Sunday, November 17, 2013

OOBLECK and a little Halloween Party flashback!

Oobleck, oobleck, oobleck!  That is the substance that was all over my lils' clothing and hair on Friday (we were able to at least wash it off of our hands/arms)! OOPS!  However, it should have washed off of their clothes pretty easily.  Oobleck is simply 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch and a little food coloring for a fun twist.  Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid which means it acts like a liquid when poured, but like a solid when a force acts upon it (like when you punch your fingers in it).  Pretty neat stuff!  It complimented the end of our matter chapter in science since it takes on the properties of both a solid and liquid.

First, we watched a youtube video of two Spanish talk show hosts walking (more like running!) across a pool of oobleck!  Go here to watch the video... or watch it on here (hopefully this works!).

Their little minds were blown!  They kept asking, "What?!  How are they doing that?  What is that stuff?"

Then, I explained what was in the pool and that we were going to make it.  Of course, their next question was, "Are we going to run across it too?!"  I had to break it to them that I did not buy enough cornstarch to make a pool of oobleck... "awwwww....."

I made a batch underneath the document camera so that it projected on the SmartBoard for all to see.  Next, I made two more batches of the stuff in big plastic containers (the kind that you put shoes in and slide under the bed).  I split up the class into two groups of 11 and let them stick their hands in the ooey, gooey mixture.  Needless to say, things got a bit messy...  I forgot did not take pictures of the kids experiencing the oobleck, but here are some pictures of the ingredients I used and me playing with the original oobleck batch in case you have never seen it before.

I bought the cheapest brand of cornstarch. :)

If you look closely, you can see that the cornstarch package exploded all over the document camera and the cart... oops! 

 Hard/solid-like when I try to grab it.  I'm using all of my finger muscles(?) here.

Finally, I was able to pick up a chunk, but alas, it instantly turned into liquid...

Back into the bowl it went!

So, if you would like to make this in your classroom, it is super easy, but can get messy.  I would lay down a beach towel or old plastic shower curtain, something that you can easily clean up after all of the fun is over.  That is the lesson I learned from this little activity, so I am passing on my new knowledge to you! :)  

Now, onto our little Halloween Party flashback!  First of all, thank you so much to my homeroom mom and all of the moms and grandmother who came to help out!  I do not know what I would do without you all.  Here is a picture tour of the Halloween station games/activities that we enjoyed that day....

Halloween Bingo and Halloween erasers as bingo markers (all from the Target Dollar Spot!)

Skeleton ball toss


Halloween corn hole toss!  I believe my homeroom mom made it.

Paper towel roll ghost bowling with a plastic pumpkin!


Every game had a little treat/prize as well!  The kids had a blast!!

And not to disappoint, the two kindergarten teachers and I (in the middle) collaborated again this year... The 3 Blind Mice! Thank you pinterest! :)

Well, that should do it for now!  It is off to bed for me.  After a day of making a rare appearance at the gym, laundry, figuring out how to renew my passport so I can go on our honeymoon in June, and working on my research study paper for my grad class, my brain has had enough.  I hope you all have a great week!  One more week and a few days until a lil Thanksgiving break! :)

Samantha :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Who Stole Our Candy Corn?!

Thanks to Babbling Abby, we had a Candy Corn Bandit steal our jar of candy corn today! The jar was sitting on our blue round table when we left for lunch, and when we returned from recess, it was GONE!  The bandit had taken it and left a note and a clue in its place.  Can you believe that?!

We were quite upset and shocked that someone had taken our candy.  Before going on our search, we made some predictions as to WHO we thought stole the candy and WHERE it was hidden.  Once our predictions were stated, we tiptoed down the hall toward our first destination.  You see, our first clue said to look in the place where we eat a meal.  Once we found our second clue under a cafeteria table, we were off again!  The bandit's clues led us to the gym, playground, library, and then back to our classroom, where we found the last clue and our jar of candy corn (thank goodness!).

Racing from the playground to the library!

Tiptoeing from the library back to our classroom...


