Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm Back! Five for Friday

So, um, I haven't blogged for like two weeks!!! I'm disappointed in myself. :( But to be fair, these last two weeks have been CRAZY busy and there just has been no time to blog at all. But now that a lot of the craziness has settled (sort of), I am going to make this Five for Friday post! :D

1. I'm just going to bunch the beginning of the week together with the previous weekend since we had a four day weekend last week. No school Friday and Monday. It was pretty awesome. My friend from Canada arrived on Friday. She's a photographer and visits me annually so I always coordinate with her about when her visit should be so that I can also utilize her photography skills in the classroom. This time, we scheduled it for Memorial weekend plus week so that she can take pictures of my students with their published class book. I print them out 8x8 and display them on our hallway bulletin board for all the see. Then the prints go home as a gift to the parents. 

2. I had to report for jury duty on Tuesday and was out all day. My substitute did an awesome job helping me get the kids ready for Open House by making sure they did everything I wanted them to do for our Open House display. Open House was Wednesday and thank goodness Sherry was there to help me set up. I had been wavering about creating a slideshow to play in the classroom and didn't make the final decision until an hour before the event started. I started making the slideshow 30 minutes before the event started!! But it was a very success night. A more detailed post to come (I hope!)...

3. We also finally released our butterflies after keeping them for two weeks. I had originally wanted to release them last week but there just wasn't any time! I know butterflies have short life spans so I was really concerned that they would all die over the long weekend. Thankfully, that didn't happen. We lost a few butterflies but most were still alive and well when we released them in the garden. In fact, these butterflies didn't seem to be scared of humans at all! Many of the kids even got to hold them before they really flew away!

4. Thursday marked the beginning of our 10 day countdown. Last year, I pinned the balloons to the bulletin board. This year, I tried something different, creating a line and then clothespinning the balloons to the line! It's a pretty awesome display! I also decided to utilize the idea of popping a balloon at the end of the day to see what is going to happen the next day. Perfect way to create a reward for an awesome day!

5. Last but not least! We finished our read aloud book, Sideway Stories from Wayside School, today. For read aloud books, we do this thing I call Book Cinema Club (idea taken from my student teaching days). After we read the book, we get to watch the movie. Normally, it takes maybe a week after the book is done to watch the movie. So naturally, when the book was finished, the students were all like, yay we get to watch the movie next week! Except, I surprised them and we actually watched the movie at the end of the day, complete with popcorn and juice! The kids were overjoyed. Unfortunately, I did not think to take a picture of them watching the movie as I was working on other stuff. But, here's a picture of how to dry 30 plastic popcorn containers (obtained at the Target dollar section)!
I used to just use brown paper bags. But these are simply more environmentally friendly!

My photographer friend leaves on Sunday, so we are off to do more fun stuff tomorrow. After that, it's time to get back in teacher mode and figure out what to do during the remaining 9 days of school! And report cards too! @@

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five for Friday

What a crazy busy week it's been! This is probably the perfect week for Five for Friday. So much to share! :)

1. Monday was our class pajama party aka my birthday party. Of course we spent the day doing tons of birthday educational stuff. But we did manage to fit in a game of tape the candle on the cake. That brought lots of entertainment. :) (Read more about my birthday party in a previous post.)

2. On Tuesday during our Daily Five time, I called students to contribute to our class thank you gift to our beloved and awesome Art Docent. What did we make?? A thumbprint vase!!!
Is that adorable or what?? I turned all the thumbprints into monkeys since we are the Marvelous Monkeys. The paint I got said to let it air dry for 21 days so we had to make it now. I can't wait to give it to our Art docent. She is going to love it! :)

3. On Thursday, we went on my most anticipated field trip, to Maker Faire Education Day!!! For those of you who aren't familiar with the Maker Faire, it's an annually held worldwide event where "Makers" come together and exhibit their creations to the public. Education Day is a day for school groups to come and preview some of the exhibits as they are being set up for the actual weekend event. I really look forward to this field trip because it really gets the kids excited and inspires them to create, create, create! My favorite part of the field trip is always watching ArcAttack perform. The kids absolutely love watching lightning sing!
Smaller version of the tesla coil
Making fabric owls
Another creation we made, LED pinnies.
Life-Size Mouse Trap contraption!
Jeep with Lego walls
Light Up "Paint"
Re-creating light up "paint" back in the classroom.
If you haven't heard of Maker Faire already, I highly recommend you look it up! Maker Faire is held all over the world so it's very likely that it will be held somewhere near where you live. If you find one, see if they have an Education Day because it's totally worth it! I am going to the actual event this weekend with my family. Can't wait! :)

4. We are studying solids and liquids in Science right now. Our investigation topic right now is called "Bits and Pieces". The students were given small solids that come in large quantities (rice, mung beans, lima beans, pinto beans, cornmeal) to observe and explore. Our investigation with these solids this week involved separating the solids from each other using different size metal screens. The kids worked in partners to get them separated and actually did a really great job!

