Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We're Still Alive!

Hey bloggy friends!

Just popping in to share a little secret....

You may have noticed an unusual absence from our Made in The Shade Duo --  YUP! It’s been kind of sporadic lately. And, it’s a little undeniable.

Lisa and I have been SWAMPED with PD and the race to complete Data Walls. (We’re at different schools…. So this is serious! Data Wall War). 

Lisa will have had a sub 4.5 days this week. I had a sub 2.5 days + I've been staying late making graphs that will make Lisa’s look like crayon drawings (Just kidding! Or am I?).

As you can tell, this week is kicking my tail!

BUT!  We have not stopped thinking of you and here is a sneak peek of a super AWESOME and probably the best piece of work we’ve done to date…… Seriously, this thing is going to be MASSIVE, SUPER cute, and a Reading Night Program!! GET EXCITED.
Hmmmm.... What are we up to!?

Alright, I’m off to complete my super long to do list (which is scribbled across my hand…. and wraps around to my palm!) How did I let things get so CRAZY?!

Lisa and I will be back shortly! {Hopefully not sporadically!}

Sunday, February 26, 2012

{FREE} Animal ABC Order Activity

Hi kids!  I'm gonna keep this short and sweet today because after having the whole week off, I now feel like I've contracted the plague right before we head back tomorrow...YUCK!  I'm going to get some much needed rest, but I found the cutest clip art this week and had to make something cute for you guys :)  We'll be using these Animal ABC Order cards this week during Daily Five.  Click the pics below to get your free cards and recording sheet :)

Have a great week bloggy buddies!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Array" of Sunshine {FREEBIES} :)

Happy Friday!  Today is the last day of mid winter break for us so it's time to get ready for March next week!  We'll be doing a lot in math, especially working on arrays and multiplication...and I can't wait!  {I puffy heart arrays!}  We made these FAB "array" of sunshine (I LOVE a good play on words) projects last year and this whole class display for the hallway.

Each student made their own "array" of sunshine rainbow with sunshine and clouds.  I gave each student a sheet of grid paper, two cotton balls, a sheet of blue construction paper, and a sunshine template to trace on yellow or gold construction paper.  I let each student draw out their arrays with any equation they want so all of the projects were differentiated by ability level.  Above grade level students could draw more complex arrays while other students could work on more basic arrays.  Each student then labeled the backs of their arrays with a pencil before gluing them down.

The end result...a super cute rainbow spring craftivity display that matches up to the common core!  Gotta love that right?!?! 

Click the pic below for some other fabulous array activities to work on with your kiddos and enjoy your weekend friends :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Core Democratic Values: Booklet Freebie!!

It’s Thursday..... Which means I have a few more hours before I have to get my head back in the teaching game. So, until then I figured I'd hit you with some oldies but goodies for today!

Our social studies curriculum calls for us to be teaching the “Core Democratic Values.” Luckily for me, the state of Michigan breaks these down HERE.

I always start with The Pursuit of Happiness. I love it because kids can easily connect with this idea, it helps us jump into classroom rules AND most importantly it connects well to my favorite children’s book…. FANCY NANCY! 

While we discuss the Pursuit of Happiness we keep oodles of Anchor Charts (that of course I tossed into recycling…..) and we record our thinking in these books….

It’s only one piece of paper and has the fancy dotted handwriting lines… Think September.
We also jam out to this little diddy compliments of School House Rock!

I also put together a list of books we read to help us uncover The Pursuit of Happiness. They’re some of my favorites! 

Alright! I am off to finish this break off strong! I'm sure you're off to finish this week off strong! Good luck!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How To Organize All Your Reading Workshop Goodies {and FREEBIES!}

Last summer as I was going through all of my amazing resources that I have collected over the past six years I came to a bit of a revelation...I am a hoarder of teaching items!  {GASP!}  I strive to be the uber organized Jodi from Clutter-Free Classroom, but I am not.  So undertaking all of my reading resources and organizing them into one spot was going to be quite a summer project for me.  It all started with a 3" binder that I could take everywhere with me...

First of all, our district put together this wonderful pacing guide (that I would love to share - but is still in draft form with the district) to align all of our reading comprehension strategies, phonics lessons, and all things speaking and listening into one common core friendly document.  {I heart it!}  After we were given this document, I went through and typed all of my mini-lessons (57 pages worth) and then broke them into sub-categories by comprehension strategy.  A lot of my mini-lesson ideas came from The Learning Pad and I edited them to make them work in my own classroom, so because the ideas aren't originally mine I won't share this crazy document with you.  But, {HERE} is the original website if you would like to check out her amazing reading workshop mini lessons!