The lils were really into the whole adventure.  They were curious as to WHO took their candy and were intent on finding it. I want to extend a BIG thanks to Babbling Abby for providing this awesome activity

We enjoyed our candy corn at the end of the day and still have more left!  I'm sure we will continue to enjoy it until the BIG DAY on Thursday.  Oh, the excitement is building, for sure!  Don't worry, there will be a post recapping all of the spooktacular Halloween activities! ;)

Samantha :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Quick Literacy and Math Link

Hello my poor, little, neglected blog.... :/  I wish there was more time in a day; that would solve so many of my time constraint problems.  Anywho, before it turned into a month since my last post, I wanted to pass along another idea from Mrs. Cara Carroll... :)  found HERE

So, borrowing her idea of our story characters writing math problem letters to the lils, the first letter I Curious George wrote to the class was a HUGE hit!  First of all, they were so incredibly excited to get mail, and I mean, who doesn't get excited about actual paper mail?!  I ALWAYS get super excited to get fun mail, like a card or invite.  It's the little things.  Okay, tangent, back to the main idea here.  So, I typed up a letter (using CCFonts!) from Curious George that included a problem for the students to solve.  Then, they had to write back to Curious George with their answer.  For the first two letters, I wrote what they told me to model letter writing.  For future letters, I will turn over the letter writing to the lils, now that they have an idea of how to do it.  I did not write a letter last week, and they were so disappointed about not getting mail!  Aww!  I will have to make sure to do it this week.  Thank you Mrs. Carroll for such a great idea that combines literacy and math in such a fun, engaging way!  You can really cover any skill!

I forgot to take pictures of the Curious George letter, so this is from Lucia, a character from another story in our Journeys curriculum.  You can even see that during our Writer's Workshop, some students wrote their own letters back to Lucia!  How cute!  Some asked if she could come to their homes to play! :)

Sorry I've been MIB (missing in blogging) lately.  Hopefully, I can get it together soon and blog more often.  I really do miss sharing AND reading other blogs (My blogger is at over 100 blog posts waiting for me to read! ahhhh! I'm missing out on so much!).  Okay, way past my bedtime.  Good night and until next time!

Samantha :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Think Before You Speak

So you know that saying, "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"???  It's false.  I mean, yes, words will not actually break your bones, but they DO hurt.  When I found this little think before you speak activity on Cara Carroll's blog HERE (at the bottom of her post), I was thrilled.  Sometimes kids know exactly what they are saying, but sometimes they do not realize the hurtfulness of their words.  This touching lesson really makes the lils think about their words.
I began by telling them the sticks and stones saying.  Some had heard of it, but most had not.  I explained what it meant, and we discussed how mean words can hurt our feelings.  They all said they have experienced hurtful words... :/  Then, I explained that we were going to read the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and gave a short summary, describing how the other characters are going to make fun of Chrysanthemum's name.  Earlier, I had cut out a BIG heart from red bulletin board paper.  I told the lils that we were going to crinkle and crumple up the heart each time someone in the story made fun of Chrysanthemum.  As I read, we passed the heart around and crumpled it up for each hurtful word.  They were amazed at how wrinkled it was becoming!  Then, at the end of the story, the characters start to say kind things about her name.  We tried our best to smooth out the wrinkles but to no avail.  One lil was actually pretty upset that he was unable to straighten out the wrinkles... aww!!  We discussed that even though the other students started being nice to Chrysanthemum, her heart was still wrinkled from their unkind words.  To end the activity, we wrote our names on band aids (pen worked best on the fabric band aids) to try to help heal Chrysanthemum's heart AND as a little pledge to think before we speak.

This was such a beautiful lesson.  My lils really took it to heart, pun intended.  ;)   As they were patching up the heart with their band aids, I heard them say, "Let's help her!" and "Let's make her feel better!"  So sweet!   I will hang to heart in the room as our visual reminder to think before we speak.

Oh ps, the Writer's Workshop presentation went SO well!! I talked a mile a minute, but I just had so much to share!  I love spreading the word about all of the blogs that I follow and all of the ideas on pinterest.  Hopefully, the grad students will follow my advice and get into teacher blog reading.  It seriously changed my life.  And I shamelessly plugged my lil blog (ahh blush!) haha, so if you are one of those grad students, HELLO and welcome to my lil world!  :)

Samantha :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lesson Learned

Why hello there everyone!  Well my goal of posting earlier was hindered by a few things: Open House on Thursday (went well! whew!), being asked by my grad school professor to present my Writer's Workshop to his Teaching Writing class tomorrow (yikes! nervousssss!), and researching for and writing my grad school research paper due Tuesday (will be working more on that tomorrow... at some point...).  Seriously, God bless all of you who have children to take care of on top of all of these things.  I deeply respect you and only hope that I will have your strength some day in the far future when I have lils of my own (oh gees, cold sweats... on thing at a time... let's get married first!).  Oh that is the other thing, my fiance and I have been planning for our wedding on April 26th, 2014!!!! Ahhh excited!  We made and ordered our save the date magnets (they are en route!) and gathered addresses over the weekend.  But I have missed my lil blog and sharing with all of you so without further ado, here is a lesson I learned 2 weeks ago during center time...

