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After the CANDY CRASH!

Get ready for it.... Friday and Saturday your students will be indulging in all things Halloween.  So, what do you do when they come back a little bummed after their candy crash? Maybe you just want to forget Halloween even happened and move on? NOT ME! I love to let my students WRITE about what they did on Halloween.

This will be a quick, fun drawing activity. Then, we'll share our pages in small groups because you know your students are dying to talk about what they did the night before.  

I'm loving the Hello FontsMoffatt Frames and KPM Doodles!

Hope you survive the rest of this week! :) It'll be over before you know it!


Frankenstein is my FAVORITE!!!

Happy Wednesday, Peeps!! Kerri B from Teacher Bits and Bobs here...

I cannot believe it is the end of October already? Where is the year going? Last week, I got a bee in my bonnet after seeing some fabulous Frankenstein art projects all over Pinterest, so I decided to make this week Frankenstein week in my classroom. We will be reading all sorts of Frankie books, doing some Frankie math, learning how to draw Frank and write about him, and making a really fun Frankenstein art project too. I have GOBS of Franken-fun to share with you...let's get started!!

Here is the art project we will be making this week...

And here are the dimensions, if you would like your kidlets to make him too. This is GHETTO style friends...I just took a picture of the dimensions my teaching buddy wrote while I measured each piece! The Frankensteins in this photo were my inspiration and came from Amy Lemon's blog Step into Second Grade ( LOVE!)...

We will also be reading LOTS of Frankie books this week. Here are a few of my favorites that I ordered from Amazon to read this week, but I'm sure they're in your school library too...


We are busy at work creating our Super Sentences for the month of October. If you didn't already download these at the beginning of the month, click here to get your own October Word Mats...
and make sure to check out my yearlong pack by clicking the picture below. Your kids will become Super writers by using this pack, I promise you!

I have lots of fun writing activities planned for my firsties, including this fun little Word of the Week sentence scrambler, which you can download for FREE through Google Docs (click the pic)...

My kids do these Word of the Week sentence scramblers EVERY WEEK in centers and they LOVE them! If you are interested in checking out the year long pack, which is print and go, click the picture below...

I also made a bubble map and 2 different story writing papers for good old Frankie, which you can also download via Google Docs for FREE by clicking the image below...
I also found this AWESOME website called Art for Kids! that has a step-draw Frankenstein!! Click the picture below to go to his website. It is AMAZING!! There are literally HUNDREDS of videos and step draw printables teaching kids to draw all sorts of cool stuff!
Finally, if you're looking for a poem for your kids to learn/practice their perfect printing by copying. here is a link for a very cool Frankie poem sung to the tune of Oh my Darling...

Alrighty Peeps!! That's all I got tonight for ya! Hope you LOVE all the Frankenstein freebies! I cannot wait to do them all with my kidlets this week!!

XOXO Kerri B

3 Ways to Simplify!

Hey Peeps! It's Traci from Dragonflies in First here.

Things have been very hectic at work over the last couple weeks due to conferences. It seems like a perfect time to share a popular post I shared on my blog last year  -  all about keeping things simple and lightening your stress load.

Desert 5 ways?! Yes please.


Now this post is going to be a little disappointing because it has nothing to do with several ways to do dessert. Or anything delicious for that matter.

But I do have 3 keeping it simple in your classroom ideas to share with you.

How many times have you carted the same stuff back and forth to work?
How bad does your shoulder hurt from carrying that heavy bag?

I don't use a bag. I walk to and from work. 2 miles each way! And, going home is ALL uphill. Doing that walk with a heavy bag is just not fun at all. So here's what I do so that I don't have to worry about carrying a bag.

LUNCH: One day a week I bring in a bag of groceries for lunch. I bring everything I will need to make a salad for lunch all week plus a few extras. Most things last longer than a week, so I don't need to replenish much each week. No preparing lunch the night before or the morning of work. (As a side note: I also keep a little make-up bag and "freshen up kit" at work, too.)

DIGITAL STORAGE: No reason to carry a computer back and forth. I save things I will need both at home and work in DropBox or Google Drive. I've made sure that the computer I use at work and the computer I use at home have the same fonts installed so I never have to worry about my documents not looking right.

PLAN & PRIORITIZE your SIDE WORK: Each week I plan WHEN I will do all those extras that end up taking so much extra time and so often used to end up going home with me after work. A to do list is a lifesaver, but it has to be attainable. I am now very realistic with myself. I make a doable list that is prioritized with the most imperative things at the top. If I don't get to the bottom items, I move them to the next bit of prep-time that I have. I do not let myself take anything home unless it is something that must URGENTLY be done by the next day.

