Sunday, February 24, 2013

Compound Words Freebie

My class has been working on compound words this past week, and I wanted to provide them with another fun activity for practicing their new skills.  So I created a quick compound words matching activity.  My plan is to give each student a half of their compound word.  Then they can walk around the room, looking for the student who has the other half of their word.  You could also use it as a matching center as well.  It is entirely blackline, because I know how expensive printer ink is!  And I don't have any available!  I wish I had time to color those cute little compound word clipart images from Ashley Hughes! :-(  There is also a recording sheet or homework/extra practice sheet as well!


I hope you enjoy my quick little freebie!  Please let me know how you liked it!

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway!  

Or like my new Facebook page!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  We only have school tomorrow, as it is a snow makeup day.  We are off the rest of the week, though Parent/Teacher conferences are on Friday.  So I have some fun stuff planned for tomorrow, including reviewing compound words! :-)


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Giveaway!!!


My first Rafflecopter giveaway!

In honor of reaching 100 fans on my TPT store, and launching my new Facebook page for this blog, I have decided to have my first Rafflecopter giveaway!  I've never used Rafflecopter before, so we'll see how this goes!

I'm currently working on some stuff for March, but I don't have it finished quite yet.  However, I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off of work, so I plan on getting quite a bit finished then.  So this giveaway is for 2 items from my TPT store.  Once you win, I will announce your name on my blog and Facebook page, and email you.  I think.  I'm not sure how THAT works, because, like I said, I'm new to all of this!

Here's what you can choose from:

"Investigating" Arctic Animals- an Informational Writing Unit.  My students have been loving this unit, and so have I!!!


Though it is a little bit late for these this year, it's really never too late to spread the love!  You can choose both math and literacy, or just math or just literacy!




My robots- I love these guys!


And my sweet cupcakes.  I love these too!  I'm working on some more!


Winter themed literacy centers.  All about snow and winter. :-)  It's not too late!



I used this unit around Christmas this year, and my students loved it!  The pirate glyph was my favorite, and they turned out so cute!


I also love this unit!  The Santa turns out so cute, and I love creative writing!


My Christmas math centers.  My students really enjoyed these!


I will also be putting my store on sale, so if you don't win, you can at least get a discount! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five for Friday! (Again!)

I'm linking up with Five for Friday by Doodle Bugs Teaching.


I feel like the whole world has lost their mind this week.  One of the first graders from another class came in on Wednesday after being absent on Tuesday, and told me the craziest story (all true) about how his house got broken into the day before while the family was actually home!  I was so concerned about this poor kiddo.  Then I spent the last half of the week being nothing but angry because of a few things that have built up enough to set me off.  So I'm not only thrilled that it is the weekend so I can stay home, chill out, and relax, but I am also thrilled that I only have to work on Monday and Friday of next week because we have Tuesday-Thursday earmarked as snow makeup days, and Friday is conferences.  I am so glad to stay home most of the week (though I still have class) and forget about work for a few days.  Not that I would.

1.  We spent most of our writing time this week working on our informational books. :-)  These are going to turn out as great as our posters!  We're going to make sure we have some wonderful text features, such as a Table of Contents and Glossary.   I can't wait to see how they turn out, and I can't wait until my students get to share them with their families!

2.  I exited my first kiddo out of ECE (special education) services this week.  I've gone to initial IEP meetings to begin services, but never an exit meeting in the 5 years I've taught.  This student has just matured so much and made so much progress that she no longer qualifies.  It's a good thing. :-)  I'm so proud of how much she has matured!  (And if you knew how she was in pre-K or K, you would understand!)

 3.  One of my coworkers had a baby shower for her new baby boy at work on Tuesday.  I have pretty much decided that I can't just give someone a baby gift in a bag or box anymore, apparently.  So I bought a cute basket and filled it with onesies, hats, and washcloths.  Can you tell what they were supposed to be?


I also made her the elephant taggie.

