Sunday, October 30, 2011

List of Mentor Texts for Writer's Workshop

I would like to thank all of the bloggers who linked up to share their fabulous ideas! Here is a list from the linky party I did about mentor texts for writer's workshop.   I put all the submissions into one document. I listed each book with the contributing blogger. You will need to visit their blogs to read a full description of how they used each book in their classroom. I just included the focus for each book from their posts.

You can download the document by clicking on the image below.

You can click on the image below to visit the original linky party and find your way to each of the contributing blogs.

I hope you find this helpful!  My amazon cart filled right up when I read the amazing ideas the other bloggers shared.  Thanks again to the contributors!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Competitive Curse

Recently, my blog was nominated to be on the Top 25 Teacher Mom Blogs list at Circle of Moms. I am honored that my blog was nominated with so many other fabulous teacher/mom blogs. I'm also not sure if the person who nominated my blog knows how extremely competitive I am. I confess... I'm extremely competitive. Earlier this week (when I might have been campaigning for votes in the staff lounge) one of my colleagues asked me when I became so competitive. That's when I spilled my story...

About a million years ago (actually in high school, but that seems like a million years ago) I was nominated for prom queen. That in itself is very funny if you know me. My boyfriend was nominated for prom king. Awwwww...oh wait, not so much. He won. I lost. I was on my high school yearbook committee and had to spend the whole night taking pictures of king & queen for the "prom layout" for the yearbook. I'm so old that I can't remember if I even wanted to be prom queen (no offense to the prom queens out there). But, I do know that taking pictures of my boyfriend dancing around with the "queen" was not pleasant. Yep, that's my prom horror story and it was the beginning of the competitive curse.

Here is the good news... my high school yearbook teacher sent me a message last week to tell me that she is voting for my blog every day! Now that deserves an awwwww... especially considering that she lives in a different state and I haven't seen her since the day I graduated 19 years ago. I think she understands my competitive curse. Love you, Mrs. S!

My amazing staff has been voting for my blog too - thank you ladies (and a few gentlemen)!  Lots of staff members from the building I used to work in are also voting for my blog (super nice).  Thanks ladies!  My husband's staff (he is a teacher too) and our family and friends have also been voting for my blog. Thanks everyone!

If you've already voted for my blog... thank you!!!!!

The voting ends Nov. 8th and you can vote 1 time each day. If you'd like to help my blog make the final Top 25 list, you can vote by clicking on the link below. My blog is in 2nd place currently and I only need about 245 more votes to be in 1st place. Ha! Oh darn it... there's the curse again. Oy vey!

Please considering heading over to vote if you have time!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5 Senses Poetry

My students have been working on writing 5 senses poems. We started with a poem about fall. After working our way through the writing process, my students had their fall 5 senses poems published to hang in the "Gillow Gallery" (which is really just the hallway where we display work outside of my classroom). Each child made a fall tree out of tissue paper to display with their poem. It was great for fine motor practice.  My students (even those who have a hard time with fine motor tasks) LOVED making the tissue paper tree.  The trunk is just random brown fabric that I cut using an old Ellison die cut. Oh, I mean....a parent used the machine to cut out all the trunks for me.   Super helpful parents = super lucky teacher!

Here is a sample of one of the poems and the tree together.

Last week, I posted a Halloween 5 sense poem freebie. You can find that post here.

At my Teachers Notebook and Tpt shops, you can find my Seasonal 5 Senses Poetry Forms for the whole year.  My students love writing poetry and using the 5 senses seems to give them an extra boost, so they can focus on word choice and creativity.

That's all for now!   Oh, how I love comments...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Miss...Teaching Tips Virtual Teaching Blog Expo

You are not going to want to miss the Teaching Tips Virtual Teaching Blog Expo!!!!

I attended the Blogging 101 Teaching Expo in September. It was a super cool virtual experience and I learned a ton! I think I had just as much fun hearing the voices of some of my favorite bloggers as I did learning more about blogging.

I will definitely be attending this expo on November 12th  as well. I can't wait to enjoy another fabulous professional development opportunity in my pj's from my favorite chair at home! I hope you will join me for these 'teaching tips" that will make you want to flip!

You can click on either of the images above to go to the registration site.

It's Holly Bloggy Christmas Time!

I am super excited about Holly Bloggy Christmas! I signed myself up and soon I will find out who my secret Holly Bloggy pal will be. I can't wait! I LOVE Christmas and already started my Christmas crafting and shopping!

