Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fantastic First Grade Linky Party Link Up

12.  Favorite movie you watched
I am sooo not a movie fan…I can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie.  A movie is a BIG commitment.  However, I am currently into the Lifetime and Hallmark holiday movies.  I LOVED the movie “Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade”.  But…if I had to pick a favorite movie it would be an oldie. I love “Sweet Home Alabama” and it’s been on several times over the last few months.

11.  Favorite TV Series
I am still a Greys Anatomy fan, but I LOVE Hawaii Five-O! I mean Steve MacGarrett is HOT!! and it’s in Hawaii, need I say more?

10.  Favorite Restaurant
An Italian restaurant here in town called Mama Ricotta’s.  It’s heavenly. I have never gotten anything bad. I can’t get enough Italian.

9.  Favorite new thing you tried
Definitely TpT…this has been the most challenging new thing I have tried. It keeps me busy and inspired, both of which are good.

My first seller, “MY Summer Bucket List” was just a “hey let me try this…” and it SOLD! I was stunned.  And then I didn’t have summer work and I thought, “hey, I can make more TpT stuff…” and it has been amazing.  I have a special ringtone for the TpT emails so I know when I sell something.  When it goes off my husband says, “was it a sale, feedback, or new products?”.  It has become a family topic.  And I just used my first paper check to buy myself a Precor Elliptical so that I can spend less time driving to and from the gym everyday.  I definitely wouldn’t’ have been able to afford this without TpT! I'm still in awe with every sale I make.  I took a picture of my first paycheck because I was so proud of it.  
If you have ever purchased anything from me, I can't thank you enough.  Seriously.  It's amazing that you like what I've created and then you spend money on it.

8.  Favorite gift you received
IPAD!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE it!! It was a gift from the school…if they take it back I may die! Umm...how did I teach before Smartboards and ipads?

 7.  Favorite thing you pinned
Ummmm. that is way too hard to choose and changes every day!

6.  Favorite blog post
I love the one where I posted pictures of my students’ desks as Jeeps.  I love it because so many people were so responsive to it.  I have struggled with blogging because I don’t know how to get people to want to follow me, not to mention the lack of time I have.  This post seemed to get the most positive feedback and I loved it!

5.  Favorite accomplishment
Being nominated for Teacher of the Year at my school and then Winning it! I was stunned! I have only been teaching 5 years and I don’t feel worthy of the title.  I am still changing and learning every day…but it truly was an HONOR.

4.  Favorite picture
My Christmas card photo—it’s of me and the hubby in Colorado.  We got the urge to travel for Thanksgiving and it was amazing.  We went to Vail, Colorado and got to see the lighting of the Christmas tree in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  It was soooo cold and we were both absolutely freezing (our southern blood can’t handle the cold) but we look so happy in this picture!

3.  Favorite memory
Ummm….so hard to choose but so far it has to be the little girl in my class who wrote an informational book about Princesses.  I have never truly felt like I taught something and got the point completely across until I saw this.  She had gotten the point of the lesson!

2.  Goal for 2013
Spend more time with the hubby…less time working.

1.  One little word



All About Princesses? the holidays, skip counting, and money...man we're busy!

