Another day... and some sweet little elves

We are heartbroken. We are speechless. We too are mourning. For those sweet little lives that were taken a lifetime too soon. We mourn for their families, and friends, and anyone who was touched by this awful tragedy. We hugged our own kids tighter, and felt blessed for what we have, and who we have to go home to at the end of the day. We keep in our thoughts Sandy Hook, and educators everywhere who will now have to have some tough conversations, and answer some tough questions. We know we are. But, today is now another day. And although we are still heartbroken, and still speechless, and still mourning, we have vowed to do everything in our power to move ahead for our own sweet first graders. And we thank God for who we have to go to school for in the morning. Bless those little babies who are watching over us now. xoxo

This week we are wrapping up our Christmas season at school. We had meant to share this with you this weekend, but...  So, better late than never. Hopefully you still have some time to use these fun activities, or just save them for next year.  We started with Rudolph this year, and make sure to check out our freebies from {LAST YEARS POST}. The Rudolph art project is one of our favs!

 For the kids Christmas gifts for their parents, we made these sweet snowman ornaments.

We paint the kids hands (using white acrylic paint with a tiny bit of glue mixed in really helps it stick to the ornament) and then have them grasp the ornament. Their fingers are then turned into snowmen, using wither sharpies or puff paint. We spray on clear adhesive (glitter looks amazing!), add a ribbon with a little poem tag, and they're done! We also attach the kids sticker picture to the back. Here is the sweet little poem:

These aren’t just 5 snowmen,
As anyone can see.
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You’ll look back and recall,
Christmas of 2012
When my hand was just this small!
Click {here} if you'd like a copy of the ornament tags to print out. 

And we are rounding out the week with our adorable elf activities. We started out by reading this sweet little story, The Littlest Elf

We then filled out these sweet little elf applications that we found at What The Teacher Wants. We had to reformat to make it all fit on one page. If you'd like a copy, you can find it {here}.

The next step is to make these FANTASTIC little elves we created. Are they just to die for?

If you'd like a copy of the master, find it {here}. We will use the hole punches to cut out the little circles, and they will draw their own circle for the hat. The leg stripes were colored in marker. Everything else is there. We will then put it all together, and just add a picture of the kids in the elf hat.

Here is my own little elf model for the picture of the elf hat. Please ignore the teeth! He's lost 4 recently, and is looking kinda silly. :-) 

If you still are looking for some math and literacy activities for winter time, make sure to check out these two units!  Click on the pictures to see them at our store.We hope you have a wonderful last week with the first graders. Hug them all tight!


We're all about treasures around here

Hope you are all having a fabulous start to December!  We just absolutely LOVE this time of year!  We  have just finished trimester one with our kiddos and are ready to start trimester two! We've got a busy 3 weeks ahead of us before winter break.  Creating games for our school's first winter carnival, helping our kiddos create gifts for  their families on Christmas, and incorporating our Gingerbread Math & Literacy Unit {you can check it out here} into our plans, are just a few of the many items on our LONG to do lists!  We'll share more about these later this month!  
Now on to our literacy block, and if you teach reading using Treasures, then you'll definitely want to keep reading this post!  Since our kiddos go to literacy centers everyday (click here to see how we do literacy centers) while we meet with small groups, we decided we'd create a center called "Paper Practice".  This center often contains practice book pages and grammar worksheets.  We've also created our own practice sheets based on the weekly sight words found in Treasures.  This center contains at least 3 different "worksheet" type activities.  Our students visit this center twice throughout the week, so we like to have a variety of "paper" activities for them to choose from.  We also have a word work center where our students practice their weekly treasures spelling words using magnets, play-dough, scrabble tiles, Wikki Stix, etc...  This center is mostly hands on and contains weekly spelling word lists for our kiddos to read while creating words.  We also have 4 other centers: listening (with ipods), computers, writing, and reading.     
If you're looking for paper practice activities for your first graders, then you'll definitely want to check out our latest addition to our store. 

   This set of First Grade Paper Practice Activities contains:

•Letter Cards (capital, lowercase, & 6 beginning and final blends)

•Spelling List Template

•Spelling Lists (on level words for each week)

•Read, Write, Make worksheet using High Frequency Words
(for each week)

•Roll a Sight Word worksheet using High Frequency Words
(for each week)

•Rainbow Words worksheet using High Frequency Words
(for each week)

•Two Beginning Blend Worksheets (week 4)

•Two Final Blend Worksheets (week 4)

•End of Unit Memory Cards
(all high frequency words and on level spelling words from unit 1)

•3 End of Unit Word Searches
(all high frequency words and on level spelling words from unit 1)

Stop on by our TpT store and you can check it out {HERE}!

We've also got a few freebies for you as well!  We are just loving the Treasures teaching charts and definitely love to display them on our SMART boards and make the lessons more interactive.  We've made cards to match some of the phonics/fluency teaching charts.  We use these cards when we meet with our small groups.  Our kids sort the words, practice reading them, and rebuild the sentences.  We have made teaching chart word cards for each week in unit 1.  Just click the links below!  

