Celebrity of the Week (FREEBIE!!!!!)

Hello all!
              I hope you had a wonderful Halloween day with the kiddies! I still can't believe how well behaved my students were today, despite all the sugar, excitement and anticipation for this evening. They were absolutely amazing and looked too cute in their costumes! I dressed up as a circus ring master, as to introduce my new theme for November (stay tuned for lots of great circus ideas).
            I am just about to begin my celebrity of the week "activity" with my students and thought that I would share! I "borrowed" the idea from a wonderful blogger Mrs. Carroll over at www.thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com and fell in love with it! You all know by now that I am a huge believer in positive reinforcement and what better way to motivate a child than to honor them for an entire week! The kiddies love to share all about themselves with their peers and teachers. I have always had some adaptation of "Star Student" or "Student of the Week," but this celebrity business is just too cute to pass up!
           I have set up a little "celebrity" corner with a stool, pocket chart, and wonderful scrappindoodle clipart. The pocket chart serves as an area to display the wonderful little sheets I have prepared (and am sharing with you for FREE! Woohooo!!!). The students sit on the stool as they share their information, as well as read their favorite storybook to the class. Take a look at the little "Celebrity of the Week" package I made up. FREE DOWNLOAD HERE: Celebrity of the Week Package (free download)
 Take a look at my little corner. Isn't it adorable!?

You can also have a look at Mrs. Carroll's. It's a wonderful space!

She also has some great ideas to your Celebrity of the Week activities! She rocks!!! She should definitely be on the blogger wall of fame! Check it out: Mrs. Carroll's Celebrity of the Week

Take care for now and stay tuned for some great ideas on differentiated instruction in the classroom :)


What Do Vampires Eat?

Hello Everyone!
                I promised a vampire activity for Halloween and I shall deliver! This is truly the most fun we've had with writer's workshop yet! My kiddies really went all out with this activity, especially the boys! We all know that vampires drink blood, but What Doooo they Eat?!?! Let me tell you, my kiddies had some interesting ideas...

We read the darling little book called "Vunce Upon a Time" about a vegetarian vampire, named Dagmar, who likes to indulge in candy, once in a while (everything in moderation, of course). It is truly the cutest and had a lot of great vocabulary words that could be used for discussion. My students learned about the words: reluctant, inspiration, dawn, etc... 

Upon reading the story, we discussed the setting, main characters, plot etc... This is something my students are becoming great at, as I really insist on asking comprehension questions often! We also wrote a class story about my "display vampire!" Boy, did they ever describe him as having the most disgusting diet EVER! From toe nail soup to "booger" salads! Their creativity floors me and I absolutely love it! Finally, they resumed their seats and began their individual work. The end product is absolutely fabulous! I am so proud of these kiddos, they really out-did themselves!

Have a look for yourself! Tell me these are not the most precious vampires you'll ever meet!

I provided the students with one piece of both red and black construction paper. I also supplied them with a white sheet that included patterns of a face, shoes, hands, ears and fangs (I apologize for not including this in the download, however I am having difficulties scanning the document! Ahhh, the wonders of technology). The students created their own capes, thus the variation in shapes and sizes (which I love).

As you can see the boys had a ball with this activity! I gave them free reign on how "gross" and "disgusting" they could be!

Of course, the girls were quite excited too and some actually out-did the boys in the "yucky" department!

What Do Vampires Eat?

This is Melanie. She likes to eat spaghetti with snakes and rotten eggs with salad. She also likes to eat cheese with worms. She has sharp teeth.

This is a story from a second-language student who has come a very long way in her writing! Just another reason why writer's workshop ROCKS!

You can download the bat stationary below


Pumpkin People

Good Evening Everyone,

                        I am on a Halloween Activity Frenzy! My kiddies made the most adorable "Pumpkin People" and I just had to share. It truly is a simple idea and is a great way to teach your students about descriptive paragraphs. I read the students this wonderful storybook:

We discussed the rhyming words and the descriptive words.