Well the holidays are in full force in our room.  We have talked about wants, needs, good, and servives.  We have started learning to identify money (which we need to get our wants and needs), even though this is not a common core standard for first graders I believe even first graders can learn the names and value of coins.  This will help them so much once they get to second grade, not to mention it is a LIFE skill.  We started our trip around the world today.  We made suitcases.  We received our passports and scrapbooks.  We filled out our boarding passes and we were off...plane noises and all! The kids loved it.  We went to Liberia today with an awesome powerpoint presentation and then had a mini craft.  I got the powerpoints from Ms. Bainbridge at http://www.bainbridgeclass.com/.  Her website is awesome and I LOVE these powerpoints.  I have been using them for 3 years.  My kids were psyched to find out where we go tomorrow.
As I mentioned, we are working on skip counting and money identification for the next two weeks.  One of the things we created the first day we started talking about this is a word problem Bag book.  My kids LOVED this.  It was simply some word problems and each word problem got bigger by 5.  Here is an example below.  They would read the word problem, use stickers to solve it, and their work would become a little pull-out answer for each  problem.  I'll post more later about how I made these...just know they are a HIT!
I know most people are counting down the days until the holiday break, but we get out so late this year I haven't thought twice about it.  We have been working so hard on Informational Text writing and let me be honest here, I had absolutely NO expectations for how my kids would do with this.  We spent the first week writing a class book "All About the Moon".  I walked them through each step and each child made their own version of our class book.  We all had the same title, table of contents, and pages, but each child's version of facts on the page was different. I really enjoyed this experience.  Even though I complained to colleagues I felt like this was wasting time I could really be focusing on the craft of writing, I failed to see how valuable this was.  We started our informational writing unit by "throwing our emotions and personal feelings out of the window".  We have HUGE windows in our room and threw the emotional opinions out of the window.  They loved doing this and it cracked them up.  Then we talked just about facts. The second week I let them choose their own topics to write an "All About" book about.  Again, no expectations that this would work...they did AMAZING!!! I had one child ask me, "Can I write about Princesses?" I hesitated but said, "Well, sweetheart, what would your table of contents say?" She said, " clothes, houses, colors".  I thought about it and said, "Well, those can definitely be factual things so go for it!" and boy did she "knock my socks off"! (That is my new saying around the classroom and the kids crack up every time I say it.)  I have pictures of my little girl's All About Princesses book below as well as other All About Books the students created.  Every single one of my kids did an "All About" book and everyone did a fantastic job...they literally knocked my socks off! I was bragging to our literacy facilitator because I was so stunned!!

Below are some more pictures of the centers and activities going on around our room.  We are having a blast.  Be sure to visit my teachers pay teachers and teachers notebook stores to get some awesome literacy centers for Penguins and Winter.  I am working on a center for the New Years theme. Hope to have it posted soon.  Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holidays...and Challenging Students

I cannot seem to keep up with blogging about my classroom. I just don't know how to keep it going.  I'm trying. I had a moment with a "challenging" student today as we walked to the buses. When I put the student on the bus I said, "bye...", to which the student responded, "NO BYE!". Clearly the student was mad at me and meant it to be mean, but it was so cute it was hard not to laugh.  This child is certainly a challenge for me on a daily basis, but I am also so endeared to this student and their situation. I am thankful I can smile at days like this instead of being frustrated.
I wish I had more time to write but I must go to bed so I can get up super early and finish lesson plans for next week.
I have two new sets of literacy center activites posted at my Teachers Pay Teachers  and Teachers Notebook stores.

The first is a gingerbread themed center pack...who doesn't love the Gingerbread Man!? It includes
1. Asking & Telling Sentence Sort
Students sort sentences into two categories. Students record work on recording sheet.

2. Long I & Short I Word Sort
Students sort words into two categories. Students record work on recording sheet.

3. Poetry Center
Students fill in the missing words from the poem.

4. Rhyming Word Sort
Students match rhyming words. Students record work on recording sheet.
I also have a Christmas/Reindeer themed literacy center set that includes:
1. Contraction Match
Students match contractions to the words that make up the contraction (with recording sheet).

2. ABC Order
Students put holiday words in ABC order (with recording sheet).

3. Cut Up Sentences
Students sort the sentence parts to make up facts about reindeer (with recording sheet).

4. Reindeer Poetry
Students fill in the missing words from the poem.
Hope to be back on here sooner rather than later...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rowdy in Room 300: Composing..Decomposing..Number building FUN!

I am loving Rowdy in Room 300: Composing..Decomposing..Number building FUN! Her number booklets are a fun idea and will go great with my current topic of study in my classroom.  I have found a lot of other great ideas but I am really loving this and had to share.  I hope you find it useful, too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giveaway!! and Linky Party

Our school has recently acquired one iPad for each classroom and I am struggling with ways to use 1 iPad in the classroom. I've searched pinterest and I'm dying to hear how others out there are using iPads in the classroom. I've done a few things so far but please link up below if you have any suggestions for a one iPad classroom!!! I"m linking up with

I am so new with this blogging and I am finding it very confusing. I am not sure how to do all of the cool things I see on other people's blogs so if you have any advice for new bloggers, feel free to link up as well!!
Also be sure to entire the giveaway at my Teachers Notebook store. I'm giving away a fire safety activity pack with lots of goodies. Fire safety will soon be here and I've created an activity unit that I hope will be a hit with kids. I've put together a pack of activities I've done with my kids over the past five years. To enter the giveaway, click here

