Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Practicing Addition Strategies through Games

Hello!  Welcome to the first iTeachFirst linkup!                         
In these monthly linkups, we will be sharing timely tips, teaching strategies, resources, and some freebies with you.  If you like what you see in this blog post, be sure to follow me (or any of the participating bloggers) and check back at the beginning of the each month for a new link up.  Today, I will be sharing some  free and paid teaching resources with you that I use during November and December to keep the children active and focused on learning math!

I spent November introducing several addition strategies to my students, such as counting on from the larger number, using a number line, using doubles, and doubles plus one.  While most of the children quickly caught on to these strategies, there were a few who struggled with them, and our math text, as is the case with so many texts these days, spent 1 day -- ONE day -- on each strategy.  I know my kiddos need more practice recognizing when to use the strategies and more practice with actually applying the strategies.

Cue the math games!  Every Friday, I pick a fun math game for my students to play that allows them to apply and practice the various strategies.

For Thanksgiving, we used my Turkey Toss game.  It's a ramped up and extra challenge added version of Bump.  The kids love playing it, and I love that they don't even realize they are practicing math strategies.

 Turkey Toss can be played on the SMARTBoard

Or, if you don't have a SMARTBoard, use the PDF version.  I like to play a few times on the SMARTBoard with the whole group, then let them team up and play using the PDF version.

After the fun of playing the game, you can use the included sheets for more practice, homework, or as a summative assessment for acquisition of basic facts.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is coming, I have a similar game called Elf Toss.
Christmas Elf Toss is a fun and fast-paced Christmas math game played similar to Bump, but with a twist. There are two Elf Toss game boards for differentiated learning. The two-dice gameboard requires the children to add or subtract to place or lock their squares or bump their opponent off a square. It requires strategic thinking to figure out what is the best move.
The second game board uses three dice and is played either like the traditional Bump, or -- I just thought of this -- the children can add or subtract in any combination to get the best strategic move!

After playing the game, you can use the follow-up worksheets for practice, formative assessment, or homework!

 And, as an added bonus, this game also includes a Notebook file for SMARTBoard use!

Let's end with a longtime freebie in my store, another game I developed for practicing addition strategies, in particular the counting on to add strategy.  You can download it from my store by clicking on the cover picture.  Enjoy!

Be sure to check below to see more great ideas from other iTeachFirst bloggers!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Veterans Day

Veterans Day.  More than a day off.  Veterans Day is a day to remember all those who are serving, have served, or who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Helping young children understand this sacrifice is not always easy.  I have put together this fabulous Veterans Day resource to help you help your little learners understand the importance of Veterans Day.  
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!"
Another aspect of this Veterans Day resource that I just love is the My American Hero wall display.  I send the note home with each child in first grade, and if there is a Veteran in the family, the child colors the flag and border, parents attach a picture, and we display it on our hall wall.  The kids come back with great stories about their grandfathers, uncles, fathers, brothers, cousins, and a few times we had female service members as well that their parents shared with them while completing the projects.  Every person who passes the wall stops and studies the pictures and reads about the Veterans pictured. 

I developed these notes to use when my son left for boot camp over 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. 

Now, we are using the notecards in class to write messages to him and other Marines that I include in my care packages to him. He says the Marines love the messages and especially get a kick out of the pictures the kids draw on the back of the notecards.  It helps them feel connected to home, too.  And some of the Marines don't get any mail at all, so they love sharing my son's mail.

I love the thought that teachers are using these same notes to send messages to other Veterans and service members!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What?? An iPad Air 2 Giveaway? Sign me up!!!!

Back to School Giveaway

As sad as I am to see summer coming to an end, I can't help but feel a little bit 
excited about the upcoming school year.  While it is hard and exhausting getting 
back into the groove, I do love meeting my new kiddos and getting to know a 
whole new group of children and parents.  This year we have a new principal after
17 years with the old one.  I'm a little nervous about the changes that I know will 
be coming, but I'm also excited about  the new ideas he will probably bring with
him.  This year, everything is up in the air.  Will our schedules be different?  Will we
still be doing X, Y, Z that we have done every year?  