I then proceeded to show the students my "Pumpkin Person." I must admit I'm not so proud of this demonstration. I usually place greater effort into making examples for the students but was simply feeling too overwhelmed and rushed with this one!

We followed the activity by writing a class story, and of course brainstormed ideas on our whiteboard. At the moment I am writing down the topics that must be present in their stories on the board for them. Eventually, after many examples and lessons on story mapping, I will expect them to brainstorm on a separate sheet of their own! Here is what we came up with for our story:

Finally, the students were asked to return to their seats and create a "Pumpkin Person" of their own and write a descriptive paragraph about it. They are such a creative bunch!

So there you have it! Adorable and simple! Who can resist a pumpkin activity on Halloween! Stay tuned for my "What do Vampires Eat?" writer's workshop activity.


Halloween Word Wall Hunt

Hello Dear Blogger Friends,
           I apologize for my lack of postings these past few weeks. It just seems as though things never cease to slow down! It is a constant flow of planning, creating, preparing, correcting, filling, putting up, taking down... I know you all understand me... I take my hat off to all of you who do the same as me each and every day and still manage to post these wonderful ideas on your blogs, so consistently. It amazes me! How DO you do it?!?!
          Ok, so enough complaining! This is my opportunity to share with all of you! As I mentioned in previous posts, I absolutely L.O.V.E Halloween, and thus I greatly enjoy creating new Halloween activities each year. This evening, I shall share with you a game I made for a morning message activity. My morning routine consists of checking homework baggies and changing reading log books, and I refuse to have 19 students sitting around waiting for the day to begin. Thus, they arrive each morning to an activity that will get their brains working right away!
         This specific morning message activity consists of the students searching the room for Halloween words that rhyme, begin with the same letter, or contain the same number of letters as specific words indicated on the activity sheet. For instance, the students are asked to find a Halloween word that rhymes with "mat." They are also asked to find a Halloween word that contains the same number of letters as the word "happy." You can download this FREE activity sheet on my TpT page: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Word-Wall-Hunt
          I am also including a free Halloween Word Wall to use alongside this game, as well as for writer's workshop, Daily 5, and/or various literacy centers. This is also a free download and can be found at: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Word-Wall-Words

        You can print out the words, glue them to card stock, laminate and then place in various pocket charts.

          I like to scatter them around the room, as I encourage students to use this resource often and would like to refrain from having several students standing in the same place at the same time! This, as you must all be aware of, avoids much chatting as well as conflicts!
          While your visiting, you might as well download my free Halloween word folders! Check them out at: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Word-Folders

       Once again, you must simply cut out the words and the labels, paste to a file folder and laminate. The students love to bring these handy little spelling helpers to their desks! Enjoy, and keep an eye out for more Halloween activities and ideas!

Positive Reinforcement Ideas

Hi All!
       With my favorite holiday approaching (I absolutely LOVE Halloween), I have been spending countless hours and dollars at the dollar store and party shops. I have come to realize that these places are little gold mines for positive reinforcement!
        I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and absolutely adore that my little kiddies respond so well to praise! They work so hard and appreciate the compliments that are shared with them every 2 to 3 minutes! Hehe! If you walk down the cycle one hallway you will hear constant praise and displays of affection. "You're a star!" "WOW!" "You're Amazing!" "I love how great you're working!" "Give yourself a pat on the shoulder!" etc... etc... etc.. They LOVE it and I LOVE praising them and focusing on the positive.
        As I am most certain that anyone reading this post feels exactly the same way, I thought I'd share some adorable ideas with you! Keep in mind that if you are unable to find any of these items, they can be easily recreated by a crafty person (which most of us teachers are).

       The kiddies absolutely love these! Gold Medals for great workers! I also like to give these out for kind acts and positive behavior. They are so proud to walk around with their medal and show it to everyone. It also generates a lot of attention from other teachers and peers. They almost always stop and congratulate the student on their medal and ask about why they received it. The students share the reason and thus this reinforces the positive behavior and instills a sense of great pride for the student. These little treasures are oh so cute and cost $1.00 for a pack of 4. How can you go wrong?!

