Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm still here!

Well hello there blog world! It's been almost... 4 months?! Weren't any of you wondering if I'd just decided to stay in Mexico post BFF's wedding??? Good news - I didn't! I did however return after my 5 day trip to a crazy busy final month of first grade with my kiddos - honestly, who doesn't have a crazy busy last month of school? And then... once summer hit, I needed a brain break from work. Instead, I've read about 2-3 books a week, worked out, enjoyed time with my friends... and have done absolutely nothing school related whatsoever. Oh yeah... and THIS happened:

 (No idea why this keeps rotating!)

 Yep! On June 21, I got engaged to my sweet boyfriend whom I've been dating for about 3 and 1/2 years. So the rest of the summer just seems like a blur or happiness and sparkle :). Actually, this summer was a blur of weddings, wedding showers, bachelorette parties, with a graduation and moving thrown in. The moving was me, but the rest of that was in honor of wonderful friends and family. It was an amazing summer. Then last week hit and it was time to start setting up my classroom. I'm not gonna lie, moving all of my furniture back and hanging things on the wall got me more than a little excited about beginning a new school year. I hit the ground running yesterday presenting a new teacher training and am preparing for another one on Monday, so now I definitely feel like school is back in session. Wow - was that really 11 weeks off???

So in case I'm not back during the hectic week and a half that I have left before the first day of school, GOOD LUCK to all of you heading back for your first day soon and keep up the good work to those of you already back! I know we're all going to have a fantastic 2012-2013!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Earth Day and Frozen Fact Families

This is a crazy busy week. I am trying to do this week's work, plus get sub plans ready for Thursday, Friday and Monday, AND work ahead so that when I get back to school on Tuesday I'm not already behind. Oh and you know, PACK for a 4 day trip to Mexico for my best friend's wedding. I am so excited about the trip and I will be even more excited tomorrow at this time when I'm finished will all of the above mentioned things. So, in light of all that, I don't have a tech tip for you, just two quick catch up shares.

Last week we finally wrapped up addition and subtraction round 2. Thank goodness. I REALLY need a break from those part part whole mats! So now we're on to fractions, which I think (and I think the kids agree) is a really fun unit. That sounds so nerdy, but it's true - graphing, fractions and geometry are probably my favorite math units. As I was trying to keep the excitement and freshness alive during that last week of fact strategies, I threw in this little frozen fact family activity. We were working with heating, cooling, freezing, and melting in science and Wednesday was ice cream in a bag day... so I tied our math in to the ice cream excitement and created these. I differentiated them by having some students work with larger numbers and allowing them to choose their numbers.

We celebrated Earth Day yesterday with a story and discussion about what we can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and take care of our Earth.. After all, it's the only one we've got! This is the book we read:

I really wanted our activity to put these things into action so I found this pinned on Pinterest and that's what we did! I sent an email to parents and had egg cartons in no time, soil was donated by another parent, I had pipe cleaners laying around already, so all I had to do was buy a packet of wheatgrass seeds. E-A-S-Y! The kids thought it was really fun and they got to take home something that really represented Earth Day - they reused styrofoam egg cartons to make something new AND put something new into the world by planting something. I know it's a little late now, but definitely check this book out and file it away for next year, it was a good one and really explained things in a way my firsties could understand.

Now I'm off to finish my to do list and get ready for my EXTREMELY early flight on Thursday morning. See y'all next week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tech Tips {from you} Tuesday and Band-Aid Words

I haven't posted since last Tuesday! Yikes! I'm just going to ramble for a minute to catch you up. 31 days to go - and only 28 for me! I am a worry about everything, sweat the small stuff kinda girl. I'm trying to let some of that go and tell myself that I need to focus only on what I really want to accomplish in the next 31 days. It's not really working, but I'm trying! I applied to teach summer school this year. I have done it once before. There are not very many spots, but I am crossing my fingers that I will get a position this year. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the down time and summer break, but I also go absolutely crazy when I don't have anything to do. Are you wondering why I only have 28 days left and not 31 like my kiddos? Well, my best friend is getting married in Mexico next Saturday and I am the maid of honor, so I will be missing 3 days of school. YES, deep breath, I will be missing 3 days of school. It's a little stressful to be gone so long but I have a great sub and I was out for 3 days in February when I went to TCEA and things went on with out me... OH! My class won the perfect attendance award AGAIN! That's the fourth six weeks this year! The class that has the highest rate of students with perfect attendance wins, and what can I say? My kids LOVE coming to school every day!So do I! Ok, you're all caught up.

