Friday, December 26, 2014

Easing into the New Year!

I hope your Christmas was filled with as much love and laughter as ours was.  We were blessed to have our son and his wife home with us again this Christmas from North Carolina, and we ate way too much, drank way too much, and spent a whole lot of time laughing at the antics of the two newest members of our family, this precious baby boy, my great nephew,

And this little bundle of furry energy, my first grand-doggy!

But, alas, all too soon, it will be time to think about going back to school after the New Year.  So my bloggy friends put their heads together and came up with a way to make it just a bit less painful for you all to head back to school.

What?  No or low-prep freebies to start January off right?  Sound great to me! Hop around to grab the no/low prep freebies, and then enter to win an Amazon gift card at the end of the hop!
I am stop 17!

Here's my NO prep freebie to use your first week back!

click the picture to download the crown

This fun crown is great addition to anything you are doing to celebrate the New Year in your classroom.  Writing about resolutions?  Wear the crown.  Doing New Year's Math?  Wear the crown.  Reading about New Year's celebrations around the world?  Wear the crown.  You get the idea. 

And, it just so happens, this crown is part of my much larger resource, 

If you click here, you can see a GIF that shows you the contents of this resource!

This awesome resource can easily take you through your first day back to school.  It includes reading and writing activities, a CVC and CVCe phonics scoot game, two math activities, a PDF or PowerPoint version of a short informational text about New Year's celebrations around the world, and a follow up staggered booklet to make based on the informational text.  Lots of good stuff in here, and it will be on sale for 20% off the regular $5.00 price for the duration of this blog hop!

Now hop on over to the next stop and enter the Rafflecopter on The Teaching Tribune for an $80 gift card to by clicking the button below!

Just click on me to go to The Teaching Tribune and enter the Rafflecopter.  If you need to continue the hop, you can continue from The Teaching Tribune!

Enjoy the hop, and I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Silly Sentence Fun!

Last week, I finished up this new Thanksgiving resource. I developed it to use with my students because we've been working on writing complete sentences.  I wanted them to practice deciding if a sentence was complete by identifying the who part and the what part of a sentence.

I finally got to use this activity with my children today.  We did it first as a whole group activity, and then I put it into our literacy center rotation for this month.  It really is perfect because there are so many different combinations of sentences the children can make.

So I ran off the color saving option in totally black and white.  I put each sheet into a wipe off pocket. 
We used the paperclip spinners to find a word or phrase on each spinner.  Then we put the words together in the order of the spinners.  The first time we spun, we came up with "sailed hunted corn and stuffing."  The kids decided that was not a sentence because it didn't tell us who. 

The second spin, we got the words "the pilgrims ate corn and stuffing"  The kids agreed that was a sentence because it told us who -- the Pilgrims and what ate corn and stuffing.  All right.  Now to write it correctly on the recording sheet!  After everyone finished writing the sentence, I showed them how to check it using the check boxes and fix the sentence if necessary.  
After a few more non-sentence spins, we spun "the mayflower cooked in the forest."  At first, some of the children said it wasn't a sentence, and some said it was.  So we applied the test.  Does it tell us who?  Yes - The Mayflower.  Does it tell us what it does?  Yes -- cooks in the forest.  So it's a sentence, albeit a silly sentence!    Don't you just love the picture of the Mayflower cooking in the forest?  Again, the children wrote the sentence and used the check boxes to check for capitalization and ending punctuation.  We continued on in this manner until we had four sentences written and proofread for capitalization and end marks. The favorite silly sentence was "Turkeys cooked the spider."   Then the children illustrated the sentences.  
I was so pleased with the way this activity turned out.  The children were engaged and attentive the whole time.  They loved the novel approach of spinning a sentence and deciding if what they spun was really a sentence. Now that they know how to use it, I'm anxious to put the activity into centers for November and hear them working through the process themselves!

In addition to the center work, there are 8 pages of follow-up black and white activities that practice and reinforce complete sentences.  

If you would like to try out these activities with your students, click on the picture above and visit my TpT store.  

If you're looking for Christmas spin-a-sentence, you can find it here: Click the picture to visit my store and learn more about this resource.

Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And It's November!

I can't believe how the time is flying this year!  Halloween is done and gone, and it is November already.  Are you as amazed by this time flying as I am?

We've had an fun fall in our classroom.  We've learned about the communities, using this super new pack that I developed.

We also spent a good bit of time on our Skeleton unit in October since I only have science two days a week.

The kids are really enjoying these activities, and they love the idea of having a science interactive notebook!  


 We assembled and read our flipbook, then we underlined the important facts from the informational text.

We used our flipbook to pinpoint three major functions of the skeleton.

We learned the "kid friendly" names of the major bones in the body.  There are also cards for the proper names of bones.

There are still a few more sections that we need to complete with this unit, but I'm putting on the back burner for next week because I want to cover Veterans Day in social studies.  Speaking of, have you seen my fabulous Veterans Day resource?  
There are so many wonderful activities for learning about Veterans Day and activities you can do within your school community and as community outreach for local Veterans.  One user shared her idea on my feedback...

"My kinders always make something special for the vets in the hospital here. Your cards and wreath project are perfect!"

Another buyer had this to say about the differentiation within the unit...

"OH WOW! This is so awesome and wonderfully differentiated for different learners and their levels! Thank you!"

Now for the really great news!  This resource is currently on sale @ 33% off on Educents!  Click on the picture above to visit the listing and view this resource up close. 

As always, I like to leave you with a nice freebie for staying with me this long.  Right click on the picture below and "save image as" to your desktop to print and use this portion of my Veterans Day resource.

I developed these notes to use when my son left for boot camp almost two years ago.  I put them out at his graduation/going away party, and his friends and family all jotted notes to him on them.  Throughout his time at boot camp, I sent him a note a day.  When he is deployed, I plan to do the same.  I love the thought that teachers are using these same notes to send messages to other Veterans and service members!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Already?

Wow, I can't believe it's October already!  Today sure feels like fall in our neck of the woods.  After a beautiful week of lows in the high 50s and highs in the mid '70s (perfect weather in my book), a cold front came through while we were at the pumpkin festival, and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 10 minutes!  We had sleet!!  And now it's 42 degrees.  BUT on the plus side, I've got chicken soup on the stove and the fireplace going.  For everything there is a season, right?

So, how's your school year going so far?  I'm thrilled to say that I have the sweetest group of first graders this year.  They're not perfect, but they are bright and cute and inquisitive and eager for school, and I love going to work every morning.  The days are flying by with this group.  That makes me happy because believe me, there have been years when the opposite was true!

We've been really focusing on the short vowels this first quarter, and most of my kiddos are doing really well with sounding out and blending words.  I created these awesome short vowels resources to use with them each week, and it really helped.

We created short vowel interactive notebooks for each short vowel sound using  a lot of these resources.  I tried to make the activities engaging and fun, from making short vowel crowns to playing games in small groups with the kiddos who need extra support with applying the sounds.

I'm pretty excited about these resources, and I think they are a must have if you are teaching short vowel sounds to your students.  For tomorrow only, Sunday, October 5, all day, I am putting the bundle of these products on sale for 10% off.  It would be $15 to buy all five resources separately.  I have bundled them for $12.  But tomorrow only, you will be able to buy the resources for only $10.80, and you can choose one of my two newest resources, Word Sorting Mats set 1 or Word Sorting Mats set 2, to receive completely free!
Click on the picture above and to view my Learning the Short Vowels bundle up close.  You can also sample some of the resources by clicking on the picture below.

If you'd like to see other great deals, visit All Things Apple in Second by clicking on the picture below.  

All Things Apple in 2nd

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Getting into the Swing of Things

Hi, all.  Now, that back to school time is winding down, and we're starting to establish classroom routines, I feel like we're finally getting into the swing of things in my classroom.  We just finished our third week and starting to settle into the routines.  We're still limping along without our math books, although I do have the teacher's manual and online access to our new series, so that helps greatly.  Thank God for TpT.  I look at the objectives I need to teach, teach it on the first day, then search through my files or TpT for a supporting activity the second day.  I'm also creating a series of interactive notebook activities to go with each objective, but, as always, time to create is a problem.
Our first chapter is all about making sure children understand the concepts of addition.  So I developed these story mats to use with the kiddos while we practice manipulating objects to tell our stories.  You can use the included pictures, but I used two sided counters.  As we told our addition stories, I wrote the corresponding addition sentences on the board just to expose the children to the math vocabulary we would be using. 

One thing that really surprised me is that when we talked about what addition means, the children promptly answered, "We're putting them together."  Great!  We have the concept of addition means put together!  But when I asked, "What are we putting together when we add?", they answered, "The numbers."  Whoa!  Not quite, right?  So we started using these boards to tell our addition stories, and I asked them, "Are you putting numbers together on your boards?"  "No."  "Well, what are you putting together?"  "Things."  "And what do we call it when we put a bunch of things together?"  After several, shall we say, incomplete, answers, (all which led along the path to the answer I was looking for) one little girl finally said, "A set."  Bingo!  From there we talked about how when we add we are putting sets together, and the numerals are symbols of how many objects are in the set.  So we are not actually adding numbers, we are adding groups of things together.

It was sort of an a-ha moment for many of them, and for me as well.  In the past, it was not something that I stressed or even thought about whether or not they understood.  I mean, if they could answer 2+2=4, then obviously they understood the concept, right?  Obviously not.

From the blank boards, we moved into boards divided into part/part/whole boards and started writing the addition sentences on white boards to go along with those addition stories we make up.  The final step is to put each sum into our interactive math notebook, and use our part/part/whole boards and two-sided counters to discover and write the addition sentences to ten.  I think it will make a great resource for the children throughout the year.

If you would like to see my VERY incomplete resource that I have thus far, you can click on the picture above and download it for free.  If you look at the table of contents, you can see what I plan to include, but it is not all in there yet.  Hopefully, this weekend I will be able to add the missing pieces and get it posted.  If you do look at it, please let me know what you think and what I could add or change to make it more useful for you.

Today, I am joining up with Laura Graham, from Where the Magic Happens, for a Super Saturday Sale.  Today, all my featured items are on sale for 50% off.  What a deal!  I have items ranging from beginning of the year to Halloween in my featured items space, so take a look and see if there's anything you might like.
Click on either picture above to visit my TpT store!

Click the picture above to visit Laura's blog and see what other treasures you can find!
Have a great weekend!
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