Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

A place dedicated to learning for ALL students!

This week in the Land of Learning

Okay so let’s pretend it’s still Sunday!  I meant to have this post up then but I got too busy doing all my planning for this awesome week that it was AFTER midnight before I knew it and so yeah…  Needed to sleep.  Lol!  So here’s my preview to my week…a day late.  🙂

Sunday was a special day.  Dr. Seuss’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Cat in the Hat!  So my team has decided to deviate from our normal reading program (insert Psycho screeching here!).  We are doing…Drum roll please!  Dr. Seuss all week long!!!!  Yay!!!!  We love it because it’s not the ordinary same old same old.  The kids love it because it’s Dr. Seuss!  We really get to do some fun activities and just go hog-wild!  So here’s what we are up to:

Monday:

  • Book- The Cat in the Hat
  • Main activity- learn/relearn some Dr. Seuss facts (one of our reading series stories is about Dr. Seuss); make list of high-frequency words he used to write that first book; learn how Dr. Seuss changed reading from Dick and Jane to something much different; start reader’s notebook.

Tuesday:

  • Book- There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
  • Main activity- figure out meanings to his nonsense words; discuss why he made the nonsense words; add more to the word list; reader’s notebook

Wednesday:

  • Book- The ABC Book
  • Main activity- read tongue twisters; make own tongue twisters for neat activity (will show pictures!); add more to the word list; reader’s notebook

Thursday:

  • Book- Horton Hears a Who
  • Main activity- discuss what theme is; figure out theme of book; writing activity- What would you tell Horton if you were a Who?; word list; reader’s notebook

Friday:

  • Book- Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
  • Main activity- hot air balloon telling what they want to be when they grow up; word list; reader’s notebook

Now I know.  This looks rather boring.  No pictures.  But I’m taking lots of pictures to share the results at the end of the week.  This is my first time to actually post about this.  I’m also going to be using some great stations provided by Kathy Law over at First Grade a la Carte that are just made this for this!  In math we are finishing up our topic on comparing and ordering numbers to 100.  We had a first grade program last week and between rehearsals and a bad video causing us to retape the whole show, we got behind.  So rather than cram, we are just going to take our time and finish it this week.  Which works perfectly as next week is spring break!  Woohoo!  Since we can either do science or social studies on a given day, this week is for science.  We are learning plants and seeds, with a concentration on seeds this week.  We are going to look at different seeds and really get to know them before we get to the actual plants.  I know my scientists are ready!

Now what would a week of school be like without a couple of extras in there?  Let’s see… Tonight was Open House- success!  All this week is Texas Public School’s Week so we have special breakfasts each day now- Muffins for Mom, Donuts for Dad, Sausage and Biscuits with Grandparents.  And because we are in East Texas and it’s rodeo season, Friday is Stick Horse Rodeo.  All I’ve gotta say is this…  BRING IT ON!  🙂

So again, please excuse the lack of prettiness of this post.  One of these days I’ll figure out how the other great bloggers create those totally cool visual plans.  And I’m working to post this stuff on time.  Haha!  So that will help too.  But don’t worry!  I’m clicking pictures left and right of what my kiddos are doing so I can share later.  I will say it feels good to be blogging again!  I’ve missed y’all!

Happy Teaching!

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If you give a …

Okay wow.  This week just flew by.  I’ve been trying to get this post done since Sunday and something (or me falling asleep) keeps getting my attention away for this.  Gotta work on that…

So Friday was our only non-testing day of last week.  Finally.  This meant we had our full reading block but I had nothing structured or really set up that we had to do.  So I decided that since my kiddos had worked themselves so hard, I would do a fun project.  I went to my bookshelf to see what might inspire me.  Then I saw them.  My Laura Numeroff books If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Party.  Then I just knew what I wanted to do.  I would read the books to them and then let them write their own stories starting with the phrase, “If you give a ________ a ______, then he/she will want…”  So I went home to think about how we were going to do this.

