Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What We Love Wednesday - Wearing Costumes!

I LOVE dressing up. I don't really get into Halloween, but I love dressing up for school. It just makes the day more fun and the kids get a kick out of it. It's on my mind because this Friday, Mrs. Claborn and I get to dress up for our 2nd annual Bug Ball! We're finishing up our ladybug unit and are celebrating our learning by dressing up as insects and creating ladybug snacks (half of an apple, peanut butter or icing as your "glue", raisins or choc chips as spots). I'm SO excited about  wearing a costume on Friday, that I'm sharing some of my favorite (and kind of embarassing) school costumes.

  • Fancy Nancy! It was Book Character Day. You can't really tell but my hair was curled in ringlets and I had on gold leggings under some pink and purple polka dotted shorts. That was also the day I had to sign the lease for my apartment and I had to do it right after school... definitely got some weird looks in the apartment office!

  • Bug Ball 2010! Ok, so ladybugs don't really wear tutus... but we needed more flair! Miss Jacobs had the idea to wear tutus, and I googled how we could make our own. Turns out, tutus are SUPER easy to make, and you don't even have to sew! My grandma has this picture of me on her fridge. Yes, I swear I really am 30.

  • Holiday Pageant 2010! I was Dancer, and here I am with my buddy Dasher (also known as Mrs. Larkin). I know I took a picture with Mrs. Claborn that day, but I can't find it. I'm sure she'll post it - she was Miss Elle Toe (say it fast...).

  • 100th Day of School! Ok, so this isn't really a costume, but we did make our own shirts. Aren't you a little surprised I didn't find a way to work in a tutu?

I KNOW there have been many, many more but I never remember to bring my camera. Did you notice a theme? I love that I can find ways to wear a tutu and a tiara to work! 

If you're not following me yet, please do! I'm up to 85... 100 followers and my exciting giveaway are getting SO close!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Synonym and Antonym Memory Game

Y'all... I am tired of this rainy, gloomy, windy, cloudy weather in North Texas. I have one fear - lightning. I realize the chances of being struck by lightning are slim, but there's still a chance! I had to run to my car one afternoon last week through rain with thunder and lightning, and I can only imagine how funny I looked running in my boot, with a look of terror on my face!. Anyway, this is what I'd like to say to the weather around here:

How cute is that?! It's from the adorable April Showers kit I bought from Just So Scrappy!

We are working on synonyms and antonyms this week and I made these memory games to go over both. There's a recording sheet to use after the students play. Click the graphic below to download from google docs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Area Activity - You're the Designer!

Next week our measurement unit will be moving on to area, temperature and capacity. We're going to be cooped up in our room a lot (no specials because of state testing, lunch in our rooms to give the paraprofessionals a week off of lunch duty) so I've planned LOTS of get-up-and-move, hands-on activities. This is an independent practice page I made for my kiddos to show off their inner architect and designer after our active learning. Click on the preview below to download from google docs.

PS - I'm at 77 followers! I'm getting closer and closer to 100 and I CANNOT WAIT to announce my celebratory giveaway!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What We Love Wednesday - Wildlife!

Today Mrs. Claborn and I went on a FAB-U-LOUS field trip. It was an hour long bus ride from our school, but SO well worth the trip. We teachers loved it because it was very well organized, everything ran smoothly, the staff was very attentive and the field trip was engaging. Of course, I'm happy if my kiddos are happy and they definitely were! The students loved it because they got to see exotic animals close up, pet a kangaroo and a lemur, go on a safari and pet horses and camels, see zebras, donkeys, zedonks, potbelly pigs, and some others I know I'm forgetting, and finally go on a "train" ride. If you're in North Texas, you definitely need to check out Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch. We took 85-ish kids, 4 teachers, and lots of parents and EVERYONE had a great time. In fact, it was so fun that I left immediately after our staff meeting (that never happens), went home and took about a 2 hour nap. Whew. I bet my firsties' parents will have no trouble getting those sweethearts to bed tonight!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Centers, Post Ideas, Measurement Idea Help?

I tested my new centers (that I posted on Sunday) out on my firsties today and they loved them! They really like that one of the spinner sections (on Growing a Garden) is "helping a neighbor" and they enjoyed giving a garden piece away instead of putting it back. SO, if you didn't download them yet, do it! They're free and they're first grade tested and approved! My first graders also think everything I say is hilarious (Do you ever feel like your class is also your fan club?), so naturally they thought it was SUPER funny when I said the plastic eggs were hatching numbers this week. Seriously. Peals of laughter.

Tomorrow Mrs. Claborn and I (and the rest of our team) have an exciting adventure to a wildlife ranch an hour away. We've never been to this place before and I'm really looking forward to checking it out! I know the kids are going to LOVE seeing some exotic animals. I am hoping it's not too wet from all the rain tonight since these days I'm wearing a very large, fuzzy, not-cute-in-any-way boot on my right foot. Since I have to wear it for about 3 more weeks, I'd rather it not be caked with mud. Back story here? I sprained my ankle back on oh... NEW YEARS EVE while wearing way too tall shoes, and as all you teachers will understand... it didn't get any rest the last 3 1/2 months at school. So, at my recent check up with the orthopedist, I got this awesome new accessory. I'm getting to the point here. In light of the field trip, and the fact that my ankle and I will be EXHAUSTED tomorrow, do you have any requests or suggestions for a "What We Love Wednesday" topic? I'm afraid my brain might not be at it's most creative tomorrow evening. Leave me a comment and share your idea!

