Monday, April 30, 2012

Soil Sammies

Every year at school we have a “Green Week” during April. Each day that week we emphasize different environmental awareness topics. It was an idea we got from one of the Maryland Green School trainings a couple of years ago. Each day we also wear a different color to represent the focus. That idea came from another teacher from our school. The two ideas together have been a big hit and the students and teachers look forward to the week every year.

My favorite day of the week is the “Fossil Fuels Friday.” It is my favorite for a couple of reasons. One, we are encouraged to teach outside as much as possible and use as little energy as possible. We also do a mini version of Earth Hour which is a worldwide initiative that focuses on saving energy. The administrators get on the announcements and alert us that Earth Hour is beginning and we turn everything off. The hallways, classrooms, etc. go dark and we teach outside (or inside, sans electricity), but we definitely headed outside. During that time we worked on our “Soil Sammies.” I did this activity a couple of years ago, but there were definitely things that I didn’t remember, so next year I will definitely be setting aside more than an hour to get this project complete. Phew. In order to make your own Soil Sammy, which is kind of like a natural Chia Pet, you need the materials listed below.

You begin by putting the grass seed in the nylons.  On a sidenote, this slipped my mind when we were making the first four.  As a result, those Sammies look more like monsters because their hair (grass) is growing all over their face.  Next, you add the 3 cups of soil.  Since we were in our capacity unit at the time, I had the students measure out the grass seed and soil themselves.  (I think this is the main thing that I didn’t account for when I planned this activity for Earth Hour.)  Now as you add the soil, you have to shake the nylon so that the soil moves to the bottom.  I thought that this was going to rip the nylons, but my teammate assured me it wouldn’t.  She was right.  She is so much better with these kinds of projects that I am.  I am not what you call a “Green Thumb.” After that, you tie off the nylon and set it on the top of the cup, with the nylon string hanging into the cup. You have to make sure that the head is big enough to sit on top of the cups you buy.  We used the large Solo cups so we had to make them pretty fat to keep them from falling in.  Then, we added eyes, noses, and mouths with glue guns.  Any materials will do, but we used foam shapes for the noses and pipe cleaners for the mouths.  Finally, we filled the cups with water.  (Careful, don’t fill them too high or when you set the heads back on, the waters spills out.  I made this mistake a few too many times.)

We put our new friends on the windowsill and then just had to be patient.  When we got back to school on Monday, NOTHING had happened.  I was just as bummed as the kids.  Well, like I said, not being a green thumb, I was told I had to be more patient.  You can see how they have progressed.  

Here is what our Sammies with facial hair look like...I think they have character.

Now after about ten days, you can see the hair is coming in full force.  Some of them are growing like crazy!  We are going to give them haircuts soon.  The kids are pretty excited.  I am too, because I obviously made one.  Hope everyone is having a great week!  Let me know if you like Soil Sammy and/or if you have anything cool that your school does to celebrate Earth Day.  We are always looking for ideas!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Illustrate an Idiom

Holy cow!  My kids are having a ball with idioms.  :)  I made this freebie to use in class tomorrow.  Click on the title to download if you can use it in your class too!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Descriptive Writing Freebies

We just finished our descriptive writing pieces and I was tickled to death with how they turned out.  My class has been working all year on adding details and using our senses to describe various things, so I threw in a couple mini lessons on similes before we wrote our "official" descriptive composition for the year.  I introduced the concept using Crazy like a Fox: A Simile Story by Loreen Leedy.

We created a couple of our own using this freebie.  I am a big fan of half sheets.  :)

This week I also came across the cutest simile freebie at The Learning Tree.  My students loved completing it.

I sent a note home and asked students to bring in their favorite toy or knickknack from home.  Then we used this organizer to brainstorm descriptive adjectives and similes that described our object.

Here is the writing paper we wrote our final drafts on.  

Click on the titles to download anything you can use in your classroom.  :)  We just found out we are getting out June 8th!  That is the earliest since I've been a teacher.  Wahoo!


Fonts used are by Kevin and Amanda and the border I used is from Scrappin Doodles.  If you haven't already, you should definitely sign up for their emails.  You get a freebie every Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Slinky Sentences Freebie!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

It was time to add a new writing center (one of my students kindly suggested), so here is what I came up with.  We have been working on adding details to our sentences all year. I always tell them they need to stretccchhh their sentences out by adding details....kind of like a slinky, hence the title. :) Someone along the way used that comparison once and I was a big fan.

The kids seem to be liking the idea so far.  I think I am going to make a couple more sets of the cards.  Check back if your lil ones end up liking the activity too!  Click on the title to download.


  Clipart by Scrappin Doodles and fonts by Kevin and Amanda.