Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Did you hear that? Me neither! {A Behavior A-ha Moment}

I have been MIA because I was busy enjoying my week-long break for Thanksgiving!  It was great having a week off, but it took forever to get here because we didn't have any kind of Fall I am already counting down to Christmas Break!  Anyways, I did manage to accomplish something during break.

I remember seeing the behavior clip charts on eveyone's blogs during the summer, but I didn't really look into them because I have been content with the way I was doing things.  Well, I decided to look into them after 10 weeks of dealing with 3 very different behavior problems in my room.  (As well as trying to address those super kiddos that can do no wrong....where was their incentive??)  So, after 3 full days of using a behavior clip chart, I am in heaven!  Today was my a-ha moment.  I have been gradually explaining all the parts of this new system and today it finally made sense to the kids and they were actually striving to do the best they could do....all because of one moment.  It was writing time, I did my mini-lesson, the kids knew what they were to do when they got to their seats, so as they headed back I let them know that anyone on purple or white were allowed to sit anywhere during writing time and write.  What?!?  I wish I would have caught their faces on camera because they were priceless!  So, my 5 or 6 students on purple moved around the room and EvErYoNe got started and not a peep was heard during writing time.  I never even heard a sneeze!  First time EVER that has happened!  Writing is in the morning and let's just say the rest of the day was PERFECT.  They love earning freedoms and privileges.....another no-cost incentive for good behavior!  Love it! 

If you are interested in my Jungle Theme Behavior Clip Chart it is for sale at my TpT store.  Click on the preview pick to go to my store.

(If you purchase my behavior clip chart I couldn't get the parent letter to save right in the pdf file, so here is a link to it, as well as a weekly communication sheet in portrait format. Just click on the picture!)

Usually I dread the chaotic weeks before Christmass Break, but I am actually looking forward to tomorrow....not our Thursday am meeting though....but to see the magic of the clip chart! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Setting Sail on the Mayflower

So today was a great day.....for starters we had a 2 hour delay, which meant a nice 3 mile run for me before school and no rushing around to get my 2 kiddos to school.  Second of all, when the kiddos arrived we packed our bags and went on a trip on the Mayflower.  We did some of the lessons from my The First Thanksgiving unit.  (I borrowed a projector so we could tour the Mayflower using the Scholastic website in the classroom.)

I had the class sitting close together in a taped off area while they watched the journey of the Mayflower.  We talked about how uncomfortable they were in the tight space.
We also toured the Mayflower and learned how large it was.  One student questioned if it was so big, why weren't there more people.  So we discussed the parts of the ship, what they were used for and then labeled a picture of it.  They loved this!
We then talked about what we would take if we had to make the 65 day journey.  After a great discussion the kiddos had to narrow it down and "pack their suitcase."  (Most wanted to pack a toilet because they didn't want to use a chamber pot!)  Around this time my principal, the superintendent, and a board member came in for a walk through.  Yeah, they were a bit noisy as they worked and shared and talked, but it was all about what they had learned...yay!  One little boy told them that he had his bag packed and he was going on a trip.  When asked "where?"  he responded, "well, I'm going to America of course!"  It was too cute.  Before we knew it, it was lunch.  What a great morning!

And on another note....To top off the great morning, my principal shared with me this afternoon that on Monday they will be starting installation of projectors and mobies (sp?)!  Finally!  I have been waiting since my 2nd year of teaching to get my hands on a projector/smartboard....This is my 12th year of teaching!  I am super excited about this news and CAN NOT wait!  

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Learning About the First Thanksgiving

I just uploaded my first themed unit...Learning About the First Thanksgiving to TpT.  I am excited that I finally got it is something I have been putting off because I knew it would be work putting all my ideas together and in one place...finally.  The unit is geared towards teaching about pilgrims, their voyage, meeting the Indians, and the hardships that led up to the First Thanksgiving.  It can be used with most of any of the books you already have or you can use Scholastic's wonderful website.  (If you haven't checked out the slideshows and virtual field trips on have to!  They are great!)  So, head over to my TpT store and check out my unit.  It is on sale for $5.00 since I waited so long to post it.  I hope it is something that everyone will find useful!

