Monday, April 21, 2014

Haiku: The Prairie

Haiku of the Prairie

I love nature--there is a prairie preserve close to my house that I love to hike.  I try to take pictures whenever I can.  The prairie fascinates me.  Did you know that the grass has an incredible root system.  Because of that root system, it can survive droughts, floods, and even fire.  The native american used fire as a tool for hunting buffalo herds.  Also, There were, of course, the natural occurrence of fire from lightning.  And year after year the prairie would continue to grow.  The ash from the fires created some of the most fertile soil in the world.  
For national poetry month, I wrote a haiku.  Five, Seven, Five syllables--mostly about nature--and included some pictures. Today, there still may be fires from lightning, but they do controlled burns to maintain a healthy prairie ecosystem. 

This is the growth after one such burning!  Now for the Haiku:

Blackened, burnt and raw
The prairie seemingly dead
But returns in spring  


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Elephony: a poem for national poetry month

Eletelephony, by Laura Elizabeth Richards

One of my favorite poems.  A little outdated--trying to figure out how to rewrite this poem for smart phones.  Once their was a elephant Who tried to use the smartaphant.
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the smart a phone.

Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the apaphunk.

You get the idea.  The elephant was sucked in the smart phone with its games and aps like all of us.

Anyways, you can find this poem in my google drive!  It's a great fun to share--and maybe your students can figure out how to update the poem to fit the modern world!

Monday, March 10, 2014

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

My best selling item on Teacher Pay Teachers is:  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  I love the idea of children using graphic organizers to help understand the structure of the story!
If You Give a Cat A Cupcake
Story Map
Cause and Effect

This story, although has some very bad parenting skills, allows children to explore the structure, understand cause and effect, and of course have a little fun.

My unit has two writing prompts, a Story Map with its sequencing, and different types of cause and effect scenarios.  It is very fun!
Activities and Printables for If You Give a Cat A Cupcake
You can find the packet at my TPT store, enjoy!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

President's Day Giveaway!

My dear friend, and one of the finest teachers, just posted two awesome products on Teacher Pay Teachers Store.  

So I am hosting a small, but fun, giveaway.  There will be four, yes four, lucky winners!  

Win one of Sandy Timmerman's products.  

You can view the Abe Lincoln here and the George Washington here.  

I love books so much, that I had to throw in this book. 

Or you can win this book!  

Finally, you can win my math packet of multiplication and division games.  A fun packet for the month of February!  Find it here.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 23, 2014

American Revolution War

My oldest son, a fifth grader, is studying the American Revolution.  It made me so sad to hear that he doesn't like Social Studies in school.  So I went into over drive--made posters--found books in the library--and of course quiz him on it all the time.  I think my plan may just backfire on me, instead of loving American History, he might just hate it more.  But I did find two books I highly recommend.

Let It Begin Here!
Lexington & Concord
First Battles of the American Revolution

This book is fairly dramatic.  But isn't that a great way to hook students into history?  It begins with Paul Revere's ride, and ends 78-year-old Samuel Whittemore bringing down three redcoats before he is shot in the head.  It uses wonderful descriptive words such as limp, devastating, bolt, and brings the drama in by telling the battle as a story!  I think if students love Hunger Games, they would love this book.  Because it is about survival, a type of tyranny, and an overthrowing of the government.  It took seven long years for the American Revolution to end, but it did end.

George vs. George
The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides
This is a brilliantly written book that shows both sides of the conflict.  I love the art, text, charts, and different points of view.  It begins by stating how American believed the King George was a tyrant, where as in Great Britain he was seen as a father of a great empire.  Where as George Washington in this country is seen as the father of our country, the British felt he was traitor to the British Empire.  He had fought as a soldier in the army, and then became head of the army against the British.  History, as life, is very complicated, often messy, and has many different ways of looking at things.  This book brilliantly shows two distinct point of views.  There are of course many more, but that is for another author to write.  I appreciated the graphic organizers showing both the British Government and the Colonial Government. Americans and even the Declaration of Independence, often blame King George for the taxes, but it was Parliament who levied and taxes.   The illustrations are wonderful.  The author took two years of researching the topic, studying art work of the time, and writing and illustrating this marvelous book.  It is a wonderful book to share.  It is, however, long.  Where as Let it Begin might take 15 minutes to read, George vs George is a much longer read.  But don't let that scare you off--great way to share history with your students or children!  

Events Leading to the American Revolution
I love these two youtube video of John Adams defending the soldiers who fired during the massacre.  Such a great lawyer!

