Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Candy Corn Sequencing

We had a surprise 2 hour delay today so I had to think of something to do with our short day and with the VERY excited first grade students!  A teammate of mine did a candy corn artwork with tearing up scraps of paper.  I did the same thing but turned mine into a sequencing activity.  I also had some left over candy from the Candy Corn Bandit so we did all kinds of math activities as well.

Here is the craft:

I decided to type everything that we did up and I might just always start completing it the day before or of Halloween. 

Here is a peak:

If any of you are looking for a last minute filler for tomorrow or even a filler for November, head on over to TPT and download a copy for FREE until I log back on probably this weekend.  :)

I'm crossing my fingers for a fun filled day for you tomorrow!  :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reading Level and Sight Word Communication FREEBIE

I send this form home each 9 weeks. 

I write their reading level.  Then I either check the, "Keep up the great work!" or "We will continue to work on the below items."  If I check the second portion- I circle areas that we need to work on.

I write how many sight words that they read correctly, and then check either of the boxes just like the reading level.  (I don't know my current district's quarterly expectation yet but typically the expectation boxes are filled in.)

I included a generic form with the title, "Reading Assessment" so that you can fill in the expectations regardless of the assessment instrument that you use.

You can download it for free here.
I will also be giving these FREE handouts at P/T conferences:

I also have these handy at conferences.  I typically have 4-5 parents ask how to determine leveling.
I also update my student expectation graphs.  I'm just working on filling out my conference forms and having my students complete their construction paper apple.   I give the apple with the student decorated file folder full of materials and a real apple to each set of parents at conferences. 

YIKES- they are next week!

Have a Terrific Thursday!  :)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Google it

I have had an area reserved on my dry erase board for a few years where I add students, "I wonder" questions that I am unable to answer.  I encourage them to ask questions and they seriously ask some pretty good ones too!  Some this year include: What is okra?, Can lightning be more than one color?

Whenever we finish something early or are waiting for dismissal, we will google one of their questions to find the answer.

I decided to finally upgrade my dry erase board to a paper version placed in a sheet protector. 

I tried my best (well with one hand because my dominant hand got in the way of a dog fight!) to make it look like google, even with the blue boxes.  I'd like to share this but google is one place that you don't want to copyright!  :-)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Party

I just completed Babbling Abby's Candy Corn Bandit activity last week. My kids just love it and I giggle all day long as they make predictions and use all kinds of suspect talk!

It got me thinking about the fall party being right around the corner. I'm still a newbie to Pinterest but just spent an hour pinning away!

Here is the link to my page:

I'm blogging from my phone so ill have to format the pictures better later.

I was searching and searching for an activity or craft to do and lo and behold something that I do each year with teaching matter popped up!

Making "slime." But one creative person adds green food coloring and puts it in a plastic test tube with a halloweenish label. I found 25 plastic test tubes with caps on amazon for less than $9!

I also have a gluten free kiddo and 2 peanut free allergy kids this year. I think that I'll make the pumpkin rice Krispy treats but use something peanut free as the stem.

As the healthy snack I want to make the cute skeleton with veggies.

For the game... I'll probably make a version of toss spider rings into cans. To add some math- I might number the cans and the corresponding sum will determine their prize. Maybe if they.have an odd sum one prize and an even sum another. (That way if they don't make any- they get an even prize.)

So all in all they will have fun but practice math and science!!!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Matter Inquiry Giveaway!

I finished my matter inquiry unit!  :)

Here is a peak:

I start out by trying to get students to determine what the pictures have in common to introduce the states of matter.  Then I have a short first grade friendly book about matter to read to the students.  (There are a ton of matter books out there but they are often WAY beyond first grade understanding.)

I have scientific method posters to hang up.

There is a student experiment book that can be printed out for each experiment.  I also have scientific method posters to hang up for each of the experiments.  The sheet with 6 boxes is used to save time by having students cut and paste them into their books.

Here is a second experiment.

There is also a label it page and a matter non-fiction writing including pre-writing, drafting and publishing pages for matter.  There is also a student book that they illustrate just like the larger book.

A trick that I learned a few weeks ago was to give out an unlimited amount of products for free as long as they blog about it and link their post to my blog.  (I followed the rules a few weeks ago but am super sad that I never received my free goodies.  :(  So- if you post back here on my blog- I will have record of it and not lose it in my email!)

So- if you blog about my scientific matter inquiry product and come back and leave a comment with the link to your blog from now until Sunday- I'll email it to you for FREE!  :)

Have a terrific Thursday! 
Happy last teaching day of the week central Ohio teachers. 
Ah-  I LOVE COTA day!  :-D


Thursday, October 11, 2012

If you can't beat them... (and conferences)

JOIN THEM!  :-D  (Hopefully no one read that like I wanted to BEAT them.  lol.)

We have been switching for math classes- which means I have students from 5 different classes in my room.  It is tough because I have these kiddos 5 days a week for an hour each day.  At the beginning of the year we all have the honeymoon period that you are getting to know your students and they REALLY get to know your rules and procedures.  My "homeroom" class has many of the rules and procedures down.  I just have to give them "that" look and any chaos is typically under control. 

Now with my math class... I don't have the time to practice the routines over and over.  They know how I get their attention and the "hands and eyes" trick.  (AHH- LOVE whole brain teaching!)

My math kiddos are good kiddos but boy are they super silly and talkative.  I finally got to the point this week and said- "If I can't beat them... join them!"

