Sunday, November 6, 2011

Busy Busy Sunday

Well, I have been busy doing a million things today like laundry, lesson plans, entering grades, creating a couple of anchor charts, and a new math station to help my kiddos practice missing parts of numbers! So much for a relaxing day! :)

First of all, each month we have different comprehension strategies that each grade is expected to focus on at the same time. We started with visualize and making connections in September. In October, we focused on schema and making predictions. For November, we have three new strategies to teach. They are QAR, making inferences, and synthesizing. These strategies are a little hard for first graders, but they want us to at least start using the vocabulary so the kids will be familiar with it when they get to the upper grades. Here are two anchor charts I made to post in the room so we can start talking about them.

This is my QAR anchor chart. We are mainly going to focus on talking about what each kind of question is and being able to identify types of questions and where we can find the answers. Sorry for the crappy quality...I can't find my camera so I had to use my phone. :P

This is my synthesizing poster. I plan to make a chart of us changing our thinking as we read a story, but this is the one that will stay on the wall for the rest of the year as we continue to use the strategy. Wow...this pic looks really bad...I so need a better camera on my phone!

In EnVision, we have started talking about missing parts to numbers 6-9 and I really want my kiddos to practice this skill so they will understand subtraction better and also be able to understand that addition and subtraction are inverse operations. So, I created this one that isn't seasonal so I can use it as long as we need to until everyone understands the concept.  You can check it out and get your own copy at my TPT store.

Well, now it is time to make dinner, finish the laundry, and read the first two chapters of the Number Sense Routines book that I begin a book circle on tomorrow. Have any of you read this book? 

Have an awesome week!!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Math Station Items

We adopted EnVision math as our new math series for K-2 this year. We had originally been using Saxon Math but it didn't seem to help prepare our kiddos for Harcourt math in 3rd grade. We are hoping to adopt the series for K-5 but we are waiting for all the common core to be aligned in the textbooks before we make the final decision.

Anyway, next week we will begin our next topic which is Understanding Subtraction. EnVision comes with its own centers but when I use math stations everyday, it is easier to have a lot of activities that practice the same type of concept but in different ways. So, I created two new games today.

The first game is "Talking Turkey Subtraction". This works the same way the lessons are introduced with missing parts of a whole. It gives the student the whole number and the part they know and asks them to figure out what is missing. So, my activity does the same. They will use a ten-frame and two-color counters to solve the problem with a partner and then record their answer on a worksheet.
You can check it out by clicking below. :)

As we progress through the topic it introduces simple subtraction sentences. So, "Apple of My Eye" Subtraction is designed to practice this concept. The students can still use a ten-frame and counters if needed to find which apple matches the problem.

 Hope this helps some of you!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Week!

I am so mad at myself right now! We had an awesome pumpkin week and I didn't take one picture! I will take a few on Monday of our craft and pumpkins but it would have been so much better with the kiddos! Well, live and learn...note to!

We read fiction and non-fiction pumpkin stories and we wrote about the life of a pumpkin about how pumpkins grow for our writing this week. For our nonfiction story we read From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer.

I'm sure there are tons of great non-fiction books for pumpkins but this was the one I had handy from my classroom library and it worked fine. :)

One of the stories we read was a favorite fiction story of mine...The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis.

I brought in some different sizes and shapes of pumpkins and my mom even brought in a white one. :)  On Thursday, we did some estimating with my big pumpkin. We estimated how fat we thought it was by cutting how much string they thought they would need to fit around it and also estimating how many seeds they thought were inside it. Of course, I then scooped out the seeds and guts for the kids to see and feel.

Today we compared the kiddos estimates to the actual number of seeds taken from the pumpkin. We also voted on what type of face to carve into our pumpkin. They chose scary...big surprise! Lol. While I was carving the pumpkin they were working on their pumpkin crafts. Nothing too exciting...small paper plate colored orange, green or brown stem glued to the top, and 5 pumpkin seeds from our pumpkin glued to the middle.

