Thursday, February 19, 2015

Animal Research Project

One of the kindergarten Common Core writing standards is to participate in shared research and writing projects (W.K.7) and to gather information from provided sources to answer a question in writing (W.K.8).  The perfect way to introduce these standards is with Tracy's Animal Wax Museum Project. 
Her packet is adorable and you can adjust it to make it work perfectly in a kindergarten classroom.  Before I start, I tell my students that we are going to start a group research project.  I explain to them what research means and how a group works together.  I then separate them into groups (giving each group one of my 'high' students so they have a reader/writer).  I let the groups discuss and vote on an animal that they would like to research.  This year the four groups came up with: sharks, polar bears, giraffes, and elephants.  I wrote their animal on the board along with the group member names (this was more for me, so I wouldn't forget). 
Then, we sat back down on the carpet and I showed them how we can do research on an iPad.  I went to Safari and showed them how to type in the search box (i.e. giraffe facts for kids).  I also showed them how to click on images in case they needed to draw their animal.  Believe it or not...I showed the kids one time and they already knew exactly what to do!
I also pulled books from our classroom library and our library at school on the different animals that the groups chose. This way they had different ways to find facts.
I printed a couple sheets from Tracy's pack and gave one sheet a day to the groups.  The first day they worked on their animals habitat.
The second day we worked on their diet.
After a couple of days of research we were ready to put our posters together.  I gave each group a piece of bulletin board paper (I even let them choose the color of paper to make sure that this research project was totally theirs!)
I gave each group some white computer paper and told them to make a title for their poster. Of course the girls all asked right away if they could make 'bubble letters' and for this project I let them ;)
They cut out and glued their title onto their posters.
Then the next step was to use construction paper to make their animal.  I LOVE kid art!
They glued all of their work onto their poster and then they were ready to present their information to the class.
They did such a great job presenting all of their facts and all of the other groups loved looking at their posters.
The kids had such a great time with the research project! I am going to come up with another one to do again soon! Maybe for weather...or space...we'll see! I'm looking forward to it and I know the kids are too!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Get Fit(bit) in 2015!

It's that time of year again...time to make those New Years Resolutions.
I know a lot of people always have fitness goals going into the new year--for me, I recently lost weight so I just want to keep it off and continue to get stronger.  Working out and staying fit has always been important to me.  Most of the time I never want to go to the gym, but when I leave I feel SO much better! 
My goal is to always go at least 4 times a week.  I belong to a gym called STS Fitness.  It's a gym that only has classes and the trainer is amazing!! You definitely need to find a gym that you love!
Our gym schedule is usually:
Monday-leg day
Tuesday-circuit training
Thursday-circuit training
Saturday-circuit training
I also drink a protein shake twice a day and take a supplement my trainer told me about--I've been doing this for 3 months now and I've lost 15 pounds and see SO much more muscle definition ;)

Well, a couple of my blogging friends and I decided to give away a Fitbit to help you start off the new year right! I actually don't have a Fitbit, but they look awesome!!
You can enter to win below, at Fun in First GradeSharing Kindergarten, or at Live Love Laugh Everyday in K. 
Just enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fourteen in '14

WOW, I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close!! What a year it has been! I am excited to recap 14 memories from 2014 and join Hadar, Kristin, and Tracy in their linky party!

