Monday, December 31, 2012

Manic Monday and a great FREE site!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I am busy working on my professional New Year's goal of working more efficiently and still effectively!  (Ok I really need to be out walking and working on personal fitness goal too, that is coming!)  I came across this great site I love and it is FREE!  (This helps with my financial goal!)  It is called ScootPad.  Check out this video.

I can not wait to get this started with my kids.  There is also an iPad app and Kindle app (I wish there was an iPhone app, maybe it is coming?)

On this Manic Monday! I am busy working an planning.  I go back January 2nd if you can believe it!  I only have a 3 day week, but I really could use a little more Christmas Break!  Here is a "Snowman Says..." writing activity I will be using. You can download yours here FREE!

When I go back to school I have to FAIR test my kiddos.  The FAIR test is a reading test I have to give the kids on a one-on-one basis.  It takes 5-10 minutes for each child (sometimes up to 30 minutes).  The question is what to do with the other kids while I am testing!  What do you do while you are giving one-on-one assessments with your kids?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Holiday Break FREEBIE

Hi everyone!  It has been a while since I have been blogging.  I have had a great and fun filled Christmas break and it is quickly coming to an end!  We go back to school January 2nd if you can believe it (I am having a hard time accepting it).  I am getting ready to welcome all of my little firsties back.  I know they will be so excited to tell me all about their break; I plan to turn their excitement into a fabulous writing piece.  I made a 3~2~1 graphic organizer to do with the students and then coordinating writing paper.  Click here to grab yours free (download the preview).

Then I just kept going...  I added am "All About My Holiday Break" booklet for the students to complete.  Then got to thinking about about having the students make mini-presentations.  I created a Keynote and PowerPoint template for the students to complete using their graphic organizer.  I also included a foldable thank you card for the students to make.  If you would like these goodies you can download them all for only a $1! 

I hope to will be a much more frequent blogger and creator this year!  I learn so much from all of the fabulous bogs out there.

My Christmas Break is passing by so quickly!  When do you have to go back??

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Holidays and a Gingerbread Freebie!

WOW have I been busy, as I am sure you have too.  My oldest daughter and I just returned from Disney World with her Pop Warner cheer team national competition.  They were took home 5th place in the nation!  (They also took away two of my important holiday prep weekends with regionals and nationals.)  This is why I have been absent in blog land for a little while.  Now I am playing catch up! As I am writing this post I am sad to say my house doesn't have one decoration up, and for me that is surprising. 

Here is a cute Gingerbread Fact Family freebie!  Download it here.

I am excited that my class is finally getting this, I think!  It amazes me how every class is so different.  Last year my class had fact families down very early in the year, this class not so much.  I guess it is just my year.

We are getting ready for some pretty cool things at school this week!  Each of our 9 first grade classrooms has adopted a country for the holiday.  We have decorated our hall with information on how this country celebrates the holiday, the flag of the country and a map to show the location.  Next weeks we will tour the hallway with our classes as we learn all about holidays around the world.  I will be taking pictures and sharing with you all.

Hope you are further ahead with everything than me!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Thanksgiving Break

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving Break.  I had a very fun and packed break but not extremely productive.  I was hoping to get more work done, but family and fun won out.  I got to see my extended family including my 3 month old nephew,  I did a little shopping and went to watch my daughter in her regional cheer competition.  (They won and are heading to Nationals in 10 days!)

Here is a quick freebie I am using for tomorrows "What did you do on your Thanksgiving Break?" writing.  I am hoping by doing the graphic organizer first, it will help the students come up with  more than "nothing".  Click here to download it.

Also, if you haven't heard there is a Cyber Monday plus Tuesday sale starting soon at Teachers Pay Teachers.  My store and many others will be 28% off.  Don't forget to enter the Promo Code.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Math Center Freebie and Thanksgiving Giveaway

I have just returned from a 5 day camping trip with the family.  We were roughing it in tents, however it was at Disney, so not really that rough.  We didn't do the parks, just enjoyed time with great friends and family relaxing.

Tonight it is easy to pick what I am most thankful for.  I am thankful for my bed, a shower I don't need to wear flip flops in and the magical memories we made this weekend.

I was "filing" on my computer and ran across a fun activity for your math center.  I will be putting this in my Super 6 Learning Centers tomorrow.  Click here to get to download it.

Don't forget to enter the Thanksgiving Thank You to Our Followers for your chance to win $100 in gift cards. 


We will each be sending the winner a $20.00 gift card.  After all, who couldn't use an extra $100.00 in gift cards for the holidays?

All you need to do is go over to Granny Goes to School and enter!  You will need to follow our blogs (2 entries per blog following), follow us in TpT (2 entries per TpT following,) and if you can blog about our give-away- 10 entries!  It's possible to earn  a total of 30 entries. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Freebie and I am Thankful for You Thanksgiving Give-A-Way!