We then lit our jack o'lanterns and read my all time favorite story....Pssst! It's Me the Bogeyman! If you haven't read this story you must go out and get it! It is just the right amount of scary mixed with funny and it is awesome!

We always have our PBIS monthly celebration on the last Friday of the month and with Halloween falling on Monday we had our parties today also. So, my partner and I came up with "Spooky Spots" for our kiddos. Between the two of us we have 40 kids so we split them into 4 groups of 10 kids and had 4 stations or spooky spots for them to visit. One was face painting where they could get a pumpkin or ghost on their face. We also had a coloring station with Halloween pages. We also made spider treats using a Ritz cracker, spray cheese, pretzel sticks for legs and 2 raisins for eyes.  And finally, we had a spooky story spot with two fun Halloween stories.



We finished the day with our Halloween treats....cupcakes, rice krispie treats and of course too much candy to go home with them! I don't why some parents forget to send all the supplies on the school supply list, but they send enough Halloween candy to feed the whole school! Well, anyway it was a fun week! Now, if I can just survive the actual holiday and the day after! Lol.

Have an awesome weekend!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Contraction Wizards--FREEBIE!!

This week in Saxon Phonics we are learning about contractions. I wanted something I could put out in Word Work stations for the kiddos to practice this skill on their own. I came up with my Contraction Wizards activity. Click on the link below if you want to download your FREEBIE! :)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Math games and new TPT store!

Hi everyone! Hope you have had a great weekend! We just finished up Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday and Friday and although it was awesome to meet with all the parents, I am glad to be done with all the preparations for the conferences. I have been working on a few new items for math tubs and also for sight word practice. I decided that it was time to get my TPT store up and running. So, please stop by and see my items that I have added. Most of the items listed so far are free and the 1 that costs is VERY reasonable for the amount of time I put into making it. :)  Still trying to figure it all out so any tips or hints would be welcome! Here is a link to the freebie item I added today...

I also would love to know how everyone puts a thumbnail of the actual document on their blog page, so if anyone can help with that please let me know! Hope everyone has a fabulous week!  We are doing a pumpkin unit this coming week so I will be excited to share what happens and pictures next weekend! :)


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall Freebies!

I have been wanting to make some new games for my math tubs for my little cuties to use during math stations. We went over our AIMSweb data last week and found out that they are a little weak in knowing missing numbers up to 20 when they are in random order. So, I made the Scarecrow Missing Number matching game. They will have to match the right crow to the scarecrow that has that missing number. You can get your copy below the scarecrow. :)

We also worked on turn-around math problems with EnVision last week. This was easy for some of my kiddos, but I had a few who were confused. So, I made my Spooky Turn-arounds for them to use during math stations to practice. They will have to match the halloween characters to find the turn-around problems. You can get yours below the Halloween pals below. :)

If you decide to download a copy of either of my games just please leave me a comment! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple Fun!!

Fall is here and we have started learning about Autumn, Apples, and next week we will talk about Corn.  There are so many fun things to learn about in this season and the kiddos are so excited about it!

We traced our hands on our favorite "leaf" color and made this wreath to hang on our door.

All this week we had fun with apples! We started the week with the story about the Little Red House with No Windows, No Doors, and a Star Inside. We cut apples in half to see the stars the kids loved it! For the month of September, our entire school was focusing on 2 comprehension strategies for reading. They were Visualize and Make Connections. We decided to use this story for a visualizing lesson. I read the story and half way through we stopped and visualized what the little house looked like in the pictures in our minds. Then we read the rest of the story and we made a picture of what the house really looked like. Here is a couple of examples. :)

It was great that the kids hadn't heard this story before so they thought it was awesome to find out there was a star inside the apple!

