Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting Ready for Read Across America and a Fitting End to Dental Health Month

Next week our school (like many, many others) will be celebrating Read Across America.  Our wonderful librarian organizes fun school-wide events to promote reading and love of books.  So before everything gets started, I need to get my class door decorated.  This is the one time during the year that pretty much everyone in the school decorates their doors.  I really like my sweet students' art work to be on display.  This year we will be making birthday cats.
If you would like a FREE copy of this pattern click on the picture above.
After the students put their cat together they will write the titles of their favorite books on their cupcakes. 
The sign on the door simply says "Hooray! Hooray! for Dr. Seuss's Birthday"
The clip art for the cupcakes is from Creative Clips Digital Clip Art.  Please let me know if you have any questions.
If Read Across America is rolling in, that means Dental Health Month is heading out.  2013's Dental Health Month is one for the books in the Monroe house.  I had a big surprise when I picked  A  up after school today.
She has her first loose tooth!!!
As a first grade teacher I am totally prepared to deal with loose teeth, but as a mommy . . . no way.
I thought I had another year or two on this one.  I keep telling her to stop growing and she keeps telling me that I need to talk to God.  Believe me, with a comeback like that she ends and wins the conversation.
Oh well, next stop . . . Tooth Fairy Training.  Any suggestions?
Have a great rest of your week.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Seeing Green (FREE Fraction Math Box and Printable)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Well, strike the best of times part.
Last week was moving along, despite the fact our wonderful first grade instructional assistant was out recovering from a surgery.  On Monday I led a system wide math box pd after school.  Things went pretty well. The sweet k-2 teachers participating seemed interested, which made me feel at ease.  Of course getting ready for something like that takes time away from my regular routine.
After checking Monday's pd off my list, I started thinking about prep for March.  Mainly, what math box (math stations, centers, whatever you want to call them) activities did I want for the upcoming month?  As visions of shamrocks, cat hats, and basketballs (The Final Four) danced in my head, the stomach virus struck!
My poor  A  has never really been sick before and at dinner on Wednesday night her lucky streak ended.  After lots and lots of, well you know, we made our way to the emergency room.  From midnight to 6:30 a.m. we sat and waited for a cure for our poor little girl.  After two bags of iv fluid and finally being able to hold down a cup of Sprite, she was discharged.
Needless to say, I missed school on Thursday and played catch up on Friday.  So now with  A  on the mend, I'm back on my March math box mission.
One box I will be using will serve as a review of fractions of a group.
If you would like a FREE copy of this math box activity, click on the picture below.

This activity includes six sorting mats, eighteen treat cards, and a recording sheet.  The recording sheet can certainly stand alone if you do not want to do the sorting activity.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.
Contact me with any questions.
Stay healthy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Good Bye Cupid, Hello Mr. President (FREE Presidents' Day Activities)

I don't know about you, but last week was crazy  b u s y.  Lots going on at school and at home.  We wrapped up our crazy week with a little Valentine's Day party for A and some of her little friends.

They played games, made a craft, and had a great time.  They were so cute and I was so tired.

After a week like this, I could use a long weekend, but oh no.  We are not out for Presidents' Day and I'm trying not to whine.
But on the bright side, I do have more time to fit in some fun Presidential activities.  I wanted to share a couple of reading/language arts activities I'll be using with my class next week.
First is a writing craftivity.  I plan on having my students write some facts about George Washington or maybe give them a different prompt (I'm still thinking).

If you would like a FREE pattern for this activity click on the picture.

My sweeties will also be working with a Presidential Word sort.  There are three sorting mats and eighteen word cards, as well as a recording sheet.  The clip art is from kpmdoodles.  

