Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Vacation Writing Freebie

The day back from vacation is always full of excitement!  We've missed our friends and the predictable routine of school!  I love sharing with my students all about my vacation happenings and hearing about their experiences!   I use the excitement of our vacation breaks to launch a new writing piece!  

I like doing this by mingling to music!  I have the kiddos spread out around the classroom.  I start some fun music and they begin to mingle.  When the music stops, they stop and share something that happened over the break!  Then repeat!  I let this go until I can feel it getting too noisy and not focussed!  

Then we get down to business, writing about our break!  We write one thing we shared in each bubble!  This helps organize our writing!  Then we use the Thanksgiving Vacation paper to create a page for our class book!  

Here are some examples from last year!

First, we completed our graphic organizer.

Then, we wrote about our vacations!  I love the complete sentences and "first grade spelling"!


You can download this freebie to use in your classroom this year!  Happy Writing!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fall into M.A.T.H. Stations!

I love this time of year!  The beautiful fall colors, cooler air,  Pumpkin Spice Lattes and knowing the holidays are right around the corner!  I also love seeing the growth my students have made in this short time we've been together!

During the first trimester of school, we have focused on subitizing, showing numbers in different ways, and making 10!  I've been forcing myself and my kids to slow down and really focus!  I want to make sure they have a solid foundation in these 3 areas of math!

This is by far the BEST I have felt about my students' math understanding this early in the year!  Each morning we gather on the carpet for our calendar time!  This is more than the day of the week, etc.  This is the mini lesson before our MATH time.  We make the most of this time by following this daily routine!

I'm so impressed with my students' math minds and plan to continue with this routine!  Here is an outline of what it looks like in my classroom!

For MATH time I use the acronym M.A.T.H. to organize my groups.

            • M - Meet with the Teacher
            • A - Activity Journal
            • T - Technology
            • H - Hands on Tubs

Meet with the Teacher is my time to work with small groups.  During this time, I introduce new games, strategies and/or reinforce concepts.  Often the activities we cover in my small groups will appear in Hands on Tubs for independent practice!

Activity Journal provides an opportunity for independent practice and is often pencil paper.  I try to provide more than a worksheet though.  Usually it is more of an interactive page.

Technology:  I am fortunate to have 5 Chromebooks and 6 iPads in my classroom.  My students use the Chromebooks to access our adopted curriculum's on line portion during MATH time.  We also use the iPads to explore apps.  Some of our favorites are:

Hands On Tubs are filled with games that review concepts previously taught.  Students play games with partners or complete activities independently.  Occasionally, one of the tubs may have an independent activity such as puzzles, tangrams, or pattern blocks.

Hands on Math Tubs offer the perfect time to provide engaging fall themed independent and group activities for students!  Here are some of my students' favorites and a FREEBIE for you!

Print and add DICE!  My students love these!

Get your kids up and moving while practicing math strategies!

Click the Picture to Download Your Freebie!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My New Morning Routine

We are on day 13 of our new school year and I finally feel like I might be able to take a breath! You would think that after 20 back to school seasons, it would get easier, right?  Nope!  I seem to change, add or tweak something every year!  This year I changed my morning routine!

Why the change?  I wanted to allow my students some time each morning to greet friends, ease into the school day with routine,  start each day engaged in meaningful collaborative activities, and have a few minutes for those early morning tasks like taking attendance and spontaneous chats with parents!  Oh, and did I mention,  I needed this new routine to be something sustainable and easy to manage?  That is a must for me or it will fall apart!

So I did what any reasonable teacher would do...I went to Pinterest!  I searched morning routines and discovered a huge variety of ideas!  I liked some and knew I would never be able to keep up with others!  What I came up with was my own twist on Morning Tubs!  I introduced my students to the idea of  Morning Tubs on day 2!   They love it and I love it! WHY didn't I try this sooner!

Materials Needed: 
Once I decided I wanted to go this route, I went shopping for supplies!  First stop, Amazon!