We are limited on copies at my school, but it is really hard to teach Firsties to write in their composition books.  So I made this PowerPoint slide that I use every morning for daily language and math review.  Each morning I quickly change the word of the day, question of the day and the number of the day (it corresponds with the day of school we are on).  The students are doing well with it.  Here it is for you to download FREE to use.  I may get really ambitious one day and put together a set for the year.

This month I am focusing on all of the things I am thankful for in my life!  I am thankful for my new blog and the many new blogging buddies I have connected with.  To show my appreciation I have teamed up with 4 other bloggers to offer my very first give-a-way!  

We will each be sending the winner a $20.00 gift card.  After all, who couldn't use an extra $100.00 in gift cards for the holidays?

All you need to do is go over to Granny Goes to School and enter!  You will need to follow our blogs (2 entries per blog following), follow us in TpT (2 entries per TpT following,) and if you can blog about our give-away- 10 entries!  It's possible to earn  a total of 30 entries. Here is what the winner will receive:
Teresa at Fun in K-1 will be giving away a $20.00 Gift Card to Target. 
Fun in K/1

Cindy at Granny Goes to School will be giving away a $20.00 Gift Card to Old Navy.

Rikki at  The Hive will be giving away a $20.00 Gift Card to MAC Cosmetics.

Megan at Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade is giving away a $20.00 Gift Card to The Limited.
Mrs Wheelers First Grade

Ash at Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks is giving away a $20.00 Gift Card to Target
  The Teacher Wife

So what are you waiting for??? Go over to Granny Goes to School and enter!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Class Behavior Challenges and Thanksgiving

Oh my what a class I have this year!  Not to brag, but normally my class is very well behaved and I have very good behavior management.  This year, WOW!  It is tough, I really don't have any one typical behavior problem.  Just a mix of very active, chatty, disrespectful and helpless children.  I am trying everything under the sun and have not found something yet.  Class behavior rewards, terrific tallies, bribery, behavior chart, CHAMPS, whole group instruction, small group instruction, you name it.  I will not give up and I will succeed.  (When I figure it out I will be sure to share.)  I just read an interesting post on doing away with the typical behavior chart (read it here) and maybe since mine doesn't seem to work anyway I should try it?  I did make a little head way with a few students today.  The lost their privilege to participate in learning centers, they had to do the work by themselves at their seats.  They really did not like this, so hopefully...

OK now that I have vented (sorry)  I am going to start focusing on the positives and what I am thankful for this month.

Today I am thankful for the new technology we have been lucky enough to receive at school.  I have been given a new MacBook Pro and iPad for the classroom within the last 7 days.  (I know don't hate me too much.)  

I started my First Thanksgiving unit today.  I had the students complete their K and W of the KWL.  If you didn't grab this freebie earlier, you can get it here FREE.

I learned today that my kids don't really know much about the First Thanksgiving.  I am excited to be able to teach them all about it.

Also- you all JUST HAVE TO COME BACK ON Saturday.  Why, you are asking... 4 of my blogger friends and I are having a Thanksgiving Thank You Raffle for our followers.  The five of us are each giving away a fun $20.00 gift certificate.  That's $100.00 in gift certificates, just in time for the holidays. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The First Thanksgiving FREEBIE

I am starting The First Thanksgiving today.  I like to start new topics with a KWL chart to see what the students already know and what they would like to learn.  I usually do a big KWL all together.  I thought it would be fun for the students to do their own small KWL maps.  I created this little packet to help us with our learning and a summary writing activity at the end of this topic.

I am copying the "What I think I know" map and the "What I want to learn" map front and back to use as an opening activity.  At the end of the unit I am going to have the students use the "What I learned" map and writing paper.  Click here to download your copy FREE.

This Freebie is featured on Classroom Freebies Manic Monday! is a great resource filled with FREE resources everyday, but on Mondays WOW it is fabulous!  
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
What is your favorite Thanksgiving activity you do in your class?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November... What a Month and a Math Freebie!

Oh my November just began and the time is flying!  We are lucky enough to have the entire Thanksgiving week off, but that means I have two weeks to teach regular curriculum, election Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving!  Oh Wow!  How will I fit it in?  

I am thankful for Teachers pay Teachers!  I love making things and sharing them with people.  I also really love the great time saving resources other fabulous teachers make and share!  I know I have found some great things lately.  

I am paying it forward, here is a cute math Freebie with the Common Core 120 chart.  Students will be number detectives and fill in the missing numbers.

Click here to grab your free!

I better get back to figuring out how to fit it all in.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Pencils and my students drive me insane!  Seriously, what do they do with them?  I think they eat them or maybe I have a pencil fairy in the room taking pencils.  Every time we start an activity at least 3 or 4 kids can't find their pencil.  Pencils are always on the floor too!  Then I find them and and the erasers are gone and even the metal caps.  

