Life Cycles and Text Features

This week at school, we learned about life cycles of plants and in honor of Halloween, we did the life cycle of a pumpkin on paper plates and they came out totally cute! Of course I saw it first on Pinterest, so I HAD to try it! 

Here are a couple of examples:

In other news, in reading this week, our mini-lessons have been focused on non-fiction text features. One of my colleagues came up with the idea of having the kids do a scavenger hunt in different non-fiction magazines (Weekly Reader, Scholastic News, Time for Kids, and National Geographic for kids) and glue examples into a lotus diagram. They came out awesome! They had to find a certain number of examples for each feature and glue it in the lotus. 

Here are a few: 

I have more examples but for some reason, they are not inserting correctly. 

Anyway, it was a fun way to review the different text features they learned this week and I am using it as a major project grade. 

More fun stuff to come later!

Pumpkin Fun and Red Ribbon Week!

I shared with you last week the Great Pumpkin Seed Mystery Lesson, and I wanted to share with you the photos of our pumpkin being planted.

And now....the seed is germinating!! My kids were sooo excited when they came in yesterday to check on their plants and there were several beginning to grow! 

Tomorrow, we will go back into our science notebooks and record our first observations! 

On another note, it is Red Ribbon Week and I wanted to share our class door decoration's just freakin' cute!

My theme was "Make No Bones About It! We will be drug free!

The kids made chalk skeletons and wrote how they would stay drug free on the print out. 

Here is a close up: 

And because I love sharing stuff, here is the printable in case you want to use it in your classrooms next year! There are two files. One is the skeleton head cut outs and the other is the actual paper where they wrote their drug free responses. I am attaching the word versions so you can change it if you need to.

What are some themes you guys use for Red Ribbon Week?

The door judging will take place tomorrow so I will let you know if we win! =) 

I have also done, "Don't Get Caught in the Web of Drugs," with spider webs stretched across the door and students stuck their drug free responses and little plastic spiders in the web. 

My neighbor this year used, "Drugs are Corny," and had students use a response sheet like mine. The kids decorated a cartoon candy corn to add to the door. It was super cute!

I will have more coming about the life cycle of a pumpkin this weekend so stay tuned!

Thanksgiving Newsletter

Several of you have been requesting my a Thanksgiving themed newsletter, so here it is! I just used clipart from Microsoft Word.

Click the image below for the editable version!

I have more to share later, but I'm taking a night off from doing school work and going to play music trivia with friends!

The Great Pumpkin Seed Mystery!

Pinterest has so inspired me to revamp my Animal and Plant Adaptation to add some Halloween flare! So, I came up with the Great Pumpkin Seed Mystery!! 

The students have to use the clues to help me figure out why a pumpkin grew right in my yard! 

Here is the full lesson plan:

EQ: What are the stages of growth in the life cycle of a plant?
Read Aloud: From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
AS: Complete a plants have, need, give tree map and add to over the next few days. 
TS: Tell class that something strange happened! A pumpkin grew right in my yard. I have no idea how this happened. Ask students to help you figure it out. Lead students to come up with you threw last years pumpkin away in that spot. Could we conduct a test to find out? CW observe pumpkin seeds and record in journals. CW discuss what things the seed needs in order to grow and record on tree map.
SS: CW then plant a pumpkin seed to observe the life cycle of over the next few weeks. SW record observations on a class chart over the next few weeks.

Click the image below for a copy of the flipchart to guide the lesson. The flipchart was created using Activ Inspire Promethean software, so it may not work if you don't have it installed on your computer.

Here is a copy of the science notebook tape in that I created to go along with it! Click below for access!

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for the completed Plant and Animal Unit! I can't wait to share!

And don't forget, there are only 3 days left of my Halloween-spiration Linky Party! Go share your Halloween cuteness!! 

South Carolina Region Cookies

I know it has been several days since my last post, but I have just been swamped at school after being at a wedding this past weekend in Charleston (which was beautiful, btw!)

