When the Weather Outside Is Crazy

When the weather outside is....crazy.  You know - super warm one day, super cold the next - raining like cats and dogs one day, sunny as summer the next.  At least, that's the way winter break has been in these parts.  How about you?  I actually think it's going to make our weather unit super fun when we go back to school next week!

It's already one of my favorite science units to teach because it is so interactive!

We make our own wind vanes to observe the wind's direction.

We make a class anemometer to observe the wind's speed.

Students make "practice" thermometers that they can use with a partner to quiz each other on reading thermometers correctly.

Students bring in water bottles so they can construct their own rain gauges.

We also do a few fun experiments like this one that shows us how clouds work!
(Just a shaving cream cloud sitting on top of water.  Students add water droplets (food coloring) one at a time and when the cloud gets too full, they will begin to fall (rain).

Since my school requires us to use Interactive Notebooks for science.  I have made it my mission this year to create them in the same "No-Cut" format that I use for math...it has made my life so much more sane! :)

You can grab it below, if you're interested.  It has recording pages that we use for all of these tools, plus more!




Don't Be A GRINCH!

So, on the last day of winter break we had a little GRINCH day.  It was a last minute idea and my team couldn't find ANY Grinch attire....we searched everywhere!  So, we tried our best with a green theme.  I do have green on under that black coat - promise! :) 

I thought I would share a couple of activities we did with you. I found this adorable directed drawing from Art Projects for Kids.  It was just PERFECT!

I love how they all turn out so different!  Some of them weren't happy with theirs at first, but once they began coloring them I heard things like "Mine is just perfect!" and "This is my best drawing ever!"  I think those smiles tell you how proud they are of their work. :)

Of course, I always create one right along with them and they just oooh and ahhh over my work.  They think I should become an art teacher (HAHA) but what they don't realize is that I'm just as amazed as they are that I created something that somewhat resembled the Grinch! :)

But, they always think the teacher's work is golden.  So, I use that to my advantage.  I like to "auction" mine off at the end of the day and let a student take it home.  This time of year, you can even use that as a little behavior management technique and let them earn "tickets" into the auction.  (Hey...we need all the help we can get the week before Christmas break, right??)

We're currently working on learning to use dictionaries and thesauruses in our classroom, so I knew I wanted to get some green paint strips from Lowe's.  I write an adjective describing the Grinch at the top of each strip and students worked with partners to find synonyms in a thesaurus.  They had to be able to pronounce their chosen word and use it in a sentence to share with the class.  They loved learning new Grinchy vocabulary! <3

Next year, I'll be ALL SET for Grinch day!  Today, I received a snail mail package from Jen over at Teaching in the Tongass - a Grinch shirt, water bottle, and flash drive FULL of clip art sets from her shop!  I won a contest she hosted - Merry Christmas to me!!!  I LOVE Jen and use her amazing clip art on a ton of my products.  Go visit her shop - you'll love her work!


A Calculator License

I'm blogging over at Owl-ways Be Inspired today so hop over there to visit!  You can learn all about how I use a Calculator License in my room....and even grab a FREEBIE!


STEM Challenge Student Gift Idea


Hi friends!  Whew!  Is this a busy time of year, or what??  So busy in fact, that I recently realized I had not ordered books for my students' Christmas gifts!  EEK!

That kind of left me scratching my head for a bit.  BUT, I think I've come up with an idea that I like even better.  There's a big push towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning right now and I'm a huge believer in gifting experiences to people.  Combine those two things and I've come up with a new little gift for my students!

The best part is, most of these supplies I collected from my classroom - no money needed! :)  The goal will be for students to use ONLY these supplies (scissors and tape are allowed) to create a device that will launch a snowball (white pom-pom) across the room.  I'm hoping this will be a win-win in that it will help fight that boredom that sets in over winter break and it will keep my students' brains engaged a bit!  Who knows - they may be able to get the whole family to join in for some quality family fun time!  I mean, that's what the holidays are all about right!

With the supplies included, I can envision my little scientists creating slingshots, canons, or even snowball blowers!  I can't wait to see/hear about what they create! :)

In keeping with the snow theme, I also included the classic "Snowman Soup" for students to enjoy as they work on their creations.  Super cheap!

