Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Door Decoration

I wish I covered the ugly, old door with a brighter color, but I didn't have time!  I'm planning to keep it up for March and April.  In April I will change the pots of gold to raindrops (April Showers)...


Sunday, March 4, 2012

St. Patty's Inferencing Lesson

 I love St. Patrick's Day (even though I'm not an ounce Irish!). To kick off our lucky month we did an inferencing lesson where the kids had to describe something greeen.  First we charted anything we could think of that was green.  We got so many great answers this year from animals (frogs and turtles) to characters (Shrek, Hulk).  The list went on and on!  Then each kid picked one "green item" from the list to keep as a secret.  Then they wrote 3 clues about their object and wrote it on this kind of flippy shamrock cut out with the answer inside.  Afterwards the kids read their clues to each other and then made guesses.  They LOVED that part!  Now they are hanging in the hallway for others to guess...

 You can click here to view it in google docs
You can click here to download it from TPT


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Free Daily 5 (plus 1) Posters!

Every year I do work stations/centers differently. One year I had about 10 stations and the children had tons of work to be handed in (TONS of work for me too!) Another year I had about 8 stations and I rotated them with a timer.  I was concerned because they just didn’t seem as engaged as I wanted them to be. After reading the Daily 5 over the summer I decided to try it out, hoping the students would be more on task. Sure enough... it worked! I love the daily 5 and it has made my life so much easier. And the kiddos are busier and always doing something related to literacy. One of my favorite daily 5 station is my Read to Someone Station. The way the "sisters" explain how to implement it has been great! That station went from being avoided each year, to being my absolute favorite. They even get to read to someone when they finish their work early.

This is how I rotate my stations this year:

I also make a 2nd copy of the posters and keep them at each station for the kids to refer to (see below)...

You can also download the posters for free at TPT. I printed them out, glued each one to a different colored construction paper and had it laminated. Then the students rotate their names using clothespins. I hope you enjoy!!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Non Fiction Writing Unit

This is one of my favorite units of study to do with first graders! Their enthusiasm steps up a notch when they are learning about an animal of their choice. And during this time of year... they definitely need a little enthusiasm boost!!! I start off by showing them 4 animals (this year we did alligator, dolphin, shark, and cheetah). Then I give each student their own fact sheets describing the animal's characteristics, habitat, diet, and extra facts. They learn to highlight and take notes. Then they write sentences for each category ("Heading"). Then we go into minilessons that help make their books look like real nonfiction books- creating catchy headings, using bold words,drawing a diagram and labeling it, using photos, writing captions. We also read a ton of nonfiction books that model these minilesons. Here are some photos... I'll post pictures of their books when they return from being "published"!!
Nonfiction Anchor Chart

This is one of my favorite minilessons.  We talk about how to "jazz up" our headings.  We discuss how to make it fun, make it sound like a song (home, home in the sea), and use alliteration (their favorite... such a big word!!)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Have My "Eye" on You!

Just a little cute Valentine's Day idea for everyone....  I L*O*V*E googly eyes so this one is one of my favorites.  I plan to glue it onto the cover of a card and have them bring it home to someone special!!!  Those holes will have to be made smaller when we actually do this next week because the size of them are annoying me!!!!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tooth Fairy Letter #3!

So this time we were visited by the littlest tooth fairy of the land.  Since our printer is broken, I could not create a printable...  Here is a picture of the teeniest, tiniest tooth fairy letter....

And here is the "body" of the letter:

Hello!  I'm Teeny Tiny Tina Marie
I'm the smallest of
the tooth fairies.

I'm from a faraway land
I'm as small as a grain of sand!

I heard that while you were eating a snack
Your tooth fell out,
but it will soon come back!

It will be hard to drink and eat,
but do no worry... you look oh so neat!

I have to go.
I'll miss you so...

Teeny Tiny Tina Marie


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Character Ed Sample and Year Long Unit Posted

My school requires us to do character ed throughout the school year and have lessons related to the Character Counts themes (trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, caring, citizenship, and fairness).  Check out my year long lesson plans and activities related to read alouds at my TPT store!  There are 2 suggested book titles for k-2 per month with suggested lessons, activities, and/or crafts linked to the read alouds...That's 20 + lessons and activities!!!

Since Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered and celebrated in January, we read a book titled, The Crayon Box That Talked.  We read the book and compare/contrasted to a similar poem (click here for sample).  Then each child illustrated a crayon to show how each one is unique.  We then displayed them in a "classroom crayon box."  I like doing this for MLK day, but the same project can be used in the beginning of the year to show how each child is different, but together we make a great team!
Click on the above picture to go to Character Education Sample (The Crayon Box that Talked)


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Month by Month Thematic Writing

January's Words... Isn't that penguin just the cutest???

2 Options for Written Response
At our writing station I have 2 choices for the students: work on writing from writers' workshop time or write using the thematic writing words and stationary.  Most of them use the thematic writing words and write such creative stories!

I have created 10 thematic writing pages for 10 school months (September-June).   Each month has a list of words for students to use when practicing writing. They can use the thematic words provided to help them write sentences, paragraphs, and/or stories related to each month.  I have also included three different response sheets to use depending on the developmental stage of your students.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Buddy Reading!

I am loving the Buddy Reading station during my literacy station time!!! I have always been petrified of Buddy Reading, but the Daily 5 has helped me so much!!! I was always nervous that the kids would be talking about recess or their new shoes, but that is definitely not the case this year... yeah!!! Here are two pictures. One is the anchor chart we used in the beginning of the year. The second and third pictures are of two buddies reading together. Since they get to read anywhere in the room, they may not be able to see the anchor chart. So I took a picture of the chart, laminated it, and each student has one in their "book bags." They also use these cards to QUIETLY look for a buddy to read with. They simply hold it up to show that they are in need of a buddy. I love it so much that if my firsties finish their work early throughout the day, they are allowed to buddy read... I would have never done that other years!