This February has been jam packed with holidays and special school events to learn about and celebrate. It has been a long month of celebrations and disruptions to our normally scheduled programming learning. But despite the possibility of holiday/special day fatigue I am really excited that Leap Day is falling on a teaching day. I even started doing some activities last week I am so into it!

Last week we started with a frog directed drawing and a writing prompt. I used the directions from Art for the Class and think they turned out super cute. The directions were perfect and I love that they used oil pastels and watercolour paints.

Before we started our writing I read this book....

Which is actually a great book for proportional reasoning in math but I used it to connect how a frog leaps to what we could leap (Spoiler Alert!! If we hopped like a frog we could hop to the top of the Statue of Liberty). The book got our brains thinking so it did its job.

Click here or on the picture to pick up a copy of the writing prompt.

We also worked on using a number line to add and subtract. Click here or on the picture to pick up a copy.

On Monday we will be working on this math problem. We will make number lines to use as a tool to show our thinking. Click here or on the picture to pick up this problem.

We will also be using this book to keep our writing going. It is a super cute book about a frog that does not want to be a frog...until of course he does. He goes through a lot of other animal options which makes for some fun class writing.....which animal would you like to be and why...what special qualities do you have....

Here is a little trailer for the book...

We will also watch this video...

Last year was my first time teaching a Leap Day baby (in 17 years!!!) and tomorrow we are having our end of the month assembly and will sing happy birthday to him as he turns 2!! 

Last and not least, be sure to hop on over to my store tomorrow for a Leap Day sale!!

Thanks to Jivey from Ideas by Jivey for this super cute sale graphic.

Soooooo, as you probably know I changed grades last year and as you also probably know it threw me for a loop (hence, the rapid decline in blogging and sharing). But now I am in my second year in Grade 1 (well Grade 1/2 this year) and feel like I can see (and share) what works for me, my students and my classroom. I could focus on all of the things that have not worked....maybe start "Failed at it Friday" or "Totally Tanked Tuesday" but I figured I would start with the positives (but you know I will sprinkle in a few Failed it Fridays too - cause that is a great name!).

So what's working in my classroom...Class Dojo. I started using ClassDojo last year at the recommendation of a parent/teacher. I was reluctant to try it because I thought there was no way I would be consistent giving out points and focussing on behaviour all day. Boy was I wrong. I LOVE it, I use it, my students respond to it and parents enjoy it too!

I love that ClassDojo lets me decide what behaviours to reward and which to discourage. Here is a pic of my positive behaviours:

I really do try to focus on giving out positive points. Our 2 biggest behaviours are self-regulation (huge focus in our class!) and following directions (first time, promptly, properly). This week I added Morning and End of the Day and Lining Up and made them worth a LOT of points because we hit a point were some students were still needing prompting for these activities (past the 100th Day of School!!!) and I just can not say "Stack your chairs, pick up garbage, agendas and lunch bags, then line up" anymore!!

I like the class reports and that parents can see a similar report for their own child. These reports are great for class meetings - to discuss problems or set goals.

This year I am thrilled with how I am using ClassDojo for parent communication - I have 100% of the parents signed up - that is a first for me for any platform!

I love using ClassDojo to message parents or share pics and quick reminders to parents.

And this year ClassDojo added a series of Growth Mindset videos that I LOVE!! You can check out the videos here even if you do not use ClassDojo in your room.

Last year I did have a 100 point board (inspired by this pin) but I found out some of my students did not like the added comparison and pressure. So I am not doing it this year - but think it may work for others. I have thought about having a ClassDojo store (inspired by this pin) but have not started one and think - if the points work as a reward do I want to mess with it. I love that ClassDojo shares their graphics with you so that it is easy to create additional rewards or certificates for your class.

So that is it, something that is working in my classroom. I hope to see you back here next Wednesday (and maybe check in for a Failed at it Friday soon) but until then I would love to hear what is working in your room.

Adopting Endangered Animals Classroom Project

Happy Saturday. I am very excited to share a project we have been working on in our classroom for the last few weeks. I am in LOVE with this was totally engaging for the students, involved non-fiction reading and writing, persuasive writing, presenting and now will be a home-school writing connection!!!

