Monday, April 29, 2013

Best Day EVER!!

I am so excited that I could shout it from the rooftop! My firsties took their PALS test today (VA reading test) and they did SO WELL! I am so proud of each of them. Every student made progress and 11 of my 18 kids are a full grade level or more ABOVE the requirement!! Let's hope they can do the same on DIBELS next week! I know they can! 
*Doin my happy dance!*

 Don't forget to check out my early bird Teacher Appreciate sale (yes, I just realized that next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, but that's ok, we are celebrating early!).

And don't forget to link up your favorite author/book studies and activities below!

Have a GREAT DAY!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Author and Book Study Linky Party and a SALE!

For starters, it is Teacher Appreciation Week!  In honor of all you wonderful teachers out there, I am throwing a sale.  It starts May 1 and lasts for 3 days!  Be sure to check it out!  Click on the link below to head over to my TPT store and fill up your wishlist for Wednesday!

Ok folks!!  I am braving it!  I am going to host my first ever linky party.  Let's see how it goes (Hopefully I do it right! lol). 

The end of the year is nearing and my reading series will be finished early leaving me with about four weeks left at the end of the year.  I am thinking that this is a perfect opportunity for some fun author studies and book studies.  Do you do this too?

Here is my plan:  I am going to focus on a new author each week or so.  I am thinking...Jarrett Krasoczka, Mo Willems, Laura Numeroff, Doreen Cronin, Leo Lionni, maybe some Pete the Cat and Skippyjon Jones...maybe some Eric Carle, David Shannon, Kevin Henkes, and Jan Brett.

I know! This is way more than 4 weeks worth, but I have so much trouble choosing my favorite authors!!

So here is how this linky will work.  Link up your favorite author studies, book studies, or even just your favorite picture book activities!  Who is your favorite author?  I can't wait to see what great ideas you come up with!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Product Swap Animal Research Project

I am so excited to announce that I participated in my first product swap!!  Here is how it works:  I partnered up with Karen Rowland over at Adventures with Firsties and we swapped products!  I was lucky enough to try out her Safari Animals Research pack!  Click on the picture for the link!

So here is what we did:
(prepare for lots of pictures!)

First, I scrounged the school library for as many books on animals as I could find! Unfortunately, we have an old school and therefore some old books, but we found some interesting ones.

Then, I gave my students the opportunity to explore the books.  My kids sit in groups so I placed a few books with each group and then we swapped so that everyone had a chance to look at all of the books.  The kids really enjoyed this part because they got to explore nonfiction books that they had not seen before.  And they loved the pictures!

 Then my kids chose 3 animals that they would be interested in studying.  The animals included in the pack are elephants, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, hippos, lions, and tigers.  Our library didn't have any age level appropriate books on tigers and lions, so I didn't give those as an option this time.  They had the other six animals to choose from.  Then I placed them into groups of three students and assigned each group to one animal (they got to study one of their three choices).

This is the first research project that my firsties have done, so I allowed them to do all of the research part within their groups.  I put together the research packet for each student and gave them some books to look through as well.  My favorite part of this research pack was the fact page that came with each animal.  It was such an easy way for the kids to find information about their animal!  And it was something that they could read with little difficulty!  Here are some great pictures of the kids doing their research!  We completed 1-2 pages each day.

 Here are my kiddos reading through their fact pages!  Lots of great information here!

 This page is a cloze activity that goes along with the fact page.  It gets the kids thinking about what they have just read!

These are diagrams for students to label their animals.


 This was another of my favorite pages!!  This is a can/have/are chart.  I liked this page because it really made my kids think.  They had to really think about everything that they had learned about the animal in order to fill out the chart.  The fact page really helped my students with this one!

 This web was great for the kids to organize their facts.  They chose 6 interesting facts to put onto their web ("They have eyes." was not allowed! lol)

 This page was fun too.  The kids had to think of ways that they are similar to and different from their animal.  This became a big discussion of what a mammal is and whether or not we are mammals! They loved writing this as a similarity.  And of course, they liked learning that they were omnivores and discovering whether that was a similarity or a difference. I think it made them feel very smart to use such big words!

 Before writing out our paper, we used this chart to help us organize our information.  The kids had to write a topic sentence, 6 facts, and a closing sentence.  We discussed the difference between a fact and an opinion.  I allowed them to make their closing sentence an opinion but everything else had to be a fact.  This chart made it very easy for them once it was time to write their report!


 Here are some pictures of them transferring their information from their graphic organizer to their report.  They did such a good job! (so proud)

Once they finished writing their report, I let them color a picture of their animal (also included in this packet) to use as a cover sheet.  Here are some finished products!


The kids did such a good job on their animal reports!  I am so proud of the great writing they did.  The layout of this pack helped to keep my kids so organized and really showed them how to organize their facts!  And there are several pages in here that we didn't even get to!

If you are looking for a great research project for your firsties, I definitely recommend you heading over to Karen's TPT store and picking this one up!  She also has one on Woodland Animals that she has recently done with her class.  You can see great pictures of her class working on the Woodland Animals project at her blog! Just click on her button below!

 Grab my Button!

To see all of the other great products in the swap, you can head over to Jessica Stanford's blog at Mrs. Stanford's Class!