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Part of the first grade standards for Hawaii state social studies is to learn about American Symbols! My teaching team puts together these adorable books that I want to show you and provide some resources for where you can put together your own!  I've included lots of pictures, lots of links to products and freebies that I use, and also a freebie I put together for you that you can download at the end of this post!


We start by singing a silly song I found on YouTube by KinderBlossoms.  We then do a simple foldable in our Science and Social Studies Books.


I use the organization idea from my gal Corinna at Surfin' Through Second to separate my notebooks.  You can download the song freebie here.


We then make US Symbols books that I prep and comb bind ahead of time.  We use a combo of pages from Lindsay at Teacher Bits and Bobs and craftivities.  Each day we introduce a new US symbol, write about it, and make a craft.  We start with the world's oceans and continents, then focus in on our state in the US, Hawaii.  I like to play a continents and oceans song from YouTube, too.  I can't find the one I usually play, but there are a lot of good ones if you search on the site.   


These are some of the crafts we've done in the past. 


However, I switched some of them up this year.  We made the eagle and Liberty Bell crafts from Mrs Ricca's freebie President's Day packet.



For the Statue of Liberty, I did a directed drawing.  I love this one from Art Projects for Kids and also this one that is just her head.  The kids' paintings turned out beautiful! The parents loved seeing this project at Open House!

Speaking of Lady Liberty, I like to throw in this fun experiment when we learn about her to find out why she is green if she is made out of copper.  The kids love it! I bought this pack and use the worksheets in our science and social studies journals from Kindergarten Boom Boom, and also these directions from Buggy and Buddy.  I printed this out and put it by our experiments during Open House.  You can download it here.

For the flag, I cut white rectangles as the background, smaller rectangles for blue, red stripes, and then glitter for the stars.  

For the Pledge of Allegiance, I use Lori's freebie, just shrunk down to fit on the page.

There are a couple pages we made ourselves.  That includes symbols for our state and school, the White House, the world, and an assessment.


We also did a Lady Liberty Project GLAD Pictorial Input Chart.  I'm becoming a Project GLAD trainer, so I try to practice the strategies any chance I get!  The kids were fascinated that you can walk inside the statue and see out from the crown! I also wrote a Here/There chant, that I included in my freebie.  

Via Pinterest

You can download my freebie with a poem, interactive journal, crafts for the world, state symbols, and the White House, as well as an assessment for free on my Google Drive!

How do you teach the US Symbols? 



I love decorating, both my home and my classroom.  When it comes to classroom decor, I have used Schoolgirl Style for the past 4 years.

It started in my 2nd grade classroom on the island of Lanai in 2013 when I used the Rainbow Chalkboard collection.  I love the bright colors and it mixed perfectly with my black fabric bulletin boards, freshly painted black bookcases, and bright colored accents.

I even used some of the signs to label areas in the computer lab

When we moved to Maui and I got a transfer to a school in Lahaina teaching first grade, I wanted an under the sea Eric Carle theme to match my new ocean rug from Kid Carpet.  So I combined the Bugs and the Ocean collections. 

Then, I learned about our neighborhood school (I had been commuting 45 mins to an hour each way).  It's arts-integrated, a newer building with AC, and full of passionate teachers.  I needed to be a part of it! They offered me fifth grade and I happily accepted the challenge.  I went for the Flamingo Watercolor collection to create a calming, yet fun environment.  I used the same curtains from my Lahaina classroom and I brought the ocean rug up to 5th grade, too.  The kids liked laying on it to read because it is so soft.  I also kept the same library bins, although I had to get almost all new books. I added a bunch of alternative seating options, such as pillows, a pub height table with stools,  a lowered table with stools, a elastic strip chair, and a large bean bag.

Front of the room.

Notice the READ letters on the wall from my 2nd grade classroom on Lanai and the fabric bunting on the windows from my 3rd grade classroom in Oregon!

Other corner showing the library.

I loved working with upper grades and re-learning the standards myself.  I can say that I am SO much better and more confident in math than I ever have been! Thank you visual strategies! But at the end of the year when my principal needed to move an upper grade teacher to a new section of 1st grade and asked me, I jumped at the chance to be with the little ones again.  My husband wasn't so happy about helping me move classrooms, yet again, but cest la vie.

I brought back the black fabric for my bulletin boards and wanted to mesh the Rainbow Chalkboard collection with the Watercolor Flamingo form last year.  The result was actually Melanie's newest collection: Color My Classroom! It's perfect, too, because of all the art cutouts!

Notice the library bins, READ letters, curtains, and ocean rug are back. 

I love this mail sorter.  Been going strong for 7 years now.

I brought down the elastic band chair, bean bag, and free Craigslist table from 5th grade.

Writing nook and shared supplies

Adorable tent from Target and sturdy, yet comfy cushions from Luv Chicken.  I am not affiliated with Luv Chicken in any way. I am an Amazon affiliate so if you do order one from the link provided, a small percentage goes towards the maintenance of my blog! Thank you for your support!
You can get the pillows here: http://amzn.to/2lZKuHL

In my fifth grade room I used the background watercolor papers to create my own cursive letter alphabet to hang.  

