May 28, 2014

EOY Class Pillowcase Project *3 Freebies*

I can't guarantee this is an easy end of the year project BUT I can guarantee that your kids will love it
Hands down!
{Pun intended}

It's our first grade tradition to make an end of the year pillowcase keepsake.
I start off by sending home a note for each student to bring back a white, new, clean pillowcase.
(The clean part is most important!)
{Click picture to download}
Just in case, I take load them up (literally) into my washer to make sure they are all clean.

If you read my last post, you know I love to involve parents and have them help out in any way possible. This is definitely a helping activity!
I purchase these transfers. I found them at Wal-Mart.
On these, I print the poem below.
{Click on the words to download the printable poem}
Talk about precious.
I honestly have not ever ironed on a transfer to a pillowcase.
(This is where mom help comes in)
I send them home for a mom to iron on and she returns them.
Next step, painting day.
This year I was lucky enough to have an experienced first grade mom (her 3rd kid). She had kept paint from years past. I like to have one different color for each student's hand.
***IMPORTANT: You must mix the paint with a textile medium in order for the paint to stick and not wash off. We mix the two together in bowls.
We lay out each pillowcase and put wax paper inside.
This prevents the paint from bleeding through.
23 kids.
23 hand print on each pillowcase.
You do the math.
(See why you need moms?)
After drying, students walk around and sign their names with a sharpie.
That evening I take the pillowcases home:
Roll them up
Tie with ribbon and add a cute nametag.
{Click picture to download}

During our awards ceremony, I pass them out as they take on the look of a wrapped up diploma.
So long first grade!
Don't forget to check out my last 2 post for even more EOY gifting freebies!!!

May 27, 2014

EOY Parent Gifts *Freebie*

My teammates are always amazed by how much I delegate to my parents.
I am always sending things home for parents to help out with.
Whether it's tracing, cutting, labeling, etc. I like for them to feel like they are a part of our work.
AND it makes things easier on this teacher right here!!!
For those moms who are willing to lend a helping hand, I like to get them a little gift of appreciation at the end of the school year.
I head to Bath & Body Works to pick up some smell good hand soap.
With those in check, some baggies, ribbon, and my free printable......


"Thank you for your helping hands!"
Check out the FREE printable below for your EOY parent gifts!
Check out my post from yesterday HERE for another EOY FREEBIE for a quick and easy team gift!

May 26, 2014

EOY Team Gifts *Freebie*

"Orange" you glad it's almost the end of the year!?
There's still so much going on in our first grade classroom but I know my firsties, myself, and my teammates are all ready for a much needed break after a long hard year.
So I picked up this cute freebie from A Cupcake for the Teacher's blog and slapped it on an orange pack of gum for my lovely team members.
Click on the picture below to snag this freebie for your EOY gifts!
Thanks Teri!

{Check back tomorrow for another EOY FREEBIE}

May 19, 2014

Making How-To's Fun!

Writing *use-to* be one of my least favorite things to teach.
This year has been, by far, the best yet.
My students' writing has grown SO incredibly much thanks to a number of things:
*completing class examples
*having writer's workshop FIRST thing
*making conferring a priority
*sharing circle
*implementing "thinking" music
*routine, routine, routine
*making it FUN!
We've been all about writing how-to's the past few weeks.
This week we tackled PB&J's.
Our first step is to brainstorm:
 We record the things we need and talk through the steps.
**All organizers can be found in my How-To Writing packet on TpT.
The 2nd day we "act it out" actually using what we listed the day before.
This is when they find out exactly how specific they have to be.
"Put it on the bread."
{Teacher acts like she doesn't understand and puts IT (a pencil) on the bread}
uncontrollable laughter
"No! Put the peanut butter on the bread."
{Teacher puts jar of peanut butter on the bread.}
"NO! A scoop of peanut butter."
They slowly find out they have to specify every little detail which we draw out.

The 3rd-4th day we take our pictures and turn them into detailed sentences.
And finally....we get to make our sandwich book...cheers!

Pick up my How-To Writing Prompts and Templates in my TpT store.
It comes with 4 graphic organizers for over 11 prompts.
If this system is easy for my firsties to follow, it will be for yours too!

May 16, 2014

Five for Friday, YIPPEE!

How many Friday's of the school year are left? 3 maybe 4....who's counting anyways!?

We celebrated reading this week and were asked to choose our favorite book and decorate our door accordingly. We voted and the verdict was who other than David of course!?  The kids were so proud to have worked and completed this project ALL on their own (with only taping assistance from myself)!

Our Lima Bean plants have finally taken off....well most of them anyway!
It never fails I always have those few that don't want to grow!
None the less, the kids come in every day ecstatic to check on their plants status.

We LOVE our brain breaks and if it wasn't for Go Noodle, I don't know how exciting they would actually be! If you haven't checked it's a must!!!

I finally let some of my kiddos in my higher groups grab a chapter book from our classroom library.
Faces lit up.
Smiles on faces.
Ready, set, go read!
That's just about what happened....literally.


We've been discussing features of non-fiction all week.
Today they had to search for facts after reading their own easy non-fiction read on insects and write some opinions too.
They just couldn't get enough!
I just might add that I LOVE being asked "Can we read more?".
Happy Friday

May 7, 2014

Plants, Plants, and more...FREEBIES!

 One of my favorite science units to teach is plants. The kids LOVE getting to plant a seed and come in every morning to see what it has magically done overnight. It's the first place they visit before they even  unpack. They totally freak-out when they see the first root, leaf, etc.!! So fun to watch.

We planted our seeds Monday and made our first observations today.

Last year and this year I am using this observation log with my firsties and it worked out great.
For this unit, we observed our plants for a total of 10 days (excluding weekends). By the end of this time frame, they actually grew rather tall. Each day, we observed what our plant looked like and drew a picture on the picture observation sheet. We then turned to our daily observation page, wrote the observation date, number, and wrote about the changes we saw.
At the end of this packet, there is a place to sequence the steps of the life cycle of a plant: How a Plant Grows. This is a great way to assess what they know at then end of the unit.
This packet is posted in my TpT store and will be on sale for 3 days after the BIG sale in case you miss it. So snag it while you can!

You can also find these two freebies if you have stuck with my ramblings this far! There are 2 graphic organizers.

The first is a plants can-have-are chart. The second is a life cycle chart.
 Pick them both up {HERE} and {HERE}.

May 6, 2014

I Appreciate YOU Sale

It takes a special person to be a teacher.  The job just isn't for anyone.

In fact, it's a mixture of jobs combined into one. We are also:

I not only sincerely appreciate the teachers I work with, but I also appreciate you.
My followers encourage me to be a better teacher, motivate me to learn new things, and keep me going.

In honor of YOU and all the other teachers out there, I along with TpT am throwing a sale to show my appreciation. Tuesday and Wednesday you will find EVERYTHING in my store will be 20% off. 
Use code TPTXO to get an extra 8% off! 

Happy shopping and enjoy your week of feeling appreciated! 
You deserve it!