Saturday, March 30, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text Linky #1


This is a fun linky for a lazy Saturday!  We’ve been enjoying our freedom since yesterday and it is so nice to take it easy!  The girls at Collaboration Cuties are hosting a linky for the next 4 weeks to showcase great Mentor Text across subject areas.  This week is Literary Mentor Text and we’ve chosen to share a book/acvitity we did for Opinion Writing.


Opinion Writing was new for us in 1st grade this year.  We searched for strong texts to use as models to teach our kiddos about this form of writing.  One great book we found was A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech.  If you are not familiar with this book, it is a story about a principal who loves his school, teachers and students so much, he wants them to be at school more often.  He instates school on weekends, holidays, and summers.  One girls shares with him about how going to school is keeping her away from other important things.  He is about to make another anouncement and the kids get worried about when else he will make them come to school.  This is the point we stop reading and have our kiddos record their opinion about what the principal should do….most kiddos think the principal should stop making the kids go to school so much.

Here are two versions of the organizer to use with your kiddos so they can state their opinion.  Select the version which would best fit your class.



Hope you have a chance to check out this book and enjoy it with your class!




Friday, March 29, 2013

Five For Friday (including a GIVEAWAY!) 3.29.13




It’s Friday; which means it’s time for our Five for Friday linky! 
ONE…
We have reached 100 followers!!! We are so excited about this!  Thank you for visiting our site and joining us in this journey!  We have made connections with people we would’ve never known otherwise!  To celebrate, we would like to give away one of our products; Rainbow Math.  Rainbow Math was an idea we had to help improve our students’ fact fluency. We have been so pleased with the results. Each kiddo has a ring that they keep their addition facts on.  The facts start at +1 (which are red) and they add a color each time they pass a level.  We started this in February and we are excited to say we both have students that have passed ALL ADDITION levels!  When the students pass addition, they move on to subtraction.  Recently we introduced 2 digit addition and our students did so well; we think part of this is their ability to add quicker and their improved confidence from their Rainbow Math practice.  


Below is a raffle if you’d like to try for your copy of Rainbow Math! 


 TWO…
This week we worked on the equal sign; it’s meaning and ways to use it.  Many young children see the equal sign as “the end of a problem.”  We wanted to make sure they understood that an equal sign means “balance” or “equal values.”  So, we introduced “Equal Ellie.”  In this packet there are 4 activities that allow the students to see that the equal sign is a symbol for “balance.”  Below is an anchor chart we made with one of the activities; the students had to sort the number sentences into true or false.  If you’d like to try this in your classroom, the picture of “Equal Ellie” will take you to our TpT shop.
 



THREE…
This week we completed our Economics unit.  We set up a class cookie factory to teach “division of labor” and “quality vs. quantity.”  Every year it’s a student favorite! We divide the students into 2 groups; a factory that uses division of labor (assembly line) and a factory that has no rules or guidance.  It’s always so neat to see the difference in how the cookies turn out.  See below!  



FOUR…
Another engaging activity we did this week to conclude our Economics unit was a classroom store.  At our classroom store we sell goods and services.  The students have to make the goods and provide the services!  They even have to make a sign to put up in their shop (they get so creative!!!).  This is one of our favorite activities in first grade! 

Both of the activities above (the factory and store) are a part of our "Economics in the Primary Grades" packet!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Economics-in-the-Primary-Grades
                    
 A couple more examples of our use of this packet...
 

How cute is this: "A haircut is a service provided by a haircut girl." 

Vocabulary cards (designed to look like stores) are included to make anchor charts or to hang around the room!

Click here for a freebie from our Economics packet:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4oqs3dO-goOSFF1MXU2UGhPTWc/view?usp=sharing


FIVE…
We are officially on Spring Break!  We plan to work on “end of the year” projects this week…can you believe it’s time to say that?!? We can’t wait to share the things we come up with on our blog in the coming weeks! 

Have a GREAT weekend!








Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writing Workshop Linky 3.27.13

We are linking up with Growing Firsties, who is hosting a Writing Workshop Linky.  The theme this week....share Writers' Notebook ideas.  Coincidentally, last Saturday we shared a Writing Notebook idea that we use as a strategy for our students that need extra writing support and a Writing Notebook idea we use that is a strong home-school connection.  


We use a pen-pal Writer's Notebook for students that need extra writing practice.  We write the student a letter each day that asks them a question, as well as, gives positive praise.  At home, they write us a couple of sentences back (with the idea that they are practicing sentence structure, spelling, conventions, etc…).  We make sure the kiddo and their parents know that the pen pal journal is meant to be quick and relatively painless!  We are so proud of our students that have been diligent about writing us, practicing their writing skills each time!
Below is an example to show you just how easy this strategy is…
On that same note, a home-school connection Writer's Notebook that works great for students of all writing abilities is our Family Message Journals.  Each week the students write to their family based on a prompt.  Their family writes them back over the weekend.  The kiddos love reading their messages!    






