Sunday, April 13, 2014

Earth Day Fun!!

Happy Sunday, Bloggy friends! Kerri here...

Well, we're back from Branson, Missouri, y'all!! IT was soooo super fun! We explored caverns, kayaked down the Taneycomo river, went to the Titanic museum, and even caught a show!! I don't want to go back to school tomorrow!! Waaaaa.
Here is my favorite picture from our trip...

Earth Day is just a over a week away!I can't believe it!! Where the heck is April going??

Earth Day is one of my favoritest days (holidays? What do I call it exactly??) to teach my kidlets all about, mostly because they REALLY take it seriously and become so motivated to help keep the Earth clean. 

Here are some of the activities that I did with my class last year to celebrate Earth Day...

First, we made this super EASY PEASY (and pretty) Earth Day art and wrote about how we could help save the Earth...

Here are the dimensions, if you would like to make them with your class, along with writing paper and the Earth template for your kids to color and cut out (clipart courtesy of DJ Inkers)...

9 x 12 light blue background
5 x 12 skin color (I folded it in half, traced one my kids' hands and then cut it out once)
Earth pattern (click picture above to access this)
3 x 4 paper folded in half for the heart (I used pretty scrapbook paper)
Writing paper so the kids can write how they love the Earth (also included with download, click photo above)

We also made a little "I Love the Earth" bubble map to help us describe the Earth. This helped us when when we wrote about it (click image to download)...

We also had LOTS of fun playing with examining earthworms in a VERY scientific way after reading Diary of a Worm...

Isn't his expression priceless?? This was the BEST ACTIVITY EVER!!

We also had LOADS of fun with my Earth Day Math and Literacy Centers...

Here are my kids having fun with the centers...
Counting Patterns


Number Puzzles

Syllable Sort

They also used my Earth Day Writing center to write all about the Earth...

Finally, to complete all this Earth Day goodness, how about another Earth Day Number Puzzles FREEBIE from my TPT store! Click on the picture to download it for yourself...

Whew!! That was a lot of Earth Day fun!! Hope you found some activities that you can share with your kiddies!! Happy Earth Day, friends!!
XOXO Kerri B

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sprinkles of Springtime & Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs - Revamped!

Happy Wednesday folks!  Lindsay here . . .

Well here in Messyhairland it is Spring Break . . . which means sleeping in past 4 a.m. (yahoo!) and spending time with my littles all week long!!  Its a treat to be home with them . . . even when they are teething and tantruming.  But I digress . . .

One of my Spring Break "to-do's" this week was to upload pictures of all of the fun spring activities my kidlets and I have been busy with at school lately!  I feel like I just finished up report cards and conferences in March and all of a sudden it was April already!  Where has this year gone??!!

First off, to kick off the spring season in Room 17 we have our dapper spring ducks decorating our classroom - with bows and bowties (of course!!)


In math we have been working on addition with sums to 10 (which for some of my kiddos is SOOOOO easy, and for others is still a lil tricky!).  So in order to sneak in a little extra math facts practice (disguised as a super fun, new, Easter-ish dice game, of course!) I invented "Chicks Chasing Chocolate!!  That's right - hilarious chicks chasing chocolate bars and my kiddos L-O-V-E-D it.  And it couldn't be easier to set up - each kiddo gets two dice to roll, a recording sheet, and a crayon.  The kiddos roll their two dice and then color one bubble for the chick that has the sum of the numbers that were rolled. Every time the dice are rolled one bubble is colored.  The first chick to get all the bubbles colored across gets its chocolate first!  

I actually played this under the document camera first with my class so they could get the hang of it.  Then (due to the fact that I have 30 students and not enough dice!) I decided to have them play in partners - so they took turns rolling the dice, but both players added and colored for each roll of the dice.

(You can download my Chicks Chasing Chocolate FREEBIE in my TPT store HERE!)

In centers last week we got down and dirty and with my Egg-stra Special Egg-vestigation activities (which you can check out in my TPT store HERE!)


First the kids examined their eggs and thought of "juicy" describing words.  (My favorites from this kiddo: "cwiyit" and "frajool". Too cute!)

Then they estimated the circumference of the egg with yarn and then measured and compared their prediction to the actual measurement . . .

Next was egg sink & float with regular water and salt water.

The MOST fun (and the messiest - of course!) was the Incredible Hulk Egg.  We measured the strength of four eggs by stacking large textbooks on top until the eggs cracked.  (It was amazing how much weight those eggs held!  And it was ALSO amazing how many old, useless college textbooks I have in my classroom!)

And then the kiddos got to crack open an egg and draw their scientifical diagram (with lots of labels!)...

Finally, the kiddos reflected on the activities and wrote some things they they learned about their eggs . . . (Hmmmm . . . I'm pretty sure that last sentence is just a filler sentence . . .)

But BY FAR my MOST favorite spring activity that I do every year with my chitlens is a whole unit based on the book Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs!

