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Getting to the Core

firefly activities, firefly art project, firefly booklet

I've Got A Little Light And I'm Gonna Let It Shine!

Do you study fireflies?  I think you'll enjoy the following activities!

Click on the link to view/download the entire Firefly Packet or click on the separate links below.  

Almost every night that my husband Daniel and I are out walking with our puppy, Chloe, we are amazed at the “dance of the fireflies”. 

As a child I enjoyed catching “lightning” in a jar and then letting these amazing insects go before they died. I was simply fascinated at their ability to illuminate.

Firefly Art:

firefly bookmark, firefly art projects, firefly activities, lifecycle of a firefly, firefly science, firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, 1. Print off my “You light up my life with LOVE.” bookmark, color it and leave it in a special place for that special someone to find.  Click on the link to view/print the firefly bookmark.

wax paper winged firefly, firefly art project, life cycle of a firefly, firefly science, firefly booklets, firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, 2. Run off copies of my wax paper winged firefly.  Students cut out their brown firefly and glue a yellow "glow" tip to the end.  Add wiggle eyes with glue dots.  Cut a black pipe cleaner in 1/2. Make it into a V.  Scotch tape the V to the back of the firefly.  Curl each end around a pen to make antennae.  Accordion fold an 11x5 sheet of wax paper, round the edges, fold in the middle and staple to the center of the firefly.  Cute as is, or hot glue to a clothespin. 

Click on the link to view/print wax paper-winged firefly.

3.  Buy a package of Popsicle sticks that look like ice cream spoons.  Paint the rounded side with neon yellow paint and then a coat of glow-in-the-dark paint.  Paint the upper part light brown. 

Add wiggle eyes and tissue paper wings.  If you twist a ½ piece of pipe cleaner around the middle and make it into a ring, you’ve just made yourself a finger puppet; or hot glue a clothespin to the back, add a magnet and hang on your refrigerator to leave love notes to light up someone’s life!

jar of fireflies, firefly keepsake jar art project, fingerprint fireflies, firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, life cycle of a firefly, firefly science4. Print off my template and make a firefly keepsake jar by dipping your index finger in bright yellow paint, and then making firefly bodies by pressing your fingerprint all over your bug jar. 

Let the prints dry and then brush on glow-in-the-dark paint with a Q-tip.  Add wings with a white pencil or crayon. Put  an aluminum foil lid on the top and you have “lightning in a jar!”

Click on the link to view/print the firefly keepsake jar templates.

This is a great activity to do after reading 10 Flashing Fireflies.  I only put 7 fireflies in this blue Ball Jar, but if you do this as a follow up to that story, have children do 10 fingerprint fireflies.

5.  Cut 5x7 rectangles of yellow construction paper.  Cut out the template of my firefly out of cardstock and trace around it with a yellow crayon on the yellow construction paper.  Place a Dixie cup of diluted black tempera paint in the middle of the table.  You should have enough tempera so that the paper will get covered, but enough water so that the water-paint mixture will bead up on the waxed crayon and reveal the firefly and not paint opaquely over it. 

Have children “wash” paint over their entire middle of their paper. 

I do this activity after I read Eric Carles’ book The Very Lonely Firefly. I tell my students: “OK let’s go find some more firefly friends for this firefly.” I ask them: “When do fireflies come out?” They respond: “At night.” So I tell them: “The sun is shining on this paper.  It is bright yellow.  You have to make night come by painting it black, so that the fireflies will come out.”

They are amazed to see their firefly appear!

6. For an adorable firefly bulletin board done with Christmas lights click on the link. 

Firefly Language Arts Activities:

Firefly Bibliography: "What do we see in the summer night? Ten flashing fireflies burning bright!" Click on the link to view/print other firefly books that I recommend. I've highlighted in yellow my favorites. Click on the link to view/print a copy of my firefly bibliography.

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123 Count Fireflies With Me: Read, trace, write, count, and then cut and glue the group of fireflies to the matching numbered boxes.  Have students use a yellow bingo dot marker to fill in the appropriate amount of dots in the squares.

For an easy reader counting booklet click on the link. Firefly counting booklet.

Don’t be “bugged” by the –ight words! Get a jump-start for fall and study them with my cute lightning bug flashcards.  Click on the link to view/print them.  Make the cards even more fun, by painting the letters with glow-in-the-dark paint!  Firefly flashcards

firefly word fan, firefly activities, firefly art projects, firefly science actiities, firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, firefly life cycle fan, life cycle of a firefly fan, firefly activities, firefly art project, firefly science activities, firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, Click on the link to view/print a firefly fan book of trace and write the firefly vocabulary words & a firefly life cycle fan book. Firefly Fan Books 

Cut out the strips, punch a hole in the middle of the bottom. Put the pages together with a brass brad so they unfold like a fan and you have a cute way to review words and science!

