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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Think Outside the Box

I want to share with y'all a great resource today that I love using in my classroom.  It's called Think Outside the Box.  You can find this FREE activity over at First Grade Wow.  And WOW is what you will say when you visit this blog.  Nancy, who writes this fabulous blog, is a fantastic teacher who loves sharing her classroom creations.  As I was searching her site one day I found her Think Outside the Box activity. This activity consists of a collection of random, plain shapes.  Yep, random shapes. But what they kids do with these shapes is what the end result is all about.  I was intrigued and knew that I wanted to try it out with my class.  So one Friday, in place of our traditional morning work, I had this activity out on my kiddo's desk when they arrived.  At first glance, they really didn't know what they were supposed to do with it.  Color it?  Decorate it?  Was it supposed to be that easy?  After some gentle prodding encouraging, I finally got most of my students to "think outside the box" and turn their plain shape into something new and totally different.  For some students this task was easier than for others.  I had a couple that just couldn't do it.  One of my students who has struggled with reading all year long was by far the most creative when it came to this task.  I wish I would have taken a picture of his very first activity to share because it was truly amazing.  I made a big deal out of it and shared it with the class.  After everybody saw all of the different creations, the light bulb came on and I think they all figured out that their pictures could be anything they wanted them to be, they didn't have to be the same as their neighbors.  As Nancy points out on her blog, it's a great way to get that creative side of their brain going.  After doing this activity several times this year with different shapes, I have to agree 100% with her.
 
Here are a few examples from the activity using a crescent moon shape:
 
girl parachuting from the sky

solar system with labels

banana man singing about peanut butter and jelly

rainbow with rain falling
 
hand throwing a football
 
I hope these pictures give you an idea of what a great activity this can be for students.  It gave my students a break from the normal "everybody do it the same way" kinda work.  Each student had the same shape, but what they chose to do with it was what mattered.
 
If you are interested in this activity, you can read more about it on Nancy's blog here.  Please show her some love if you download this activity!
 
In honor of the Easter holiday, I have put my store on sale.  Everything is 20% off!  You can click here to shop!
 
Hope you all have a very blessed Easter!
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Currently!

When I saw on Instagram that Farley's Currently was up for April, I think I took a double take!  It's April 1.  I can't believe it.  I'm not complaining though.  I'm loving that it's a brand new month loaded with lots of great things.  To start with, my youngest daughter's birthday is Saturday.  She will be 9.  Where does the time go?  Wasn't she just a baby?  Then, the week after next, we FINALLY have spring break.  I'm so ready.  I'm also ready to share with you what's happening with me Currently.
 
 
Have I mentioned I'm ready for Spring Break?!  It can't come soon enough.  I need some time to regroup and relax.  It's that time of the year when things start to get real stressful at school.  Testing, talk about allocations, promotion/retention issues, etc., etc., etc..  Those kinds of things start to bring out the best in people within our building, if you know what I mean. 
 
Our last day of school was moved to June 2.  It was originally May 30.  But, due to the days we lost because of the ice storms, we had another day tacked on to our calendar.  Lovely.  June 2 is a Monday.  Who wants to come back to school, after the weekend, for just one day?  It will be interesting to see how many kids actually show up for that 1/2 day.  Yes, it's a half day.
 
Teachers in my building have to be in their classrooms by 7:00.  Students start coming in the building at 7:05.  Our first bell rings at 7:25 and the late bell rings at 7:30.  We dismiss at 2:05 and teachers are allowed to leave at 2:45.  I wish I knew what it was like to leave at that time.  I'm usually at school until 3:30 or 4:00.
 
So what's does your Currently look like?  Head on over to Farley's and link up!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Cleaning!

Another week down.  Two more till Spring Break.  I hope I can make it.  I don't know about you, but the weeks sure do seem like they are getting longer and longer.  We still have lots of weeks left, it's way to early to start having those never ending weeks.  Maybe once it starts to feel like Spring everyday, I will feel a little more energized.  The cold weather has got to go!!!!
 
The forecast for my neck of the woods is calling for a mix of rain and sun this weekend.  Since it will be to yucky to get outside, I suppose I can start some spring cleaning.  I love organizing and getting rid of stuff.  I've been spending way too much time on Pinterest these days looking for redecorating ideas for our house.  Right now we are in the middle of redecorating the girls bathroom, which I hope will be finished this weekend.  What Mr. M doesn't realize though, is that I've got plenty of other things in mind for other rooms of the house. He has told me more than once lately that I need to stay off of Pinterest because it is costing him to too much time and money!  Well isn't that what homeowners do anyway?!
 