Tonight my tech tip post is going to be a little different. Instead of giving you a tech tip or a website, etc. I want tips from you! I've heard that my district is going to pilot using iPads in the classroom and that there will be an application process. I want to get prepared for this because obviously I WANT ONE!!! and so I want to pick your brains. Do you have an iPad? How do you use it in the classroom? Are there apps you love? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share by either leaving me a comment or leaving a link to a post on your own blog. I'd really love to know more about how primary teachers are using them and I know there are lots of y'all out there.

Are you wondering what band-aid words are? Band-aid words are what we're calling our ou/ow words that we are studying this week. The kids are making large band-aids with manila paper and I will definitely post pictures when they are finished - so cute. If you don't have time for all of that, you can make a class anchor chart together and have students record on this sheet.

Have a great week! Leave me some comments about iPads!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

Hey y'all! This is going to short and sweet (for me, anyway). We had a FOUR day weekend for the Easter holiday - it was awesome. Sadly I spent day 4 (Monday) of it being super frustrated because our report card window is now open and I couldn't log on. Of course it is now 9:30 on Tuesday night, report card drafts are due tomorrow, and I still cannot even log in. So frustrated. I've been watching My Week With Marilyn while trying over and over again to log in - have you seen it? I wasn't super interested in it and now I am so glad I got it from Netflix. Cute cute movie about someone that I know almost nothing about. Michelle Williams was great. Maybe telling you to rent that movie should be my tech tip. Alright, here's my REAL tip.

As I've mentioned every week for the last several weeks... we are still revisiting addition and subtraction to 20. I'm tired of it. My high group is tired of it. My middle group is tired of it. My low group is tired of it. Everyone in between is tired of it. BUT the good news is they all love my games so we are continuing to build that fact fluency playing lots and lots of different games in math stations. Our doubles rap is pretty fun too. You can check out that post here. So we're in this never-ending unit and I'm trying to look ahead to the end of the year because - GASP - we only have 36 more school days! (I actually only have 33 because I'm in a wedding in Mexico at the end of the month!) I found these activities today and I immediately added them to my Tizmos page for my challenge group to work on using our student stations during math station time. While this group does still need to build fact fluency, they don't need to work on that for every station because they already get the concepts of addition and subtraction while honestly, some of my other kids are still a little unclear on those skills. I'm ready to reinforce and refresh all of our skills we've been working on all year long as firsties to make sure they are good and ready for second grade!

  • First Grade Jeopardy - I can't wait to play this with a small group tomorrow. I will pull one student from each pair of my above level math stations, play the game with them so they understand how it works, then send them back to teach their partners. I am blessed with 6 student stations (only 5 are now working of course) and I *think* I can put pairs on each to play so all of them will be able to have a turn.
  • Houghton Mifflin Math First Grade Test Prep - I don't use Houghton Mifflin Math, but I came across this companion site and had a great time clicking around in different units and checking out the content. Sounds boring, right? Hey kids, want to take a quiz? NO! Hey kids, want to take a quiz on the computer? YES! Enough said. I actually think it makes it more fun that I don't know what any of the units or chapters are - SURPRISE! This one is graphing! SURPRISE! This one is time! My kids will have so much fun. That being said, I do teach at a math magnet, haha! Oh - and here is the main page in case you want to check out another grade besides first.
That's all I got. Slow internet and my need to finish report cards only allowed me that much time. Let me know if you check out those sites!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday/Wednesday and More {FREE} Games

This whole Tuesday thing doesn't seem to be happening for me. Maybe I should change it to Web Wednesday. Or maybe I will get my act together and start posting on Tuesdays... we'll see! In my defense, there were 12 tornadoes here yesterday! We had to go into severe weather procedures and get against the wall with our heads down twice! I didn't even have all of my kiddos picked up until more than an hour after school got out! I came home and watched the news... and fell asleep. So... no blog post. Since I'm a day late I came prepared with LOTS of technology resources for you today - YAY!

