Tuesday, May 22, 2012

End of the Year Freebie!

We are down to 5 days of school left! I can't believe it! The days seem to go so slow at times but I'm always wondering where the year has gone during these last couple weeks of school. During the last week of school, I always have my students write letters of advice and encouragement to the incoming 2nd graders next year. They L-O-V-E doing this because it makes them feel so grown up to be giving advice to younger kids!

On the first day, I make a 3-column chart with these categories: what we learned about, what we had fun doing, and tips and advice. I have the students help brainstorm ideas for these 3 categories and then I add them to the chart. My students then use these ideas to help them write a letter to a future second grader. I tell them that they need to have at least one idea from each category in their letter. I also explain to them that the letter is actually going to be given to an incoming 2nd grader at Open House night in the fall. They get so unbelievably excited when they find this out! After my students complete their letters, I put them in a file and hang onto them until the fall when Open House rolls around. I then get the letters out and roll each one up and tie a ribbon around it. I place a letter at each student's desk so that they can read it either during the Open House or at home. I've heard from parents that these letters really helped to ease the fears and worries of their children!

I thought that I would share the letters that I use for this activity in case you are interested in doing it with your students. Just click on the picture below to download this freebie to use in your classroom! Included are letters for Kindergarten through fourth grade. I hope you enjoy! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Creating a Grab My Button

Creating a Grab My Button honestly took me WEEKS to figure out. I've had a few questions about how I created mine, so I thought I would post the directions in case it would help anyone out! Just follow the simple directions below... and there you go!

1. Use the snipping tool on your computer to snip a square out of your blog design's background. (needs to be 125 x 125 in size)
2. Save the image as a JPEG on your computer.
3. Upload the square to photobucket.
4. Add the frame and words (or any other designs) on photobucket by clicking on "Edit Picture".
5. Save to your computer.
6. Add it to your blog using the "Add a Gadget" option.

FOLLOW THESE STEPS: Copy and paste the code below to the blank window where it says "Content" (Below the title). Change the PINK to your website's web address, GREEN to the name of your blog, and BLUE to the direct link from your image from photobucket. Change everything back to black ink when done.

<div align="center"> <a href=http://www.talesfromroom112.blogspot.com target="_blank"><img alt="TalesFromRoom112" src="http://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o517/ec106302/orangebackground-1-1.jpg"/></a> </div> <div align="center"> <form><textarea rows="6" cols="20"><div align="center"><a href=http://www.talesfromroom112.blogspot.com target="_blank"><img alt="TalesFromRoom112" src="http://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/o517/ec106302/orangebackground-1-1.jpg"/></a></textarea></form> </div>

7. When you are done click on SAVE and go check your page to see if your button for grab is there. THAT'S IT!

 I hope that helps you!  Now, if you wouldn't mine grabbing mine... =)

Friday, May 18, 2012

What Do Plants Need? Investigation

My students are crazy about science investigations this year! This week, we started a plant investigation called "What Do Plants Need?" It is a two week long investigation that allows them to observe changes in plants that are getting different things. Basically, you use 6 plants (I try to pick flowers that I know will easily die!) and plant them in pots or cups. One flower gets no sunlight, one gets no soil, one gets no water, one gets no space, one gets no air, and the last plant gets everything. My students LOVE planning the experiment and coming up with ideas for what we can do to the plants. (I actually feel kind of guilty knowing that we are killing them... but it's all about the learning, right?!) Here are some pics of the plants and how we planned the investigation:

Plant #1 (No light): We decided to put the plant in the cabinet behind my desk. I pushed the plant about as far back as it could go and keep the doors closed (as much as possible!)

Plant #2 (No soil): The kids thought that I should not only remove all of the soil from the roots but also rinse off the roots to get every speck off. I did just that... and boy, is this plant dying already!

Plant #3 (No water): This one was simple- don't water the plant. I asked them how we could remember not to water this one and one of my students suggested making a sign to remind our "plant caretaker" not to water it at the end of the day. (Yes, the sign says "member"!)

Plant #4 (No space): This was kind of a difficult one for them to brainstorm, but they ended up deciding to put the plant in a small dixie cup instead of one of the blue SOLO cups. Later, we also added some rocks and gravel to the top so the plant doesn't have any space to grow.

Plant #5 (No air): This poor plant gets no air at all. My students thought that we could zip it up in a Ziploc baggie and only unzip it to water the plant at the end of the day. This one is fading fast too!