I tossed it all into a white sack and kept with the snow theme by decorating the bag to look like a snowman and adding the little gift tag along with the STEM Challenge instructions.

If you're looking for something different for your students' gifts....or are empty-handed and in a pickle at the moment like I was....you can pick this little packet up for FREE in my shop right now!  ENJOY! :)


Mid-Year Tweaks Toward a Smooth Sailing Classroom

Do you ever tweak things mid-year?  I love to reflect on how things are working in my classroom around this time each year.  I've had plenty of time to implement new systems and programs and give them time to work and flow smoothly.  If they're going well, wonderful!  But, if not, I set forth to make some changes.

Last year, around this time I realized that Interactive Notebooks just weren't working in my classroom.  They were taking up WAY too much of my instructional time with non-instructional tasks such as cutting, folding, and gluing.  My solution:  No-Cut Interactive Notebooks!  That's right - no cutting for the students, AT ALL!  Just glue a half page into their notebooks and they're ready to go!

These have literally saved me so much time and sanity this year!  Students are engaged in LEARNING instead of cutting and folding.  I have the growing bundle (10 of 12 notebooks are already completed and ready to download in the bundle) in my shop and it is 28% off with code SMILE during the TpT sale!


Here's a sneak peek at the items included in ONE notebook.  You will certainly be set with math for the year with this set!

A tweak I recently decided to make in my classroom deals with writing.  I realized that if something gets time taken from it during the day, it's often my Writer's Workshop...which breaks my heart!  It's at the end of the day and that's just the way it goes.  So, I wanted to start integrating writing into my science and social studies block even more to ensure that my students are never missing writing opportunities.  I also love to have quick, easy displays ready for the hall, so this was born:  Opinion Writing Across the Curriculum.

This little packet has 11 different topics and includes an anchor chart, planning pages, publishing pages, and display ideas/templates.  Opinion writing for the year - check!  Students just take a stand, provide support, and write their piece!  For example, in the one below, students would choose if Sunny Days, Rainy Days, or Snowy Days Are Best.  At $5.99 (regular price) this packet will be a STEAL during the sale!

And finally, if you're searching for something for your early finishers, this is the perfect piece to implement in your classroom.  Fun Facts Through the Year

There's a set for each month of the year and these amazing facts will engage learners of every age (1st grade through ADULTS!)  They're self-checking and there's a great suggestion for storage included making them easy to take back to seats for independent work! <3  At just $6.99 (regular price) for 10 sets of 24 task cards, your students will be engaged at all times in the classroom!

These are just a few of the items that have helped change my classroom for the better.  Go check out my shop Teacher's Clubhouse during the TpT sitewide sale (November 30-December 1) to see if there's something that will help your classroom run more smoothly for the remainder of the year.  Remember to use code SMILE at checkout!


12 Books of Christmas Giveaway

I'm excited to be teaming up with 11 other AMAZING bloggers to share some of our favorite Christmas and holiday books in a fun 12 Books of Christmas Blog Hop!  We have some amazing FREEBIES and a giveaway in store for you, so read on!

Each blogger has created a special FREEBIE for you that is centered around his/her favorite holiday book!  Plus, one lucky reader will win a copy of ALL 12 BOOKS!!  What an awesome addition to any classroom collection! <3

I chose the book, How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan.  If you're not familiar with this "How To" series of books, GO FIND THEM!  She hooked me with her very first book, How to Babysit a Grandpa.  The books are hilarious, enchanting, and such great springboards for writing "how-to's" in the classroom!  I was super excited when this new addition was added to the series and knew that I would be using it in my classroom this holiday season.

Near the beginning of the book, it presents things to ASK Santa and things to TELL Santa so I created a questions and statements sort from this.  Then, I will have my students write their own statements and questions that they would like to share with Santa.  Using these sentences, students will write letters to Santa.

And, of course, the book will be a springboard to other holiday "how-to" writings.  I've included pages for 5 other holiday-inspired how-to writings.  Sometimes I have students complete these independently, but I also like to put students in small groups, with each student starting a story with STEP 1 and then rotating the stories around the group with each student adding a step.  This provides a bit of a challenge, since students will need to read what the previous student(s) have written and then plan to continue it.

