Friday, 28 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe Christmas is already over and 2013 is almost here! I had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, eating lots and relaxing lots.

If you are looking for activities to do for the beginning of the 2013 school year I have made a package of different games and activities to fill your first days.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy 2013!!
Mrs. Dunn

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Polar Express and the World is Ending

Well, yesterday was the last day before Christmas break, WOOHOO! I came down the hallway to hear proclamations of " I saw the meteor, I saw the meteor, I saw it!" and then "Mrs. Dunn, I think the world is ending" 
Oh Dear. Well it looks like we've survived to see another day, what a relief.
On to the Christmas festivities! Thursday was polar express day, so we all wore our pyjamas, so much fun.
The students spent the entire morning at Centers and then watched the movie in the afternoon.
I usually give out tickets and at the end of the day each student gets a bell.
Here are the centers:
CH words
Inspired by Hot Chocolate
Students selected from six marshmallows three that begin with ch.

The first give of Christmas bell. Students make their bell and write on the back what they would get if they had the first gift of Christmas.

 Students listen and watch story book the Polar Express on the SMART board with the earphones.

Five Senses: I had vocabulary cards, and the students drew and wrote about what they could see, hear, smell, taste and touch in the Polar Express.

I found a sight word game the students enjoyed playing here.

I got this idea super cute doubles matching activity from TPT here.

The kids had so much fun!
Mrs. Dunn

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Ornaments

Well our room officially smells Christmas-y! We made our cinnamon ornaments and they are looking great.

First we followed directions and checked our ingredients list. We used the five senses to describe our dough as we were making it (except for taste as the grade one's agreed it may not be the best idea to eat glue).

Then the students picked the shape they wanted, and we used a cookie cutter to cut it out. They are now drying and making our classroom smell great. We can't wait to decorate.
You can find the recipe and instructions on my Teachers Pay Teachers Site HERE.
Mrs. Dunn

Monday, 10 December 2012

Math Whole Brain Teaching

I was pretty pumped about a whole brain teaching lesson I did the other day in Math class.
We are working on addition and subtraction to twelve, and of course all of the strategies involved in solving problems. The particular strategy we are working on is using doubles.
So the lesson went like this:
Mirrors on- "A doubles fact... means you take one number... and ADD the same number."
We repeated this a few times. I asked a few children if they knew what a doubles fact was. Some little darlings are still confused. We repeat again. Then I say "Peanut butter and Jelly", and they link hands with a partner. I had the PB's "Teach OK" what a doubles fact is, then switch and the jelly teaches the PB what a double fact is. When I asked again, the children seemed to know what they were.
Just goes to show that when you teach someone else, you are more likely to retain information than just listening.
NOW for those who think, BAH this is rote learning and there is no higher level thinking, WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT
We went through and wrote out the doubles facts to twelve. Then I asked the children if they noticed anything about the numbers, any patterns etc. 
Then a bright little firstie pointed out, "Look! The answers skip over one each time, skip counting by twos all the way down."
10 finger WOOOOOO to you.
And there you have it folks, higher level thinking stemming from some rote memorization tasks.

Mrs. Dunn

12 in 12 Linky Party

I'm linking up with one of my FAV bloggers, Teeny Tiny Teacher, for this linky party. A little "these are a few of my favourite things." You know, kinda like Oprah, except I wasn't really planning on giving away a car.

12. Favourite movie: Well, there have not been many for 2012, but it is GOING to be The Hobbit, because I know I will love it when I see it.

11. Favourite TV series: How I met you mother. That is all I have to really say about that

10. Favourite restaraunt: Anything Italian really, 

9. Favourite new thing I've tried: Blogging. Well it's reasonably new, and it is a new favourite past time.

8. Favourite gift you got: Jewellery from the hubby.

7. Favourite thing you pinned: Well I pin things... A LOT... and the reason I pin them is because I really like them, so it is hard to pick just one. I would have to say it would be this video hands down, because it changed my entire way of teaching this year, and all for the better!

6. Favourite Blog post:
Not because it is good, or exciting, but because it was my first and a big deal to me to jump into the blogging world.

5. Best Accomplishment: I think my big accomplishment for this year has been starting to sell things on TPT. That has been a pretty big deal for me, as the hubster can attest there is a LOT of TPT talk around our household.

4. Favourite picture:
This is not my favourite picture ever, but this summer in Vegas I got to see her in concert and it was pretty awesome.

