Thursday, April 5, 2012

What's "growing" on in our classroom?

Here's what we've been up to lately.  .  .

We just finished up a 3 huge units of study:  measurement, fairy tales, and the forest biome.

First of all there's a giant beanstalk growing from our reading loft. . .How did it get there?  

At the top there is one of Mr. Perry's size 14 shoes hanging from the ceiling {the giant's shoe}, and there are also a pair of 18 month britches {Jack's Jeans.}  It was a really fun project to complete especially since it linked fairy tales and measurement so well.  We talked about how the giant compared to Jack, and how we would measure up too!

The students worked in pairs to write and illustrate the beginning, middle, and ending along with the characters, setting, problem, and solution.  

We LOVED this book. . . the kids wanted to read it over and over and over and over again!  It has great examples of how animals compare to one another which was a perfect connection to our forest biome research.

We also loved this book because it was very "first grade" friendly, and we read it bit by bit over the course of a few weeks. 

LOVE this book too! 

One day we had a little fun with some race cars. . .we estimated how far they would travel then measured.   

We measured with buttons, cubes, bears, paper clips, crayons, and even candy!

We measured our feet!

The kids also loved creating "life-sized" versions of themselves.  They estimated and measured length with all sorts of non-standard units.

These replicas are so life-like.  If you walked into my classroom, you could match the tracings to  the actual student. . .amazing!

We have started a little classroom "greenhouse area."  We're growing lots of things. . . or are we? 

I like to call this activity "How Does Your Garden Grow?. . .

The students had to select a "seed" from this bag to see if it would grow.  We placed our "seeds" in clear cups, added soil, and then took very good care of them.  I did have a few kiddos who chose the popcorn kernels, and after they realized that no matter how much sunlight and water they use it will never grow they were a bit disappointed.  They're replanting!

My kids absolutely love research projects.  I made a little research journal for the forest biome.  I can't give you the cover page because I don't have a commercial license or a license to share the clip art on the front cover, however if you're interested, you can get a copy of the pages below.  I was blown away by the writing that my students did.  Yes, there was modeling, coaching, and lots of review.  I'll have to show you a few of them once they're finalized.  
Forest Animal Research Journal Pages

Our food chains turned out pretty cute!  My kids had a blast making these, and I loved listening to them explain their diagrams.   For our forest research, the students worked in small groups.  There was a frog, skunk, brown bear, owl, and deer group.  The frog pattern is just something that I found while browsing the web.  The rest of the fabulous patterns are in Cara's "Camping Caper" packet {which is fabulous}!

I love fairy tales, and these are some of my favorite books.  One of my teacher buds and I have just finished a fractured fairy tale unit with TONS of great ideas and resources for many of these books.  It will be posted soon!

 This is one of my favorite fairy tale activities because it's short and simple.  

 LOVEd growing these little "fairy tale" items {from Dollar Tree.}  Also I assigned each student a part in one of these fractured tales.  We're working on this during guided reading time to build our fluency and expression {super super important for first graders}!

 Have you ever heard of "CUPS?"  Our school uses it to build consistency in writing from one grade level to the next.  4th grade is when the students take the "writing" test, but it starts in kinder and first grade.  We use "CUPS" every day during our morning message, and as we follow the writing process.  I'm not sure where the acronym originated,  but one of our 4th grade writing teachers {Mrs. Joyner} shared it with our campus.  She's fabulous at teaching writing, and knows all kinds of tricks to get students to write like you wouldn't imagine.   We constantly review, discuss, and brainstorm ideas for what needs to be capitalized, how to use verbs correctly, different types of punctuation, spelling of word wall words, and appropriate spacing.  I think this display would be really cute with "decorative cups."  Adding a straw or some kind of pitcher would be a fun addition too.
Cups Writing Tool

This doesn't really have anything to do with what's "growing" on in our classroom, but it was from open house so I thought I'd share.  These are some fraction activities that we completed.  

My sweet teammate Genese created the template for this activity.  

This one is from Amy Lemons, and she has lots of  great stuff!

Finally, there's one more thing that's been "growing" on 
{besides my tummy-I'm in the 31st week of my pregnancy. . .time is flying by}!

My sweet, sweet team has been so supportive of me and they were so proud of me for being named "Teacher of the Year" for my campus.  They made this beautiful sash, presented me with flowers, and we celebrated with dessert!  I really really love my team!  Thank you again to my sweet friends Brandy, Colleen, Genese, and Jasmine!


  1. holy cow - THAT'S a full post!!
    Full of great stuff! :)

  2. Congrats! It's easy to see why you were named Teacher of the Year!

    LOVE your fraction activities too! Awesome!

    Primary Inspired

  3. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing a great unit of study.

  4. Congrats on teacher of the year! You're an amazing teacher and this is well deserved!

  5. I love the CUPS! I will definitely be sharing that and using it!
    Thank you!

  6. Congratulations! Everything about this post is inspiring! Each time I scrolled down on my computer I was like wow... woW..wOW.. WOW! Lots of great ideas and so many amazing freebies you shared. I will definitely be squeezing some of these activities in before the end of the year.


  7. I love your beanstalk. Thanks for sharing that idea. Congratulation on the teacher of the year.

    theverybusykindergarten :)

  8. I am new to the blogging world and have been checking out several over the past week. Your blog is by far one of the best I have visited! What an inspiring and creative teacher you are!

  9. Congrats~You are very deserving of this award. Neat ideas in your post. I finished up my measurement unit about a month ago, but still reviewing. Gonna have to snatch a couple of your books and ideas. Thanks!

  10. So many wonderful ideas! I'm beginning my fairy tale unit next week and I can't wait to make that vine {although my husband shoe isn't THAT large, ha!}

    Congrats on being a TOY! This is a wonderful honor bestowed on a fabulous teacher :)

  11. WOW! What a lot of wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing. I just finished my Fairy Tale was so much fun! If you get a chance< I would love it if you stopped by my new blog.

  12. Congrats on Teacher of the Year! Surely this isn't your first time to receive this award?! I remember nominating you when you were at Dickinson.
    I thought I'd let you know that I have been using your "treat catalog" idea in my class this year. I use play money with it instead of tickets, and my students love it. It was a little frustrating for all of us at the beginning of the year when they really weren't able to count coins yet, but now it's running so smoothly! I just had my first two students cash in money to "eat lunch with the Moss family" and it really got all of the other kids motivated to start saving their money, too.

  13. I love it all!!! I get excited when I see you have a new post up... you are a great teacher and well deserving of the teacher of the year! Congrats to you!!

    Hope your pregnancy is going good! When are you due?

    Doodle Bugs Teaching
    Doodle Bugs Paper

  14. Wow! I love coming to your blog. It is so full of awesomeness!! Congratulations on Teacher of the Year ~ from what I see from your post you are definitely deserving of this award.

    First Grade Delight

  15. This all looks great!
    Tag you’re it! Now it’s your turn….come by and visit my blog to see the rules!
    Daisy Days for Learning

  16. Just found your blog on Pinterest and I love it! Going to do the bubble blowing fraction activity for sure! I look forward to checking more of your ideas out!

    Cialini Chat

  17. Ist there anyway I can get a copy of the Magic Wand writing paper?


  18. Wow! I just found your blog and it is wonderful! I am a first grade teacher and loved so many of your activities. I am a new follower.


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