I then went through and gave an individual tab to each comprehension strategy for graphic organizers (ex. schema and all activities schema related - all in one place).  We also developed these graphic organizers that you can download here for {FREE} or by clicking the pic below!  There are 50 different graphic organizers that help review making connections, visualizing, schema, summarizing, retelling, and predicting/inferring.

After that, I spoke to our AUH-MAZING Interventionist, Louann, who was able to provide me with a book list that the district created that matches up to all the strategies.  Awesome, right?!?!  Click the pic below to download five pages of books and the strategies they match up to :)

Sadly, there was still organizing all my amazing finds from Beth Newingham, Michelle Oakes, Lesson Plan SOS, and Amanda Nickerson!  All of these ideas about Reader's Notebooks, Non-fiction Text Features, fairy tale units, etc. all received their own tab for resources in the 3" binder too!  But, my FAV part of this fab flip it over and {BAZINGA!} all of my writer's workshop resources too! 

But, that's a tale for another day :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No Leprechauns On My Watch! {Traps!}

My first grade team has a really fun tradition they’ve been carrying on well before I joined the ranks – Leprechaun Traps!

Before we go any further: This post is going to share some info that’s Not Safe For Kiddy Ears (NSFKE). So if your sweet peas are peeking send them away! Maybe I'll share a super cute picture of my dog while you send them away....

OK. Now that the kiddos are gone… I’ll let you in on a secret. Leprechauns are not real. Upsetting and earth shattering, I know. But each year we convince even our non-believers that they DO exist and they LOVE first graders.

About two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day we send a home a note explaining the Leprechaun Traps and challenging students to be creative and out-smart those tricky Leprechauns.

On St. Patrick’s Day students bring in their projects. Last year I had a cutie pie bring in one that looked like this:

Apparently, it was from a website. BUT, SUPER CUTE nonetheless.

Each student shares his/her trap and explains how it works to the class. We also snap a picture of the kiddo and the trap. We set the traps each time we leave the room – because everyone knows a leprechaun would NEVER come in while were actually there!

While we’re out together  (library or recess) one of my sweet teammates comes through and completely trashes our room and puts a chocolate coin in each trap. We’ve had the leprechaun leave little green footprints around the room, he’s flipped chairs, he’s hid some book bins, and he has even thrown GLITTER on the floor. But, they knew it wasn’t me because I was with them the whole time!

After we get our room all cleaned up we write about the events and our reactions to our visitor.

Our hallway display for March is the student's writing and picture.

Here is a link to all these documents if you're interested!

This download includes:
* Parent Letter 
* At Home Writing Component (Lucy Calkins "How To")
* Classroom Response / Hand drawn 
* Student Response: Tricked (Space for student photograph)

P.S. Sorry there are no real photographs of these! I didn't know I was going to be a blogger so I really didn't document the events well! Additionally, we are on break ALL WEEK (I'd hate me too) and Mr. Frank is sealing the floors (this means NO ONE IN!) so the pictures I do have are stuck at school. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Out of This World Activities!

Happy Monday all!  Hope you've had a FAB weekend!  Hopefully you are enjoying today off or this week off like we are...I promise that's the only time you'll hear about it this week...hehe :)  We've been busy making a ton of fun stuff, of course, with a few freebies!  These are some of the activities we'll be working on when we head back next week.

We have a ton of district wide testing continuing when we head back, so the kiddos are gonna need some fun to supplement!  We'll be making these fact family rocket ships.

We'll also be using this alien craft to do some descriptive writing while also drawing a diagram of our aliens.

This packet is 94 pages long! And is only $1 on TpT.

This activity pack includes:  

Addition Flashcards: pgs. 4-18
Subtraction Flashcards: pgs. 19-28
Alien Addition: pg. 29
Time to Blast Off!: pgs. 30-31
Space Race to 100: pg. 32
Moon Money: pgs. 33-34
Saturn Sums: pg. 35
Earth Even or Odd?: pg. 36
Galaxy Geometry: pg. 37
Fact Family Rocket Ship Craftivity and Directions: pgs. 38-41
Alien craftivity and writing: pgs. 42-48
How to get to space flow map and writing: pgs. 49 - 50
Alien at school multi flow map: pg. 51
Aliens and humans compare/contrast double bubble map: pg. 52
Exploring space multi flow map: pg. 53
Friendly letter to an alien: pgs. 54-55
Rocket Ship Bubble Map: pg. 56
Astronaut Thinking Maps: pg. 57 - 61
Alien Thinking Maps: pgs. 62-66
Out of this World words! - a vocab map: pg. 67
I have, who has?: A spacey contraction Conundrum: PGS. 68-74
The Great Space Race - A Dolch Sight Word Game: Pgs. 75-92
Great Picture Books to Use With This Unit: Pg. 93

And we, of course, have some cute freebies for you!  Click the pics below to download them from Google Docs.

