Friday, July 3, 2015

Big Changes!

Over the past few years, I have enjoyed posting on my "Amazing Ants" blog and sharing resources and ideas with fellow teachers. Although I still want to continue blogging and sharing, I kind of feel as though I have "outgrown" my Ant blog and am ready for a change! 

So, without further ado I would like to introduce my brand new blog

If you would like to check it out, just click on the button!

Starting this new blog has really lit a fire under my butt and gotten me excited about blogging again! I sincerely hope that you consider following me in my new blogging journey! Thanks for following along :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TPT Challenge Week 1 - Makeover Madness!

Today I am linking up with some awesome and inspiring teachers for Week One of the TPT Seller Challenge! The challenge is being hosted by Third in HollywoodSparkling in Second, Teach Create Inspire and The Peppy Zesty Teacherista. If you have not already joined in on the challenge, you should definitely check these ladies out for more info!

This weeks challenge is Makeover Madness! We were challenged to give a facelift to one or more of our old products. 

Here is the very first product I ever made: 

Y'all.... I was SO PROUD that I actually made something! I was brand spanking new to the world of Teachers Pay Teachers and I thought my little classroom jobs looked pretty darn good! Ahhhh how time changes things lol. ;)

Here is the "Makeover" of the original product.

That is all well and good and I definitely think that it looks better than the original, but I wanted something brand spankin' new for my room next year. I still love ya chevron, but I think I have had a zig zag overload the past 4 years and we need to take a break!

So here is my EXTREME makeover!

I gotta say, I am really happy with the way my new little jobs came out and cannot wait to start switching over my entire room to this color scheme! What do you think?!

If you like them, both the chalkboard and chevron jobs will be on sale all week!
Click the photo below to get your very own set of classroom job signs. :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm very excited to be joining some of my fabulous blogging friends to help Stephanie from The Learning Chambers celebrate 1,000 TpT and Instagram followers.  I mean look at all of the FABULOUS bloggers that are involved in this giveaway!!

To celebrate, we are giving one lucky follower an Amazon Gift Card worth $100!!  That is just in time for summer and it would definitely help purchase all of those books that you want to read this summer.

Make sure you enter the giveaway by entering in the rafflecopter below.  Good luck friends!  Fingers crossed!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 14, 2015

O is for Ocean and Octopus

We just wrapped up or second week of summer school! :) During the summer, we don't have school on Fridays so I try and make Thursdays fun days! This week, all of our activities revolved around the letter  O. 

During literacy time, we made "pudding oceans" and wrote a numbered list of how to make them. The kids LOVED making these and they are soooooo EASY to do! All you need is vanilla pudding cups, food coloring, a spoon, and some sort of "gummy fish".

First, we added blue food coloring to our vanilla pudding cups.

Next, we stirred like crazy!

Then, we added our little fish!

Looks really appetizing doesn't it? ;)  

Here is one of my sweet little guys writing. 

1. Open Pudding 
2. Make it blue
3. Stir
4. Add fish
5. Eat 

I am so proud of them and how far they have come this year!

In math, we created Octopus Pattern Hats. I pre-cut 8 strips of construction paper and 1 octopus "head" for each student.  Using bingo dotters, students created 8 different patterns on their paper "tentacles" and I stapled them to a sentence strip. Anytime they can wear their product, they think it is amazing (and I think it is adorable)!

During science, we created Oceans in a Bottle. For this, we used bottles of water, glitter, vegetable oil, foam sea creature stickers, and these weird little plastic beans I found in the art closet. Obviously, you can put whatever you want in there! 

 I let students drink some of the water (to make room for the oil) and added glitter with a funnel.

Then, students added food coloring, sea creatures, and the little beans. Although many students wanted to squirt as much food coloring as possible into their bottles, I found that if you only squirt 1 drop you can see everything in the bottle much better. 

Next, we made predictions about what would happen when we added the vegetable oil to the water and tested out our hypothesis. 

Finally, it was time for the kids favorite part....


And watch everything dance and swirl around until it all settles back to the way it started. 

It was a fun week and I can't wait to start on all of our "W" activities tomorrow!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Calendar Time (Part 2)

Here is the rest of our calendar routine! If you missed part one, you can find it here :)

Next up, days in school!
A new student helper comes up and adds a stick to the one's place. (As you can see, my fabulous matching sticks that came with the calendar have slowly disappeared and are now replaced with popsicle sticks.) We all count the sticks to see how many days we have been in school (starting with 100) and then change the number at the bottom so that it matches our sticks.