5. Our butterflies have all emerged from their chrysalises! We now officially have a butterfly garden. :) I'll admit, I was just as excited as the kids since I have never seen the life cycle of a butterfly in person before either. It was very cool watching the butterflies eat. One of my colleagues says it looks like some of them might be pairing and producing eggs. Not quite sure if that's what I really want...
Painted Lady...not Monarch!
You see the lovely flowers down there?
They were from the birthday bouquet I got from my students.
What wonderful timing!

Welp, that was my week. How was yours? Only four weeks left now. Out of those four, only one of them is a FULL week. 17 days of school left! I can do it! :)

P.S. Any advice for getting out of jury duty? I have been summoned to report on May 28 (day after Memorial Day). I can't postpone it since I've already deferred once. This is SUCH bad timing since I have a guest visiting and staying with me during that week. Plus, there will only be three weeks of school left then. I can't possibly leave my students!  Any suggestions for what I should do if I end up having to report? :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday so of course we had to celebrate in the classroom. What better way to celebrate in the classroom then to throw a party? The class voted and we decided to throw a pajama party! :)
Invitation that was sent home
It was a busy and exciting day for all us as the kids came into the classroom in their pjs. But before entering the classroom, I was surprised by Room Mom with a vase full of flowers! I guess she sent out an email to the class and asked everyone to bring in a flower or two from their gardens at home to contribute to the class bouquet. The vase was literally bursting with flowers, I kid you not! When I brought all the flowers I got home, I did some flower transferring and ended up filling three vases! What an awesome present! :)

Our day was a mixture of birthday-related activities, some core curriculum, and some Specials (motor skills and music). During our phonics time, we tried to make words using the letters in "birthday".

Then we played a fun game of Tape the Candle on the Cake. Such an entertaining game to watch! Most of the students did awesome but I definitely had some go off course and needed to be redirected. One of my students literally walked around half the carpet blindfolded and without bumping into anything and never reached the board! He ended up taping his candle on my clip chart which is on the side of my filing cabinet. :)
There he is! :)

The end result! There were three candles that didn't make it on the paper. :)
We also did some birthday related writing. I had the kids guess my age when they were writing in my birthday book. The serious guesses ranged from 20 to 41. The silly guessed ranged from 5 to 1000. Haha. I do have to take some credit though. Every time a kid asked me how old I was I would give a ridiculous number and change it every time a new person asked. :)

I also had the kids write what they think I should get for my birthday. Got some very interesting responses...

I took a day off once to do a veteran teacher observation for BTSA.
And, the strangest...

The sweetest...

And finally, the funniest!

A birthday celebration isn't complete without a birthday treat! I made chocolate-covered strawberries for the kiddos.
Marvelous Monkey theme! 
What an exciting day! But glad it's over. :)

Now to tackle the rest of the week! :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday

Whoa, I just saw that my last post was my 100th post to this blog! How exciting!

Okay, excitement is over. :)


1. This week was state testing! Lucky first graders don't have to take the test but our poor fifth grade buddies do. So, thanks to all the inspiration from fellow bloggers and pinterest, I decided to give those fifth graders some encouragement. We make "smart cookie" cards for our buddies. I went and bought those individual packs of mini oreos and stuck it to each card. Not a single fifth grader said thanks to me but I'm sure enjoyed it. :)

2. Our caterpillars turned into chrysalises over the weekend! So sad that we weren't able to see the transformation. But I did manage to find a couple caterpillars still crawling around in my main container of leftover caterpillars. Caught this one in action (the j-shape means it is ready to pupate and turn into a chrysalis). There is actually still one caterpillar left in the container that has not turned into a chrysalis yet. Not sure if it's sick or just stubborn. Guess we will see when we come back next week.

3. Wednesday was Teacher Appreciation Day. Besides providing us with a very large and scrumptious lunch (with a HUGE table full of desserts too), each teacher got their very own box filled with sweet cards and notes from students and parents. It also came with a t-shirt. Love the message. :)

4. We made our Mother's Day gifts! A tissue box book and a lovely canvas tile with a handprint on it. 

So adorable! Read more about it here.

5. What's this?? I don't have anything to say?? Unheard of! But don't worry, next week's Five for Friday will have tons to share since we have two events happening that week. Come back next week to find out what they are!