Click on the link to TRACE and put the -ight words in ABC order. Firefly skill sheet.


Print off my lightning bug silly story poem, hang it in your room, turn off the lights and pretend you’re a lightning bug and read it in the dark by pointing at each word with a flashlight. Firefly story poem + notes home.

Click on the link to make a firefly class book.

Click on the link for my firefly prose poem.  For another cute lightning bug poem click on the link.

Math Practice:

If you’re teaching summer school and doing fireflies with your students, or home schooling, clink on the link to view/print a firefly graph.

 123-Count fireflies with me skill sheet. Click on the link to view/print firefly counting skillsheets + an addition subtraction skill sheet.

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Etc.

For a firefly life cycle wheel, click on the link.

For a fact sheet on fireflies and a firefly to label and color, click on the link.  Firefly stuff

For a "bright student" firefly certificate of praise, click on the link.

For some awesome firefly photographs of real fireflies, click on the link.

I hope you enjoy these fun firefly activities, and I hope you get to see some real fireflies this summer! 

firefly activities, firefly lessons, firefly bulletin board, life cycle of a firefly, science ideas for early elementary, insect ideas, science centers, firefly booklet, firefly crafts, firefly art project, firefly centers, firefly activities, As always, if you have a firefly activity you do with your children, I’d enjoy hearing from you. diane@teachwithme.com

Feel free to PIN anything you feel might help or interest others.

Until next time try saying this tongue twister: Fifty-four fireflies friskily flitted frantically from the frog’s ferocious feast!

         

back to school ideas and tips, live bindersJust when I think I’ve reached my “wow” capacity about what the Internet can do, I’m blown away yet again by something some very creative person came up with!

The new “wow” in my life is Live Binders, and here are the top 4 reasons why:

  1. It’s FREE
  2. It’s EASY
  3. The potential is MIND BLOWING, and finally...
  4. they give you access to a huge number of other people’s wonderful binders!  A virtual library listing fabulous resources that we parents and teachers have wasted an entire day searching for.

I know I have.  I sit down early in the morning with great expectations of getting a zillion things done, start my research, and get lost in cyber space only to come up short at trying to find what I was looking for, with little accomplished except a feeling of frustration + a headache. 

Sound familiar?  And how many times have I heard this frantic complaint on one of my mail rings:   “Does anyone know this site… it’s one of my favorites but my computer has a virus/crashed, or the school deleted everyone’s files over the summer!”

LiveBinders solves it all.

back to school ideas, live bindersYou can keep it private and allow only a select few to view your binder,  (giving access via a password) or allow the public access.  Besides having a library listing of all your favorite sites this is a great tool to use for educating your students!

Your students can find homework assignments, complete research, review articles, view YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, or whatever else you can dream up within the scope of the tools of LiveBinder, as additional design features allow teachers to upload resources in the form of PDF’s, images, presentations, documents etc.

back to school ideas and tips, live binders 

 

So what are the benefits?

  • It’s free
  • It’s easy
  • They have a bookmark icon that sits on your toolbar to instantly add sites to your binder, and you can add your binder icon to your desktop.
  • It’s fun
  • It’s something different that your students will enjoy.

  •  
  • It makes you look wonderfully computer savvy and up-to-date.
  • Material and resources are up loadable from any computer, anytime, and anywhere with Internet access.
  • Use your own blog to provide students’ access to your binder.
  • This is a "new" kind of library for you to use other people’s binders to gather more cool website info.
  • Use a binder to create a library of resources for yourself, students, and fellow teachers.
  • Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to share your binders and enjoy the power of networking.
  • Total storage per account is 100MB, so you can create multiple binders!

back to school ideas and tips, live binderThese are just a few of the reasons LiveBinders was selected as one of the Top 25 Websites for teaching and learning in 2010!  Click on the link to start one today.

 

Great Binders:

One of the featured binders for this blog is an awesome summer reading binder made by a mom.  She has reading lists, online reading, literacy activities, reading programs &  parent tips!  Click on the link to check it out.

Many teachers in my mail ring have been asking about "cool apps" for their i Pods and i Pads for the classroom.  I even found a binder for that! Click on the link and then click on the "Apps Review" tab.     iPod/iPad binder. 

User "Sparkley" has also made a binder for Apps. Sparkley has 60 (!) other interesting binders as well as several on  Best Blogs! Click on that link.

Finally, I know how many of you love bulletin board ideas. I found an education binder designed by "KB Konnected" who has 73 binders (!) that I think many teachers  would be interested in.  Click on the link to check out her awesome bulletin board one.

I know you will have a blast checking out the many fun binders on this site as well as making your own.