3. Favourite memory: My favourite memory from 2012 was for sure getting our sweet little dog. He is just so awesome, hard to believe he is almost 1 years old already.

Big boy Quinn
Puppy Quinn
2. Goal for 2013: Exercise

1. One little word: Growth 
Thanks for stopping by!

Mrs. Dunn

Sunday, 2 December 2012

December Currently

Happy December everyone! So I did this Currently last night and then got so sleepy that I went to bed before posting.

Linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this fantastic currently! Remember the rule of 3, comment on the 2 before your link and the one after!

I absolutely LOVE the (reasonably new) Mumford cd. They are so amazing, I can listen to their music over and over again and never get tired.
Snow and cookies mean december to me. The hubster and I made GINGER PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES the other day with white chocolate and almonds. OH...  MY.... WORD... It tastes like two cookies in one, gingersnap and peanut butter. So good.
Well now that I've had an excellent sleep, I can't say that I need to go to bed anymore, feeling rested and ready for the day.
I really dislike Christmas shopping. I actually sort of have a thing against presents entirely, not a huge fan. I'm much more of a "Let's just spend time together" than a give me a present kind of person. SO I would really love to just have it over with.
Today I would like to get Christmas decorations up, but that would involve some house cleaning as well, so we will see how that goes.
We have awesome neighbours and I would really like to do a secret santa kind of thing this year. I haven't decided what to get them yet, but it will be a project in the next couple of weeks. 
(PS I love this currently RAK idea)

I have made a Classroom Management Package (Ok so I know this isn't Christmas related, but the kids get a bit squirrel y this time of year, and often in January we have to start all over again with the rules because apparently 2 weeks puts a brain freeze on all of the children).
Anyways, it has a bunch of resources to do with whole brain teaching, behavior tracking and modification, time out, positive rewards and parent contacting. Check it out!

Mrs. Dunn

Friday, 30 November 2012

It's here! Winter holiday Teaching Tips and Freebies

Click on the picture to find the link

It's HERE!!!!!!!!
The Winter Holidays Teaching tips and freebies for 2012 compiled by Mrs. Miner, Rachel Lynette and Addie Williams is up on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This is a MUST download. There are all grade levels in the 4 different ebooks, PreK-K Grades 1-2, Grades 3-6 and Grades 7-12. It includes winter holiday teaching tips as well as links to freebies on various pages.

I am pleased to say that my page has been included, check it out!
Look in the Grade 1-2 booklet, on page 21 (I included the title page in the page count)

Happy Holidays, enjoy this AMAZING resource.

Mrs. Dunn

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Liebster Award

UPDATE: Looks like I have been nominated again!! Thanks to Officially a First Grader! See second answer to questions below.
So I was looking through my blog comments this morning, and realized that I have been nominated for a Liebster award from Jayme over at Trendy in Third!! This award is given to up and coming bloggers with 200 or less followers.  Thanks Jayme, how sweet are you. Be sure to check out her blog.

Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

11 Things about me
  1. I do AMAZING impressions of my students. Seriously. I can sound just like them. 
  2. I love to dance. I dance around the house, I dance in my car, I dance in my classroom, I have even danced down grocery store aisles. When no one is looking of course.
  3. I have the best hubby. That’s all there really is to say about that
  4. I love spending time with friends and family, they are so special and important to me.
  5. I went to Iceland and I think it was one of the coolest (figuratively and literally) places I’ve been.
  6. I love Italian food. Lasagna, pasta, really of any kind, and I’m in.
  7. I love my job. A lot. Well, most of the time anyways ;)
  8. In secret I wish I was a ballerina
  9. I play djembe (african) drum, although not very well, just for fun
  10. I have a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and he is the most amazing snuggly dog ever.
  11. I invent words. Frequently. I think I may even have made a dictionary once that had all the words I’ve made up. Strangely, it seems to be missing...

1. What grade do you currently teach? Have you taught any other grades? I teach grade one. I have also taught a 2/1 and Kindergarten.

2. What is your favorite thing about teaching? Least favorite?
My favourite thing about teaching is the sweet little faces who seem to look at you with adoration no matter what you do and those wow they actually learned something moments. Least favourite is report cards and assessment and paperwork, mountains of paperwork.

