Getting Ahead of the Game: March Edition

It's time for Getting Ahead of the Game, March Edition! It's hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner, which means Spring Break is just around the corner too! Woohoo! : )

Here are five tips to help you prepare for the month ahead:

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 National Education Agency Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, Dr. Seuss's Birthday. Learn more about it HERE. This was one of my FAVORITE days of the year when I taught Kindergarten!

Each Kindergarten teacher's room was a different book and we had the students rotate throughout the classes! It was fun to get to know some of the other students and the prep work was easy because you just planned around one book and lesson, but the kids still got to hear 5 different books and participate in 5 fun lessons! 

It's also fun to  celebrate Wacky Wednesday this week and encourage the kids to dress wacky too! Target is loaded with Dr. Seuss fun right now too!

Look at all of those books!

Don't forget about cooking green eggs and ham! Cat face paint makes for precious pictures too!

It always seems that St. Patrick's Day falls during Spring Break, so I don't get to do much with! This year is no different, but I would LOVE to make leprechaun traps with my class! This is the perfect STEM activity! I'm still trying to figure out when I can fit this in, but check out all of these great ideas!

Grab this FREE response sheet that would go with any materials HEREThis book would be the perfect read aloud too. 

I have hatched chicks with my class every year I have ever taught and it really is one of the highlights of my teaching year! I actually have an entire post dedicated to hatching chicks HERE.

Butterflies, frogs, and fish are also great options too!

Still have concerns about students? This is a great time to touch base with those parents again and schedule a conference! No one likes hearing how behind their child is in May. Have those hard conversations now and be sure to document them! Get those conferences on the calendar before things get crazy...or crazier. 

Really, yall! This is the secret of getting ahead! There is not better feeling than having everything ready early!
This month we will be learning about coins in math. I love setting up a Coin Grocery Store for my students to shop and apply those skills. Read more about it HERE.

These word cards can be printed and added to your writing center FREE HERE.

Check out all of these bugs and butterfly resources HERE. 

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Hatching Chicks in the Classroom

I absolutely love hatching chicks with my class each spring! It is probably the most memorable thing we do all year and it's such an amazing learning experience! I get tons of questions about the how-to's of chick hatching, so I decided to dedicate an entire post to it! I hope this helps convince you to try this with your class. 

Q: What supplies do you need to hatch chicks?
A: Supplies for chick hatching can be found at most feed stores or using the affiliate links below. Here is the complete list of supplies needed:

  • An incubator, I have had the best luck with this one!
  • An egg candler (this isn't really a necessity, but it's so cool to see inside the eggs)
  • A large bucket for the chicks to stay in after hatching, The first few years I just used a large plastic bucket, but then I invested in a large feeding bucket so the chicks had more room and more kids could crowd around. 
  • Chick Food
  • Chick Feeder and Waterer
  • Brooder to keep the chicks warm, this can be tricky with fire codes, etc. This was the best option for me!
  • Pine Wood Shavings for the bedding
(A chick hat is also necessary!)

Q: Where do you get the supplies for the hatch? 
A: If you have never hatched chicks before I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to your local 4-H. Often times they have the supplies that they can let you use! You could also write a grant using a website like Donors Choose. Learn more about getting projects funded through Donors Choose HERE. Don't forget to reach out to your district science department to see what materials they might have available for you too! 

Q: Where do you get the fertilized eggs?
A: I have gotten the eggs from a few different places. Usually I reach out to the local 4-H office and they take care of finding the fertilized eggs for me. I have also joined local Facebook Backyard Chicken groups and connected with people who have fertilized eggs that way! One year I also found fertilized chicken and duck eggs on Craigslist! 

Sidenote: I didn't have very good luck hatching duck eggs. I had to *fake* that hatch, but it was SO much fun! Baby ducklings are the cutest and we had SO much fun comparing ducks and chicks. 

Q: How long does it take for the eggs to hatch?
A: 21 Days from incubation! We help time pass by opening these everyday! 

