Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Now to November!

Halloween is over, although the candy won't be out of their system for a few days.  We had fun at school today.  I went dressed as Wenda, the sister of "Where's Waldo".  I loved my costume, but apparently my children don't really know about Waldo, they though I was a candy cane.  One child even said I was a big Cat in the Hat hat!  Next year, I will pick a costume closer to their time,

November is month packed with things; Elections, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.  First up is the elections.  At our school we are having a Book Election.  I am having the students make posters supporting their favorite book candidate.  Here is the poster template I am using.  I may also have the students make commercials with iMovie using the new trailers.

I am also setting my student's personalized reading goal.  If you didn't have a chance before, grab this packet FREE to at my TpT store.  I just added a Reading Certificate of Achievement to the packet. 

 My students liked setting their goals so much I went ahead and made personalized reading goal sheets and logs for the year.  You can pick these up here.

Here's hoping the kids didn't eat candy for breakfast!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What would your Jack-O-Lantern say?

If your Jack-O-Lantern could talk, what would it say?  Well if mine could talk it would say "where have you been?"  Oh my what a week last week, parent conferences, grades due, monthly monitoring meetings, organizing our school Fall Festival, running daughters to and fro and of course this is the week I got an awful cold!  Now that the week is done, I am beginning to surface!

This is a cute activity I am doing with the kids tomorrow and thought I would share.  The kids will make this pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern and then using the speech bubble write what it would say.   I am then going to teach them how to use quotation marks when writing a sentence.

Click the picture or here to grab it FREE!  I hope you have a great Halloween Eve!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Love Spookley!

I love teaching with Spookley the square pumpkin.  This is a great book with an unbelievable message. Today I found fabulous free resources on Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center.  When you register you will have access to the Spookley play script, can view the animated movie free online and access to several multi-subject lesson plans and printables.

In addition to the bullying lessons taught with this book, I teach more about character traits, story sequencing, fiction vs. non-fiction, the plant life cycle, shapes.... the lis goes on and on. (OK as I am typing this my mind is filling with ideas for an activity pack I am ready to start work on, I see a late work night in my future! Check back soon.)

Here is a cute graphic organizer to use when writing about pumpkins.  I know many people use the can, have, are graphic organizers.  It makes more sense to me and my kiddos with some topics to use are, can, have.  So click here to grab this writing organizer and paper.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I've been Booed and a Fun Freebie too!

I have been Boo-ed by two wonderful blog buddies Cindy at Granny Goes to School and Michelle at Mrs. G's Kindergarten in Heels.  So I guess I have been boo-boo-ed!

So here are the rules:
1. If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
2. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
3. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else), or Freebie(s) that you love!
4. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again: I've Been Booed

Here are some of my favorite October activities, books, products:

I have shared many of my October favorites and fabulous freebies in the previous posts.  So scroll down and check them out if you haven't had a chance.  Here are a few more October things and activities I really like.

1. A Month for Freebies and New Followers Like You!
I have had so much fun making and sharing freebies this month.  I am amazed to see how many people have downloaded various freebie files on my TpT site.  It makes me so happy to see so many people using the fun thingsI have created.  Here is the latest one, 3 Little Pumpkins.

2. My Eyeball Ping-Pong Balls
If you have been following me, you are aware of my recent obsession with this fun Dollar Tree find.  My kids are loving using them in the Super 6 Daily Differentiated Centers.

3. Pumpkin!!!
I'm not talking about learning about pumpkins in class, pumpkin investigations or center activities.  This is all about pumpkin treats to eat and drink!

Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Latte's, Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and my favorite of this season.... Pumpkin Munchkins at DD!  (If you haven't tried them, you must, but don't blame me if you become addicted!)

4. Getting Boo-ed
I have loved blog hopping through all of the people who have been Boo-ed.  Have discovered some fabulous blogs and many great ideas!!!  So click to the "I've Been Boo-ed" link above to start blog hopping!  Also check out the latest additions I found have Boo-ed!

First Grade Blue Skies

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Ready for Pumpkin Fun!

Fall is here, although it doesn't really feel like it in Florida.  I love teaching about pumpkins during this time of year.  You can incorporate it in all subject areas. 

Reading and Pumpkins ~  It is great to discuss schema with and adding new information to our schema.  I make a very cute KWL chart and use it during the week as we learn more about pumpkins.  There are so many great pumping books, fiction and non-fiction.  I love contrasting and comparing.  My two favorite books have to be "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" and "Too Many Pumpkins." 
I also love doing pumpkin themed word work activities.  Building words with the letters in pumpkin patch.  It is also a great way to learn about adjectives.  The kids always love expanding their vocabulary as well.  My all time favorite word has to be peduncle!  

Math and Pumpkins ~ I review and teach so many topics with one pumpkin!  Estimation is always a skill I introduce with pumpkins.  We weigh and compare the weight to other objects.  We measure the circumference.  The we open in up and look at the seeds.  I divvy them up among the class and we count and add them to find out how many seeds are in our pumpkin.  The teaching opportunities are endless.

