The Ugly Duckling

Our Ugly Duckling musical was a smashing success! 
Thanks to a lot of people’s help, especially the parents! Thanks for the costumes, the cute signs (Mrs. Kenner did a fab job for us!). We really appreciate all the support parents! 
The kids learned their lines and dances and songs so well! 

And their costumes were so cute! Love the little doggie and those pigs and swans! 

Mrs. Stockett was a great director! 

And Mrs. Adams assisted with the choreography and lines…..

Here are the kids on their final song…”Believe in Yourself! That’s all that it takes! “

Cute backdrop painted by one of the parents….

The star of the show, Zach was a great Ugly Duckling! 
Brynlin’s family came…..
I saw so many other families too! Thanks for coming everyone! 
and Trace’s family came too…..
I didn’t get everybody’s picture with their family….I wish I could have though! 
Andrew was a great soloist and skunk! 

Zach’s grandma love the show too…. Zachary was a great soloist and actor. His mom made this cute costume too! 

So did Gavin’s family! 

And Ty’s mom and bro loved it too…..
Our class sure had a lot of fun!
Thanks to Morgan’s mom for making all of our cute signs….They were fabulous. Thanks to the parents for helping kids learn their lines, solos, and with the cute costumes.  It was a fantastic success!  

Ladybug Life Cycles


Ladybugs life cycles was the topic in our class this week.  We read about life cycles in the weekly reader, and literature books.

Gavin painting his orange ladybug art project…
Ladybug poems, life cycles and art were the topic of the week….

Books:  The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
Five Little Ladybugs by melanie Gerth
Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen Tudor
Ladybug Life Cycles by Justin Martin

I love Eric Carle books. One way I love to introduce telling time by 5 minute increments is using the book “The Grouchy Ladybug”.  It has clocks on every page and they have incremental times listed.  It’s a good springboard for telling time.
We read the book and then we make a ladybug clock. I just found a basic clock pattern and copy it off on red construction paper. Then I add a half circle shaped, small, black, head and have the kids give it a face with white crayon. Then we add 6 black legs and we accordian fold them so it looks kind of funny. Here are our ladybug clocks.

Very Grouchy Ladybug Clocks – great for a math extension….
Then we read books on Ladybug Lifecycles and I also have a few Weekly Readers/Scholastic News that I save if they have any Science in them.  I also save the Science Spin magazine if they are good ones.


“Five Little Ladybugs”

Five little ladybugs climbing up a door, One flew away and then there were four.

Four little ladybugs sitting on a tree, One flew away and then there were three.

Three little ladybugs landing on a shoe, One flew away and then there were two.

Two little ladybugs looking for some fun, One flew away and then there was one.

One little ladybug sitting in the sun, She flew away and then there were none.

MUSIC: I found a cute song called Ladybug in my Soda on the website K-8 Kidstunes and got a copy for 99 cents in an MP3 download. The link is HERE but you do have to sign up a “kid” to get the cheap version. I have kids and grandkids so it’s easy now that I have signed up. It’s a funny song with a real catchy beat and easy to learn.

A fun printable with black dots on individual ladybugs to print out can be found HERE
at A Kids Math. You can print off a dozen of these to place in a center with a key. Kids write down their answers on an answer sheet and then check with the key.

These clocks are great for practicing telling time….

Here is a link for a telling time worksheet HERE at ABC teach.

Every day for a few weeks call out different times and have them put the hands on their clocks. Be sure to also introduce half past, quarter past, quarter till. These are really difficult concepts for young children to get so I introduce it in first grade. I also have a magnetic clock I keep on my white board. I draw 4 lines on the fact to “cut” the clock into “quarters” or fourths. I point out that 3 and 9 are the quarter past and quarter till numbers.

Fun Game: Find a partner and use both of your ladybug clocks. Decide to do “o’clock” or “thirty” for doing elapsed time. Then decide how many hours difference there is going to be and make up a sentence. Example:  3:00 is 2 hours later than 1:00. 12:30 is 3 hours later than 9:30 etc. Elapsed time is another very hard concept for young kids to get. This is higher level but some of your high kids will get it and you will be differentiating for those who can do it.

We haven’t yet played this Bug Bingo but I’m leaving  it out for a center game….great for insect vocabulary development!

(We put these songs on the back of our ladybug painted art)
Ladybug Song (Tune: If You’re Happy and you Know it, Clap Your Hands)
Oh I wish I were a little ladybug,
Oh I wish I were a little ladybug,
I’d be shiny red and black,
I’d eat aphids for my snack,
Oh I wish I were a little ladybug!

Ladybugs    (Tune: Oh My Darlin’ Clementine
I’m an insect, not a spider
I’ve got 6 legs instead of 8
I have 4 parts to my life cycle
I eat bugs that farmers hate

We put the 2 songs above on the back of our painted ladybug art projects and sang it together.

