Halloween Picture Books

I know, I know. Halloween is over and we are full throttle into Thanksgiving and Christmas, but since my blog was under construction during the month of October I am just now getting time to sit down and share our favorite Halloween books! 

These books have been well loved by my son (who is now 8) for many years and now his sisters are enjoying them. 
One of my favorites is Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane. If you haven't gotten this book yet, go for it. It is a spooky twist to the nursery rhyme "Over in the Meadow". It is a fun and cute Halloween picture book. 

In Kindergarten my son read The Witch has an Itch by Donna Guthrie and instantly loved it so much we had to have it at home! 

Anything that involves Mickey and Minnie is a HIT with my two year old twins. We read this Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Haunted Clubhouse over and over and over this season. It was a definite favorite here!

What are your favorite Halloween picture books? What should we add to our collection?

Fall Sensory Bin

Sensory play is one of my favorite activities to do with my littles, so I wanted to share a quick and simple fall sensory bin with you!

My favorite sensory bins are the ones that you can throw together quickly and on a budget. All of the accessories for this sensory bin were purchased at Dollar Tree, making the total cost of the project $6.00. I purchased two packs of leaves, two door hangers with bells, and two pumpkins. Score!

My littles have played with this sensory bin several times. One loves the bells and constantly shakes those around, while the other grabs as many leaves as possible and throws them into the air.

   You could also add real fall leaves to the bins for even more fun! 

Back to Blogging

Hello friends! It has been years since I've been back on the blogging scene, but I am happy to announce that I am back. Life has been a whirlwind for the past two years, so I wanted to do a quick life update and let you know where I am taking this blog now. I am excited to get back to this website and share our learning adventures. 

Life update: 

I'm a mama to a third grade boy and twin two year old girls. Since my girls were born I have been out of the classroom and staying home with them. I have plans to go back to the classroom once they are in school. 

Where am I taking this blog now? 

You are probably wondering what I will be sharing on this teaching blog if I'm not teaching in the classroom. I will be sharing lots of learning adventures from home on this blog. In regards to my little ones, I plan on sharing sensory fun, fine motor activities, favorite educational toys, favorite books, and toddler learning. Many of our learning adventures will be related to occupational therapy activities since that has been a part of our life for over a year now. 

In regards to my third grader, I plan on sharing educational activities we do at home, educational apps we use, and books we are loving. I am so excited to share some of his favorite books from third grade and what a reader he is blossoming into! 

For our family learning adventures, I plan on sharing fun places we visit in our home state of Georgia. We enjoy visiting Zoo Atlanta, the Children's Museum of Atlanta, and more. I hope to share our love for many places around the Atlanta area. 

I'll be back soon to share some of our learning adventures! 

Life since February

I can hardly believe it's been since February since I've blogged here! Life has just been SO busy and blogging definitely took a backseat. 

So, what have I been doing?

  • In March my son started Spring baseball and that finished up a few weeks ago. We played with several friends, had a great season, and Easton's love of baseball really began to shine.
  • He made All Stars, which we've been doing for a few weeks now in preparation for an upcoming tournament. Baseball has been a big part of our life lately!  
  • I finished my first year teaching in a private, Christian school and LOVED it! This past year was my eighth year teaching and by far the best. I had a wonderful teammate who is more like one of my best friends now and we just worked SO well together. I loved everything about this past school year.
  • By far the BIGGEST change is that I am expecting TWINS! We found out we were expecting March and found out it was twins in April. WOW! We are excited, shocked, nervous, grateful, and every other emotion you could feel! The BEST part has been seeing my son's excitement. He prayed for months to be a big brother and his prayers definitely worked!