What you may ask accomplished all this, well, we adopted TWO animals. Okay, we did not really adopt an animal, we symbolically adopted two animals from the World Wildlife Foundation of Canada. I had heard of this idea before but I read this blog post from Mrs. Mathis and knew I had to try it this year.

First we wrote down our ideas about what the word endangered means and added our thoughts to our Wonder board. Then we read some books that got us thinking about animals and the what endangered means. We came up with a class definition of the word endangered and added that to our board under what we know.

Endangered Animal Picture Books

Our next step was visiting  the WWF website  (Canadian website) to see which animals we could adopt. At the website click on the Donate tab and then click to symbolic adoptions.

I printed off the web page with the animal pictures to create a chart. After reading through the list students put their name on a sticky note and put it under the animal they wanted to learn about and adopt.

After students selected their animals we began our research. We used PebbleGo to begin our animal research. I love that the site presents information at my students' level and that it will read the information to them. Students needed to record four facts about their animal and where in the world their animal lives.

They wrote their facts on sticky notes and attached them to their research page. After collecting their point form facts we turned them into sentences.

Next we used Kiddle to continue our research. Students used Kiddle to research why there animal is endangered by typing in the question "Why is _____________endangered?". I love using this site with my class since not all of them are strong readers and the information is presented in a visual format. We also used Google Read&Write to have the website information read to the students.

Again students collected facts. We tried to write at least two reasons why their animal was endangered since this information.

After the students wrote 2-4 of their own opinions about the animal and why they thought it should be adopted on sticky notes. Some wrote because it was cute and cuddly others thought of how the animal was important to their habitat or other animals.

Finally they put the facts and their opinions together into one persuasive argument. They took turns reading their argument to our class, but the vote was too close to call so we read them to our Grade 2 neighbours. I was so proud of them, how much they learned and how passionate they became about adopting their animal.

Finally we had our final results, we adopted a koala and a giraffe. Each animal cost $40 to symbolically adopt. We adopted them together online on Thursday and I could not believe it, but they arrived the next day!!! I had told my students it would take about 2 weeks for them to arrive so I decided to put them into our mystery box (we are working on making inferences and using the mystery box from Abby Mullins in our class). The students were given four clues and made their guesses.

The students were so excited and everyone wants them. So everyone gets them....for a few days! I am sending the stuffed animal home in the super cute bag it came in, with the information poster it came with, with two books (one non-fiction, one fiction) and a journal. Students will write about all the adventures the animal has while visiting their family.

If you want to use the simple templates I made for this project you can pick them up here.

This process has been super motivating for my students so I am linking this idea up with the queen of motivating students, Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching, and her linky.....


I love creating interactive anchor charts with my students. They love building the information we display and reference. For many years I have been building interactive word displays with my students. I love that for many of my students it provides them with another authentic purpose when they are reading - looking for words. It helps them make a connection between what we are learning about during our writing/word study time and their own reading. It helps the light bulb go off - "Hey, she is right, there are these types of words everywhere, not just in our lesson!".

When I was teaching in Grade 3/4 we made a Word Nerd board to collect fancy, interesting, amazing words. Each student made their own word nerd self. They have huge heads to hold their huge brains filled with words! And their eyes are so big from reading so many amazing words!

word nerd bulletin board

I made really basic templates for these word nerds that you can pick up here if you are interested.

Next I gave my students a recording sheet to record any interesting words they come across in their reading. You can pick up a copy here. I used the adorable letters from Megan.

Students recorded their findings and then added them to the bulletin board near their word nerd.

Last year when I moved to grade 1 we focused on collecting words that matched our word study focus. We collected words on cookies and added them to our cookie jars.

This year I am focussing on word collecting throughout the year - word families, types of words, fancy words - any theme that we are working on. So I wanted a permanent space to collect words.
I used the Firefly Dance clipart form Krista Wallden and created a poster and sign. At the bottom I have a place to record what type of words we are collecting. I laminated the page so we can change up our theme easy peasy.

word collectors in the classroom

There are a number of texts that are fantastic mentor texts if you are interested in having your students become word collectors.

Picture books for teaching word choice or word collecting

Be sure and check out these other blog posts for more great ideas....


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