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!

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday!

It's FRIDAY! This post has NOTHING to do with anything instructional, I'm just in a great mood and this is why:

  • It is a beautiful day in Dallas today!
  • It's Friday!
  • 17 out of my 21 kids came to Open House and that makes me think they might really like what we're doing in here!
  • There are only 46 days left of school... and then I can read my Kindle and sleep in to my heart's content!
  • Hunger Games came out today! I braided my hair like Katniss for the occasion.

Have a SUPER weekend friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open House Invitation

Is it weird that I like the smell of Lysol? I walked in from parent pick up (that's what we call our carpool) and I was immediately energized by the clean smell of my room! My students wiped down their desks before they left today, mainly so their parents wouldn't see how much they struggle to get all forms of glue to it's intended recipient. I don't live very far from my school, but it's not worth the time and traffic to go home and come back, so I'm up here straightening a few last minute things and working ahead for next week. While I have a few minutes, I thought I'd hop on and share the invitations we made to encourage our families to attend tonight. I love creating invitations for school events because I feel like I really do get a better turn out. Also, the kids have so much fun making them, especially these!

You will need:
1 81/2"x11" sheet of manila or white paper for each invitation

First, holding the paper horizontally, fold in the sides so that they meet in the middle.
Next, fold in the top corners until they meet in the middle and create a triangle.

 Now cut off the triangle flaps that you just folded over so that your paper looks like this:

Decorate your house and create an invitation!
We have a little mini lesson on writing an invitation and talk about what the important information is that your reader needs to know. We put all of that information on the inside of the flaps. In the middle section, we write a sentence to get them interested in coming. For example: Come see all of the _____ things we've been learning! We have a little brainstorming session where I record all of the adjectives they generate that could fit in that sentence, then they pick one and write it. That's it! One of my kids finally said, "Hey! It's a house that opens for Open House!" Yesss... that's where I was going with that, I'm glad someone caught on! I'm not an artist and I am sure there are some teachers out there that could turn this into something WAY cuter, but hey, I did my best! 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Things

Hold the phone... I'm blogging two days in a row. That NEVER happens! I guess I was just so pleased with the adorable 3D flowers we made today that I had to get on and share! I think I've had my kids do this activity and post it for open house as long as I've been in first grade, but usually we do it by assembling paper pieces. This year I wanted to do something a little more fun and after googling and pinteresting, I found a few ideas but nothing was quite perfect. So I made up my own using things I already had at home and in my craft tubs.

The final product:
To make this you will need:
green pipe cleaners (1 per student)
baking cups (1 per student)
3"-4" pieces of yarn (1 per student)
construction paper
flower parts labels (click here for mine)
brown and yellow crayons
gold glitter (optional)

First, fold your baking cup in half, then in half again, and yes, one more time. Like so:
 Please excuse my dry cuticles...

Next, round of the top of your folded cup. Like this:

Now unfold it, et voila! A flower!

Next. you can have your students paint or color the center yellow for the pollen. I added a little gold glitter gel on top just to give them a little Open House sparkle.

To make the stem, I cut off the top quarter of the pipe cleaner, then cut that piece in half. The long piece is used for the stem and your students will create the leaves out of the two smaller pieces.

In order to make the roots, I used brown yarn, but you could also use twine or more pipe cleaners. I gave each student a piece that was between 3" and 4" and allowed them to cut that piece into smaller pieces to create roots themselves. 

Finally, put all of the pieces together, add the labels and draw in the soil. You have a 3D plant diagram and is cute, fun to create and educational - win, win, win!

(We're working on adverbs that tell when this week.... could you tell, HA?)

I need to add a permanent disclaimer that says "Warning! You are about to encounter photos of terrible quality!". Ugh. One of these days I WILL get a new digital camera.