1. I rang in 2014 out in California for the National Championship football game.  Even though Auburn didn't win, I had an AMAZING time with my high school bestie!! I think my favorite part was enjoying the San Diego pier!
2. In January I celebrated my niece Savanna's first birthday! She definitely brings so much joy to my life! Sometimes I am not sure what I would do without her--she has gotten me through some hard times this year!
3. I spent my spring break up at my parents' house in the mountains of North Carolina... and it snowed!! One of my favorite things!  I spent most of the trip hiking and exploring with my mom.  North Carolina is the most relaxing trip!!
 4. In June, my entire family (mom, dad, 3 sisters, and all of my brother in laws) went to Ireland.  We had an amazing time together...
 and even got to visit family that I've never met before! My Aunts live on the same property where my Nana's dad lived.  You can still see the ruins of my Great-Grandfather's house.  Such a cool thing!
5. At the end of June I went to China!  I went with two friends from high school. We explored Hong Kong and I tried MANY new foods! (which is huge for me)
 6. Then we were off to Hoi An, Vietnam. We met some locals that took us out and showed us what a day was like in their life.  We farmed, planted seeds (yes, they ride the water buffalo to help farm rice), and fished. It was an amazing, eye opening, day!
 7. Went to Halong Bay, Vietnam and surprised myself by being able to rock climb! Can you find me on the left below?  ;)
 8. Then we went to Patera Elephant farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand- how cute are elephants!?
We were all assigned one elephant for the day.  We had to bathe the elephant, take them for a walk (while we rode them) for exercise, and so much more! These were all rescued elephants and they are very well taken care of here. 
 Saying bye to my elephant, Mag!
 9. We were off to Tiger Kingdom (also in Chiang Mai). This was the day I was sooo looking forward to on my trip, being an Auburn Tiger of course!
 They had the cutest baby tigers EVER!
 10. Obviously you are staring to see a pattern here...I travel... a lot!  My next stop in July was Phuket, Thailand. We took a boat out to the middle of the ocean and kayaked around.  We stopped in caves and explored.  Through the caves we would find these amazing blue lagoons!
 It was absolutely breathtaking, this picture doesn't do it justice!
 11. We had my sister's gender reveal party, she is having a girl!! In January I will be an Aunt for the second time.  I am SO excited!!
 12. I bought a new house!  I'm not moving too far away from where I currently am; however, I am SO excited! My new place should be ready in February or March and I am already shopping for new home decor!! Yay!
 13. I went up to Auburn for a football game with my sister.  Auburn has such a feeling of 'home' for me.  Everyone is so kind and we always have a blast when we are there!
 14. Unfortunately I finished off the year having to say bye to my Nana.  In October we found out that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and sadly a month later she passed away.  My Nana was my best friend, I talked to her every night and saw her at least two or three times a week.  Life is very different without her, but I am very thankful that I had such an amazing person in my life.  She was truly one of a kind and I will miss her everyday!

Click below to read all about some other bloggers 2014!  Or to join up yourself!

Monday, November 10, 2014

November Centers and a Giveaway!

I have NO idea where the time has gone, but November is already off to a great start!! This month we focus on maps, wants/needs, and comparing children of the past to children now.  It is easy for me to tie in all of those skills while learning about Pilgrims and Native Americans!
One of my students' favorite activities is always using white boards.  I leave the writing and word work cards at the word work center and students are allowed to write thematic words/draw pictures on the white boards when they are finished with their work. 
 I love sneaking over and catching them in action! They are so cute!
 We are also working on reading and spelling our sight words.  They did an awesome job with this 'Serving Up Sight Words' activity from the November Word Work pack.
This is the second time we have worked on building sentences in the pocket chart and ALL of my students were successful in completing this independently.  I LOVE to see that!
 At the writing center we continue to use Deedee Wills' writing pack. I prepped this pack last year and my life is so easy this year!! 
 Magnetic letters are also a class favorite!  
 Students chose to either work on beginning/ending sounds or CVC words or both! ;)  Again, they completed these activities last month with my October Word Work pack, so this month they all are acting like pros! 
On Friday I am hoping to get our Pilgrim craft made and hung to spruce up our bulletin board! They always turn out SO cute!!
I am teaming up with Megan from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits for a quick giveaway!! You have the chance to win my Pilgrim 'Craftivity' and a chance to win Megan's Pilgrim Day pack. 
This pack is PERFECT for teaching the difference between children today and children of the past.  The pack provides students with the opportunity to experience what it was like for pilgrim children long ago with lots of hands on, engaging activities.  They will get to hunt and gather, churn butter, play games, and learn just like the Pilgrim children learned.  It is awesome!!

For your chance to WIN both of these packs, just enter below!! Good luck!!