Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Native American Picture Writing

Hi Friends! Before Thanksgiving has come and gone, I wanted to share a fun and easy activity we did last week for you to file away or Pin to your Thanksgiving board for next year if you like! Because all of the schools in my district are named after Native American tribes, we always spend a significant amount of time learning about Native American culture and traditions in our classroom. 

It is a tradition in my room to do some Native American PICTOGRAPH writing in November. 

When I hear that word it makes me think of graphing, but a pictograph is any picture that represents a word or idea. Native Americans living in early America, before the settlers arrived, used pictographs as their writing system. A few Native Americans still use pictographs today. I pointed out to my students that we see these symbols every day on the teepee that is displayed in our entranceway and painted in our hallway wall murals.

Years ago, someone shared a hard copy of a symbols sheet. The thing is as old as the Mayflower and I have no idea where it originally came from... Anyway, I displayed it on the SMARTBoard for the students to see.

I don't have this document to share with you, unfortunately, but you can find lots of similar pages by searching the internet for Native American pictographs. Lakeshore also has a free printable here.

Next, I modeled what a picture story may look like and explained that not every word is represented, only big ideas. The students got to try their hand at creating a story using symbols too. I gave them a blank piece of paper for a rough draft.

Then, they were ready to rewrite their story on some bison hide. To make some hide, we cut open a lunch bag.You all know how I love my lunch bag projects! Yep~ here's another one!

We removed the bottom flap of the bag first and set that scrap aside. Then, the students cut out the strip where we see the seam to use the best part of the bag. I asked the class to cut the opened bag into a muddy lake shape. That's the best I can do to describe it!

The students copied the story in pencil first, then traced over the pencil lines with marker (our berry ink).

Each child shared their story with a partner or two. 
They loved that part!

 The best part was yet to come!

 Crumpling the bag for a minute or two until it becomes soft makes the bag resemble a hide. We smashed it into a ball and opened it up several times to get the right effect.

Our November festivities ended with another tradition I have kept going for many years... making Native American corn soup with the kiddos. We also churned our own butter and served it up on top of my mom's cornbread muffins! She bakes them for us every year and always loves helping out at our mini feast! 

She even made an extra batch for me to take home! Mom's the best!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and enjoy your time off!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Great Blog Discovery!

I sure hope all of you will enjoy the extra few days off to work in some feasting and relaxing this week! Maybe you will have some free time to spend on the computer! I wanted to let you know about a great blog that I just discovered! Not only is it so stinkin' cute and totally my style, but this gal has TONS of wonderful ideas to share. She has a sweet job as a computer lab teacher so is very tech-savvy!


You really must go see Denise and say hi. I'm thinking she may be just getting going in this bloggy world and can use some new followers and some sweet comments! 

While you are there, check out her technology alphabet posters and CD daisies! She also created an AMAZING Instagram poster. I do believe I spotted my fonts on her visual lesson plans! That always makes me happy! :) She has lots of great tips and tricks to share, so head on over if you can. Just click on her button above.

Once upon a time, I wrote my first blog post at First Grade Gallery. A sweet blogger named Kayleigh gave me a shout out and sent some new followers my way. What a thrill it was to get 45 new followers in one day! My gosh, that seems like FOREVER ago! Let's work together to help out a new friend! Denise also shares her favorite blogs, so you may find others there to follow as well.

I'll be blogging tomorrow, on my first day off, to share a really neat Native American writing activity the class worked on this week. It was a blast! Hope to see you back!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend Warriors: My November Necessities

Is there something for the classroom or home you feel you just can't live without? This weekend, the Warriors are here sharing our must-haves with all of you! I hopped around yesterday to visit all of the blogs too and got some really wonderful ideas for my own classroom! The fun continues today with our Sunday edition of November Necessities!

This blog topic is wide-open because there are so many things in life that we have come to rely on and the lines are blurred with what is actually a WANT and what is a NEED! I decided to focus on sharing a few of my personal favorites that I can't image doing without. 

At the top of the list obviously is my morning coffee. I don't have time to stop for anything fancy, so I brew at home in a regular coffee maker. It's a half and half mix of ground Starbucks Cafe Verona and good old Maxwell House. I do not drink coffee at any other time of the day unless I am out shopping on the weekend and stop by Starbucks for a treat. I just have one super-strong, cream only espresso-like cup. Nothing else happens until I have had my coffee so it is pretty much a need. If I ever run out of Coffee Mate creamer, it's a definite crisis! 

These are my fridge magnets! Aren't they cute? 

One of the BEST things I ever invested in is a home security system. It is so worth the initial start-up cost and small monthly fee for peace of mind. I can remotely arm or disarm it from my phone while I am away. I have emergency buttons for EMT, police and fire department as well. 

Speaking of safety, I have nightlights throughout the house so that when I get up in the early morning or walk around at night, I can find my way! I like these pretty ones from Brighton. 

Cold weather is here and one thing I cannot stand is getting into a freezing cold bed.
 A heated mattress pad turned on for a few minutes helps me sleep well. That is a necessity!

Gizmos. gadgets and all things technology are things I have come to rely on. Without the Internet, my computer, iPad and phone, I would be in a world of trouble.
 I also crank up my music while I get ready in the morning or clean the house. 
I NEED that for motivation. 

My stylist is always booked and so when I can't get in to see her and my roots are very scary, I touch up myself at home. 
This is my go-to product! I would have to go into hiding without it!

My newest discovery and one that has saved my skin is coconut oil. It is in the baking aisle at Target. It is in a solid form at room temperature, so I keep a plastic spoon nearby. It liquefies in your hand. I use it EVERYWHERE, even on my face!  It's a little oily at first, but then soaks in nicely. It really is something great to try for a great price!

I hate when my freezer is full and I can't find things because they get pushed back in my side by side. I have a chest freezer in my garage. It is great for large items that don't fit and for stocking up from places like Gordon's or Market Day. When life gets crazy, it's frozen food time!

When it's freezing outside, a necessity here in Michigan is winter weather wear. A North Face long coat, winter snow boots and lots of accessories are a MUST! 
Ha! I REALLY hate the cold, so of course that is not true, but being covered from head to toe in the right gear is the way to go! 

What's on your list?

Head on over to see what my friends are sharing today! 
I will be right behind you!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend Warriors: November Necessities for the Classroom

What things are absolute necessities for you? My Weekend Warrior friends and I are here to tell you all about ours! Read on and you may find some great inspiration and some nifty things to try or buy!

Some friends are focusing on school items and others are sharing personal must-haves with you. I am here today and tomorrow with a little of both! 

To try to keep as germ-free as possible, we teachers wash our hands a lot! The commercial grade soap and sandpaper (I mean paper towel) are so hard on hands. One big necessity is to have my own supplies at my sink. I bring in a bottle of antibacterial soap and a soft hand towel that I take home and wash at the end of the week.

I like to play music in the classroom while the students work on projects or writing. I enjoy listening to music during my planning time too. One necessity is my iPod Shuffle and this nifty little bluetooth speaker from Brookstone. 

I love my chart stand! This beauty has a dry erase board, a pen tray and some colorful bins to keep supplies in. 

You can also see my teacher rocking chair. This was my Duvalier glider from my baby's room that I dragged into school. I bring in all of my own colorful task chairs too. 

In a room full of cinder block, Stikki Clips from Lakeshore are a definite necessity! 
When the heater kicks on in November, nothing else keeps my displays up.

Colorful Flair pens and a stash of teacher stationery supplies are a must-have for me!

With plenty of holiday crafts in the next few weeks, chubby brushes and some fun plastic bowls from IKEA are my most-used art supplies.

Another November necessity is having a ton of Christmas ideas and activities in mind to begin shopping for and prepping for ahead of time to get ready for the very busy month of December! 

I don't know what I ever did without my document camera and SMART Board. This has to top the list!

 I feel very thankful for my classroom full of wonderful supplies and necessities that make this a great place to work and learn!
I hope you got some good ideas for your classroom too!

Be sure to stop by and see what my friends are sharing! 

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