Chinese New Year Dragon Art and Parade!

We made some Beautiful Chinese Dragons for a Dragon Parade around the school for Chinese New Year! 

We wrote about Chinese New Year too. Here is our cool bulletin board.
Chinese New Year “Lucky Money” Thanks to Ivan’s Mom, a teacher at who does Chinese Immersion. 

We were given beautiful “Lucky Money” envelopes by Mrs. Chen. They were filled with chocolate coins in gold foil. 
Chinese Zodiak Calendar and some visual aids I had hanging up in the room. 
Ivan’s mom came dressed up and shared some visual aids of Chinese New Year with our class. 

Then she passed out some “lucky Money” to everyone in the little red envelopes. Thank YOU! 

 We read some books and Scholastic News on Chinese New Year and had a guest speaker come in. Then we made and decorated chinese dragons and watched a YOUTUBE on a dragon parade.

Some years we have made Chinese Lanterns for art instead. They are cute too and we do chinese numbers on them instead! 
I read them this fun book with Chinese Characters called Two of Everything. I know the author because she is a Utah resident! 

Scholastic News Weekly Reader about Chinese New Year! 
We also read The 7 Chinese Brothers as a Choral Reading and we act out the parts. Then I read them another book and we do a compare/contrast Venn Diagram. It is called The 7 Chinese Sisters!
Our class starting the Chinese New Year Parade around school. We visit the Kinder through 3rd grade classrooms banging cymbals and drums and singing and chanting Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy Chinese New Year in Mandarin). 

One of my neighbors has a 2nd grader and she shot some pictures of us. 

Our class parading for Chinese New Year! 

The kids wrote about all they had learned from their reading about the culture. 
This was the last story I read the students. It is about a Chinese boy who gives all his lucky money away to a homeless man during the Dragon Parade so that he can have some warm socks in winter. It is a very sweet story and depicts the culture very well. 

We put our dragons all around the edges of the bulletin board for Chinese New Year. 

Mrs. Chen also gave the students the red Fish that show SYMMETRY, which we have been studying in math! Serendipity! 

Here I am banging the 2 cymbals together. My class is following behind me. 

Here is our whole class showing off their Chinese dragons. They are fierce looking! But I hope they bring good luck! 

 Too bad these shots turned out so blurry. I had my tiny handheld camera that day. OI

Close up of the faces.  

All the students tried their hands at some Chinese alphabet characters! They did a great job! 

And they all loved the leisees or Lucky Money! (Chocolate gold coins inside!) Yum! 

Happy BELATED Chinese New Year everyone!  

Rock Cycle Activities


What is the rock cycle?  The Rock Cycle is  a continuous process by which rocks are created, changed from one form to another,

 destroyed,and then formed again into a different type of rock. The rock cycle occurs in the different layers of the Earth. The 3 types of rocks are: SEDIMENTARY, Metamorphic and IGNEOUS.  Here are our ROCK FLAP BOOKS we made and illustrated to show the 3 kinds of rocks. 

Igneous rocks flap book pages.  We drew a Cool volcano and shiny, black, volcanic mica rocks. 

For igneous rocks we drew volcanoes of course….and Andrew and his mom came in
and showed us a fun model volcano using the baking soda and vinegar experiment… was enjoyed by all! 

Sedimentary flap pages…. we learned that sedimentary rocks include fossils of dead animals and plants and pebbles and shells, because they are found in sediments leftover from water areas of the earth. 
For Sedimentary Rock we drew a canyon  or an arch near a lake where you might find fossils,  and sedimentary types of rocks..

I have a collection of some rocks with fossils and some plaster of paris “fossils”  with what you find in sedimentary rocks.
Metamorphic rocks….we drew models showing the inside of the earth cut open and a type of
rock that would have some crystals inside of it from all that underground heat and pressure.
Metamorphic rocks used to be either igneous or sedimentary. 

Rock Flap Books – Metamorphic Rocks page….

A cool lesson plan and free worksheet on  layers of the earth can be found HERE at Volcanoes Alive.
Another one I liked is at It had a downloadable fill in the blank diagram that looked fun and both of these will go along with my clay lesson plan. Another great resource for Rocks is HERE at mjksc teaching ideas. 


