October 22, 2013

Addition with a Number Line

If you haven't heard the word, one thing that really...no I mean REALLY...gets kids excited to add is a life-size number line. Of course that is with a little help of the teacher playing it up like it's a big ol' deal!
Today, we did just that. It's as easy as butcher paper and a marker.
I modeled first by standing on a number, moving a certain number of spots, and stopping on a number. After a few kiddos went through the motions, we added in our addition vocabulary..."If we start on 8 and add 3 more our total is 11."
When doing this activity, make sure to express the importance of immediately moving to the next number when counting on. Sometimes the kids like to start counting with the number they start on instead of moving with the first number they count.
My Little Book of Addition Strategies
In this freebie on TpT from Team Fannin, there is a page that is dedicated to the strategy of using the number line to add. We glued this bad boy in our math journal and ran through a few practice problems together. 
We are rockin' and rollin' our mission of addition!

October 17, 2013

No Math Textbook...Say WHAT!? {An Intro. to Addition}

As a teacher, you would think we would get use to change. We experience it often and most of the time we (not going to lie here) frown upon it. I, my friends, am here to tell you change can be a good thing!
The past 2 years our grade level has taught strictly from a math textbook. Daily, we would take out our book, teach from a practice page we completed together and send home the homework for them to practice. I seriously thought I was back in the stone age....I mean, who still teaches from daily workbook pages?? Praise the Lord...NOT ME!
I was forced to change my way of thinking and teaching from "old school style". Yes guilty as charged. I started this year with no textbook to follow for math and absolutely L-O-V-E it! Here's our journey through addition so far:
Who doesn't love learning with food!? Kids definitely do...so that's where we started our mission for learning addition.  With a beachy scenery and some goldfish, we talked through adding fish to the water, counting how many there were total, and so on.
Example: There were 3 fish swimming in the ocean. 2 more fish joined. How many fish were in the ocean?
Little did they know they were already adding!

We moved from goldfish to a part-part-whole chart and counters.
They learned that the part+part=whole. I would call out a number for part one, another for part two, and we would slide them together to the whole to find the total of the two parts. Easy peasy (as they like to say!).

After introducing more math vocabulary, we started to create number sentences. Our manipulatives for this lesson were Zoo Plates (found at Wal-Mart) to represent our number bonds and ones cubes. Again, I would tell them one number to put in the part, another number to put in the second part. We would write our addition sentence using the symbols and move the ones counters to the whole to find our answer.
{We also used dominoes to add numbers together and practice writing our addition sentences, but I forgot to take a picture of that day.}

To conclude our week, we wrote down examples all the ways we added and all of the different manipulatives we used. I pre-traced a plus sign template on a sheet of manila paper for us to glue in our math journals. We reviewed our addition vocabulary and wrote those words surrounding our "addition guy".

I look back over the past 2 years and think "shame on me for not being a better teacher"...."shame on me for taking the easy way out"...."shame on me for not taking the initiative to teach how I KNOW the kids learn"....SHAME ON ME! I challenge you who still teach that way (granted some days we do practice sheets but not daily) to take a step of 'change'. It can work wonders!

October 13, 2013

Whatcha know about SCHEMA?

Schema. Just the word alone is fun and peeks the kid's interest!
We hammered schema hard this week.
I always like to use "different" but fun ways to introduce things in my classroom. After awhile, I do get tired of BrainPop (gasp!). I came across this adorable lesson from Crisscross Applesauce in 1st Grade and knew it would be a h.i.t!

First, I cut up a few squares of paper and wrote memories or things I know about on each square. For example: football, matter, cats like to chase birds, etc. I rolled one square up at a time and talked a little bit about what was written on it. When finished, I explained that what we learn sticks to our brain like the pieces of paper stuck to the lint roller.
They were in LOVE!
They did a little response to the activity and wrote down things they could roll up with their schema roller...that is, if they had one!
{Holly has this as a freebie on her blog--linked above}
Day 2 we talked about how our schema is organized. I showed them my filing cabinet and how I had all my files organized. I told them our brain was similar and keeps everything we learn in mental files. I put them in groups and had them write down what they knew about the following categories: animals, apples, and summer. We shared our schema and did the follow up activity below.

They had to pick one 'file folder' that was in their brain and write down what they knew was inside of it.
Click on the picture to grab it for FREE!

We also incorporated pumpkins into our schema lessons. We recorded our schema about pumpkins with a partner then read a non-fiction book where we learned some new facts. We recorded those after reading.
To finish up our schema week, we put a spin on the chart activity we did previously. I broke the kids up into small groups and gave them a pumpkin schema chart. They took turns writing sentences of their pumpkin schema. 
We read From Seed to Pumpkin which had lots of new facts. They returned to their chart and recorded 4 more sentences of new schema.

So proud!
I think they enjoyed learning this week as much as I did teaching!


October 10, 2013

October {THROWBACK}: Spiders

Those creepy, crawly, sticky web spinning creatures just gross me out but they sure are fun to teach!
This year, we have a new scope and sequence to follow.  So, many of these fun activities I will be parting with, but had to revisit them to share the fun I had last year with you...in hopes that you may take something away!
The third October throwback post is dedicated to the spiders!
We've been studying all about spiders this week. Here's a peek at what our learning looks like.
We recorded our learning on a KWL chart.
 We put alot of what we learned into a spider booklet.
 We wrote spider facts.
 Drew a diagram of a spider and labeled it.

