Sunday, January 23, 2011

100th day- Meet Granny Cross

She's old. She's feeble. She's sassy! She walks with a cane and has a hunchback. She doesn't know how to operate those newfangled gadgets, and she loses her glasses often.
Meet Granny Cross... 100 year old "me" I informed my students that "Mrs. Cross" was sick at home, and I was her 100 year old grandmother. Think 'Mrs. Nelson is Missing' if Viola Swamp were 100 and funny (and a lot nicer!).

To get granny-fied....
  1. Get some baby powder and dump it liberally in your old lady hair do
  2. Get some old glasses (mine are the ones from the 3-d movies! More of an accessory- they didn't stay on my face)
  3. Get a large sweater and stuff a pillow up your back- you do have a hump, after all.
  4. Find a lovely floral pattern skirt
  5. Wear some nice knee high stockings or socks with the ugliest loafers you can find- preferably black or navy
  6. Add a cane and an oversized purse. By purse, I mean suitcase that you could easily fit a bathtub in
  7. Make-up effects are optional. I squinched up my face and then darkened the wrinkles with a light brown eyeshadow. A bright pink lipstick is mandatory.
We made necklaces from 100 fruit loops, wore outfits with 100 items on them (Granny Cross' 100 item was the beaded lanyard for her glasses), and did lots of other fun things.

You could also have your students dress up as 100 year old people. :)
Happy 100th day!

PS Does anyone else feel like it should NOT be 100th day already?!

Saturday, January 22, 2011 -Partially funded project- need YOUR help to spread the word!

Hello blogland!
So, I just discovered that my DonorsChoose project to get audiobooks in my classroom has been partially funded! Hooray!

Here's the awful part... If the project is not FULLY funded in SEVEN days, I lose the donation! Please help me spread the word to reach my goal! I'm currently $180 away.
Here is a direct link to my site:

If you haven't checked out DonorsChoose yet, I highly recommend it!

Thanks so much! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chinese New Year- February 3, 2011 + Technology Tips!

In our Scott Foresman Reading Series, we read "The Lady in the Moon". It's a Chinese story, and the students really struggle with understanding certain words and references throughout the story. Chinese New Year is a little earlier than we read the story, but the decorations are extra-festive so I don't mind having them up for a little while!

Super-easy Chinese Laterns
Easy-peasy steps:
1. Fold red construction paper in half (hot-dog style)
2. Starting at the center fold, use funky scissors to make cuts about 1 inch ap
art- stop cutting about 1 inch to the bottom of the paper.
3. Unfold the construction paper
4. Optional: Paint simple Chinese characters onto the lantern
5. Fold into lantern and staple
6. Embellish with goodies! We used sparkly pipe cleaners with beads. These were simply stapled to the bottom. Attach a ribbon across the top and you are finished!

The Chinese have a tradition of dying silk to form a picture called Batik. It normally uses hot wax and dye- you apply one color at a time. Disney (you know I'm a big fan of Disney, right?!) has fantastic craft section of their website. This is the link to the how-to student friendly batik making page. Here is a website with a video about Batik using glue that students can do! The Chinese lady (bottom picture) is an example of a Batik silk painting that I created.

Promethean Planet is a website for teachers with a Promethean Interactive Whiteboard. News Flash: You DON'T have to have a Promethean board to get the most out of this great website! Think of it as powerpoints on all your favorite stuff that teachers upload for free! You can download their FREE software, ActivInspire to open the files you can download off of Promethean Planet.

Bring in guest speakers as experts! Ask around and find a community member to come talk to your class.

Last year my class did a Skype session with my friend in Asia. The kids LOVED this- it was really cool. However, there is a slight time difference- he was talking to us at 11:30 pm his time! All I used for this was my computer with a webcamera.

Epals is a great way to connect with other classes from around the world. Think pen-pals gone high tech and global! Check out "The Way We Are" projects to align with social studies standards.
Why not visit China? Google Earth allows you to take amazing field trips and see read 360 degree street views! Talk about geography! We don't have a smart board, so we have to make do. Here, a student is up front "leading" the class with the pointer... but I'm actually controlling everything from a computer in the back of the room.

Videoconferencing is a new and exciting frontier! Check out what these schools in London did last year.
Don't forget to check out all the resources that you have access to. This super cool dragon was left over from a Scholastic Book Fair. He was sitting in a storage closet when I asked the librarian if he could live in our class for a month!

Most local libraries will let teachers go over the normal limits on books- my library lets me check out 25 at a time.

Be sure to read Lon Po Po, the Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood. It's a Caldecott Medal Book!

Here is a great resource on Chinese New Year 2011

**New- create a painting with Chinese-themed colors! Using red construction paper as a base, swirl sparkly metallic gold paint and let the kids blow through a straw to spread the paint. Repeat with black paint. Next, I let them finish the sentence starter: "I think my painting looks like...". Mount onto black construction paper and display! :)

How do YOU celebrate multiculturalism in your class? -Or- What is your favorite technology to use? :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Document Camera for $68

Did you know you can get a document camera for under $100?

