Saturday, January 31, 2015

Penguin Fun

Here we are at the end of January. 
I try really hard to enjoy winter, I really do. 
But I was made for warmer weather.
The only good things about winter in Tennessee are snow (we don't get that much) and snow days.
This week we had a surprise snow day on Tuesday.
Which was nice because we had Parent Teacher Conferences on Monday night until 6pm.  So walking out to see my car starting to get covered with snow was a very nice surprise.  Then a few hours later I found out that I could sleep in the next day!
Woo Hoo!
It would have been so much better if our little bit of snow had stuck around a little longer.  But by the time I woke up on Tuesday, it was mostly gone.
This week at school was all about Penguins!
I just love penguins, don't you?

We started off by reading this book!  I just love it!
I have lots of penguin books but this one has always been one of my favorites.
The little penguin tries to find all different kinds of ways to fly, then he ends up sliding into the ocean where he realizes that he can fly.  Underwater.
Love it!
You can buy a used version on Amazon here.

My kids loved the story too!
So of course we had to make a penguin craft.
But I didn't really feel like cutting out a bunch of penguin pieces.  So I decided to try something new.  My kids would cut out their own pieces!
I'm a bit of a control freak so I was worried that they would look a mess.  But I cut some construction paper into rectangles and squares, to make it easier for my kids to cut.  Then I held up each piece and showed them how to cut the general shape for each part of the penguin, and let them go for it.
I just LOVE how they turned out!

I showed my kids how to fold the orange rectangle piece so that you could get 2 feet pieces and only have to cut once.  I also showed them how to fold the orange beak piece so that the beak would open.
They were so excited!

I just love how each one is different, yet looks so adorable!
Best part was that my kids had a total blast.
We will definitely be doing more craft activities like this.

Then we read this book about Emperor Penguins.
I just love this book.  I love all the fun facts and humor the author put into it.
Check it out on Amazon here.

Then we made a list of things that Penguins are, have, and can do on the Promethean Board.

I have seen a lot of other teachers post about doing this kind of writing, but this is the first time I have ever tried it.  It worked out really well!  I wrote each word or phrase in a different color so that the kids could tell each statement apart from another.

After we read through our lists several times. (We had to leave for lunch right after we wrote our list on the board, but before we could write them on our papers.) I showed each page separately and let me kids choose what they wanted to write about penguins.

I thought they did a pretty good job, especially for this being their first time writing using this format.

These crafts and writing pages will eventually go into my kids' end of year books, but for now I wanted us to enjoy them.
If you've seen my classroom tour blog post, you know that I don't have a lot of free wall space, so I hung them on my blinds instead. 
Let's just hope the fire marshal doesn't stop by for a surprise visit.

Is it just me, or does the penguin on the top right kind of look like a snowman with an attitude?  Maybe it's Olaf's bad news brother.

I love walking into my classroom and seeing these!
And so do my kids!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hooray for the 100th Day!

This school year has gone by super fast.  It's hard to believe that we are already at the 100th day mark!

We celebrated our 100th day on Thursday and we had a blast!
In the past I have planned way too many things to do on this day and would end up stressing myself out trying to fit everything in.
So this year I decided to just do a couple of my favorite 100th day activities and enjoy the day.
We started off by coloring 100th day crowns from this set I purchased on TpT.
39 different seasonal and holiday crowns for $5.  Totally worth it in my opinion. 
(Click the picture if you want to check our this set.)

After the kids finished coloring and cutting their crowns, I stapled them together.
Sadly, I forgot to get pictures of my students coloring the crowns, but you can see my kids wearing the finished products in my pictures.
Then we took pictures with our 100th day poster I made last weekend.  Click here to see my blog post on how I printed and assembled this poster.

I took a picture of each child wearing their crown and holding our 100th day poster. These posters are then going to go on a 100th day page that I'll put in their end of the year book.

Here's an example of what they'll look like!

While my kids were working on their crowns, I got paper plates ready with 10 different colors of paint.

I made one plate for each table.
Then I passed out unsharpened pencils, a 100th day paper, and a paper towel to all my kids.
I called out a color, the students dipped there pencil into the paint, and dabbed 10 dots in a section of their paper.
We continued this way for all 10 sections.

My kids were cracking me up!
They kept trying to guess which color I was going to choose next.

My little perfectionist trying to make sure each dot has an equal amount of paint.

When we switched colors, the kids just wiped their pencil off on the paper towel.

When we finished our 100 dots, our hands and desks were a little messy.
So after we put our papers on the counter to dry and cleaned up our tables, I passed out a baby wipe to everyone.  They cleaned their hands and their tables.
Less mess for me to clean up!
I have several 100th day of school books.
But this one is my favorite!
Click here to check it out on Amazon.

Then we worked on these cute 100th day pages from this set.
(Click the picture to check out this set.)
Lots of cute activities!

We worked on one section at a time just like when we made our 2015 page.
While they colored, I came around and wrote their answer.

