Sunday, March 31, 2013

Calendar Freebie April 2013

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays this week.  Can you believe that April begins tomorrow?  I am looking forward to the new month and hope to start to see blossoms on the trees and bushes within the next few weeks.  Spring is so beautiful!  Here are a few freebies to get you going this month.  I used Laura Strickland's artwork from mycutegraphics to create these printable calendar pages.  Calendar concepts align with the Common Core standards for the first grade math under the Measurement and Data strand.  CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.C.4
Click on the picture of the items you want to get to the link.

April 2013 Calendar Numbered

Students will answer these questions using the data from the April calendar.

Blank calendar except for the first date and last date.

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Teachers pay Teachers "Big Bunny of a Sale"

The blogger, From the pond  is having a link up for sellers that want to participate in a weekend sale.  I decided to join them!  I am celebrating the holidays with a sale at my Teachers pay Teachers store.  Everything in my store is 10% off for the holiday weekend. The sale is active now until March 31, 2013.    Mel created the graphic I'm using with this post for the sale.  It was so kind of her to do this and she is so talented!  Visit her teaching resources store at:  From the Pond and her clip art store at:  Graphics From the Pond

Click the graphic below to go to my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Basket Sort

One of my favorite Show and Tell activities is a "spring basket" sharing.  The week before Easter Sunday, I would send a note home asking that an EMPTY basket be brought to school.  The specified date would be shortly after Easter.  This way the children could bring a basket received from the "Easter Bunny" or choose any other basket from home.  We don't do the "Show and Tell" the first day back from the holiday.  I send a reminder about the activity on that day.  If there is nice weather on the scheduled date and you have a grassy outdoor location, the "Show and Tell" can take place outside.

How many attributes can be used to describe baskets?

If the activity takes place inside the classroom, the children can gather together in a circle at the carpet area.  It begins with everyone seated with their own basket in their laps.  Everyone takes a turn making a brief comment about their own basket.  Then they pass the baskets around the circle until all baskets have been rotated and their own basket is back on their laps.  Finally, the baskets are sorted by using a variety of attributes.

I thought I would show you a few ideas of how the baskets could be sorted!

I start of simple with two groups such as "brown baskets" and "baskets that are not brown".  I gradually increase the complexity of the sorts.  I am the one that is sorting the baskets!  The children's role is to name the sort.  If I have baskets that don't fit into the groups I set them aside and tell the students that the group set aside is not included in the sort.  This helps them with their own future sorts.  They learn that not everything will "fit" in the categories given.  I also use an "everything else" group with some of the sorts.  An example of this is to have a group made of plastic and a group that is made of "everything else".  The "everything else" group could be wood, metal, cloth and everything else.   

If the children get stuck on a sort and can't seem to name it, I give them the name of one of the groups.  Such as, "This group has oval bottoms.  What do the other groups have?"  Then I ask them more about the sort.  Such as, "How did I sort these?"  (Shape.) If I want to work on additional skills, I ask questions like "How many more baskets have handles than baskets without handles?"

There are plenty of opportunities in the classroom to sort objects by color, size, and shape.  The basket sorting activity allows me to create unique categories that the children may not have seen.  The fact that the children are bringing their own item to schools allows them to have a sense of ownership and makes the activity meaningful to them.

Here are some categories that I like to use with basket sorts:

1.  Size - big, medium, small
2.  Color - one color (solid colored), multicolored
3.  Material - wooden, plastic, metal, cloth
4.  Handle Type - rigid (fixed), bendable (moveable or hinged)   
5.  Handle Type - has a handle, does not have a handle
6.  Shape - circular, rectangular, oval, square
7.  Embellishments - ribbon, bow, none

That's all for now!

Molly, Lessons by Molly
© 2013  All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day in the Classroom

This year Saint Patrick's Day and spring break are so close together that it's hard to find enough time to get all the activities completed which we enjoy doing with the little ones.  Here is an easy art activity the children can do in the classroom.  You will need black construction paper, acrylic metallic-gold paint, plastic disposable bowls, and a few small potatoes.  In addition to these materials, you will also need smocks to protect the children's clothing and newsprint to protect their desks or tables.
Prepare the activity in advance:
1.  Trace a pattern of a pot on the black construction paper.  Make one for each child. 
2.  Mount the "pots' on white or green construction paper. 
3.  Cut the potatoes in half.
4.  Pour the gold paint in the throw-away bowls.
5.  Place the potatoes in the bowls.
6.  Have children use the potatoes like stamps to press circular shapes on their "Pots of Gold".

Use SMALL potatoes.
Cut them in half.

Put them in a bowl of gold paint.
Here's a blank "Pot of Gold" that is ready for a child to stamp "Gold Coins" on to.

