Butterfly Art

Aloha friends! Corinna from Surfin' Through Second here.  Are you thawing out from the winter freeze?  Spring is here and we are doing lots of fun activities in our classroom.

One of our favorite activities is learning about Monarch Butterflies and their amazing life cycles.  We have Monarchs here in Hawaii and many of my students love hunting for caterpillars and watching them transform into butterflies.


There are tons of fun resources out there to help teach students more about Monarchs.
Check out this post on my blog for more details-----> {Click Here}

We did this fun art project that uses symmetry to make some gorgeous butterflies.








They came out great and my class worked so hard to try to make both sides symmetrical.
This took us a few afternoons to finish, which makes it a great activity for these last 
few months of school.

Click on the template to download it from Google Docs.



Mahalo for stopping b the Primary Chalkboard and I hope you will visit me at my blog for more ideas and resources.




6 Ways to Re-Energize Your Class This Spring

Hi, friends! Laura here from Peace, Love, and First Grade!

Are you as excited as I am about SPRING?
My azaleas are blooming, the sun is shining, and recess could last all day!
Spring is here at last!

Hmm...the weather is absolutely beautiful, so what is it then (testing, worry about the fence sitters, I could go on...) that causes teachers to feel out of sorts in spring??



If you feel the spring time exhaustion, you are not alone. I'm with you, along with thousands of your closest teacher friends!
What's a teacher to do?

Well, there's always the adage, "This, too, shall pass." 
But, let's be honest, when you're in the thick of things, that's not very helpful.

I can't calm the winds or take away the full moon days, but I can share with you a few things I do when the days seem to draw out forever.




1) Try a New Activity
Dig out an activity you love and you KNOW the kiddos will love! 
We have an Author's Craft unit we do each spring, and not only do I love it, the kids love it, too.
You can feel the energy in the room during these lessons.
Dig deep if you have to, but find a lesson or activity to re-energize the class!


2) Read Your Favorite Children's Book
Apply the same tip from #1 to your favorite read-aloud. My firsties eat up chapter books during spring. They love Mercy Watson and Judith Viorst's LuLu, and I know breaking out a book from one of those series will make ALL of us smile! 


This is also a great time to break out a favorite from YOUR childhood to share with the class. I have always loved The Boxcar Children and adore sharing it with my kiddos. I mean, quite honestly, the original Boxcar is about as good as it gets!  

Pull out your favorite picture books, too. I love sharing Russell Hoban's Frances series during spring.







3) Do Something Different
I know. I know. That takes energy! 
But spring is the perfect time to try something new. 
Plan and plant a garden. 
Go outside and have class. 
The clouds are beautiful right now. Take advantage of that and learn about them. Send everyone out to sketch those babies!
http://www.movetolearnms.org/

http://www.movetolearnms.org/If you've never tried online Brain Breaks before, 
give them a shot.
My kidlets would GoNoodle or Move to Learn all day if I would let them.
Brain Breaks are seriously good for refreshing students AND teachers! 




**Let me preface #4 by saying I don't mean do this every day, and I am not advocating all day recess, just a ONE TIME BREAK.
4) Give Your Kids (and Yourself) a Break
Skip the spelling test this week...or homework...or an incredibly boring lesson in the math program that causes you to breathe deeply for 30 minutes afterward. You know what I mean.
We've all been working hard and we all deserve an unexpected break



5) Get Student Input
Ask your kiddos what they are interested in learning about and plug their ideas into your lesson, even if you just find books about their favorite topics. 
Create a class chart where children can add their suggestions or interests. Children love knowing their opinions matter and feel valued when you take the time to include their interests in your lessons.

6) Spring Clean
Take some time each day to clean out! Spend 20 minutes cleaning out a bin or a drawer. We all know the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a tidy workspace. 

Get the kids in on the act, too. All my littles have class jobs, and those jobs change every 9 weeks. Let your students apply for the jobs that interest them and start assigning tasks. Set aside a time each day when everyone does his job. Your kiddos will love it!



Let's face it! Teaching is an exhausting profession. 
It's a wonderful "wouldn't want to do anything else" adventure, but it's exhausting. 
I hope one of the ideas above inspires you this spring.  
And, remember, if all else fails, "This, too, shall pass."

Have a fabulous week!! 

Stamp a Story: A Fun Writing Activity

When I taught first grade, my students LOVD making sticker stories (click here for that old post) and they loved to "stamp a story." I usually used this as a writing center or early finisher activity. This takes a little more bravery on your part. Let's be honest, ink is a pain. If you leave it open, it dries out. If kids get over excited, their is ink all over their hands, clothes and paper. Yikes. But let's get serious here. If it gets them writing, then I'm all for it! 

The Easter Bunny brought stamp-a-story into our house this year and reminded me how fun it is. Thank you Amazon! (Side note: These little stamps solve a lot of the problems with the big mess because there isn't a separate ink pad that can attract little fingers and smear all over. Wishing I had these when I taught first grade!) 

