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Friday, October 31, 2014

Franken-Pudding Fun!

I'm not usually into Halloween. It's just not my thing. But for some reason, I've been getting pretty into it this year when it comes to teaching. And let me tell you - my firsties are absolutely loving it! So I guess it's really not all about me and what I like...imagine that!

So with that being said, I introduce to you - Franken-Pudding Day! A new Ms. Nordland tradition. Or so I hope, seeing as it's only happened once.

I know instant pudding is far from rocket science, but with my horrendous cooking resume and extended list of easy things I've messed up, I was still a bit nervous that things wouldn't turn out! Especially since we were making a quadruple-sized batch.

Luckily, our pudding-making escapade seemed to go quite smoothly! In order to get all of my students involved in helping, I wrote down different roles on slips of paper. I had sixteen different "dumpers" (to dump in pudding mix and cups of milk), four different "stirrers" (to stir after each round of dumping), and four "colorers" who each added some food coloring to the mix. The kids loved watching each other contribute to our class Franken-Pudding. Their excitement and energy was infectious!

Seriously, could these be more adorable?! So worth the extra ten minutes before school spent on drawing on little monster faces :)

Next up was describing our Franken-Pudding! This adorable flapbook was just perfect for our current study on adjectives. We took turns brainstorming different adjectives to describe our pudding using the five sentences. When we finished, students got to add some color and creativity. I don't think I've ever seen them so excited to bust out their crayons and markers!

The entire reason why I did this activity with my kids was to introduce procedural writing. When all was said and done, we put the steps down on paper. I am hoping that next week when we dive into our procedural writing unit students can look back on this memorable activity to help them remember how to write a how-to (see what I did there?)

The above activities came from Cara's FrankenFUN freebie pack. Have I mentioned how much I love everything she does? Fabulous lady is 110% fabulous.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday {October 24th, 2014}

I don't think I've ever meant "TGIF" as much as I do tonight. I love how Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching gives us all something to look forward to on Friday afternoons!

Parent teacher conferences are officially over! After 8 conferences Thursday and 15 (yes, 15) today, I get to say a cheerful "see ya later" to all the fun that comes with nonstop parent meetings. Thankfully, I think things went pretty well this year!

Spending five days a week with six and seven-year-olds brings a whole new meaning to that "You Give Me Fever" song. After coming home and sleeping for two hours after conferences, the good ol' thermometer revealed a lovely little fever. I wonder which one of my little angels I can thank for this one!

I saw a similar anchor chart on Pinterest and knew we had to incorporate it into our pumpkin-filled week. Introducing adjectives aligned nicely with learning about characters and character traits during our reader's workshop mini lessons. The kids had fun thinking of different words to describe pumpkins and it helped that we just visited a pumpkin patch last Friday!

After completing our pumpkin KWL chart, I decided to talk more about the pumpkin life cycle and have my students complete this cute life cycle craftivity. We sung this adorable song to help us remember the different stages (I may or may not have put it on repeat for a good ten minutes while they worked).

We finished up our narrative writing unit by recalling memories from our pumpkin patch field trip. The best part was creating goofy jack-o-lanterns to accompany our writing, inspired by this super cute idea on Kacey's blog. 

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Liebster Award!

I am so very flattered to announce that I have been nominated by Katie from Living the First Grade Dream, Abbie from Steppin' Up to First Grade, and Melissa from See Bean Teach for the Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is an award for beginning bloggers who show great potential.

With the nomination, I need to answer the following 11 questions and then nominate 11 different blogs with less than 200 followers. So, here we go!

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

Well, I think I've technically had this blog since the beginning of my teaching career in August of 2013. But I blogged all of two times and had no idea what I was doing and it was generally a huge disaster. I decided to restart my blog over the summer because it's always something I've wanted to get into.

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Candid. I'm a pretty candid individual - I don't really have many secrets and am pretty much open to talking about anything and everything. I hope to share different aspects of my teaching journey, both the good and the bad, while trying to focus on the positive!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey that you wish you had known before?

I still consider myself in the earlier stages of my blogging journey. I know I still have lots to learn!

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?

I love shopping, the Chicago Blackhawks, country music, watching Jeopardy, annoying my cats, and being around my family and friends.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?

Right now I just blog here and there, when I can. I'd say around 1-3, depending on the week. If I wasn't in grad school, things might be a little bit different.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?