We will also be giving the first FIVE friends who leave a comment with their email address a copy of the whole packet for {FREE}!  On a side note, we had the chance to meet up with some other FAB Michigan bloggy buddies yesterday and had soooo much fun!

Here's who was there!
Christina from Mrs. Bainbridge's Class
Rachel from Ms. Rachel's Room
Kara from Spedventures
Jessica from Apples and Papers

We had such a nice time meeting everyone!  We spent three hours just laughing, talking YA books, horror stories, and Target finds.  We can't wait to do it again!  Have a FABULOUS start to your week friends!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


YEAH!  We had so much fun doing this giveaway with the fabulous Randi at Teach it with Class!  Here's our winners!

Congratulations to...

Jennifer at The First Grade Dream!  You've won a CD from Have Fun Teaching and an item from Randi's TpT Store :)

Lacey at Wild About Teaching!   You've won a CD from Have Fun Teaching and an item from Randi's TpT Store :)!  You've won a $10 Amazon gift card and our Out of This World Math and Literacy Activities :)

Miss T at Journey of a Substitute Teacher! You've won a $10 Amazon gift card and our Out of This World Math and Literacy Activities :)

Congratulations to all of our winners!  We will be emailing you your prizes.  Have a WONDERFUL rest of your Saturday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

If You're Awesome and You Know It...Click Right Here!

Happy Friday Bloggy Buddies!  The weekend is here...YEAH!  And for us, a mid winter break...DOUBLE YEAH!  We are *loving* all of the Dr. Seuss inspired March is Reading Month goodies :)  Unfortunately for us, we {GASP} don't have the Seuss theme this year!  We're having a literacy carnival/circus as our theme.  So, here's the deal.  We'll be doing a HUGE actual carnival at the end of March with make and take activities and carnival themed literacy games for our families.  If you'd LOVE to share a great game we could play at our carnival or a super creative make and take idea that we can use all of our adorable carnival/circus clip art on...we're going to make it for you and post it here for FREE for all of your help!  We're looking for ideas for all elementary grade levels :)  So, if you're awesome and want some great freebies, leave us your idea in the comment section below and we'll be working on these over the break!

Also, if you haven't had a chance to enter our giveaway with the AMAZING Randi at Teach It With Class, click {HERE} because it ends tomorrow evening!  Have a great start to your weekend friends and we are looking forward to meeting up with all of our Michigan bloggy buddies on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Presidents' Day {Thinking Maps!}

Oh my word! Is time flying for anyone else? President’s Day is RIGHT around the corner. We will be enjoying President’s Day with a mid-winter break! Ya-hooo!

We’re working to CRAM in some Presidents wherever we can. In my case, I’m doing a little bit of those“cross curricular” writing opportunities. Plus, I appreciate the two-birds-one-stone of it all!

Our district’s “year at a glance” calls for us to dedicate February and some of November to non-fiction writing. We’re still early in the process, so there’s a lot of scaffolding in these activities – especially for my first grade friends.

We’ll be reading each of these books this week. I’m not sure if you can tell, but I swiped them from the biography section of our school’s library. Cost: FREE!

 A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln & A Picture Book of George Washington
By: David A. Alder / Illustrated by: John & Alexandra Wallace

While we're reading them, we're keeping track of our learning on an anchor chart. (I lack the artistic skills of one babblying artist)
Regular anchor chart with questionable visual/spatial reasoning. 

We used our “research” to complete a tree map with what we learned.

At the end of the week my firsties will choose their favorite president and make up one of these babies with a published piece of writing – featuring their research. I wish I could tell you where this template came from – But, I adopted my classroom from a retiree and this was left in her files!

My second graders, however, did this project last year (which they reminded me of A LOT today). So… they’re going to use the Double Bubble to compare the presidents. These kiddos will end the week with a compare/contrast piece featuring both presidents. I’m sure they’ll love the more involved writing J!

Here are the Thinking Maps we're cranking out this week!

Download Includes:
* Cut & Paste George Washington Circle Map
* Cut & Paste Abraham Lincoln Circle Map
* Fill in the blank Circle Map/ George (For my second graders)
* Fill in the blank Circle Map/ Abe (For my second Graders)
* Blank Tree Map
* Double Bubble Circle Map 

Enjoy your Wednesday night!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Day After...Valentine's Day {FREEBIES}!

