Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for her weekly Five for Friday linky. I hope you had a great week and are able to enjoy some down time this weekend :)
This week we learned about Plants and my class and I attempted to grow some seeds. I found these little gems in the Dollar Spot at Target and am ready to see what happens (cilantro, basil, parsley, daisies). The larger vegetable gardens came from our Scholastic book order using bonus points ($10 each normally).  My kids LOVED watching the soil expand when we added water. Don't mind our paintbrush "shovel". They are also enjoying taking turns recording our observations.
We also tied in a little math by having each student measure themselves using string. They each created a flower for our "growing garden' by decorating a simple di-cut shape. 
 I have been using an awesome Science Notebook product from A Dab Of Glue Will Do for the past few weeks. We were paired up for Jungle Learners' Stop, Swap, & Roll linky party. For my complete post on her product and how we are using it click here. You can also enter to win it until the 28th!
She also reviewed one of my favorite end of year products, my Oceans of Learning: Math & Literacy Bundle. For a chance to win it be sure to visit her blog.
We are continuing our preparation for Global Night. This week we created a few new giant coloring pages. To make the giant sarcophagus I projected an image onto my smartboard, hung white paper, and simply did a rough trace with a pencil. Then I just outlined it in black marker and let my kids go to town coloring (trying not to micro-manage their work on my masterpiece hah). We also completed a directed drawing of a pharaoh. I love how great everything is turning out so far and can't wait to see the final product.
The warm spring air is sending me into major make-over mode. I have had an urge to redecorate everything! I started by redoing my living room with a cream and burlap theme. I love the way it turned out! I'm stuck with the large dark furniture and was in desparate need of something to lighten and brighten it up. Thanks to multiple trips to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Kirklands, and AC Moore...Misson: Brand New Room on a Budget is complete.
I then turned my sights to some of my original Teachers Pay Teachers creations. It is amazing to think how much I have learned as a designer over the last year and a half. I am in the process now of updating many oldies (but of course goodies!). This project will clearly take longer than my living room...
                                             Before                                        After

The last exciting part of my week was getting a package! A while back Mailbox Magazine had a buy 1 get 3 free sale. Of course I had to stock up! I found some great Early Finisher task cards for both reading and math. My favorite item has to be a Listen & Do book. Each page has simple directions for the teacher to read aloud while a student completes them. I know my kiddos, a few in particular, really struggle following directions. I am hoping this will be a fun way to get them to pay attention while reinforcing basic skills.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great week.
I am so excited to be a part of Jungle Learners Stop, Swap, & Roll Linky. I hope you take the time to hop on through because there are so many great products and ideas being showcased! 

I was lucky enough to be paired with A Dab of Glue Will Do (don't you just love the name?). We got to know each other a little before stampeding into each other's TPT store looking for the goods. I learned that she is a Texas girl and proud of it. ​:) She is also a former kindergarten and first grade teacher turned stay at home mom who has continued her passion for making learning resources for the littlest of learners. She loves God, ​her family and friends, cooking, reading, wine, and dark chocolate.​


Once I got to her store, I had such a hard time selecting just one item! I finally decided on her Science Journal product since notebooking was a major personal goal for my science instruction this year. 

My Science Journal or Notebook
The 128 pages of goodness are perfect for an entire year of notebooking and met almost EVERY science standard I taught this year in first grade (sorting, 5 senses, science safety, animals, land forms, matter, light, motion, rocks, living things, plants, weather, and more!!). I can also see how easily this product could be used K-2.

3rd Quarter ended our science unit on rocks. My kiddos loved being able to search for rocks and describe them. I swear they carried them in their pockets whenever we would walk to and from buildings. A Dab of Glue Will Do's rock section allowed my kids to do something productive with their pocket full of rocks :) Students described their rocks using the simple questionnaire/graphic organizer that is included in the pack. (Please note, this page was not meant to be a cut and paste activity....oops!)
During our rock/mineral unit we also spent several weeks learning about soil. We learned the differences between humus, potting soil, clay, and sand. This recording sheet was a perfect way for students to record their learning. Normally my students write just on lined paper attached inside of a 3 prong folder. We are now 3-hole punching these pages and adding them inside. An alternative is to fold the paper in half and have students staple or tape part down...when they are ready to work they just unfold it and open it up- no more loose papers floating around desks!  
Our soil unit lead naturally into our last science topic for the year- Plants & Living Things. We began by learning the difference between living things and nonliving things. I love these pages and how they include notes for students to remember, and interactive components like circling, writing, and drawing. (The first little guy still has a few misconceptions to work on but he was so excited to share his journal and have his picture taken I just couldn't resist!)
We planted a variety of seeds (all from Target's Dollar spot). They are now taking turns recording the growth of the plants (they took a few days before sprouting). We are using the Lima Bean Page with our Daisies and Cilantro while we wait for something magical to happen with our Lima Beans. Did I mention I am horrible at growing things? We will continue using the pages about the parts of plants next week. 
The end of the year has us looking at animals and their adaptations. Of course, pages are included to help with this topic too! I just love how such a huge variety of topics are covered. 
What's even better is you can enter to WIN the Science Notebook from A Dab of Glue Will Do using the raffle below. Even those not chosen can WIN big by purchasing it on sale (20% off this weekend).  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to check out the rest of the linky sponsored by Jungle Learners and learn more about my Oceans of Learning Bundle: Math & Literacy Activities  in A Dab of Glue Will Do's Stop & Swap review. Enter to win my Ocean product or catch the 20% off sale this weekend.
Ocean/Beach Themed Reading & Math Centers (K-2) 

Each year my school has Global Night where every class learns about a different part of the world and shares this information with families and classmates. My first grade team combines this event with our Cinderella unit. My class is reading Egyptian Cinderella  so naturally, my kiddos are loving learning about Egypt!