We're always looking for new ideas and we'd love to hear what you do for word work and/or paper practice types of centers.  If you'd like to share, please comment below!  
Hope you all have a great week!  

We're Thankful For Freebies

Hi all!  Hope you're having a great start to the week.  Our week has been filled with assessment after assessment and we're almost done!  Amongst all of our assessing we've found time to also incorporate some First Thanksgiving activities and since we just LOVE freebies ourselves, we thought we'd share a few freebies with you all! 
Here's a little fill in the blank First Thanksgiving mini book that we created.  It incorporates facts about The First Thanksgiving in a format easy for first graders to follow.  We also included a word search that includes the words used to fill in the blanks. 
Just click the picture below for your own copy!

We've read several Thanksgiving books, and have also incorporated Scholastic's online First Thanksgiving interactive videos and tools which we LOVE!  Tomorrow we're ending out First Thanksgiving unit and we'll be making these books with our kiddos!

Another freebie that we'd love to share with you all is our Reading Focus Wall labels.  Our new reading program, Treasures, encourages creating a focus wall.  We've now added this to our reading instruction and are really loving it!  Each week, we change the cards below the labels to match the weekly focus.  This focus wall provides our kiddos with our weekly focus and we refer to it often throughout our while group lessons.  We hang ours right next to our SMART Boards so they are easily accessible and our first graders can constantly view it.

If you'd like a copy of our labels, just click the picture below!

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!  
We are looking forward to spending some much needed family time with our kids and families.  We'll be back in  a few days with some new products and freebies!

Leaves, Turkeys and Sub Kits!

Happy Veterans Day! We've been busy, busy, busy welcoming fall into our rooms, and we've got a few things to share with you! Here's a great little activity that we did last week with our first graders. We've been talking lately about story retells, and thought this would be a great time to read the story There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves. The kids just LOVE these books, and they work pretty well for practicing retelling a story. But the best part about this wonderful little gem? It's free for all of you! Just click {HERE} for your free copy.

This year we've really had to cut back on our craftivities and art projects, due to time restraints. Our schedules are so tight, we don't get to do much fun stuff anymore, unfortunately. But we are getting in at least 1 themed project each month. We shared our apples back in September, we made these cute little pumpkins for October, and for November, we made these great little turkeys.

The kids also wrote something they were thankful for on each feather, and they turned out really cute. They aren't completely finished yet, but we'll try to add pics later. If you'd like the patterns for the turkeys, click {HERE}.

We've also gotten several emails asking us about our First Grade Sub Kit. We realized that we never blogged about it, so we'd love to share it with you now. How annoying is it when you are home late at night, you end up with a sick kid, and need to get a sub for the next day. For us, that means either a super late trip to school to do sub plans, or getting up WAY too early to go school to get ready. Boo! So this year we came up with our sub kit. It may be one of our favorite things ever. It is designed to be a full day's worth of activities that can be taught at any point in the year, no matter what you are teaching.  It is a very easy kit to put together, and included only things that would already be found in your classroom, or around you house. Check out our product description:

In a pinch, and need a great days worth of plans for a sub? Or, want to be ready just in case? This kit provides you with a days worth of activities perfect for any sub! Have materials copied ahead of time, and you are ready to go! These activities include direction pages for any substitute, and use only materials already in your classroom or home.
All activities are created to be easily adapted to your time schedule and your students needs. Each lesson is divided into chunks that can be completed in pieces if necessary. 

*Writing: Arthur Writes a Story lesson with 3 activities
*Reading: “When I grow up” mini book lesson, with 6 activities
*Math: Math Facts Graph with 6 activities
*Social Studies: Playground Map Activity with 3 activities
*Science: Magnet Lesson with 3 activities

A great label for any tote for your sub kit is also included!

Now, take a look at a few pictures of how our kit is organized.

Our finished kit

We've copied everything so that it is all ready to go. The books are in here as well as the materials used for the science lesson.

These three books are used in our lesson, although they can be substituted by other books as well

A great label is included in the kit as well.

A few other things that we've filed in our own kits include a class list, daily and weekly schedules, school procedures, student information and anything else a sub may need for the day. If the hanging file tote is not a good fit for you, you could also use a large binder to store everything. This kit includes enough lessons to fill a day, but realistically you've got enough for more than that. If you end up purchasing this, we'd love to see you you organize it. Make sure to check it out at our store! We hope to do a kindergarten version at some point as well.

We hope you all enjoy your 3 day weekend!

Today was a good day.

I've been trying to get this post out for a week. Time flies, what can I say?
We’re just not sure what is happening to the year. We realize that we’ve been totally neglecting our blog this year, but we are doing the best we can to keep up with all of the demands of first grade. We've been learning the ins and outs of Treasures, our Smartboards, and have been asked to be on various committees (which of course we can't say no to). We've also been asked to do a training on Treasures and Smartboards, so as you can see, we have our hands full. Ya’ll know how it is.  Stick with us, we promise someday we’ll get better. 

