Tuesday, January 13, 2015

National Hat Day on January 15th and Teaching Across the USA Linky

In just a few days, it will be National Hat Day! Who knew? This holiday caught my attention because hats are a big deal in lower elementary. If you want to make an occasion extra fun then just add a hat (or crown!). So, here are some activity ideas for you that involve hats. Use them on January 15th or save them for a special day that needs a little extra excitement!

1) Free hat printables to use as photo booth props ~ use these for photo ops or even as props for a puppet show. It would be fun to have the students write a description of the type of person that they think would wear that hat. Young or old? Tall or short? Color of hair and eyes? If they had a dog, what type would it be? You could make a whole list of questions and then have them write some sentences describing this person. Take a picture of the hat or have them draw a picture of their imaginary character and then use the hat photo prop with the drawing and take a photo. 

2) Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans ~ There are many book series that feature a character who likes to wear a hat! Madeline is a classic one. This link shows you how to make a Madeline hat from a bowl and plate. It's really cute!
3) The Hat by Jan Brett is a classic winter story. I love that this book features a hedgehog and that Jan Brett actually has a pet hedgehog named Pudge! Hedgehogs are super cute, but I recently discovered that they don't always make good pets. A teacher was given one that hadn't really been handled much. I attempted to "tame" it over a few months and had some bites as a consequence! She still doesn't like people. :( I think the key might be to adopt one when it is a baby and can get used to being handled. I would still love to have one as a pet! This freebie by 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray! asks students to compare The Hat & The Mitten. Then they decorate their own hats & mittens and use their best writing to describe them. 

4) Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard showcases a variety of the silly and cute hats that his kinders have made. They make a hat a week! This might be something you would like to incorporate in your classroom. Check out his blog post with product ideas for creating learning hats. 
5) Arctic Animal Crown Game - I just created a TPT freebie that is a fun learning activity for my firsties as they study Arctic animals. We played it today and they had a great time! I had them play in groups of 2 or 3. They used the question prompt card to ask questions and figure out which animal was on the crown. I used a paperclip to attach the animal to each crown. It's a good idea to print at least 2 copies of the animal cards. When a pair of students finished and identified their animal they asked for another one. So, I rotated around the room and put a different animal on the crown so they could play again. This is good for verbal skills and helps them learn more about Arctic animals. Have fun!
Lucy at Here's an Idea is having a linky about what people eat in your state. I'm representing for Washington, but I had a hard time thinking of a distinct dish that is associated with our state. Of course, Washington is known for a fruit - apples! Over 1/2 of the apples that are sold for eating in the US come from our state. My family has been trying to focus on health lately and one of our goals has been to eat an apple a day. I've had an apple almost every day for this school year. There are many health benefits. I just read about the 3 apples a day plan - eat an apple before each meal. I may need to try that one. :)

Have a great week! Happy hat day!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Calendar Days & National Bird Day freebies

Here is a list of some celebrated National Holidays in January - you may find a few surprising ones! You might have fun wearing some new socks on National Argyle Day or start a classroom band on National Kazoo Day. :)
I'm anxious to get back to my classroom and start working on Arctic animal studies! It's one of my favorites. You can check out my best-seller: Arctic Animal Research Pages by clicking here. So, it doesn't seem like a great time for me to celebrate National Bird Day! However, there are some great ideas and freebies out there for birds. I've listed some at the end of this post. You could use them on Monday or just hold onto these ideas until spring. Another way to incorporate two themes: focus on birds in the Arctic! They just happen to be some of the most fascinating birds that I've studied! A few of my favorites are the Arctic Tern, Peregrine Falcon & Snowy Owl.

