Well, hello there!  Thanks for coming back and accepting my apology about the Morning Work Fiasco of 2011.  I'm still thinking long and hard on what to do and how to do it.  So stay tuned.  I hope most of you are just like me.  You go blog stalking and something says it's free or it's implied or it's FREE,  and so you just click and print.  But you weren't DYING to have my Morning Work.  You just thought it might be nice to click and print AGAIN.  

Today was a good day.

First, and foremost, we got a new custodian.  He is really friendly and nice.  For example, he asked me how long I had been teaching first grade.  When I replied, "Fifteen years," he fell over and passed out. He JUST DIDN'T BELIEVE IT.  I had to wave smelling salts  Elmer's white glue in front of his nose.  When he came to, he asked if I started teaching when I was TEN.  Move over, Edward, I'm crushing on someone else.  Welcome to our school!!  What's your favorite treat??

AND THEN . . . we did ART.  ART!!  It had nothing to do with the fact that both administrators were out today at a conference.  Nothing.  And it also had nothing to do with the fact that the person left in charge told us to HAVE FUN and BE MERRY.  And no one shall know that I changed my schedule all around and maybe, just maybe, cheated on Houghton Mifflin today.  Fidelity went out the window (should have shut it but it was too late).

We started learning about Native Americans in Social Studies this week.  I LOVE SOCIAL STUDIES!!!! (anybody with me?)  Earlier this week, we discussed different types of homes that Native Americans lived in and then we each made a teepee.  I didn't take pictures but they turned out well.  They weren't fancy . . . not made out of tortillas or other edible items . . . just construction paper.  I thought my kiddos understood the whole lesson and the meaning behind it (some Native Americans used teepees because they were easy to move from place to place) but I don't think so.  While I was stapling one little boy's teepee, I heard little voices singing the Happy Birthday song.  When I turned around, gobs of students had their teepees on their heads.  As birthday hats.  Yes, happy birthday to yooooooou.

Today, we learned all about how Native Americans got their food.   The boys were thrilled about the hunting and the fishing (insert "bows flying through the air" sound effects and a teacher voice saying "knock it off  save it for recess") but we concentrated on the THREE SISTERS.  And how the three sisters represent corn, beans, and squash.  We read some stuff (some parts of books that were above their heads and some other little snippets I found online - I am seriously thinking about writing my own little diddy) and then we got busy.  I gave the kids a bunch of different beans, along with corn kernels and pumpkin seeds.  After telling everyone we couldn't EAT the supplies and/or STICK THEM UP OUR NOSE or IN OUR EARS (don't worry, there is no story.  Not this year, anyway!), I told them they could design anything they wanted using the Three Sisters (well almost anything.  I did say no to angry birds.  Something tells me the early Native Americans didn't play that game).  I told the kids to draw with pencil first and then start gluing.  We used brand new bottles so it was a piece of cake.  Now I feel like throwing them out so I can get some new bottles for the next project (whenever that might be . . . two years from now?). 

Here are some GREAT samples.  I think these kids are new to my school because they actually have some Art Skills.  And we don't "Do Art".

Here are some other samples.

Hey, it's not their fault I can't teach art every day, or even every week, and that we don't have Specials.  I like them.  They're real.  And they practically copied my own samples bean for bean!!

I hope this gives you an idea to use if you teach Native Americans.  It doesn't come with a freebie.  Just go buy a bunch of beans, corn kernels, pumpkin seeds and cut some paper.  Oh, and don't forget the brand new bottles of white glue.  There.  See?  The idea is a freebie.  :)

Happy Friday to you!!!  And especially to me because I am off ALL NEXT WEEK (Monday through Wednesday are Furlough Days).  Hooray!  I am wearing my teepee hat to celebrate!

PS  Who watched Survivor???  


  1. Hi Kristin,
    I think we teach in the same district?! We have 3 furlough days off too...we have HM too... and we don't have time for art either.
    Are you allowed to tell us where you are?

  2. I am definitely staying tuned for your morning work because I actually am DYING (pretty pathetic, I know) to have it...I use envision for math and hm for language arts, so it would work out perfectly!!!!!

  3. I really WANT your morning work!!!! Waaaaa...that's me crying. We were just told "NO FLUFF!!! There go the color sheets. But now we don't say that we did that just for fun....we say, we are building community! That sounds better, right???? Anyway, YOUR morning work would have been perfect!!!!

    Love you anyways!

  4. I'm off all next week too! Makes me super happy.

    And yes, finding social studies text at a level readable for little people is SOOOOO hard. There's not much out there!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  5. Don't you just love how we alter up our daily schedule when the administration is away? Our's was out yesterday as well, it ended up being a great day filled with wonderful projects and lots of learning that was more meaningful than a teacher's manual could ever provide.

    It's so good to hear that other teachers feel that way as well.

    Enjoy your whole week off! I'm jealous. We have to work on Monday and Tuesday but then get the rest off. My hubby and I are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family on Wednesday night and then go to Sanibel Island for an extended and much needed weekend. Just the two of us! No kids! That only happens about once a year so I am looking forward to it.

    Enjoy! Ann

  6. Cute art - but I'm still stuck on the fact that you don't have specials. Sometimes I watch MTV (okay, not much because I'm an adult, right?) and I'll see commercials about "save music education"...have seen those commercials for years and sort of thought it was urban legend or something....but you truly DON'T have specials?!? Did you at one time?

