Friday, May 22, 2015

it's the end of the year as we know it...

We've been crazy busy these last few weeks of school, so a Five for Friday is a perfect way to give a quick rundown on what we've been up to!

We made these fun "Hot Dog! It's Summer!" craftivities and wrote about what our favorite part of summer is. 
We made these adorable "Lemonade Stand" craftivities and wrote descriptive sentences about lemonade.
We did an Author's Study on Robert Munsch. I am proud to say I got through Love You Forever without crying this year...and I had a baby this year. The key is to think about how weird that mom is for crawling across the floor of her ADULT son's room.. #maybetakethosepagesout
A few weeks ago I made this little sign and put it up on my whiteboard where all of the "no-name-papers" go to die...the kids love it!
We had our Muffins with Moms event, and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to say thank you to my 3 at-home volunteers this year. 

Click below to grab the Volunteer Thank You freebies!

Check out Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday linky by clicking below!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

i am butter clam...

Ahh Sea Week. I look forward to this all year long. We dive head first into science and if I'm being totally honest, it's AWESOME. I grew up here in Juneau and it's by far one of my favorite memories of school, so I know that I need to make it just that great for my own students #nopressure

We begin our unit of study (Sea Week is not actually a week, but more like a month) by taking a field trip to our local salmon hatchery (DIPAC--Douglas Island Pink and Chum). This place is. the. coolest. We get to ride the "fancy bus" (a Greyline instead of a yellow school bus) and chat it up with Mr. Rich. He is THE best. Check out how he turns a student into a squid step by step as students identify the body parts of a mollusk. So fun. Isn't it great when you take your class on a field trip and the speaker is super engaging, can talk to the kids at their vocabulary level and you can tell they really love kids?! 
 He also gives the class a little bit of a teaser and shows them some critters under the document camera and how you can hold them in the touch tanks. This is the point where I make my way away from the front to the side and start watching the kids...he holds a scallop up flat in the palm of his hand until...splirt! The front row usually gets squirted on. Love.
 These fantastic touch tanks have all kinds of fun animals to check out. And the main tank in the middle of the hatchery is incredibly beautiful.
 And we love to end our field trip to the hatchery with a song I have stuck in my head throughout the remainder of the school year...(sung to the tune of Frere Jacques). There are a few more verses and some body motions, but I'll spare myself the embarrassing video.
A few weeks later, we made our way to a local beach (Lena Cove) and were fortunate enough to have a beautiful sunny day.
 I didn't take a ton of photos without faces, but as you can imagine, they were THRILLED.
And right as it was getting to be that time to go, I asked a few kiddos to stomp out letters and spell "Alaska" in the sand. Can you see it?
 All in all, a great couple of field trips. I am so fortunate to work in this beautiful town :)
When we returned to the classroom, we had a lot to draw from our field trip experiences. We were ready to really get goin in our science notebooks. Here's a little peak at some of the fun we've been having!

All of these are activities and lessons from my Life in a Tide Pool resource. If you're interested, click below:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Donuts with Dads

We recently had our Donuts with Dads event and made these cute little donuts to give to the "dads" that came in. Adorable, right?!
If you've thought about hosting your own Donuts with Dads event or are tinkering around with the idea this year, take the plunge! I promise you won't regret it! Here are a few tips I've learned along the way to help the process go smoothly. 
In the past, I've had my Donuts with Dads in December. However, I've noticed that if you plan for it to be closer to Father's Day (around the end of school), it seems to make more sense on the calendar!
Whether or not your students have their dads in their lives, you can still host a Donuts with Dads. I've called it Donuts with Dudes for several years. Just make sure to have that honest conversation with your class about how it's okay if your dad can't make it...we have a solution! See the next tip!
High school students often need extra credit hours. Many staff in your building would love to participate. Ask your own friends and family. Believe me, people will come through #ittakesavillage #peopleknowit

Don't forget, people have jobs just like you. They require at least a few days notice to get time off work. If you know ahead of time, let them know! I like to give at least a month's notice in case someone is making travel arrangements.