I've said this before - but it's worth repeating - PLAN AHEAD. Copy and plan a month ahead. Set aside one day a month to plan for the following month. You will be thankful for the extra time you spent that ONE DAY for an entire month... AND you won't have to cart things back and forth between work and home.

Some teachers have very complicated student jobs. I know a teacher who makes sure that every single child in their class has a different job every single day. For over 30 kids! That's a LOT of work! I used to have 8 different jobs, then 5... now I'm down to 3! Three has been the magic number for many years now. Each year I tweak the job description of these 3 jobs depending on the kiddos and things that come up... but here are my jobs:

JANITOR - Dismisses students who have cleaned up their area to line up and selects 2 friends to help him/her empty the trashcans at the end of the day into the "big cans"

MESSENGER - Takes anything that needs to be delivered elsewhere (usually chooses a friend to go with him/her), puts papers into cubbies (again with a friend), and runs the pledge, calendar and morning sight word reading.

LINE LEADER - Besides the obvious, the line leader is also in charge of making sure centers are clean and orderly at the end of each day.

These jobs last a whole week. With 30 kiddos, each child has a turn at doing all 3 jobs before the year ends.

This is a piece of scrapbook paper, trimmed slightly and glued to another piece of black scrapbook paper. On that I glued 3 black circles with the job names on them. (These jobs cards are part of the Basic Black Labels FREEBIE in my Fan Freebie tab on my Facebook page.) Then I laminated it. After stapling it to the wall I screwed 3 cup hooks through it. Then I put 10 name cards on each hook. Each week, I rotate the card in the front, to the back. After I've gone through all of the names, I rote the entire stack of cards clockwise and start again.
This one is quick and easy but took me FOREVER to learn. It took me a long time to learn that I don't need to grade everything. In fact, the kiddos (even the little ones) get more out of grading things with me. I have strict rules. We use red pen to grade. NO going ahead. You MUST fix anything you got wrong with RED PEN. If you don't follow those simple directions you lose your paper and all your hard work AND your tile gets moved (my behavior management system). I let the kids parents know that we do this in class so the kiddos can learn that:
  • no one is perfect
  • we all have things to learn 
  • it's okay if you don't know, but not ok if you don't try
  • we learn things ALL day - even when we are correcting work
When we "grade" things - the kiddos are usually the ones giving me the answer, not the other way around. AND they cannot just tell me the correct answer. They must give the answer in a complete sentence that includes the word "because".
EXAMPLE:  "(b) cat is the correct answer because (a) boy is not an animal and (c) dog is not an animal that says meow"

So there you have it. It's not dessert. But a simplified work week is almost as good as dessert.

Ok - it's not.

But it's more enjoyable than "chaos 3 ways". :)

What are your favorite things to do that SIMPLIFY your work day?

Candy Corn Guys {Free Craftivity Download}


Hello!! This is Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE October and Halloween! And, even though I don’t like the taste of candy corn- they sure are cute! So, why not make some Candy Corn Guys for fun with your students.

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This Candy Corn Guy is a free download with all the patterns for you to make them. They are super easy and really cute. It took my first graders about 45 minutes to make these from start to finish. This included all the cutting and gluing.

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What a truly HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY sight! Love these!


They made an adorable display that we will enjoy all month!


Quick Download link: Candy Corn Guy Craftivity

Fun Scarecrow Ideas and a scarecrow writing freebie

Hello Friends,

This is Cindy from Kinderkay Love Those Kinders. I thought I would share with you a few scarecrow activities and projects.

We had some fun this week creating paper scarecrows and then writing about them. I am lucky at my school to be able to have a garden with a REAL scarecrow. I took my students out to the garden and using our senses we discussed what the scarecrow might see, hear, and smell.
 We then went inside and wrote about it. The kids also followed step by step directions to create these cute paper scarecrows. I hung them in the hall for a cute Fall display!

 You can find my scarecrow writing resource below.....

Another fun scarecrow project that I like to do each Fall is a scarecrow directed drawing/painting activity. This is not my original idea. I found it a few years ago on Pinterest, but when I searched for the link, it had changed since I last pinned it. The site can be found HERE if you would like to do a search. The kids first sketched their scarecrow with its arm stretching out. We discussed how we were not drawing the WHOLE scarecrow; just PART of it. (Great for teaching PART and WHOLE). They sketched with pencil and used a black Sharpie to trace over their pencil lines. After tracing, they used watercolors to paint it. We let it dry and THEN, they carefully cut around the black lines on their scarecrow and glued it to blue background paper. They made paper crows and wrote one letter of their name on each crow with white crayon. They really turned out striking when they were complete!

