Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blasting off the Year with High Flying Ideas!!

Back to school picture books and lessons are abundant this time of year!  We all love teaching Chrysanthemum and crumpling the heart to teach our students about caring for other's feelings and making name patterns so that we can see how unique we all really are.  We all love teaching The Kissing Hand and making little hand print paintings with heart stickers on them.  We all love teaching First Day Jitters and the big reveal that the teacher is actually just as nervous as the kids!  The list continues with Case of the Bad Stripes, Wemberly Worried, Wodney Wat, Molly Lou Melon, Tacky the Pengiun, and more!!

Today, I am hoping to share with you a story that you may not know about.  This is one of my favorite stories to read to my kids and I have a great lesson to go with it!

The story is Too Loud Lily.

This story is about a little hippo named Lily that is just too loud.  Everywhere she goes, she is told to be quiet because she is too loud. She starts school and seems to ruin everything and get everyone into trouble because she is just so loud.  Then she meets her music teacher that actually WANTS her to be loud.  I love this story because I am a mom of three very LOUD boys and can relate! =)

I love using this story to teach self control.  I explain to students that it is perfectly okay that Lily likes to be loud but she has to learn when it is okay to be loud and when she should try to control it.  She gets sent to the principal's office when she is too loud during class.  This is a time when it is not okay to be so loud because the other kids can't learn.  But when she is singing a song with her music teacher she is supposed to be loud.  This is a time when it is okay.

After our discussion, I introduce our self control bubbles.  This is just an ordinary bottle of bubbles from the Dollar Tree.  It is what we do with them that makes them help us with self control.

First I have the kids pretend to be Lily while I blow bubbles at them.  They get to run around the room being loud and popping all of the bubbles.  Then we practice being the Lily that uses self control while I blow bubbles.  This time the kids must be perfectly still and quiet while I am blowing bubbles at them.  This is really difficult for many of my littles.  Popping bubbles is just irresistible.  That is how these become self control bubbles.  Students must learn to control their urge to pop the bubbles, just like Lily needs to learn to control her urge to be loud.  Are there times when it is okay to pop the bubbles (or be loud)?  Sure! 

We also like to make some charts.  We brainstorm different scenarios and discuss when we should use self control and when we can let our urges go.  For example, we make a list of times when it is okay to be loud and when we should be quiet.  We make lists of times when it is okay to run and when it is better to walk.  We make lists of when it is okay to hit someone and when it is not (haha, that is a trick question!).

The great thing is that we can pull our bubbles and charts out at any time as a reminder.  One of my favorites is to take the bubbles with us as we walk down the hall.  I blow bubbles at them while they are walking down the hall, but they are not allowed to pop them.  Then, when we get outside to recess, I let them run and pop as many as they want!

Now blast off to another great idea!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher's Helping Teacher's Tuesday

It is Teachers Helping Teachers Tuesday of Pay if Forward Giveaway series!!

Each Tuesday, I have been featuring a new teacher on my blog.  I share lots of fun info about that teacher and you will pay it forward by providing fun feedback on 3 of that teacher's products in order to enter the giveaway.  Then, next Tuesday, the featured teacher will pay it forward by providing the prize for the new giveaway!

Today's featured teacher is......


Let's get to know a little about her:


"This is a hard one to narrow down for me. I love it all! I'm a literacy interventionist who has the opportunity to push into a lot of regular classrooms K-6. I love working with struggling readers and kids who need enrichment. I feel like sometimes those kiddos get set aside to be addressed later due to the stress of the students who struggle. I like sharing my passion of all things literacy and watching it drive my students into creating their own literacy world.

I also enjoy working with my colleagues. We're a pretty small district and I feel like we are kind of like family. I also like learning from and with them as much as I do the students!

"I've always wanted to be a teacher. For as long as I can remember, my sister and I played "school." The only other thing I ever dreamed of doing was to be an author and I've recently started pursuing this dream as well."

"I haven't had a store for very long so I don't have a lot to choose from but I would have to say my, Have You Seen My Baby Bear? alphabet matching book would have to be my favorite. I made my first year of teaching and love it for the back to school year when my Kindergartners come in needing alphabet review activities. "


"Make sure students have time to talk. Our brain is a "social" learner, the more social interaction it encounters the more learning is taking place."

"I will be giving away this alphabet matching book:

This product can be put together in a variety of different ways. It can be put together in one big alphabet book or you can split it into 5-6 little books with just a few letters at a time.