This year I decided to update/revamp my unit . . . Soooooo (drumroll please!) without further ado I give you the new & improved Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs {Simply Scrumptious Math & Literacy Centers and Activities}. (You can check it out in my TPT store HERE.)

Here is a peek at what's included:

Here is a shot of my kiddos doing the Raining CATs and DOGs Vowel Sort.

And here is a peek at our Wacky Weather graph . . .

There are TONS more fun, food-filled activities for your kiddos to enjoy in this unit.  Because who doesn't love food raining from the sky, am I right people??!!
Well, I think that is it for now . . . I am off to enjoy some homemade chocolate chip cookies on the couch with my hubby . . . Ahhhhhh.  Gotta love Spring Break!
Have a great night folks!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Open House Organization!!

Good Evening, Peeps!! Kerri here...

I am happy to report that we have exactly 10 weeks, 1 day and 1 Spring Break left in the school year! I can't believe how it's flown by. 
About this time every year, I start thinking about my favorite thing OF.ALL.TIME...Open House!!

I don't know why I love it so, but I sure do. It also is the one thing that used to bring me to a state of panic every single year, until I got wise, and decided to SLAY the Open House beast with my WICKED ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLZ!! 


Here's how I do it. 
I start with a theme and for the past few years, mine has been the Rainforest. Super engaging to my kidlets, bright, colorful, and fun, and very scientifical. WIN WIN WIN!

We also start our Rainforest Unit WAAAYYYY in advance. Like we already started our first project this week because we were learning about butterflies and LUCKILY, there are butterflies in the rainforest! Exhibit A...

Next, I get my art projects all planned out and prepped. 
I have many different art projects that we complete for Open House (like 10-12 different ones), so I have been prepping them little by little and storing them in my Open House tub...
well, actually, this is not TOTALLY accurate. 
We are blessed to have an aide at our school who preps our art for us (I know, I know. Don't spit loogies at your computer screen!!)
 BUT I never had an aide at my old school, so I had to prep all the art myself and I would just prep my art projects 2-3 weeks in advance, so they were sure to be ready to roll. 
I keep them all in my handy dandy Open House tub and pull out the one I need each week...

I keep each project in a Ziploc with the directions included inside, so the following year I can just pull it out again and prep the pieces I need!

Next step...I make myself a checklist, with every single thing I need to accomplish before the big day. I also add the dates I plan on completing each thing, and I get PURE JOY when I get to check each item off. Seriously, it's like crack to a crack addict!!
 I also make a map of my classroom and lay out where everything is going to be displayed so I make sure I have enough room for all of the projects...

After that, I decide which books I'll need to teach about the Rainforest. Most of the books I can get from our school library, but I also ordered a bunch from Amazon, so when we are learning about each animal, I have a book to read the the class.
During the year I keep these in my Rainforest book tub...

But during our Unit, I display them in my pocket chart so the kids can see them all and read them when they have free time.

I also keep my rainforest animal posters displayed on my mini anchor chart stand that Falling into First wrote about on her blog. I LOVE THIS THING!!! 

Each week, when we learn about a new animal I can display my poster and the kids get all excited!

I also have my kids make a book about all the animals we learn about, so I have this all stapled and ready to go. They keep it in their desk and each week fill out the pages about whatever animal we're learning about...

Here are some examples of the pages inside the book...

We also make a mini Rainforest Vocabulary book during our unit, so I make sure I have those prepped and ready to go in advance...

Another thing that saves my skin is my rainforest tub that holds all of my vines that I hang in the room...
I twisted these vines out of green butcher paper ages ago, and I just pull them out and re-use them each year. That way I am not stressed out making vines and cutting out trees from butcher paper every single year!

Parents are a HUGE help to me when I do this unit each year. I send home a note soliciting help and I always get lots of offers. Many moms who can't help in the classroom are more than happy to help from home, so I send projects home each week for them to cut, glue, stuff, etc. It makes my life WAYYY easier!

Finally, to add to the aesthetics in my room, I make sure all of projects are in the same color scheme (I know, totally OCD of me, right?). For example, my flowers, butterflies, rainbow fish and most of the other colorful projects are red, turquoise, bright green, purple, and orange. What can I say, I like it to be matchy matchy!!

I also print out a brazillion labels with the kids' names on them (with a cute font of course), and have them put their name sticker on the front of each project so their parents can easily find them on Open House night!


That's it, folks! The whole story of how I keep myself SANE and organized during Open House season!! If you would like to see more pictures from my Rainforest Open House, you can click on this link to go to my post about it on Blog Hoppin'!

And if you would like to see more about all of the things included in my unit, you can click on either picture to check it out in my TPT shop...

While you're there, you can download this fun Toucan Art FREEBIE from my unit...
which will give you a taste on what this unit is all about!!
Whatever theme you choose to do for Open House, may it be a wonderful learning experience for your kids, may you not get FRAZZLED, and my the odds be ever in your favor!! :)
Happy Friday, Peeps!!
Kerri B