To end our South Carolina geography unit, we decorated South Carolina shaped cookies that correlated to the different regions of our state. We have done this activity for the last two years and the kids absolutely love it! It is so much fun! I am providing the flipchart we used to guide the activity and also pictures of us in action! 

Click the image for the flipchart.

Here are some photos from the activity!

This is just the blank SC cookie before they decorated it.

Here is the finished product!

Other fun pics!

We displayed the flipchart in the cafeteria and reviewed the regions. As we went through, we discussed which candy item would best represent that region.

Regions and candies:

Blue Ridge - Chocolate chips to represent mountains
Piedmont - fruit roll ups to represent red clay soil
Sandhills - Yellow sprinkles to represent sandy soil
Inner Coastal Plain - brown sprinkles to represent the good soil
Outer Coastal Plain - White sprinkles to represent how rice is grown here
Coastal Zone - Swedish fish (I don't think an explanation is needed! haha)

This activity could be adapted for many different things! So even if you don't live or teach about South Carolina, you can still take this idea and run with it. I have seen it done to review the transcontinental railroad and I have also used it for reviewing the parts of plant and animal cells. 

If you have any questions about this, please e-mail me at and I would be happy to help!

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

We have been learning so much this last month that I just wanted to share a few things from our classroom's neck of the woods. 

We just recently finished up a unit on South Carolina Geography and Regions. One of the activities we did was a circle graphic organizer to help us learn about types of communities. This picture is from the first slide of the flipchart I made. 

Click the image to download the flipchart. (I've never linked to a flipchart file before so I don't know if this will work. If you don't have Activ Inspire Promethean or SMARTboard software on your computer, it will not open.) I realize that not everyone learns about South Carolina, but you can just change it to suit your own needs.

Here are some pictures of the kids completed circle graphics. 

(I just love Francisco's corn! HA!)

I am also giving you the circle graphic organizer to download!  Just click the image below for access to the file.

In writing, we have been doing descriptive writing. I was visiting Abby's blog, the Inspired Apple some time ago and came across her Pop Rockin' Descriptive Writing mini unit and I thought it would be a fun thing to do in honor of Halloween. I purchased the unit, which you can buy, here.  

Here are some pictures of what we have done so far! First, we talked about what adjectives were and I gave students the pop rocks and adjectives sheet. They tasted the pop rocks and wrote down adjectives to describe the experience. 

This is definitely my favorite picture. Just imagine you him laughing hysterically...This little guy was hilarious!  

Can you guess what flavor she had?? =)

Clearly these little cuties have never had pop rocks before! I just love their faces! 

Then we made this class chart to close the lesson.

The next day, we learned what a simile was and we made this anchor chart. 

The students then went back to their seats and completed this simile sheet.

If you like the materials, please visit Abby's TPT store and snag your copy! Your kids will love it and YOU! 

In Math, we have been doing subtraction with regrouping. Today, we played this spinner game. I had my students work with a partner, but this would also be a good individual activity. Just have the student use a paper clip and pencil to use the spinner. First, they spin a top number, then a bottom number and just subtract or add. 

Here is the copy of the spinner. Just click the image to download. 

Needless to say, we have been having tons of fun learning these last few weeks! 

More to come soon!

Reading Workshop Book Recommendation

I have only about an hour to conduct Reading Workshop in my classroom and I have been finding it hard to squeeze in Independent Reading and Guided Reading groups, and still have time left over for individual student conferences. 

I am also noticing that several students are having a hard time completing their weekly letters and book recommendations on time. So, I decided to split the class and have half do their letters one week, and then the other half the next. That will give each group two weeks. I also don't have the time to be writing 20 letters each week...

Another change I decided to make today so that students are correctly completing book recommendations is to have students fill out a prompted sheet with information to fill in about the book they wish to recommend. I am also requiring that these be due every two weeks. Here is the book recommendation I created.

This is the first year our school is doing Reading Workshop so I have been learning an awful lot about what both my students and I can handle being that this is all new to everyone! The good news is that next year, students will already be familiar with the program! I am hopeful that it will really change the way our students think about reading while also improving students' reading! 

I would love any recommendations or ideas you may have for conducting Reading Workshop in your classrooms! Leave some love!

