Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Know You're a First Grade Teacher When...

So I HAD to play along with Abby over at The Inspired Apple!! I've laughed hysterically at other answers and could totally relate! How do you feel about these?!?!

1. You come home at night and think, "Wow! I haven't used the restroom since 6:30 this morning".

2. Your kids had a bad day, meaning you had a bad day, but you still stop by the store to spend your own money on something for the class.

3. You spend more time in the children's book section of Barnes and Nobles than you do in the adult section.

4. You don't even want to begin thinking about why a child's shoelaces are wet after they come out of the restroom...

5. You come home with marker stains on your hands every day.

6. Your hair is in a pony tail before attendance is taken.

7.  You quiz your husband on inventive spellings of students.

8. You've threatened to check every pencil before it is sharpened just to see if it really needs it.

9. You jump up and down and scream for joy when a child finally understands something!

10. You've run out of Kleenex and it's only January.

11. You can make up a song at the drop of a hat, rhyming words and all!

Are you next? Link up with Abby and play along!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What We Love Wednesday-Writing

Happy Wednesday!!!

Today's post is about writing! I've always loved writing, even as a child. Do you remember those job tests we all took in high school? Well, my suggested two jobs were teaching or writing! I guess I get a little bit of both of those worlds with my teaching blog! :)

I truly want my students to love writing, so I try to find ways to make it more fun and interesting. One writing activity we did a few months ago combined my kiddos love for Silly Bandz and writing. I posted about this a long time ago and my kids really enjoyed it!

Since I'm at home on the home computer, I don't have a picture of what I'm about to explain. Over the summer I created "Writing Rings". They are writing prompts written out on index cards. I put 3 prompts together and connected them with a ring. The students choose 1 ring and write about the prompt in their writing journals. These are a part of their enrichment activities which they can do when they finish their independent work. I also have a few sets in their station tubs. They work on items in these tubs when I'm working with small groups. I'm working on typing the writing rings and putting them online if anyone is interested.

One final thing we do with writing is sharing our work. I truly try my hardest to get this done on Fridays. Some weeks it is SO hard to find time to do this, especially with things being as busy as they are. When we do get to share our work, the students sit in the "Share Chair", which is my rocking chair. They love any chance they get to sit in the teacher chair! I think it is so cute when they do. Almost 100% of the time, students rock back and forth as they read their story. I think it's pretty impressive to rock and read...don't you?

How do you make writing more interesting for your students? Be sure to check out Miss Griffin's post on Sticker Stories!! You'll love it!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Reading Game

"It's just another Manic Monday"...

BUT the good news is that we only have 8 more Mondays to go!!

Next week we are working on the final long e sound spelled y and ey, like in the words honey and bunny. My kids love playing games, so I decided to come up with a little game to help reinforce reading these words. Plus, I really love making up little games, especially when I "cute" them all up with Scrappin' Doodles. I am seriously in LOVE with their cute clip art and wish it were a little harder to buy! It might keep me from buying so many things...

Anyways, here's the game "Happy Bunny". All you need for the game is a set of plastic eggs (I plan on using 24 eggs), a basket to put them in, and the following printable. Basically the kids take turns drawing word cards. If they read the word correctly they spin the spinner to see how many eggs they collect. If they don't read the word correctly they place the card back and spin for no eggs. The winner is whoever has the most eggs at the end of the game, when the word cards run out. Click on the picture below for the free printable!!

You could also print out the word cards and have your very own "Egg Hunt" around the classroom. I might use this in a few weeks as a review.

Enjoy!!!! Have a great Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What We Love Wednesday:Word Work

This Wednesday is so wonderful that Miss Griffin and I decided to post two "What We Love Wednesday" posts. Our earlier post was for the winner of our first giveaway!! Tonight's post will be about word work!

As a first grade teacher, I spend tons of time working with my kiddos on reading, spelling and writing words. Since we do this so often, it's really easy for the kids to get burned out on the same ol' activities over and over again. Here are a few of our favorite word work activities. I try to vary them up as much as possible to keep everyone focused!

I love using my pocket chart to show pictures which follow our given sounds for the week. I find all of my pictures with google images.  The photos are great to use because the kids don't have the word to look at. This way they really have to think hard about how the word is spelled instead of just looking at the word and seeing the given letters. I have the kids sort the words and then write them on a piece of manila paper. This way, we don't use copies! The kids are so good about folding their paper, labeling the categories and writing their words. I have them look over their words when they are finished writing them to see if they make sense. These are typically the same words for the spelling test, so it's great practice in centers.

 When we move on to a new week and a new sound, the picture cards are placed in a container for the kids so they can review previously learned sounds during their "free" time.

