16 Apr 2014

Easter Freebies!

Have you had the pleasure of reading this beautiful book by Jan Brett?

My class is a big fan of all things Jan. We just love her fun stories and absolutely BEAUTIFUL illustrations. 

The Easter Egg is a sweet story about generosity, bravery and selflessness.  Little Hoppi wants to decorate the most beautiful egg so that he can win the honour of helping the Easter Rabbit deliver eggs. But he's overwhelmed by the many choices and the enormity of the task.

After Hoppi comes to Mother Robin's rescue, a lovely surprise is in store for him.

Looking for some activities to go with the book?  I have a few right here!

My class is learning about story elements, so this is the template we used today.

We also painted our own beautiful eggs. This idea was originally from the blog, Art Projects for Kids. The kids drew their designs in crayon and then we painted a wash of colour over top.

The kids then chose their favourite 3 eggs, cut them out, glued them into their journals, then wrote a description.

We also painted these gorgeous bunnies. It was a directed lesson. We used blue construction paper, tempera paint and black crayons for outlining. I found this idea at the Art Teacher's Closet blog.

Since we're having an Easter egg hunt tomorrow we got busy and made our bunny baskets.

And finally, here's the poem we've been learning all week.

To grab the poem, response sheet and egg template just CLICK HERE!  If you do, please "like me" on Facebook or follow by email.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter!

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10 Apr 2014

Easter Poem Freebie

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9 Apr 2014

Gravity Experiments

Last week we started a new Science unit called "Force and Motion". We kicked off the unit with an exploration of gravity.

I put the kids into pairs and gave them each a dish of objects:

They spent about 45 minutes in the classroom dropping the objects and comparing how fast they fell. They wrote down their observations and we discussed what they noticed.  

The kids came up with some BIG IDEAS:
1. Gravity is a force.
2. The shape of an object can change how fast it falls. (We noticed that with flat paper).
3. Heavy objects fall at the same speed as lighter objects.

The next day we dropped two identical pieces of paper: One was crumpled into a ball and the other was left flat.

This reinforced big idea #2.

After that we went outside and compared falling rates between the paper ball and heavier objects (to reinforce big idea #3).  If the objects were dropped at exactly the same time then VOILA! they fell at the same speed, regardless of weight. The picture below is a perfect example.

Next week I'll share our parachutes!

Before you go, just thought I'd let you know that I'm giving away a custom Ruby Slippers blog design!

I just finished a makeover for Marie at The Hands-On Teacher in First and she's celebrating with a spring giveaway. You also have the chance to win a rainbow ant farm and some goodies from her TpT store.

Hurry over. The giveaway is over tomorrow!

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6 Apr 2014

Here's to the Animals, Freebie, Giveaway

Last September I blogged about this fabulous book And Here's to You. I've since read it to my class two more times.

I absolutely LOVE this book. I wish I had written this book!  It's so incredibly delightful and heart-warming. If you don't have it yet ... go buy it!

We spent some time reading and re-reading it so that we could write some poems using this story frame.

The first thing we did was read a sweet book about crows so that we had some shared language and ideas about these quirky birds. We wrote a crow poem together, then the kids wrote one on their own.

Next, the kids were given the choice to either write on their own OR to buddy up with a friend and write two more poems about animals other than crows.

Dogs was the favourite topic, but happily there was also a gorilla, cheetah, giraffe and snake poem.

Here they are:

Here's to the gorillas!
The banana people.
The hitting the tummy ones.
The eating ones.
The yelling ones.
The grabbing ones.
Oh, I love the gorillas!

Here's to the snakes!
The camouflage people.
The predator ones.
The very very slick ones.
The very slithery ones.
The very long tongue ones.
Oh I love the snakes!

Here's to the dogs!
The howling people.
The really really sleeping ones.
The very very loud ones.
The scratching ones.
The fluffy ones.
Oh, I love the dogs!

Here's to the deer!
The quiet people.
The very very kicky ones.
The very delicate ones.
The really soft ones.
The really really crazy ones.
Oh, I love the deer!

As you can see, we also took some time painting a pretty frame for the poems.

If you decide to try this I think you'll be happily surprised at how easy this is for Grade 1s AND how much fun they'll find it.

Here are the templates I used. Click on either image to grab!

Before you go, just thought I'd let you know that I'm giving away a custom Ruby Slippers blog design!

I just finished a makeover for Marie at The Hands-On Teacher in First and she's celebrating with a spring giveaway. You also have the chance to win a rainbow ant farm and some goodies from her TpT store.

Hurry over. The giveaway is only on for four days!

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28 Mar 2014

Have You Seen Trees? Book Review

Publishing: Scholastic Trade, 1995
Ages: 3 and up
Theme: Trees, Seasons

Opening Lines: "Have you seen trees? High trees, wide trees, reaching-to-the-sky trees. Did you ever hide behind a wide high tree?"