I ordered 5 Sterlite tubs, one for each table group!  Next,  I needed some engaging activities for the tubs!  The first week I wanted to keep it simple so I simply put a different set of manipulatives in each tub: pattern blocks, linker cubes, scrabble tiles, wooden blocks, and dominoes!  Every morning I rotate the tubs so each group gets to experience a new tub!

Okay, now for the true test!  Remember when I mentioned, I needed this new routine to be something sustainable and easy to manage?  Week two arrived and, guess what!  It was EASY to change out the contents of the tub AND keep my students engaged!

I love walking around, listening in on and having conversations with my kiddos each morning!  I can help when needed if a child has difficulty with an activity.  I encourage my students to ask tablemates for help, but I'm also there for guidance!

Where do I get the activities?
I spent the week before school cleaning, purging and organizing my classroom cabinets, and I had uncovered some hidden gems! I'm sure you have lots of gems of your own!  This is another thing I love about Morning Tubs...I'm using resources that have just been collecting dust!  Now they are being used by little hands!  

I also visited the Dollar Store and found small 48 piece puzzles in metal tins!  These are PERFECT for collaborating as a team, working together and greeting friends in the morning!  I bought 15 different puzzles.  I've only used 2 each week!  

I added some puzzles from my Short A Word Family resource, Subitizing Matching Games and 120 puzzles! I found some addition and subtraction puzzles that I normally use in math tubs during Daily Math.  I went ahead and introduced them in a morning tub and my kids loved working together and completing these puzzles.  Now when they go into a math tub, they will be familiar and independent!  

In my short experience with Morning Tubs, I can tell you that I love this new addition to my routine!  My students enter the classroom and know exactly where to go and what to do!  They are visiting with friends and engaging in their day right away!  Their school day is starting off with intention and purpose...they are not waiting on me to take attendance or finish up a conversation with a parent.  They are engaged and completing a task!  

If you've been looking for a new morning routine for your kids or want to try something new this year, I highly recommend Morning Tubs!  

Some Resources I'm Using:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Learning Sight Words is Fun!

I'm blogging over at Classroom Tested Resources today!  Check out my post on Sight Word Assessments and grab a fun Freebie!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Getting Ready for the Best Year Ever!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale!  I love the Back to School Sale!  My cart is overflowing with new resources for my classroom!  I absolutely love this time of year, even it is stressful and I can't sleep! :)

I've been creating lots of new things for my classroom and they are now uploaded in my store and on sale for you!  If you love using games to engage in your classroom, please check out these new resources!  Both include directions and cards for several games for group, partner and independent play! 

I've also updated and added some new math resources to start off the year! 

These 120's Puzzles are great for differentiating at Math Tubs.  These puzzles help students maneuver through the 120s chart and make sense of the patterns.  While your students are having fun writing on the puzzles with dry erase pens or crayons, they are practicing so many valuable math concepts (more than, less than, +1, -1, +10, -10, 

This summer I've been reading about the importance of subitizing with dice and ten frames.  This resource introduces students to various ways to "show" a number!  Students will learn to look at a group and recognize the number....they will learn to subitize!  But they won't know it!  They'll just have fun playing the games!

I also like to build in the 120s into my daily routine!  That's where these come in!
I've created "Fill-it-in" Charts for the year!  I think the changing themes keep it fresh and my kids love to come up and write in the answers!  These sets come with Math Tub activities to play, as well! 

I still have a couple of weeks to enjoy summer, so I'll probably head to the Dollar Spot or maybe check out Amazon to see what I absolutely need for my class!  Actually, I'll probably laminate some of my new puchases and try to get into my classroom!  I'm obsessed!

I hope you'll hop over to my store and see what I've got on sale for you!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Techy Tuesday - GoNoodle

This week's Techy Tuesday is about Brain Breaks!

Hopefully you have heard of and use GoNoodle in your classroom!  But if you haven't, don't wait any longer! This is not the first time I've blogged about GoNoodle, but I couldn't resist adding this to Techy Tuesday!