If you want a FREE copy of this activity, just click on the picture below.
I hope you can use one or both of these in your class.  If you have a question about either activity, please email me.  
Have a great rest of your weekend.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whole Brain Rules for Home

I really like using Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) strategies with my sweet first graders.  When I compare my classroom atmosphere before I implemented WBT versus after, there is a huge difference for the better.  If you are unfamiliar, check out YouTube.  There are many fab educators modeling ways to use WBT in a variety of classrooms.  Some of my favorite video clips are posted by Freundlichteaching.
As my daughter has gotten older, I started wondering if I could use pieces of WBT at home.  I decided to give it a try.  I edited the standard 5 WBT Rules (Rule 1:  Follow directions quickly.   Rule 2:  Raise your hand for permission to speak.   Rule 3:  Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.   Rule 4:  Make smart choices.   Rule 5:  Keep your dear teacher happy.)  I decided to use a variation of Rules 1, 2, 4, and 5 at home.  
You can click on the picture below if you would like a FREE copy of the WBT Rules for Home posters.
These samples are only a few of the posters.  There are twenty in all, including black line graphics if you want to customize your set.  The clip art is from JW Illustrations and kpmdoodles. 
I'm really curious to see if WBT can translate to home.  If I can get my 5 year old to follow directions quickly, I will be super thrilled.  If it doesn't work, at least I have satisfied my curiosity.
If you would like a copy of the Five Rules posters and a Five Rules mini book for your classroom, you can click here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Number of the Day Mid Winter Update (FREEBIE)

As the year progresses and my first grade sweeties have more math skills under their belts, I like to change the Number of the Day a bit.  For this version, I added a greater than, less than, or equals box.
If you can use either of these activities with your students, click on the picture below for your free copy.
I also provided a skip counting page that I plan to use as the back side of our Number of the Day page.
I usually put the Number of the Day page out for morning work a couple of times during the week.  
I think this review really helps keep concepts fresh.  If you would like another version of my Number of the Day page click here.
Ok I have put of folding laundry long enough.  I'm off!
Have a good week.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

We Heart Fractions (A Fraction Freebie)

It's the weekend before Valentine's Day.  Next week looks to be pretty busy.  Before things get too crazy, I though I might share a little something we will be using in math.  My firsties have been working on fractions for a week now.  We have mainly focused on fractions of shapes.  Next we'll work on fractions of groups.
I love teaching fractions.  Lots of chances for hands on activities.  I really like bringing in food as manipulatives.  However, we do put pencil to paper on occasion.
I made a couple of free printable Valentine's themed fraction activities.  They cover halves, thirds, and fourths of groups.
Click on the picture below for your copy.
The clip art is from Melonheadz and Scrappin Doodles.  Please email me if you have any questions.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Be Mine Yes or No Way (A Valentine's Math Box FREEBIE)

My sweeties started their math boxes yesterday for the month of February.  I generally (but not exclusively) use these boxes to review and reinforce various math skills.  I find my firsties need constant reminders that they do know how to do things, because sometimes they forget they know.
My students work in pairs to complete the math box tasks.  I spend a good amount of time training them to take turns and how to coach each other when needed.
I'll try to post more specifics about how I use math boxes (math tubs, math stations, math centers . . . whatever you want to call them).  But for the time being I'll share a box I am using this month.  It is a number comparison sorting activity that uses the Whole Brain Teaching line of questioning YES or NO WAY.  Which is basically like TRUE or FALSE.
If you would like a FREE copy of this activity click on the picture below.

The activity includes two sorting mats, sixteen number comparison cards, and a recording sheet that has a cut and glue option.  You can use the recording sheets as a stand alone printable if you want.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

King For a Day (A Mardi Gras Freebie)

Have you noticed, all the special days have been lining up lately?
100th Day, Groundhog Day, Super Bowl.  Up next . . . Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day.  Wow, wow, wow!  Lots of chances to mix up your class's routine and maybe expose your sweeties to some unfamiliar traditions and events.
I wanted to share some of the Mardi Gras activities I'll be using with my firsties.  Mardi Gras is on February 12th this year.  After learning a bit about Mardi Gras traditions and before having some King cake, students will make this craftivity and write about if they were king for a day.
Click on one of the pictures below if you want your free copy.
I have also included a spelling practice recording sheet if you do not want to use this pattern for writing.
One book we will read is Timothy Hubble and the King Cake Party by Anita C. Prieto.  I ordered my copy from Amazon.  If you have any favorite Mardi Gras children's books, email me.  I would love to add more to my collection.
As far as the King cake, if you do not have a bakery in your area that makes them, check online.  There are many mail order resources.  
Laissez les bons temps rouler!