Sunday, September 25, 2016

Spooky Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe Freebie

So I have this really bad habit of buying stuff at Target and then thinking of what I will use it for later. : ) I found this PRECIOUS Tic-Tac-Toe game in the Halloween section and it practically jumped in my cart! It was only $5 too!

We are just starting spelling words and tests in my classroom, so I have been trying to give my students lots of time to practice writing their words during our literacy station time. I decided to jazz things up and make a tic-tac-toe game to use for spelling word practice.


On the back of each felt piece, I added a spelling task. Two students will play together and each have their own set of felt pieces. They will take turns choose one of their own game pieces and completing the spelling task on the back. Then they will be able to play their piece on the game board. The first partner to get three-in-a-row wins!

 A response sheet is also included for students to complete the spelling tasks and to hold them accountable! : )

If you aren't able to find this cute game board at your Target, you could easily make your own with poster board, washi tape and the fun felt pieces in the dollar section. Amazon also has some options HERE and HERE.  


You can download this fun freebie from my TPT Store. Don't forget to follow me so you don't miss anything!

It still doesn't feel quite like fall in Texas, but it's feeling like fall in the classroom! We will be learning about apples this week! MY FAVORITE! 


I love watching my students practice apple addition. 

And of course we will be making applesauce !


This machine is guaranteed to make your life so much easier and the kids LOVE it!

We will also be working on our map skills this week! 


I'm excited to use this listen and learn map with my students! 
Have a great week! : )






Sunday, September 18, 2016

ARG! A Pirate Freebie

Every single year National Talk Like a Pirate Day sneaks up on me! This year was no exception, but I at least remembered in enough time to do a little something. We will start the day making these little pirate hats.

Super easy! I ordered a pirate hat for myself to wear. Amazon Prime and their fast shipping saves me every time!




We will be using tomorrow to spend some time focusing on map skills! My school is fortunate enough to have some Bee-Bots.  These are small robots that are designed to be used with younger students and introduce coding. We even have a pirate treasure map to use! We will also be creating a map of our classroom. 


Grab these freebies by clicking the picture below!

Yo-ho-ho Mateys!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Constructing Sentences

Teaching sentence structure can be so boring, but not this year! I wanted to plan something fun and hands on to help my students learn sentence structure and help it stick! I turned my classroom into a construction zone and we spent the week constructing sentences! : )


All of the activities shown below (and much more!) are included in my Constructing Sentences Unit. This post also contains affiliate links.  

My kids were so excited to find our room like this. In the words of a first grader, "Well this wasn't what I expected!" The signs around my door are all included in the unit. 

I made this little sign with orange poster board painted with white stripes  and a saw horse from the garage. 59 cents and easy!

It protected dirt with a sentence writing sight word activity. 

I divided my students into four different groups. Each group had their own cone to secure their work space.



For each activity a different student was the "crew leader" and wore the apron with all of the center materials. Thanks to my local Home Depot for donating the aprons!

They were PRECIOUS!

Of course the week started with an anchor chart on how to BUILD SENTENCES. 

It was really helpful and we reference it through the week for each activity.

We sorted sentences. 

We wrote sentences. These fun balloons were given to us by our sweet librarian who found them at Hobby Lobby.

We unscrambled sentences.

It was seriously a great week of learning and so much fun! 


Here are some of the accessories parents helped provide for the activity:






Don't let fear of material cost stop you from planning a fun activity for your students. Get creative, tap into your resources and be resourceful! I bet the P.E. coach would be happy to lend you a few cones and printable hard hats are included in my Constructing Sentences Unit so you don't have to buy those either. Props just help get the kids excited and set the tone for the activity, they don't replace amazing teaching.

I hope you have a WONDERFUL and well-deserved weekend! : )






Monday, September 5, 2016

The Start of Writing Workshop

One of my goals for this year is to really implement the writing workshop model and try to get away from so much prompt writing. I think it's so important to teach students writing skills and let them apply the skills by writing about a subject of their choice. Of course, we will be doing prompt writing sometimes too, but I want to make sure my students are independent and creative writers. 


