Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Random, Freebie and a Sale

This week WAS going to be all about Dr. Seuss.  But the more that I started planning for this week, it became a rather random week, ending with Dr. Seuss.  First, we've been finishing up Mr. Popper's Penguins.  This was actually my first time reading it!  (It is a suggested reading for First Grade in the Common Core LA--for Vocabulary, I believe)  Quick note-we started a new Vocabulary program this year that is just F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!  (Elements of Reading-Vocabulary;  We do not have any of the other programs this company offers).  Mr. Popper's Penguins uses SO many of our vocab words that we have learned so far this year, it's just incredible!  The student's eyes light up each time a new one is read.  So, it definitely was a good match to the Common Core and to our Vocab program!  Too bad the movie is nothing really like the book..... I used to love watching movies and have kids write and persuade me to what I should do next year if I could only choose one thing (watch the movie or read the book).  But I just don't feel right showing it.

So-Mr. Popper's Penguins is an alliteration!  This week I introduced it to my kiddos.  We read If I Were an Alliteration (found in our school library).  The I was going to have the kids create their own alliteration.  I had a "light bulb" go off right before I was going to have them figure out their own.  We had been working on Alphabetical Order all year---I decided to have them get up and move to put THEMSELVES in ABC order.  I let them decide how to do it (but I did step in and help the few that weren't so "motivated" to figure it out.)  Then I wrote their names up on the chart paper in ABC order and they sat back down on the rug.  They turned to their shoulder partner and brainstormed verbs to use with their names.  (Not all were sitting next to someone with the same letter)  It was neat watching them interact and help each other out.  I need to give them more opportunities the HELP each other.  They do work together to do things, but I think it's important to learn how to help each other and use nice words.  :)  The rest of the week we will be building more onto the alliteration.  Today we will write Three Part Sentences (Who, does what, and finish the thought)---The first 2 parts are done from yesterday!  Tomorrow we will be completing the Alliteration Activities that I have in my Leap Day Mini-Unit.  I just added 2 pages of certificates for you to print out (on card stock if you wish) and give your students tomorrow when you celebrate this unique day!  (So, if you have already purchased it---go download it again to have the current file!)  Click on the picture to see it at TpT.

(I am NOT sure why there are funny things next to the date on this picture!  I'll look into it---if it's in the file you purchased like that, please let me know and I'll upload again.  They weren't there when I uploaded it yesterday!)

While you are at TpT, I have a great word sorting activity that will probably be in "season" to do in the classroom for a few more weeks!  Students sort Long and Short O words to whether they are hOt or cOld.  :)  Click on the picture to take you there to grab it for yourself if you haven't already!!!

Last, thank you for your purchases, comments, emails, clicking to follow me, etc!!!  I am grateful that I am able to share things with people, and that you find my thoughts and items useful!  It is crazy to me to think that only a few weeks ago, I had 3 followers.  Now I have 32 and growing!  I have over 70 followers on TpT and you have put me in the top 100 for the past 3 weeks!  Not to mention that I've had almost 4,000 visitors from ALL over the world!  I am just in disbelief!  :)  I hope that I can continue to give and share things with you that you will find easy to use in the classroom!  I'm working on a fun little adjective activity that I will post sometime before St. Patrick's Day---it has to do with rainbows and adjectives!  If you haven't already signed up to follow me and are interested---click to follow!  It will be coming soon!  :)

BEST NEWS OF THE DAY!  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a fabulous Once in FOUR year sale-where you can grab anything and everything you like for 10% off!  Because of all of your awesome support that I wrote about above, I will also have my store on sale for 20% off Wednesday only!!  The grand percent off will be 28% (almost 29 in honor of Leap Day)  Please note the code (L2P9Y) you'll need to enter to get the additional 10% off---click on the picture to take yourself to my store!  These sales do NOT come often on TpT.  It's a great way to empty those wish lists!  I plan on stocking up too! :)

I am currently working (and almost complete) with my April Showers Common Core Math games.  I hope to have them posted, along with April Math Story Problem books by tonight for you to be able to purchase on sale for Wednesday!  I'm not so sure that I'll be able to get the Literacy Games for it completed in time.  I don't want to rush, so that it is a quality purchase.


