Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Learning: A FREE Math Mini Book

Hi all.  I hope you are staying cool.  Most of the summer was rainy for us.  Now that we are back in school, the sun has decided to make up for lost time.  It has been hot, hot, hot.
We are out of school on Monday for Labor Day.  With all of the back to school craziness that has been going on, I am super happy about an extra day this weekend.  When I get back to school on Tuesday, I plan on doing a little word problem work with my firsties.
We have been back in session for about a month and there is still a lot of hand holding whenever students have to do word problems.  But, consistently working on them a little bit at a time, will pay off later in the year.
Below is the word problem mini book we will be using, Labor Day Learning.  Click on the picture if you would like to have a FREE copy of this activity.
This mini book includes work with addition concepts, time to the hour, pattern making, tally marks, and subtraction.
I hope you can get some use out of this little booklet.  Let me know if you have any questions about it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

September Smarties: Centers for September and Two Freebies

Hi friends.  August has just flown by.  I feel like this month has been like one of those trips in the car when you can't seem to remember the drive at all, only the arrival.
Anyway . . . If you are planning ahead for September, you may want to check out my September Smarties Centers.  I have created ten September themed literacy centers and ten September themed math centers.

Activities in this literacy center packet include work with rhyming words, initial sounds, final sounds, long and short vowel discrimination, abc order, syllables, contractions and more.  I've made one of the centers available as a freebie.  Click on either picture for more details.

free center from September Smarties {10 Literacy Centers}

As for the math centers, they offer practice with addition concepts, number order, ten frames, part part whole charts, number bonds, time to the hour, and more.

Below you will find the free math center from my September Smarties {10 Math Centers}.  Again, you can click on either picture to find out more information.

free center from September Smarties {10 Math Centers}

Maybe some of these activities will take some of the load off of you during this busy time of the year.
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Daily Five: Outside the Box (Work on Writing)

Hi All.  For those still on summer break, enjoy.  That life seems so far away to me now.  I am in my fourth week of school with my new little first graders.  Getting them to this point is exhausting, but they have my class routine and procedures down.  Now we are ready to go.
We just completed our Daily Five training period, which I know many of you are wrapping up, currently in the middle of, or about to start.  If you are working toward the implementation of the D5, you may want to consider keeping the Work on Writing element as a whole group, everybody at the same time activity.  Read on to see why . . .

I really love many components of The Daily Five, however writing outside of the rotations has been one change I made and witnessed positive results.  You may love the traditional way and it may work great for your kiddos.  But if not, this may be the time to try a little something different.
For more about writing in my class, click here.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Colorful Kids: A Free Behavior Clip Chart and Reward Coupons

Ah . . .  I've made it through the first three weeks of school.  The first three weeks and the last three weeks always seem to be the most hectic.  I may not have everything up and going yet, but it's getting there.
One thing I do have up and going is my behavior management system and I thought I might share.  To begin with, I use the (certainly not original) color coded clip chart.
All students start their day on green.  They can move their clips up or down depending on their behavior.  I'm not going to go into specifics about consequences.  I really feel like that detail is very personal to you and your student population.
In my class, if one of my little sweeties is not acting so sweet and has made his way down the chart, I do allow the opportunity to move back up.  For my students, this chance for redemption is often motivating enough to regain some self control.
If a student is having a very good day.  Doing what is expected without being asked or going over and beyond, that student can move up the chart to blue, then purple.  If a student ends the day on purple he gets to add a jewel sticker to his clip (again, not an original idea).  When he has collected five jewels, he gets a special reward.  In my class it is in the form of a reward coupon.
Students can choose from a small list of reward choices that I then write on the coupon.  Students can redeem their coupon whenever they want.
sample reward coupons
Students also get to keep their bejeweled clip and start on a new one.  I send a note to the parents and attach the clip to it so they can celebrate their kiddos' accomplishments.  My students are really proud when they earn a jewel or fill up their clip and so am I.
If you would like a free copy of my clip chart, reward coupons, and parent note home, you can click on the picture below.

Clarity, consistency, and personal connections are important factors in effective classroom management.  This packet was created with each of these factors in mind.  I hope it can be of some use.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Motivate Me Monday: August 19, 2013

Happy Monday everyone.
Happy now, right?  I've made it through a long day.  I woke up about 3:30 a.m. this morning and could not go back to sleep.  It's the beginning of the year, I'm sure you totally understand why.
Anyway, at about 3:50 a.m. I got out of bed and started my day.  I'm really surprised I'm not sacked out already, but I just had to join my gals at First Grade Buddies for their first ever link up Motivate Me Monday.
I get to share a little something motivating to get the week off on the right foot.  My mind went straight to The Help's Aibileen Clark.

As we move through the year, I want my dear students to feel this sentiment.  "You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important."       
L o v e   i t !

Be sure to pop over to First Grade Buddies for more Monday motivation (maybe even join in).  
Thanks for reading and have a great week.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Oscar and the Snail: A Science Mentor Text

Hi all.  I'm linking up once again with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text Link Up.  This week's topic is science.
My pick is Geoff Waring's Oscar and the Snail: A Book About the Things We Use.  This book caught my eye because of the lovely illustrations (plus we have a gray and white spotted cat at home and Oscar reminds me of her).

Oscar is in a garden and wonders about the "things we use."  His friend snail provides him with some really good answers.  He learns what materials birds use to build their nests.  He sees that some things float and some things sink.  He also finds out where things like paper, bread, and bricks come from.  This book can help your kids start make connections between things found in their everyday life and where those things originated.

