Sunday, March 30, 2014

Out Like a Lamb: Three FREEBIES to Welcome April

What a week!  The week after spring break always seems to be quite an adjustment at school and at home.  We had something going on every night.  Now that my daughter is in school, her extracurricular activities keeps us hopping.  Soccer, gymnastics, choir, ballet . . . you get the picture.

We were hopping at school is well.  I pulled out all of my Ezra Jack Keats books and we worked on various comprehension skills with his works.  The kids  l o v e d  his books.  Most of them new A Snowy Day, but the other texts were new to them.  We discuss character, predictions, and context clues. They really liked looking at the illustrations and finding common elements in all of the books.  At the end of the week my firsties made their own Keats inspired Willie artwork.  The pieces turned out fantastic.

We also made some April Fool's Day spelling art to hang in the hallway outside of the class.   The kids really enjoyed making this project. They turned out so colorful and cute.  If you would like a FREE pattern of this activity, click on the picture below.  There is a writing page as well as the spelling page included in the pattern.

In my spare time (ha ha ha), I put the final touches on my literacy and math centers for April.  I finished and posted them with two days to spare.  Pictured below are two freebies from these packets.  
First up is Carrot Loving Contractions from Hop to It {10 Literacy Centers for April}.  Students will match contraction work cards with the words that make up that contraction.  There is a recording sheet included.  Click on the picture below for your FREE copy.

The next free center is from my math packet for April, Hop to It {10 Math Centers for April}.  Being Green: Fraction Fun is an Earth Day themed center that focuses on students identifying and sorting fractions of groups.  For a FREE copy of this center, click on the picture.

If you like these centers, you may want to check out the full packets (which are on sale through Monday).  Hop to It {10 Math Centers for April} and Hop to It {10 Literacy Centers for April} are great ways to add fun spring learning to your math or literacy time.  Click on the pictures for more details.

I hope you have a great week.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mentor Texts for April Fool's Day and a Free Writing Craftivity

The last night of spring break, where did the time go?
Tomorrow is back to business.  I was going to do a little spring break recap, but I'll save that for another day.  I want to make sure I have time to linkup with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week's topic is social studies and I have fun book for (I think) the next upcoming holiday, April Fool's Day.
In first grade we learn about traditions and customs as part of our social studies standards.  A great way to learn about traditions and customs is through holidays.  One of my favorite read alouds to use for April Fool's Day is Barn Yard Fun by Maureen Wright.

This story follows Sheep as he plays pranks on all of the barnyard animals.  Until finally, Horse pays Sheep back for all of his jokes by giving him a poodle inspired haircut.  The illustrations in this story are very expressive.  The story is rhyming, so it is very fun for students to listen to.  If you haven't read this book before, I highly recommend checking it out.  You will be happy you have each year as April Fool's Day rolls around.

I also really like Rookie Reader-About Holidays books.  They are very simple and straightforward nonfiction texts that provide students with a basic understanding of the history, customs, and traditions of various holidays.  Rookie Read-About Holidays: April Fool's Day, by Melissa Schiller, is no exception to this formula.  It is also a useful little book to have in your class for April Fool's Day.

As far as April Fool's Day activities, last year my firsties did a little writing craftivity.  They wrote about April Fool's Day jokes that they have played or have been the victim of.  This year we may do this same craftivity as a spelling art project.  I haven't decided yet.
Below is a picture of the April Fool's Day craftivity we'll be making.  If you would like a free copy of the pattern, click on the picture.  Included in the pattern is a writing option or a spelling option.

It's getting late, so I'd better wrap it up.
Thanks so much for stopping by and be sure to visit the Collaboration Cuties for more books suggestions and loads of related classroom activities.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sub Planning: Say It With Pictures

I don't know about you, but I hate making sub plans.  It usually takes me hours to be ready to gone for a day.  There have been many mornings that I have been at school at 5:30 a.m. trying to put together plans after waking up with a stomach virus.  Two words . . . the worst.
I decided to try a new (for me) approach this year, putting together a sub binder that includes pictures.  It was my hopes that this binder might be able to simplify planning for a substitute.

Here is what I came up with:

Here are some tips for putting together a substitute binder with pictures:

I used my iphone and powerpoint to put the pages together.  I do not recommend doing this project if you are trying to get ready for a sub tomorrow, you will need some time on the font end.  But in the long run, you will save yourself a lot of time and stress by creating a binder like this one.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Living Green: Ideas for March and Two Free Activities

One week to go for our spring break.  I honestly can't believe it is already time for spring break.  Between all of the snow days and the business to try to get back on track, time has just flown.
Since last week was Read Across America, we couldn't really get into all things green.  But this week is another story.  March themed read alouds, craftivities, centers, math, and literacy activities are on the docket.

My students are working with my new Oh So Lucky Math and Literacy Centers.  They are always so excited to get new center activities each month.  It's such a great way to keep things fresh and provide quality review.

These packets are available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I like to offer a free center from each packet.  Below is the free offering from Oh So Lucky {10 Math Centers for March}.  Time for a Little Luck is a math center that focuses on telling time to the half hour.  You can click on the picture for your free copy.

