Sunday 23 October 2011

Math Stations - Set 2

Here is my next set of math stations, ready to go tomorrow! I only have 8 stations this time. I also changed my groups around so students get the chance to work with different students. The stations are Halloween/October themed, but we will keep doing them the first bit of November (because I am a bit late getting them all ready to go). I found some awesome Halloween goodies at the dollar store (Canadian teachers... how much do you LOVE Dollarama? American friends, I know your Dollar Tree is just as good!) I bought some Halloween rings for counters, small pumpkin erasers for counting, and pumpkin ice cube trays that make perfect ten frames! Here is how I used them and more!

Station #1: How Many Spiders?

Students roll two dice and place that number of spiders on each web. They write a number sentence on their recording sheet. Notice my colour matching foam dice and spider counters? I'm a nerd like that. :)

Click here for label, recording sheet, and spider web mat.

Station #2: October Graphing (totally inspired by Doodle Bugs Teaching fall graphing centre)

Students each get a picture collage sheet and count the number of each picture. They colour in the bar graph and answer the questions. Click to download here.

{Download US spelling version here.}

Station #3: Pumpkin Guess & Count (this one was inspired by Erica Bohrer's freebie Candy Corn Estimation and Counting)

I filled up four little containers with small pumpkin erasers. Students make a guess and then count how many pumpkins there really are. Click here to download.

Station #4: Spooky Bingo

I made three different bingo cards with numbers from 1-10. The goal is to get four in a row any which way. I used ten frame cards as the bingo cards, but you can use a regular deck of cards with the face cards removed or a 10-sided die if you have. I also used unifix cubes as the bingo chips, but you can use anything--Halloween counters, actual bingo chips, or even Halloween foam shapes. Click here to download the bingo cards and directions.

Station #5: Bat Patterns

I got these bats from Dollarama. They were actually in a pack of Halloween rings, but the ring part actually snaps off so I can use them as counters. Students make patterns with the counters first with two colours, then with three. They colour in their patterns on the recording sheet. Click here to download this station.

Station #6: Pumpkin Sums of 10

When I saw these silicone pumpkin ice cube trays with TEN spots in them, I knew I had to find someway to use them as a math station. So I used some colourful pumpkins (from the same set of rings the bats came from) as counters to help students discover all the ways to make ten. They fill in each spot on the pumpkin tray and then colour in the ten frame on the recording sheet and write a number sentence to make 10. Click here to download the label and recording sheet.

Station #7: Yummy! Candy!

I tell students that the dominoes are like two bags of candy. They need to find out how many candy are in both bags. They pull a domino out of the tub and draw the same dots on their recording sheet. They write a number sentence to go with it. Click here to download this station.

Station #8: Count the Spiders

Students choose one of the cards, count the number of spiders on it, and write the number on the recording sheet. Click here to download.

Well that is it for my Halloween math stations. Hopefully you can use some of these before Halloween, or tuck it in your back pocket for next year! Happy haunting everyone!

Thursday 20 October 2011

Aaaaargh! Spiders!

First off I want to say, "Wow!" I can't believe I have over a hundred followers. I was shocked when I checked in tonight! Thank you to everyone and I hope you all find something useful here!

So I teach in a "Halloween sensitive" area and although we are allowed to celebrate Halloween, we are encouraged to be sensitive to the families who don't celebrate it. I haven't gone full swing into the Halloween craziness like I normally would have... Instead we have focused on studying spiders for the last week and a bit and next week I hope to do some fun pumpkin activities. So we can be Halloweeny without saying Halloween ;) We are still having a costume party on the 31st which should be fun. Although Halloween on a Monday = Ick! I do have a P. D. session to go to on November 1st though, so I guess a sub gets to deal with the sugar-high kids. :)

Well, here are some of the interesting spider activities we have done this week. We started off with a KWL of what the students knew and wanted to know about spiders.

Here are some of the fun spider books I like to use. I have the book and movie version of Diary of a Spider. Today I showed the movie to my class and they thought it was super cute. Interesting fact of the day: The spider is voiced by the kid from "Two and a Half Men".

