Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A December Quilt

If you've read some of my other quilt posts you'll know that I really wanted to figure out some sort of December quilt page that wasn't blatantly "Christmas-y". I have a lot of kids that celebrate Hannukah, and I wanted something that celebrated the season without excluding anyone. So here's what I ended up with! I LOVE it! So basically a four square design: a picture, name page with patterns  (I blurred the names on the green page with the white shape pattern), a decorated gingerbread man (to commemorate our gingerbread study), and handprint snowmen. To make the snowmen just paint the kids four fingers and the top half of the palm. Paint a white patch over it for the ground. After it dries have the kiddos decorate their snowmen using markers.

If you're interested in seeing more monthly quilt ideas that can later be put together for a memory book check out my other quilt post: Quilts

Happy "Quilting!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Gingerbread Town: A Study of Economics

The minute I saw the idea for making a gingerbread town I just knew my class had to do it. In previous years I've made a town with my class as an extension to our mini-economic unit. It always turned out cute but I just knew with the added gingerbread theme it would just be beyond. I am so thrilled with way it turned out, and the kids are so proud! As an added bonus I finally found a way to cover our economic standards in a way the kiddos really connected to. So here's what I did:

Day 1: Needs and Wants- We watched the Brainpop Jr. on Needs and Wants and then we made a list of needs and wants.

Day 2: Good and Services- Adding on to day one's lesson we watched the Brainpop Jr. on Goods and Services. We then did the sorting activity on EconEdLink (we had a little trouble using this with our SMART board, not sure why). As an assessment the kids did this and this worksheet I found on

Day 3: Goods and Services in a Town- After reviewing our list of needs and wants we generated a list on the SMART board (I just typed into a SMART notebook as the kids gave ideas). We discussed how each idea satisfied the needs and wants on our previous list.

Day 4: Sorting Goods and Services- We used our ideas from Day 4 and sorting them into two groups goods and services. The kids really understood the concept at this point, and they did awesome with this.

Day 5: Creating a Town and Workers- This was the best! Each child choose a building to make for our town. In addition they created a "gingerbread worker" that would work at their selected business (i.e. a doctor for the hospital, a fireman for the fire station). They also created a house just for fun. =) Most of the kids really got into this and it turned out so great. Check out the pics below to see our creation!

I hope this gives you some ideas for creating a gingerbread town with your own little sweeties! I really can't say enough how much the kiddos loved this unit.

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Gingerbread Sample

No time to post a long post but wanted to pass on a freebie I made the other day- it goes along with the recipe activity I posted the other day. This would be a great literacy center activity. All you need to do is print out the cards (cardstock would be best), cut apart,  and then laminate for durability. Then cut out a few gingerbread men (I'm planning on doing mine with brown felt) and a box filled with colored pom-poms and colored yarn. All set! Hope you enjoy these cards.

This is a picture from Mrs. Attaya's First Grade Website, where I got the idea. You can see the set up from the picture. Click here for my version of recipe cards (a little bit easier for the kinders!).
Our class is well underway in our gingerbread town planning! The kids are so excited- and I'm pumped to finally getting around to teaching all these economic standards. I'll post once we get it done!

Jessie Roberts

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Taste of Gingerbread: Pinterest Style

I am a big beleiver in the old saying: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Yesterdays post caused me some anxiety because I didn't have any pictures to share. Have no fear: Pinterest to the rescue! So for all you visual people (like me!)- a little taste of gingerbread from some fabulous teachers (not me!). Check out their blogs by clicking on the links below the picture!
Gingerbread Adjectives- Babbling Abby

Cute bulletin board- sorry no website for this one! Can anyone claim this?

Comparing Stories- Babbling Abby

Another Chart Comparing Stories- Deanna Jump

Soggy Cookie Experiment from her Gingerbread TpT unit- Deanna Jump

Very Cute Over Sized Gingerbread Houses- Sweet Week

Literacy Recipe Cards-Kids follow directions to make felt cookie- Mrs. Attaya

Sound cards so kids can get in the action when you're reading the story (every time you say old man, the kids say, "Oh No!". It would be fun with motions too)- Mrs. Attaya

Cute Gingerbread Town- First Grade Parade

Story Analysis from her Gingerbread TpT unit- Deanna Jump

Gingerbread Town using milk cartons- Mrs. Attaya

Oh so much fun!! Can't wait to get started!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time for Gingerbread: The Planning Stages

So I didn't do so well in November getting back to posting...I had great intentions just never got around to it. But as I sit on the couch now and savor my last two days of Thanksgiving break, I am going to try to get back on track. I admit I'm still on a bit of holiday high due probably to post black Friday gift success, hours spent exploring pinterest and blogs for Christmas fun, and a VERY inspiring trip to Christmas wonderland (aka Hobby Lobby). So here it goes....