I thought about making a template for them to follow but I couldn’t seem to figure out how (I’m still figuring out this product making stuff) so I decided we’d just go for it.  So I read the stories to them.  And then we discussed how the story came back to where it started.  So then I told them the big news…They were going to get to write their own in their groups!  They were floored and couldn’t wait!  Yes my students are weird…they love to write.  You can imagine what our 10 minutes of writing workshop is like!  😉  So anyways…

Now I did not just turn them loose.  I gave them an example.  Which is right here (please don’t laugh!):

Remember this is only an example- hence the messing writing.  I kept it short and sweet so that they would get some good writing time in.  My point was how I looped it back to where I started.  So then I set the parameters- no copying the books I read or my story!  I then set them loose as shown here:

I somehow didn’t get pictures of all my groups.  I missed one.  Not sure how…  So they worked!  They were busy the whole time and loved it!  I circled and observed and conferenced where needed.  They really did all the work.  They worked well together which really made me happy.  Whenever there started to be a dispute I just told them that they wouldn’t like what I would suggest if they didn’t come to an agreement.  That’s all I had to say!  By the end of the school day (one or two of the groups needed to finish during reading stations time) all the books were done and they were so happy!

TA-DA!!!!!  So proud of them!!  Their books are now in the Library Station (they begged me to put them there) and they are loving the chance they now have to read those books.  🙂  So I’ve gotta just share one of the books that a group wrote.  Now their connections are not always obvious but what I’m proud of is that it’s their writing.  They did this and they are so proud of themselves.  So enjoy the story:

(If you give a parrot some pumpkin pie)

(Look at those contractions!  Oh and the ellipses!)

(Yes I know the sentence structure is not exactly there…they were just so busy getting the words down!)

The end!!

So there you have it!  It took a lot for me to just let them go and not control every aspect of it.  Then it would not have been as much fun and they probably never would have finished these things.  So I’m super proud of my kiddos and then just proud of myself for just letting them enjoy it.  And believe me…they did!

So how about you?  Have you ever just let something go and let your students just do it?  Please share!  And thanks for stopping by!!

Happy Teaching!

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The Books That Tell My Story

So the fabulous Charity over at The Organized Classroom Blog has shared a wonderful story about books that played special roles in her life growing up.  It was heartwarming to read as it made me think about what I love about reading.  As a matter of fact, it made me remember when I read my first story to my mother.  I was so proud of myself!  You can read about that here.  But I’m straying from the point here.  So let me share with you the books that tell my story.

After I learned to read and started unlocking the magic of books, I read anything I could.  I remember getting the Little House on the Prairie series and I devoured that.  I’ve read the series several times and absolutely love it!  My favorite parts?  The love story of Laura and Almanzo.  🙂  I love love stories!  I know I’m a sap.  So anyways here’s a picture of my series.  WARNING: It was housed in my brothers’ (yes plural- there were 2 of them) for a time for some unknown reason.  The damage you see was incurred by them.  It pains my heart but now they are safe and cherished with me.  I think though that I’ll have to get my daughter her own copy so we don’t worry about these falling apart.

After that, I was given another series, Anne of Green Gables.  Now this one took me a little bit of time to get through.  But I want you to realize something- I got the series in like 4th or 5th grade.  It was probably a little advanced for me.  But I loved them just the same.  Anne was so vibrant and fun!  I loved reading about her journey through life.  Her passion for those that she loved and the things that she did just oozed from the page.  Below is a picture of my beloved books.  Please excuse them being out of order- my husband unpacked them and just simply placed them on the shelf.  I haven’t been able to organize the study yet.  It’s on the project list!  Obviously I kept this series out of my brothers’ reach as they are still in great condition.  I can’t wait to have my little girl read them!

Now around this same time (Easter time as I recall correctly…how perfect!) I received a special book from my parents.  It’s one I still love reading to this day.  Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  A classic book.  But my parents didn’t just get me a copy of the book.  Oh no.  They got me this beautiful hardback edition that includes colored prints and other sketched illustrations.  I love it!  I have also worked to keep this book in great shape.  I’ve read it several times and I still find something new that I didn’t realize.  I definitely relate to the amount of siblings as I’m the oldest of 5 kids- 2 sisters and 2 brothers in that order.  Thinking about it, I think I’m most like Meg, the oldest.  She and I take care of our younger siblings and act way more grown up than we probably needed to at times.  But that’s what happens when you’re the oldest in a large family.  But I admire Jo’s ability to write good stories and be so passionate about life.  Beth is sweet and loving while Amy is…well…Amy.  Actually Amy reminds me of one of my sisters- Gweneth, #2 in the line up.  Both artists.  Both very different personality wise compared to the rest (Amy is in my opinion).  But both have good hearts and come through in the end.  Jo and Gweneth are also a lot alike.  Anyways I’m starting to overanalyze and now I want to read the book again with these thoughts to see if I’m right (it’s been a while!).  🙂

I also loved and enjoyed the classics.  I have read everything from The Scarlet Letter (5-6 times by the end of high school), Mark Twain (see the book below of the collection of stories my mom got me), Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, and…I can’t remember any more but I’m sure they are there!  This was all between middle school and high school.  Not joking.  Now while I could read all the words and such I don’t know if I really truly understood the books, at least the first time I read them.  If I went back and read them again, they were much clearer and I could concentrate on finer details.  Later, when I got my Kindle a few years ago I was able to stock up on classics for free.  Now I’ve read and fallen in love with Jane Austen.  Remember, I love a good love story!

