Monday, May 9, 2016

A research unit for our solar system and the planets!

Learning by exploring topics with research based units - so much fun! Free research unit found on the blog! :-)
As I've written about before on this blog - I really love research units:
I have always believed that not all knowledge should be "served" to the students. A lot of the contents I remember most vividly from school come from researching and exploring topics. We went exploring for knowledge in textbooks, encyclopedias and eventually online. One teacher stands out for me in particular, my social studies teacher at junior high. We did a lot of exploring in that class! Not because the teacher was lazy, not at all! We had clear cut directions of what to look for, questions to answer, and not to mention - questions to find! We had presentations, posters, papers and made neat notebooks.

My series of research units will keep expanding. In my mind, there's room for research within most topics.

I've created a framework for my students to explore different topics. The worksheets are high resolution so they may be printed as posters. This allows me to choose between group based projects with presentations, or opting for a regular scale print for individual work. The students have separate notebooks for these exploring topic pages, and we've decorated the covers. Sometimes I print the resource covers, too!

Learning by exploring topics with research based units - so much fun! Free research unit found on the blog! :-)
Click here to find the research unit!

In my experience these research units work well for painting a picture of a topic - getting an overview. 

In particular this applies for students that might have difficulties concentrating, or having a satisfying progress in their work. There isn't a big, blank paper staring them down, and feeling that they have an overwhelming task ahead of them. These sheets have smaller boxes, and this appears to have a positive effect - focusing on one at a time!

It's important for me to have some control of what the students must take away from a research unit like this. Because of that I have some pre-determined elements on the different posters/worksheets. In addition to that there are blank fields where the students decide themselves, and entirely blank templates for full teacher autonomy - or student freedom. ;-) Suggestions for inquiry questions are also found in the research unit, and you may use them as a basis or starting point. What would we like to find out? How can we approach this topic?

Learning by exploring topics with research based units - so much fun! Free research unit found on the blog! :-)

I encourage my students to combine different types of illustrations for these research units. Drawing is wonderful, and they can supplement their own illustrations with pictures they find online. When we're finished with the unit I use a rubric for assessment. Naturally, we've looked at the rubric before starting the unit as well. Find a rubric, and an empty template, in the unit!

If you enjoy the format on this research unit you can find the entire series here
I'll be adding many different topics there as we work on them in our class! :-) If you want to try one of my research unit to get a feel for the framework, find the free Incas research unit here!

All the best,

Monday, May 2, 2016

- Teacher, I'm finished! -- Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers!

Students work in different paces, and some are eager to share whenever they are finished. Others will at that point have quite a bit of work left to do. The "I'm finished"-packs are created to occupy the early finishers.
Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!The purpose of the “I’m finished”-series is that the teacher can simply print these worksheets and place them in a “finished”-folder. The students can quietly help themselves to a sheet while waiting for new tasks in the classroom. Students that work at a high pace aren’t left idle, and because of that won’t have time to be bored or become disruptive.

Students that work at a slower pace are able to work in peace, without the distractions tied to others calling out “finished!”. Of course, they can be used for other purposes as well, such as centers - or even homework!

The growing bundle in this series will contain at least 10 different packs. At present, 5 are available. To give you a better understanding of the different tasks I've created a freebie with samples from all of them. Use the samples for your early finishers, or as you see fit! Find the freebie at the bottom of this post!

The current packs are:

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!
  1. Coloring by instructions
  2. Short writing tasks
  3. Coloring by multiplication
  4. Drawing & reading comprehension
  5. Pre-primer & primer sight words word search puzzles

1. Coloring by instructions

The coloring by instructions pack contains 25 pages with three different types of tasks. Roll and color have the students roll dice to color parts of the image. You may decide whether they must roll a number once or several times to complete coloring parts with given numbers. Some of the worksheets are split in half. You can print and cut the sheets in half for regular roll and color tasks, or let the students play «against» each other. 

The second task type is color by instruction. The instructions on these sheets contain up to 8 sentences. They instruct the students as to what to color, and which color to use. Maybe even which color not to use! The third task type is color by sight words. Different levels are covered (primer, grade one and grade two).

