Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blogging Resolution, New Unit, and a Giveaway!

No excuses but I promise not to be a blogging slacker in the new year!  Don't take it personally, I have neglected my classroom blog too:-).
I am in Indiana for Winter Break.  I said I wanted to see snow.....but um, I have seen enough and am ready to head back to the sunshine state!  I do have to say it is probably the prettiest snowfall I have experienced!

WAY too cold!

Siloh is not a fan of deep snow!  It went up to his neck
and that was before the additional 5 inches yesterday.

This winter weather did inspire me to create a Winter Math Unit.
Click the picture below to see it at my TPT store!

It is $6, but you can get it for free!  Leave me a comment below telling me your favorite winter activity that you do with your class.  I will choose 2 random comments tomorrow!  Make sure to leave your email address.

My team has a lot of great ideas planned for January.  I am doing a Jan Brett author's study right after break and then my favorite......PENGUINS!!!  I will share our ideas with you soon! 
Stay warm!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cranberry Day!

Why do the "short" weeks always seem so long?  And why do I always try to cram so much into them?  We had school Monday and Tuesday this week.  I admit I am a bit jealous of those of you who had the entire week off!  (Especially since I am blogging from an airport.  My flight doesn't leave until 6:00 tonight.  Then I have a layover in Atlanta.  Yes, I know it is the night before Thanksgiving and there will be millions of people in the Atlanta airport!  Am I crazy?  No, it was the most reasonably priced flight and I am a teacher.  You need no further explanation!)

On Monday, we had Cranberry Day.  We used a lot of the activities from the packet on TPT from Sailing Through 1st Grade.  Click the pic to check it out!

I started our day by showing a cranberry.  We created a bubble map about cranberries.  (Thinking Maps, anyone?)  Then we predicted if cranberries would sink or float.  

I was sooooooo impressed and excited that most predicted float and justified their prediction based on what we learned from the pumpkin and pumpkin seeds sink or float investigations!  We tested our predictions!

Next we watched a video from YouTube called From Bog to Table.  It was very informational and the kids really enjoyed seeing the bogs being flooded.  
A volunteer (Mrs. Fischer's mom who is a retired teacher....those make the best volunteers!)  read A Cranberry Thanksgiving to us.  It is a great book I enjoy sharing every Thanksgiving.

After that we did a taste test.  I tweaked the one in the packet.  We tried cranberry bread (the recipe from the book above), a dried cranberry, cranberry sauce, a sugared cranberry, and cranberry juice).
Of course we graphed our results!  I was surprised how many liked the cranberry sauce....I am personally NOT a fan!

The most popular activity of the day was The Freshness Test!  Did you know that if a cranberry bounce, it is fresh? We each bounced one and they all were fresh!
Look closely, you can see the cranberry in mid air!
There are lots of other activities throughout the day.  The packet includes a great printable book with lots of facts about cranberries.  I recommend it!

I have created a Jolly Jumbled Sentences activity.  It is available on TPT for $1.  Click the picture below to check it out!  

Happy Turkey Day!   (My first flight has just been delayed, lets hope I make it to Indiana before dawn!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Freebie....and a Teacher Confession

Yikes!  We only have 6 school days until Thanksgiving Break!  There are too many cute Thanksgiving activities to get done in 6 days!
I started creating my Totally Turkey Math Unit before Halloween.......and kind of got distracted.  I am a little sad since I had some great ideas and fabulous new Thanksgiving clip art.  Since now you will only have a few days to use the activities, I decided to publish what I have, make it a mini unit and make it FREE!
There are Roll and Colors, Skip Counting pages, and an Addition and Subtraction Sort.  Like I said...MINI unit!
Click the cute turkey below to head on over to my TPT store to grab it for free!  Just leave me some feedback here or on TPT.

Now for my teacher confession!  
Did you know there was a NEW JUNIE B. book?  Yup, it is a Thanksgiving one.  I found it in August and have been sooooo excited to read it to my class.  I didn't read it ahead of time, which has made my daily read aloud a little different.  Like most first grade teachers, I basically have all of the Junie B.'s memorized and have certain voices for each character.  This time, I am cracking up right along with the kids because I don't know whats going to happen next.  I am loving it!
Well, last Thursday I had a sub in the afternoon for my grade level's PLC time.  This means my sub GOT TO READ A CHAPTER OF THE NEW JUNIE B. BOOK....I reluctantly put it in my sub plans.  Then the sub walked in.  I just couldn't do it.  I quick pulled a scarecrow book off my fall shelf and said, "Here read this instead of Junie. B."  And might have hid the Junie B. book behind a math tub.  

Do any of you insist on doing certain activities with your class or am I a crazy control freak of a teacher?   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We Survived!!!!

 I am talking about Halloween week of course!  I am still trying to find out who I send my petition to about having Halloween permanently moved to the last Friday in October instead of October 31st.