And best of all, this book is part of a series of Oscar science books.  I love reoccurring characters.  The other books are just as gorgeous and cover topics such as sound, growing, electricity, and more.   
Oscar and the Snail proves that science topics can be presented in a simple and artful way.

There are more super science recommendations at Collaboration Cuties.  Be sure to check them out.

Also be sure to check out the BIG Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers.  
This is my first sale and I would love for you to check out my little store.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five for Friday: August 16, 2013

Two weeks in and so far so good.  The first three weeks of school are always crazy, no matter how much prep I do over the summer.  So I have one more week to go until smooth sailing (he he he).
Needless to say, I'm so glad it's Friday!  Here are a five random things from an awesomely busy week.  (Thanks Doodle Bugs Teaching :).

Number 1
My daughter turned 6 last Saturday.  We had a fun birthday party at our house.  It was a monster theme.  Let me tell you, there is nothing like getting ready to host a party the first weekend back to school.

Number 2
For A's birthday gift we added two little bunny sisters to our family (Sweetie and Gracie).  We have never had bunnies before.  A was thrilled.  I'm hoping to figure out a way for the buns to visit my classroom.  I'm sure my kids at school will love them just as much as A.

Number 3
A started kindergarten on Monday.  She knows a couple little girls in her class from preschool and from gymnastics.  Her teacher seem to be a fab fit for her.  We are looking forward to a great and interesting year.

Number 4
My little artists at school helped me decorate my walls this week with their versions of the bunny from Melanie Watt's You're Finally Here! (a great back to school read aloud).  They turned out super cute.  The eyebrows on the bunnies are hilarious.
I must give a shout out to my new circle punches from Hobby Lobby.  Awe-some.
I'm working on posting this pattern soon.

Number 5
I finished up my September Smarties {10 Math Centers} packet.  It is Common Core aligned and focuses on addition concepts, number order, telling time, and more.  Click on the picture below for more information.   You can also click here if you would like a FREE copy of one of the centers featured in this packet. 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Be sure to go by Doodle Bugs Teaching to check out some more Five for Friday fun.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ten Apples Up On Top: A Math Mentor Text and a FREE Math Center

Wowie, wow wow!  What a week.  I know I don't have to tell you about the first week of school.  Throw in my daughter starting kindergarten and hosting her 6th birthday party (which included adding two bunnies to our family) and you have a recipe for a BUSY week.
But enough about that . . . it's time for Collaboration Cuties Mentor Text Link Up.  This week's topic is math.  I have an oldie but a goodie to share, Dr Seuss' Ten Apples Up on Top.  
This story follows a dog, lion, and tiger as they try to out do each other by balancing more and more apples on top of their heads.  Like most Seuss books, it is fast pace, fun, and includes loads of rhyming.
There are so many activities you can do with this book.  It's great to use if you are doing an apple unit with your class or if you are spending time with Dr. Seuss.
I made a ten frame and related equation math center inspired by the fun in this book.  Click on the picture below for a FREE copy of this center.

This activity is one from my September Smarties {10 Math Centers} available at Teachers Pay Teachers.  But, you can have this one for free :).
For more ideas of great math read alouds and texts, visit Collaboration Cuties.

Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Perfect Books for Launching The Daily Five: A Language Arts Mentor Text

Hi friends.  I start school tomorrow with my new class and I will be launching Read to Someone for The Daily Five as well.  I must say, the launch of The Daily Five is not my favorite part of the year.  But, it is so worth it.  Spending plenty of time training your darlings how to behave and get the most out of their time during your literacy block will pay off all year long.
I, of course, love to find fab books to go along with my launch mini lessons.  I have a few to share during this week's Collaboration Cuties weekly Mentor Text Link Up.
As I mentioned before, this trio of books by Debbie Bertram and Susan Bloom is great to go along with your Daily Five launch, but if you do not do the Daily Five, you will still enjoy these texts because they promote the love of books and reading.

The Best Time to Read is a great book to read aloud when you are doing the Three Ways to Read a Book lesson with your students.  I really like how the main character talks about how he used to read the pictures, but now we reads the words.  How perfect!

Click on the picture below if you would like a FREE Three Ways to Read a book anchor chart to go along with this lesson.  
When I am teaching students the three ways to read a book, I usually start out on chart paper.  But, later in the year I like to switch to these smaller anchor charts to pull out for review.

The Best Place to Read follows the main character as he searches for (wait for it) . . . the best place to read.  I like to use this book with the Where to Sit in the Room mini lesson.

Finally, there is The Best Book to Read.  This story takes place in the library and shows different book genres.  It is a great jumping off point to talk about how there are books for every person's unique interests.  I usually use this text on the day we are talking about picking Good Fit books.

Click on the picture below if you would like a FREE Good Fit Book anchor chart to go along with this lesson.  

The clip art are from the anchor charts above is from Melonheadz and KPM Doodles.

During the first week of school I teach all of the lessons mentioned above:  Three Ways to Read a Book, Where to Sit in the Room, and Picking a Good Fit Book.  Bertram and Bloom's books fit perfectly with these concepts.  The illustrations are cute and colorful.  And each book is written in a fun rhyming style that the kids go for.
For a more details about launching The Daily Five, click here.

So here is the scoop for this week's Mentor Text:

For other great book suggestions, activities, and lesson ideas, 
be sure to check out the other mentor text recommendations at Collaboration Cuties.