Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Can't Celebrate Halloween? That's okay it's National Candy Corn Day!

I've been officially boo'ed by Diane at Fifth in the Middle. Gary over at Scrappy Guy Designs has a fun linky party where you get a chance to share what you do or don't do with your students for Halloween.

Since I teach at a private Christian school I am not allowed to celebrate Halloween with my students. Most of the students do go out trick-or-treating, but there are enough families that have an issue with it that we avoid the issue by not having celebrations in school. As hard as we try to make the day "business as usual" it doesn't really work.

So what is a teacher to do when all your kiddos can think of is candy and costumes? Celebrate National Candy Corn Day of course!
Today, Wednesday October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. I actually hate candy corn, but the kids love it so we embrace it!

My sweet friend Laura created Candy Corn Sentences for Word Work. They are free on TPT. I hung the task cards around the room and had my kiddos find the verbs and helping verbs in the sentences. They also had to decide if the sentences were past, present, or future tense. Guess what grammar topic we are currently working on?
In math my kiddos and I are working on function tables. I grabbed this freebie from Emily at I Love My Classroom.

Of course we ended our day by eating candy corn...well my kiddos did. You couldn't pay me to eat them. What do you do to celebrate, or not celebrate Halloween? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Pumpkin Style

Happy Tuesday! I'm excited to link up with Holly today for Tried it Tuesday!

This week isn't exactly a teaching post. What I tried this week was pumpkin carving. Growing up we would carve pumpkins for Halloween, but those pumpkins were the classic Jack-o-Lantern face.

My husband on the other hand creates pumpkins like this:

His pumpkin from the 1st year we were married.

So this year, he and I worked to create pumpkins based off the movie Nightmare Before Christmas.

What do you think of our handiwork? Mine is on the left, Glen's is on the right. What have you tried this week?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spark Student Motivation-Fall Walk and Writing

How does the week get away from me? I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted! I'm thankful it is still Saturday so I can link up with Joanne for her linky party!

A few weeks ago I read this blog post from Polka Dot Lesson Plans. As soon as I read it I knew I wanted to take my kids on a fall walk. This past Friday was the day. My kiddos had computer class first thing in the morning so when they came back I read them the story In November by Cynthia Rylant. It is a beautiful book that is full of wonderful imagery. My students and I have been learning similes and metaphors so they were very quick to pick them out as I read them the story.

It was a cold morning-only 38 degrees, but we bundled up and went on our walk. The students used this foldable to record what they saw, felt, smelled, and heard. (We brainstormed what we thought the tastes of fall were.)

As you can see it was a cold, hazy morning, but the kids were great. We walked around outside for about 15 min. The kids wrote down a lot of great things about fall.

When they finished they came back inside and wrote fall poems. The students wrote off two different poem starters:

Fall is a time for...
In fall...

I wish I took pictures of their finished pieces. They were so motivated to write, some of them wrote two and three poems about fall in the time I gave them.

What do you do to motivate your students? Have any of you taken your students on a fall walk?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Timeless Thomas-Science Mentor Text

Happy Sunday! I am excited to link up with Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text linky.
This week's topic is Science. In my school we teach social studies and science by quarter. That means that I have been teaching social studies to my kiddos this quarter and in two weeks when we start second quarter I will be teaching science. The book I want to share with you is one that I use during my first science unit on electricity, Timeless Thomas by Gene Barretta.

Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives

I love this book. Most of my students know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but they do not know about all of the other things that he invented. They also don't realize how long it took him to create a working light bulb. Many of them think he got it right on the first or second try!

I also like to show this video to my students. The video is about 30 min long, but it does a nice job showing how hard Edison and his team had to work to get a working light bulb. So many of my kids give up after the first or second try...I love showing them how famous people had to work at things too. Things in life aren't always easy!

What are your favorite science mentor texts?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spark Student Motivation-Landform Project

Happy Saturday! It is a nice chilly day here in Pennsylvania...I have a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee and am catching up on blogging-what a great start to the weekend! I'm linking up with my dear friend Joanne at Head over Heels for Teaching for her linky party.

Today I want to share a project with you that I did with my students a few weeks ago...I just didn't have a chance to blog about it when we did it! My kiddos and I have been studying our home state of Pennsylvania. When we first started our unit, I wanted them to have a solid grasp of our state's geography. What better way to have them really learn about it than by having them make a model of our state?

I don't know about you, but my kids love working with clay. I partnered them up, gave them the directions to the project, a paper map of our state, clay, and a few resource books and they went to town. A few of them needed to be reminded that our mountains are not rocky like the Rocky Mountains...they had to tone down their "peaks." Here's a picture of many of the finished clay products.

If you are interested in doing this project with your students you can download it here for free.

