Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goodbye Pope Benedict

We are at an exciting time in our religion and history as Pope Benedict's final day is today.

What was supposed to be a project for Wednesday/Thursday got pushed back a day due to another snowstorm (we just had our fifth snow day!)

I was inspired by this post at Catholic Icing.

Today, my firsties made the Pope puppet but we are going to jazz it up a bit with the Papal lapbook printables from Shower of Roses. 

I also want to add the hierarchy of the Catholic Church so I may be moving some things around.  Since we aren't doing a whole unit of study on this with first grade, I thought this was a good way to give them some information (and information to take home for their parents) without another lapbook.

We are also going to watch this Youtube video which does a great job of explaining the process:

Check out the other links on Catholic Icing - tomorrow's plans include making a Miter, the conclave chimney stack and possibly playing the "Electing the Pope" game!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Celebrate Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss' birthday is fast approaching and I haven't had much time to plan for it!  We had 2 snow days last week and I'm trying to play catch-up!

Since Dr. Seuss' birthday is on Saturday, I thought I'd do a different little Seusstivity each day this week.  Today, I'm starting small.

I'll be reading There's a Wocket in my Pocket and having students use rhyming words to write their own sentence of "There's a ____ in my _____."  You can download it from my TpT store here

Thursday, February 21, 2013


In our social studies theme "All About People" we learned that people around the world have different cultures.  Culture is a group's way of life.

To help my firsties understand that there are big differences in the world, I showed them a powerpoint on China's culture from Hannah Braun's TpT store.

Today, we started by reviewing what culture is and then talked about our own cultures.  We compared the culture of our home to the culture of our school - we looked at food, religion, fun, leaders, and clothes.

Then we took it a step further.  Each student chose a different country and I showed the students the kid-friendly search engine called Kid Rex.  

They are using this search engine (and my guidance) to fill out a research sheet about their country.  They are finding their country's flag, 3 interesting facts, and a picture of a person wearing clothes from that country.  Everyone had a lot of fun using the computer and learning about another culture!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidential Drawing

I'm so behind this year!  I have great intentions to post things you can actually use this year, not just store away for next year, but this school year is getting away from me!

Today we did a lot of Presidential activities.  One of my favorites was this directed-drawing activity from Kindergarten Planet.

It's always nice when the steps are broken down for you to follow.  One of my first graders even exclaimed, "I feel like a real artist!"

The 3D projects around the Washington portraits are the Washington Monuments that we made.  We wrote some sentences about George on them before we put them together.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Fun

We did a lot of Valentine related activities today - I have an in-service to head to so I can't look up and link to all of the products I used, but I wanted to share our Valentine party with you.  After our morning recess we did a Minute-to-Win-it party!  There was a good mix of activities and we saw all of our different strengths come out.  These activities were inspired by The Teaching Reef's Valentine's Day Minute To Win It freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers.

First we fanned tissue paper hearts across the room and tried to get them into a basket:

Then we put together a Valentine puzzle.  This was pretty hard - it took way longer than 1 minute to get a winner:


Next, we tried to stack as many candy hearts as we could in one minute.

Then we did a marshmallow toss.  We tossed marshmallows one at a time into a cup.

After the marshmallow toss we did "love spot".  With Vaseline on our noses, we had to pick up cotton balls and move the from one table to another.

Then we took a bathroom, drink, and wash your nose break.  When the students returned, we did a heart pick up - using 2 pencils as chopsticks, we had to transfer as many candy hearts as possible from one plate to another.

After that, we played "cookie face".  We placed a cookie on our forehead and had to try to move it to our mouth without using our hands.

After cookie face, we used tweezers to transfer Valentine Tic-Tacs from one bowl to another.

Then we tried to defy gravity by keeping 2 balloons from touching the ground - this didn't last long!

After we defied gravity, we tried to remove jelly beans from the bottom of tights with just our hands - not touching anything else.

Then we used a straw to transfer beans from one plate to another.

And finally, we held a Popsicle stick in our mouth and tried to stack 6 candy hearts at the end.  

We had a lot of fun!  When we were finished with our party, we exchanged Valentines :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday: Making pretzels

Did you know that pretzels are a religious symbol of Lent?  Amazing, isn't it?!

When early Christians would pray they would cross their arms and touch each shoulder with the opposite hand.  They also fasted strictly during Lent, making bread with only water, flour, and salt.  A monk shaped this in the form of praying arms for children, and the pretzel was born!

To help us remember the special time of praying during Lent, we made our own pretzels.

