Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday, ya'll! And while that is normally a good thing....I am a little sad that it is here.
You see, I've been on Fall Break ALL week. I have enjoyed every single moment. Every one. Including my few days in oversized sweat pants. ha!! Sadly, I am very serious.
This really is a true statement. I could NOT wait to just play catch up and relax a little. Mornings with coffee, watching TV, actually cooking dinner and not being on the go all the has really been good for my soul! I'm sad to see the week come to an end. Back to the grind on Monday. On a happy note, I am looking forward to seeing my little explorers. 
Speaking of all things Fall - - has anyone tried this?? Holy Mother!!! Life changing. And no, I'm not being dramatic. It is literally the best ice cream I have ever tasted!
Just read what all it includes. Spiced Pumpkin ice cream, pecans, cinnamon-honey-praline sauce - OMG. My mouth is watering as I type this and I really think it would be inappropriate to have ice cream at 6:30 in the morning. Which - why in the world I am awake at this time over Fall Break, I have no idea....
I've been wanting to do clip art for a long time. But haven't been sure how to grab the bull by the horn. I'm still not sure I fully grasp all there is to it. I love so many of the artists out there and would never want to compete....but doodling and art has always been a passion of mine. Here are just some random doodles I did over Fall Break. I haven't figured out how to convert the files to PNGs though. Despite the number of YouTube tutorials I've watched, I still don't get it. Any suggestions?
Are these cute? Would anyone even use them?? I don't know...
My Fall Break has also been spent finishing units that I've had ongoing for months. I've had some requests for different packs and I've never finalized them to post on TpT. So, I made myself sit down and! Here's what I ended up with.....I would say this is a record. Posting 5 packs in one week (granted 2 are bundled) but hey - - that is HUGE for me! ha 
I finished my Blends and Diagraph Flashcard set. This set includes 26 student flashcards, a checklist, and word wall. It's great for student practice! It goes along with my Blends and Diagraph Poster set {here} or you can grab the bundled pack {here}. 
I also finished my Journaling and Book Review pack. If you have purchased my Explore Informational Reports unit, you'll definitely want to add these 2 to your collection! They accompany that unit perfectly. OR - for 20% savings, you can grab the bundled set {here}. I am seriously rather proud of myself. ha I have never in my life posted that many units in 1 week. I so want to do better...
While I'm on Fall Break...I've spent it in North Carolina with my love. Long distance relationships can certainly be trying, but I'm thankful for the time off so I can be here. One of my best friends lives in Charlotte and I'm off to meet her today. 
She took the day off work so we can have quality girl time. First up on the agenda is a Blow Dry Bar! These are apparently all the rage here. Anyone ever heard of them?? We have appointments at 10:45. I'm pretty excited.....and my hair could definitely use the help.
Stay tuned for my hair do! ha Head on over to Doodle Bugs and link up. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New and excited!

OH MY WORD! I am drooling ya'll! Are you noticing my new...oh so design?!? Kassie Garlock from Designs by Kassie pulled my vision together perfectly. I wanted so badly to get away from the safari look and transition into something that was fun, fresh, and modern.
Kassie did it!!! She was wonderful to work with, quick to respond, and patient with my bajillion emails asking for changes here and new fonts there! ha It was a chore - - believe me! And, she pulled it all together beautifully. Exactly what I wanted! if you're up for a new design, I recommend her. 

Thanks for all of your hard work, Kassie! It is JUST what I had in mind! :) Maybe this will inspire me to blog more. ha After all, this is my 3rd post in a row. 

Someone pinch me!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Writing, labels, and freebies - Oh my!!

Whoop whoop. I'm back folks.....2 days in a row! Today, I'm posting about what's been going on in Writer's Workshop. I began with labeling and my explorers are doing so well with it! I loved Julie Lee's idea on labeling the teacher and Cara Carroll's idea of making an anchor chart to hold the I went for it. And, my students loved everything about it. Brilliant.
Here is the after math of it all. ha And I'm not sure what is up with my outfit. Well, I do know. I was running late and went down to my garage to just my shirt and shoes....hoping my black pants were clean and hanging in the laundry room.....and, well, I was wrong. ha And I didn't have time to go back upstairs and change my I grabbed the first pair of pants I could find. Wardrobe fail. They did NOT match. heh Good thing I'm with 5 and 6 year olds all day....
It is important to remember, that when teaching Writer's Workshop, (you match your clothes) AND you generate ideas for writing with your students. ha ha Providing "live" demonstrations, while showing the students how to write the same type of text they will, is so important! You should provide interactive writing opportunities where you "share the pen." When you do this, you're inviting the students to record some parts of the shared text. Here is my classroom example of pen sharing:
And for those of you not familiar, this is a labeling chart on our sweet and precious Gertrude. You can read more about our classroom pet here. We discussed how a label gives the reader more information and how we needed to educate others on our guinea pig. ;-) Afterwards, students labeled their own guinea pig.
If you're interested in a Gertrude labeling page, you can grab it by clicking the image below. Also, check out Katie Mense's most recent post on labeling and the great freebie she included. So smart! 
I also wanted to share with you a great sheet I put together based on the teachings from Dr. Deborah Rowe from Vanderbilt University. There are many conditions that support young children's writing and we must remember that students learn write best when the learning instructional environment provides: 
1. A purpose for writing and a real audience
2. Immersion
3. Demonstrations
4. Collaboration
5. Response from Others
6. Engagement
7. Responsibility
8. Expectation
9. Approximation
These are great to remember when carrying out your Writing lessons and conference times. This reminder sheet is tucked away in my plan book and I refer to it when planning. I sure hope you've found some helpful tips. Happy Writing!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nocturnal Animals and a freebie!

Hey friends! Long time, no post. I've missed you all. I wanted to post on what my Explorers are learning this week. It's my favorite unit to teach - - nocturnal animals! Here is a little glimpse into what we will be doing. 

We will be making Owl fact books from Deanna Jump's unit. These are wonderful for teaching sentence structure, labeling, and illustrations. We will record some of our new learning on a have/can/are chart and afterwards, dissect owl pellets!
I purchased an owl pellet kit through a STEM grant and my students (last year) LOVED it! You can get a similar kit from Amazon {here}. 
This great little poster was included with the kit and showed the bones students might find when they dissect their pellets. Students were able to bring their bones up to the poster and figure out what part of the Vole it was from. A Vole is a small rodent, resembling a mouse, but with a stouter body. Here is a picture of a Vole skull we found. 
My students begged to take their findings home and show their parents. They were so excited! I'm not so sure my parents were, though. ha ha My explorers, this year, are already counting down to dissection day! It is definitely a wonderful, hands-on learning experience. I plan on teaching about Bats as well and I want to begin with a KWL chart. Here is one that I've put together. We will begin adding to it, tomorrow.
Afterwards, we will compare and contrast Bats to Owls and make a Venn Diagram. 
This wonderful idea stemmed from my bloggy BFF - Katie Mense and it came together so well. The bat pattern is from Cara Carroll and the Silly Shaped Owls can be found here. If you're interested in doing something like this with your students, you can grab the Venn Diagram labels and a recording sheet below.