Monday, October 31, 2011

Request a FREEBIE!

This going to be a LONG week!  We have our first round of conferences this week.  I still am trying to wind down from our Fall party from Friday and our annual tailgate!

I am beat already and don't have the energy to post!

So, the first 3 people to comment on this post with their email and the name of their top wish for one of my TPT items will get it for FREE!

Here is my store link.  Happy shopping- remember the first 3 to post their email and the product that they would like will receive it for free!  ;)  I figured that I'd make it easy!  ;)

-Danielle :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Accountability buddy

My principal suggested that I try giving one of my students an accountability buddy.  I asked my wonderful custodians (one during mid-day to check in and one to check in at the end of the day) to check in with my little guy. 

I created this form and social story to try out.

If you would like a copy to tweak and make your own, just email me at and ask!  I will send you a copy!  :)

Have a very happy Wednesday evening!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Round 1 of our parent-teacher conferences are next week!

Some of my pre-conference forms have been rolling in and I have noticed very similar questions that have been asked.  I created a handout to give my parents at conferences.
I also give each parent a list of quarterly expectations, an apple and my students make an apple shaped parents are teachers too poem.

These are the items that I show parents during conferences:
-Their child's DRA, fluency and sight word graph (quarterly expectation is labeled)  You can download these for FREE here.
-Statistics from my class DRA, fluency and sight words in graph form.  (I do this so I can show parents where their child lies in my class.  When I first started this I was unsure if it was a good idea but I keep doing it because I have many parents that don't realize that I have many students equally as high as they their child etc.)
-I also spend the time creating an action plan to help their child with a skill (either to catch up or enrichment.)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

1st Grade Common Core Standards Revised

I revised my recording common core standards to include skill cards.  If you already purchased it you can re-download it to receive the skill cards.  ;)

Here is a peak at the new cards!  ;)

These are yet another option of how you can record your student mastery.  My fantastic kindergarten team at my school use skill cards.  When they introduce a skill, they add a skill card to book rings for each student.  When a student masters the skill, a sticker is added to the back of the card.  I started using skill cards 3 years ago using Ohio Standards. 
These are new skill cards for the 1st grade common core standards.  :)

Have a fantastic Monday!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Need for Change

This year is a more challenging year than ever before.  I have 25 students that are divided by reading either almost a second grade level OR they are under my reading expectation.  I really only have about 1-2 students that are right where I expect them to be at this point in the year.  With that being said, I also have half of my class that is having a hard time being independent.  I love the daily 5 and have used it for 5 years but I have to adapt my teaching this year to meet the very diverse needs of my students.

Here is my plan:

I am planning on having my comprehension group (most of them are very independent workers) monitor their own learning.  I am completing giving them their materials and letting them go!  *Please change the word "their" to 'they' above!  :)

I will be teaching the remaining 14 with the accuracy group.  You will notice that most of it is completed in whole group or just quickly with a partner. 

I created sight word practice sheets that are the words that cannot be sounded out for my accuracy group to complete as I am teaching a quick comprehension lesson to my comprehension group.

I also have a 15 minute read to self time daily that I only introduce and hand out new leveled readers to students.  I have been unable to do groups due to the lack of independence in my room this year.
After I introduce the book, I have students read one on one with me.  This allows me the freedom to walk around and make my presence known.  :)

My students have needed something to hold them more accountable during read to self.  I was inspired by Hilary Lewis' response homework logs and created a reading response notebook using the same idea.  My students read one book, then fill in their reading response and after that just read to self for the rest of the time. 

I have an hour long writing workshop time which is working very well.  Almost all of my students are very engaged during this time.  I am very pleased with their eagerness to write.   

We also have a ten minute long read to someone time.  During this time I am still only walking around and monitoring.  I am hoping to fit some more structured teaching in here soon!

This is all new to me... no small groups!!!  Any suggestions?!?!?



Friday, October 21, 2011

Turkey Unit is Finished!

I finished my turkey unit just in time to make all of the copies!  November is a BUSY month with parent teacher conferences so I always try to copy what I can ahead of time!

Here is a peak:

You can get your copy here.  :)

I will take a photo of my students' turkeys.  They are hilarious!  For the first time ever I had someone disguise the turkey as a chain saw!  I also had princesses, asparagus (they said, "Who eats that stuff anyway?"), rabbits etc.

Happy Friday evening!  To any central Ohio teachers- I hope that you enjoyed your COTA day!  :)  I spent mine napping and watching pay-per-view movies!  :)



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Animal Report Collaboration!

I have been really proud of my kids this week.  I normally teach animals in the Spring when their writing skills are more developed.  The first grade teachers decided to teach it in the Fall and form a shared animal hallway display.  (I will post photos as soon as we finish!)

I had my students write reports together with the simple report form that I created.  As a part of the report they have to create a poster with facts.  They had to discuss and decide together on the background, border and heading for their animals.  I just LOVED listening to their logic and how they decided to compromise.  "Well, I want to make green stripes and you want to make pink polka dots so why don't we make green polka dots?"  I was just gushing with pride!

I took a lot of pictures but this is the ONLY one that you cannot see their little faces. 

