It's Tuesday & I'm a Little Batty

See what I did there?!

In all seriousness, happy Tuesday!!  Did y'all have the day off yesterday?!  We did.  All 3 of my boys had a "man day".  That basically consisted of a lot of bathroom jokes, lunch out at Chili's, and a trip to Home Depot.  I spent the day putting the finishing touches on my presentations for next week's Tennessee First Grade Conference.  Will I see you there?!  I sure hope so!

If y'all haven't learned about bats yet, or even if you have, I just wanted to share a few things we've done in years past and give you guys a few more freebies to add to your ever growing collection of resources.  I hope these ideas and printables/activities help you get through these next few weeks or prepare for more fun next year!!!


We loved reading Stellaluna during "bat week" and organizing our thoughts with this story map.  Stickies are my favorite to use for these types of organizers.

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Since there were a lot of little problems and characters in Stellaluna, this was the perfect time to talk about main character & main problem.  We starred those on the story map to remember the difference!

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I also had the kids make their own beginning/middle/end story map.  After they organized their thoughts onto their trifolds, one of my sweet moms came in to help guide the kids as they “published” their work on these bats…

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We hung them {upside down} from the ceiling!

We red several non-fiction books about bats and used the info to help us fill out our Venn Diagram.
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I LOVED this bat craft idea I saw on Chalk Talk.  I sat out the materials to create the bats, along with these pink strips of paper, at the writing center.  The kids used the Venn diagram as a reference to write two bat facts on their bats.  Some of my sweet little overachievers asked if they could write facts they remembered that weren’t listed on the diagram.  Well pin a rose on your nose little love…of course you can!

We learned about the differences between megabats & microbats and the kids were fascinated to learn that you can tell the difference between the two by the size of their eyes.  SO…I had different sized googly eyes that the kids could choose from to either make megabats or microbats.  Most of them made megabats!  No surprise there!

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I set out a few hands-on bat themed activities at our literacy stations, too.  Click on the link below to download a word family word-to-picture match.  I cut the bats out & then cut their wings off.  The kids had to put the bat back together by matching the words to the pics that were on the wings.  {Once you see the download, you’ll understand…and if you don’t, just let me know!!}
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I also created these word family bats {-ug, –un, –ut} programmed with various short u words.  I set out a clothesline and had the kids hang the bats {upside down} in ABC order.  My struggling kiddos were alphabetizing by first letter only.  My love-to-be-challenged kiddos had to look at the WHOLE word to alphabetize it correctly.  They LOVED this activity!  I just can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures!  CRAZY week!!!

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  After seeing a few illustrations and real pictures of bats, I was dying to know what my kids thought…do you think they’re cute??  or creepy??  I’ve seen one up close & in person and ohmiword…I hope I never see one again.  My vote…CREEPY.  Here’s what the kids thought…
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Can y’all believe that?!  Most of my little sweeties thought they were cute!!!!  We took this time to review the differences between picture graphs and bar graphs…first creating our picture graph.  Then we transferred all that data to our graphing sheet and analyzed it a little more.  After completing our graphs and analyzing the data, the kids made their own little {not-so-creepy} bats…and they loved it!

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If you’re interested in doing this little graphtivity in your classroom, click on the picture below to download a copy for yourself!

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To carry our learning into literacy, here are a few activities my kids worked on during their independent work stations.  Listening for beginning and ending sounds and distinguishing between rhyming and non-rhyming words.  Some of my sweeties who loved to be challenged used the beginning and ending sound mats to listen for ALL the sounds.  Some of them are even using the words they make in sentences!! 


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Click on the pic below for your {free} copy!

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 Here are a few fun little activities my kids worked on in their math centers from my Cute or Creepy? {7-Math Tub Activities} packet.  Here’s a little peek.

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If you want a more detailed preview at this packet, you can check it out in my little shop.


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Here's another thematic graphic organizer we loved!!  After we read a few really great books about these flying mammals, we had to add that little piece of info to the misconceptions column :)   bats1

This was a great opportunity for me to talk about fact & opinion, too.  I know that’s a concept that will take a while for my kids to understand and develop, but it never hurts to plant the seed!!
I carried over the thematic learning in our centers and stations, too...

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The rhymes with/doesn’t rhyme with bat mats are a free download I posted last year and you can grab them HERE.  The Candy Corn Cover Up and Vampire Vowel activities are in my It’s a Hands-On Harvest of Literacy Fun packet.  

