Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reading Buddy Poem and Gift!

During Daily Five, my students are able to choose a reading buddy from our classroom basket to read to during Reading to Self.  My first graders have loved the buddies all year long, so for Christmas I decided to give them all a new buddy to take home.  I created this little poem to go on the gift tags:
I am your little reading buddy,
quiet as can be.
I will listen to you,
as you read to me.
Read to me anywhere,
anytime you can.
You will soon find, 
I am your biggest fan!
Happy Reading!
I found some great felt gift bags from Target to put them in and the gift and gift wrap are complete!  Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Mix

This is such a simple way to retell the Thanksgiving story to small children.  Oyster crackers, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, candy corn, goldfish crackers, Teddy Grahams, and gummy fruit are all the yummy ingredients used in the Thanksgiving Mix.  Each part of the snack symbolizes part of the story.  I always like to send the mix home with the story so that the students can share it with someone at home.  

For an updated 2012 copy, click the link below.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Mix

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Egg Carton Math

Sometimes in these days of fast paced technology, we forget to try the simple things in our classrooms like Egg Carton Math!  Egg cartons are cheap, as they can be donated for free by our student's families.  Egg Carton Math can target all kinds of skills such as addition, subtraction, place value, odd and even, and with a little imagination the list can go on and on.

Set up is also very simple.  Start with an egg carton, punch out some circles (or use those little circle stickers), write on some numbers, and find some pompoms.  Pompoms are suggested because they are totally QUIET.  A must, when a whole group of students are shaking egg cartons!  

Now just add some of your creativity.   For example, ask the students to place a pompom in the egg carton and shake it.  They record the number on a recording sheet and then shake again for the second number.  The students write an adding sentence using the two numbers.  Try this with subtraction....they will quickly find the largest number will need to be first in the sentence.  Have the students place a large pompom and a small pompom in the carton and write a two digit number to practice place value.  You can easily differentiate skill levels for your students using egg cartons by the numbers you write on the circles.
Egg Carton math is an activity which can last for five minutes or twenty!  You will also be amazed at how fun the students will find these little creations.  Who needs an iPad when you have egg cartons? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank You to our Veterans!

Every year we have a Veteran's Day assembly at our school.  Our hallway is visible to our visitors so I always like to offer a hall display to say thank you to our wonderful veterans.  I found this poem somewhere and I cannot remember where but I have found it to be so appropriate.  I surround it with flags in the shape of a heart to show our veterans how much we care and appreciate them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Anchor Charts

I just love anchor charts.  I always tell my students that anchor charts help organize my brain and that is the honest truth!  Anchor charts help us focus in on what we need to focus on and think about our topic.  Our pumpkin unit is going strong and anchor charts are covering every spare inch of wall space in our room.  The above photo shows one of my favorites....the Tree Branch chart.  If you turn the chart upside down it looks like a tree, students love this!

This chart shows the sequence in the story Pumpkin, Pumpkin.  This really helped us recall the story in order and gave us a nice visual for our writing.

We also love, love, love our circle thinking maps.  We write the topic in the middle and then place describing words in the outer ring.  One student came up with the word quiet....yes, pumpkins are definitely quiet!

Here is our Double Bubble Map.  Actually, the name is just really fun to say really fast.  We compared apples and pumpkins.  This also helped us focus on describing words and adding more describing words to our writing.

Our pocket chart gives us an opportunity to take the cards back to our seats when we write for the kiddos who need an opportunity to have the words right in front of them.

And last, but not least, my absolute favorite!  Taping words on a real pumpkin!  All of these activities helped enrich our vocabulary, make us more aware of describing words, and add details to our writing.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Joys of Autumn!

Oh my goodness, it has been forever since I have been on my poor neglected blog.   We are halfway through the first grading period but I am still trying to catch my breath!  The past few weeks we have been writing about apples and pumpkins and the students absolutely love making Double Bubble Maps.  We use these anchor charts to compare and contrast items.

We already have a class pumpkin!  Our class had a great time thinking of adjectives to describe the pumpkin.  We have lots of plans for this perfect pumpkin which I will share in the upcoming weeks!

I also wanted to share this apple diagram with you.  This activity was so easy to do with the kids.  We also learned that when you label a picture it shares a lot of new information with others.  What a great way to learn new vocabulary!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Treats

First of all, let me mention to all of you how much I love Pinterest!  It is the most awesome site ever.  I cannot take credit for this idea....but I did try to make it match my classroom Monkey theme.  The pieces finally fell into place and I am thrilled with these cute little birthday treats! 
While shopping  at Sam's Club the other day I found these Giant Pixy Stix.  I was thrilled because I knew I had seen an idea where I could use these so I quickly scanned my brain to remember what I needed to do with them and could not remember.  So I bought them anyway and then came home and checked my Pinterest boards.  Yep, there it was the Birthday Balloon treats!

So I headed out to the hardware store and can you believe it.  They had bright green fluorescent spray paint! The cashier looked at me in a very puzzled way as I bought this stuff but hey I had a plan!

Found some cute ribbon and even cuter monkey at Hobby Lobby and then I quickly scoured my house for a container to spray paint.  Yes, I know I could have found one at Hobby Lobby but buy this time my wallet was pretty much empty!  So I went to work and sprayed my container, hot glued the ribbon and monkey on so it would match the Monkey theme!