Workshop Wednesday: Mentor Texts



Yay!  Time for Jivey’s Workshop Wednesday!  This is a fun one for us.  We love using great texts to teach important lessons and help our kiddos gain the skills good readers need.  We also LOVE to hear about new books that lend themselves to great lessons!  We are sharing about our recent work with Ezra Jack Keats.  We have been using many of his wonderful books in our Authors as Mentors writing unit.  We’ve studied his work, learned about his writing crafts, and modeled our writing after his. 


Today, we are sharing one of our opening lessons: Strong Story Starters.  For this lesson, we gave partner groups one of Keats’ books and a recording sheet.  We instructed our kiddos to only read the first page of the book and record down the words Keats used to open the story.  Then, kiddos drew a picture to match the first page of the book they had.  After we were finished, partner groups shared with the class how their book started and we discussed the words Keats used to get us excited to read the story.

Here are some examples from our partner groups.

Here is the Story Starter recording sheet we used.  Click the picture to get a free copy!



Monday, March 25, 2013

Manic Monday 3.25.13


Hello Monday!  We wanted to share a bit of our Monster Grammar packet.  We created this packet to cover all grammar standards under the Common Core standards for Conventions of Standard English in First Grade.  As we worked through the year, we noticed the curriculum map we follow was not highlighting grammar standards well and they were easily overlooked.  We’re hoping this packet will keep us on track to being sure we cover each standard! Here’s a sample we’re sharing that covers conjunctions.  We have recently been teaching conjunctions in the classroom as our kiddos work on stretching our their sentences in writing.

 
Hope you all have a nice Monday!




Saturday, March 23, 2013

Successful Saturday Linky!

This evening we are linking up with The Lower Elementary Cottage for a Successful Saturday linky!  It’s easy…just tell something that has been a success for you in your classroom this week!

Our celebration this week is a strategy that has proven successful for our students that need to work on their writing skills; a pen pal journal.  We write them a letter each day that asks them a question, as well as, gives positive praise.  At home, they write us a couple of sentences back (with the idea that they are practicing sentence structure, spelling, conventions, etc…).  We make sure the kiddo and their parents know that the pen pal journal is meant to be quick and relatively painless!  We are so proud of our students that have been diligent about writing us, practicing their writing skills each time!
Below is an example to show you just how easy this strategy is…


On that same note, a home-school connection writing piece that works great for students of all writing abilities is our Family Message Journals.  Each week the students write to their family based on a prompt.  Their family writes them back over the weekend.  The kiddos love reading their messages!  Family Message Journals are available in our TpT and TN stores!




We wish you much success in the coming weeks!



Friday, March 22, 2013

Five For Friday 3.22.13

TGIF!  It was a busy week for us and we are sure it was for you too! 
 Here are 5 tidbits about our week!

1.  We were really excited to post our 1st Grade Monster Grammar Packet on TpT and TN! We knew at the beginning of the year that we would need to organize ourselves in order to teach all of the grammar skills required in Common Core; so this packet was created! Prior to this year we had not taught things like prepositions or determiners to our first grade kiddos! This packet contains a poster, sorting or matching cards, and student printable and/or activity for each of the “Conventions of Standard English” standards  for First Grade.  We have found it to be so helpful to have all of these standards addressed in ONE resource!


2.  Currently in Writer’s Workshop we are working on using conventions appropriately in our writing.  This involves some editing on the students’ part.  After they have edited their work, we let them “publish” their piece.   This simple task seems to get them very excited to try hard to produce quality writing.  If you’d like a free copy of the “This book is dedicated to…” and “About the Author” templates, just click here.  Another perk of “publishing books” is that we let the students read these during Daily 5 as a special treat.  Do you "publish"  books in your class?  Do you find it to be a motivation? 
   

3.  Have you ever used Sign Up Genius?  We had both used it for non-school related events and have started using it in our classrooms too.  It has made life SO EASY! Whenever we need parents to volunteer to bring materials or help out we use Sign Up Genius.  This week we needed several items for our Economics unit and with Sign Up Genius we were able to get the word out and ensure that we had all the materials taken care of!  If you haven't heard of it before or tried it out...you should!  


4.  Do you use the Houghton Mifflin leveled reader books in your classroom?  Something we have had great success with that we haven’t had a chance to blog about is the use of the HM leveled readers and our question prompts as a home reading task.  The packet below has prompts for a reading response journal (made specific for the first grade set of HM readers with a 2004 copyright date). Prompts are differentiated by reading level so students are appropriately challenged. There are 2 response prompts for each leveled reader title. These prompts are a great extension piece for guided reading groups!   The kiddos enjoy these and they serve as a nice home-school connection as well!



5. This Sunday we linked up with Flying into First Grade for a "Let's Get Acquainted" Linky.  We had to list 2 truths and a 1 lie; what a fun idea!  And now to reveal our lies…

Have a great SPRING weekend!