Do you have any batty ideas you want to share?!  Link up in the comments!!!  

FrankenFUN!

During this time of the year, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate the "holidays" into our learning.  I think it's really important to be sensitive to negative connotations this time of year can evoke.  Let's be real.  Not everyone is a fan of Halloween. And I know many schools/districts don't approve of the symbolism that goes along with it all.   But that doesn't mean we can't make it fun :)

Halloween has always been my favorite.  I mean, I LOVE Christmas....errrr..Winter Holidays?!!?!??!...but there's just something about Halloween.  It reminds me of my childhood.  I can still smell our school Halloween carnival when I close my eyes.  Such FUN memories!!! 

One of my favorite seasonal characters is Frankenstein.  I don't know why, but I LOVE him!!!  Always have.  I've never seen the movie or read the books, but he's always been one of my favorite characters....ummm, symbols...for this time of year.  If you can't tell, I was a HUGE fan of The Addams Family when I was growing up.  I loved me some Herman Munster :)  

When I was at Target the other day, I found these little gems....
I'm thinking they were leftover from last year because I have the tin.  There were only a few of these left and I have about 2-3 already in my holiday stash.  I'm anxious to head out to the "big" Target this weekend because our little one doesn't really have much of a selection.

Anyway...it got me thinking.  I absolutely NEED to create some activities that compliment my favorite holiday character!!!   When my boys come home in the afternoon, they {{{shockingly}}} want to do their homework.  I know it won't always be like this, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.  I'm always trying to think of ways to make their after school work more exciting, so I created these activities for them to use for the next few weeks in hopes that it does the trick.  Since my boys are in K and 1st, I made sure to include activities...and variations of the activities included...that would work for both grade levels/objectives.

I created a printable Math packet....a literacy resource...and I also bundled them both together.


We haven't touched on much from the packet, but Landon saw me creating this and he wanted to do it so badly.  And, of course, monkey see monkey do.  Baby brother just had to do it, too :)  So far, this is one of their favorites!!  Hahahaha!!!  Any time they can make something to wear, they get a little excited.  Landon wanted to skip count by 10's and Grant begged to practice counting by 5's.  Sure boys...whatever floats your boat(s) :)



We've been reading our way through these titles...



One thing both my boys need to work on is retell & comprehension.  Comprehension is an area where kids can ALWAYS grow, so I think it's important to give them lots of practice.  Since they bring home a lot of pencil/paper activities for homework, I want to give them something a little bit more "fun". So we we're going to make this little Frankenfoldable.  Ha.  They've seen my example and they're SO  excited!!!!  

We'll talk about the beginning/middle/end of the story and then write about it inside the foldable.  But first things first, of course...making the foldable  We're a family that loves to create :)




This week we'll be making these PRECIOUS snacks...FRANKENPUDDING!!!  Aaaaahhh!!!  I haven't showed the boys yet, but ohmiword.  Anything that involves pudding and Oreos, well...let's just say there won't be any leftovers.  



Since they're both writing, I'm going to follow-up with a little procedural writing activity.  I'll disguise it as writing to explain to Mimi & Daddy how-to make Frankenpudding {since they both work late and won't be around to make this with us}...and they'll eat it right up {no pun intended ;)}
While we're making the pudding, we'll also review our 5 senses.  Even though I'm not in the classroom, I feel like I never left.  I'm sure my mommy/teacher friends can relate.  I don't necessarily try to make everything a learning moment, but I just feel like SO many things lend themselves to teaching or reinforcing skills and concepts they've already learned or are learning, y'know?!  And the teacher in me will always be there no matter who I'm teaching...my own kids, my classroom kids, or my teacher friends...I just can't turn it off!!!  Just ask my husband...my teacher voice comes out more than he'd like ;)  Anyway, here's what I'll use to review that...I'll have them do this during their "downtime" before bed.  


And, of course, I've already busted out my erasers for this one.  We'll be finding numbers on the number line and talking about one more/one less!!!!  I do feel very fortunate that my boys don't really know that they're learning when they do things like these.  I try and make everything a game and so far they're falling for it. Let's pray that lasts a while longer!!!



You can grab the Frankenline in my FrankenFUN Math packet if you're interested in adding a few more seasonal math activities to your bag of tricks.