All of the teachers in my district just received SMART Tablets.  These are super sensitive and I am having trouble and am making the mouse jut around the screen like crazy.

We use Everyday Math and we are at the point that we start discussing The Story of Money.  The goal is to get the students to look at the coins and introduce them to identifying features, including the presidents on the coins.  I had to pull a penny to the bottom of the screen and my not so stellar SMART Tablet skills were getting the penny stuck behind the nickels.   My students of course were giggling.  I decided then and there- join them but control it and make it educational.

I started saying, "Thomas!  Mr. Jefferson- let Mr. Lincoln through!"  etc.  We talked all about the two presidents the entire lesson.  I can tell you, today when the students came in for math- they were still talking about Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Jefferson and on our worksheets all but 2 of my students (low group) were able to count nickels and pennies correctly!  :-)

I think adding a lot of silliness (I add this anyway to my "homeroom" class.) to my math group but in a controlled way is the way to go!  Hopefully my principal will agree!  :)

On another note...

I  am uploading some conference paper choices online to TPT that you can download for free.  :)

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Journey's Binder Organization

My district adopted the new version of Journey's Reading Curriculum this year.  There is SO MUCH stuff to dig through.  To make it even more difficult to juggle, we are using the balanced literacy framework so that means we have three teacher manuals to juggle daily.  Seriously- balancing one of my knee to read the interactive comprehension questions while holding the GIANT teacher book to read the listening story...

I just HAD to do something about it to make it more manageable!

Here is what I did:
I created a binder for each unit to store all materials.  I used the online site and printed off many of the items that I will need each week.

This is the first page of each week of the unit.  It has all of the items that need to be copied.  The green poly DVD case holds all of the Phonics Dance cards, word wall words and picture to be added to my reading genre signs for the week.
This is a closer look at what I keep in the poly case.  I still need to tape the Phonics Dance activity cheat sheet to back of each Phonics Dance card. 

These are student comprehension worksheets that I made that are the "apply" section of the comprehension mini-lessons.  The program tells students to apply each comprehension mini-lesson to independent reading but this makes it easier to make sure that they really understand what I am asking of them.  At first I had them use post-it notes to mark the examples but I noticed that they had many misconceptions.

I include the items that I have my students complete that corresponds with the weekly spelling word focus for word work each week.  These came from Made in First Grade.  I HIGHLY recommend checking them out!  I LOVE them!  :)

A spelling test form.  (I hope to get it approved to switch over to at least some sentence dictation sentences soon!)
The weekly comprehension test.

This is made by unit and not weekly.  The Word Study lessons want the students to draw the headings in each day in their blank notebooks but we are limited on time. I made the headings and correct amount of columns for the entire unit. I also will staple a baggie to keep their sort cards on the back page.  (This is similar to the homework folder baggies.)

 The Journey's curriculum comes with paper cards but the cards are giant and the font is tiny!  So I made my own that work better for sorting.  The students cut these apart and add it to the baggie in their unit sort book baggie each week.

The Journey's program has ML posters that it tells you to write each day on chart paper.  Um... nope.  So I just type them up for each unit and display them on my board throughout the week.

I copied the ML questions and I place it on the back of the poster.  I highlight (This is next week's and I haven't looked at it yet!) the questions so that I can hold this during the lesson.
It also has a chart in the ML to use so I also just made one and keep it in a thick page protector and write on it with a dry erase marker. 

This is the focus wall that is included with the program.  I keep it in a sleeve just to keep everything together.

This is just 1 week of items each unit has 5 weeks.  My binders are busting at their seams but at least EVERYTHING is finally organized and in one place!  :)  I just need to go through and write "original" on everything with a yellow marker so that I don't misplace them!  :)

Now that unit 2 is complete- I can go back to finishing my science matter unit!  :)

Have a great night!  :)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Inquiry Science

Each year on my volunteer forms I included sections to ask if parents have a special skill/ job that they would like to share.  I always end up with great options like law enforcement, firemen etc.

I also include and ask if anyone would like to come in and teach a science or social studies lesson.  :-D  This year I hit the JACKPOT and had a mother who is an 8th grade science teacher volunteer!  She had the day off so she came in for a science day afternoon.

I have to tell you that I have NEVER seen a group of kids as excited as I have in all my years (lol...yup all 7 of those years) of teaching!

She was amazing and the way that she planned and structured the lesson was super engaging.  From the very minute that she started teaching, I decided then and there that I needed to incorporate more inquiry science lessons.

Now I always have wanted to teach all science this way but quite frankly... it takes A LOT of time and preparation.  With planning reading, math and writing plus small group lessons and differentiated  materials... I have NEVER had the time! 

There are wonderful resources on TPT and the internet but they usually are not all together.  I might find a cute poem here, a book here and an assessment here but none of them ever perfectly fit together. 

I decided that I am going to put some of my common core items (well some because I am going to add common core questions and some other skills) on hold and start planning WHOLE scientific inquiry lessons for my class.

Here is a peak at my matter unit:

I hope to finish this up tomorrow.  I also will try to get permission from my teacher mom to share her experiment because it was terrific!

Also- some exciting news- I have been waiting to hear back from someone so I can FINALLY have my 100 follower giveaway and they called me today and said that they will have an answer for me this week whether I can give away this AMAZING thing for my 100 follower giveaway in addition to other goodies. (Yup- that was a run on sentence but I'm tired so please forgive it~)

 :)  I hope to hear back soon so we can start the fun!  :)

Have a great night!