Friday, February 28, 2014

Three Fun Freebies for Read Across America

Happy last day of February!  Spring is just around the corner and I couldn't be happier.
National Read Across America Day, also know as Dr. Seuss Day is also just a few days away.  Like many of you, our school has some special events planned to promote reading and the love of books during that week: Crazy Socks Day, Hat Day, Dress Like Your Favorite Character Day, and so on.  We kicked off the festivities today with a green eggs & ham breakfast.

I'm still trying to narrow down my list of activities I want to share with my firsties.  There are just so many books and so many possibilities.  Maybe over the weekend I can get my thoughts in order and decide exactly what fun learning we are going to get into.
If you are still looking for some activities to use during Read Across America, I thought I'd share a few freebies that you might find useful.

First up is a free literacy center, Reading Buddies Verb Tense.  This center is from my Oh So Lucky {10 Literacy Centers for March} packet, at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
With this center, students will match present and past tense verbs together and then write their answers on a recording sheet.
Click on the picture to find out more info or to download your own copy.

Next up is a free math activity.  Ten Frame Apples Up On Top is a ten frame and equation matching center.  It is from my September Smarties {10 Math Centers} packet, also at my store.
I like to use Ten Frame Apples Up On Top in September, when we're knee deep in apples.  But it is perfect to use during RAA since it was inspired by Dr. Seuss's Ten Apples Up On Top (one of my favorites).
Again, click on the picture for more details or to download.

And last but not least, is an adorable Birthday Cat craftivity.  My class made Birthday Cats last year.  They turned out so cute, I knew we had to make them again this year.
If you would like to make these too, click on the picture below for your free pattern.

I hope one (or all) of these activities will help you as you plan for Read Across America.  Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy your weekend.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Catching Up with Room 8

Hi all.  We finally had a week not interrupted with a snow day.  Although it was a short week, being off on Presidents Day, I think I'm about to get my first graders back on our regular schedule.  Of course, it is still February, so who knows about next week.
One thing I do know is that we were extra busy in room 8, making up for our unplanned off days.
We've been working a bit with fractions and still have a little more to go.  One of the activities we did was Fraction Mystery Bags.
I put different groups of objects or shapes divided into fractions, along with a question in each bag.  Students had to read the question, take out the objects, and answer the question on their recording sheets.
Let me tell you, they loved this activity.  It could certainly work with different math skills or different subjects.  Mystery Bags are just another way to keep things interesting.
If you would like a free copy of a recording sheet to use with this activity in your class, click on the picture. I kept the recording sheet very general, so it can be used with many different skills.

International Random Acts of Kindness was February 10th-16th.  Since we missed a couple of days during RAK week, my class finished up their random acts of kindness this week.
My firsties decorated doors and made goodie bags for some of the faculty and staff members at our school.  They also made bird feeders for our bird friends on campus.  It warmed my heart to see how excited they were to share their kindness.

We also spent the week with the Presidents.  There are so many wonderful nonfiction and fiction books about this topic.  Students worked on some Presidential math (from my February math centers, Classroom Cupids).   They also completed a research writing craftivity about George Washington.  .

You can click on the pic below for a FREE pattern of the Washington craftivity.

After such a busy week, I (as always) was totally ready for the weekend.  And hallelujah, we finally had some pretty weather.  My little family took full advantage of the sunshine.  We ate a picnic lunch outside on Saturday.   D and I had attended an event that benefited our daughter's school system.  I didn't even have to wear a coat, which makes me want spring to get here tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Daily Five: Where Are They Now? (Plus a Free Word Work Packet)

I'm a fan of HGTV's House Hunters.  I really like House Hunters International.  Most of those episodes really make me appreciate the size of my kitchen and closets.  House Hunters: Where Are They Now? gives you a chance to see what people did with their homes after they move in.
We are over half way through the school year and I thought I might do a little Daily Five: Where Are They Now? post about my Daily Five journey with my class and some changes I've had to make.

I am certainly not an expert on The Daily Five, but I have used it for more than a few years.  I figured if I have had some challenges, other teachers have too.
Here are some of the changes that have helped this year's group of students . . .

Below you will find a freebie packet I've put together for some of the paper assignments during Word Work.  You can use these activities even if you are not doing the Daily Five.
Click on the picture for more information and to download your own copy.

If you are interested in getting started with The Daily Five, be sure to read The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser and check out some of my other Daily Five posts.
Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great week.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love Is in the Air: Ideas & Freebies for Valentine's Day

It's only a couple of more days until Valentine's Day and I'm the final prep phase for the big day.  I have a few new activities planned, as well as some old favorites.

To begin with, we are working a bit with initial blends this week.  The new phonics program we are using this year seemed to (in my humble opinion) slide right past blends.  So, my class is spending more time with them over the next couple of weeks.
I made a Valentine's themed L blends and R blends sorting center to go along with these adorable mailboxes I scooped up at Target's dollar spot.

This center is part of a free packet I just put together called Cupid's Helper.  If you would like to use this activities with your students and do not have the mailboxes, no worries.  I included a couple of sorting mats to use instead.

Another literacy activity we'll be doing is Valentine's Day Spelling Challenge.  Students have to build as many words as they can using the letters in Valentine's Day and then write them on their recording sheet.  My students will work with a partner on this activity.

I started writing down the words I could make with Valentine's Day and there are a ton.  I'm curious to see how my first grade friends do with this challenge.

As part of our math time students will review skip counting by 2's.  The number cards in Cupcake Counting fit perfectly into some heart shaped tins I also found at the dollar spot.