Brain Breaks!  You know your students need them!  They need them more often than we probably realize, too.   I implemented a new procedure last year and my students loved it!  Do you ever have those students that are "too cool" to participate in a brain break?  Yes, you know the ones!  Since using GoNoodle in my classroom, most of my students participate simply because it's so engaging, but I still have my stinkers!  So I implemented the GoNoodle Champ system.

I keep my eye out for a student that is doing a great job participating during our brain break and they become the GoNoodle Champ!  This means that they get to CHOOSE the next GoNoodle activity! OMG!  They love this!

And let me tell you, we GoNoodle several times a day in our class, so we have lots of chances to be a GoNoodle Champ!

Watch the video above to see my little firsties in action!

I have a GoNoodle lanyard that I picked up at the I Teach 1st Conference, but any lanyard will work. I attach a badge holder to it and slide in one of these cards!  You can download this free.  Just click the picture!  Students wear the lanyard until they pass it to the next champ.  It's simple, engaging and keeps us all happy!

Our first graders love GoNoodle so much, we couldn't resist these costumes last year!
If you haven't signed up for GoNoodle, what are you waiting for?  It's FREE!

Sign up for GoNoodle!  Your students will thank you and you will love it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Techy Tuesday

Welcome back to Techy Tuesday!  This week I want to share a favorite app in my classroom!  It's not new, but it's a favorite!  If you haven't discovered this app yet, you'll want to check it before the kids come back!

Do you use technology during Reader's workshop or Daily 5? Are you thinking of adding some tablets?  This may be something you want to add to your lesson plans!

There are several ways I use iPads during reading time, but this app is one of my favorites for Read to Self!
I've installed this free app on all of my classroom iPads!  My kiddos can use this app during "Read to Self" time!  This app has increased the book choices for my students!  They can choose from and read from a huge library of fiction and non-fiction titles!  Some of the titles offer a "read aloud" option! I've found this app particularly helpful with providing a huge assortment of non-fiction titles!

Check out the website here Epic!

This would be a fun app to introduce to families for summer reading!  Try it out this summer!

Have fun!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

All American Resources!


Howdy, y'all!  I'm linking up with Kari B. Camp at Adventures in Elementary for her 4th of July product link up!  This is a fun linky with some great products featured!  I'm thinking ahead to this year's election in November!  There are some fun activities to incorporate into my literacy and math tubs!  Take a look and check out some of these great products!

I'm featuring my American Symbols Themed Math Coloring Sheets!  These are great for number sense practice.  Students identify numbers on the hundreds chart and color by code revealing a hidden picture!

Independence Day Sale

I'm putting ALL of my Math Coloring Sheet resources American Symbol themed products on sale for the weekend!  Check out my store July 1-5th for some All American Savings!  Happy Birthday, America!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Augmented Reality for Writer's Workshop

Welcome to Techy Tuesday!   I want to share some recent discoveries for the classroom and specifically Writer's Workshop!

I recently discovered some great Augmented Reality Apps!  Doesn't that sound super Techy?  It's so techy and soooo easy! In fact, your students have probably already discovered some of these apps! Follow along and be patient with me!  You'll love this for writer's workshop!

First, download this app! It's FREE!

Then using the app, "scan" the picture of the Incredibles (the target image)!

Target Image
You should see a video of Mrs. Incredible at a dance party with some cute kiddos!  You have to hold your device over the "target image" while viewing the video!  Isnt' it cool!  

Okay, so how do you apply this to Writer's Workshop?  Kids can upload videos of themselves telling a story about the "target image" or write a story about the "target image" and read it on video! Students love to share and listen to each others stories! This would be a fun way to share weekend or vacation news!  How fun is that?

I plan to have my students use this app to define vocabulary words to enhance our thematic studies! I'm so excited to use this in the fall!

The following app works the same way, except the image is already embedded with an augmented reality image.  This still provides a fun, engaging way to inspire young writers!  Students color the picture and write a story about what is happening in the revealed image or video!  Students are probably using this app already!  Crayola offers a HUGE selection!


Well, that's it for this Tuesday!  I'll be back next week with more techy discoveries!