Honey Bee Facts!

Next week we start the story, "Honey Bees" from Reading Street.  It seems so weird to read and learn about Honey Bees in JANUARY.  I really wish Reading Street could align their stories with the seasons (#teacherproblems).  I decided that I would introduce reading for research in my small groups.  The students will use a variety of texts to locate facts about bees. I will use the basal, reading a-z stories, and a variety of texts I have pulled from other sources.  We will work to locate 6 interesting facts about bees.  We will talk about moving past the obvious.  Yes, bees are yellow and black!  We don't need to put that down as a fact.  Once the students have chosen 6 facts, they will circle their favorite 3 facts that they want to include in their research writing piece.  We will work together to add those 3 facts to the graphic organizer.  We will also work on a topic sentence and conclusion as we fill out the graphic organizer.  I have made a graphic organizer with labels so students can easily transfer the information from the graphic organizer to their writing paper.   I will post the student's final products after they finish.
If you are interested in checking out my packet for this activity you can find it {here}.

Honey Bees Noun Hunt

Next week our Reading Street story is, "Honey Bees."  One of our skills for the week is 'nouns in sentences.'  My little firsties will be tasked with locating the noun in a variety of sentences.  I thought it would be fun to have the students go on a noun hunt in the story, "Honey Bees" after they buddy read it.  I made this little sheet for my kiddos to record the nouns they find.  I also included a "bonus box" asking the students to illustrate the noun on page 185.  Click {here} to download a copy of the sheet I made for FREE!

Reading Street Decodables

I fell in love with the decodable activites that I found at Life in First Grade.  Unfortunately, she did not have the new decodable stories and I found that I really needed them in my classroom.  So I contacted Life in First Grade and asked if I could make the rest and she said, "YEP!" because she isn't teaching first grade anymore (bummer for us).  I just finished the decodables for "Honey Bees." and I can't wait to use them next week.  I retyped the stories and made an activity to practice the phonics skills.  I also added a second page to practice comprehension strategies.
I have been asked how I use the decodables in my classroom.    I use the first decodable story whole group on Monday ad I am very deliberate in teaching the specific skills.  My students buddy read the second decodable and work on it together on Wednesday.  I use the third decodable on Thursday as a quick check.  The students work independently.  My strategic kiddos work on it with a parent volunteer.  This is what works for me at this point in time.  I am always readjusting and tweaking to make things run better.  I have added all three decodables to my TpT store for FREE!!!  I would love to hear how you use the decodables in your classroom!!

Santa's Stuck

I just love how these Santa's turned out. So cute!  Thanks again to First Grade Wow for a super cute Santa Craftivity   I don't know which is better, the Santa's or the explanations of what they would do!  I'm especially fond of the little guy who would help him AFTER he opened his presents.  The priorities of a first grader.

Santa Adjectives

I found this adorable lesson from First Grade Wow, and wow was it cute!  You need to check her post out for all the details {here}   My version is definitely not as "wow" as hers.  But, I thought it would be a fun way to work with adjectives during this last week before Christmas!!!!
We started by watching an old (I use the term loosely) School House Rock adjective video on YouTube.  The kids really got into it.  After the video we brainstormed  adjectives for Santa's beard.  First Grade Wow used Santa's cherry nose.  I am already doing similes with Rudolph's nose so I went with his beard. 

Once we had a supply of adjectives to choose from we moved on to this ADORABLE Santa craft.  My kiddos oohed and aahed when I showed them my sample.  I knew it was going to be a hit.  You can get the patterns {here} for FREE because First Grade Wow is that awesome.  The kiddos then wrote adjectives describing Santa's beard
along the edge of the beard.  ADORBS!

Needs vs. Wants Santa Fun

This is our last week before Christmas break and my kiddos know it.  They are soooooo excited.  This week we are writing our letters to Santa so I decided a lesson in needs vs. wants was in order.  I found {this adorable activity from The First Grade Parade} and I just knew we had to do it.
I started the activity by opening my Santa sack and pulling out a variety of objects.  We talked about whether they were needs or wants.  After we did that we sorted a few clip art pictures onto our needs and wants Santa sacks.  The kiddos really enjoyed this.  Finally, I gave them 2 index cards to draw and label 1 need and 1 want.  
We reviewed all the needs and wants together before I turned them loose to fill out the graphic organizer.  You can download the graphic organizer {here} for FREE.  