Before moving on to the final center in this packet, I want to share about a wonderful book that I picked up a few weeks ago, that we will be reading on Valentine's Day.  It is Love Monster by Rachel Bright.

Monster lives in a world of cute, fluffy things which makes finding love very difficult for him.  He searches and searches and in the end . . .   Well, you'll just have to get your own copy to find out.
It's a sweet story, with fantastic illustrations.  We'll be making our own Monsters.  I think the boys will really enjoy a Valentine's craft that is not overly "girly."

Monster was also the inspiration for the final center in Cupid's Helper.  In Monsters Love Math, students will sort the missing sign equations according to if they are adding or subtracting equations.  We have not practiced this skill in a while, so it should be a good review.

If you would like any of the centers featured above, they are all together in my FREE Cupid's Helper packet.  These centers are my Valentine to all you sweet and hard working teachers.  I hope you enjoy.

I also want to thank my little helper.  A  sat down with me and worked out all of these centers.  She is my #1 quality control inspector and my favorite Valentine.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fitting It All In Between Snow Days (Plus a Fun Math Freebie)

Thank goodness it's Friday.  I just made it through (I think) my first full week of school since December.  With all of our snow days January was totally choppy, which makes for teaching that feels a bit discombobulated.

I took down our January artwork to make room for some February goodies.  We made Valentine kids to hang up in the classroom.  They turned out pretty cute.  I really love projects that "look" like the kids.  Each student's personality always seems to shine through.

We also worked on a little post Groundhog Day activity.  I was disappointed to be out of school the the days leading up to Groundhog Day.  We missed our chance to do the groundhog prediction glyph that I like to use with my firsties.  
I thought for a few days how I could spin it and still take advantage of some of the fun Groundhog Day learning opportunities.  I decided to go with a simplified opinion writing craftivity, weather tracking to see if the groundhog's prediction comes true, and of course some groundhog themed read alouds.
I'm so glad it worked out.

Finally, we held our Solid Shape Museum.  Each year I have students bring in items from home that represent five solid shapes: cube, sphere, cylinder, rectangular prism, and cone.  
The students present their shapes and then place them in the museum.  We discuss the shape attributes and explore if they can roll, slide, or stack.  When all of the presentations are over, students complete a Solid Shape Museum mini book.
The kids really enjoy this project.  It is also a perfect way to make a real world connection to our math studies.

If you are interested in doing this project with your students, click on the picture below for a free copy of the mini book and a parent letter home explaining this project.
The clip art is from JW Illustrations, Scrappin Doodles, and Pink Cat Studio.

Well, I guess that's about it for now.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Love, Splat: A Must Read Mentor Text for Valentine's Day

Just stopping for a quick moment before the week starts to join with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text linky.  It's the first weekend of the month, so I get to share about a fav language arts text.  Since it is February, I want to highlight a terrific Valentines themed book, Love, Splat by Rob Scotton.

I think Love, Splat was the first Splat the Cat book I ever came across.  It is really a darling story.  Splat has made a special Valentine for the object of his affection, Kitten.  He is embarrassed to give it to her and worse yet, he discovers another (more confident) cat also has eyes for Kitten.  Splat must overcome his shyness, so that he can let Kitten know how much he likes her.
 The twists in the story are very engaging and the illustrations are very original and full of detail.  Love, Splat is a sweet and fun read aloud for Valentine's Day.   
There are many ELA skills that you can work in with this book.  I will use it to discuss character and how he changes through the story.  My first grade friends will use the graphic organizer pictured below to below to put their thoughts down on paper.  
If you would like a FREE copy of this handout, click on the picture.
(sorry so blurry-but you get the picture)

Also, construction paper Splats are pretty easy to create.  We made some to put up in class for the next few weeks.  The kids really liked making them.  
If you would like a free copy of the pattern for this craftivity, click on one of the pictures below.

Love, Splat is a wonderful book with lots of teaching opportunities.  If you do not already have a copy, highly recommend picking one up.
For more teacher approved, book recommendations be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties.
Have a great week.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things and a Math Center Freebie for February

What a difference a week can make.  Last week D and I were in New Orleans sleeping in (a little), eating awesome food, and enjoying some fun people watching.  We had a great time, but I started off my week exhausted.
I am so thankful we made it home before all of the snow, cold, and ice hit.
A  of course, loved playing in the snow.  We do not see it very often, so she took full advantage of sledding, snowballs, snow angels, and anything else she could come up with.

Because of the snow, I ended up getting a few days off from school to recover my trip, which was really nice.  But, my plans for school are a total wash.
My Groundhog Day and Superbowl activities are going to have to be revamped or maybe scratched.  Plus, when we get back to school on Monday, it will be February, time for new math and literacy centers.
My first grade friends have yet to work through all of our January centers, so I may put off the switch for a few days.  When I do trade centers, they will be working out of my new (and on sale through Monday) Classroom Cupids {10 Literacy Centers for February} and Classroom Cupids {10 Math Centers for February} packets.
Classroom Cupids {10 Math Centers for February} hits skills such as subtraction, addition, nonstandard measurement, time to the half hour, place value, number comparisons, and more.  You can click on the picture above for more information.

Love Bug Doubles is a free center from Classroom Cupids {10 Math Centers for February}.  It focuses on addition facts with doubles and doubles +1.  If you would like your own copy, click on the picture below.

I hope this freebie is something you can use with your students and I hope you have a great week.