December 21, 2016

Save if for Next Year: Introducing Your Class Elf

As I'm sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, I'm thinking about Christmas in the classroom and how much fun we had discovering our elf this year!

Let me just tell you all about it...

We had been practicing our inferencing skills the past week and the bright idea came to me, what would be better than introducing our class elf than through a mystery box inferencing lesson of course!?

First thing I did was find my mystery box and put our elf inside with his letter from the North Pole.

Then I created 4 clues to describe our elf to use for the mystery box activity.

I played this up BIG y'all.
I was explaining the activity and looking at the clues (with this puzzled look on my face) and revealed to them that these were NOT the clues I had made for this activity! Someone must have came in and wrote new clues over the weekend...they flipped! 

So on we went.....each student got a recording sheet and 1 clue. They recorded their clue and then walked around to find and record the 3 remaining clues their peers had.

Once they collected and recorded all 4 clues, they traveled back to their desk to put together the clues and visit their schema. They recorded their inference at the bottom of their paper.

Let me just tell you how excited they were once they read all their clues and "thought" it was an elf!!!!

We shared our inferences with each other and the time had come for me to reveal the mystery!
We rationalized through why they thought it was an elf and why it couldn't be other things they may have thought.

And there he sits, inside our mystery box. 

I can not imagine introducing our class elf any other way than this in the future.
In fact, I was so excited I made it into a download just for you!

Now you can introduce your class elf through the mystery box or just practice inferring.
I've included 5 different sets of clues for the following mystery items:
 elf, candy cane, stocking, ornament and Santa hat

You can find it available now in my Tpt store or by clicking on the product picture above.

December 12, 2016

Integrating Gingerbread Week

It's officially THE most wonderful time of the year!
We always do it big in December with a little tons of gingerbread fun.

Here are a few of the books we read throughout the last week.
I use many of these stories to teach or reinforce lessons on comprehension skills such as sequencing, making predictions, retelling, etc.

Here are a few of the book responses we use,they can accompany any of the books pictured above.

One fun group activiy we did was retell the story of Gingerbread Baby.
Each group was given a part of the plot to complete: characters, setting, sequence of events, problem solution.
We put them in order and onto this chart:

I adore these tasty little cookies SO much that I created a Gingerbread Literacy unit to go along with our fun we have. Included are the responses you saw above and more!

We've been studying adjectives in grammar and writing. I gave each student a gingerbread cut-out to decorate with cheap art supplies.

Ship Shape First Grade: Freebie:

They then had to describe their adorable creations using adjectives!
(This sample is from Ship Shape First Grade---I forgot to take a picture of ours!)

Beyond reading, we have even more fun with gingerbread!
This fun science experiment from Abby is always a hit.

We have also been learning about maps in Social Studies. 
I found these mini brown paper sacks at Hobby Lobby and the kids decorate them as gingerbread houses.

We created a gingerbread neighborhood to place our houses on.

We played a "game" to place the houses on the neighborhood map.

I started off by choosing a student & telling them where to place their house based on my directions.
"Put your house north of Peppermint Lane."
That student then got to choose a friend and told them where to put their house using directions.

And who couldn't end the week without decorating AND eating some of these delicious gems!
It may just be the hit of the week!

December 11, 2016

Letters to and from Santa

I'm sharing my {hands down} favorite activity we do all.year.long only because it is probably the one thing that brings the kids the most joy during this time of the year. 
Teacher high...priceless.

Next, have your students compose their letters. This is normally a 2 days process.

Mail off those letters!

Your letter "from Santa" will arrive back.
This is the BEST part of the whole process.

The joy is unimaginable. I wish I could share pictures of their faces and comments from the past.
After they each get their letter, we sit in a circle and if they can read their letter they do, if not I help them out.

You can find my Letters to Santa pack in my TpT store.

It includes 25 editable letters you can personalize to each student. 
The majority of the letters are typed...all you have to do is add each student's name!

Spread the joy and magic of Christmas to your students!

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!