They also have been doing well with their animal report publishing.  This photo is still missing the introduction and conclusion pages because those group members are finishing it up.

I can't wait to use and develop more group projects to do this year because they did so well! 

Tomorrow is the last kid day for this week!  Yay!  ;)



Monday, October 17, 2011

Quarterly Reading Progress Graphs

Happy Monday!

It is the time of the year that things are winding down and I am thinking about parent-teacher conferences and grade cards. 

I created graphs for each student to measure their DRA, Sight Words and Fluency quarterly.

I typed in our quarterly expectation but I also included a blank copy without the quarterly expectation in the file download.

You can download them for FREE here!  :)



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Font Confusion

Many of my little ones are having trouble reading words with a different font like the I, g and a.  I created this short packet with teaching posters and a sorting activity to reinforce different font.  I also have a b/d sorting sheet at the end of the packet. 

You can download it here for FREE!  ;)

Have a great Monday!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

2D Shapes

Ahh!  I am FINALLY finished!  It is nearing the end of the quarter and many of my little ones have still needed more 2D shape practice.  Using the motivational shape bags sure did the trick for MOST of my students!  I couldn't believe how hard and motivated that they worked just to eat half of a Little Debbie cupcake.  :)

I created this packet to use for independent practice.  The worksheets are simple and increase in difficulty ONLY slightly. 

Here is a peak:

You can pick yours up here!

Only ONE more day until a much needed weekend!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2nd Grade Common Core Standards

I received a few emails asking to make 2nd Grade Common Core Recording I Can Notebooks.
It sure made me appreciate 2nd grade teachers.  Their math gets much heavier than first grade!

Here is a peak:

You can get your own copy here.  :)

Have a terrific THURSDAY!



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Conference Paperwork

I am attaching some of the paperwork that I send home for conferences.   :)

Off to bed for me!



Animal Unit Finished!

I will be posting my students photos soon!  They have already finished their fantasy animal stories.  This week they are working on their non-fiction stories and we are adding our labeled animals to the shared first grade animal hallway display!  ;)

Here it is:
You can see the entire unit at TPT if you click the PREVIEW button on the page here

Have a terrific Monday!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Have I Got the Book for You!

This is my absolute new favorite children's book!  I saw it recommended on proteacher.  I ordered it and just picked it up from the teacher store.  I am going to use it with persuasive writing and have my students try to sell something later in the year.

This book is absolutely hilarious.  I recommend it to all ages!

You can check it out here!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hand Signals

How I love using sign language in my classroom!

It all started with minoring in American Sign Language in college.  When I started teaching I said, "Well my degree isn't going to go to waste."  I started teaching the students how to ask for the restroom.

That slowly moved to teaching the signal for drink.  Then I moved to washing hands, yes, no and wait.

Days like today it makes me happy that I take the time to teach signals to my class.  It is nice to teach a group and being able to nod or show the sign for yes and not miss a beat.

I remember the days when I was student teaching.  (So embarrassing to think back- my cooperating teacher must have been an angel!)  I would get so excited when students would participate and hold up their hand.  It never failed that every other day someone would break our engaging lesson with an, "I have to go to the bathroom!"  I would say yes and then try to regroup.  Once I gained my own classroom I have always used signs and I just love it!  :)

I have an ASL alphabet chart hanging on my wall that the students use.  I also teach them many signs for social studies and science topics throughout the year. 

If you haven't incorporated something like this into your classroom, I highly recommend it!  ;)

Just start with teaching them to cross their pointer and middle finger then moving their hand left to right.  Try teaching them to use this when asking to use the restroom.  When you see how well it works, you will want to teach them even more!  :)



Monday, October 3, 2011

Reading Response Notebooks

Happy Monday!

I was inspired by the very talented Hilary Lewis to create a new Reading Response Notebook for my kids.  I have been using her FREE homework template as my homework reading log.  (I just simplified it a bit.) 

Here is a glimpse of my student class version.  :) 

You can download your own version here



Sunday, October 2, 2011

2D Shapes

I hope that you have had a relaxing weekend!

I have been busy finishing up my animal unit.  (It is almost complete!  I accidentally left the book I needed at school.)

I have also started my 2D shape unit.  I am bound and determine for my first graders to learn their 2D shapes.  I have even decided to make motivation bags.  These bags are full of yummy treats using most of the 2D shapes.

Here they are minus the pentagon and trapezoid:
Each bag is labeled with a child's name.  Next time I do this, I will allow the students to personally pick out their flavor choice so that it is extra motivating!

Here is what I used:


Hexagons (next time I will just use the Little Debbie cakes because I had to hunt for good hexagons.)

Oops!  I took it upside down! :)  I cut these in half to make trapezoids.

I cut the ends off at an angle and then cut diagnol lines to make parallelograms.

I cut each cheese slice in half and chopped off the corners to make pentagons. I placed parchment paper between each slice so they won't stick.

I am going to go buy triangle shaped crackers tomorrow morning.

I also have tracing shapes, posters and other shape activities lined up for the week.  This is just a little bit more motivation for them to learn their shapes for good!  :)  Once they can tell me the shape, they can eat the shape.  I obviously will keep the cheese out of the bag!

Any cheap and fast ideas for octagons?

Have a great week!