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Do you know how you think of yourself as pretty competent at something, and you are going about your business and thinking, ya I've got this, I have my stuff together and then BAM, you are like how did I miss this, what was I thinking....well that happened to me at the end of the year AND I am going to blame end of the school year brain for it (so I can keep telling myself I have it going on!!).

So, I read a great blog post from Create Teach Share on how she uses the photo album boxes for close reading tool boxes and since I am all about tool boxes I fell in LOVE!! She even shared her labels for free. But as I stated above, I did not have it going on, so when I ran out to Michael's I purchased the wrong size of box. So I made a label for our tool boxes (we will be using the during conferences and guided reading-work with the teacher time).



Then I decided I wanted more labels, I wanted to make some super cute labels for "teacher tools". So I opened up my circle label file in MS Word and started to make super cute labels. That's right I tried making labels, super cute labels in MS Word!!! A program I hate, that I have never been successful with, that I can not figure out how to move things and wrap text and add more images.

But did I give up....no, I kept at it and kept at it....and finally I had this...



sad little labels that did not even really fit on the circle. But I had invested too much time, so I printed a whole sheet of them. That's right, after wasting all of that time, I decided the best thing to do was waste a beautiful page of glossy circle labels (labels that I LOVE, labels that I do not use for student materials, labels that are just for me). Then to further my pain, I brought them to school and put them on some of my containers and bins and drawers.

Finally, summer arrived, my end of the school year brain had a chance to reset and while I was doing dishes (25% of my summer vacation - what are we eating, why do we use so many glasses!!) it came to me "You were supposed to make the circle label in ppt, a program you love and save it as a picture then insert it into the label file!!! Yes, yes that is what I was supposed to do.

So that is what I did, I made a circle picture in ppt and inserted it into my Word (blech!!) file. And yes I did print off another sheet and yes I will replace the other labels cause these are MY tools and they need cute labels!!!








Thanks for joining me for another edition of What's Working Wednesday. This week I want to share with you something I used successfully throughout the year.....teaching fiction story elements. I know, hold the presses, revolutionary idea right here people. What worked for me was not the teaching of these elements but how and when I taught them.

Last year I used holidays as a time to teach, re-teach and explore characters, settings, problems and solutions. As well, I used holidays as a time to revisit some reader response concepts that my students needed additional time with.

We started close to Halloween. We had been reading a lot of non-fiction texts about bats and owls and spiders but as the holiday drew near I wanted to read some of my favourite Halloween picture books so we started with a comparison and activating what we knew about fiction texts.

fiction text elements and anchor charts
Next I used the small posters to create anchor charts for the books we were reading as a class, this is for Room on the Broom.
fiction text elements and anchor charts
We revisited the text elements again at Christmas and then again at Easter. I did not always use a "holiday" book...any book we were reading worked - but the graphics on the posters connected to our holiday and were a great visual for my students.




In the spring I set the board up so that we could collect the information for a couple of texts and make connections and comparisons between texts.

I also made a set of posters for our fairy tale unit. I know fairy tales have different features that set them apart but in our class we were just looking at the similarities and differences in characters, setting, problem and solution.

Here are the poster sets. I made a colour and a b&w version in the full page and half page sizes.

fiction text element posters

fiction text element posters
Each poster set has corresponding reading response activity sheets. They are the same each time so that students become familiar with the expectations.

fiction reading response activities

fiction reading response activities

If you want to check out the posters and reading response activities click here ..maybe this could be something that works in your classroom too!

fiction text feature posters






Yes, it is summer and I am a teacher....but I do know it is not Tuesday....it is in fact Wednesday. More importantly what it is is extremely hot!!! AND I live in a house without A/C, that's right no air conditioning!! So my brain is moving very slow....VERY, VERY slow. In fact we just went to see a movie that only one person wanted to see just so we could all sit in the cold movie theatre. Now that my brain has cooled off a little I want to share a terrific text with you....