I'm going to start with a share - two quick addition games that I made today. I know I mentioned this already but our pacing guide has us revisiting addition and subtraction for 6 weeks right now. I feel like we've been doing it all year! I'm trying to keep my munchkins engaged and interested by creating new games even though they are practicing the same old skills. Click on the pictures to download from GoogleDocs. All clip art from Scrappin Doodles and Just So Scrappy. Fonts from Kevin and Amanda.

Students roll a 0-9 die, double the number and cover it up. First player to cover the board wins! (I know the picture has two 8s, but I assure that the printable version has an 8 and an 18!)

Each pair of students needs counters of two different colors, one 0-9 die and one game board. Students roll the die twice (or roll two dice), add the numbers together and cover the sum. If they reach a sum that has been covered by the other player, they can "sink it" by taking it off and replacing it with their own. The game is over when the board has been completely covered and the player with more counters on the board is the winner. 

Now - Tech Time!

First up... this little ditty which we've all got stuck in our heads. There is a 1-5 version and a 6-10 version. When we do it together, everyone gets a parter to hold up the numbers together (showing doubles) and we made up a whole dance that goes with it. It's quite the workout but oh... it is so cute and so fun!

I challenge you to watch those and not sing them for the next hour afterwards! Moving on...

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I LOVE poetry! Even more, I love poetry in the classroom! Here are some resources I found to share with y'all tonight so that your students can love poetry too! - Great poetry resources, especially related to activities for Poetry Month

Scholastic Poetry Idea Engine - Interactive poetry idea engine - use it to create haikus, free verse, limericks or cinquains.

ReadWriteThink Poetry - Resources, activities and lessons related to poetry and Poetry Month

Kathi Mitchell Poem Types - This lists different types of poetry in alphabetical order, explaining what each is with an example. For many of the poem types, a website is given for an interactive poetry activity.

Basically, I started looking for sites and was so overwhelmed by the results that I thought it was better for me to list some of the sites that listed other sites... ha! Does that make sense?

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of blog world!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Double Bubble Doubles/Doubles Plus One Game

In an effort to keep an old skill fresh, I created a quick little game for my students to work on their doubles and doubles plus one fact fluency. To play the game students need a game board and a 0-9 die. Students roll the die, double the number, then cover up or cross out that number on the game board. Once all of the doubles sums have been crossed out or covered up, the move on to doubles plus one - roll the die, double the number, add one more, then cover up or cross out. First player to cover up or cross out all of the sums wins! Enjoy!

If you are looking for more ways to use your plastic eggs - check out my posts here and here from last spring for a sound activity and related facts activity! Another little way you can use them is to let your kids shake dice up in them if you are playing a dice game. We have TONS of dice games in math stations right now since we're working with facts and the kids think it's SO much fun to shake them up in the egg, then crack it open and spill them out. How are you using plastic eggs?

See y'all tomorrow for Tech Tip Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

It's Tuesday and I am back with a new tech tip for y'all! My tip tonight is about a website and tool that is most importantly, free, but I also think it has many applications for teachers and... just regular old humans! The site is called Wallwisher and well, it's kind of awesome. This site allows you to create "walls", which are pages to which you privately post messages for yourself, or publicly allow others to post to (Any other teachers out there have a love affair with post its?). I love posting questions for my kids to respond to on KidBlog, but this might even beat that. If you have easy access to multiple student stations, netbooks, a computer lab, or even if your students have reliable, consistent internet access at home, you definitely want to check this out and try it soon. What a great way to have students discuss, respond and reflect - in 160 characters or less, of course. At the very least, I know I personally am always emailing myself and sticking post its everywhere - this is a much better way to access your to-do list or personal notes from anywhere!

I created a wall here for you blog readers to see a demo and leave me a post and tell me how you think you might use this. If you want more information, check out their FAQ page or the demo page. You can also embed or share your "wall".


Go there! Now! Let me know how you plan to use this cool web tool!