Thursday, November 10, 2011

Introducing Leo!

It's official....We have our class pet...a gecko!!!  I had my kiddos write persuasion letters to our principal and they chose between a gecko or a hamster to persuade him.  He blamed allergies on why we couldn't have a hamster (and of course the gecko was already bought...but we didn't tell the kiddos that).  They are so excited and have claimed I'm "the best teacher in the whole world".  A little reptile has given me top billing in no time!  Of course this would be the week my kiddos are completely off in behaviors (ok just the boys are, my girls are consistently good!)  However they have loved having the gecko in the room and today we finally named him--Leo!  It was a close call to one other name....We started with like 12 names to chose from, and then narrowed it down to 3...can you believe one of our options was Bling Bling!  Thank goodness it was in the top 3, otherwise we'd be buying him some jewels!  So here he is.....

His favorite hideout!

His home!

Coming out for food!

Is that a cricket over there??

Could just settle for some worms!

Back to my hideout! 
He really is a cute thing!  I'm surprised I'm liking him...I didn't think I'd be a lizard kind of person, but he's a good fit for me.  Although skittish still, I'm hoping he will get better.  But it doesn't matter, I'm the best teacher in the world...ha ha ha....:)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YEA! My Class Pet Grant Came!!!!!

I've been super anxious if I would get my pet grant or not.  Pet Smart is having their reptile sale this month and it was making super excited!  So last Sunday (10-16) I stopped off at Pet Smart (just to look, really)  and they had these
Leopard Geckos!!!!  I thought they were cool looking and loved watching them move around.  Instead of heading off to my other errands, I investigated what I would need for a the leopard gecko! I got some good information and was really contemplating it--If I didn't have to meet my teaching partners to decorate the boss' office for boss' day I would have snatched one up then and there....

A few hours later...

I go back and buy the gecko!  I'm such a sucker!  Well needless to say I was now really hoping my grant was going to come.  I got my gecko home and set up and am learning to fee it crickets and meal worms and researching some more on the internet.  

Then came MONDAY--
In the mail I found my Pet Grant had come!!! YEAH!!!!! What great timing!!!  So I was SUPER excited about my gecko purchase.  Now how to introduce it....hmmm.....

 My principal had already approved of a pet but I decided to have my kiddos write him persuasion letters to persuade him that we needed a class pet.  We actually discussed different class pet ideas; a bunny, fish, gecko (hehe) and hamster.  After some thought of taking care of a bunny and the "big' cage it would need and a fish who is kind of boring (well one kid thought so :).  We decided we would try to convince our principal on either a hamster or a gecko.  We read the book:  

And discussed his reasons for why he should get his Iguana.  Then we watched this Microsoft            Dog commercial  (wish I knew how to put a video in)
After we watched this video we talked about this little boys reasons for wanting a dog.  Then we brainstormed some ideas for our animal choices.  They began writing their reasons on why we should get a class pet and which pet they think we should have.  They are SUPER excited to give these letters to our principal.  He even told them it's going to take some good writing and persuading.  I also have told them that if he can't read it because it's sloppy he will skip it!  :)  I'm hoping we finish them by friday so he has the weekend to read them and approve our pet gecko!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Kids love to have a buddy class. The past few years the teacher I buddy with likes to wait until Jan. to start buddies.  However, we always run into state testing and preparing for the tests and we barely see our buddies.  SO this year I suggested starting earlier and she agreed!! My kiddos were so excited about having buddies--we decided to pair our kids up with a particular buddy so they could get to know each other well.  Our first meeting they asked each other questions and did a venn diagram together.  Our next visit we made monster glyphs!  It was very VERY interesting how even the 4th graders struggled with the directions--some used the tracer as their body and some glued the body to a tracer and some didn't even use the tracer!!!  It shocked me!  But I guess maybe my directions needed to WAY MORE CLEARER!  I think the girls did a great job!  There were some real creative girl monsters!  Now I didn't get pictures of their final monsters (they were excited to take them home that day) but I did get some pics of them working with their buddies.  Here are my monster glyphs I made to show as examples.

Monster glyph directions can be found here!  
They really were adorable--I'm excited to see what the 4th grade teacher comes up for our next visit!  

Sunday, October 23, 2011


October is such a fun month for me!  I decorate my classroom with some spider lights and eyeball lights and some Halloween decor!  It's fun for the kids, they love the lights and how cool they look in the dark!  Also October I do a unit on spiders!  I check out tons of spider books from school libraries around our district and have them on hand for kiddos to look at.  They LOVE the books.  I really like to focus on real spiders and spiders that are drawn and made correctly.  We work on the correct body parts, different kind of webs,  the life cycle and look at spider facts.

A really cool thing happened right at the beginning of this unit--I caught a real spider in my back yard!  Ok ok...I usually try to catch one as a "class pet" for Oct.  but they either don't survive or escape!! EEEKK!  But this year turned out to be really cool--I caught a Cat-Faced spider!

