Monday, May 30, 2011

Field Trip to Red Butte Gardens

We had a fun field trip on Thursday to a garden North of Salt Lake City Center up by University of Utah. Red Butte is so beautiful this time of year with all the flowers blooming. And the grass was so green due to all of this rain we've been having.

Many look-out points, swings, and a duck pond too....

We keep making jokes that is seems like we are living in Seattle or something!

There is a creek running through the gardens...boy was it high Thursday!
The kids loved seeing insects, small animals and birds as well as smelling the fragrance and herb gardens and learning about the medicinal gardens. Kids don't know how we make medicines so that was very intriguing to them.

The kids loved smelling the leaves of the herb gardens

Melissa was our cool docent for the day...
We had a great time on the busride too. Then we stopped and had a picnic on the way home at Liberty Park. We were sure glad it didn't rain on our parade.  It was a very fun day. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

This Devastating Week

 It seems like every time I read the paper the news is more and more devastating. The natural disasters we've had this year are awful and incredible.  From earthquakes (see a previous post) to tsunamis, and now tornadoes it seems like the end of days with all the bad news I read in the paper every day.

This past week we had terrible tornadoes in Missouri. The pictures are very sobering. I think about how hard that would be to lose your home and all your possessions, maybe even a family member. One woman I read about had several children and they didn't have much warning of the impending tornado. So she grabbed them all and ran to lay down in the bathtub. Her toddler was torn from her arms as the tornado ripped off her roof and covered her and her kids in debris.

 Now how would you ever hope to recover or even to deal with something that awful? I don't know if I could.  As a mother, I would probably be in a strait jacket.

Then I open the newspaper and there has been another suicide bomber in Pakistan. The Arab/Israel problems and battles and bombings are escalating.  I don't see an end to this fighting in the middle East ever again at this point.

There are several big news trials about young girls killing their little babies; one supposedly suffocating her own child with duct tape over her mouth and nose, the other putting her child in a microwave. How could girls become this bad?
And finally all the high profile husbands that have seriously betrayed their highly admired wives. Some of the hurt and pain they cause their families' is unbelievable. I try to imagine that kind of betrayal and the pain it would cause me. And I think again to myself. "I would not recover from that pain. I would turn inward and start to crumble apart." You'd find me huddled in a corner weeping.


 And I think to myself; what in the world is happening to us as a people? . Why are we all being so evil? And are we being punished with all this natural disaster?

Last week there was an old, 89 year old civil engineer named Camping who decided that the end of the world was coming. The headlines said "For some, it's Judgment Day. For others, it's Party Time." To me that is good versus evil in a little microcosm.

A loosely organized Christian movement had spread the word around the globe that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday to gather the faithful into heaven. I wasn't really focused on this story  until my husband read about a guy who decided to milk the opportunity to take advantage of  people who were believers.

The paper tells of "Bart Centre, an atheist from New Hampshire, who started a get rich quick business called "Eternal Earth-bound Pets". He offers Rapture believers an insurance policy for those furry pets that won't join them in heaven: 10-year pet care contracts, with Centre and his network of fellow non-believers taking responsibility for the animals after the Rapture. The fee -- payable in advance, of course, is $135 since Camping's prediction".  How bad is that? Well it got worse..                              

A Facebook page opened up entitled "Post Rapture Looting" offers the party invitation: "When everyone is gone and god's not looking, we need to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we're going to squat in." By Wednesday afternoon, more than 175,000 people indicated they would be "attending" the "public event.

Then the supreme court ruled this week that the inhumane overcrowding in California prisons means they need to let one third of the prison inmates back out onto the public. The conditions are so poor that inmates are getting sick and dying. I'm horrified by that as well. Now we have so many bad guys that we can't contain them all anymore.

 Is it that I'm just so disappointed in the human race? The answer to that is yes. And am I getting more afraid the end of the world really must be close? Yes again. Even so, there are still good people in our world that don't disappoint.

 Last week Elizabeth Smart faced her abductor in court during final sentencing. She quietly spoke her mind to him, with great grace and poise as he closed his eyes and infuriatingly sang hymns to block out the sound of her voice. I would have wanted to personally dive across that courtroom and scratch his eyes out.           

But Elizabeth talked about the beautiful life that is before her, and that she knows in this life or in the next he will be held accountable for his actions. She showed not only her faith in God and in an afterlife, but her unimaginable sweetness. It came across when she said something that really stunned and stayed with me; “One of the biggest ways to overcome … to heal from any kind of experience is by helping those around you.... because by lifting others you lift yourself".

 I could not believe what I was hearing. I was so impressed by her as a human being. She counteracts so much of the selfish evil in our world that I have been seeing lately. She's just one small but resolute voice.