My other coworker/friend had a baby shower on Saturday, and I made her this for her baby girl!  The mom (my coworker) is a huge Louisville Cards fan, and she loved it!  The baby's dad is a UNC Tarheels fan, because he's from North Carolina, so he wasn't as thrilled. :-)


4.  We have a grant in our school called Fund for the Arts, where our school gets money for arts related programs and events.  It's awesome.  We've been to see a play and The Nutcracker Ballet so far this year.  These are definitely opportunities that these students wouldn't have otherwise, so I'm so glad we have this awesome grant.  Today, this program called Walden Theater came to our classrooms to do some acting with my students.  They tied in Black History Month as well, so it was totally awesome!  The kids did a "tableu" of different Black History events that they provided.  They were hilarious.  One of the students was the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, and he sat in the chair with his hands up like he was actually a statue!  They were just so sweet and funny.  I'm glad she came during the last hour and a half of the day (for an hour) because I didn't have to get them too calm, as it was our wellness time after she left!  Thank goodness, because they were totally keyed up!

They had to great each other by doing a motion and say their name as a sort of ice breaker.

Doing a "tableu"- the kid sitting on the stack of chairs is supposed to be the statue of Abraham Lincoln, the girl in the white shirt and khaki pants is Martin Luther King, the girl in the white shirt and skirt is supposed to be a while southerner, the girl in the khaki dress is supposed to be a supportive person, and so is the boy next to her.  This is the closest thing I got to the tableu picture, because the phone rang and I had to go answer it!  I wish I could show you the other kid who was in the tableu's picture, because his face was priceless!  He was supposed to be the Mayor of a Southern town.


This event is when Rosa Parks refused to get off the bus.  Rosa is in the middle sitting down, and the boy in the white shirt who is leaning away from her was the white person who didn't want to sit by her on the bus.  The girl in the white shirt to the left side of the picture is pointing to the back of the bus to tell "Rosa Parks" to move to the back.  The boy in the white shirt standing up is a police officer.  To the right side, we have Martin Luther King receiving a phone call alerting him to the situation.  His "wife" is standing next to him, and his "oldest child" is squatting on the floor.

5.  My best friend and her husband are in town before he leaves for deployment soon, and I got go see them tonight at dinner!  I'm totally broke (payday is next weekend) but our other friend was nice enough to buy me something for dinner so that I didn't have to eat celery and peanut butter for dinner!  I get to see her again tomorrow and probably Sunday as well before they leave to go back home.  Plus, they are bringing their two dogs, I and J (not their real names, of course), over to play with my dog Molly! :-)  (Every time I call those two I and J, I think of "Tagalong K" from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  I even told my friend that she needs to get another dog and give it a K name.  She, of course, thought I was crazy!)

This is my dog Molly, at her agility class this week.  She loves agility!  She knows when we have agility, probably because I get home before dark!  This week, on the way to agility, she whined the entire way in the car!  We stopped at a stoplight, and I swear, I thought she might roll down the window (yes, she knows how!) and jump out of the car!


Please go link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday!  (I mean, if you want to!)  :-)

Oh, and please don't forget to "like" my new Blooming in First Facebook page!

Happy Weekend, everybody!  I'm starting mine off with a nice long NAP!!!  Night night!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Facebook!

Something compelled me to make a Facebook page for my blog tonight.  I love Facebook.  I'm on it all the time, and I think it's such a great way to connect with people!  So... here is the link to my new Facebook page for Blooming In First!!!  Please consider following me there!  I'm not sure exactly how I plan to use it yet, but I'm sure I will find a way.



I spent most of my day pretty angry and upset.  Remember the computer bench I built a few weeks back?  The kids have been using it when they come in for reading groups in the morning, and somehow, one of the hooks that the headphones hang on got KNOCKED OUT of the wood.  As in, the child managed SOMEHOW to force the hook hard enough that it actually ripped a hole in the wood.  Can you tell how angry I am?  I know it sounds horrible to be angry about this, but...
1.  This wasn't an accident.  That bike hook is HUGE.  The diameter of the screw is at least 1/2 of an inch.  I screwed a pilot hole in the wood, then screwed the hook in.  It was in there pretty good.  The wood is almost 2 inches thick.  Those hooks were solid.