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lots of Freebies!!! for Number Combinations

We are starting a new concept in math this week...number combinations!!! Honestly, I dread this concept every year because it can be so hard to grasp for some students.  We use Investigations at my school and the curriculum introduces this topic by using peas and carrots.  It tells the kids they have any given number of peas and carrots and how many of each do they have.  EVERY YEAR I have a student who says " I don't have any peas or carrots because I don't like to eat those things.". Every year.  So this year I made a determined effort to come up with a variety of ways to teach this concept.
I have pinterest to thank for all of these ideas!!!

1.  The Wanted poster

 Love this resouce! I found it courtesy of Pinterest at Krazy about Kiddos blog. I am going to use this to record, and to have the students record, their combinations to any given number.

 2. One Fish, Two Fish

Courtesy of Pinterest, again, from http://plantspress.blogspot.com/.  Can't wait to try this idea. She reads One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess and she has them color the fish either red or blue.  Then they discuss and record combinations to 10.

3. The Rainbow of Combinations to 10

I am sure everyone has seen this one. It is a huge hit with kids every year.  Who doesn't love to make a rainbow?! I got this resource from The Littlest Scholars.

4. Number Combination Bracelets

I went to a Dr. Jean workshop years ago and saw this idea. It works like a charm and it is fun. Now for the FREEBIE!!! I made a worksheet to go with this bracelet.  Put the desired number of beads on the pipe cleaner. Students move one bead at a time to count the number combinations. ENJOY!!! This is my first shot at using a google document so I hope this goes well... click here for the FREEBIE.

Thanks for visiting. I will post more later this week and hopefully number combinations will be a success!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lots Going On!

It's so amazing how hard it can be to sit down and blog when that is the easiest part of my day.  I've had meetings for the past two weeks and don't get home until 6:30 at night or later...it makes for a long day.  On a positive note, I am enjoying my class this year! They are all so sweet and caring. I hear them using such polite manners and speaking voices with each other.  They discuss their problems with one another and work them out--what first grader does that?! It is truly a dream class.
We are studying apples this week and pumpkins next week (I love doing this but even more so this year since I have a pumpkin vine growing outside my room!!!!!!!!!!! I, being a lazy person, left an old rotting pumpkin outside of my door last year and when spring came I noticed a plant growing but couldn't figure out what it was...came back in August and have a PUMPKIN plant growing!? What are the odds?!). I have two new poetry centers I have been using with my kids and they LOVE it. I also send home poetry notebooks every Friday for them to read with their parents. The parents seem to like it and I give the student a sticker for the notebook cover on Monday if their parent signed it. This will definitely be helpful once we really start focusing on fluency. Anyway, my first unit is a Johnny Appleseed poem with student made pointer to practice reading the poem. Included in the pack are all of the supplies to make the pointer and the poem with a worksheet for students to fill out.  On Fridays I put a label on the opposite page from where they glued the poem and they write a response to whatever the prompt is.  For this poem my prompt is, "Why do you think Johhny Appleseed was important? Why do you think he wore a pot on his head?" Click the picture below to see the activity!
I also have a positional poetry unit for next week and it is Pumpkin themed. Students will draw (or glue-- your preference with my activity pack) a pumpkin in the correct location in relation to a picture based on the positional word in the poem.  The pack also comes with two copies of the poem--one for younger kids where they can practice writing the vocabulary words and one for older kids with positional words.  There is a student poem page and a booklet for the student to make with positional words. Click the picture below to see it!!
I also put several new centers out this week and have used some for guided reading groups. I love watching kids learn to read!! When the lightbulb goes off it is such a rewarding feeling for both me and the student!!! Anyway, below are three new games or word sorts I've made to use with my groups. Click the pictures to learn more.

Hope you are having a great week! Just found out I can access facebook in my classroom this week through the ipad app and I am SUPER excited! We have a class page which I can only access on my phone, which is not ideal. It has been a great communication tool so far and now that we can get it more easily on the ipad I can't wait to allow my students to post things for their parents!!!
Have a great weekend!! Yay for Fall weather!!!!! and FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!