Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Every year, I hardly get any Christmas presents from my students. I'm not surprised by this, but sometimes I'm a little disappointed. Not that I want anything. But a card would be nice. (By the way, it's not just me who doesn't get anything. None of our teachers get much. I think it has to do with where I teach.) Well, anyway, I got my one little gift (the most I've ever gotten in any given year is four) and I was feeling kinda miffed. Then a student handed me this note. Much better than a coffee cup any day! 


She also wrote me another one which cracked me up. Then another student wrapped up a candy cane with notebook paper that she had decorated herself:)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Inspector Fix It

This is going to be short and sweet.  I just wanted to share an idea I got from If you haven't looked at his ideas, they are awesome! Anyway, this idea jazzes up your daily fix it. I write 3 daily fix it sentences on the board. Then we sing the Inspector Fix It song.

The first time I tried it, they went nuts. I was like, "I can't believe this is actually working." Why don't I ever think of these things myself? When I say, "Looks good to me!" they all yell, NOooo!! Yesterday when they raised their hands to tell me what was wrong with the sentence, I let them use a magnifying glass to "inspect" it. Then they really started raising their hands. Of course, some of them STILL forget to correct the mistakes, but oh well. Rome wasn't built in a day. At least they're excited about learning. They actually remind me when I've forgotten to do Inspector Fix-It. That. I. Love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last week in pictures

Keeping up with a blog is hard! This is more like the last 3 weeks in pictures. What have we been doing?.... Well, we had a great time with Max and Ruby. My kids always love this story. We talked about the main idea.

Then we reviewed words using something called a toughie chart. Here's a picture of mine.

This is the link that explains what to do. I don't follow it exactly, but it's very helpful for reteaching important skills. 



I made this cut and paste activity for the kids to do. (Since we don't have art or music anymore. Waah!) I miss my breaks. If anyone wants this, I'll try to figure out how to scan it. Just leave a comment.

I have been making fry phrase cards for Unit 2. So far I've made them for The Farmer in the Hat, Who Works Here?, The Big Circle and Life in the Forest. These are really good for struggling readers. Here's the link to my TPT page.


Last week, I finally did some math stations. Completely off the fly but the kids loved it. Now I have to get organized and plan them the right way. This is a picture of some doubles fact cards the kids matched up. These were free on TPT. There are lots of different kinds: pirates, fish, bears, dinosaurs, dogs etc..  The kids had a blast doing these.



Last but not least, we are having a food drive. To get the kids excited, we are having a contest between the first grade classes. Whoever brings the most food items gets a pizza party. This is a graph I made. Each jar will represent 5 items. My class is ahead with 18 cans. Woo hoo! I thought this would be a good way to motivate them to help their community. Plus we can work on graphing and counting by 5s.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Literacy Stations

I thought I would share my literacy stations. I have seen such awesome stations on other blogs but mine are a little different. I have 6 stations- library, abc, listening, writing, spelling, and fluency/poetry. I have a ten month old so I try to make the centers as easy as possible to maintain. Plus I cannot stand copying things all the time, so none of these centers require any copying. Yay! (Well, except the first time you make something, you might have to copy it.) I do have a lot of materials that I have made and laminated over the years so it's a lot easier to get the centers ready every week than it used to be. I can usually do it in under an hour. -- IF I don't get distracted and forget what I was doing (which happens pretty often).

Library Station

I have a forest theme for our classroom library. I bought the big chair, shelf and bench at an art show.

   Students read out of their basket independently. Each child's name is on the basket.

The kids also read the big book for the week. This week, they are doing an activity I learned a few years ago at a workshop. They will read the big book once and then write words that begin with l-blends, r-blends, s-blends and ending blends on little sticky notes. Then they stick their words onto the chart. Previous classes have loved this activity. The chart is laminated, so I use a vis-a-vis marker to write the skill and just erase at the end of the week. This goes well with lots of sorting activities.

I have a binder of poetry all the kids can read. Plus, they read the big songs and poems for the week. I also have lots of readers' theatres I put in the station. (I will write another post about that sometime.) I have little figures and animals the kids use to act out the parts. They LOVE readers' theatres.