To find the recipe and a cute printable, visit Catholic Icing!  The recipe provided made about 6 large prezels, but we did have a lot of dough to work with.  Here's how they turned out (I ended up giving my students a handful of dough and they rolled and shaped the pretzels).

Ash Wednesday: Lenten Lapbooks

We sure are doing a lot for Lent.  We made these today, but they can be made anytime during the start of Lent.  I'm a busy gal so I like it when I can find good ideas, free ideas, and free printables to go with it so I don't have to create my own.  That's exactly what I found!

It all started with a little journey at Catholic Icing (love that site - it really is the icing on my Catholic Cake!) and Homeschool Goodies.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find many printables to use and I didn't have the time to create ones from scratch (I do love creating my own printables, but I have my daughter's parent-teacher conference to attend, Valentine treats to make, and all those other teacher/mother/wife duties!).

Anyway, I hit the jackpot when I found Sanctus Simplicitus. Seriously, click this link.  You will not be disappointed.  I got all my printables for the lapbook there (except the Stations of the Cross, I'll get to that in a minute).

Let me break this down for you.  I started with a 12x18 sheet of purple paper.  I glued the Lenten calendar from Catholic Icing in the middle.  Then, I folded the sides over the calendar to create the tri-fold design.  There is also a Lenten calendar shaped like a cross in the Sanctus Simplicitus inserts, but I opted for Catholic Icing's.

The other printables I got from the Sanctus Simplicitus site (click the link that says "inserts for Lapbook")

I printed page 4 (Jesus on the cross coloring page) for the front of my lapbook.  I simply cut around the image and cut it in half.  Then I glued half to each side of the cover.

On the right side, I printed page 1 and 2 of the inserts back-to-back and used the "All for Jesus" booklet at the top.  Open this up and this is where students write what they will do more and less of during Lent.  I made them write specifics (not just "be good" or "be nice").

Underneath that is the Stations of the Cross pocket (page 8) and the Stations pictures.  I used the colored printable Stations from Family in Feast and Feria (they also have a black and white version).  I printed them in color because they are such awesome images!  

On the left side, I printed back-to-back pages 6 and 7 then 10 and 11.  They were cut out, folded in half, and glued down.  These explain each day of Holy Week.

If you're new to lapbooking, check out this awesome video explaining what it is.
There are many ways to make a lapbook - I did what I knew my students and I would use and what would be most beneficial to us.  Have fun making yours!

Ash Wednesday: Good Deed Beads

While our crown of thorns was drying, I showed my first graders how to make Good Deed Beads (also known as Sacrifice Beads).  I found an excellent tutorial at The Little Ways.

You can see I modified their instructions a little bit to make use of the materials I had.  I picked large beads out of my bead jar for the students to pick which one they wanted at the bottom.  I chose a smiley face bead because I love smilies!  I used purple yarn and purple beads to keep with the color of Lent.  To help string the beads we taped the ends of the yarn.

The students are keeping their good deed beads by their seats during Lent.  As they do good deeds they can move a bead up (they stay in place because of how we strung the beads).  I'm not monitoring this one - their challenge is to do 10 good deeds each day and hopefully the beads will make them more aware of their behavior.  The crown of thorns, on the other hand, is a class project to do those extra good deeds and they will need my permission to remove a thorn. 

I hope this helps give you some ideas for our Lenten journey!

Ash Wednesday: Holy Heroes and a Crown of Thorns

Today is the day!  It's the beginning of Lent.  To help us prepare for this we have been singing a Lenten song (to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat) found here:

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
We are meant to repent.
40 days of sacrifice.
Being super, extra nice.
This is Lent.  This is Lent.

Today we are doing several things to kick off our Lenten journey.  We started by watching a video from Holy Heroes' Lenten Adventure (sign up is FREE):

Then we began making a crown of thorns.  We used air dry clay.  I gave each student a couple clumps of clay (it was in a 25 lb. box - that was the best I could do) and set them to work to warm and soften it (yay for fine motor skills!).   They returned the clay to me in log shapes.  I pieced them together to make a crown.

Now's the part where you are supposed to add toothpicks, but {YIKES} I forgot mine at home!  So I improvised and used stick pins.  We carefully put the pins in the crown to symbolize the thorns. 

Throughout Lent we will try to do good deeds - those extra things that we wouldn't normally do.  When we do, we will remove a thorn.  The goal is to remove all the thorns by Easter.  I adapted the idea to fit my needs and supplies from posts at Catholic IcingCatechist's Journey, and Ten Kids and a Dog.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Groundhog Goodies

Wow - I know I'm late posting this, but the stomach flu has gotten the better of me this week - ugh!  Here's  a few of my favorite Groundhog Day activities: