Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter Words Beginning Sound Sort Cooperative Group

Cooperative Groups are important for many reasons.  They teach students to work together, to be independent, to have a job, to be responsible, to be accountable for their own learning, and to complete a bigger task by each doing their own jobs.  

I wasn't too familiar with cooperative groups until I started the National Board's process 4 years ago.  I learned a lot about them through that process and also how important they are.  Last week was a busy crazy week, but to finish up talking about Winter, we did a Winter Words Beginning Sound Sort Cooperative Group.  

We reviewed what beginning sounds were and sorted some pictures on the SMART Board first.  I had all of their materials in a huge Ziploc already.  Being prepared is super important with cooperative groups.  In their bags they had, glue sticks, scissors, and their name tags.  The name tags make them feel important and remind them of what their job is.  I picked their jobs ahead of time and had them written on an index card inside the bag.  For this activity I had 2 gluers, 1 cutter and 1 sorter.  The Cutter cut the pictures apart, then passed them to the sorter who put them in the correct box and then a gluer glued them on.  Right now I have them working in their table groups instead of different groups.  Some of the groups have 2, some have 3, some have 4.  We worked the jobs out based on that.  Some people had to have 2 jobs, which was totally manageable in this instance.  

Before anyone started their job, I called out each job and had them stand and they did a little "pledge." I usually just make it up as I go, but something like "I am a cutter, my job is to cut, I will cut our pictures out, on the lines, to the best of my ability, so that I won't let my group down." Then we clap for each job.  Gives everyone a sense of being important and I love that! 

Here are some pictures of our activity.

This fun activity can be found here: 

If you need cooperative group badges those can be found here:

Are you still with me? How about a giveaway for both packs?  Enter below and I'll choose a winner! :) 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Polar Bear, Polar Bear

One of my most blog posts is my Polar Bear post from last year. Things have been CRAZY since we got back from Christmas break.  We had 2 days of super cold weather than landed us a 2 hour delay 2 days in a row, a day off for MLK, 2 teacher workdays, and another 2 hour delay for snow.  In the midst of all that, I had to do end of the 2nd 9 weeks testing and now benchmarking for Read 3D has begun.  BUT GUESS WHAT? I was DETERMINED to get my Polar Bear fun in!

First we made our Polar Bear paws.  For step by step directions with pictures, go here.

Provide students with 12x18 piece of white paper.  I use bulletin board paper, but you could use construction paper.  Have students crumble it up multiple times and then tear around the edges to make an oval.

Give students a black sheet of paper and have them cut out a large paw pad, 5 small paw pads, and 5 claws.

 Once they glue them on, this is what you have! 

They super duper loved this activity! We had a bit of a hard time tearing around the edges, but I told them you have to hold with one hand and keep your fingers close to the edge and then tear.  Some of the paws were quite small at the end :)

Today we FINALLY had time to do the blubber glove experiment! 

All you need is lard or Crisco.  You place a ton of it in a Ziploc bag.  Then you place another Ziploc bag inside of it.  Then put masking tape around the top of the two bags to keep them together.  This year someone else got the bag ready and actually placed those two bags in an additional bag, which was good.  She also stapled the first 2 bags together.  We got a large tub from the Cafeteria and filled it with ice.  It melted throughout the day, so it was watery too.  We waited until the last minute to place the "blubber glove" in the water.  I had students put one hand in the glove and the other directly in the water.  I loved their faces! Simply precious!   

I'd love to hear if you try either of these activities! 

These activities and more can be found here:

 It is one of my best selling units with lots of great science activities! 

Do you teach arctic animals? What activities do you do?
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Snowball Fight!!!

Don't miss the BIGGEST Snowball Fight of the Year!!
22 of your favorite bloggers have teamed up to bring you a...

Our forts are built...
the snowballs are packed & stacked...
and we're about to BLAST you with FREEBIES!!

So lace up your boots, pull on your mittens,
and get ready to load up on 'SNOW' much good stuff!!

Hop on over to to my facebook page to pick up my freebie!

Look for this tab on every facebook page to find the next FREEBIE.
Note: You will not be able to access the freebies from an iPad.  

Click the image below to download a copy of the clickable map to find your way to all the 'snow forts'!

The Snowball Fight begins at 10 am CST on Saturday, January 18th.  
But don't delay because the snowballs melt at 10 pm CST on Monday, January 20th!!

We hope you have fun on the hop and find lots of fun freebies that you and your kiddos will love!
Make sure to follow our blogs too so you'll never miss a FREEBIE!  
Thanks for joining our Snowball Fight!!

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Happy 3 day weekend! (If you got one and I hope you did!) I just returned from a weekend at the beach with my sweet & amazing family :)

We swam, we ate, we's too cold to go in the ocean after all! :) 

I am thrilled to have another day off tomorrow!! And guess what? IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! I will have a few tricks up my sleeve on Facebook, so don't forget to visit there tomorrow.

On to the meat of this post.  Let's talk Penguins.  We were in DESPERATE need of a new bulletin board outside of our room.  That poor wall has been bare since before Christmas break.  We had grand plans to put some Polar Bears up there last week, but our little cuties went bananas with the chalk.  So what did I do? I went to Pinterest! Our unit for last week was Penguins.  So ... I searched "Penguin Craft" and I found this pin:

OMG could that be any cuter? couldn't! Click on the picture or the link above to go to her page and get a template for the penguins.  There is not a template for the ear muffs or scarf.  In fact, she used ribbon for the scarf.  I had this adorable chevron paper in the closet from Michael's and knew it'd be perfect for this.  Have I told you how amazing my assistant is? She got all this together and made it with my sweet students.  We learned our lesson with the chalk last week, so we used snowflake sequins instead.  I bought them who knows when on clearance from Michael's.  

This is how our cute bulletin board turned out! 

So what else did we do with penguins

All the goodies in this packet! (And there are a plenty!) There are a lot of great science activities, writing activities, centers and math review activities. (I was doing a lot of assessing for the end of the marking period, so this was great review!) 

Don't forget to stop by Facebook tomorrow to see what I'm doing for my birthday.  Enjoy your extra day! 

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