Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Not a school-related post, but just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

My little 10-month old reindeer :)

Idea from pinterest. This was actually MUCH easier than normal Christmas wrapping with all the ribbons and bows.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Light 'em up - random act of kindness for the day

I just saw this idea on pinterest from the blog Lil Light O' Mine:

and decided to create my own version for our classroom! I plan on having a child pull an act of kindness out for us to work on each day until we leave for Christmas break. I don't know about your classroom but some of my kiddos need a refresher on how to be kind. Here is what I came up with:

You can grab your copy here.
If you would like the word version so you can change it up, you can find that here.

Clipart: DJinkers
Fonts: smiley monster, pea hollee (kevin and amanda fonts)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I cannot believe it has been over a month since I last blogged. I just wanted to post an update on a few of the things we have been doing in class.

Daily 5:
I looked up from my guided reading group and saw that he had taken the paper for the alphabet font sorting and was using it for his puzzle. What a great idea!

Added a writing piece that the students MUST finish sometime that week for work on writing. I like how it makes the students accountable in this area. I write each student's name on the top so I know exactly who hasn't finished.

I saw lots of bloggers with amazing labeling lessons (especially for their apple unit) so we made and labeled our pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Letter Formation

I have gotten some comments asking what I do when I introduce a new letter and wanted to share my response. Other than reading a ton of books and singing frog street press songs (love those!), one of the big things we do is learn how to correctly form each letter. I show them EXACTLY how to write that letter. They each have an ABC handwriting Book with the letters in the order that we learn them (see sample page below).

I show them on my promethean board (or you can use the overhead) how to form the capital letter, then they practice writing the capital letter next to number 1. While they are writing I am going around checking to see if they are forming the letters correctly and if they are touching the right lines. I make sure to have a yellow marker with me so that I can write it for the struggling students and they trace what I wrote with my marker. Then next to number 2 we practice writing the lowercase letter together. On number 3 we usually do a pattern (capital, lowercase, capital, lowercase). For numbers 4 and 5 they come up with a word that begins with that letter and we write it together. In the box is the mystery picture. This is our FAVORITE part. I tell them exactly what to draw, one thing at a time. Ex: Draw an oval in the middle (I draw it and they draw it in their books), draw a triangle above the oval, etc. until the picture forms. The picture begins with the letter we are studying. Then at the bottom on the longer lines we come up with a sentence together (short!) that is about the picture (Ex: I see an apple.)
It is extremely important that the students are quiet during this time so I have "table team points." If I see them writing, working hard, etc. I give their table a tally mark. At the end, the table with the most points gets to go to the treasure chest (or you can give theirs a sticker on their page). I make sure to rotate it so every team gets a chance to get the most points :)

Here is the abc book, if you wanted it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letter Books

Part of our ELA time is spent working on letter books. When we learn about a specific letter, each student comes up with a word that begins with that letter and makes a page that says "___ is for ___."  In the beginning this is a shared writing time where they write part of the sentence and I'll write the rest. For example, they write the first letter and I write "is for ____." Then the next week they will write the first letter and the word "is" and I'll write "for ___." until they get to the point where they are writing everything on their own. They illustrate the page and highlight the focus letter with a yellow crayon. When everyone is done, we compile a class book. The fun part is that the students get to take the books home (and bring it back the next day) so they can show off their work/other students' work to their parents and siblings. It's a great chance for the students to practice pointing to and reading the sentences with their parents. The finished product is below.

You can get the explanation page to parents here and the letter book covers here.
The letter book cover font is a Kevin and Amanda font - Pea Hollee, and the border is from DJ Inkers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily 5 - Word Work

I think Word Work is my favorite Daily 5 choice to introduce. The kiddos LOVE choosing it and there's a lot of variety in what they can do (just check out the picture below!). 

I have a hard time getting the students to call this station "word work" instead of "playdoh" :)
The big oil drip pan is GREAT for having the students sort magnetic letters. I got the idea off of pinterest and it was super easy to make.  I put magnet tape on the back of the letter headers but if I could do it over I would use tape instead so the students can't get them out of order. 

Here are some pictures of them in action:

Letters from Lakeshore Learning

letter sorting by diff. fonts

Playdoh names! They can make their own name or a friend's. 

Playdoh names and playdoh cookie cutter letters

File folder game

file folder game

Environmental Print match-up (you can also play this as a memory game)

building words/names

When I first introduced this station, I had every table group (I have 3 table groups) assigned to a different word work choice. Ex: I had group 1 work with magnetic letters, Group 2 work with playdoh names/cookie cutters, Group 3 work with the file folder games, environment print and letter font sort. After every group had a chance to work with each of the tools, I let them choose whatever they wanted.
As the year goes on I switch a lot of games out and put in new games/puzzles.

The letter headers for the oil drip is an already-made dj inkers set.
Environmental Print cards are free printables from Hubbards Cupboard.