Another cute poem I found online…Use it on the back of your clocks!

SCIENCE: Do a Life Cycle of a Ladybug wheel on a paper plate divided with a criss cross. The link can be found at A Kids Heart HERE. Color the life cycle and then glue it down. OR….Write the 4 steps to the life cycle of a Ladybug. We decided to do a 4 flap book and used macaroni, dried beans and rice for the stages.

Here is the top of our flip book. We folded it into 4, cut just the top layer.

 Another fun center I do is I have 2 classroom microscopes and insect slides. I put those out with a bin full of dollar store plastic insects and 4 little magnifying glass viewers and insect books. I took a picture on my classroom camera and then left it in the classroom! I’ll post pics of that next week too. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this center. I’ve collected about 2 dozen insect books so I put a new batch out each week and we switch from ants, to ladybugs and dragonflies, and next week is grasshoppers and caterpillars.               

My microscopes with the pictures of butterfly life cycles….
I have a huge plastic bug collection and insect cards and hand lenses at a center with my bins of insect books.
Kids seem to love this center better than most. And on the floor nearby I have a giant floor puzzle on insects.

Just some of my book collection, I seriously have about 30 insect books! 

WRITING: I love to do a minibook describing the life cycle of a ladybug.  I use yellow construction paper and give each student one large piece I have folded in half the long way. Then fold that in half 2 more times to make the 4 folds. Then I cut 4 slits evenly in just the top half of my paper. It will give you 4 pages to lift up and write.

Trace painting his cute bug….
Nova did a great job on her ladybug painting….
Ladybug painted art project…love the antennae! 
Here are the 4 stages of a ladybug’s life  (art from Enchanted Learning)
Then we do our own Ladybug Life Cycle Flap Books. Inside the top flap we paste a picture of the life cycle stages. On the bottom of the inside flap we draw pencil lines with a ruler and write 2 sentences depicting what is happening in the stage in the picture above the writing.  A link for the clip art stages is at Enchanted Learning  HERE for Ladybug Lifecycles. They always turn out really cute. Don’t forget to watch the utube video before doing the writing.
Cute painted ladybugs with their chenille stem antennae!
Completed Flip Book. Oops, he forgot to color the pupa macaroni!

On the tops of the flap books are brown and green crepe paper to make twigs and leaves. Then I add macaroni for the life cycle. A few pieces of rice for the eggs, then a kidney bean for the larvae worm stage. Then a piece of shell macaroni for the cocoon stage. Have the kids color the macaroni with markers.  And finally a clip art ladybug to color for the final adult beetle stage. I found another lip art ladybug I liked for the cover and I typed up the 4 words of the stages. Then I copied the Enchanted Learning page with these additions. That’s the life cycle!

Ladybug art project….this one was before the black chenille antennae were added….

Then we watched the life cycle utube video from the top of my post.
A fun website that has lots of ladybug facts is called Ladybug Lady and her link is HERE. She also has lots of good ideas for classroom teachers.

I got a larger one of these and 5 smaller ones. I’ve used the large one for larvae.

Get some ladybugs from your local Home Depot or Lowes.  They only last a few days though so I’d set them free in your garden after a day or so.

My class painting their ladybugs….there were red, yellow and orange ladybugs….just like in nature.
Ladybug life cycles were a lot of fun….
We traced small and large paper cups for the spots….

ART: Paint a ladybug on art paper. When dry use black markers to make the line down the middle and dots on his back were traced using the top circle and bottom circle of a dixie paper cup. Add 2 wiggly eyes. Paint yellow, orange and red. Wait for color to dry.

Song we put on the back of our ladybugs and sang it.

Then add black painted spots. Dry and then Cut out. Add some black chenille stems with tape for the antennae and 1/2 inch by 6 inch legs (we accordian folded the legs)..  On the back type up this poem and read for a shared reading activity.

We read Scholastic News on Ladybug and Dragonfly Life Cycles and did a Venn Diagram comparing  the two insects.
Here is our finished Ladybug Life Cycle bulletin board!

To make the spots on the ladybugs, I found, after trial and error, that the kids need to trace the circles. We used paper cups. The little spots are the base of the cup, the bigger spots are the top of the cups. Then outline the circles in black crayon. That will help the kids not to go over the traced circle. Then paint with black paint and small paintbrushes.  If you let them freehand the spots don’t turn out looking as circular.  Just a word to the wise.

We added white stickers and then small, black stickers on top of the white for the giant, bug eyes.  The antennae are 2 black chenille stems curled at the tops and taped onto the back of the bugs.  The black heads are 1/2 circle black construction paper.


Add a fun Sodoku to the back of your ladybug pictures or clocks!