Have a great day and week!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I BIG puffy heart love Dr. Seuss.  It grew even more when I was in high school.  I was a baton twirler.  My high school band didn't really have majorettes, nor did they really want us when they did... but I did twirl for a studio for over 20 years!  I taught little 3 year-olds.   Can you imagine how cute (and how difficult?!?) that might have been?!  Well, in high school I got to twirl during the then Citrus Bowl.  Not once but TWICE!  My second and final time---the theme was Dr. Seuss!  I got to be the Cat in the Hat twirling a baton!  O.M.G it was SO much fun!  (though, looking back at the awful costume....  ugh.  A black, long sleeved unitard!  With a big over-sized bow tie and a tall red and white striped hat.  I still remember the song that we twirled to and it sings in my head often this time of year.... "Cat.  Hat... it really is magnificiant... hum hum hum huuuummmmm...."  Enough with that sidebar...  it's not really a song that had been out anywhere.. possibly made for the 1996 Citrus Bowl halftime show...

So, I've been so consumed with getting things ready for next week with Dr. Seuss that I just kinda realized that we will actually be IN school for a Leap Day!  The last one we had, well.... I don't remember it.  I sat down the past few days and created some fun LEAPing activities that could fill up your day!  It's packed full of Reading, Writing and Math.  You can find the mini-unit here (click on the picture)  ***If you've already purchased it, please go back and download again.  I spotted a few formatting errors and also fixed a few sentences with the Venn Diagram cut and paste activity when I went to copy today!!  Sorry!***

I thought that I would create a freebie for you to enjoy in your room too!  I mean, it's not like an extra day out of the year comes often! ;)  I took this FABULOUS kinesthetic class last year where we learned how to incorporate movement into learning.  The benefits are just amazing, and it gave me new ideas on how to get them moving.  Let's be honest.  I'm not sure that there is a first grade classroom out there that DOESN'T have kids moving, but I was in a rut.  I thought by having them move from their seats to the carpet or from station to station, that it was doing enough!  Well, now that I've added "movement with purpose" into my lessons, I have seen such HUGE gains!

Here's a moving LEAP day freebie!   You'll need to click on the link to my TpT store because of licensing issues (I can't give away freebies here unless I pay MORE money--so I'm directing you to my TpT store to download it for free).  It is a "making words" activity.  You will print out (and laminate) the frogs.  The frogs have the letters for LEAP DAY FEBRUARY TWENTY NINE.  I have 3 recording sheets to match whichever phrase you'd use.  (I just wasn't too sure of how many words and how long kids would last with just LEAP DAY.)  You will spread the letters throughout the room.  Kids will "leap" to letters to spell words and "hop" back to their seats to record what they spelled!  A few tips---you may want to either have additional copies of the letters, especially if you are using just LEAP DAY or you may want to section off the room and have groups stay in specific areas with all the letters there for them.  (And most certainly, they do NOT have to leap and hop if the environment doesn't permit it!) ;)

Click on any of the pictures to grab your copy!

Let me know how it goes with your little leapers!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dental Health Break

Again, I had planned on having more posts on Dr. Seuss activities, but there has been a little snag in my plans on that.  We have gotten word that we are not allowed to be using Dr. Seuss or Cat in the Hat on things that we are selling, but things are a little confusing so I'm waiting to see and hear more information.  I was working on rewording things, etc, but because this just came out, I didn't want to "waste" my time fixing something that I may not have to, once things get cleared a little more.  You may see some of my products on Teachers Pay Teachers change names (maybe even a few times till things get ironed out;  we aren't supposed to have titles that are the same as someone else's too---so it gets a bit tricky)  If you have purchased anything Dr. Seuss related from me--first, THANK YOU!!  and second, I haven't created anything new-so don't buy another!!!!!  ;)

Tomorrow, our grade is going to have a "Brush, Brush, Smile" presentation where they will have some hands on learning with teeth and dental heath.  We've decided to take next week and focus on dental health, even though it really isn't in our curriculum (to at least teach it to the fullest, like in the past).  I created a quick little mini unit that I posted on TpT last week that includes at LEAST 4 days of activities that you can fit in through all subjects, but it is heavily Reading/Writing related.  I included a survey for Math and there's a page for making a collage of good and bad foods for teeth.  I am planning on blowing that page up to the large copy paper size (the size is slipping my mind right now...) and will pick up a bunch of grocery store ads for them to cut things from.    I think my favorite activity will be having the kids write their own Tooth Fairy Application.  :)  They loved writing the Elf Application at Christmastime.  Click on the picture to see it on TpT.

