Sunday, September 21, 2014

Farm, Pout-Pout Fish, and Parts of a Sentence {FREEBIES}

It has been a busy week and there is very little hope of it slowing down anytime soon!  
 Each year I take a picture of each of my students giving their best "pout".  Here's Jack's:
We read 3 Pout-Pout Fish books since "pouted" was one of our vocabulary words this week.  The latest  one, Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School is MY FAVORITE so far!!
I have a freebie in my TpT shop
Get the Pout-Pout Fish FREEBIE {HERE}
which I just added another page to TODAY for the kids to graph which book is their favorite:
We finished up learning about farms, complete with sheep shearing and milking a {not so real} cow!
We made these cute crafts for pigs and sheep, idea from First Grade Parade
I am sharing the two little printables I used as a FREEBIE {HERE}
We also worked on subject and predicate…which our reading series calls the "naming" and "telling" part (which isn't my favorite) but I go back and forth with all the usual terms…the "Whoooo?" and the "DID WHAT??" I created this little printable with both titles for your kids to "highlight" the two parts of a sentence:
Next week is all about APPLES!  I have some fun stuff planned…here's our bulletin board so far in case you haven't seen it yet:
My apple pack is {HERE} and all of my shop is on sale through Monday!  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bringing Back Show and Tell

Show and Tell?
Who still does that??
I do.  
How do you have time to do something fun and that serves no educational purpose?
Umm, I make the time and it most certainly does serve an educational purpose.
Remember those pesky Speaking and Listening Common Core Standards?
You don't?
Well, you should.
SHow and Tell is a great way to address those standards AND inspire writing….PLUS it's fun =)
Here are some pictures of our first show and tell:
Jack brought his Sphero 2.0 Ball, complete with free demonstration.
Jack and the rest of the class loved sharing and being "experts" about their object.  I love that the kids came in excited for the day.  They "present" about their object and then take 3 questions from the audience.  They had the best time!  My pack includes slides for becoming great presenters and a great audience, along with ideas for questions to ask.
Engagement?  Yes, please.  He is raising his hand to ask questions…QUESTIONS!!
The whole activity took about 30 minutes (for my class of 14 kiddos).
If you have already purchased it, download it again because I've made some HUGE improvements.
You can find the pack {here} on TpT
Here are the first grade standards that the pack addresses:
The pack also includes a letter for parents and writing prompts for before and after Show and Tell.  
Check it out {here} and let me know what you think!  Do you still do Show and Tell??

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Need a jumpstart to the new school year?
I’m so excited to be teaming up with my favorite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year! Over at the Freebielicious blog, we’re giving away a BIG, GRAND PRIZE (scroll down to the bottom of this post to read all about it!) and right here on my little blog, I’m giving away $25.00 to my favorite store to go school shopping: Amazon.
What did I purchase from Amazon to get my room ready for BTS?
Self Adhesive Shelf Liner - 2 Pack - ava pool 1.5ft x 10ft each (45.7cm x 300cm) to cover my table:
 and to help get me through all the professional development and planning, I needed new Frixion erasable markers!
Pilot Frixion Colors 12C SFC-120M12C (japan import)
Don't you just love Amazon??
But, wait! That’s not ALL!
The Freebielicious ladies know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom d├ęcor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” and we want to be able to put some of that money right back in your pocket. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card! YES…YOU READ THAT RIGHT! $300!!!
To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!
Also, while you are there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Estimation Station FREEBIE

As part of our Investigations Math Series we have to do estimations {weekly} and so I decided to make it part of our Rise and Shine Binders {by Reagan Tunstall- they are phenomenal, btw).  I had shared a picture of my estimation activity and someone asked if I would share it on my blog…so here goes:
I purchased this estimation station off of Amazon…for a GREAT price, but you could just use a jar =)
First I show the kids the estimation station filled with whatever we're estimating this week…and we discuss what "estimations" are (good guesses).  I show them the little scoop that came with the kit and we fill it with the chosen objects (this week it was tootsie rolls, so I showed them what 10 tootsie rolls look like) and we discussed how many of those groups could be in the station for it to make sense.
I give each student a post-it note and they record their prediction on it and post them on the board.  Then they fill out the first box and draw the items in the jar of their estimation page (below)

Next we count out the tootsie rolls and make groups of 10…then we go back to our desks and record what the actual count was and whether or not our guess was close.
Now for the important part, we go through the post-it notes on the board and decide if the guess is less than or greater than the actual number of items.  Then we place it where it goes inside the hoop.

 Find the FREEBIE {here}
 Hope this post inspires you to try some estimation activities in your classroom (if you aren't already)!
if you already do, I'd love to hear what you do in the comments below!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

S.T.E.M. Lessons POP! and FREEBIES

Are you familiar with S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering & Math) Lessons?  To be honest, I knew it had to do with science, but I didn't know much else about it.  Enter one very curious, engineer-loving little boy into my classroom this year (my son, Jack) and I decided it was time to learn MORE and to add some of these type lessons to my classroom.  (I mean, who doesn't need a quick and easy way to get kids excited about learning?)  
Waiting, waiting….and then POP!

