Thursday, June 2, 2016

What I've Learned – The Daily 5 

This past year was my first for the Daily 5. I'll have to say I am surprised at how I grew to love it, and what it has done for my students. First of all, when I started, these thoughts went through my mind the first weeks:
                        What the heck was I thinking!
                        I'm going to have to micro-manage.
                        My centers won't be as engaging.
                        My kid's attention span will be too small.
                        How interested will my kids be in reading in more than one center?
Of course all these thoughts came to mind while in process of "preparing" the kids to know the routines, learn to read to self, buddy read, etc. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here is a link to read about the Daily 5 from the "2 Sisters"

Anyway, I'm not gonna lie… I was wrong!  I read
last summer and tried to follow their procedures, and remember the countless articles I read by teachers who use the Daily 5.  They proclaimed that their "teacher life" was easier, and their students not only loved the Daily 5, they learned better.

Let me back up a bit, prior to, I was organizing, replenishing, and slaving over 6-7 centers per week, each with specific subject areas. I was spending oodles of time after school mostly focusing on these centers, on top of planning for other parts of the day.

After the beginning stages of our 5 centers, and the preparation phase for my kids, I was amazed. So, I have a rotation schedule for my kids in order that everyone hits each center each week (next year I'm going to try a free choice schedule). To my surprise, "Read to Self", and "Buddy Read" were the favorites of the week; I would hear an enthusiastic "yay". Sure enough, they stuck to the routine, used reading buckets, and were engaged in the centers. I had less micro management than I've ever had in my classroom!

I'm sure you are thinking… yeah but what about guided reading groups. How can you even hear them reading with centers going on in the background and children reading to each other? The answer is, I found the noise level to be better! Yes, of course there was noise, but at a normal speaking level. My students in my guided reading group were not distracted, and nor was I. With the Daily 5 I have a Hmmmm, or certain buzzzz in the classroom. It's the kind of feeling and sound you can remember when your students are all engaged, interested, and happy with the activity they are doing. Just a feeling in the room that you know well, when you experience it as a teacher. Here are some pics of my students during the Daily 5 during one of these fully engaged times.  
Students during "Read to Self"

"Work on Writing"

"Buddy Read" after reading shoulder to shoulder students sequenced events together.

To sum it up… I would highly recommend the Daily5 to another teacher! However, read up on the preparation for your students, and follow the steps – they have been tested and are true. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Humming Bird Craft

My students loved making these humming birds. We did them along with the pollination and plants unit found in my TPT store.  Here is the pattern and a picture.  All you need are small cup cake holders, card stock, pipe cleaner and markers.  Fold the cup cake holders and glue to the pattern cut from card stock  (after coloring with markers). Poke a small hole in the card stock and pull a small pipe cleaner through the hole. Done...


Download pattern by clicking here

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How I Organized my Desktop

                             Spring Cleaning My Desktop

I'm so proud of myself... I finally got my act together and cleaned my desktop with all my TPT products and more.  I made a template (got the idea from Flip Flopping To School, who got the idea from Smiling and Shining in Second Grade) as a background that allowed me to separate and organize all my files. It took a while but was well worth the effort. I feel like I Spring cleaned my house! Here is a screen shot of my desktop and the template I used if anyone else cares to take on the challenge:)
My Desktop

Click to download here

Friday, April 22, 2016

Free Earth Day Writing Activity

                                   Free Writing Printable for

                                         Earth Day!

This activity is great for Kindergarten and First Grade writing.  It supplies words for students to use in their sentences.  To download click below.

click here to download

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Easy Soil Activity

This activity was so easy and yet my students were so engaged doing it.  Sometimes it surprises me how much they get into an activity that I thought was so, so... Anyway, we first took a walk around the playground to notice what types of soil we could find.  We spotted sandy soil near the track, rich soil around the bushes, and of course since we live in Ga., we found red clay. Once inside (and after a quick discussion about certain plant needs), I gave each student a piece of paper folded to make three spaces.  They labeled and drew the types of soil we saw and what might grow in them.
Red Clay, Sandy, and Rich Soil Activity


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Steps to a Mini Greenhouse

My students helped me set up this mini greenhouse. We all took turns putting a variety of beans in a cupcake holder with paper towels cut for the openings, sprayed them with water, put on the top, and set them in the sun. They all made predictions which bean would sprout first. The next morning we came in to find the split pea had already sprouted! Now they are all sprouting. Great way to show the concept of sprouting, and evaporation. My kids tried to figure out why there were water droplets on the inside of the container... and they did!
Cupcake container from the Dollar Store. 

Damp paper towel and a variety of beans...

Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Make a Butterfly Cocoon

Hands on Butterfly Cocoon - so much fun!

My kids had fun building their own cocoons from toilet paper rolls.  First, they covered the tp roll with construction paper, and glued on a leaf or two. Then they made a caterpillar out of pipe cleaners and goggly eyes, and a butterfly from tissue paper and a small piece of pipe clearer. The caterpillar is attached to one end and the butterfly the other. They enjoyed pushing in the caterpillar into one end and pulling the butterfly out of the other. Cute!

Start with toilet paper roll.
Glue construction paper.
Make caterpillar from pipe cleaner and goggly eyes - butterfly with tissue paper and pipe cleaner.
Caterpillar goes in...

Butterfly comes out...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Free Lady Bug - Science Fun


Every year my students can't get enough of when we study insects.  Below is a free printable - gotta love ladybugs! The rest of the unit can be found on my TpT store:
 Insects Week 1 for K, 1st and 2nd grades.
click here to download

Thursday, March 3, 2016

There is a Wocket in my Pocket - Dr. Seuss Fun!

After reading There is a Wocket in my Pocket ... One of my Dr. Seuss favorites, my students created their own rhymes with creatures. These are just a couple - they came out so cute! Great rhyming activity, especially when students are sharing them with one another.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ways My Students Learned About Animal Coverings

                                      We Love Animals!

We have been continuing learning about animals.  These are some of our activities which the kids loved!  All these activities can be found at my TPT store.  

These photos are from an animal coverings booklet we completed.  They loved the peek-a-boo pages and can't tell how many times I see them read them during our classroom library.   

Also from animal coverings... they enjoyed sharing and finishing the patterns in this booklet.  

Our animal coverings map was a good opportunity to practice a graphic organizer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Free Cat in the Hat retell and sequence cards

Dr. Seuss Freebie !

My students enjoyed retelling "The Cat in the Hat" with these hand drawn visuals I whipped up. They were so cute using the book to make sure the sequence was just right, and helping each other retell the story.  I love those moments when my kiddos are so engaged together, and cooperate to finish a task. A nice "hummmm" is in the classroom :)

Visit my TPT store to download these Cat in the Hat visuals - They are in color ready to be cut, and be laminated.