We drew pictures of volcanoes for Igneous rocks, lakes and water areas for sedimentary rock and crystals and gems for metamorphic rocks. 

Rock Cycle Flap Books made with 1/2 sheet construction paper in gray.

This book went nicely with our 3 layers of the earth out of clay and a tiny BB. 
This activity is fun too making the 3 layers of the earth with the inner core being a BB representing the solid metal.  
We made the 3 layers of the earth with modeling clay and the inner core with a BB. We called them earth on a stick! 

We did this worksheet and answered some questions about ROCKS on the backside. 

We learned about the Rock Cycle – mostly from this THINKQUEST and a few books and posters on Rocks, Volcanos, Crystals. I have posters like these in my classroom, plus we watched the Magic School Bus video on Volcanoes.  Thanks to one of my mom helpers and Andrew, her son, we had a cool demonsotration of a Volcano erupting using baking soda and vinegar and a model volcano. At Teaching Ideas there is a fun matching activity that kids might like to do at a science center.

ROCK FAMILY SONG Check out this song about the different types of rocks HERE.

A fun wordsearch and a little quiz on layers of the earth to go with it can be downloaded Share It is a little tricky to figure out how to download it, just follow the directions (type in the code) on the upper left hand side of the page. If you go anywhere else it is all advertising tricks. Another one she had was giving each student a mini snickers bar unwrapped in a baggie. They press and sit and stand on the snickers bar and it becomes “changed” like a metamorphic rock, with heat and pressure. What a great idea!

Charcoal crystals we did last year with bluing and salt and ammonia. 
Growing Crystals 

HERE  is a cute printable SONG about the 3 types of ROCKS!

Check out ROCKY’s Rock Cycle. Also HERE  at Have Fun Teaching is a Rocks ABC Order Worksheet we also did. It has many of the vocabulary words we studied this week.This KIDS GEO.COM website is SUPER GREAT  because it has  cute songs to go along with  WONDERFUL pictures of rocks.

I ordered a book from Amazon along with another one called “The Rock Factory” by Jacqui Bailey. Both were great for introducing rocks to kids. Another cute activity I wanted to do this year too is to have the kids paint a Pet Rock. I collected smooth river rocks from Bear Lake this past summer for that very purpose, since I knew I’d be teaching rocks and minerals.

A bunch of fun worksheets I found HERE at School Express. There are word scrambles and word searches with ROCKS as the theme. A cute song I found at  at Beakers and Bumblebees  as well as some fun, edible experiments we could do. I think I’ll try the one with red, chocolate disks, melted like hot magma or lava, and then reformed when cooled into “igneous” rocks.  We could add some chipped candy canes to the hot magma like gems and crystals which are sometimes found in igneous rocks. We looked at photos of Mt. St. Helens the volcano that erupted in Washington, and we looked at Calderas in Yellowtone National Park.


  1. Do you know what a rock wants to be when it  grows up??   
  2. What do you call a dog who collects rocks? 
  3. What do you do to a baby rock? 
  4. What is a rock’s favorite kind of music? 
  5. Where do rocks sleep? 
  6. How do rocks wash their clothes? 
  7. What is a rock’s favorite transportation? 
  8. What is a rock’s favorite cereal? 
  9. Where is a rock’s favorite golf course? 
  10. What is a rock’s favorite television show?


  1. A Rock Star
  2. A Rockhound 
  3. Rock it 
  4. Rock ‘N Roll 
  5. Bedrock 
  6. On the rock cycle 
  7. A rocket 
  8. Cocoa Pebbles 
  9. Pebble Beach 
  10. “Third Rock from the Sun”

We also did “Layers of the Earth” with models in crayon and clay (with a BB for the solid core). Check them out HERE.

Some of the Science vocabulary we had up for our Rock Cycle Unit.
1. Igneous rock- rock formed from cooled magma or lava.
2. Sedimentary rock- rock that formed when sediments were pressed and cemented together.
3. Metamorphic rock- rock that formed when another kind of rock was squeezed and heated deep inside Earth’s crust.
4. Rock cycle- the process of rocks changing into other kinds of rock.
5. Fossils- the remains or traces of an organism that lived long ago.
6. Volcano- a mountain built up from hardened lava, rocks, and ash that erupted out of Earth.
7. Lava-melted rock that flows out of the ground onto Earth’s surface.
8. Magma- melted rock below Earths surface

9. erosion – when bits of rock and sand are taken away by wind or water and packed as sediment somewhere else. 
10. crystals – a mineral having a clear structure with cut faces. (like quartz) 
We are almost done with our unit. It’s really been fun to teach earth science to my students. 