I also bundled both of these packets together... FrankenFun Math & Literacy.


There are a couple of games in the math packet that I know my boys are going to be excited to play this week.  That's probably how we'll spend our Columbus Day...exploring a few different math concepts and playing games.  Can't wait!!!!



Take Me Back & A Freebie

Hello October.  I missed you.  Don't you feel the same?!

I took a break from blogging and whatnot to enjoy a very special Texas tradition...Antique Week in Round Top!  I spent a day there with the girls and another day there with my mom and her friend.  When it was all said and done, I ended up with a muddy pair of boots {my own}, two chairs, two quilts, some farmhouse decor, and great memories :
                                       


 Since I'm still trying to get into the swing of things...and get this house under control {ohmiword!!!}...I figured I'd post a little throwback post with a freebie.  October is my favorite teaching month and this is one of my favorite teaching themes!  Hope this helps you in some way!!

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What is it about spiders that kids love SO much?!  When I busted out our graph to start our unit of study on arachnids, the kids went CRAZY.  In Abby’s words, 12 kinds of crazy.  They were SO excited!   I’m always floored by how much kids LOVE non-fiction.  It seriously surprises me every.single.year.  I see this with my own two boys.  The gravitate towards non-fiction books ALL.THE.TIME.  I love that.
We started our week with the question, “Are you afraid of spiders?!”  Me…notsomuch…unless they’re BIG and FURRY.  Gross.  They’re more creepy than scary and I say thanksbutnothanks.  My kids pretty much feel the same way.


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I really try to give my kids as many hands-on, tangible experiences with different things as I possibly can to help them make connections.  This time around I let my kids make their own little spiderlings for pictograph making purposes.  They’re getting really good at identifying the difference between pictographs and bar graphs.  Soon enough, we’ll introduce pie graphs, too. 


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All of our math and literacy stations were spider themed and the kids got such a kick out of it all.  I did a little shopping the week before last and bought these rockin’ little spider literacy units to spice up my stations.  IN.LOVE.
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I used my Creepy or Cute math activities for math tubs.

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I’m always taken aback at the differences in my kids from year to year.  This year my kids need LOTS of reinforcement with rhyming words.  I’ve been racking my brain on different ways to make rhyming fun, hands-on, and engaging…something that helps this concept STICK.  So I pulled out some old spider webs and went to town making a little hands-on activity for my kids to get tangled up in rhymes.  {See what I did there?! ;)}

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I cut out a whole bunch of pictures and stuck them in the web.  I divided my class into two teams and told them that they would race to find the rhyming words.  Whichever team was able to find the rhyming word first got to add a piece to their spider.  Ultimately, the goal was to see which team could build a spider first.  This gave me an opportunity to reinforce key vocabulary from our spider study {thorax, abdomen} and practice identifying rhymes at the same time.  Plus, it gave me a chance to see which kids need more practice with this skill.


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The kids had a BLAST.  You could’ve heard a pin drop.  We will definitely be spending more time on this skill in the weeks to come!!! 
We worked with Thinking Maps this week, too.  We gathered facts on our tree map all about what spiders are/can/have and then did a little non-fiction sentence prompt writing.  I like to ease my Kinders into the non-fiction writing process by providing writing prompts at the beginning so they can be successful with this while learning what I expect to see when they write for me.  Plus, it helps to organize their thinking…especially in the beginning.  I’m anxious to see how this skill progresses throughout the year!


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Now I’m gearing up for the weeks ahead.  I’m sure y’all have been to the Dollar Tree lately and you’ve probably seen these…

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Don’t ask, but this year my kids are seriously obsessed with zombies.  Random?  Yes.  Very.  That’s their choice of play on the playground.  A few of them write about zombies during writers workshop.  It kind of cracks me up thismuch.  ANYWAY…I found these little zombie eyes at the Dollar Tree and knew my kids would love to work with them…especially this time of year…so in to my cart they went.  And so did the little pumpkin ice cube trays…aka:  my October ten frames.

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Basically, my kids are going to practice making 10.  They’ll roll a die.  Place the matching number of eyes in the tray.  And then determine how many more eyes they’ll need to make 10 altogether.  They.will.LOVE IT!!!!!  I hope my predictions are accurate :)  HA!!! 

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Here’s a little recording sheet incase you want to add this to your math plans, too!  Just click on the pic to download.

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