Next I made a balloon template, printed it on pretty card stock colors, and taped it to the candy sticks.  Now my birthday treats are done and ready for the school year!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Flowers!

We finished our Spring Gardens this week.  I do these every year and I love how each year the gardens look just a little bit different.

This year I just had the students punch out their flower shapes using a flower punch and a circle punch.  I think the caterpillars are just too cute!

We also made diagrams of a sunflower.  I loved having the students use puffy paint for the seeds in the middle of the sunflower!  

We also had to add a fun math activity for the week.  The students made Fun Fact Flowers.  They chose a number between 10 and 20 and had to write number sentences that would equal the number.  Lots of thinking here!  It was a fun week but I am ready for the weekend.  Have a great one!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Bag of "Encouragemints"

This is the week that the older students at our school have the year end achievement tests.  At our school, every primary grade adopts an intermediate grade to give support to during this stressful time.  This year our first grade class is giving a bag of "Encouragemints" to our special friends in fifth grade.  Each bag of mints has a positive saying to help motivate each student.

We are hoping that a few "Encouragemints" will let our friends know that we care about them and believe in them.

We wish them the best on the test!  Have a great week:)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Planting Sunflowers!

We planted our sunflowers earlier this week and today we started  writing our nonfiction reports on Sunflowers.  I still love using this anchor chart to organize our thoughts.  We did this whole group and came up with lots of information about Sunflowers.

Next, the students were able to fill in their own chart.  They could use the information that we brainstormed as a class or any new ideas they might have.  We call these our "notes" and the students will refer back to these "notes" throughout the week.

We made our covers next.  This way we can keep our report papers safe and organized throughout the week.  

We then drew a diagram to show the different parts of a Sunflower.  We added labels and discussed how diagrams are important in nonfiction writing because it has words and a visual.  We will continue our project tomorrow and I will keep you updated on our activities.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fabulous Fractions!

I love visual charts, especially for math.   I made this one in front of the students to show how a piece of paper could be divided into equal parts to show fractions.  I pasted a blue piece of paper to show one.  I then folded a piece of yellow paper into two parts and cut it.  We talked about how the parts were equal because the pieces were both the same size.  We continued with dividing a red paper into thirds and an orange piece into fourths.  

The students then made their own books about fractions by using the colorful visual as a reference.

The students were given a blue sheet to show one.   The students placed these in the book and wrote the numeral 1 and the word one.

The students were given a yellow piece to fold, label and place into the books.  The students cut the middle line to make the book more interactive.  The students then continue with the red and orange pages.

After this activity, the students had a clear understanding of how to divide things into equal parts.  The next day, we extended the lesson by showing other ways the paper could be divided equally into halves, thirds, and fourths.  The math visual will be on hand in our classroom to refer to as we continue our study of fractions.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Peep Snacks

I am just loving my short Spring Break.  We only have four short days...basically a long weekend. However, we had  absolutely NO Snow Days this year so this break was very much needed!  My little guy and I had a lot of fun making these Peep Snacks.  This idea was found on Pinterest from the website and I modified it just a tad.  I melted some white chocolate, dipped some pink marshmallows, waited for the chocolate to dry, and then lined the marshmallows and peep onto a skewer.  This was so simple and kid friendly....much easier than dying eggs and my son will actually eat these.  He just won't eat the eggs!  I hope many of you are enjoying your break and all the joys of spring!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Snack

I usually like to pass out candy snacks the day before Spring Break but not this year.  This year, I filled some triangle shaped bags I found at Hobby Lobby with cheese puffs and tied them with a decorative green bow.  I made 23 cheese puff carrots in about fifteen minutes and the cheese puffs were so much more affordable then candy.  I'm hoping the students like them.  Have a great day!

Easy Bunny Craft

The students had a great time decorating an egg with bright colors and simple decorations.  The egg was then cut in half long ways and then stapled to the top of another egg cut out.  The students then decorated the second egg to look like a rabbit's face.  This was a cute and easy craft and the kids loved it.  A nice way to spend some extra time right before spring break.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monkeys, Monkeys, Everywhere!

We just went wild finishing our study on Monkeys!  The students had a great time reading nonfiction books, learning new facts, and creating their own little monkeys to hang in the hallway.
 We also added tropical trees and vines......
and to make sure that we stayed somewhat academic, we added our completed monkey reports (see our last post).  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monkey Reports

We are having the best time finding research about monkeys.  I usually like to use the K-W-L chart as a starting point but I have found the above chart to be a nice change.  First I asked the students what they thought they knew.  Then as we found the information in books we put a checkmark to confirm that it was true.  We also recorded new learning in the last column.

I still LOVE to have the students organize information that we have found using the above chart organization.  We call these our notes!  Students keep a copy of their own notes in their research folders.

I also love having the students draw a visual for new vocabulary learned.  These terms will go in our glossary that will be put at the end of our monkey reports.

These are the pages that were included in our monkey reports.  A table of contents came first, our research report next, then our glossary which included new vocabulary learned, and finally our notes.  This report really helped us stay organized and focused and we had a wild time learning all that we could about monkeys!
Have a great week!