So two weeks ago, we were learning the short i sound.  I thought it would be fun to make a fishing game for center time.  I made orange paper fish, wrote a spelling word on each fish, laminated them, and stuck a paper clip on each fish.  Then, I made the fishing poles with leftover wooden dowel rods from my wedding center pieces, taped clear plastic "fishing line" to the dowel rods, and taped magnets to the ends of the lines. I was so thrilled with the outcome and ready to go!  Well this happened in the middle of center time, which was already a half hour delayed due to a boy-only boy scout assembly that morning, so we were a little rushed to finish our centers before music class.
Holy tangled mess!!!!

Not even sure how all of these tangles and knots were possible...  Untangling was futile.  I was in the middle of running a short i Bingo center.  As I called out short i words for my group, I cut the lines from the rods and magnets and reattached everything with brown yarn instead.  Not as authentic looking, but A LOT easier to untangle AND not get tangled in the first place.  I had 5 rods in all to reassemble.  I was a sweaty mess when all was said and done!  So lesson learned, go for practicality over authenticity next time.  

Here is the fishing center recording sheet that I made and the lil fishies :)
(When I figure out how to upload products I make, I will post this as a freebie.)

This picture was taken before the massive tangle.  She caught one!!

This is the Bingo center where I was helping the kiddos.  These word family bingo ladders came from this Scholastic book.
 We used snap cubes as markers. 

In this center, the lils had to reread the weekly story together and then unscramble each sentence from the story to make a complete sentence.  

 This center is adapted from Reagan Tunstall's Flipping Over Vowels Freebie!  I made my own pancakes and recording sheet here to review the short a and i vowel words.  I use her center once we have learned all of the short vowel sounds.

This center was a BIG hit!  I set out these silly sentence puzzle pieces (don't remember where I bought them!) for the kiddos to choose a beginning, middle, and end puzzle piece.  Then, they had to record the sentence and illustrate it.  While they were recording the sentences, they had to remember to begin with a capital and end with punctuation.  This was great practice for writing complete sentences.  At the end of the day, we had a few extra moments (say what!?), so I had the students, who wanted to share, read their silly sentences.  We all had a good laugh! :)

While I'm on a roll and still awake from that grande mocha earlier, I might as well tell you about last week's short o learning and centers.
We began by completing a short o picture to word match that I made in our groups.  Then, we played a short o I Have Who Has game.  Next, I had the kiddos give me a short o word to add to our anchor chart that will stay up all year.  Can you tell we live in Pittsburgh and love our Penguins' star?? ;)

Lastly, we made short o socks to hang on our window as another reminder/ resource.

Again, our centers included rereading our story of the week and unscrambling sentences from the story.

Here is our listening center where the kids listened to Frog's Lunch and then filled out a story elements recording sheet.  We were focusing on sequence of events this week as well.

 I will have to get back to you as to where I found this recording sheet.

This Scrabble Spelling center (I think it was a freebie on a blog and I can't remember where I got it :/ sorry!) was a perfect literacy and math connection activity.  The lils had to spell their words on the left and then use the amounts on the scrabble tiles to add up the total of each word.  We have been learning all about addition in math class, so this center was excellent practice for us.  I had the counters out for anyone who needed to use them.

This center (using the blue monster lunch bags from the Target Dollar Spot donation!) was called Monster Chomp.  I created this one.  The students had to sort through short vowel word cards.  The blue monster ONLY eats short o words, so the lils put the short o words in the monster bag.  They placed the other short vowel words in another bucket.

Lastly, they dumped out all of the short o words and recorded them on the Monster Chomp worksheet for the monster on the sheet to grab and eat! YUM!

Finally, I made this center for the kiddos to practice spelling and using the vocabulary words for the week.  First, they had to choose four out of the six vocab words to record on the left.  Then, they used the large amount of letter stickers to spell out each word.  Lastly, the kiddos had to write a sentence using each word they chose.

Okay, so that is everything that I wanted to share.  Oh gees, it is 12:48am.... oops!  Long day tomorrow!  Wish me and my kindergarten coworker :) good luck as we present what we do for Writer's Workshop in our classrooms to grad students tomorrow!  Oh boy!  

