Thursday, November 13, 2014

Urban vs. Rural in the fall

Whew!  The 1st quarter was busy.  We just wrapped up a ginormous unit on urban and rural communities in the fall.  It was a lot of work getting everything coordinated but I am so so happy to be back to teaching in integrated units.  It just makes more sense to the kids when there's an overriding theme that everything is connected to - as opposed to remembering one thing for writing, then abruptly moving to math, then moving to another disconnected topic for science, etc.

As we learned about urban and rural communities, we studied plants and animals in science.  We focused mainly on life cycles and plant & animal needs.

How cute are these farm animal projects that the kindergarten teachers did?!

In social studies we talked about why we need farms and how things from the farms are harvested to be made ready to go to the grocery store and eventually our houses.  We also touched a little on wants and needs and how they're different in each community.
Venn Diagram from Mrs. Russell's room
Flip book: what we get from animals (ex: milk from a cow)
We wrote about exploring fall through our five senses and the life cycle of pumpkins.  We also went to the farm and wrote about what we did and saw there.

I feel chilly.
I taste nachos as the football game.
I hear cutting the pumpkin.

We ended our unit with group research projects.  The kids chose farm animals they wanted to learn about and we watched video clips and read non-fiction books to make notes in our notebooks.  Then they chose their favorite fact to write a sentence and illustrate.  I took videos of their presentations and hooked them up to Aurasma - our parents are going to flip out at Open House next week when they see our work come to life!!  :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ladies: for your eyes only.

Ok friends.  I've written you the perfect post for pinning, emailing to your guy or leaving open in a browser on your shared computer.  If you've ever hoped for an Erin Condren planner {and who hasn't} then you. are. welcome.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

But don't pin this post - it's just our little secret message so you know to bookmark the post below.  After all, we don't want HIM to see this message, now, do we?  It'll be our little secret.  ;)

Listen up fellas. This is what she wants.

Listen up boyfriends, husbands and parents searching for a gift for your favorite teacher.  I have done the grunt work {ie. I am a wife, mother & teacher myself} and this is THE gift on her wish list.  Before anyone accuses me of not understanding the meaning of Christmas, I completely believe in sharing love and giving to others, especially during the holiday season and I know it isn't all about gifts and getting.  But raise your hand if you aren't expecting or hoping to get one single thing for the holidays.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Ok then, let's go on.

In true teacher fashion, let's start with a pre-test.  If you are entertaining the idea of any of the following, please stay tuned.  This post is for you.

coffee cups.
no.  our cabinets already look like this.

school supplies.
yes.  that is adorable.  but no, we don't want school supplies for the holidays or our birthdays.  think about it - do you want a stapler, legal pad or another tie in your stocking?  right.  neither do we want glue sticks, pens or even books.  that's why we invented teacher appreciation week.

personalized teacher gifts.
now husbands and boyfriends, I am talking to you.  leave these classic teacher items for students to buy.  they are cute and have a place in the classroom but unless you want your home to be overrun by other peoples' Pinterest projects, leave all school-related items to her school family.

Let me introduce you to Erin Condren.  The master organizer.  The queen of coordination.  The maker of all happiness.

Okay, so maybe this isn't the end-all be-all of life.  But you know how happy the lady in your life is when everything falls in to place.  {and how stressed out she can be when things are unorganized, scattered and - gasp! - boring looking.}

These planners have made life SO easy.  There is a lesson planning book available but I actually recommend the life planner instead.  Each month has it's own 2 page spread.  Each week has large boxes to write in daily must-do's as well as additional space around the sides and bottom to jot notes, reminders or doodles in staff meetings.

Fellas, let me ask you  - wouldn't it be nice if she always remembered when your boys were playing in Monday Night Football?  There's a space for that.  What if she set aside time every week for a date night with you?  There are color coordinated stickers to help her make you a priority.

I'm sure that you are thinking "there are much cheaper calendars than this that would do the same thing."  But you are wrong.  These are personalized, filled with positive and inspiring quotes and will help your favorite lady feel relaxed, organized and in control.

If you're just dating or need something on a smaller budget, it's okay.  There are desk calendars, iPad covers, notepads and stickers.

So what are you waiting on?  No need to thank me.  Just place your order and get ready to watch her face light up when she sees that you've read her mind.  Get that one thing that she's always wanted but couldn't justify spending the money on.  Those are the best gifts to get.  Ever.

And while you're at it, go ahead and spend that extra $5 to add an additional 6 months to her planner.  Isn't it worth it to extend her happiness into the future?  ;)
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