We started a measurement unit this week. This week is all about length, but next week we'll be covering area and temperature. I have tons of resources, but nothing seems fresh and exciting (maybe because I've done them so many times?). Does anyone have any great posts to direct me to or ideas to share?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Exciting new addition to my organizational staff

I picked this guy up at Office Max today. With my $10 off coupon, it was just $22! I've been looking for something with at least 6 drawers. I was thrilled! Right now I use a file folder stand to organize my materials for the week and I really needed more space. First thing tomorrow I will be labeling these drawers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Centers/Stations/Guided Reading. Here he is on the way home, riding with the windows down, dreaming about his new life in B103.

One more way to use those Easter eggs!

Since there's one week left before Easter, I wanted to find one more way to use those plastic eggs. This week I'm going to use them in a math center. I'm going to put 2 number tiles into each egg and have the students "hatch" the numbers and create related number sentences. Click the preview below to download it for yourself!

PS - Stay tuned. I have a fabulous giveaway planned if when I get 100 followers!

How does your garden grow?

This week we're working with r-controlled a, so I created a little game to use in centers this week. We've just wrapped up our plants unit and of course have been enjoying the beautiful spring weather here so it's all about growing a garden. Click on the graphic below to download it from google docs. I had a great time playing around with my new purchases from Just So Scrappy. That was the first time I'd been to the site and I know now that it won't be the last! Her stuff is super adorable and VERY affordable! Happy gardening!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What We Love Wednesday - Working Together

I have a confession: I love to make charts, lists and posters. I was thrilled to be teaching graphing these last two weeks. AND I especially love making these things with my kiddos. It's engaging, it's authentic (because really I'm just recording their thoughts), and most importantly anchor charts are such a fabulous resource for the students to refer back to! I really wish I had room to keep up everything we make together, but we're a little space challenged in B103. These charts are what we made together today after brainstorming as many /er/ sound words as we could. They're not the most exciting charts we've ever made, but one of my sweeties told me I'm "like the best drawler in the class". :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What We Love Wednesday - Wish Lists!

Hi there! Just making up another missed post, this one is from last Wednesday, April 6th. Last week all of the teachers/teams at school got the chance to make "wish lists" for the PTA Disbursement Committee. 1st grade was super lucky last year and our awesome PTA was able to get one of these (with a cd player) for each of us and we are SO loving them!

So after making our lists this week, Mrs. Claborn and I decided our posts would be about what we're wishing for this year. These 3 items are on my PTA wish list and they're all from... you guessed it- Lakeshore!

Fill in the Blank Phonics Stamps - Set 1
I think these would be such a great center, especially in the beginning of the year. I know I have some strugglers right now who could really benefit from and enjoy an activity like this!

Fill in the Blank Phonics Stamps - Set 2
Same as above, with more advanced phonics skills.

Sound it Out Phonics Puzzles Set

Do you see a pattern here? I really felt like I was lacking in my phonics centers. Since my first three years of teaching were in 2nd grade, I have lots of literacy centers for the second half of the year or for those advanced firsties. Of course, I have so many games that I've created or downloaded that target specific skills, and I love them, but I wanted some "insta-centers" that target several skills, benefit kids at different levels and abilities and can be used over and over again. And most importantly, I wanted activities that I could use in the beginning of the year when the kids are traning for independent centers. These skill building activities with short, simple instructions would be awesome to have and I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that I get them!

If you haven't yet, head on over and visit Mrs. Claborn at Burst of First and check out her wish list. She included some multicolored drawers that we're both eyeing and hoping to find on sale somewhere soon!

What's on your classroom wish list?

What We Love Wednesday - Writing

I'm doing a little make up work this morning and catching up on my "What We Love Wednesday" posts. Wednesday, March 30, Mrs. Claborn and I decided to write about writing. I left my computer at school that night and wasn't able to finish my post. Since then I've just been too busy and too exhausted to do anything but school and sleep. I am really missing my blogworld though so here I am.
What We Love Wednesday - Writing
(Wednesday, March 30)

I L-O-V-E STICKER STORIES. That is hands-down my most favorite writing activity. I love how this activity is multilevel, open ended and gives the students so much ownership and choice. I have a confession though... I spend a fortune on stickers. You see, I have an incredibly hard time making decisions. Of any kind. So when I see a wall of stickers at the teacher store, I am completely paralyzed - how can I choose between pandas or woodland animals? Or space aliens and transportation? Farm animals or zoo animals? Ok, I'll take them all! Sometimes I give the students parameters - for example, last time we'd been focusing on stories so they really had to make sure they included characters, and some kind of beginning, middle, end story. In the beginning of the year, they simply wrote about what was happening in the picture. As the year went on, they got more descriptive and we'd work on adding in our reading, writitng and grammar skills - using action words, characters, setting, using was/were, is/are, has/have appropriately... you get the idea! The only constant is that they can only choose two stickers. That way, they really have to visualize a scene and create it. In the first half of the year, I give the students a sticker story paper - it has a box at the top for their pictures and then lines on the bottom half for writing. Now that they're writing a little straighter, I just give them manila or white paper (not gonna lie, this started as a way to conserve copies).

My sticker collection - there's something for everyone! The space, kids, pandas and penguins are the favorites.

Here are my little authors working on their pictures and stories. These were all on the same day - I love how different they all are!

Some samples of the final products! I had to do a little editing to remove their names.

What's your favorite writing activity?