Friday, December 30, 2011

Government Unit is finished!

Phew!  I've finally finished the government unit and it is posted on TpT!  This is an exciting 44-page unit on U.S. Government! It is perfect for middle elementary school grades (2nd, 3rd, 4th) and can be adapted for higher or lower grades as well. It covers local, state, and national government.  It will be on sale through the weekend!
It includes:

-circle map for local, state, national
-local government graphic organizer
-letter to the mayor template (2 versions)
-What makes a good leader? graphic organizer
-A good leader is...writing prompt
-venn diagram comparing leaders of today and leaders of long ago
-state government graphic organizer
-template for recording information on the governor
-t-chart comparing local and state government
-national government graphic organizer
-poster for U.S. Capitol Building (Legislative Branch)
-poster for White House (Executive Branch)
-poster for U.S. Supreme Court Bldg (Judicial Branch)
-example and template pieces for a tree map art project on the 3 branches of government
-If I were President...writing prompt
-poster on showing patriotism
-Fast Facts handout on Mount Rushmore
-Fast Facts handout on the Liberty Bell
-Fast Facts handout on the Statue of Liberty
-Eagle Research Project with graphic organizer and writing prompt
-Eagle art project with example and templates
-I Have Who Has game using government vocabulary
-Government Scoot! game reviewing important information
-recommended reads and sites to visit

I am so excited about this unit and can't wait to use it in my classroom starting next Tuesday (when we return from winter break)! 

Here are some larger pictures from the unit:

The buildings, the tree template, and the eagle template were all hand drawn by my Hubby...who is now referring to himself as "Lirette Sketch."  :)

Don't forget to download your freebie from this unit here

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Freebie- Government Scoot!

Hello there!  I'm nearing the end of my Government Unit!  It has taken me a lot longer than I expected...I keep adding new things.  Right now I'm nearing 40 pages and my sweet Hubby is hand drawing some government buildings for me to include (Yay!).  It should be posted on TpT very soon!

I wanted to go ahead and post one of the games included in my unit for you.  I first read about the game "Scoot" on a ProTeacher Community board.  I've seen several great teachers create their own versions of it in the last few years.  You can use this type of game to review almost any skill.  It jazzes up a lesson and really does grab your students' attention!

You can click on either image to download your copy of my "Government Scoot!" for free! (5 pgs)

If you choose to download the game for free, I hope you will consider becoming a follower of my blog. Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what you think!

I've got several activities in the works for January.  This weekend I plan to finalize everything and post it all for you!  :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Amazon Gift Card Winner and a Few Updates

Oh. My. Gravy.  Not only have I received tons and tons of sweet comments and e-mails, but I have tripled my followers!  Whoo-hoo!!  Thank you so much for becoming a follower of my new blog and my Tpt store!  It means SO MUCH to me!

In between holiday festivities, I've poured myself into visiting all of your blogs and facebook pages!  I've also been working hard on my Government Unit (It is almost finished!  Freebies coming soon!) 

I have to admit that my wrist is feeling a little bit sore from all this computer time...and my house desperately needs my attention!
Thank goodness for Winter Break!

 Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for the $15 Amazon gift card.  I really enjoyed reading all of your comments!

And the winner is....
Congrats to Penniless Teacher!  I'll be contacting you soon.  :)

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas.  
Back to the housework...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My First Giveaway!! Hooray!!

Time for a GIVEWAY! I've officially reached 50 followers!  Whoo-hoo!
What better way to celebrate than to host my first giveaway, right?

I've decided to give away a $15 gift card to Amazon to show my appreciation to everyone!! I'm sure almost anyone can find something to purchase on  Not to mention I feel like a good chunk of my paycheck goes there each month....that one-click ordering is quite dangerous! (Anyone else have that issue?)

Here are the rules:

1) Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment below letting me know that you follow me!
2) Become a follower of my TPT store and leave another comment below!
3) Mention my blog on your own blog, site, facebook, etc. and that's right....leave me a comment below!

Don't forget to leave your e-mail so I can contact you!