Science and Pumpkins ~ My kids love the great pumpkin investigation!  The favorite part is the sink or float experiment.  I love bringing in the biggest pumpkin I can find and letting the kids predict if the pumpkin will float.  They never get it right.  We discuss plant life cycles.  This year I am also going to let one rot for the kids to see and hopefully a few seeds will sprout too.

October is a month of Fabulous Fall Freebies on my blog!  Here is the pumpkin book my students complete as a part of their Super 6 Daily Differentiated Centers.  It includes activities for Word Work, Read to Self, S.T.E.M. and Book Club.  So grab this book FREE at my TpT store.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reading Goals and a FREEBIE

In 1st grade it is hard to set reading goals when students have such a wide spectrum of reading abilities. I have non-readers to chapter book readers in my class.  Many students are ready to take Reading Counts Comprehension Tests online and several will not be there for a while.  I really have to personalize every child's goal.  I like to do this during a reading conference with the child.  Some students have a "minutes read" goal, others a "Reading Counts point" goal and some have a "number of books read" goal.

Setting the differentiated goals is not the problem, tracking them was the problem.  So my mind got to working and this is what I came up with!  A November Personalized Reading Goals & Reading Log packet.  You can get it here for free.  Let me know what you think.  I can't wait to try it out (although I can't believe I am planning for November already...)

What do you do to encourage your students to read more?  How do you handle varying abilities? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Eye" have ghost poop and a freebie!

I have a sweet, puffy, fun reward for my students this month!  I like to use quick little rewards through out the day,  and these are perfect!  I know there are all kinds of mixed reviews on using food as a reward for kids.  I give them the choice between a sweet treat or sticker.  My favorite thing with the ghost poop is that it is quick, cheap and easy.  I quickly hand it out, they eat it and there is no more distraction.  There is nothing worse than handing out a tangible reward, then the students play with it and it becomes a distraction.  I also love this little container, it keeps them fresh and allows me to sprinkle one in a child's hand without touching it with my germ infested hands.  Every once in a while, two mini "ghost poops" come out, Woo Hoo!

"Eye" must admit I have become quite obsessed with the cute eyeball ping pong balls I found the other day.  I wrote sight words on them and used them in the word work center and the kids loved them!!!  

You can pick up the sight word activity that started it all and a new "eye" can make 10 activity here.  I have included word and number cards, so you don't have to have the eyeballs (although it is way more fun!

My mind got to spinning and I came up with so many amazing ideas to use them in centers.  I kept going and going and before I knew it I had 13 activities!  I put them all together for you to pick up here at my TpT store for only $2.  Let me know what you think.

 I can not wait to see my students working in their Super 6 Centers tomorrow challenging themselves to become better readers, writers, thinkers and problem solvers!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Report Home Projects

I like to send a home project or book report home each month.  As a teacher and parent, I want it to be meaningful, able to be done by the student and not outrageously expensive.  I like them to be somewhat structured, but still allow for the students to express their creativity.  I also feel they should correlate with what we are learning and be fun, not just a dreaded project. 

I came up with an amazing project for October.  My "October Character Traits Book Report Packet" has everything you need and is ready to copy and send home.  It has a parent information sheet with detailed instructions, 2 graphic organizers and a grading rubric.  I offered it for free a few weeks ago, if you didn't get it click here and download it!

My students have had a great time with the project.  I have had a few projects come in and they are amazing.  The creativity of my kids never fails to amaze me.

I have had several people ask me about beginning book report/ home projects for other months.  I have put together three projects for the upcoming holiday months.  Along with the October Character Traits Book Report, I have included a November Non-Fiction "Fact Feathers" Book Project and for December a "Holiday Ornament" Book Summarizing Report.   I just posted Beginning Book Report Projects (Oct. Nov. Dec.) in my TpT store and put it on sale!  

 Do you send home book reports or at home projects?  If so what are your favorites?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Have you seen the Scentos Halloween markers??

My kiddos love using the Scentos markers for spelling practice in Word Work during the Super 6 Differentiated Learning Centers.  I have them practice writing their words in pen, pencil Scentos marker and crayon.  They would completely balk at writing all of their words 4 times each but love doing this! Click here to download the word template for this activity and just enter you spelling words.

This is a favorite activity for my kids so imagine how excited I was to find these at Michaels.  It made this old time favorite instantly new and fun again!

My kids loved the new markers so much, they may have spent more time smelling them then writing with them.  Yesterday when I was checking on the kids in centers, I asked them if they were working hard or just playing around with the new markers.  As they looked up to me and said we are working very hard, I noticed both boys had marker under their noses.  I couldn't help but smile and giggle!

