It's the Best Year Ever... SALE!



Hey there,
Just want you to know that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a HUGE site wide sale.  You can get up to 28% off using the promo code: BestYear.  Everything in my store will be 20%off.  Then you just use the promo code during checkout to get the extra 10% off.  It's two days only, August 1st-2nd.  Make sure you grab a few things at these great prices.

It is always so fun getting some new resources at the beginning of the year.  I have already been shopping and putting things on my wish list.  You can find some of my favorite products from my store and other TpT stores on my new Pinterest board: Best Teaching Resources Ever (#BestResourceEver)  Hope you have lots of fun shopping. 
 
If you are on Instagram, check out the hashtag: #BestClassroomEver .  There are lots of teachers showing favorite parts of their classrooms.  It is a great way to get some inspiration for your classroom this year.  You can find me on Instagram here: @mrsbyrdslearningtree

I am so excited to have the Best Year Ever!
I hope you are too.
Happy teaching!

2016 - 2017 Calendars are Posted!




I am so happy to share my new calendars with you.  I wanted to let those of you who own the perpetual version know you can go download your new calendars for the year.  I hope you love them!  I am already thinking of some new art projects to go with them.

For those of you who don't yet own the perpetual version, I just want you to know why these are worth the investment.  They are differentiated to meet the needs of ALL your students.  That means four versions for each month and five for Sept. and Oct.   They are redesigned every year with a fresh look and new clip art.  They also include lots of ideas for art projects with links to blog posts and templates.  This is meant to save you time and give you a great monthly activity that is handled and easy.  For me that is priceless.

I have been doing a little research about my retirement and I think (God willing) I will be teaching until 2028.  So, I will be making the calendars until then and possibly longer.  That means a lot more calendars coming your way.  

Go check them out:  Calendars for Number Writing ~ Perpetual~

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!

Book Bash Blog Hop with the #kinderfriends - Books about Bugs!


Hi there, I am thrilled to be joining my #kinderfriends for another great blog hop!  We are sharing some of our favorite books for the classroom.  The books I'm sharing today are all about bugs.  I always end my school year with a big unit on insects and these are some of my must have books on the topic.  I also have a great FREEBIE for you, so keep reading to go grab it.


Bugs for Lunch is written by Margery Facklam and illustrated by Sylvia Long.  I love this book because it introduces the concept of predators who eat insects.  It has wonderfully written rhyming text just right for young children.  The detailed illustrations are realistic and easy to understand for the little learners who will be looking at each page.  It has a section in the back of the book with more information about each of the predators including humans with some of the countries and cultures where people eat bugs.  You can go grab this book at Amazon by clicking on the image above.  If you purchase this book through my link, I will recieve a tiny commission for sending you there.  Thanks!  (This is true for any of the links to Amazon on this post or anywhere on my blog.)  All the book images on this post should take you to Amazon so you can get the book.




The Backyard Books series by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries are MUST HAVES for a unit on insects.  I alternate the focus of my unit each year between butterflies, ladybugs, and honeybees.  I have one of these books for each of those insects.  You can also find these books for ants, dragonflies, snails, and spiders.  This book, Are you a Butterfly?  takes your class through the journey of a butterfly's life cycle in a fun and conversational way.  It is loaded with information including food, molting, growth, and also has a section at the end with more interesting facts.  The illustrations are incredible and depict many important concepts you will be teaching your students if you do a unit on insects.  You can grab this over at Amazon by clicking on the image above.

 
Beetle Bop is by Caldecott Honor winning author and illustrator, Denise Fleming.  This book is so much fun!  Her colorful, vibrant illustrations and energetic, rhyming text will keep your little students engaged as you enjoy a variety of examples from the largest group of insects - beetles.  My kiddos were interested to learn that ladybugs are part of the beetle family and we discussed that they are actually named ladybird beetles.  This book is perfect for pre-k and kindergarten students!  There are lots of language lessons you could connect with this book.  It also makes a great five minute filler when you just need something quick. 



Do you know these books written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long?  I absolutely adore them.  I own every single one they have created and my kiddos love them too!  A Butterfly Is Patient is a non-fiction introduction into the world of butterflies that covers a variety of interesting concepts.  The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and they will delight your little entomologist's minds.  I consider this book a treasure and I can't recommend it enough.  If you teach a unit on insects or butterflies, you need this book in your collection.  It touches on life cycle, pollination,  protection from predators, food, size (smallest and largest), wing scales, comparison to moths, and migration.  You may also want to check out some of the other titles by this dynamic duo.  My other favorites include A Seed is Sleepy and An Egg is Quiet


After reading an awesome non-fiction book, I like to  record some of the information my students remember or find interesting.  This year we used a tree map to do that.  We recorded information after reading A Butterfly is Patient and Are You a Butterfly.  The check marks on the chart show when a second or third child contributes an idea that has already been recorded.  The tree map becomes a handy reference in the classroom during our unit.  This chart is blank and laminated so I can use it for any topic we are studying.  I use Vis-a-vis wet erase markers to record our ideas.  Then when we are done with our topic, I just wipe it down and tuck it away until we need it again.  That's a little time saver for charts you know you will use over and over. 