Q: What do you have to do during the incubation?
A: Just keep an eye on the levels! I watch the temperature and humidity levels closely. Both of these levels will be increased closer to that hatch date! If you don't get an incubator with an automatic turner, you would have to turn the eggs a few times a day which can be a pain. Your incubator will come with very specific directions about all of this. I candle the eggs every few days and keep the incubator in a really safe place to make sure it isn't knocked over or touched. 

Q: How long does it take the chicks to ?

A: Just keep an eye on the levels! I watch the temperature and humidity levels closely. Both of these levels will be increased closer to that hatch date! If you don't get an incubator with an automatic turner, you would have to turn the eggs a few times a day which can be a pain. 

Q: How long do you keep the chicks after they hatch?
A: No more than two weeks! You will be AMAZED at how quickly they grow. 

Q: How do you learn about the chicken life cycle?
We read TONS of books about the chicken life cycle and my class actually ran a website last year to update the school and share all of our information. Here are a few of my favorite books:

Q: What do you do on the weekends?

A: Honestly, I run by my school on both Saturday and Sunday to make sure everything is good! It usually only ends up being one to two weekends that I have them, so it's not too bad! You could totally take them home too. I think my dogs might try to have a snack though! : O

Q: What do you do with the chicks after they have hatched?
A: This is the hardest part of the whole hatch. Chicks quickly turn into chickens! ALWAYS secure a home for the chicks BEFORE hatching them! Ask around, email parents, contact your 4-H local 4H, local farmers...I always ask the person who gave me the eggs too. Even if they aren't interested in taking them back, they often have connections!

Still have questions? Leave a comment below or use the contact form to email me! 

Don't Forget Your Counselor!

Did you know National School Counseling Week is celebrated the first full week of February? School Counselors play such an important role in our school community; let's show them how much they are loved and appreciated this week!

Each year my class makes a special book for the nurse during School Nurse Appreciation Week and it's always a hit! Like it usually makes her cry!  I decided I wanted to show the same love to our school counselor and make a book for her too! Each of my students will write a letter to go in the book and let our counselor know what makes her BEARY special.

Just combine all of the letters, attach the cover to the front of the book and then it's ready to give! You can even attach this to go with it! 

Click HERE to grab everything you need to make your counselor feel BEARY special!

Moon Log

We have been studying objects in the sky! Each year I put together this binder for my students to observe the moon. Each night a different student takes the binder home and draws a picture of what they see. 

Inside the binder I include a pencil pouch with white crayons, a book about the moon, hole punched black construction paper, and this letter. 

To print this letter and moon log cover for FREE, click HERE. 

We also use this flip book throughout the unit! 

Don't forget to order some astronaut food for your students to try! Ice cream is always a hit!


Using Voice

It's Writing Workshop Wednesday! I am so excited to share what we have been working on! We have been really digging into the traits of writing. We have been especially focusing on voice and we have had SO much fun! Keep in mind that these activities were done over the course of a week...and we enjoyed every second of it. 

I introduced the trait with, "The Day the Crayons Quit!". We have read this book a few times this year and it never gets old!

The sequel is great too! 

We created this anchor chart to go with the trait. I always like to attach a picture of the book I read to go with the trait to help students remember the lesson. 

Don't judge my anchor chart. #notanartist

We practiced using voice (and letter writing skills) by writing a class letter from a student's backpack. We thought about what voice and tone the backpack would be using. Was it happy? Frustrated? Excited to come to school? Upset? Here is what w came up with...

Next, the class wrote their own letters to themselves during writing workshop time from an object in the classroom. THEY WERE HYSTERICAL! To publish the letters, students used Chatterpix and took a picture of the object "reading" the letter that they had written. 

Here is one for you to check out:

Isn't that so clever?! Check out the coding mouse in the movie HERE.  He is super popular in our classroom.They were one of my favorite projects all year! I shared them with anyone who stepped foot in my classroom.

My students had so much fun with this writing activity that they continued it all week in their journals!

I'm pretty sure that my mouth feels the same way...

Looking for more writing ideas? Check out other Writing Workshop Wednesday posts HERE.