Monday, 30 July 2012

Monday Made It... I Made It!

I have been a busy girl! So here I am joining up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for my first  Monday Made It... Unsurprisingly, they are all Pin-inspired so I have included the Pin-picture first, and my finished project second. :)

First up, I got my birthday balloons all put together. I found these adorable FREE balloons from Mrs. H over at Once Upon a First Grade Adventure. Download them {here}. I just printed them out, taped them to some crazy straws, and they are ready to go!

Second up, I have been dying to make some whisper phones FOREVER. When I saw these from Classroom DIY, I just had to! I have a love for patterened duct tape. I think it is just fantastic! I need to find more things to do with it! Here's the pin that inspired me:

For each phone you need two 3/4" white PVC elbows and a 3.5" piece of 3/4" white PVC pipe. I am lucky enough to have a handy man around who can cut pipe for me, but I've heard that the nice people at Lowe's or Home Depot will cut the pipe for you right there if you ask nicely! So you just stick it the pieces together and wrap the middle section with duct tape. I bought some turquoise and pink zebra tape. Love them! I can't wait to use them for my reading groups and Read to Self. So much fun. I made ten in all.

My third project was also using PVC pipe. If you are like me, you have a million of those mini pocket charts from the Target dollar section. And if you are also like me, you don't know what to do with all of them! Well when I saw this from First Grade Fabulosity, it all fit together! A pocket chart stand to use as a Word Work centre!

I looked around and found these great instructions:

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

I tweaked the instructions just a bit to make it work for me. To make my stand you will need:

two 25" pieces of white 3/4" PVC pipe
four 16" pieces of white 3/4" PVC pipe
six 5" pieces of white 3/4" PVC pipe
six white 3/4" PVC elbows
four white 3/4" PVC T-adaptors
two metal shower rings

Mine's a little tall. You could probably cut a bit off the 25" pieces to make it a bit shorter. I will probably keep mine like this though. I like the base on mine (bf's idea) because it makes the stand pretty sturdy! Also, I have two pocket charts hanging back to back, so two kids can be using the stand at once! I see some sort of "Guess Who!" game going on in this... Stay tuned, the wheels are turning! ;)

Now comes the dilemma though... I thought about spray painting the whole thing because I can't stand the black writing on the pipe. I bought black and a bright blue spray paint. Then I thought about using the duct tape again! What do you guys think?? Spray paint or duct tape? Black or blue? Turquoise or pink zebra? Both? AAUGH! Help me decide!

Ok, last of my weekly projects were my lucky duck sticks! Inspired by Judy over at Kindertastic. She made her sticks double-coloured!! Genius!! So when you've pulled a name out, you flip it over and that way you know who you have called and you haven't. Love it!

I made my ducky bucket, but my popsicle sticks are packed up in a box somewhere! I *knew* I should have labelled the outside of my moving boxes! Oh well, they will show up eventually! :)

Ok, this isn't a made it project, but my latest find at the dollar store.... Peanut butter and jelly cut outs! Aren't they adorable?? I have no idea what I will use them for yet.... some sort of matching centre I think... but I couldn't pass them up. They were just too cutie-patootie!! :)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Back to School Math Centres

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I am setting up my guided math next year. You can read all about it here. In my guided math there will be six stations:

1. Work with Teacher (small group instruction)
2. Math with Technology (Mimio activities)
3. Math Writing (math journals,
4. Math Work (independent worksheets)
5. Math by Myself (independent, hands-on activities)
6. Math with Someone (partner games or activities)

I have been gathering and creating activities that I want to use at the beginning of the year as we start our routines and procedures. For Math by Myself and Math with Someone, I will be introducing the choice activities slowly... We will do some of the activities whole group or in our small group before I put it on the shelf for them to choose. 

Some of the stations I posted last year {here} I will be using again. But I have also created some new centres that focus on really basic first grade skills. I have been warned that I have a very low class coming in next year... I was told to think of them as Kindergarten students still, so we are going to be focusing on very simple tasks to start with! Here's a peek at my new back to school centres... It's an intro to guided math that has *five* Math by Myself activities and *five* Math with Someone activities. Whether you are trying guided math or have another math centre system, these activities would be perfect for the start of the year! Click the picture below to check out TpT:

1. Flip & Count {Counting Forward by 1s to 30}: Students flip over an apple card and write the number on an apple on their recording sheet. They count up from that number until they reach the end of the row. Then a new card is chosen.

2. Crayon Patterning (Repeating Patterns}: Students take a card with coloured crayons and colour a row of crayons with that pattern. Ten different patterns are included.

3. Roll & Tally {Subitizing & Tally Marks}: Students roll a die and draw the dot pattern on their recording sheet. Beside the drawn dots, students make the same number of tally marks.

