Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Wishes!

Since the news people have all been calling it the Wedding of the Century I thought that we would mark the day in our classroom today.  So I had the kids write letters to Prince Will and Princess Kate congratulating them on their BIG DAY!

They each said what they would give them for a present if they could send a gift across the pond. We did "sloppy copies", then I edited them, then we did brightly colored final copies. We had everything from a Lear Jet to a giant anaconda. My favorite was "a big yellow ball like those that hamsters run around in" only it could be for Will and Kate to run around in. Super cute. I made copies of the letters and told all the kids I'd mail them to Buckingham Palace. Maybe we'll get a note back!

Then we made some Royal Crowns. A link for a tutorial on Medieval Crown is HERE at firstpalette. We just HAD to mark the occasion somehow. They will look back in their writing portfolios sometime when they are older, and remember the Wedding of the Century and how they kinda took part.  : D

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Did YOU do for Spring Break?

This past week was my Spring Break from school. We are so lucky as teachers, to have this week off to veg out, get rejuvenated and play with our families and get some good reading in.
Josie and Grandma at Easter time....

Marisa turned 4 on the 20th so we went up to Discovery Children's Museum at Gateway Mall. It was fun to follow the girls all around taking pics of them playing in the construction zone, the supermarket and the water and magnet centers. They even climbed up into the helicopter. So cute! We saw a lot of my students present and former there too. It's a great day for a day off!

In the construction zone... they loved shoving fake bricks down the slide...

Megan engrossed in the playhouse furniture...

Marisa and Tiff in building blocks...

What's more fun than splashing in the water wheels?

Marisa loved the post office....

Megan loved the little cars...

And the magnetic gear wall...

I'm making a yummy concoction guys....wanna sip of it? mmm nope.

Look what I can do!
 I got to read a lot too. I am working my way through the Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" and also Cristine Northrop's book on The Wisdom of Menopause. Don't laugh. It could happen to YOU too! It's a great book recommended to me by my friend and college roommate. Yeah. now we are both old. It sucks.

Johnny and I on Easter....
So John and I heard it was FREE week for all the National Parks. And I had told him months ago we should go back and see Old Faithful the geyser at Yellowstone. It's probably been 30 years since I've seen it...(I went there with an old boyfriend hehe). So we decided to go up to our cabin at Bear Lake and stay the night and then get up (after making John's famous waffles) and drive to Jackson Hole.
We had to stop and snap this gorgeous scene on the way to Yellowstone last week....

We saw water fowl...and beautiful scenery...

It is a fun touristy place with lots of beautiful (and very expensive) shops and museums. I guess a lot of celebrities have places near Yellowstone. John kept telling me Harrison Ford has a place nearby. (I'd like to go see him....didn't he marry Ally McBeal?)  Anyway, we had lunch there at the Great Harvest Bread Company. We live high off the hog you know.  Then we took some fun pictures around town. They have lots of artsy sculptural designs in bronze. I'd love a bronze in my front another life. Those things are thousands of dollars!

Jackson Hole had neat bronze statues...
Don't ya love it...Bruce just does his own thing...when we're trying to take pictures!
Antler arches....some nice tourists took our picture for us!

I felt very confident in going to Yellowstone because I had made maps and gone on the Internet to be sure the gates were open and stuff like that.  I handed all that stuff over to my navigator husband....who left them on his desk at home. Um hum.....I shoulda left them in my purse.

Yummy lunch at Great Harvest....

Mark Twain is behind me....
 I distinctly recall seeing that the gates open on April 15th when I checked Yellowstone's website. So why didn't they tell us ONLY the west entrance was open. We drove to the South entrance of course. And all these cars were turning around in front of us. What the heck?

We saw a couple of Moose!

Johnny was so much fun to be with....he makes me laugh....

I shot a rainbow as it started can barely see it tho....

Pretty lake in Teton forest just outside of Yellowstone Park....

