Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Week: Read Across America Ideas & Freebies!

Next week is the first week of March!  That means it is time for celebrating Read Across America and a certain favorite author! As I plan for the week I have been looking back at what I have done in years past.  Here is a collection of Seuss stuff!

Monday will be all about that cat in the hat.  Usually I transform myself into Thing 1.  A parent made me this shirt a few years ago and I still wear it every year!

We will read the book, watch the cartoon version of The Cat and the Hat and make these yummy red and white parfaits for lunch.  (layer strawberries and cool whip)

These were a huge hit last year so I will plan on trying to work them in this week at some point!

A photo posted by Mary Lirette (@marylirette) on
On Tuesday we will read Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.  Love that story!  We will be making this adorable craft again to go with it:
After the plate is colored gray and the ears are traced on to construction paper, add details to the face and cut a hole in the center of the plate for the trunk.  We use a gray sock on our hand/arm (from a pack in the men's department) for the trunk.  Then we wrap a pipe cleaner around a large pom-pom to resemble the "clover" that Horton places the "speck" on.  The speck is a mini pom-pom that we glue on top.  Voila! Horton and his speck in less than 30 minutes! :)

Here are some whimsically fun and FREE math activities for the week!

You can grab both of the number sense activities for free by clicking here or the image below.  I hope you enjoy it!
Make sure to grab this Seusstacular Roll and Cover {Free} and my It's Time for You Know Who telling time activity too!
My kids and I will be dressed mismatched and wacky on Wednesday as we read Wacky Wednesday.  I have pinned a few ideas I found for this day on my March/April board.
Thursday is all about the oobleck.  No celebration would be complete without a little messiness, right?  We will read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and then make our own version of the ooey-gooey stuff.  We make enough so that each student is able to experiment with their own bowl-full and then can take it home so that their parents and siblings could share in the fun too.  :)


Friday we will do our annual Green Eggs and Ham. Anyone ever watch Tim Tebow reading Green Eggs and Ham? I also like to show the cartoon version of Green Eggs and Ham too.  I usually put this on as I'm cooking.

A photo posted by Mary Lirette (@marylirette) on
When I taught 2nd I tried to do some different activities from what my kids had done the previous years in kindergarten and 1st so we made {Pinterest-inspired} green eggs, dessert style.  Yum!  It was quick and simple and we were able to work in a measurement mini lesson too while we mixed the ingredients!  We made vanilla pudding, turned it green, and added a vanilla wafer to the middle as the "yoke" of the egg.  Oh, and we added some sprinkles for fun.
This set of stations is perfect for the week!  Each station includes an "I Can" and 1-2 reproducibles to go along with the station activity.  Here are some pictures of everything included.  {FREEBIE at the end!}

You can get all 7 of these stations right here!
 I'm offering one of these stations for FREE {here}.  I hope you like it! :)

Lastly, if we have time we will make A Cupcake for the Teacher's adorable birthday craftivity. Click on her picture of the activity to grab your own copy.  Her craftivities are always so much fun!

I hope you have a Seusstastic Week! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bringing the Presidents to Life {Tech Style!}

With George & Abe's birthdays AND President's Day in the month of February we have spent a great deal of time learning about our 1st and 16th presidents.  We wanted to showcase our presidential knowledge in a fun way!  Have you ever used ChatterPix?  It's a user-friendly app that allows you to create talking pictures.  There are several apps like this available but my kids seem to really like this one. I love it too (except that it bugs me that you can't make a curved mouth line...).  You can find out more info on it {here}.

I LOVE, LOVE, PUFFY HEART LOVE my friend Jennifer's Directed Drawings.  You can visit her store to check out her whole set {here} or visit her blog, First Grade Blue Skies,  to see her directed drawing posts.  We used her George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as our artwork in our project.

After finishing the artwork, we used ChatterPix to bring our art to life and record a few facts.  I let my students choose either George or Abe to present on first.  If time allowed, they were able to create a second ChatterPix with the other president.  This was completely student-led.  I tried my best not to interject any information or thoughts.  I wanted to see what exactly stuck during our studies.  Apparently I have talked a lot about George and Abe's love of animals.  :)

I wanted to kick our project up a notch so I uploaded the ChatterPix videos into YouTube, then converted them to QR Codes.  We glued the QR Code to the front of the pictures so now anyone who walks down the hall with a device can scan the code (using a free QR code reader from the app store) and see our artwork come to life.  You can view my kiddos' independent projects below.  We are still working on projecting our voice, speaking clearly into the microphone and adding detail to our thoughts.  I am so proud of their hard work!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Flexible Seating!

Big changes are taking place in our classroom these days.  I'm so exited to finally be trying out flexible seating with my kiddos.  Getting rid of my teacher's desk 6 years ago was easy.  Getting rid of assigned seating was not so easy.  Don't get my wrong....I've been wanting to do this for a while.  It was the silly things like giving up the chair-bags that everyone's family purchased and had monogrammed.  The what-ifs had to be worked out in my head such as what to do when specials classes like guidance are held in our room or parent meeting day at the beginning of the year.  When I thought about the pros of flexible seating all of this just seemed unimportant and I decided to go for it.

 I posted a project on Donors Choose with the following description.
It was fully funded within 3 days!  I noticed that many of the donors were not even families of my current students.  There are so many people that are excited for this leap into 21st century teaching who were fully supportive of my flexible seating dream.  Wow.  I have received several encouraging emails and visits from parents throughout my school in the last week as well.  It warms my heart to know that there are such sweet people out there that are supportive of our teachers and classrooms.

Our new items arrived on Monday morning!  That's right...Amazon prime shipping is amazing.  I went from posting the project to receiving my items in 5 days total.  Crazy, right?!?  I combined our new stability discs, wobble seats and balance balls with the items I already had.  I spent that afternoon rearranging furniture until I made everything work. Click on each picture to see the new item on Amazon.

Here are a few pics from our current new arrangement.  I realize this might change as we get more comfortable with our flexible seating.  The dice cubes were something I picked up a few years ago at Walmart.  The crate seats were made a few years back and the "buddy" bench is a yard sale find from 11 years ago.  :)
One week down and so far so good.  My kiddos LOVE choosing their "work space" and we have not had any issues.  I am so proud at how my students just fell into our new classroom arrangement and have used our new flexible seating to maximize their learning.  I'm sure there will be bumps in the road as questions and new situations arise.  However, I'm confident we can work through them.  I will post updates as we settle back into our routine.  For now, here are a few pictures from week 1.