And wrote an acrostic poem using words that describe spiders.
We also put what we knew about spiders into a spiders can/have/are chart. 
We used the organizer to create a friendly spider art activity and sandwich poem!
Click on the picture below to download the organizer.
My little loves were also excited to see our own classroom invader when they came to school this week!

October 8, 2013

October {THROWBACK}: Bats

There is something about themed units that just get my little heart excited! And it makes me SO sad to say this year we have a new scope and sequence to follow. WAAAA! So, many of these fun activities I will be parting with, but had to revisit them to share the fun I had last year with you...in hopes that you may take something away!
The second October throwback post is dedicated to the bats!
Does this time of year make your kids batty or is it just mine!?
We started our unit off reading a few non-fiction books about bats and filling out a Bats Can-Have-Are chart.  They then picked 2 facts from each category and made their own can-have-are chart.  
I also introduced the concept of labeling to my firsties using this 'Parts of a Bat' chart.  I showed them a diagram of a bat in a book we read and talked to them about all the different and interesting parts of a bat.  I then had them help me label the parts. We also drew our own diagram and labeled the parts but....let's face it, my drawing is horrible and isn't blog-worthy!
We have been talking all about story elements the past few weeks. I chose to read Stellaluna to my kiddos because I just love the book...such a sweet story. 
We broke down the book and talked about these story elements: character, setting, problem, solution, and main idea. I had them make a little craftivity to go with it.
On one side the had to fill in the characters and setting.
On the opposite side, they wrote the problem and solution.
And when they walked in the next day they saw this:
You would have thought I won a teacher of the year award or something y'all! They were beyond excited about their bats hanging upside down from the ceiling.
This year, I changed up the bat activity. Yes, every time I read Stellaluna they all are familiar with it. So I decided to choose another batty book.
We read Bats at the Library and made this craftivity describing the characters and setting from the story.
Hope you enjoyed the batty goodness of this post. Be on the lookout for creepy crawly critter post soon!

October 6, 2013

October {THROWBACK}: Pumpkins

Oh, October...how I love thee! You are filled with cooler weather, boots, scarves, sweaters, and Pumpkin Spice lattes. Nothing could be more perfect. 
We even decorate the hall with your goodness to celebrate your arrival.
 Aside from all of those wonderful things, I bring you a hodge podge of October posts from last year.
This year, we have a new scope and sequence to follow.  So, many of these fun activities I will be parting with, but had to revisit them to share the fun I had last year with you...in hopes that you may take something away!
The first October throwback post is dedicated to the pumpkins!

Kids just L-O-V-E using magazines in the classroom! We've been working on identifying nouns, so what a greater way to incorporate the two than this little activity?
We looked through magazines and sorted nouns into the 3 categories of person, place, and think and glued them on to our pumpkins.
Our nouns pumpkins grace our hallway like a pumpkin patch!

We read The Pumpkin Book to learn some facts about pumpkins and recorded our learning on our 'can/have/are' chart.
{Yes, my pumpkin may look more like an apple. "So what, who cares!?"}
We studied all about the life cycle of a pumpkin.  We first read From Seed to Pumpkin and then sequenced the steps using pictures from {here} and sentences I typed up to match them. I saw this idea on Cara's blog and just had to do it with my firsties this year. Great way to reinforce what the book talks about!
We filled out a life cycle diagram for each step of the pumpkin's life cycle.
 The following day they had to apply their schema of a pumpkin's life cycle and complete this little sequencing art activity.
We've been trying really hard to write our sentences using correct grammar.  I had them transfer their pictures of the pumpkin's life cycle into sentences. This writing activity came from Oceans of First Grade Fun.  Click on the picture for the freebie!
 After learning a little bit about pumpkins, I brought a pumpkin to school for our pumpkin investigation! Words cannot explain how excited the kiddos were. Here are a few things we did during our investigation.
 First, we examined our pumpkin and described what it looked like on the outside.
 Then, I cut the top off and we scooped out the seeds and saved them to count.

We grouped the seeds into sets of 10.  Putting them all to work, this took no time at all. I had them estimate how many seeds they thought were inside. We counted by 10's to find our answer and I think we were all surprised by our number of 463!
 We measured how tall the pumpkin was with cubes.
Here is our pumpkin investigation data. The kids had their own paper to fill out.
It can be found {here}.
Hope you enjoyed the pumpkiny goodness of this post. Be on the lookout for a bats gone wild post soon!

October 4, 2013


I literally thought I was going to D-I-E Tuesday afternoon from being overwhelmingly stressed. I was painstakingly wishing for Friday...and now it's here!
If you're wondering what got me through the week....I came across a bible verse in my quiet time that could not have been anything less than God speaking to me. So if you are in need of some reassurance, keep on reading!
My whole attitude changed and my week ended GREAT!
Here's a peeksie at the anchor charts I used this week. Have I ever mentioned I LOVE anchor charts!?
I absolutely adore my kiddos when I get to work with them in small groups. We talked about non-fiction text this week and I had each group prove the book we read was non-fiction. Even my low babies could do it. Proud teacher-mommy moment!

To get in the October spirit, we made a "battivity"! Bats at the Library is a great book for character/setting.

Here is one of our anchor charts in action. We were going to search through magazines for pictures of hot and cold objects, but we got a weensie bit out of hand earlier in the day and the mean teacher wasn't sure we could handle it. So we came up with our own instead!

Last but not least, we are finally supposed to be getting some cooler fall weather here in Texas this weekend which only calls for some decorative leaf painting art for our bare tree in the hallway!
Happy Fall Y'all