Well, we decided to go take some pretty pictures around the Teton forest and around this lake, I can't remember what it is called. We saw 2 moose, some water fowl, and a few rainbows as it started to lightly rain. We listened to that new country/crossover brother-sister band called The Band Perry. I decided that I LOVE all their music! We are going to go get tickets this Friday when tickets go on sale for Tim McGraw because they are his lead in band. And they are coming to the new West Jordan concert place. We had a great time hanging out together with Brucie our doggie.

Bruce is bored...but he doesn't want to miss a thing we are talking about....he leaned on my headrest most of the ride!

It was a really fun day hanging out with my 2 men. I LOVE time off. It makes life worth LIVIN!  Mmmhmmm.... Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

EARTH DAY! Hooray! Let's Recycle!


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"
I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

Earth Day Art! 

Earth Day is one of my personal favorite science/social studies units to do in whatever grade I'm teaching. I think it is sooooo important for kids to be taught awareness for how we are taking care of the living things of our earth.  We take so much stuff for granted don't we? Things like clean water that flows and flows from our faucets and land around our houses for planting fruit and veggie gardens, and how easy it is to throw stuff in the trash and have the trash man haul it away. Kids are not aware of landfills, wasting water while they brush their teeth, or reducing the amount of garbage we throw out. They have fun realizing that THEY can become recyclers.  How GREAT is that? 

Teaching kids about the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle....for Earth Day!

A fun contest is finding all the words you can make from EARTH DAY. A printable link from ABC teach is HERE.

So for Earth Day every year we start out by reading the book Michael Recycle.  It is a funny book that introduces simple recycling, reducing and reusing to minimize waste. We discuss the 3Rs Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and what they each mean. Then we do a fun picture/word sort on what kinds of things we recycle. A link to a cute Earth Day  RECYCLE SORT is HERE. Then we have previously asked for parents to help us find something to recycle into a pencil holder. Most of the kids bring in washed out cans, soup size or veggie size.  Then we put colored masking tape along the top rim (in case some are still sharp) and then we pick out some scrapbook paper Mrs. Moss has had donated.  I then have the kids choose a construction paper 2 inch ring to put around the top for writing.  We use thin black "gel pens" and they put the 3 Rs over and over "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" 3Rs.

Other Earth Day Crafts can be found HERE at Kaboose Website
Kids can recycle too!  
Each table sorted paper, plastic, glass and metal pictures into the 4 recycling catergories

Teaching Kids how to recycle.....
  Then I give each child a cheapie Bic pen and a Walmart or Dollar Store pansy flower (they come in bunches for $1.00) and a 6 inch long strip of green, floral tape.  They are to tape the flower to the pen as best they can by winding it around and around the pen.  This is for their pencil can but we have RECYCLED things and REUSED  too! OR they can  plant a small plant in their Earth Day decorated can with a small caption "Keep the Earth GREEN" This also might be a great gift idea for Mom's Day. I've done that in the past. It is still teaching recycling!                                      
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
(Tune: "Three Blind Mice")
Reduce, recycle, reuse.
Reduce, recycle, reuse.
Now's the time to choose.
There must be no excuse.
 It's up to each one of us to do 
our part to make the Earth clean, it's true.
 So let's work together, yes, me and you!
Reduce, recycle, reuse! 
bug jar
Next year I think I'll come up with a recycling project to use with glass jars.
They could each make some new invention from a Glass jar they recycle.
I love doing those kinds of gets creative kids thinking! I found
lots of crafty ideas HERE at Planet Pals website.

Then we start a 3 Rs chart to use for a writing project later. The kids will add to it each day of the unit listing what kinds of things we can RECYCLE, what things we REUSE, and how we can REDUCE our trash. I pass out 4 inch round card stock badges to each of them to color and wear home.

Nova's showing our brainstorming board before we wrote our Earth Day thoughts....


The next day we start by reading a Weekly Reader or Scholastic News on Earth Day and what it is around the US and what kinds of projects kids are doing to pitch in and help . Then we wash our hands to get ready for a fun song and art project. A link for printed instructions on this art project are HERE at DLTK Kids. I add peach paper hands holding the earth and glue it on black paper when dry. It looks pretty cool!. You can add a few a small rainbow to the bottom that says "Save the Earth".  I'll post finished projects after Spring Break.