2.  I have had it up to HERE with the way reading groups in my school are run this year.  We have to switch kids (a practice I don't agree with!) and a group of kids from the other two first grade classes come in, along with a few of my own students.  The group of kids that come in to my room have absolutely no regard for anything you say.  There was one day that I was introducing the new centers, and I had the kids sitting in a circle on the rug.  About half of the kids just talked when I was talking and had no regard for the fact that I was trying to speak.  The ones who weren't talking and were actually listening were one girl from one of the other classes, and every kid that is in my class.  I was so frustrated.  This is a constant problem.  The 3 kids who were somehow involved in pulling the hook out of my computer weren't from my class.  It's been a constant problem all year, and while I won't be getting into any more detail, lets just say that today was the last straw for me.  When I just walk away without saying a word, you know I'm mad, and that was exactly what I had to do today. I was so mad, I could have cried.  It's frustrating putting your own time and energy into something, and it be torn up.  I've watched my beautiful classroom be torn up all year, and I'm over it.

I'm sorry... I didn't begin this blog post to vent, but I'm still so extremely upset about this whole situation, I guess I just needed to vent.  So I'll leave you with a funny story that I posted yesterday on my personal Facebook page:

"I witnessed my first first grade "breakup" today. It was hilarious. They were getting their backpacks and the little girl said to the boy "I want to break up with you." I couldn't believe my ears. So I asked her what she said, and she repeated it. Then she told me that they were boyfriend and girlfriend because they liked each other so much. But she didn't want to be his girlfriend anymore. I had to walk away, I was laughing so hard. Luckily, there were no tears. :-)"

Seriously, that was the most uneventful breakup I've ever seen.  Plus, the boy was telling someone the day before that he had 2 girlfriends.  I guess the little girl decided that she was fed up with his two-timing!  Goodness gracious, I can't imagine if these were REAL breakups and relationship drama!!! :-)

I know I've mentioned this before, but I have had a sore throat for a few weeks now.  I've actually lost count.  It hurts even more/in a different way today.  I guess it's a good thing we have most of next week off, because I'm going to make a doctors appointment.  I've waited too long already, but I don't like to take off work! :-(



Back to the point of this post:  Would you be my Facebook friend? :-)

Please? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hall Pass Linky party!

I'm participating in Reagan's Hall Pass Linky party!


Here are the rules:


P is for Product:  My favorite product that I've created is my Investigating Arctic Animals unit.  My students did such a great job with their posters they created.  Plus, I get to use this for a project in my grad school class, so I'm doubly excited.  :-)


This is one of the posters one of my students made.  Totally awesome. :-)


My students did such a great job with their posters and are totally rocking their books!  I can't wait to share them with you!  They are totally excited about making the posters and books, and they are excited to share them with their families!

A is for Area:  My favorite area in my classroom is definitely my classroom library.  However, don't get me started on the fact that I really can't trust the particular group of students that is in my room for reading, which means that I actually can't "open it" because I can't trust them.  This thoroughly depresses me.  I have chairs and pillows and carpet squares available to use, and they've barely gotten any use this year.  :-(  (That really is a whole other can of worms that I will not open in this post.)

Even more depressing is that I don't have a decent picture of my actual classroom library.  And the power supply on my desktop computer died last week, so I can't access any of my pictures right now. :-(  I may have one of my library from last year on there.  This kind of shows what it looks like, but mostly the picture is of my bunting.  How in the world do I not have a picture of my library on this blog?


S is for Signal:  My signal for transitions actually differs based on the time of day.  In the mornings, we do guided reading, so I use a timer.  When the timer goes off, the kids know to clean up and stand behind their table/area.  During the rest of the day, I have a chime that I use.  Whenever the chime rings, the kids know it is time to stop what they are working on and clean up.  Occasionally, I will use "give me five!" but I prefer the chime.

S is for Sanity:  I can't really say I have any ritual or "happy spot" at work.  I guess my day is so busy, I don't really have any time to chill out or take a break.  I do enjoy when we have breakfast in the classroom, because the kids and I eat breakfast, and I get the chance to sit and talk to them or listen to their conversations.  Most of the time, they are pretty hilarious!  I don't get to do that much, so I like it.  Or they'll practice math facts.  But they want to practice stuff like 100 + 100 and then ask me if the answer is correct! They are too funny!



Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Organized

This weekend, I finally got fed up looking through all the backgrounds, borders, and clip art I have on my computer while trying to create different things.  So I decided to organize them so that things were easier to find.  

I organized my files into these categories:  images, backgrounds, alphabets, and borders.

For the background, alphabets, and borders, so far, that's fine.  I don't have nearly as many of those.  But all that clip art!  Even with just having a folder for clip art, there is still a ton of it!  So my question is... how do you organize your clip art?

Some methods I've considered are by author/creator (such as all Scrappin Doodles in one folder, all Ashley Hughes in one folder, then broken down by set in that folder), all by theme (holidays, animals, etc...) or even if it can be used for a freebie or not.  (Which, pretty much, would mean Scrappin Doodles in one folder and everything else in another since I don't have a SD freebie license!)

Also, how do you label your folders?  Right now, each of my clip art sets is in its own folder, along with any pertinent information that came with it (TOU, preview, button for credit, etc...)  Some of them are labeled by the name of the creator, while some are not.  

I'm a little OCD about this, but I'm not sure how to get these organized so they are the most effective for me, and easy for me to find!  I'm so OCD about my pictures, they are organized in folders by year, then month, then event, but my clip art isn't so cut and dry!

I'd love for you to share your methods for organizing your clip art!  


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yes, I am a slacker

I've been slacking off lately, I guess!  I can't even remember the last time I posted!  Last week?  Maybe...  it has been such a busy week this week!  I had this huge concept map assignment due for class (that I got a 100% on!  Go me!) and a friend's baby shower this weekend, so I've spent like every free minute sewing.  And I still didn't finish the project I'm working on for her.  I guess it's a good thing she's having another baby shower at work in a few weeks, because I might actually get this gift finished by then!

But last weekend, I did manage to whip something up that I am dying to share with you!  I was thinking ahead, and I created this cute little game for you.  (OK, and me!)  My students played a version of Bang around Christmas time, and they just loved it!  So I created a version for St. Patrick's Day.  And yes, it's a freebie!  (I've been slacking in that area too.)  You can get it here.


These are the directions cards.  There are 2 versions.  One is "if you don't know the word, have a friend help you" and the other is "if you don't know the word, put the card back in the container" because I know people like to play different ways.


There are cards with 1st grade words and Kindergarten words, as well as a blank page of words that you can fill in your own words if you wish.


If you grab the hat, the Leprechaun escaped!  You have to put all your cards back.


I hope you and your students enjoy this freebie!  If you download, please leave me some love by way of feedback, either here or at my TPT store!

Want to hear a slightly funny story about this?  I asked a friend of mine to print it out for me, because I am currently without a printer, and I sent it to him to print out.  Later that day, I got a text that said "Leprechaun Bang doesn't sound like an appropriate game for first graders."  I knew he was going to say something!  I had to explain that it's more like "Bang, you're dead" than what HE was thinking of!  It made me laugh quite a bit.  But I kept the name anyway, because it made me laugh. :-)  So I hope nobody is offended!

I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Investigating Arctic Animals Posters!

I have the world's smartest, cutest, sweetest first graders, ever.  I know you think yours are pretty great, but I promise... mine are absolutely the smartest, cutest, funniest, sweetest, most amazing group of first graders ever.  How in the world does one teacher get so lucky?

*Cease bragging*

I promised my first graders I was going to brag on them.  Well, I bragged to everybody in the school, so now I have to brag to the entire internet. :-)

When I took a class over the summer appropriately called "Informational Books", we did something called in "investigation."  While we didn't do it as in depth as a student might, we got the concept of how students can take information and "investigate" it and make a poster with this information as a sort of visual display of the information.  This got the wheels in my head turning.  After our Winter Break, I decided that my class would do an investigation of their own.

