Halloween with Jerry

It's Halloween, and I HAVE to go trick or treating with my little Lady Bug....

My costume is being 7 months pregnant...lol!

But I just wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE books to read to my kiddos each year. My fabulous friend (that used to teach 3rd with me) turned me onto this book...it is a MUST...Roll on the floor laughing - even my 2nd graders were laughing with it!

and you HAVE to get the one with the CD of him reading it!!! It's what MAKES the book SO fabulous! And those of you who used to (or still do) watch Seinfeld, you can TOTALLY see his expressions as he's reading it!

Tell me what you think of the book - or if you have any activities you do with it! I would LOVE to hear about them :)

Author Study Activities

Ok, so.....I have been doing Author Studies with my 3rd graders for years now

This is how I present my books for the author each month...it looks a little more inviting now, with a table cloth and such. 

...and one of my favorite things to do was the Author Passport!
This is one of the pages of my Jan Brett Passport
The 3rd graders loved this! It has 2 pages and I copied them off and stapled them together. Then, throughout the month, they took AR quizzes on them. If they passed with an 80, 90, or 100% then they got a stamp (or, rather, sticker) for that book...just like a passport! Click HERE to get my full Jan Brett passport.

THEN, I moved down to 2nd grade....and I tried this with my "Beginning of the Year" passport...Click HERE to get that one....and WOA!!! Step back Mrs. Ross!!! I had totally forgotten that this was the year that they REALLY got into it and they could NOT figure out how to take AR quizzes in their "free time."  Wait...free time?? Yea, I know -that was part of the problem. lol. I tried it for one more month with Doreen Cronin, but only a few (like my GSP track kids) were able to do the whole thing.

Sooooo.....I tried knocking it back down to just one sheet - with only 5 quizzes on it.
Click HERE for this one

I had a little bit more of a success with this one....but I really wanted the students to do MORE than just read the books and take AR quizzes on them. So, I came up with a Tic Tac Toe for my Author Study (I do Tic Tac Toes all the time for Spelling and Math - so why not Authors??)

Click HERE to get a copy

Ok....so....tell me what you think?? I worked in Collaboration with our Media Specialist (don't you DARE call her a Librarian! lol) to come up with some of the activities. The middle square is REQUIRED (3 AR quizzes).  And a LOT of these activities I took from Literature Circle Ideas (which I used to do with my 3rd graders as well, but I'll wait until after I get back from maternity leave at the end of February to start that with my 2nd graders. I will make that a WHOLE different post-eek!).

The students can either do this in their free time (ha!!), for homework, or even make it a center!!! For the center, they can do one square for that center time...and then you have a center for 3 different weeks. Or, two different weeks if you want them to take the AR quizzes on their own time.

Can you think of something that I left out or need to change??? This month will be the first month I'll be implementing my new Author Study format. We're doing Arnold Lobel - I just LOVE his books!!! I still have my Frog and Toad All Year from when I was like 8 that I got from (my favorite) aunt! My kids can all see how much the book is "loved." lol.  (We were going to do one of my usual authors, Tomie DePaola - BUT most of his books are mid-high 3rd grade level....oops!) 

Oh! AND I know that Kathy Law over at First Grade a la Carte has TONS of Frog and Toad activities....head on over there and check them out! I'm sure we'll be doing some this month. 

OH!! And does your school have TeachingBooks.net???

No?? WELL, you definitely should talk to your Media Specialist about investing in it!! There are TONS of book resources on it. Arnold Lobel has ELEVEN different book readings (and some of them by famous actors!!), and TWENTY different book guides to do with his books. 

Also, PLEASE share with me how you do author studies in your room! I'd LOVE to get some new ideas :) If you've already posted something on your Author Studies, PLEASE feel free to provide the link. I'd LOVE to make this a LINKY PARTY...but I'm not sure how! lol...feel free to help me out with that one and I'd be happy to turn it into one!