My binder is entitled Great Sites for Elementary Teachers.  It’s private right now, as I’m in the process of building it, for now you can check my LINKS above on the menu bar.

Happy Binder-Building!

back to school ideas and tips, live binders

 

helpful things for back to school

Don't Forget!

These helpful "remember" items can be found in the 123-page Back-To-School Packet 

 

Click on the link to view/download it.

I had 4 timers at school.  I used them to REMIND me of a variety of things.  One of the most important was when I put a child in the Time Out Chair. 

Sometimes they were so good about thinking about a better behavior, they forgot how long they had been sitting there.

So that I wouldn't, because of the zillions of other things going on, a timer was a must-have for me! 

The timers were also very helpful to signal when it was time to clean up after centers, free play, etc.

I'd get busy working one-on-one with students, or assessing and you know how that time flies.  It's easy to forget about the time, and one does not want to be late for recess, lunch and specials.

I also had other things that I developed to help my parents and students remember things... from posters to magnets to assignment books and calendars. 

I think teaching organization to your students is an important life skill.  My parents have told me they appreciate the reminders and it makes for happier and smarter students; a win-win situation all around.

Here are some fun and easy things that you can do to help yourself, students and parents REMEMBER!

Time:

  • Set timers to go off.
  • Post times and clocks on the board.

back to school ideas, tips on remembering thingsEven tho’ my Y5’s can’t tell time, they can compare and match.

I have 3 times of the day that they are most interested in: When is recess; when is it lunch time and when do we get to go home?

I make 3 paper clocks and laminate them and post them on my white board.  Each one is labeled: Recess, Lunch, Done for the day! They can look at the hands of those clocks and can compare them to the hands of our class clock.

It's stopped children from asking me these same 3 questions all day long.  If they do; I tell them to look at the clocks and become a detective and see if they can figure it out.  I use it as a teachable moment to do some math.  i.e., How much longer is it before…

    • Notes:
     
  • Send reminder notes home. Sometimes these are half notes or just a strip of paper the size of a bookmark; sometimes they are a slap bracelet.
  • I put notes on children at the end of the day and pin them in the middle of their backs.  I find that some parents do not check backpacks.
  • Sometimes I run off labels with things that I need to remind parents of on a monthly basis.
  • I simply put the sticker on their child’s shirt at the end of the day.  Parents have given me wonderful feedback about this form of FYI-reminder. 
  • Labels save me time and paper and the hassle of having to pin things on children or put things in cubbies, folders or backpacks. 
  • Parents tell me they take the sticker off and put it on the mirror, door jamb or car window to help them remember.
Calendars & Other "Paper" Reminders:
  • Send a monthly calendar home.
  • Give students a weekly calendar for them to fill out.
  • Send a weekly newsletter home.
  • Make "to do" lists and encourage your students to do the same.

Assignment Booklet, back to school ideasassignment booklet, back to school ideas

 

Assignment Booklet:

  • Empower your students and teach them responsibility by having them keep track of their assignments. 
  •  
  • Write them on the board and then have students copy them down.  If they complete them, they check them off.  Train parents to ask to see this assignment booklet.
  •  
  • I’ve made one up for you to run off.  Have students glue the cover on a folded sheet of colored construction paper of their choice. 
  •  
  • Glue the cover on AFTER  you have stapled pages on the inside of both sides.  This way the staples won’t show.

  • back to school ideas, tie a string on your finger to remember art activityArt Project:
  • Tying a string on your finger has been a symbol of remembering. For a fun art project, run off my drawing on a variety of flesh-toned construction paper; laminate the paper and have students cut the hand out and tie a piece of yarn or ribbon on the finger. 
  •  
  • Staple the yarn/ribbon or tape it on the back.
  •  
  • Students can write themselves notes with a dry erase marker, or a permanent marker and use a Mr. Clean eraser to rub their note off, or they can add sticky notes to the back of the paper hand.
  •  
  • You can make these ahead of time and give them as a gift, or have students make their own.
  •  
  • reminder magnet, back to school ideasReminder Magnet:
  • Make a “Don’t Forget” Happy Face magnet and hot glue it to a clothespin.  Students can help with these, or you can make them ahead of time and give them as a gift.  
  • Send home the magnet letter with the magnet for parents to jot themselves notes to remember important things.
       remember poster, back to school ideas, remember ideas Posters and Anchor Charts:
  • Print the reminder posters and have a wall area where you post important things to REMEMBER, everything from rules like “i before e except after c .” “When 2 vowels go walking the first one does the talking.” or your class rules,  or spelling words. 
  • In this “Remember” section I post who has the Secret Sack (my version of Show & Tell), who has the Snack Sack (Who is bringing in snack, My snack calendar) My “Where Am I?” poster for students who are pull outs and have to be somewhere on certain days.  
  •  
  • There is also a hook hung with two-way tape that holds a set of laminated rainbow cards. (You can pick any kind of die cut card at a teacher’s store and laminate and then number them. ) Above it a sign says: How Many Students Are Here Today? This helps me remember at a glance how many children are in my room at any given time should there be an emergency and my brain leaves my head when bells, sirens, and screaming is taking place.
  •  
  • I use this as a math extension every morning.  We count students together, find that number card, show the card and identify that number, compare it to yesterday’s number and see if it is lesser, greater or equal to? 
  • If a child leaves with another teacher, the card is changed and then changed again when they come back.  If a child goes to the bathroom a bathroom tag is put on top of the number so I know at all times how many children I have and who is where.
  • Click on the link to view/print all of these ideas and patterns that will help you remember!  Back To School Packet. 

