Thursday, January 27, 2011

Got snow? We do!

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Well, it has been a snowy day here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. and finally Maryland has been hit with a decent snowfall. (Perfect timing considering report cards and comments are due this Friday! Yay!) I thought about taking my son out to make a snowman but after contemplating bundling him up just to be outside for 5 minutes, I changed my mind. Instead, we were creative and made a "tiny snowman". We gathered a few handfuls of snow, nature scraps from the deck, and a camera and we made our little snow friend. My 3 year old got a kick out of it and yet, we were warm and dry in the house! Then, I thought, we could do a sequencing activity with homemade pictures! What a great way to incorporate our pictures into a learning activity! I printed the pictures and had my son sequence them and talk about what we did first, second, next, and so on. This would easily work for any class at any grade level. Nearly everyone has a camera in their phone, Ipod Touch, or even at school. So, start snapping pictures and see what you can capture to go along with the latest units you plan to teach. Then, make a creative activity your students will enjoy! Post if you get a chance to try it!

Our "Tiny Snowman"...he was cute until our dog, Sienna, ate the top of the snowman!

My Dream Book: MLK, Jr. Activity

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I wanted to follow up with the activity suggested for MLK, Jr. Day. My students were very proud of their books and some even tied them with attractive ribbons. They were thoughtful about their dreams for the future and had many questions about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy MLK, Jr. Day!

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How will you celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the classroom? My students will be creating a booklet of their dreams for the future. We will read the book, Martin's Big Words, The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Following the activity, we will create and share our mini-books and hang them in the classroom. It is important that students truly understand the magnitude of Dr. MLK, Jr.'s impact on the world we live in today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birds and Food Science

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The fourth grade students loved the Animal Adaptations Unit we covered in Science.  I thought they worked very well together during the experiments and follow-up discussion.  We used different spoons, tongs, eye droppers, and other kitchen tools to mimic various bird beaks.  Then, we placed styrofoam pieces in water, rice puffs in water, beads on a string, noodles in Easter grass, rubber bands in oatmeal, and popcorn in a graduated cylinder filled with water to represent the kinds of food birds eat.  The rubber bands were worms, the red beads were berries, and so on.  The children had a ball!  They couldn't wait to do more research on how birds use their beaks!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Brand ***NEW*** Winter Theme Unit

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Brand ***NEW*** Winter Theme Unit

Hello,all! I just posted my brand new

Winter Theme Unit for grades Pre-K

through 2 on TeachersPayTeachers.

Be one of the first to get this 30-page

unit here:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

I love these free fonts!

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I get the cutest fonts from Free Scrapbook Fonts!

Read More
I looked all over the web for amazing fonts such as these!  Click on the button above to be taken directly to their site.  Thank you so much Kevin and Amanda! :0)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Getting Ready to Head Back-to-School

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It's January 2, and as all of us know, it's time to head back to school after winter break.  I feel rejuvenated and ready to bring excitement back to the classroom tomorrow.  I want to be sure I include an activity where we share what we did over winter break.  Perhaps we could make snowflakes during homeroom and write keywords about our break on them.  Maybe we will pass a microphone around the room and share aloud after that.  I found the plastic one at Target that changes your voice for around $2.00.  Since I added this to my classroom, I have more students who are willing to share aloud.  Also, they sing more during free play than they ever have!  It's really neat to see how they embrace new ideas and novelties in the classroom.  Happy New Year, everyone!  Let's bring the passion we have for teaching to all of our students tomorrow and for the rest of the year!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Poem for My Students

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Dear Students,

I want you to know
I have seen what you are capable of
I need you to know that everything
I've taught you comes from love.

You see, I can tell the future
Holds so much for you,
Even if you don't see it now,
I want it to come true.

You brighten up each day of mine
When you enter the classroom door
I wonder how we will all grow
Even wiser than before.

You know, the greatest gift I gain
From teaching you students dear
Is to know that the gift of learning grows,
Year, after year, after year.

Warm Wishes,
Mrs. Baur

"These are a few of my favorite things"...2011

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                    Mrs. B's Favorite Things for 2011
1.  Nook Kids 
     Perfect for any classroom trying to encourage students to read- one or more would be an exciting
        tool to use.  The price tag is a bit high at $249, however, you could obtain money    
        through fundraising or by applying online at sites such as  Talk
        about an innovative classroom idea!

2.  V-Reader
        Priced at $59.99, this is excellent for reading on-the-go!  My son got one for Christmas and hasn't   
        stopped reading since! Designed for ages 3-7, this interactive reader uses cartridges based on  
        your child's favorite tv shows and characters in order to motivate them to read!  You can also
        download books online through the V-Reader site if you purchase an additional SD memory card
        (approx. $14.99). 

        This online site is a must-have for every teacher!  It contains lesson plans, IWB resources, activity
        pages, webinars, videos, and more.  You can purchase a classroom account for $195 to get access
        during school hours.  If this is too much to pay, consider asking an administrator to add this website
        to the school budget.

4.  Ipod Touch
     The Ipod Touch is a bit expensive with a price tag of $229 for the 8g version, but it is perfect for
        busy teachers!  Here, access weather, maps (for driving to those distant meetings), the Web, games,
        a camera, a video recorder, notes (for your long to-do list), and music through iTunes.  Hook it into
        your computer at work and load songs and videos your students will love!  I use the video          
        component to provide feedback and closure at the end of lessons so students can reflect on their
        performance and set goals for the future.

5.  Discovery Education United Streaming

        This website has come in handy many times in my classroom and I must thank my administration
       for purchasing it for us!  Select videos for streaming on a variety of subject areas and specify the
       grade level through the click of a box.  I stream this right through my classroom pc and IWB.  There
       are even segments that demonstrate math skills or science lessons!  You will not regret this
       purchase and will find yourself using it over and over again.  Check the site for current pricing and
       free teaching resources.

Comprehension Connections

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The book, Comprehension Connections, by Tanny McGregor is a must-have for all elementary school teachers!  This is by far one of the most valuable resources I've used in guided reading.  The book is a quick, easy-read and the lesson plans are ready-to-use!  I love that the think-alouds are written out for you so there is no guesswork!  My students demonstrated great improvement on reading assessment scores after using this resource (and I was teaching a very low group of 4th grade readers).  The students loved the lessons and seemed to want more after I was finished using all of them.  I really hope Tanny publishes a second book as I would purchase it in a snap!