3 very easy ways to enter! The giveaway will go through Sunday, December 25th (Merry Christmas!) and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 26th.

I'll use to choose the winner- good luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Game Board Freebie!

I realize that most everyone is already out for Winter Break....but I wanted to post this for those of you who may not have seen it yet.  You can put it in your files for next year or use it to entertain your little ones at home over the next few days.  :)

This is an open-ended holiday game board that you can use as you see fit.  Click on the picture to download.  Enjoy!

Don't forget to become a follower if you haven't already!  
Comments are always welcome and appreciated!  :)

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I've linked up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for my first official linky! {How Exciting!}
Monica Schroeder has an awesome site!  Check her out:

I'm official on Winter Break now (who-hoo!) and am spending some time catching up with friends and family over the holidays.  

I'm also working on some new units for the first of the year for reading, math, and social studies.  Check back soon for some previews and freebies!  :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Water Cycle: Activities, Resources, and a Freebie!

Hi there!  In the midst of all the holiday excitement we managed to wrap up our science study on the Water Cycle today.  Here are a few activities and resources that I hope you can use:

We made diagrams of the Water Cycle using 
construction paper, cotton balls, and glitter. 
I just realized that both of these kiddos misspelled the word "precipitation!"  
Oh get the idea.  :)

We also recorded "The Water Cycle Song" into our science journals.
(Sung to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain)
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does 
(use pointer finger to make a big circle)
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does 
(repeat finger circle)
It goes up as evaporation 
(moves hands up to the sky)
Forms clouds as condensation 
(make a cloud overhead with arms)
Then comes down as precipitation, yes it does! 
(Sprinkle with fingers while bringing arms down in front of you)
Be careful....this song gets stuck in your head!

To help us remember the process, we made water cycle bracelets.

I've seen this bracelet idea on several different places across the web.  There are a few different variations but for my room we used:
- 2 yellow beads to represent the sun and it's heat
- 2 green beads to represent the land (plants and trees that use water)
- 2 clear beads to represent water vapor or evaporation
- 2 white beads to represent the clouds or condensation
- 2 blue beads to represent the rain or precipitation

As you can see from the bracelet, the cycle repeats itself.  This was a great visual for when we were retelling the process to our neighbors in our "think, pair, share" exercise.

Lastly, I utilized those higher-order thinking skills when I asked my students to explain the water cycle in their own words.  You can download the handout for free by clicking on the picture below or by clicking here.

Here are some other resources you might find helpful:

Interactive Water Cycle
Enchanted Learning's Readers Theater (Water Cycle)

Thanks for stopping by!  I'd love to have you as a "follower" for my blog!  Please click on the link on the right toolbar menu to follow me.  You can enter your e-mail address as well to receive my posts by e-mail!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A special thanks to Carolyn at The Wise Owl Factory for giving my brand-new blog the Sunshine Award!  How sweet!  Carolyn runs and writes for several different blogs that are all amazing!

Apparently, I am to post my answers to the following questions:
•            What is your favorite color?  red (I love green too!)
•            What is your favorite animal? cat
•            What is your favorite number? hmm... I usually go with 3
•            Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
•            Your Passion? teaching (that's an easy one!)
•            Giving or Getting Presents? Giving
•            Favorite Day? Sunday

I'd like to pass this award on to my top 10 blogs that I think definitely shine:
(These are listed in no particular order- they are all awesome!)

Primary GraffitiLory’s Page

Ladybug's Teacher FilesPhotobucket

Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons


One Extra Degree
Sunny Days in Second Grade

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holidays Around the World FREEBIES and edible dreidels!

Hello there!  Today we woke up to snow on the ground which meant that my kiddos and I were able to enjoy a little snowball fight this morning! (If you live in Memphis, will understand how extremely rare it is for us to actually come to school when there is snow on the ground...not to mention the fact that it hardly ever actually snows this early in the school year!)