4. Number Word Puzzles {Number Words to 20}: Students complete the self-correcting puzzles to match the numbers and number words from 0 to 20. There is a recording sheet to complete as well.

5. Spin & Graph {Bar Graphs}: Students spin the spinner and colour the correct spot on the graph. When one of the bars reaches 10, the student stops and answers the questions about the graph.

1. Subitizing Concentration {Subitizing Ten Frames}: Students play a concentration game by matching number cards from 0-20 with the corresponding ten frame cards.

2. 10 Up {Counting by 10s}: An "UNO" type game that practices skip counting by 10s. There are four sets of cards from 10-100 in four different colours: red, yellow, blue, green. All the cards are shuffled and dealt out. (You can play with 2-4 students.) Students take turns placing one card on the board at a time. You start with the 10s and work up to 100. You can play any colour at any time, but the numbers have to be in order. The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner!

3. One More Connect 4 {Addition +1}: Students take turns rolling a die and adding one. Then they cover up the answer on the game board. The first to get four in a row (up/down, across, or diagonal) is the winner!

4. Tic Tac Toe Math {Subitizing & Counting}: Students "read" the number in the box by subitizing or counting the objects before they can place their X or O. There are five different game boards to play.

5. Shape Go Fish {2D Shapes}: Students play go fish by making pairs of shape cards.

I am so excited about these centres! I think it will make our back to school twice as fun! ;) Check them out! Oh, before I forget, I will leave you with a little freebie! Here is one of the five Tic Tac Toe Math game boards for you to enjoy for free! Just click the picture to download your own copy.

Directions for Tic-Tac-Toe Math: You play just like regular tic tac toe (you can use magnetic letters or laminate and use a dry erase marker) but before a student can place their x or o, they have to subitize (or count) the picture and say the correct number. It's just to practice different ways to represent numbers (words, ten frames, dots, pictures, etc.)

This is such an easy game to prep! I can see making some more of these to practice shapes, addition, subtraction.... any math concept would work!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Classroom Management

So I have jumped on the clip chart bandwagon for next year. This is my first year trying it out, but I've heard so many great things about it. I think it will really work for me and my class. Here's a picture of my clip chart all put together:

Everyday the students will start in the middle on "Ready to Learn". I believe every day should be a clean slate! During the day, students can move their clip up or down based on the choices they make. In September, we will brainstorm our classroom expectations and decided what behaviours might move our clips up (helping a friend, cleaning up without being asked to, working quietly, etc.) and what might move our clips down (breaking classroom rules, hurting someone, not doing working, etc.).

If students move down the chart, the first time an "infraction" occurs they will get a warning, which will be a short little conversation with me. The second time it happens they will get a timeout; this may mean time off recess, time at the "cool down table", or just time away from an activity. The third time it happens, I will contact the parent--either a note, email, or phone call.

I will allow my students to move back up the chart if they start making good choices again. I don't want them to feel defeated, like there's no point trying. There is always room for growth and improvement.

I decided that I wanted to have a daily communication tool between home and school that recorded the student's behaviour, so parents could get a good visual. This is also good to see if there are any patterns in the behaviours too. I created monthly calendars to go in our daily folders. On the side of the calendar there is a visual of the clip chart that tells the parents what the colours mean. At the end of the day, students will colour in the square on the calendar with the colour that they ended that day on.

If you are interested in my clip chart and calendars, you can check them out at TpT by clicking the picture below:

On one of my book buying trips I found three excellent books by the author Julia Cook. These are perfect for the beginning of the year, especially when dealing with first graders! Click each of the pictures to check the books out on Amazon.

"My Mouth is a Volcano" is the perfect book to talk about blurting and interrupting. You get to understand how it feels on both sides of the blurting... the boy feels his important words bubbling up and can't help it, so he just blurts them out. When it's his time to share, someone else blurts out words and takes away his special time. At home, his mom gives him some tips on what to do when he feels the words bubbling up!

"Personal Space Camp" tells the story of a boy who is sent to Space Camp. He learns all about personal space and comfort bubbles from the principal. Very cute story!

"A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue" is a great book to discuss tattling. It goes over four rules of tattling: be a Danger Ranger, be a problem solver, now or later?, and mind your own beeswax.

Another book for tattling that I like is "Don't Squeal, Unless It's a Big Deal" by Jeanie Franz Ransom.

Tattling was one of the most common problems that I dealt with last year. We seemed to deal with it ok in September, but by the end of the year it was back up to a major high! "She looked at me." "He budged in line." "She's eating two snacks." GEE WHIZ! Oh, and my absolute favourite, "He lied." Uhm. I'd ask you to elaborate, but I DON'T CARE!! 