We did find a cute little site that we are going to use in our computer lab time.  If you have to teach your own lab like we do, check out this site:  http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/health_games/dental/dental-jigsaw.html  It isn't THAT exciting, but it's a way to incorporate Dental Health into that time too!  I was thinking of having them draw a picture in KidPix and write a message related to teeth, but I need to get them "navigating" the Internet a little bit more. 

Hope you had a nice weekend-and that you were lucky enough to have some extra time to spend with family.  If not, just remember me in June, when you are out earlier and I'm still in school! :)

Thanks for all the comments and emails!  I never thought that I would have so many people enjoying things that I have either made or done in my room.  :)  I also love hearing things that you do and checking out the awesomeness that goes on!  I'd love to hear if you have any "tooth" technology things! 

I promise-there WILL be more activities related to that author who loves to rhyme and has helped SO many of our little kiddos read, once I figure out more things involved!!!!!!!  Have a great week! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and a freebie!

Valentine's Day has taken a different "feel" this year at our school.  We are currently on the way to banning all food from school, other than lunch or things purchased through our food department.  Knowing whether or not we/students were allowed to give candy with Valentine's was questionable.  The verdict right now is that if they gave candy, they must take it home for parents decisions on what they may eat.  So, I haven't really been in the "festive" mood.  We've been doing a lot at home with furniture and painting as well as my daily work for school---that I'm quite behind.  My youngest son, 22 months, JUST got his Valentine list for his daycare room on FRIDAY!  I wasn't going to go out and buy a box for 6 kids.... so I got creative.  We melted crayons in a heart shape to hand out.  I originally found it in pinterest.  While of course that idea is not NEW, I decided to give it a try.  And OH.MY.GOSH!  they turned out to be the CUTEST things..... that I just HAD to make them for my kiddos!  Yesterday.  That's right.  The night before Valentine's Day!  I googled searched for a "saying" cause I did not like the one on Pinterest, and figured there was something "cuter."  Of course, I was right!
Here's all 32 of them for my classes.  I should have made more, but ran out of time.  My 5 extra math kiddos will just get a card from me this year :(  (My 5 year old just told me last night that he needed Valentine's for his friends in his wrap-around Kindergarten class.... which happened to be 5 kids... sigh) 

Up close of the cuteness!  You can find the adorable paper at this blog here: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/02/how-to-make-muffin-tin-crayons-and-a-printable/

You'll need to scroll down to the end of her post to download it.  The folded over paper has this cute saying on the back:  "This may look like a sweet treat, but take note, it's not to eat!  Just grab a paper an write 'be mine' and give it to your Valentine!"

Last week in Reading group, my kids were discovering more and more words that just aren't following the rules!  It's so hard to explain to them rules... but then tell them that there are many exceptions.  I was reading around the 'net over the weekend and came across this fun idea at First Grader...at Last and decided to give it a little "tweak" to fit my room and style.   I can't wait to get them displayed with the kids!  (I glued them onto some bright pink cardstock-for the correct spellings and black for the incorrect)

 Once I get them back from laminating, I'll post a picture of how they look displayed in my room!  Grab a copy for yourself here or click on the picture!!

Thanks for reading!  If you like what you read or download-don't forget to follow me!  I have more freebies and also have some freebies listed at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  I can't believe I'm up to 35 followers on that site!  What a whirlwind the past 4 weeks have been!  Thank you all for your support and Happy Valentine's Day!  Hope you have a LOVELY day with your kids and loved ones! <3

Edited Feb 15, 2012:  I added more words to the file above---is, done, love and give. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

100th Day--Teaching on the fly!

