April 27, 2016

Momma's Day is Coming Up----need ideas???

Momma's are VERY special people in our lives.
We love to celebrate them and make them feel oh so special.
Here are a few ideas I've done in the class in the past for my firsties' momma's. 

--Circa 2013--
This year, we dyed carnations and tied a cute little poem to go with them.
We also drew a self portrait of our moms.

--Circa 2014--
We drew our best portrait of our moms and put filled out a hilarious questionnaire.
 Let me just tell you, first graders have no true reality of weight/height/etc. 
These are guaranteed to make some mommas laugh! 
We also made an ice cream cone with adjectives that described our moms. 

--Circa 2015--
Last year, we brainstormed reasons why we loved our moms.
During writing, each student picked their favorite reason and wrote it on a white board.

I had prepared a backdrop with the words "I love you because" and students held their whiteboard for their perfect picture opp.

This year, I will be combining a little of all past ideas.
What does your class do to celebrate all of the wonderful moms?

April 21, 2016

Adverbs, Anchor Charts and a Giveaway!

Adverbs in first grade.
Enough said.
So we simplify them according to our state standards: adverbs that tell when.

We started learning about adverbs through writing. 
I had students write a sentence with a noun, an adjective, verb and then we would tell when with the adverb. We practiced stretching sentences out quite a few times.

Then I remembered this freebie I saw over at Smitten with First's blog.
So I adapted it to fit our adverb lessons.

We started the craft by writing two sentences together (that is after completing 5 whole group).

They had to write the last 3 sentences themselves and assemble.

Most of the students took their adverbs from our anchor chart, but some came up with their own words that told "when". 

This chart, along with all my others, led me to create this printable anchor chart resource.
I use them all.year.long. 
 I introduce each new type of grammar with them, carry them with me to our small group table, put them on our chart stand during our whole group writing lessons and then refer back to them.

I'd love to giveaway a set of my printable anchor charts!

Leave a comment below with your guess of how many school days I have left. 
The 2 closest people will both win a set of the charts for FREE!

April 19, 2016

Text to Text Connections on their Own!

We are at the point in the year where I like to relinquish control to my firsties and let them be more responsible for their learning. We have talked a lot about connections the past two weeks, so they were definitely ready to get into groups and go to work.

We read both of these books in the same day:
Goatilocks (the most precious version of the original)
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

I put the kids into groups of 3.
They had about 15 minutes to write down and record their learning into a Venn Diagram.

They worked so cohesively together...made my teacher heart proud to hear them actually talking about the story, making their "point" known and helping their partners understand their thinking.

They then had to present their ideas, proudly of course. 
It was great to just let them go--completly on their own--with no guidance to see what they could come up with. As teachers, we tend to guide until we can't guide anymore....something we are good at. So I challenge you to let your little ones go, and do what they are fully capable of doing on their own if you have taught them well! You will be surprised!

April 18, 2016

Giving My Plant Unit a Facelife and You a Freebie!

It's spring time. Flowers are blooming, plants are growing and children are ready to learn about something fun. So let's talk about teaching plants!

Each year we plant our Lima beans and watch them grow over a two week period. 

We record our observations each day using The Perfect Plant Observation Log. 

Students get so excited to check on their plant, which many of them treat as a favorite pet or toy, and record and definitely talk amongst their classmates about how their plants have changed. 

The log you see above is part of this product.

{Click on the picture above to find the observation log in my store}

I've also put together a pack of plant freebies I frequent year after year when teaching our plant unit.

When introducing plants we always talk about our schema and record it on a can/have/are chart.
We also talk about the life cycle of a plant with a flow map.
And once we have maximized our schema, we write an acrostic poem about plants.
Each of these is found in this FREEBIE below!

Happy planting!

April 14, 2016

Fun with Phonics // AR -- OR //

I think phonics may almost be my favorite part of our day.
I absolutely love teaching sound patterns to kids. You can get SO creative and make it super FUN!

The past 2 weeks we have been working on the sounds of AR and OR. 
{Most of these activities can be found here  and here from Smitten with First}

Of the sounds taught all year, these are my most favorite!

 Before I told my kids what our new sound was for the week, we read How I Became a Pirate.

It's such a hoot! Then I pulled up their (any my) favorite YouTube phonics song...Pirates say "ARR".


We wrote down as many words as we could think of that said "AR".

We made pirate hats with all of our AR words.

I set the timer for 3 minutes and challenged them to remember and write as many AR words from our chart as they could. After 3 minutes, they chose 1 AR word and used it in a sentence on the inside of the sentence strip. You better believe they wore them all day long! 

One morning, we went on a treasure hunt with our magnifying glasses for AR words.
The words are so small they have to use their magnifying glass to read it and record it!

Moving on to OR.
Again, we wrote down a list of all the OR words we could think of.

There were a lot more than we thought!

We made this fun little smORe afterwards.
They chose one word from the chart and used it in a sentence.

 Probably their favorite activity of all, spelling practice with OReo's!

You better believe I bought and extra bag for an extra snack : )

Don't fORget to check the links above for FREEBIES from Michelle!

April 11, 2016

Help Your Students Make More Meaningful Connections

My firsties make connections when we read like they are going out of style!

"I've rode a bike before too!"
"My cousin's name is Jack."
"I play hide and seek all the time at home."

For awhile my teacher heart felt so proud.
 But recently I began to think, yes they have a connection to the story, but how are these "connections" helping them understand the story more and become better readers? 
In all honesty, they really weren't. 

I want my kids connections to help them understand the text. To REALLY connect to it.

Without telling them my plan, we read a story, Hazel's Amazing Mother

I literally wrote down every single connection they had.
The following day, we re-read our list of connections and discussed the difference between surface connections and deep connections. 

Surface Connections=ones that don't really lend to helping us understand the story.
(I play baseball too. // My dog barks too. //  I have an uncle who lives in New York.)

Deep Connections=those that help us understand the story or character more.
(I felt the same way ____ did when my mom told me I couldn't sleep over at my friend's.)

I read the story again and had them think about our connections while we read.
We then went back and labeled each connection with a 1 (deep connection) or a 2 (surface connection). 

On day 3, we read the story Ira Sleeps Over.

We did not record our connections on a chart, but shared them during reading time and verbally discussed why they would either be a 1 or a 2. 

Much to my surprise, they caught on very quickly!
I even had two smarty pants make this AMAZING connection:

"A 1 connection is kind of like connecting to the main idea of the story." /// "And a 2 connection is like the details of the story, just little parts that aren't really that important."

Be still my teacher heart!
I can't wait to see and hear how our connections change next week when we meet in small groups!