To help you get back into the excitement of back to school, the teachers of the 
iTeach blog are giving away the fabulous prize pictured above.  It would be an 
awesome asset to any classroom!
To enter, click on the picture above to go to the iTeach 1st blog, and fill out the
rafflecopter entry form at the end of the  post and leave a comment telling 
us why you want to win, or how you would use the iPad in your classroom. 
(I only made that big and bold because I usually don't read closely enough and 
wind up missing that step.) We are accepting entries from Sunday 8/2 through 
Saturday 8/8. A random winner will be selected and announced here via the
Rafflecopter on Sunday 8/9. Best wishes on this new school year and may the odds
be in your favor for the giveaway!

Enjoy the rest of your summer (if you have any left) !

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm done. What do I do now?

How many times have you heard that question?  It has been the bane of my existence in the classroom for going on 28 years now.  No matter how many times I tell the children what they can do when they finish their work, they just can't seem to do it.  I've seen these "fast finisher" boards and whatnot around for a while now, but when I look at them, they just seem to hard for first graders, especially at the beginning of the year.  Plus, a lot of them involve me checking work when it is finished, and I just don't want to make that extra work for myself.

Enter Dollar Tree.  Every few days I stop in and browse around just to see what they have.  Last time I stopped, I spotted these.

Those looked interesting.  And the little picture up in the corner got me thinking.  I bet I could make a fast finisher activity choice board to use with these.  So I got to work and came up with this.
I printed it out at 190% and carefully cut and lined up edges, glue pieces down, added some tape, and tried it out.

I love the way it works! I will make two more, laminate them, and use them on the side chalkboard every morning, spinning them to tell the kids each morning what they should do if they finish their work early.  I like the idea of switching it up a bit each day, but there will be lots of overlap of activities as well. 

I really hope this does away with the "I'm done.  What do I do now?" question!

If you'd like to print out the board, you can download it by clicking on the picture below.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rested and Relaxed

Hi everyone!  Can you believe it's already almost the 4th of July?  My June was a c-r-a-z-y whirlwind of fun.  The day after school ended, we headed to North Carolina to visit our son and daughter-in-law, who conveniently live very close to the shores of North Carolina.
Here they are at North Topsail Beach.  As you can see, the weather was gorgeous and hot, hot, hot and sunny while we were there.  For the first time ever, I had to get out of the sun because I just couldn't take it anymore.

We came home, and my daughter had a week of Camp Invention.  At the end of the week, we were off again to Ocean City, where my daughter and husband participated in the Fireman's Parade.

Again, we had great weather with wall-to-wall sunshine.
I caught this gorgeous sunset over the inlet from the top of the Ferris wheel on the boardwalk.  The red building, the Assateague House, is where we stayed.  I highly recommend it if you're looking for a place within walking distance of everything, but out of the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk.

It's a good thing we had all that sun and warmth at these two places because since we've been home, it's done nothing but RAIN.  Sunday our high temperature was 68 degrees!  We haven't been able to go in the pool since the end of May.  Surely hope this weather pattern turns around soon.

Anyway, now that I am rested and refreshed (because I literally did no work while we were gone), it's time to get back into the creation mode.  I'm linking up with Chalk One Up for the Teacher for her two for Tuesday sale.
I've started working on a morning work series.  I know there are a ton of them out there, but none of the ones I tried weren't quite what I was looking for.  After much fiddling, I came up with a format that I really like, and I'm designing the activities to go along with our first grade math and language arts curriculum.

 I'm really pleased with it, and I would love for you to try it out and see what  you think.  I have made the first week of work available as a free download in my store.  You can find it by clicking on the picture above.

In addition, I finished the first 4 weeks, and it is currently available in my store for 50% off, only $1.75, for Two for Tuesday today only.

You can find this great deal by clicking on the cover above.

I've also revamped one of my earlier products that is perfect for back-to-school.

Here are some samples my daughter is working on finishing up for me. It includes a bulletin board header

The pieces to make a mini-me display, including a girl head, a boy head, or a blank head for your children to draw their own hair.  It also has the pieces to make the All About Me newspaper.
 It also comes with four follow-up worksheets, one that is a meet-your-classmates activity, and three math tallying, graphing, and data analysis activities.

I use it with my kiddos every year to make a hall display for the first open house of the year.  It's perfect because it incorporates math, writing, and social studies into the first few days of school before you jump into the meat of your subjects.  Depending on the grade you teach, you may have to walk your kiddos through the tallying and graphing activities, like I do, or older students will be able to do the activities independently.

I print the graph out at 185% to make a chart size graph, and we complete that together, with each child coloring a square in the appropriate birthday month. Then we go through the data analysis sheet together, with each child filling in the information on their individual sheets, and me filling it in projected onto the SMARTBoard.

