Monday 30 April 2012

Word Wall Linky Party

I'm linking up with Jen over at The Teachers' Cauldron for her Word Wall Linky Party. To see all the great word wall ideas, click the picture to take you to Jen's blog post.

So here is what I did for my word wall this year... I divided one of my whiteboards into 24 sections using black string and tape. I print my word cards in black ink on white card stock, laminate, and add magnetic tape. At the beginning of the year I put up everyone's name and as the year goes on we add new sight words each week.

This idea was given to me by our very talented Literacy Support teacher. I started the year off with all the letters in black and white. Then as we went over each letter (correct formation and sound) I changed the card to blue letters with a matching sound picture. If you would like a copy of the letter cards, you can download them {here}.

The pictures on each card also match my Quick Stick Alphabet on top of my whiteboards.

I also wanted my students to have a quick place to reference the letters, so I made up my own desk nameplates that had the alphabet with the matching sound pictures and also a number line from 0-20. There is also a spot to write the student's name. I created a colour version and a black & white version. If you are interested in a copy of either, click the pictures to download.

As for the words I add to our word wall, I use the High Frequency words from our guided reading texts. These are words that the students are required to read and write correctly at all times. We add a few each week. This year I didn't do anything too special with the new words. We would read them, spell them together, and sometimes mix up magnetic letters. I think next year I would like to do a bit more practice with the new sight words each week.

Beside my main word wall, I have a mini pocket chart that I use as a theme word wall. I created cards for each month/holiday to use as writing prompts for the students in their journals. My students can come up, choose a card, and take it back to their desk. Then they can use the cards as ideas for writing and also to help them spell new words. Then they return the card back to the pocket chart when they are finished with it.

I have uploaded my mini word wall sets to Google Docs, so if any of them interest you, click the links below to download. I have tried to make them Canada & US friendly!

Well, that is how I have been using my word wall! Go check out some of the other great blogs linked up with Jen! Good night, everybody!

Monday 23 April 2012

Earth Day -- Hooray!

Here are some of the awesome books I like to read around Earth Day:

We didn't read "The Lorax" during our Dr. Seuss author study because I wanted to save it for our Earth Week. I read the book and we completed this story map together:

We ended up watching the cartoon version of "The Lorax" one afternoon and we created a little graph to see which version they liked best. I forgot to take a picture of the completed graph, but here are the cards. You can click the picture to download them if you wish. I also included the new movie in the graph, too, for students who had seen it with their families and liked that one the best. I always vote books best ;)

We also put together our own little Lorax crafts (patterns courtesy of Fun in First Grade) and Earth booklets (inside pages are from Amy Lemons' Earth Day Craftivity Unit). They turned out so cute!

We have assemblies every Friday morning and my class was in charge of putting together a story for this past Friday. I knew some sort of Earth Day story would fit in perfectly! So together we made a predictable chart with the sentence starter "We can..." and I had each student think of one thing that we can do to keep the Earth healthy and clean. The next day I typed up each sentence in Microsoft Word, added a cute Earth border, and printed them out for the students to illustrate. I also took pictures of each of students doing the idea they wrote about. Lastly I recorded my students voices reading their page and put it all together for a short little video story! It turned out great!

I can't post the video, but here are some of my students' drawings and the matching pictures:

Now off to enjoy a bike ride in this beautiful weather!  Night!

Saturday 21 April 2012


Thanks for checking out my new math centers! The following three winners will each get a copy of my Spring Math Centers:

You can also check out my centers at TpT. Click the picture to visit my store:

Have a great weekend!!

Friday 20 April 2012

Spring Math Stations {Giveaway}

I just finished my latest set of math centres! This is a perfect little unit to use from now until the end of the year. It contains nine centres that cover first grade skills like counting by 2's, addition and subtraction, patterns, counting backwards, nonstandard measurement, and more! Click the picture below to check it out at TpT:

Here's a little preview of the centers included:

As a little thank you for helping my teensy blog reach 303 followers {and because the end of the year is so close I can almost taste it!}, I will give this unit away to three lucky followers. All you need to do is follow my blog and leave a comment telling me how many days of school you have left!

I'll start you off... We're down to 48 days! Oh boy, June is going to be here before I know it!

This is going to be a short giveaway, so leave your comment quick! It ends tomorrow (Friday) at midnight (central time). Don't forget to leave your email!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday 19 April 2012

Furry Friends Linky Party

Yes, I know I am still teaching first grade for two months, but I have been having so much fun looking at these new second grade blogs I have been introduced to! Add those to the my long list of amazing first grade blogs, and I can barely tear my eyes away from the computer!

I decided to link up with the Furry Friends Linky Party over at Soaring Through Second.

