Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day Freebie

Mother's Day is right around the corner. So, I thought I would share a super easy {and cheap} craft with you all! All you need for this little project is some construction paper, colored tissue paper, die cut letters, liquid glue, paper plates, and some cheap pencils (I recommend using the ones that I know you have in storage. We all have them. They are probably from the dollar store and if you ever sharpen one it will look like a beaver tried to gnaw on it.  Now you can put them to some useful purpose.) Here is what you do to make this little goody.
1. Die cut the letters MOM. You can use a variety of colors. I usually cut out several colors for the kids to choose from. 
2. Glue the letters down the side of a 12x18 sheet of construction paper.
3. Cut tissue paper into long strips and then chop into 2x2 inch squares. (You can just eyeball it. It doesn't have to be perfect!)
4. Give each kiddo a cheapo pencil, tissue paper squares, and a puddle of liquid glue on a paper plate. 
5. The kiddos put the pencil's eraser down in the center of a square. Twist the paper around the pencil's eraser. Dab the tissue paper covered eraser in the glue and use the pencil to stick the tissue paper on the letter O to build their 3-D flower. They just repeat the process until it is all full and fluffy. (I have also had some kids just ball up the squares and dip them in glue. This worked well for some of my inclusion population babies who lacked the fine motor skills for the pencil twist method.)

Let's be honest here. Some kids are in tough situations. Maybe mom is deceased, incarcerated, or absent. We need to be mindful of them and not put them in awkward situations unnecessarily. That is why I always offer this option to ALL of my students, too. Many times kids who have awesome moms choose this one, too, so no one is singled out or made to feel inferior. Again, you can do any color or a rainbow heart looks great, too.

For the writing project, I tell my kiddos that they are welcome to write about their mothers or they can choose to honor any woman who cares for them. Once, I even had a child write about the nurse who cared for him during his cancer treatments. It was so moving! They can write to an aunt, grandma, stepmother, foster mom, you name it! 

As an RtI and inclusion teacher, I am always looking for easy ways to differentiate things --even crafts! So, I have included three different types of lined paper for the writing portion of the project. You can use just one or differentiate with all of them. Click {HERE} to grab your freebie!
If you are looking for a great book for Mother's Day, my all time favorite is The Mother's Day Mice by Eve Bunting. It is illustrated by the fabulous Jan Brett. It tells the story of three little mice who go out in search for the perfect gifts for their mom. The littlest one wants to get her some honeysuckle, but he can't reach it because of the cat. On his journey, he makes up a song for her instead. It is such a sweet tale! 
I have a little mini-unit to go along with it in my TPT shop. You can check it out {HERE}.
I hope you have a blessed Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Late for Two Parties!

I am usually extremely prompt, but today I am late for two parties! I have a really great excuse though... I've been away for Spring Break! So, even though it is Sunday, I am linking up with DoodleBugs for her Five for Friday party.

Right before we left town, my new blog design was finished. I think Kassie did an amazing job! I am truly impressed! If you are thinking of starting a blog or giving your current blog a face lift, I would highly recommend her! There is a link to her blog on the sidebar. Check out my new logo! I could frame it and hang it in my living room. It would totally blend with the colors in my house!

This was my amazing view for a few days! We spent lots of time playing in the sand and surf in Navarre Beach, Florida. 

No visit to Navarre is complete without a trip to The Gulf Breeze Zoo! We love coming here. You can get so close to many of the animals! Here is Little Man feeding a giraffe. 
Sweet Girl is such a ham! Last time we visited the zoo, she tried to feed the llamas. Two of them spit on her! I may have hurt her feelings with my uncontrollable laughter! So, here she is "pretending" to be freaked out by this llama.

My hair is naturally curly and wavy. I call it cravy! It is looks bad enough at home, but add in Florida humidity and wind from the beach, and it is psycho hair! My funny daughter texted me at the zoo and said, "Hey Mom, you and this chicken have the same hairdo!" Bwaahaahaa!

We also spent an entire day at The Gulfarium. Little Man kept coming back to the tide pool touch tanks again and again. 

We enjoyed the shows! I did not use the zoom in this picture. They were really that close to me! This picture cracks me up because that one dolphin looks like it can fly!

