Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Book Club

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am running a summer book club for twelve girls. Nothing is more rewarding then being around children who love to read and thirst for knowledge. It has been a summer full of deep thinking, questioning, crafting, and most of all; LOTS OF READING!

I chose three books for us to read this summer. The first book that we read was Flora and Ulysses. This was an adorable and inspiring tale about a girl and her super squirrel! The girls absolutely loved this book. 

This book was written with comic book inserts and illustrations throughout. In an effort to teach the girls about the use of onomatopoeia in comics, we created our very own pop art! By using paint and cotton swabs, the girls were able to create their very own works of art. 

I have quite the group of artists! Here are some of their finished creations.

The next book we read was The Penderwicks. This was a story of summer adventure and the bond between sisters. The girls loved this book as well and they could all really relate to it. It gave us wonderful opportunities to make text-to-self connections. 

The setting of this book was an adorable cottage with a beautiful garden. One of the main characters was a botanist! I wanted to do an activity that had to do with flowers, but it needed to be rather quick. This book required a lot of discussion and I knew the craft would need to be quick and easy. 

We created flower pens! We used washi tape, artificial flowers, and ballpoint pens. As simple as this activity was, the girls LOVED it! They were so excited to use their new flower-pen creations!

The final book we are reading is Everything on a Waffle. 

I have big plans for activities for this book! Stay tuned for updates on my next book club meeting! 

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Summer Projects

With school fast approaching, I have been hard at work preparing for the new school year. I can't wait to see the adventures that this new school year has to offer! 

It seems this year the back-to-school sales have come out sooner than ever! I woke up this morning, grabbed my coffee, and scanned the sales papers for good deals. I was able to find quite a few!

Scissors were 25 cents each

Highlighters were 1 dollar each

Pens were 1 dollar for 10. I bought green for proofreading and red for checking.

Crayons and Colored Pencils were also 25 cents each! I am fairly certain the cashier thought I had lost my mind, but when I pulled out my TeacherPerks card, he knew what I was up to. He proceeded to give me the run down of what would be on sale from now until the beginning of the school year. How exciting is that! 

This year, I wanted a way for the students to differentiate my supplies from their own. By mid-year I glance in the supply bins and notice that half of them are gone. I don't mind replenishing them, but I wanted to find a way to mark my class set. It makes it so much easier when we are working to clean up the room if we know which ones go in the supply bins and which go in their pencil boxes. 

I bought a roll of chevron washi tape. I cut it into small pieces and marked each of the supplies. It will make things so simple this year and I am thrilled to see how it will work!

Here are my supplies all labeled! (eek!)

I came across this gem at a garage sale this week! It's a spinning scissor stand. It is adorable and will work wonderfully in my classroom. 

I also was able to get a great deal on Expo markers this week. I often use whiteboards as a way to informally asses during my math groups, spelling groups, etc... Before group, I always have to pass out an eraser, Expo marker, and whiteboard to each student. I saw this brilliant idea on Pinterest last year and knew I wanted to do it this year!

Gluing a pom-pom to the end of the marker creates a built-in eraser. How awesome is that! I created a class set of these as well hoping to cut down on my supply pass out time. 

I bought these adorable supply bins from Dollar Tree! They have so many different options, colors, and styles. 

I also picked up the start of my borders for my bulletin boards! Here is a sneak peak of what is to come! Lots of chevron and polka-dots in the future!

I stopped by Target and got a few packages of crazy straws. This was yet another project I saw on Pinterest early in the year and I loved it! The birthday straw bouquet is a cute and simple birthday gift for the students in your classroom. 

All you need is a pack of pencils, a roll of washi tape, a few packs of crazy straws, and some eraser caps. 

I created labels for the gifts and laminated them. I am so thrilled with the way these turned out!

As much as I am enjoying summer, I am so very eager to get back to school. I miss it so much! 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Book Club Baskets (Plus Two Freebies!)

