I know Read Across America week is about to begin, and I just wanted to share a little freebie from my "way back" days! When I was a librarian, we would have an actual birthday party for Dr. Seuss complete with cake, goody bags, and games. One of the favorites was "Pin the Egg on the Ham" and it is so fun to play. Just like pin the tail on the donkey, you pin the green egg on the silly ham.
They love it!! Click on the picture to download your freebie!
I think anytime you can add a prop or a treasure to a lesson, it makes it so much more concrete for your students. This is one of my "oldie but goody" favorites I dug out from my "archives." (Also known as the thirty some tubs of teaching materials I have stacked in my garage!!!)
Cheap and easy, this one starts with a white paper bag. These I got for FREE from a local restaurant.
It is bigger than a regular lunch sack, about 6" wide 4-1/2" deep.
You start by tracing a simple curved hairline along the front. Mine is about 3 inches from the top.
Next, pop it open and continue the hairline around to the sides, dipping down a bit in the back. Cut out your hairline, leaving the back side full.
Cut the back into fringe-like pieces. This will be the back side of your hair. I add a black or navy ribbon,
'cuz that is how George would have rocked it. Shape the wig by poking in the corners and rounding off the top.
Finally, using the excess scraps make some "curls" by rolling up some of the paper into tubes. Attach to sides. Voila! Now you have a powered wig fit for the Constitutional Convention!
Common Core has made us look at language skills in a different way. One new skill for second grade is teaching formal and informal language. I made some resources to help my students learn this skill using one of my favorite books-Tacky the Penguin.
I couldn't think of any more perfect character to teach the difference between formal and informal language then Tacky. He is such a contrast to his very formal penguin friends that he's the kids relate to him in such a fun way.
I start this little unit by the donning my favorite crazy Hawaiian shirt. I have a costume top hat and bow tie that I pick some students to wear. I asked them about the clothes and what kind of places I might wear these clothes. They can always come up with the funniest responses!
Next, I introduce the vocabulary of formal and informal language and we make an anchor chart.
We talk about the rules for formal and informal language as we fill in the chart.
They complete a formal and informal sort and then add an interactive page to their language arts notebooks.
For a final project, students write letters in both formal and informal formats.
The kids love it and it really makes simple work of an abstract skill. I'll post a pic of their letters when we get them all done and up on a bulletin board. YAY!
I've put together a differentiated packet that's available in my TpT store. It has the word sorts, copies of my chart, and independent practice and assessment differentiated for four levels. It also has templates for the letter writing extensions. Check it out!
I'm so excited to have finally finished this ADORABLE set of math task cards, just in time for Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day makes me feel so mushy and gushy and happy.
The bundle contains 5 sets of task cards that can be used for centers, scoot, games, or my class favorite- WRITE THE ROOM!
If you aren't familiar with write the room (or sometimes called roam the room) it is super easy to do, and you only use one set of cards at a time. You place the cards around the room and working with a partner (or by themselves) students "roam" around the room answering the questions. They don't need to be done in order, just make sure the kids know to put the correct answer in the appropriate box on their recording sheets. Most of the time my kids are strategically partnered, but sometimes I go crazy and let them choose their own partners.
To differentiate, I will sometimes circle specific letters on a kiddo's answer sheet, and tell them that those are special challenge problems I picked just for them. Also, if I have them use one recording sheet, I tell them to use two different colored pencils. This increases individual accountability.
The bundle contains 5 sets of Common Core aligned cards that each vary in complexity and skill. They are also available separately, too.
I don't know why, but I just think Groundhog Day is fun. I don't spend a lot of teaching time on it, but I do like to read my class a story or two and talk about shadows and winter. Even that is pretty funny, because here in Arizona it will be in the upper 70's and beautiful this week. December is our fall, January is more like winter, and February is more like spring. Then it gets HOT!
It just so happens that I am the proud owner of my very own groundhog. Yep. And he only comes out this time of year. You can't wake him early, because if you do... he gets pretty cranky!
The past few years he has spent Groundhog's Day in kindergarten. Two years ago, my daughter's teacher thought of the idea to put him outside and let the kids see if he can see their shadow. (I was like- why didn't I think of that?) He likes to go back each year and see her. I think he likes her class better than mine!
I've had this little guy for a few years. It is a puppet made by Folkmanis. He is soft and cuddly, and the kids love him. I will usually read a little Groundhog story and break him out. These are a few of my favorite go-to books:
Black History Month is just around the corner! February is a short and busy month so I try to get more bang for my buck with this Valentine-ish Black History Month bulletin board. I love it because I can leave it up the whole month!
It drives me CrAzY to have decorations up after a holiday passes. (I think I get that from my mom who was a manager for Hallmark for many years. They are nuts about getting the next holiday up ASAP! I digress!!)
Anyhoo... I think Black History Month is a great opportunity to introduce my students to biographies. They can do them individually or in pairs or cooperative groups. I start with a simple graphic organizer:
Then they create final drafts, which are displayed on the board.
For a different twist, I have also had them do fact searching for each person to create an acrostic poem. Those are really fun and the kids don't think they are doing "research." This is another great cooperative project.
Click on the picture below to grab this Martin Luther King Acrostic FREEBIE!
If you are interested in the whole writing and bulletin board set, here it is:
I also have a set of just the poem templates. You can check them out here:
By this time of year there are many things that are just automatic in my classroom, which is so nice! One of my favorite routines I implemented at the beginning of the year was using Simply Kinder's Partner program. I was tired of making partners in peanut butters and jellies and wanted something different. Sometimes it's hard to think on the spot of what things go together so this was just the ticket!
Simply Kinder developed a great system called Partner Up for Fun! It is a great way to keep kids engaged when doing partnered activities. When I'm not using the "set of the week" I use this huge set of matching cards to partner up my kiddos. When it is time for us to do a paired activity and I want to give the students a little freedom in choosing their partner ( or it seems that way to them... Wink...Wink!) I hand each of them a card. They have 30 seconds to find their match and that person is their partner for the activity. Once they find their partner they either stand together and wait for directions or turn in their cards for their assignment . They LOVE it! It is so funny to hear them find each other, too. "Where's the bacon? Who has bacon?"
If I am feeling really crazy I will have them make the sound effect instead of using words. They BEG to do that so I hold that one back for a special incentive. It is so funny to see what they come up with!!
I keep my cards on a ring hanging on my whiteboard so they are always ready to go. I just make sure there are the same number of cards as number of students. Pass them out, and match them up! So fun and easy!
These cards are part of the great management bundle being offered by Educents! So many fun items at such a great price. These cards alone usually sell for $5, so it is a great deal if you haven't checked it out. EVEN BETTER... because right now they are offering $10 off of your first purchase. That would make this only $0.99!!! Better than the DOLLAR STORE!