Here are a couple of things I am planning to do next year to hopefully curb the tattling a little more. I like to differentiate between "tattling" and "reporting", so I made these scenario cards for us to sort together. I am hoping it will lead to some really good conversations about accidents vs. on purpose, how to solve the problems they want to tattle about, and what to do instead of tattling. I chose 20 really common situations that I dealt with constantly last year. The major rules for "reporting" a behaviour are if someone is hurting someone else (or threatening to hurt someone), if someone is hurting themselves, or if they are doing something illegal/dangerous.

You can download the tattling cards {here} for free.

Another thing I might try is this pin from the blog Playground Duty. It's a Tattling Teddy. It's kind of like the Tattling Turtle you can buy from Really Good Stuff, but you can make it yourself and use any stuffed animal you have. My first graders will definitely not be at the writing stage at the beginning of the year, but they can just tell the teddy what is wrong instead of telling me.

I hope this has been helpful! Does anyone else out there use a Tattling Teddy or something similar? Does it work?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blue Cat Themed Classroom

I really don't want all my posts to be linky parties... BUT!!! When Pete invites you to a linky party... you have to go. Especially if you are thinking of throwing some Pete into your classroom decor, like me! This linky is being thrown by Sandi over at rubber boots and elf shoes.

Like I have mentioned before, I can't get back into my classroom until Aug. 20, so I have to work on things from home. I'm going to share some of my Pete stuff here and when I get back to my classroom I will show you some pictures of it all together! :) Here are the pieces all ready to go on my back to school bulletin board. It will read "Steppin' Into First Grade", but I have to find/make the right letters to go with it...

Keeping with the shoe theme, I made these little coloured numbers to put on all my desks. I arrange my desks in groups. I will have 6 groups and each group will be a colour: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. In the group, each student will have a number. I use these as a quick management technique. If the purple group is quiet, they can line up first. If I need one volunteer from each group, I can ask number 3 to come get something. I laminate the numbers and just use mac-tac to stick them to the top corner.

The group's colour also matches the group supply basket. My students will have their own individual supply box for crayons and markers and such, but we will have a community basket for dry erase markers, scissors, and glue.

I think they turned out so cute! I love the bright colours and the adorable shoe clipart from KPM Doodles. If anyone is interested in these files, you can download the desk labels {here} and the supply baskets {here}.

Here's some cute Pete decor. I made some cute little labels to put by my students' hooks. You can download a blank version of hook or cubby {here}. Also I am using the same desk nameplates that I used last year {posted here}, but I added a cute blue polka dot border this time. And Pete may have made a little appearance by the letter c ;) You can download my new ones {here}.

I also made some matching polka dot letters for my word wall. I made the vowels blue and consonants yellow. They can be downloaded {here}.

Here are some cute month cards and colour word cards. Love how these turned out! You can download the months {here} and colours {here}.

Lastly, here is my parent communication folder. I bought double-pocket folders, clear page protectors, and cheap 40-page notebooks. I printed labels for the front and the inside pockets. The front labels print on 2x4" mailing labels and can be downloaded {here}. The inside labels are printed on 1x2.63" labels and can be downloaded {here}.

 "Left at Home" pocket for work that can stay at home.
Page protector will hold the monthly calendar.

Notebook is for writing notes back and forth between home and school.
"Right Back to School" pocket for forms that need to be returned.

There ya go! Can't wait to get into my classroom to put it all together now! Thanks for stopping by! If you grab any of the Pete freebies, I'd love for you to leave me a little comment letting me know! Thanks a bunchers!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Apple-aholic {App Happy Linky}

I have always had a PC computer... never had a Mac... never learned how to use a Mac... But I am now officially an apple-aholic. I bought my first iPod touch several years ago when they first came out (*without* cameras!) Oh my. Then two years ago I bought myself an iPhone 4, which I would not be able to live without. Seriously... if I ever leave my phone at home, I feel completely naked without it. That's probably not a good thing, but I just love it so much! Here's the cute new case I bought it. I heart polka dots.

Oh, but it didn't stop there. In June, I used all my Scholastic bonus dollars and ordered an iPad from the Teacher's Bonus catalogue. I love it even more than my phone! I feel like a big dork sometimes, walking around with my iPhone and my iPad, but who cares!

I don't use my iPhone at school (unless I forget my camera), but I do use my iPod touch and I plan to use my iPad next year. I loaded all my school music onto my iPod touch (Jack Hartman, Dr. Jean, classical stuff, upbeat tunes, Pete the Cat, etc.) and have it sitting on a speaker dock, so I can access all my music in one place. It works great! As for the iPad... I have a folder of literacy activities and a folder of math activities. So during guided reading they can play reading games and during guided math they can play math games! I haven't decided if I will let three different students use it during the three rounds (about 15 minutes) or if I will just let my "Star of the Day" be the one to use it. I will have to think about that some more!