While students are still working on number ID, I like to hand the student leading "days in school" several different numbers so they can show them to the class and the class can "help" him/her find the correct number. It sounds a little something like this:

Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 4!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 9!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "Yes! That is number 8!"

After days in school comes tally marks! The tally marks match how many days we have been in school.
I always start the year leading and modeling the calendar for my students and then gradually release one part of the calendar at a time over to the students for them to lead. You can probably look at the tally mark chart and guess when students began to take over that section. It's not perfect but it sure is authentic! ;)

The student who leads this section of the calendar first points to each group of tallies as we count the tally marks we already have by 5's. Then, the student says our "tally mark chant"and adds another tally to the chart.

To remember when to make a vertical line and when to cross the 4 vertical lines with a diagonal line (and yes, even the students use the words vertical and diagonal. Parents can't believe their 4 and 5 year olds actually know what those words mean but we start using the vocab in context on day 1!) we say this cute little poem and do hand motions to go with it.

One, Two, Three, Four, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Five Shuts the Door! (Move hands across the body diagonally)
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Ten Draws a Line! (Move hands across the body diagonally)

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this rhyme! It really has help my students draw tally marks.

If you would like to download a free printable of the chant for your own calendar, just click the picture below :)

Up until the 100th day of school, we add an apple to fill in our giant 100's chart. I have made enough numbers to take us through the last day of school because I used to use these little apples as one looooong number line, but this year I use them as a 100's chart. I created the apples so that all of the odd numbers are blue apples, the evens are green, the 5's have a purple circle, and the 10's have a pink background. This really helps the kids not only see number patterns but also count by 2's, 5's, and 10's!
 If you would like to snag these numbers for yourself, you can find them here.

For the weather, we use this cute freebie found here. (There are several other options for types of weather in the freebie but where we live, these 4 pretty much have us covered!)
And sing this weather song:

What is the weather, weather, weather?
What could the weather be today?
Is it sunny, sunny, sunny? (raise arms above head to make a big circle)
S-U-N-N-Y today!
Is it cloudy, cloudy, cloudy? (move hands like you're forming a big fluffy cloud)
C-L-O-U-D-Y today!
Is it rainy, rainy, rainy? (wiggle fingers down in front of you like rain falling)
R-A-I-N-Y today!
Is it windy, windy, windy? (move arms like your hula dancing)
W-I-N-D-Y today!
What could the weather, weather, weather,
What could the weather be today?

We also discuss how a thermometer measures temperature. When the temperature is warmer, the red liquid inside the thermometer goes up and when it is cooler the temperature goes down. As the year progresses I also show them a real thermometer and we begin to check it for degrees fahrenheit.

Finally we work on positional words! Since we are the Amazing Ants, naturally we practice this with an ant and a picnic basket ;)
The ant is thumbtacked to the board and we move it all around the picnic basket practicing our positional words. For example, I may move it above the picnic basket, far from the picnic basket, inside the picnic basket, etc. This is also useful when we are talking about antonyms or opposites. For example, "The ant is inside the picnic basket. What would be the opposite of inside?" I also teach them synonyms for positional words like under or below, beside or next to.

By the 2nd semester I have pretty much phased this part of the calendar routine out because the students all have a good understanding of positional words. Every now and then I will throw it back into our routine for review though.

I hope my calendar routine breakdown has been helpful! :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Made it Monday

Today may be back to business but last week was our Spring Break! For me, that meant a lot of relaxing, time with friends and family, and getting a few projects done that I have been putting off! Sooo I figured I would share a few things I have been working on :)

My first little project is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I have always wanted one of those cute "teacher stools" for my classroom! 

Now I have to tell you, my Dad is the BEST at finding things. He loves going to thrift stores, flea markets, you name it! Every now and then I will ask him to keep an eye out for a good deal on something and he always finds it. Always! So when I asked him to find an inexpensive stool (sturdy enough to be in a classroom), to please get it for me. And like always, he delivered! 

TADA! haha I am really happy with the way it came out!

It was actually very easy to complete! First, I spray painted it a fun color. Then, I had some leftover fabric from this project so I modpodged it to the horizontal foot rest parts. I also painted big gray polka dots down the legs. 