After Shawn made a few random pictures with stamps (by random I mean as many stamps on a page as he can fit,) I suggested we make a story with the stamps. First, I set the stamps up so we could see the picture. We talked about which stamps could be characters and which stamps could be part of the scenery. Then we brainstormed different ideas for stories with these characters. I asked simple questions like, Where are your characters? What are they doing? 

Before he started stamping, we also talked about what the scene would look like. I told him this is going to be like a picture, similar to if he were to draw it. We started with the grass, then added in flowers and animals. Last, he added in the butterflies and dragonflies. 

Finally, he was ready to do his writing: 

Keep in mind he is a kindergartener. A first grade student may choose to add more detail to their story. (I would add a back page of lines for a first grader.) After writing this, he said he wanted his next one to be all about forest animals in spring. Informational writing... BOOM!

Here are my tips for the classroom when using this as a center:






Where do you find stamps? Amazon baby! 
The top row are all little stamps. The benefits are that they are not as messy and you don't have to purchase a separate ink pad. The negative is that they run out of ink faster and you are stuck with the color they give you BUT you can always use an ink pad with these little stamps after they run out. The bottom row are bigger and you can choose the color based on the ink pad you choose. They are slightly more expensive, but not too bad. They are easy to use when creating a scene though. :) 

Click on the picture to download the links to these stamps. 


To get started, download this template by clicking here or on the picture below.


If you have any additional tips, I'd love to hear them! Share your tips or experiences in the comments. :) 

Visit me at my blog: 






Earth Day!

Hey friends! It's Karen from Mrs. Jones's Class.  

So...I'm one of those "Earth Day every day" people. I am a stickler for reusing, recycling, and trying to live as green as I can. Needless to day, I {heart} Earth Day!

Are you interested in becoming a little more "green" too? It is really not that hard, and just a few little changes to your daily routine can help.

One bigger change I made last year was that I joined an organic CSA. A CSA is an acronym for Crop Sharing agriculture. Basically, we buy a "share" of a local organic farm. Ours is small and family owned. We pay a yearly fee and each week in the summer season (May-October) we get a big ole' box of organic produce that is grown and harvested right at our farm. We also visited a few times last year to pick. We are eating healthier, and feel good that we aren't contributing to unnecessary chemicals being added to our food and our earth. Here are some pictures of our weekly goods, as well as from our trips to the farm. What is better than pulling your own carrot from the ground, wiping it off, and eating it! :)
I would highly recommend googling "CSAs" in your area and looking in to it!

Back in the classroom, I like to show my kids how we can be green a little "greener" to help the Earth too!

I created this Earth Day mini-unit to show my little ones the importance of Earth Day, every day! 

Included is this super cute Mosaic Earth Day craftivity, which you can use some some of those scraps of construction paper up with. 

You can find it here in my TpT shop. 

You can also grab this little Earth Day mini-book 


Peace, love, and green!
xoxo
Karen 


Hoppy Easter Friends

Hi my friends!  I'm so excited to be posting on EASTER!!!  It's Vicky from Teaching and Much Moore and I hope you are having a blessed Easter with your family.  I just want to share a quick little freebie for y'all as a gift on this special holiday!  I head back to school after 2 glorious weeks off for Spring Break so my mind is getting back in the game.  If you are still in school right now I'm sure this will come in handy right after Easter.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter!!! 



                                                                xoxo, Vicky








Celebrating Easter in the Classroom

Hi friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties! I wanted to stop by and share a little bit of Easter fun we have had and things we will be doing for the rest of the week! :) I have babies of many different religions in my room so I definitely keep it very non-religious! We still have tons of fun though! 




First, we did a fun little skip counting activity! We are working hard skip counting by 2s and immediately I thought of bunny ears! We used Jennifer's directed drawing. First, I showed them how to do it once. Then I gave them a LONG sheet of butcher paper and let them go to town!


Then they skip counted above the bunnies to count the ears! It really helped solidify not counting each ear, but counting by 2s to make it more efficient!

We had state testing today and it was a LONG day for us. My babies had to be quiet and that just does NOT come natural to them, hahaha. I needed a fun "break" this afternoon that would still let them practice their writing! We did this precious craftivity from Cupcake and I'm so glad we did!! I barely ever do crafts where they just cut/glue but it was too cute to pass up. Plus, like I said, I just needed a break, haha!

 A few years ago, I made this simple little write the room freebie that you could easily print and use this week!

I also made these SUPER fun math and literacy centers! My sweeties LOVE them! I can't wait to use these this week! You can click the pictures to see it on TPT! :)










Here are some of my favorite Easter read-alouds!


And finally, if you want some more holiday ideas, be sure to follow my holiday board on Pinterest!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter! I'd love to know how you celebrate!