During the month of December my class completes a very extensive study of all the Gingerbread Man stories. A couple of years ago I took it as a personal quest to track down as many gingerbread stories as I could. In my opinion I was quite successful and now am the proud owner of over 15 different tales. The kids LOVE hearing all the different tales. The never seem to get tired of the gingerbread man's antics and catchy refrain: "Run, run as fast as you can!" Over the years the two favorites have emerged: The Gingerbread Girl (a great one for the verb activity below) and Stop that Pickle! (use to spark ideas for new versions of the story!) You should definitely check these versions out!

I met equal success on my recent internet quest for gingerbread ideas. Goodness- there are so many creative teachers out there! The best post I found by far is Mrs. Attaya's First Grade Website. She has some really creative ideas I haven't seen before. Here's a rough list of ideas I have so far.  I apologize there are no pictures (as I have none). I'll post pictures once these have come to fruition!

·      Bubble maps describing Gingerbread Man
·      Venn Diagrams comparing stories
·      Assign each characters noises and have kids make them when rereading the story (ex. everytime you say cow, the kids say, "Moo!")
Literacy Workstations
·      starfall gingerbread activity
·      making words using letters in Gingerbread
·      sightword/cvc word bang game(gingerbread men cards and fox cards to end game)
·      writing room to find words starting with letters in gingerbread (g- green, i- is...)
·      writing room: categorizing nouns and verbs (post pictures of nouns and verbs and have students write words under correct heading on recording sheet)
·      recipe cards (students follow simple directions to create gingerbread man as described)
·      gingerbread word family sorting with spatulas (
·      can, has, is writing map
·      write own version of the story
·      introduce speech bubbles and quotations
·      How-TO: making a gingerbread man
·      Labeling gingerbread man body parts and/or decorations
·      verbs: rewriting refrain- " Jump, jump as high as you can!" "Dance, dance as graceful as you can!", have students act out new refrains
·      adjectives, nouns, verbs (finding and sorting from story)
·      LOST signs describing gingerbread men to match gingerbread men created

·      Math stations (Check out DeeDee Willis math stations on Teachers Pay Teachers)
·      Number Words: roll a gingerbread with number word dice (
·      Graphing: Which part did you eat first? (head, arm, leg, body)
·      Measurement: create gingerbread men and measure them with non-standard mesaurements
·      Comparing measurements: have students find items that are the same, bigger than, and smaller than a given gingerbread man
·      Problem solving: counting by 2 (problem solving gingerbread legs)
·      Measurement: Use gingerbread men chains (cut out from Ellison die cuts and taped together to measure items in the room- i.e. the easel is 4 gbm high, the door is 6 gbm across, etc.)
·      Money: Give students a preset amount of
·      Number Sense: Hide a small gingerbread man behind a number on a 100s Pocket Chart, have students ask questions to determine the placement of the gbm
·      Things that Sink/Float
·      Soggy cookie experiment (What would have happened if the GBM had gone for swim instead of taking a ride on the fox? Would he have made it?)
·      Animals and habitats
·      Making boats (Make boats for the GBM to use to cross the river, examine materials, explore buoyancy)
·      Sorting things that dissolve
Social Studies
·      Create gingerbread town (Have students examine wants and needs and decide on the most important businesses needed for their town, then let them go crazy decorating!!)
·     Use Gingerbread Town to practice giving directions (cardinal directions)
·    Create maps of favorite gingerbread stories (by examining setting and sequence from stories)
·     Make a map of classroom/school and mark with an x. Have students find gingerbread man using classroom map- mark with an x (

Hope this list gets your creative juices flowing! I don't know if anyone else plans like this but this is how all my units begin with lists...I LOVE a good list. =) I'm generating a few other lists for fun activities planned for the last week before break. We go until the 23rd!! I know the kiddos are going to be going bananas those last few days so I'm planning on filling the days with all kinds of themed excitement to help the time fly by! Check back soon for those list!

Happy Christmas!

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Apology and Some 50s Day Freebies

So I'm so sorry I've been away from my little blog for so long! I have an excuse though...I went to CHINA!!! To make a long story short I was offered an amazing opportunity to travel to China with a group from my church for twelve days. Our mission was to relieve workers in a special care baby room at a Chinese Welfare Center (kind of like a orphanage). Basically we got to hold, hug, and take care of eight of the most precious babies for a week. It was INCREDIBLE! Did I mention the trip was all expense paid? Unfortunately this trip fell not only during the end of first nine weeks, it was also during conference week! So needless to say the first few weeks of October I was crazy busy writing nine days of lesson plans, assessing for report cards, AND doing 19 thirty minute parent-teacher conferences. So please accept my apology for my long absence...I promise to make up for it in the weeks to come!!

