Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Has Gone and Sprung!

The end of the year is looming closely and we have been extremely busy with spring and all the activities that come with this wonderful time of year! Here are a few of the quick highlights!
The first thing we did was investigate three different kind of seeds. We looked at a kidney bean, sunflower seeds, and a pea. We wrote in our journals about what we noticed and then as a whole group we looked at the inside of a seed and labeled the parts.

We then planted those seeds and watched them grow! As we saw changes we continued to use this as an opportunity to journal about the changes we saw. This was a fun opportunity to discuss observations and practice writing the date! :)
Sorry for the yucky looking dirt on the tray! But this little friend's seeds all really took off and grew like crazy! :) We then began to look into plants. We read many books about seeds and plants and how they grow. We then, as a group, labeled this plant..
Can't take credit for the artwork. My wonderful Early Childhood Assistant majored in art in college. She. Is. The. Bomb. Dot. Com.
After we labeled that beauty, we made our own!
Of course some inspiration came from other bloggers. I believe Cara Carroll was who's plant labeling looked a lot like this one! The best ideas come from others! I am not as creative as the wonderful bloggers I adore!
Anyways - Our school's science curriculum not only has us looking at seeds and plants, but has us investigating some interesting little critters.........
Millipedes and Pill Bugs to be precise!
This is actually nice because this gives a wonderful opportunity to discuss habitats, organisms, and a thousand other things..but I can't lie. I really really REALLY do not like to touch put this bad boy together. We put some dried leaves, dirt, moss, and some sort of tree like plant (can you tell I'm practically a scientist?) together and then added a few millipedes and pill bugs (rollie pollies). Threw in some apples slices for good measure and taped that bad boy up TIGHT! I have never had it happen to me, but I have heard horror stories about the millipedes escaping and I was NOT going to let that happen to me. I would have just exaggeration. The kids do really love this activity though, so I put on my happy face, helped them put the terrarium together, and encouraged them to observe and journal about what they saw. (I still didn't touch any of the bugs-love those little children!)
Another fun activity we did was that made a symmetrical butterfly!
The kiddos painted and folded the paper, we looked at how the pattern was the same on both sides and then they got to cut it out after it dried. They look pretty cute hanging up on my ceiling! :)
Before I go, I just have to drop in a little teaser for our mother's day presents....they are adorable, huh? Stayed tuned to see the adorable final product!
Goodnight and happy early mother's day!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Miscellaneous Goodness

Oklahoma is about to get hit with some scary storminess so I thought I would stop by and share before all that began in my town!
Last time I posted I talked a little about opinion writing and how we are about to start diving into Spring learning. Well I then came across this adorable little blog post by Cara Carroll. I adore pretty much everything she does in the classroom, but this was just TOO PERFECT to pass up.
We first read the wonderful book "Hey, Little Ant" by Phillip M. Hoose.
This book is ADORABLE - And the ending asks the reader what they think the little boy should do.. should he squish the ant or not? So thanks to Cara's wonderful idea, we used this as a jumping off point for an adorable opinion writing craftivity. Here are some of my favorite results:
"I think the boy should squish him because he is naughty."

"I think the boy should squish him because he eats people's food."

"I think the little boy should take the ant home."

"I do not think the boy should squish the ant because he has a family."
Some were merciless. Some were adorable. Either way, I LOVED them!
Moving on to a quick, fun way to keep on making sight words fun even at the end of the year! I made these fun little sight word headbands for them to make at the end of the week to wear around to reinforce the practice of the word. They color the word, trace it and write it in a sentence, and then practice reading the sentences in order to improve fluency. They really like this one. You can click on the image below to purchase this little activity in my shop!

Last, but not least of the random things going on in my head that I wanted to share with you is this fun little behavior incentive I use in my classroom. I can not remember where I got the original idea, but I certainly don't believe my little brain came up with this one. I used a button maker, a printer, and some simple star stickers in order to make these. I let my kiddos wear them for the entire day whenever I notice them making a "good choice." Then all day other adults ask them about the good choice they made and they get an opportunity to share over and over! It makes them so proud. Simple. Cheap. And EFFECTIVE!


Alright..I'm going to go hide from the storm!
Here comes the hail!
Mrs. Briggs

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kinders on the GO!