I hope you can use some of the extensions I created in your classroom, too!  Click the image below to head to my shop to download the freebie!  While you're there, click on the "green follow me" star.  That will be an entry in the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win the 12 books!! #winwin


Thanks so much for stopping by! Before you hop over to see the amazing Rachel at The Tattooed Teacher, don't forget to jot down my number on the image below! Each blogger in this hop will have a number at the end of his/her post. Collect all 12 numbers along the way, and when you're done, add them all up and enter the total number in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win all 12 books!

Click on the image above to head over to Rachel's blog!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy hopping!


Halloween Fun in the Classroom

Want to keep your students engaged in learning throughout the month of October?  My new Roam the Room Pack will help you integrate Halloween Fun with rigorous learning.  Let's take a peek..

This set includes 5 ELA and 5 Math Roam the Room activities.  Each activity includes 20 cards, a cover page, a recording sheet, and an answer key.  This pack also includes an interactive Table of Contents, making it a breeze for YOU, the teacher.

You can find the entire pack in my TpT shop HERE.  And, I'm giving one away on my Facebook page right now (winner announced Monday) and one HERE on my blog (at the end).

Here's a closer look at each set included in this pack.
The witch has switched pronouns in sentences and students have to help switch them back to the right pronouns!

Students have to identify abbreviations (think months of the year and abbreviations commonly used in addresses/friendly letters) in order to get the brooms to fly!

Students will record the missing verb tense on each piece of candy corn.

Students will be wrapped up in homophones as they choose the correct words to complete sentences.

Students will practice writing dates three different ways - using words, using abbreviations, and using numbers.

Students will work to find the missing numbers that "vanished" to help balance equations.

Students will find the missing digits on number lines that count by 1's, 2's, 5's and 10's through three-digit numbers.

Students will practice writing times to the half-hour and quarter-hour in different ways (ex. half-past one, one thirty, 1:30).

Students find the missing equation to complete the fact family.

 Students identify the place and the value of underlined digits in two- and three-digit numbers.

Want to WIN this set?  Just leave a comment below with your email address and an idea of what I should be for Halloween this year!  I've done witch, pirate, zombie, 80s girl, vampire...I need new ideas! :)  I'll pick a winner on TUESDAY!  Good luck! 

And, here's a FREEBIE for everyone!  Hop over to my shop to pick it up!  It even works if you can't celebrate Halloween in your classroom. :) 



Organizing with Cricut {Win Your Own!}

Are you in the new-school-year-gotta-get-organized mode yet?  Let me share with you a few ways that you can use a Cricut to help organize my classroom.  {Don't have a Cricut?  No problem!  See how to WIN one at the end of this post.}

I was so tired of trying to organize all of the headphones in my classroom.  So tired.  They were so big and the cords were always tangled.  I invested in earbuds for each of my students (from Dollar Tree).  I wound each earbud around a spool (from Hobby Lobby) and stored in one of these containers (also from Hobby Lobby).  I cut numbers from vinyl to label each compartment so students would know which earbuds belonged to them (no sharing....ewwww).  Super easy solution to the headphone dilemma!

Each container has 16 slots, so I had to use two containers.  I just labeled them on the cover so students would know which container to use to find their own earbuds.

VIP Table
Another simple solution is to use your Cricut to label an area as a VIP space in your classroom!  This is an area in your classroom for those Very Important People (you know, those students who are showing extraordinary behavior!!) - just decorate a desk or table to make it special and put ALL of your special supplies there for only the VIP's to use (think markers, pens, stickers, glitter glue, white boards, etc)!  Instant motivation.

How would you use a Cricut to organize your classroom?
There are only 2 more weeks to enter the Cricut Back-to-School Giveaway for teachers!!
Have you entered yet??

Each week for 7 weeks they are picking 10 winners for amazing prize packages!!  Entering is super easy!
You can nominate yourself HERE.  And, you can enter EVERY WEEK!!  If you enter, leave your link below so I can find you and give you a VOTE!  Good Luck!!

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