Sunday, November 24, 2013

Grandparents Day and the First Snow Day!

What a busy weekend!  It has flown by and now I think I'm finally ready for school tomorrow.  After church this morning I headed right to school to get ready for Grandparents Day. Our school celebrates it in November instead of September.  All of the grandparents of our elementary students have been invited to our school.  This will be their chance to see their grandchildren in their school environment.  It's such an exciting day!  My firsties will head to the gym, along with the other grades, so they can sing. When they are finished we will head back to our classrooms and wait for the grandparents to come to our room to visit.  I've decided that my little ones will take their grandparents on a tour of the classroom.  Here is the paper that each one will have to help them.

 Unfortunately, not every grandparent is able to make it so for those students I will have a paper that they can work on at the same time.

I also let me students, that don't have a grandparent visiting, use our classroom iPads to take pictures. They love doing this and I love having pictures to remember the day!

Later in the afternoon, my colleague, Mrs. Waugh will join us to predict the first snow day.  This is sooo much fun!  We have been doing this for several years and the kids love it!  Who doesn't love a Snow Day?????  I love getting that call in the morning telling me to stay in bed and enjoy the day off.  It's a day to stay warm and cozy in your pj's drinking hot chocolate. Later in the afternoon you can head outside to shovel the driveway, play in the snow, and make a snowman. So much fun!  We look forward to our first Snow Day so why not predict when it will happen.

Every family gets homework to pick out the day they think will be our first day off from snow.  It has to be a complete day off, not just a go home early day.  They also have to predict how many inches of snow we will get. In my First Snow Day Packet, I have a parent letter and a prediction paper. I passed out the homework last week so tomorrow is the day that we will chart our predictions. After we finish we will hang it in the hallway so we can keep checking it.  We also have a mystery bag that they can try to guess what is in it.  We always fill it with things for our snow day party.  

Once we have our first snow day of the year we will
celebrate the following day.  On that day we will have a
snowman craft, a snowy snack, play a snowman game, do
a creative writing assignment, label the snowman, and a sequencing activity. It is always a full day but a fun day

If you are interested in this packet, check it out at my
teacherspayteachers store. Click here

How about you?  Do you celebrate your first snow day like we do?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Activities and a Freebie

Whew! The weekend has flown by! We had parent/teacher conferences Friday afternoon and evening. Not sure I'm a big fan of Friday night conferences......but, it's always good to have a chance to talk to parents and see how they think the year is going.  I have a whole class full of smarties this year so, needless to say, my conferences went great!

Saturday morning I had to say goodbye to a sweet friend's mom.  It was sad. As I sat there listening to the family and her friends speak of what a Godly woman she was, they spoke of her compassion and generosity to others, it made me feel good to have known her. It made me think about what others would say about me. What would my legacy be? Would others say I was compassionate, kind, thoughtful, generous, or Godly? As I start my week I pray that I will think of these things as I interact with my colleagues, students, friends and of course my family.

The rest of my weekend has been filled with working on my lessons.  I am excited to start working on some turkey activities this week.  Last week I gave my kiddos a How to cook a Turkey paper that I do every year.  It is so much fun! I love reading their answers!  Here is a look at a few:

First you put it in the oven.
Next you take the turkey out.
Then you put a clock thing in it.
Last you eat the turkey.

The clock thing is the meat thermometer. 
Too cute!

 First kill           
Next cook        
Then take it out
Last eat            

I love it! Direct and to the point!

 First cook it
Next burn it
Then taste it
Last eat it

 First you have to have a turkey 
Next you need a pan                  
Then you need sauce                 
Last you need to eat it               
 Everything always tastes better
with a sauce on it, right?         

You can grab this writing activity in my Thanksgiving Creative Writing Activities

We will also be practicing counting on in Math with our Turkey Counting On cards which you can get by clicking on the picture below.

 We will use a Turkey Response Sheet record our addition problems.
Now it's time for a FREEBIE! Click here to get it!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reading Vocabulary and the Smartboard!