We just wrapped up our unit on transportation and are about to dive into learning about SPRING! :) But before we do that, I wanted to share some things we did in my classroom.
First and foremost before beginning our learning, I asked my kiddos what they THOUGHT they knew about "transportation." I love when they don't have a clue! So much more fun to teach them about a topic. {Please pardon my messy handwriting!}
Then I checked out 24 books about transportation from the school library and let my kiddos do some "research." After giving them some time to look through these nonfiction texts, I gave them a square of paper and had them draw or write something that they noticed, thought was interesting, etc. You can see below that they saw all kinds of things! Labels, bicycles, airplanes, cars, hot air balloons, trucks, and more!

THEN in the following days we learned about transportation by sea....{and recorded all the things we learned!}

Did the same by air...

And land.... :)

 Along with all of this new learning, we were also discussing our opinions. We made a quick anchor chart {which I forgot to take a picture of..!} and read a few books like Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Williams. We then talked about how the pigeon was working so hard to convince the reader he should be able to drive the bus/stay up late. We talked about how an opinion is something that you feel and that you should tell why you feel that way. We took a crack at writing about our favorite kind of transportation and why and here are some of the results!

"I like plane because it goes fast."

"My favorite transportation is cars because they are fast."

 "I like cars because they are safe."

 "I like helicopters."

We are still working on the WHY we like things, but this was the first time we tried out opinion writing so I would say it went pretty well! :)
We also made some pretty cute trains to practice their last names. This was an idea I saw on Pinterest, but I switched it up and used it to practice their last names instead of their first.

I think they turned out pretty stinkin' cute!
Anyways... I'm EXHAUSTED! So I am out of here.
Happy Wednesday!
-Mrs. Briggs

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Definate Blogging Lull & Helping Henry!

Spring fever has definitely set in and my blogging has taken a hard hit! I promise to be back ASAP to talk about some transportation activities we have been doing in my classroom.
I wanted to share with you a quick story about a little boy named Henry, who within 48 hours after receiving a vaccination at his 15th month check up. Henry developed cerebellar ataxia, absence seizures, and signs of possible brain damage. He has been in and out of the hospital and undergone plasma infusions. You can visit the Healing For Henry Facebook Page for more information.
In the meantime, some wonderful people got together and decided to do what little they could to help. 30 teachers donated well over $100 worth of teaching products for this fundraiser. You can have all of these for your $20 donation to help Henry! Your donation will go to Help Henry's family pay for the numerous plasma transfusions required to help little Henry get well.
Please click on the link below to donate!
Mrs. Briggs

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A little St. Patrick's Day Fun

We did a bunch of fun St. Patrick's Day themed activities, but I wanted to share with you a few of my FAVORITES. :)
First I asked my littles what they already knew about St. Patrick's Day. We then read this wonderful book by Brenda Haugen that gave some great background information about the holiday. You can click the picture above to purchase.
We then used a TON of activities from Cara Caroll at the The First Grade Parade. One of my favorites was her word family sort.
I noticed my kiddos were having trouble distinguishing between the different word family sounds, so this was the perfect activity! It also came with a wonderful pocket chart sort. I loveee everything in her little March packet!
We also did a little sight word practice...
This fun activity comes from my little St. Patrick's Day Packet. The kiddos have to write down the sight words they find around the room and sort them by how many letters are in the word. I also added a differentiated option where the kiddos can just write down the sight words they find if they are not ready to sort by letters. :) You can purchase that packet by clicking on the picture above. absolute FAVORITE activity we did was a writing activity (which I found on Pinterest, of course!). After reading some books about luck, we made a little text-to-self connection by thinking of times that WE felt lucky. It was so cute to see what some of my kiddos wrote!!
"I felt lucky when I got a bird"

"When I went to Chuck-e-cheese"

"I felt lucky when I lost a tooth."
How precious are they??? I just love them all.
I hope you are lucky & on spring break! If so..enjoy it!!!! :)
-Mrs. Briggs

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Paddy's Day & March Linky Party!

Just dropping in for two quick reasons.
1. To brag about the insanely gorgeous 80 degree day we had here in Oklahoma.
These are my dog children whom I adore. Big brother Cooper is on the left with little sister Maisie on the right. They ruin my life on the regular, but oh how I adore them! :)
The second reason I stopped in is because I linked with A Chocolate Dudley in order to share some pretty awesome St. Patrick's Day/March materials. You should pop on over and check them out!
What is everyone doing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I'd love to hear all of your ideas!!
-Mrs. Briggs

Sunday, March 9, 2014

PowerPoint Gaming Giveaway!