The first shows the full trial, but not the closing arguments and result of the trial.  The second shows the closing argument and results of the trial.  These are both from the HBO miniseries of John Adams, based on the biography by David McCullough.

I made these posters for my son so he could see the events that led to the American Revolution. 
The Growing Conflict: Worksheet about the events leading up to The American Revolution
 I picture the above being a fairly easy worksheet.  I love having visuals, but I wanted it to represent the time.  I tried to use paintings or artwork that was from the time of the conflict.
American Revolution: The Growing Conflict 
This can either be cut up and used as a matching type of game.  Or it can just be glued into a Social Studies notebook as a quick reference to some of the events leading up to the war.  This can be found at my TPT store.  For now, it is a dollar, but who knows, I might start adding some weird taxes to my stuff.    

Friday, January 17, 2014

If you give some water some sun!

Weather Cycle!
When I taught 2nd grade, I wrote this weather cycle book based on If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.  It is a cute story that helps students to understand the circular pattern of the popular book and the weather cycle itself.  I hope you enjoy.  It is in black and white so students can color the pages.  There are also some pages that are left blank so students can draw their representations of the vocabulary words!  

  A fun story to go with the weather cycle.  

If You Give Water Some Sun

The Weather Cycle

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Home for Christmas, by Jan Brett--a Nonfiction Companion

Home for Christmas, by Jan Brett

Jan Brett's book, Christmas at Home, is written in Sweden where Rollo, the troll,  decides to leave home so he doesn't have to do his chores.  He travels from animal to animal and enjoys his freedom, until he finally realizes he misses his family.  He returns home just in time for Christmas.  All the animals in the story are native to Sweden--so I decided to make a project out of writing a nonfiction companion book to Christmas at Home.  

The very first animal Rollo intrudes upon is the grey owl.  The flat face of the owl acts as a large speaker collecting sounds and transferring the sounds to the ears.  The owls can even hear animal underneath the snow!  This video from National Geographic is a perfect example of their snow plunging to find their prey.  

Rollo being pushed out of the nest.  

Swedish Brown Bear.  
When it is time for the owlets to fly, Rollo is kicked out of the nest.  He must find another home. He runs into a bear family, and quickly acclimates himself.  I really like this website that gives a great background to bears!
Although Rollo enjoys being with the bears, he soon realizes he can't keep up.  Then when he is attacked by bees, he comes upon an Otter family. Here he loves playing with the otters.  They swim, slide, and jump in the river.  

Rollo playing with the otters.

Otters in the snow

Rollo leaves the otter family when the water turns cold.  I found this fun youtube video of river otters in Yellowstone.  Not Sweden, but it still shows how much the otters love the cold icy weather! 

So Rollo moves onto live with the lynx.  
Rollo has a great time playing with the lynx in the snow, until he notices that the lynx seems a little hungry, and looks at Rollo as his next meal rather than a playmate.  Rollo quickly moves on and tries to find another home.  
Eurasian lynx in the snow

Eurasian lynx running in the snow.

The above photographs were taken in Sweden!  You can find a beautiful write up of the photographer's day here.  

Did you know that the Eurasian lynx is the largest lynx of its species.  It's no wonder Rollo left as soon as he was in danger.  Wikipedia has a nice article of the lynx here.   Another resource on the web is Sweden's travel web site.  I loved reading about the different animals of Sweden.  You can even plan vacations where you try and see the different animal of the north!   
After Rollo escapes the lynx, he finds a home among the moose.  
Rollo and the moose
While he is with the moose, he starts to miss home.  He makes it just in time for Christmas. 
A moose in Sweden

So as part of our Winter Vacation, we are going to write a nonfiction companion book for Jan Brett's Home for Christmas.  

Our first step is research!  I made these fun graphic organizers for each animal.  

Graphic Organizer for nonfiction companion book to Home for Christmas

I can't wait to learn more about these amazing creatures!  
If you want your own graphic organizers.  You can get them from my google drive.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Domino Doubles

Because my daughter is learning her addition and subtraction facts--there will be many, many math games and activities!  Here is one with dominoes.  I love doubles and the doubles plus one strategy!  So enjoy!

Domino Doubles and free printable/worksheet for doubles fact and doubles plus one using dominoes.
You can find it on my google drive!  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Doubles Facts

I've been working with my first grader on her addition facts.  We have been having so much fun!  Take a spider--four legs on each side--4+4=8.  Now the spider grows an extra leg--we have a doubles plus one fact.  4+5=9.  We laugh and giggle--but she is learning her facts.  I made this worksheet for her to visualize doubles facts!  I hope you enjoy it too!
Doubles Facts Free Printable

You can download it from my google drive!