Saturday, February 28, 2015

Teaching about Sled Dogs and the Iditarod

Friends~I love teaching about sled dogs and the Iditarod this time of year!  The Iditarod race begins on March 7th! Check out the site above to watch the leader board and see a count down to the race.  There is even a teacher on the trail with great blog posts for students. 

This is the movie that sparked my passion for the great race!  When my daughter Lily was little,  her favorite moving was Balto.  I think I may have watched it with a thousand times over and over! It tells the journey of the famous Balto and how he and the other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska from an oubreak of diphtheria.   Check it out below!
As a class, we began our journey reading The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. It is an awesome book that spreads out the tale for young readers.  I have a created a unit to go along with this book perfectly!  Check it out below!

I love to take this unit a step further by bringing in a real live sled dog musher!  She has come the past 2 years and my kiddos are always swept into the frigid world of -30 degrees and the dedication of the sled dogs and the mushers! 
The musher's name is Jjay Levy from Parrotsleds.  
She brings her dogs that have run the Iditarod.  Her truck that she halls them in.  You can see the little cages above.  She even bring her sled for the kiddos to try out! 

This picture gets me every time!  Below are dog tags from the Iditarod.  Each dog that races get them.  
I still can't believe my first graders is holding them!   A party of HISTORY!!!!
She even bring in musher gear for them to try on!  Those a polar bear mittens!!! 
Look at the sweet face poking out of that furry hood.  I love that she talks with the class about why mushers use fur.  She explains that when an animal is killed the whole animal is used.                    Nothing is wasted!

Just after Jjay the musher left, we had recess and it totally melted my heart to see my first graders playing sled dog musher with jump ropes and scooters at recess!  
  I totally piggybacked on their excitement with this fun musher activity from my file above! 
Be sure to grab a free copy of my huskies so that you can do this with your kiddos! Click below!
Happy Mushing!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Solids, liquids, and Gases

Friends~Today we made models of solid, liquid, and gas atoms.  It was soooo much fun!  My kiddos totally got it thanks to these fun hands on lessons below!  

We started off by reading What is the World Made of? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld.  It is a great book that explains the states of matter.  Give it a click to read about it on Amazon. 
My goal after reading was for my students to be able to understand how the atoms in the 3 states of matter move.  I gave my students a sheet that included a diagram of solids, liquids, and gases.  I grabbed the one below from Middle School Chemistry.  

I had my students cut it into squares.  We stacked them up like playing cards and I had them draw from the deck.  They met with students with matching cards and modeled.  Check them out below!  This group was a group of solid atoms sitting closely together not moving. 
We even made models of each form of matter!  I grabbed some large bags of Fruit loops and small snack bags.  We added our diagrams to each bag and created models using the Fruit loops as atoms.  
Once we finished our models, we headed up front to listen to this fun matter song. 

I had them hold their bags up each time one of the states of matter was mentioned. They did an amazing job and their excitement for science was awesome! 
You can check out some more matter fun by clicking on my matter unit below!

What is your favorite matter science activity?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Listening Snowman Activity

Friends~Today I am sharing my Winter Listening Snowman Activity.  You are going to LOVE it!  

The season is upon us!  The students are a bit preoccupied with something-SANTA and Christmas. We do our best as teachers to make the lessons fun and exciting but let's be honest,  you really spend your day just trying to keep a lid on things.  

This past Friday, I decided that I needed to have my firsties pay attention to their listening skills and see just how much they are needed to complete a lesson. 
So, I put together the 
Listening Snowman! 

The Listening Snowman: The Schroeder Page
It is such a simple concept but it packs a big punch when students see the finished products.  We all listen and interpret things in different ways.  Each one turned out unique and the students were so very engaged throughout the lesson.

 It was the PERFECT Friday activity.  

Here are the supplies you will need:
The Listening Snowman: The Schroeder Page

Yep!  You read that right.  NO SCISSORS allowed.  I have found that when you take scissors away during a craft you get a more authentic representation of what the students visualize.

We started by watching All You Need for a Snowman.  I had the students listen for what the characters used to create the snowman in the book.  
We then made a list together as a class.  
The Listening Snowman: The Schroeder Page
The class then followed my directions for creating the snowman with the provided cut pieces of paper.  
You can download the directions and links for the videos in this FREE file HERE
The Listening Snowman: The Schroeder Page

The best part was at the end, after their unique snowmen were created, I put on this Snowfall Meditation video and the students used a white crayon to for a winter scene for their Listening Snowmen. 
I just loved the way they turned out and the students were so into creating their scenes.  It was a calming way to end an exciting and involved listening activity. 
The Listening Snowman: The Schroeder Page

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Words their Way: My Way!

Friends~ Words their Way has been a challenge but with some help from a teacher friend,  I am finally making it work!

I am telling you, I was pulling my hair out trying to fit it all in!  Now, I am just making it work in my classroom.  

Words there way is a developmental word study program in which students learn to spell words by sorting words based on their spelling patterns.

Basically, I gave my students the spelling assessment at the beginning of the school year and scored it based on the WTW rubric.  That was super simple and it gave me lots of good information about where my firsties were with letter sounds and phonics.  

I then broke my kiddos up into groups.  One of our Kindergarten teachers helped me get organized with folders and color coding of levels.  It turns out that I am running about 3 different sorts during the week.  ELL Toolbox is a great site that shows and gives you downloadable sheets for organizing your groups!

