Monday, April 28, 2014

{VERY Belated} Earth Day Fun!

Another Crafting, turned Reading, turned Writing opportunity happened in my classroom last week!  

Mel from The Pond posted this uber-cute Freebie a few weeks ago and it just started my wheels a-turnin'!

I grabbed my crafting binder and pulled out this beauty:
Click here for your own copy of the patterns.

And here is the great hold-up:  I had ordered some books from Scholastic but they didn't show up until Thursday afternoon.  But they were totally worth the wait!  My kiddos loved these books and they helped to inspire some conversations about conservation and recycling.

To put all this new info to perfect use, I used this:

Earth Day Writing Activity
A HUGE shout-out to Laura Ritter of Adventures in Multigrade for sharing this great page.
Click here to get a copy of this awesome freebie!

I just love how each item has its own personality!

And here is a final product using Mel's and Laura's freebies.  I think they all turned out great!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Talk Thursday {Red Hat}

I am joining Andrea at Reaching Toward the Stars to book talk about wordless books.  

I just got this book in a Scholastic order and it's a perfect fit for today's linky.  

Red Hat is a wordless book about a bear cub that steals a little girl's stocking cap off the clothes line and the other animal-kids in the area have so much fun they accidentally unravel it.  When she discovers the knot of yarn, hastily returned to the clothes line, the little girl decides to knit something for all the woodland creatures.  

I was feeling inspired, so we sat down right away and wrote a whole-class story to go along with Red Hat!

I think I'll have to dig out more wordless books.  We had so much fun with this!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Some Great Things About Spring!!!!! {Crafting & Writing Freebie}

I can't believe I'm saying this, but SPRING HAS FINALLY SPRUNG here in Illinois!  We've had three consistent days above 50 degrees!  I know, right?  Many of us never thought this day would come!  And now that it has, we all have a little Spring Fever.  

So I pulled out my craft binder and found these cuties:

We always have a solid hour on Wednesday afternoons when kids are getting pulled out for Math RtI, Reading RtI, Title I, or the Reading Grandparents.  So instead of trying to do lessons,  I plan extension activities and crafts.

This is the result:
 Click here and here to get your own copy of the patterns.

And of course, these spring-y crafts got me thinking about all the great things about Spring.  So I pulled out all the books in my library that are Spring related.  I also like to keep old issues of Time for Kids.  I dug out magazines about gardening, thunderstorms and tornadoes, the effects of the sun, and insects.  We spent the last half of our crafting time reading.

I was actually amazed how many books I had that related to Spring in some way.
Hibernating Animals and Holidays 

Fiction and Gardening 

Weather and Life Cycles 

Non-Fiction and Time for Kids

And to put all that new information to good use, we wrote about all the great things about Spring!

Since most of my class struggles with writing, (and don't we all?!?!) I like to do a whole-class writing before I set them loose on their own.

Though this writing is more expository-like, I encourage my students to write using elements from narratives: an introductory and closing paragraph, and feeling and transition words. 

Now it's time to see what they can do on their own!
At my school, we use the 4-square writing method.  (I guess technically this is a 5-square.)
Click here to get your own copy of this graphic organizer.  

Here are a couple shots during our pre-write.  This part of the process is very slow because I have each student share what they're planning to write before they write it.  This gives the strugglers a chance to "steal" some ideas on what to write themselves.  I also refer to our whole-class writing often during this stage.  
But I gotta say that we are ROCKIN' this!  My kiddos are coming up with some A-MA-ZING sentences!

Then we did a little peer editing . . .

and voila!

Isn't great when a craft leads to a reading opportunity, which leads to writing opportunity?  Some connections MUST have been made. Right?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Art Linky

Today I am linking up with Mel at Frog Spot for her Tuesday Art Linky!
(This craft is also featured in a post that I am working on for later this week.  Click here to see that post.)

Spring Fever has struck here in Illinois.  So I pulled out my crafting supplies and had my kiddos make these cuties.  Click here and here for your own copy of the patterns.

And didn't they turn out SO CUTE!?!?!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday {A First for Me}

This is the first time I have liked up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday.  Linkies are always so much fun! 

I like to read books to my class that have been made into movies.  So far this year we have read: Because of Winn Dixie, The City of Ember, Holes, and we just finished Indian in the Cupboard.  After we finish each book, we watch the movie and discuss the similarities and differences between the book and movie.  We're moving on to Charlotte's Web next!    

Photo: As some of you may know, Astra & Isis have fledged. Well, actually, they fledged, un-fledged, and re-fledged a number of times today. The whole event was very cute. They are still in the ficus tree hanging out together and Eva is feeding them. I will post a video of all this activity later today. Speaking of Eva… we have an EGG!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, Eva has been renovating nest in the backyard (Bella's last nest in the vine) and this morning she LAID AN EGG!!!!!!!! YEA!!!! I will move camera there as soon as I am sure Isis & Astra are done fledging and re-fledging. Join us for all the fun at:
You may know that I am a HUGE fan of the Decorah Eagles in Decorah, Iowa.  My class and I watch them everyday and observe their growing eaglets.  You can check them out here.
Anyways, yesterday we switched over to watch some hummingbirds.  I thought it would be interesting to compare the size of the birds and the nests.  While there, we actually got to watch one of these adorable baby hummingbirds fledge from the next for the first time!  We all cheered like we were watching a sporting event!

My kiddos and I have been working on a writing project this week.  We've spent time reading and talking about the great things about Spring.  We finished a whole-class writing.  I was very pleased with the sentences they supplied for it.  I'll be sharing a longer post about this next week. (Click here to see that post.)

I finished re-reading the Divergent series this week.  My husband came to bed to find a blubbering, snotty mess of a wife as I read the famous "Chapter 50" in the Allegiant book.  For those of you who haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you.  But for those of you who have, tell me you didn't sob like a baby!

Technically, this event didn't happen during the week but it's something that I've been psyching myself up for all week!  I get to babysit my sister's three youngest tomorrow.  Adding them to my own and the potential neighbor kids that might show up, I could be looking at 7 youngsters running around my house!  It's going to be a madhouse!