Lunar New Year Lanterns

Sunday, January 22, 2023
Is there anything that you STILL remember from your elementary school days? For me, that special memory is something my school called MINI COURSES that happened towards that end of the school year, you could choose a special course (mine was cake decorating) to learn a special skill. The BEST part of it all was that we went to different classes for this event.

Well, my teammates and I tried to pull off something special so we decided to do something special for Lunar New Year! The three of us each focused on a special component of Lunar New Year. We focused in on Chinese Lunar New Year. Take a look at what my class and groups did. My group focused on the Lantern Festival that takes place at the culmination of the 15 day Lunar New year celebration. 


We learned about Lunar New Year using some kid friendly news sites.  We used National Geographic Kids to learn about the Lunar New Year animals! We used a doodle coloring page of the rabbit from The Imagination Box to doodle and write facts about the Year of the Rabbit!

While listening to music from an authentic Chinese Lantern garden, students listened to me talk about the legend of the lanterns. 
The Legend of the Lantern
Emperor Jade was extremely devastated when someone in the town stole his goose. 
He was so upset and distraught, he did not know what to do. He decided to seek revenge 
on the town. As the town heard about the Emperor's plan, the townspeople decided to 
try and trick the Emperor. They decided to make lanterns that would light up the town and set off fireworks.  When the Emperor tried to sneak up on the town at night, he was confused by all the 
light and assumed the town was on fire. He left thinking the town was already destroyed. 
The people celebrated and each year, they continued the tradition of hanging lanterns around 
the town that symbolized 3 things. They symbolized peace, forgiveness and reconciliation! 

Also, traditionally, people would write riddles on the lanterns, and if someone could solve them, they would get a gift. Here are some riddles from Squarespace
We learned to write happy new year in Chinese! The students loved this. Students used their chrome books to find out how to write happy new year, their name, and their favorite animal. We used Google Translate for the translations and this form to record their work!

Then we made the lanterns! On one side, students decorated cherry blossom trees with tissue paper and dots(using any media you have on hand.) On the other side, students summarized the story of the legend, chose their favorite riddle (although some wrote their own.)

Overall, we had fun! The students took their lanterns home to see if their family could answer their riddle. 



Organization Hour

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sometimes even the neatest student needs a chance to get organized! Organization is often a grade students receive on their report card, so why not dedicate a time in the classroom to give them an hour to do just that. 

I know I tend to rush students at the end of the day, we rush, we can get frustrated, and it is all consuming. Deep breaths. So I finally thought to myself, these students need the opportunity to get organized in a non-rushed, stress free atmosphere and time frame.

 Low and behold, ORGANIZATION HOUR was born! I am linking up the slide here if you would like to try it with your class. Click here or on the photo to grab it. Let me know how it goes! :)

organization hour, student organization, organizationhour, classroom organization

Enjoy!

Latinx Heritage Month, Frida Kahlo, and more!

Saturday, October 8, 2022


Hispanic heritage month, lessons for hispanic heritage month, frida kahlo project

Latinx Heritage Month, also known as Hispanic Heritage month starts on September 15th and continues until October 15th. What a PERFECT opportunity to spotlight different inspirational hispanic people in our classroom. I wanted the students to learn about all of the AMAZING hispanic people that have made an impact on the world. We started reading all about Frida Kahlo. We listened to two different pieces of literature on EPIC books to learn all about her life. We listened to many books about different individuals who have made an impact. Click on the Latinx Heritage Library below to provide these links to your students through EPIC.
hispanic heritage week, latinx heritage month ideas, latinx lessons, latinx books

Informational Maps
I love using read alouds from people like Reading with Mrs. Villareal to liven up a lesson! We listened to I am Frida Kahlo by Brad Meltzer as well as Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos by Monica Brown. Monica Brown, the author brilliantly tells Frida's life story through the animals that were so special to her. She does an exquisite job telling about her life through the symbolism of her different exotic pets. 

Teaching Point: 

Symbolism Between Frida and her Animals
The students loved identifying the connection between her animals and her similar character traits. According to the book, Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos by Monica Brown, Frida was spirited and entertaining like her animals. Frida liked to wear bold colors and was brave like her parrot, she had watchful beautiful eyes like her fawn, she was independent like a cat, she was mischievous like her monkeys, like her eagle her imagination could fly high, her turkeys were intelligent like herself, and like Frida her dogs were warm and loving. Also, according to the author, her father taught her to look through the world with curious eyes!

We also recorded things we learned about Frida from these two sources on the thinking map below.


Researching Influential People
Students used the digital library to browse through books that interested them. I love this group of books that I found on EPIC because they offer both non-fiction and fiction titles that students can gain factual information from! They used the research template below to organize their thoughts.
If you are in need of a research template so students can organize their information, click on the image seen below.


Directed Drawings
We completed this directed drawing 
by The Magic Paintbrush. The directed drawing 
explains step by step how to create Frida!

