February 20, 2014

Sparkly E Word Hunts and a Freebie

Once we learn a phonetic skill my kids LOVE to go on word hunts.
We take our books from our book boxes and get to searchin' (our Texas slang).
When they find a word, the write it on a sticky note and put it in my mailbox.
At the end of the day we check the words, read them to see if they follow the pattern, and add them to our chart if the successfully do follow the pattern and aren't those silly rule breaker words.
Here are the charts we made after our words hunts last week for words that have silent sparkly E.

I have kids that love hunting for words so much that they do it in their spare time when they finish their work!
They get to write the words on the chart themselves (hence the outrageous handwriting) and that provides them with a sense of ownership. I often have kids refer to the charts when we hang them up for writing and spelling also. They make a great reference!
If you didn't catch my freebie in the last post on "sparkly e" get it here by clicking on the picture below!

February 18, 2014

Left Foot, Left Foot, Right Foot, Right {Teaching Antonyms}

I'm so excited to share with you one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach!
Sadly, I didn't come up with it myself but discovered it from Cara of The First Grade Parade several years ago. Ever since debuting it in my classroom, I fell in love.
If I loved the idea and activity that much it was sure to be a hit!
If you don't have this book...get it!
Funny and educational all in one. This Dr. Seuss book is FANTASTIC for teaching antonyms!
After reading through one time for laughs, we recorded the pairs of opposites the second time through on our antonym chart.
As a reader's response, we choose a pair of antonyms off the chart or from our brains and made a little book of antonyms. Pick up the copy by clicking on the picture below to take you to Cara's original post.
The next day...
Boy, oh boy we get to take off our shoes!
We prepped our antonym feet by tracing our own feet and cutting them out.
They each had to choose a pair of antonyms. They could be off of our chart from the book or one they thought up on their own. This by far was my favorite!
Must have been an "ah-ha" moment!

We each took a turn gluing our feet onto our big foot chart.
We decided to display our fancy antonym feet in the hallway for all to see!

 Throughout the week we also played a few fun puzzle games like the one below.

Next up, synonyms!

February 16, 2014

Caught You Being Kind

Sometimes there just comes a point and time in the year where...let's just say kiddos have lost their kindness. If there were a kind-o-meter it would be down to 0, on empty.
How on Earth does this happen around Valentine's Day?
Last week we just had to sit on down and have a little talk.
Our discussion:
What does being kind look like?
They came up and wrote their thoughts on this "kind words" heart shaped chart.
Their responses:
You have awesome...
Thank you...
I like how...
Yes Sir/Maam...
Being helpful...
I love it...
Good Job...
I knew they had it in them it just wasn't showing.
Each time I catch someone exemplifying a kindness trait, I plan on putting their name on a sticky note with the trait they showed and sticking it around our chart.
My goal is to have every ones name up there by the end of the week (fingers crossed)!

February 12, 2014

Fun with Fractions

If I were a 6 or 7 year old my brain would be saying "What in....." (I'll let you finish that.)
Sounds like gibberish.
In hopes of avoiding this, we start off by talking about equal and unequal parts, how to divide things equally, etc. We then move to name the parts we divide: wholes, halves, thirds, and fourths.
Then we take it to the next level: shading and naming parts.
We added to our fractions anchor chart and filled it in little by little until it looked like this!

We glued these fraction strips in our math journals for a quick refer to reference.
After talking a few days about ____ out of ____ parts, I called out random problems and they had to shade them in. I was able to check and see who completely understood the concept and who definitely didn't get it. Great quick assessment!
We ended our week in math by taking our names and making them into a fraction!
We traced our vowels in red and consonants in black to distinguish between the two.
Before decorating, they had to take each of the letter types and make them into fractions.
Final products were a success!
Fractions are not longer foreign!

February 11, 2014

Hey there Mr. Prez!

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
Check it out in my TPT store. It will be on sale through Friday!

February 10, 2014

Introducing "Sparkly E" and a Freebie

After hammering home short vowels for the first 94 days of school we are finally introducing......
In our classroom he is better known as "Sparkly 'E'".
He was such a hit last year that I knew he would make another appearance on my plans this year.
We started off by spelling some CVC words.
We added sparkly e to the end of each word to watch (and hear) the magic happen!

 After discovering that 'sparkly e' changes the vowel sound from short to long, we learned a poem.
I found this last year on Jodi's blog Fun in First Grade I absolutely loved it.
Check out even more ideas over on here blog HERE.
I also made each student their own sparkly e to have to practice turning short vowels into long ones.

We used them during our "making words" portion of the lesson.
I had the students write down the CVC word, add their sparkly e, and then mark their word.
(Marking their word has to do with our phonics program).

This freebie I created goes along great with the above activity.
Get it by clicking on the picture below.


I also love to incorporate these practice pages from Abby's TpT store.
Long A Word Work Activities
Each packet has the same types of sheets so the students become familiar with how to do them pretty quick!
After the first day, they had a pretty good grasp on the idea.

February 6, 2014

An OCD Teacher on Organization

Let's face it...I've diagnosed myself with OCD.
{Organizational Control Disorder}
I may have made it up, but it describes me completely!
My students have a folder that they take home and return daily.
It has a place for notes, small books, and graded papers.

For the past 2 years, they have unpacked it each morning and put it in a silver basket.

This leads me to put them in alphabetical order, stuff them, and pass them back out during packup.

Not to worry, that problem has been solved friends....
with a black crate and some tabbed folders.
Each kiddo will now file their folder by their "magic number" each morning when they come in.
No more digging.
No more organizing.
No more last minute terrors.
If a student leaves early, grab and go.
If a late note comes, stuff and go.

This OCD teacher could not feel more organized and simplified!

February 3, 2014

Behavior, Ducks, & February...Huh??

I know my kiddos truly are sweet...deep down inside.
But that's not always true around "hyped" up times of the year.
Such as the month of Valentine's day (or so it seems).
So what do I do to keep them their sweet little selves? Call in the ducks.
Yes, call in the ducks!

Not only was it the VERY first thing they noticed when they walked in this morning (they are like hawks I tell you) but that was the very first question out of their mouth.
"Why are their ducks on your desk?"
Here was my game plan.
Whenever the ducks (aka the teacher) saw someone who was on task any time throughout the day and making good choices, that duck would come join them at their desk. The duck could move back to my desk at any time, or to another friend's desk if they were making even better choices.

The best part...if the duck was on your desk at the end of the day, you get candy from the candy jar
you get a "super student" ticket for the day!

{If you want to learn more about my ticket system click HERE.}
It seemed to work like a charm today. As we ease closer to Valentine's day, I'm hoping the idea will withhold its magical powers.
Who ever knew spending $1 on ducks at Target could be such a brilliant idea!

February 2, 2014

A *Sweet* Gift for my Students and a {Freebie} for you!

It's officially February friends!
The month of love.
I love my followers so much that I am sharing a freebie with y'all today!
Last Tuesday we had our second "snow storm" in South Texas.
It was a real laughing matter.
Let's just say I got a lot done from home.
I decided to get ahead of the game and create tags for my students' Valentine gifts from myself.
To do the same, all you need is 2 things:
1. a box of Blow Pops
2. print these tags
You can pick them up in my TpT shop for FREE by clicking on the pictures below.
They turned out super cute and I know my firsties will just adore them!
*Happy February*