Have a great week everyone!!

Samantha :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Some Randomness from this Full Moon of a Week

The effects of the full moon are real!  I'm serious!  So far my lils have been pretty good at following the rules, but this week, they were a bit crazy pants!!  I had some shouting out... coming up to me when they know they need to stay in their seats and raise their hands... getting wild during centers... and other such random (unique) things that happened haha!  They should be back to normal next week.  I'm probably overreacting anyway since they spoil me with their normally awesome behavior!  :)

Anywho, so far we have studied the short a and i vowels.  I love to make big visuals for the lils to use as resources or reminders when they are reading and writing.  First, we do some activities to review the vowel sound, such as the Scraggles activities from my last post.  Then, I have each of the kiddos give me a short vowel word (using the vowel sound we are working with) to go on an anchor chart that stays up all year.  Lastly, the kids will make a little craft to go on a BIG visual that stays up for about 2 months.

Okay!  So here is the short a anchor chart!  I added a lil Scraggle to the chart as another reminder of the vowel sound.  Again, all of the words on the chart were given to me by the kiddos.

And here is the BIG visual.  I have a wall full of windows in my room, and they face the main parking lot/ bus pickup and drop off area.  This is where the BIG visuals will be hung, so everyone will know what is going on in first grade (and see that we just flat out rock!).  I think I found these apple cutouts in the Michael's dollar section at the end of last year.  The kids each got one and wrote a short a word on it (in pencil first and then marker).  

To begin the short i activities, we read Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Bob Shea.  Such a cute book!  It has a bit of a surprise ending so this book would be great for predicting and making inferences as well.

After reading the book, we came up with as many short i words as we could to fill Gilbert's fish bowl.  This is the anchor chart that will stay up all year. 

Here is the BIG fish bowl on the window.  I used the Die-Cut to make orange ovals, and I used the 1/3 fraction circle template for the tails.  Again, they had to write a short i word on the fish body.

This week we will focus on the short o sound.  I plan on us making short o paper socks.  They will draw and cut these out on their own.  I will string yarn from one side of the window to the other and hang the socks from the yarn.  I think it will look super cute, especially from the parking lot.  ;)

This week we were busy, busy making posters and projects to display in the hallway for Open House on this coming Thursday (yikes!).  
In Science, we have been learning about weather and the four seasons.  We are lucky (?) to experience all four seasons in Pittsburgh, PA, so this lils had lots to tell me about the weather in each season when we made this anchor chart for our classroom.  The next day, I had a student from each of the five groups pick a poster topic out of our magic hat.  Now, since there are only 4 seasons, I added a "how clouds form" category since we have done a lot with clouds in this unit of study as well.
 Here are their awesome posters!! They worked pretty well together to make these posters.  :)

Since I teach in a Catholic school, we study religion.  To begin the year, we study the story of creation.  I have a really old but beautifully illustrated story of creation book for children.  We read it twice; they loved it so much!  Again, each group chose a day of creation (2-6) out of the magic hat and created a poster depicting what was created on their day.  I took care of day one and seven.  :)

Here is an up close and personal view of day 5.  This group had a tough day, depicting all of the animals, fish, birds, insects, etc, but they did really well with it!

Here is the Watermelon Math Sentence activity from Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies.  I ADORE this activity.  It was the perfect thing to end our first math topic on understanding addition.  It was a crazy week, and I did not have time to pre-cut everything, but I actually like the fact that the lils did the entire project themselves.  To make the watermelon fruit, I told the kiddos to make a HUGE capital letter D using the edge of the paper as the edge of D.  I LOVE how each one is different.  Then, they used their planning sheet to figure out how many blue, yellow, and gray seeds they needed to draw and cut out to make 10 seeds in all.  Lastly, they wrote out their addition sentence on the paper.  (We fixed this lil one on the right once I realized there were 11 seeds... oopsie!)

So now our hallway is completely plastered to the max with first grade awesomeness!  

Alrighty, well that about does it for me tonight.  I'm going to close it up here and watch the iHeart Radio music concert!!  Can't wait til JT performs!! :)  I'll try to post tomorrow about our centers from this past week and the lil lesson I learned from our fishing game... I can't make any promises tho, because I'm setting aside tomorrow and Monday to type up the first chapter of my research paper for my grad class.  woohoo
Okay, goodnight!!

Samantha :)