One of the most amazing parts of teaching and parenting is helping kids discover what they are passionate about in life. Little Man dreams of being a marine biologist some day. He has always loved sea life. One of his first words was "shish" (fish). Do you know where he was headed???
Hubs and Little Man got to snorkel with rays and sharks for an hour! They made some amazing memories!
But, alas, all good things must come to an end! So, I am back to thinking of school stuff. We were on vacation on Earth Day. Tomorrow I am going to head to Little Man's class to guest read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. I couldn't show up for a party empty-handed! I am bringing these truffula tree cupcakes along with me! I think they turned out cute! They are totally NOT my original idea! I pinned this idea on Pinterest. Moments later my pin got a comment from Little Man's teacher saying, "When are you bringing these for the class?" How could I say "No"? If you want to find out how to make them, click here for the original source. 

I would love for you to follow my blog! I am posting a super easy (and cheap) Mother's Day craft later this week!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Geometric Solids Grab Bag Activity

After Spring Break, we are kicking off our study of plane and solid figures in my intervention groups. So, I came up with a quick and easily differentiated activity. I thought that you might could use it, too! These are my geometric solids grab bags for my small group instruction. I bought some white gift bags at the dollar store. The fabulous, glittery numbers are from Glitter Meets Glue. You can find them here. I have oodles of plastic and wooden solids in my storage cabinet. I selected six different solids - one for each bag.

I made this quick little recording sheet for the students to use. They will fill in the information for each bag and then cut and paste the picture of the solid figure that the bag contains. You can grab your own copy here.

Differentiation Options

1. Work independently--Let's face it. We all have students who prefer to work on their own or have difficulty working with others. They can select a bag. Reach inside. Feel the object (NO PEEKING!) and record their answers. This option is great for tactile/kinesthetic learners.

2. Partner Up - Student A will choose a bag and reach inside. Student B will question Student A about the edges, flat faces, vertices, and a real life example of the solid. Student B records the responses on the sheet. Then, Student B works with Student A to name the solid and pick the appropriate image for their team. They can swap roles if you wish. This option is great for pairing kinesthetic learners with auditory learners.

3. Teacher's Mystery Bag - In a small group setting, students take turns choosing a bag for the teacher to hold. The teacher will place his/her hand inside the bag and answer the questions that the students ask. They will record the teacher's answers and then see if they can name the mystery shape in the teacher's bag. This option is great for students who need to work on auditory processing.

Whether you choose option 1, 2, or 3, students should not look inside the bag. Do a big unveiling when everyone has completed their recording sheet and has labeled all 6 bags. 

Oh by the way, we have had MANY grade level discussions about some of the controversies surrounding geometric shapes. Sheesh! Why does this subject have to be so hard!?! We agreed to say "flat faces" since students may later learn that a cylinder has 3 faces: two circles and one rectangle. We decided to only count the flat ones for now.

I hope that this will be fun for your kiddos and easy for you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five for Friday and a Synonym Freebie

It's Friday! I am on Spring Break!  Woo Hoo! I have been reading posts about other teachers' fabulous spring break activities since March. It is finally my turn!  Let the good times roll! By "good times" I mean hanging out in my jammies all day. :) Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for such a fun linky!

Fun with Time

My kiddos nut up over these interactive PowerPoint game shows from Tiny Toes! They work like Jeopardy. Each kid or team of kids chooses a contestant. I award money to each contestant when they answer correctly. We wait until the end to view the scoreboard. It makes me so happy when they are so enthusiastic about an activity. I think I have bought all of these now. They really are fantastic! They literally beg me to get more of these. How can I say no? You can check out this particular game here on Teachers Pay Teachers.

This is how the game board looks on my SMARTboard.

This is sample question from an easier level. You can see the answer in the black box because I clicked on "check answer".

This one is more challenging.
See how easy it would be to differentiate if you choose the questions for the team? LOVE it!

Blog Design

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas! Kassie from Designs by Kassie is working on my new blog! I can not wait to see it! I know it is going to be spectacular! You can visit her blog here.

Happy Easter!

I am linking up with TONS of sellers to offer you some "Egg-stra" savings! My entire store will be 20% off on Easter Sunday and Monday! Have fun store hoppin'! Thanks to the fabulous Glitter Meets Glue for the cute graphic! I hope that you have a blessed Easter Sunday!

Friday Freebie
Here's a quick freebie for you! I hope that you enjoy this spring vocabulary synonym sort!
Click here or on the picture to grab your own copy. :)

Oh, by the way, my teenaged daughter talked me into getting an Instagram account. There is now a follow me on Instagram button on the sidebar to the right. I would love for you to check out my random craziness!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sit Spots: My Favorite Finds #3

I think I am in love with these things, y'all! I first read about SitSpots on one of my favorite blogs: A Teeny Tiny Teacher. You can read her post here. I knew I just had to have some of these!  They came in the mail the other day. I may have squealed when the UPS man left them at my doorstep. I hope he didn't hear me! Check it out!
Pay no attention to that gosh awful rip in the carpet! Cheap carpet and hyperactivity do not mix well! :)

These things are awesome! (By the way, I did not receive anything in return for this endorsement. I just love them!) They are made of velcro so you can reposition them as many times as needed. You can vacuum over them. They are machine washable. They come in MANY colors and shapes. Here is a close up pic of their "fabulousness"!