I hope you REMEMBER  to RELAX for the rest of the summer and take time for yourself!

back to school ideas, decorating your classroom, anchor charts, posters for your classroom, back to school ideas, classroom management tips, help remembering things,Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you can stop back tomorrow for more back to school ideas.  Feel free to PIN anything that you think others will find worthwhile.

"Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." -Unknown

back to school ideas, tips on how to remember things

measuring, measurmentI launch into a big measurement unit during October when we go on a fieldtrip to an apple orchard that happens to have a huge pumpkin patch.  We get a class pumpkin.

If my A group picks a short-fat pumpkin, I steer my B group into choosing a tall pumpkin so that we can have a great comparison contrast activity.

I know lots of teachers who introduce measurement, with non-measuring instruments, like how many teddy bears long is the Kleenex box?  I just jump right in with rulers, measuring tapes and scales.

The children catch on quickly. I have them choose a partner to measure and they have a blast running around measuring each other and everything in sight.

Click on the link to view/print an I Measured My Friend page.

inchworm art project, measuring things, learning how to measureLater in the year we review measurement again with a Bob The Builder Day.

One of the fun things you can have your students do is make an Isabella Inchworm. 

Run off the master on green construction paper.  Students can add wiggle eyes and color the face.

Send them off on a measuring adventure to find 3 things that are exactly as long as Isabella.

Have them tally things that they find that are shorter than Izzy and then fill in another tally box that is longer than she is.  You can graph your findings.

Another fun activity to do is to weigh and measure all of your students.  Find out who is the lightest, heaviest, tallest, shortest and what the average height and weight of all of your students are, as well as the total pounds and inches of the entire class.

You can also graph these results.  I keep these statistics so that when I do this activity again in June, we can do all sorts of fun math extensions.

Click on the link to view/print Isabella Click on the link to view/print some measurement Certificates of Praise.

Just like the article before, these will be free for the week (June 23-30) and then roll into a 123-page Back-to-school packet for only $1.79

I also have a cute September Daisy Yarn Keepsake activity that incorporates a child’s height.  It’s in the FREE September Stuff. Click on the link to check it out.

Two awesome booklets that make measurement fun are My Scale Booklet and My Measurement Booklet. Click on the links to check them out.

 As always, if you have a fun idea that you do, to learn how to measure things, I’d enjoy hearing from you! diane@teachwithme.com

Happy summer! It’s officially here and what are most of my mail rings talking about? This fall and working on things for the upcoming school year!  My husband thinks we’re all crazy.

How does that saying go?  3 good reasons to be a teacher: June, July and August. What lunatic thought of that?  You are reading her blog.  Guilty as charged.

I bet you never thought a teacher would dream up such an oxymoronic ditty!  I slapped it on a magnet for Russ Berrie for the sake of earning a few dollars back in the early 80’s, because I knew people who weren’t teachers would buy it.

question mark poster, back to school ideasTeachers of course knew vacations were “stay-cations” for cleaning, sorting, revamping, organizing, making stuff, and going to school to get SBCEU’s, our Masters or staying credentialed!

So I’ve decided to start making short little blogs about school stuff that might be of interest to the at-home “resting” teacher who is just dying to whip together a project or two.

This activity can be found in my Back-To-School Packet

The first little ditty for you to do is a big question mark with question words.  I don’t know about your students, but my Y5’s don’t know how to ask a question.

The librarian, after her introduction to the library, says: “Does anyone have a question?” and Corry “asks:” “My mommy reads to me.” Lanie “asks” “I have that book.” The librarian finally says: “We have time for one more question.” And Billie “asks:” “I wanna leave now.

The same thing happens in October when the fire department comes for Fire Safety Month and Aubrey “asks:” “I once saw a fire when…”

Now I teach my students HOW to ask a question and that those questions MUST begin with question words.  These question words make wonderful word-wall words too.

Header above question mark poster:  “Start a question with these words!”

Now…if you have questions, comments or suggestions; I’d enjoy hearing from you! diane@teachwithme.com

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