We started by reading lots of informational books about Egypt. We used this great video clip from YouTube and founds tons of others on United Steaming (Discovery Education). We loved going on these virtual tours. We found this great online game with tons of information too!
My craft store shopping addiction came in handy when I scored these super adorable figurines! I love how the little 3-D toys give my firsties a better understanding.

We made a different project each day to display at our Global Night. One day we created stone tablets follwing this recipe (salt and sand dough) and allowed it to harden overnight. The dough didn't quite turn out right (had to use sandbox sand..oops) but the kids still enjoyed it. We then learned about hieroglyphics and practiced writing our own on the dough with permanent markers.
Students used water colors to paint the pyramids. (We do not have time for much painting throughout the year and I thought my little guys were going to lose their minds!So exciting)
After learning about the clothing and jewelry many of the Pharaohs wore, we created our own. I used this crown template and students could choose the version they liked best. We also created large neck pieces by cutting the center out of a regular paper plate. This blog post was my inspiration and includes step by step directions. We added glitter glue and sparkles to spice them up!

After we were all experts on Ancient Egypt I divided everyone into partners. Each pair used chart paper to write a paragraph about their topic. They did so well! Some of our topics included Pharaohs, Animals, The Sphinx, Pyramids, Mummies/Tombs, Hieroglyphics, and the Nile River.

Now like I tell my students, I went to teacher school...not art school. So, I had to improvise. I found a black and white line drawing (like a coloring book page) of the Sphinx and a Sarcophagus. I copied and pasted the image into a smartboard file and froze the screen (so I wouldnt keep moving the image or clicking the wrong buttons). I taped large white bulletin board paper to the board and simply traced each image. Kids then worked to color in each part. Seriously, it was like a life sized coloring book and they were ALL about it.
We then took our finished art pieces, chart papers, and decorations and hung them in the hallway. I found some cool shiney paper at the craft store to create 3-D pyramids to pop off of the walls. We had so much fun learning about Egypt! For added fun, I suggest this Ancient Egypt music video- my kids cracked up!

Do you have Global Night at your school?
What is your favorite place to learn about?

I must admit, I was so excited when we recently began our opinion writing unit. In fact...I accidentally planned for it 3 weeks before I was supposed to- oops! Hopefully today I can share a few ideas from my classroom..because in my opinion, this writing unit is the most fun!
 We began by discussing the difference between facts and opinions. This concept is a tricky one for my first graders to grasp. After providing them with multiple examples, we dove right in to some sorting. One way to help them remember was by defining a fact as something they would find in an informational text, not something they could argue. An opinion means people may have different views and believe that their thinking is correct.

I then used my Fact & Opinion Movement Sort by hanging the Opinion Ocean sign on one side of my classroom and Real Reef on the other. I read each statement while students "swam" to the correct sign. This worked well to get them up and moving and was also an easy way for me to spot who understood the concept and who was simply following others. If you want to try this Freebie in your classroom be sure to click one of the pictures below.
Once we mastered the difference between facts and opinions, we thought about topics students may have an opinion about. The majority of these turned into conversations about their favorites (foods, movies, toys, etc.). I allowed the discussion but made sure to reinforce that sharing our opinion does not mean that we just tell a fact about what we like; we are making a generalization that our belief is the best and providing evidence to support our belief.

We created this anchor chart (pinterest inspired) to help us think about sentence starters and paragraph organization. It really is just too cute to hear 6 year olds telling guests in the classroom that they "prefer __ to __". The sentence starters and anchor charts are referred to each day and were well worth the time it took to make it with them.
Students then had daily practice writing about their opinions. Our Easter/Spring twist was shared in this previous post, combined with directed drawings. One of the class favorites was cookie writing. I passed out Oreos, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Rainbow M & M cookies to each child. They then had to choose their favorite and describe why they liked it. They used their newly formed paragraph writing skills to convince me to buy a certain kind of candy on Friday (based on adjectives), to decide between indoor and outdoor recess one day, and to convince a friend to read their book during Read to Someone time.

After all of this independent practice I decided to put their collaboration skills to the test- Team Hot Dog vs. Team Hamburger style. First students decided which food was the best and formed into two teams. Each team had to brainstorm supporting evidence for their food. I passed out large chart paper, markers, construction paper, and let the games begin. I was SO impressed by their teamwork, ability to write a shared piece, and creativity.

Once teams finished writing and creating a small craft as decoration, we read each poster aloud. Although we could not decide on a "winning" team, we did decide the task made us hungry and off to lunch we went :)

What are your favorite opinion writing lessons?

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