The small Arctic Tern circumnavigates the globe during migration. They are also very territorial and will attack animals (or people!) who come near the next. I also just found out that they can hover!
I can usually trick my 1st graders by asking them to name the fastest animal. Most of them will say the cheetah. Wrong! The cheetah is the fastest land animal and can reach speeds of 70 mph. The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 200 mph while diving! Incredible! My students already know this since I can never wait until January to teach it! Plus, there was a passenger on board the Mayflower who was named Peregrine (Peregrine White - He was actually born after they arrived and while they were still anchored in the harbor). This year, one of my littles, drew that name for their "Pilgrim Name" and so they definitely had to learn about that bird. I'm curious as to why that name was chosen. I wonder if those birds were near the boat during their voyage?

Everything about owls is so fascinating - owl pellets, asymmetrical ears, variety of homes, etc. There is a wealth of information to keep young learners interested. Snowy Owls are one of the animals in my Arctic Animals unit and there is also an All About Owls product that helps students learn about owls while learning new vocabulary.

On to some general freebies and crafts about birds. :)

1) My friend, Chrystine, at Tweet Resources has made these awesome I have...Who Has... games. My kiddos love these games! It just so happens that there is a Bird Joke freebie game. I am SO excited to print this out and use it in my classroom. My 1st graders will love it!

2) I love this inspirational poster by Ben Clarance. It's a great reminder to celebrate individuality!

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. – Henry van Dyke.

3) Montessori Print Shop has created a wonderful freebie to teach about bird adaptations and beaks.

4) Here is an easy bird feeder made with a cardboard tube. You can read about it @ The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman. :) This seems like it would actually be a great project for this time of year. Does anyone know if they will come if you start leaving out food in the winter? Have they already found other food sources by then or are they always looking?
5) I chose this for a craft once for 1st-5th graders. They turned out so cute! It is bystephanielynn.com. You just need to cut out the template from the pages of an old book (Goodwill!) and then lightly ink the edge and apply a little glitter. Then, attach to a clothespin! Beautiful!
6) This is a freebie (sample) from my Animal Writing pages with word banks. Just click on the picture to download. I love to give the students a list of words related to what they are writing about. It gives them such confidence and helps them to become more detailed writers. They often have lots of info. - they just need practice to express it well!
Another bird resource to consider adding to your teaching resources is this wonderful book by Dianna Aston. She has a few more books like this (a butterfly one, etc.) and they are all fantastic! I hope she keeps creating them! I love that the front endpapers have pictures of the eggs and the back endpapers have pictures of the birds. You can spend a while just matching up the two!

I really should make a general bird unit! I absolutely love teaching about birds. :) In addition to the products listed above, I also have one for Bald Eagles.

I hope that you've learned a bit about birds and found some new resources for your classroom. Thanks for visiting! I'd love to hear a comment or two! :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Win gift cards & prizes at the Favorite Things Blog Hop 2014

These are a few of my favorite things!

I'm so excited to be a part of this fun blog hop. Thank you, Laura from Where the Magic Happens, for organizing this treat for our blogs! As you hop from blog to blog you can read about each blogger's favorite things and enter to win a prize package! There are a total of 7 big prize packs and they each are full of wonderful gift cards and products. Also, many of the bloggers have put some products on sale at TPT. You can search for "myfavoritethings2014".

I will attempt to go through my favorite things without breaking into song ala Sound of Music or adding any references to whiskers on kittens!

Favorite Beauty Product - ESSIE polish
I would say my favorite product is Essie nail polish. I have tried various polishes over the year and I was ready to give up on ever polishing my nails. If I go to the salon a manicure would usually only last a week and I definitely don't want to pay to have them done every week! I tried the nail wraps and sort of liked them, but they took a long time for me to apply (that was probably just me needing to get used to them) and I found the good ones too expensive for my budget. So, I was thrilled when I tried Essie polish and found that it was thick enough to apply easily and lasted for a while. I tried a few other popular brands in that price range and it just wasn't the same. For me, the Essie polish is just the right consistency. I also love the colors that are available! I started buying this polish in the summer and have a nice little collection. I'm looking forward to adding more colors. Plus, it's fun to see the collection of colorful bottles!