Next, I used a Tupperware lid (a very scientific form of measurement) to measure a fabric circle for the top of the stool. I Mod Podged that on the top and then used my handy dandy Cameo to dicut a big 'ol letter A. Finally I, you guessed it, modpoged that to the top. Isn't Mod Podge great?! :)

My next project is something that I have put off for a loooooong time. It is not technically something that I "made" but I did make it more organized! ;)

The dreaded bathroom drawer (dun dun duuuuuuuuun!)

I know. It is a hot mess. So embarrassing! But I have to show that so I can show this:

Quite the improvement huh? I can actually find things without rummaging around in the drawer for 5 minutes! After completing something like this I alway think, why in the world did I put this off for so long?!?   


my last Spring Break project  is one that is special to me because it is something I used to do with my mom when I was little. Long before there was Pinterest (how did we know what to wear, cook, teach, etc?!? lol) my mom was a total "pinterest mom," cooking, sewing, crafting, and creating smilie face shaped lunches for us. I gotta say, my childhood was pretty awesome :) We used to take all of our old, warn down crayons and make "Rainbow Muffin Tin" crayons! Did anyone else used to do this when they were a kid? 

Now, thanks to Ikea and all of the different fun shaped silicone ice trays they have created, we are no longer limited to muffin shaped crayons! I created mine using this sweet little heart tray :) 

All you have to do is take those crayon rejects that all of your students refuse to use and peel the paper off of them. Kids really like to do this for some reason but it is great for fine motor (plus I have no interest in doing it) so let have at it!

Then, break them up into small pieces

and just toss them into whatever silicone container you are using! Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees F and let them melt in there for about 15 minutes. 

When they look all melty and marbley like this, take them out and let them cool. I tossed mine in the freezer to speed up the cooling process a little.

When they are all cool, pop 'em out and you have some rainbow scribblers! 

Now I just have to decide if I am going to pass these out to my kids now, or wait until we are talk about  reduce, reuse, and recycle and loving our Earth. Hmmm.... 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Calendar Time! (part 1)

When I have visitors in my classroom, I usually get several questions about our calendar routine so I wanted to do a little break down of my routine and share it with all of you! 

During calendar time, we cover MANY different skills. So many that when I started to type the entire routine, it made for one loooooooong post! Because of this, I broke it up into two different posts. So without further ado, here is part one of two of our calendar routine.

Here is a look at our "calendar area"

It may seem like a lot, but once we get into the routine, calendar time seriously only takes about 10 minutes and is completely student lead! 

First we begin with the days of the week.

A student comes up and points to each day of the week as we sing "The Days of the Week Song" to the tune of the Adams Family. 

Then we practice the skill of passing time by identifying yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We sing a song about yesterday, today, and tomorrow to the tune of Frere Jacques that goes like this:

Today is (insert day)
Today is (insert day)
All day long 
All day long 
Yesterday was (insert day)
Yesterday was (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Let's have fun!
Let's have fun!

After I have taught alliteration, we usually practice the skill by having 2 or 3 students come up with a word that has the same beginning sound as the day of the week. (Friday, fish, football)

Next, we move on to the months of the year. I have my months on these little cupcakes. 
I usually have paper candles with students' names and the date of their birthday on the cupcake with their birth month. Then, I take down their candle and add it to the calendar in the pocket with their birthday. Somehow I totally forgot about the candles until around December this year (whoops) so we just added birthdays to the calendar as they came!

Aaaanyway, back to the calendar routine! Another students comes up and points to the months of the year as we all stand up and do the "Months of the Year Macarena"  

We then name the month that we are in and practice counting how many syllables are in the name of the month.

After that, another student volunteer comes up and leads the class by identifying the pattern on the calendar and extending the pattern to find today's date.

I usually try to find or make calendar pieces that go along with our theme. I also start the school year with a simple AB pattern and then make the patterns increasingly more difficult as the year goes.

The students will identify the pattern by shape (UFO, astronaut, astronaut, rocket), Letter (ABBC), and then number (starting at 1 and ending at the date). Using that information, they extend the pattern by predicting what comes next and adding that piece to the calendar.

After we have our date, another student comes up and updates the 10 frames so that they match our date.

As the year progresses, we use the 10 frame to practice different skills such as subitizing, counting by 10's, and figuring out how many more days until 10, 20, or 30.

If you are interested, here is a link to some free printables I created that you can include in your own calendar routine. Just click on the picture below :)

We also count days in school, practice place value, number ID, tally marks, counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, weather, and positional words! Want to see more? Click here for part 2!