Water Jelly Crystal from Steve Spangler Science

We have been learning about the rock cycle, and the crystals that are found in metamorphic rocks. So last week we made jelly crystals gardens in science as a crafty representation of crystals and how they are found in nature as types of gems in rocks. We are studying all the properties and types of rocks and the rock cycle, so minerals and crystals were a must!

I bought some water jelly crystals from Steve Spangler Science and we followed the directions in the video above. The students started by doing the experiment in a fat test tube. Nobody knew what would happen when they added water and their choice of  food coloring  to the crystals!

Then after an hour the crystals had sucked up all the water and had turned into jell crystals. Then we added food coloring and waited. They filled up the entire test tube from 1/4 teaspoon of crystals!  We had blue, pink, orange, green and purple. Very cool!

 After the test tubes were almost overflowing with crystals we dumped them into a zip lock bags.

You could add seeds to them and watch your “Crystal Gardens” sprout seeds if you wanted. But we had already done our plant unit this year and made terrariums out of a 2 liter bottle, so we didn’t add seeds this time to make a garden.  See our terrariums HERE.

It was a very exciting and “colorful” experiment.  Most of the kids predicted correctly what would happen to the crystals. 

Water Jelly Crystals experiment…..
Crystal Experiments were a fun enrichment activity in science. 
Then we looked at the crystals through our magnifying viewers. 

Here are the 3 colors that were the most popular. The purple ones were cool too.

Here is a Pinterest page that had lots of cool minerals and crystals too, right  HERE.

Next we will be doing some salt crystals using charcoal briquettes and bluing and ammonia. It always grows some pretty spectacular crystal gardens.

We had some new vocabulary words to learn as we have covered the rock cycle and the 3 types of rocks. This is how I taught them metamorphic rocks and what happens with heat and pressure. 

Some of the books I had out at the science center along with some rock and crystal samples. 

At the Natural History Museum field trip looking at some of the crystal displays….

This exhibit was so beautiful. There were gems and crystals from floor to ceiling behind a glass wall!

Then we looked on the internet and found a few websites where they had pictures of different types of crystal minerals. They were very beautiful. Here is a cool Pinterest Page HERE.
Here is the link for the Water Jelly Crystals at Steve Spangler Science. I bought a pound for $16 and I’ll have lots left over for next year. It’s a very cool experiment for kids to experience. It’s a fun enrichment to go with learning about metamorphic or “changed” rocks and gems.

President’s Day Art and Washington and Lincoln Biographies

I got a great idea from another bloggy teacher HERE on TPT.  If you click on PREVIEW there is a Biography stationery freebie.

I wanted the students to learn what biographies of famous people were so we read a few short ones on the life of Washington and Lincoln, since President’s Day holiday was last week.

Then we wrote our own opinion pieces about what we thought was great about each president of long ago. They learned lots of facts about each, and a few myths. Did you know Lincoln’s teeth were made from elephant tusk? Wow! Also, that Washington never did chop down a cherry tree….myths.

We made this Lincoln and added a black 4 x 8 piece of construction paper for his belly and wrote our spelling words in white crayon for a spelling activity. The kids made Lincoln’s face. It looks like this one is a Lincoln vampire face with a wandering eye. 😀 

Weekly Readers/Scholastic News I have saved over the years and we read together to get background knowledge. 
Here are our Lincoln art and our President’s Day opinion pieces. 

Here is a the  Washington art project we did using cotton balls for hair, wiggly eyes, white doilies for the ruffles at the neck and wrist, and we attached little flags to their hands. They turned out pretty cool.

Check out these written opinion pieces too. Great job 2nd graders!

 And the students learned a lot about how our country came to be.  We sure appreciate these American heroes.

Winter Olympics Activities and Olympic Torch Art

I wanted to teach the kids a few things about the Olympics in Sochi, Russia happening this week. I always love watching the opening ceremonies and the pride I feel in our country represented by hundreds of cool athletes from all around the U.S.A.