It can be used in a variety of ways as well. It can be used for letter identification or sound recognition. Or the "little bears" could be playing together and making sight words for those who have mastered letter i.d. and sound recognition.

This product includes:
6 book covers
14 capital letter Mama Bears sheets
3 lower case Baby Bear sheets

I am so glad you got to meet Tara!!  Be sure to check back next week so that you can enter to win her Where's My Baby Bear books.

This week's prize is Bex's Second Grade Back to School Starter Kit.  Do you remember Bex from last week?  Check out more about her here!

There are a few rules for the giveaway.  Check them out:

In true teacher style, I am going to share with you an EXAMPLES/NOT EXAMPLES chart for feedback!  This chart shows what good feedback really is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow my blog so that you don't miss out on next Tuesday's giveaway!
Do you want to be featured on Teachers Helping Teachers Tuesday?  Click on the picture below for directions for signing up!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cooking Up a Great School Year!

Today a group of bloggers are sharing with you lots of "recipes" for cooking up an awesome school year!  Every blog is sharing a little something different so you want to hop around and "taste" it all.  Not to mention, we have put together a delicious giveaway for you! 

When we decided on the theme for this hop, I was so excited.  One of my all time favorite lessons goes great with this hop and I am finally ready to share it with you!!  About a year ago, I tried putting this activity together for you on TPT and I just couldn't find the right clip art or the best inspiration for putting it onto paper.  Now I have picked it back up and it is ready!  It has been "baking" for a long time.  Are you ready for a slice?

 This lesson deserves a little bit of a back story.  I always thought that I would be teaching upper elementary.  When I first started out, I applied for every fourth and fifth grade position out there.  I went to one interview for a fifth grade position and the principal decided that I would be a great fit for second grade instead and she offered me the job.  I was very hesitant but it was a job right?  I went in with NO IDEA what I was doing.  You know what I found out?  I LOVE primary!  These little ones have so much imagination and I fell in love with it.

The imagination and innocence of my class that first year was astounding.  I had a motion sensor on the lights in my classroom.  If we sat still for long enough, the lights would go off.  I placed an area rug at the front of my room (near the sensor) where we would sit for calendar and stories.  When the lights would go off, I would instruct a student to go step on the carpet.  The lights would come on!  My kids SWORE that the carpet was magic and made the lights turn on.  (They had no idea about the motion sensor.)  It was the cutest thing I ever saw!  And it led to this lesson......

Story Stew!

This lesson was one of those that just kind of "happened."  It wasn't really planned this way, but once it headed that direction I went with it and it....was....AWESOME!

Since school is not in session yet, I had to "re-create" it in my pictures at home.  Please excuse the grumpy "tween-ager" that was forced to help his lame mother! haha

So the point of story stew is to help students to see all of the different parts that make up a story.  It helps students to see them as "ingredients."  When one ingredient is left out, the story is just not nearly as tasty.

Here are the directions to make a great story stew:


Read a great story with your kids.

Put your kids into groups and assign them each a "vegetable" or two.  Students work together to fill out their vegetable according to the story that was read.

The vegetables (ingredients) are as follows:


 Get a great BIG POT!  And a spoon of course!

  This is the sneaky part that you may actually have to do ahead of time.  Print a copy of the cover of the story that you read and put it into the bottom of your pot.  Don't let the kids see you do this!!

 Gather your kids on the floor in front of you.  Have a student from each group place their ingredient in the pot.  Make sure you position the pot so that they can't see the picture in the bottom.


Stir the pot!  Mix up your ingredients!

  Pull out the story creation that you made!  Since the kids didn't see you put it in there, they will totally think it is MAGIC!!  This is wear you stress that all of the "ingredients" of the story help to create the story!

You can also see here how I do it as a whole group (great for introducing the lesson for the first time or for those little ones that can't write it all out on their own yet). 

 This is a pot that I just made out of poster board and laminated.

Then I laminated the vegetables to make it dry erase.  This way, I can reuse it on my bulletin board for each of our read alouds, shared reading, etc.


I have put this entire lesson together for you.  It includes color versions of the vegetables (great for whole group) as well as black and white (great for student versions).

I also included a recipe card for individual student use!  The recipe card is free for you today!!

Just download the preview of the product to the grab your freebie.

Now that I have shared with you my delicious treat, it is time to enter to win one of your own!  Check out these awesome prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you get lost along the way?