Sunday, November 30, 2014


Easy prep Math Centers/Stations and a few fluency pages.
Grab it for FREE while you can!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Elf Glyph {FREEBIE}

Here is a little {FREEBIE} I will be using next week for Elf Week!  I hope your students enjoy it! Click the picture for the link.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thanksgiving FLASH Freebies

I updated my Thanksgiving units.  They will be free for a bit!  Let me know if you like or use them!
Click on the pictures for the links.


Thursday, October 2, 2014


I have updated my Halloween Units.  Click the pictures for the link!
How about a flash freebie in honor of my TPT TBT?  They will be free until I get home this evening! Feedback and sharing is greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Main Idea

We started Main Idea in 1 & 2 this week. It always seems to be a difficult skill!  Of course I searched Pinterest for ideas. I kept seeing the circle maps with a question mark in the middle. I thought they were a great idea but since I am not exactly an artist I decided to create some with clip art.  I just LOVE clip art! 
After watching a BrainPop Jr. we played Main Idea Mystery with the circle maps I made. The kids did great. (I made them fairly obvious since this was an introduction!)  For morning work the next day the students created their own Main Idea Mystery Map. They loved that MY homework would be to figure out their mystery!
Since we have been learning about Johnny Appleseed we created a Main Idea anchor chart about him.  I tweaked the poster from a post I saw by Abby at The Inspired Apple!
Today we are going to find the main idea in pig & spider informational texts. (We are just finishing up Charlotte's Web!)

Do you have any "go to" main idea ideas? Would you be interested in the Mystery Main Idea maps I created? 


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Apple Fun

Our week started with rain.  LOTS and LOTS of rain.  This is right outside our classroom door.  Thank goodness the rain let up early in the day.   (I could't get to my classroom when I first arrived at school!)

The rain did cool it off and make it feel like FALL just in time for Apple Day.....well, as much as it can feel like fall in Florida!  

We started Apple Day writing a recipe for Crockpot Applesauce.  This is the first time I have EVER made applesauce with my class.  I CANNOT stand the smell of cinnamon.  {GASP, I know!}  I searched and was able to find a recipe on Pinterest that uses vanilla and sugar.  

Things were going very well.  We were doing apple investigations, the apples were cooking nicely.....  
And then a very official gentleman with a clipboard walked into my classroom.  He said he was the fire chief and was here for a fire and security inspection.  

I MAY OR MAY NOT have been cutting an apple at the time.  I don't think he saw it, but let's just say between that and the crockpot cooking away, I was a bit nervous!  I was not called to the office by the time I left school Friday evening, so maybe we passed. ;-)

The good news is that the applesauce was YUMMY.  Only one of our friends wouldn't try it.  Of the 16 that did, 15 wanted seconds!

I also read The Little Red House.  It cracks me up that even though I KNOW my second graders heard it last year in first grade (because I read it to them), they were hanging on every word!

We spent the afternoon completing The Great Apple Investigation!

I know it is probably too late this year, but check out Cara Carroll's unit for next year.  Link is in the picture below.  It was perfect for my first and second graders.

After a taste test, we used Eric Bohrer's Apple Graftivity.  I think they turned out super cute!  Link is below.

So, Apple Day was a success.....unless I am called to the office on Monday.  I will keep you posted!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kevin Henkes, STEM, and Wonderful Writing

WARNING:  A lot of randomness!
I have been spending so much time planning and organizing for the combo class, that I have not been doing any creating of my own.  (What did we do before TPT?!?!?!)  That being said, here is what we have been up to!

We finished up our Kevin Henkes Author Study.  I used Hollie Griffith's unit.  It was great! Click the picture below for the link.

The "What Do Good Readers Do" reading strategies are fantastic!  (I don't have a picture of our anchor is still in progress!)

The unit has differentiated response pages for each activity....perfect for my combo class.  I can teach a whole group lesson and then give each grade level a different activity as a follow up!   (FYI, this differentiation was great for the parents to see at Open House this week!)
Text To World is tough for the little guys!  Most made a connection to something they saw on the news that worried them.  (Shark bites were most popular...our school is a block away from the ocean.  I have to agree with them!)  
The comparison paper in the unit is great, but didn't quite fit the needs of my group, so this is something similar I created based on Hollie's.  
STEM--Spaghetti Tower Challenge
We have been using marshmallows for our science inquiry and investigation the last couple of weeks.  This tied in perfectly!
Students were given 7 minutes to plan and then 20 minutes to create!
After construction was complete, we compared and measured.  Then we went back and wrote about how we could improve our designs.  They did great!