Brief Synopsis:  This beautifully illustrated book is a poetic ode to trees throughout the four seasons.  

Why I LOVE This Book:  Because it's perfect for all things trees, seasons and grade 1. The paintings are absolutely gorgeous and the writing is full of alliteration, rhymes, rhythm, and onomatopoeia.


Spring Tree Art ~ Today my class made these beautiful cherry blossom trees with my awesome TOC and great friend, Bev!  The kids used a straw to blow brown paint across a piece of white paper. Then they glued crunched up bits of precut tissue paper.

Spring Poetry:  Earlier in the week we wrote Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring poems, the perfect accompaniment to Have You Seen Trees? and the art project above.  If you like these little poems, you can read more about them HERE.  You can also grab some spring freebies, including this poetry template.

Seasonal Tree Clipart:  I made these last week on spring break. As you can tell from my Grade ONEderful header, I have a thing about abstract trees, so I've just started making some. These are my first attempt and I think they're very pretty :)  (not very modest, am I? haha).  If you like them you can find them in my TpT store.

I hope you enjoyed this book choice. It also came from Bev. Thank you, Bev!

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22 Mar 2014

Some SPRING Freebies & Poems

My spring break is almost over (sniff sniff).

But happily, I'm starting the week out with these fun spring poems and writing activities.

I'm going to start the day with this lovely poem by Meish Goldfish. I found this particular copy at Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten blog. Thank you, DeeDee!

Later in the day, I'm going to read the kids a couple of spring books. I can't remember which ones I have at school, but these look perfectly suitable!

Then the kids will partner talk about signs of spring before sharing with the group and working on these spring/winter organizers I found at Can Teach.

Once these are completed the kids will write their own Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring poems. Here's an example of what I mean:

And they'll print them on this cute little frame:

You can grab all the templates for these SPRING goodies RIGHT HERE!  

And if you're looking for some really cute glittery clipart, please head on over to Ruby Slippers Blog Designs.

There are some freebies there, too!

Here's a sneak peek:

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16 Mar 2014

8 Reasons to Build an Indoor Fort in Your Classroom

Last week our school celebrated Literacy Week. Our entire school participated in a ton of fun activities including Flat Stanley, a Writers Symposium and an Inuit Storyteller.

But for my class of 6 and 7-year-olds, the hands-down favourite activity was our Friday Pajama and Fort-Building Day. After the forts were built the kids were encouraged to read their favourite books inside. Okay, stop laughing. A few determined souls actually did lie down and read.

The kids all came to school in their jammies, with slippers, stuffies, blankets and flashlights.

All day long they were asking me, “When can we build our forts?”

The happy hour finally arrived at 1:00. Armed with a few simple rules (respect other people’s forts and ask before taking something) they were set to go.

It was a noisy activity and I felt kind of sorry for the teacher next door, but the sheer excitement, happiness (I heard “This is the BEST day EVER!” more than once) and gazillion benefits that go along with such an activity, made it all worthwhile.


1. Develops PLANNING Skills: Just what IS the best way to maximize the room and comfort of the fort? The kids had to work that out for themselves as there was very little adult assistance. Do they use the desks? The chairs? One blanket or two? 

2. Promotes TEAMWORK: The kids started out building their forts either alone or in small groups, but before the end of the day the magic kicked in and they made one big, beautiful, gigantic structure! A lot of negotiation and compromise was needed.

3. Develops PROBLEM-SOLVING Skills: Initially the blankets kept collapsing in the middle so the kids were trying to figure out how to fix that. Tying knots in the blankets? Masking tape? And where is the best spot for that masking tape so that you’re not wasting it all?

4. Promotes IMAGINARY Play: How can you help but NOT use your imagination when crawling through tunnels of blankets and chair legs. Jungles, animals, caves, subways, fairy forests …

5. Can Provide a CALMING Effect: Okay, to be honest, most of the kids were pretty hyped up. But there were actually 4 or 5 who just lay down in a quiet, forgotten corner of the fort and either read or closed their eyes and chilled for a bit.

6. Increases FOCUS: All these kids were extremely focussed on accomplishing their common goal. Not once did I have to remind someone to get “on task”!  Can you imagine? Haha.

7. Facilitates SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE: In order to build a fort, you need to be able to visualize it (or at least an aspect of it) before beginning. Then it helps to be able to picture the next stage in your mind’s eye. While this is going on you’re making one quick decision after another.

8. Builds SELF-CONFIDENCE: My kids were absolutely BEAMING whenever they built a new structure, or made the existing fort a little bigger or better in some way. Every change, adjustment, refinement brought a resurgence of pride.

Have you built forts in YOUR classroom? I’d love to hear about it.

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