Another fun Saint Patrick's Day activity is to go on a scavenger hunt.  We love to pretend that a leprechaun has visited our classroom.  The leprechaun has left a mess by tossing anything that's green out of place.  Although we have to clean up a green mess, he makes up for it by providing us with a surprise.  We have to follow clues the leprechaun left behind to get to the hidden treasure.  The children walk around the school, stopping at various locations such as the school office, library, auditorium, gymnasium, and computer lab.  Finally they arrive at the last clue which leads them to the treasure.  Sometimes the treasure is "Magic Mix".  The "Magic Mix" is really pistachio pie filling mix.  Of course if you do this activity, make sure that there are no dairy or nut allergies in the classroom.  Here's what you need:
1.  Four  (3.4 ounce) packages of JELL-O brand pistachio instant pudding & pie filling
2.  1 half gallon of milk
3.  a large clear container for mixing the pudding inside - one with a very secure lid (I used the Rubbermaid Carafe for the container)
4.  a long spoon
5.  plastic cups to serve the pudding in, and plastic spoons
*You might also want a measuring cup.
This is everything you need to make "Magical Leprechaun" pudding.
Remove the cardboard packaging from the JELL-O pistachio mix.  This makes it appear more mysterious.  Write something on the remaining packaging, such as "Magic Mix".  If you like, decorate it with shamrocks, March themed stickers, or anything else that has an Irish theme.

If you are using the "Magic Mix" as the treasure, find a cute or interesting looking container to put the magic mix inside for the find.  I used an orange container with some Easter grass to foreshadow things to come.

Put the pistachio pie filling in a large container. Make sure the container is large enough for the mix and the milk.

You can test to see if your container is large enough by measuring water into it beforehand. The ratio is one package of mix to two cups of milk. Four packages of mix is equivalent to one half gallon of milk. (8 cups of milk = half gallon) This method will allow you to omit measuring out the milk in a measuring cup.  You can pour a full half gallon of milk directly into the container. I ended up with more milk than my container could hold but the difference was not significant enough to alter the desired results.
With a secure lid, the contents will not spill out even when positioned upside down.
It's very important that a secure lid is used.  Otherwise, you're likely to have a mess.  The container I used said, "Extra Secure Lid Seal" and they weren't kidding!  If you are unsure about your container, place it inside a large plastic bag when you are shaking.  Additionally, positioning one hand firmly on the lid while shaking will help avert a milky mess.  A clear container allows the children to view the transformation.   
Now the hard part.  You have to shake and shake.  And shake some more.  This will be an excellent work-out for your upper arm muscles!  This method of making the pudding is a deviation from the directions on the JELL-O box but it works just the same. 
 It's a good idea to have another activity ready for the children to work on while your shaking the mix.  If you did the scavenger hunt, perhaps they could draw pictures or write about it.  Ideally, a community volunteer would be of benefit to you at this time.
After about five minutes of shaking, stop and remove the lid.  Use the long spoon to scrape the inside bottom and the sides of the container.  This will help loosen any powder that has not mixed with the milk yet.  Put the lid back on and begin shaking again.  This will take you another 5 minutes.  Then check the pudding again and stir once more with the spoon.  Repeat for 5 more minutes if needed.  Depending on how vigorously and continuously you shake, the Pistachio pudding should appear in less than 15 minutes. 
It takes 15 minutes to make "Leprechaun's Pudding".
Pour the "Leprechaun's Pudding" into plastic cups and serve.  Some children will love this treat and ask for seconds while others may choose not to eat it.  Yummy!  For a follow-up activity, purchase some pistachio nuts for the children to taste.

February 25, 2015  I have updated and UPGRADED a Saint Patrick's Day product that I sell at my "Teachers Pay Teachers" store.  It's a treasure hunt that takes the children to various locations around the school.  Use the "Magic Mix" as the treasure that is discovered, chocolate gold coins, or anything you'd like to provide the children with as a treat.  This product underwent major overhaul!  I could not be more happy with the end results!  I've changed the graphics and some of the font styles.  It now includes both BLACK ink and COLOR ink options for the clues.  I have also added one of my READING BOOKLETS readers.  I have titled it, Get the Gold.  The reader includes both black and color ink options. Many children don't have books available to them at home.  It's important to be able to offer children little books (when we are able to)  which they can take home and keep.  I am measuring the reading level on the reading booklet at mid-first grade.  The product now has two writing activities instead of one.  Additionally, I've added word cards and an assessment to go with the reading booklet. Click on the image below to go directly to the product.
If you are looking for clues that are ready to go for your Saint Patrick's Day leprechaun's treasure hunt, you might like to view the product above at Teachers pay Teachers.  Click on the picture to go directly to the product description.  

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Teacher Has A Snow Day!