One last day to enter my giveaway for the Guided Reading Lesson Plan Templates!  Winners will be announced tomorrow night....  New followers and bloggers about my blog can still receive their prize!  So start following and spread the word!

Thank you to those who have just recently started following!  Be sure to leave me your email address so I can send you your freebie!  And a special thank you to First Grade Delight for the mention on your blog!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Yummy Doubles Practice {FREEBIE}!!

So while I was at home today with a sick kiddo, I got a little time to catch up on some long overdue blogstalking and came across a fun post about practicing doubles-snack style.  Hayley at Bishop's Blackboard shared an edible idea for double facts. 
Look yummy?  I know my firsties will {love} this!

It inspired me to create a handout to go along with her idea.... I was thinking you could even use chocolate frosting and mini marshmallows-for s'more double fact practice!  Be sure to visit her blog and check it out.  Click on the picture below if you would like a copy of my Yummy Double practice sheet.  Thanks Hayley for sharing your idea!

Don't forget to enter my giveway!  {See previous post}

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Giveaway Extravaganza!

I believe I need more motivation to get on the blogging roll!  I feel like I am still new to the blogging world and have no real idea what I am doing.  So here is my thinking....more followers = more motivation to blog.  I love finding great ideas so I want to pay it forward.....
Tic Tac Toe and Roll, Say, Keep
(see previous post)

 Sooooo.....if you would like a {free} copy of my 2 jungle themed game boards that are meant to be used with any spelling list, vocabulary list, sight word list, or math facts, then start following my blog.  Leave me a comment that you are a new follower, as well as your email address and I will send it your way.  If you are a follower already leave your email as well and you can get one too! 

And.............If you mention my giveaway on your blog leave me a comment as to where I can find your post, as well as your email address.....I am giving away my new Hands on Sort, Tally and Graph packet (normally $3.50) that I just uploaded to TpT and Teachers Notebook.  This giveaway ends November 18 when my Thanksgiving Break begins! doesn't stop there!  While putting together and finalizing my Sort, Tally and Graph packet I had my 1st grade son help me out.  For the sorting activities we used some of their Halloween candy.  He thought it would be fun to count all of the pieces of we did!  Which gave me an idea- I am giving away 3 copies of my Small Group Guided Reading Lesson Plan Templates to whoever (at least the first 3 people) can guess and/or come the closest to how many pieces we counted.  (Hint-there are a lot of tootsie rolls hidden in there!)

So leave me a comment with your guess (and email address so if you win I can let you know)!  Good luck!  You have 1 week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hands-on Ways to Practice Essential Skills

I have been working on several projects in my classroom..... so that is one explanation for me being MIA.  First project was getting math stations only took me 9 weeks to figure out how to get them going in my room with limited time and resources....I only have 20 min/3 times per week.  Sheeeeesh! 
So I decided to do 6 stations with 3-4 kids/group: 
[1] Overhead Station~review of past units by using familiar materials and transparencies.  Students take turns at playing teacher while using the overhead to "teach" the rest of their group. 
[2] Games~review math skills with the games that were already taught whole group (from the math series + others I have added). 
[3] Time Me~Work on math fluency based on mClass testing.  Students time eachother on reading numbers 1-100, missing number (sets of 3 numbers with 1 number missing), and determining numbers that are greater (box with 2 numbers-chooses the largest number).  Then they try to beat their own time the next round.
[4] Hands-on Fun~use manipulatives that we have used/learned about in a free-time manne making patterns, designing pictures, building, etc.
[5] Math Facts~practice math facts in various ways: flashcards, wrap-ups, puzzles, power towers, tic tac toe, Roll Say Keep, and other games. 
[6] Pocket Chart~matching numbers to number words, matching vocab words to their definition or picture, memory game of double facts and their sums, doubles rap
Of course this will free me up to do some sort of math interventions with the lower kids, but also try to hit the higher kids with some enrichment.  Now that we are rolling I can't wait to see how they work....the kiddos seem excited so I am too!