  • Knowing that I'm having twins and the complications that could arise with the increased risk of preterm labor (my son was born early + a few other issues we've experienced), I have decided to take next school year off. It's so incredibly bittersweet. I LOVE my school and want to be there for many years to come, so it was a hard decision. BUT, I have peace about it and know that it's the right decision. It would be hard enough adding one to our family, but adding two at the same time?! I feel like I'll be able to give my best to everyone having the year off vs. going back soon after delivery and no one getting my best. Bittersweet, though!
  • I have officially wrapped up my eighth year of teaching and summer is off to a good start! On the last day of school, my partner teacher and I gave students a book to read over the summer with a little note attached.

Vocabulary Basketball

A few weeks ago I had the idea to incorporate sports into a vocabulary review. Many of my students play basketball on a team and/or play at recess, so I incorporated basketball into our review. My son received this over the door basketball set for Christmas so we brought it to school one day. He told me to "make sure they don't break it, but you CAN show them how to dunk it." Although I didn't share my dunking skills, my fifth graders LOVED this!

I knew they'd notice the goal as soon as they walked in so I wrote a little message beside the board: "Are you ready for vocabulary basketball?"

It was a fun way to review vocabulary in an engaging way. We split into two teams. I had the vocabulary words written on the board and I'd call out definitions. If they told me the correct word, they earned 1 point for their team. Then, they could earn 2 points or 3 points by making a basket. I had ribbon on the floor to show what would count as 2 points vs. 3 points. They had a BLAST!

Most of our vocabulary words come from our read alouds, but most of the words in this unit were student generated. I kept a sheet of paper that students could add words to as they read independently. If they found a word they didn't know or one that they thought would be a good vocabulary word, they could write it down. 

Vocabulary review - basketball style - was a HIT! 

Our Week in Literacy

We had a great week in fifth grade. I surprised students on Monday with two new books. I ordered the graphic novel (with bonus points) with a set of books that I ordered my son and received Bearhaven for free. I shared a bit about each of them and we had a book raffle!

We learned about elements of historical fiction - my favorite genre! I displayed several texts around the room and did a book talk with Steal Away Home. Lots of students entered a book raffle for it, too. Without a doubt, book talks have been the best thing I've implemented this year. You can click here to read a post about book talks in the classroom. I had several students do a book talk in class this week, too.

We started our read aloud, Number the Stars. It's one of my favorite books. We will be studying WWII soon so it's perfect timing!
I added these fun emoji pillows to my classroom library area. The kids loved them. You would've thought they were made of gold!

We had our biggest book order of the year this week! SO many students ordered and I earned so many bonus points. I purchased several new books from Scholastic with the bonus points. Star Wars is such a hit with so many students now so I bought these chapter books with bonus points. I'll share the other books I ordered soon!

Star Wars is a HUGE hit with my son. I ordered him this set and he got comfy in my library reading them one afternoon. LOVE!

On Friday we enjoyed flashlight Friday during independent reading. It's been a while since we've done that and the kids were all spread out with their flashlights and they were so focused on their texts. I snapped this picture after the students left. Love how cozy it felt!

Wax Museum

A fifth grade project at my school is a Christian hero biography/wax museum project. Each student:
  • reads a Christian hero biography
  • takes notes while reading
  • types notes (must have sections are: family, language, compare/contrast, timeline with 10 events, events/travels, accomplishments, obstacles, and a Bible verse)
  • displays notes on a trifold board
  • writes and memorizes a two minute (give or take) script 
As you can tell, it is a big project. It took a lot of time, but I am so proud of how it turned out. It was fun seeing the final product of their hard work.

We are wrapping up our Great Depression unit this coming week. I integrated a lot during this unit and the students have learned so much about this era. At the beginning of the unit, I created this little area to display books related to the Great Depression and to gain student interest.

I did a book talk about the chapter books shown below. We did a book raffle afterwards and EVERY single book was checked out! LOVE! 
One of the resources we used during the unit was this USA Studies Weekly newspaper.

I love to read picture books and this book did not disappoint! 

In Writing, we wrote about the Great Depression in our Family Message Journals. This student did SUCH a good job!

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