We read stories about apples all week and this was also our writing focus. We use Michael Heggerty writing for our school. So, on Tuesday they always help me come up with the sentences while I model writing them. I told them I wanted them to tell me what they had learned so far about an apple from its start to finish. I was very impressed with what they came up with so I hung it in the hallway.

I bought the cutest apple glyph/poems from First Grade Blue Skies TPT store. We made both the apple poems and the glyphs. I forgot to take pictures of the glyphs after we hung them up so I will add that next week. But the poems turned out absolutely adorable and the kids had a lot of fun making them!

My principal LOVED them and said they really brightened up the hallway! :) We finished off the week with an apple tasting to decide if we like red, yellow, or green the best. We then made the glyphs and created an apple tree graph to see which was the most favorite and which was the least favorite. I will add those pics next week when I go back to school.

Overall, it was a great learning adventure! We will talk about corn and harvesting next week. If anyone has any great ideas to share for this topic, please let me know! :) Have a great weekend!!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's In My School Bag? Linky Party

Wow! I haven't had time to post in a REALLY long time! Between regular school stuff, meetings, and extra-curriculars for my kids, I barely have time to catch up on reading posts let alone type up my own! :)  But, when I saw this linky party that Abby at The Inspired Apple was having, it sounded like fun. I just happened to have my school bag sitting next to me on the couch as I am ready to work on some lesson plans and entering some scores, so I thought why not? lol.

First of all, let me say that I have only had this bag for about 2 weeks. A friend of mine had a 31 party and I had to have this organized tote for school. I also bought a lunch bag that I absolutely LOVE! So, in all fairness I usually have a lot more "crap" in my bag than what I found today. However, since this little baby is still new, she is pretty clean!

I really do LOVE polka dots! It is hilarious to see me walking into school with this bag, my new lunch bag in a different polka dot pattern, and my Kate Spade polka dot purse in yet a different pattern. It is like polka dots gone wild! lol.

The first things I found were: My gradebook so I can enter grades into the computer this weekend, my school calendar, my scholastic book club orders that I need to finalize this weekend, and my DIBELS progress monitoring booklets so I could enter those scores.

Next, I found some information on my new book circle group that I have to lead on the Nurtured Heart Approach, my Saxon Phonics Assessment that I need to grade this weekend, and my assessment of the students reading our sight words and story from Trophies for this week.

Finally, this is the random stuff in the outer pockets of the bag: pens, markers, pencils, binder clip, paper clip, calculator, hair tie, hair clip, and my phob/key/flash-drive for school.

Definitely nothing too exciting, but I imagine we all have some of the same things in our bag. It is a wonder all teachers don't have shoulder or back problems considering how much stuff we lug back and forth with us everyday! LOL. 

Well, I can't wait to see what you are carrying in your bag so link up right away!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

A is for Apples...

With September finally here, I know that we will have apples as one of our writing topics. And because there are so many fun things you can do with apples, I have been checking out blogs and Pinterest for some ideas. Obviously, one thing I definitely plan to do with my firsties that I did with my Kindergartners a couple of years ago is to have a taste test and graph which apple we like best...yellow, red, or green. It is always fun to have a tasty treat in class and it is a good math skill too! :)  Something else my partner always did in Kindergarten was read a story called The Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside.  This is such a cute story and it is a good way to kick off the apple unit, because most of the kids have no idea that the mom is talking about an apple. After you finish the story you cut an apple in half across the width and inside you will see...

While searching on Pinterest, I came across this adorable picture and it led me to Apple Day!

These are so cute!!  I plan to put the following poem inside...