So while I was gone my sweet little kiddos celebrated the 50th day of school (Wow where did the time go?). We do it up right at our school- dressing up in poodle skirts and rolled jeans, playing with 1950s toys, having coke floats, having a sock hop. In the off chance you haven't reached the 50th day yet I'd thought I would pass along some ideas for 50s day fun. So first up are some pictures from some past fifties days! I LOVE this day and so do the kids!

And now for some freebies!!  There are three reminders: one to send a week or two in advance (so your parents can get outfits together) and two different day before reminders (our 50s day was on a Monday so I made a separate one in case yours is too!). Click on the picture captions to download from Google Docs.
Send in Advance

Monday is 50s Day! Reminder

Tomorrow is 50s Day! Reminder

Last but not least is a list of fifties day activities (you can download a hard copy in google docs). This year my class and two others switches classrooms to do separate activities. In my class the kids played with toys from the 1950s (play dough, Candy Land, Cooties, Jacks, Match Box Cars, View Masters), in another class they played outside games (hula hoops, jump ropes, hopscotch, kickball), and in the final class they had a sock hop and root beer floats! Everyone had a blast! In past years we did all the activities just in our classroom. Both ways work and are a lot of fun.

Hope you have a rocking 50s day! "See" you soon (I promise!!)!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Heart Pocket Charts + Freebies

Sorry I've been away for a few days- I've been crazy busy the past few weeks. It just seems like there is so much to do and not enough time to get it done! I'm sure you all have no idea what I'm talking about! =) Anyhow I wanted to share some of my new favorite activities to do with my kiddos during whole group and literacy workstations. And to make it up to you for my brief hiatus lots of freebies!

Each week I focus on one anchor story- usually a big book with repeatable text. Some of the books we've read so far are: Pete the Cat; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Lunch; From Head to Toe; and Go Away Big Green Monster.  We read this book over and over during the week. I also try to pull our focus star word from these books, and we create predicatble charts using sentences from the book (more on that in another post). We play a sentence scramble game to practice print concepts and word recognition. I cut apart the words of several sentences and each child gets a word (I write each sentence on a separate color sentence strip- and then I call up the kids by color "team"). The kids have to put themselves in order to make the sentence- the kids LOVE this!

These predicatble sentences are also great to add later to a literacy workstation for the kids to put together again and again. You want to know the best part?! I've created a few pocket chart sentences to share with you! All you need to do is print onto cardstock (a color printer would be fab!), laminate, and cut apart. I'm planning to put these in these awesome plastic photo keepers  I found (I'll try and post a picture once I get them all set!) but ziplocs or manilia envelopes would work well too! I hope you enjoy!

Have a great week!

Click on the book covers to see the pocket chart activities. Just as a heads-up the files look kind of goofy in google documents but if you download them they turn out fine!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo Story: Do You Want to Be My Friend?

A couple weeks ago our class was reading Eric Carle's Do You Want to Be my Friend? Awhile ago I saw a video that a kindergarten class had made to accompany the story and decided that it might be something fun for our class to do. I used photo-story (its one of the applications that comes standard on most pcs), and it was a snap to make. I'm trying to brainstorm some other books we can make into mini-movies. Any ideas? My kiddos loved being movie stars!

The video sometimes takes awhile to load...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Teachers Got to Eat

So I hope you'll allow me to diverge from normal teacher-y things for this one post (and maybe a few in the future), but I wanted to share with you my weekend pursuits. It's been quite an exciting weekend for my family! I received a text on Friday at school that said: "Today is baby day!".  My older sister went into labor Friday, and after a nine hour wait at the hospital I got to meet my new (and only) nephew Weston for the first time. He is the cutest baby in the world (and I'm not bias or anything!).I love him so much already!

Anyhow...I love to cook, but I do it rarely because cooking for just me is no fun at all. Usually I just make a big pot of soup once a week that I eat for lunch everyday. However I knew that once my nephew was born I wanted to help out my sister by bringing meals once a week. I've been scouring pinterest for good freezer and crock-pot meals, and I finally got to make some today! I cooked for two hours and ended up with six servings of soup and four casseroles. I felt very accomplished! Here's a look at the final products (my refrigerator  and dishwasher are packed full!):

I found these great Hefty casserole trays at Publix. You can bake them in the oven and you can put them in the microwave! So perfect for when you are making casseroles to give to other people. I stocked up because there's always someone at my school in need of a meal. Plus these dishes are disposable so your lucky food recipient doesn't feel any pressure to wash dishes and give them back to you!

I made three recipes (click photos to go to recipes!):

Mexican Lasagna

Penne Pasta Bake with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
 Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup (this one just screams fall to me!)

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and are refreshed for the busy week ahead!