Well today I put the Sight Words "Eye" Can Read in the writing center.  The kids loved digging into the bucket of eyeball ping pong balls.  The Super 6 was going great, everyone was working and it was nice and quiet until the bucket tipped!  The ping pong eyeballs went everywhere!  (I know this is aging me and many won't remember this, but I thought of Captain Kangaroo! Who else remembers this?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Motivation and Eye Can Read Sight Words FREEBIE!

Last night my daughter taught me how important motivation is to getting things done.  I also learned that what I think may be a great motivator really isn't!

My youngest daughter Tori is super messy and her room was a disaster!  I tried for 4 days to motivate her to clean her room.  I offered her things (bribery), asked nicely, raised my voice, took away TV, dessert, and electronic devices.  Nothing worked.  (It did work with my older daughter.) Last night she asked "Can I wait until the morning to take my bath?"  I initially said no and she pouted.  So my response was "If you have your room clean in 30 minutes, you can wait until the morning to take your bath."  Wouldn't you know it, she had it cleaned!

So the lesson I learned to take into the classroom... You have to find the right motivation to reach each child!

Last post I told you about the really fun eyeball ping-pong balls I found at The Dollar Tree.  Well here is the first way I plan to use them in my room.  I wrote "sight" words on the eyeballs and put them in a bucket.  In the Word Work center during the Super 6 Differentiated Learning Centers, students take turns picking out an eye.  If they can read the word, they keep it in the eye and record it on their sheet. (Included in this FREEBIE at my TpT store.) Once they record their 15 "sight" words, they use them to write spooky sentences.  I have also included "sight" word cards to use if you don't have eye "balls" available.

I have a really funny story to share tomorrow and another Word Work Freebie!  If you haven't already, please follow my store and blog so you will know about all of the freebies coming up!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Fun!

Even in Florida we still have fun in the Fall (just a little warmer hotter than other places.)  I love my First Grade team at our school; we definitely have more fun in First!  Our hallway is looking very fun and fallish with these fun doors.  The kids love them!

I was shopping (wasting time) in the Dollar Tree today and had a great find.  (The Dollar Tree is within my budget.)

These are packs of eyeball ping-pong balls.  I have a great idea for a "sight" word activity and maybe a math center.  I am working on it and will share when I am done.  I want to know, what would you do with them???

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Owls Writing Graphic Organizer Freebie!

My class loves learning about all about animals!  We all know it is easier to get students to write about things they are interested in.  I find I get some of my best writing from students writing about animals.

Fall is here and we are focusing on Fall animals.  This past week we learned all about owls.  (I have to admit I love learning interesting facts about these animals just as much as the kids do!)  I love involving the kids in the process of finding the information.  We start the unit of study with the KW of a KWL chart.  Then we brainstorm together what we want to learn and how we can find out more information.  After researching and learning we sum up what we have learned by completing an are-can-have graphic organizer.  We are in the beginning stages of taking their now organized thoughts and turning it into a well written paragraph with an introduction, supporting details and conclusion.

Download this graphic organizer and writing paper here FREE from my TpT store.

I am also excited and proud for this to be my first featured product on Classroom Freebies Too!

Classroom Freebies Too

Woo Hoo! Yay Me!

I am super excited to have 2 pretty cool things happen to me and my fairly new blog.  I hope this will help me reach new people.  I love what I do and enjoy sharing and connecting with others.  This has me so excited to create and share even more!

First, Saturday I received the invitation to be a blogger for Classroom Freebies Too!  If you aren't a frequent reader of Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies Too, you don't know what you are missing!  Classroom Freebies is an amazing site where some of the best teacher bloggers share their fantastic freebies!  There were too many freebies for one site, so Charity Preston created another site for even more freebies and teacher bloggers... Classroom Freebies Too!  I will now be featured on Classroom Freebies Too on a regular basis.  I can not wait to make my first post and share a super freebie!  What should I make and share???  Check back to see soon!
Classroom Freebies Too

On Sunday, I woke up and checked my emails and one of my favorite weekly newsletters was in my inbox.  I enjoyed reading the Teachers Pay Teachers weekly newsletter and 10 FREE downloads.  (If you don't subscribe, you should!)  I got a fun teacher tip to use in class this week and became inspired reading the success stories form teachers selling on Teachers Pay Teachers just like me.  The I scrolled through the 10 FREE downloads and saw one of my units!!!!  My October Character Traits Book Report packet was featured.  Yipee!!  In just a few hours it has had over 3,000 downloads and I have received some great reviews and have several new shop followers.

This has all given me the host in motivation I need to really work on my blog and products!  I am going to work hard to share my ideas on a more consistent basis.  I think it will help moving from my comfortable couch in front of the TV while I play on the computer to a real desk in a properly seated position.

I have so much to do with school, family and blogging how do I get it all done.  What works for you and your "To Do" list?  I have tried writing a list, putting it on my computer, my phone calendar and even the Cozi website.  What do you do (and does it work)???
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