        Another great find are these amazing giant ribbons! I love that they say winner because the word can represent so many different meanings. The kiddies often associate winning with sports, games and more specifically with being "the best"or "number 1" at certain tasks or activities. I think it's important for students to understand that being a winner can mean so much more than coming in first or scoring the most goals. They should know that hard work is rewarding and that when they put great effort into their work, they can achieve great successes. I also think that it's crucial for students to distinguish the importance of making wise choices with regards to their actions and behavior. They are also winners when they make a positive choice or decision. These ribbons certainly make a statement! Once again they receive a great amount of positive attention when sporting these sweet "little" ribbons and are often asked to share why they have received them.
         Finally, I must share the most amusing positive reinforcement tool that I have had the pleasure to use in my classroom. When a student does a great job, I shake this little toy and it's like a mini party for the student! The noise generates interest from fellow students and the confetti adds a nice little touch! The students react well to this form of praise and tend to join in by clapping or saying "good job". I love how my kiddies are so supportive of one another and demonstrate genuine pride and happiness when a classmate succeeds! I believe it has much to do with the "bucket filling" http://www.amazon.ca/Have-You-Filled-Bucket-Today/dp/0978507517 that the first grade teacher implemented last year and plan on applying this concept again this year. Mrs. Leslie Rocks! (http://www.firstgradefrenzy.com/)

 I hope these ideas can be of some use to at least some of you out there! Enjoy, and keep praising those kiddies. A favorite quote of mine states: "They may not remember what you taught them, but will always remember how you made them feel." What better way to treat them, than to make them feel special, proud, exceptional, and most importantly happy.


Teacher Moments :)

So here's the deal... The last few weeks have been quite hectic in Teacher Land! Why, you ask? Well, here in Canada we have had temperature drops (which = runny noses, sneezing, coughing and all that great stuff) and rainy weather (which can be better described in simple terms as indoor recesses, YIPPEEEE!!!) Now the little kiddies sure get affected by all this and thus in turn, so do we teachers!           (Insert picture of teacher pulling her hair out here!) hehe!

Despite all that, (Yes, I still love my job!) I had the sweetest moment today with a darling student. It was one of those moments that make us think:"Wow, we have the most amazing jobs." It may seem frivolous or small to most people and the kiddies tell us wonderful things each day, however this really warmed my heart. I just had to share!!!

In the shuffle of our preparation for an outdoor recess (Hurrah!) this darling little girl took my hand and said: "Ms. Nicole I really love you." to which I responded "I love you too sweetheart." She then squeezed my hand and said: "Ms. Nicole I'm always going to love you, even when your not my teacher, even when I'm big, I'm going to love you forever." Now call me oversensitive, (they express their love for us each day!) but my eyes may have watered a little bit. The genuineness of her words and the actual love, were so sweet! DO WE HAVE THE BEST JOB OR WHAT?!?! I'm sure you all have moments like these and I think it's important to really embrace them, because teaching can be so difficult at times, and these instants are what make it all worth it!

It's no Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul material, but it sure made my day and I thought by sharing this with you it would possibly bring back some nice moments that you may have experienced!

Feel free to share some of your special times with the kiddies. I'd love to read all about them!


Snap a Word (Word Work Linky Party!)

Dear Blogger Friends,
                          It's been a while since my last post and I thought I would share my favorite word work activity! Hilary, over  at Rockin Teacher Materials started a Linky Party to share word work activities. I have a fun word game that we play, as a class, or that the students take part in during word work. It's called Snap a Word and consists of the students "snapping" words that have a selected sound. For instance, if you are working on the short "a" sound, students must look around the room and find words that include this specific sound. This is also a great word wall game!

If you would like to diversify the activity from time to time, you can "tickle" a word with a feather. Moreover, you may "light up" a word with a flashlight or simply "point" to a word (using a pointer).
You can find a free template for "snap a word," as well as a more concise explanation at: http://classic.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Snap-a-Word

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