Friday, November 20, 2015


So it's friday again.  Here's some highlights from my week.

We've been working on number concept.  Today we played blackout.  It's a game involving playing cards, bingo chips and 10 frames.  The kids really enjoyed it.  

Please ignore my ratty duct tape - it's in desperate need of replacing.

We did some research on Canadian Animals.  I was so pleased with how much effort these kids put into this.  I was very surprised at how motivated they were.  I'm going to need to try this activity again soon. 

And don't forget - tomorrow is the last day of the SWAP MEET giveaway.  Check out my last post for more information.

And thanks again for stopping by today!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Swap Meet Blog Hop

OH I am TOTALY excited today.  I have been taking part of an amazing Swap Meet organized by some of my TPT friends.  There are tons of great bloggers involved.  And in the end, there is a fantastic giveaway with an awesome prize pack.Read down and find out how this works!

First we were paired up with another Primary Teacher.  I was paired up with Amber from First Grade Diva Creations.   I just love her store.  She has tons of amazing products.  We were supposed to choose one to try out in our classrooms and then review for this Swap Meet.  Well, let me tell you, it was really hard for me to pick just one of Amber's products.  She really has a lot of great stuff.

Anyway, considering the season, I decided on her huge October Bundle called 

Halloween Activities~ Math, Writing, Science, & Research

This product is so comprehensive and enormous!

to check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I was thrilled when Amber agreed to let me take a peek and review it!
I tried it out in my classroom.  There's a Haunted House Glyph, a Writing Activity, a Place Value Game, and some detailed writing and number activities as well.  There's really too much to list here.  I really wanted to try out the Pumpkin Writing Research part of this bundle.  And let me tell you it was a great resource.    

To start off my review, we had a visit from the pumpkin fairies at my school...

Well, actually the pumpkins were delivered from a local pumpkin farm, and the parents put them out in the park down the street.  Fortunately we had a perfect day weather wise, and the kids had a lot of fun picking out a pumpkin.   After hauling their pumpkin back to school, they were pretty attached, and thus pretty motivated to learn about pumpkins.

So we learned about the life cycle, and did some research about them - all part of Amber's great October Bundle.

The actual lesson I wanted to highlight, from this pack, was one about Text Features.  I though Amber had a brilliant little activity and it was not only super easy to prep, but I found the perfect book to go along with it.

First off, I found this great non-fiction book by Rebecca Felix.

In Amber's unit there is a page which she recommends that you print out and laminate.  The original version is color, and thus, much more impressive, but I decided to print it out and photocopy it so each child had their own to keep.  I plan to use these again in another lesson in the future.  Amber recommends that each child has this page, with the list of Text Features and key visuals.  As you read through the text, the children can "pinch" the word of the text feature they find.  So we read the book as a class and we stopped each time so the kids could stop and "pinch" the name of the text feature that was on the list.   I think this lesson would be great to repeat every time you read aloud a non-fiction book so that it really reinforces the concepts for the kids.

Some examples from the text that we found were...

 Table of Contents 


Bold Print

And an Index

Then the kids did an activity in which they pretend to be a Text Feature Detective.
There's a cut and paste worksheet where they can pick out four of the text features they found in the text.  Then they write a sentence to tell how it built their schema.

Now on to the fun stuff for you!
There are 16 products up for grabs.  To be a part of the giveaway you need to collect all the letters from each swap pair, figure out the message, and enter the rafflecopter giveaway.

or if that doesn't work

thanks for stopping by and playing today. 
I hope you enjoy the Swap Meet!

Friday, November 13, 2015


I'm afraid that I did not have time to take many photos at school this week.  I was really focused on our assembly for Remembrance Day and everything that entails.

These gorgeous Poppies were made by my next-door neighbour's class.  Click Here to check out her fantastic Art blog.  

These beautiful poppies were made by the Grade 5's.

And, like I said, I really didn't take many photos this week at school, so here are some shots of my daughter learning to ride a horse for the first time last weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Everything you need to know about TURKEYS

I just realized that I have not announced the release of my latest unit here on my blog.   I am happy to say that it is doing really well on Teachers Pay Teachers, so I thought I'd give you all some details about what it includes.

to check it out on TPT.

I've gone back to my Critical Thinking Skills outline using the Knowledge Framework.  I just love using this technique.  There are lessons on describing and labelling turkeys, making choices, the life cycle of a turkey, evaluating learning, synthesizing information in a sequence, doing research, levelled readers and a large variety of language arts activities.  Scroll down to check out the images below.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Peek at Last Week

So I'm trying something new this week.  I've been working on using Instagram more and more.  So I'm going to share with you some highlights from my Instagram feed once a week.
If you want to check out my Instagram feed - click on the camera icon on my blog header above.

Here is my latest unit.  It is a Science and ELA unit about 
Turkeys which also focuses on Critical Thinking Skills.
if you would like to check it out.

This week we have been working on Remembrance Day (or Veteran's Day) activities.
These activities are included in the We Remember Unit in my store.
to check it out.

These fantastic poppies were made by the Grade One class across the hall from me.

These little Monsters are part of an activity I'm trying out called
Monsters In The Window.