ABC/Word Work

There are two activities the kids do each week. One is a fill in the blank pocket chart. The other activity is making words. I put pictures for a skill (this week's short u) and the kids spell it in chalk and use magnetic letters.

These are pictures from a phonics book I cut, laminated and put a magnet on. I keep them in labeled baggies. That way it doesn't take me long at all to change them out. The first year was time-consuming but easy peasy after that.

Listening-  The students just listen to a book. I have a ton of listening center books.

Writing Station

The kids have a writing bucket with supplies. Their task varies from week to week. This week, they are retelling one of our Reading Street stories (A Fox and a Kit). I cut sheet protectors and put magnets on the back so I can slide the new ones in and out easily.

Spelling Station

In this station, the task is the same every week. The kids build their spelling words for the week and write them in little notebooks. I have lots of different kinds of small notebooks. I found some really cute Halloween ones I'll put out next week. They all share the same notebooks. I have 3 rotations for centers. When I ring the bell, the students from the writing and spelling stations bring me their work and I quickly check it. If as student finishes early in the spelling station, he or she writes a sentence with each word.


This is a picture of the mini journals I got at Dollar Tree. I have lots of different types of manipulatives for building words- cards, magnetic letters, foam, tile, cubes that they put together and letters that go through pipe cleaners. I change the kind of letters each week.

Fluency Station

The kids read different fluency passages that we have practiced first. Mostly, I use sentences from our Reading Street series. When they are done with the passages, they can read the big poems, little poems and fry phrases.
I stapled page protectors  onto butcher paper so the kids could stand while reading. Plus they're easy to change out each week.

I had to repeat the directions one more time because they just weren't listening!               

 These are really boring  decodable sentences from our series. They are really for assessing the phonics skill (and I use them for that first) but the kids like to practice timing themselves.

                                                   fry phrases and big poem

Well, I think that's all of them. Whew! That took longer than I thought. I hope someone out there finds this helpful and can use some of these ideas. Please comment on how you run centers so I can get some ideas too. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spooktacular Fry Phrases

Well, I have jumped on the TPT bandwagon. I make stuff all the time for my kids so why not share it? I just finished a Halloween fry phrases packet. (almost didn't make it in time) Here's the link.

I made these phrases to go with Reading Street, but I think any first grade teacher could use them. I also have some center labels for free if anyone is interested.

Speaking of Halloween, here are a few pics of some things we did.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Number Bracelets

Today I finally used the number bracelets. My nieces helped me make an entire class set for numbers 3-12 (that's a lot of beads, y'all). Here's a picture.

The kids had a great time with them! Today we found all the ways to make 5 and 10. Then I gave a couple of word problems. They started making up their own word problems and got so excited. I love it when their eyes light up! Everyone was able to tell a take-away problem. One of my favorites- "I have 10 jobs. I got fired from 5 of them. How many do I have now?" They used the bracelets to solve the problems.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Big Blue Ox, A Fox and a Kit

Last week we read The Big Blue Ox from our Reading Street series. The kids made these oxen which turned out really cute. The idea came from They had a really good time making these, although some of them took for-e-v-e-r. We also talked more about realism and fantasy.

                                                    Ox picking apples and digging.

   In the story Ox cooks for Mom and Pop. He's wearing an apron.

                              Ox mopping. I love the horns on this one.

Ox helping with the groceries. If you ask me, Ox needs to get paid!

Our story this week was A Fox and a Kit. We did this labeling activity where the kids draw and label a fox. Then they write three facts they learned. We were going to finish it today but ran out of time. We'll finish it up on Monday.

The comprehension skill this week was 'the main idea' which I've always found a little hard to teach. My kids seem to have a hard time grasping this concept. I made this chart for The Big Blue Ox to try to help them find the main idea. They gave me lots of details but it took a while before one of them figured out the main idea. Oh well, I guess it will take a little time. Then we found the main idea for A Fox and a Kit.

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