We always do pumpkin math and science activities with our classes to help us keep the students engaged and learning (in spite of the candy and goblins on our brains) but this year we stepped it up a notch!  On Tuesday we had Super Science Spooktacular Day!  Each class got to visit the teachers on our team for a science investigation.  The investigations were Halloween themed.  (One was fire safety since it was still fire safety month.)  This way the students got to do 4 investigations, but each teacher only had to plan and prepare for one!

Some of the activities came from the fabulous Deanna Jump, others were from us.  The day was a HUGE success!  How could it not be since dry ice, fire, water and spiders were involved? The activities were very cool and the kiddos loved them, but I was most excited that the students were able to tell me the science concept they learned in each room!
If you want to see pictures and get more details, click the monkey below.  It will take you to the post on my classroom blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Storybook Character Pumpkin Contest

First grade held its 2nd Annual Storybook Character Pumpkin Contest this week.  We found similar ideas on blogs a few years ago and tweaked it a bit.  Our students and families did AWESOME again this year!  Check out our pictures!  The entire school votes for their favorite when they go to Media Center this week and the winner will be announced on our school's morning news on Halloween.

Here is the letter we sent home to explain the project to our families.


Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Long Time, No Post...and a new mini uint!

Oops!  It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  I have lots of excuses, just like every teacher does during the school year!  One was I WENT ON CRUISE.  Yup, little weekend getaway to the Bahamas with my mom and aunt last weekend. Since I didn't even get a whole week off during the summer, I thought it was okay to take 2 days off.  Also, I kept reading about how other school's get a Fall Break.  Since we don't, I thought it was necessary to create my own:-).  It was GREAT, but let's just say even though I had an amazing sub, sub plans for a combo class are NOT FUN!

My other big excuse is that I was chosen by my colleagues as our school's Teacher of the Year.  It is truly an honor because I work with some AMAZING teachers.  But, ummmmm...with the "honor" came some work.  I had to write an essay and have letters of recommendation.  Based on that essay and the letters, one teacher from the 70 school's in my county will be chosen as the County's Teacher of the Year.  I am happy to say that I am FINALLY done and it has been emailed to the powers that be.  It is due by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, so I don't feel I procrastinated TOO much.  Okay, maybe a little:-).  The letters of recommendation were so touching!  They brought me smiles and tears!

Now to the good stuff.  I created a Halloween Mini Noun Unit.  It has 5 Center activities that can be used for 1st or 2nd grade.  There are noun and verb sorts as well as singular and plural noun activities and common and proper noun ones!  Click the picture below to get it for $3.  The first 3 people to leave a comment will get it for free!

While you are there check out my Spiders Mini Math and Literacy Unit that is also $3.  I am getting some great feedback on it!  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Update and a New Spider Unit

Just a quick update to let you know how the 1/2 combo is going in reading....we are all learning and surviving!   I am tweaking things daily but it is going okay!  I teach 1st grade whole group while 2nd is at centers and vice versa.  I am teaching writing as a whole group with different expectations for each grade level.  I have a sub this Friday and next Monday.  That will be the true test.....can I explain what we do, when we do it, and who goes where and when;-)

I created a spiders mini unit yesterday!  (Well, it ended up being 51 pages, not sure how mini that is!)  Both reading and math activities are included.  Roll and Color, Skip Counting pages, Addition to 20 sort, ABC order, Noun and Verb sort, Writing pages, Can/Have/Are, etc.
Click the picture below to get it at my TPT store for $3.
I will send it to the first 2 people to comment!  Make sure to leave your email address!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Sentence Scrambles

Check out the Haunting Halloween Sentence Scramble activity I just posted on TPT by clicking the picture below!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reading Centers, Changes and Open House

Good News:  After a lot of practice and preparation Reading Centers are going GREAT in my Reading Group.  I mean REALLY GREAT!  Last week my principal and 5 other teachers and administrators came in during centers with an award, flowers and cameras.  My kids looked up from their centers for a second then got right back to work!  Talk about actively engaged.  I was secretly hoping my principal could use that as a "walk through observation" for my evaluation.  We do two 25 minute rotations a day.  My centers are Listening, Skills, Technology, Independent Work, Word Work and Reading.  Here are a couple of pics from last week.  (Sorry they are not the best but you get the idea.)
At Technology students take a practice spelling test and email me their results.  It is a great App.  You can add your own words and sentences!  They also read a story and played a sound sorting game.

Write the Room.  Last week we worked on plural!

Skills...REALLY bad pic, sorry!  This was Messed Up Monkey Sentences.  It works on sentence order, capitalization and punctuation.  Grab it for $1 HERE at my TPT store.
Bad News:  How we do centers will be changing this week.  Due to numbers our school gained half a second grade unit but in return we lost half a first grade unit.  My super awesome colleague, Kathy, volunteered to teach the 1/2 combo class.  As I have talked about before, my team groups for reading.  Since I teach the enrichment group it made most since for the second graders to join me for reading.  I will now be teaching a 1/2 reading group.  Holy logistics!  My super organized personality and OCD are coming in quite handy:-).  I am actually excited for the challenge and I will have LOVELIES in my group.  I have how it is going to work all planned out.  I will let you know if it works after next week!  Fingers crossed!