And Finally, we are finishing up learning about pumpkins 
if you are interested in this unit.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Blog Hop

I know, I know.  It's like I disappeared into the void.  Well, when I went back to work, I went back with a lot of focus this year.  And I've been spending a lot of extra time preparing for my students, and I'm really happy with how things are going.  PLUS, I've been putting TONS of effort into my store.  I've almost finished redoing all of my cover pages and product descriptions to give my store a more cohesive look, AND I've created a few new great products - like the BATS unit of my last post.

So it took Rachel over at the Classroom Game Nook, to get me back in the saddle *um, I mean, blogger seat that is.  So I'm finally taking some serious time and sitting down to write you a fun post with some great FREEBIES and a GIVEAWAY to boot!


So how about a TRICK to get this party started?  Well, I have to let you in on my classroom management secret.  I've seen all sorts of posts about behaviour charts and to tell you the truth, I've never used one, and when I first heard about them I had no idea what they were or how they worked.  For years I've been using a simple process called TABLE POINTS.    You need a cup for each table group, and a whole lot of Poker Chips.  

Here's how it works and here's how it's different from other point systems.  Firstly, I don't let my students choose their seating arrangement - EVER.  I used to let them choose when I taught Kindergarten, and they would choose a variety of places to sit as the day went on.  But with Grades One and Two, I've found it much simpler to pick for them, seeing as they have to sit and work for much longer periods of time than those Kindies ever did, and they don't always make the best choices of who they sit next to.  So I assign seats at large tables.  I have 4 in my classroom which sit 6 kids each.  Where I work the maximum number of student I can have is 24, so this works perfectly.

The first activity for each table group is to choose a mascot.  I have a huge bin of stuffies that I have collected over the years.  They are pretty small.  When I started teaching, one of our local Gas station companies gave you a stuffie  of an endangered animal, when you filled your car with gas.  Every week it changed.  So in a few months I had a huge collection of realistic looking stuffies.  I've been pretty careful whenever I add to it.  The stuffies are cleaned at the end of each of their 'terms'.  I usually change table groups once per term which means 3 times a year.  Once a mascot has been used, it is retired until the next year.

Choosing a mascot is a team building activity in itself.   I pull out 8 - 10 different stuffies and explain what they are to the kids.  Then the kids have to come to a unanimous decision as to what stuffie they want.  Sometimes it can take a while, but they always come to a consensus.  We use table groups for all sorts of activities in the class to further their identity in the group.

On each table is a little cup and over the week they can earn table points for doing what they are supposed to be already doing.  It's like "catching them being good".  I never give points for the same reason very often.  Sometimes they get a point for doing their homework, sometimes they get a point for working as a class so quietly.  If I catch them doing something kind or polite they might earn one too.  Sometimes I will challenge them, (or bribe them).  Like if I need to run down to the office for 1 minute, I tell them that if they are doing what they are supposed to be already doing when I return (and not goofing off) then they will all earn a table point

The team that earns the most points every week gets a chance to pick from my prize box.  And it's full of non-candy treats from the dollar store.  They LOVE this.

TABLE points can also be taken away.  I usually spend the first week really pumping them up about  points and giving out LOTS of points.  After a week or two, I explain to them that they can actually LOSE table points for misbehaviour.   It's amazing how quickly some of those little kids who love to shout and interrupt will actually change their behaviour because they lost a table point.  Sometimes they have to lose a LOT of points before it sinks in, but the other kids at the table will put pressure on the child as well.   Of course I use discretion.  Children with special needs or special circumstances are given extra leeway on poor behaviour.  

I found that it took me a few years to really master this technique of focussing on all the GOOD things kids do instead of punishing the BAD.  So although I do take away table points for poor behaviour, I'm not actively looking for it.  Instead, I am actually looking for GOOD behaviour and this puts me in a more positive frame of mind too.  I also make a point of fudging the results so that every table wins an equal amount of the time, even those tables that have kids who just never seem to get their homework done, or sit quietly etc.

So how about a TREAT???

I've got a great new Freebie, just posted up at my store for Halloween.
Pop back here next week and I'll blog the step-by-step way I use this resource in my own classroom.

There's a full color cover.

There's a brainstorming page 

There's a page for a rough draft. 

And a page for a good copy to insert in the class book. 

to get your own free copy.


I'm having a giveaway.

Enter here to win my latest Science Unit on Bats which is selling like hotcakes!

to check out my unit, and see the Rafflecopter below to enter!


Now, hop on over to Two Nutty Teachers to check out what they have up for grabs.
Click the photo below to go there...

Once again, I'm so glad you stopped by today!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Bats

Hi Everyone
This is just a quick post to showcase my latest product.  I can't wait to try it out with my class this week  It's ready, just in time for Halloween.

It's based on a program called the Knowledge Framework, which is a program designed for ELL students.  I find it works really well for non ELL students too.  It helps develop critical thinking skills.   There are diagrams for labelling and the life cycle.  There are ELA activities too.

There are sorting activities, full colour photos of bats, step-by-step drawing activities, and evaluative activities too.

There are word wall cards, poetry acivities, KWL and other brainstorming activities.

There are full-colour informative posters, and a research activity with levelled readers for independent work.