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean Mentor Text

This was our mentor text for our measurement unit. It is a great story about a giant squid that believes he is the biggest thing in the ocean...until he isn't : )

It was a great introduction to some measurement vocabulary and the idea of making comparisons between objects.

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean Mentor Text

After reading the book and discussing the story and language we dove into measuring. We started by measuring some ocean creatures....I traced ocean clip art (from this set from the actual talented artist Pink Cat Studio) and my students thought I was amazing.

Mentor text and measurement ideas for a primary classroom

 We agreed to use unifex cubes and away we went again, measuring, recording and sharing our work.

measuring with unifex cubes



The next day we decided our ocean creatures needed homes! So we made tanks and measured around the object....to introduce perimeter!!


measuring perimeter to create a tank for our ocean creature
 Here are some follow up worksheets we used to reinforce what we were learning about measurement.
measurement freebie

Click here for the measurement freebie.

After working for a week on measuring our ocean creatures it was time to show what we knew....so the students created their own math story..."The Biggest Thing in the Garden"

measurement activity


Students were given a background scene and some garden objects. I used clipart that I have (from the talented Krista Walden). The garden scene was printed on 11 x 17 paper. I printed out 3 different sizes of each insect/bug/bird so the students had choice about what object would be bigger and biggest etc. Students wrote about their garden scene and included the measurements for the objects that backed up their story.


I love how they turned out....


You could adapt this to fit any theme or clipart you have.... the biggest thing in the classroom, at the park, in the forest, in the store, in my room, at the fair.....


I found this activity on Pinterest (just the picture, no link : (  )



and think it would be a great activity to do with either a whale or giant squid outline too. They use it to find how many students could fit inside but you could place other animals inside, find how many books fit inside, use different size of tools to measure.......

Kinder Corner has a great freebie for making a class book where each student creates a page with a sentence and illustration telling what they are bigger than.

Rainy Day Mum has a freebie for ordering the animals from the story including a larger whale to eat them all!!

I LOVE this bulletin board display from I Heart Art


That is it for me today (not Tuesday) I hope you find an idea you can use in your classroom this year.



What's Working Wednesday

Look at me.....sharing two, count them two days in a row!!! And posting a What's Working Wednesday on an actual Wednesday!!

Today I want to share a bulletin board idea with you. We used it for our graduating students but I think it would make a terrific BTS bulletin board to set the tone for the year.

The inspiration for this bulletin board came from two things. First, this poster I have in my room:

Sparkle poster for character development

This poster comes from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching. Our Grade 8 teacher was explaining to me what she wanted this year's grad theme to be, how they were using a disco ball in the classroom and talked about their light and sparkle.....so I showed her the poster, cause disco ball + sparkle = Joanne!!  She loved it!

Second, my teaching partner and I saw this pin:



We loved the bulletin board and used it as our inspiration.

Here is our bulletin board with the graduation motto:

bulletin board idea for character development
We used a black plastic tablecloth for the background. I cut the letters out from super glittery scrapbook paper from Michael's. The border is glittery tissue paper cut into rectangles and stapled randomly around the border. We folded it and pinched it to make it poof. This part was a wee bit labour intensive. But three of us worked on it and talked and worked and talked, so if you are doing it grab a friend you need to catch up with!

I also made these labels that were attached to gift bags with a sparkler (from the dollar store). I did the labels but not the labour intensive gift bag part : )

sparkle labels

I think that this bulletin board would make a great BTS bulletin board and theme for the year!! If you need some music to go with this theme, check out these songs we used for the slideshow:






If you need more bulletin board or character development ideas check out my boards on Pinterest.









I am linking up for the first time (long time reader, first time linker :)  ) with the ladies that host this fabulous linky: Inspired Owl's Corner, Pawsitively Teaching and Just Reed.


July is the first month of my summer vacation sooooo I am mostly in summer mode.....the time when I am focusing more on home/health/family goals than school goals (but let's be honest, a lot of my brain is still working on school). So my first pin is part of my "try new recipes in the summer" goal.