I love any chance to show off pictures of my adorable furry friends!! So here's a little look at my household...

I always grew up with cats. My parents still have three cats right now. So when I moved into my first apartment on my own, I made sure it was pet-friendly! I didn't get a cat right away but one summer I ended up cat-sitting three cats for my uncle. Two of the cats were a little... catty. I did not get along with them. But the third cat was Ashley. She and I just connected. The other two cats went back to their home, but I ended up keeping Ashely and we have lived happily ever after since! We have been together for about 3 years. She is such a sweetie who loves to nuzzle! I just love her grey, lion beard!

Well after a few months, Ashley and I decided we needed a friend. Introduce: Oscar the kitten. I knew I wanted an orange tabby and Oscar did not dissapoint. He loves to drink water from the sink, climb into boxes, and thinks he's a dog. He's about 2.5 years old now.

Sometime down the road, the cats and I moved to a new apartment with boyfriend. Sometime after that we all moved out of the big city to a small town, where we bought our first house and built a fence around our big yard! We knew we wanted to get a puppy (neither of us had ever had a dog before!) and we settled on a chocolate lab. Here are some pictures of Bella when she was a puppy. She was 6.5 weeks when we got her!

I can't believe she was so small! Now she is almost 11 months and weighs 70 pounds! She loves to chase the cats, meet new people, and go for bike rides. We love her soooo much! (And the rumour is she might be getting a puppy sister this summer.... shhh!!)

Yes, we are a crazy animal family! But I love them and wouldn't have it any other way!

I promise to be back this week with some teaching-related stuff! I have some Spring Math Centers almost done and pictures of our Earth Day activities! Have a good night everyone!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Soon To Be.... Second Grade Garden?!

No pictures or freebies to share today... Just some *big* news in my world. I really wanted to join Doodle Bugs' 12 on 12 again this month, but my mind has been a bowl of mush lately that I didn't even think to pick up the camera once today...

There has been a lot of frustration and stress these past two weeks as things get worked out for the next school year... I thought I was going to be staying in Grade 1 at my current school, but that's not the way this cookie crumbled... I have loved being in Grade 1 so much and I have two fantastic grade partners that have been so fun to work with. But no tears -- on to new adventures, right?

I'm switching to a different school (which is a little bit closer to my home, so there's me starting to think positively) and will be teaching Grade 2 next year. I'm excited and sad and nervous all at the same time. This will be my fourth school and fourth different grade in four years.... I have previously taught 3/4, 4, and 1. I guess Grade 2 is the only thing I haven't taught yet! :P

I still have three more months of Grade 1 to plan and teach and have fun with though! But of course the wheels are already turning a bit to Grade 2... what kinds of fun stuff can I do with *them*? ;) I am going to have to stalk Amy over at Krazy About Kiddos to see what she is up to, because she just announced that she is going to be moving to second, too! If anyone knows of some fabulous second grade blogs, be sure to pass the links on to me!!

Off to take Bella for a bike ride... loving this early Spring weather!! Good night!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Classroom Organization

I feel like organization is one of my strong suits (at school anyways... home is a completely different story!) I love to see everything with a nice, colourful label on it. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I see a kiddo putting something back in the right spot. :) So here are just a few of my organization strategies and some free labels to help you get started!

Here is my organized art supply cupboard. I bought these little flip top containers from SuperStore (Canadian) a while back. They are a good size and stack nicely! I love clear containers because I can see what exactly is inside them. If you would like a copy of my art labels, click {here}.

Here is a picture of my classroom library. Again, I use clear containers. I sort my books by themes, authors, and series. Each tub has a number, description, and picture. On each book, I put a matching sticker with the tub number and picture. It makes putting books away really easy for the kiddos! After a brief "training session" at the beginning of the year, we hardly have any books out of place! I don't know if my number system would work for you, so I've uploaded my labels without numbers. Feel free to download my library labels {here}.

My math manipulatives are all sorted and stored in (you guessed it) clear containers with lids. I don't have any good pictures of them, but you can check out my math labels {here}.

Another organization tip for you... I store all my monthly files, books, decorations, centers, etc. in large file boxes. I might upgrade to large plastic totes one day, but for now the cardboard boxes do just fine. I like having everything in the box. If I didn't have the storage space at school, I could keep the boxes at home and just bring it to school the month you need it. Click {here} for my monthly labels. (You can download July & August {here}.)

And here's a quick little management technique I picked up from Pinterest {seen here} that has really worked for me! Every second Friday or so, I take the last 30-60 minutes of the day to have "Ketchup and Pickle Time". Underneath the ketchup card I write down the names of students who have work to "catch up" on. If they have more than one piece to do, I might write a number beside their name. If a student has no work to complete, they become a pickle and can "pick something quiet to do" (drawing, card games, reading, etc.) It really helps me during those weeks where I can see the piles of unfinished work just piling up. And it's a nice way to end a Friday, too! Want to try your own ketchup and pickle time? Download the cards {here}.