Speaking of spring cleaning, how does your TpT wish list look?  Is it overflowing with tons of fabulous products and graphics that you can use to beautify your own products and classroom?  Do you need a reason to "clean house?"  Well I've got the perfect solution for you!  There are tons of bloggers and TpT sellers who are throwing "Spring Cleaning" sales this weekend, including me! 
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/An-Apple-A-Day-In-First-Grade
graphic courtesy of www.georgiagrownkiddos.com
 
You can head on over to GeogiaGrownKiddos blog and take a look at the list of some of the bloggers that are participating in this sale.  You can access my store by clicking here.  All of my products are 20% off until the end of Monday. 
 
If you are looking for some fun card games for your students to use to practice sight words and decodable words, check out my new product Spring Pick, Read, and Play
 
 
It has 8 card games total, 2 each for Spring, Easter, Earth Day, and end of the year Summer Fun.
 

 


My kiddos love these games and beg to play them.  I typically pull them out on Fridays and split my class into small groups.  I pick a "group leader" who is responsible and trustworthy enough to guide the group through the game.  This group leader takes care of running the game so that I don't have to be at their beck and call for mediating any problems that may come up while playing.  While the groups are playing the games, I can pull students to DRA or progress monitor for AIMS web.  It's a win win situation for all of us!
 
So, are you ready to tackle some spring cleaning this weekend?!  I know I am!  Happy shopping, I mean cleaning!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Go Fly a Kite!

Hey y'all!  Happy Spring!  It's so nice to have winter behind us.  I'm looking so forward to these glorious days ahead.  I'm really looking forward to the days of spring break.  Unfortunately, I'm going to have a wait a little while for that.  My spring break isn't for 3 more weeks.  The only good thing about that is that when we get back from our break, there will only be a few more weeks left of school.  I've just got to get that mindset while we wait on these next 3 weeks to go by!
 
I've got a new freebie for you in my TpT store.  To find out all about it,  head on over to Collaboration Connection
http://thecollaborationconnection.blogspot.com/2014/03/go-fly-kite.html
 
I'm blogging over there today about my new math activity called Go Fly a Kite.  It's the perfect activity for some Spring fun!  Here's a little sneak peek!
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Go-Fly-a-Kite-Number-Grid-Craftivity-1171910
 
 
Hope this first weekend of Spring is fabulous!  Enjoy every minute of it!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sweet Tooth!

Happy Saturday ya'll!  Just stopping in to share some dental health activities that my class worked on during our week of dental health.  Yes, I know I'm a little late in sharing.  Dental health month was last month.  I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and blog like I used too.  Balance and time management are definitely 2 things I need to get a grip on.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who struggles with this.  How do you manage?  I would love to know your secret!
 
During our dental health week we used our power words to anchor our learning.  You can read about how I use power words in my class here.  As the week went on, we added new learning to our schema by using lots of great nonfiction texts, excerpts from our health book, and of course, Brain Pop, Jr. Annie and Moby are rock stars in my classroom.  The kids love them and listen very attentively to them.  If you don't know about Brain Pop, Jr. you HAVE to check it out.  I'm very fortunate that our district has a site license and we can use it anytime.  So after I felt like we had all the facts down, I created a little Dental Health True/False activity that we glued in our learning logs.  My kids use their learning logs for science, social studies, and health.  They are spiral notebooks that we write in and glue other activities in.  Essentially, they are interactive notebooks.  I've been using these for years now and love that my kids have something to take home with them at the end of the year that showcases a little bit of our learning from the year.  When we first start using them,  I really talk the notebooks up by telling my kids that these will be special notebooks that they will keep little pieces of their learning in.  I relate it to the notebooks that researchers might use for their learning and such.  I want them to think of the notebooks as tools for learning and not just some notebook that we are gluing and writing in. 
 
 
My kids loved this activity and I loved hearing them talk about the sentences with each other.  They also did a great job using context clues to figure out some of the harder words.  Love that even more!  You can click here to download this activity.

At the end of the week, we read a FANTASTIC book called Sweet Tooth.  Ya'll, if you haven't read this book, you MUST!  It's about a boy who has a sweet tooth that gets him into lots of trouble.  The boy finally has his fill of this sweet tooth and decides to fix the problem on his own.  It's a great book to use for any skill.  The illustrations are great, the text is perfect for all ages, and the vocabulary was wonderful.  My kids LOVED it!!!!!!  I think we touched on a little bit of everything during this read aloud. 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Tooth-Margie-Palatini/dp/0689851596/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394913132&sr=1-5&keywords=sweet+tooth
 
Before we read the book I asked my kids to tell me what they thought a sweet tooth was.  I was surprised that they didn't even have a clue.  That made reading the book that much better.  After we finished, we followed up with a little bit of writing. I gave my students the writing prompt below.
 
