Manic Monday 4.29.13

It's time again for Manic Monday!  I have to say we have been getting some really neat freebies on definitely gets us excited to start our week!

This week we have a quick and easy activity that allows students to practice their speaking and listening skills; this is always needed this time of year when the kiddos are a little more excited than usual!  "I Mustache You a Question" includes 3 sets of 6 mustache question prompt cards that allow students to "interview" one another and share their findings about their classmates.  There is a set with general "get to know you" questions, one set with "after reading" questions, and one set with "end of the year" questions.

Have a great week! 

Mentor Text Linky {4.28.13}

Today we are linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text Linky.  This week the theme is Social Studies.  One of our favorite Social Studies units is Economics.  We use nonfiction text for this unit, but we have some favorite fiction books as well. One of them is....

Have you ever read this story?  It is about a boy that gets several dollars from his grandparents.  He originally wants to save it to buy a special toy...but then he ends up spending his money on little things along the way (like bubblegum).  It is cute story that helps the students see that spending money frivolously makes it difficult to get the big ticket items they are wishing for.

Our Economics Unit in our store has many great hands on activities to teach various Economics concepts; needs/wants, goods/services, division of labor, and quality vs. quantity. Below is a freebie from our Economics Unit that would be great to use after reading Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.  

CHECK OUT OUR FREEBIE by clicking below
(font by Learning Tree and Graphic by Ginger Snaps):

(one of our best sellers in our store):
Click HERE to link to a previous blog post that shows this Economics Unit in action in our classrooms (you'll have to scroll down a little bit)!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Five for Friday 4.26.13

TGIF!!!  It's Link Up time!  Here are our 5 things...

1.  Today we had our school's annual "Buddy Marathon."  Students run 25 miles at home over  a period of time.  On the day of the marathon, everyone who participated runs the last mile together at school.  There are parents, teachers, students, community helpers, area mascots, and high school athletes all there cheering the kiddos on!  There are "runner numbers" and medals even!  It's such a neat way to encourage a healthy lifestyle and school spirit.  It's one of our favorite things about our school!  We are definitely worn out from all the excitement this afternoon!  Here are some pictures we captured...

2.  4th Quarter "Math Bags" are underway in our classrooms.  We designed Math Bags to give us a chance to work with small groups of children during our math block.  Math Bags are engaging activities that students work on in pairs to review math concepts.  They were designed in a  "budget  friendly way," as none of the activities require a colored printer or multiple copies.  We only change Math Bags once a quarter; so no more working on math centers every weekend!   Our kiddos love them and we have seen great results having a time in our math block to work with students in small groups or 1 on 1. For more details, click below.


3.  We are studying Rocks in Science!  Each year we ask students to make a rock collection to bring to school as a homework project.  We give them a direction page with labels that guides them on what type of rocks to find.  We ask that they organize the rocks in an egg carton or something similar.  The rock collections sure come in handy for our lessons throughout the week!

 If you'd like to try this homework project with your kiddos, click on the parent letter below.
(Fonts by Kevin and Amanda and The Learning Tree)

4.  Flat Stanley update! Each Friday we've shown you more Flat Stanley adventures.  Some years we have students that don't bring an envelope addressed to a family member or friend; but we still want them  to participate!  So, we either take Flat Stanley on an adventure ourselves or we send their FS to one of our family members.  This year I sent a  Flat Stanley to my little sister who is student teaching in a middle school in Kansas.  My student was excited to get her Flat Stanley back today (and so was I, it's neat to see a family member in the same career field as you).  

5.  We have been writing poetry this week!  It's been a nice break from personal narratives and nonfiction writing!  We have written all types.... 

Color Poems (simple but so cute)...

-ing Poems (this -ing poem is my personal fav since the Mr. is a meteorologist)...

List Poems (this little guy wrote about a classmate)...

Cinquain Poems (hard work, but worth it in the end!)...

  We hope you have  a nice weekend!  "See" you next Friday!

Let's Get Acquainted!

Well we sat down to join Mrs. Reed's linky party yesterday and realize we had no pics from our classrooms handy...crazy!  So we grabbed some today.  For the most part, our rooms are the same and we have the same favorite areas in the classroom, so we have three favorite areas to share plus one bonus pic to share!

We love our reading areas!  It is so fun to see our kiddos during Daily 5 tucked inside them or all comfy in a chair.  

Our SMART Boards are essential to our daily routines!

We created objective walls, or "Learning Walls" as we tell the kids, to highlight the standards/objectives we're currently teaching.  These have been great evidence for the increased walk throughs we've had this year!

Bonus!  Love this way to display student work!

We've had a great time peeking into other classrooms...and have definitely been jealous of some great spaces, resources, and ideas!  Thanks for sharing!

Manic Monday 4.22.13 {and a New Product!}

Happy Monday to all of you!  
We are linking up for another Manic Monday!  This week our FREEBIE is 1 activity out of our newest product in our store; Math Bags!  It is a measurement activity in which the students have to measure the trails left by a bee.  We have included 2 versions; one for use with a ruler (standard unit of measurement) and the other for use with other tools to measure; links, cubes, and paperclips (non standard units of measurement).  This way you can pick the version that best fits your classroom needs.  

As mentioned above this FREEBIE is one part of our newest product; Math Bags!  