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  7. Hi,
    Happy week off!!! I have a suggestion for your "Bell work" - I am good once I have a template. Maybe (pretty please with sugar on top and a cherry) you could offer one page in doc. form so that we could adapt it to what we do. It is just a thought. Also, I am hoping for a lovely family filled vacation where NO ONE talks about an ANGRY BIRD!!!!!!!!! (I feel like those damn birds are extra students in my class)
    Thanks again for making my day brighter

  8. You have a week off (awesome) but NO specials?! Ack! Do you get any prep time built into your day?

    I am sad for you- and for your kids! No music, art, gym, or library time? Ugh! Is that a recent change?

  9. What is a special ? (please explain to your Canadian friend...) I dream about teaching in sunny California but no art...music...drama....?????? Yikes.....we had a lovely Friday too (after a particularly hellish Thursday, no better word to describe). We got a little a head of ourselves with Candy cane art, I know, I know but we already had Thanksgiving and I was in the mood, a few snowflakes were actually falling outside our window. A little Raffi's Christmas, a little candy cane art and shhhh, real candy canes as a treat while we worked (we are NOT supposed to have treats, 10 fun days of food allowed now). My sharpies were a little sticky by the end but we had fun :) Great way to end a rather stressful week (2 of my little guys have some emotional/behaviour problems). Have a great weekend everyone, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American fellow teachers and friends in blogging.

  10. ha ha! I watched survivor(I won't be late ever again!) and I am so glad you got some art in. Glad we aren't the only ones that get excited when admin has to leave the building for a day...When the third in charge comes on morning announcements instead of #1 and # 2, I start racking my brain for things I can fit in that day while the coast is clear! Love the Teepee story...was it paper or tortilla or did you make both versions...??? I love your freebie idea.

  11. Love your cute bean art (you could call it nutrition and you were learning about the food groups :) Yes, I watch Survivor and was disappointed that Albert and Sophie didn't join Dawn & Whitney to shake things up. I was rooting for Ozzy, but his arrogance is starting to bother me, but he is still nice to look at ;)

  12. I love this art idea for teaching about the Native Americans. We are sort of wrapping up our study of Native Americans, but this is something that would be fun to do next year! And really, it was art associated with learning, so it's not like you weren't teaching, right?! I bet they'll remember what type of food they grew :) I am slightly jealous you have all of next week off, although furlough days suck. We just have Monday and Tuesday, so it won't be too bad. Enjoy your time off! :)

    Living A Wonderful Life

  13. Love your blog! I teach Houghton Mifflin too and we are always told fidelity, fidelity, fidelity! I just created written comprehension assessments that go along with the weekly theme skills tests (for 1st grade and 2nd grade) if your interested. You can find the link for them on my blog. Love reading your blog : )

    Primary Punch

  14. I read your blog and I want to laugh and cry at the same time. You are obviously passionate, talented and gift to the world of teaching, yet you are being forced NOT to use your talents for the sake of fidelity. Someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) the tide will turn my friend and we'll be trusted and appreciated for the true professionals that we are. Oh and we'll be paid like it too! (Now who's dreaming...)
    We have matching furlough days this week. We can be furlough friends! Unless that sounds weird and creepy, then just forget it. ;-) Denise
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

  15. I was supposed to get ahead on lesson planning over the Thanksgiving holidays but instead, I've been blog-surfing. I stumbled upon yours and I'm THANKFUL I did!
    Since you're talking about Native Americans, and LOVE teaching social studies, you'll appreciate my story...
    I was born in India and have lived in Ohio most of my life. I have NO accent and am more American than most of my friends are. Every year, at the beginning of the year, I teach my class that I come from the country of India which is halfway across the world. I show them pictures and artifacts also. I then carefully explain how we are the REAL Indians and the Native Americans of America were mistakenly called Indians by Columbus. I've been giving this spiel each of the 13 years I've taught and was amply satisfied that I contributed to my kids being more worldly than their peers.
    Well, last year slapped that silly smile of smugness right off my face!
    We also do Houghton Mifflin and when we got to the Red Eyed Tree Frog story, we do a huge rainforest unit. I was reading aloud from a book about rainforest flora and fauna and in the middle of it, little Justin raises his hand and tells me he has a burning question. He asks, "So, Mrs. Parikh, when you gonna bring your bow and arrow in to school?"
    I thought I heard him wrong so I said, "WHAT???" And he repeated his question with a huge smile. He was totally serious.
    So I said, "Justin, what makes you think I have a bow and arrow to show you?"
    He just shrugged his shoulders and kept smiling his gorgeous smile.
    Then the proverbial light bulb went on for me and I responded,
    "Wait, is it because I'm Indian?"
    Justin gleefully nodded his head.
    "Justin, I do NOT have a bow and arrow because I am NOT that kind of Indian!" I then repeated my beginning of the year story about real Indians vs. Native Americans.
    "Do you understand now?" I asked, satisfied that I'd set the record straight.
    Then Sofia raises her hand and says, "Can you bring in a headband then? And can we make Indian headbands then? I know they have lots of feathers and I think feathers are so cool."
    Ok, so I give up! I think for Halloween next year, I will dress up like an American Indian squaw, complete with bow, arrow, and headband!
    Meenal Parikh

  16. Yes, I'm so late commenting on this, but I will anyway. First, you are sooooo Hilarious!!!!!! Second, we must have been in the same room making teepees, because as I'm stapling I hear many kids say they look like hats and put them on their heads. Needless to say the art teacher's job is safe with me trying to do an art project. Third, I so love social studies!!!

  17. A- Love reading your blog. You have a knack for writing! keep it up!

    B- quality non-fiction books- yes, puh-lease! Here's my tip for you: Capstone Press books!

    Here's a link to my blog if you want to read more:


    C- Morning work- 5 words: You've Been A Busy Lady!!!! The sample you showed is great! Gave me ideas of how to revamp my own morning work.