I hope you had fun seeing what we have learned about LADYBUGS!

A Funny Mother’s Day Story

One of my BEST days of being a mother…my birthday picnic in October 2011 at Vivian Park, Provo, Utah.

 I thought I would share one of my near and dearest stories of being a mom. NOT!  I was President over the Stake Primary, basically Sunday School for the children aged 3 to 11 at church.  I was holding a board meeting down the street at a friend’s home.

Busy church activities sometimes took over my life…sometimes.

I knew I would only be gone a little over an hour and my husband was on his way home from work. I called him and he assured me he would be home by 7:00.  So I left my 11 year old daughter Tiff in charge of my 4 kids ages 4 to 11, but forgot, (excellent mom that I am) to give her the phone number. I just didn’t think it would be an issue. I left the kids playing with play dough and with plenty of snacks and took off.

Me on a much better day…

Little did I know how wrong I would be. About an hour later I got a call from a neighbor Terry, down the street. She said the words no mom wants to hear, “Pattie, I don’t want to alarm you, but you better get home right this minute!” and she didn’t tell me why. I jumped in the car and tore home (about 2 blocks). As I turned my corner my eyes  met with  police cars, lights flashing, paramedics, and the fire department all in my driveway. And no cars of ours there, nor were any adults in charge. Yay for us! What model parents!

The hubs and I…..He is still my best friend…..even after THIS experience! 

And just about every neighbor in my entire neighborhood standing out on their front lawn TALKING TOGETHER and wondering where in the heck the parents were and what terrible disaster had struck inside the house while those no good parents were gone who knows where!

When I got there I ran inside, terrified, with my heart in my stomach, praying all was well. I bumped into a fireman that goes to my church and asked him what had happened. It is comical now, but at the time, not so much.  My 6 year old had put some of the playdough in his ear and the kids tried getting it out. But it just went in deeper.  When they couldn’t get it out, they (the 9 and 11 year old) decided to call 911 to ask how to get playdough out of somebody’s ears.

Yeah. A real emergency, playdough in the ears. I couldn’t even believe it.  I learned later that my 11 year old daughter had told the police, “My mom is at a church meeting.” So the officer had taken her in his squad car down to my church and paraded around asking where I was!!  Yeah. I know. It just gets better. So not only in my neighborhood was I TOAST, but now also at church. Complete humiliation!  It was a really bad night for a mom, as you can just imagine.

The “REAL funny” part comes later when all the hoopla had left my house. I had pulled all the curtains. The kids had gone to bed and I was sitting in the dark crying. And my happy-go-lucky husband shows up. In a real good mood, I might add.  He’d forgotten HE ALSO had a church meeting. He was a high counselor in our church and also had a 7:00 pm meeting he’d forgotten AND neglected to tell me about. He rushed to his meeting assuming that the kids would be okay for an hour too. So we both blew it. Parents of the year, yeah.

My fun hubs….he always could make the hard things easier somehow…..

The next day was Halloween. Yeah! What a bummer!  We BOTH remember trick or treating through our neighborhood THAT year.

At Halloween this year with my 3 granddaughters….MUCH more fun! 

So I guess, time + crisis = humor, as they say. I can laugh about it now, but it was probably my worst experience being a mom,( that I’m willing to share)!  But as all moms know, there are a multitude of stories, equally awful, that we could substitute, am I right?

BUT…….. I can tell you with complete conviction, looking back, 

Cuz look what I got! 

My family is the best, most important thing in my life.  Enjoy them while they are little. It goes so quick. Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother, whether it is your own kids or others, we all honor you today. For all the highs and all the lows, for all the laundry, the meals, the parent-teacher conferences, the doctor visits, the Scouts, music lessons, laundry, PTA meetings, sports, laundry, (LOL) taxiing everybody around constantly,  homework you helped with and Birthday parties you planned. It’s your day to shine!  Happy Mother’s Day!

The college grad playdough pusher..…yes I’ve gotten over it…it took a lot of therapy…….just kidding. Who could afford therapy?….I had good friends. And that’s the best a mom can ask for.

Cinco de Mayo Mariachi guitars and corn tortillas

Happy Cinco de Mayo Everybody!  

We had fun all this week learning about the Mexican culture….
Mexican Maracas made from recycled cans, dry beans, yarn and beading on the ends….Fun to dance the Mexican Hat Dance to!  

We started our Cinco de Mayo celebration this week by doing a choral reading of FIESTA 
a book in one of the reading series at our school.  Then we looked at some of the Mexican blankets, a tortilla maker, and clothing of the Mexican culture John had brought in. Thanks John!

A very cute wordsearch for Cinco de Mayo is HERE at Kaboose.

Here are our cute mariachi guitars….
Here is our Cinco de Mayo bulletin board….with our guitars and our writing…..