Wonderful Writing! 
I refuse to spend our writing time spelling words for my students.  (Don't judge, I promise I let them know and keep reminding them of this in a kind way!)  I teach them to use their resources.  I LOVE that they were doing this without any reminders from me on Friday.....the 23rd day of school, Lol! Students are free to get up to get whatever resource they need.  
Students use our portable word walls that are kept at each table.  They can use familiar books from around our room.  They can look at anchor charts that are hanging around the classroom.

This year our school is using a writing program called Being a Writer.  So far, so good!  This week we worked on Silly Stories.  They are still in progress and I know it is not a complete sentence, but I love "Everybody was mindin their own business".  

Daily 3 is up and running smoothly!  WooHoo!

Here is a sneak preview of how it runs in my classroom....future post!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Wednesdays in our room are STEM Days!  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities are a great way for me to integrate the first and second grade curriculums as well as challenge my students by asking them to solve real problems in a creative way.

Our most recent challenge was to build a zoo cage after we read If I Ran the Zoo.  I paired a first grader with a second grader.  They did great and I was very proud of their determination, creativity and persistence!

Here are our final products. Some turned out well, others ..........learned a lot. Lol!   Three groups did not even "submit" a final product.  We talked about how this was OKAY and we could learn from it!  The strongest cage held 14 books!!!  

Happy Teacher Heart Moment:  This morning when we were discussing our schedule for the day, I told the class that we would be finishing up our zoo cages and testing them this afternoon.  One of my 2nd graders looked over at her 1st grade partner and said, "I have been thinking and I have a new plan for us.  It is going to work!"  THIS is why I am doing STEM!

I am in LOVE with the Smart Chick's STEM packs.  Check out her store by clicking the picture below!

Ivy Taul also has a great STEM starter pack and it is FREE!!!!  Click the picture below for the link.
Do you use STEM?  If you have any great STEM challenges, I would love for you to share a link!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What We Have Been Up To in 1 & 2

Yup, you read that right.....1 & 2! A couple of days before school started, I was offered a 1 & 2 combo/multi-age/split (whatever you want to call it) class.  I have heard, "Oh, I am so sorry!"  "I will be praying for you."  "Bless you."  While those people meant well, they were wrong.   I was so excited at the offer, I JUMPED at the chance and have loved the first two weeks of school.  I am not going to sugar coat it, it has been very hectic and I am already playing catch up.  Remember I said this happened a couple of days before school, so I didn't have long to move classrooms, color code everything and plan!  Plan....yikes!

One of the BIG plusses of having a combo class is the kids!  (My 18 students were pretty much hand picked......ssshhhhhh, don't tell anyone!) I love having many of the same students as last year.  They AND their parents were just as excited as me.  I was a little worried how the parents would feel about a combo class.  So far, they are all VERY happy!  I have 9 first graders and 9 second graders.  All of which are hard working, well behaved, good students.  Right now I am integrating as much as I can.  Like I said, PLANNING is the biggest obstacle.  It is a good thing I am slightly extremely OCD.  Daily 5 Reading and Math Stations are my friends and saviors!  They will allow me to spend time with each individual grade level once we become independent with them.

Since I have been so busy playing catch up, I have done very little creating.  All of the things you are about to see are ideas from other teachers I found on Pinterest, blogs or TPT!   I am trying to be very creative so my second graders don't feel like they are doing something they did last year.  (With the exception of Zero the Hero....they were appalled when I suggested they would be doing something different during Calendar Math time!)

Like all of you, we focused on rules and procedures the first week.  I used a No, David! activity from Angie Neal at Fall Into First's .  You can find it for FREE on TPT {HERE}.

 I made tracers from the templates.  The kids used construction paper to trace and create most parts of their Davids.  They did the mouth and teeth on their own! Their personalities really showed through!