 We made Olympic Torches for art this past week, and I had them write about the Olympics.

Our classroom bulletin board of the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympic Games turned out pretty.

Tacky and the Winter Games is a book I sent away for on Amazon to read the kids too. HERE is a link.  Tacky is one of my all-time-favorite book characters. He is so funny and odd but always saves the day

I looked on Pinterest and around the internet and found a few fun ideas for things we could do. I have always loved watching the figure skaters in the Olympics. Who doesn’t remember Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan and the hoopla of THAT winter olympics?

Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 Pictograms
Here is the Sochi set of Winter Olympic Pictograms. I used these to put kids’ face pictures on the “heads” as they choose their favorite Olympic Winter Sports. Check out HERE at this Flicker site for more pictures.

Sochi Winter Olympics depicted on our bulletin board. 

I can’t believe the  Salt Lake City Winter Games were  back in 2002!  The students chose their favorite of the 15 events and I put their pictures on top as a headshot. Super fun!

Snowboarding was a favorite Olympic event of the boys and girls in my class. 
We also did a class graph of favorite Winter Olympic Events and I think figure skating and snowboarding were winners. 
pictogram answers

 I used the Salt Lake City Pictograms from the UEN Website for my headshots HERE.  I just liked the black background better and also because it listed the name of the sport. 
I made up some SOCHI 2014 banners with the Olympic Rings for our Class bulletin board.
I used  little “class picture” faces copied on the copy machine in black and white. Then I had a mom helper glue their face to their favorite or most admired winter sport. 

So I had the kids also do a graph choosing their favorite of the Winter Olympic Sports. Boy did we have a lot of ski and snowboard lovers in our class! (I don’t think anybody even KNOWS what a bobsled is! :D) HERE are some cute graphics I used to create our Class Olympics Graph. It was free on TPT. Some backround information and stationery is HERE from TPT. I forgot to take a picture.

Olympic Torches out of paper cones covered in tinfoil. The flames are orange, red and yellow tissue paper squares. 

Then we chose our sport and wrote why we’d love to be in the Olympics. We brainstormed how exciting it would be to wear the Red, White and Blue, go to the opening ceremonies wearing the U.S. Team Uniform and hat, (although this year’s hat is kinda weird looking in my view) and live amongst the top athletes in all of the world, even if only for a few weeks or days. I hope they will all be safe in Sochi 2014. That’s always a concern these days, sadly, isn’t it?

The best bunch of activities that I found for FREE was HERE at First Grade WOW. Thanks so MUCH! There was everything from Math to Nouns and Verbs and Wordsearches. She matched some activities to the cute Tacky the Penguin Book (My favorite Children’s Book of all Time).

Their”Olympic” essays were a lot of fun to read. Some cute word wall vocabulary cards can be found HERE at TPT.  My favorite stationery I found was HERE at TPT.  It was soooo cute! 
Winter Olympics Writing and  Olympic Torch Art…..

I found a cute Olympic Bingo game that was super colorful but I wanted Winter sports only. It is HERE at learning treasures. I’m going to keep looking.  A cute wordsearch I found HERE at Sports Girls Play. And a very cute Olympic Torch outline is quality-kids-crafts. I did a variation on it in my class so check them out below. Another cute BINGO game with WINTER sports only is HERE at Classroom Jr.

Here is another bulletin board we did just outside our doors. Underneath are the 15 events I had copied many years ago during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. I just pulled out my file again. Good memories! I got to go SEE that opening ceremony. It was magnificent! 

I wanted the students to experience Russian Culture a little bit too. So we will make some Russian Nesting Dolls out of paper next week and write poems about the Russian Olympics. I brought in the dolls I bought in Armenia many years ago when I traveled to Russia.

HERE at activity village are the printable and free download of the Russian Nesting Dolls blackline. They turn out really cute! I’ve done them in the past when we had a rotation for Christmas Around the World and I presented Russia.

"Semenov" Babushka Doll
Russian Nesting Dolls I have at home from my trip to Russia a few years back.
 I also showed them some travel brochure picture posters I made up of Russia with some of their cultural icons like the Onion Domed buildings, Their government leaders (Putin) and who their Santa Claus is! (Father Frost). And I will read them some of the stories of “Babushka” by Patricia Polacco because she depicts the Russian culture in her stories. Here are a few of her famous books.

