Do you think that studying grammar is important in early literacy???  
I think it definitely has a place. For my own grade two class, which is highly ESL, I find that these kinds of exercises are really good for them.  They are old enough, and have 2 years of English schooling, in order to understand the grammar concepts.  It’s really good to sit down and analyze the grammar skills at this level, as they don’t get very much modelling of proper English grammar at home.  Also, for native English speakers, grammar lessons will help them when they learn a second language in school, as most formal second language instruction starts with vocabulary and grammar lessons and if they don’t know how to explain the rules in English, how are they supposed to understand them in French or Spanish?  I have just put up a little Halloween package that has a grammar component.  You can download it for free!!  Scroll down for more information.

You can download this little lesson here.  This little download inlcudes a colour version of the poem to project, or print out for your lesson, a blackline master for the students, a grammar worksheet which goes over some basic grammar concepts, and of course, the answer key!

Haunted Silhouettes

I happen to work in a fabulous school.  I feel very lucky to not only  have a fantastic group of kids to work with, but also a phenomenal staff to work with.  I work in a wing that has four classrooms and this year we have two grade one classes and two grade two classes.  The four teachers all work together fantastically. 

 I was walking down the hallway a few days ago, and came upon this...

The whole board was so visually stunning with the blues and blacks popping off the paper.  I had to stop by and have a closer look at what my neighbour had done.  This display was created by Rozana McFarland who teaches grade one in the class next to mine.  She comes up with the most fabulous art ideas.  This idea is one she saw on another teacher's art blog, but she could not remember who the source was.  So if any of you could tell me whose idea this is, please let me know as I really like to cite my sources.  It sends good Blog Karma all around  :)

This idea is easy to do with first graders.  First the children were told to paint a white circle in the top left corner.  They needed to try and paint it away from the edge of the paper a bit. 

Now as far as I can tell, you could manage this lesson a few ways.  The first way would be for the teacher to mix the paint to get the various hues of blue by gradually adding blue paint to white paint.  You could pre-mix it and have all the little cups with the various shades of blue all lined up and the kids make a larger circle and then move to the next darker blue, and make another circle...

  ...and then move to the next shade of blue and paint again, etc. etc.  Or, with older children, the kids could mix their own paint.  Start with the white on a pallette board and then gradually add more blue, and have the children mix the colour and paint the next ring, then mix the next colour themselves, and then paint it, etc. etc.

 These little haunted houses are foam stickers from a craft store.  The children glued them on the dry painting and then coloured in the windows with a white pencil crayon.    The ground and the trees were added with a black sharpie.  The children were told not to make the trees taller than the house.

Being the amazing and experienced teacher that she is, Rozana added a Language Arts component by adding the traditional poem "In a Dark, Dark Wood" to the display.  You could take this and make some writing, or reading activities to go with the poem.

I hope you enjoyed this idea.  Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!


Spooktacular Song and Poems

Oh yeah, I've been a busy girl let me tell you. I'm proud to announce another new product that I have posted up on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Click here or on the photo to go and get your own copy.  This fabulous package is full of songs and poems with a Halloween Theme.  Of course these are great for Language Arts in the Early Primary or ESL classroom.  I have used these over the years with children from K to grade 2.  They LOVE chanting poems, changing up the words, and singing songs with familiar tunes and halloween words. 

Have a Haunting Birthday

This project is a resurrected flash from the past.  I originally made this little album 2 years ago but could never find the perfect time to use it.  As I was rummaging through my old projects box today I came across this.  Click here for my original post on my papercrafting blog "stamperontheshore".  It has some directions on how to make it.  You can sure see how my photography has really improved in 2 years eh?  Anyway, today is my nephew's birthday party, and here we are a week from Halloween.  Connor has been sucking up everthing about reading and writing now that he's in Kindergarten.  So I though, "why not turn this into a story book".  So I let the kids draw and colour pictures and then I wrote some text which they traced over.  They signed their names at the end and voila!! A Haunting Birthday was born.  The supplies are mostly from K&Co, not Stampn' Up!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think - I might put up a tutorial, or at least a quick one on how I made that woodgrain on the cover.


My First Download - and it's FREE!!!!

Well I've gotten myself organized and I'm posting my first freebie download.  I'm using the Teachers Pay Teachers service.

 This first download is FREE - my favourite four letter word!!!!!!  Yup, it's FREE.  Click on the photo above or click here for the link

This little download has 4 mini books about falling leaves and signs of fall.  It's perfect for your 4 levels of guided reading in a grade 1 class.  The skills and objectives range from fine motor and tracing, to comprehension and higher level thinking skills.  I hope you enjoy this little "puppy".  Please, please, please leave me a comment and tell me what you think.  I've been busy working on a few other units which I hope to post up tomorrow. 

Halloween Banner Facebook project and a Freebie!!

Here's a great simple banner that Im going to make with my kids this week.  What follows is a post from my papercrafting blog - stamperontheshore.
 I was pleasantly surprised last week to receive a phone call from Stampin' Up!    Because I am an Artisan Award Winner, they asked me to create a Halloween project for their Facebook page.  Click here to go there.
 I decided to make a project that was easily reproduced.  I really wanted to make a banner, but I don't have any Halloween paper.  So again, My Digital Studio to the rescue!!!  I decided to make a banner and print it out.  You can scroll down to the bottom of this post for freebie jpegs.  Simply left click on the photos and save them.   
Then cut them out and assemble the banner.  I used the fabulous Simply Scored to make the pinwheels.  The letters are a FONT, not a stamp brush for MDS.  Scroll down for the supply list and the freebie jpegs!!