3. If your school was donated $25,000, what would you want your principal to purchase?
A projector that attached to my SMARTboard, a HUGE carpet that would actually fit all those squirmy little bodies, and some storage space for the classroom. Principal, are you reading this ;)

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Hmmmm, I like Being Erica, How I Met Your Mother and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. (of course)

5. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose to visit?
1950s, hellooooo flapper costumes.

6. What is your school mascot?

7. How many kids are in your class?
23 beautiful little people, although that changes on a week by week basis.

8. What is your current obsession? 
It seems like blogging and creating things for TPT is what I do in my spare time. Oh and pinteresting. A lot.  

9. What is your idea of relaxing after a crazy day of teaching?
Having a bath, reading a book, blogging, cooking dinner with the hubby.

10. Do you have a favorite holiday treat or drink?
Well, I really like eggnog, and hot apple cider, and basically anything baking that my mom makes. Yum!

11. Heels or flats?
Flats for school, heels for fun times!!


1.  What do you think your main strength is as a teacher?
I am really energetic and innovative, I love to learn new things about how to do my job better
2.  What do you think your weakness is as a teacher?
Communication and dealing with parents.
3.  How do you balance work and family?
Always find time to go out on a date, do something fun with family. Trying to prioritize and not do everything.
4.  If you could have any talent (that you don't have), what would it be?
Singing, I wish I could sing really well
5.  How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging since July 2012
6.  What made you decide to start blogging?
All of the other amazing blogs and being able to share with a wider community.
7.  How many hours, on average, do you spend each day devoted to your job?
Oh boy, that's tricky, depends on the time of year of course. Report card time way more. I put in a regular 9 hour day at school, and then often come home and work on something for at least an hour or two. Not always though.
8.  Do you have a hobby or what do you do to relax?
Dancing, reading a book, cooking
9.  What is your favorite word work activity?
Cookie sheet magnets
10.How do you use technology in the classroom?
I have a SMART board that I use everyday, all day. I also have a microphone and FM system that I use to talk during instruction time.
11.How often do you cook during the week?
My hubby and I cook together, and we usually make something different every second night, and then have the leftovers.

Questions for blogs I nominated from First Grade fun with Mrs. Dunn
  1. What is your favourite grade to teach and why?
  2. Are you a “wait in line for 6 hours for 50% off” or “pay full price and get in and out” kind of person?
  3. What is your favourite book to read?
  4. What is your favourite Holiday and what do you like most about it?
  5. What is your favourite meal? 
  6. What genre of TV or movie do you like the most?
  7. If you could be an animal, what would it be and why?
  8. What is your favourite subject to teach?
  9. Who is your role model?
  10. If you could have a superpower what would it be?
  11. What is the best date you have ever been on?
Blogs I nominated!
The Whole Wheat Class

Please check out these blogs, they are awesome! And thanks again to Jayme for nominating me!
Mrs. Dunn

Thursday, 22 November 2012


 I got this super cute idea from Mrs. Knights Smartest Artists. We sponge painted the background and then did some first, next last writing to go with our snowmen. They turned out super cute!

Mrs. Dunn

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Teaching tip linky

I am linking up with Miss Kindergarten for a teaching tip linky party. I wanted to share some classroom organization ideas, that I may have blogged about way back but I forget, so I am going to post them again. I organize all of the students things in bins at the front of their table, with labels and tags so they know where everything is supposed to go. 
For organizing handouts and whatnot, here is my system; each child has a job that they are assigned to for a couple of weeks. Each job has a magnet on it and sticks to their table.
Hands out papers to their group.

 Can read in the reading corner during silent reading time. 
Helps their group to walk quietly in the hallway with reminders.
Hands out glue sticks and scissors if the group needs them, and they are all in bins at the front of the table.

Mrs. Dunn

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Assessment, Report Cards and Mark books OH MY

With report cards coming up, I figured my next series of posts would be on assessment ideas that I use in my classroom.
We have changed reporting systems this year quite a lot so an update of my ever changing mark book was in order.
Today I am going to only write about work habits; how I keep track and what it looks like on the report card.
We have five work habit categories, and then students receive 4-1, 4 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. I know a lot of teachers say that they innately know where there students are and don't assess for this, but I just can't help myself, I have to have a mark for it.

