a couple appearances of "Professor McGonagall", this SWEET little guy in my room who is Cutie McCuterson, just does NOT want to work. It's right before Christmas. He's going to Ohio to see Grandma and Grandpa. He is DONE. He's at the point of laying his head down on his desk and making whining noises. Well, one morning he's doing his work and has to erase something. So he gets out his new little end-cap eraser (hate those, don't you??) and says, "This is Bob the eraser." HAHAHAHAHAHHA! Talk about a mood-lifter. I felt validated. One of my students listened to something I said. I want a raise.

Happy New Year! Blessings to you on 2014. I have no real resolutions. I would like to read my Bible more. I'm 3 days into breaking that one.
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fact Family Freebie!

I'm teaching fact families this week. I've been leading into it with related facts. Last week was monster week, and I have awesome Frankenstein plates that we wrote related facts on. Now this week we're using The Fact Family. They have four kids: Addition Abby, Addition Annie, Subtraction Seth and Subtraction Steve. They live in many different houses and each house has its own "address". And the Fact Family kids each have their own ipad so my students can write the number sentences that go with them onto the ipad.


This little unit is a freebie at TPT and TN. Stop by and pick it up! It comes with directions for how I plan to use it in my small group, and has 2 different worksheets to use. Have a great week!

 Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Friday, October 11, 2013

Journal writing and grammar

Do you get alot of journal writing that looks like this:  "I like my Mom."? I do.

And how do you teach grammar? We use the Shurley method at our school and it has some great qualities. But the assignments and the way it's "supposed" to be taught really leave alot to be desired. You have to dig deep to "fun it up". It's great to get them to learn the parts of speech, though. But  I really wonder if the kids are actually learning what the parts of speech are, or if they're just memorizing what the worksheets look like.

So this year I'm trying something different. In Shurley english, the kids learn patterns of sentence structure. In first grade, they only learn pattern one. The sentences take on this structure:
A - adj- sn- v- adv- p-A- op
(article- adjective- subject noun- verb-adverb- preposition- article- object of the preposition)
You can add adjectives or adverbs to that, but that's basically it. 

They learn those parts of speech, and also to classify (diagram) that sentence. They also practice writing sentences using that format. So to incorporate that learning with their writing, I started making them use it for their journals. Here's how it's going:
It's impossible to see- sorry! It says "Hard candy corn crunches loudly." 

"Pine trees sway softly"
"The Holy Bible teaches smartly."  Smartly????!!!! They're 6.
 ARGH!! These pictures are so hard to see.  I'm sorry.

It's tough. They want to revert back to their "I like my Mom" writing. And it's tough to get them to restructure their thinking to make a sentence fit a format. Journal writing time just went from 10 minutes to a half hour. But I really do think it will help them to understand what the parts of speech are and how they're used. Plus we are forced to do some thinking to find adjectives and adverbs to make the sentences more exciting. After we're done writing, they switch journals and peer edit. Then they get their own book back and have to classify the sentence by writing the labels on top of the words. Is their journal a mess? Yes. Does it take a ton of time? Yes. And patience? Yes. Do I hear some whining? Yes.  But so far I'm thinkin' it'll be worth it. After a few weeks of writing journals this way I plan to give them a day to write whatever or however they want. I think that will be a good test of whether they've learned correct sentence structures or not. Will they go right back to "I like my dog"? I'm afraid to find out.
Have a great long weekend!
 Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]