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!

2. Short writing tasks

The short writing tasks have worksheets that are all tied to writing short texts by instructions. They are tied to the image on each sheet. The students can use them for work while they wait, but the tasks can also be a part of a full lesson plan. 

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!
I have used these sheets as a part of a project we like to call «My writer’s book». 

I’ve printed sheets individually, and the students use them for first drafts. The first draft is corrected / given feedback, often in response groups with fellow students as well. The students then process the feedback given, either in writing or on a computer. The final text is printed, approved, and added to the «My writer’s book». The cover we have used for these books are included in the pack.

3. Coloring by multiplication

All the worksheets in the pack are tied to coloring by multiplication. The colors are tied to the math problems, and the answers indicate which color to use where in the drawing. (Note that all colors might not be used!) 

The sample in this freebie is from the 5-times table.

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!

4. Drawing & reading comprehension

The tasks consist of reading a brief text, and completing the drawing based on the information derived from the text. A small part of the drawing is already in place.

It’s important to keep in mind that if the students draw without reading and understanding the text fully – they will get into trouble in terms of completing the task!

Some of the tasks also include instructions about what not to do (for example, «the hoola hoop is not red).

Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!




5. Pre-primer & primer sight words word search puzzles

The tasks consist of hunting for sight words in a classic word search puzzle. A word bank is provided so the students can cross out words as they find them. I usually demand that they have found all the words before they can complete the task by coloring the image.

The first two levels of sight words on the DOLCH sight word list are covered in the pack – pre-primer and primer. An answer key is included.


I've found these tasks to be lifesavers in the classroom. I used to get a knot in my stomach every time someone finished early and I started running out of meaningful tasks to give them. I didn't want to ask them to get a white sheet of paper and "draw something". Creating these tasks has really helped me a lot! I sincerely hope they'll be helpful for you as well, and that the samples are well received among your students! If you have any comments or feedback I would love to hear it!

Find the freebie samples here!


Meaningful and fun tasks for early finishers! Keeping students engaged so everyone can do their work in peace. Find 10 awesome freebie pages in this blog post!


All the best,

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Let's Explore! Research based learning!

Let's Explore! Research based learning is fantastic, and helps information "stick". Use these research units for FREE in your classroom. Download from the blog post! :-)
I strongly believe in learning by exploring!
I have always believed that not all knowledge should be "served" to the students. A lot of the contents I remember most vividly from school come from researching and exploring topics. We went exploring for knowledge in textbooks, encyclopedias and eventually online. One teacher stands out for me in particular, my social studies teacher at junior high. We did a lot of exploring in that class! Not because the teacher was lazy, not at all! We had clear cut directions of what to look for, questions to answer, and not to mention - questions to find! We had presentations, posters, papers and made neat notebooks.

If you're looking for the free Incas Ancient Civilization Research Unit download, you'll find it at the bottom of this post!

Let's Explore! Research based learning is fantastic, and helps information "stick". Use these research units for FREE in your classroom. Download from the blog post! :-)

Based on these memories I've created a framework for sending my own students exploring different topics. The worksheets are high resolution so they may be printed as posters. This allows me to choose between  group based projects with presentations, or opting for a regular scale print for individual work. The students have separate notebooks for these exploring topic pages, and we've decorated the covers.

In my experience these research units work well for painting a picture of a topic - getting an overview. In particular this applies for students that might have difficulties concentrating, or having a satisfying progress in their work. There isn't a big, blank paper staring them down, and feeling that they have an overwhelming task ahead of them. These sheets have smaller boxes, and this appears to have a positive effect - focusing on one at a time!

Let's Explore! Research based learning is fantastic, and helps information "stick". Use these research units for FREE in your classroom. Download from the blog post! :-)

It's important for me to have some control of what the students must take away from a research unit like this. Because of that I have some pre-determined elements on the different posters/worksheets. In addition to that there are blank fields where the students decide themselves, and entirely blank templates for full teacher autonomy - or student freedom. ;-) Suggestions for inquiry questions are also found in the research unit, and you may use them as a basis or starting point. What would we like to find out? How can we approach this topic?

