Monday 28 January 2013

Oh Dollar Store and Oh Canada!!

I love shopping at the Dollar Tree. I hadn't been in a while and they had so much new stuff! It was very exciting! Here are a few fun finds:

Window sticky borders (might try these on the white board!), frog cut outs, and gigantic tooth brush for Dental Healh unit.

Valentine's Day clings, garland, foam stickers, and headband.

And I can't resist new puzzles and large foam dice! Yipee! :)

Alright, here is a new unit for all my Canadian followers! This is a Social Studies unit for studying Canadian symbols! Click the picture to check it out at TpT:

Here's a peak at some of the activities included in this Canadian unit:

1. "What is a symbol?" poster and writing page.
2. Ten Canadian Symbol pages (hockey, beaver, goose, red & white, flag, map, national anthem, languages, maple tree, and money) to make into a cute Canadian flag book.
3. Provincial and Territorial Symbol pages (complete one for all of Canada or just your own province/territorry).
4. Canadian Money anchor chart and mini book.
5. RCMP Craft and Writing Pages (three options).
6. Beaver Craft and Writing Pages (three options).

This unit is perfect for February 15th - National Flag of Canada Day! Here is freebie from the unit that you can use, a writing and colouring page of the Canadian flag. Click the picture below to download a copy.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Five for Friday Again

I'm loving Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday linky parties... I can't seem to get it together enough to blog during the week, so these Friday postings are perfect for me! I also like randomness, so throwing together five ideas from our week is a lot of fun for me! :)

1. We finished our mini bear unit with some bear fact writing and Eric Carle inspired bears (directions for free on TpT). They turned out pretty cute I think! And you have to love first grade listening/observing skills... check out the little guy on the bottom left on the green... he's standing up straight and has buttons. What a goof!

2. We have been playing a lot of card games in math lately. I have a lot of different types of decks, but there are a few doubles... so I used Renee's (from The Reading Corner) idea to write a letter on the back of the cards. Makes sorting a lot easier!!

3. Here's the weather I left school in yesterday. Cold, snowy, and windy. Yuck. I laugh when I read some of my southern friends' blogs.... you have no idea what winter truly is until you have spent one in Manitoba, Canada!! Let me give you the low down of this week... At our school we go outside for recess unless it is -30°C (-22°F) or colder with the wind chill. It has been around -40°C (-40°F) with the wind chill every day this week... -40!!!! Five days of inside recesses.... I almost couldn't take it today. It has been the longest. week. EVER! Thank goodness for Mr. Harry's Kindergarten and his fun, active songs. We have been doing a lot of action songs to get our bodies moving!

4. Pencils have been a big issue this year. I think my kids may eat them. They just constantly disappear! I started the year with my sharp/not sharp cups... But as soon as I put new pencils in the shapr cup, they would disappear! No matter how many conversations we had about proper pencil procedures, there would be no pencils left in either cup! So I hit the end of my rope yesterday when a student said they couldn't find their pencil and there were no pencils left in either sharp/not sharp cup and no one would admit to having an extra pencil in their desk (admittedly my patience may have been worn thin due to a full week of frigid temperatures and inside recesses as mentioned above). I decided it was time for a pencil talk. I got out 24 brand new pencils. Sharpened them. And LABELLED them. I brought out the bundle of pencils like I was holding a brick of gold. I made a HUGE deal about these brand new, perfectly sharpened, full erasered pencils! I showed how to take care of it. I showed how to sharpen it correctly. I showed how to treat the pencil like it was their baby. I showed how Ms. T would cry if a poor baby pencil was left uncared for on the floor. So far so good. No lost pencils, no crying teacher, no pencil nubs the size of my finger nail. Let's hope we keep it up!

5. I decided to skip penguins this year. It makes me sad. I love penguins. They are my favourite animal to teach about. I just don't have time this year... So we skipped right on over to the senses! I made this poster of my "friend" Bob. The kids were quite impressed with my drawing skills, although apparently the eye lashes make Bob look a little girly. Although one my little guys told me Bob had very pretty eyes like he did. That made me laugh.

Well that's it for tonight. I've got a few new units in the works, but have been feeling pretty unmotivated lately. I should have my Valentine's Day Word Work Centres up shortly. We'll see! But for now I'm going to leave you with this little math equation...

27 - 1 + 1 - 4 + 1 - 1 + 3 = 26

That is what my class has looked like so far this year. I have had six kids leave throughout the year and gained five new students. I just found out this afternoon that I am getting two new students on Monday. Well, technically one new student and one returning student. A returning student who was on an IEP, who had a lot of behaviour problems, and who has been out of school for three weeks. Let's just say today was a pretty stressful day. Thank goodness for Mexican restaurants and margaritas! :) Night all!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party. I get to choose five random happenings from this week and blog about it! This is perfect for me because I'm feeling pretty random this week anyway! Click the picture below to check out the other fabulous blogs involed in this week's linky...

1. Our first two weeks back were all about winter, hibernation, and bears! Here is our partially completed bear chart. I think we'll do some bear art and writing next week, instead of starting our penguin unit right away! Although I can't wait to read Tacky! He is my favourite little penguin. I just bought "Tacky Goes to Camp".... It was the only one I didn't have yet! Oh, and did you hear there's a new one coming out?? "Happy Birdday, Tacky!" will be released May 14, 2013! Fun!

