December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays!!

Here's a pic of the ornament each student made.  

I used Pic Monkey to add the hats for a pop of color.

December 20, 2013

What Does the Teacher Say?

So my kids absolutely love the song, "What Does the Fox Say?" and there are times I even hear them whisper singing it.  The first time I saw this video I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Men REALLY dressed as foxes.  I'm still not sure how this song became so popular with the kiddos.

Take a look at this remake.  Vacation is now here and I'm sitting on the couch chuckling (completely relaxed).  I'm sure my husband is wondering what is so funny.

I found myself making MANY of these comments today and I'm also wondering where the pencils go.  I hope this mystery is solved one day!!

I hope you get a good laugh too.

What Does the Teacher Say

Wrapping Up Holidays Around the World

We finished up our Holidays Around the World Unit.

This week kiddos spent some time learning about Sweden, England, and Germany.

While learning about Sweden, students tasted cinnamon buns and hot cocoa.  The oldest girl in the class helped serve the food.

In England they have crackers.  Not the crackers you eat!!  My kiddos absolutely LOVED popping these today.  They found a crown, riddle, and small ornament.

Ready to pull!! 3...2...1...
Here's the end result...a bit messy but tons of FUN!!

I hope you enjoy your holiday with family and friends.  I'll see you soon!!

My School of Fish

We are SO lucky to have the YMCA next door to us!!

Our kiddos have the opportunity once a year to go swimming during gym time.

Can you say, "This is the best time of year!!"  That's what ALL my students were saying as they were heading back to school.

Here are some pics of them splashing and having fun.

A huge THANK YOU to Ms. A for setting this up and the YMCA for having us!!

December 15, 2013

More About Writing

Carter was SO proud of his writing I told him I'd put it right on the blog!!

I complete Guided Reading Plus with ALL of my reading groups.  I feel it's so important for all students to be responding to books they're reading.  On the first day, I complete a quick word work lesson, introduce the book, and we practice reading.  On day two, we respond to our reading.

This is the PERFECT opportunity for me to spend quality one on one time with each kiddo.  They get direct instruction on skills they're working on.  We work on spelling, punctuation, spacing, and letter formation.

I feel they make so much progress not only in their writing but also their illustrations.  LOOK at those polar bears!!

Students will continue to work on their gingerbread stories.  The kids were amazed with how many versions there are of the story.  They planned their stories using a planner and began writing.  I'm hoping to finish them up before break.

And the PERFECT ending to a long week.  During Take Home Journal writing I found this gem!!  It definitely put a smile on my face.  When I asked what he mean't by "Lyons' Style."  He told me, "You know style.  You have style!"

Snowed In and Holidays Around the World

Every year we get a Charlie Brown tree.  I know it really doesn't fit the description but to me it qualifies as one because it's small.

Since we live in Maine it would be more exciting to tell a tale of my husband waking up before the crack of dawn, putting on his flannel, LL Bean boots, and carrying his axe into the woods but that's not the case.  He found this little gem just down the road.  He always drags it in and all I have to do is decorate it!!

Last night, as I waited for the MONSTROUS storm to arrive the tree was decorated and this little peeved off elf stood under it for a pic. After about 15 attempts with her continually taking off the hat I did manage one.

This morning I was shoveling the walkway at 6 am and even convinced myself it would just be a dusting.  Today's the PERFECT day to sit with a cup of coffee and catch up on blogging.  

We've been learning A LOT about traditions around the world.  If you haven't checked out Sara Cooley's Christmas Around the World Scrapbook you need to!  This has been one of the best purchases I've made and the kiddos absolutely LOVE this unit.

Students learned what a tradition is and we brainstormed traditions we had.  As we've traveled I've used Google Earth to show where each place is.  So far we've learned about the United States...


Students even tried to break open a piƱata.  They have muscles but it wasn't as easy as they thought!


Teg is from Ethiopia.  His mom came in on Friday and they taught us about their traditions.  Teg also came to school dressed in traditional clothing.  He shared all he knew!!  Kids listened to music, learned words, songs, and dance moves.  They even tried popcorn that had spices used there.  The class learned that Teg even drank coffee as an infant!!