Then when they have the pencils, it is the sharpening.....  If you sharpen one pencil suddenly everyone needs their pencil sharpened.  I try to have a cup of sharpened pencils and a cup of pencils to sharpen.  Although the sharpen pencils are taken and the "to be sharpened" cup never has pencils in it.  

I am at a loss of what to try.  I have desks so I can't have a table bucket with supplies.  Should I number pencils with their student numbers and give every student 2.  Should I put little flags on the pencils with their names,  I am teaching first this year, although some of my kids really are more like K.  I mean they will actually sit there and just look at the paper and half way through the assignment when I ask why they have not started they say "I don't have a pencil."  Really!

I need tips and suggestions, what do you do??  Am I the only teacher who has this problem?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Now to November!

Halloween is over, although the candy won't be out of their system for a few days.  We had fun at school today.  I went dressed as Wenda, the sister of "Where's Waldo".  I loved my costume, but apparently my children don't really know about Waldo, they though I was a candy cane.  One child even said I was a big Cat in the Hat hat!  Next year, I will pick a costume closer to their time,

November is month packed with things; Elections, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.  First up is the elections.  At our school we are having a Book Election.  I am having the students make posters supporting their favorite book candidate.  Here is the poster template I am using.  I may also have the students make commercials with iMovie using the new trailers.

I am also setting my student's personalized reading goal.  If you didn't have a chance before, grab this packet FREE to at my TpT store.  I just added a Reading Certificate of Achievement to the packet. 

 My students liked setting their goals so much I went ahead and made personalized reading goal sheets and logs for the year.  You can pick these up here.

Here's hoping the kids didn't eat candy for breakfast!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What would your Jack-O-Lantern say?

If your Jack-O-Lantern could talk, what would it say?  Well if mine could talk it would say "where have you been?"  Oh my what a week last week, parent conferences, grades due, monthly monitoring meetings, organizing our school Fall Festival, running daughters to and fro and of course this is the week I got an awful cold!  Now that the week is done, I am beginning to surface!

This is a cute activity I am doing with the kids tomorrow and thought I would share.  The kids will make this pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern and then using the speech bubble write what it would say.   I am then going to teach them how to use quotation marks when writing a sentence.

Click the picture or here to grab it FREE!  I hope you have a great Halloween Eve!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Love Spookley!

I love teaching with Spookley the square pumpkin.  This is a great book with an unbelievable message. Today I found fabulous free resources on Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center.  When you register you will have access to the Spookley play script, can view the animated movie free online and access to several multi-subject lesson plans and printables.

In addition to the bullying lessons taught with this book, I teach more about character traits, story sequencing, fiction vs. non-fiction, the plant life cycle, shapes.... the lis goes on and on. (OK as I am typing this my mind is filling with ideas for an activity pack I am ready to start work on, I see a late work night in my future! Check back soon.)

Here is a cute graphic organizer to use when writing about pumpkins.  I know many people use the can, have, are graphic organizers.  It makes more sense to me and my kiddos with some topics to use are, can, have.  So click here to grab this writing organizer and paper.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I've been Booed and a Fun Freebie too!

I have been Boo-ed by two wonderful blog buddies Cindy at Granny Goes to School and Michelle at Mrs. G's Kindergarten in Heels.  So I guess I have been boo-boo-ed!

So here are the rules:
1. If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
2. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
3. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else), or Freebie(s) that you love!
4. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again: I've Been Booed

Here are some of my favorite October activities, books, products:

I have shared many of my October favorites and fabulous freebies in the previous posts.  So scroll down and check them out if you haven't had a chance.  Here are a few more October things and activities I really like.

1. A Month for Freebies and New Followers Like You!
I have had so much fun making and sharing freebies this month.  I am amazed to see how many people have downloaded various freebie files on my TpT site.  It makes me so happy to see so many people using the fun thingsI have created.  Here is the latest one, 3 Little Pumpkins.

2. My Eyeball Ping-Pong Balls
If you have been following me, you are aware of my recent obsession with this fun Dollar Tree find.  My kids are loving using them in the Super 6 Daily Differentiated Centers.

3. Pumpkin!!!
I'm not talking about learning about pumpkins in class, pumpkin investigations or center activities.  This is all about pumpkin treats to eat and drink!

Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Latte's, Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and my favorite of this season.... Pumpkin Munchkins at DD!  (If you haven't tried them, you must, but don't blame me if you become addicted!)

4. Getting Boo-ed
I have loved blog hopping through all of the people who have been Boo-ed.  Have discovered some fabulous blogs and many great ideas!!!  So click to the "I've Been Boo-ed" link above to start blog hopping!  Also check out the latest additions I found have Boo-ed!

First Grade Blue Skies

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Ready for Pumpkin Fun!