I punched out some little peachy hands for the kids to glue over the world...
Coffee filters and watercolor made this cool earth art!

We use coffee filters and green and blue watercolor paint and the kids paint the world or their rendition of how the globe looks.  When they dry we glue them on black paper with 2 cut out peachy hands glued to the sides as if holding the earth. Under it we color a clip art rainbow that says "I Can Save The Earth".  While they are painting I read them the book Earth Day-Hooray!  It is a great book because it is about recycling but it integrates place value math concepts too.
Some great Weekly Scholastic News that we read through...

Day 3
The third day we talk about "The Water Wasters" and we read a mini play about kids who waste water. I have a water waster wheel I show the kids where it lists water activities like washing the car, brushing teeth, showering versus tub bathing and how many gallons of water each uses or wastes. We brainstorm ways to reduce our water wasting. The play is really cute.I think I got it from the EPA. A link is down at the end of the post.  Then we do some worksheets in our "Earth Day Packet" I've made up for the week.

I got the beads from Oriental Trading over the summer...I added green beads and the kids made these
cute bracelets out of chenille stems cut to their wrist size and twisted when they were done.  SUPER EASY!
They also have Earth Day inflatable GLOBES
you can get for about $1.00 each. The link is HERE at Oriental Trading!

We made Earth Day bracelets...We're Going GREEN!
Design Your Own Watch It Grow Seed PotsHERE at Oriental Trading
They also had a 24 pack of these cute pots to decorate and plant vegetables or flowers for a fun activity.
They were only $7.00 for the whole 24 pack.  Now that is some money I would spend in a heartbeat!

Some wonderful songs can be found on the First Grade Factory's blog. A link to her Earth Day Songs is HERE. I will choose a few to put on the backs of artwork we do. I always link up art and music so the kids are doing shared reading practice while singing songs and they don't even know they're practicing reading!

Day 4 Take Me Out to the Garbage!
 We talk about "litterbugs" and how kids help by picking up trash at parks and beaches. We go outside on the playground and pick up trash in the corners and by fences for 10 minutes.  They are amazed at how much garbage they come back with. Then when we've come back in and washed hands I read them Where Does the Garbage Go? And the book Trash. Kids don't usually know about dumps and land fills and how fast they are filling up. Time for more discussions!
I have another activity we do cooperatively. I have a role playing activity where they pull scenarios out of envelopes and come up with solutions to some problems that kids could most likely solve such as seeing other kids littering, etc.

The Stationery is from a Scholastic Book of Stationery.  The link is HERE at Amazon is Scholastic's Stationery Book.  Another one I love is this one HERE at Scholastic is a Month by Month Stationery Book.. I think both of these books are around $12.00.  Both I've used
probably more than any other teacher resource book.  They are GREAT! 

Then we do an Earth Day Writing entitled....I Can Save the Earth By...  and the students free write from everything they have learned about Earth Day. The results are always amazing to me.  They really do "get it" and they have heart about keeping our earth healthy.

An activity they can do in my community is decorating brown supermarket bags with Earth Day pictures and messages. We only have to go pick up 20 bags and have the kids do the art and then return the bags. They also like us to make a few posters for the store. We may do that again this year.

A fun word search I made up for Earth Day can be found  at this link  HERE at Teachers Corner. I would
add some cute pics of the world to it. It is only text.
Children of the World Floor Puzzle
HERE is a World Floor Puzzle at Lakeshore that would also be a fun center activity for Earth Day! I think
it was about $12.99 and all my students absolutely LOVE floor puzzles! What a treat that would be! 

A free resource I got years ago that helped with learning activities for this unit was from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) I think they had Superfund money but they sent me lots of really cool and colorful books, color books, badges, crossword puzzles and printables for kids. They will send it to you too. It's called the Planet Protector's Club.  The link for you is HERE. This is where I made up my "packet" of worksheets from. There is a reader's theatre in there too. Fun! HAPPY EARTH DAY!

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