Blog Makeover!


I finally found a site that has free layouts!! I'm sure most of you know about Shabby Blogs. But since I'm so new to Blogland, I just now stumbled across this FABulous site!!

I had promised myself when I hit 50 followers (only 2 away now!), that I was going to purchase a blog..so I can look all cute like the rest of you out there (that I stalk..lol). But now I think I'm quite content with this new layout...but PLEASE let me know what you think of my new layout - I even have a button now that you can grab!  (Can I just tell you THAT was the hardest part of the whole thing!?!)

Woohoo! I feel all official now...haha!

Now, I just need to add a signature....that's my next adventure.

Happy Teaching!



Pumpkin Waffles!!

SO not school related....well, I guess it COULD be if you really wanted to :)
I haven't been in blogland long enough for y'all to know that I'm a very thematic woman...

I got this idea from Tip Junkie...And since Mr. Spouse works tomorrow (he's a firefighter - 24 hour shifts) and I work Halloween morning, I just had to make them today!

I just made Bisquick waffles....added in some agave, vanilla extract, and pumpkin spice. Then I gave it some red and yellow food gel (or food coloring if that's what you have on hand). Add in the chocolate chips...and voila! 
(Let me tell you that I am a bonafide health nut...but on these special occasions, we just have to engage in these fun, festive, chocolate for breakfast activities!)

Jack-o-lantern waffles!!

They are kid tested.....

And mother approved....

Oh wait...yeah. You do NOT want to see my picture that came out! HAHA! it's not my best morning picture...But rest assured, they are mother approved!


Room on the Broom and Witches!

Ok, so I TOTALLY need another week to teach Halloween!! There is just too many themes to teach in October, and I've even postponed pumpkins until the first week of November...but between skeletons (our science standards have the body in it, so it fits perfectly), bats, and Halloween....I haven't even had time to teach using ALL my Halloween books, or even doing SPIDERS!...sheesh!! But I wanted to share a little bit of how we incorporated our Room on the Broom book into our reading skills this week :)

My friend who used to teach with me in 3rd turned me onto this book...it is just too cute!

One of the skills we needed to work on this week was possessive nouns....so we made a foldable! We talked about the different nouns that were in the book....and brainstormed other thematic words. They could pick whatever nouns they wanted. They drew the picture on the front of the flap, then when they lifted the flap....

They wrote their possessive noun sentence. Half my class could do this independently, and the other half - specifically my ESOL kids (because in Spanish and Chinese...my 2 languages...they don't have possessives. Their structure is "The candy of the girl...". Let's just say my intern is learning a GREAT deal in learning how to differentiate!)

This next activity was inspired by Leslie's "Inferring with Frank." I used the same format basically, just with our book, Room on the Broom.  Man, I tell ya, getting some of those kids to actually find the clues in the book to write down can be challenging! I will gladly take any ideas on how to get them to say something other than "because it was in the pictures," or "because my teacher told me," or "because I know." AHHH!!!!  Thankfully, it wasn't all of my kids. And I even told them to go put their finger on it in the book and THAT is what they write down as their clue....sigh.  Click HERE to get the printout for this activity. 

This next activity was inspired by Amy Lemons... I just LOVED her witch feet and they fit PERFECTLY into our lessons for the week :)

First...they did a Bubble Map (for all you Thinking Map people out there!) of their witch.

They turned out SOOO cute!!! 
Click HERE to get a copy of the witch page. 

This is one of my ESOL/ELL students...I just love him!

THEN they got their paper to do their witch legs!!!! I am SOOOOOO in love with these!!!! We didn't use any patterns and just let the kids make their own designs. The only thing we did cut to size was the legs...other than that, they cut out their own shoes, stripes, and skirts (or pants as one of my boys did!).

Just LOOK how stinkin' CUTE these are!!

One of my boys...he is just so artistic!!