**Update** I've had a few questions about the daily schedule cards. They are created by the fabulous Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade. You can download them for free from here. I did create the time cards though. You can download them from here. They are in a word document, so you can edit the times yourself. I drew the hands on the analog clocks with a black marker after I printed them out, but you could add arrows in word if you have the time!

There ya go! Enjoy!

Monday 9 April 2012

Late Breaking News from PNN!!

I started this morning off by telling the kids there was the really important news report that I had to show them! It was breaking news!

I have had the release date for this book scheduled into my phone for months now! I was so excited when I finally walked into the book store and saw it sitting there... Oh that Mo Willems cracks me up! I love the little ducking. He's such a cutie-pa-tootie!!

I knew this would get my kids a little excited and goofy first thing on a Monday morning... after a long weekend... with bellies full of chocolate and jelly beans... and I wanted to start some lessons on subtraction because we haven't done much work on it. So I decided that the pigeon, duckling, and cookies would help me get the kids excited about subtraction!

I created this little chart to help us do some subtraction problems together. I just used my name cookies that I made for our "Who Stole the Cookie?" game way back in September... I came up with some subtraction questions for use to practice together. While I was working at the front, students were using unifix cubes in front of them to practice subtraction. They had a lot of fun!

Then I whipped up a few cookie subtraction worksheets to go with our lesson! They seemed to get it quickly when we talked about cookies... Because if you have some cookies and you eat some... you can't have more than you started with! That just doesn't make sense!

If you would like some subtraction practice worksheets (you don't even need to read the book... who doesn't love cookies??) just click the picture below to download!

I'm glad we got Monday out of the way now... Onto Tuesday! :)

Friday 6 April 2012

Hoppy Easter!

I survived the first week back after Spring Break... barely! Thank goodness it was only a four-day week! Haha.

Our week was full of Easter eggs and furry rabbits! Here's some of the fun Easter books we read this week:

In writer's workshop, we worked on descriptive words. We brainstormed adjectives to describe Easter eggs and rabbits and used these words in our writing.

The kids have been loving our Easter word work centres. These will continue into next week because there just wasn't enough time to get them all done! The favourite so far seems to be the Unscrambled Eggs. They love cracking open those eggs to see what mixed up word is inside! If your Easter activities are going to continue into next week (like mine.... hehe) check out my centres over at TpT! Click the picture to see them.

We did these ADORABLE bunny graphs from First Grade a la Carte. You can get the glyph recording sheet and bunny tracers from her site. I love how they turned out! Can you tell what is always on the mind of six-year-old boys? Sonic Easter Bunny, Mario Easter Bunny.... Seriously? :P

And of course I am always on the look out for ways to use food in math, so we did a little jelly bean graphing and addition. I had quite the excess of plastic eggs, so I filled 21 of them with jelly beans and let each kiddo keep one. They were pretty excited about that. Seriously, those eggs take up a lot of space! And I think I still have a huge tub filled with them! I really need to stop shopping at the dollar store...

Click the picture above to get your own copies! 
All Easter clipart is from KPM Doodles.

Then came all the egg talk! I busted out the big "o" word that we learned when studying owls... oviparous! *swoon* Some of them remembered it!

First we did a little "Mystery Egg" activity. I printed out a bunch of pictures of oviparous animals, laminated and folded them, and placed them in plastic eggs. I had each student guess what was in their egg. Then we opened them up. Some students got a big surprise! This would be a lot of fun with little plastic animals too, but I couldn't find the large selection that I wanted. If you would like a copy of my animal pictures, click {here}!

Then we read the book "Chickens Aren't the Only Ones" and did an Oviparous/Not Oviparous picture sort. I got these picture cards from Chalk Talk. She has a super cute FREE oviparous unit. Check it out!

To finish up, we created a clas book called "These Eggs Crack Us Up!" The book page was also from Chalk Talk's cute unit. I created a cover page for it. Click {here} to download. I let students choose any oviparous animal to draw in their egg.

On a personal note, I had a *fabulous* Spring Break in sunny Florida! Oh my, the weather was beautiful the entire week we were there. In five days we managed to hit 6 different theme parks. It was a little bit insane, but so much fun! Here's just a few pics if you're curious ;)

Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter both in one theme park... how lucky can a girl get??

Winnie the Pooh was the only character I met... I was *not* standing in line for 45 minutes for some of the others!! My word!

Just a couple more pictures at Disney! We had so much fun!

Happy Easter weekend everyone!!