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Reading Organizers



Yay for Workshop Wednesday!  We love this idea!  Thanks Jivey for hosting!  What a great way to pick up wonderful ideas!  We’re especially glad for this week’s topic, Reading Organizers, as we continue to need more support pieces to help our students be accountable for their learning.   Our organizer is simple, but very handy for our kiddos.  We love how this organizer is easy to use with any variety of books.  The format also supports what our kiddos need to do as part of their retell for Running Records.  While we often use specific graphic organizers when we are studying a particular comprehension strategy, this good old standby is always stocked in our classrooms!  Hope you enjoy!




Monday, March 18, 2013

Manic Monday 3.18.13




It’s Just Another Manic Monday!!!
We hope you had a nice weekend and St. Patrick’s Day!  Today we have a Spring activity for your kiddos.  This is an excellent group activity where students have to brainstorm about Spring, trying to think of an idea for each letter in the alphabet!  The kiddos enjoy the task and especially like working together to get the job done!  This activity is a part of our “Spring Has Sprung!” common core aligned literacy activity pack available in our TpT and TN stores.    

Have a great week!   



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky!

We’re linking up with Flying Into First Grade again this week for Round #2!  This week's theme is 2 Truths and a Lie.



Friday, March 15, 2013

Five for Friday 3.15.13 (including a Freebie!)


It’s Friday!  I think the kiddos were as relieved as we were!  It's time to LINK UP!




 Here are our 5 highlights of the week! 

1. In honor of it being March 15th, we are throwing a 15% off sale this weekend on all products in our TpT store!  We hope you are able to find things that work for your classroom!  {Click on the balloons to shop!} 

2.  Speaking of our TpT store, we have a new product this week!  “Spring has Sprung!” is a Common Core aligned literacy activity packet that includes:
-Spring acrostic poem template (color version and black and white version)
-Brainstorming about Spring using the Alphabet
-Brainstorming about Spring using the Senses (boy version and girl version)
-Read the Room with the word Spring
-Reading Response worksheet (bug book version and rabbit book version, but can be used for general reading purposes as well)
-Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More predicting the setting activity
-Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More compare and contrast activity
-Duck! Rabbit! opinion and class voting activity
-Duck! Rabbit! Nonfiction activity
-Take home rabbit activity (a rabbit that goes home with each student in the class; the students write a journal entry about their time with the rabbit, as well as, work on question prompts that can go with any Spring book)
-Spring egg hunt activity (students hunt for eggs that contain question prompts; literacy, math, and science question prompts included)
**One great thing about this packet…very little teacher preparation is required!**


FREEBIE!!!
Click below for 1 activity from the “Spring has Sprung!” literacy activity packet:


3.The biggest highlight of our week was our Leprechaun on a Classroom Shelf adventure.  Both of us had our friendly Leprechaun visitors this week!  Larry (in Sarah’s class) and Lucky (in Tamra’s class) kept the kiddos on their toes!  He was there to look for kindness and hard work; it’s great how far a little incentive can carry a class of first graders!  We passed out gold coins and awards each day and students kept a journal to write about the special visitor.  Today we concluded our adventure with Larry and Lucky leaving behind “gold” and a few other prizes for the kiddos!  Leprechaun on a Classroom Shelf was just what we needed to help the students remember to use self control and to help them focus on their learning during this crazy time of year! Here’s a few snippets of the week:


The kiddos mapped out  (we are working on mapping in SS right now) all the places the Leprechaun was throughout the week: 

Lucky in Tamra’s class left a message today on the SMART Board (it’s so hard to disguise your own handwriting by the way):
 Lucky and Larry had some pretty unique hiding places:




4.  The students made life size Leprechauns!  We used a picture of their faces and they made the body with construction paper.  How cute are they as Leprechauns!?!  

Inside they wrote why they were “lucky.” First graders write the cutest things!
“I am lucky because my family thinks I’m special!”

5.  We always love a great Literacy connection!  This week we read The Lorax and The Curious Garden.  The Curious Garden is a book we stumbled onto last year and we LOVED it!  It is about a boy that turns his drab city into a beautiful garden.  The pictures are amazing and the storyline is just great.  If you haven’t ever read this book; it’s one you’ll want to find and read to your kiddos!  To connect the 2 stories, the students wrote about what they’d do if they found the last “truffula seed”, as well as, what would happen if the “truffula seed” went into the Curious Garden (we used sunflower seeds for the “truffula seeds” and feathers for their trees).  Their responses were so creative.  We were impressed!  
This example says:  “If I found the last truffla seed I would keep it in a locket.  My truffula seed could go in the Curious Garden and it would grow butterflies would be everywhere."

 This example says:  “If I found the last truffla seed I would keep it in a crate with dirt.  My truffula seed could go in the Curious Garden and its fruit could grow orange flowers .”
Whew! What a week!  We hope you enjoy your weekend!  See you next Friday!