2. My class is finally starting to settle down behaviour wise, but the biggest problem I am having is blurting out! They are all in the "I-am-the-most-important-person-in-the-room-and-I-have-something-important-to-say-so-I'll-just-blurt-it-out" stage. No matter how much discussion and modelling and practicing we did, they just kept blurting out! So I brought out my whole brain teaching scoreboard from First Grade Fever (I used this for Class? Yes! at the beginning of the year) for a week long friendly competition. We wrote the goal in the middle and I started giving the kids a tally mark for each (yes, each!) time a hand was raised properly. Each time someone blurted, I got a tally mark. The first day I would reinforce why I was giving myself a tally or praising someone for raising their hand, but by the second day I would just silently write the tally on whichever side. It was AMAZING! It worked so well. Then today at the end of the day we counted all the tallies by 5 (hello math practice!) and saw that the students had won so we played a little game to celebrate! Next week we are going to focus on a different skill (maybe coming to the carpet quickly and quietly).

3. I've got my Winter Math Stations all set up. The kids really enjoy them! They are sad if I skip them to do a whole group lesson! :)

4. We are practicing our tens partners in addition right now, so we played this easy card game. It is an individual game and the kids really enjoyed it!! All you need is a deck of cards from ace to ten. Students place nine cards face up in a 3x3 grid and keep the other cards in a stack. Students look to see if they have two cards that are tens partners (A-9, 2-8, etc.) and remove those cards and place them in a pairs pile. Then they replace those two cards with two new cards from the stack. The goal is to get all the cards partnered up and removed. If there is a ten, they get to just remove it by itself! I have also seen some people use kings as zeros though, so 10 and 0 (king) would be tens partners. I thought this might be confusing for my guys though, so I just left the ten by itself.

5. In Writer's Workshop we are working on writing personal narratives with a beginning, middle, and end. I read the story "My Trip to the Hospital" by Mercer Mayer and we practiced retelling the story in beginning/middle/end format. Then we orally told stories about a time we got hurt. Finally we wrote our stories out. They turned out pretty cute. We made our good copies into large bandaids. I forgot to give them a real bandaid to stick onto the cover! We'll do that on Monday! :)

That's it for tonight! I need some cuddle time with my puppies before bed. Good night, all!

Saturday 12 January 2013

The Magical Product Swap! #3


Welcome to The Magical Product Swap! It is hosted by Jessica Stanford from Mrs. Stanford's Class. I was partnered up with Cecelia Magro over at I Love 1st Grade. Click the picture below to check out her blog and click {here} to check out her TpT store. She has some amazing products to check out.

Cecelia allowed me to check out her "Original Printable Guided Reading Books K-1".

The pack includes 6 mini books that are perfect for guided reading. The books range from level 2-6, so it's perfect for my struggling students. I can make colour copies of the books for my reading group and make them a black & white version to take home and practice! Each book comes with a lesson plan outline and sentence strips to practice sequencing. There is also a guided reading journal to write responses about books. The books are very cute! Here are the titles of the six books you get:

The Playground {DRA2 level 3-4}
Sock Monkeys {DRA2 level 2-3}
The Money Book {DRA2 level 3-4}
My Snowman {DRA2 level 5-6}
My Bear {DRA2 level 5-6}
How Do You Move? {DRA2 level 5-6}

 I've got my books laminated, now just need to cut them apart and bind them. Very cute!

 Fuzzy Ashley being very helpful.

Go check out the other participants of the product swap to see what other neat items are out there! Enjoy! Good night!


Hey all! Sorry I have been absent from the blogging world for a bit! It has been a hectic first week back. I lost a student, gained a student, reviewed our daily routine and classroom rules over and over, got a surprise observation from my principal, started a Jan Brett author study, started a winter and hibernation theme, began new math stations... woo! It has been busy. But then, the sky opened this morning... a blizzard came... and we had a snow day today!! Love it. On a Friday no less! :) This doesn't happen very often, so we thank our lucky stars when it does.

I hope to be back to share some things we have been doing at school soon, but I keep forgetting to take pictures of anything. Maybe next week! For now I just wanted to share a website that I use to keep track of all of my books. I have many weaknesses when it comes to books... I must own all of them. I must keep them organized. And I can never remember if I already had that book.... so I buy it just in case! You can't pass up a good deal and a cute book!

So that's why I needed to find some way to keep track of all my books. I used to keep an excel file, but then I would have to keep it on a flash drive and could only access it on a computer. Then I tried out a few of the different apps available on iPad for keeping track of books, but I didn't really like any of them. The ones that "scanned" the barcode, only had the information for about one out of ten books I tried, so I had to manually input the information anyways. So when I came across the website, LibraryThing, I knew this was going to be the one for me. It would be cool if there was an app for it, but they haven't created one yet... But the good thing is it's just online, so I can access it on my iPhone or iPad, or on my home computer or school computer. Perfect!