I read a lot online about STEM activities and, of course, went to TpT to see what was offered.  That's when I found the Science Demo Guy…let's just say he's awesome!  He gives you everything you need in one, fun lesson (even a video demo that explains the science behind the activity)  I used his FREEBIE found {HERE}!
My kids were BEYOND excited!!  First I gathered our supplies (from Amazon).
The activity pack included all the things we needed, including all the standards covered!
We even journaled about what happened!
The page below I created as a beginner page for the STEM activities I plan to do in the future:
This FREEBIE can be found {HERE} with graphics by Graphics From the Pond (who I love!!)
How do you integrate STEM themed activities into your classroom??

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How's School? Autism In My Classroom Update {First Then FREEBIE}

I've been SUPER busy with school, even more so than usual. I decided to teach my son, Jack, this year and was filled with trepidation at the thought.  I am happy report that it's a lot better than I thought it would be, but still a lot of work.  Jack requires a lot of attention, so I find myself battling between giving him the attention he needs and balancing it with the attention the rest of my class needs.  I honestly don't think it is just because he's my son…I think I am showing him the attention that any student on the spectrum requires, but naturally I have a vested interest in his success.  
His first day, he fell asleep in one of the spots I've designated for him to go when he's feeling stressed or under/over stimulated.  The next day he fell asleep on the way home =)
Currently he is obsessed with turrets.  Turrets everywhere, his poor neighbors at his table have learned everything there is to know about turrets and then some more.  
I let him use post it notes, which we quickly decided he needed to use to make a 'post it book' out of and keep in his folder.  Here's a picture of just one side of his area where he'd stuck them:
He struggles with sight words…I mean STRUGGLES…so we drew pictures that meant something to him and posted them in his line of sight.  It must have helped, he made a 90! =)
 Right now I am having to figure out what works and what is acceptable for him to do.  I need to limit his iPad time and so I am using the token board I got from my friend, Erin {from Creating and Teaching} so that when he finishes class work and assignments  (etc) he can add a Creeper.  When he gets 5, he can have 10 minutes of iPad time (as long as I'm not in the middle of teaching.)  Everything is a learning curve.  
He has most of his issues when he goes to specials, so I created a little board (shown below) to help him if he melts down so that he and his teacher have a list of acceptable choices… sometimes just the distraction of talking about the choices calms him.  Each teacher will have a board to use and keep in their rooms.
I also have a ring of choices for meltdowns or stressful times, this is good so that if something comes up and he goes to a class where they don't have a board, I can hand them this…or it is good for him to use with a sub.  Post it notes are for him to draw about what's bugging him, headphones to limit distractions/noise, computer and iPad for reward, and our special ed teacher's door since she's his safe person.
 First/Then Visual Schedules are great for when he's being non-compliant, he gets to choose the "Then" activity….I choose the "First".
I am sharing the First/Then Visual Schedules I made as a FREEBIE {HERE}
Autism Classroom
I tried to take pictures as a concrete example of what the behavior looks like:
Below are the things he can do if he is having difficulty with stress or staying in his seat in my classroom….none of these are for a long time, maybe 5 minutes using a visual timer.  He also understands which is an appropriate choice for what time.  The pillows are actually in laundry baskets under my loft and is his favorite spot for when I am giving directions or reading.  He's listening, he's just not doing it in his desk (and I am ok with that).  Otherwise, he's in his desk, but moving around so much that it is a distraction to everyone, including me…and him.
Here's another choice, I am not sure if it's a keeper yet.  He only uses it for short periods of time and then takes it off his seat, but I have noticed that when he does use it, he is better able to sit still.

He has to have options, especially for sitting.  He has a lot of sensory issues and cannot sit still for very long…so in addition to Brain Breaks, we have several places for him to go if he starts feeling like he needs that stimulation…one other choice is the balance beam from IKEA.  Yes, I got it originally for additional seating at the carpet, but along with my reading loft, it is a great place for Jack to go and sit during class.
What have I learned?  Patience is key.  Being flexible is also important.  You have to understand that his behavior isn't a choice that he's making and that most times when he acts or speaks out, it's because he is feeling frustrated or anxious.  He avoids things that make him uncomfortable.  I've learned that I have to allow alternatives and compromise.  I have to choose my battles and let some things go.  I have to let go of the control.  It's ok if he does his work in the loft….at least he's doing his work.  I have to understand that if he's listening to me reading a book under the loft, not facing me.,. that he's still listening.  If I force the issue and try to make him do the things that I usually expect from "neuro-typical" children, not only will he not be listening or working, but he'll disrupt the rest of the class.  My motto this year, "Don't sweat the small stuff."  I do force the issue if it's something important or educational.  
The other day I handed out a time filler (first one of the year).  It was a little page that had a coloring key. He said he didn't want to do it.  It really wasn't serving an educational purpose, so I let it go.  I told him he could look at one of his science books instead, as long as he didn't disturb the other kids.  Did he try to get out of the other activities that day?  No.  Just the coloring page.  He knows what is important and what's not.  He's just not that into coloring or time fillers.  And that's ok.
We are making progress and although Jack says school is just a 'little bit fun', it's still not that bad. 
I'll take it.