Just dropping in the let everyone know that I am participating in PowerPoint Gaming's giveaway to celebrate her having 300 followers on Facebook! SO exciting! Anyways, there are TONS of wonderful products and she will be selecting THREE, count 'em THREE winners. So head on over to her blog to enter by clicking on the link below! Good luck!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Word Family Headbands

Sorry that I haven't blogged in a while! Things have been crazy at my school... we are getting ready for student-led conferences tomorrow (I'll make sure to post about how that goes-it's usually GREAT!) and Friday which means it is report card testing time! This, in turn, leaves me very forgetful when it comes to taking cute pictures of the kiddos working hard in the classroom! I am usually in the back corner with a bunch of data books asking the kids to count to 100 by 1s and 10s... ANYWAYS! We have been out of school for 2 days due to snow and I was ready to do something fun!
Even though the data books of which I speak are not my favorite thing in the world...they do cause me to notice certain trends in what my kiddos know and don't know. One of the things I realized was that more than a couple of my students were really struggling with rhyming words. This really surprised me because I feel like we have done a thousand rhyming activities..but I thought it definitely couldn't hurt to go back and do some more. SO I stared thinking of something fun I could do to practice word families and BOOM! Word. Family. Headbands! My kiddos love ANYTHING involving headbands, puppets, bracelets....just anything made out of paper I guess..anyways..I keep getting to the point!
These headbands have the word family on them, some words that end in the word family, and then the kids are responsible for sounding out 4 of the CVC words that end in that word family. They colored the headband and cut them out. I made them into headbands using sentence strips. You could also use strips of construction paper or whatever you have lying around! I told my littles that their homework was to wear the headband home and teach their mom, dad, grandma, grandpa - whoever was at home - all about the word family we covered today!
Here are some photos:

You can purchase these here by clicking the image below!
Word Family Headbands
I hope your kiddos have as much fun with these as mine did!
HAPPY HUMP DAY! :) where's my taco bueno??? ;-)
-Mrs. Briggs

Monday, February 17, 2014

Liebster Blog Award!

THANK YOU THANK YOU to Vilena from Classroom In Paradise for nominating me for the Liebster blog award.

 According to Vilena's blog - the Liebster Award is an award for new blogs. Liebster is a German word that means: BELOVED, CUTE, LOVELY, DEAREST, and WELCOME.

To accept the nomination I must:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator (Vilena)
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them

Here are my nominations!

1.Techie Turtle Teacher - This blog is not necessarily "new." It was created last year, but I just love reading her posts. Every Tuesday, she has a "Tech Tip Tuesday" linky. So great to get weekly technology tips! It's so hard to keep up as technology is ever changing! :)

Techie Turtle Teacher

2. Hanging Out With Mrs. Strout is SO early childhood friendly. Her blog features many fabulous ideas to keep those littles engaged. Can't wait to read more posts from her!
Hanging Out With Mrs. Strout

3. Dynamic Dual Language provides incredible resources for dual language classrooms and lots of fun phonics activities as well!
 Check out my Facebook page!

4. Creative Teaching Supplies is a wonderful blog from Australia! Her timeline is a little different than ours in the US, but she still has some FABULOUS ideas to borrow! :)

