Friday, January 24, 2014

You've Got Mail: A Free Valentine Themed Sight Word Center

Can it get any colder?
I live in the south.  Temps in January can normally get a bit chilly, but oh my word . . . this is getting ridiculous.  So ridiculous that I decided to take a couple of personal days and tag along with my sweet husband on his business trip to New Orleans.  
I thought surely New Orleans would be a little warmer.  Wrong.  But at least I get to go to some fabulous restaurants and do some fun people watching while I'm shivering.

It's hard for me to believe February is almost here.  Although February may be just as yuck weather wise, there are plenty of special days to brighten up class goings on.  Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and Presidents Day are all great jumping off points for lots of learning.
One activity I'll be using in February is my sight word center You've Got Mail.  Students have to crack the secret code and match it to the correct sight word.  After matching all the cards, the students will complete the recording sheet.
If you would like a free copy of this center, click on the picture below.

I snagged these mailboxes at Target's dollar section and plan on using them with the center.  They are certainly not necessary for the center's set up, but I think they will be a cute addition.

You've Got Mail is one of the centers in my Classroom Cupids {10 Literacy Centers for February} packet.  Classroom Cupids includes work with vowel discrimination, sentence sorting, plural nouns, initial digraphs, syllables, contractions, rhyming words, and more.  Activities that are sure to keep your students' skills sharp as the year progresses.
If you're interested, click on the picture for more information.

I guess that's it for now.  I hope you and your students enjoy the center freebie.
Stay warm.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

100th Day 2014 (Done and Done)

Hi All.  Hope you had a nice week.  We wrapped ours up with our 100th Day of School celebration.  This year we had a great day of learning and my firsties were really engaged.  I tried to snag some pictures of some of our activities.  Here are some of the highlights . . .

We made a little 100th Day craftivity to practice our spelling words. 

You can have a copy of this pattern by clicking here.  (There is also a writing recording sheet option.)

Students completed 100th Day mini books, counting to 100 different ways & 100 words.  We started our 100 Words book a couple of days early for morning work and that worked out really well.

Throughout the day we would gather together for 100th Day read alouds.  There are so many cute 100th Day books, it is hard to fit them all in.

Students also worked with partners completing a 100th Day center (adding multiples of 10 to get to 100).  You can click here if you would like a free copy of this center.  The clip art in this center from Melonheadz.

We all made 100th Day t shirts to wear and tell about on the big day.  The kids used buttons, stickers, yarn, markers, paint, glitter, and pom poms.  They all looked great.  My shirt had 100 pictures of my daughter on it.  Sweet.
Please excuse the bags under my eyes.  I was up late finishing my shirt. :)

We, of course, had to have a little fun with food.  We sorted and graphed 100 M & Ms.  Not an original idea, but always a hit with the kids.

Finally, check out our door.  I saw some cute ideas on Pinterest and thought I'd spruce ours up a bit.  The kids loved going in and out of the streamers.  I think bathroom break and drink break frequency went up 100% on the 100th Day.

This year was the first time I did not over plan for the 100th Day.  Everything went really smoothly, but I was still exhausted at the end of the day.  I am extra grateful for a three day weekend.  I hope you enjoy yours as well.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Make Way for MLK: A Free Learning Packet and Book Recommendations

Time certainly flies when you out of school for extreme temperatures, snow, and ice.  Our first week back from Christmas vacation was super fast (2 days).  Which, I cannot lie, was a great way to get back into the swing of things.  Of course plans were out the window.  But we were able to fit in most of our New Year's activities.
Next up the 100th Day of School and Martin Luther King Jr.  Our 100th Day of School is on Friday and I still have not finalized the activities we are doing.  There are so many fun and clever ideas to mark the 100th Day, I'm having a hard time choosing.

As for Martin Luther King Jr., I have a few activities and books ready to go that I think the kids will really enjoy.  Some of the activities my firsties will be doing are in my new packet, Make Way for MLK:  A Martin Luther King Jr. Freebie.

This packet includes two literacy centers and two math centers (both with recording sheets), as well as a writing craftivity. 
One of the math centers provides practice with addition facts.

The other one works with time to the hour.

One of the literacy centers allows students to practice sorting sentence by type (asking or telling).

The other literacy center works with rhyming words.

My favorite part of this packet is the writing craftivity, I have a Dream Just Like Martin Luther King.  With the pattern, you can have your students create a MLK peek over or you can have them make one that looks more like themselves.  Either way can work.

This packet is at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, click on one of the pictures to check it out.

There are also some really fabulous books about Martin Luther King Jr.  My First Biography: Martin Luther King Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer is a great choice for early elementary students.  The story is very simple and the illustrations are appealing.

The other biography I recommend is National Geographic Kids:  Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kitson Jazynka.  Like the book above, this one offers basic biographical information about King.  However, this text goes into more detail and uses actual photographs.

After reading these biographies, we will take a little closer on the March on Washington and the I Have a Dream Speech.  We March by Shane Evans is a book I found this summer.  It follows a family as they join the 1963 March on Washington.  The illustrations are very engaging as they focus in on individuals that were at the historic event.

My final recommendation is I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.   The content of this book is King's famous speech and the illustrations are outstanding.  My copy (from Amazon) also came with a CD of the speech, very useful.

There are certainly many more activities and books that you can use for your study of Martin Luther King Jr.  I hope some of these suggestions can be of use to you as you plan for MLK learning in your class.
Have a great week.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Squirrel's New Year's Resolution: A Language Arts Mentor Text for the New Year

The first Sunday of 2014.  The holidays have wrapped up and it's time to get back in the swing of things.  Although I have about 100 other things I should be doing, I'm taking minutes to join up with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week's topic is Language Arts texts and my pick is Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller.

This book is perfect for my first graders because it does a great job explaining what a resolution is.  Squirrel does not know about resolutions and finds out from her friend bear.  Bear explains that "a resolution is a promise you make to yourself to be better or help others."  (I love that explanation.)
While squirrel has difficulty thinking of a resolution for herself, she spends her time helping her woodland friends.  They eventually point out that she her actions speak for themselves.
The story is sweet.  The illutstrations are vibrant and have fun details.  If you do not have this book in your collection, I recommend checking it out.  It's great for this time of year.

After reading Squirrel's New Year's Resolution, my students will complete our little New Year's themed craftivity and write about their resolutions for the upcoming year.  I don't really know who came up with the idea of using the left over blowouts with a writing assignment, but I think it is adorable.  Plus first grader resolutions are really fun to read.

While we are not in school to celebrate New Year's, I love to spend the first week after break reading some New Year's themed books and bringing in various New Year's themed activities.  My birthday is on New Year's Day and I guess this is another way to keep the fun going a little bit longer.

Stay warm and be sure to visit the Collaboration Cuties for more great mentor text suggestions and ideas.