Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Is September over yet?

Myyyyyyyyy Goodness!  We feel like we haven't yet come up for air much since this school year started. We have just started our 4th week with kids, and MAN we are EX-HAU-STED!  For any of you that use Treasures, if you can remember what it was like at the beginning, that's what we're going through right now. Our schedules are so incredibly tight, that we are just trying to keep up. We do basically 2 hours of straight reading, and are still struggling to get into everything in. We just started our small groups this week, and it's intense! We have been doing Daily 5 for the last few years, so we are sort-of used to the centers and all, but this is at a whole new level. If you're interested on how we've meshed Treasures and Daily 5, stay tuned! We will be sharing some ideas and freebies shortly. And we do apologize for neglecting our blog, but at this time we are really spending every waking second on our classrooms. But don't leave us! We'll be back to our normal selves shortly, fingers crossed.

So, for today, we have several random freebies for ya that we've been wanting to share. A week or so ago we did a few activities about apples. We read stories, did apple-themed word work, studies the life cycle of an apple seed, and all sorts of fun stuff. We ended the week by tasting apples, and graphing our favorite kinds.



On top of learning our THREE new adoptions this year, we have been having a ball getting to know our Smart Boards. We are using them all day long, and aren't quite sure what we ever did without them. This year on our blog, we will be giving away lots of free smartboard lessons. For now, we are just using office clipart so that we can share them with you. Feel free to change to make cuter or to fit your needs.  This little gem we used as a fun way to get our kids used to the smart board, and to create our class graph. To use, all you do is copy an apple from the bottom, and drag it to the correct column on the graph. And don't forget to add your tallies. Grab this fun activity {here}. Just make sure you have the Notebook software that comes with your Smartboard.


After we created our class graphs, the kids made their own graphs. These can be found in our Apples, Apples Everywhere math and literacy unit at our TpT store.


We also came up with this great little apple craftivity. We looked on Pinterest but didn't find much, so this is what we created. We made mosaic apple letters, and each of our firsties made one for the letter of their name. They turned out just adorable!



If you'd like to make these (they could easily be made into pumpkins for October) you can find the letter patterns {here}.

Last year Abby from the Inspired Apple did this great little lesson on labeling, and we thought it was a great way to start out our writing workshop. This is definitely an area that are kids aren't very strong in, so many of the kids really benefiting from teaching this so explicitly. We started out by created an anchor chart for our writing center wall. We had kiddos come up to help up label all of the parts of the dog. 





We then wanted to make sure that each child got the chance to label their own, so we created this worksheet for the kids to complete.
We were able to label it with the kids on the smartboard. {Seriously, aren't these things the coolest things ever?!}




If you'd like the dog worksheet, you can find it {here}.

And last, as I've been spending several hours either on a Friday night, or during the weekend at school, I've found another great use for our smartboards. My own little munchkins think it's just like the movie theater!


Check back soon, and we promise to share some new literacy center ideas, as well as pictures of our classrooms. One step at a time, right? Have a great rest of the week! Off to enjoy some more premier week on tv! Night night.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We're still here & we have a smart board freebie!

Wow, have we been BUSY!!!  Last week was our first week of school and it was full of fun!  We're starting the year off with a new math, reading, and handwriting curriculum, and brand new Smart Boards!  We are just LOVING our new SMART Boards.

We decided we needed a cute cover for our boards and found the cutest curtains at IKEA.   We thought these would be perfect if we needed to close up our SMART Boards, especially on days when we have a substitute.  The substitute can simply close the curtains when the SMART Board is not being used.  

We also made sturdy benches that our kiddos can use to access the SMART Boards.  Our first graders are just as excited about these boards as we are, and they have really been enjoying all of the activities that we've created and adapted for our SMART Boards.  We can't wait to start incorporating the online components that are part of our new reading and math programs!

With our new reading curriculum we're completing making words activities often.  Instead of using letter cards, we've created letter tiles using our Scrabble Letters from Scrappin Doodles.  Our students select a letter and pull it down to make a word.    
Here's an example of what we display on our boards: 

We've also created an attendance chart that our fisrt graders can use.  When our students arrive, they simply push the gray shade and a clipart character is shown.  We will plan on replacing the characters with photos of each student.  

Do you have Notebook(SMART Board software)?  If you'd like a copy of our attendance format just click the picture below.  We are unable to give away a copy of the one above due to clipart policies, but we've created an editable version using Microsoft Office clipart.  We plan on making a new one each month that is holiday or theme related.  

If you'd like the same font that we used to show up on your download, you will need to download the free fonts first.  They are:  Wish I Were Taller and Smiley Monster.  Just click on the name and you'll be taken to the download page.
Another freebie we'd like to share is a sign we displayed on our SMART Boards on the first day of school.  It's a PDF and could also be shown on a Whiteboard.  Just click the picture if you'd like to download!
We promise to be back in a few days and our goal is to have some classroom pics up in our next post!
Have a great rest of the week!