Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Friendly Letter Writing lesson and a FREEBIE

Today I'd like to share with you a quick and easy writing lesson that is free from Tara West over at Little Minds at Work.   

Here's my little display out in front of my room.

It was a quick and easy lesson that I left out for a substitute to do for me when I was away one day.  I love how the kids colored their people so uniquely.  


Sorry there's not more info about the writing part of the lesson.  I didn't get very good photos.  But hop on over to Little Minds at Work

and check out Tara's detailed lesson.
and pick up her freebie.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fingerprint Spring Art

Aren't these adorable?

They are very easy to make.
You will need blue background paper and liquid tempera paint in the colors above.

Step 1 
Demonstrate how to dip a finger in brown paint and drag their finger down the page to make three tree trunks.  Try to make the middle one a bit thicker.  Add skinny branches.  Let dry

Step 2
Once the brown paint is dry.  Have the children paint the grass and the flower stalks.  Use the dragging the finger technique from step one.  I showed them how to lighten the green by dipping their finger in white paint and then green paint.  That's how the various shades of green were achieved in the grass above.  Let dry.

Step 3
Add the blossoms to the trees.   This time the children will dab in the paint and then dab the pain on the paper in a stamping motion (not a swiping motion like above).   I showed the kids how to make the lighter colored blossoms first.  They dipped their finger in the white paint first and then the pink to get variations on the color pink.  When they finished the light pink, I put it aside and they came back up and did the blossoms in the dark pink.

Step 4
You don't have to wait for the blossoms to dry to add the yellow flowers, but you can if you'd like.  Using their fingers again, the children make the flowers with a stamping motion again.

That's it!  Voila!   Easy Fingerprinting Spring Art

Thanks for popping by today!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five for Friday LInky

So today is our last day in Palm Springs.  I have decided to take part in the Five for Friday linky party over at doodle bugs teaching.  Click here to hop on over and check it out.

So this week was NOT very school centered.  I've been working on some products that will be coming up soon, but otherwise, not much on the teaching front.
So I thought I'd share my five favourite things from our trip with you.

Next week is our 10th anniversary.  We go to Palm Springs and spend a week with my parents every Spring Break.  And every year, our anniversary falls during our trip, but this year, Spring Break was early.  So our actual 10 year anniversary is next week.  

Here we are dressed up and ready to go out.

So, considering that we have free babysitting while we're on our trip, we decided to celebrate by going to our favourite restaurant in Palm Springs - Spencer's.

It's not cheap - so it is definitely a special occasion restaurant for us.
BUT the FOOD is AMAZING.  We had crab cakes, and Rack of Lamb and Surf and Turf.
And they even brought us out a special desert for our anniversary. 

You can sit outside in this amazing tree-covered patio.  They have heaters for those cold desert nights, and air conditioning for those hot summer days, and it's outside with a fabulous roof of tree branches and fairy lights.  I leaned back and took a photo.

Plus a little bonus was that unknown to us, it was a special night featuring a selection designed by Cat Cora, and she was even there mingling.  I didn't get a good picture unfortunately.  I always get nervous around celebrities and my hands were shaking.

Going to Boomers was a lot of fun this year.  We haven't gone in a few years because we've started our trip at Disneyland and then driven over to Palm Springs, but this time we came straight here.  So although it's not anything like Disney, it was still a fun few hours of games.

My son loved the Bumper Boats

My daughter, the adrenaline junkie, loved the go karts. 

My son tried out the climbing wall.

And we tried out the mini golf.  My kids are getting much better every year.


Going down to the Salton Sea.  The craziest place I have ever seen.
You can get more details from my post here.

The Pool.

  The kids love swimming and would spend all day in there if they could.
I would love, love, love to get a pool at home.  But we really don't get enough hot sunny days to make it financially viable.  Anyway, the complex that my parents stay in has 19 swimming pools.  So there's one really close.

Spending time with family.  That's the most important part of our trip!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rainbow Name Poetry

So here's a quick and easy activity that we did in my class the day before Spring Break started.  I wanted to come back to a classroom full of bright, happy, Spring-like images.  So why not rainbows?

So here's how this activity worked.

First they wrote their names vertically down a page of their journal.  Then they had to come up with words to describe themselves.They had to find one that started with each letter of their names.  Now of course, some of the letters were difficult, so they were allowed to use dictionaries, and if they were struggling readers, I helped them a bit.  It didn't seem fair to me that some kids had to find 9 words, and others only had to find 4, because their names were different lengths.