Well, I accidentally printed two sets!! I got permission from Melanie to give away the 2nd set, since I definitely won't be needing it in 1st grade.
 

If you are interested in winning, enter the rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Today I am teaming up with some other awesome bloggers to bring you By George Dollar Deals for President's Day!


We have all set one of our products to be $1 for TODAY ONLY! 


I set my Presidents Day Literacy Centers for 2nd grade on sale!  There are four different center activities, including a full color version as well as a black & white version!  Each center includes a directions page, cards to manipulate, and a recording sheet. Perfect for your Word Work station! You can reinforce Common Core skills, all while integrating a Presidents Day theme for social studies! 

Fact & Opinion: covers standards RL.2.6 and W.2.1

Collective Nouns: covers standard L.2.1a

Possessive Nouns: covers standards L.2.1b and L.2.2c

Contractions: covers standards L.2.2c




Click this link to see which other products are on sale for $1 for the By George Dollar Deals! 

Happy Presidents Day! 




Summertime means prep-time for many teachers! If you are like me, you have tons of projects planned for the weeks you have off during the summer.  My main project: Leveling books.  My school uses Accelerated Reader (AR) and I wanted to label the books so kids could easily see the level.  

Looking around at other blogs, I was instantly drawn to my friend Jen from Teacher by the Beach's library.  She organizes hers by author's last name and nonfiction theme (like a real library!).  She also puts a sticker on the spine for the level.  Her current school doesn't use AR, so she has started to label her books with the Fountas and Pinnell system they use.  

Another library I love is Molly from Lessons with Laughter's library.  I LOVE her color coded system! Her chapter books are organized by author's last name, like a library or bookstore would do.  By color coding the spine, students know the vicinity of the book they are looking for or where to put it back.  It's just an extra scaffold. 

So when thinking about how to level and label my books, I wanted to combine the two ideas.  I created color coded spine stickers with levels in a grade-level range the same color.  My books are all organized by genre and theme, so the colors wouldn't ever be together, but if a student was interested in Captain Underpants books, she could find one easily in her level range by looking at the spine sticker.  

I printed my stickers on Avery address labels and cut them in half.  I store the labels in a grade-level range together with a paper clip. 

I looked up levels on the AR Bookfinder website and labeled each book accordingly.  

I put clear packing tape over the stickers so they last longer. 

These book are almost ready! 

To make it extra easy for the kids, I write the AR level, point total, and quiz number on the inside of each book.  When students are ready to take the quiz, the information they need is readily available. 


Want to label your books the same? I made a FREEBIE PowerPoint document that you can download from Google Drive.  Just download and print the pages you need onto Avery address labels (if you use my Amazon affiliate link, I get a little extra that helps me continue to make great freebies for you). 
Click the cover to download from Google Drive

How do you level or label your books?

I'm teaming up with my blogging friends Tonya, Angelia, and Courtney to give you a recipe link-up of Pinterest tried and true recipes so you don't have to pin and wonder if it's actually good! This post contains some Amazon affiliate links.




Cilantro Garlic Lime Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
This one is soooo good and easy.  Zoodles are all the rage right now, but you can only make them with spaghetti sauce so many times, am I right? 

Via Mrs Happy Homemaker

The Original Recipe:
This recipe only utilizes a few ingredients: zucchini, chicken, jalapeños, taco seasoning (I use the 21 Day Fix mix), garlic salt, limes, cilantro, and cooking oil. Crystal (the original poster of this recipe) uses the little handheld Veggetti spiralizer, but I like this bigger one by Paderno.  I think it's faster and easier to use, although it is a tad harder to clean and store.  

Changes I made to the Recipe:
  • Omitted the jalapenos (my kids hate them)
  • Used a different spiralizer
  • Used garlic powder instead of garlic salt (I watch my sodium intake)
  • Used leftover shredded chicken already seasoned with taco seasoning from taco night earlier this week - score!!



Healthy Banana Pancakes
Banana pancakes always make me think of my fav singer Jack Johnson.  But I had some soft bananas on my counter this morning, so why not? I love trying out new healthy recipes, especially ones that my kids will eat, so I was excited about this one.

Via Liz Heather

The Original Recipe:
This recipe has only 6 ingredients, and they were all things I had on hand: 2 eggs, 1 banana (I used a soft one), oatmeal, apple sauce (I used a snack cup one), vanilla, and cinnamon.  All you do is throw all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour onto a heated surface (I used a skillet) to make pancakes.  
Ingredients (minus the applesauce - I forgot to grab that for the pic!)

Blending it all up

On the skillet

Ready for the kids to eat!


Changes I made to the Recipe:
  • My Vitamix blended all the ingredients so beautifully, but maybe too smooth because the batter seemed kinda runny.
  • After playing with the heat settings on my skillet, I realized that 300 degrees was perfect to cook the pancakes. 
  • I put extra butter on the pancakes with lilikoi (passionfruit) syrup for the kids.  They loved.  I ate mine plain and they were still good! 
  • I will definitely be making this again.  I think even smaller rounds would be good, then they could be a snack! 




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