I'm not sure if you can read the titles of all the sections, but clockwise from the top left they say "If I had $100, I would buy..." "I would love to eat 100..." "I wouldn't like to eat 100..." and "This is me when I'm 100 years old."

No, I would not like to 100 pieces of mud either.

Nor would I want to eat 100 stinky socks!
These are definitely going in their end of the year books!
About a week in advance I told my kids that anyone who could count to 100 for me on the 100th day, would get a $100 bill.  Not a real one of course.
I reminded them each day to be practicing at home.
Even if they had already counted to 100 for me, which several kids have been able to do for awhile now, everyone would have to count to 100 to get the prize.

So like I expected, my ones who had already mastered the skill of counting to 100 did so, but I was pleasantly surprised that several who had previously not been able to were able to count to 100!
Everyone who counted to 100 earned their $100 bill and I wrote a little message on the back of each one.

I had wanted to get a picture with all my kids that counted to 100 and their $100 bills, but I forgot.  Whoops!
So I got a picture with just my bus riders instead.
Overall, we had a great day!
I really liked that I didn't over plan and therefore overwhelm myself.
So next year I think I'll do the same as this year, just pick out a few of my favorite activities and enjoy the day with my kiddos!
Happy 100th day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to print a Poster

How many of you know how to print a poster from your computer?
I had no clue it was even possible until a couple months ago.
Turns out, it's super easy!

First, you pull up the document you want to make into a poster.
Our 100th day is coming up next week, so I decided to use this as my example since I needed it anyway.

Go to file and click print.

I honestly had never noticed these buttons across the middle.
The "size" button is automatically selected.

To print your page as a poster, you will need to click the button that says...poster!
Imagine that!
Still can't believe I had never noticed these buttons before.

First thing you want to do is click the little box beside "Cut marks."  Doing so will make sure that when your poster prints, you will have little marks that show where you need to trim your paper so that the pages line up together.
The next thing you need to look at is the Tile Scale.  The Tile Scale will automatically be set at 100%. 
This means your poster will print on 2 sheets of paper.
If you look at the example that the arrow is pointing to, you will see the outlines of the two pages.  The dotted lines show where the pages will need to be cut and taped together.
I haven't actually tried printing a poster at 100%, but from what I can tell, your poster would actually be the same size as it would be if you printed it on one page.  (I may be wrong though)  You would just have 2 pages to trim and tape together.  So I've never used that Tile Scale before.

If you change the Tile Scale to 150%, your poster will now print on 4 pages.
I have used this setting.  I used it to print posters last Fall for our Fall Fun Night.
Once again, you can see the dotted lines that show you the outlines of the 4 sheets of paper and where you will need to trim the paper to make the pieces fit together.

I ended up using 200% for my 100th day poster.
By accident.
I accidently clicked print while I was messing around with the Tile Scale to see how big I could get my poster.  Haha!  Serves me right.
Funnily enough.  This was the perfect size for my poster.
And as you can tell from the example poster, a 200% Tile Scale will make your poster print on 6 pages.
So just choose how big you want you poster to be by changing the Tile Scale, and then click print.

This is what they look like when they're printed out.
I definitely recommend that you print on cardstock.  It just makes your poster more durable.
If you look closely, you can see how there is a .005 inch border around each page.  You can reset this border when you are in your print menu.  But I've always left mine at the preset amount.

The little marks circled in pink are the Cut Marks.  Remember when you clicked that box?  You won't be sorry that you did.
These little babies really help when you're trimming your paper.
A note on trimming the pages.
The first time I made a poster, I was at home, so I trimmed the edges with scissors.  It was really difficult to cut in a perfectly straight line.  So this time I used the paper cutter at school, then trimmed a little bit of the edge with scissors if I didn't cut close enough with the cutter.
I like to leave the left side pages with a border on the right.  And then I cut off the left border on the right side pages.
Did that make sense?
I know what I was trying to say but reading what I typed kind of looks like gibberish.
You may need to just look at the pictures below to get an idea of how I put the pieces together.

Here you can see how I left a border on the left side piece and cut the border on the right side piece.
I like to tape 2 pages at a time, and then tape the big pieces together.
Tape goes on the back.
I suppose you really don't have to leave a border at all, you could just cut off all the borders and tape the edges together if you wanted to.

Here you can see how I cut off the bottom border on the top 2 pieces and the middle 2 pieces.

Here it is all taped up.
I then sent this through our school laminator.  My Scotch laminator is too small.
Then trimmed up the page edges so that they were even.
Advice:  the first time I made a poster, I tried to put the pieces together clockwise.  It was totally frustrating and I had to keep pulling my pieces apart and re-taping them.  This time I put 2 pieces together at a time and then put the big pieces together.  So much simpler and almost no frustration.  But like with most things, it may take a little practice.
It is such a simple thing, but I love having poster size pages of things I create!
This 100th day poster is going on the wall so that I can take pictures of each of my kids with it, while wearing their 100th day glasses and 100th day crowns of course.  Go big or go home!  Our 100th day is going to be a party!
Next post, I'll show pictures of some fun activities from our 100th day!