Pinecone Owl Holiday Ornaments

I have made these Pinecone Owl Ornaments with my second graders for Holiday gifts  for the past two years.  Every time, they come out so darn cute, the kids love them, and I sneak them into a writing project.  Win. Win.  They are really pretty easy to make and the supplies are minimal.  I bought a bag of pinecones from Michael’s this year but you can pick them up at Target or many other places around the holidays.  The supplies are minimal; liquid glue, scissors, scraps of paper or felt, a sharpie, a popsicle stick (a pencil will also work) for placing the cotton between the pinecone petals and a bit of twine or ribbon for making the hanger.  I think the key is to pull the cotton ball apart so that you spread out the fibers, kind of cotton candy looking.  This gives the owl that fluffy look.

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We have been studying non fiction texts and main idea so this project also fit in perfect to our reading.  I have my students select two pieces of tissue paper for wrapping them, and we make a tag out of a bit of paper and punch a hole in it.  I have them thread the tag through the twine (I had a surplus of colored raffia that worked great, we used two pieces a few feet long).  We gathered up the tissue and I helped them tie the raffia around the owl.  We worked on our writing assignment today and they were fabulous.  We wrote our notes to attach to our owls in a letter format asking if they would let us (the owls) live in their Christmas tree.  I sealed them in wax, “No, I’m not fancy, I promise!”, I just happened to have it in the cupboard  ☺

Adorable parent present completed!  They are on our bookshelf waiting to go home tomorrow.  Ahhh, one thing off my never ending, mile long list!   Happy December!

 

 

 

Hot Chocolate, Whipped Cream and Peppermint – Oh My!

Slide1.JPGFreedom Friday, Fun Food Friday, Fresh Food Friday, Fabulous Friday – this was the topic of conversation Friday morning in my classroom.  I had promised the students that we would make Homemade Hand-Whipped Cream and Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for Taste It Tuesday.  Tuesday came and went and we had an unexpected special, two 12+ hour days with parent teacher conferences (this teacher is TIRED.) so everything got moved to Friday afternoon and we decided we needed a new name for Fridays. (I love those teaching moments that just happen and this was one of those as I explained how a Thesaurus works)  We decided on “Fresh Food Friday” and added it to our schedule for 2:00 p.m.

I love to use recipes from Ree Drummond’s website,  The Pioneer Woman they are so consistent, taste great and these two are really easy for kids to make.  We used her Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix and her Homemade Hand-Whipped Cream recipes which you can link to from the names above.  I have to say, I am always sorry that I don’t take more pictures during these cooking adventures.  I need a go pro attached to a head lamp because my hands are always full or sticky so I don’t pick up my phone often enough.  Let’s just say it was fast and furious and fun!  We had sore arms from whipping the cream, I had 4 batches going at our four table groups.  Two tables made it using the ball jar method and two were whipping with a whisk.  We made the hot chocolate mix together and then right as we were running out of time, I couldn’t find the electric kettle – sigh – picture a crazed 2nd grade teacher opening cupboards looking for pots and pans and trying to boil water as quickly as possible… yep, that’s pretty much it.  (We are very lucky to have a stove in our 2nd grade pod, in a dream classroom, I would have one in my room!)

I added the water to each of their jars, I used ball jars which we are going to use for our snow globes we make in December (so fun!).  As the students were stirring, I showed them how to put unwrapped peppermint candies in a plastic bag and then, using the side of a hammer smashing them gently to make a yummy, unique and pretty topping for their cocoa.

The bell rang and it was as mad rush to make sure everyone got to try some but they all left with BIG smiles on their faces. Happy Fresh Food Friday!

Voting Day, But First, A Big Coffee, A Big Green Drink And An Even BIGGER Cookie!

img_1133I was caffeinated, greened and sugared up with a big latte, an even bigger green smoothie and… a BIG cookie.  I had planned to talk about voting in my classroom, the election, how it works, a brief overview of the electoral college, I even downloaded the great election resource from Amy Groesbeck  but… I just couldn’t do it.  My audience is 7 and 8 year olds and I just knew where the conversation would go and wanted to keep it a really positive day in my classroom.  So… we did vote but, we voted for food, Zucca The Zucchini!  I host “Taste It Tuesday ” in my classroom because it makes me crazy when my students say, “Yuck” when they have never tried something.  The day before our school kitchen had prepared roasted zucchini with parmesan cheese (we have a great school kitchen that makes amazing healthy food for our students, most of it locally sourced) and there was a lot of “yucks”.  They should have known, I came to school the next day with a bowl full of zucchini for us to taste.   fullsizerender-1We smelled the spices, took apart the pepper mill (talk about minds blown – they had no idea how it worked!) tasted the olive oil, measured ingredients and worked together.  The big win was they liked it, they really liked it!   I love, “Taste It Tuesday” and the teaching moments that arise.  In the end, Zucca The Zucchini won the election in our classroom and it was a good day for everyone.

Rain, rain and oh, more rain…

It has been raining here a. lot. like every day, all day, like we live in – Seattle.  Yes, I know we need the rain, but seriously, enough.  Then, it stopped and it was so clear and so beautiful that I instantly forgave Mother Nature.  Recess duty on a day like this,  yes please!  (the first picture is the view from my classroom on the second floor, it is pretty spectacular, but shhh don’t tell anyone!)

Happy Weekend to you!

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Halloween on a Monday…oh my.

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How on earth did Halloween happen to fall on a Monday – yikes.  Mondays are a big day with us, we launch our new weekly unit for reading with lots of new words, stories and writing projects.  With costumes, parades, classroom parties and dreams of trick occupying little minds, I will be honest, it was tough to feel very effective as a teacher that day.  But, I had a plan…. (insert evil witch/mad scientist laugh here)

To practice parts of speech we play MadLibs a lot in my classroom.  We love it and I think it is such a great way to learn parts of speech, as well as make our other friends laugh and laugh.  My students just love them!  I pull sticks to fill in the blanks and there is always that deer in the headlights moment when you know every noun, adverb, adjective, etc. they have ever known flies out of their minds.   To help remedy this and get a little more interaction with our new words each week, I made these “Parts of Speech Booklets”. Since they are monster themed it was the perfect project to start this week.  We went through our new words and any that we particularly liked we wrote down under the appropriate headings.  This made the game go a bit faster, less deer in the headlights looks and lots of laughs.  We cut the pages in half, glued them in our composition notebooks or they can also be used as a stand alone booklet with just a few staples.  Here is a peek at the cover page, click on the cover and it will take you to my Teacimg_1104-1hers Pay Teachers store.  Enjoy the rest of your week, we are almost there!