It definitely depends on my mood! I love finding bright ideas from others but also really enjoy just hearing about what people are up to, both professionally and personally. I love it when I read a post that I can relate to!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?

All of the other amazing blogs I read! I think one of the first blogs I ever really got into was Cara Carroll's The First Grade Parade. Holy cow, girlfriend is amazing! After seeing her blog, this led me to search out other blogs to follow. I do follow many of the big names, but love finding smaller names (like me!) to follow as well.

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?

My very first post. And not because its content is incredible or anything like that. I'm just proud that I took this whole "blogging" hobby I've been wanting to try and finally ran with it!

9. Is there any post you've been planning to do but have been postponing?

Me? Procrastinating on something? But of course. I really want to do a big post on how I organize/differentiate my reader's workshop time. We'll see when I get around to it...

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love connecting with other bloggers. Not only do I learn a lot but it is also nice to know that when you've had the best day ever or one of the worst, there are others out there who understand!

11. Which recipe, project, or idea from my blog would you like to try yourself?

Katie - I am loving the new phonics books that you have in the works and am excited to see the finished product!
Abbie - Your class pumpkin patch is adorable! I will have to remember that next year when we start our pumpkin unit.
Melissa - I envy your commitment to staying healthy and planning out some nutritious meals during the school year! I think I may need to try this whole "meal planning" thing myself.

Now for my nominations!

Pili from Glitter and Gradebooks
Alex from The Kindergarten Connection
Gabrielle from Love and Teach On
Molly from One Sassy Sub
Erin from The Watering Hole
Jaime from A Spoonful of Learning
Michaela from K's Classroom Kreations
Megan from Books, Bows and Big Ideas
Alexis from Mrs. Hudgens Hears a Who
Lesley from Practice Makes Perfect
Kristen from Loving Teaching Inspiring

Now that you've been nominated here are the official "rules" for accepting:
1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each.  Provide them with 11 questions or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well.  (You can just put your post link in the comments below).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Made It with a Freebie {October 20th, 2014}

Happy Monday! My shortened week seems to be flying by already. Although I missed Tara's initial posting last Monday, I thought I'd still join in the Monday Made It fun!

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Ms. Nordland, what makes the ____ sound?!" More often than not, my kids are looking for a vowel sound that they just can't put their finger on. Solution? A set of fun, bright, picture-supported posters to reference during writing/reading time. The posters come in two different sizes to fit your classroom needs and can be found here in my TPT store!

Moving on to a freebie for you! As I noted in my weekly plans, this week is all about related facts. While I did have a couple of fun printables in my resource collection, I wanted something a bit more hands on for my students. They always love working with manipulatives, whether it be dice or cubes or dominoes, so I whipped up a quick freebie for them to use!
You can find your freebie here! All you need is the worksheet and a tub full of dominoes. It could work with dice as well, although the instructions mention the use of dominoes. I hope your students enjoy it!

Tara's Monday Made It link up is open for the rest of the month, so be sure to head on over and join in the fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Peek at a Short Week

Last week was the calm before the storm. It was a short week with our day off on Monday and our fun-filled field trip to the pumpkin patch on Friday. {Teacher fail of the century: I didn't manage to get a whole group picture! So sad!}

This week, however, will not be as smooth-sailing as last. Because not only do I have some pretty big assignments due for my grad classes, but we've also got parent-teacher conferences Thursday and Friday (cue panic-induced music).

Parent-teacher conferences can definitely be a stressful time. Luckily, I found a fantastic, editable freebie by Jodi Southard to help me organize my conferences, which I think will save me a lot of time in preparing for 25 different conferences! Last week, I had my kids fill out a simple self-evaluation. On the back side, there is space for me to comment on their strengths/areas of improvement, what we will work on while at school, and how parents can support at home.

Because of conferences, I did not have to do as much instructional planning this week. Here is what we have going on:

First quarter was all about small moments. Now that we are into second quarter, we need to say goodbye to narrative writing and hello to, well, something else. In order to wrap up narratives and give my students a good opportunity to show what they know, we will all be writing about our fabulous trip to the pumpkin patch last Friday. We will also be making these cute little pumpkin guys found on Kacey's blog to accompany our writing out in the hallway.

Second quarter is my favorite because I get to teach all about story elements and retelling! We will begin discussing characters and character traits. I found this fantastic post from Sarah about great fall-themed books to teach characters and picked up some free graphic organizers as well. The post came just in time and I am so excited to delve into characters this week!