You know as well as I do that asking first graders to do research on a topic is pretty much futile.  We did our research as a class.  We started doing research as a class on whales to go along with the book "Our Whale Watching Trip."  I even mentioned what I was going to be doing to my librarian, and she helped my students look up information in the encyclopedias and on the internet. :-)  Then we did some research on penguins and polar bears.

We read some informational books, and I gave my students one of these "Cool" Facts sheets on a clipboard.  We would read a little bit of the book, then I would stop and give them time to write down facts they thought were interesting or that they might want to share with others.  I let them share their facts with their partner, and their discussions about what they had learned were so cute!

I learned from my mistakes the first round, so when we wrote about the polar bears, I showed my students how to use bullet points to help them with their note taking.  So cute!  I told them it wasn't necessary to write "polar bears can" every time, but that they could just write the fact on the paper with a bullet point.  This really helped them organize their thoughts in a neat way.


Once we did all of our research, we practiced writing sentences using the "Can, Have, Are" graphic organizers.  I added the "Eat" and "Live" sections as well.  We compiled our interesting facts onto these graphic organizers, and then used it to help us write complete sentences about the animal.

Fast forward a few days, and we started to work on our posters.  Holy cow, I was so impressed!  To help them organize their thoughts, I gave them 4 squares to do their writing in.  At the top, we wrote the "topic" they were writing about.  Then they had to write 2 facts in each square.  To help them think about the topics, we brainstormed some topics we could use.  It was hard at first, but they figured out what they were supposed to do, and we came up with a great topic list.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it!

Then they got to work writing in their squares!  I asked for a minimum of 3 squares, though many (most!) of my students wrote in all 4 squares!  I checked their work to make sure it was factual and correct, as well as neat.  I also checked to make sure they had at least 2 facts on each topic.

Before we began actually making our posters, I modeled how to lay out their posters using their squares, the pictures I provided that they COULD use (not had to!), and their text feature.  We talked about leaving space for a border and title.  We discussed laying things out where we wanted them before we glued, so we didn't have to pull things up.  The students watched as I took my pieces and laid out my own poster and thought aloud about how I wanted to arrange it.  It must have worked, because almost all of them listened to the directions and didn't pick up a glue stick until after they had everything where they wanted it.  I was so proud that they listened so well and took the time to lay out their posters so they were nice and neat.  We talked a lot about how they needed to be neat instead of messy and sloppy.  Nobody wants a sloppy poster!

The process took a lot of time, I admit, but it was worth it.  When it was time to assemble our posters, it was easy!  Each student cut out their squares and arranged them on their poster.  Then they had pictures (clip art) available to put on their posters if they wished.  They also had to use one text feature; most of my students chose a map that showed where the animal lives.  A few chose pictures with a caption or label.  I would not let them glue anything down until I had checked them.  Once they had arranged their poster pieces and made sure they left room for a title, I allowed them to glue and add a border to their posters.  Watching these posters take shape was nothing short of awesome.  Every student (except one, but I'm not talking about her!) was working so hard on their poster.  The students who were still working on their writing worked so hard so they could get started assembling their poster.  And every single kid was working so hard, they didn't even notice when I stepped out of my door to flag down our Writing Coach so she could come see what they were working on.  She was also super impressed!


They even used books as resources when they needed information to complete their poster.  One of my students is helping another figure out where her animal lives on a map.


I was so super impressed and proud of their work!

Would you like to see some of their awesome posters?


Love the picture with labels!

This little cutie used a picture with a caption.  Penguins like to toboggan. :-)

 

 

Tell me those aren't absolutely amazing?

I am SO PROUD of what my babies did!  I just love it when something comes together and is absolutely perfect.  I have literally been working on this unit for weeks and weeks!


I thought that maybe some other people might want to use this unit in their classrooms, so it is now in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.  In the effort to NOT turn this post into a commercial, I will post a link to it here, but I will make another post about the unit itself later.  I want you to focus on my SMART STUDENTS!!! :-)  But I did work really hard on this, and I'm quite proud of it.  So if you would like to at least check it out, there it is!


What do you think of our little project?  Have you ever done anything like this with first graders?  It was a lot of work, as I said, but the outcome has been amazing.  Just wait until you see their books... :-)