Sunday, November 27, 2011

December Work on Writing Freebie

I just made a list of writing prompts for my kids to use as a guide during their work on writing literacy station, and I thought I would share it! I don't tell them they have to use the ideas on the list, but I do encourage it. We have been working on personal narratives, realistic fiction writing, and letter writing a lot this year - so most of the prompts are within those genres. Let me know if you can use it and/or find it helpful! You can download it on google docs here (the font looked a little different when I uploaded it to google docs - hopefully it will be fine for you - if not I can email you a copy!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Field Trip!

We went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago last week to take a class on habitats and to explore the exhibits. This is the second year in a row I have done this field trip and it is by far the easiest and best field trip I have taken! The museum is so organized and calm - it makes something stressful, very enjoyable! During the class my students explored and wrote observations in three different habitats - a prairie, a wetland, and a woodland habitat. The museum supplied us with journals, clipboards, and pencils. Here are some pics of the trip:

Our museum educator, Ms. D talking to the students about the woodland habitat

A student making observations about the woodland habitat.

More observations!

How cute is he!

Ms. D is holding up a "pea pod" leave, explaining to students how squirrels get their food in the woodland habitat.

Look how close she got to the squirrel - it was pretty amazing. I was a little freaked out, but the kids thought it was so cool!

Here are some kids touching a snake - they were so surprised about how "squishy" the snake felt - we all thought a snake's body would feel much harder than it did.

The butterfly room at the museum is incredible. It's a room literally covered with butterflies, flying everywhere. Some kids were a little nervous the butterflies would land on them, but it's so cool to be so close to them. It was also a good opportunity to talk about what an appropriate habitat for a butterfly is and to review the life cycle of a butterfly.

When we got back from the museum, I gave my students some time to journal about what they learned. I thought I would give them 5-10 minutes at the most, but when I tried to stop them, they begged for more time. They ended up journaling for at least 15 minutes - SILENTLY - and some still didn't finish (but we had to move on). It was so fun to see them so excited to write and share what they learned. I am excited to keep the habitat unit going this week!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Science and S.S.

I have been so bad about updating my blog with things we have done in the classroom! Here's a recap of just a couple things from the past few weeks. In social studies we learned about map skills and located where we live on the map. I got this great activity from Lessonplansos - I think it turned out so cute!! The objective of the mini-unit was for kids to know where they live by being able to identify their neighborhood, city, state, country, continent, and planet. They also labeled their state, country, and continent on different maps.

In reading, we have been learning about reading nonfiction. We learned about schema and how its important to think about what you already know about a topic before reading. To add on to that, we learned about asking questions before reading to have a focus. Our question was, "why do leaves change color in the fall?" As we read we tried to answer the question (and add new information to our schema about leaves). Here are our answers/ what we learned!

Hope you all had a great weekend!! I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving...and almost Christmas! Craziness!!! So much to teach, so little time! We had a 3 day week last week, we have a 3 day week this week, and we have a 3 day week next week. Yikes!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Donors Choose

I have a proposal up on, and it expires on December 1st. I only need $105 more to get it fulfilled. The proposal is for nonfiction texts that match with our science topics so I can do a better job of integrating subjects. Any ideas about how to get the word out about it? (I already have in on facebook.) Here's the link in case you want to check it out :)

Hope everyone is enjoying the three day weekend!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Literacy Grant

Does anyone know of a literacy grant I can apply to? To make a long story short, I have to miss a grad school class because I get to go to DC this weekend to meet the President (soooo excited!!!) and to make up for that I need to find a literacy grant I can apply to. I am already writing one for the IRC (Illinois Reading Council), but I need another one. I have been googling and can't find anything. Any suggestions are welcome and very appreciated!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun yesterday...I just wish I took more pictures! We scrapped all of our normal routines and did Halloween activities all day! First we read Little Witch Learns to Read - such a cute book. We had a nice discussion about what strategies we would have taught Little Witch if she was in our classroom and then actually made Little Witch holding our favorite reading strategies. Here are some examples (although I should have taken pics before I hung them up): 

After that (and that took a loooooong time!) we listen to a scary story (that had some scary monster mask illustrations), talked about adjectives, and then created our own monsters and wrote about them using as many adjectives as we could - they turned out cute - although you'll have to take my word for it since I didn't take pics of these! 
The book comes with a CD and the storyteller is awesome! This book would also be great for teaching predictions and/or mental images!!

After lunch we read my absolute favorite Halloween story, There was an Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything and wrote our own versions of the story using onomatopoeia words! Some kids are so creative!

We didn't have time to do the fun candy graphing activity I had planned - oh well - another day! We finished off the day with a costume parade and a party (and a stomach ache :) )!

Here's me with my student teacher (we were Fancy Nancy) and a couple of our friends:

Hope you all had a fabulous Halloween!!