From Seed to Plant Activities

29 April 2012
The week before last, we planted "mystery seeds" in newspaper cups.  The students predicted what type of plants their "mystery seeds" would grow into.  Then the seeds began to sprout and we measured our sprouts and wrote our observations in our "Seed to Plant Observation Logs."  I love how the students drew the newspaper cups!  We plan on observing our plants until the end of the school year.  I am hoping they will begin to look like the grown up plant and the students can see if their predictions were correct.  These activities can be found in "My Seed to Plant Project" on TpT for only $2!

Click here for this free sample from the packet: 

I plan on displaying the journals with Hadar Maor's Garden Buddies.  Click her cover picture below to check them out.

Georgia On My Mind

25 April 2012
I cannot stop thinking about my awesome bloggy meet-up last weekend in Georgia.  It was so AMAZING!!!

How did I end up in Georgia, you might be thinking?  Well, I had been trying to meet up with my first blog/teacher friends, Anna Brantley of Crazy for First and Cheryl Saoud of Primary Graffiti since the beginning of the school year.  Anna and I started blogging around the same time and we just seemed to hit it off in the digital world right away.  We even talked on the phone.  She has the sweetest southern accent! Cheryl was one of my first followers.  I could always count on her for a supportive comment.  She and I have a lot in common, so we also hit it off right away and we also ended up talking on the phone.  Cheryl and I are the same age and we both have two small dogs and two cats.

Cheryl is from Florida and was heading to Atlanta with her husband to see the UFC fights.  She knew Anna and the awe-inspiring, Deanna Jump were both from Georgia.  She also knew I was willing to travel.  The weekend worked for all of us and I booked my flight from NY to Atlanta.

This was my awesome welcome at the Atlanta airport!  How cute is Cheryl?!
After the airport Cheryl, her husband, and I checked out the amazing aquarium in Atlanta.  I took these photos with Instagram, my new favorite App!  At the aquarium, Cheryl and I discovered that one of us was pronouncing our sweet friend, Rachelle Smith's name wrong.  I i-messaged her (we are iphone friends like that) and found out that it is pronounced Ru-Shell, not Ray-chell.  Ooops, my bad.  By the way, my last name is pronounced Bor-er.  
I saw this beluga whale as a calf at the NY Aquarium in Coney Island when I was a little girl.  Now she is 18 and expecting a calf of her own and lives at the Georgia Aquarium.

That evening Anna and Deanna arrived!  I am not going to lie, I was so nervous about meeting Deanna Jump.  Deanna was my inspiration to start a blog.  Deanna and I knew each other through the TpT forums, emails, and such, but still, to me Deanna was a celebrity.  I even asked her if she got stopped by fans.  She said "No, haha it never happens."  But wouldn't you know, the next day, she got stopped by a fan!  Anyway, Deanna is a blast!  She is so down to Earth and so darn cute and young looking in person.  We hit it off and were laughing away.  Once Anna arrived, it was a big old gab and laugh session for the four of us, that lasted through dinner and back!  We were up past midnight talking and talking.  Finally, we realized how late it was and we went to bed.  Anna and I shared a hotel room, so we stayed up a bit more chatting and making Amanda, Michelle, and especially, Rachelle jealous by posting on facebook.  Anna wanted to take a picture of us in our pajamas; I would have let her except that I had already taken my make-up off.  I am no natural beauty and did not want to scare "y'all."

The next day, Cheryl arranged for  Hope King from Second Grade Shenanigans, Ashley Nichols from The Polka Dot Patch, Jenaya Shaw from The Lesson Plan Diva, and Dana from 3rd Grade Gridiron to meet us at our hotel.  All of these ladies are stunning and FABULOUS!   I was so excited to meet them.

We rode together to The Cheesecake Factory in style!! 

Limo fun!

We had even more fun at lunch.  Can you believe this was my first time at The CheeseCake Factory?  I was impressed with their book-like menu.  I even splurged and had a slice of red velvet cheese worth it!!!
Us gals!

 Deanna, me, & Anna

 Jenaya, Dana, Cheryl, & Hope

 Anna and Ashley

With my roomie, Anna!

Me and Deanna Jump
Yes, she is holding money!  (Haha, it is to tip the limo driver.)

Check out some of the cute swag we exchanged (nosy cat not included)!  The adorable note paper set and labels are by the very talented Kacey of Doodle Bugs Paper and Doodle Bugs Teaching.  I am thinking that these would make great end of the year class parent gifts.  Thank you Kacey!  I wish you could have been there, too.  

I had a blast and I cannot wait for the next time we meet in person, again.  Teachers are just awesome people, don't you agree?

Letter and Postcard Writing!

23 April 2012
I created this unit last year and it is still by far one of my favorites.  *If you purchased this unit last year, please re-download.  I added a few more pages.  Click on the thumbnail to check it out on TpT.  My favorite letter writing activity is when the students pretend they are dogs writing to "Mr. Mutt" about their dog problems.  Then they pretend to be Mr. Mutt and write back to the dog.  Last they pretend to be a cat, scolding Mr. Mutt for his advice. 
Click on the book cover to check out the book. It is hysterical.


We also write to the Tooth Fairy in this unit and she writes back!  The kids LOVE this.  