In between our snow excitement we were able to work on our Holidays Around the World unit.  We are following the wonderful (and resourceful!) unit posted by Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants.  If you haven't already purchased this unit, I highly recommend it!

We have been working hard on our "suitcases" for our journey around the world.  

To make the "suitcase" we folded a 12''x18'' piece of construction paper in half.  We added the handles to the top (my students drew these freely).
For the cover, we cut and glued our title and tags for each country visited. (see pictures below)
You can get yours for free by clicking here: Holidays Around the World Cover

For the inside, we have glued a map of all the countries visited on the right side and our Holidays Around the World packet on the left.  You can get a copy of the map for free from Sarah at Sarah's First Grade Snippets here.

One last share for you today.  After testing our luck with a game of dreidel, we ended today's study of Israel by making (and enjoying) edible dreidels.  A good friend of mine showed me this quick and easy dreidel a few years back and I have done it ever since.  I've done it with kindergartners, first graders, and now second graders.  You stick a pretzel stick in one end of a marshmallow.  Put a dab of icing on the other end.  Place a Hershey's kiss on top of the icing and voila!  You have an edible dreidel.  The tricky part is trying to get it to spin.  :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elf on Xtramath & Gingerbread Contractions Game

Have you heard about Xtramath?  It is FREE and WONDERFUL!  I started this program back in August and my class still uses it everyday!  Each student has their own log-in information and it can be accessed at school or at home.  Once my students master each section (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), they get their picture posted on our "Math Master Wall of Fame."  It is a super exciting accomplishment.  :)
Go to their website at to view some tutorial videos and sign your class up for free!

Our class elf, named Rhett Rudolph (yes, the children picked this name...) surprised us this morning when we realized that he had created his own log-in on Xtramath!  He must have been practicing his addition facts last night!  Notice his miniature headphones...

On a different note...I received such a wonderful response on tpt for my Gingerbread Addition Poof game that I decided to make another variation this evening for contractions.  Click here to grab your copy!

Check back tomorrow for an update on our Holidays Around the World unit and a freebie!
Don't forget to follow me by e-mail so that you get notifications when new posts have been made!  (You can enter your e-mail address on the right toolbar under "Get e-mails.")

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time for Elves!

It's "Time" for Elves!  We are about to begin our new math unit just in time for the holidays!  We will be reviewing time to the hour and half hour as well as learning to tell time by 5-minute increments.  As I mentioned before, our class Elf on the Shelf is a big topic of conversation right this math activity will fit in nicely over the next 2 weeks!  Students will use dry-erase markers to fill in the clock on each elf card.  Click here to grab your copy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Elf in the Classroom (and a FREEBIE)

Are you using the Elf on the Shelf in your classroom? If you are like me, I never thought about it until I saw pictures posted on Pinterest. Our class elf came to visit for the first time this past week and my children can not stop talking about him! He has taken over our writing assignments, reading and math studies....everything!

We were planning on using these mini marshmallows to construct 3-D shapes on Friday......our Elf found them first and had a snowball fight with them! We had marshmallows all over the bookcase and floor!

Sunny Days posted a fabulous Elf on the Shelf Resource Packet that we have been using in our classroom to record our elf happenings.

Since the elf has temporarily taken over the minds of my students I thought I should create a few more things to use in the classroom over the next week or so. Here is a creative writing assignment where students fill out a graphic organizer about their elf (their personal elf, class elf, or made-up one) and then write about it. This can be used whether you have a class elf or not. I've also included a blank bubble map so it can be tailored to fit your needs. You can click here to download all 3 handouts for free. If you like what you see please consider becoming a follower of my blog!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Finally Jumped on the "Blog"wagon!

Welcome to Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives!  I have been following some fabulous blogs for several years now and have benefited immensely from everyone's creativity!  I've decided that it is high time I start my own blog so I can hopefully return the favor and inspire others.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Management, Motivation, and Misc Freebies

ELA & Writing Freebies

Math Freebies

Science & Social Studies Freebies

Fall Freebies

Winter Freebies

Spring Freebies

Check back soon for more fabulous freebies!