Good luck with your Daily 5!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daily 5 - Work on Writing

More Daily 5 info! I tried to do more pictures, since I know that's what I personally like looking at :)

I have been introducing each one of the Daily 5 choices slowly,  starting at 1 minute of stamina, then moving to 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and then 10 minutes. It usually takes us a few days to build up to that and I don't introduce a new Daily 5 choice until they have reached 10 minutes. Currently I have introduced Read to Self, Work on Writing and Word Work. This week, since we have learned all three, I will let them choose from all 3 for a few days and I will introduce Listen to Reading later this week.

Here are the different writing tools the students can choose from during Work on Writing:

These tools are right next to the typing paper/dictionaries. I separated these tools from the dry-erase ones so students wouldn't accidentally use markers on dry-erase boards and dry-erase markers on typing paper. 
Write the Room pages are from the fabulous J. Meacham. You can find it under "Write the Room, By Letter, Long Form)

Letter Tracing Pages are from Learning Page. You have to be a member to download the pages BUT it's free to become a member!

Writing tools labels (pdf version) were created using Microsoft Word.  If you want the actual word document you can get that here.

They did such an amazing job with this one! We talked about only writing WORDS/letters on dry-erase boards and typing paper. That was really hard for them to remember but they got it by time we got to 10 minutes of stamina! I am so proud of all of them! Here are some pics of them working.

I was going to group this post with Word Work as well but it's WAY past my bedtime. More to come! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Healthy Eating!

I love USDA's new visual for a healthy diet! My kids seemed to grasp this better than the food pyramid. Below is a picture, and it actually makes sense to the students because they can visually see the portioned amount on a plate.

If you go to they have a lot of great printables and resources. The following activities were made using the materials they provided.

After reading a book about healthy eating and the different food groups (basic info), we sorted pictures together so the students can see what kinds of foods go in each section of the plate. I made a flipchart (for the promethean board). 

You can get it here.

Then the students each made their own version of the food plate. I didn't want it to be too time-consuming so I only had one picture for each section that they had to glue on their paper. To differentiate the learning, I had the students who were able to come up with their own food draw on their plates instead of cut/glue the pictures I provided. Below are two examples (sorry for the poor picture quality, only had my phone):

If you want this, you can get the plate here and the pictures to go with it here

Again, I got the pictures from USDA's website and the black & white pictures also come in color (they use it for a go-fish game) and you can find that on their website here.

I plan on attaching 10 tips on how to make healthy food more fun to this activity sheet (also from USDA website) to give parents some ideas!

Hope you are able to use this with your students! Happy healthy eating :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I love the book, love the video even more and that song is SO catchy! If you have never seen it you need to check it out:

Anyway, we made chicka chicka boom boom trees by tearing with our fingers and they had to glue letters of their name on the tree. I got the letters from oriental trading ($8 for over 1000 pieces!) and love how they turned out. The trees are on half sheets of construction paper so the letters don't seem too small on the tree.


letters from Oriental Trading

Thank you, little giraffes, for the awesome idea! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Marzano Thinking Skills

Wow I forgot how exhausting the beginning of the year can be!  Just wanted to share a goal of mine for this upcoming school year - to be better at questioning! I made examples of different types of questions I can ask during whole group carpet time (during read alouds, etc.) and guided reading groups. They are based off of Marzano's 7 thinking skills: knowledge, organizing, applying, analyzing, generating, integrating, and evaluating. I plan on putting these on a ring and keeping them by my small group and carpet areas. Hope you can find them useful!

You can get yours here!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lucky Ducks

I saw this idea from Growing Kinders and fell in love with it! She has sticks in a can that she draws names from and calls it her "lucky duck" can. I made my own version of it:

The paper I used is from a scrapbooking paper pad from Hobby Lobby. I bought it a few days ago for 50% off (so it was around $8 for the whole thing) and the best part about it is that the paper is made a little bit longer to have a bumpy border edge! I love bumpy borders and you can cut it off to use for something else and the paper would be back to regular scrapbooking size.

I don't remember where this next idea came from but one teacher painted her sticks 2 different colors so that after you call on someone, you turn their stick around and it's a different color so you know who you've called on. I've been using it for a few years now and works really well.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Multicultural Daily 5

I have had a lot requests for multicultural posters and choice cards so here they are. Thanks for the feedback! Click on the picture to go directly to the Google doc.

Full page posters

6 to a page choice cards

Monday, August 8, 2011

Computer Choice Time Cards

UPDATE: Click on the first computer cards to download! Thanks, Tracy, for the cute computer kids!

Emilys, I have not forgotten about y'all! I'm still in the process of trying to get permission for these cute kids on computer clipart so in the meantime, here is a preview of what it looks like.
Not sure if you were interested in them all looking the same so I made this one as well.

Hopefully I'll hear back soon!