Check out Rule #2....Don't take your shirt off.   For the record, we did not discuss this as a classroom rule!  Maybe I should talk the her Kindergarten teacher.  Lol!
Last week our theme was COLORS.  Our main texts were The Day the Crayons Quit, The Crayon Box That Talked and Yesterday I Was Blue.  

If you have not read The Day the Crayons Quit, you should!  It is fantabulous!  One of the activities we did after reading The Day the Crayons Quit was to write letters to a crayon apologizing and telling them how we would meet their demands!   This activity, along with many others can be found {HERE} and {HERE}.
My new classroom has a lack of wall space, so I am using every inch I can find!

Then we read Yesterday I Had the Blues and did a colors feelings activity I got from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts.  Check out her blog post {HERE}.  (We will be using her You're Quite a Character unit this week!)
Sorry about the poor pics, you know how hectic it is and you quickly snap a few pictures when you have 2 extra seconds!
I was blown away by their ideas.  I mean, come on....stoked! That was one of my first graders.  Guess it is because we are a beachside school and surfing is a huge part of their lives!

Okay, I am off to PLAN and add more to my already stuffed TPT cart!  Have a great 3 day weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Christmas In July....

Since Hobby Lobby has their Christmas stuff out, I guess it is okay!
Click the picture for the link to my store!
Happy Shopping!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Free Sight Word Game

Here is a Sight Word Game FREEBIE I created this week.  It is perfect for Kindergarten through 3rd grade and includes letters, Dolch Words and Fry Words.  Easy prep---laminate and cut!  The 3rd graders in my Summer Reading Camp are really enjoying it!   Click the pic for the link.


Monday, June 30, 2014

New Units...Flash Freebies

I posted 2 new mini units this weekend.   They will be free until I get home from the beach this evening!  Click the pics below to grab a copy.
Feedback is greatly appreciated:-)


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jigsaw Cooperative Groups

First of all, my observation went well!  According to my post observation conference, the lesson objectives were met, the kids did what they were supposed to do and my principal enjoyed it.  (I am pretty happy considering it was the 100th day of school, we were out of our routine and Zero the Hero had left us donuts and cookies for breakfast!)

Now JIGSAW.  We had a professional development on using jigsaw for cooperative group lessons a few weeks ago.  I have to admit, when I saw the title I groaned a little and thought NO WAY.  Jigsaw never works when we have to do it in trainings...and we are adults.  How in the world can it work with first graders?  Then we watched a video...and learned a little more...and by the end I was ready to try it WITH MY FIRST GRADERS!  2 of my teammates tried it for their evaluations.  Both lessons went well, so I decided to try it with my reading group.  Of course, I modified and extended it like I seem to do with everything, so if you want to learn how to do a true jigsaw, you might want to read up on it {here}!

Here was what we did:
Day One: Home Groups- I had 3 groups with 5 students in each group.  All were researching penguins, but each student had a different area (can, have, are, eat, live) they were focusing on.   There was no recording of information, they were just reading about penguins in several informational non-fiction books about penguins.

Day Two: Expert Groups- The students worked in their "expert" groups.  All students who were in charge of "can" worked together, those in charge of "have" worked together, etc.  In these groups, they created a circle map where they recorded  information they learned about their "expert area."  I had several informational non-fiction books about penguins available.  They were allowed to use any or all of them.
(On a side note, it was great seeing them using the text features to locate the information they needed for their area!)  I had to stress that they could not just add information they thought they knew about penguins.  They had to prove that the information was a fact!

Day Three: Home Groups- The students went back to their home groups and TAUGHT what they were an "expert" in.  (TAUGHT is the key work here.  The did not just say, "Penguins swallow their food whole."  They had to explain why penguins do this!)  To help them stay actively engaged and remember what they learned from each expert, they recorded the new information on the back of their circle map.

Day Four: Creating a tree map with Popplet.  Popplet is an AWESOME free app for iPads.  If you have not used it, I suggest you go check it out!  It literally only took a few minutes to train the firsties how to use it.

Talk about ALL students being actively engaged!  They wouldn't have even noticed if Sponge Bob walked into our room!
At the end of this activity, we snapped a picture (screen shot) of our Popplets to use the next day.

Day Five:  We used our Tree Maps to write our penguin reports!

Since we saved the screen shot as a picture, we could easily enlarge it to see our information!
My students really liked using jigsaw!  Have you used it or something similar?