December 5, 2016

Light Up the Holidays (FREE Craft)

We are ready to light up the next 3 weeks of fun and learning!
There are so many fun activities planned BUT we still have a LOT of learning to do in first grade.

One of my favorite things to do at home and in my classroom is decorate!
These lights add the perfect touch of "Hello Holiday Season"!
You can call them 'Christmas Lights' or 'Holiday Lights' depending on what your district allows ; )
They will add the perfect touch of holiday cheer to your classroom!

This craft is so versatile and can be made to fit any subject matter.
Here is an example of what I have done with my classes in the past.

Other Examples Include:
singular/plural nouns
noun/adjective to describe
numeral/expanded form
numeral/draw tens and ones

Stop by my TpT store to grab this craft for FREE or click on the cover photo below!


December 1, 2016

Elf in the Classroom

Do you have an elf who comes to your classroom?
Of course you do!
Here are some of the antics our mischievous classroom elf was up to last year.
He decided to get stuck in our "stuck on a word strategies" wall and literally needed help!
After spending the day stuck, he was awfully tired and napped all day long.
Look who found our Band-aid stash!
He loves to read too!
Showing his Polar Express enthusiasm! 
We didn't have any new sight words this week so he decided to make up his own!
He must think I have a good class. A compliment goes a long way!
Trying to make us laugh at our class picture! What a funny guy.
Showing us his love for reading! 
A little TP never hurt anyone!
His last day message to us...
I can't wait for him to make his appearance sometime this week!

November 28, 2016

Learning through Literacy: December

I love teaching in October, but December runs a very close first place!
Did I just say December?
This year is flying by, said no teacher ever. But really, it is!

Each month, I use these easy to prep and explain activities to review previously taught skills as centers or stations for my students. 

They always include some type of the following activites:
phonics -- word study -- grammar -- writing -- sight words

Catch the December set ON SALE for the next 2 days. 

You can also find the bundle for the entire year in my store for a discounted price!

November 3, 2016

Time to Talk Turkey!

Good grief...when did November get here? 
 After reminiscing through all my November activities on Pinterest for planning today, I've decided to put them altogether in one post to help ease your November teaching needs! 

Who loves all things turkey?
Phonics with Turkeys
Reading with Turkeys
Grammar with Turkeys
Math with Turkeys
Writing with Turkeys
YES to the turkey!

I came across this template several years ago from The First Grade Parade.
We add feathers each year to our turkey depending upon which phonetic skill we are working with.
The past 2 years they have been 'blend turkeys' and 'digraph turkeys'.

I just love running across cute ideas from other teacher bloggers.
This one comes from Reagan.
We've been talking about verbs so this activity fit perfect into our week.
We read Run Turkey Run and recorded turkey verbs.
Student then chose a verb and created a sentence to mirror that of the title.
"Fly Turkey Fly"
"Snap Turkey Snap"

We always review our knowledge of fact families by making fact family turkeys.
Some years I give my kids the 3 numbers to work with and others I let them generate their own.
It depends on my group from year to year.
I have them write the 3 numbers on the turkey head and the feathers are the facts.

This precious idea comes from Around the Kampfire.
What kid doesn't love THE Pigeon!?!?
Students have to try to persuade others why they should eat hot dogs instead of turkey for Thanksgiving! 

Alliterations are SO much fun! 
What we do is brainstorm words that start with the letter 'T' and record them on our 'turkey words' chart.
Then I have students make their turkey and name him/her.
They pick 4 words from our chart and write an alliteration sentence about their turkey!

If you need any Turkey resources, check out the following in my TpT store: 

Happy November!

November 1, 2016

Voting in the Classroom Election Freebie

It's election season, even though I'm not exactly thrilled. 
But what I am thrilled about is this FREEBIE I'm sharing with you!

Let's teach our students the importance of voting and give them the opportunity to do so in the classroom.

There are several great books that accompany this freebie. 
Grace for President
My Teacher for President
Duck for President

We read all 3 books throughout the week.
We also learn about the actual presidential election and events that take place to help candidates get elected. 
We talk about all things election: campaigning, registering, ballots, debates, etc.
Some of those things we actually do in the classroom as well.

We madk our campaign posters after reading Grace for President.

We hold our election after Reading Duck for President.

Once student are well aware of the many jobs of the president, we hold an actual class election.

Step 1: hang campaign posters around the room

Step 2: make voter registration cards

Step 3: vote!

Step 4: count votes and make pictograph

Step 5: declare a winner, graph results and tabulate data

We also incorporated writing into this day of fun.
After I was declared the official winner {what can I say--they LOVE me}, we pretended they were chosen as the president!

"I would play with my dog. Sign bills. I would make laws and rules to help people." 

Let me just say that I packed a lot into their little brains and LOTS of it stuck!
Not to mention it is always tons of fun!

Don't forget to snag this freebie with most of the templates seen on this post in my TpT store!

October 23, 2016

Keeping Track of Guided Reading with Lesson Plans

Don't get me wrong, I love my Erin Condren planner, but the space I had to write down my plans for my guided reading time just weren't cutting it. I always knew I could do better...better at planning my groups and really looking into what I wanted to get out of them. 

So to help me combat that, I made my own lesson plan template!

Let me just say, they have been working beautifully!
I check out books from our fabulous literacy library and go through them to see what I want to work on with my groups. I record what we will do before, during and after reading. On the days we do word work, I can choose what skill we will be reviewing and the activity that corresponds.

I pull out the plans in my binder and have them in front of me for each group.

The lesson plans are editable and you can add your own text. Or if you are simple like me, I just print them out and write on them. 

You can find the pack in my TpT store
It comes with 4 different templates depending on how you structure your groups and what strategies you use.
It also includes a letter to parents explaining decoding strategies and their rules.

October 19, 2016

Creating Their OWN Book of Non-fiction Features and a Freebie

Non-fiction may be one of my favorite things to teach all year!
Students just happen to get so engaged and absorbed in non-fiction that it drives my teacher heart to want to teach more and more of it!

Each year, we start off by identifying the features and making a class chart. 

You can find all the parts I use for our anchor chart by clicking on the picture below.
It will take you to my TpT store where you can download them for FREE!

This anchor charts hangs by our guided reading area. We refer to it often throughout the year when we are reading non-fiction in our groups.

After learning about the features, we went through our book boxes and labeled some features we found with sticky notes. 

This student found a photograph and an illustration.

Another fun activity we love to do is similar, except I hang posters around the room. Each poster has the name of a feature on it. Students hunt through their books again. When they find a feature, they write down the page number it was on and go and stick it to the poster. 

We also make our own book of non-fiction features. I just take a few pieces of manila and add a cover.
Here is an example of one student's book.

Each student glued in their own photograph and wrote their own caption about their photo. 

We do something similar to this for each feature.
After we have added them all, they can't wait to take them home!