This scarecrow literacy game is a fun way to count words in sentences. Even if kids cannot read the words, they can count them and that number is used to move around the board. Kids collect corn as they progress through the gameboard "field" and try to NOT let the crows take their corn!

This game is included in my Five Fall Scarecrow Math Centers resource....

I like to tie our Living/Non Living unit into our scarecrow unit. We did this fun Scarecrow Living and Non Living activity on our classroom bulletin board.
 This scarecrow sorting activity is taken from my Living and Non Living resource....

You can find a TON of scarecrow activities from Deanna Jump if you click the picture below. These scarecrows are ADORABLE!
Hang on my friends........ You also can find MORE adorable scarecrow activities from Erin at Eberhart's Explorers.... Cute, cute ideas!

Erin also has a close read resource for "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" which you can find by clicking the image below. I just started using this resource today and am so excited to try it out with my kinders!
So, that's it for now, my friends!

Happy Fall to YOU ALL!

Close Read Halloween Freebie!!

Hey Blog Hoppers! I'm Erin from Eberhart's Explorers and I'm here to talk about Close Reading. Let's face it.....close reading is not a skill that often comes naturally for our students. When our students are exposed to a text, their first instinct is to often race through the text rather than engage deeply with the reading assignment. Can anyone relate? Getting your students to slow down, reflect as they read, and engage with the text (in different ways) are all part of being a good reader and are goals of close reading. Not to mention, these skills are at the heart of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards. While this can be challenging for teachers, it's something we need to model for our students and work on continuously. Nurturing these higher level skills takes time and many different techniques. 
So how can you get started? It's easy....I'm sharing a Close Read with you today! My friend Jennifer Horner and I have teamed up to create Close Reads for primary students. We have set up our Close Reads in an easy to follow 5 day lesson plan and are sharing a Halloween Close Read with you so you can get started NOW. It's not too late to implement these lessons into your school year and work towards students' digging deeper. How does it work? Each day, you will read the text and isolate a different skill. 
Day 1 is your Cold Read. You're going to build background knowledge, set a purpose for listening, and read with minimal stopping. This is the day you really want to hook your students and get them excited for what's to come! After I discuss our essential question, I might show a picture of a car with a LOT of people in it and discuss what students think might happen to the car. As I read, students will begin to make connections to my picture and I'll ask students how the picture and the story were similar. 
Day 2 is all about Vocabulary. I start out reviewing our essential question and set a purpose for listening. "Today, boys and girls, I would like you to listen for tricky words within the text." Please keep in mind I have already read through the text and identified the unfamiliar words! ;-) When selecting vocabulary, make sure you choose words that are most significant to the plot or meaning of the text. As we read, I will chart vocabulary words and model the words within the text. Students will repeat the word, say the definition, and come up with a motion. 
Today is the day where Close Reading really comes alive! Of course, you re read the text and establish your essential question. I start out (at the beginning of the year) modeling this and answering the questions whole group...but as we progress, students are able to do this independently. It's so exciting to see how they develop as readers! We discuss finding "evidence in the text" and "going back to the book" and students are able to show me specific details when coming up with their answer. I model and record my answer on chart paper and students engage in discussion. Multiple text dependent and text inspired questions are included with each of our Close Reading units as well as recording sheets.
Day 4 includes Collaborative Questioning. On this day, after re reading the book and establishing the collaborative question, students turn and talk with partners. They LOVE doing this and getting to share! I'm very specific on what's expected during this time and try to get around to all partners and conference with them while they are collaborating. Students are also encouraged to be good listeners and write or draw what their partner said, as well as rate them. This rating holds, both the student and partner, accountable. After I have allowed enough time, we come back together as a group and I have 1 or 2 students share.
Day 5 is the Cumulative Wrap Up! We do our final read of the text and I incorporate some type of activity to ensure comprehension. This includes anything from writing and answering comprehension questions to completing a story map or reenacting the story with retelling cards. A variety of activities are included to differentiate your instruction. 
So what do you think?? Anxious to try? Click the unit cover below to grab this Halloween Close Read from my TpT store for FREE (for a limited time only). Be sure to give it a whirl and let Jennifer and I know what you think by leaving feedback at my store. I'll also be posting more of our Close Reads soon - we have close to 17 ready! 
I hope everyone enjoys and has a great Sunday.