5. Strawberry Shake has some pretty great Social Studies and Science resources as well!!

Strawberry Shake 
Now for the questions from Vilena...
1) How do you spend your free time?
Lately, I have just been obsessively watching The Walking Dead....only took me a little over a week to watch all 3+ seasons. (I know, I have a problem...). Other than that I spend time with my husband and my puppies!
2) How do you juggle your family life, teaching, blogging and creating lessons? Do you use a planner?
I just got married in November and my husband works fairly late, so I am lucky to have a lot of time alone at the house where I can come home from work, work on my TpT materials and blog before he gets home. I've also gotten pretty good with time management to where I can usually handle all of my teaching stuff before or during school hours (plan periods are the best!).
3) Do you work out?
I worked out EVERY SINGLE DAY before my wedding and was in such good shape...and then I got married...and now I haven't been in three months. But I swear today is the day I'm going back....!!!! :)
4) Are you scared of anything?
I have an irrational fear of any noise in the house. I am convinced that it is a murder...zombie..etc.
5) Describe yourself in 5 words.
Talkative. Boring. Smart. Caring. Nerdy.
6) Cake or chips?
CAKE. Do you think that is why I've gained 10 pounds since I got married?
7) What was your favorite toy as a kid?
I remember loving the game of Life. And then I loved the computer game The Sims whenever it came out.... I'm a nerd, okay? :)
8) What is your biggest achievement in life?
Bagging my handsome husband.
9) Your funniest moment in the classroom.
Oh my am I supposed to pick just one when I teach Kindergarten??? Last week my sweetie with a speech impediment was reading classroom names and pronounced "Phoenix" like "Pee-nix." You can imagine what followed. I had to hold in my laughter!
10) Your celebrity crush.
PEETA! Is Josh Hutchinson his real name? I don't really care. I would want to call him Peeta.
11) If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be?
1. To go to Disney World (and Harry Potter World) ASAP. 2. To magically have the money to trade in my sweet 1999 ride for a new one! 3. To be able to eat all the cake I want without gaining 10 pounds. :)

11 random facts about myself...
1. I was TERRIFIED of dogs until I got one of my own.
2. I now have TWO sweet dogs, Maisie and Cooper.
3. I have been married three months. (best three months of my life!)
4. I JAM in the car when I am alone...or with friends..doesn't really matter much to me.
5. I will pretty much eat anything sweet.
6. I hate grocery shopping.
7. I sleep on my stomach with my arms underneath me. An adult swaddler.
8. I have only taught for two years.
9. I am 5'11. (but I frequently claim to be 5'10 because I think it sounds better)
10. I can never find shoes that fit my big ole feet.
11. I still text my mom every single day. 

Here are my questions for the nominees...
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. Coffee or Pop?
3. What inspired you to start blogging or join TpT?
4. What is your favorite thing to teach in the classroom?
5. What made you want to become a teacher?
6. What grade do you teach currently/What grades have you taught in the past?
7. What is your go-to, favorite outfit to wear to school?
8. What is your favorite thing to do after school?
9. How often a week do you update your blog?
10. What do you do with your summers?
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in your classroom?

I am looking forward to reading everyone's answers. Good luck! :)

Mrs. Briggs.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Community Helpers

UPDATE! Still haven't stopped obsessively watching The Walking Dead. END UPDATE.. ;-)
I actually just wanted to share a QUICK little update about what we have been learning about the past week and are currently wrapping up.. Communities & Community Helpers!!
We started off our unit by making a list of what we thought a community was...
(My favorite is "rock.") :) HA!
We then read all about communities, talked to experts, and did research online and on our iPads. We then read this FABULOUS book... Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran.
I am NOT kidding. If you haven't read this book or you don't own a copy - go buy one. RIGHT NOW. Have you bought one yet? Because you should. It breaks down the idea of communities into the most simple of ways. Long story short - these little kids create a community out of rocks & boxes. Get it yet? ROXABOXEN? Yes. Too cute.
But this REALLY helps my kids understand the idea of what it takes to make up a community. So we then made up a list of all the things we think it takes to make up a community using those post it's you see there and we also listed them on a small chart tablet along with what a community REALLY is. :)
After doing all of this we decided to make our own community using construction paper! I can't lie...this was a little stressful with just me + 24 kids, but I did my best to keep calm and collected. HA! I divided the kids up and they each decided what they wanted to contribute to the's pretty amazing what we came up with!

Isn't that the cutest thing you've EVER seen???
They added homes, churches, veterinarians, a mall, doctor's office, school, train, road, fire station, police station...they had it ALL!
I was so proud of them! And even though I was insanely stressed out, it was worth it & turned out SO wonderfully. We are still talking about community helpers and we are finishing up the unit with a little "easy reader" action. A little book from my Communities Unit where they have to fill in the blanks with information about each community helper. Talk a sneak peak!
They are LOVING this little activity. It will be great because they can keep this in their book box or take it home and share what they learned with their parents at home. I love it!
You can click on the picture above to purchase this from my shop!
Alright...back to The Walking Dead!!! AHHH! :)
-Mrs. Briggs