Monday, November 28, 2011

Reindeer Week!

Well, my reindeer week is off to a great start!  The kids are loving it... I can't wait to do more.

Before giving any new information this morning we activated our schema by writing on yellow post-its what we already knew about reindeer.  Most of my kids wrote that they have 4 legs.  After reading a non-fiction reindeer book titled "A Day in the Life: Polar Animals--Reindeer", we wrote our new learning on purple post-its.  Then, we labeled our own reindeer. 

Here's our labeled reindeer:

Click {HERE} to download your own reindeer labels for FREE!

By the way... do you know how hard it is to find a non-fiction reindeer book?!  I finally found this one on Amazon.  It said it would arrive Tuesday, which was too late, but it was a Christmas miracle that it arrived on Saturday!  I was so excited when I opened my door and there it sat like Santa himself dropped it off!  I was so worried that it wouldn't come that I actually ended up writing my own.  (It's included in my "The Wild Christmas Reindeer" pack on TPT and TN.)

Here's a question for you.... as I was planning all of my reindeer stuff for this week and doing the fiction and non-fiction I thought about how the kids will say reindeer can fly and some reindeer have red noses.  What do you do about that?  I kept going back and forth between just leaving it and telling them they're correct or telling them that only the special Santa reindeer can fly and have red noses.  Thoughts?

--Mrs. Pollard

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyber Monday SALE!!!

Hey y'all!  I will be participating in the Cyber Monday sale on TPT.  I'm offering 20% off everything in my store on top of the additional 10% off that TPT is offering!  Be sure to check it out... this is a great time to stock up!  :)

I've got lots of holiday items in my store, as well as everyday items such short vowel stations and math stations.  Don't miss out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

Don't get me wrong... I am L.O.V.I.N.G. my break from school, but I am very excited about my reindeer week at school starting Monday.  I've worked hard to come up with meaningful lessons tied to our curriculum, but fun enough to keep my kids focused during December.  (It's always so hard to keep them focused with Christmas just around the corner!)

I've just posted my 44 page unit about reindeer stemming from Jan Brett's "The Wild Christmas Reindeer".  The unit includes a week's worth of reading lessons, math lessons, and writing lessons, as well as everything you'll need to go with it!  I am so excited!  :)

Check it out at my TPT store or Teachers Notebook store.

I'll be offering 20% off everything in my TPT store for Cyber Monday, plus another 10% off from TPT-- that's 30% off!  Check it out on Monday, November 28.

--Mrs. Pollard

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writing Paper Pack... Freebie

I find that my students write the best on copy paper rather than the store bought writing paper... they're always ripping through the paper when they try to erase.  I've created a variety of writing paper pages with illustration space-- prompts, no prompts, regular lines, handwriting lines, and more!  Enjoy!  :)

Click {Here} to Download Writing Paper Freebie

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Goodies... TPT

It's hard to avoid the holiday spirit when the stores are fully decorated for Christmas and playing Christmas music overhead (even though we're still weeks away from Thanksgiving).  I got sucked in this weekend when my husband and I headed out to do some holiday shopping... then, I got excited and started creating lessons and stations for my classroom this Christmas!

Check out all of my Christmas goodies at my TPT store!

I also have everything for sale in my Teachers Notebook store.

Studying different versions of The Gingerbread Man is probably my favorite thing to do with my students in December.  They get so excited about the Gingerbread Man and it can so easily be tied across the curriculum.  What is your favorite thing to do with your students in December?

--Mrs. Pollard

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Resources Galore for Teaching Greater Than & Less Than

It's almost time to get out.... Mr. Alligator!!  A few years ago I came upon an awesome song about a number eating alligator.  This little tune, along with a stick puppet and other manipulatives, is the best way I've found to teach greater than and less than.

I start the week by reading an informational book about alligators.  This helps the kids activate their schema and make connections to our math activities using an alligator.  Here are some book titles for this:

Next, I introduce Mr. Alligator.  (A double-sided paper alligator puppet enlarged from student version.)  Mr. Alligator is not like the alligators in the book... he only eats numbers!  Then, I play the "Number Eating Alligator" song.  The kids L.O.V.E. this!  I continue to play this song multiple times while the students make their own Mr. Alligator puppets.

Click {Here} for the Number Eating Alligator Song

Click {Here} for the Number Eating Alligator Puppet

Once the puppets are made, I teach a chant.  (The chant is on the first page of the presentation link below.)  On the second day of the unit, we use a work mat on legal size paper to practice the skill of identifying greater than and less than.  The work mat has a fish bowl outline on the left side and one on the right side.  The students also have their own Mr. Alligator puppet on a stick and a small cup of goldfish crackers.  Once they have all of their materials, I use this presentation on my Promethean board for the activity:

Click {Here} to Download the Activity Presentation

Throughout the unit, the kids like to play these online greater than and less than games:

If you're still with me after all of this..... are two practice sheets to also use throughout your greater than and less than math unit:

Click {Here} to Download Practice Sheet #1

Click {Here} to Download Practice Sheet #2

(Please don't judge me... both of these sheets were made a few years ago.  I know I need to work on making them cute!)

Phew, that's all I have for this.  I'd love to hear any ideas that you have to teach the concept of greater than and less than!

--Mrs. Pollard

Sunday, November 6, 2011

All About Writing! (Files NOW shared)

Last weekend I blogged about help with my writing.  (This came after a very frustrating writing assessment.)  One comment that I got was to use "5 Star Writing".  I loved this idea so I put it to use right away.  (THANK YOU for the idea!)  My students are now completely obsessed with writing 5 star papers!

To introduce the 5 star writing, I created this presentation.  The kids had white boards, markers, and erasers.  They read the sentences, decided if it was 5 star or not, and wrote it so that it was 5 star.

Grab your 5 star presentation {here}.

The next day, we wrote about our favorite thing to do at school.  After I modeled, I introduced the 5 star writing rubric.  The kids wrote their sentences and then filled out their rubric.  The goal was for them to really look at their own writing to see if it was their best-- of course, they all gave themselves 5 stars.  Then, I came behind them and we went over the rubric together.  If they earned a star, I gave them a star stamp on their rubric.  They were very into this!

Grab your 5 star writing rubric {here}.

Finally, I've created a Writer's Tool Kit for my kids to use while writing.  Having this resource available to them makes them more independent and confident in their writing.  You can check it out at my TPT store!
Click {Here} to Download from TPT

Happy writing!  :)

--Mrs. Pollard