Sunday, October 23, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

When I reminded my class they needed to use their listening ears....

"Teacher, I have the best ears!  They're listening ears! I can hear ANYTHING! Even with my headphones on."  Cora ~ Super Hearing Powers

Halloween STEM Project

We have been learning about spiders in our science journals recently and these Spider Web Bridges from Brooke Brown - Teach Outside the Box fit right in for our Friday STEM project.  

We started by making a blueprint for our designs, each student drew a picture of what the design they thought would hold the most blocks (unifix cubes).  Then they got into groups to strategize and begin working on their Spider Bridges. 

Some groups worked really well together! They jumped right in and got to work.  
Spider Web Bridges STEM Project

Other groups had a harder time coming together.  They each wanted to create their own design, not work together to try each design.  
Spider Web Bridges STEM Project

 I anticipated each group would spend about 30 minutes working until they were ready to start testing their web bridges.  This was 45 minutes in.....
Spider Web Bridges STEM Project
Not quite ready!

Spider Web Bridges STEM Project
An hour in....  Almost there!

I made an executive decision.... Time to test for success!

Spider Web Bridges STEM Project Spider Web Bridges STEM Project
 Not enough "web" but plenty of tape!

Spider Web Bridges STEM Project Spider Web Bridges STEM Project
  Looks good!

Spider Web Bridges STEM Project
Probably a little TOO much "web" and not enough tape!

After many attempts to have the most blocks on their webs, each group had to evaluate their work. They had to write down what worked well, what was challenging, and how they improved their designs.  Some groups realized things were not working and started over (multiple times); some groups were very methodical and took their time.  No matter how they did it, it was a win in my book!  The kids had to work together (a very hard thing to do in 1st grade) and they had an amazing amount of stamina!  In the end they spent approximately 2 hours working! We did have our lunch in the middle, but I was highly impressed!  

Next up Pumpkin Catapults!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tie-Dye... Oh My!

I want to start by letting you know that I'm really not crazy! A few years ago I had an idea to tie-dye t-shirts with all of the 1st Grade students, we use them as our "uniform" for field trips.  The kids love them and they are a great way for us to keep track of our kiddos while we are away from the classroom.
Each time we take on this GIANT task I try to figure out how to do it better than the time before. It always amazes me how much fun the kids have with this activity.
They get to choose the design for their shirt and the colors.  We don't let them put any dye on the shirts because it's hard to control with the adults in the room!

Getting ready to rinse the extra dye out of the shirts...
Maybe I should have worn gloves while I rinsed!

Mrs. I is not allowed to tie double knots in the sacks anymore.
I'm glad my husband was at Wood Badge! He'll never know....

Close to done. We just need to rinse in vinegar and wash.  I love how bright the colors are and the run designs the kids chose.  Take a look at our hard work!
 That is 90 tie-dyed t-shirts!
 The side bulls-eye.

The crumple.

The rolled stripes. (Very Patriotic!)

I already have plans to improve for next year!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Parent Teacher Conferences

Whew! It's been a wild start to the school year! Things have been soooo busy (probably because I can't just start the year doing the same old thing from every year before.... I'll save that for another time....

Back to Parent Teacher Conferences... in a couple weeks our district will give us ONE day to meet with ALL our parents. It's back to back to back meetings, 15 minutes at a time.  It can be a scheduling nightmare for our staff.  I know you can relate!

We spend a great deal of time trying to schedule parents with siblings in consecutive times so we don't inconvenience families and without fail the times we've scheduled won't work for parents.

This year I found this great website that I have been using to schedule parent volunteers in my classroom.  As a building, we decided to use it to schedule parent teacher conferences and it has been AWESOME!!!! No more scheduling conflicts, no more rescheduling, shuffling, moving times, pull your hair out craziness!

Sign Up Genius! Have you heard of it? It has been a lifesaver for scheduling this year! It's FREE and so easy to use.

You create a sign up and invite whomever you would like! We used the time slots for parent teacher conferences. Parents were able to use the invitation they received from their child's teacher (via Sign Up Genius) to choose the from the time slots that were available and that best fit THEIR schedule.  

It's been so wonderful to have my parents choose the time that works best for them, not me choosing for them and causing an inconvenience.  I'm going to use for any class parties this year, too!  

If you have a minute and would love an easy, less stressful way of scheduling, head over to Sign Up Genius to check it out!

Kid Quote of the Week

 I always ask two students to retrieve our lunch basket from the lunchroom. Most of my students pack a lunch (close to 90%), so our cold lunch basket gets a little heavy and slightly overloaded at the end of lunch. It can be pretty heavy sometimes.....

"You're going to have to be tough! It's really full today." Me

"Yeah (head nod), I have been workin' out at my house (shoulder shrug). I'm tough."  Daxton ~ Mr. Tough Guy

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Back to School!

I don't know about you, but I'm not quite sure where my summer went! We have been so busy as a family exploring new places and spending time together! (That is my FAVORITE part of summer!)

But alas.... My brain has shifted into school mode and I find myself spending more and more time in my classroom getting ready for the upcoming year.  I decided to update many of the posters in my classroom, I was in need of a change.  I am so excited because I made these new alphabet and number posters to coordinate with my classroom decor!

Alphabet Poster Set

Alphabet Poster Set

You can find the Alphabet Poster Set HERE.

Chalkboard Number Poster Set

And the Chalkboard Number Posters HERE.

Now to get them up and pictures taken soon!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to Schoo Sale on TpT!