Have you ever braved the snow and ice to go to school because your district was not closed?  Then halfway there the car radio announces that your school had decided to cancel.  Don't you wish you knew that BEFORE you got out of your pajamas?  The latest snowfall left no room for doubt that there was going to be a snow day.  Or maybe two or three snow days!   
Sunset on one of winter's last days. 
 It's hard to believe that daylight savings has begun and winter is almost over but it was nice to say one last farewell to the cold weather. . . in a big way.  Here are a few more snapshots.
It looked so beautiful from my kitchen window.
But then I had to contend with this!
Here's my attempt at making a snow cave.
Time to conduct an investigation.  What do you get when you combine Kool-Aid with snow?

Snow, plus Kool-Aid equals sensory fun for kids!

It's fun to make "Snow Cones" from Kool-Aid.  Don't eat these!

I'm melting!
Farewell Mr. Snowman. I hope to see you again next winter.

It's time to go back inside and have the final cup of hot chocolate for the season.   Marshmallows are a "Must Have"!

The first day of spring is on March 20th.  That's just in ten days!  Are you ready for spring?  Here's a freebie to help you get prepared.  It's a copy of the nursery rhyme poem called, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.  I've also included the words in isolation which can be printed, cut and laminated for use in a pocket chart or as a table center.  There are sample pages from the freebie shown below.  If you don't know the poem, you can learn it with this link to Youtube.  For another perspective, try this link to Youtube.  Then click the words "Nursery Rhyme:  Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" to get the free item.   Thanks for stopping by!

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Teaching Resources Giveaway March 2013

Are you feeling lucky?  Scribble, Doodle, & Draw is having a giveaway.  Want to see what I've donated to the giveaway?  View this blog post about my numeral cards to find out.  My contribution is included in her kindergarten pack but the numerals can also be used by first grade teachers as a tool with the Common Core Standards for first grade math, extend the counting sequence.  Visit Scribble Doodle and Draw to enter.  Hurry!  The giveaway ends at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 11th so there's just a few hours left.  Click the picture below to go straight to the giveaway.

Lessons by Molly © 2013  All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Celebrating Dr. Seuss on His Birthday and Throughout the Year

Many years ago, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote a number children's stories.  His books are both entertaining and offer valuable life lessons.  I enjoyed reading them when I was young.

Today, children still love reading his books. On March 2nd, Dr. Seuss's birthday is celebrated by children and teachers alike. Educators plan special activities with their students as they enjoy "Dr. Seuss Week". Many schools have dress up days in which children can become a favorite book character from one of Dr. Seuss's tales. Or sometimes it's a school wide trivia contest in which the children answer questions related to some of the most popular Seuss books. In classrooms, there are crafts to make, goodies to eat, and a trip to Seussville on the computers. 

One of my favorite children's books, is Horton Hears a Who.  It's about a brave elephant who stands up for the little guy as he attempts to protect the "Whos" in "Whoville" from the jungle animals.  Horton demonstrates the character trait of perseverance when he carefully searches through a field of clover looking for  "Whoville" after this micro-planet is thoughtlessly dropped from the air.  After what seems to be hours and hours, Horton finally finds the small speck of dust that his friends inhabit.  As a child, I was glad the story's outcome had a happy ending.  The "Whos" in "Whoville" were validated by the jungle animals.  They are safe now.  Horton lived in his jungle over fifty years ago.  The story's message about good character still rings true today.

Another one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is, The Lorax.  The protection theme in Horton Hears a Who, is also present in The Lorax.  The Lorax is a creature that attempts to protect the Truffula trees from being chopped down.  Due to the popularity of the colorful tufts on the Truffula trees, they're sought after for use in industry.  The Lorax's efforts to save the trees are unsuccessful.  Sadly, all the Truffula trees are chopped down and the environment suffers as a result of it.  I like to use this book when Earth Day approaches so I'm a little ahead on my planning.  This year I decided to make my own representations of colorful trees.  Here are a few pictures of my "Colorful Trees".

 Our classroom activity will relate to mapping.  The "Colorful Trees" will be located in different places on the play area.  For the pictures above, I placed them closer together.  The children will have a paper copy of a map focused on the location from which our "Colorful Trees" are placed.  Their maps will not have the trees marked though.  Adding the tree locations on the maps will be their job.  We'll take a load of crayons outside and some clipboards.  The children will draw the trees on their maps according to correct color and location, marking the tree placement on their maps. 

When I came up with this idea, I thought about some other engaging activities the children could do with it.  Here are a few more ideas:
1.  Act out the story, The Lorax. -  One child attempts to preserve the trees while the other children become the tree choppers using wooden rulers.
2.  A "Nut Tree.  A Nut Hunt" - Place peanuts under the trees for the children to collect.  (Change things up and make it a fruit tree instead of a nut tree using Kiwi fruit in place of nuts.)
3.  Recording Data - Leave a message or number attached to each tree.  The children use a teacher-made printable with the tree colors listed.  They record the number or message discovered beside the appropriate tree color.
4.  A Positive Story Outcome - Share ideas about how new trees grow and what would help to replenish a "Truffula" forest.  Have children informally measure their colorful trees and compare the tree height to their own height.