We of course will read apple stories, sing apple songs, and even talk about Johnny Appleseed. And then the kids will write about what they have learned. Can't wait to get started with our apple projects! I will share some pictures when we are all done. :)  Hope you are enjoying your excited we still have another day off!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lunchroom Behavior Plan

Sorry for posting twice today, but I've had my creative juices flowing a little bit today and I wanted to share. :)  So, the lunch ladies at my school were looking for some type of incentive to motivate good behavior in the lunch room. My principal came to me and another teacher because we are co-chairs of our PBIS team. I told them I had found a golden spatula on pinterest that was used to reward good behavior for the week. My principal loved the idea! She plans to get a golden spatula for each grade level and the two classes in each grade level will battle against each other. The class with the best behavior for the day will earn a sticker on a reward chart. Then at the end of the week, the class with the most stickers will win the golden spatula to hang outside their classroom door. Once we return the spatula to the lunch room we will get a spatula sticker. At the end of the semester the classroom(s) with the most spatula stickers will get a special surprise treat from our principal. So, my principal set out to find gold spatulas (or ones that can be spray painted gold), she asked me to make the chart for the lunch ladies to use, and my friend Bobbie was sent on a mission to find spatula stickers (or something kitchen related lol).  I made a quick little slide show of my creation. I'm pretty excited about how it turned out...especially the glitter! :)  I love it when it's sparkly!!  Let me know what you think!

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Good start to the year...

Well, it is hard to believe that I have 10 days of first grade under my belt already! The days have been flying by so far, and we have had a lot of fun getting to know each other. I have a pretty good bunch of firsties....a couple of little stinkers that you have to keep your thumb on, but for the most part they are all really sweet! I do have a very lopsided class however, 14 boys and 6 girls!  And my partner has 13 boys and 6 girls....where are all the girls at?!?  It makes for a class with a very short attention span. I try to mix it up all day between carpet time and table time and throw in brain breaks with Dr. Jean songs or sight word chants with movements.

I guess my biggest struggle right now is all the training of new programs that I am trying to implement. It is hard enough at this time of year to train them on how we sit in a chair properly or on the carpet, how we walk in the hall, how we use the bathroom quickly and know what I'm talking about!  But, then throw on top of that launching Daily 5 (for my 1st time ever!), CAFE', and Reading and Math PALS.  Have any of you ever used PALS in 1st grade?  If you have, you know the training is grueling....let me know if you have any tips on that! :)  I just feel like I'm muddling through all this training looking for the light of the end of the tunnel where they will know the expectations and know how to do all these programs every day. I'm hoping for sooner rather than later. LOL

I mean seriously...I have only introduced Read to Self and we have built our stamina up to 9 min so far and it has been a challenge with some of these boys! I should have already introduced Work on Writing but after our model & practice of Read to Self they just don't have the attention span for it. We are pushing forward next Tuesday regardless of that, but I feel like I'm way behind! I know it will all come in time and I am just being impatient but it is hard sometimes to not feel like it would just be easier to abandon this and teach from my basal all the time. I hate that feeling!

Well, I don't want to feel like Debbie Downer...I love my job and I am still really excited to be in first! I truly love my little kiddos already and we do have a lot of fun together. So, really I'm not complaining...just venting! :)  Enjoy your 3 day weekend and get some rest like I plan to! I forgot to mention I'm losing my voice from talk, talk, talking....ALL the time!! :) 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Continuing with the fun that is happening over at Blog Hoppin' we are heading into Three for Thursday to talk about 3 of our favorite things. Font, Blog, and Online Resource. It is VERY hard for me to choose favorites because of course I like MANY of all 3 things!

My Favorite Fonts
I have a lot of fonts that I choose from but these 2 seem to be my top picks!

You can find both of these fonts at Lettering Delights!

My Favorite Blogs
This is impossible because if you look at my side bar you will see that there are almost a million that I follow and check daily!  But this is the blog that inspired me to start my own classroom blog. :) 


My Favorite Online Resources

Totally addicted to this website and looking at everyone's pins. And then of course feeling like I need to create each and every thing I find on there!  I can't believe how many DIY crafts I made my daughter do with me this summer because I found it on Pinterest! Lol...

Also love love love...

Okay everyone....hop on over and tell us your Three for Thursday!!