Christmas Snowman Ornament

Every year the 4th graders at Oak Grove make these super cute ornaments to take home. It usually only takes one day to make these. I work in small groups to get this done. While I am working in the small groups, I have a movie playing. We usually watch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because I read the book to my class every December.  

Supplies Needed: 
Clear Craft Ornament 
White acrylic paint
Sharpies of assorted colors
Clear Glitter Paint Squeeze bottle 
String/Ribbon (optional) 

1) I call a small group of about 4 students to the back table. Each student gets an ornament that I have already written their name and the year on the back. I place the ornaments on a thin piece of construction paper that is stapled to itself. (Like in a construction paper chain, but only one.) 

2) The students put their index finger in the white paint and make 3 snowmen on their ornament. 

3) I send the students to wash their finger and call another group back. I repeat step 1 and 2 until all of the students have an ornament with 3 snowmen and the paint is dry. (This doesn't take long.)

4) I pull back small groups again and show them how to draw the face, scarf, hat, and arms onto the snow man. I emphasize that less is more. (My students always want to draw all kinds of craziness on one snowman.) 

5) Next, I let the students add clear glitter paint around the ornament to represent snowflakes. Again less is more. If they glob it on, it will never dry. 

6) Then, we let it dry again. The glitter glue takes a while to dry so you may want to keep it over night. 

7) I send these home in a Christmas themed chinese take out box. The kids think they are cute and it keeps the ornament safe until they get home. I get mine at Michael's.  

Tid Bits: 
When painting the snowman, you can use a baby wipe to clean up the edges, or wipe off any mistakes.
You can also use baby wipes to clean the finger used to paint.  
If you do these yearly, like I do, buy the chinese boxes at after Christmas sales, and store them for the next year. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

Hey guys! Today I want to share with you a cute activity I do with my students every year at Thanksgiving. We make Thanksgiving cookies. I originally got the idea from Betty Crocker, but tweaked it to fit my needs. It can be a little expensive to make, but the students loved it! It cost me $15-20 dollars to get all of the supplies. It can also be a little difficult for the students to squeeze out the icing, but even if it's messy it still tastes good!

Supplies Needed
Sugar Cookies (I usually get these from the bakery because it's softer than packaged cookies)
White & Orange or Yellow Icing- Squeeze kind
Mini M&M's - one large bag
Candy Corn - 6 pieces per cookie

(It's best to buy these materials, especially the candy corn and orange icing, at Halloween and hang on to it until this craft.)

I call the students back in groups of 4. Each student gets a cookie, 6 candy corns, and 2 M&M's. I put a strip of white icing on 1/3 of the outer edge of the cookie. The students then place the candy corn on the icing as feathers. I also put two white dots under the feathers and the students put the M&M's on the for eyes. Okay so here is the hard part. I let the students use the orange or yellow icing to draw on the beak and feet. I show them a completed example for a reference. The beak is the shape of a V under the eyes and the feet are like a peace sign with out the circle. After everyone is finished I let them eat the cookies! You could also let them make two cookies, one to eat and one to take home!

Cyber Monday Sale

Hey Guys! Today is Cyber Monday and TeachersPayTeachers is having a huge sell!  You can get up to 28% off of many participating stores. I am one of the many sellers throwing a sell for Cyber Monday! Go to my store and check it out! Click here to go to my store!

Also here is a new freebie for you to check out...

Penguin Homework Pass... Get it Here!

I hope you enjoy! 

Introducing Equivalent Fractions

Hey guys! Last week I began introducing fractions to my 4th graders. I wanted to share with you how I introduce equivalent fractions to my students. When I first began teaching, I felt that I did not have enough time in the day to deal with using manipulatives in math. There were too many standards and it just took too long to deal with getting them out. I have come to realize that this was a grave mistake! Although using manipulatives does take extra time, it is worth it. Once the students can understand the concrete version of an idea, they tend to grasp the abstract version a little quicker. Saying that, I try to use manipulatives whenever I can.

Whenever I introduce equivalent fractions to my students I pull out the fraction bars. The fraction bar sets I have go from 1 whole to a denominator of 12. I have my fraction bars  in individual baggies, so that I can give each group a bag of fraction bars. (I try to pull these out the day before and have them sitting out ready to be used. This saves time during the lesson.) First, I pass out the bags of fraction bars and ask the students to sort them by color. Next, I  begin with the 1/2 fraction bar and model with the students how to find an equivalent fraction. I then let them use trial and error to find the remaining fractions. After this, I write all the fractions we found on the board. Next, I repeat this process with 1/3 & 1/4 bars. Many times the student will realize that there is a pattern happening. I will then talk about the pattern with the class and then announce that we are going to learn how to find equivalent fractions using math.

This process only takes about 15-25 minutes from passing out the bars to picking the bars back up. I hope that if you don't already use manipulatives in your classroom, that you will pull them out and try them. In my classroom, the reward outweighs the "trouble" of getting them out!

Science Club: Homemade Lava Lamps

This week in Science Club we made lava lamps. It turned out really cool and the kids loved it.

Materials Needed: Water bottle, vegetable oil, food coloring, funnel, and alka seltzer tablets. 
             I used 12 oz water bottles and bought 1 gallon of vegetable oil. (This was enough vegetable oil
             to do 15 bottles. ) 

    1) Drink or pour out 2/3 of the water. Leaving 1/3 still in the bottle. 
    2) Using the funnel, fill the bottle back to the top with vegetable oil.
        (I didn't fill all the way to the top)
    3) Put 8-12 drops of your choice of food coloring. Don't shake. Let the drops drop on their own.
        (It's cool to watch.)  
    4) After the food coloring has colored the water, place 1/6 of a tablet into the bottle. 
    5) Watch the bubbles! 
    6) When the bubbles stop you can add another piece of tablet and it will bubble again. 