I also want to share a fun art project you can do with your students to make the butterfly life cycle come to life for them.  We made caterpillars using egg cartons cut down to four sections.  First my students painted them and then we decorated them another day.  The caterpillars were up on our flower garden bulletin board for several days.  Then, when our live classroom caterpillars went into chrysalises, each of my little students wrapped their egg carton caterpillar into a butcher paper chrysalis.  Then we hung those back on our bulletin board.  Meanwhile, I also had my students paint a set of wings that were perfectly sized for the egg cartons.  I framed this painting activity as a lesson on symmetry and didn't mention that the wings were for our caterpillars.  The kiddos only painted one side of the wings and folded them in half to paint the other side.  If you do that with your students, make sure they use LOTS of paint.

This is the bulletin board with the chrysalises hanging in the garden:


Then...

this is the sneaky part...

on the Friday afternoon before our open house, I take the caterpillars out of the paper chrysalises and glue the wings onto the caterpillars.  I come back in on Sunday, when they are dry, and gently fold the wings around each body as I tuck it back inside the chrysalis and tape it back together.  They go back on the bulletin board so that my little learners don't suspect a thing.  Each student gets to open up his or her chrysalis during open house and discover that the caterpillar grew wings inside!  This project is a bit of a time investment for the teacher, but the payback in joy for children is so worth it. ( It makes parents really happy too.)


Here is another one up close:


Her rainbow striped wings match her rainbow caterpillar perfectly!  I think she knew what the wings were for...     I usually put the butterflies back up on the bulletin board for another week before I send them home.  Here it is:





OK, this is my last book recommendation for you about bugs.  I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe and Ed Young is a fictional story about the littlest cricket at Swampswallow Pond.  The cricket is desperately unhappy because he has taken a criticism to heart and believes he is ugly.  He whines "I wish I were a butterfly" on just about every page of this classic tale.  After lots of great advice from other bugs at the pond, it finally takes a long talk with a dear old spider friend to make him realize that being special is about much more than outside beauty.  The story ends with a fantastic realization as a butterfly hears the cricket's beautiful music and declares "I wish I were a cricket"  leaving young readers to infer how that made the littlest cricket feel and what he might have said next.  The almost abstract illustrations by Ed Young are truly extraordinary and create a pond environment from a bug's perspective that will inspire a young child's imagination.  I adore this book and read it to my class every year.  I would read it even if I didn't do an insect unit.  It's a great story with a good message.  


And finally... here is your freebie!  This story map page can be used in many ways.  Here you can see we used it as a way to record the setting, characters, and plot from the story above.  I have my students do this as a small group activity with an adult to do the labeling and dictation.  It is a great way to check comprehension and extend learning about any piece of fiction.  Students can also use it as a map for their own story writing.  Here is another by one of my little students:


And here is what the blank looks like.  The section in the upper right hand corner is blank so that you can write in the title and author/illustrator of the book you are using before you make copies.  I hope this is helpful to you and your students!  You can go grab this in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Just click on the link below the story map to go get it.





There are lots more great books and ideas from the #kinderfriends.  Keep hopping along and go visit my friend Robin over at Class of Kinders Just click on the link below her picture.






Thanks for stopping by!
Happy teaching!

Earth Day Blog Hop with the #kinderfriends



Hi there!  I am so excited to be doing a blog hop with some of my #kinderfriends today.  We are bringing you lots of ideas and some freebies to help you with Earth Day in your classroom.  I am giving away a craftivity you can do with your kindergarten or first grade sweeties.

It started as a simple art activity for our April calendars this year.  The kids cut out the earth and glued it to the purple paper.  They then painted VERY carefully.  You could also have them paint first and let them dry before you cut and glue to the background paper.



I wanted to give you the earth and the little "Everyday is Earth Day" sign which I'm sure could be useful for other things too...
But it needed something else....

So, I added this writing prompt.  I use it as a culminating activity for my Earth Day unit.  It gives  students an opportunity to tell what they learned by writing about new earth friendly habits they are going to try.  The kiddos' writing is always so sweet on this topic.


It would go under the art like the calendar above.  This is what it looks like all put together.  You can see my promise, too.  I am really trying on the shorter showers...



You can go grab the pages for this craftivity right here: Earth Day "my promise" FREEBIE

There will be a link on each blog to take you to the next #kinderfriends  Earth Day post.  There are lots of great ideas and FREEBIES.  Have fun!

Go check out my friend Brittany over at  A Kindergarten Love Story.




Thanks for hopping by!
Happy Earth Day!
Happy teaching!

It's a Spring FREEBIE!




Hello there and happy first day of spring!  I am doing lots of fun things with a spring theme in the classroom this week and I just wanted to share this fun math fact number bond activity my kiddos will be doing on Friday.

You will need some plastic eggs and candies to do it.  I am using the m&m candies as you can see in my photo above.  You could use any little candies that fit in the eggs.  When you fill the eggs with candy, you will need to put only two colors in each egg.  That way you will have two parts for the number bond.  The example above is 3 green and 4 purple make 7 altogether.  You can see pictures of the candies in the egg and the matching number bond next to it on the recording sheet.

I don't let my students eat the candies while they are working, but maybe you do...  mine usually have a little basket they have made to put them in to go home.

This is a fun activity and it is great practice for math facts and number bonds.  Yay!

If you are looking for more ideas for spring in the classroom, you can find books and art here: Baby Birds!  You can find fun learning activities and games here: Spring is here!l  You can find some adorable egg art here: Melt art Fun!  There are lots of ideas on my spring Pinterest board here: Spectacular Spring

Here is a picture of the recording sheet for this number bond activity:


You can go grab it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here: FREEBIE! Spring egg number bonds

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Happy spring!
Happy teaching!