Thank a Farmer (plus a FREEBIE!)

Check out this product on TpT!
Here in Ohio, we still have snow on the ground, but spring is just around the corner! March will be here before we know it, and with it, Agriculture Week! As a life-long 4-H volunteer and agriculture supporter, recognizing the hard work of our nation's farmers has always been very important to me. Though our farming families make up little under 2% of our population, these hard working Americans provide about 24 million jobs and, of course, food for our entire population. We are able to enjoy an abundant, affordable food supply, all thanks to the continuous efforts of our farmer friends.

As a 4-Her, I mostly showed rabbits, but I was able to learn about and work with many other species!
Growing up, I loved helping at my grandparents' beef cattle farm. I raised rabbits, chickens, and ducks on my own "mini farm" in the suburbs as a 4-Her. These experiences gave me so many valuable life lessons that I carry with me today. A sense of responsibility, a hard work ethic, and the desire to learn all started for me in 4-H. 

Unfortunately, most of my students don't have these farming experiences. In fact, each year when I ask where our corn, beef, and other food products come from, the most popular answer I hear is "Walmart." I love being able to partner with organizations like Farm Bureau and 4-H to show my students how their food gets from farm to table.  

Our Journeys reading series is the perfect start to this unit! Lesson 18 features an awesome non-fiction text, called Where Does Food Come From? This year, we are spending two weeks on this lesson to really dive into agriculture! By the end of our unit, my students will know exactly where their food comes from and which products are produced right here in Ohio. We will learn about crops and livestock by reading informational texts. We'll also join in the Thank A Farmer campaign by writing letters to our local farmers in appreciation for their hard work. 

Our unit will end with my favorite activity of the year...the Barnyard Olympics. The kiddos will put their knowledge to good use by becoming classroom farmers! We will play games to mimic what life is really like on the farm. After proving their knowledge with a quick agriculture assessment, they'll simulate milking a cow, gathering eggs, and herding swine. The Barnyard Olympics is a hit with my kids every year!

The "Dairy Queens and Kings" competition during The Barnyard Olympics
Each student will go home with a certificate and a sticker that says, "I competed in the Barnyard Olympics today!" to stimulate conversation at home. 

The "Swine Time" competition at The Barnyard Olympics
For more fun on the farm activities, be sure to follow me on Instagram. I'll be posting photos for the next two weeks about our barnyard activities! You can find my complete 132 page Thank a Farmer thematic unit (including directions and materials for your own Barnyard Olympics) here on TpT. My Farm Themed Leveled Readers and Comprehension Guides (included in the full set) are also available separately.

Sample the unit before you buy by downloading my sampler set HERE! Enjoy and happy farming!

#TpTBeMine Gift Card Giveaway!

Roses are redViolets are blueI've got a saleTo share here with you!

I've joined up with nine other teacher authors to bring you 10 chances to win a TpT giftcard, just in time for this week's sale! Almost every TpT product will be on sale for up to 28% off original price. Now is your chance to snag those resources that you've had your eye on. Check out these sale prices on products from my store from September to (Mrs.) May!

My 132 page Thank A Farmer complete thematic unit will be on sale for under $7.00! That's just pennies a page!

My newest product, the Differentiated Letter Writing Kit, will be on sale for under $5.50! Check out how I use it here.

Another amazing deal to help with positive behavior management...this life-changing 20 page editable set will be on sale for under $3.50!

The #TpTBeMine sale will take place on February 7th and 8th! Be sure to use the code LOVETPT at checkout to take advantage of the full savings! For a chance to win one of TEN $10 TpT gift cards, head on over to my Instagram page here.

Good luck and happy shopping!

Celebrating the 101st Day of School with my PAWsome team

This year, our first graders celebrated our second annual 101st Day Dalmatian Celebration! For years, we celebrated the 100th day, but found that we were repeating many cute activities that our Kindergarten (and even PreK!) staff were using. By the time students got to us in first grade, the aging app, 100 day buffet, and other beyond cute activities had all lost their novelty. We needed something new, fun, and different! 

After talking with a friend of mine at a neighboring district, I discovered Erica Bohrer's The 101st Day of School set. I highly recommend this product in conducting your own 101 Day Dalmatian Celebration. This 108 page set has all you need to get started! Here's how we used her set this past week. 