Need some Halloween-spiration?

This is just a reminder that my Halloween Linky Party is still going on through the end of the month! There are tons of great activities linked up, so go check it out! I have been seeing a ton of great Halloween ideas and activities around the blog world, so if you have something, free or not, I encourage you to go link up! 

Click the icon to visit the link!

Properties of Addition Activity

We worked on properties of addition last week. We talked about the three properties and to help them remember, I taught the kids that the Commutative property could also be called the flip flop rule because the numbers just flip around and you still get the same sum. 

To help them remember Associative, we talked about the word "associate" and how it can mean partner or buddy. We called this rule the buddy rule because the parentheses make the numbers have a partner or buddy. 

For the Identity rule, we called it the Me rule because these numbers don't like change! They like being themselves. So, when you add zero to a number, this is exactly what happens. The number doesn't change, it stays the same! 

To to help my students practice, I made this little game/activity. All that is required is a set of three dice per child and copies of this sheet! 

I am currently working on our next science unit on Animal and Plant Adaptations. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the finished product! 

Parent Conference Pack!

I have been meaning to post the parent conference resources that I use in my classroom all week, but just haven't had time due to other posting! 

The pack includes a parent conference guide to fill out during the conference, a parent conference reminder slip in English and in Spanish, and a missed conference slip in English and in Spanish. Click the first image to download the entire pack!

Important Note: You will need to have the following fonts on your computer in order for it to look this way:

Pea Shelley Belley
CK Higgins Handprint
CK Fill In
ABC Print

Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement or what ideas for things you do for fall conferences! I would love to hear them!

Some Halloween Cuteness!

So, Halloween is around the corner and I'm being inspired by other teachers and their Halloween-y cuteness! I went to Family Dollar after school today and picked up some goodies! 

Hope over at Second Grade Shenanigans had this super awesome idea about having a dead word funeral to kick off her descriptive writing unit. This idea is simply genius! I mean, come on...that is just cool!  

I don't have the time to decorate my wall as insanely wonderful as she did, but my idea was to use the window cling on in the picture below to display dead words on. Each day of the week starting Monday, I will display a new word on the ghost. We will brainstorm synonyms for the word and add to a chart. I will hang each poster in the room and they will be required to use those words from now on. =)

The bulletin board you see below is from a second grade teacher at our school. Her class was learning about similes so to end the unit, she had her students write down a simile on a pumpkin and color them. She added the pumpkins to a pumpkin patch and called it "A pumpkin patch of similes." What a cute idea! 

My other Halloween inspired idea came to as I was browsing the Halloween shelves at the family dollar and I laid eyes upon this plastic jar with pumpkins on it. I thought it would be fun to fill the jar each week with a different Halloween themed candy or trinket. 

Before students begin making their guesses, we will talk about what estimating is and isn't and add it to an anchor chart. The first week, students will estimate how many candy corns are in the jar and then the week after, we will estimate how many eyeballs there are. Another item you could fill the jar with are this little plastic spiders you always see for sale during Halloween! I plan on revealing the winner on Friday afternoons. The winner each week will win the contents of the jar, the title of Ultimate Estimator, and another fun little Halloween prize!

I also created a little estimation sheet to go along with the activity! Click the image to download!

Happy estimating!

I was also thinking today as I was trying to find cute Halloween fonts that it would be so much easier if there was a file with the names of all the fonts, so I went ahead and created this to help you find fonts when you are creating documents.

And don't forget to link up to my Halloween-spiration Linky and add your Halloween cuteness! 

Math Project!

One of the girls on my grade level had this fabulous idea for a math project to review Place Value and Addition Properties and I wanted to share with you all!

Click image to download.

Also, if you have any Halloween ideas or activities for October, please add it to my linky party! Click the image below to go to the post and link up.

Ai and Ay Activities

Hilary over at Rockin' Teacher Materials is having a Word Work Linky Party! I thought I would share my AI and AY activities since that's what we are going to be doing next week!

Click the image to download the activities!

Don't forget to head over and Link Up for my Halloween-spiration Linky Party!