Here are the picture books I suggest using with this activity.  Click the covers to check them out on

This year we participated in Primary Graffiti and The Techy Teacher's Postcard Exchange.  I held onto all of the postcards until we began our letter writing unit.  I read a few postcards a day.  The postcards also tie in well with our reading story of the week, Me on the Map.  I put up a big display of the USA and have been pinning the postcards to the display as we read through them.  It is a great way for the kids to learn about the states.  

Here are the picture books to go with the postcard portion of my unit:

Click {here} to check out my top selling Letter Writing Unit.  It is an extensive 70 page letter writing unit. 

Included in the unit:

Ant Trouble!

18 April 2012
Sweating, heart racing, cursing, jumping, stomping, and eventually yelling as an ant went flying through the air and landed on my pant leg.  Can you say stressed!?  Yes, this is how my classroom aide and I spent our prep...wrangling harvester ants!  Harvester ants are large golden/red colored ants that can bite and leave a painful sting.  Adorable!

Part of our first grade science curriculum is to study ants.  This year, as a grade, we decided to try live ants.   I volunteered my classroom aide and myself to set up the ant farms and get the ants inside.

Take One: I read all the directions.  We set up the ant farms and placed the vials of ants in the faculty fridge for 10 minutes.  Don't worry, almost all the grades had had lunch already.   Then we took the vials out and opened the top of the first ant farm to pour the stunned ants in.  Sounds simple and easy.  It would have been if the ants were not huge, if the ants were really stunned, and if the vial would have fit inside the opening of the ant farm.  But no, the vial did not fit and ants came tumbling out and onto the table, with a few falling in the ant farm, only to reanimate and fight for their lives!  They climbed right back out.  We managed to close the half-full vial back up and catch the ants one by one with those long green sticks that come with the farms.

Take Two: We made a funnel with paper and poured the ants from the vial into the funnel.  The huge ants quickly clogged up the funnel and came crawling back at us!  This is when all the cursing came into play. Thankfully, we had not attempted this with students in the room.  So, as the ants cascaded off the table and onto the floor we cursed, scooped with paper, and stomped.  I am proud to say, there were only about five ant tragedies.  It was definitely the wrong day to wear sandals to work.

Take Three:  We put the remaining vials back in the fridge and left them there for 25 minutes.  By this time the kids were back in the room.  I had them go to the book nook and read books quietly. I think I scared the kids!  I told them we were doing serious stuff and we needed it quiet so that we did not get stung by the ants.  This time the ants seemed out of it.  I took card-stock paper and angled it to one edge of the ant farm opening.  I angled the vial on the other side and for the most part, the ants fell into the ant farm.  This worked for at least two of the five ant farms.  Then, I noticed a few stuck in the back of the vial and asked my aide to tap the vial.  This made the card-stock paper flex and ants shot at me.  I let out a scream as an ant landed on my pant leg.  I don't remember how I got it off, it was a blur.

So after all that stress, the ant vials were empty and only 3 ant farms full!  Yeah, kinda a problem.  Ugh!  My solution: I connected tubes from the full ant farms to the empty ones and left for the day.  I placed sugar in the empty farms and I am hoping the ants decide to check out the other farms.  If not, I am going to be ordering more ants.

Erica, the Ant Wrangler.  I so much :)  Feel free to laugh at me!  I am laughing now, too.  

To go with this whole ant theme,  I am working on a TpT thematic units on ants.  I wanted to give you a little preview freebie.  Click the pictures below to download.  Wish me luck with the live ones!


08 April 2012
We just finished two bear themed stories in our reading series, Splash! and Little Bear's Friend.  Besides reading the stories, I decided to do a whole bear thematic unit.  I updated what I had already had and  I utilized my sweet friend, Rachelle's A Unit All About Bears With Math, Literacy, and Art.  Click the picture below to the right to check her unit out.  I compiled my resources into a $3 mini-unit about bears and a freebie bear themed art center.  Click on the cover pictures below to check them out!  Of course I suggest buying both awesome units!

Click the picture below for the links to bear themed picture books.
One of my student's writing from Rachelle's Bear Unit.
Schema Chart inspired by Rachelle's Bear Unit.
We also did Rachelle's adorable Teddy Bear Day.  The students loved bringing in their teddy bears, measuring them, and sharing about them using her adorable activities!

My Art Center Freebie!
Click any of the pics for the freebie!
I updated my bear themed math centers to align to the Common Core.  They were some of my first units, from when I first started selling on TpT.  If you already purchased these units, I suggest re-downloading for the updates.  If not check them out, they are very reasonably priced at $1.50 each.

Spring Products!

01 April 2012

I had a few requests to add a plant observation log to my "My Seed to Plant Project."  Please, re-download for the update!  If you have not purchased it, it is a quick and easy supplement to your current plant curriculum and is only $2!   

Here is my tip for planting with little ones:  Always have back-up seedlings!  I plant extra seeds in a normal sized pot.  When I notice that a student's little pot does not have a sprout, I transfer a seedling into their pot before he/she comes into school the next day.  Also, sometimes when the students are measuring their plants, they accidentally break the stem.  It helps to have extra seedlings for this.  I also suggest letting them use paper rulers or measuring yarn and then comparing the yarn to the height of the plant.  I hate to see tears over broken plants.  In the past, I tried using scotch tape on one little boy's does not work.

Jelly Bean Sorting and Graphing
Jelly Bean Estimation Jars - I ran out of the cute buckets at the right so I had to use some plastic containers.  Click {here} to download the labels for free!
Click the picture above for a freebie!

Sunflower Math for only $3.50!

Happy Spring!

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