Friday, April 28, 2017

Learning About Japan!

We had the most exciting week!  We took a field trip to JAPAN!  Well.....a virtual field trip, that is.....let me tell you all about it.

We follow the Journeys Reading Series and our story of the week was called "A New Friend" - a story about a little boy that moves from Japan to the United States.  I decided this would be a good opportunity to learn about the country of Japan!

We have a wonderful family, from Japan, that lives in our school district.  They were gracious enough to start off our week with a great presentation about the country of Japan.  They brought in props like books and a kimono to show the firsties, which gave them a really great background to begin our week.


We used Epic books to read several stories about Japan and we focused on a different aspect of the country each day.  To begin, we talked about Japan being an island and it is famous for all of the volcanoes in the area....the most famous being Mount Fuji.  We created our own Mount Fuji with a directed draw, which we painted with watercolors.  

The next day we learned a little about the history of Japan and we made our own Japanese flag.

Next it was time to learn about the people of Japan. We learned about their special holidays called Boys Day and Girls Day.  We learned that sometimes girls wear an outfit called a Kimono for special holidays.  I found a cute FREEBIE on (you can pick it up here) of a doll dressed in a kimono.  I loved the idea, but didn't want the kids limited to the pattern on their freebie, so I created a simple square for the firsties to create their own design.  

We used our Smart board to visit a virtual Japanese house, where we could drag pictures to create a Japanese home. It was really fun and the kids LOVED it!  You can check it out here

Next we learned about Japanese food.  We watched a cool YouTube video that showed the kids in Japan helping to prepare, serve and enjoy their school lunch.  You can watch it on my YouTube channel here.   After this, we made our own Bento Boxes.  I made the actual paper box for the firsties ahead of time and then the kids filled them with sushi, rice, fish, and veggies - made of paper, cotton balls and fun foam!

Finally, it was time to try out our own Japanese cuisine....Kid Style! We made some kid friendly sushi - Banana Roll Up Sushi and Peanut Butter Sushi! (The directions for both of these are in my FREEBIE).  We also added some "fish" (Swedish fish candy) and some authentic Japanese cookies and crackers to our meal.  As an added treat, I purchased some real rice and veggie sushi for the kids to try....not all were brave enough, but some did try it and they liked it!

Our Japanese meal:



We had a fantastic time learning all about Japan and I thought you might enjoy doing some of these lessons with your kiddos too!  I created a special FREEBIE that includes all of these activities and more, just for my Fab Followers.....send me a quick email to and I will send it right out to you!

Well that's all for me....hope you and your firsties had an awesome week too!  For those of you who use my Journeys Word Study and Journeys Pre & Post Assessments.....Unit 6 will be finished and in my TPT store by Sunday evening!! WOOHOO!  It's been a long time coming, but this series is finally finished and so if you have been waiting for the BUNDLE it will be ready this weekend too!! 

Hope you all have a GREAT sure to check this week's Five For Friday post here for more ideas and grab that Japan FREEBIE - just send your email to  See you next week, with some great ideas for how to use the book "The Dot" in your classroom!! And as always, come on by and visit often because there's always something fun happening in......

Five For Friday (April 28th) - Japan, Ducklings and Gratitude!

Hello Friends! It's that time of the week to think about all the great things that have happened and give a little gratitude! I want to give a shout out to Kayse Morris over at Doodlebugs Teaching for hosting this linky each week!  So here's my five things I'm grateful for.....what are yours?  Comment below and let us all know what's going on great in your classroom! 

More babies on the way!! We are super excited because our caterpillars are all in their chrysalis and we have some duck eggs in our little incubator!  The ducks are scheduled to hatch on MONDAY!! We are SUPER EXCITED!  We aren't sure about the delivery date of our butterflies....but we are watching them closely every day!

I always have to give a shout out to the #1 man in my life....spent last evening at my son't final band concert of the year.  The sounded FABULOUS!! ❤️🎺

One of my Fab Firsties brought me these beautiful lilacs.....oh my room smelled heavenly.  And it's my favorite flower! Made my day! (Don't judge the vase.....LOL)

We spent the week learning about Japan! We had a special presentation from a family in our community, we read lots of books about Japan and watched some videos.  We made some super cute crafts and tried some traditional Japanese food.  I have a full blog post all about our week here with a great FREEBIE for my followers so that you can do these lessons in your room too! Check it out here

Finally, I leave you with my Friday this week was kindergarten registration at our need to say more.  

Hey you fabulous teachers!! The countdown is here.....we can do this!!  Be sure to hop on over to Doodlebugs Teaching to see what other great teachers are doing in their classrooms! Keep on smiling and check back next week because there's always something fun happening in.....

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Five For Friday (April 21st) - Easter, Oviparous Animals & Milestones!

Hello Fab Followers! 
Stopping by with my Five for Friday check in.  Hope you all had a great week! Here's what I'm grateful for this week.....what about you?