Stampin Up! Products

Traditional products:
119684: Cajun Craze Card Stock
100730: Whisper White Card Stock
101179: Basic Black Classic Stampin’ Pad
121045: Basic Black Card Stock
102023: Dazzling Diamonds Glitter
100425: 2-Way Glue Pen
119261: Basic Black 1/8” Taffeta Ribbon
117285: Basic Black 5/8” Satin Ribbon
115615: Basic Black 1-1/4” Striped Grosgrain Ribbon
124105: Cherry Cobbler 3/8” Quilted Satin Ribbon
108362: Crop-A-Dile
101610: Stampin Sponges
122334: Simply Scored

Digital products:
118108: My Digital Studio
123144: Frightful Sight Designer Series Paper
127352: Petite Pennants Punch

Filing and a Freebie

Today I wanted to talk about all those loose worksheets that seem to accumulate over time.  I believe that there's no point in sending each page home as they are done because they get lost, and parents get a bit overwhelmed with all the little pieces of paper that come their way.

 Way back in the dark ages, when I started teaching, photocopiers were common, but money to buy resources was not.  So I got used to photogopying a lot (I mean A LOT) of worksheets etc.  This meant a lot of loose paper to deal with.
  So what I started to do was to make little folders and 'file' the worksheets by subject.  This makes them very accesible if I need them for assessment, and it organizes the paper into little packages, that are easy for parents to look through with their child and see what is going on in my class.  When I started teaching I didn't have a lot of money, so I made the folders out of sheets of 12 x 18 inch construction paper.  I fold the paper in half on the long side (hamburger style for those of you 'in the know')  I write the child's name and subject on the front. and keep them all in a box.

 I still store them in little cardboard boxes. The ones that the notebooks come in are perfect for this. Below is a photo of my filing system. I know it's not perfectly pretty, but it works great. I'd like to offer up my filing covers as a freebie!  Feel free to grab copies of my filing system photos.  

In this photo you can see the folders and the worksheet in the box in front.  Once in a while, when the papers pile up we do a class sort.  I pass out all the folders in one box and the kids put them on their desks.  Then I start passing out the papers and the kids take them and put them on their desks too.  It takes 5 minutes to do a box.  I don't do all the boxes at once, but I do 2 or 3 at once. 

Fall Poem Freebies


My son is in Kindergarten, and he's been bringing home his Songs and Poems book every Friday to read with us.  At my school, the Grade One teachers run the same type of program.  In this book he had a poem for September which he sung to me.  This inspired me to create my own poem for October to send home with my own students. 

Now I teach Grade 2, so my students will find this poem very easy to read, but I also work in a ESL (English as a Second Language) environment where the majority of my students do not speak English at home.  So to bring home a Songs and Poems book each Friday, and sing it with their parents, helps strengthen the home-school connection, and also gives success to the children struggling with Reading.  

I whipped up these little pages using My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up!  Arent' those Greeting Card Kids simply adorable??  (I'm talking about the images)  I apologize that these are simply in a jpeg form.  But if you'd like to take them for yourself, simply left click (I'm a PC user) and save the picture.  Then you can print it out as a whole page photo and use it with your own class.


Cute Fall Art


Welcome to my newest blog.  My latest addiction these days is following other teacher's blogs.  It may have taken me awhile, but I finally decided to take another leap into blog land.  So here's it is.  Ta-DAAAA!!1   Welcome (again) to Sandra's Savvy Teaching Tips. 

Today I'm sharing a wonderful art project called INCHIES.  I found the idea for this lesson on That Artist Woman.  Click here to check out her fabulous blog.   Inchies are supposed to be one inch square (thus the name of course).  But to make this easier for little hands, these are 2 inch square.  I have to say I modified Gail's lessons to utilize the materials I had in my classroom.

I am a cardmaker and scrapbooker, and I pulled out many of my supplies and tools for this project.  Some of the inchies use scrapbooking paper, and some of them use painted paper.  My kids used watercolours and watercolouring paper to paint some paper with swatches of Fall colours.  The watercolours add a nice texture, and they worked really well for falling leaves 
Here's a few shots of some of the kids' work.

 Some close ups of the Inchies.  I am a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, and so most of my tools come from their line of products.  These sunflowers were made using some patterned paper (the denim background??) and various SU punches.  I used the Petal Punch and the 1" circle punch here.

The background on this inchie is patterned paper, and the leaves are punched out of painted watercolour paper using the petal punch.  The children then cut out the word FALL and glued the letters on individually.

 The full moons were made on painted watercolour paper.  They attached a 1" circle punched out of a yellow post-it and then painted over it with black paint.

The tree silhouettes were made using diffusing paper.  The children coloured on the paper with water based markers and then painted over the ink with water.  The colours blend together well.  When it was dry, the children painted the trees on with black paint.  The leaves were stamped in Chocolate Chip ink on some patterned paper.

 The corn husks took a bit more work.  The petal shapes were punched out of patterened paper.  The green leaf was cut in half and layered over the yellow centre.  The children then glued on some raffia.
 The candy corn was made by drawing a triangle, and colouring it and then cutting it out.  The children then cut out the letters to spell corn.

The children drew the pumpkins with crayons on watercolouring paper.  Then they used brown watercolour to paint a wash over it.  I cropped the paper to make for an interesting view on the inchie.  It didn't really matter if the children made the pumpkin too large. 

And finally, the little crow in the middle was very simple.  I gave the children an inchie cut out of newspaper.  The children drew their bird with a pencil, then they used a black marker to colour it in.  The googly eye was added later.

Here they are - ta daaaaa!   I hope you enjoyed this post!