Click here to download the writing prompt.
 
I got THE best responses with this writing.  Here are a few that I absolutely loved.
 
This friend said she would eat sweet candy every single day!

Love the speech bubbles with this one!

Aren't those teeth great?!

This friend used BIG words, just like the books used, to finish her sentence!
 
I took all of their writing and put them together to make a class book.  I have a little reading area in my room where my kids can go and read.  I keep a basket with books and magazines in it for them to read while they are there.  This is also where I keep all of our class books that we make.  It warms my heart to see them reading and talking about the books we have made together in class.
 
 
You can click here to download the book cover I made for our writing.
 
If you've already covered dental health this year, you can always keep these activities in mind for next year.  Hopefully I can get back on track with sharing in a timely manner!
 
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I'm so excited that spring is less than a week away!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Currently!

Whoa!  Did March sneak up on us or what?  I'm not complaining though.  I'm ready for some spring weather. This winter has been so blah.  We haven't had the continuous winter storms that a lot of you of had, but it's still been a "not so typical" winter down here in the south.  I can't believe that it's almost the end of the 3rd nine weeks grading period.  Where has this year gone?  I think we have just about 11 weeks left.  Yikes!  Love the sound of that, but I still have so much left to do to get my first graders ready for 2nd grade!
 
Since it's the beginning of a new month, you know what that means?  It's Currently time!  I'm so glad that Farley heads this up every month.  It's a great way to meet new bloggers and get to know one another a little bit better.
 
 
Y'all, cooking is not my favorite thing to do.  I try to cook as much as I can during the week.  But in all honestly, if I can get away without doing it, I certainly won't!  Like all things, some weeks are better than others.  If I had a personal chef come in a few times a week, I would be thrilled!  It wouldn't even have to be every day.  I would be quite content with just a few.  One can wish!
 
Report cards go home on March 20.  I should really start them now so that I can work on them a little each day.  That way I won't be burning the midnight oil on March 19 trying to get them finished.  Sounds like a great plan.  I wonder if I could get the personal chef to do my report cards as well?!  Again, one can wish?!
 
My question???????  Hmmm.......
I haven't had a giveaway on my blog in a while.  So, the first reader to guess my question, will win 1 item of their choice from my TpT store.  Sound  good? Guess on!
 
Don't forget to head on over to Farley's and link up as well.  What are you doing Currently?
 
Have a great week friends!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time to Get Your Sale On!

Happy Hump Day friends!  Hope this week has brought you lots of good times!  I can't believe I'm getting ready to say this, but I'm lovin' this full week of instruction.  We have had so many interruptions, distractions, ice days, etc. since Christmas and my sweet little class has really been impacted by it.  I'm so thankful for a "normal" week this week.  We hit the ground running on Monday and have not stopped.  Thank goodness.  It has felt really good at the end of each day to know that I covered just about everything that I had planned.  We are more than half way through this 3rd nine weeks quarter.    Next month we will roll into the 4th nine weeks.  Unbelievable.  Bring it on!  I'm ready for summer!
 
In case you haven't heard, TpT is gearing up for a GREAT sale tomorrow and Friday. 
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/An-Apple-A-Day-In-First-Grade
sign courtesy of Creative Clips
 
This sale is in honor of this great site hitting a milestone of 3 million teachers.  Wow! I think that's a pretty good reason to throw a sale.  I've got my wish list loaded down with lots of great products.  All I have to do now is move it all to my cart and checkout.  I don't think I'll be able to checkout in the 10 items or less lane this time!
 
If your looking for some activities that get your kiddos up and moving, be sure to check out my See it, Think it, Write it! activities.  My inspiration for this series of activities was the game Headbandz.  Prep time is easy.  Print the game cards and response sheet.  Cut out the game cards.  Assemble some headbands out of sentence strips.  Attach the card to the front of the headband with a large paper clip.
 
 
 
 
Give each child a headband with a card to attach to the front.  Pass out the response sheets and then let them loose to See it!  Think it!  Write it!.  If you aren't up to your kids moving all around the room, you could use the cards to play Scoot.  Or, you could even use them to do a gallery walk.  These activities are great for review as well.  Place them in a center or use them for fast finishers.  How great is that?  One activity, lots of different uses!  You can click on each picture to find it in my store.
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-Addition-Edition-Sums-to-10-888549
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-It-Nonsense-Words-Edition-815557

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-Number-Order-Edition-815614

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-It-Write-it-Rhyming-Words-Edition-784943

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-Comparing-Numbers-Edition-934162

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-Contraction-Action-1069087

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-CVC-Words-779072

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/See-it-Think-it-Write-it-Telling-Time-1080069
 
 
Thanks for stopping by! Hope the rest of your week is fabulous!