But WAIT! There's more (said in my best infomercial voice)! Here's a mini math center I created to reinforce fact families. We are revisiting addition and subtraction going up to 20 right now and I needed some new materials to keep these review concepts fresh. Enjoy! Click on the cover to download from Google Docs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday and a Freebie

Happy first day of spring blog friends! It's Tuesday so here I am with a tip and a website to share with you! Open House is this Thursday... I hate that it is always the week after Spring Break... and I have been B-U-S-Y prepping for that big event!

  • Google Docs - I share the majority of my printables and materials through Google Docs and I know many other bloggers do too. Even though I know all of my materials are available for download, I still get emails nearly daily from Google Docs requesting that I share my files. So, I thought it might be helpful to some for me to attempt to explain how you can save files in Google Docs. When you click on a link that takes you to Google docs, all you need to do is click "file", then "download" or "download as" and save it to your computer. Just be sure you are clicking file in the Google Docs toolbar and not in your browser's toolbar. That's ALL you have to do! Also, if you are signed with your Google account, Google Docs will automatically save a copy of the file in your account. Seriously... it's that easy. 

  • Read to Me  - This a neat {FREE} site where your kids can stream videos of celebrities reading popular children's books. I've been using this site all year as one of their Daily 5 "Listen to Reading" choices. I didn't discover this site myself, that credit goes to Mrs. Claborn. There aren't a ton of books, but I'm not complaining - it's FREE! I recommend Bugtown Boogie... now,  I've never actually read it but I see my kids listening to it every single day so it HAS to be good, right?
Speaking of Daily 5... I have a little freebie for you! I know this is a big no-no, but I remade our I-Charts today. I created them with my kids and I've had those up all year... but they are looking a little worn. I just couldn't stand it anymore. The "Listen to Reading" chart is pretty specific for my kiddos and what I allow them to do at that time, but I thought I'd share anyway! Click on the picture to download.

Clip Art Courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles
Borders Courtesy of Graphics from the Pond

Off to enjoy a few minutes of blog stalking and Kindle Fire reading before turning in! Goodnight!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yeehaw! A Texas (and Western) Unit

No Tech tip Tuesday this week because like me, it's on spring break.  BUT I am here today to share with you the Texas/Western/Cowboy/Cowgirl unit I created and used with my class last week. It was a really fun week and a great way to send them off on their own Texas adventures for spring break! I have to take a minute to say that I love that I am 31 and still get a spring break. Seriously. It's been an awesome week! Back to business... I like doing this unit at this time because we have Open House the week after spring break, and it's a super unit for creating and displaying work. Scroll down for a few pictures and examples of things we did (as always, let me apologize for the poor quality of my pictures, my iPhone is my only camera) and you can click on the cover to head over to Google Docs and download my mini unit for free! I say "mini unit" but it ended up being 36 pages, so I'm not sure how mini it is, and there are a lot of activities that I didn't snap pictures of (darn!).

 We created these cactus pictures on a full sheet on manila paper folded in half. It will serve as their Texas portfolio for Open House next week. 

Texas, Texas YEEHAW! Off to enjoy the rest of my spring break!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

Hi! It's Tuesday again so I'm back with a new tech tip! This is going to be a super short post as I will be back soon in the next few days to post the Texas/Cowboy unit we're in the middle of. Today's tip is...

  • WatchKnowLearn - This is an AWESOME site that provides free, educational, pre-screened videos for kids K-12. There are THOUSANDS of videos - seriously, go search something right now and I dare you to NOT find something you can use tomorrow. You won't be able to do it. I mean, a video of Justin Bieber reading The Cat in the Hat? What more could you need anyway? HA! Really though, we're studying Texas this week and on the first page of results from my Texas search I found 2 videos that I could use immediately. I love not having to screen the video and somehow, while YouTube is blocked at school, I can still access the appropriate and educational videos from YouTube through this site. Now go forth and search!
Hope you are all having a fantastic week! I only have 3 more days until Spring Break! Holler! 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

It's only the second week and I already missed my Tuesday post! I have a good excuse - I have been feeling a little under the weather since last Wednesday but I kept pushing myself, working out, etc. and it finally caught up with me. One doctor's visit and 2 prescriptions later, I'm feeling *a little* better today and I know tomorrow will be even better! For this week's post I decided to share things that I thought might fit into all the Dr. Seuss activities going on this week. These are both sites that I heard about while at TCEA. Enjoy!