I use a weekly assessment to tell parents how their children are doing in math, with sight words as well as work habits. You can find this how was my week document here. It's a freebie! This way there are no surprises with the report card as little "Jonnie boy" has had 2's the entire two months in works independently, so there are no questions about the report card

Then I record in my mark book by just putting a check mark in the correct column. When it comes time for report cards, I just go down the list and mark in the number that they have the most check marks in. Pretty simple!
Mrs. Dunn

Monday, 5 November 2012

Remembrance Day

For me Remembrance Day is so much more than "a day off work". My hubby went to Afghanistan in 2010 for 7 months and has been in the reserves for over 11 years.
It is so important that we take the time on November 11 to remember those who have died for our freedom and those who continue to serve today. Please remember to take a minute of silence at 11 o'clock on November 11.

My kiddos are doing the Remembrance Day celebration at school, and so we did some BEAUTIFUL artwork to decorate the front of the celebration inspired by the incredible Gail Bartel. She is just so amazing. Anyways, here is how ours turned out!
Mrs. Dunn

Saturday, 3 November 2012

November Currently

So I am linking up... for the first time.. with the crazy cool Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.. for a currently post. YAY!
Today was a dance around the house kind of day. As I was cleaning. Ok, maybe instead of cleaning, but I thought about cleaning while I was doing it, so that counts right?
Report cards are due in about two weeks. SERIOUSLY. I cannot believe how fast the year is going. So I guess I should be doing that, and not blogging. But I think I will just keep blogging.
I don't know if it is the all over the place weather or what, but I have been so sore lately. Nothing that some yoga couldn't fix though.
On our social studies CD, there is a song about garbage. When I turn it on, the kids perk up, and start cleaning up immediately. So that is one of my favourite songs in the classroom!
Mrs. Dunn

Monday, 22 October 2012

Documenting Learning in Math

Today we were talking about how a number stays the same no matter what the arrangement of objects looked like. I used whole brain teaching to start, MIRROR, showed them how to arrange, then, TEACH OK, students showed each other how the number stays the same, then back to our desk to work with a partner.

SOOO I had this idea that I would film them as they were working with a partner. I normally just walk around and shout things like, DON'T put that counter up your nose or can you PLEASE not make alien pictures and do your job. Today students were actually pretty well on task, so I grabbed my camera and started filming.

The results were very interesting. I noted that many students were still counting to determine how many, even though their partner had just rearranged the counters. 

My thought is that tomorrow's math lesson, I will show them a video example of students  working with a partner and NOT having to count to know how many. Then we will discuss what we see and try again. 

Thoughts? How do you document student understanding in math?

Mrs. Dunn

Sunday, 21 October 2012

My Feelings Unit

I was going through the health unit that I have about feelings, and I felt like it was looking in pretty sad shape. I wanted to create a resource that would be a little more student friendly. I found this super little feelings story that inspired me.
So I created a unit about monster feelings, and here is what I came up with! I hope you enjoy it and can use it in your classroom. You can purchase it on Teachers Pay Teachers. My Feelings- a thematic monster unit.

Mrs. Dunn

Sunday, 14 October 2012

My Monster

I have already blogged about this art project, I believe, and the students just made these chromatography monsters in class the other day.. I wanted to make a writing activity to go with it, so here is what I came up with. Students write all about their monsters in this little mini book that is available here.

Mrs. Dunn

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Transparent and Opaque

The students are learning about Transparent and Opaque in Science class this week. I am super excited to use these cute lil puppets that I made, Ollie Opaque and Timmy Transparent. AWESOME right??? You can find the puppets as well as the activity with centres to go with this outcome on my TPT store. I glued onto thicker paper, cut out Timmy's tummy, laminated and glued onto a popsicle stick. Popsicle sticks again, I know. Enjoy!

Mrs. Dunn

Friday, 5 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Eh!

So to all my Canadian friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

We had lots of fun this week doing different Thanksgiving inspired activities. We read I Know an Old lady who Swallowed a Pie. Much to the students delight, we made our very own old lady, inspired by Cara. I really love this idea.! I think I may use clip art for the pictures in the mouth next year as some children's pies looked like.. well.. I don't know ermm... you know... I'm not actually certain, just have a look and see. But they loved the activity.

I also enjoy how some of the googly eyes ended up in the hair. Such creativity!

For Science, students are supposed to be able to show colours that are darker and lighter so we did a thanksgiving themed activity.

Anyways, it was a fun week and I can't wait to have turkey and mashed potatoes this weekend, yummmo!
 Mrs. Dunn