Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Book Reports and Spring Read-In!

St. Patrick's Day is quite possibly my favorite holiday to celebrate with the students!! The magic and trickery of the leprechaun, the history of Ireland, and all of the GREEEN! In the past I've made a special green pancake breakfast for my kids, given kids black plastic pots filled with Lucky Charms (from the leprechaun, of course!), and given gold foil chocolate coins. We are no longer allowed to have food in classrooms so I've gotten more creative....

Each year I now stamp green footprints on each student's desk with a baby foot stamper and green, washable ink. I sprinkle mini rainbow, gold coin, and leprechaun hat erasers around their desks with gold glitter as well. They love it!

During the month of March, each of my firsties complete one book report each week working toward a goal of 4 reports. At the end of the month, we have a special "First Grade Read In" to celebrate their hard work! Students wear jammies, slippers, and robes to school. They bring blankets and stuffed animals. We spend the entire morning reading all of our favorite books. Our principal comes to each classroom to read a story as well! I took this idea from Pinterest and re-imagined it for my own classroom:

In order to track their book report progress, each student has a black pot with a handprint rainbow. For each book report they return, they receive a "gold coin" for their pot. (Really it's just a yellow garage sale dot, but holy moly do they love it!) We hang the handprint pots in the hallway to brighten up the space and remind ourselves that despite this horrific winter, SPRING IS ON THE WAY!

This year, my teaching partner Amy and I both have student teachers. So, as the fabulous student teachers were teaching in the morning, Amy and I were able to paint the hands of all 180-some first graders for this project. (Yes, there are 7 first grade classrooms in my school!) Amy is a genius, so we started by pouring paint into ketchup bottles for easy storage and transportation of the paint. Check out the photos below for what we did!   

{HINT}: if you're going to do this, start with the yellow painted finger first to avoid color mixing!
Voila! A new tradition is born! Now, what will we do next year without student teachers?!? Eek!

Talk soon,

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Read Across America Week & Dr. Seuss Themed Centers

This week was the famous "Read Across America Week" to celebrate the 110th birthday of the late, GREAT Dr. Seuss!! This fun week is one of my favorites at school, as it brings out the silliness in everyone! I'm very fortunate to work in a district with teachers who work with our FABULOUS librarian to plan Dr. Seuss themed activities for each day of the week. Here's how it went!

Monday: "Fox In Socks Day" - Wear silly socks to school. (I saw some great monkey socks, and some funny Christmas and Halloween socks as well!)
Tuesday: "One Fish, Two Fish Day" - Hop over the fish taped to the floor all over the school. (It's  hard to tell from this photo but they were everywhere! What a great "brain break" for students to get out energy while making their way through the halls.)

Wednesday: "Wacky Wednesday" - dress wacky. (My favorite outfit included taped up "nerd" glasses and a backwards hockey jersey...can you guess which movie??)
Thursday: "The Lorax Day" - wear green and "speak for the trees!" We watched the Lorax cartoon and talked about conservation. (It's amazing how much children connect with the environment and the ideas they have to protect it!)
Friday: "Cat in the Hat Day" - wear a silly hat to school. (There were viking horns, light up cowboy hats, feathers, and hats with tubes! Who knew there were so many goofy hats out there?!)

My little firsties had a ball this week dressing silly and participating in all of the activities. To make the week even more fun, my classroom did Dr. Seuss centers each morning. Here's what we did:

Theme Center: Create your own "Cat in the Hat" hat. Use a sentence strip to easily attach it and size it to their heads!

Spelling Center: Write each of your spelling words 3 times on the cat's hat.

Word Wall Center: "Green Eggs and Ham" memory match game. Next year I'll buy some spatulas for them to flip the eggs with. They LOVED the green eggs!

Writing Center: "The Cat in the Hat" write around the room. Find words around the room that match each letter in the title!

Each classroom made a Dr. Seuss book poster for the main hallway as well. At the end of the week, a team of judges voted on the best 3 posters and a wonderful teacher dressed up as the Cat in the Hat to deliver the prizes. My class did "Horton Hears a Who". Here are a few of my favorite posters:

(This was the first place winner!)

That's all for now! See you next week for my blog post on St. Patrick's Day activities! :) 
Happy weekend!