We talked about what a spider looks like and I drew (poorly) a spider on the easel. We labeled six main parts together: the head, the abdomen, the legs, the eyes, the feelers, and the spinnerets. My kids loved that word and they use it all the time! We also sang this spider body part song (to the tune of "Head and Shoulders"):

Head, eight legs, ab-do-men,
Ab-do-men, ab-do-men.
Head, eight legs, ab-do-men,
Eyes, feelers, spin-ner-ets.

Then students then labeled their own spider diagram. Click on the picture to download.

Next we talked about what spiders eat. My little bunnies couldn't believe that there are some spiders out there that eat things like fish and birds! That was pretty gross to learn! I also used Deanna Jump's science experiment "How do spiders eat their prey?" We did a little sort with things a spider eats and things we eat. Click the picture to download.

We did a little sequencing activity with the spider's life cycle. I made large cards to use all together on the easel and a small half sheet for students to cut out and glue in order. We glued these into our theme journals. The graphics on the cards are used with permission from You can download them for free by clicking on the picture.

Seeing as we were learning some new big words like spinnerets and abdomen, I thought I would throw in arachnophobia! We did a class graph to see who in our class had arachnophobia. There is an individual student sheet to go with it. I made another sheet to ask who in our class had ever caught a spider before.


One of my favourite spider stories is "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle. It's a cute little repetitive story. After I read it once, I ask my students to be "actors" and assign each an animal from the story. I had my spider "making" her web on the white board at the front as the fly buzzed around her. When I got to each animal in the story they stood up and made their animal sound. It was cute and they all had fun being a part of the story. I made these little cards for each animal so the students knew who they were. You could also use it as a pocket chart sequencing activity. I just loved the farm animal clipart from Stockberry Studio. Super cute! Click to download your own cards.

 We also used this book in a Venn Diagram comparison. We looked at two different spider books: "The Very Busy Spider" and "National Geographic Readers: Spiders". We talked about the similarities and differences between the two books. I made a little Venn Diagram activity with fact cards to cut and glue into the appropriate spaces. I also made a blank Venn Diagram to compare two different books of your choice. Feel free to download it if you can use it!

Lastly, we took all of the information we had learned about spiders and completed a tree map.

You can download the tree map labels and a student tree map here.

We used the facts from our tree maps to do some spider writing. I was very pleased with their work. We have been practicing using capitals and periods in our writing and they did a good job on this. We also made colourful spiderwebs and spiders using Sharpies and oil pastels. I totally stole this idea from Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. I loved it! We mounted our writing and spider webs on a large piece of construction paper. They turned out very cute.

I love the last line there... Spiders ar kol. (Spiders are cool.) So cute! You can download my spider writing paper here.

I also have a few spider math stations that I will be posting this weekend when I post Math Stations - Set 2. They are mostly spider and pumpkin related, so hopefully you can use them next week before Halloween! 

Have a great Friday tomorrow! Woo! :)

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Fire Safety Week

I can't seem to catch my breath these days!! It's been so busy and to top it off, I am at a math inservice tomorrow, so my kiddies are going to have a sub for the first time! Cross my fingers they all survive! :)

Well, here's what's been happening in the First Grade Garden this week. We started our fire safety theme last week. My kiddies had soooo much background knowledge of fire safety. Those kindergarten teachers really made it stick! We made a schema chart and I wrote the kids' ideas on orange sticky notes.

Our author of the month is Norman Bridwell, author of Clifford, so of course the first story I read was "Clifford the Firehouse Dog". We made these cute Clifford puppets that were inspired by Mrs. Schmelzer's First Grade. She has some great fire safety activities to check out! You can download the fire dog colouring page from here. I just reduced it on the photocopier and added the words.

They loved these cute puppets! I even had some red paper bags from Target, so that worked out nicely!

Another day, we read a book about firefighters and completed a tree map about them. I got the idea from the cute blog Pencils, Glue, & Tying Shoes. My kiddies had lots of great ideas to include on the map. The cute graphics are from Stockberry Studio at You can download the cards to make the tree map {here}.