Here are some pictures of the finished product! 

Green turned out great! 


Red, but it kinda looks like orange 

Yellow: It works, but not as pretty as the darker colors! 

Science Club: Screaming Cup and Dancing Ghost

This year myself and another teacher are hosting the Science Club for the school! It consists of 15 4th and 5th graders who love science and science experiments! This week in honor of Halloween we made a screaming cup and dancing ghost. The students loved it!

Click here to look at instructions for the screaming cup. The instructions for the screaming cup are labeled "The Chicken Cup", but to change from a chicken sound to ghost sound pull in one constant motion instead of small bursts. This project went well with the kids. One problem we did run into was the yarn becoming unattached to the paperclip. However, this was an easy fix. I also punched the hole in the top of the cup before science club started. I used scissors because that's what I had and it took a little work to punch the hole. I don't know if the nail would have done better, but I'd be curious to find out. Here is a video of my kids demonstrating the sound.

Click here for instructions for the ghost. The ghost project went well also. My kids were struggling with cutting the ghost out of the tissue paper. Mostly because they were super perfectionists. Then some ghosts didn't dance, but clung to the ballon instead. AND it gave my kids serious static hair! (which was funny to look at!) The kids loved it though and they learned about static electricity so I'd say it was a success! Here are some pictures from our dancing ghost!

Can you see the ghost under the ballon? 

Mrs. McDonald meets Jack Hanna!

On Saturday, I had the awesome privilege of getting to met Jack Hanna! The Chattanooga Zoo was having their 75th anniversary and the guest speaker was Jack Hanna. I happened to luck out and get tickets to go see it. When I was telling Mr. Hanna that I was a 4th grade teacher he gave me an autographed picture signed to Mrs. McDonald Class. I thought that was very sweet and when I showed my students they were so excited to know that someone famous said hi to them! I also happened to check out the Jack Hanna website which I found to be pretty cool.  The website has a few videos and interesting information about animals that he has encountered!

Behavior Chart

Hey guys! I just wanted to share with you my behavior chart. I made it basing it on the example from Harry Wong. The students begin on "Good" everyday. During the day the students can move up or down depending on their behavior. I also allow those students who may have moved down the opportunity to move back up if their behavior improves. I do this because one of the many saying in my classroom (especially for math) is that it's okay to make a mistake as long as you learn from it. I also believe that those students who struggle with behavior have an incentive to move back up where as if they can only move down then they really don't have much of a reason to want to improve their behavior. For a student to move to excellent they have to exhibit behavior that is above and beyond the norm. I especially like to use this when the students shouldn't be talking, but they are and there is that one child sitting there doing exactly what they are suppose to. I call them out for their excellent behavior and they get to move their clip up. The other students then look to that student and mimic what they are doing in hopes of being excellent too. This is so much better than constantly fussing at all of the students for talking. 

To make- I used card stock with and glued the printed words to them. I then laminated it and now I can use this chart for a couple years. I use clothes pins to write students name on them. 

I hope you enjoy! 

Sports Themed Accelerated Reader Bulletin Board

Hey guys! In my classroom I have one bulletin board that changes with the Accelerated Reader (A.R.) theme each year. It's the only board that is not matchy matchy with everything else in the room. Last year our theme was oceans/underwater and I did a bulletin board with fish. (Check it out here!) This year our theme is sports. As I set out looking for bulletin board sets I struggled to find something that would work for what I need. Until I came across this bulletin board set....Scholastic Teacher's Friend Our Home Run Hitters! Mini Bulletin Board (TF8055)
It was perfect! I bought two of this set because it was pretty cheap and I needed more gloves than only one set offered. Honestly I really just wanted the gloves and baseballs, but I decided to use the other things in the set as a boarder so I wouldn't have to spend any more money for this board. I think it turned out super cute! Each student gets a baseball with their name on it. When they earn the appropriate amount of points they get to move their baseball to the glove with that number on it. 

Make a Cell Model Project

Hey guys! Recently we learned about cells, cell parts, and the cell part's job. For extra credit I challenged my students to make cell models of either plant cells or animal cells. I cannot express how proud I am of my kiddos! They went above and beyond my expectations and I wanted to share their awesome creations with you!

                                                               These are my proud kiddos!

                                                 The following 3 pictures are made out of CAKE!                                        

These are the other cell projects made our of everything from candle wax to clay to styrofoam.  


Place Value Roll the Dice Worksheet

Last week in 4th grade we were working on Place Value. As a review after teaching standard form, word form, and expanded form we used dice to create a number and then with a partner the students had to write those numbers in all 3 forms. Here is the worksheet I used with them! I hope you enjoy!

Hey guys! Here is a really neat website I just discovered! It's I'm still browsing through the site to see what all it offers, but so far I have been really impressed. When you go to the website it looks like this...

You can choose the grade that you want to look at and it gives you language, numeral, extra, holiday, and fun games to play appropriate to that grade. I already have a website that my students use to play Math, Science, and S.S. games on if they finish an assignment early (, but I am definitely adding this to the list! Another thing I use this site for is low students. I have some students who are still trying to master second grade skills and so I can have them practice a skill like place value on their level. I hope you enjoy! 

Sports Theme- Get to Know You Page!

Hey guys! This year at The Grove our theme is Sports/Teamwork so I made this super cute get to know you worksheet for the students to fill out and I wanted to share it with you! I hope you enjoy!

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