Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Line Poems

My students wrote line poems about Halloween this week. I'm super proud of how their writing turned out. First, we talked about the fact that their line poem should begin and end with the word "Halloween". Then they added 10 words in between that reminded them of Halloween. 

We published their writing by turning their poem into a fancy bookmark. When the bookmarks were complete, we did a poetry reading for our publishing celebration. All of the children sat in a circle. I brought jack-o-lantern light up candle to put in the middle of the circle. All those little poets sitting in a circle reading their poems by the light of a festive candle was just about the cutest darn thing! 

 The paper we used is from my fall themed stationary pack.

Today, they will take home their published piece (on the bookmark), the draft in their own writing and the memory of their first poetry reading! 

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long Vowel Personal Reader Stories

Just a quick post, since I'm watching my favorite team play in game 1 of the World Series!!! 

I've received emails from several of you inquiring about when I would be posting my long vowel personal reader stories. I finally had time to post those over the weekend. A few weeks ago, I added a post about how I use personal reader folders in my classroom. You can read that post here if you're interested.  I use all three sets of the personal reader stories with readers in my classroom who need extra support, extra practice and/or extra confidence throughout the year.

 Here is a snapshot of my Long Vowel Personal Reader set. You can click on the image below if you'd like to check it out at my Tpt store or in my Teachers Notebook shop.

So far, this baseball game is not going well for my team.  Go, Tigers!!!!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

1st Grade Rocks!

1st grade rocks and so does my new shirt (if I do say so myself)! Over the summer, I discovered an Etsy shop called Sewing Sassy in Texas. I fell in love with the colorful designs on her shirts! I ordered a custom shirt right away. My shirt came in the mail last week and I could hardly wait until Friday to wear it.  Excuse the "it's Friday and I'm so tired I can hardly function" face that I'm making in the picture below.  My daughter snapped this photo on my phone for me.

So, if you're tired of wearing those staff shirts that everyone wears to show school spirit on Fridays...blah, blah, blah.  Maybe it's time to spice things up a bit?  

Here is the link... Sewing Sassy in Texas

My husband is a teacher too.  Over the years, he has kind of declared Friday as "fun shirt Friday". This is the shirt he wore a few weeks ago.  
Unfortunately, he wouldn't let me take his picture wearing the shirt.  

It just about caused a riot at his staff meeting when the other teachers thought he was "awarded" the shirt from their principal.  Maybe they don't think the wood shop teacher deserves the title? Or, maybe they are just jealous of his fun shirt friday find.  You can find the shirt above at Cafe Press, just in case you want to stir things up have a fun shirt Friday of your own.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Favorite Easy Chapter Books for Halloween

I had big plans to write this post earlier tonight.   It turned out to be perfect weather for our annual visit to the pumpkin patch.  Big pumpkins for carving- check! Little pumpkins (just because they are adorable) - check! We made a stop at our favorite local pub on the way home (all teachers take their children to eat dinner at pubs on a random school night, right?).  Then we rushed home to watch the Tigers sweep the Yankees in the playoffs.  Go Tigers!!!!!

On to the post...

Halloween is a big deal at my school (my principal loves it).  I'm talking costumes, a parade, parties in our classrooms, a school wide story teller assembly and teachers who are so overwhelmed and tired at the end of the day that we can barely walk to our cars.  I am trying to pump myself up for the whole thing.  It's not working very well.  I'm all about kids having fun.  I also believe in the power of simplification to prevent kids and adults from getting so overwhelmed.  Books always make me feel better.  There are so many great books to read at this time of the year! 

 I read lots of leveled books to my students to introduce them to different series that they might like as they move through the reading levels throughout the year. Here are a few of my favorite easy chapter books to read to my class for Halloween.

At this time last year, I also did a post about my favorite picture books to use for reader's workshop lessons at this time of the year.  You can read that old post here.

Happy almost Friday!

Check Out This New Blog

I recently discovered a new blog called Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks.

