Happy Wednesday!

Hope you’re week is off to a great start!  Classroom Friendly Supplies contacted us a few weeks ago and asked us if we’d give an honest review of their pencil sharpener.  Having a decent pencil sharpener is very IMPORTANT to us and we were more than happy to try them out.  
They sent us one in purple, their newest color.
How cute is this?
The pencil sharpener comes with a screw type clamp to secure it to a table. 
I just LOVE it!  This pencil sharpener sharpens pencils perfectly!  I am even able to sharpen my Handwriting Without Tears pencils and they’re pretty short. 

You simply squeeze the two black knobs and gently pull the pencil holding compartment out.

It will stay out until you squeeze the tabs again.  Next, you’ll want to squeeze the tabs again and insert your pencil.  Once the pencil is inserted you can release the tab and start sharpening
As you are sharpening, you’ll see the pencil slowly moving into the sharpener.  You’ll know it’s completely sharpened when you hear a quieter sound.  The handle will also turn faster when the pencil is fully sharpened. 

And what’s great is that my students can easily use this sharpener and they know when the pencil is sharpened rather than sharpening the pencil is down to nothing.  My classroom helper is the pencil sharpener for the day.  After checking in with me, he/she goes right to the dull can and sharpens five pencils.  My first graders LOVE it and can easily sharpen independently.

In Kinder, Erin also uses this fabulous pencil sharpener. Even her sweet kinders are able to independently sharpen their pencils, without breaking and wasting their precious lead. In kinder it's incredibly helpful being able to have the sharpener stable at one spot in the room, yet also easy to move to a different location. We move around our classroom a lot, and until we get another one in the room, it has to go back and forth between the front of the class and the back. Since Erin is new to kinder this year, she has quite the wish list, so she'll have to wait to purchase another. But we have to tell you, this company is the best to work with! Such great customer service and such a great product!

If you’d like to check these out, you can stop by here:
They also sell replacement blades and a permanent sharpener mount!

And here’s a little freebie I wanted to share!  A few weeks ago we were learning about frogs and their life cycle in my first grade classroom (I tie my weekly themes with my Treasures Reading themes) I created cards with pictures and text to retell the life cycle of a frog.  We recreated a life cycle circle on the floor in our large group area. 

These cards also work great in a pocket chart with or without the arrows.  I have these placed in our pocket chart station and these are one of the resources my first graders can use when they’re at the pocket station during literacy stations.    

If you’d like this little freebie, you can go {HERE} or click the picture below!

Have a great rest of your week!

How I Do Literacy and Math Stations

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! 
It’s Leslie here and I thought I’d share with you all about how I do math and literacy stations in my first grade classroom. 
         Last year and several years prior to last I followed more of a Daily 5 rotation.  Using our Treasures reading program, I would teach whole group reading, then my kiddos would go to their first station while I met with my first small reading group.  After my first group, my kids would switch to their next station and I would meet with my second group.  This would continue as I met with all of my reading groups. 
         The problem that I had with this rotation schedule was some of my kiddos weren’t able to complete their stations due to time.  Some kiddos also missed some of their stations due to an additional reading group.
 So this year I tried something different and 
used Kickin’ it in Kindergarten’s It's Station Time cards which I 
Love, love, love!  
Each child has their picture in the pocket chart.  These are the white cards that are shown below.  They are flipped over in the picture.