Getting Ready

We first sent out a note to our parents, asking them to send in a white t-shirt for their child. Using black sharpies, each student created their own dalmatian shirt for our celebration! Be sure to put a piece of construction paper in between the front and back of the shirt so that the Sharpie ink doesn't bleed onto your table. We kept these shirts at school, and asked students to wear black or white bottoms on the 101st day of school. We, of course, made our own outfits, too! 

We also made our sentence strip puppy ear headbands in advance. Erica provides the patterns. All you need to do is trace, cut, spot-ify, and staple! I had students make 50 spots on one ear and 51 spots on the other for some counting practice. 

An adorable addition this year was the 101st Day of School Banner. This add on is free on Erica's TpT store! We used our banners to decorate the hallways.

Photo from Erica Bohrer
We also prepped for the big day by making these beyond adorable puppies to decorate our bulletin boards. Again, Erica provides the patterns. To make clean up easy, I have students paint their spots with a q-tip! No need to clean messy paint brushes!

With the addition of a little butcher paper dog house, I had this simple bulletin board up in no time!

The Day Before

Our amazing Kindergarten staff goes big for the 100th day of school, so of course we didn't want to disappoint our firsties with their 101st day! After the kiddos left on Thursday afternoon, my team and I set to work prepping the hallways for our big day. First, we made a simple butcher paper photo back drop using lettering from Erica's set. 

We then made this enormous hallway walk through! Again, this was made out of butcher paper, with the words painted on. The kids loved it!

Our Celebration

We finally celebrated the 101st day of school on Friday. The kids were so excited, especially after walking through our huge dog house entrance to our hallway! As the kids filtered in, I had them change into their spotted shirts, put on their ears, and get started right away with the day's festivities. 

Instead of our usual morning work, I set out legos, blocks, dominos, and other building materials, challenging the kiddos to work together to make "dog houses" built out of 101 objects. Of course, I had fun dog themed music, like "Who Let the Dogs Out" on in the background!

For easier management, I picked eight (there are many, many more) of my favorite activities from Erica's set to set up as mobile centers. We completed four in the morning and another four in the afternoon. I simply packed all materials needed for each activity into trays, set the timer for 15 minutes, and floated around to assist groups. Each time the timer went off, kids cleaned up the center, packed their take home page in their folders, and waited for me to rotate the centers. Since I have four tables of about five students each, this worked perfectly! Here are the activities we used:

Dalmatian Rhyme and Sort: Students sorted cards into "Rhyme" or "Does Not Rhyme" piles and recorded their answers.

Dalmatian Find and Color: Kids took turns drawing a card, reading the number and color out loud. They then found this number on the chart and colored it the designated color. At the end, they revealed a mystery picture!

Dalmatian "ee" and "ea" sort: This activity was especially timely since we just introduced "ee" and "ea" words. Students sort the cards and record their word lists.

Dalmatian Write the Room: I cut apart one of the word walls and hid the dog themed words around the room. Students found all twelve words and recorded them, then wrote sentences using the words. (Note: I created the work page for the activity.)

Dalmatian Build a Sentence: Our pups matched the cards by picture, then sorted the mixed up words to create a fun, themed sentence. I loved the writing paper with this one! It made them remember to write neatly and include punctuation. 

Dalmatian Writing Center: Using two different handy word walls, kids wrote a narrative about the 101st day of school or a story about a dalmatian. (Note: I created the writing paper for this.)

Dalmatian Counting Mat: Another one of my favorite! I loaded unit cubes into different bags. Our dalmatians spilled the bags and used these cute counting mats to record the number of cubes in each bag. This was great for counting by tens and ones!

Of course, the day just wouldn't be complete without a fun puppy snack. I use this recipe to make puppy chow. I love it because it avoids peanut butter! Pressed for time? These Scooby-Doo graham cracker snacks are a hit, too!

Excited to try out your own 101st Day Dalmatian Celebration? Be sure to check out Erica's complete product here! For more great tips and products, you can also follow her on Blogspot at Erica's Ed-Ventures or on Instagram.

Thanks for reading along, and be sure to come back tomorrow, Monday, February 6 for an exciting announcement!

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