Thanks so much Shannon and Teg for teaching us about your traditions and culture!

December 14, 2013

Remembering Sandy Hook

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. 

Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

December 5, 2013

My Mind's in the Gutter Today

I got quite the reaction when this was my title in an email I sent out to staff.  I had LOTS of responses looking to hear something juicy...but that's not the case.  I'm sure I could've come up with something good.

Just thought I'd share a NEW organizational feature I added to my classroom!

How many of you have a book display in your room?  It has ALWAYS driven me crazy!  I never know where to put it.  The kids lay on it, try to crawl behind it (even when it's against the wall), and the books fall down beneath.

So...I decided to use a 10 ft. gutter!!  Try fitting that into a car.  It does work, believe me I did it last night.  I went to Lowes and bought a guttah for about $6.

It fit perfectly in my car and I set it up in my room this morning.  Now, it would be interesting to see how many more I could fit in my car.

So far, the kids are LOVING it!!  This is a much better way to display books and it takes up less space.  Gotta love that.

Not liking how the books look...

December 1, 2013

November 21, 2013

Mrs. Lyons' Class and the Runaway Turkey Class Book

I've always LOVED writing!!  Writing and illustrating have always been a passion.  I still enjoy it today but I've found that teaching it is also very exciting.

I especially enjoy that moment when kids look forward to writing and no longer see it as "work."  They quickly learn that we write everyday for EVERY subject.

For the first trimester, we focused on opinion writing.  I added narrative writing in but it was very direct teaching.  They wrote pieces focused on mom, dad, friends, the seasons, etc.

Now, it's time for the more CREATIVE and IMAGINATIVE writing which can be difficult for some students.

I decided to introduce narrative writing differently this year.  After the read aloud, Run, Turkey, Run, I introduced the story planners the kiddos would be using.

You can download them here if interested (Narrative Story Planners)!

I modeled how the story had a beginning, middle events, and a closing.  We discussed that the events helped moved the story along.

Instead of having the kiddos jump right into writing their own story I told them we'd be making a class book about a runaway turkey.  They helped to brainstorm and voted on the characters, setting, and events. As we talked about our story I filled in the planners.  

We created our runaway turkey story and they had GREAT ideas! They orally told me the story and I wrote it.  Today they illustrated the pictures.  I absolutely love their illustrations, how they added dialogue, and labels.  

Take a peek and enjoy!!

I wanted to do an illustration too!

I believe it should be lying and I wrote laying...

Such clever kids!!  They came up with naming the turkey Tom (male turkey) and adding our assistant principal's last name.  So fitting...

I can't wait to see the stories they come up with.

November 20, 2013

Gobble...Gobble...Turkey Investigations

Students get so wrapped up in their science investigations.  We've spent the last week learning more about turkeys.  Kiddos have also been writing turkey facts on feathers to help build our class turkey!

The kids began making their two page spread.  For this investigation, I color copied some of the pictures from the books we've read. Students were able to use them in their work and weren't consumed with how their pictures came out.

I introduced two new text features-captions and definitions.  Kids practiced using them in their investigations.

Here are some examples.

Look closely!!  Robert photobombed the pic!

I'm so proud of their hard work!

Colonial Times

Students have been learning A LOT about the colonial period.

We began by learning about the Mayflower and why the Pilgrims sailed to the New World.  We created a bulleted list of facts we learned.

After the read aloud, many said they wouldn't want to be on a ship for that long! Sleeping on the floor, dirty clothes, and hard biscuits didn't appeal to them.

They also listened to read alouds about what life was like for kids during this time.  After each book we completed the T Chart for boys and girls.

Students learned school was VERY different too.  Boys had to bring logs to keep the fire going and if they didn't they sat in the back. Once kids learned to read and write they were usually done school. Discipline was also much harsher (YIKES)!

Next up, we'll complete a Venn Diagram comparing kids then to now!