The free literacy center for March was featured in another post, click here for more information.

To spruce up our classroom a little bit, we made these Lucky Kids.  I love projects that show students' personalities.  I plan on leaving them up until the end of the month.

One writing activity I like to use in March is an expository paper, How to Catch a Leprechaun.  I start out by reading a book that features a Leprechaun character.  My current favorite is Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola.

After reading a leprechaun story, students write the steps to catching one.  After they complete their writing, I give out little leprechauns that students use in their illustrations.  This assignment is a great way for students to stretch their imaginations.  Plus they really enjoy it.
If you would like a free copy of How to Catch a Leprechaun, click on the picture below.  The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

So there's a little peek at some of the green goings on in our classroom this week.  I hope some of these activities are helpful to you as keep your students motivated and engaged.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Five for Friday: Read Across America Rewind (Plus a Free Writing Craftivity)

Hi all!  I've missed out on several Five for Fridays this school year.  I don't know about you, but by Friday I am super tired.  I just want to go out with my family for a nice dinner and come home to chill.  This Friday is no exception, especially with a week of Read Across America activities going on at my school.
We've had all sorts of special dress up days and special guests.  I was terrible about snapping pics of the kids in their outfits.  I think my favorite was on hat day, when one of my little blond girls showed up with a hat that had long, dark dreadlocks attached to it.  I cracked up every time I looked at her.
I did, however, manage to get some pictures from week.  So let's get started with Five for Friday:  Read Across America Rewind.

Number 1
Of course we did a slew of read alouds during Read Across America.  The kids love, love, love Dr. Seuss books.  I love finding ones that are new to them.  The read alouds were (and are always) the highlight of my week.

Number 2
Our school has a door decorating contest during Read Across America.  My firsties made Things for my door this year.  I'm sure you can tell from the picture, the hair on the Things is made from hand prints.  I think they turned out really cute.  The class was really proud of the door when it was finished.
Click here for a link to my Thing pattern.

Number 3
I found some adorable photo booth props on etsy.  I printed off some Lorax inspired mustaches and brows.  The kids had a ball with them.  One of my sweet boys managed to keeps his on for a couple of hours.  He just went about his day as if he did not have a huge construction paper mustache stuck to his face.  So funny!

Number 4
Also on esty, I found a fun apron to wear during Read Across America.   My husband just shakes his head when these packages arrive at the house.  For some reason he just doesn't get why someone might need a Cat in the Hat apron.  I guess he just has to take my word for it.

Number 5
One of the books we read this week was Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire.  I know, it's not a Seuss book.  But it certainly reminds me of one, so I usually read it during RAA.  Plus, I love the story.
After reading this book, the kids worked on a writing piece, "If I had magic spots . . . "  After they finished their writing, we made leopards to display along with their pieces.
You can have a FREE copy of this activity by clicking on the picture below.  If your students are anything like mine, they will enjoy this story and the activities to go with it.

Well, there are some of the highlights from this week in Room 8.  If you would like to check out the happenings in other classrooms, be sure to visit Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday this week.
Thanks so much for stopping by and take care.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

In Like a Lion (Mardi Gras Freebies & Centers Galore)

March is starting off with a bang.  I just realized a few days ago that Read Across America and Mardi Gras fall on the same week, plus my class will start work on new math and literacy centers for March.  Before all of that craziness starts I wanted to share a few things we will be doing.

Mardi Gras is on Tuesday.  While I do not live in an area that has big Mardi Gras celebrations, I think it's really important for my firsties to learn about all sorts traditions and holidays.  We'll have a King's Cake and for math we'll work on my Mardi Gras Math Mini Book.  The mini book is a collection of Mardi Gras themed word problems focusing on double digit subtraction, patterns, time to the half hour, place value, and more.  You are more than welcome to a free copy.  Just click on the picture below to check it out.
Thanks to Melonheadz for such adorable clip art and Cara Carroll for most of the fonts.

Last week we also made our Mardi Gras Friends spelling craftivity.  My Mardi Gras Friends got a little makeover since last year.  You are also welcome to this pattern if you would like to use it with your students.  There are two recording page options: a spelling list or a writing prompt.  Click on the picture for a free copy of this pattern.

Like I mentioned before, my students will also begin working through my new March centers for math and literacy.  
Oh So Lucky {10 Math Centers for March} is a packet full of colorful centers to go along with St. Patrick's Day, spring, Read Across America, and March Madness.  It includes work with number comparisons, balanced equations, time to the half hour, addition, subtraction, fractions, and more.  You can click on the picture if you would like more details.

Oh So Lucky {10 Literacy Centers for March} is a packet that also includes activities to go along with St. Patrick's Day, spring, Read Across America, and March Madness.  It features work with rhyming words, synonyms, long & short vowel discrimination, sentence types, syllables, contractions, antonyms, and more.  If you would like more details about this packet, click on the picture below.  Both packets are at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Whew . . . sounds like a lot.  In my opinion, it is best to stay busy and boy we are!  Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by.