I love magnet letters and cookie sheets!! I've collected magnet letters over the years and still feel like I don't have enough! They are so convenient and fun to use!! I found my cookie sheets at The Dollar General for $3. What a deal!! I really should go back and get more. We use these during centers and for making words during small group time. We practice making high frequency words, spelling words and words that follow our phonics pattern with the magnets.

If you have access to SMART software for an Air Slate or SMART Board, you should really check these out!! Basically, they are refrigerator magnets that can be used with the SMART technologies. My kids love using these to practice their words. I've had this in centers before where the kids use a spelling list. They would give each other a practice spelling test using the magnet letters on the screen. Here's a quick picture of the manipulative from SMART Exchange. The magnets are the first download if you are intersted.

I wish I had a picture for this game. My kids LOVE it! It's called "Pop!" The only thing you need for the game is a small white board or piece of paper. I use the white board so I can erase it. Basically, you write a word on the board without showing the students. After you write the word, show the class. If the students know the word they raise both hands in the air and yell, "POP". Whoever raises their hands and says "POP" first gets to read the word. I keep writing new words and try to give everyone in the class a chance to read a word. They go nuts about this!! It's also a great way to keep everyone paying attention. I love to catch the kids off guard by showing the word quickly.

Finally, here is a game my kids LOVE!! The game is basically Tic-Tac-Toe...with reading! I bought pockets from the teacher store and laminated them on a poster board. Then, I cut into the pockets so you could place something inside of them. I fill the pockets with high frequency words or other weekly words. The students chose which pocket they'd like. They pick the card out of the pocket and attempt to read it. If they read the word correctly, they place either an X or an O on the sticky note. The game goes back and forth just like Tic-Tac-Toe. The winner is whoever gets 3 in a row! The kids love it and it's super easy to differentiate by level.

What kinds of Word Work is happening in your classroom? I'd love some more ideas!!

What We Love Wednesday:Winners

Our first giveaway was a great success!! Thank you to everyone who participated!! And now, here's the winner...

We wrote the names on paper...

...placed the names in a cute spring jar....

...and picked a winner!!

Congrats goes out to Janine at Faithful in First!! Email us your email address and we'll send you the Scrappin' Doodles gift card!!!

Have a  Wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What We Love Wednesdays-- We're Lovin' Giveaways!


So last week Miss Griffin over at Fantastic First and I decided to start up "What We Love Wednesdays". Last week's topic was websites. This week's topic is GIVEAWAYS!! There are so many amazing giveaways going on right now and we decided to play along too! Below are some of the amazing giveaways going on... AND...our very own giveaway!!

  • I already posted about this a few days ago, but the amazing women over at What the Teacher Wants are giving away a $100 gift card to the Container Store! I could seriously do some damage there!!

  • The amazing Cara Carrol at The First Grade Parade is giving away a $25 promotional code to use at any of the MANY CSN stores!! How fun is that?!?!

Now...the moment you've all been waiting for. I know it's the moment Miss Griffin and I have been waiting for!! We are so excited about this and have been texting each other back and forth! We are giving away a $25 gift certificate to Scrappin' Doodles! The price for this clip art is unbeatable and their selection is super cute! Here's what you need to do to enter....

1. Follow my blog! Leave me a comment to let me know you are following. For those of you who are already followers...thank you, thank you, thank you!!

2. Follow Fantastic First! Miss Griffin has some wonderful things going on over there so you'll definitely want to check that out!! Leave her a comment letting her know you are a follower!

3. Doing the above two things will get you one entry in our giveaway. If you'd like a second entry write a post on your own amazing blog telling about our first giveaway! Then, leave both of us a comment with a link to your blog.

The winner will be announced on next week's "What We Love Wednesdays", meaning all entries must be submitted no later than midnight CST on Tuesday, March 22nd.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"oa" and "ow" free printable


I am loving my Spring Break!! Sleeping in, eating lunch with no time constraints and doing whatever I want to do when I want to do it...yes, the good life! But seriously, something is wrong with me!! I have "teacher brain" and can't stop thinking about what I'll do when I get back to school! It's so funny (and kinda sad) because a week ago I had "Spring Break Brain".  Anyways, here's something I've been working on for next week. We're introducing the long o sound spelled "oa" and "ow". Inspired by all the wonderful ideas from other blogs, I decided to try to make my own little game, all "scrappin' doodled" up!

Basically print out the oar game pieces and game directions. The game is called "Row the Boat". The object of the game is for the kiddos to read the "oa" and "ow" words on the oar cards. If they read the word correctly they keep it and place it on their boat. If they do not read the word correctly they place it back in the pile. Whoever has the most oars in their boat wins the game!


P.S. Be on the lookout for tomorrow's "What We Love Wednesdays" hosted by Fantastic First and yours truly! It just might have a giveaway attached to it (hint, hint)!! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Can't Contain Myself!

Good evening!!