  • Switcheroo Zoo - Your students can create and name their own animal, learn about animals and habitats and play some really fun (and educational!) games. You can definitely create some Seuss-like creatures! Here's an example of an animal that I just created:

  • Build Your Wild Self - I haven't used this site with my class yet, but I can't wait to. What a neat way for the kiddos to express themselves creatively! I also think this would be an interesting project for the beginning of the year to learn about your students' personalities! The site is exactly what it says - you are building your wild self. It's like making your Mii on the Wii, but with some optional animal parts added in! Here's one I made this afternoon:

Now I'm off to enjoy all of the fantastic sales on TpT today!!! Happy Leap Day! (Anyone else watch 30 Rock last week??? I found myself wanting to say "Nothing's impossible on Leap Day" and "Real life is for March" today.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Google Docs

Good morning! I've received lots of messages recently asking me to share things through Google Docs that should already be available. I don't know why the links are not allowing you to download because when I look at my Google Docs page, it shows everything as being shared! As long as you click on the link I've provided on the blog, it should allow you to access it, but apparently that's not happening. So, for time being, if there is something you tried to access and it did not let you, please email me at and let me know which activity you were trying to download and I will send it to you. I guess I will have to go through each document that I've shared and double check the settings and see if that solves the problem.

TGIF! Have a great day!

***UPDATE*** 3/2/12
After reading and commenting about this issue on some other blogs, I think the problem is that many are confused about the download process. When you click on a link and it takes you to Google Docs, all you need to do is click on "file" (in the Google Docs toolbar, not your browser toolbar), then click download so that you can save your own copy. If you are signed into you Google Docs account, Google Docs will also automatically save it in Google Docs. Trust me on that one... every file I have ever clicked on while perusing blogs is still in my Google Docs - eeeek! You do not want to click share, because that will not allow you to email it to yourself or a friend, it will send me an email telling me you requested to share it. What you want to do, is follow the steps above, and if you did want to share it with a friend, then email the file once you have downloaded it or opened in in Adobe! I hope that helps!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

I like alliteration. Do you remember "What We Love Wednesday" last year? It was my weekly link up last year with my (former) teammate, Mrs. Claborn. I can't promise that I will absolutely post every Tuesday, but I miss my weekly "assignments" and since I a) am always looking for new ways to integrate technology into first grade b) teach at a technology magnet and c) recently had the privilege to attend TCEA, I think this will be a good fit. Here we go!

1. Search Cube - Go search something. Seriously. It's awesome. Search cube is a visual search engine that presents your results in the form of a cube. You can use your arrows to navigate to different faces of the cube and scroll your mouse over tiles to see previews of the search results. I tested it out with a little search on Abraham Lincoln, in honor of Presidents' Day. So. Cool. Go try it out. NOW!!!

2. PicLits - Again, this is just a darn cool site! It's free, it's fast, it's first grade friendly! On this site, students choose a picture from a gallery, then create a caption to go with it. I love the choice and open-endedness that this site allows. Once a picture is chosen, students can drag and drop words to create their caption, or click freestyle to type their very own sentence. If they choose freestyle, a bank of suggested words will still be provided. If you want to save, share, email, etc., the projects that your students create, then you need to create an account. All piclits are automatically posted in the gallery under your username if you save them so you probably want to create a name for yourself that's not too terribly identifying. So far my only issue with this site has been that some usernames can be... interesting.