I am loving my new stools that were donated by two generous families right before school started! We use our stools when we are working at the Smartboard. They are so easy!

I also love my platform so that my students can now reach the top of the Smartboard.  Before school started, I was talking to a fellow teacher and we were discussing the fact that my students had trouble reaching the top of the SB. I also happened to have a bookshelf that I was trying to decide what to do with when we realized that if I laid the bookshelf down it was the perfect size for a platform. I had seen one over the summer on a blog I was reading and loved it. I took it home to my husband and, "Voila!" he repaired it and made it strong enough to hold an adult. I use four stackable bins, two on each side,  to hold everything.  The two bottom ones hold the clipboards and the two top ones to hold the stools.  I usually have a student who is finished early set them up for me and then place a clipboard on each stool.  Then all my students have to do is bring a pencil.   

One of the things we use the Smartboard for is Reading Vocabulary.  I always ask them, "What do you notice?" about the words.  This was an idea that Kathy Griffin shared with me at an SDE Conference and I love it!  I couldn't wait to try this with my students and wasn't sure how well it would work, but I was so surprised!  They notice everything!!!!  They tell me how many vowels the word has, if the word is common or proper, they notice word chunks and anything else that we have been discussing. 

 Of course, when they "notice" something, they get to go up to the SB and either circle, underline or mark in some way what they notice.  While one student is marking on the SB, all the others are marking it on their papers.  We use pencils, markers, pens and highlighters to do our marking.

 My students always have a paper copy of what is on the SB so they can mark it up just like the   students are marking up on the SB. This way, everyone is engaged in the activity.

 My students LOVE reading vocabulary time. We have just started it for my class this year, but my last years class still tell me it was their favorite part of their day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Aaargh! As in Pirate

This week in Reading we have been working on ar words. I was so excited to find Babbling Abby's Aaargh Pirate Activities on her blog over at The Inspired Apple.  After reading her blog I couldn't wait to teach ar to my class. I arrived early and posted ar words all over our hallways. Throughout the day they found the ar words and after reading them we put them on our treasure map. After we found all 16 words we got to open the treasure chest filled with candy bars! 

Several times during the day we sang our favorite ar song from Heidi's Songs.  You can find the ar as in pirate song at youtube.com or you can buy her CD/DVD.  We have her CD and use it all the time. The kids love it!  Visit www.heidisongs.com

We decided to make Aaargh! Pirates!  Check them out, they are too cute!

This week we are going to continue with our ar words.  I made some ar word cards that we will be using to play a game.  My kiddos will work in pairs with a set of cards.  They will take turns turning over a card.  If they turn over an ar card, and can read it, they write it on their pirate response sheet and they get to keep the card.  If it's not an ar word, or they can't read it, it goes on the bottom of the card pile.

We will also be building ar words this week.

 Last but not least we will play the game I Have Who Has!
If you like what you see here, click here to purchase

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Counting On in First Grade

I love 3 day weekends!! I have been looking forward to this all week but now I'm fighting a cold and trying to be thankful for the fact at least I'm at home and can rest.  It has been a fairly productive weekend though, as I have been working on my latest product for my teacherspayteachers store.  I don't know about you, but every year I struggle with teaching my little firsties how to count on in addition.  It seems to be such a hard concept for some of them to get.  This week, however, we seemed to really get it with my new Counting On cards.  I printed, cut, and laminated,  my turkey cards. We broke up into pairs and I passed them out.

 You can get the turkey cards from TPT Store by clicking here

They turned the cards upside down and put them into a pile between them.  They took turns picking a card. Using the response sheet, they wrote the number on the card on the first blank and then counted the turkeys and wrote that number on the second blank. Then I had them flip the card upside down again so they could look at the math problem and put the biggest number in their head and the smaller number on their fingers to count on.  Once they have written the answer, they can turn the card back over and check their answer by putting the number in their head and counting on with the turkeys. 

This is what the response sheet looks like:

We will be using these cards again, all next week and then reviewing with them the rest of the year.  Here's a peek of what the rest of my cards look like.

 You can get this whole pack at my TPT Store.  Click here