Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween in the Classroom

Let's be real.  Sometimes we just need to take a break!  Especially around Halloween.  Right now, I have report cards, Halloween, early release days to get report cards done, videos to watch (because it's not good enough that I've watched the same blood-borne pathogen video EVERY SINGLE YEAR for the past twelve years).  I needed a break and my students needed a break.
I started making this pack to do just that.  I wanted to keep things educational, but I wanted to release my students from the grip of rigor for just a day (or two).

I started the day with a question.  We graphed first thing in the morning as we unpacked our bags.

Then we graphed our results.  This was easy peasy for my little math geniuses.  One friend said "Wow!  That was so easy!  But fun at the same time!"

Station one was making a Frankenstein and writing on opinion piece.

Frank was a favorite for sure!

Station 2 was list making and creating a pretend Halloween bag.

I let them use the stapler!  By themselves!
One friend carried the thing around with her like a purse the remainder of the day...

This station was a bat craft and writing about their favorite thing to do on Halloween.

Now keep in mind my students are BEAUTIFUL writers.  But I was NOT going to be a drill sergeant on this day.

I didn't think anyone would care for station four.  But some friends ended up taking a break and reading for a minute or two.  I plan on going into Michael's RIGHT at the beginning of the fall season to get some BIG pumpkins next year.  I went last week and they were COMPLETELY OUT!  Ummm...fall is just getting started!

Witches Brew would have been my favorite station BUT it requires food.  At my school, any time you have food it's considered a party.  So the brew will be served on Halloween and I'll post that later.

I used to love making webs as a kid.  So I thought I would give my students a couple of lines to complete their own webs.
After they made their webs they wrote a spooky story...

And read their spooky story in the Haunted House!
I displayed a picture of a haunted house on my Smartboard.  I would have liked to play some Halloween music but I couldn't find my stankin CD!  Anyway, they would take their story and share it in the haunted house to a friend.  I WOULD, eventually, like to get an actual miniature haunted house for students to sit in.  But then my husband started to complain about the fact of storing it and so I've dropped that for now.

Station 8 was a hit as well.  For some reason second graders like cats...

I hid a secret message for station 9.  
They had to decode the secret message...

Read it and illustrate their understanding.

Station 10 was another opinion and using those tiny little hands to make a spider.

I had a couple parent volunteers in this day so they were able to go around and help trace hands.  My students can decompose and add three digit numbers while regrouping but they can't seem to trace their hands!

Once again, writing was VERY RELAXED this day.  
So that is a look at Halloween in the Classroom!  It takes work to assemble all the pieces but the look on those little faces is priceless.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Holy Craziness.  I moved to Maryland in January.  Then I had to move again in August.  At that point, I had gotten a job and was trying to figure out a new grade level AND move into my house and out of my apartment.
I'm still extremely stressed and trying to get my head above water.  BUT, after two months of being out of the loop I'm back to share something that I incorporated into my classroom this year.
Someone at the school I was subbing at these past six months was GETTING RID of these microscopes!!!  Nobody wanted them!!!!  Seriously?!?!  And they're super heavy duty.  I looked them up on Amazon and they're $80 a piece!!!
So I took them and thought about how to use them somehow.
 Then I thought if we had microscopes we need LAB COATS!!!  Scientists wear lab coats when they investigate.  I found THESE on Amazon as well...
 I also didn't have very many slides and I bought THESE  slides at a pretty good price.  They include gross things like brains and bugs! I like that they come in a sturdy cedar box.
 Once my exploration station was complete, I found a cozy corner in my classroom for the set up.  I hung the lab coats on a hook and the height of the counter is perfect for my little friends.
Every morning before my students come in, I write the names of the next two students on the board with a wipe off marker.  As they are coming in and get unpacked, they don't have to ask who's turn it is.
 I created this observation booklet for them to complete as they are exploring the slides...
 They tell me what specimen they chose and draw a picture of what it looks like.  I also have them tell me why they chose that specimen.
 It's Super Easy and the students love it.  We have about 15 minutes before the bell rings for us to get started and that's just enough time for them to explore.
 They put on their lab coats and hop to it!

I only have two scientists per day so while these friends are at Exploration Station, the rest of my friends are doing Brooke Brown's STEM Bins.

Mornings are SUPER busy in Mrs. Johnson's class but it's full of learning!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Word Work Through the Year and a Sale!

I'm going to keep it real.  When it comes to small humans, you have to keep them entertained.  Some get bored rather easily and try to find solstice in something they're not supposed to.  When centers are far too difficult, they are constantly interrupting you during your time with other students.

  Teaching is such an art.  You have to keep these small humans entertained while they are supposed to be working independently.  And you, as the teacher, are supposed to be working in small groups, progress monitoring, etc.  One thing I've learned over the years is to make sure Word Work is entertaining all the while remaining educational and thought provoking.

I've created Word Work Centers for every month of the school year.  By the time my students get bored, it's time to switch them out anyway!  Many of the activities can be done independently, but I've also created some activities that require partnership and working together.  Adding buckets, bags or fun erasers make the centers all the more intriguing. 
Scroll through and see my students in action!  

Get ready for back to school and have your ENTIRE YEAR ready to go!
It's on sale through tomorrow!