Plant #6 (Gets everything): This plant gets everything that it needs to survive, so we simply set it in the window and plan to give it everything.

We planned the investigation on Monday and then observed the plants today (at the end of Week One). I put one plant at each table and allowed the kids to look closely at it, feel the soil, etc. They recorded their observations and then rotated to the next table. They did this for all 6 plants. Next Friday will be the last day of the investigation. We will observe them for the last time and then write about our conclusions and what we learned. Hopefully the plants cooperate =) The kids are so excited about this investigation!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today's Steals and Deals!

Today was a great day for shopping! I picked up some really great "steals and deals" at TpT and wanted to share them with you. I am really exciting about using these products in my classroom:

Amy Lemon's I Can Measure! (using inches and centimeters)

The Teacher Wife's Double-Digit Math Packet {Triple-Digit, Too!}

Michelle Oakes' Punctuation People: A Unit on Standard Conventions Grade

Graphics From the Pond's Little Curls Borders/Frames

What are some of your "steals and deals"? Grab the image above and share! You can also link up with Erica Bohrer by clicking {here}!

The Best PTO Ever!

Quite possibly, our school has the best PTO ever! Since it's teacher appreciation week, they have different events planned each day of the week for us. Yesterday, they started off with a bang! I walked into my classroom to find my door beautifully decorated with turtles (my favorite animal!) and a sign saying "Thank You, Mrs. Morrison!" Then, we learned about a relaxation room that they put together for us to use during our planning periods, lunch times, after school, etc. This relaxation room has sofas (yes.... they brought in sofas!), massage chairs, end tables, snacks, flowers, magazines, a CD player to listen to music, and much more. We couldn't believe it! I'm a little worried about going in there because I don't think I'll be able to leave! We also were completely amazed with our decorated staff lounge, nacho bar, smoothie machines, and other delicious treats. I am so absolutely grateful for our PTO this year and everything that they do for us. I feel so appreciated and it's only Tuesday!

I hope all of you feel appreciated this week as well! Thanks for all you do for kids =)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Want to Say Thanks...

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week and all that you do, I am throwing a sale! Take 20% off everything at my TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook store (excluding customized CC posters).

You can also receive an additional 10% off at Teachers Pay Teachers using the coupon code TAD12.

The sale will run from May 6th to May 8th, but you can start filling up your cart now!

Here are some items that may be of interest to you:

Mother's Day Gift Book

Dictionary Skills

Simple Science Experiments

Writing Workshop 101

Math Games with Dice
 Class Book Extravaganza

Common Core Author's Craft Study

 Spelling Practice

2nd Grade Common Core Standards Posters

 3rd Grade Common Core Standards Posters

Happy Shopping! Thanks again for all you do!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Jackpot- May 6, 2012

Announcing the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot Linkup!

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and Sunday, May 6th is sure to be your lucky day! I'm excited to announce the very first Teacher Appreciation Jackpot, an amazing "blog hop" event involving over 125 bloggers! This page is your starting point for the Grades Pre-K - 2 blog hop, and you can find links to the other levels in this blog post.

All of us wanted to show our appreciation for you in a BIG way, so we've all agreed to give away one of our TeachersPayTeachers products for free on that day! Each free gift will be valued at between $3 and $8, so the total jackpot amount is estimated to be over $600!

Because so many bloggers are participating, this event will be divided into three grade level groups. Each of those smaller events is being coordinated by one blogger as shown below:
The big day is not until Sunday, but why not take a look at the items in my TeachersPayTeachers store right now? You've probably heard that there's going to be a massive sale on TpT in honor of Teacher Appreciation week, so feel free to load up your shopping cart now. You don't have to worry that you may end up paying for an item if I make it free; if a product in your cart later becomes free, you won't pay anything for it at checkout. Trust me on this!
Look below to find links to over three dozen terrific Grade Pre-K-2 blogs where you can download your free gifts on Sunday! We appreciate your commitment to your students and your dedication as an educator! It's our pleasure to give away something for free, and many of us will also be offering 20% off our whole store from from May 6th through the 8th. Thanks so much for all you do!

My free gift to you is: Economics: A Unit about Goods and Services, Consumers and Producers (typically a $5 item in my store). Click below to download your free item! (Item will not be free until Sunday, May 6th)