Saturday, October 31, 2015

50th Day Fun (Plus a FREEBIE for Your Class)

Do you celebrate The 50th Day of School with your students?  If not, you may want to consider marking the day with some fun learning activities that they will love.
One of the most best parts of 50th Day is dressing the part.  It's a good idea to give your parents plenty of notice so they can get an outfit together.  In class, I like to show the kids pictures from the 1950's, that way they can start getting an idea of what that decade looked like.  Plus, 50's inspired outfits are really easy to pull off.  Roll up a pair of jeans and throw on a white t-shirt (girls add a scarf), there you have it.  
For our 50th Day my team went a little fancier and found some (for lack of a better word) puffy dresses for the occasion.  Amazon has lots to choose from.

This year the 50th Day fell on the same day as my daughter's Halloween party at her school.  Since I planned to take off part of the day to be a mom, I was careful not to over plan our 50th Day activities.  One activity I was sure to fit in was our 50th Day 50 Second Challenge.
Before we started the challenge, I showed my class how to twist, bunny hop, and do the hand jive.  All are dances included in the 50th Day 50 Second Challenge.  I also explained the other tasks in the challenge.
I placed the station cards around my class and gave each student a recording sheet.  I turned on some 1950's music and we began our 50th Day 50 Second Challenge.
The tasks in the challenge are a mix of 50's inspired movement activities and math skills.

If you would like a FREE copy of 50th Day 50 Second Challenge to use in your classroom, click on the picture below.

After lunch our whole first grade went to the gym for a sock hop.  We had root beer floats and one of our sweet parents made a yummy cake for a special treat.  The kids had a great time.

After our little blowout, we'll be ready to buckle down for the next 50 days (or at least until Christmas).
Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Short Vowel Solutions: Ideas and Freebies

A quarter of our year has come and gone.  The first four to five weeks are really devoted to procedures and routines in the classroom.  Of course we've also been working on some of the standards.  A big focus during the beginning of the year is always short vowels.
One area many of my firsties struggled with this year was phonemic awareness of medial sounds.  They were awesome at hearing the initial sounds in words, but hearing that vowel sound in the middle was tricky.
To get more practice correctly identifying the vowel sounds in words, we did lots of listening oral segmenting of words.  We also did (and continue to do) lots of picture sorts.  Students need to be able to identify the sounds of the words, without having them written down.  Oral segmenting and picture sorting really helps with phonemic understanding of short vowel sounds.
If you would like a free set of my short vowel picture sort (seen in the picture below) you can click here.

Brain Pop Jr.'s Short Vowels video chip was an inspiration for another one of our activities to practice correctly identifying short vowel sounds.  In the clip, Annie labels objects in her classroom that have short vowel sounds.
I paired my students up to label short vowel objects in our classroom as well.  Students wrote their words on post-its and stuck them to the short vowel objects.  Then we gathered at group time to share what objects were labeled.  The class determined if the labeling was correct with a little thumbs up or thumbs down voting.

Of course we worked with actual short vowel words as well.  After we covered all of the short vowel sounds, we did a little differentiated Write the Room short vowel word sorting.   
I printed the short vowel words cards on two different colors of paper and posted them around the room.  My below level readers read and sorted the words that were printed on the red cards.  (The red cards include picture support.)  My on/above level students sorted words on the yellow cards.

My students always love Write the Room activities.  If you would like a free copy of my Sort It Out {A FREE Write the Room Activity}, you can click on the picture below.

During our word work time we did quite a bit more independent practice reading, sorting, spelling, illustrating, and matching short vowel words.
Click on the picture below to learn more about the independent tasks students completed to round out their understanding of short vowels.

Next week we'll start our work with digraphs.  We'll proceed with many of these same types of activities.  Listening for digraphs, reading words with digraphs, and spelling words with digraphs. 
Hopefully next time I check back in, I'll be writing from my new computer.   My dependable little MacBook is past its prime.  After making an update this summer (big mistake), any work I do on her (like this bog post) takes way longer than it should.  I'm not a big fan of change, but the time has come.  Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.  If you don't hear back from me for a while, you'll know why. ;)
Have a great week.