3. Tagxedo - You've probably already seen this on other blogs, but just in case you haven't, it's another word cloud site, similar to wordle, but in the words of the tagxedo site, these are word clouds with style. You can choose from an extensive gallery for your word cloud shape and even upload your own image or shape. My kids are pretty well trained in wordle skills, but I am sure they can handle the switch! I know they will love creating shaped word clouds even more than they love creating wordles!

4. Pinterest - HA! Just kidding! But seriously, I just created a specific Fantastic First school only account last Wednesday which now has 15 boards, 94 pins... in less that one week. I need an intervention.

Let me know if you try any of these out or if you already using them!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day!

How many of you have school today? We Students don't have school today (it's a staff only day), so I don't have any presidential activities going on but I am going to do different presidential themed activities throughout the remainder of my short(er) week. Thank you Pinterest and blogland for all the great ideas! One of my favorite activities from last year was the job application I made. It was so funny to read why my students thought they'd make a good president! I'm really looking forward to reading through those again and you can bet that will be one of the first activities we do. If you're interested, you can find that post here. You can also find other related posts here. I ordered a new book about Presidents Day (Having an Amazon Prime account just makes ordering things too easy!!!) and I can't wait to read it to my kids. I am always on the look out for new books - what books do you use for Presidents Day and related activities? Do you have any great Abraham Lincoln books? I have several on George but my Abe section is empty and I'm borrowing from the library. I'd love to hear about some cute titles to order for next year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine How Tos and Measurement Printables

I love February... but it is SO busy!!! Groundhog's Day, 100th Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Dental Health... and it's been busy for me outside of the classroom too. I feel like I don't have enough time to do everything I want to do! Story. Of. My. Life. Whew. Here's a peek at what we did to celebrate Valentine's Day yesterday - it wasn't much because we also had a field trip to our district's environmental center. I rolled a fun craft into a science and writing activity - the kids had fun, they learned new things, and had a little souvenir in the form of a heart shaped crayon to show for it.

First, I told them we would be making our own crayons. One of my sweeties already knew how it worked because I had her brother last year and those kiddos made "Lone Star Crayons". But the rest of them thought this was a crazy idea - what magic could I possibly possess to make this happen! In first grade, our science standards doesn't specifically include solids and liquids, but they do include changes caused by heating and cooling. We had a discussion about what our crayons looked like to start with and how we could possibly change their shape and then turn them back into a solid again. I think they really did think I have some magic up my sleeve. Or a silicone heart pan and a toaster oven. Once we'd completed our magic and our crayons were in the oven, we gathered on the floor and did a shared writing of a how to. The kids went through each step in great detail while I scribed our intstructions. Finally, while the crayons cooled off, they went back to their desks and re-created the how to, using illustrations. They turned out SO adorable. It was such a fun activity and I love it when I trick them into loving something that sounds boring (like writing a how to)! That was the only Valentine activity we had time for but it's definitely a keeper!

And I had to share these adorable Valentines that I made for my class... thank you Pinterest and Etsy!

Wait! One more thing! I almost forgot to include my measurement stations! As with all of my math stations, there are two versions of each so I can better meet my students' needs. Click here to download "How long is it?" and here to downloand "Yarn Length Hunting".

And now off to eat the remains of those swedish fish and read... Did I tell y'all that I got a Kindle Fire for Chirstmas? I'm in love. I don't have many spare minutes but seriously, when I'm not sleeping, eating, planning or teaching... I'm kindle-ing. Love, love, love.

**P.S. I apologize, once again, for the absolutely terrible quality of my pictures. My iPhone is all I have and those pictures do not transfer well to blogland!

**P.P.S I created a new pinterest account, just for school-related things. I was getting overwhelmed by the amount of things I was pinning for personal and professional use! also I wanted to explore the idea of using it as a teaching tool - pinning sites for students, parents, etc. Do you use have a teacher pinterest? How do you use it professionally?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blog Anniversary!