And this boy said "I'm making mine wear pants!"  Hahaha!! I love his personality!! lol

Even more of our creations that didn't fit out in the hallway.

I just want to say THANK YOU to ALL of you bloggers out there for posting all your FABULOUS ideas!!! I am SOOO  excited to do our pumpkin week next week with all that I've been finding to add in what we already do!


Matching Math

So my intern came up with this math center for my kids this week....

They pick a pumpkin, which have 2-digit subtraction problems on them, and they use their 100s chart to figure out the answer....the skill of going up and to the left, you know??? WOW - that is SOOO hard compared to the addition - the down and to the right. 
But they have the answers on the page and they have to write the subtraction problem on the line that matches with that answer. You can make your own sheet up to go with whatever them you are doing. She just used the Ellsion machine to cut out pumpkins and hand wrote in the problems...

We only had 4 sheets and put them in page protectors and they used vis-a-vis markers...so we could reuse them over and over (you know...they count our copies and all trying to be conservative with paper).

Here' s a close up.....

This can be done with any skill really - adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and even with single or multiple digits - it's up to you! Whatever your skill is for that week!

P.S. - I just put down my 2 year old for the night....I totally fell asleep too....and it was only 7:15 people!! lol.I think I'm just "a little" tired. Though I really don't know why - well, aside from the 5:15 wake up call every morning..ha!


Bat Writing...EEK!

EEK! is right! I totally forgot to take pictures of our bat writing we did last week to put it with my bat post...ooops!
So....HERE it is :)
The accordian book in the middle is their sequencing of Stellaluna...click HERE to go to the other post to see those.
So, I TOTALLY forgot to take pictures of our planning pages we did with our kiddos, BUT you can go my "Writing" section of my blog (click HERE) and there will be lots of examples of how we do our planning. First we brain stormed all that we knew about bats in our circle map. Then we turned the page over and did our 4-square planning with our Grabber flap and Closing flap. 
The grabber said: "Everyone thinks bats are so gross."
And box #1 was something along the lines of "I will tell you three things to change your mind."
Then boxes, #2, 3 and 4 were facts they learned about bats.
The closer was "Now, don't you think bats are cool?!"

I really like how they came out!!

For the bats, they used a tracer - click HERE for that


I'm a contributor!

Come on over to Simply Centers to see all the fabulous contributors to center ideas and activities!

Click HERE to visit

I have the Blog button on my side bar so you can always get there :) There are SOME awesome ideas, pictures, and freebies for centers...and not just reading centers - math, writing, social studies, and science too!

And to make searching easier for you, it's broken up by grades and then subjects withing grades...come on over to see what you can find :)

Pumpkin books and song

Ok, so in our school, we are limited to TWO field trips each year (WAAA, BOOO, WAAAA some more).  SO, since we already have our field trips planned out, we figured we'd get shot down if we asked to go to the pumpkin patch...in addition to the other 2 trips. So, we had a FABULOUS lady come bring her pumpkins and presentation to us. 
She started off getting the kids all excited with singing this song....I'm so bummed I didn't get any pictures of this....they were so into it clapping their hands and singing along...but here are the words to it for you :)
Click HERE to get the song print out
Then she read them a nonfiction book, Growing Pumpkins. Can't you just look at her and see how awesome she was with the kids?!

Whilst reading the book, she showed off a pumpkin that was cut in half....they were coming up with some great similes!! I'm thinking that during our pumpkin week (which isn't for another week) we will be describing the inside of a pumpkin using similes....The inside of a pumpkin is LIKE a spider web...was one in specific that I remember - some other cute ones were said!

Then she asked them which of the pumpkins; small, medium, or large, did they think had the most seeds....of course the majority of them picked the larger one....makes sense to the young, untrained mind! lol.
Then she read them THIS fabulous book (which I usually read to my class since it's such a GREAT pumpkin math book!)