So, I had all of these plans for our 100th day Friday, but with all the different things going on at school this year (having 3 different classes for one!) I ended up doing things on the fly!  Lucky for me the printer was next to my room-where I could print some stuff out to use!

First thing that the kids noticed was the streamers that they had to walk through on the way into the class.  They had a blast with that, and well, did have to have a few reminders about treating things properly...   After we switched for our Reading Block, we did was our usual Friday tests---spelling, vocab, etc...  Then we read a few 100 Day poems and songs.  Then-----I had each of my tables work together to complete a 100 piece puzzle!  For a week where the full moon had really influenced our days...... they worked SO incredibly well with this!  After that, I had them draw a picture of it and write a story about their pictures.  They turned out so cute!

Then I had them search for 100 words to write.  I had them broken up into groups of 10.  They found 10 short a, 10 long a, 10 short e, 10 long e, etc, etc...  And by then, it was time to switch for Math.  In Math, we started with our usual routine things, and then had some hundred day math worksheets to complete while the other half were surveying the class and then graphing what they'd like to have 100 of!  Students came up with their own choices.  They were super excited for this.  Not only do they like talking..... but using the clipboards was a special treat for this too!  I think we could just give up our desks and use clipboards every day.....  that would be a way to save some money!  ;)

Of course, that was the end of our morning and it was time for our recess, lunch and special.  In the afternoon we shared special 100th Day water bottles that they filled at home and had written clues about.  I already redid the paper home for next year to include that students should be doing the writing and to not have peanuts come in the bottle...  but they were cute.  (I also think that I will be saving my own water bottles to send with them next year too... I like having things looking similar)  We got this idea from Read, Write, Think.org.

After that, they had time to write about what they would be like 100 years later.  I've always done the what they would look like at 100, but I thought I would make it 100 year LATER.  They wrote what they wanted to accomplish before that time and also things that they'd like and not like to have 100 of.  The last thing that many took home to do was a 100 search that I had created that day.  It was just 100 many different times in a word search format.  They had to find and circle all of the 100s.  So.Much.Fun! 

I actually did not leave the day with a headache as I had many times before.  Teaching on the fly sometimes gets the best out of me.  I guess I wouldn't say that it was completely on the fly.  I DID have plans.  I just strayed.  ;) 

I uploaded my file that I created to TpT.  You can see it here.  It's not that fancy, being that I didn't want to have graphics making it seem like a certain time of year.  Usually our 100th day is around Valentine's Day, but sometimes with snow--it's much later!   And of course, it's probably a little late for most people since our school starts later than everyone else. 

Hope you all had a great 100th day!  If you celebrated, what did you do to make it special?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Story Problems

I had previously posted about how I made story problem books for my students to use each month.  We have just finished my penguin ones last week and have since started the February ones.  I am pleasantly surprised at how well my kids are doing with them!  I actually just praised them the other day for this.  When they first started with me (remember, we group for math...) they thought they could just answer anything they wanted-but had NO idea about HOW they knew the answers.  They would look at me like a deer in headlights.  To them, I was just plain crazy because they just KNEW the answer---my brain told me! 

So....  I thought I would have a few word problems a day for the students to solve.  They would work independently, with partners, in groups, etc.... BUT... only a few were benefiting.  I still had some that would not take the risk to tell me HOW and WHY they were doing things!  Along came Grinch Day, and I found some great Grinch word problems.  I decided that I would turn them into a booklet where they would have to explain reasons, and after trying to figure out the easiest way to do that, I thought about our "First, Next, Then, Last" worksheets we would use all the time in Language Arts-and my light bulb went off!  I had them complete this with partners, since the day was more "fun" than actual instruction.  (However---little did they know-they WERE learning!)  Afterwards, the kids were smiling and I asked them if they liked that booklet-to which they actually replied that they WANTED more!