Fall is here, although it doesn't really feel like it in Florida.  I love teaching about pumpkins during this time of year.  You can incorporate it in all subject areas. 

Reading and Pumpkins ~  It is great to discuss schema with and adding new information to our schema.  I make a very cute KWL chart and use it during the week as we learn more about pumpkins.  There are so many great pumping books, fiction and non-fiction.  I love contrasting and comparing.  My two favorite books have to be "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" and "Too Many Pumpkins." 
I also love doing pumpkin themed word work activities.  Building words with the letters in pumpkin patch.  It is also a great way to learn about adjectives.  The kids always love expanding their vocabulary as well.  My all time favorite word has to be peduncle!  

Math and Pumpkins ~ I review and teach so many topics with one pumpkin!  Estimation is always a skill I introduce with pumpkins.  We weigh and compare the weight to other objects.  We measure the circumference.  The we open in up and look at the seeds.  I divvy them up among the class and we count and add them to find out how many seeds are in our pumpkin.  The teaching opportunities are endless.

Science and Pumpkins ~ My kids love the great pumpkin investigation!  The favorite part is the sink or float experiment.  I love bringing in the biggest pumpkin I can find and letting the kids predict if the pumpkin will float.  They never get it right.  We discuss plant life cycles.  This year I am also going to let one rot for the kids to see and hopefully a few seeds will sprout too.

October is a month of Fabulous Fall Freebies on my blog!  Here is the pumpkin book my students complete as a part of their Super 6 Daily Differentiated Centers.  It includes activities for Word Work, Read to Self, S.T.E.M. and Book Club.  So grab this book FREE at my TpT store.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reading Goals and a FREEBIE

In 1st grade it is hard to set reading goals when students have such a wide spectrum of reading abilities. I have non-readers to chapter book readers in my class.  Many students are ready to take Reading Counts Comprehension Tests online and several will not be there for a while.  I really have to personalize every child's goal.  I like to do this during a reading conference with the child.  Some students have a "minutes read" goal, others a "Reading Counts point" goal and some have a "number of books read" goal.

Setting the differentiated goals is not the problem, tracking them was the problem.  So my mind got to working and this is what I came up with!  A November Personalized Reading Goals & Reading Log packet.  You can get it here for free.  Let me know what you think.  I can't wait to try it out (although I can't believe I am planning for November already...)

What do you do to encourage your students to read more?  How do you handle varying abilities? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Eye" have ghost poop and a freebie!

I have a sweet, puffy, fun reward for my students this month!  I like to use quick little rewards through out the day,  and these are perfect!  I know there are all kinds of mixed reviews on using food as a reward for kids.  I give them the choice between a sweet treat or sticker.  My favorite thing with the ghost poop is that it is quick, cheap and easy.  I quickly hand it out, they eat it and there is no more distraction.  There is nothing worse than handing out a tangible reward, then the students play with it and it becomes a distraction.  I also love this little container, it keeps them fresh and allows me to sprinkle one in a child's hand without touching it with my germ infested hands.  Every once in a while, two mini "ghost poops" come out, Woo Hoo!

"Eye" must admit I have become quite obsessed with the cute eyeball ping pong balls I found the other day.  I wrote sight words on them and used them in the word work center and the kids loved them!!!  

You can pick up the sight word activity that started it all and a new "eye" can make 10 activity here.  I have included word and number cards, so you don't have to have the eyeballs (although it is way more fun!

My mind got to spinning and I came up with so many amazing ideas to use them in centers.  I kept going and going and before I knew it I had 13 activities!  I put them all together for you to pick up here at my TpT store for only $2.  Let me know what you think.

 I can not wait to see my students working in their Super 6 Centers tomorrow challenging themselves to become better readers, writers, thinkers and problem solvers!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Report Home Projects

I like to send a home project or book report home each month.  As a teacher and parent, I want it to be meaningful, able to be done by the student and not outrageously expensive.  I like them to be somewhat structured, but still allow for the students to express their creativity.  I also feel they should correlate with what we are learning and be fun, not just a dreaded project. 

I came up with an amazing project for October.  My "October Character Traits Book Report Packet" has everything you need and is ready to copy and send home.  It has a parent information sheet with detailed instructions, 2 graphic organizers and a grading rubric.  I offered it for free a few weeks ago, if you didn't get it click here and download it!

My students have had a great time with the project.  I have had a few projects come in and they are amazing.  The creativity of my kids never fails to amaze me.

I have had several people ask me about beginning book report/ home projects for other months.  I have put together three projects for the upcoming holiday months.  Along with the October Character Traits Book Report, I have included a November Non-Fiction "Fact Feathers" Book Project and for December a "Holiday Ornament" Book Summarizing Report.   I just posted Beginning Book Report Projects (Oct. Nov. Dec.) in my TpT store and put it on sale!  

 Do you send home book reports or at home projects?  If so what are your favorites?
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