Now a days, when I’m not reading professional books and such, it’s romance, fiction, and more classics.  Thanks to my Kindle and the tons of free books I’ve found, I’ve been reading more nonfiction (mainly biographies) and other types of books that I would have otherwised missed.  But while I absolutely love my Kindle, I still sometimes have to read an actual book.  I have to feel the pages and look at the cover.  I guess I either connect better with them that way or holding an old favorite book brings back memories.  Regardless, I love to read.  It’s always been a part of my life and I’m working to instill this love in my daughter- so far so good!  Reading is a huge reason as to why I became a teacher.  Watching my babies read something and know that they did it on their own is a priceless experience that I cherish always.  🙂

So what books did you love growing up?  What do you love to read now?  Please share!

Happy Teaching!

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A Fanciful Friday

So today was lots of fun at work!  It was Fancy Nancy Day!  Have you heard of Fancy Nancy?  She is a book character that loves to make everything fancy, especially her words.  No basic words for her!  No sir!  She likes words such as exquisite, spectacular, and terrifying.  She loves to wear fancy clothes and do fancy things.

Fancy Nancy Big Book

Check her out on my book shelf! ——->

So what did I wear on this special, fancy day?  Well, I dusted off my tiara from my wedding, my usual blue jeans (hey it’s Friday and I deserve to be comfortable in my fanciness!), and a top I really don’t get to wear often because…well…I guess I just don’t know what to wear it to.  It seems too fancy for things like church but I’m already rethinking that and planning when to wear it again.  But anyways, back to my fancy outfit!  I threw in a pearl necklace, some sparkly earrings, bangles bracelets, and my “nice” flip flops with jewels on them.  This was the end result:

Ta da!  Aren’t I just regal?  🙂  Oh and that’s the whole point of this…the vocabulary.  It’s not enough that you dress up fancy.  You also have to wear a fancy word.  I chose regal to go with my royal look.  (I thought my pose was rather regal too, don’t you think?)  The students came in wearing all sorts of interesting clothes.  I had everything from tutus to tuxedos with cowboy boots (remember I’m in Texas).  I had words ranging from fruitful to flaxen to fantabulous.  It was so much fun!  Then during their PE time, all the CLAMP teachers took them on a parade through the school.  The other grade levels simply came in the hall if they could/wanted and everyone waved.  I loved seeing my students from the past 2 years walk by when they had their turns as well as seeing the cute little Kinders.  The kids loved it and they got to see so many different words.  Try it at your school then tell me what you think!  Oh and I forgot to mention that the idea came from our reading interventionists as a way to promote vocabulary.  Do you do something like this at your school?  What do y’all do to promote more vocabulary?  Share please!

And to finish off, there is a really neat give away going on right now at this really awesome blog- Heather’s Heart.  She is a fellow Texas teacher who is just such an inspiration in how she teaches her firsties and then works to inspire other teachers through her blog.  Her give away is for 2 winners and they will each get 3 different gift cards.  Whoop!  I am a follower so of course I entered.  I encourage y’all to check her out.  She is one sweet lady and you’ll really enjoy her work.  And enter her Bloggy Blessings Give Away while you’re at it!

Happy Teaching!

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Gotta love those books!

So I was doing my daily blog stalking and I came across a new post from a blog I love following, SOS Supply, and she talked about this new widget that she had added on her blog. It’s called Shelfari and it’s a book widget. Cool! I love books! So I hopped on over to the website to see what this was about. It’s a widget that lets you display or list books you’ve read, are currently reading, or want and you can write things about them. Awesome! It’s powered by Amazon and I love it! Now for some reason I can’t make it do the neat bookshelf look that Sue has. But the list is pretty nice too. I’ve put the book I’m currently reading on G/T students and using literature and I’ll be adding more as time goes on. This will include what I’ve already read and my future plans. I’ll work to keep this as updated as possible. So check out my new page in my menu and see what I’m reading!

Happy teaching ya’ll!

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