You can check them out on their website here. They will send you a FREE sample! I would really recommend doing that first to make sure that they will work on your rug or carpet. 

This is the free sample that they sent to me. One of my kiddos cracked me up when he saw it stuck to the floor. He said, "So that's what they mean when they say, 'Sit Criss, Cross, Applesauce'. You want me to sit on that apple and smush it!" Yes, I do, sweet one! 

So, what do you think you could do with some SitSpots?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday and a Time Freebie

I am finally feeling brave enough to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky Party! This week has been CRAZY! So, if you will hang with me through four selfish items, I will give you a freebie at the end. Yes, I am bribing you to read about me. Deal with it! ;)
Spring has finally sprung!

There is something that you need to know about me. (Picture me hanging my head in shame.) I kill plants. I don't mean to. I just tend to forget about them. I mean they don't meow, bark, or say, "Hey, mom, I'm hungry!" ten times in a row. So, they kind of get lost in the shuffle. I have a couple of flowering trees and some rosebushes that have flourished despite the fact that they live with me. I walked over to this tree to get a pic of the blossoms. One of my kids actually called out in a panicked voice, "Mom, what are you doing by that tree? I love that tree!  Step away from the tree, mom!" Smarty britches! I don't know where they get that from!

It is sad that this is so true of me! Everyone else in my family can grows gardens and stuff! I have trouble remembering to dust my silk plants!

Spring in Georgia also means pollen!  The hubs washed my car the night before this picture was taken! When I went out to go to the grocery store, this is how it looked! On my way to the store I was all like, "I hope I don't get in a hit and run accident. I can see it all now."
Police: Ma'am, can you give us a description of the car that hit you?
Me: Yes, it was a yellow truck.
Police Officer (mumbling to his partner): We're never going to find it. Everyone in the state is driving a yellow truck right now!

The Flying Trapeze

Do NOT laugh at my art work! I was in a hurry I tell you! That and I had already drawn this picture five other times and I was getting a little bit sick of it! Why was this necessary??? Because trapeze was one of the words in the research based basal that I am required to use during my tier 3 interventions. I made the mistake of asking my kiddos if they had ever heard that word before.  See if you can pass this vocabulary quiz constructed out of their real responses!

What is a trapeze?
A. a trap that is easy to make
B. a crazy word that my funny teacher just made up
C. How should I know? I don't speak Chinese!
D. I am not sure, but it makes me want to sing "Afro Circus".
E. None of the above and I might need a paper bag to breathe into while I think of some new vocabulary intervention strategies.
Testing- Do Not Disturb!

I did it! I survived testing at the alternative school! Yay! Although, I have to tell you that it took all of my self-control not to rearrange and clean the former classroom I was assigned to for testing. I mean, seriously, look at this mess! Thankfully, the student had her back to the mess! I, however, was driven to distraction!

Mac Powell and Me

On Thursday night, I took my daughter and her best bud to see Mac Powell and friends perform at a local church. We LOVED it! Oh, maybe I should tell you that Mac Powell is the lead singer with the band, Third Day. He is seriously talented. He sounds EXACTLY the same in concert as he does on the radio. He is also very funny and friendly!

We got to sit in the third row! Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. I was taking them without the flash on my iPhone.
Mac was joined by TONS of talented folks! A lot of them are up and coming artists. Jamie Grace stopped in with her sister, Morgan. Those girls can rock!

Mac and his friends even stayed after the concert to autograph stuff and just be generally awesome! Here is Mac talking to my daughter and her friend after signing their t-shirts and CDs.

Here is the YouTube video for one of my favorite Mac Powell country songs. I don't usually like country music, but I love this CD. He has another one in the works, too!

While we were at the concert, I got a text from my husband and my son that said, "Meet Stripes!" Would you like to meet Stripes, too?
Say what?!? I take the girls out to the concert and they take that as the perfect opportunity to bring home a snake!?! They are not allowed to shop unsupervised for a while! LOL!

A Time Freebie for You!
We are working on reviewing time this week. I thought you might like to have this review, too. The kiddos have to read about the event, look at the clock, and identify the time along with AM/PM for the event. Click HERE to grab your free copy.

Okay, that's enough about me for now! I am off to watch The Hobbit with the fam! Have a great weekend!