Let's Explore! Research based learning is fantastic, and helps information "stick". Use these research units for FREE in your classroom. Download from the blog post! :-)
Suggested questions
I encourage my students to combine different types of illustrations for these research units. Drawing is wonderful, and they can supplement their own illustrations with pictures they find online. When we're finished with the unit I use a rubric for assessment. Naturally, we've looked at the rubric before starting the unit as well. Find a rubric, and an empty template, in the unit!

Click here to download the free Incas Ancient Civilization Research Unit!

If you enjoy the format on this research unit you can find the entire series here! I'll be adding many different topics there as we work on them in our class! :-) 

All the best,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New alphabet awards!

I absolutely love using awards for boosting motivation in my classroom! Such a simple and cheap tool causes SO much consentration and hard work - it's amazing. If you're looking for the free alphabet awards you will find them at the bottom of this post!

Alphabet awards are great for encouraging children to learn the letters! Great alphabet printables to motivate students, find a gorgeous free printable on the blog! :-)


I wanted to share my new Alphabet Awards with you! In my eyes they are absolutely perfect when working on learning the letters. Rewards the children with an award after learning each letter separately, a collective award after learning them all - or both!

How each teacher chooses to work with the letters varies a lot, even for different students in the same class. That's why I find using a variety of awards to be helpful. And why not arrange a formal award ceremony regularly? Maybe as the week is coming to an end? Such a great way to end on a high!

Alphabet awards are great for encouraging children to learn the letters! Great alphabet printables to motivate students, find a gorgeous free printable on the blog! :-)

How you choose to use the awards is up to you - maybe you won't find it necessary to award each letter? Maybe the students struggle with different letters, and get awards for those? The one award I consider "mandatory" is the "Master of Letters" award. This is an incredibly important and exclusive award, because it proves that you've learned all  the letters! Such an achievment!


Alphabet awards are great for encouraging children to learn the letters! Great alphabet printables to motivate students, find a gorgeous free printable on the blog! :-)Use these awards an inspiration for creating your own, or find mine on TpT. Click here to take a look at them! The resource contains 81 different designs. I also have several other awards, find them here!

As a free Shooting Star download you can get the awards shown below for free. I hope you find them useful!

If you're interested in news about my resources and more, feel free to follow my Facebook page for instant updates!


Click here to download the free awards!

Alphabet awards are great for encouraging children to learn the letters! Great alphabet printables to motivate students, find a gorgeous free printable on the blog! :-)

Feel free to tip a friend about these free awards!
Thank you for stopping by! :-) 

All the best.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Meet my two week old, first born son!

As many of you know, I was due with our first child Friday, March 11th. Because of his size and the fact that I had gestational diabetes, I was scheduled for an induction on the due date.

We arrived at the hospital Friday, and I was induced with a Foley catheter balloon. This led to contractions that weren't too far apart, but a very slow progress.

Saturday at 11am the balloon was removed and they started the pitocin drip. The contractions hit me like a wrecking ball at that point. Everything progressed too slowly though, so after 12 hours of intense contractions with only a few mintues (or even one minute) between them.. the doctors called it quits. He wasn't making any progress, and was banging his head against my pelvis. We headed off to an emergency c-section. It felt very rushed and scary, but turned out well in the end thankfully! I definitely have both physical and emotional mending to do after that experience, but I'm forever grateful for the help we got from amazing midwives and doctors!

A few hours old
Our son, Vetle. The most amazing thing that has ever happened to me! He came into the world Saturday March 12th, 11:38PM, weighing 4570g and 52cm long. Chubby cheeks and all!
12 days old and full of joy!
He's now two weeks old and we're enjoying getting to know him. Our lives have turned upside down, but what an incredible experience. It's perfectly fine being dead tired, eaten raw, smelling of poop and sour milk .. when this beeautiful rascal is happy. Happy noises and smiles are wonderful prizes!

After a pregnancy that was very demanding and cost me a lot, we've discovered that you definitely get what you pay for... ;)

We're looking forward to everything the future holds for our little family! How lucky we are to have all this in our lives!