Last week we set up our Writing Workshop Folders. I just used basic folders with prongs and these labels. 



I also added writing resources to the folders using the charts in my Reading Notebook Essentials pack. 



One of the most common things you will hear from students during writing workshop time is, " I don't know what to write!" I wanted my students to have their own personal idea page for inspiration. An All About Me Poster was the perfect idea! I sent this note home with students on the first day of school with a piece of Astrobrights cardstock attached. 



I included a sheet protector in the writing workshop folder for students to slip their poster into after they shared it with the class. My students LOVED sharing their posters and they have been perfect writing inspiration!




This week in writing workshop, we focused on how to stretch out words to hear sounds and labeling. We started with using small post it notes to label pictures in a book.



 The I-Spy books in our library were extremely popular for this activity. 


Then we drew our own pictures with labels! Students could use their labels to write sentences. This lesson is a great one for students at all levels! It also encourages them to add labels to their pictures throughout the year. 


Speaking of writing workshop, here is a sneak peek of what we will be doing this week! CONSTRUCTING Sentences! All of our mini lessons will focus on how to write a complete sentence. This unit is designed to be interactive and engaging for young writers! Be on the look out for a blog post all about it later this week or check out the product HERE.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

The First Week of First Grade

The first week of school is officially under my belt this year! It was a great one, but of course EXHAUSTING too! I wanted to pop in today and give you a quick peek at our week. : )

The week of course started with my traditional First Day of First Grade picture and photo booth!


I just LOVE their sweet pictures and I know parents do too!



Our week was full of books! I think our favorite book of the week was A Tiger Tail. The kids absolutely LOVED it! I even heard them pretending to have tiger tails and tiger hands at recess!





After reading the story, we brainstormed some kind things that the other kids could have said to make the main character feel better about her tiger tail. We had a great discussion about how kind words can change other people. 

(Sorry, nothing fancy here... #keepinitreal)


Next, everyone wrote four kind things you can say to be a friend and created a craft to go with the story. 





Disclaimer: The kids had the choice to cut out and create their own hair..."Normal" hair is included with the craft. 

We also used our imagination and created a class book! 


I create class books by just gluing a cover on the front of a three-prong-folder and hole punching the pages. EASY! 





I just loved their ideas and they loved hearing me read the book aloud to the class. The kids smile from ear to ear when we get to the page they created. 

All of these activities and many more are available HERE.


Chrysanthemum is also a first week favorite! 



We did lots of name activities and drew Chrysanthemum in our Reading Response Journal. We also added words to describe Chrysanthemum, I just didn't get a picture!



Aren't their drawings precious?

Of course we read, Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker too! This is another must read during the first few days of school.




We created these cute Cara Carroll inspired owls and added writing about how we can be a good listener.




I hung them up on our Meet the Authors Board in the hallway. Sorry I had to blur out their pictures and biography! : ( 


We worked daily on our My First Week of First Grade Journal. I think these are a great keepsake and fun for the kids to look back later and see how much they have grown and changed.


This is always my favorite page to see! This little cutie is in luck! Learning to tell time is part of first grade!

 Go Noodle also got us through the week! It's a life saver and really helps keep my kids focused all day. They sent me a fun pack of stickers and handouts.


We also loved exploring math manipulatives. 




This weekend I have been working on my positive notes to parents. It is so important to build those relationships with your students and their families.I like to write each parent a little personal note about their child and include some of the positive things I notice about them in the classroom. I think the power of a handwritten note is HUGE! It's so fun to receive something besides bills and junk in the mail too. Yes, it's time consuming and yes, it takes a lot of thought, but it is so worth it! Take some time out of your week to make sure and reach out to parents and let them know how much you love their baby!