Another project was coming up with some ways to practice some essential skills in a fun, but easy way.  So I made a jungle themed tic tac toe board to use for vocabulary practice, math fact practice, spelling practice and sight word practice.  I also made a jungle themed Roll, Say, Keep board to practice as well.  I just made 2 sets of the words and facts that I wanted my kiddos to practice, 1 for each game.  These are great for stations and small groups.  (I laminated some of the mats and they are slightly curled up in the picture....I will probably re-laminate after putting them on cardstock so they lay flat.)
Tic Tac Toe math facts

Tic Tac Toe vocab words/definitions
Roll, Say, Keep mat
Tic Tac Toe sight words
I put this one in a clear, plastic 8x10
stand up frame 

Vocabulary sheet
We are responsible for teaching our kiddos 20 "Big Dog" academic vocabulary words per year.  This is not an easy task to keep interesting and fun to learn, as well as to teach.  We use a vocabulary sheet/chart for weekly work.  So I decided to use the cards I made for the above mentioned games and put them on index cards.  I then put them on an o-ring to keep them together.  They can easily be flipped through to review, but also easy to take off the ring to practice matching or play memory.  The thought is for the kiddos to make their own set and add to as we learn more words.


So, as you can see.... I have been busy working.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's Been Awhile....

So it's been awhile since I have been able to blog...busy weekends!  Last weekend I cheered my husband on as he ran a marathon in Milwaukee.  It was a rough one....but he finished!!  I love running but not sure if I could ever run 26.2 miles!!  This weekend was spent at the high school Friday night football game, apple and pumpkin picking at the orchard and taking care of a sick kiddo! 

Lots to share......

First off, I did manage to finish a word family activity that I've wanted to put together since the summer.  I thought I'd better get it done because it ties in with what we have been working on in our phonics program....rhyming words.  I got a bunch of Altoids containers, put a word family on a sticky note on the lid, and put a small handful of magnet letters inside. 

Word Family tins
I made a handout for the students to write down their words.  We have been talking a lot about real words and make believe words so that is what I focused my handout on.  Here is the picture of the handout.  If you are interested, leave your email in the comments, as soon as I get my Scrappindoodles license, I will send you a copy!
 I also wanted to share my Jungle books that I use daily in my classroom.  I absolutely love having them because they are a great go-to for students when they get done early, as well as a tool that we use throughout the day. 

Jungle Binder

letter tiles for word work
handwriting sheets

phonics keyword "cheat" sheet

more phonics "cheat" sheets

vocabulary work

poetry to use for fluency practice


There is also notebook paper at the front of the binder that we use for math work-like extra story problems or writing about what we did or learned in math.  this is still a work in progress since I am still getting use to the new math program.  On the back of the binder is a sheet of math number words for the students to use as well....forgot the picture.

If you are still hanging on for this long blog is an apple activity that we worked on last week.  We have been learning about apples...tis the season!   This week we learned about Johnny Appleseed, how apple trees grow, some of the names of the apples and the parts of the apple. One way we showed what we learned was labeling the parts of the apple in this craftivity.

Hopefully there will be more apple things to come!  We have a busy week wrapping up our study of apples (which includes homemade applesauce and other yummy things) and get report card testing done!  And it totally does not help that I will be home tomorrow with my sick kiddo!

Well, back to work on another long overdue project....graphic organizers for reading that go along with our ever-so-lovely reading program.

Monday, September 26, 2011

There's a Whole Lotta {quiet} Shaking Goin' On!

We shook and we spilled....and boy was it quiet!  {Loved} this activity with my kiddos.  Because of Melissa's post (see my previous post for the link) about the noise level, I decided to take some precautions because I knew we would be doing this activity for quite awhile finding sums of 7, 8 AND 9.  I got a set of foam can coolers to use as our "Spill Cups" and cut some cupboard liners to use as our "Spill Mats."  It worked perfect! 

I am actually looking forward to doing this again tomorrow to find sums of 10, 11, and 12.....and so are my kiddos! 

We worked whole group today on recording our answers, so tomorrow we add the handouts!  Can't wait!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Rain=A Blog Hopping Lazy Sunday with Great Finds

Crazy that I am doing 2 posts in one weekend!  It's raining again so I get some more computer time because I am feeling the laziness!  So I just found 2 great things that I wanted to share.