Favorite Restaurant - Olive Garden
My favorites are Italian & Greek. My all-time favorite is Olive Garden. Our area is small so some of my favorite restaurants are not in the area so I only get a chance to visit them when travelling - Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A (coming to WA soon! still will be a drive for me, but much better!), Zoopa - so wish this was closer and they should totally have more locations! I would be remiss if I left out Taco Bell. My mom says that is a phrase I learned right after my first few words! I do tend to make way too many stops there after late nights at school. :)
My area doesn't have a wide range of restaurant cuisines. When we are travelling we try to seek out those little individual places with authentic recipes. While visiting Seattle, we tried out a little Ethiopian place at the Pike Place Market and loved the injera (bread) plate.

Favorite teaching supply - Frixion markers
I won a set of Pilot Frixion markers and I have fallen in love with them! They are the only marker (or even pen) that I've used that really erases. The kids love them also! I've recently used them to have us underline parts of a story (jobs that the mom did and those that the daughter completed). The only problem - the kids were purposely making lines longer so they could erase! I let them do it one time each and then we had to get back to work! The video cuts off just as the little girl is saying awesome, but I think you can tell they like them. :)
I love them for grading, because if I make a mistake I can easily erase it. There have been times when I graded a test and gave 100% and then noticed a mistake. I used to cover it with a sticker and re-grade. Now, I can just erase!

Favorite Tradition - Ornaments
When I was growing up, my grandma sent us ornaments. I don't remember if it was every year, but she sent each of us several ornaments. I only have a couple that survived the years! I have the one pictured above which was from 1984 and a Garfield one. 

My 2 boys each have several ornaments of their own on our tree. Some of these are shown in these pictures. They have a few that were give to them when they were younger. Of course, there are also ones that they made for the tree like the clay stocking in the top picture. As they grew older, I've let them choose an ornament for the tree almost every year. I write their name and the date on each one. It's fun to see the things they choose each year. It shows their personality and what their interests were during that time. This year, my oldest chose the burger and fries. We tease him about wanting to eat all the time! Welcome to the teen years! My youngest chose the red cardinal. He loves animals. Last year, he chose the Arctic Fox that looks like a little stuffed animal. We don't have a designer tree that could be featured in magazines, but it's a tree full of memories! That is precious to me!

Favorite Store - Amazon
I love Amazon prime! My prime membership expired and I tried going without it for a few months. Then I needed a baby shower gift. I could not get it to ship w/ free shipping and kept adding items to my cart to get it to work. I was also nervous that it wouldn't make it in time. I finally gave in and renewed prime. Presto! Delivered super fast and no shipping charges.
You can win a $20 gift card to Amazon along with the other fabulous prizes! This gift card is part of prize pack #7. It will be emailed to the winner. It is in US funds and can only be used at amazon.com.
My 4 featured items are 1/2 off during this blog hop! These are bundles that are already discounted, so to get them an extra 50% off is a big treat!

The Animal Research Papers Bundle includes pages for kids to research 99 different animal. It even includes my best-selling Arctic Animal Research Paper pack. They are written for early readers and feature photos rather than clip art. They have been used successfully with kindergarten - 5th grade. I'm a 1st grade teacher and use them in my class every year! The kids love writing their own report and becoming an "expert" on an animal.

I also have my Healthy Habits Mega Bundle on sale which features several food group activities and other activity to promote a healthy lifestyle. The healthy habits posters in this bundle have been used by many teachers and have been used for cafeteria bulletin boards.

The QR Code Story Collection is a recent addition and has become very popular. Teachers love to use these for centers. There are many similar items in the TPT store. I think this one is unique because:
*each collection features a theme - this makes it easy for you to rotate the books to match your curriculum or the season
*unique picture on each card - I've seen many sets that have no pictures or the same picture on everything. I try to put a picture on each card that goes with the story and is unique from the others. This makes it easy for pre-readers to find the right story. It also makes the card visually appealing.
*Playing time is listed - This is important in my classroom. I give my students a set amount of time. This helps them to choose a story that is not too long.
*SafeShare - The QR codes link to the video through safeshare. This means that the students do not see comments or ads that show up on YouTube. Most of the other TPT sets also do this, but please make sure before you buy a set.