The Teacher Wife
 Ash from Pixy Sticks and Teacher Tricks actually tried out my Fall Math Work Stations for me. She did a super nice post about my work stations, which you can read here

 I've been a follower of Ash's blog for a few weeks.  When she did made that nice post, I visited to browse her first few months of posts.  I really enjoyed reading her posts and I know you will too! I recommend grabbing a copy of her Batty for Math freebie (which covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). If you have a chance to visit, tell her I sent you. Let's give her a proper welcome into the world of teacher blogs!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Addition/Subtraction Key Words Freebie

It's Monday. It rained. And my super sized assessment binder exploded today. Ughhh...I really hate do not like that big fat binder. Never did. Even when it was in one piece. It had a cute cover though. Now, I have two smaller (ugly) binders. I split the information inside in half (one ugly binders for boys/one ugly binder for girls). I might have to go shopping or return to my old system (a polka dotted file folder for each student). I'll be the only teacher in my grade level without an adorable assessment binder, but I'm just not sure I can stand it much longer. Done whining... 

I did manage to polish up a freebie today. We've been discussing key words for addition and subtraction in my classroom. I made these simple charts in black/white and mounted them on fancy scrapbook paper. Fancy scrapbook paper and windex (not together of course) are really the best cures for the Monday blahs.

Addition Key Words Sign

Subtraction Key Words Sign

You can grab a copy of the signs by clicking on the image below if you'd like.

I'm sure Tuesday will be better.  After all, it's not Monday.  I'm going to think happy thoughts and get to bed early (right after I treat my self to something Pinteresting).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Boo Who?

I've been boo'd (but this time it wasn't for talking too much)! 
Cynthia from 2nd Grade Pad is having a Boo Linky Party.

Kathy from First Grade A La Carte boo'd me (which made me smile).

 And, I'm linking up to Boo a few of my favorite bloggers as well.

1.  My friend, Kristin, from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  
Yep, I can call her my friend because I met her before most of you.
Kristin might be the funniest person I've ever met 
(if we just lived close enough to meet in person).
Right now "Miss Fancy Pants" is eating cake.  Go visit and read about it.
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

2.  My friend, Holly, from Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade.
I met Holly (and her mysterious friend Barb) this summer 
at the Michigan Blogger Meet Up.
Holly and I have a lot in common and she cracks me up.
She's the blogging buddy that I can email if I need to vent something that is not postable.
(Hmmm...maybe that's not a word.  Or maybe I just created a new word.)

3.  My friend, Kate, from EduKate and Inspire.
I met Kate at the Michigan Blogger Meet Up as well.
She's actually from Ohio, which makes me like her even more.  (GO BUCKS!)
Plus she has a doodle (which is something we have in common).
We also took the Twitter plung together.

If you have not visited my friends above, you really should.  You're missing out!  If you already follow these amazing blogs, just stop by to leave them a fun comment.  

Visit Cynthia at the 2nd Grade Pad to join the fun!  Boo!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Freebie Friday - Number Identification

My students have been enjoying our first round of math work stations this week! This is where I remind everyone that we started after Labor Day. I spent a lot of time "revisiting" math work stations this summer.  The whole thing just didn't work for me last year. Good news - it's working now and my students LOVE math work stations! And...they are so independent that I can actually work with small groups of students during that time. Hooray! 

 I recently added a set of my fall math work stations to Tpt and Teachers Notebook. Here are a few pictures I snapped this week of some of my fall math work stations.

If you want to check out the whole set, you can find on Tpt  and at Teachers Notebook.  You can click on the image below to find it at my Tpt store.

A few of my students are still struggling with number identification from 1 - 30.  I made the set below to use to work with those few individually.  I included two different bingo boards and a set of number cards.  I used the number cards with the Bingo game this week.  Next week, I'm going to use the number cards to play bigger number while we work on number identification.  I also sent a set home with each student, so they can practice the same two games at home. You can click on the image below if you'd like to download a copy of the number identification pack.

I'm off to school for the day and gearing up for a slumber party at my house tonight!  Happy Friday!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Math Work Stations

Last week, I finished making a set of fall math work stations that I've been working on for a while. I just added them to my Tpt store. I hoping to add them to my TN shop tomorrow.  You can click on the image below if you'd like to check them out.

The work stations in this pack include: 
Place Value Match (10 - 20) 
Batty/Cat's Meow (addition +1 game boards) 
Moon Madness/Magic Math Hat (subtraction -1 game boards) 
Silly Spider (clothespin addition) 
Silly Spider (clothespin subtraction) 
Spooky Time (telling time to the hour and half hour)

This is the first set of math work stations that I've added to my store/shop. So, how about a deal? My students like them, but I'd like some feedback from you/your students as well. I'm looking for 3 followers who would like to try the fall math work stations. Your part of the deal is simple - try my fall math work stations for free and blog about them if you like them. I'll send a free copy to the first three bloggers to respond. You try them in your classroom and blog about them if you like them (and send me a link to your post). Anyone interested?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Currrently

It's time for Farley's Currently! I'm linkin up with Farley (from Oh Boy Fourth Grade) to share what's happening currently.

