Year: 2013

Christmas Songs and What I Bought

Don’t
you love how excited the kids get when they read Christmas books and sing
Christmas songs? 
During my first year of teaching kindergarten, at least one student would check out a
Christmas book each time we went to the media center. So adorable! These days, my
kids LOVE the little bitty Christmas carol book that I have in our classroom
library. There are no pictures on the front. There are few pictures inside.
However, it is filled with Christmas carols on tiny pages that the kids love to
read and sing. 
I previously posted about how the kids are so drawn to that book
each year. I wonder if they like it because it is a small book with small
pages. Or … do they like it because it is filled with Christmas songs that
remind them of such a magical time of year? I am still not sure of the answer,
but I have tapped into their excitement about Christmas and have changed
the lyrics of a few of the favorite Christmas songs that tend to interest the
kids year-round. 
Note to self…or anyone reading: I am not a musician, but I love to sing
and I love that kids love to sing even in second grade. My goal is to match our
content and standards to the tunes so that I can get through to my struggling
learners and to just have fun with all of my buddies. I have come up with
several “songs” over the years and decided to post a couple on TPT.
The
first one is to the tune of “Jingle Bells”… one.of.the.best.songs.ever! It is called “ThePlural Noun Song,” which incorporates various spelling rules along with some
examples of each rule. The kids LOVE it and sing it WITH GUSTO as if they are
at a holiday sing-along {year-round}.
The stand-alone version of the flapbook
One of the interactive notebook versions
I have found that if I hang
an anchor chart with the words to this song in the classroom, the students will
start trying to sing it even if I haven’t taught it yet. Maybe I should turn
every lesson into a song!
So…I added some literacy
activities that include a few versions of a flapbook; one that stands alone
and two different sizes for use in interactive notebooks. These can be used
with each of the seven plural noun rules that are covered. (Only five rules are
included in the song…I didn’t want
the song to be too long.) 
There are also some graphing activities that require
the students to say the singular form of the word and the plural form of the
word. For example, if the student rolls the die and gets a 3, the student will
say, “One baby, two babies,” or whatever words are listed in that column. He or she will then write the plural form of the
word on the first line of the graph in that column. The first word to make it
to the top line will be the “winner.” 
Voila! The students will have a graph
made while practicing the rules to making singular nouns plural. I think that the
speaking aspect and the repeated opportunities to write each plural word
correctly is great for ELL students. Each graph focuses on a different rule so
that the students may associate the examples of each rule more readily. I love
the quote, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” I don’t
know who gets the credit for that quote, but I really like that.
The color version of the first page with holiday flair. 

An example of one of the 7 different graphs.

An “I Can” chart to promote independence with the “Roll, Say, Graph” game. 
If you would like to check out The Plural Noun Song Pack on TPT, please click here
The second song that I posted is to the tune of “We Wish You a
Merry Christmas!” The title is “I Wish I had a Thesaurus!” It is a fun song to
sing at the end of a “caroling set.” 
I remember caroling door-to-door in our neighborhood as a child with a group of
neighbors ranging from 5 years old to mature adult. Do you remember those days?
We would sing maybe three songs at each
house, then a round of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to top it all off. Of
course, the host neighbor would offer cookies of some sort to the singing group as a
parting gift.
So…I made up a version of that song
which has lyrics that include information about what a thesaurus is and what
types of things you can find in that resource. It is called, “I Wish I Had a
Thesaurus!” If you are interested in that song as well, you can find it here.
Color version

For interactive notebooks

Our music teacher teaches the students
about caroling and they have a sing-along in December. Maybe that is why my
students sing these songs with gusto!    
                                                                                                         
At this point I don’t have any detailed activities to go with it,
but the song is available in four formats, big book style (color and black and
white), a one-pager, a half-page size, and a quarter-page size. They all have
coordinating pages for examples to go with the song. What could be more awesome
than having your child belt out a happy song about a thesaurus?!
Maybe…”Oh Dictionary!” to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree!” Song and activities to come…stay tuned.
Exciting finds from the TPT SALE!
  I am linking up with Blog Hopping to let you know about the
awesome things that I got at the big TPT sale.
So excited about the fun graphing activities in this pack from Anna Brantley!
This will be a good intervention tool for my RtI buddies.
 I love all of the neat subtraction activities by Susan Jones at TGIF!

These One Breath Boxes are fabulous! My students get so excited to do them. It cracks me up! These are fabulous quick fluency builders by D K Coleman.
Of course, my clipart “needs list is getting bigger, so I needed to get some from Krista Wallden who also had some great freebies this year. Thank you Krista!!!
Thank you for stopping by! I enjoyed getting to see all of the new purchases at the Blog Hoppin linky. This will make my wish list items and my cart items more “research-based.” How is that for a buzz word?
Have a great week!
Carrie

Thanksgiving

It is hard to believe that it is already Thanksgiving! Where does the time go when you are teaching away … and your daughter is a SENIOR in high school (of all things). She has been up to her ears in projects, activities and applying to colleges, of course. She is in the marching band and the concert band and she loves.every.single.minute.of.it! Or at least 97% of it. Our high school football team is in the playoffs, so she has been able to perform in the stands for extended weeks during her last season in the marching band. We are thankful for those football players for their hard work and drive to win. It has made it fun for all of their fans as well.

In school, I have been trying to instill a sense of thankfulness in my students. So I created these thankful “Tiny Notes” so that we could practice being thankful for each other and write out a sentence telling that person why. If you would like a copy of both of these “Tiny Note” printables, just click here.