The Literacy Poster collection includes poems that can be posted on the wall and a matching student version for a poety notebook. The poems used are traditional poems for the season in a range of levels for kindergarten - 2nd grade. They are great for building fluency. Color and black/white versions are included for the student notebooks.

Here is the info. about the giveaway. There are a lot of stores and mine is near the bottom so make sure you keep going to get your points for following the Teacher Treasure Hunter store at TPT. To go to the next blog in this hop, you can scroll down the blog buttons at the bottom of this post. Find the Teacher Treasure Hunter logo near the bottom and click on the next logo. You can do this at each blog so you keep "hopping" and don't miss anything. :) Also, it would be wonderful if you could leave comments on a few blogs - we love to hear from you!!

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:

7 winners for 7 prize packs!

Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

National Dice Day ~ December 4th

Today is National Dice Day! Dice are a part of many fun family games -- including Monopoly, Boggle & Yahtzee. They are also a fun part of many educational math games. 

Dice found at Cantonment Clinch (1823-1834) in Pensacola, Florida
Dice have been around for a very long time! In Iran, archaeologists discovered the oldest known dice. They are over 5,000 years old! I couldn't find a picture that I could post, but you can see a picture of the oldest dice here. The picture on the left shows dice that were likely used during the American Civil War. Historically, dice have been made from bone, wood, ivory & plastic. There are many more materials available today. A little trivia - --did you know that the dots on dice are called pips? This is also the word for the dots on dominoes. 

We have been taught that die is the singular form of dice. However, according to the Oxford dictionary, dice is now used for both singular and plural. I wish I would have know that at the beginning of my research for this post! While looking for graphics to use, I typed "dice" into the search field of a graphics site and when there weren't any results (should I say - "no dice" LOL!) I quickly typed in die. Then, I started laughing thinking about the absurdity of finding a graphic for die on this cute graphics site that caters to scrapbookers-- not to mention what will the site owner think when they look at the history of search terms. I'm pretty sure that I will be the only one who used that search term!

There are many great classroom resources that use dice. I've provided a little list here of some freebies. Read to the end of the post for a few ways to organize your dice collection!
1) Winter Dice Games by Teacher Treasure Hunter
2) Winter Color by Sum created by Teacher Tam
3) Polar Express Roll and Cover Games created by Mary Lirette
4) Roll a Snowman by the Tutu Teacher
5) Roll it! Make it! Expand it! worksheet by Rebecca Anderton - Teaching First
6) Roll a Tree a Christmas worksheet for adding 3 digits by Fun in First
7) Save the Snowman a winter game by Heather's Heart
8) Anna, Elsa & Sven dice game for number recognition by the Activity Mom

Here are some great ideas to keep your dice organized:
*Put dice in magnetic containers that are put on a hanging cookie sheet (cutesified!)
*Plastic craft boxes with multiple compartments
*Plastic bin storage made for organization nails and other hardware (repurposed!)

Keep the dice QUIET with these ideas:
*Dice in a water bottle
*Glue felt or foam to the bottom of a container

Happy dice day! Now, go "shake" things up in your math lesson today!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Calendar Time! December National Calendar Days

Happy December, friends! Here is a list of National Days in December - mostly the unusual ones! I didn't include ones that are on most calendars and/or ones that would be difficult for little ones to celebrate. 

It is so difficult for me to find blogging time! I'm trying!! I will try to do at least a few posts this month on some of these days. My goals for a Calendar Time post are:

1) educate you about the day and give you ideas of things you could tell your class about the day

2) share a list of resources that you can use in the classroom

3) sometimes provide links to freebies by me or other sellers

I'm currently working on a post for December 4th - National Dice Day! This will be a fun one!



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