I saw this "iPad Promise" from Across the Hall in 2nd and knew I would have to do this at the beginning of the year!! I love the one that says "I promise to... treat it like a newborn baby". Too cute!

Finally I am to the point of this rambling blog post... I am linking up with Hope over at 2nd Grade Shenanigans for her App Happy Linky Party, to tell you about some awesome apps you can use in the classroom! Don't you just love the button for it?? Adorable!

So here are some of the apps that I found to use in the classroom next year...

1. Pete the Cat: School Jam (iPhone and iPad) {$0.99}

This is just a "for fun" app. I love Pete, so I couldn't resist. It's a look and find game, then after you can jam with Pete on the guitar. Maybe I can use this as a reward game?

2.Magnetic Letters (iPad only) {$0.99}

This is perfect for practicing sight words. There are upper case and lower case letters. You can also press the camera button to take pictures of the words they spelled.

3. MathTappers: Find Sums (iPhone and iPad) {free}

This is an awesome free game! It's all about compatible numbers. You can use any number from 5-20 or 100 and you have to press the two numbers that add up to that number. You keep finding partners until all the number boxes are gone.

4. Kid's Patterns (iPhone and iPad) {free; more levels for $0.99}

This is a cute patterning game. Students drag the missing object into place. It gets harder as they go along!

5. Sorting Machine (iPhone and iPad) {free; more levels for $0.99}

I really like this game! Students have to drag and drop the objects into the correct order. The rule changes each time. They have to sort by alphabet, numbers, fewer/more, tall/short, sequencing, and more!

6. Free Kids Counting Game (iPad) {free}

Free counting game. Choose up to 5, 10, or 20. If you search for "IKIDSPAD LLC", you will find more *FREE* games from this company--skip counting, word scramble, color and shapes... Check them all out!

7. Letter Muncher (iPhone and iPad) {$1.99}

This is a good game from practicing intial sounds. Students can listen to the sound (speaker by the CH) and drag the pictures that have that sound to the letter muncher or the pictures that don't have that sound to the recycling bin. Cute pictures!

8. Tacky the Penguin (iPhone and iPad) {$3.99}

Ok, this is the most I have spent on an app, but I love Tacky the Penguin and love this story app. They take the picture book and add a few fun effects to it! You can choose to read it yourself, have it read to you, or on auto play it even turns the pages for you! If you search the company "Oceanhouse Media", you will find TONS more books. They have Dr. Seuss, Little Critter, The Berenstain Bears, and other random stories. They are a lot of fun to read and I would love to stock up on all the fun stories, but I can see it adding up quickly. The books range from $0.99 to $5.99.  

9. Reading A to Z Books (iPhone and iPad) {free}

If you use the website Reading A-Z, you will love these! They have free books available. These ones don't have sound; you just read them to yourself. They have one free book from levels aa-P. They have more books you can download for $0.99 or you can download a whole library of one level for $6.99. Just search for "Language Technologies, Inc.".

Well there ya go! I hope you other Apple-loving teachers find something useful here! Love all this fun technology we get to use in our classrooms these days :)

Go check out the other app ideas at 2nd Grade Shenanigans!

Friday, 20 July 2012

New Puppy Pics and Mr. Potato Head Freebie!

How's that for a random title? I am so in love with my new puppy that I just want to show her off to everyone! As I write this she is curled up beside me on the couch, fast asleep. Adorable!! So here are some pictures of our new addition: Molly, the 8-week yellow labrador (and some shots of her big sister, Bella).

Love those big, dark puppy eyes! I'm in love!

I've been trying to work on some other school subjects and units, but I keep going back to math! I've been sorting all my activities into "Math by Myself" and "Math with Someone" to get myself organized for guided math. I came across this idea from this site called Play 2 Learn Printables. It's a math activity called "Roll Mr. Potato Head". I adapted their version to make a first grade version that uses two dice and addition. I bought a simple Mr. Potato Head set from Kohl's for $10.99. You might be able to find them cheaper, or even at garage sales! You can also use the printables from Play 2 Learn Printables or make your own pieces out of construction paper.

So this activity can be a solo one in "Math by Myself" or if you have two or more potatoes they can race to build their Mr. Potato Head first in "Math with Someone". Click the picture below to get your own copy of this easy station!

The student rolls 2 dice, adds the dots together, and checks the legend to see which piece to add to their Mr. Potato Head.

The student can record their addition sentence on this little recording sheet.

There ya go! Quick and easy math station--especially if you have a Mr. Potato Head just hanging around, waiting to be used as an educational tool! :)