Rachelle and Natalie over at What the Teacher Wants are having an amazing giveaway!! Are you ready for this?!?! They are giving away a $100 gift card to the container store!! The sweetest thing about this is that they are doing it as a "thank you" to their readers. Come on ladies!! I'm the one thanking you!! You have the greatest ideas and I love what you share!! Thanks!!

If you want to try to win, head on over to What the Teacher Wants and follow their blog. Then, post about the giveaway on your blog. Finally, go to the Container Store's website and window shop!! Post back to their blog and share what you'd buy!

Here's what caught my eye...

This would really de-clutter my desk area!!

This would be great storage for centers or games!

More kiddo storage! I love that this unit is clear so you can see what's inside!

I love magnets!! This would be a great way to post sweet letters from my sweet little ones, pictures or important memos!

Good luck!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome to Whoville!

This past week my little kiddos learned with Dr. Seuss. Since we had a short week we decided to work on a Dr. Seuss Unit!!

I loved all the Dr. Seuss ideas found on other blogs! My favorite activities came from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants! Thank you so very much!! The kids loved it!

For the past 2 years I've had my students create their very own "Whoville". We start the day by reading "Horton Hears a Who" and discussing the story. Then, I have the students close their eyes and imagine what it would be like to live inside the speck of dust in the town of Whoville. The students then use play dough to create their very own Whoville! The kids work together to create little buildings. Then, we carefully place the buildings together to make a little "Who community". I love seeing what they come up with! The kids did a great job this year and even made the mayor's house, a school, and a church! I was super proud of their creation!! See for yourself...

Here's the parent letter I send home. Everyone does a great job of bringing in play dough! I didn't have to provide any this year!! That was a nice break for my wallet!!

After the kids create Whoville (it took about 30 minutes) they take a picture of their favorite piece. Then, they write about their creation. I'll print the picture out and glue it to their writing. We keep Whoville displayed for a few weeks. The room has the greatest play dough smell!! The kids (and I) love it! It's also a great feature for our open house!

Another activity we did with "Horton Hears a Who" was tied in with science. Our school bought each classroom a microscope which connects to a computer. They are the coolest things ever!! My computer is connected to a TV, so the entire class can see whatever we are magnifying. I found some dust in my room (like that was hard to do....) and magnified it for everyone to see. Then, we compared the real dust to Horton's speck of dust. The kids loved seeing the dust close up! They wrote in their science journals and drew a picture of the dust. I'd love to take credit for that idea, but I can't! I can't remember where I found the idea!! Thanks to the creator...whoever you are!!

Happy Spring Break!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Link Up!! What We Love Wednesday

Good evening and Happy (almost) Spring Break!!

One of the greatest things about teaching is the opportunity to work with my teammates!! I love, love, LOVE these girls and am so blessed to have them around!! Miss Griffin at Fantastic First is one of my amazing teammates! We love  bouncing ideas off of each other and talking about the wonderful things from other teacher blogs! While on our way to get our kiddos from PE, we decided to start a linky party about things we love. Well...TA DA!! Here's the first "What We Love Wednesday"!!

This week's topic is websites!! We are always looking for fun ways to incorporate technology into our learning. What websites do you love?

One of my favorite websites is wordle! If you have not "wordled" you must stop what you are doing and go right now!! My kids have used wordles for many different projects including spelling words, verbs, vocabulary and for plain old fun! They seriously ask me if they can make wordles with words they know! It's a great way to reinforce sight words!! Our latest wordle was made yesterday. We are spending the entire week integrating Dr.Seuss into our lessons. The kids listened as I read "The Cat in the Hat". After we read and discussed the story, the kids thought about as many words as they could that rhymed with "cat" and "hat". Then, they created a wordle with the words! They had so much fun thinking of both real and nonsense words!

Here's a picture of one wordle. The program takes the words you type and organizes them into "word clouds". The kids can choose different fonts, colors and layouts! They LOVE it!!

So, now it's your turn!!  Post your favorite website on your blog! Don't forget to mention our little party at Fantastic First and here at Burst of First! Then, link up below!

We can't wait to see your favorite websites!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Catching Up!

Good evening!

I loved the way Gladys at Once Upon a Time in First Grade summed up what goin' on using bullets! Short, sweet and to the point!!

*Here are some pictures from our "Freedom Quilts" lesson during Black History Month. The kids loved choosing their pattern and coloring them! They even had more fun writing their predictions for the secret codes!  Here's the final product, all ready to go for Open House!

* I'm working on a game for the oa and ow sounds! Be on the lookout for the final product, all "Scrappin Doodled" up!!

* This week is our Dr. Seuss Week! Thanks to everyone in the "teacher blog world" for amazing Dr. Seuss activities!!

*We have 4 more days until Spring Break!! I know we are all counting down!!!

**Have a great Monday!!