 “I don't deny that was a part of my life. It certainly has brought me to where I am today. Without it I don't think I would be here. But I have also seen how many doors have opened to me and how many opportunities have come ... How much potential I have to make a difference in the world.”

 So she started a foundation. She has a focus called RAD KIDS. She wants to help kids to be safe by training them what to do in dangerous situations.

We have RAD KIDS at our school.  My class was trained last year. It is an empowering program to teach kids to fight off strangers or any kind of aggression. "Nobody has the right to hurt you" is one of the mantras. The foundation she started has a goal to bring RAD KIDS training to every elementary school in the country.
The other thing that happened this week was Oprah closing her show. She is just another example of how one faithful and directed  voice can change the world.  (See my last post)  I have her high on a pedestal. These 2 fine examples of humanity counteract the evil I've seen this week. It's the power of one in great and graceful display.  Evil versus good. We turn to look because the bright light of goodness draws us in.

It may be getting closer to the end of the world.  All these examples are telling me it is so. And it's getting harder to live in this world, but I can still see the light and the good. And the stark black of evil and the pure white of goodness  around us, makes it clearer which path to follow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Making Koolaid Play Dough

Making Play Dough Today!

Kool-Aid Play Dough is colorful, sweet smelling, and lots of fun to play with for end of the year fun! 
Here is a fun recipe for play dough I'm going to use in my class  for a class reading party. I'm making blueberry and cherry and lime  with the Koolaid  flavors I like!  It's so delicious smelling that you almost want to eat it!  Well you actually could eat it....but don't......just play with's pretty cool.....

Mix together:                                  

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 pkg kool-aid (unsweetened)                           

2 tablespoons cream of tarter


2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons oil

Mix 3-4 minutes or until cool. Then knead and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.


I think my class kids will love this for the last week of school and I KNOW my grandkids will love it TOO!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

STAR "AR" Words and Popcorn "OR" Words

Here's a close up of our "Star" Words on straws......

My kids have been having trouble distinguishing between "or" and "ar" sounds in their writing and mixing them up. I've done all the reminding, rewriting the correct spellings on their sloppy copies during writing workshop AND giving or and ar words on spelling lists. But that hasn't done the trick!  Now I'm taking another approach.  I'm using a couple of ART PROJECTS to teach  phonics and help us remember how to write AR and OR sounding words!

So this week we did 2 fun activities. First we made a brainstorm list on the board of all the "ar" words we could think of. They had to be words where we distinctly heard the R say it's own name.  We came up with over 45 words! Then I gave the kids each a "star" cutout and had them choose as many words to write on both sides as they had time in about 6 minutes. They wrote words  on their star using both sides. Then we taped a straw on one side. And then came the fun part.

It was a great idea...and a very motivating and challenging game.....good way to differentiate too!

They all tried to stump me with "carpenter" and "pharmacy" hehe...I played too!
We walked around the room with our stars and found partners. I read you a word off of MY list, and you have to try and spell that word. Then you ask me a word (looking at your star) from YOUR list and I have to try and spell that word.  We help each other if we get a letter wrong. Then we move around to find a new partner.  It was a lot of fun playing the spell a star word game. 

Wow they are really proud of their stars aren't they? hehe

Next we had to do something for OR words. I  had seen a creative idea from a blogger who had used Let's Get Poppin'  a cute unit by Babbling Abby  Link HERE.   So we made some popcorn tubs and had a contest to see who could come up with the most "OR" words. The contest was a GREAT MOTIVATOR!

Popcorn is popping in Room 6!
This was a fun  phonics/spelling activity using the OR chunk. I gave the kids 4 minutes to come up with as many words as they could think of. Then I called on each child with more than 10 words to call out and I added the words to the board. Andrew had the most with 16.  Great Job! 

Lots of "bossy E" ore words

Some were just cvc pattern words

Kids will do better spelling "OR" words from now on....fingers crossed!
Then we wrote them all on popcorn shaped papers I had cut out the day before and made a cute popcorn bucket that looks like it came from a movie theatre.  It is a red rectangle with yellow stripes. I typed up the "popcorn Words" and they glued it on the fronts of their buckets.

Now all we need is some a good movie and some butter for our popcorn!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer is Coming!

I am getting excited for summertime! I bought these summer sticker sheets at Oriental Trading last fall to use at the end of the year. They make a cute art project for kids to just do their own thing. 
Matt's poem and art...
The link for the sticker scenes of summer Beach Scene is Here at Oriental Trading. I gave a sticker sheet to each student. Then I gave them 81/2 x 11 blue construction paper. I cut newsprint in half using a scalloped edge to resemble waves on one side, a hilly beach on the other side. Then I had kids glue the "beach sand" paper onto the middle of the blue construction paper. The other stickers are HERE.                                      design-your-own-a-day-at-the-beach-sticker-scenes                      Make-A-Beach Sticker Scenes

Then I asked them to color the water a darker blue on the bottom half.  Then we added white, puffy clouds and black birds to the sky on the top half. Most of the sticker scenes had a nice, bright sun to stick in the sky. 

