Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just a Quick Heads Up

Hi y'all.  I just wanted to give you a quick heads up about some great resources over at Primary Powers.  This new collaborative blog for lower grade teachers features a different blogger each day (or two) and during this first month each post will include a great freebie that you will want to grab.

Primary Powers

I published my post there today.  In the post you'll find my Super Student of the Week packet.  I'd love for you to check it out.  
This packet includes printables, an example letter to families, display ideas, and additional suggested activities for a fun Student of the Week experience.  And best of all . . . it's free!  The only place to get it is at Primary Powers.

If you are like me, you're always on the lookout for helpful blogs and great ideas.  Primary Powers is definitely one you'll want to add to your reading list.
Enjoy the rest of your week and have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Learning from the Master

Hi all.
I'm just back from an SDE conference for first grade teachers.  I got the flier in my school mailbox during the first week of school.  I read that Ms. Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade was to be one of the presenters, so I signed up right away.
Over two days, she presented 8 sessions.  She talked about guided reading, math, phonics, vocabulary, writing, anchor activities, sight words, and classroom management.  Every session was fabulous.  She had so many ideas and activities to share.  She brought several examples of the activities for us to get a closer look at.  She also had a few make-and-take activities for us.
It was so awesome to be at a professional development that covered specific activities to use for specific skills.  
Cara was more than happy to talk to teachers between the sessions and answer questions.  
I can't wait to start implementing some of the strategies she suggested.  (I'm really focusing in on the anchor activities.  I'll be sure to share if I have success with them.)
If you get a chance to see Cara Carroll present, it is totally worth your time and the effort it takes to get ready for a sub.  I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to learn from her again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hold on Your Capes People!

I have a really exciting announcement (and I don't get to make them very often).  I am joining forces with some other super teachers for a new blog, Primary Powers.
Not only will this blog feature great ideas for your classroom, we are also kicking it off with an exciting giveaway.

Fly on over to Primary Powers to read all about how you can win the great prizes being offered during our launch. 
Prizes include . . . 

Exciting, right?!
And the news gets even better because we are celebrating the launch of Primary Powers with an exclusive deal with Educents!

21 instant downloads, over 1,000 pages of materials that are ready to use, and variety of topics to pull your through months of teaching!  $100.75 retail value available for a limited time for $29.99 which is 70% off!  Extreme value alert!

Concepts covered are:  addition, subtraction, graphing, time, money, reading, fluency, spelling, writing, close reading, grammar, story element in fiction and nonfiction, and much, much more!  

Products are thematically correct for the upcoming seasons!  
- spiders and camping for October
- turkeys, Thanksgiving, scarecrows for November
- winter, penguins, the holidays, and New Years for December

Other great items include:
- a calendar that could be used as a parent gift
- a data folder to track student growth
- literacy and math centers
- printables
- units of study

Primary Powers is going to be an awesome resource for primary grade teachers.  I'd love for you to stop by and check it out. 
Hope you are having a great week.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Last Minute Columbus Day Ideas

Happy Saturday.
We've been on fall break, but that fun is just about over.  It's time to start getting ready for next week, which happens to be the week of Columbus Day.  I was a history major in college.  Anytime we have a chance to learn about important people from the past, I love it.
In math we'll use my Sail Away on Columbus Day math mini book.  This booklet features Columbus themed word problems.  It is a great review of the math concepts we've covered so far this year.
You can have a copy by clicking on the picture.

Another Columbus themed activity we will be using is Ship Shape Digraphs.  This literacy center is from my Tiny Tricksters {10 October Themed Literacy Centers} packet.  With this center, students will practice matching initial digraphs with corresponding picture cards and then complete a recording sheet.  
You can have a FREE copy of this center by clicking on one of the pictures.

Of course we'll be doing Columbus themed read alouds.  We will also make a Christopher Columbus craftivity for our hallway.  I'm all about connecting our art projects to our studies.  I really think these little projects help students better retain what they have learned.

After learning some important facts about Columbus, we'll be completing a Christopher Columbus bubble map.  The bubble map will be a graphic organizer to help us with one of our writing pieces later in the week.
You can have a FREE copy of this bubble map by clicking on the picture.

I want to leave you with one final quick and easy Columbus Day idea.  Be sure to check out Brain Pop Jr.'s Columbus Day movie.  It is another great way to explain explorers and Columbus's accomplishments to your young learners.  I especially like the animated maps.

I hope some of these ideas will help you next week.  Thanks so much for stopping by.
Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

How Bout Them Apples?

I know it's October and my mind should be all about pumpkins, but with all of the interruptions activities going on at school, our apple activities stretched a out a little longer than I planned.  Of course, my kids did not seem to mind.  They really loved getting a chance to learn with apples.

Most of our apple fun took place during our math time.  One day we practiced ten frame addition using Apple Jacks.  We had plenty of cereal left over, so a couple of days later be practiced making addition equations and solving them with a part/part/whole chart.  As you well know, kids love working with food.  They were as happy as could be when they got to eat their cereal at the end of the activity.

If you would like a FREE copy of these handouts, click on one of the picture below.

We also spent time with Cara Carroll's math and science journal, The Great Apple Investigation.  I tried to snap lots of pics of this activity.  It provided practice with different types of measurement, estimation, and focused on observations.  (As luck would have it, someone forgot to charge her camera battery.  I took two shots and then iPad to the rescue.)
To start, all the students picked an apple and I prepped our table for small groups.  After that we were off.  We observed, predicted, estimated, and measured.  All apples were throughly investigated by the end of the day.

Math with apples wouldn't be complete without a tasting and graphing activity.  This year I moved away from my normal apple tasting and tried out Sarah Cooley's Apple Tasting Party.  We sampled apples, apple muffins, Apple Jacks, apple juice, and apple sauce.  We then graphed our favorites and completed a recording sheet.  My firsties loved it.

Besides all the math skills we hit using apples, we also learned a little history by reading some books about Johnny Appleseed.  We made these cute Johnnys to brighten our hallway.  Students colored his apple their favorite apple colors.

I love teaching with apples and the students love learning with them.  There are so many directions you can go.  What we were able to fit in is just the tip of the iceberg (or maybe it is just the stem of the apple).  But now it's time for all things pumpkin, so stay tuned.