I made these cute word wall cards with words students might need to use in their writing. Download them by clicking on the picture below.

You can use these cards as a centre too. I made a recording sheet where the students choose four cards and have to put them in alphabetical order. They write the words in order and draw pictures to go with it. Download the recording sheet by clicking the pic.

I also made a couple matching sheets to practice these fire safety words. Click to download.

I created a few math games to go with our fire safety theme as well. The first one is just an empty board game. This is to practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. Students play with a partner, roll a die, and move that number of spaces. You could use the game board in a lot of different ways. Click to download.

I also made this Roll 'N Count firetruck game. I like to use red bingo dabbers with this, but you could use bingo chips or markers/crayons. Students each get their own sheet but play with a partner or small groups. They take turns rolling a die. They find that number on the fire truck and cover it up. The first one to cover up their whole truck wins! Click to download.

I used my projector to show this ADORABLE video from YouTube. It is Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King in a Fire Safety video. It is about 12 minutes long but it is hilarious! The kids thought it was great. Click below for the link.

Also, if you haven't visited Sparky the Firedog's website, you should go. They have some awesome games and printables. They also have an online version of the Story of Sparky the Fire Dog. You can virtually flip the pages! It is pretty cute. Click for the link.

These are a collection of fire safety books that I have and love to read/share with my students.

Over the week we have had many practice fire drills. We have practiced our Stop, Drop, and Roll. We have practiced staying low and crawling under smoke (a blanket). We have made a classroom book about our family meeting plans (thanks Made for 1st Grade for the cute freebie!) Some of my students got to visit the fire hall for their Open House on Tuesday. Lastly, we put together this little fire safety book with six important lessons we need to remember. We filled in the missing letters/words on each page together and then drew pictures to go with. You could also find clipart online, I'm sure, for them to cute and glue on each page. It's all up to you and the level of your kiddies. I printed the cover on red cardstock, but you could just have them colour it as well.

Click here to download the book. Here is what the six pages say:

(1) Smoke detectors save lives.
(2) Know 2 ways out.
(3) Stay low and go.
(4) Call 911 for help!
(5) Stop, drop, roll.
(6) Fire is not a toy.

Well, that's it for now. We're onto creepy, crawly spiders right now! More to come later!

Monday 3 October 2011

Thanks A Bunch!

Awww! A big thank you to blogger Barbara over at Grade ONEderful for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award. I feel so honoured to have gotten more than 50 followers in such a short time! I hope you find some useful things on my blog. I like to create and share, so take what you need! :)

As part of the awards, we're supposed to say seven things about ourselves and then pass the Versatile Blogger Award to 15 recently discovered blogs.

Well, let's start with seven random things about me in no particular order:

1. I love to scrapbook. I wish I had more time for it though!

2. I love love LOVE slurpees. Dr. Pepper is my favourite.

3. I am a bit of an organizational freak in the classroom, but my house is a disaster. 

4. My best friend is my aunty (who is actually two years younger than me!) She is an AMAZING teacher and talented musician.

5. I have two cats named Oscar (orange tabby) and Ashley (black long-haired). I also have a chocolate lab named Bella. She is only 4 months old and a big bundle of energy!

6. My favourite TV shows are Glee, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, and The Office. I'm loving these new shows too though: New Girl, Prime Suspect, Free Agents, and Up All Night.

7. I stay up way too late most nights... even school nights!!

I have given out the Versatile Blogger Award here to these amazing blogs. Some I have just started following, others are what started the addiction. They are all amazing and inspiring! Thanks everyone :)

The First Grade Parade
Life in First Grade
The Inspired Apple
Erica Bohrer's First Grade
Castles and Crayons
Crazy for First Grade
Finally in First
Oceans of First Grade Fun
Pencils, Glue, & Tying Shoes
Doodle Bugs Teaching
Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits
First Grade Blue Skies
Mrs. Schmelzer's First Grad
First Last!
Fun in First Grade

Honestly, this list should just keep going and going, but I need to get some sleep! Thanks again and good night!