Exhausted doesn't quite cover it. Groundhog activities yesterday and today, 100th day festivities today, AND THEN I taught staff development until 6:30. This was one of those rare nights that I did not bring my school bag home. But I had to get on and post because...Today is the anniversary of my very first post! So thanks for following, reading, commenting and listening! It's been a fun hobby and I look forward to another year of collaborating!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An ee/ea printable, eating our predictions and a little more graphing

GOOD NEWS! If you read my post from last night, you heard that I was really bummed because something I was working on suddenly disappeared in front of my eyes. So I was pretty surprised and VERY pleased when I reopened it and my graphs were all back! Yay!

First up, an ee/ea activity. We made quickly made this anchor chart of words (Mine are never as cute as the others I see on blogs because I make them with my kids... and I'm not very neat when I have to be quick! I need lessons in quick doodles!) and then the kids used markers to record six of each spelling pattern on my "Sweet Treats" printable to give them a little of extra practice for our spelling test. It seems so simple but they a) love any chance to use marker b) love candy, even when it's just a picture.

Here is a preview of our groundhog day activities and predictions (Yes, I know groundhog day is tomorrow, but tomorrow is the 100th day and our day is packed with those activities!). We're not quite finished with them all yet, but they sure were delicious today and involved these:

And finally, the graphing things I was working on last night. There is one set of 6 graphs and then two different sets of data that the kids match to the graphs. One set is just has tables with labels and numbers, the other set is missing the labels to add a little extra challenge to the activity when I place it in math stations.

I'm off to get ready for the 100th day of school tomorrow! I'm pretty sure that I am just as excited as my munchkins!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Graphing Activities

Bonjour! We FINALLY wrapped up our place value unit last week and have moved on to one of my most favorite units - graphing! I know that sounds totally nerdy, but I really love graphing. I think I like it because the kids get really into it and there are so many ways to make them a part of the lesson. What started out as just a couple of activities for my math stations turned into two rather large packets of activities. I thought I'd share with you gals in case anyone is has graphing coming up!

I'm pretty bummed tonight because I worked on two different (differentiated) packets of graphing activities today where the students have to match the graph to the data... and I just opened it up to proofread it and all of a sudden all of my slides went blank! I have NO idea what happened! I am usually pretty computer savvy, but I can't figure this one out. Seriously, one minute my graphs were there, and then all of a sudden they all went white! Totally bummed. The last 3 weeks have been even busier than usual and I don't have a single spare minute. Sigh. I did print a hard copy before I left school today so I'm hoping I can look at those in the morning and remake my packets pretty quickly. Fingers crossed. I absolutely love technology, but I hate it when it has a mind of it's own! On a different note, I can't wait to do groundhog stuff tomorrow! I got a new book and I have some fun things planned (Oreos are involved... yum!). After groundhog predictions and activities tomorrow, it's the 100th day on Thursday, and then FRIDAY! What a fun week! I will be back to share soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100th Day Plans

Hi blog friends! Just stopping by tonight to share my 100th day activities. Our 100th day of school won't be until next Thursday, February 2nd. Yep, that's also Groundhog Day, so it looks like it will be a very busy Thursday! My teammate had the idea to do Groundhog Day activities the day before when they make their predictions about the groundhog seeing his shadow and I think that is a FABULOUS idea, so I think room B107 will be observing it a day early as well.

This year I will be doing many of the same activities that I did last year, and you can find those here. In addition, we'll be making 100th day trail mix, working on a special 100th day themed homework menu and making words with the letters in "one hundred". Click on the pictures below to download two freebies!

I'm SO looking forward to getting another wear out of my homemade t-shirt from last year. When I taught 2nd grade, we used to dress up as 100 year olds and it was so. much. fun. The kids were the cutest (smallest) elderlies you'd ever seen! Since I've moved down to 1st, we haven't done that and I was hoping we could do that this year... unfortunately I'm teaching a staff development after school that day and I don't think my 100 year old costume (and baby powdered hair) will be the most professional attire. The t-shirt will be much easier to change out of and into something else. Oh well, maybe next year! How will you be celebrating?