My savior teacher (Who may start a blog and totally should!) pointed me in the right direction of using premade sheets for my students to practice their words on. I tweaked them to fit my kiddos and off we went.  

Here is how my week goes:  

Words their Way and The Schroeder Page
Click HERE to download your own set of these files!
On Monday, students get their new sorts or word lists.  They cut them apart and practice sorting them for the spelling pattern they are working on. 
 (I meet with groups during this time to go over their words and patterns.)

Tuesday they glue their sorts down and label spelling pattern. 

Wednesday they write 5 of their words and box tall and short letters. 

Thursday they use 5 words in a sentence and circle their words.  

Friday they work on writing their words on lined paper paying attention to letter formation.  

Once they complete their sheets, they turn it in to me and I check it over.  If it is complete, I stamp it with my Word Wizard stamp and they move to our making words center activities.  (This is what we do the 2nd week.)  My students work on their sort words for 2 weeks. 
Even during Daily 5 Centers!  
Here are some of our favorite activities:
Playdough stamps and scrabble tiles!
Words their Way and The Schroeder PageWords their Way and The Schroeder Page

Click the image to head to my Amazon Affiliate site  and check out a set of playdough stamps!
I just ordered a set of LCD Writing Boogie Board Tablets for my kiddos this week.  I can't wait to get my hands on them!  I know they will be a big hit!
Words their Way and Making Words FUN!
I really like the direction that we are moving with Words their Way. I am starting to see some bulbs flicker on about spelling patterns in their daily reading and writing.  

I am totally still working on this in my classroom and would love to hear about anyways you all make Words their Way work for you!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Body System: Our Skeletal System Exploration

Friends~Today I jumped into the word of body systems!

       At my new school, I am using a new curriculum called Core Knowledge.  It has taken some work to get a handle on it but I am really feeling good about our body systems unit this week.  

In first grade, we just touch on many subjects to help build prior knowledge for more complex study in older grades.  Body systems is one of those subjects that we get to introduce our little learners to.  

Today we focused on the skeletal system.  I of course wanted to bring this unit alive for my students!  

I started by collecting my supplies.  Rubber gloves, masks, and Dr. hats.  I created baggies for each student and labeled each piece with my student's numbers. 
Body Systems: The Schroeder Page
I also grabbed these skeletons from the Dollar Store last week!  Just before Halloween! They worked perfectly.  
Body Systems: The Schroeder Page
The skeletons were placed in my teammate's room on large tables while our students discussed what a system was in my room. 
Look at these cuties! 
Body Systems: The Schroeder Page

The best part about this activity is the only real teaching before my students observed the skeletons was about a system.  A set of things or parts forming a whole.  We brainstormed some systems and I was amazed with what they came up with. 
Body Systems: The Schroeder Page
Just as we finished our discussion on systems, my phone rang.  I answered it and put it on speaker. One of our awesome 2nd grade teachers called to let us know ALL doctors were needed in the other room.  
You should have seen their faces!  One of the kiddos said, "This is serious!" 

Watch my kiddos in action below!  They were directed to only observe what was on the tables. They made a sketch of what they saw and then wrote about their observations.  They were also looking for the important parts of the system and tried to name it.  

Grab a FREE copy of our recording sheet HERE!
When we got back together we watched this video and discussed our findings!
We Give Books has 2 really good online books on the body system.  Be sure to check them out below!
We Give Books is a free site.  You will just need to set up an account.  
Body Systems: The Schroeder Page
Tomorrow is all about the muscular systems!  

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Christopher Columbus and Ship Races

Friends~I can't wait to share about our Christopher Columbus week in class!  We had the best time learning all about his travels.  

We started with a mysterious delivery of a scroll that lead us on an adventure through some landforms on our school grounds.  (The blue islands are our outside lunch tables.)
Christopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder Page
We found a box marked with a red X!  Inside was a book all about Christopher Columbus.  We read the book and watched this video.  
This is one of my favorite books about Christopher Columbus!  Give it a click to order it on Amazon!
Christopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder Page
We also wrote about his life using this awesome file from my friend Katie Knight from Teacher to the Core!  I just love her stuff and so do my kiddos!  
We made maps of the new world!  They turned out totally awesome and it was such a great connection to our mapping unit last week!
Christopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder Page
The best is yet to come!  We created these fun glyph sailor hats in class!  We added adjectives and the year Columbus sailed to the new world to our hats. The students followed my directions from the glyph to complete the rest.  
Christopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder PageChristopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder Page

Grab a free copy of the glyph HERE

We also created our own ships to race to the new world!  It was so much fun.  My teammate had the idea of using foam for the boats.  It worked perfectly.  We used a toothpick and a plastic bag for the sail.  
Check out my kiddos practicing with some force and motion in the classroom.  
Then we took them outside!  My teammate and I used large baking tins from the dollar store.  We added start to one side and land to the other.  We divided our classes into groups of 4.  The groups each had a tin.  They used straws to blow their boats to the land and when they reached the land they shouted Land Ho!  It was SOOOOO much fun! 

I even got in on the races!  Thanks to our Kindergarten friends that came and cheered us on!  
Christopher Columbus and Ship Races from The Schroeder Page

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