Woot! Woot! It's going to be the BEST YEAR EVER! Head over to Teachers Pay Teachers to move all those fun activities and games from your wish list to your cart!

While your there check out my EDITABLE Teacher Binder! It's going to be a great year!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

So... I admit it, I bribe my students! I like to give my students "Smart Pills" before every test we take. Yes, I know what your thinking - it's candy/food and a bribe - but it's only two tiny pieces of Skittles, Sixlets, Jelly Belly Beans, etc. The
kids love it and I'm reminded if I forget! I think they work if I do say so myself.....

"These aren't Smart Pills, they're Smart Beans!" Andrew ~ Mr. Smarty Pants

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

This week I had the funniest sentence come back on a student's spelling homework.  I don't give my students a spelling list to memorize, I give them a spelling pattern and encourage them to write down any words they know and use them in various sentences.

This week our spelling pattern included words with the -ar pattern, like star and shark.  As I was going through returned homework to create a list of words for our spelling test I came across this wonderful sentence.  I am POSITIVE that her mom did not look at her homework before she returned it to school....

"My mom has relly (really) lowd (loud) farts." Annalynne ~ Miss Honesty

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

 The best part of listening to my students read.... when they start to get the humor in a book and when they can't put it down because they just need to "read two more pages"....

"I just need two more pages until I defeat this book!..... I mean beat!....I mean win!" Carter ~ Book Conqueror & Competitive Reader

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kid Quotes of the Week

This kiddo is wondering the same thing I do. Everyday.  All.  Day.  Long..... "Where did I put my pen/pencil/pointer/brain!"

"That's the miracle about pencils!  Whenever they roll off your desk, you can NEVER find them!" Blake ~ Perplexed by Pencils

Friday, March 18, 2016

Leprechaun Traps

Have you ever set a leprechaun trap? This was the first time I've had my students build leprechaun traps.  It was a great STEM project!  I had my class draw a "blueprint" for their trap and write the directions they thought they would follow to build their trap and then they went home....

They each did a FANTASTIC job ~ or their parents really did :)  We looked on Pinterest as a class to give them some ideas before they started drawing their blueprints.  You can find some great ideas at Moms and Munchkins. Everyone took turns explaining how their trap was going to catch a leprechaun. Then we set them up all around the classroom at the end of the school day and crossed our fingers that we might catch a leprechaun!  The kids had so many things they were going to wish for if they caught the little guy.....

NO LUCK! The kids were bummed that no one caught a leprechaun. But they enjoyed the "bag of gold" our leprechaun left.

And then they had to clean up the mess our mischievous leprechaun left for us.....

In the end, it was a great day and a wonderful project that allowed parents to get involved. It's definitely a keeper and maybe, just maybe, we might catch that sneaky leprechaun next year.....

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

One of the best experiences as a teacher is when kids are excited about learning and have the confidence to let everyone know about it.....

"I love math!  Math is my jam!" Andrew ~ 1st Grade Rockstar Mathematician

I hope all students can find their "jam."

Sunday, February 28, 2016

St.Patrick's Day Measuring FREEBIE!

My students love to measure things around the classroom.  They really love to ask if they can measure me!  It's so much fun to see the excitement they have when exploring within the classroom.

 This fun nonstandard measurement activity is FREE for a limited time!

Lucky Measurements FREEBIE ~ a nonstandard measurement activity

 Students will have fun measuring and comparing different St. Patrick's Day pictures in Lucky Measurements.

Kid Quote of the Week

I feel like a broken record when I repeatedly ask my students if they are using their best coloring skills and making an attempt at staying inside the lines, but every now and then they take you just a little to serious......

"I never knew coloring could be so important!" Robert ~ The Perfectionist

"Or so lovely!" Kaylynn ~ The Dreamer

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

If it's not the 100th Day of School for you yet, it will  be soon!  Our class celebrated it this last week. (A little early, but I couldn't handle two parties in a row ~ 100th Day of School and Valentine's!)

I love to have the kids write how they think they will look, be, play, etc. when they are 100 years old.

It leads to some very interesting interpretations of age...

"I hope I don't look like my grandma when I'm 100 years old!" Lexi ~ Miss In-Denial

Only the sweetest, shiest of students would tell me they DO NOT want to look like their grandparent! LOL!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

This week our school has been celebrating Africa.  We've tried food, listened to guest speakers, made crafts, watched videos......  We've done so many activities!

Our last project was making a necklace with a paper plate.  While explaining to the kids how it would look like a necklace (I of course put the example on to demonstrate how the necklace-plate would look), Jane let me know how it REALLY looked!

"It's the cone of shame!" Jane ~ Oh Witty One

Needless to say, it was no longer a necklace but "the cone of shame".  I had a good laugh and so did the rest of the class; however, I don't think I'll ever look at a paper plate the same again....

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

I never seem to hear the start of the "good" conversations in my classroom, but I caught the end of this one this week.....

"My mom made five whole dollars in one day!  That's 500 pennies!"  Tallon ~ Future Trust Fund Kid

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

You always know when you've spent enough time on a writing activity......

"Mrs. Jensen, is this (writing activity) a poem?" Blake

"No." Me

"Whew! That's a relief!" Sofia ~ Not a Future Poetry Writer

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kid Quote of the Week

"Teacher, did you know if you accidentally write an 'F' you can turn it into a 'P' really easy?!  I just found that out!"  Tallon ~ Shortcut taker