Once they had written all the words down, they chose the colours they wanted from the strips of paper that I had pre-cut in rainbow colours.

They wrote the words out on each strip of paper in capital letters with a pencil.
I double checked that they had spelled them correctly and then gave them a sharpie to trace them.

The clouds were made from 11 x 17 inch photocopy paper.  I drew a cloud shape, and then photocopied enough so that each child got 2.  Once they had cut out two clouds I showed them how to write out their name with a pencil.  I wrote the first letter for them to show them how large I wanted the printing to be.  Again, once they wrote their name carefully and I double checked it, I gave them a sharpie to trace out their name.

Finally I gave them back their strips of coloured paper, and the cloud with their name on it and they glued them down on the back of the cloud.  If their name was shorter than 7 letters, I asked them to go get the remaining rainbow colours and they could glue those down so that they had a full rainbow below their cloud.  You can see an example with Kyle's cloud in the photo above.

And then finally I took their pieces and stapled together the cloud.  I crumpled up a piece or two of scrap paper to give the cloud some filling.  And I attached the strings to the top and hung them up around my room - I really like how happy they make my room look now.

I'm linking up with No Worksheet Wednesday over at the Primary Chalkboard. 
Hop on over and check out all the great ideas.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Have A Secret Obsession

I have a secret obsession.
I don't know why, but I absolutely love post-apocalyptic plot lines.
Anything post-apocalyptic.
I'm talking natural disaters, alien invasions, zombie apocalypse - you name it, I LOVE IT.

My favourite TV show is the Walking Dead.

My favourite movie of recent times is District 9.

You understand?  It's not totally logical, but for some reason I just love this stuff.

So after 8 years of consistent visits to Palm Springs California, I was very surprised to find out that Southern California has it's own post apocalyptic town - well, more than a town, it's a whole area.

If you've been following my blog for a while  you've seen the photos from our annual March Break trip to Palm Springs.  Sometimes we go to LA for a few days, and we've made side trips to Vegas and Phoenix as well.

Well this year, we decided to check out something I've been very curious about for a while.

Did you know that California's largest lake is a man made, artificial lake close to the mexican border?

Here's my daughter.  We stopped by one of the old resort town on the lake.

I panned out a bit, and this is what the beach looks like.

Then I turned around - check out those abandoned structures.

That, my friends, is the roof of a completely destroyed vacation RV.

So why is this devestation happening in California now?

Check out the salt buildup on those pilings.  Do you think anything can actually live in that lake?

Here's what the water looks like now.

Not terribly inviting is it?

So here's the story.
Just South-East of Palm Springs there was a natural salt-basin.  The area had been filling with water, and draining naturally for hundred of years.  In the early 1900's there was some effort to irrigate the land around this salt basin to increase farming.  One day in the early 1900's the sides of a canal burst and it took 2 years for them to fix it.  During that time, the canal flooded down into the salt basin.  After 2 years there was enough water to create an entire lake.  This lake was developed into a recreational area that was at it's heyday in the 50's and 60's.  People filled the lake with fish stock.  Movie Stars and Rock stars partied there and enjoyed the water skiing, and fishing that abounded.  

So what happened???

Well, when people interfere with nature there are always consequences.

That lake was full of salt, and every year, as the rainwater fell down into the lake, it carried more and more salt (and pesticides from the local farms).  

Eventually all the fish died.

And the air began to stink with the stench of algae and death.

They tried stocking the lake with salt water fish stock, but the salt levels are now twice the level of the ocean.  So even these fish died.

In the 80's and 90's the water levels increased and all the lakside homes were flooded.

So people left. and now it's mostly abandoned.  There are still people there, but it's just so tragic and spooky, I don't understand why people stay.
Check out this photo below which explains the spookiness in great detail.

Creepy right?

Anyway, I got my fill of post apocalyptic thrills for a while.
The kids thought it was totally cool and creepy as well.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday Scoop Linky Party

I'm participating in a linky party that I just discovered today.
Sorry I'm a day late with this.

to check out the party!

In case you haven't already figured it out, we are off to California on Thursday morning.

We go every March - I know boo hoo!   My parents are there for March.  So it's a free visit with built in babysitters.  My dad gets up early so I get to sleep in EVERY DAY!!!  Which makes it a vacation for everyone.  And the kids get to swim several times a day.  So my Sunday Scoop this week is all about our upcoming trip.  I'm going to try to take part in this more often, so check back next sunday to see what we're up to in California!

Thanks for stopping by!