You can find all the details you need to sign up by clicking on the Holly Bloggy logo below. It's quick and easy!   Hurry...  you need to sign up before October 31 to participate.

Holly Bloggy Christmas is being hosted by Ms. Preppy and Sarah. They both have fabulous blogs!

Kindergarten Korner

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Funny Things Kids Say...

One of things I always suggest to new teachers is to keep a journal of the funny (or just plain outrageous) things kids say. I have a journal of 15 years of those funny quotes from my students. I also have one of quotes from my own two children. I keep the journals in my nightstand.  Every once in a while, I bring them to school and a few of us will read them and laugh (or cry) our way down memory lane.

My journal full of the funny things my students say.

Tonight I will be adding one quote to each journal.

For the journal of student quotes...
One of our secretaries celebrated her 50th birthday today.  We spent some time today brainstorming all the wonderful things about her, so we could make her a classbook for her birthday.  She is AMAZING, so the list was really long.  Finally, I agreed to call on "one more" student.  He said, "Wow, Mrs. S.....   is 5 rows on the 100's chart!!!"    Good golly, Miss Molly - they are listening to me!!!  Yahoo!

For the journal of quotes from my own kids...
Donavon (my 5 year old):  "--------- said she wants to marry me."
Me:  "Did you tell her you are 5 and 5 year olds can't get married?"
Donavon:  "She said she wants to marry me when we grow up."
Me:  "Did you tell her you have to go to college and get a good job first?"
Donavon:  "Mom,  don't worry. I am not going to marry her.  She got her clipped moved once!"

Finally, thank you so much to everyone who has voted for my blog to be on the list of the Top 25 Teacher Mom blogs at Circle of Moms.  I am honored to even be nominated to be on "the list".  The voting ends on Nov. 8 and you can vote 1 time each day.  You can vote by clicking on the Circle of Moms logo on my sidebar.   I appreciate your kind messages and your votes.

Blog on Fire!

I guess I probably shouldn't use that title during fire safety month... but you know me. I only follow certain rules. Plus, I have exciting news!

Meghan from Inside the Classroom gave my blog the Blog on Fire award! Thank you, Meghan!!!!  Stop by to visit Inside the Classroom!

I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself and pass the award to a few other "Blogs on Fire".

1. I might qualify for that hoarding show if you put all my leveled reading books in the same spot...but I'm smarter than that.

2. I have two dogs, but other than my girls (dogs) I don't really like animals. (I know. I know. Please don't send me hate mail. It's not like I'm mean to animals and I always pretend that I like them in my classroom...but it's just not true. Yes, my profile picture has one of my dogs in it... I do love my dogs.)

3. Sometimes I think 5 minutes of total silence would be just as great as winning the lottery.

4. I have to phone a friend every time I attempt to hard boil eggs. I'm a horrible cook.

5. I collect pottery (mostly in shades of blue and green).

6. I should duct tape my mouth before staff meetings, even though everyone is always saying, "Thank you for speaking up about....".

7. I love smelly stickers!! (Trend are my favorite kind.)

The blogs that I'm awarding the Blog on Fire award to are...

You should really check them out!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Favorite Fall and Halloween Books for Reader's Workshop

You might remember that my principal LOVES Halloween. So...there is no shortage of age appropriate spooky fun at my school.

I visited one of my best friends (a teacher in a Kindergarten room across the hall) the other day. While we visited, I did a little browsing in her fall books. Score! I found a few new book ideas to use for readers workshop. Here are some of my new favorite Halloween books (and a couple old ones that I had to have on the list) to use for reader's workshop lessons.

rhyming and modeling word choice

different types of books authors write 
I love alphabet books!  So, I'm going to use Jeepers Creepers and have my students make their own monstrous ABC classbook.
text to music connection
I do realize that text to music connections are not one of the popular 3 connections that we ask our students to make, but I guide/encourage my students to make text to music connections all the time.  Kids love music and so do I!
text to text connections with other versions of the three bears stories

And for those of you who do not have a principal who LOVES Halloween...

a counting book to expose children to different types of book that authors write

vocabulary expansion and non-fiction text features

vocabulary expansion - tune into interesting words

If you have not visited my Writer's Workshop Linky Party in a few days, stop by to check it out.
You can find the post by visiting here.  If enough people are interested, I think I will make a list of all the resources from the writer's workshop linky party on one document (giving credit to the contributors).  Let me know if you would find that helpful.