I love fall!  I'm so excited to make pumpkin bread and apple crisp with my kids (at home).  All year, I look forward to having at least one  Saturday afternoon full of baking, football and crisp fall air. 

On Monday, my husband (dad, chef, teacher, coach and dancer extraordinaire) will celebrate 13 years of marriage.  I'm a lucky girl (not just because he is our chef).  He puts up with me...which might not be easy.  We are total opposites in some ways.  He is spontaneous (me, not so much).  He is easy going (me, not so much).  He gets bored easily and prefers to be on the go all the time (I would love to have 5 minutes to sit in total silence all by myself).  Together we are two parents (both teachers) who have the same values, respect for each other, love for our kids and an appreciation for the little things in life...a strong team.  

My favorite fall/Halloween book is Where's My Mummy?  I like to use this book to kick off a writing activity about the things your mom does to help you feel comfortable when you are scared.  

Head on over to link up with Farley and/or read what is happening currently with everyone.  Don't forget the rule of 3.

The Allowance Game

I was recently invited to review a new game from Lakeshore. Let me start by saying that I love Lakeshore! It's really that simple. Lakeshore is hands down my favorite company for educational products. Over the years, I have purchased furniture, games, literacy centers, storytelling kits, leveled book sets, pocket charts, craft supplies and bins for my precious leveled book collection from Lakeshore. 

 It was my pleasure to be able to "try out" a game for the folks at Lakeshore. The game is called The Allowance Game. I played the game with my own two children (ages 6 and 9) first. Then I tried the game with a small group of my first graders who could already recognize coins. My own children loved the game and begged me not to take it to my classroom. My students loved it as well and I plan to use it daily when we start learning about money.   

 The Allowance Game helps children learn to make count small amounts of money and make change. It also encourages children to earn and save money, while giving them practice spending as well. Players can earn money by doing things like chores, a good deed for a neighbor and getting good grades. The photo below is from the Lakeshore website. You can click on the image to read more about the game and/or purchase it on the Lakeshore site.

Here is a picture of my own kids playing the game.  Please excuse any balls of dog hair that may be floating in the background.  Those are ignored until June in our "2 teacher home". 

This game is recommended for children in Kindergarten to 4th grade.  My first grade students and my own children loved this game.  In fact, my son wants to buy it for one of his friends as a birthday present.  This learning game would make a great addition to your classroom, your game collection at home or a gift for any child.

Good news!  Lakeshore is allowing me to offer a buy one get one 50% off promo code for you to use on your purchases before 11/2/2012.  The online coupon code is 2247.  If you are lucky enough to live near a Lakeshore store, you can print the coupon at the link below.

Thank you, Lakeshore, for another impressive product!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Line Them Up! (or something)

I don't know about all of you...but it seems that my students are having a hard time counting objects accurately (and that problem is growing from year to year). They just don't seem to have a way to get organized. 

 As I sat down to do the district math screener for my grade level, it became clear that my students had not mastered the strategies needed to count objects in an organized way.  After the first 20 students I assessed counted the 30 objects I gave them over and over and come up with random amounts ranging from 28 to took everything I had not to yell out "LINE THEM UP (or something)"!!!  

To make an effort to fix the problem, I decided to make daily counting practice part of my morning routine each day.   

 Pennies + (adorable) cups = daily counting practice 

 I use these adorable cups from an etsy shop that I discovered called Primp My Cupcake. Seriously, is that the best name ever? I think the cups that I purchased are actually for nuts and mints at weddings, but I knew they were a perfect match for my penny counting cups as soon as I saw them.

Each student has a penny cup on his/her desk.

I encourage the children to line their pennies up, put them in groups or at least push
 them away from the group as they touch each one to count it.   Some of the children count their pennies by 1.  Some of them count their pennies by 2's, 5's and 10's.  For now, I let them decide which way to count the pennies.

We practice counting the pennies each morning.
Each student is encouraged to organize their, count the pennies and share their strategy with a partner.

Right now, we only have 50 pennies in our cups.  After Thanksgiving, we'll start practicing getting organized while we count 100 pennies.  At spring break, we'll start organizing/counting 120 pennies.  I'm lovin' my adorable penny counting cups and all of the things I'm learning about my students as I watch them count and learn each morning.