Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter Freebie and Addition Color by Code Pack!

Now that the winter season is approaching I am looking forward to shifting out of the fall and into the festive Holiday season! To celebrate I would like to share my Winter Color-By-Code Freebie. Get it here. It is an addition activity and a part of a larger addition color-by-code pack. Check out the whole pack here. These are great activities for reviewing addition skills in an engaging and festive way!
Here is an example of a page from the full pack.

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Five Senses Interactive Science Book

Lately I have been encouraging my students to add more detail in their writing. They have great structure and conventions, but their detail was lacking. One way I decided encourage their use of detail was to introduce my students to the five senses. Including sensory words can help their writing to come to life!

I knew I needed a hands on way to explore the senses so they really understand what each sense involves. I wanted their five senses exploration to be as interactive as possible and that is how I decided to create the My Five Senses Interactive Science Book. Today I want to share the experiment we conducted to explore the sense of smell.

I created interactive pages that can be compiled into a book or used in an interactive science notebook.

My Sense of Smell

Here are some photos of the interactive foldable page. This page will be added to our My Five Senses book after each experiment is conducted.

I had a parent volunteer help with this project and we conducted the experiments in small groups. When all groups had completed the experiment, I revealed the scents inside of the cups. It was so funny to see the students' reactions to whether their predictions were correct. I will share the touch experiment soon…

I also wanted to share the five senses anchor chart that my students have been using in the classroom. The experiments have been great to introduce the senses and the chart reminds them to add sensory words in their writing.

Happy Teaching!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Classroom Fun!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and the guests have departed, I finally have time to share some of the Thanksgiving creations from my classroom. The first activity I found on Pinterest. Check it out here. The first is our cute little coffee filter turkey.

 To create this cute little turkey, my class colored coffee filters with markers. I had them use fall colors (red, yellow, orange, and brown). Then we sprayed the coffee filters with water so the colors blended together to create a watercolor look. The filters were cut in a scalloped pattern and the body parts (brown body, wattle, eye,beak, and legs) were assembled. They turned out so cute! I am so thankful for my parent helpers. They made this project possible with the time they spent helping the students!

The next Thanksgiving activity was a three-dimensional model of the Mayflower. My students loved creating these ships! We studied the Mayflower and the voyage the Pilgrims took across the Atlantic. It took some time and patience cutting, folding, and gluing, but the end result was amazing! The students were so proud to take these home to their families for Thanksgiving!

What activities did your students do to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving Activities

Happy Sunday! Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Today I want to share a few fun and engaging Thanksgiving activities. The first is a subtraction freebie. Click here to download my "Turkey Color-by-Code Subtraction" page. This page is a part of a 5 pack of Thanksgiving addition and subtraction activities. Click here for the whole packet.

Here are some of the images that can be found in the pack:

I also have a pack of engaging Thanksgiving Board Games! I have created 7 games with phonics skills and math skills. Included are: short vowels, blends, magic-e long vowels, addition, and subtraction. Check it out here!

Happy teaching!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Currently November

Today I am linking up with Farley and taking part in my first Currently!

Listening- Downton Abbey Season 3
I LOVE Downton Abbey and I watch/listen to the episodes whenever I can. I can't get enough! I have started on Season 1 and watch through Season 4 a few times over during the past few weeks. The only drawback is that I talk with my terrible English accent for about an hour after my marathons each weekend… my poor husband!

Loving- The new Downton Abbey Season 5 Trailer!
January 4th cannot get here fast enough. I am loving the new trailer. What drama! I wonder what the fire is all about… if they kill off anymore of my favorite characters, I don't know what I will do! If you haven't seen the trailer yet, check it out here.

Thinking- about my parents' new puppy!
Today I went to visit my parents and meet their new puppy. She is the CUTEST! I forgot how completely adorable Cavaliers are as puppies. Although my pup Max is still pretty cute at 2 years old! Meet Lulu...
Wanting- New boots for fall
I am in desperate need… okay I want new boots for the fall. I found an adorable pair of chocolate riding boots… I think I must have them!

Needing- New computer speakers in my classroom
For the past few weeks my speakers have been acting wonky. When I have shared video clips in my classroom the sound won't work and I have to hold a cord in just the perfect placement for my students to be able to hear anything. FRUSTRATING! So, I found a different speaker set in my classroom cabinets, plugged it in to teach the 5 senses and… it didn't work… So I am now going to use funds provided by our generous PTA to get a working pair of speakers… I guess no video clips to supplement lessons until they arrive! 