  My kiddos have 3 rotations they can choose from each day.  
Reading to self or a buddy (I made these cards) is a station that all of my students can choose each day.  I also created an iPad, iPods, and a listening card to match our classroom iPad and iPods.  My students can pick (out of their three choices) what station they go to first, and I don't require them to get to all three each day.  Several of my students leave during our reading block for other literacy groups so it would be impossible to require them to go to all three.  Having this option provides them an opportunity to make choices, yet also complete their work before they can go to their next station.  
The next morning I move the station cards down, rather than move the picture cards.  That way my kiddos know where their picture is on the chart and they can easily find it.  I chose to have six rotations so the groups could remain small.  Every seventh I change the stations and or activities at the stations.  I am keeping a list of what I do for each of the six days, so next year it will be A LOT easier for planning! 
I handle math stations a little differently than literacy stations because my kids finish their independent work at different times.  Our math program has some guided work that my students do along with me, and an "On My Own" page.  After we complete some of the work together, my students complete the "On My Own" page independently.  When my kids are done with their "On My Own" page they choose a math station that they would like to go to.   Kids that have a 1 by their picture on the pocket can go to an iPad or an iPod and play a math game that I have in a designated math station folder.  Kids that have a 2 by their picture on the pocket chart can go to ixl.com and practice math on a classroom computer.  All other students can choose a math game/manipulative math station.  This system works for me at math because if I required kids to go to a game station, sometimes there would only be one student since others might still be finishing their independent work.  So when my kiddos finish their independent they find another child who has also finished and play a game together.  Others join in as they finish.  Independent activities with manipulatives are also available.

If you would like a copy of the sign above my pocket chart, you can click any of  the pictures below, or go {HERE}!  They're FREE and there are 8 different options!
Here are four of the eight!

I have made expectations that my kiddos need to follow while they are at literacy and math stations.  These cards are on display beside my pocket chart.
I also have them on a ring and they are hung in our meeting area, so we can review often.
If you would like to check these out, you can click on a picture above, or go {HERE}! I have made two different choices for the first card. You can choose stations or centers depending on what you call them in your classroom.

I also made these cards for my small group reading area.
The white card hanging on the hooks contains names on the other side.  It's just flipped over in the picture. My kids know to look here when it is time to meet with me.  For example, before we begin literacy stations, my kids look here first to see if they are the first group to meet with me.
 This is how it looks when the names are displayed.  

If you would like an editable version, so you can just type your kiddos names in.  Just click one of the pictures above, or you can go right {HERE}!  It's FREE!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope you all have a great Sunday!

Transportation & Apple Activities

 Hi everyone it's Leslie!
Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend!  
Well, it's finally October and we're just loving it!  
We've been in or classrooms for about a month now with our kiddos and it finally feels like we're in a solid routine.  Schedules are finalized and our math and reading stations are running smoothly, YAY!
Here are a few things we've been doing along with a few new freebies!
  A few weeks ago I incorporated apples throughout my week.  We read lots of books about apples, used some smart board activities from the smart exchange website, and incorporated these activities below. 
After reading several nonfiction books about apples.  My kiddos retold the apple life cycle by placing picture and word cards into a pocket chart. (Please ignore the picture quality, bad lighting).  
A few days later we completed the worksheet below.

The following week I included an apple label activity in my fine motor station.  This will continue to be at my fine motor station for the next 6 days of literacy stations.
The life cycle cards were also used again 
and were put at my pocket chart station.  
Both were a great reinforcement about a previously learned topic!
These activities can both be found in our 

Look for Erin's apple activities soon!

 Transportation was one of the reading themes in my Treasures reading program last week and I incorporated a transportation sort along with a few transportation books and songs.  
Here's a picture of the sort below.  

When my stations change next week, I will include this picture book in my publishing station.  
There are picture cards that go along with this book.  
The kids can color, cut, and glue their pictures on the appropriate page.  

The picture sort and mini book with pictures can both be found here: 
I am enjoying including activities that relate to previously learned topics at a few of my reading stations.  My kiddos can work independently and feel successful while completing these activities!  Next week one of our reading themes is frogs.  I've got a few things planned that I'll be sure to share with you in a few days!
Lastly, here are a few freebies that we'd love to share with you all!
This little welcome sign is placed in a 5x7 frame on my counter as you enter my classroom.  It's editable and in our TpT store!  It's replacing the September one that was displayed last month.  Just click the picture below to get your copy.  It will print on a standard 8 1/2  x 11 piece of paper.  I just prefer to shrink it down to fit in a small frame.  

I also updated a few posters that I use quite regularly in my classroom when solving addition and subtraction story problems. 
These little gems are hole punched and have a ring through them.  I hang them right above my document camera cart and pull them down when we complete math story problems.  My kiddos get used to this, and hearing these words repeated over and over help when they complete story problems independently.  Just click the pictures below and you can get these little freebies as well!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!