The kids were finally ready to choose 1 need and 2 wants for their Santa letter.   We turned on some Pandora Christmas music and the kids got right to work.  They are very serious about their Santa letters.  I just love these.

We will write our final copy tomorrow with a craftivity from Amy Lemons.  I can't

Hour of Code Fun

My firsties had so much fun participating in the Hour of Code.  I used {this video}
 by one of the creators of minecraft as an introduction.  My kids were pretty impressed that I knew what Minecraft was.  Ha ha.  I also showed them my blog and we typed something together.  I then showed them the blog page translated into html code.  You could do that with any webpage by right clicking and choosing view source.  My kiddos were riveted and they were super excited to try coding.  I used the app, "Daisy the Dinosaur" as our first hands on experience.  We are lucky enough to have Apple TV so we could project  he app onto the Smartboard.  The kids were completely hooked at this point so I turned them loose and they LOVED it.  I'm sure coding will be part of our classroom throughout the year.  

Animal Fact Fun

One universal fact is that first graders love animals!  Love!  I knew the story, "Animal Park" would be hit with my group of animal lovers.  I wanted to channel some of that enthusiasm into a research writing activity.

I also came across these amazing reading street supplemental units on TPT by Lendahand's Printables.  I chose to use one of the close reading activities provided in the unit.  I blew the page up to 11x17 on the copy machine.  I knew the big paper would really get my crew excited and they would know this was a "serious" research assignment.

The students buddy read, "Animal Park" and put a sticky note on their favorite animal.  Once they chose their favorite animal they wrote one fact about their animal and illustrated their fact on the 11x17 sheet.  I mounted the "research reports" on colored construction paper and they make an awesome hallway display.  The kids love reading each others animal facts.

Get the Egg!!

I told you I would be back with an explanation for Easter Eggs in October.  I am happy to report that the kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this activity and I am sure your firsties will too.  I teach reading first thing in the morning so I had the all the eggs placed around the room prior to the students arriving.  Of course, the eggs were spotted right away and the kids were SUPER excited to find out what they would be used for.

We reviewed our anchor chart on sequencing and I told the students that they would be buddy reading, "Get the Egg!"  I told them to pay attention to the order of events as they read with their buddy.

Once they finished buddy reading the story I had the students gather at the carpet.  I explained that they would be working with their partner to find 4 eggs that had 4 different events from the story.  They could only have one partner hunting at a time and then they switched places.  It worked out great with 4 eggs to find.

Once they had their 4 eggs they had to put them in order.  I came around and checked the sequence.  If their sequence was correct they were able to move on the eggs and nest craftivity.  They needed to copy the sentences on the eggs and put them in the nest in order.  Next time I do this I would copy the eggs on blue so that they would match the eggs in the story! Duh!  My kiddos loved this and they turned out so cute.

Easter Eggs in October? Say What?

So excited about this fun activity!  I can't wait until Thursday when I will put this plan into action.

This week we have our field trip to the pumpkin patch, and my kids are super excited!!!  I know I have to bring my A game if I have any hope of any actual learning taking place.  

We are reading, "Get the Egg!" From Reading Street this week and my little firsties need some eggstra  sequencing practice.  See what I did there?  Ha ha.  

Honestly, this story was pretty ho hum for me so I really wanted to jazz it up.  I decided I would have my kids play a game called, "Get the Egg". I know, very clever game name.  

I chose 4 main points of the story and one of my awesome parent volunteers wrote them on plastic easter egg halves.  She made 12 sets of 4 eggs.  I will scatter the eggs around the classroom prior to starting the activity.  

The students will work in pairs to "Go Get the Eggs!"  Each pair will need to find 4 different events from the story.  Once they have collected their 4 events, they will work together to put them in order.  

Nothing says "FUN" like an indoor egg hunt in October.  

Eeek! Spider Facts!