Reading- The Boys in the Boat
I am a member of a book club and I LOVE to read. This month we are reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. At first I wasn't sure I would like this particular selection, but I have been pleasantly surprised. It is well written and I have really enjoyed some of the characters. The book is about the 1936 United States men's Olympic crew team. So far it has been a very interesting read. I hope the momentum continues!

Happy November!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Engage New York Subtraction Anchor Chart

As I navigate through the first grade Engage New York curriculum, I realized that my students need a visual to remember all of the great subtraction strategies we have learned. I have taken many of the strategies and have written them on this anchor chart:

I have been impressed with how well the students understand subtraction with the strategies provided by the curriculum. I LOVE the application problem portion of the curriculum and stretch this section out as well as add additional problems into my routine. I also provide my students with additional practice with independent cut-and-paste activities that reinforce the concepts taught. Today I want to share my "Change Unknown Subtraction" supplement I have created. This pack has two versions of practice for this skill (one matches number bonds, the other matches the missing part). Click here to get the packet!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Narrative Writing Rubric

Happy Sunday! Today I wanted to share the narrative writing rubric that I use in my classroom. Students need to know where their writing stands to understand how to make improvements. I created this rubric to show the students what is expected at each rubric level. Our district has provided us with a teacher rubric for scoring purposes, but we did not have student examples at each performance level. I wanted to post the expectations in my classroom so I decided to create the samples myself with illustration expectations as an additional component.

Our class has discussed each performance level and we have had many conversations about the similarities and differences. We have looked at student writing exemplars (teacher created versions, too!) and have graded them together using the rubric. My students have grasped this concept quite well and I have observed a strong drive to achieve the next level in many of them. The biggest challenge was getting the students to see that both the illustration and the writing needs to be adequate to achieve a score on the rubric. Some of them of course focused mostly on the pictures at first!

Achieving mastery of the first grade narrative writing standard would score a 3 on this particular rubric. Four is considered beyond, two is approaching, one is needing improvement within the standard.

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Magic E Wand Activity

For the past week my students have been learning the magic e phonics rule. This phonics skill is such a fun concept to teach and there are many interactive ways to reinforce it. I have created magic e wands with star sticks purchased from the local teacher store. Writing an "e" in the star creates an instant magic e wand. During guided reading time I reinforce the concept in small groups depending on the level of intervention and enrichment needed. The students create short vowel words and magically change them into long vowel words using their magic e wand. We talk about how "The magic e at the end of the word makes the vowel say its name." The students love this activity and it is so rewarding to see them read magic e words successfully in context after practicing with their wands.

Stay tuned for more interactive magic e activities!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Engaging Phonics Board Games!

Today I wanted to share some of the board games I have created to reinforce phonics skills. I use our district curriculum to determine which phonics skills we will be working on for the week. I then create board games to practice the specific skills. Some of these skills include short vowels, blends, long vowels, and word families. These games have been perfect for my parent groups.

I have the students play the game with dice and cubes for game pieces. The students take turn rolling the die and reading the words on the game board.  To provide my students with an extra challenge, I have all students write the words as they land on the spaces. My advanced students are asked to write a sentence with the word they land on. This allows for me to reinforce the phonics skill, as well as differentiate learning to meet the students' needs. Click here to get the board games!

Happy Teaching!

Video Resources!

Happy November! I can't believe it is here already! Yesterday my class had a wonderful day. Our school is one of the lucky ones… we are still able to have a costume parade and a party for Halloween! The students were so excited and my room parents and volunteers did a wonderful job arranging fun and engaging activities for the students. I decided to join the fun and dress up as Snow White. What I wasn't expecting was to be practically tackled with hugs by the girls (and some boys) when they saw me!

Speaking of fun and engaging… I wanted to share some of our favorite videos we use in class. These videos are great fillers before going home, as transitions, and as brain breaks. I have enjoyed all of the KidTv123 songs I have come across so far. Warning… they are addicting! You will be singing them at home, at the grocery store, and while cooking dinner.

This first one is a great supplement for math. It is all about shapes.

This next video is great for counting big numbers… my only wish is that they counted up to 120 before going higher.

The next video has been great for reinforcing the magic e rule with my class.

These have been helpful for my students and I hope you enjoy them too!
Happy Teaching!