February 12, 2017

A Day in the Arctic: Room Transformation

This week we spend a day in the arctic.
We've been studying habitats, animal characteristics and even started our own research projects.
But we took a day off to explore artic-ish things!
So grab your cold weather gear and get ready to explore.

To transform the room, I used lots of paper, snowflakes and a little sparkle.
I covered my door in paper and made a sign.
I also covered the word wall and window with sheets of "ice" and "icicles". 

I also ordered a few items on Amazon.
I hung sparkle snowflakes from the ceiling, snowflake banner on our SmartBoard and snowflake cut outs on the window and word wall "ice" coverings.

The tables were also covered with white paper and some iridescent Easter grass for "ice". 
We worked with the lights off and arctic wind sounds some of the time. 

Earlier in the week, we read a book about Polar Bears and found the main idea/details with non-fiction text. So it was there turn to try it out themselves. I checked out several easy reads on arctic animals from the library. Each group had to read the book and record the main idea from the text. 
Who goes to the arctic and doesn't have a snowball fight? Not us of course. I wrote words on squares of paper. I turned on music and let them throw the "snowballs" across the room. When the music stopped, they had to find a snowball, open it and find the other student with their match to make a compound word.

Since the arctic is so incredibly cold, most people don't just venture there. We imagined if we did, how on Earth would we survive. So they wrote a procedural text on how exactly they would survive if the were in the arctic.

Our favotire part of all were our STEM stations!

I split the class up into 4 groups each to work for 12-15 minutes at each station.
At station 1 they build igloos out of marshmallows and toothpicks. At station 2 they made snowflake designs out of q-tips. At station 3 they used geoboards and rubber bands to make snowflakes. And at station 4 we made snow!

These days are so much fun, and not to mention engaging beyond measure.
If you would like to check out my last room transformation click HERE.

February 11, 2017

Presidents Mini Unit

I tend to forget how BUSY the month of February can get!
It's jam packked...but then again what month doesn't feel that way by the time it is over? 

Besides Valentine's Day, February also brings us President's Day.  
I find my students are more fascinated with non-fiction than anything else I teach. 
 There is just something about it that totally tunes them in!
 I put together a little packet to go along with our week long President's celebration.

  If you were able to check out my MLK unit and enjoyed it, then this will be right up your alley as it is fairly similar.

This mini-unit is the perfect way to teach all about Washington, Lincoln, and President's Day in just a few days! All you need is a non-fiction book to accompany the pages in this unit and you are set!

Here is what the unit includes:

*Who Was Washington? {describing graphic organizer}
*Washington was/had/wanted facts organizer
*Washington 3 facts and a fib {students produce & record 3 facts and a fib)
*Who Was Lincoln? {describing graphic organizer}
*Lincoln was/had/wanted facts organizer
*Lincoln 3 facts and a fib {students produce & record 3 facts and a fib)
*Comparing Washington and Lincoln! {Venn diagram}
*The President's: Fact or Not so Much {cut and paste fact activity}
*If I Were President... {creative writing prompt}
*President's Day ABC order
It is now available in my TPT store and will be on sale this weekend!

February 1, 2017

This Book is Important

Teaching main idea to first graders is hard.
Here's a book I stumbled upon that made the concept so much easier for my kids to understand.

The Important Book takes one "thing" and tells what makes it important. It also lists details to describe it too. It then tells again why it is important...much like main idea!

To start off, my students and I completed 2 pages out of the book together, discussing what was the most important part (the main idea) and how we knew that (the details).

I made color copies of the pages in the book, because who has 5 copies of their teaching books!?
I put my kids in small groups and gave them each a page to read. They had to figure out the main idea of their page and what details they learned about it.

We shared our findings and they totally got it!

If you don't have this book, add it to your collection asap!
Happy reading : )

January 23, 2017

Writing with Play-dough

Need to get your kids excited about practicing writing sentences?
Well then bring out the Play-Dough!

We have been learning about using question words and question marks.
I had modeled writing questions for several days and now it was time for my firsties to practice.
In my mind I thought, ugh how boring is this going to be and knew I had to make it engaging.
Enter Play-Dough.

They had to write 3 questions and once they did, they could create their question marks out of Play-Dough!

I was shocked how hard they worked!
We may just pull out the Play-Dough more often.
I'm sure they would'nt mind, especially when they get to play with it after their hard work!

January 19, 2017

Toss it Up: A Versatile Game for all Subjects

Who's kids love to get up and moving?
I know mine do and boy do they need it. We require them to sit, listen, be quiet, whisper.
Lord knows sometimes it's okay to make a little noise when learning!

We have been tuned into contractions the past few weeks. 
Here is a fun way to review or even assess your students.

Prep is easy: paper, marker and something to throw (we used a bean bag).

Each student had the chance to toss the bean bag onto the paper. 
They were to read their contraction and tell us the two words that made it.
They then chose a friend.

From this activity, I could pretty much tell who my strugglers were.
My other firsties listened intently and helped their friends when needed. 

This game is SUPER versatile and could be used across any content area:
compound words
categorizing nouns/verbs/adjectives
phonics/word families
rhyming words (read and generate)
fact fluency

This may just become a staple game in our classroom!

January 16, 2017

Up Feet, Down Feet, Antonym Feet FREE Lesson

How do feet and antonyms collide you might ask?
Easily, just ask Dr. Seuss!

Left foot, right foot.
Wet foot, dry foot.
Low foot, high foot.
Are you catching my drift? This book is a fabulous introduction for teaching antonyms!

After reading, we make a class anchor chart for antonyms.

(Sorry for the glare. Chart is laminated so I can reuse again next year!)

After making our chart, I took out the 24 feet, each with an antonym written on it and laid them around the room. I must have really confused my kiddos because I got "Why are you putting out bananas?".

Yeah, they may look a little like bananas!

Each student had to pick up one foot, read the word, and find the other student who had a match to make a pair of antonyms.

If you would like to add this activity to your grammar collection, head on over to my TPT store.
I have put it together as a FREEBIE for you!

We also made a bigger than life size feet anchor chart for our learning.
So we took it a *step* further (pun IS intended) by tracing our feet.

Each pair of feet will have a pair of antonyms.

I have a feeling that won't hardly forget antonyms!

January 2, 2017

Winter Reading Challenge Freebie

Different years bring different groups of learners.
Let's just say this year my firsties need a little bit more practicing reading.

I feel consistency is one key to success so I wanted to find a way to encourage them to read over our two week winter break. I searched TpT and found a very cute challenge already created....a time saver during all of  the Christmas madness that ensued before the break! I knew it probably wasn't very motivating, especially during the exciting season we were in.

I knew I had to create a "reward" their hard work over the break so I may have bribed them by mentioning those who turned in the reading challenge when we returned would receive a prize!

What 7 year old during Christmas time isn't thinking prizes are the best thing ever...exactly!

The challenge was to fill up a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows. Each marshmallow was a different reading challenge for that particular day. If they brought it back filled up here is what they will get:

Time to make a S'more to go with their mug of hot chocolate!

You can find the Winter Reading Challenge HERE from More than a Worksheet.


You can find my printable FREEBIE in my store HERE!

Winter Reading Challenge Printable