This item is my second Two for Tuesday offering.  It is on sale for only $1.75 for today only. You can click on the cover of the resource to see it in my store.

I hope you are having a great summer as well, resting, relaxing, and starting to feel refreshed and recharged for the upcoming school year!

Be sure to check out what other stores are offering for Two for Tuesday! Click on the button below to visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher's blog and scroll to the bottom of the post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two for Tuesday!

Hi Friends!  Throughout the summer, I am going to be joining up with my sweet friend, Chalk One Up for the Teacher, for a Two for Tuesday linky party.  I (and many other sellers) will be offering two resources for that Tuesday only at a discounted price.

Here are the two items I am offering at 50% off today.
                        Read on to find out more and see how  you can get a free sample!

This week, I am offering my newest resource, Nouns, for 50% off.

This is a great, comprehensive resource for teaching everything about nouns to first graders.  It would also make a good review for second grade.  It covers the definition of a noun, singular and plural nouns, common and proper nouns, and possessive nouns.  There are 27 interactive activities, review sheets, centers, games, and assessments to use in this unit, including a put-it-together anchor chart.  (You can learn more about that anchor chart here, and also get a free download of the pieces to make the anchor chart yourself.)

My second offering, at 50% off, is my Father's Day booklet and coupon booklet.  It makes an endearing keepsake for Dad, one that he will look back on and laugh.

Two great resources at 50% off!  Now that's a Two for Tuesday!  If you'd like to check them out, click on the Two for Tuesday picture below to visit the custom category!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Back-to-School with Anchor Charts for the Artistically Challenged

Recently, I was putting together a nouns grammar resource, and I wanted to include some kind of anchor chart because I see all the beautiful ones on Pinterest all. the. time.  But whenever I try to actually draw one, it's a dismal failure.  The one I actually did make for nouns was really not helpful because the kids really had no idea what I drew.  Being the beginning of first grade, adding a label was not helpful for every child because not every child could read the label.



So, in the noun resource, I decided to include all the pieces necessary to construct an anchor chart with the children.  It is super simple to do.  First, print out the pieces, cut them out, and have them ready for the  lesson.  Then, gather the children around the chart paper.  Tell them today you are going to answer this question (glue on the question "What is a noun?"  Read the question to the children, then read it together.  As you say "A noun is a word that names..." glue on that phrase.  Then add the just the words in four spaces under the beginning phrase.  Be sure to leave space to glue the two pictures to the chart.  So you will glue on "a person", "a place," "an animal," "a thing" in different places on the chart.

Then you display the pictures of the nouns.  Have the children name each picture, then let them take turns putting the pictures under the correct definition of a noun.  When it is finished, it will looks something like this.

Please excuse the poor printing.  My inkjet printer was having "nearly out of ink" issues at the  time that I printed this out.

So, now you have built an attractive anchor chart with recognizable pictures that you will be proud to display in your classroom for your students to use as a reference.  Your children have gone through the process of building the chart with you, and they even had a chance to interact with the building of it, so hopefully the meaning of noun will be embedded for life so when they go to 2d grade, they don't give the 2d grade teacher the "deer in the headlights" look when she asks, "What is a noun?"  Instead, every hand will shoot up, and the 2d grade teacher will say, "Wow, your first grade teacher did a FANTASTIC job teaching you about nouns!"

Since the idea of an anchor chart is something you want to build with the kids each year, there are two ways to approach this.  You can either A.  Print out the pieces each year and build a new chart, or B. laminate the chart paper first, then add Velcro to the laminated chart and the back of the pieces.  That way you can remove the pieces and redo the chart each year.  Oh, I thought of C as well.  You could use foam board, add the Velcro, and make the chart on the foam board.  Which actually would be an awesome idea for me because then I could lean them against my walls since we're not allowed to hang anything on the new paint. (insert frowny face here).

Anyway, if you would like to try this anchor chart for yourself, you can click on the finished anchor chart picture below and download the pieces to experiment with over the summer.

 Anchor Charts for the Artistically Challenged

If you'd like to check out the larger Noun package that this came from, it's available in my TpT store.  Just click the preview below to get there, and be sure to download the free sample in my preview!

So there you have it!  I hope you find this idea useful.  I'm sure I'll be creating many more of these Anchor Charts for the Artistically Challenged, so keep your eyes open for them!

Have a great day!