First off I found this great freebie from What the Teacher Wants that I can't wait to use and incorporate into my stations.

I also came across a post that goes right along with what we are doing in math....but it puts more of a game spin to it. This is from F is for First Grade.  Click on the picture to see the original post. 
We used the counters on Friday and were making sums of 4,5,6.  I have to be honest that by the end of the lesson I couldn't get them out to recess fast enough because I was ready to pull my hair out!  So I love the idea of "Shake and Spill" so much that I created these handouts to use next week as we find sums of 7, 8, 9 and yet another lesson on sums of 10, 11, 12.  The first 2 pages are for sums of 6 and more.  The second 2 pages are for the smaller sums.  Click on the picture to grab your copy!  Thanks for the idea Melissa!
Well, time to get moving!  Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing weekend!

**UPDATED Soggy Saturday=Lots of Checks on my To-Do List

**UPDATED POST (see below)

After a very wet soccer game this morning, I headed into school to work on my loooong to-do list.  I am proud to say that I got a lot accomplished....finally!  So here I am sharing what I have been working on.

First on  the list...change  my bulletin board.  We just finished week 6 and I have had the same bulletin board up since day 2.  I am trying something new so I can easily change out projects and not only display art projects but other academic work.  I hotglued clothespins to a piece of cardboard and stapled them on the wall near my vines.  I then added some leaves on top of the clothespins to mask them a bit.  I was trying to come up with a catchy saying to keep up all year, but I am not sure.  "Treemendous Work" ?!



Next on the list...organize myself for parent helpers and interventions.  So I put together a file box with student names where I can easily put work to be corrected with parents, flashcards or any other things that my students need help with.  There are directions on the lid as well as a ziploc bag of materials and a notebook to keep track of the help given.  The nice thing is...I can use it too when I get a few extra minutes (LOL)!

 **I just posted some more information on my kit, as well as some great {FREEBIES} to use to help get/stay organized when it comes to interventions.  Just click on the word {FREEBIES.}

My "Intervention Kit"

Intervention Instructions

Wanted: Poetry Station.  So I finally figured out how to get this station going.  We have been working on poetry almost since day 1 for fluency purposes.  I decided to carry them over to my new poetry station.  Space is limited in the classroom so I had to get a bit creative.  It is located on the inside of our classroom closet door.  To keep it organized I clipped the sentence strips together with a binder clip as well as the title of the poem on the outside.  Then I could hang the poems up on the closet wall (with the use of a pushpin).  I put all of the poems we have worked on in a binder and put that in a tray, also attached to the wall with pushpins.  I also made some highlighter pieces to use to highlight rhyming words in the pocket chart.These are in a baggie in the tray.  So when students go to poetry station they can: (a) read poems in the binder (b) arrange poems in the pocket chart (c) highlight the rhyming words.  We just started talking about visualizing as well so I will add some new poems to read then draw a picture of their mental images.  Whew!  That was are a few pics.

Inside the closet

Highlighter transparency

On the door

I also put up a Boggle board for my stations and my new agenda slips that include pics and times for my firsties that kept asking "is it time for....?"and "what does that say?"

*Pinterest inspired
Free letters available at my Teachers Notebook store
Love my new agenda cards!

More organization complete....overhead letter tiles are organized and ready to be used thanks to Pinterest!  Also made a file tub for graded papers throughout the week.  That way on Fridays when I work on my students' weekly reports all their week's work is ready to go!
Ice cube trays for my overhead tiles
As I grade papers, they get filed in student files to go home Friday!

I am exhausted, not only from the work I did today but from this long post!  I am hoping this makes up for the lack of blogging since school started.  Now....time to relax and enjoy the rest my weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great Find!

So I hit the dollar bins at Target at the right time because I picked up some foam blocks for 50% off.   I decided to use them in my ABC/Word station to build words.  I used a silver sharpie (*love) and wrote the alphabet on them, using the front and back to get a bigger variety of letters rather than use more blocks.  Not only can they be used to build words, but they can be used to practice abc order.

Still looking for new, hands-on fun abc/word activities.  What do you have at your ABC/Word station?