Parents are often willing to help with all kinds of things! The key is to communicate. Don't be afraid to ask for parents to bring in items for your event. They will often volunteer to be in charge of coffee or setting up/taking down. Just ask!

I've created a pack to help with all of this (includes the craftivity shown above). Click below if you're interested:

Monday, April 27, 2015

muffins with moms

Happy Spring to you! I am in the midst of getting ready for one of my favorite events of the year...Muffins with Moms!  This will be my 7th year hosting this event and I couldn't be more excited! Never heard of Muffins with Moms? Skeptical that you wouldn't get any moms to come?  Rest assured, friends. I thought I'd start off by giving a few tips to host your own Muffins with Moms event!
Muffins with Moms can really be held at any point in the year, but I prefer to hold it the Friday before Mother's Day. It is a great way to celebrate the meaningful holiday, and if you live close to your own mom, be sure to invite her as well (my mom comes every year!).
I make it very clear that any and all women are invited to Muffins with Moms. I work in a Title I school. Not all moms can make it. Some are working and can't take the time off. Some are busy at home, are in prison, passed away, live in another city or just plain refuse to come into school forwhateverreason. I have this honest conversation with my kiddos. We come to the conclusion that if it's not your actual "mom" that comes in, no biggie. You can invite grandma, or auntie, or your neighbor lady that lets you jump on her trampoline in the summer. Which leads me to #3.

Even parents with the best of intentions can fail (I'll be the first to admit, I am not supermom). Sometimes we forget important events. Plan on someone not coming. Plan on a few no shows and you'll be happy you asked for more volunteers. Ask your nearby high school if they have any students looking for volunteer hours (cheerleaders, sports teams, health and government classes sometimes require these hours). Ask your school staff if they can take an hour (your principal might be totally on board with this--mine have been!) to come and support any students that didn't have anyone show for them. And if it's not 1-1, don't worry. Students can share any volunteers if need be!
Most parents will need at least a week's notice in advance. If you can let them know as soon as you've put it on your school schedule (check with your admin to make sure there are no other events at the same time!), you'll get a better turnout. You'll also likely get more people that want to help if they have time to plan ahead...which leads me to #5!
I always ask parents to help! Most moms love to help out with events like these, and this is a great opportunity for them to feel like they are supporting their kiddo. I like to provide the coffee and cups (I buy paper travel cups w/lids) and ask parents to bring in the rest.  If you communicate through email, ask parents to "reply all" so they will know what is already taken or you'll get 500 muffins and no orange juice...or vice versa. Or, if you're even more of a tech savvy teacher, a google doc will work great for sign-ups, too.

We get the fun and excitement started by making my Muffins with Moms Craftivity. We have these ready to give as a little parting gift as the moms leave.

You can find this craftivity and more in my Muffins with Moms {the complete kit} by clicking below!

 So, there you have it.  A few tips to get you started. So, tell me, have you hosted a Muffins with Moms event before? What tips do you have to share? Comment below!

P.S. If you're already thinking, "What about the Dads?!" you might be interested in this!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

a few freebies

I recently posted this photo on my Instagram and Facebook:

I had a few requests from people who also use Reading Wonders or Math in Focus, so I made a set for K-5. If you have either of these programs, feel free to download by clicking the photo above.

After attending my school's latest PTO/Site Council meeting, it became apparent that there isn't really a system for passing the torch when it comes to hosting a Friday Fun Night fundraiser. So....I pulled together what I already had and made one. I made it completely theme-less so that it can be used at any point in the year. Use all of it, some of it or none of's free, so please be kind and don't ask me to change it just for you or leave negative feedback because it doesn't work for your fundraiser ;)
And 1 more before I school is also trying to raise money for some new playground equipment and therefore, I volunteered to take our usual "thank you" class photo. So, I whipped up these posters for my own class and figured you might be able to use them as well! Enjoy!
In other news, I created this to use with one of my kiddos. You might find it useful....?