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! 

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!

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!

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! :)

*Update* I made a new version of this activity as a freebie on TpT:

Monday 16 July 2012

Must Have Picture Books {linky}

I am obsessed with picture books. When I packed up my classroom, I could not believe how many books I have aquired so far in my teaching career... I am linking up with The Teacher Wife for a fabulous linky party to list our favourite picture books. I was barely able to narrow down a Top Ten List. I feel bad for excluding all the other picture books and authors I love :( I am also scared to check out the other blogs that have already linked up. I know I will end up filling my cart at Amazon with even more books... It's a sickness I think ;)

The Teacher Wife

Here are my Top Ten Favouite Picture Books (in no particular order):

1. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin -- Who does not love Pete the Cat?? I love all the books, but the first one is still my favourite!

2. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt --Melanie Watt is one of my favourite authors. I love her Scaredy Squirrel books. They are so cute and have so many different aspects in them... maps, labels, schedules, etc. Love it!

3. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems -- Mo Willems is definitely on my list of my favourite authors. This is definitely my favourite pigeon book.

4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson -- I just love this story! The clever little mouse convinces the mean, old gruffalo that he (the mouse) is the scariest animal in the forest.

5. The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers --I love Oliver Jeffers and this is such a cute book. It is about a boy who discovers he enjoys eating books. The more he eats, the smarter he gets. But then he starts to get sick and everything starts getting jumbled in his head. He figures out another way to enjoy those books ;) Cute book about enjoying reading!

6. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems -- Another book by Mo Willems. I just love the pictures on this one. Drawings on black and white photographs. Really cute!

7. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister -- Such a cute story about sharing, friendship, and being unique!

8. Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't) by Barbara Bottner -- My mom introduced me to this book. It's about a librarian who just LOVES books, and a little girl who doesn't. The little girl has to find a book she likes to do a presentation on, but she can't seem to find one. Finally a book about an ogre covered in warts catches her attention ;)

9. Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett -- A cute story about a boy who wanted a pet, but not a boring fish. He eventually learns that Norman might be a pretty good pet after all!

10. Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel -- Love this story!! A family moves into a house with a huge tree that becomes a part of their family. It is a great story to teach the concept of personification. Steve the Tree is there to "greet them" and is good at "holding the jump rope". The ending always makes me a bit teary, but it's such a sweet book.

Well, that's my Top Ten! I really could have made this a Top 30. Or 50. If you're brave enough, go check out the other book lists at The Teacher Wife's linky party! :)

The Teacher Wife