All the best,

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bees and pollination - the 15 most important questions to ask!

Bees and pollination - the 15 most importan questions to ask! (Especially no.15!) Tips on how to teach children about the topic, and help save the bees! Combine reading, science, biology and crafts with two different projects!

I have two very vivid childhood memories tied to bees. One is catching them in jars, and the other is being stung as they escaped or were released from said glass. We thought it was so exciting! As an adult I find it kind of strange to think back to those days, and how much fun we had tormening the poor bees! Little did we know that the bees are endangered... Because of this I decided to create a teaching resource that could include multiple subjects and topics. I've combined language, science/biology and crafts.

The starting point is a fact-based reader about Bees and pollination. In this reader I adress the 15 following questions in a consise and comprehensible way:
Bees and pollination - the 15 most importan questions to ask! (Especially no.15!) Tips on how to teach children about the topic, and help save the bees! Combine reading, science, biology and crafts with two different projects!
A sample page.
  1. What is pollination?
  2. Why are bees so important?
  3. Which crops woud disappear without bees?
  4. Why do bees transport pollen?
  5. What is a bee's anatomy like?
  6. Where do bees live?
  7. What is a queen bee?
  8. What is a bee's life cycle like?
  9. Which different roles do bees have?
  10. What does a beekeeper do?
  11. Which products do the bees make?
  12. How is honey made?
  13. Why are the bees endangered?
  14. What is being done to save the bees?
  15. What can you do to help?
All these questions can be answered using textbooks, Google, encyclopedias etc. My teaching resource is one angle into the subject matter. At the bottom of this blog post you'll find a Pinterest board where I have collected great images, illustrations and more on the topic. Feel free to take a closer look!

Bees and pollination - the 15 most importan questions to ask! (Especially no.15!) Tips on how to teach children about the topic, and help save the bees! Combine reading, science, biology and crafts with two different projects!

Initially this teaching resource was limited to language and science/biology. We used the reader in print, and on the computer/smart board, working on reading comprehension. It soon became clear to me that the students were highly motivated to do something. Creating that kind of motivation without following through felt wrong, so I developed two complimentary projects:

  • planting flowers
  • building insect housing
Both projects are possible to carry out on a marginal budget and a short time frame. In addition there is a lot of excitement tied to watching the flowers grow during spring. Do we get any visits from bees? Does anyone want to live in our houses?

Within the frames of the projects you can also include writing logs - how did the field of flowers look today? How many bees have we seen? This also prompts the inclusion of math, as you can measure sprouts, keep statistics and so on. My students found it particularly exciting to measure the sunflowers - none of us expected them to grow that big!

If you're curious about the teaching resource you can take a closer look in the film below, or find it on TpT. You can either look at the Bees & Pollination Unit (includes the reader), or just the reader alone. Activities, tasks and the projects are only found in the unit.

video


If you go ahead and plant flowers or build insect housing I'd love to see photos! Share them on my Facebook page, or use #malimomode on instagram!


All the best,

Saturday, March 12, 2016

St.Patrick's Day Freebie! :D

Easter freebie! Download for free and print. Use them with your kids or students. Tasks tied to vowels, related words, subtraction, reading, writing and nouns!

Did you notice the Easter themed freebie I posted last week? You can find it here! This week it's all about St.Patrick's Day - as it is approaching! They have more or less the same framework, so if your students tried the chickens, these leprechauns shouldn't be too difficult.

A fun St.Patrick's Day activity for kids! Language, math, reading and writing in one FREE download!


  • Find the leprechaun: the students must find a path leading to the chicken by coloring all the adjectives in the grid.
  • Making words: Making new words based on the given letters.
  • Gold coins: the students must add the coin values and write the sum on the pot!
  • St.Patrick's Day: the students read a short text about St.Patrick's Day, and then proceed with a small writing task.
  • Adjectives: adjectives that describe a leprechaun!

Download the resource here!

A fun St.Patrick's Day activity for kids! Language, math, reading and writing in one FREE download!

I hope you enjoy these tasks! If you do,
please share this blog post with a friend! :-)