The inspiration for the Mariachi Guitar art project can be found HERE at Kaboose.  We made ours pretty big and VERY colorful!I let the kids choose the color for their guitars.  We doubled them, cut them out, stuffed them with newspaper strips to make them 3D, then added the string, the triangles and the “frets”(brown parts).

And we learned some new Spanish words from each other….like “Cinco” for 5 and “Mayo” for May!
Here is our finished bulletin board with Cinco de Mayo writing all about the Mexican Fiestas.

Then I showed the kids how we make corn tortillas.  I have a tortilla maker I bought at OLVERA STREET, a tourist spot in Los Angeles. You can get them at Mexican markets or at cooking supply houses.

Here is what the MASA HARINA corn tortilla dough looks like made up…it’s fun to play with! Kids love it. 

Tortilla Maker…..

Use 2 pieces of parchment paper and place dough in between them on the tortilla press…..
Smashing the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper… will look like this! A perfect corn tortilla! 

Then fry them in a frying pan…1 minute on each side! 

Check out the tutorial on my cooking blog….The Weekday Chef  HERE! 
The dough is in the Mexican food section of the grocery store and is called  Masa de harina. 

A great story I read the kids is called THE TORTILLA FACTORY. by Gary Paulsen The Link is HERE. Lots of kids have seen how they make the flour tortillas at the burrito restaurants here but not so much the corn tortillas
.Front Cover

Flower CraftWe love this Cinco de Mayo Tissue Party Flower craft for kids. It’s simple, easy and fun! And, don’t forget super colorful!
Craft supplies you will need:
Tissue paper
Pipe cleaner
Craft instructions:
Cut large squares (6X6) out of the tissue paper.
Have the children choose and stack about 10 squares of different color tissue paper.
Show the children how to accordion fold the tissue paper stack using about 1 in folds.
Then, have the children place a pipe cleaner in the middle of the folded tissue paper and secure it by bending the pipe cleaner over the middle of the folded paper and then twist the ends together.
Once done, have the children starting pulling the tissue paper pieces toward the middle, starting with the top piece.  Have the children hold on to the bottom piece as they do it.
And, voila, the children now have Tissue Paper Flowers for Cinco de Mayo!

In the past I’ve made churros and pinatas, and we’ve even done a large pinata filled with candy, but it was over so fast I didn’t feel it was very fun for most of the kids. I’m not going to do real pinatas again.  But I have done tiny individual ones from a paper bag. Link HERE for last year’s Cinco de Mayo activities.

Last year we did the flag of Mexico and some Mariachis, and cute Sombrero hats using Fiesta stickers from a party store. Link is HERE at Party Cheap. 

But this year we decided to make Marraccas out of empty, rinsed out,  vegetable cans I’ve been saving up all year. 

These are the stickers I had used last year and still had plenty….I think they
were from Oriental Trading….We put them on hats last year, and this year we added them to
the mariachi guitars. 
I found some paper that looked kind of AZTEC-Y so I copied it and Added the Cinco de Mayo label…then had the kids color them with markers as a fast finisher all week. Most of them got done with it by Friday. 
Here was a finished one with the yarn and beads added to the ends. 

Then we cut them out and glued them on cans.. We put popcorn and black beans inside and taped them shut with book tape…..then added some yarn and beads tied onto the ends of yarn….
After the beading of our finished Maracas we HAD to do The Mexican Hat Dance! 
Da da…..da da……..da da…..clap clap!  Mexican Hat Dance! 
I had hats all over the classroom!  It was fun!   
Finished Maracas! Ole!
More Maracas….just after the Mexican Hat Dance…we were all packed up to go home….
Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday…..
The last few beaders finishing their Maracas….

It was fun….

 One math game played was CINCO math Bingo and I used mental math and place value problems I made up on the spot. They had to add and subtract in their heads.  For instance, I’d say, “what is 132 plus 20” or “What is 340 take away 300?”  Then they would put the bingo marker on that number. Or I’d say, how much is 3 quarters worth? Or one quarter plus a nickel?  Lots of fun and pretty challenging too! 
We play till 3 people get bingos and then we start a new game. 

Weekly Readers we read on Mexican culture…..
I saved a few of these Weekly Readers on Hispanic Culture.

It would be fun to come up with a Jeopardy game with simple questions on fiestas, traditions and foods wouldn’t it?  Yeah, I don’t know if I’m that ambitious! 

Color Word Match Game

A Cinco de Mayo Fill in the Blank I made up can be found HERE at this link. And of course we HAD TO DANCE!  We layed the Mexican Hats all over the floor and groups of 3 kids danced around them. I should have made a video, But we danced to this one and it’s pretty good too!

 Enjoy! Arriba! OLE!  And HAPPY CINCO de MAYO!