I love all things Skinnytaste. I stalk her online, on FB, Pinterest and Instagram. Her recipes are:
1. simple, as in easy to follow
2. delicious
3. fit in with my WeightWatchers point counting thing (okay I don't count points anymore I guesstimate my points but she is kind enough to include the info with her recipes!!)


I love this post on Morning Meeting, I need to read, re-read and re-read it again to help plan how I want to set up my morning routines.





Last year I switched from counting the days of school with sticks and bundles and elastics to using ten-frames. I loved the ten frame way!!! It was a great way to reinforce our concept of 10 and was a great visual for the students. I made my own simple template but this one is prettier.....




If you are looking for more BTS ideas check out my Pinterest board dedicated to all the projects I want to accomplish over the summer : )



Now that I am officially on summer I hope to see you around here more often!!





Sometimes I get a little nervous when I head over to my blog....I think to myself it has been so long since I have been there, what if it is gone!!! But thankfully when I came over tonight it was still here so I can share a quick freebie with you.

Today at the end of the day while we were lining up for home (cause yes I am still teaching!) my students were talking about the calendar and arguing about whether or not it was indeed the last day of May, which made me say (in my head), OMG it is the last freakin day of May!! I need some calendar cards for tomorrow, what theme do I want to do, when am I doing that....and so on (to my students I said totally appropriate teacher like things).

So tonight I made up some super cute (IMO....this clipart makes me smile) calendar cards. If you want to pick up a set (cause like me you are still teaching into June, or maybe you are teaching summer school) click here.


There is a July calendar header too....I won`t be teaching but maybe you will be : )


This week was full of some creepy crawly learning fun. I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.

http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/2015/05/five-for-friday-linky-party-may-8th.html



First up, my blog has had a wonderful update from the talented and patient Megan @A Bird in Hand Designs.


I did some serious shopping at the TPT sale on Tuesday.....and again on Wednesday. Plus I got two gift certificates from TPT to giveaway. I added 2 more gift certificates cause I think teachers deserve a treat and if you are anything like me you have already found other things you NEED to buy!!

You can enter the giveaway here, it closes in a few hours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And finally we are on to some classroom happenings. This week was all about worms. We read this book....

and used the fabulous free activities from Ideas by Jivey to go along with this mentor text. She has a freebie mentor sentence unit and a better than basal unit to go with this story. We read the story (and laughed and giggled and talked). The next day we looked at the mentor sentence.

Using mentor sentences and texts in the primary classroom
We make a group anchor chart showing what we notice about the sentence. We always start with how we know it is a sentence. I number what they identify then label it underneath. After we identified the comma (nope, not a comma), that thing up there....yes an apostrophe!! We also picked out two things we are working on...compound words and fancy words.

On Thursday we worked on revising the sentence. Our focus is on using fancy words. So together we picked out words we could fancify. Here is our thinking.


Here is a student sample...




We also read all about earthworms using the passage from this pack.
We made connections between this non-fiction text and Diary of a Worm. We picked out information that was in both texts, looked at how they are the same and different. This led us to researching an insect of our very own to write a Diary of a....book.




 

My students are loving math and literacy centres. What they are loving most is telling me that they are finished and asking if they can use my tablet to take a picture of their work. I accidentally used this technique to reward a student for some great on-task work and to buy me a few minutes of time working with a few students. Now, picture taking is all the rage. It is kinda funny watching them frame their shot....for like 2 minutes before deciding they have got the perfect shot. So now I am constantly going through the camera files and deleting 15 pictures of word puzzles and math towers!!

Here is a typical shot (that just had to be taken before recess could begin!!)

This activity is from Molly's Whoa Domino Long Vowel Pack.

Mixed in with a whole lot of shots like this one, with a lovely finger in the shot...






Lastly we made these adorable firefly Mother's Day crafts. We got the idea from this pin on Pinterest (where else!!). We used clipart from Krista Walden, blue cardstock, yellow copy paper, ribbon, a little bit of yellow paint and sparkles. They turned out adorable and considering that we were reading about fireflies today and how to let our light shine they were the perfect tie in!!




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