Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Beginnings

Today is a new day!  We have lived in the same house for four years, and for four years we have tried to get internet...TODAY IS THE DAY!  I am so excited to say I am blogging from my house from the first time EVER!  Can you tell we live in the middle of  nowhere!?!  :)

During the month of April we did a unit on insects, and I had to share these fun photos!

I order my very first caterpillar kit and LOVED it!  I think my assistant and I had just as much fun watching the life cycle as the kids.  A week before our unit I order the kit online.  It came just in time!  Here is the website!

Here are all the goodies that came with our butterfly kit.

Each cup contained five caterpillars.  They are messy little creatures!

After a week, the caterpillars began to hang from the top and form a chrysalis. 

Once they all formed into a chrysalis, I transported them to the butterfly net.  About a week later they began to hatch.  So neat to watch!!  We waited to release the butterflies until all of there wings were dry, which was a couple of days after hatching.

This was worth every dollar I spent!  The best part is now that I have a net, all I'll need next year is caterpillars!  Releasing the butterflies was bittersweet, so sweet that one refused to leave the net!  He got a couple of extra days in the classroom.  :)

This unit is FREE!  Visit her fabulous blog as well!  

During our study of insects, I used this unit from TPT.  It was great!  I highly recommend it!  Great writing resources and small group activities!  I incorporated one of my favorite authors/illustrators Eric Carle with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, and The Very Grouchy Ladybug (a class favorite).  We also read lots of non-fiction books and learns tons of cool facts about bugs!

ALMOST FORGOT!  All of our caterpillars survived!! Big deal in first grade! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day Fun

I can't believe May is here!  This school year is rapidly coming to an end!  I have enjoyed my 2012-2013 class so much.  They are such a creative and fun group of boys and girls.  I am sad to see them go!  Today we decided to do something special for their sweet mothers for Mother's Day this Sunday.  (I'm going to miss the Moms too!)

Today we talked about how thankful we are for our mothers.  We started making a list of all the things our moms do for us...which is an endless list!  I am not yet a member of the Mother Club, but I have loads of respect for those of you who are!  Happy Mother's Day!

Keeping with our room theme, we made "Owl Always Love You" booklets for our mothers.  For the free download click here.

For the first page, we used crayons and watercolors for a cool water resist.  Here are the groups hard at work. :)

For the second page, the students drew a picture of their mother and completed some sentences about their mother.  I love reading what they wrote in the blanks. Too cute!

For the final page, the students made a handprint owls to go along with a cute handprint poem.  I found an inspiration on Pinterest. Here are some samples.

We used the hole punch and curly ribbon to tie it all together.  My kids worked so hard on these and can't wait to take them home!

I hope everyone has a great Mother's Day weekend!

For more free downloads from me click here!

Friday, February 22, 2013


I am SUPER behind on blogging, but I couldn't wait to post this news!  About three weeks ago I started using AR in my first grade classroom.  I tried AR for a brief time last year and quickly gave up. (Not what I usually do!)  So I have had lots of time to think about ways to get the kids excited about AR and train them on using the program.  My first priority was getting an organized system!  Here is our AR Library.

Each team has a bucket of leveled AR books to choose from.  Each student also has an AR log located in the red bucket to the right.  I require the students to read the book at least two times.   Then they fill out a sheet on the book. (Located in the fiction and nonfiction buckets on top)  The students also record the book in their log before testing on the computer. Here are the forms we are using in our logs. If you would like a free download, click here

I also include a laminated card with the student's log in information inside each reading log folder.  The first week of implementation basically consisted of learning where to get and store the materials, and how to fill out the forms before testing.  However, I noticed some students needed a little more motivation to get on the AR bandwagon!  I decided I needed some sort of visual to help the students see their progress.  My wonderful assistant came up with the perfect idea!

It is hard to see in this picture, but each student has a pirate with their name.  As they earn AR points, their pirate moves down the number line.  As soon as I got this board up and explained the concept, OFF THEY WENT!  I'm so excited to announce that after two and a half weeks our class total of AR points is .......

WOW!!  I'm so proud of all of my boys and girls!!  I can't wait to share this news with them on Monday!  Most of the books they read are worth 0.5 AR points.  This is one happy teacher!!  I can't wait to see where they go with AR this year!

I would love to hear if and how you use this program or a similar program in your school! I love new ideas!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cuttin' up in Class!

Three quick and easy ideas for centers/small group activities!

1. ABC Order

All you need is an old magazine.  Students can cut out letters, or you can precut yourself.  I had my students work together to put the letters in alphabetical order.  You could step it up later in the year and have them make words and put in alphabetical order.  The kids LOVED it!  (And I loved that it was super EASY!)

2. Contractions

I used colored index cards for this activity, but you could use anything.  I started with two separate cards like "did" and "not" and led the kids in cutting out the "o" and adding the apostrophe.  They did a great job!  I used this in a small group setting. 

3. Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

I saw this great activity on Pinterest.  I saved old Scholastic Book Orders and the kids cut out and sort fiction and non-fiction books. I used this as a center.  The kids love looking through the catalogs, and I love the fact that it took almost no prep work! :)
 I hope some one can use these easy ideas!

Graphing Good TIme!

I'm so behind on blogging!  I have taken some snap shots here and there throughout October, so I don't forget all the fun we had!  A week or so before Halloween, we studied graphing in math.  The kids LOVED working with graphs!  

We started with pictographs.  Here is our birthday pictograph we created.  Each kid decorated a cupcake with their name and placed it on the correct month.  We discuss which month had the most least, equal, etc.

We also did a popcorn pictograph, which was everyone's favorite!  We taste tested butter, caramel, and cheesy popcorn.  Each student colored their popcorn the color of their top pick.  So fun and tasty! 

For our tally graph, we voted on our favorite milk flavor and created tally marks with straws.

 We wrapped up the graphing activities with a bar graph about our favorite season.  Our story for the week was Seasons from our basal series.  
Hope you can use these fun and simple ideas in your room!  I would love to hear of more fun graphing ideas!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Down on the Farm

We have been super busy in first grade! I can't believe the first nine weeks will be over in two days!! Holy Cow! Speaking of cows... two weeks ago we wrapped up our farm unit. (I am behind on blogging...) We had so much fun learning about life on the farm and talking about different farm animals. 

 In language we were studying nouns. For our small language group, the kids had a noun hatch activity. I hoarded Easter eggs last spring because I knew I could find a way to use them. This was a success! If you would like the Noun Hatch FREEBIE click here

Each day we reviewed a different short vowel. I made large posters using KPM Doodles farm animals to help brainstorm short vowel words. Here is our duck. 

For spelling practice we made fall trees.

We also did some rainbow writing!

We also spent time talking a writing about a different farm animal each day, creating a farm book. We did some cute farm animal crafts from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.

We used the farm spinner addition activity from Rowdy in Room 300 for a math center.

To go along with our study of conjunction "and", I created a quick mini lesson.  

For our writing center we made "Down on the Farm" books.  Here are some samples. :)

If you would like to use this farm book in your classroom click visit my TPT or TN shop!

Here is a culmination of our class effort for farm week!

(I had to play with the panorama option with the new iPhone update!)