Check out this little beauty at Amazon for just $68! It's called an IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera, and you will love it! Most Elmos and other competitive brands start at around $400, so this is a steal!
It hooks up directly to your USB on your computer and then uses your projector to magnify objects.

I use mine to:
  • demonstrate good handwriting technique
  • enlarge book pictures and point out text
  • demonstrate how to complete assignments
  • show students how to use the itouch applications

IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera
My fantastic room mom took up a collection at Christmas, and this was my class Christmas present! (How amazing are they?!)

Do YOU have a document camera? If so, how do you use it?

Arctic & Antarctic Animals

Arctic Animals

This was my first year to do a unit with Arctic animals with my class. It was logical, considering we already created a milk jug igloo this year, so we were talking about how the people adapted to live in the cold climates.

This is just the start of our unit- I will be adding to it more as it continues!

Here is a webquest that I created on Arctic Animals. It includes short clips from National Geographic, photos, and kid-friendly facts. BrainPopJr. has a free video on Arctic Habitats.

We came back to school on a Thursday after winter break. We had no spelling words, no
reading story, and no math chapter to cover! After reviewing procedures, we got into science!
My teaching buddy from across the hall decided to pair up with me on this one. After she made a KWL chart with the kiddos, we started the hands-on discovery!
I also got out my globe and a flashlight. We had some student helpers come be the "sun" with the flashlight. We talked about the Earth's tilt, and the kids discovered where the most light hits at various points in the Earth's cycle around the sun.

Next, we talked about animal adaptations. We did a science experiment about blubber and how that insulates the animals. Volunteers came up and took turns experimenting which was better- sticking your bare hand in icy water or using a water proof, insulated glove in the water.

My class worked with the first grade class from across the hall to use rulers and draw the animals to scale. I created a packet of animal facts for them to use. Here is a copy. I also LOVE Babbling Abby's Penguin Unit! We will be going more in-depth to penguins later this month.

Here are some other useful links:

More to come soon!

Milk Jug Igloo

It's cold outside. So it feels like a great time to share all aboutthe Arctic Unit we have been studying. I'm going to break this post intosmaller ones to make it more manageable.

This post will be dedicated to the steps on how to create a milk jug igloo!

I first heard of this idea when I was doing my practicum in college. I thought it was a really cool idea! Then I forgot about it.

Surely you know about Jessica Meacham, right? Sure you do- you're a professional bloggin' teacher! (If you don't, just go over to her site and block off the rest of your day so you can enjoy the amazingness.) I stumbled on her site and decided to tackle the igloo this year.

First, you will need ALOT of milk jugs. No, really.
Then, we used string to tie them together in groups of ten (place value, anyone?) and skip count by ten's. Then you create the base around a yard stick. It's alot harder than it looks to kind of hard to get them in that shape! I use high-heat hot glue, though apparently there is some crazy stuff called Cold Glue? Ever heard of it?

Then you keep stacking, and stacking, and stacking!

We had a pattern in the stacking- two handles together, one handle facing down, two handles together, one facing down.... I manned the hot glue gun, but the kids stacked them and held them in place until they were dry.

We aren't 100% finished yet- we are still going to build a tunnel entrance. You know, to keep out the snow. Or just for added fun factor. Notice the smiles?
My husband is dragging me out the door to go to the library. Next post will be on Arctic animals and free penguin resources that you can download!

Meet Mrs. Cross

It's 2:02 am, which seems about as good a time as any to start a blog. Granted, I've been doing a snow dance for a week now, and we are day number three of no school. I had a nice little nap and stayed up all night pursuing other first grade teacher blogs, so I decided now would be a good time to start my own.

I am currently working on my master's degree in Mild/Moderate Disabilities within the general ed classroom. I'm halfway finished, and I have throughly enjoyed the winter break off!

My future career aspirations include:
  • go back to get my Specialist's degree in Administration
  • work as a Principal then maybe work on my PhD and teaching future teachers. Maybe.
  • Alternate career aspirations including winning the lottery and traveling the world. Or become a dolphin trainer.
Other things you should know about me:

Mini Shopaholic: A Novel
I LOVE the Shopaholic novels. If literally laugh out loud reading these books.

I can't get through the day without at least one of these. My husband jokes that I should have an IV of diet coke. (And what would be wrong with that?)
I'm a big fan of all things apple... my macbook, iphone, itouch...

I have a really cute class website (created on iweb) that you can check out here.

I also have another blog about how I met my husband at Disney World and our adventures in married life. I haven't updated this one as much, but most of that is due to graduate school. I'll keep this one more updated. Promise.

So that's me. Stay tuned for a unit on Arctic Animals including: how to build a milk jug igloo, a FREE penguin tree map created by moi for you to download, drawing Arctic animals to scale, a webquest (also created by me), and collaborative science projects.