We have been using Math Bags for years and have seen a lot of great things come from them. When we created these, we wanted a system in which the students could work on independent math activities while we met with students in small groups.  We didn't want to:
1.  change math centers ever week/ 2 weeks
2.  always use so much colored ink (which is often paid for by teachers)
So...these Math Bags are good to use for 9 weeks AND can be made with just a black/white printer and colored card stock!  

What are Math Bags?
Basically, Math Bags are 12 math activities that can be done independently.  We try to hit each strand within each set of Math Bags.  Each Math Bag is designed so that it can be done by one student or a pair of students.  We want the Math Bags to be engaging but also at a skill level where students can work independently.    

Our kiddos love them and we love them too because they are so easy to make and manage! 

You should check them out if  you are looking for a "center" type approach to your math instruction block.  

Before signing off; check out Literacy Mom of 3's blog post about us!  We were so excited to be a part of her Sensational Saturday post!  Her blog has great freebies often and neat information for us all to learn from.  

Have a great Monday!

Must Read Mentor Text Linky: Science

This week we it took us a moment to think of a good science book...I guess we just don't have very thrilling science units.  Anyways, these books cover a wide variety of science topics!  We love how they lay out the information in a 'kid friendly' manner and come in levels, so our kiddos can read them as independent readers too!

This week, we're continuing our Pebbles, Sand, and Silt unit, so we'll be reading Let's Go Rock Collecting.  This will lay some good background about how rocks are formed, how they get to the places where we can see them, and types of rocks.  We included a freebie for your kiddos to organize the information they learned from the book during reading or after reading.

Have a super week!

Product Swap!

Happy Saturday!  Hope you are having a wonderful start to the weekend!  We're enjoying some cooler weather and hoping to catch up on some relaxation!  We're posting today to share our experience with The Product Swap, organized by Jessica Stanford at Mrs. Stanford's Class.  We were partnered with Tamara Russell from Mrs. Russell's Room.

Tamara has many common core goodies in her TpT store.  We selected her Dr. Martin Luther King Mini-Unit.  Although we haven't had a chance to try this out with our kiddos, we really thought this little gem would really come in handy next year to fill a gap in our teaching materials.   
This unit has enough resources (printables and a PowerPoint!) it could stand alone as the only thing you'll need to teach about the importance of Dr. King (of course you'll have to add in a few good books).
  We love how Tamara has included a Power Point file in this unit.  We are all about using our SMART Boards for Social Studies and Science time!  Our county has many curriculum resources (this interactive and technology pieces) for Intermediate grades, but not Primary.  We love this idea of having a Power Point built into the unit!
Tamara has create many useful printables in this packet that help students student the importance of Dr. King's work and then relate themselves to Dr. King.  We think is is a wonderful opportunity for students to recognize the abilities they have in life to help spread peace and kindness!
Thanks so much, Tamara, for sharing this wonderful unit with us!  Be sure to stop by Tamara's blog at Mrs. Russell's Room and get to know this fellow first grade teacher and blogger!

Five for Friday 4.19.13

It's FRIDAY!!! Here are our 5 things...

1.  Our kiddos have completed their "What a Wonderful World" books!  Now they are ready to head home with each student for a night to display our creativity, as well as, show our appreciation for our planet!  The book is illustrated to Louis Armstrong's song "What a Wonderful World," and the kiddos do an amazing job of depicting the song through their pictures.  

This is one of my favorite examples; the baby is shown growing up from age "0" through age "9."  

I also like this one, gotta love first grade always makes us smile!  

And of course, our Wonderful World!

If you're looking for a simple (and sweet) way to celebrate Earth Day, this activity is available in our store.

2.  Our Flat Stanley adventures continue.  We are always amazed at how far Flat Stanley goes!  This week we received one back from Honduras!  They even sent along snacks for the kiddos to try...plantain chips and candy.

Many Flat Stanley's also come back with pictures of tourist destinations in the city they visited.   What a neat way to "visit" other parts of the world without even leaving our classrooms!  This FS visited San Francisco!

3.  We worked hard on Measurement this week in math.  We are definitely seeing a change this year with this concept as related to how it's taught through Common Core!  I think we have measured objects using every possible manipulative...we are having a hard time not using rulers since it's what we have always done!  We found this super cute FREEBIE from School is a Happy Place where the students walked around the room measuring objects using dog bones as their unit of measurement.  The kiddos LOVED it!

4.  We also worked hard on Mental Images / Visualization this week.  Sarah found this idea on Pinterest; originally from Deanna Jump.  It turned out so's fun to see how each child's image is so different!

I used this poem to work on Mental Images (and also inferring).  I covered up the mystery object in the title and the 2 other times it was in the poem. I  then asked the kiddos to draw their mental image with evidence to support what they thought the mystery object was.  It was a canary; which I didn't expect them to get, but many of them drew a bird so I was happy!  We went back afterwards and found key words that helped us arrive at our conclusions (it's difficult to see this in the picture; we circled the key words in lavender). A couple of kids guessed "lamb"....look at the first sentence in the poem...I can see why they drew this!

We both like to show that mental images change throughout a story.  We did this activity whole group using post it notes:
We will also will try this for independent work using the worksheet below.   If you'd like your FREE copy, click below!

(Fonts:  First Grade Scoop and Kevin and Amanda
 Clip Art:  Doodle Darlin')

5.  We have some of our favorite products in several giveaways!  Don't miss your chance to enter as there are GREAT prizes in each of these!  Hurry...many end this weekend!

We hope you have a nice weekend!  It's going to be cooler and rainy in our part of the country; so we may actually stay in and get some work done...