Culminating Project
For a culminating project, we published our learning with a 3D globe. These are put together so that they create a three dimensional globe that can be displayed around your classroom. I will update here when the entire project is put together and assembled! :)

Next Steps:

We will be continuing our learning, and next up is author Gary Soto. We will listen to various books that he has written, so stay tuned for for our author study!

We will also be starting our continent study of South America. 
I will keep you posted.

Writing Folders and Inferencing Character Traits

Monday, March 21, 2022

My student's writing folders are hitting that mid-year mess status, so I am revamping them and would like to share the labels with you. Click HERE to download the labels. You will need to print on label sheets that hold 10 labels per page (AVERY 5263.)

What are we working on? We are working on adding inferences to our informational writing pieces. The first thing we did was refresh our Positive Character Traits list, so that once students researched the 3 notable women for Women's History Month they could develop their inferences! This was a great revising tool! Students cut on the dotted lines and added the inference to the end of the corresponding paragraph. A great addition to their informational writing pieces!

If you think this would help your student's writing pieces, 
click on the picture below to download!

Making Inferences, Informational Writing, Revising, 3rd grade writing lesson, writing mini lesson, inferences mini lesson

What do you do to help your students make inferences in their writing?

STEM Picture Books!

Saturday, July 27, 2019


 My goal this year is to focus more on STEM and what STEM actually means. I thought that incorporating picture books on each individual letter would be a great way to show students what each letter means...and possibly motivate them to read one! I was excited to highlight my favorite STEM picture books on these wooden letters I bought (from Amazon) click on the pics of the letters below to find the individual letters. If you are feeling crafty, you will need the wooden letters, modge podge, and pictures of picture book covers. If you would like to use the ones that I used, below you will find links to each of the books. You will need to screenshot each picture and insert into a powerpoint slide.  Size the pictures about 2.4 by 2.4 inches for sizing (or around there!) and about 9 photos will fit on one 8.5x11 slide (portrait.) 
I also have a detailed blog post about how I introduce STEM into my classroom with a few free printables. You can find the blog post here!
Science Books
Technology Books
Engineering Books

Math Books

If you have any good suggestions for other STEM books, leave a comment below!


Symbolism Island Projects!

Saturday, August 25, 2018
I was so excited to start my year off with a project with some getting to know you projects. For a few years, the projects of Ms. Lopez in the Art Room have caught my eye! She does these amazingly colorful autobiographical island projects that are absolutely beautiful. I thought this would be an absolutely great way to get to know my students in the beginning of the school year!

First, I introduced the concept of symbolism after reading, What Do You Do With a Chance, by Kobi Yamada. This is a lovely story about a boy not taking chances when he becomes discouraged from repeatedly failing.  Throughout this story, a butterfly will appear around the boy.  The students easily make a connection that the butterfly symbolizes possible opportunities and chances at a better life for him, but the question is, will he be brave enough to take a risk? This book is a GREAT way to introduce a project on symbolism! 

I also introduced the concept of symbolism with the following passage.  
This gave my students some background knowledge on the concept of symbolism! 
Next, students think more in depth about symbols that represent their personality and how they would like to shape their island.  I gave them the following directions page so that they could think about their plan.  Click on the picture below or here to grab this project!
Here are some amazing examples below! 
I LOVE how these pictures brightened up my room!
Example #1
Example #2
Example #3
Example #3
Example #4

If you would like the link to the FREE printables, click HERE!

Starting the Year in a Digital Classroom

Monday, July 23, 2018

The last couple of years I have been slowly transitioning into a digital classroom! At this point, my students complete many of their assignments on Chrome Books, so I have been busy trying to catch up with transforming my resources digitally.  I would like to share this welcome survey (both digitized and paper versions) so that you can get to know your students better! 
 
Students are all at at a different places with technology, and of course some students 
feel more comfortable using Google Classroom than others.  
Taking this into consideration, I always like to give my students a technology survey.  
Click the picture of the survey below to grab the paper OR digital version!
Click on the picture below to download this survey!
There are a few projects I am extremely excited about incorporating into my classroom this year in hopes of becoming even more digitized.  This year I plan on having my students reflect a few times a week on their own digital learning wall in their Google Classroom. 
CREATING a DIGITAL LEARNING WALL!
How will the digital learning wall work? Students will complete the date, subject, and any key learning concept that jumped out of them for that day! Students can choose the subject and concept! At times, after a really important lesson, I may stop and have everyone go into their learning wall and add their learning.  The fun part??? After each learning concept, students will add a hashtag to describe their learning.  Hashtags allow students a great way to think of the MAIN IDEA and details of what they learned.  Students can get as CREATIVE with this as they like! 
Here is an example of what the September slide may look like!
If you are interested in implementing this in your classroom, 
there are templates for each month of the year! 
Click below for the link!
To get a bundle of all of my digital products, click the pic below!

How are you incorporating technology this year? Please share!

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