Happy Valentine's Day all!  Hope you are feelin' the LOVE :)  This is just gonna be a quick, lil post because I am headed out for some P.F. Chang's with the hubs (YUM!).  I love Valentine's Day because you get to show everyone how much you truly care for them (it should be that way all the time, but sadly we're all crazy busy most of the time)!  So, to show you how much Beth and I care about each and everyone of YOU...we made you a little day after Valentine's Day activity pack to use with your kiddos to remind to show kindness and love all through the year!

                                     Happy Valentine's Day Bloggy Buddies!!! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Last Minute Valentine's Day Freebie!

Hello Monday everyone! At least it’s not a full moon Monday! That coming from the girl that worked a half day – the half with the special AND recess in it! Plus, all the hearts and lovey dovey stuff may have created a "Cloud 9" kind of day! 

Every year for Valentine’s Day we ask parents to send in the same things: ice cream, syrup, sprinkles, bananas, pineapple, and conversation hearts. Every year I get about 50 billion conversation hearts! Over the years my team has become quite resourceful with conversation hearts
This post has some activities we do with the countless conversation hearts we’ve already collected!

Click this will take you the Google Documents File with these!

The files include a few graphing choices to fit your needs and....
- Measuring with Hearts
- Writing Sentences with the Hearts
- Word Wall Bingo (Using hearts as chips)

Happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow everyone!

P.S. My kiddos are totally getting these tomorrow!! Bless The TeacherWife!! They’re going to flip with excitement (Plus they were totally last minute friendly!)!! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Uber Giveaway with 4 chances to win! :)

Happy Sunday bloggy buddies!  We are teaming up with the uber talented Randi from Teach It With Class for a FAB giveaway with FOUR CHANCES TO WIN!  (You read that correctly, 4 chances to win!)  **Keep reading to find out what goodies you can win!**

                                                          Teach It With Class

There will be 4 WINNERS!
(we want you to feel like you have a chance) :)

Leave one comment for each of the things that you do (even if you are not a new follower).

1)Follow Randi's Blog - Teach It With Class
2)Follow Randi's Teachers Pay Teachers Store
3)Follow Our Blog - Made in the Shade in Second Grade
4)Follow Lisa on TPT (there are so many freebies there it’s unreal)
5)Show us some love by blogging about this giveaway on your blog.

What can you win???

The first 2 winners randomly chosen can choose an educational CD from Have Fun Teaching (see more below) and will get to choose one item from Randi’s TPT store :)

have fun teaching cds Shop

The next 2 winners randomly chosen will win ……..

A $10 gift card to Amazon and our new Out of This World Math and Literacy Activities!

Have Fun Teaching

Have you heard of Have Fun Teaching? If you haven’t, head over there now and check it out. Mark is the brains behind this operation and there are so many wonderful resources on his site. He creates some awe-inspiring  educational songs that are available on his site and get this – he creates them himself! As if that’s not enough, there are countless free resources that can be downloaded.  This dude is talented. Go check him out!  My kiddos still bust out The Scientific Method song from the beginning of the year...hehe :)

Alright friends, here's you chance to win big!  Enter below and have a great start to your week! :)  We will choose a winner on Saturday night!!! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Morning Work {FREEBIE}

Happy Saturday afternoon all!  I have spent my lovely and very cold Michigan day inside watching a Law and Order Criminal Intent marathon and getting all of my stuff ready for Valentine's Day on Tuesday.  I realized that I have a ton of stuff planned, but no morning work....AHHH!  So, I whipped up this quick lil freebie to go with the couple of delicious bags of Valentine M & Ms I bought and I think I'm set :)

If you are still looking for some quick Valentine's Day activities, click here to download our {FREE} Valentine's Day packet and activities!  Have a smiley rest of your day :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine Exchange and a TON of Givewaways!

AHHH!  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when I got home today and my package from my secret Valentine exchange partner had arrived!  The WONDERFUL Mrs. Cupcake {Teri} and I had each other...hehe!  She made me this adorable framed list that I can use with a vis-a-vis marker and I am in *LOVE* :)  As the queen of making lists around the house, the hubs just laughed when he saw it.  "How well does she know you?" was his first question!  Thank you SOOO much for your generosity and creativity, I LOVE it and you are FAB Teri :)

Speaking of the AMAZING Mrs. Cupcake, she is having a 600+ follower giveaway {I told you she was awesome!} and her giveaway ends tomorrow.  So, click {HERE} or the pic below if you haven't checked her great blog out yet!

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Here are some other great blogs that are having some super giveaways right now! :)

My Photo


The First Grade Diaries Etsy Shop

Heather's Heart

teachers bag of tricks
SOOO many great giveaways, so little time!  I know what I'll be up to the rest of the evening! :)  Have a FAB Friday friends :)