Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Senses Freebie

Science Week
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I only have about 2 1/2 minutes to post this morning. So this is gonna have to be short (for once). We are working on a weather unit in my room. I use this 5 senses web for several different science related topics throughout the year. We make an anchor chart with the same format as a large group about one type of weather. I would love to show you a picture, but I haven't made the chart yet this year. Later in the unit, I use this form to help my students organize their thinking for a writing activity about a different type of weather (their choice). The form is not fancy, but I am able to use it for different activities throughout the school year. You can click on the picture if you'd like to download it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Science Books for Seasonal Poetry

Science Week

I'm so excited to participate in Science Week by sharing a few of my favorite science books. We just started a unit on weather. Part of the unit focuses on seasons. My students are required to write a 5 senses poem about a season. We use the following books to expose students to poems about different seasons. My students love the poems from these books by Douglas Florian.

Head over to TBA to find the linky party for more ideas of science related books.  

A special thanks to Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade for organizing Science Week!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Super Spelling Slippers

When I first started teaching 1st grade, there was a great debate at my school (ok, it wasn't so great) about whether or not first graders should take spelling tests. As a result, first grade teachers in my district are able to choose whether or not to do spelling tests in their classrooms. I chose to go with the spelling tests for 3 reasons.

1. I work really hard to make spelling (even the tests) fun in my room.

2. I want my students to be prepared for 2nd grade (where they will all be expected to take weekly spelling tests).

3. Data is good. It helps me plan instruction and intervention.

Before we take our first spelling test, I read Fancy Nancy Splendid Speller to the class. This story covers everything from "eyes on your own paper" to "I'm going to be happy if you try your best". My students loved this story and I love Fancy Nancy (a win-win)!

How about the fun part? I invite my students to wear Super Spelling Slippers during the test each week. Wearing Super Spelling Slippers is completely optional for my students. Many students who chose to wear them have reported that they feel like they have extra spelling power with their Super Spelling Slippers on during the test. I also wear my own Super Spelling Slippers during the test each Friday.

Here is a picture of some of the Super Spelling Slippers in my room this year.

It's all about how much fun you make it. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Writer's Workshop

My students have been working hard during our writer's workshop time. Here are some of the books I've used with my mini-lessons in the past few weeks. The focus of the mini-lesson is under each picture.

tools writers use

tools writers use

great wordless picture book - sharing stories with pictures

writers are called authors

illustrators draw pictures

We've made a few anchor charts to go with our first writer's workshop lessons this year.  Here are two of them.  The one on the left was inspired by Mrs. Carroll at The First Grade Parade.   I love her anchor charts!

I'll try to remember to take a few pictures of the other charts next week. 

I'm adding this post to an anchor chart linky party hosted by Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.  Stop by to visit to check out the other anchor chart ideas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who Me? A Versatile Blogger!

I'm honored that Patti from A Series of 3rd Grade Events and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade chose little ole' me to receive the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

According to the rules... I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself.

1. I'm short (4'11").
2. I am a terrible cook (but you should taste my cookies)!
3. I might be obsessed with brushing my teeth and my hair (maybe).
4. I love to give speeches. (I talk and talk and talk. I love to talk. Everyone sits there and listens. How great is that?!)
5. I coach girls lacrosse at our local high school.
6. I'm super freaked out by lice. (I use an organic spray on my hair every school day. I KNOW - FREAK! Let me know if any of my fellow freaks out there want the name of the spray.)
7. I really want to travel to Italy.

Enough about me...

Here are 15 of the blogs hat inspire me on a regular basis.  A few have already received the Versatile Blogger award from another blogger... but a double award is well deserved by these gals.

A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Clutter-Free Classroom

Lutton 519

Monday, September 19, 2011

You Know Your Kid Has an Outstanding Teacher When...

I can't tell you how incredibly grateful I am that my own children have such amazing teachers. This quote from son after school today is a tiny bit of evidence.

Me: Donavon, how was your day?

Donavon: Good, except for one part. Jack (name change) lost his tooth right in the middle of reader's workshop!

Me: Well, that's exciting! Nothin' bad about that.

Donavon: Yes, there is! We were trying to build stamina.

Donavon is 5. He is in Kindergarten. And I'm sitting here cryin' happy tears. My 5 year old is excited about building stamina in reader's workshop!!!! We are truly blessed and super grateful. Thank you, Mrs. R!!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Funky First Grade Fun Finds Facebook!

Honestly, before all this blogging I never really liked the letter F much. :)

I have exciting news! You can now find Funky First Grade Fun on Facebook! I'd be super excited if you would consider visiting my new page. It would double the excitement if you'd "like" my new Facebook page!

The Lesson Plan Diva is hosting a Facebook Linky Party. Head on over the find out who else is on Facebook and link up.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Calendar and Math Boards

After being inspired by so many fabulous calendar and math boards on the blogs I follow, I finally finished my calendar area and a separate math board. I may have confessed in an earlier post that I don't love calendar time (I pretty much hate it). Yes, I still do it and try to act like I like it for the sake of the children. I ended up with something that doesn't look as fancy and full as the ones that I keep pinning, but it works for me so far.

Here is a picture of the calendar display. I use the area under the calendar pocket chart for my name of the day activity right now. When we do our weather unit, it will be replaced with weather graphs and data recording sheets.

You can read the post about my name of the day routine and download the recording sheet for free here.
My days of the week, months of the year, color/color word and number/number word posters are displayed under the whiteboard in this area. You just can't see them in the picture.

Here is a picture of my math board area.  Why such a large unused space at the top of this area?  I'm 4' 11".  That explains it.  The chart that says "make the date" is for the children to make the date with coins. You can download my number of the day recording sheet here.

The pattern part of my math board is a math wall card from Teacher Bits and Bobs. If you haven't visited Teacher Bits and Bobs, you should check it out. Kerri and Lindsay have several math wall cards available as freebies. I'm going to switch the pattern one after a few weeks and use one of their other cards in that same space.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Math Journals

I'm backed up a wee bit on the emails that I've received in the past week. I'm sorry... crazy busy. I'm sure you can relate.  I'm gonna try to answer of few of the questions in this post.

We just started school the day after Labor Day. Last week, I introduced our math journals and our procedure for classroom discussions. You can read the post about our classroom discussions here.

I started with a really simple problem from my Fall Math Journal Prompts. The focus of my lesson was more on the procedure than the actual problem. I expect the students to "prove" their answer in their math journals. Our kindergarten teachers do an amazing job preparing our students for first grade. The children solved the problem, "proved" their answer and shared their work during our group discussion.

I use a composition notebook for my math journals.  The cover is included in my Fall Math Journal Prompts and my Winter Math Journal Prompts.

Here is work sample from one of my students. Each time we work on a new problem, the students just glue the problem to the top of the page and "prove" their answer on the bottom.

You can find my both of my math journal prompt sets at my Teachers Notebook shop and my Tpt store.  Each set is $1.50.

I was going to post pictures of my calendar and math board areas, but that is gonna have to wait till tomorrow.  I am a tired girl!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Alien Zap Dolch Word Games

For a few months, I've been putting the finishing touches on my Alien Zap Dolch Word Games. With a family vacation in August and the start of school, I just couldn't seem to finish it off. This morning, I finally added it to my Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers shops.

There are 3 games included:
1. Pre-primer Zap
2. Primer Zap
3. 1st Grade Zap

You can click on the images below to view this (and other products) at my online shops!

In my classroom, I store many of my games in photo storage boxes like the ones below. Students can see through them and they are just the right size. 

I put the directions to the game on the inside of the lid, so they don't get lost.

Thanks for reading!