Now some pics from Open House. 
We lined our hallway with our Pete the Cats from Deanna Jump!  The kids (and teachers) LOVED Pete!!!

This was at each seat.  It was an easy way for the parents to see what we are leaning in each subject.

Leaf Math Stories

Apple Math Stories.
The tree craftivity is from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  I just made the apple math story for the bottom.
Guessing Jar--the most popular event of the evening!  Families make a guess about how many tootsie rolls are in the jar.  The next day we find the winner during Calendar Math.  We put our guesses in order from least to greatest and count them by making groups of 10.

However, I saw this on Raegan's blog and will be getting one for next year!  SO cute!!!!

Our Family Glyphs.  Idea from Shari Sloane!

This year we put the names inside the door.  That way we did not have to untape them to see if the family guesses were correct!  

Whew....that was a long post!  If you are still with me, don't forget my TPT store is on sale through midnight tonight in honor of FALL!  Click the pic below to head on over!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween Unit and a SALE!

Tomorrow is the first day of FALL!  I LOVE fall, well I used to love fall.  Then 9 years ago I moved to Florida from Indiana.  We have no fall here in Florida.  It is still close to 90 and humid here every day.  Since I will still be wearing flip-flops in December I won't complain too much!  It's just hard to decorate for fall when it still feels like summer.
I have uploaded my new Halloween Math Unit to TPT.  It contains Roll and Colors, Addition to 10 sort, Addition to 20 sort, Even and Odd sort, Cut and Glue Skip Counting pages, and Graphing pages with question sheets.  Click the picture below to see it.  It is only $5.

But this weekend I am joining up with Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac for a Happy Fall Y'all sale!  All of my products will be 20% off through Sunday night at midnight!  Click the picture below to see all of the other bloggers who are having a sale too!

Or check out the blog hop below!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Math Stations and Science Investigations, Oh My!

My Math Group started Math Stations this week.  I have to say they are going GREAT!     I teach the intervention group and am SUPER lucky to have a para that pushes in for Math!  Since my group stays on task and actively engaged for only about the first 10 minutes of a whole group lesson, Math Stations give me the perfect opportunity to do small group lessons!  I have 2 students at each station.  (I conducted a Debbie Diller book study on her math stations book with 2 of my colleagues last year.  I am now in love with Math Stations!)  I have 8 stations, but there are duplicates so I only have to plan for 4.  (#1 and 5 are the same, #2 and 6, etc.)
Here were our stations this week:
1.  Ways to Make 5 Cookie Jar
The cookies are laminated.  The paper is in a page protector.  The students manipulate the cookies, write how many are in the jar, out of the jar, and how many there are all together with a dry erase marker.  I don't remember where this came from.  If it was you, let me know! 
2.  Apples to Ten Sort
Click HERE to get this for free at my TPT Store!
3.  Stories of 4, 5, and 6 Sort
Click HERE to get this for free at my TPT Store!  The Stories of 7-10 are also available.

4.  Roll and Color
My Roll and Colors can be found in my Apples Everywhere Math Unit.
 Click HERE for the unit or HERE for some freebie Roll and Colors.
We also complete 2 more Science Investigations.  We do an investigation for each of the five senses.  For Sight, we did an Oreo Investigation.

Let me tell you they were SUPER quiet, hard workers for this investigation.  I guess Oreo Cookie bribes can do that to the best of us!

We also did a Hearing Investigation.  They shook 5 containers (old film canisters) and made a prediction about what was inside.  There were bells, rice, cotton, pennies and paper clips.

Check our our super cute Science Folders!
The folders are regular pocket folders from a Back to School Sale.  The picture is from a science sticker scene from Oriental Trading.  Students keep all of their science papers in them.  At the end of a unit I will take them all out, staple and send home!
I hope you found some useful ideas!  Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Today I am sharing a few of the activities we have completed so far!

The first is our Tear Paper Names.  I think they turned out very cute and colorful this year!  I wrote the names in white crayon on black paper the day before.  The students got to choose the two colors they wanted to make their pattern.  (Each student only needs a half sheet of each color.)  It took us 2 days.  We tore the paper the first day and glued the second.  I saw this idea a few years ago on a blog or website or something....I just cannot remember where!  If it was yours, please let me know!

We also did our Taste Investigation.  After studying each sense, we do an investigation.  This helps us cover scientific inquiry and record keeping as well as the 5 senses.
This picture was half way through the investigation.  The students first made a prediction how each item would taste and glued down their predictions.  Then we tested our results and glued them on as well.  (Sour: Sour Patch Kids,  Salty: Pretzel,   Bitter: Unsweet Chocolate Chips,   Sweet: Icing)  The unsweet chocolate really got them!  They thought it was regular chocolate and had no idea it was going to be bitter!