Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Magic Tree House Books Come Alive in our Classroom

Upcoming January plans:

Since our closing date on our new house keeps getting backed up, I have had a little time to plan January units. I have been working on my application for the Magic Tree House Educator of the Year Award. I have been using at least one Magic Tree House book a month in my classroom. My highest reading group uses Magic Tree House books for literature circles and completes a reading trifold for each book read. Here is a list of upcoming Magic Tree House units I will be using when we return to school. Be looking for updated blog entries on ideas to incorporate the Magic Tree House series in your classroom.

1. Afternoon on the Amazon 
Objectives: bug life cycle, sequencing, telling time to the hour on an analog clock
In January, we will be observing the life cycle of ladybugs and butterflies in our live classroom bug lab. I will also be doing a mini-unit on these Eric Carle books: The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Hungry Caterpillar  

2.  Eve of the Emperor Penguin and Nonfiction Research Guide 18: Penguins and Antartica
We will be studying the scientific process and participating in our school's upcoming Science Fair project: Making Snow in South Mississippi!!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-Mrs. Courtney's Class

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There's a Fire in My Classroom!

Well, no need to call the fire department. It's not a real fire. Just a cozy virtual fireplace from  I project the fire during independent reading time and VOILA... my students read quietly in front of the fireplace. They think it's the warmest space in the room.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We Give a "Hoot" About Owls!

Let's backtrack a little..........

Back in September, I entered a DonorsChoose project on We finished with 550 votes and had our owl project funded. We received owl pellet dissection materials, owl books and posters, and much more. On our big owl day, a parent helper and I made each student an owl shirt. We dissected owl pellets, watched Hoot and ate special owl cookies. Here are a few pictures of the owl dissection:
                                 We measured the pellets, along with the bones.

I love the look of disgust on his face! I admit it was kind of gross, but quite an experience!

Uniform Scarves

Need an inexpensive gift idea for your students? I made these scarves for my students to wear with their uniforms.

For a list of detailed instructions on how to make these holiday scarves, check out

Super easy to make and only takes about 5-10 minutes per scarf!

Donors Choose

We are very blessed to have this resource in our classroom. Since September, we have had 7 projects funded. You would not believe how much the donations have changed our classroom. They have made such an impact on my students. Here is what we have added to our classroom, thanks to Donors Choose:

1. Owl dissection and project materials, including a leveled library and owl-related books

2. Art materials

3. Lakeshore writing center and classroom set of dry erase markers

4. Weekly Reader and Science Spin subscriptions, along with a classroom set of colored pencils

5. a PROJECTOR!!!!

6. Math Tub materials from Lakeshore

7. 4 sets of LeapPad Tag Reader pens and books, along with batteries

8. Lakeshore Sight Word center materials 

9. a Flip Cam!

We are very thankful this holiday season for the generosity of strangers who have truly made a difference in our lives. You can view our page at

Happy Owl-idays!

I enjoy reading everyone else's blogs so much, I decided to make my own blog. It is
"owl-fully" starting to look like Christmas in my 1st grade classroom!  Here are a few projects we have been working on or will work on this week:

1. Making owl ornaments

2. We have an owl Christmas tree in our classroom.

Santa has delivered gifts for our classroom! He left us a new ornament and 16 goodie bags for 16 special boys and girls.

3. Look at our gingerbread house! Almost every aspect of the house is made by my students. I integrated several writing activities. They wrote "How to Build a Snowman" on the snowmen. We counted by 5's on the reindeer antlers.

4. I finally finished their gifts from me: scarves to match their uniforms. They turned out fabulous!