Hope you are having a fabulous Sunday!  The weather is perfect in Michigan today...not too hot, not too cold, but just right!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Exploring Number Combinations (freebies)

My class has been exploring combinations of numbers from 5 to 10. We use an inquiry based approach to exploring combinations which is designed to encourage children to discover the different combinations of each number. The children use a variety of manipulatives, do their own thinking, record their thinking and participate in partner and whole class discussions before we make an anchor chart of all the possible combinations of the number we are working on.  Our math units start out kind of slow, to make sure that kids develop a really deep understanding of numbers and their combinations to build a foundation for things to come.

By clicking on the image below, you can download a set of the pages for students to record their thinking.

This summer, I did a post with some freebies for working with number combinations. You can find the post (with the freebies) here.

I made these games for a few of my students who need something more challenging at this point in the year. The original idea is not my own. I found it in an old math book that was gifted to me when a teacher friend retired. The games in the book were for subtraction, so I modified the idea and made them Kimberlyish with some of my favorite clipart. You can download them by clicking on the images.

I started math work stations this week too. I's the middle of October. Uggghhh...I would tell you about that, but I think it's a post of it's own. Could I be the only person disappointed about the launch of something that I've been excited about all summer? Oy vey!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teacher Mom Blog Nomination

I feel honored that my blog was recently nominated to be added to the list of the Top 25 Teacher Mom Blogs at Circle of Moms. I am proud to be a teacher, a blogger and especially a this is  an exciting nomination!  I'm not sure who nominated my blog, but I want you to know that it definitely made my day.

If you are willing to help my blog "make the list", please click on the Circle of Moms icon on my sidebar to vote for Funky First Grade Fun.

If my blog makes the list, I promise to beg my bloggin' buddy Kristen (The Teeny Tiny Teacher) to help me write my acceptance speech.   Her speeches are the best! 

Let the voting begin! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do you have a favorite book to go with a writing lesson?

I'm hosting a linky party about your favorite books to go with writing lessons?

Please consider linking up to share your favorite books to go with writing lessons.
You can click on the image below to visit the post where you can link up.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mentor Texts for Writer's Workshop Linky Party

I recently did two posts about books that I use as mentor texts for writer's workshop lessons early in the school year.  You can read my posts by clicking below.

Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop Books

I would love for you to link up to share the mentor texts you use for writer's workshop lessons with your students.  Please include a link back to my blog if you link up. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Writing Freebies

Can it really be the middle of October already?  I have to be honest, I don't love Halloween (at school).  My principal LOVES Halloween we have a costume parade, parties in our rooms and even a storyteller. Several years ago, we started calling it Bookaween. The students are asked to dress up like a character from a book and they carry the book in the parade.

Here are a few of the quick and easy writing activities my students do the day after Bookaween. It's the day that every student wants to tell me about all the candy they got while trick-or-treating. So, I give them the candy list below and ask them to write down the candy names.  Click on the image to download the candy list form.

I also ask them to write a 5 senses poem about Halloween.  We write 5 senses poems throughout the year.   Click on the image to download the poetry form. 

This tired girl is off to bed!  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Writer's Workshop Books

During writer's workshop time, we have been focusing on using spaces between words and revising. Here are two of my favorite books to use with these lessons.

spaces between words


You can see a list of additional books that I've recently used during writer's workshop lessons by visiting this post.

I'm going to be hosting a linky party soon about mentor texts to use with writer's workshop lessons. I'd love to hear about the books other teachers are using as mentor texts. I hope you'll link up! Stay tuned for details...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Exciting News for This Lil' Old Teacher

Whoooo's In First Grade?

I've been meaning to post about this (and a long list of other things) but things have been all kinds of crazy (good, but crazy). Since I don't believe in the "you're only allowed to post 1 time a day" rule... maybe I'll accomplish a few of those posts this weekend.

A couple weeks ago, I read The Little White Owl to my class. It is a fabulous book that relates to a variety of topics (friendship, appreciating differences, everyone has different strengths, discovering the good in everyone, having the courage to let your strengths shine).

I used this book during my writer's workshop time to go with the "All About Me" line poems my students were writing. Their line poems consisted of a list of words that would help the reader learn something about the student. Each poem had to start with the student's name and end with the student's name.

the name of the student is covered on the first line and the last line
You can click on the image below if you'd like to download the blank form.

After we finished the poems, each student made their own owl.  They LOVED making their own owl and they turned out so darn cute!  I'll definitely use this book and do this project again next year.

Here is an example of the whole project put together.  

The weather is beautiful in Michigan today!  I'm headin' out to enjoy it with my kids.  Happy Saturday!