Last week my firsties tackled complete sentences.  We have discussed how sentences start with uppercase letters, end with a period and words are 1 finger space apart.  It was time to see if they could apply these skills during independant work time.

I have been dying to use Amy and Katie's Rooted in Reading October edition .  I had the chance to work with spider texts during small group time.  I actually used leveled readers from Reading A to Z so every student had a spider text at their reading level. 

Towards the end of the week, after we had interacted with their text several times, I paired the students up so everyone was paired with a buddy that had a different spider book.  The pairs were tasked with reading their book to their buddy and both buddies hunted in the texts for spider facts.  They wrote their spider facts in complete sentences and made the accompanying spider craftivity.  I never thought I would use adorable and spiders in the same sentence, but these spiders are adorable!!!!   Most importantly my firsties have mastered the elements of a complete sentence.  Win-Win!

Pigs in Wigs Cuteness

My firsties loved making these Pigs in Wigs.  It was the perfect craftivity to teach plot.   If you need this cuteness you can find it here!

Number Partner Fun!

I am completely in LOVE with Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills Guiding Firsties Math Workshop activities.  My school uses the Math Expressions curriculum and I have been able to integrate this workshop model into my math block.  We used this activity for partner work as we were learning the break aparts for 10.  I used some Halloween erasers from the Target Dollar Spot (Holla!) My littles loved this and had so much fun.  I am hoping I am able to integrate their other units as the year goes on, fingers crossed.

Pig in a Wig Fun!

Last week my firsties read and worked with the story, "A Pig in a Wig."  Our Big Question for the week was, "Who Helps Animals?"  Firsties LOVE this topic and fancy themselves little animal experts.   We had a ton of fun with our K-W-L as we revisited this question throughout the week.  Somehow our K-W-L didn't quite match up with what the teacher's manual suggested, but that's how we roll in Room 6.   We also made the pig you can see in the corner (from the Glyph  Girls) when we wrapped the story up.  They were adorable!  You may be asking yourself why I didn't post that picture if they were so cute.  Well.... I'll be honest.  I wasn't deliberate enough in my teaching of tail placement.  I'm sure you can imagine what that bulletin board would have looked like.  Let's just say, I sent those pigs home as soon as they were dry.  Lesson LEARNED!

Self Portraits

I LOVE LOVE LOVE self portraits made by my littles.  They always make me smile.  That is why I make their self portraits a focal point of my classroom.  I just feel happy when I see them and I know the kids enjoy them too.  This year I used them to jazz up my cabinet doors and I just love how they turned out, don't you?

Character and Setting and Butcher Paper Oh My!

My little firsties have been working with Character and Setting this week.  Most of my kiddos were already familiar with these elements, but we needed a review.  I started the lesson with a large anchor chart.   We went over the terms as a class and came up with student friendly definitions.  I then told my students that they needed to go back to their seats and look UNDER their chair for a special picture.  This was hilarious.  They just couldn't understand why I would tell them to look under their chair.  Ha Ha.  Finally they all started getting under their chairs and pulling out the pictures I had taped there.  Each student either had a character or a setting.  I pulled images from google for this.  We then reconvened at the carpet as we decided where each picture belonged on our anchor chart.  My littles LOVED this activity.

The next day I decided to do some teamwork as a review for character and setting.  I found this fun post from Rulin' the Roost.  I gave each table a large sheet of butcher paper, character setting cards from Rulin' the Roost and let them decide how to sort them.  They had such a fun time working on this and they all did a marvelous job.  One of the easiest ways to make a lesson rock is to give kids big sheets of paper.  It's the little things people.

Blogger MIA

Wow!  I start a blog and then slack on my posting duties.  Yikes!  I'm not off to a great blogger start.  In my defense, my son started playing high school football and that has become like a second job. On top of starting the school year, switching grades and now becoming a "football mom"  my time to blog has been sparse.   Plus, my Little Miss S was asked to appear on the Steve Harvey Show.  Wow!  That was right as the beginning of the school year and kinda threw me for a loop.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity though and it was AMAZING.  She was on the show to promote eye exams for school age kids.   I'm back in the saddle now and have lots of fun activities to share with you as we ROCK first grade.