Summer is only in its first week and I have been hard at work putting together my summer book club baskets for the girls book club I am running this summer. This club has been established for quite a few years before I came to the school I am at. This year I was asked to take it over and believe me, I have big shoes to fill! The teacher that did it before me did a wonderful job. I am looking forward to a great opportunity to work with these girls.

The book club has twelve girls in it and consists of lots of reading and lots of fun! We meet once a month in summer and each time we meet we discuss one of the three books we are reading (again, one book a month). I chose the books carefully keeping in mind the girls interests. I am so blessed that all of my students LOVE reading, including the ones in this group. The thrive on books; they devour them! The girls that are in my book club constantly stop me in the hallway in the last month of school telling me how much they are enjoying their current read. It is a wonderful opportunity to get together and discuss some great reads!

To get them even more excited about reading, I put together a summer reading basket! My girls each have a Smash-Book that they are asked to journal their summers in. I put together this basket to inspire them to take pictures of them reading and doing all sorts of things in the summer sun!

 I tied this tag on the outside of the basket

I filled the basket all sorts of fun things! Everything inside of these baskets was purchased from the dollar store or the Target One-Spot for a dollar. It was all very reasonably priced and turned out adorable! I died a poetic tag on each item telling the girls what they would need to do with the item. 

These were some of the things I put inside of the basket:

I created personalized bookmarks for each girl,

a cup with a swirly fun straw,

a package of chalk,

a pack of sticky notes (My kiddos go crazy for them!),

stickers, glitter tape, and other goodies for their Smash-Book,

 and these adorable fun pair of sunglasses!

I am so excited to read and have fun at our book club this summer! I know my girls will love these baskets and I am so excited to share them with them!

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The Last Days of School

Well friends, the school year has come to an end and summer has arrived! 

(How adorable is this mural they drew on our last recess?! A true work of art!)

It is always such a bittersweet time of the year. I am always sad to see my kiddos go, but excited for what summer brings. I am also excited to begin preparing for next year! (After all, that IS what we do all summer!)

I had a wonderful bunch this year and I was so sad to see them leave. They taught me so very much about who I am as a teacher. I love that I am always learning with them. 

In the last few weeks of school, I am always trying to think of ways to keep them busy while still having valuable and engaging learning experiences. It is quite hard to achieve during the last few days! I decided to go to a old tried and true favorite; growing seeds!

So often we grown seeds in baggies with paper towels taped to our windows. I wanted to make something a little more portable that they could observe and document in their journal every day. I asked each of the students to bring in a small container (one that could fit in their hand) to place their seeds in. This would create a "mini greenhouse". I began by cutting sponges into thirds. 

I then put two different types of seeds in a pie tin, tomatoes and beans. I then had them tweeze their seeds into their container. 

 It was interesting because we all hypothesized that the beans would sprout more quickly because of this large size. However, the tomatoes surprised us! Even with this microscopic size they sprouted within three to four days! It was amazing. 

I allowed the kids to be the sole caretakers of these seeds. Through trial and error they found that they sprouted best when throughly watered and placed in direct sunlight. I love seeing them make discoveries! They had them placed all over the room and as the seeds by the windows began to sprout, all of the students moved their seeds to the window. 

They were so very interested about what specific care their seeds needed. I posted the packages on our mini whiteboard so they could see what the package recommended. 

It was really wonderful to be able to have them pull out their journals during that last week and log their discoveries. I felt like we were learning a lot even during the crazy days of the end of the school year. 

I also ended the year with a popular Pinterest Pin for the end of the year. I placed the balloons on my board. Inside each of the balloons was a fun, exciting, and different thing that made that day special. Mine were things like: You make chew gum today, you may choose your seat, you will enjoy extra recess today, you will read outside today....etc. 

The last day said "You will enjoy a special treat today!" On the last day of school, all of my kiddos received a pair of sunglasses with this adorable phrase tied to it that I found blog-hunting!

These were a huge hit with them and they looked ADORABLE on the last day as they ran out of my room as fourth and fifth graders wearing them. 

It teared me up to see them leave on the last day, but I know they are off to do great things. Each and everyone of them!

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