Because she was SO cool looking I showed her off to my staff and the kids were just thrilled to look at her.  One of my staff members said she looked pregnant....I was like no, she's just a big spider--Well, one morning I came in and looked at her and there's this HUGE egg sac in the corner of the container!!!!!  She. Was. a mama!!!!!  and she shrunk down A LOT (lost all her baby weight overnight)  :)  So now I am trying to care for a mama spider and her egg sac!  My kiddos want to see it "hatch" could I say "no" to watching a life cycle happen right in our room!  So we'll see what happens--not even sure when they will hatch!

 Here are some of the things we have done:

Drawings of the life cycle

Life cycle

Different kinds of webs


more webs

This is an "Art Friday" activity.  We do art on Fridays and some days it's really fun!  It's cooked spaghetti and elmer's glue--I put it in a ziploc baggie and get it all mixed together.  Then they make an orb web on wax paper. They really need to make the criss crosses and overlap the ends of the circles so they stay attached.  I let them dry until Sunday and then pull them off carefully.  

Here is what they look like after I peel them off the wax paper and then I hang them from our ceiling.  They love looking at them and finding their web!  I had some of the best webs this year!  Not too many pieces broke off!

This is in our hallway outside our room for the month of Oct.
This was one of our 1st Art Fridays--It's a 3-D spider but you can't tell from the pics--I really work on making sure they have the 8 legs attached to the cephalothorax (I make them use that word a lot) :) 

One of our first activities--They are to draw a spider and label the correct parts.  I made label for them on the small return address labels so they just need to peel, stick and draw an arrow--it was too hard for them to write all the words and put them small enough so they weren't all over the page. 

I love how creative they try to get with the types of spiders they draw.  They love to look at books and "copy" a spider's colors and markings.

Here's the head of one and a close of the labels

A close up of the abdomen and labels.  

We do our final week of activities next week and will do an edible art project next Friday which I hope to take pictures of.  They love the edible art days :)  We'll also do some fact finding in books--their first activity with finding research.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm such a procrastinator!

I think it's in my genes!!  I take pictures and have all these ideas I want to blog about BUT I just keep putting blogging off!  I still stalk blogs and pin stuff BUT downloading my pics and getting my thoughts together is just too much when I'm exhausted!

So I thought tonight I would share some pictures and a few things about what's been new in my room.
I began using the clip chart for individual management this year and although it's going pretty good (some days I seem to forget to have kids clip down or clip up!)  I wanted to have a whole class reward for when they are all working quietly or we get a compliment in the hallway--I couldn't quite think of what I wanted and then I happened to be in Target--one of those places I get sucked into and start checking out the end caps for clearance items (oohhh la la).  Well on one of the end caps were some teaching supplies like bulletin boards and decals and such--and I happened to see this:

For only $2.50 (or something like that)  I thought this is it!  I now call my kiddos smart cookies when they earn one.  OR I can say "Oh that's not how smart cookies act"--I laminated it and then put magnets on the back of the cookies and it makes it really easy to add them!

We've been busy working on place value in our math workstations.  Although we are transitioning into 2 digit adding/subtracting, I have kept a few place value games in the stations.
Putting together 100s chart--some of my kiddos can get it done rather quickly while others struggle--they look for the numbers in order or can't see the patterns.  It really gave an insight of who understands that 100s chart and who needs more work!

Tally toads! I really can't remember where I got this as it was last year sometime (so if you recognize it let me know so I can give credit)  This really helps with counting by fives and ones and reading tally marks

Close up of Tally Toads!

100s chart puzzles!  I put magnets on the back of each piece and then they used a cookie sheet to put them together!  They really seemed to like this part of the station!

Well that's all for tonight!  I've got lots more to post so with 2 days off this week, I'm going to do what I can to get caught up on blogging!  However I will also have to work on report cards!  UGH!  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Class Pet???

I began toying with the idea of a class pet this weekend...I saw free turtles on craigslist and thought "those would be fun"--SO I got the ok from my principal but by then the turtles were gone.  However, I am not giving up on the class pet idea.  I have a new thought "what about a little lizard?"  I'm usually more of a furry animal lover but our district and principal worry about allergies with the furry babies! Does anyone have any thoughts on adopting a lizard for a classroom pet?  Am I getting myself into something difficult?  I'm sure the kids would LOVE a lizard but I'm more concerned with the start up and if it's a good choice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaching Values

I really try to work on my kiddos with being kind and compassionate.  One thing I try to do every day is to show a video that works on manners and values.  There's a great website  that has various short clips, like commercials, that show manners and values.  My kids love them and we do a quick discussion about them now.  In the future, my hope is to have the kids respond in writing about them, but they are such little tikes still that I don't want to overwhelm them with too much morning work.  We watch them right after we get all our things put away in the morning and before they start their morning work or reading time.

I would love to try to link a video so you could see one, but I'm not quite sure how to do it if it's not on you tube....but if you go the to website you can see them all.  They are all short and sweet and have a great message.