Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mystery Capsules

I don't know about you but I'm doing everything I can think of to keep my kiddos engaged. I don't want the spring-fever-school-is-almost-out bug to get them. We only have 23 more days, but who's counting, not me! It's business as usual in my room at least for a few more weeks.
We did a fun little writing activity yesterday that I thought I'd share. I found these capsules at Wal-Mart in the toy department last summer for my grandkids and they thought they were pretty fun. Well, the teacher in me had to think of a way to use them in school.
They are gelatin capsules with a sponge shaped creature inside. When you soak them in warm water, the capsule dissolves and the sponge creature appears. I bought several packages for my class. There are dinosaurs, ocean animals, insects, and forest animals.
I wrote a little note and left the capsules laying in a pile for the kids to find after lunch. 
Here's a copy of the note:
The mystery began and they were excited, engaged, and enthused to see if they could break the spell.
Each firstie chose a capsule and placed it in the warm water and watched to see what pet emerged.
Then they started to write.
Even my kids who don't like to write very much were very engaged and writing. It was a fun activity and everyone got a new pet to take home!
If you'd like to download the letter and writing paper, you can click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by.
Happy Friday tomorrow!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Unusual but Valuable Training

Today for our collaboration meeting, our principal had us divert from our usual grade level meetings and meet as a faculty. He introduced us to our city's S.W.A.T. officer. Since the horrible ordeal at Sandy Hook Elem. our local police department has been trying to think of ways they can better protect, educate, and help our schools and teachers. They gave us some wonderful information, advice, and a great experience. It had been brought to the police departments attention that many teachers may not have actually heard or smelled gun fire before. This could prove valuable and save many lives if a situation ever came up. The school's office may not have time to warn us for a lock down but if we hear and recognize what is going on we can immediately go into lock down. I've often wondered if I'd be able to recognize gun fire. I've often wondered if my classroom would be too noisy to even hear it. Well, after today's experience I don't think I'll have a problem.

I've grown up around guns my whole life. My dad is an X Marine and he felt it important that his children know how to handle a gun. I attended gun safety courses and have shot several different kinds of gun. My husband and boys are deer hunters and I've even gone hunting with them myself. I know there are many out there that don't share my views on guns but that's another subject. Anyhow my point is, I've heard a lot of gun fire in my days but today was different. I've never heard gun fire in a school before and let me say it was different than what I thought it would be. Our school is a two-story building with a huge staircase opening in the center of the building. The echo of the gun fire what deafening and unmistakable. The S.W.A.T. office went to each doorway and fired off a couple of rounds (blanks of course). We were instructed to be in our rooms doing our normal work. Of course NO STUDENTS were there. It was also interesting how the smell of gun powder filtered throughout the ventilation system pretty quickly. It was a  very valuable experience for our entire faculty.

Our local police department has also planned to have the officers more visible at the schools. Our community consists of 13 schools, 1 high school, 2 junior highs, and 10 grade schools. They are unable to place an office at each school because of the cost. So our Police Chief decided his officers would visit the schools on a regular basis to do their paper work. They have lots of reports to write so they come to the schools, find a quite place and do their paper work. We never know when they are coming or how long they'll be there but their presence is very appreciated. The kiddos love seeing a police officer and enjoy getting to know them. I appreciate our police department and the efforts they are making to keep our schools and children safer.

I'd love to hear what measures your police department and district have taken to make your school safer.

My prayers go out to all those affect by the horrible violence and tragedies of this past week in Boston and Texas. May the Lord bring strengthen and give peace to all affected.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prefix Safari and a FREEBIE

It's been in the works a long time and it's finally finished- my newest packet!
With the new core, I didn't have anything to teach prefixes. So I put this little packet together. It focuses on Un-, Re-, and Dis-. Here's a preview:
Not shown in the preview are some practice sheets for each prefix. 
Click HERE for a FREE download of this UN- practice sheet.
You can check out this new packet at my shops. Just click on the side bar of my blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Life Cycles

We are knee deep in life cycles this week and lovin' it. I found some great resources I want to share with ya'll!

Michelle over on Apples and ABC's has some great packets on life cycles. Her darling ladybug one is even FREE! Can't beat that. Click on her blog name above for a link to her TpT shop.
I also found a great video by National Geographic, the GeoKids series called Tadpoles, Dragonflies, and the Caterpillar's Big Change. I found it on YouTube in 4 parts. It was a little fuzzy on the big screen but my kiddos LOVED it anyway. I did find it on in VHS format if you're interested. I'm sad it's not a DVD because it is a GREAT movie. It shows the life cycle of several animals not mentioned in the title like a koala, albatross, salamander, and mosquito. Pretty amazing stuff.

Also, I found a great post by an awesome teacher about life cycles and lots of book ideas. Sharon Dudley at Teaching with Sight is an inspiration to us all. PLEASE check out her blog and make sure you click on the video at the top of the page and watch her dancing with her kiddos. Sharon is a blind National Board Certified Teacher teaching Kindergarten. An absolutely amazing story.

Oh and one more thing- Don't forget my butterfly packet. It has an Early Reader about butterflies with a writing activity. You can find it on my TpT or Teacher Notebook shop by click on my sidebar.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you've found something you can use in your classroom.
Have a great FRIDAY!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Sorry I've been MIA the past week but it was our spring break and hubby and I took a much needed vacation.

That's our cruise ship in the background. Yep! We went on a very relaxing little cruise! I've never been on a cruise before and let me just say- it is now my favorite way to vacation! I can't wait to go on another one. I feel so rested and recharged- ready to finish the school year.

When I got home I had some sweet little packages waiting for me from Amazon. I'm teaching life cycles next in science and this year we are going to watch ladybugs change as well as our caterpillars. So I ordered this cute little ladybug land.
It comes with a free certificate for 15-20 ladybug larva. The kiddos should have fun watching ladybugs and caterpillar. I plan to do some compare and contrast activities that I'll share later.

I also had this waiting for me.
These are the cutest books written by a grandmother and illustrated by her granddaughter who happens to be in first grade. They are great for beginning readers. I bought the packet with sets 1 & 2 together. It was a little cheaper that way. You can check out both of these by clicking on the picture. It will take you to

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break and has recharged and ready for the last few weeks of the year. I know I'm feeling much better but a little panicked because I still have a lot to teach.

Have a great week!