Peter's poem and art...
Beach scenes...
Then they just decorated. The sheets had shells, umbrellas and beach balls, kids swimming, dogs, turtles and birds.  It turned out really fun and quick for an art project. 

For Writer's Workshop then we started a Summer Acrostic Poem.  I have done one for each of the 4 seasons. So this wraps up our whole acrostic poetry unit.

Nova's poem and art...
Saige's poem and art...
 We always do a brainstorm on the board of all the words we can think of for the letters of SUMMER and write them out on the whiteboard. Then the kids choose their favorite to start a sentence with. We do it on sloppy copy paper first, then I edit mistakes in spelling and punctuation. Then I handed them cute beach paper and they rewrote the poems.

Kate's poem and art...
While we were working we sang to one of our Summer songs of the Seasons.   It's called "Down at the Beach.  A link is HERE at Music K8. It's a site for kids to download music kind of like ITunes.

Allie's poem and art..
Andrew's art and poem...
Here are our finished products. They remind me of hanging out on Hermosa or  Redondo Beach in Southern California all those summers of my teenage years. I can't believe how many times we burnt ourselves to a crisp with baby oil!  What were we thinking? Those were fun time....Down at the BEACH!

Surf's UP!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Little Red Hen

I CANNOT believe that school is out in less than 3 weeks now! I'm sad and excited at the same time! I guess it could also be that I feel like I"m living in Seattle, Washington with ALL THIS RAIN! I cannot believe it even snowed this week! It's almost the end of May for heck's sake!
Check out those skinny "straw" legs!

Anyway, I"m on a reader's theater kick. We did Jack and the Beanstalk last week LINK HERE and this week we are doing The Little Red Hen.  I found a cute script for it online at HERE at Joanne's wikispace. and then I found some puppets for the story and made copies and blew them up for each student to do a set of 4.

 Afterwards I realized the animals don't match to the reader's theater. So I just used a white out pen and changed out the characters of the  pig and duck  to the mouse and cat throughout the story on my copy of the reader's theater.  Then I made copies for all the kids to read it too. They LOVED reading and acting out the parts. I gave each table a character to read chorally.

Some other readers theaters can be found at the Grandview Library. Some of them are illustrated. The link is HERE for Reader's Theaters.

I had some big, white stickers we used for eyes...the kids added black dots inside...and I had cute "chick"
illustrated paper for them to write on and color for their final copy. We went through the whole writing process. 

They made puppets by coloring them and cutting them out. Then we taped popsicle sticks to the backs. While they were doing their puppets I read them a VERSION of the little red hen in rhyme. It is called The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)  It is a funny story where she is actually making a pizza and all the animals are doing funny things like listening to boom boxes and laying out by the pool on a chaise lounge.  We will compare and contrast the stories when we are done with both the reader's theater version and the book version. I had no idea there were so many out there!!

Venn Diagram of the 2 Stories of Little Red Hen
Andrew, Trace and Vera...painting party....

My kids are really good at using expression and getting into doing character voices. It's such a cute story. And as we were getting into the readers theater  I thought about how fun it would have been to bring in some homemade bread dough and have the cafeteria ladies bake it for us! Super FUN! (too bad I didn't think of it sooner! duh!)
Then after sloppy copies, editing, they wrote their final copies and colored illustrated paper. 
This story reminds us all to jump into things and be assertive, even when others around us are not helpful.  We can be independent thinkers, movers, shakers, just like the RED HEN!  I think we will do this for next week's art and drama rotation!I think the other first graders will love it too.

Then we painted LITTLE RED HENS!  Here's Emma and Addie painting their hens....

We painted paper plates red and added white sticker eyes, a yellow beak, wings and a feather on top. The legs are drinking straws and we added little hen feet to the bendy part of the straws. They turned out ridiculous looking but funny. pick a peck a....cheep cheep cheep! 

Peter's funny Red Hen story... Lots of kids had dialogue with quotation marks....yeah
that is not my favorite thing to have to edit....snicker....
Instead of doing a retell I gave the kids this assignment; REWRITE the Little Red Hen in some way. Change the food she was making, make one of the characters come and help her, or finish the story in a little different way. We had the hen making spagetti, cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies and meatball pizza. These stories are going to be hilarious. Much more fun than a simple retell...

Wacky Red Hen bulletin board....with our funny stories....I LOVED them ALL! 
Next  we'll do the Stinky Cheese Man!   It's actually my favorite. The story....not stinky cheese...hehe

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