Freebie Fridays


What do you do to motivate your students?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workshop Wednesday-Freebie Math Games

Happy Wednesday! Today was a busy day in 4th was my student teacher's last day so of course we had to have a little celebration to thank her for all she did for us and my school computer crashed! I'm so thankful that I save everything on the server and not on my desktop!
Since it is Wednesday I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey to share some math games. My kiddos love playing math games. I've blogged about a few of them before, you can read about them here. But I want to share three freebie games that you can get from TPT with you today that my kids are loving right now.
 Bang!  A Multiplication Game
The first game is Bang! A Multiplication Game. This game is super easy to set up. I printed everything on cardstock, cut the "sticks" apart and put them in a little pail that I have in my classroom. The directions and answers are included so I set it up as a center in my classroom. I love it because my kids are practicing those tricky multiplication facts in a fun way.

Bang! Division Fact Game
The second game is Bang! Division Fact Game. I created this game last year out of necessity. My kids loved the Bang! Multiplication game and I really needed them to learn their division facts. The game is played the same way as the game above and the kids love it.

FREE Factor Race Math Game
The third game that my kids are really enjoying right now is Factor Race Math Game. This game requires a little more "teaching" to have your kids get the hang of it, but it is a fun, fast-moving game that has your students practice finding factors of a number. There is an "easy" set of numbers and a "challenging" set. I mixed them up and have the kids working with both sets since most of my kiddos are on the same level this year.

What are your favorite math games to play with your kiddos during workshop time?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Causes of the American Revolution with Smarties

I love starting back to school on a Tuesday...if only every weekend was a three day weekend! I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday

Last week my students and I studied the causes of the American Revolution. Earlier this year Mary from Fit to be Fourth blogged about a Smarties activity she used to introduce her students to the causes of the American Revolution. She was so kind to send it to me.

Since I only have 14 students I had my student teacher be the Queen. I was Parliament, two of my students were tax collectors and the rest were colonists. My student teacher read out the new tax laws while the tax collectors collected the taxes from their classmates. They passed the "taxes" to me and I passed a large share onto the king. The tax collectors were able to keep one Smartie for each new tax, I as Parliament kept two and we gave the rest to the Queen.
The students got very vocal about the situation and quickly let us know that they did not find it very fair.

As you can see the Queen had a very large share.

The colonists did not end up with much.

Once the activity was over, we had the students reflect on how they felt about the activity (after I gave them all more Smarties so they stopped thinking I was the unfair one,) and how they thought the colonists felt when they had to give up their money.

It was a fantastic activity that really helped the kids have a taste of what the colonists may have felt.

American Revolution Linky

What have you tried recently? What do you do to help your students understand the American Revolution?

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Monday Made it and a few freebies

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! I hope you have a wonderful day today and that you are able to spend it with friends and family!

Happy Columbus Day to my American friends...I don't know about you, but I am thankful for the day off! I can't believe I missed blogging for an entire week! My grad class is a lot of work right now, so most of my nights are spent working on that...I'm looking forward to it being over.

It is the second Monday of the month so I am linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it. It is hard to believe we are already into the second week of October. I haven't been as creative as I would have like to have been, but there are a few things I made this month.

Since our first quarter is ending I have cleaned up a self-assessment that I have had my students use for years.  You can grab it for free here.

My Native American Interview Project is a fun way for students to research a tribe and present it to the class. It is a freebie in my TPT store. You can pick it up here.

I created a fun writing prompt that I worked on with my kids. It is a descriptive writing piece that ties in social studies/geography into their writing. You can pick it up at my store here, or if you are a follower on Facebook you can download it there. It is my new Facebook Freebie. Head over there to grab it while you can!

I also completed the final tests for my Fourth Grade Common Core Assessment Bundle. It was a lot of work, but I am so thankful to have my unit tests made for the entire year! The bundle includes 5 assessments, one for each of the major Common Core categories. I know I will appreciate it in March when I have tons to do at school. If you are interested you can pick it up in my store here. It is currently 10% off.

What have you made this month? 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jack the Tripper-Mentor Text

Sunday means it is time to link up with Collaboration Cuties for their linky:
This week's topic is Language Arts. The book I want to share with you is one I like to read around this time of year.

Jack the Tripper  by Gene Barretta is about a villain that is tripping students. The students from Dizzle Day Elementary School keep having awful things happen to them each day by "Jack the Tripper"...until it is discovered that they have been lying to their teacher. The end of the story has a real "villain" show up...just when your kids think they have figured out the story.

Since I teach at a private school, we can't celebrate Halloween. This book, however, is a great not-so-spooky book that I can get away with using that fits this time of year. Each year I use it for different things, some years I have used it for predicting, other years for synthesizing, or for inferring. It has a nice basic story line that lends itself to all of those skills.

What are some of your favorite Language Arts mentor texts to use this time of year?