The presentation was super simple, but the kids LOVED it!! And it's so going to give them some background knowledge to start off our pumpkin week soon!!

Happy Teaching!!



First off, let me say how much I wish I could have a bat house in my backyard! lol
Second, next year, I'm totally going to see if our local zoo can come do some kind of presentation for us and bring some bats!!

First we started with a graph on how they felt about bats before we even started our week on bats...

This is their graph BEFORE we learned about Bats

This is their graph AFTER we learned about bats
Click HERE to get the Bat graph
And they did a foldable before we started our bat week too. On the top they wrote three questions they had about bats when they did their picture walk through the Bats book by Gail Gibbons.  After our week was completed, they took back their foldables and wrote the answers under the flaps. Some of them had such great questions that we didn't even discuss, so I had to show off how smart I was - haha! And I gave them their answers. 

This idea next was "inspired" by The Inspired Apple...hehehe....LOVE her!! Click here to see the bats post where I got the freebie for the "Can, Have, Are." If you go over there to snag her freebies, let her know who sent you! :)

As we were reading this book....

 the students were writing down all kinds of facts that they were learning (as my intern was writing down everything that she was "learning" to demonstrate ALL the facts that they could be writing down.)

If you don't have that book, this book is another GREAT resource to use....

Then, they sorted their post it notes into Can, Have, and Are categories on our Bat-style Tree Map.

Ok - You don't even KNOW what it took me to draw this bat!! lol!!! If we weren't laughing so hard, my intern would've taken pictures. First of all, my first bat came out all lop-sided. And since I'm OCD, I just could NOT deal with it! And my BEST room mom ever (whose kids I don't even have anymore) happened to be in my room and she totally gets my OCD, so she ran over and grabbed a yard stick and and a protractor...or compass??? I'm not sure - lol. I don't teach 5th grade. ANYWAY, tada!!!! It's kind of massive, but that's ok - just more room for us to show all that we have learned! lol!!

The next day, they made their own personal tree map.

Of course, we used Stellaluna as our story for the week..

We talked about the story structure, and then the students made an accordian book to sequence the story. Click HERE to get the sequencing activity. 

I just LOVE this one....it's so cute!

They also compared and contrasted birds and bats (the characters in Stellaluna). Which was great, because they needed to not only use the information in the story, but they needed to bust out their knowledge they learned in the nonfiction books too!

Over at Fun in First, she posted about her 600 mosquitoes...I just LOVED it - and so did my kiddos! They've all decided that they want a bat roost in their backyard so we can get rid of the mosquitos, in a toxic-free way! lol (I teach my kids all about being earth-savvy and recycling...lol!)

We also did a Brain Pop Video - with a quiz. The quiz was way over their level, but once we explained the options to them, they were able to narrow it down to at least 2 out of the 4 options...and most of them were correct!

Click HERE to go to the Brain Pop video :)

Some other bat books that my students read this week are.....

The Bats at the...."series."  There are a few different versions of these books - super cute! It was funny how my kids would come up to me after learning all about bats and connecting their new-found knowledge to what was in the book! I LOVE it!!
And then of course, there's the ever popular....

My friend, Amanda, in 5th grade even suggested to have the kiddos do their own version of this book. They could turn it into a food web....draw it out on the front, and then write about it on the other side. There is a pattern for a brown paper bag of the little old lady that could easily be adapted to whatever animals and then they could eat the rest of the animals.

Some of the ideas I had this week that we didn't get to were to

a) Echolocation (Marco Polo style)...have a student blind folded shout out ECHO, and the rest of the students shout out LOCATION and he/she has to tag someone just by listening...I SOOOO wanted to do this, but sometimes, something's gotta give.

b) bat wing measure measurement. I was going to give them a piece of yarn that was the size of a bat (maybe the bumblebee, which is the smallest one, or just an average sized bat). Then they go around the room using their pieces of yarn as non-customary units of measure. But again....where does the time go?? lol


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