LibraryThing has two account choices. A free account is good for up to 200 books. If you have more than that (like me... I'm not telling you the exact number... but it's a lot...) you can upgrade to a paid account for $10 a year or $25 for a lifetime. I went for the lifetime membership because I am planning on teaching for a longtime, so I can just keep my book list up to date for as long as I want. You can also choose to make your account private, so no one can access your book list.

The great thing about LibraryThing is that when you are putting in information about your books it has so many different categories that you add all the information you want. You can customize which categories you want to display (title, author, reviews, pages, etc.). Here is what the first page of my library looks like:

The categories that I have across the top are title, author, comments, tags, from where?, and copies. In the "comments" column I like to keep track of the guided reading level. You can figure out levels from Scholastic Book Wizard or AR Book Finder. In the "tags" column, I just input any descriptions of the book that I want. I can use this for searching for books. For example, Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes is tagged as Pete the Cat, Music, Cats, and School. So if I am looking for books with cats or about school, it will show Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes. I try and list as many categories as I can so when I am looking for books to go with my theme, it will give me the most possibilities! When I click the tags button on the top of the page, it shows all my tags and I can search by clicking any of them.

In the "from where?" column I like to put were the book is located. This makes it easy if I am looking for a certain book. I have my theme books, author books, and series books in tubs in my classroom library and my holiday books in monthly tubs that I keep in storage. You can read more about that {here}.  The last colunm is for "copies". I can keep track of how many copies of books I have, which is good for guided reading sets or buddy reading doubles. It's also good for me to know that I don't need a third copy of Pete the Cat. As much as I want it.

Also, another thing I love is the search function! You can search your own library. You can type in a title, author, or tag and it will find it for you! I use this a lot when I'm at a book store and I'm not sure if I own the book or not. I just pull out my iPhone, search for that specific Elephant & Piggie book, and then know if I do or do not have that one. Then I either put it back or add it to the pile!

Now, does this make me sound a little OCD crazy about books? I know my mom will say no, but that's because she has the same problem as me. I inherited it from her ;) Do you have a system of keeping your books orgazined? Does anyone else use LibraryThing? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Have a great weekend all! I hope you all stayed as warm and toasty as I did on this lovely snow day!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Happy New Year! Winter Word Work, January Currently, and a Sale!

Hey everyone! Welcome to 2013! I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Years with friends and family. We just had a quiet, little gathering at our house with a few of our close friends. There were 8 people... and 7 animals. We had our two cats and two dogs, our friends brought their two dogs, and our other friend brought her pug. It was quite the party! :) The four big dogs played in the yard all night, while the pug hung out with us. We ate our way into the new year, as I made *way* too much food.

I have been taking some time off blogging and planning and creating during this vacation. Instead I have been doing some work and cleaning around the house, giving the puppies lots of playtime, visiting with my friends and family, and just spending some good ol' couch time at home! It has been a fun and relaxing week and a half... But now that school is creeping closer and closer, I have started getting some ideas together. I will be doing a bunch of fun bear and penguin activities in January. You can see what I did last year {here} and {here}. I also created some winter-themed activities to place in my word work centres this month. Click the picture below to check them out at TpT.

There are five word work centres:

1. Winter Stamping Fun -- The Christmas one was such a hit in my class, so I created a winter one too! Students stamp winter words in a little book. There is a word bank to help them.

2. Winter Race Sight Word Game - A fun board game where students practice reading sight words. It includes 60 Dolch word cards and 15 blank cards to write your own.

3. Winter Word Family Sort - Sorting picture cards into three long "a" word families (ay, ail, ake). There is a cut and paste recording sheet for this centre.

4. Snowball Soup - This is my favourite centre! I mix letter tiles with white pompoms or cotton balls. Students use a spoon to scoop out letters to build CVCC words. There is a recording sheet to record the words and pictures.

5. Mitten Compound Words - Students match up mitten cards to create compound words. There is a recording sheet to write down all the words.

So much fun! Most of the clipart is from KPM Doodles, so it matches my Winter Math Centres!

And of course a new year and a new month brings CURRENTLY! If you have not heard of a currently before (and really, who hasn't??) then go check out Farley's blog Oh' Boy 4th Grade to check it out!

My one little word for this year is PLANS! My goals for this year are to make some plans and timelines for our house renovations and to be better at long-term planning for school. I want to redo my day planner for school before I go back on Monday!

As you can tell, I am very excited about our new appliances! We live in a small, dumpy little house that we are planning on renovating entirely from top to bottom. The kitchen is definitely in need of renovations--fridge from the 80's, broken dishwasher, cupboards made out of plywood, fake gold chandelier.... ugh! Well even though we aren't starting the renos yet, we found some awesome sales on appliances. So we went ahead and bought a new stainless steel fridge, smoothtop range, dishwasher, and over-the-range microwave. Just having these appliances in the kitchen will make a world of difference! (And maybe get our butts in gear to get these renovations rolling!)

Well in celebration of new appliances and sales, I am having a sale at my TpT store. It starts now and goes until Friday! 20% off everything! Click the picture below to check it out! Enjoy the rest of your vacation, or your first week back if you have already started!

(Clipart from KPM Doodles)