My class has been having a little bit of trouble being respectful as of late. Not so much with me, but with any other adult who gets the pleasure of teaching them. It’s a loud class. I have 25 kiddos, and 17 boys. 17.  And they aren’t quiet, calm boys, oh no. They are active, loud, crazy BOY boys. 110% boy.  I am used to boys, as I have a 1st and 2nd grader, but these guys are definitely giving me a run for my money. I swear half the time we walk through the hall looking like a pack of monkeys. Which is a term they find hilarious, and I do not.  So, after being told by another staff member that they were very disrespectful, I knew it was time for a review of what respect is.  I created this little activity to do with the kids, and it actually worked. This activity helped immediately, and the class is finally calming down. Today was a good day. Maybe our best so far. Fingers crossed it's the start of a new trend.

  We stated out by reading The Berenstain Bears book Show Some Respect. The new versions have a few bible verses included, so I just sort of skipped those words in the classroom. They don’t even notice.  Then we had a long discussion about what Respect means, and what Disrespect means.  This part they really understood. They came up with some great examples of each. We then moved to playing a little game of “Respect vs. Disrespect.” The kids sorted theses cards on my pocket chart, as we practiced being respectful.  We followed up by using some of our senses to show what respect Looks like, Sounds Like, and Feels like. Since we have our smart boards, this became a smart board activity rather that printing it for the kids.
 I’ve kept up the sort for the last week or so, and we refer back to it OFTEN.  At some point I will get around to replacing it with an actual anchor chart. Their ideas of what  disrespect felt like were pretty precious {disrespect feels like a tummy ache}. I wish I would have been able to take a pic, but technical issues... If you'd like a copy of the Respect Sort, click on the pictures below.

Hope this helpful! Maybe you can just file it away until it's needed. Hopefully for you, it's not!

We are also getting super excited about our upcoming field trip next week. We are going to the Oregon Children's Theatre to see a presentation of Duck For President. 

 Last year we went and saw Pinkalicious the Musical {click here to check out our Pinkalicious unit) and just LOVED it! This year, we thought what a fun way to incorporate the presidential election into first grade! We've created a little unit to go along with it. It's got a variety of math and literacy activities to go along with Duck For President and/or election day!  Here's a preview of what's included:
Duck For President by Doreen Cronin.
Optional books to also use with this unit are: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, and Dooby Dooby Moo which are also written by Doreen Cronin.

*Mayor, Governor & President Activity
*Duck Equations
*Farmer Brown’s Word Family
*Duck for President Board Game with addition (sums to 10) and subtraction equations (with minuends up to 10)
*Word Builder Alphabet Cards
*If I Were President Writing
*Duck For President Retell Pages & Story Map
*Classroom Voting Activity

Head on over to our store to check it out. As part of the performance the kids get to vote for president and we'll see who wins according to all those attending the show. We can't wait! And it's scheduled for the day after Halloween, so we can avoid all the sugar highs in the classroom!

We're working on a few things for fall right now, as well as some activities to be used along with Treasures, so check back for freebies soon!

PS: Have you checked out our First Grade Sub Kit yet? We'll tell ya all about it soon...

How we do literacy centers

Hope you all are having a great start to your week!  We've been BUSY, BUSY, BUSY and it seems like as the weeks go on our schedules get even busier!  We're on our second week of literacy centers  and we're hoping that in a month, when all of the centers have been introduced and fully implemented,    things will be running smoothly.
  With the new program our district has adopted we've had to change our structure for reading groups, and we've had to change the way we teach reading.  Our reading instruction begins with whole group instruction for 40 minutes.  After whole group instruction our students are split into 6 groups and go to their first literacy center.  We meet with our first reading group at this time.  our students are in their literacy centers for 20-25 minutes then we rotate for a second and third session and meet with two more reading groups. 
Since our structure for reading has changed we needed to create new plans and rotation schedules to make that all of our students rotate evenly through centers and meet with us based upon their needs.  

Here is what our small group reading plans and rotation schedule look like:

If you have PowerPoint and you'd like an editable version of the plans above just click{HERE}!

After introducing each literacy center to our students, the charts go on our literacy center bulletin board so we can refer to them often.  
Here's a picture of one of our bulletin boards:

Here's a picture of our literacy center pocket chart cards.  The colors stand for each table group.  Our kiddos rotate through centers with their table group.  

And here's one of our small group reading areas!

Do you have literacy centers/stations going on in your classroom while you teach small reading groups?  We'd LOVE to hear any ideas and/or tips your incorporate.
Just comment below!

Don't forget to stop on by our TpT store and check out our Literacy Center Pocket Cahrt Cards and Posters that are shown above.  

Our pack includes:

*Literacy Center Chart Header 
*12 Literacy center cards that fit nicely in a pocket chart
-Silent Reading
-Buddy Reading
-Word Work
-Computers & Listening
-Paper Practice
-Teacher Time
*Just Right Books Poster 
 * 12 Literacy Center Expectation Posters

Our literacy Center Pocket Chart Cards and posters can be found {HERE}

Have a FABULOUS rest of the week and we hope you all have a relaxing weekend!
 We're definitely looking forward to it!

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.

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!