 Tiny Notes for Thanksgiving

Have a good day!
Carrie

A Writing Map-tivity

My students LOVED dancing and singing to Dr. Jean’s song, “The Cool Bear Hunt.” Every year they get so engaged in the song and the order of events on the hunt. They also have a great time creating a map to the bear’s cave, complete with compass rose and map key. Since “craftivity” has become a common word among teachers, I decided to call this a “map-tivity.” Who coined the word “craftivity” anyway?

Here are some student examples of our map-tivity:

If you would like to check out this map and writing resource in my TpT store, please click {HERE}. I am adding a collage preview that I didn’t have the first time I posted about this activity. 
After the transformation. Isn’t that bear so cute?!
I decided to wait on the opinion writing activity for a few weeks while we continue with maps and “Before There was a Georgia” activities like naming the regions and rivers in our state and how they impacted where the Native Americans lived and where the first European settlers decided to live. 
Have a great day!
Carrie

Mini Books

Every. Single. Year. One or more of my students find this tiny songbook
that I have in my classroom library. (See photos below.) 

It is a book with
lyrics to Christmas songs. It was probably included with a gift at a
Christmas-themed wedding shower that a dear friend gave me years ago.
Nevertheless, it has found its way into my classroom library and into the
hearts (and desks) of my students each year. 

It is quite the phenomenon if you
think about it. Students are surrounded by picture books, big and small,
chapter books and lots of non-fiction books (these days). However, the tiny
books draw the students in…

…or is it the fact that there are words to
familiar songs in that tiny book? I’m not sure if I know the answer to that,
but I do know that I can keep both of those ideas in mind as I create
interesting crafts and songs for my students.

So, I created a mini-book that includes the words to a familiar chant, “The Doubles Chant.” 

My original example 

Here are a few example pages from the student version. Of course, the girls were jealous of my white pages. I think that they wanted to color the fancy frames. Who knew?

I have posted it in my TPT store if you would like to take a look at it. You can check it out by clicking on the cover page photo below.

Let’s make some mini-books! Have a great day!
Carrie

Teachers Pay Teachers

Hi Everyone!

I have finally opened my store on TpT! I have had ideas for a while, however, the technology piece is slowing me down a bit. My adorable husband is pretty savvy and has saved the day. Of course school has started, so that takes up most of our energy and brain cells. So, eventually I will have some more things posted in my store.

For now I have my first free product that you can get if you click on the picture.

I also have one paid product that you can check out if you click on that picture. I will post pictures of my classroom examples soon.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend!
Carrie

Thankful!

A Little About Me

Even though you can read the section at the right, the blog
template wouldn’t let me include my whole (eloquent) essay. What is THAT about?
Maybe it was trying to protect you from having to read an essay of me going on
and on. So, the couple of paragraphs that I left out will be included in my
posts here and there. I need to include the information from those deleted
paragraphs so that I can segue into thanking some other people as well.

A Common Thread

One common thread amongst all of the elementary students is
that all of them like to sing or rap educational songs during school. My
problem was that the only songs that I knew and loved at the time were Dr. Jean
songs, which are generally geared toward kindergarteners and first graders.
Dr. Jean had opened a whole new world to me by singing songs
to children that teach them important information while entertaining them at
the same time. She rocked my world! (Even though that phrase was probably not
coined or widely used at the time.) If you do not know Dr. Jean, visit her
website. She will CHEER YOU UP! Thank you, Dr. Jean!
Needless to say, I began writing lyrics to familiar
childhood songs so that my second graders would have a fun way to learn the
information. Actually, I thought of rhyming words and phrases to tunes whilst
in the shower. Then I would jump out to try to write them down as quickly as I
could so that I didn’t forget the songs. These days, it’s a good thing that our
phones have recording devices!

My Goal in Life as a Teacher

~You know how you get a song stuck in your head?~

My goal is to sing and chant
                    skills,
                    strategies,
and
                    content
so that the kids
smile while they
are learning,
accidentally sing
the songs at home, and, eventually,
have the songs
“stuck in their heads.” 
After all, we want them to retain all that they have
learned. Wouldn’t you agree?
Thanks for stopping by!
                                 Carrie
{My TpT store should be up and running in the next few days.
It’s summer after all…the time when we teachers do the things that have been
accumulating on our lists for the entire year.}

One-Year Anniversary!

Hello! In honor of my one-year anniversary of this blog, I
thought I would post a second entry! Pretty impressive, I know!
This time last year, I loved searching Pinterest and
Teachers Pay Teachers for helpful ideas and products to empower me as a teacher. (That sounds a little dramatic, but they have both added so much to all of our lives as teachers and as “real people.” Can I get an amen to that?) The things that inspired me the most were the cute educational crafts, anchor charts, and Common Core practice
pages with clean lines and cute, readable fonts. I have been so inspired and
energized in my lesson planning and teaching because of all of those teachers.
Thank you to everyone out there for your hard work!
This summer, I still enjoy doing those things, but my main
hobby is reading teacher blogs. I like reading about how they use their
creations in class, how they got started as bloggers, and how they are
connected to others in the blogging community. That is pretty neat! Also, I
would like to thank Jessica Stanford for her tutorials that she recorded and
posted to help people like me get going in the blogging world. For real, thank
you!!
If you would also like to learn from Jessica’s tutorials, please click here. After I watch more of them, my blog will look even better! (I needed to “Just Do It.”)
Jessica, you rock!!