I hope we bring home lots of gold this week at the Winter Olympics! Go Team U.S.A.

Babushka's Doll443633

Reading Streets Froggy Fables and Frog Life Cycles and Activities

 In our Reading Streets curriculum the story for the week a week ago was Froggy Fables. So after reading fables and non-fiction books, we decided to do some frog facts writing.

Frog Facts we did during Writing Workshop……
Artistic Frogs 
Life Cycle of the Frog Wheels 

More froggy facts…..

Here we are with our Frog Life Cycles and our Artsy Frogs on a Stick! Notice the cute curly tongues? 

The students loved learning about Amphibians. 

I love to also so some Frog life cyles in science during this week. I have lots of fun frog activities and books to read too. And I always save my Scholastic News if it has a good science

Just some of the books I read to the students over the course of the week. Most of them were non-fiction. 

Fabulous Frogs Floor Puzzle at Littleowl

The above puzzle can be used as a motivating  fast finisher activity. The kids love enrichment like this. Here’s the first book I read the kids during FROG WEEK! 

This is a WONDERFUL non-fiction book with beautiful illustrations called FABULOUS FROGS. 

Books in our unit…..I  always like to mix fiction with non fiction in text sets. 
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Frog on a Log by Phil Roxbee Cox
Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London
Flashy, Fantastic, Rain Forest Frogs by Dorothy Hinshaw
Fantastic Frogs by Fay Robinson
Fabulous Frogs by Sue Unstead
That Toad is Mine
 by Barbara Shook Hazen A link for a reader’s theatre of the book is HERE

We do a big brainstorm after reading about 3 Frog books and 2 Scholastic News on Frogs (I save the science ones every year and add them to my units) and we use these facts we’ve collected in our Frog Facts writing.
Here’s another song we sing to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn  A copy of this is on the back of the frog life cycle wheel. 

 Some of the books, weekly readers and word cards I have on the subject of Amphibians

Word cards of different types of frogs and a fun poster book with giant pictures…

More froggy facts…..

More life cycles of the frog….

 We also during the week had a couple of docents come from the Living Planet Aquarium to our classroom. They showed us a white tree frog that I didn’t get a good picture of. But they also brought 7 other animals or insects.

 We had a hissing cockroach, a few snakes and a gecko and lots of weird insects.

Giant cockroach was kind of gross but interesting. 

Yuck….hissing cockroach from Madagascar….

Giant Millipede was a little scary to some of the kiddos….

We learned about the 7 continents and sang some songs and marched around the “world” rug. 

This guy could have been a game show host. The kids LOVEd him! 

Here’s one of the 2 snakes they brought from the Living Planet Aquarium….a new one is opening up this summer…..

The snake was very pretty but some of the kids would NOT touch it! (and I was one of them….lol) 

More frog facts…..

We brainstormed a long list of facts before we did our own little reports….

Here were the frogs before we added the long, red, curling tongues to them……

Frog Art Projects……

Some great Graphic Organizers and Stationery for starting a Frog writing report is Here at Petersons-pad.


We do this CUTE frog on a stick using CRAYOLA oil pastels on the “dots”. That makes the frog really pop! Then we add a 8 x 1/2 inch red tongue curled around a pencil and attached to the mouth. Super cute! 

I made these 3 layered frogs out of felt and added wiggly eyes. They make cute frog fingerpuppets!  The song 5 LITTLE SPECKLED FROGS we attach to the back of the puppet and sing together when we are done. It goes along with our kle, ple, zle, dle, ble, tle and gle phonics chunk we are studying for the week too! Woot!

Want to tell some FROGGY JOKES? Here are some cute ones!

Q: What happens if a frog parks in a bus stop?
A:  He gets toad away!

Q:  Why are frogs always happy?
A:  Because they eat whatever bugs them.

Q:  What happens when two frogs catch the same fly?
A:  They get tongue-tied!

Q:  What do you get when you cross a pig with a frog?
A:  A ham-phibian! 

Q:  What kind of frog lives in a tree house?
A:  A tree frog!

I also had the microscope out for the week and we looked at the frog life cycles underslides….It was a very cool week at school!!!