Here we are-1 full month into it, and they are actually doing well.  At first, it was a little difficult for them to actually think about 4 steps they took to solve things.  (And actually, I have had a few teachers have a difficult time breaking some down into 4 steps.)  What I tell them is that sometimes we may not have 4 steps, but our first step could always be what our brain is telling us to do (add, subtract, etc...) and WHY...  it may sound like this:  First, I knew I needed to add because it had the words "how many in all."  Of course, sometimes there may be 5 steps, so I tell them to combine on one or 2.  It isn't a perfect solution, but it has gotten them to break down their thinking and to REALLY understand why we do things in math!

I have created March story problems already, but have started to think ahead to April where I may rearrange the page a little---giving them less space to show work and more to write and possibly taking away the scaffold a little bit and NOT having the First, Next, Then and Last...  BUT, I may just wait till May for that (or I'll just make it both ways).  

I thought I would give you a small sample of the booklets I've made.  I included 2 from February and 2 from March.  You can access them here

Let me know how they have worked for you!  If you liked them you can find the full sets here for February and for March.

Monday, February 6, 2012


3 followers!  That may not sound like a lot---but I feel honored that I have 3--that found me out there in the midst of all the other wonderful blogs :)  I didn't link up with any other blog, so I really didn't expect anyone!  =)  Since I have 3, I am going to email all 3 of you my contraction unit (make sure I have your email)!  Thank you SO much for your comments and support!  I'm usually a very quite kind of person when it comes to what it is I do in the classroom, so putting it out on a blog is quite new-for school purposes other than informing parents of things.  (which is a reason I haven't even asked my teacher friends to come join me... yet....)  I've gotten such an overwhelming acceptance on the Teachers Pay Teachers website that I'm just at a loss of what to say!  Other than THANK YOU!  Whether you decided to click the "become a member" button on my blog, purchase something I've created on Teachers Pay Teachers or just have read my blog to see what I had to say! 

I hope to have more worthwhile things to share!  This week is our 100th Day fun, as well as preparing for Valentine's Day next week.  (We had our Spirit Week last week-so I'm still recuperating from that fun...)  :P


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"That was SO much fun!" (and a give-a-way!)

This week we are working on comparing and contrasting again with stories and characters.  We haven't done Venn Diagrams since the fall, so it has been a little while.  Today, I had the kiddos working with partners to compare and contrast 2 stories that were out of our reading series.  They had to read and then complete the Venn Diagram together.  While this is nothing new to any teacher, I just had to share because after the activity, when the kids were headed to their daily 5---I overheard one little boy enthusiastically say, "That was SO much fun!"  Well, just wait little guy, till tomorrow when we do it again with 2 fun Groundhog books! :P  (too bad I'll miss that fun while I'm home with a sick little guy...)

Speaking of fun!  Common Core Math-----I'm a math nut.  It was always my strong point.  After redoing our curriculum this past summer, I feel like I know those standards inside and out.  And I like them, which is actually nice!  (That is, till our state "reveals" their additions this month..... and we have to figure out how to fit more things in)  My math tip/activity of the week----working with the hundred's chart--or shall I say 120 chart:  Copy a 120 chart onto colored paper and laminate.  After lamination, cut the chart apart in different ways (think puzzle) for students to put back together.  I cut it apart in strips by rows; another by columns; another cut apart diagonally (well, steps).  I make 10 different puzzles so that I can have 20 kids working at one time.  (I don't have pics to add-but will post once I do;  it's not something I've taken pics of in the past-but it might be easier to understand if a picture was added)

Tips:  I make multiple copies-but all are on a DIFFERENT color.  I have students work together the first day.  After that it becomes an activity for early finishers.  I also have them try to put it together fast.  I'll set the timer for a certain time and let them go. 

This activity has them using so many different skills-and they just think it's a fun game :)  They are working with patterns with numbers, problem solving, recognizing numbers....   Grab a copy of my "not so exciting" but useful 120 chart here: 120 Chart

Don't forget to be a member of the blog for a chance to win my contraction unit from Teachers Pay Teachers!  Lots of people are checking out the blog, but not clicking on be a member!  :)

Question for those reading (something I have become more and more curious about after seeing so many blogs out there..)  How much data are you collecting and analyzing over your kids?  Please share!!!
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