Monday, November 17, 2014

Long Ago Versus Today (FREEBIE)

Last week Maria and I had one of those weird, amazing AHA moments.  It was one of those experiences where I said, "Why didn't I ever think of this in ALL my years of teaching?"  Seriously!  But let me back up just a bit...
 Our long ago and today writing unit was about to start and we were trying to brainstorm how, exactly, we wanted to tie in our social studies standards.  We started using the Laura Ingalls Wilder (My First Little House) books last year to complete an informative writing piece about long ago and today.

The "long ago" time period that we end up studying with the kids is the late 1800s to early 1900s.  We knew that we wanted to do some sorts.  And we wanted to focus on different categories (clothing, food, transportation).  But we were having a hard time finding exactly what we wanted because sorts for all these different categories required a lot of images.  We didn't have much time.

Then it hit me.

My mom.

I grew up around old stuff.  I mean OLD.  My mom collects antiques and she has since, well, forever.  I spent many hours at antique malls, shows, stores. Her house is filled (nope, it requires full caps) FILLED with old stuff.  It is pretty much all from the late 1800s to early 1900s.  Very primitive, very "Laura Ingalls-ish" stuff.
Why didn't I every think to tap into this resource?  My mom knows all there is to know about these objects.  We used to play guessing games when she would come home from an antique shopping trip.  But in all my years of teaching, I have never thought to actually use these objects to teach about long ago.  Maybe it is because I have just always been surrounded by it.  It is the norm to me. more!  We called up my mom and two days later she did a full presentation about long ago versus today objects.  And it was AMAZING!

My mom and I brought anything that we thought the kids could connect to.  I wanted them to have a reference point so that they could easily compare and contrast the objects being presented to objects of today.

We ended up with a long lunch table filled with objects.

We had slate pencils, lanterns, rug beaters, bed warmers, wallets, lunch pails, marble bags, muffin pans, butter churner, tooth powder, and so much more.  My mom was thrilled to share her treasures and the kids so excited to guess, connect, and share in her love for old stuff :)

My little Ruby even agreed to dress up in a bonnet, skirt, and apron.  I think she was just as excited to hear her grandma share little pieces of history.  But she had many questions after the presentation :)

What a great experience and I thought it would be great to have a follow up or a way to share this experience with others.  So I created this Powerpoint presentation. It does not include every single object that my mom and I used.  But it contains many.  And it is FREE :)

 I hope you find it helpful!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop

I feel like I have not linked up with anyone in awhile!  I saw this over at Teaching Trio and decided to link up really quick (really...I think I am avoiding some work that I need to dig into!)

Each Sunday has some components that stay the same.  My husband gets our food ready for the week (rice, chicken, or turkey burgers).  We also iron all the clothes that we need for the week.

These past few weeks have been particularly busy (hmm...sound familiar to anyone else?)  But today, it slowed down a little.  Why you may ask?  Because the two parties that I have been planning for the past few weeks ended yesterday.  They were fun to plan, set up for, and host.  But phew!  They are over.  This is why I am happy to stay home and really hope to read my book and watch some tv.  But there is some work to be finished first.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Visit From Steve Harpster

 It happened yesterday.  Steve Harpster came to visit, talk, teach, draw, and motivate the kids at my school. 

We had been prepping them for this visit for weeks!  They explored his books. Watched his videos.  They created Harpster-inspired art, that I used for decorations:

There was excitement in the air and when he walked into the room during breakfast there were mummers and whispers..."He's here....That's Steve Harpster!"  There were even rumors that girls were screaming in the bathroom.  He was the celebrity of the day at my school!

And that is just fine with me.  This is the first author/illustrator visit that the students in my school have experienced.  So I was thrilled that they viewed the visit as a big deal.  Because IT WAS!

If you are not familiar with Steve's How-to books, they show, step-by-step, how to create creatures by starting with a letter or number.  His focus is on imagination and visualizing of a story. 
Yes!! Thank you!! Just what my kids need to be good storytellers!

He started off with a great presentation but quickly slid into drawing with the students.  You could have heard a pin drop!

They started with a number or letter...

They followed along with Steve Harpster as he walked them through each drawing.

The drawings turned out so cute and the kids felt really successful!

After the presentations, I helped to fill all the book orders that we had collected.  Oh, wait!  Did I mention that this visit was FREE and that we get 30% of the book order sales! 

My daughters each got one of his books.  And what did we do that night after dinner?  We all sat down and drew Steve Harpster pictures together.  It was the best part of my day.  This little turtle is by my 4 year old :)

I am so thankful that we had this experience.  The teachers loved it, my principal loved it, and (most importantly) the students loved it.  Plus, we earned some money for our library!
If you have not checked out his website, here it is.
Steve Harpster

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday From Long Ago

Linking up today with my friend Miss Decarbo!  This week marks the beginning of our next writing unit: Long Ago and Today.  To kick it mom is paying our firsties a visit.  She is going to bring many, many, MANY things from her house of antiques.  Here is one of the things:

 My question to you...What do you think this was used for?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hitting the Restart Button

 Transitions have been occurring at my school lately. And it has been a little stressful.  Nope. A lot stressful.  I have not had the motivation at school that I typically have.  I have not had the motivation to blog.  And that makes me sad.

All the transitions ended and at the same time my family trip to Disney started.  My husband had the opportunity to go to a conference at the Disney resort.  I have two girls:  four and five (almost six) years old.  We decided we should use my personal days and go.

I struggle with this.  I feel like a bad teacher leaving.  Teaching...I LOVE it!  I put everything I can into it. goes fast.  Childhood goes even faster.  I don't want to miss these important opportunities with my own children.

And, honestly, I really needed it.  I needed to step back and refocus.  So  I read a book (a whole book).  Swam. Watched tv in bed.  Colored.  Hung out with princesses.

Tomorrow brings a new week. I have a focus.  I have the motivation.  I'm ready.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Favorite Reading Place?

I snapped this picture of our oldest brushing her teeth while reading a book. 
My mommy/teacher heart was filled.

Where do you like to read? 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Bright Idea For A Part-Part-Whole Manipulative

I have been on a part-part-whole kick.  So let's just continue that with one more bright idea (well, for now!)

I love using number bracelets, divider plates, and shake and spill to work on part-part-whole.  But I wanted a manipulative that tied directly to the number bond graphic:

I started with chenille sticks (or pipe cleaners).

Then I created a number bond manipulative.  The two parts are one color and the whole is a different color.

Once it is made, students can use any kind of manipulatives to break apart numbers (buttons, beans, or beads.)  We used beads.

Students can move the beads around to create different combinations of a specific number.

The great thing...this number bond manipulative can be used over and over with different numbers.

If you would like to hear some more ideas, please join me on TPT and Pinterest.

Please check out the links below for a variety of bright ideas from many, many other bloggers!