Fun Firstie Bulletin Board

I finally finished this little gem in time for Meet the Teacher night.  I was inspired by this bulletin board from Doodle Bugs Teaching blog.  She has great directions on how to make that fantastic poof.  I think it was the poof that got me.  I really thought it would take me weeks to make and it didn't!  It was quick and easy.  I think it only took me one episode of Real Housewives to finish it.   Great way to measure the complexity of a project- the Real Housewives Scale of Complexity.  That may be it's own blog post.  Ha Ha!

I found this awesome tutorial on blowing up fonts and images and then I KNEW Melonheadz Rockstars needed to be part of this bulletin board.  I think they make the cutest addition.  I can't wait for my little firsties to see it.

Rock On!

Score at the Target Dollar Spot!

I can NOT go into Target without perusing their dollar section.  Today I SCORED!  They are starting to put out the teacher stuff and it was awesome.  I want to be clear, I do not get this excited when the school supplies are out this early.  But... teacher swag is a whole other ball game friends.

Check out my haul.  I was blessed enough to have a very generous Target gift card as an end of the year gift and I put it to good use today.  I am redoing my classroom this year using rainbow colors and apparently that is Target's theme too.  Yippee!!  I found a calendar, table caddies, name tags, pocket charts, blank books, chalkboard tags, workbooks, and my absolute favorite is the neon finger pointers.  I have tons of ideas for those babies.   I did see that some teachers were finding non fiction readers (sharks, volcanoes, etc.)  at their Target.  I will keep checking back for those.

Composing Teen Numbers with Legos

Working with students to compose teen numbers can be tricky.  I love getting my students engaged in learning through Legos.  What kid can resist working with Legos?  Uh, none!  So I came up with this lesson to practice composing teen numbers.  I use this activity in small group or it could be used as a math center.  If you have enough Legos you could even teach it whole group.

I used 2 x 4 bricks, but any size would work.  I pulled two colors so we could use one color for the tens and one color for the ones.  For the activity the student flips over 1 of the included teen number Lego cards. The student makes the number shown with their Legos.  When a student has 10 ones (loose Lego bricks) they connect them into a ten.  I had my students put a mini fig on top of the ten they built.  They were really motivated to make a ten so they could put their mini fig on it.  Ha!

Once they built their ten the students lined the ones up separately next to it.  I used post it notes to label the tens and ones.  The students then   wrote the number they made on the worksheet.    I had students use markers to write their   numbers.  They used the same 2 colors they   were using for the Lego bricks.  This student   used a red marker to write the number in the   tens spot and a yellow marker to write the   number in the ones spot. 
If you are interested in trying this activity you can get it in my TpT shop for FREE!!  Just click right {here} 

Catching Up on Plurals

Better late than never right?  I'm just beginning this blogging journey so I'm posting some of my end of the year activities now.  Ha.  But, if you're like me you are probably thinking about next year already.  So let's think of this as very early posting for next year.

When Spring Fever hits it is time to bring it up a notch and keep those kids moving!  I came up with my unit, "Catching Up on Plurals" as a way to get the kids out of the classroom while learning about plurals.

I started the lesson with a Kahoot! I made on plurals.  If you haven't tried Kahoot! yet-- YOU MUST!  You can check it out {here}.This was a fun way to get the kids thinking about plurals.  Then we went outside and I batted out 100 balls with plurals, adjectives, singular nouns, adverbs etc. on them.  The designated runners had to run out on the field and bring back 1 ball at a time to their team.  The team decided if it was a plural and if it was it went on the team's mitt.  If it was not a plural the runner put it back on the field and got another ball.

The kids LOVED this so much.  We took our team mitts into the classroom and shared them with the other teams.  As an assessment I had each student make their own mitt craftivity with a baseball of plural words.  I paired the mitt activity with the baseball buddy craftivity found {here}by Cupcake for the Teacher to make fun bulletin board display.

I have put this activity in my TpT store if you are interested in the full version with all the details.  Just click the preview picture below to go to my TpT store.

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