We are so, so done with nouns and verbs. And we've become pretty good sentence-writers. Now it's time for some adjective fun! As I was going through my resources, I was so excited to find some adjective-related activities that fit perfectly in with the fall theme I've got going on. We will begin by describing a pumpkin and end the short week describing different candy corn "characters". Does it not tie in almost perfectly with my character trait lessons? (Big teacher-win).

Another thing I love to teach is fact families. They can be such a huge lightbulb moment for so many of my first graders! While we're not quite to fact families yet, we are getting ready for them by discussing related addition and subtraction facts. 

Finally, we will finish our pumpkin KWL chart we started prior to our field trip last week. We will label a pumpkin, discuss the pumpkin life cycle, create a pumpkin life cycle craft, and finish up with an interactive emergent reader that students will read with partners.

'Tis the season for conferences, so I'm sending positive thoughts to all who will be conferencing along with me these next couple of weeks! Oh, and don't forget to head on over to Deedee's blog to link up with everybody!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five for Friday {October 10th}

Why hello there, Five for Friday. It's been a while.

I am so glad to actually be writing a Five for Friday post this week. And even better? It's on time. I am sitting here, at my mom's school, in her fourth grade classroom, writing this week's post. Because I, Ms. Paige Nordland of Illinois, have taken my first ever personal day! A long weekend turned into an extra-long weekend? Don't mind if I do!
After seeing all of the adorable Halloween stuff pop up this week, I knew I had to prep something similar for my students. After seeing Cara's post about the eyeball ten frames, I basically sprinted out the door to the dollar store to get some for myself! I also found cute number bonds cards to use with unifix cubes and this spider match-up to practice addition sentences. My kids l-o-v-e-d it!

This week, we wrapped up our study on landforms. My students really enjoyed making these landforms foldables from Jen Ross. They were a great way for students to show what they learned about our world's different landforms!

This week, we received the unfortunate news that a second grader at our school was undergoing surgery for a cancerous brain tumor. Although my first graders don't really know him personally, we decided to spend Monday morning making cards for him. I was blown away by some of the adorable things my friends wrote to him! The one in the middle says "I hope you have fun like flying a kite with your mom" and the end one says "The school is not the same without you". How cute!

Yesterday, we received the best news we could have hoped for - they were able to remove all of the tumor. I am hoping the cards put a smile on his face during his recovery!

I already told you I'm at my mom's school. Which right now kind of looks like this in some places. They are going through huge renovations and some of the teachers are without classrooms. This is the school's new "library" - how crazy is that? I've been coming here for almost 20 years and the layout is unrecognizable. It really puts some of the smaller renovations into perspective!

My trip home meant a stop at Anthropologie. One of those times I wish I made more than a teacher's salary because everything was so stinkin' cute! 

While my hometown might be boring at times, you can't beat adorable downtown Libertyville!

And on a final note, hockey is back! Started off the season with a Blackhawks win!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently

Things have been so crazy this week I barely had time to notice that yesterday was the first day of October! Which means it is time for Currently with Farley!

Listening: Love me a good thunderstorm. Can I just crawl back into bed now?

Loving: A three day weekend plus a personal day on Friday turns next weekend into a four day weekend for me! My mom's best friend is coming in from Texas so I am going to head home that weekend to spend time with my mom and her friend.

Thinking: One of the other first grade teachers is tying the knot this weekend! I cannot wait to celebrate with everyone.

Wanting: I am loving all these Stitch Fix posts. I want some of the clothes. I filled out a style profile and almost scheduled a fix. But then again - nervous! What if I hate everything? What if nothing fits me right and it's a waste of $20? Should I just put that money towards something I want from another site? Why am I spending so much time thinking about clothes?

Needing: The maintenance light has been on in my car for over a month. Yikes. Why is getting an oil change such a pain in the behind? Probably because there are about a thousand other things I'd rather be doing.

Treats: Please enjoy 15% on my featured products over at my TPT store! Happy fall!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: First Grade Profanity

This week's picture really speaks for itself. We were responding to The Magic Pot, which is a story about a pot that won't stop spilling syrup all over the place.

Okay, okay - maybe what she really meant to say was "thank you" (in the story, they got the pot to stop by thanking it for the maple syrup). Then again, I might have a few choice words for a pot that spills syrup all over my pristinely clean apartment.

Have you ever had any funny instances of accidental profanity in your classroom?

Now go link up with Christina! Happy hump day!