First off.....I had a great Easter and I hope you did too!  The weather was perfect and I was lucky enough to spend it with my family.  My mom, who is 94 years young, was here along with my brother and my son.  We had lots of yummy food and treats, great conversation and a good time.  I miss those days when my kids were little and we were hiding Easter eggs....I'm about ready for some grand babies!  Hint....

We were off on spring break for part of this week, but we came back on Wednesday ready to learn.  We spent the week learning about Oviparous Animals. This is such a fun unit and the firsties loved it! Here's a sneak can check out my full blog post here (includes a FREEBIE).

We have BABIES!  I ordered some little caterpillars online last week and they have been busy eating and eating! They have quadrupled their size and should be ready to spin their chrysalis any time! We are so excited for them to change into butterflies!  Have you ever tried this in your room?  Here's the link, in case you want to order some too.  They usually arrive in just a couple of days!

I hit a little mini milestone this week.....I opened up my Instagram the other day and saw that I had surpassed 700 followers! What???? That made my heart happy to know that over 700 people like the stuff we do in Firstieland. If you are one of those followers I want to give you a big SHOUT OUT 👏 and THANK  YOU!  If you'd like to join up, you can find me @firstieland. 

Last,  I always like to leave you with my little Friday now that spring break is over......

Hey friends....thanks for stopping by.  Hope you had a great week and I'd love to hear about it.  Please feel free to comment below with some of the cool things you did in your room this week! And please hop on over to Doodlebugs Teaching Five For Friday Linky Party to check out what other awesome teachers have going on! Please check out my full blog post about Oviparous Animals here.  You won't want to miss grab the FREEBIE while you're there!  Have a great weekend and see you next week because there's always something fun happening in....

Egg-stra Special Oviparous Animals!

Hello Friends!

How was your Easter?  Hope it was great, like what am I supposed to do with all these leftover plastic eggs???

Eggs.....eggs.....hmmmm.......well, I got to thinking about it and decided now was the perfect time to break out the "Oviparous Animal" unit!!  I have been wanting the Fab Firsties to get a chance to work together on a project in small groups and this lesson was a great opportunity.  

We started with the book "Chickens Aren't The Only Ones".... a great little book about the many animals that hatch from eggs.  I don't have my own copy of this book, but found a nice video reading on YouTube.  You can check it out here on my YouTube channel.  

Next I passed out animal pictures to each of the firsties and we sorted them in a pocket chart: Oviparous and Not Oviparous Animals. I thought maybe some of my Fab Followers might like to do this sort with your kiddos, so I'm going to pass it on to you as a FREEBIE! Just drop me a line at and I will be sure to send it right out to you!!

Our next step was to use interactive writing to make a list of Oviparous Animals:

Finally, I had the firsties choose between four different animals to research: Sea Turtle, Chicken, Frog and Owl.  The students worked in small groups to read books about their animals.  I had a few in my classroom library and I also had the kiddos use Epic Books to read about their animal. If you haven't checked out Epic Books online....please do! It's a great resource for teachers, with TONS of books, that you can read for FREE!

The firsties worked with their small group partners to create a large web with facts about their animal:

Next the firsties wrote down four facts about their animal on their "Animal Facts Strips" and then put those strips into little plastic easter eggs.  We made these adorable animal nests using brown paper lunch bags, easter grass and their animal craft. 

The firsties also learned about the life cycle of their animals.  They made these adorable animal crafts with the life cycle in the center: 

They also made a little book about their animal.  It was a great little unit!

When we were all finished, the Fab Firsties took an assessment to see how much they learned about their animal......they ROCKED those tests!

Here's our big bulletin board showing all of our Oviparous Animal projects!

If you'd like to introduce your kiddos to Oviparous Animals, you can pick up my OVIPAROUS ANIMALS BUNDLE in my TPT store here.  It's available with everything you need to teach about all four of these animals.  This  jam packed bundle includes the following for each of these animals - Frog, Chicken, Sea Turtle and Owl - and IT'S ON SALE UNTIL MONDAY! WOOHOO! ( just read that right!! woohoo again!!)

1. Pre & Post Assessments
2. Fill in the Blank "Fact Strips" (to put in the plastic eggs)
3. My Book About _______ - a six page booklet on each animal. Students complete the information including: Where does (my animal) live?, What does (my animal) eat?, Draw and label (your animal), An interesting fact about (my animal) is...
4. Information Web - small and large version
5. Report Templates with built in Rubric - 3 levels for students to write a report about their animal
6. Life Cycle for each animal
7. Patterns for the small animals (for the paper bag nests)
8. Patterns for the large animals (for the life cycle)

Well that's it for this week! We also have some duck eggs in a little incubator in our room and we are waiting patiently for them to hatch!  Only a few more days so hopefully I will have some photos to show you next week of our new babies! Don't forget to send me an email to for your Oviparous Animal Sort FREEBIE....This freebie is not a part of my Oviparous Animal's an exclusive gift just for my Fab Followers! Gotta show some love to all of you!! Everybody have a great week and be sure to check back soon because there's always something fun happening in.....