Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jungle Learners Product Swap

One of my most favorite things about finally taking the leap and creating my own blog is getting closer to all the amazing teachers/blog authors out there!  When I saw the opportunity to be a part of this product swap I jumped on board!  A big thank-you to Melissa at Jungle Learners for hosting!  Click the image below to go back to her page!
My swap partner was Beth from Taming My Flock of Firsties!  Click her button to visit her blog!
Taming My Flock of Firsties
I asked Beth some questions to get to know one another and I was surprised at how similar we are!  I would have picked those exact same 5 words for me!  Read below to learn more about Beth!

How did you get into teaching and when/how did you make the decision to be a teacher?
Beth: "I have always wanted to be a teacher.  My aunt was my biggest influence.  She started teaching the  year I was born and retired the year I began. :)  I remember going into her classroom in August to set up.  There is nothing like the smell of a fresh classroom in August.  There was no other decision for me."

What is your favorite thing to teach and why?
Beth: "I love to teach reading.  When those eyes brighten when my firsties figure out a word...priceless."

Describe your personality with 5 words?
Spunky, Creative, Fun, Caring, and Energetic

I was happy to try out an activity from her It's Still Winter Math Common Core Pack!  
It was actually our 100th day of school this past week so her hidden penguin guessing game was perfect for a fun math game to integrate 100!
This pack covers so many common core standards and I love how it can be used for your highest kids and the low ones too!  Another benefit was a lot of the activities went to 120 rather than just 100!  Included in the pack are activities to practice comparing numbers with < , >, and = , deciding if equations are true or false, working on place value with tens and ones, measuring, and time!  It has everything you need to review a ton of math concepts in a fun, winter way!

The BEST part is we are giving away this amazing pack - just enter the rafflecopter below!

If you have time please head on over to her blog to enter for a chance to win my Common and Proper Noun PPT and Printables!  It will be on sale for $2.00 until Tuesday, Feb. 3rd!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

100th Day and Product Swap Spoiler

I did it! I survived the 100th day!  Now that I teach first, after two years in K, I thought, oh this will be a breeze........ WRONG!  Like always, I didn't anticipate things would take as long as they did and we didn't complete everything 100% but we all learned a lot and had a fun day.  But, I am so tired...I felt like I talked all day, explaining the different activities and facilitating.  
Our morning work consisted of this fun word search from I HAVE NO IDEA....I looked everywhere to find where I got this from. If you know please let me know so I can give credit!  It was super cute and fun for a different morning work! 
I compiled the 100th Day of School packet for each of the students from Four-Eyes Learning Factory!
The kids also wrote 100 words - I was actually the most surprised by this activity at how INDEPENDENT the kids were with this.  I let them work with a partner but they just went and did it, using names, sight words, and searching the was so classroom peaceful!
We kept the timer going every 100 minutes and did a brain break!  
Every year it is fun to do the 100 piece puzzles! 

By far my most favorite activity today was the "100 Years Old."  Truthfully, it wasn't even the hilarious pictures of all my kiddos looking elderly, but the AMAZING job they did on the writing.  They all really were creative and unique.  I was surprised at how much they knew about old people.  I made it easy and put a prompt on the board and went through each sentence discussing good words to fill in the blanks.
I had each kid also bring in 100 items and we examined our items using math, science, and literacy with my 100 Day of School Collection Book

I asked around school for the rubber tape measures that were at least 120" and put the kids into groups so each group could have their own tape measure.

We then weighed our items with nonstandard measurement using bears.  There is also a page for this in my 100 Day Collection Book I just didn't snag a picture.  We are blessed to have multiple scales so each group could have their own.

We also worked with a 120's chart from Beth Kempf at Taming My Flock of Firsties.  Come back and visit my blog on Saturday, January 31st to try and win her amazing packet that this comes from.... 

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Saturday Stray {Linky Party}

My First Link Up!!!  I will seriously be so ecstatic if I have one fellow teacher blogger link up with me!  Will it be you?  I am learning so much through this blogging journey and it is truly feeds that techy inside of me.  I wanted to start a weekly linky where I could add my random thoughts and happenings of my week.  So here it is............

Saturday Stray is a weekly teacher linky where you can share five stray things from your week!  Please grab the button above and add it to your post.  Once your post is complete, please come back here and link up with the linky tool at the bottom of this post.

Every teacher loves - - L.O.V.E.S - - loves the dollar tree.  I mean come on it is only a dollar right...hmm I think I will grab all three left on the shelf.  Do I have a plan for them.  No not just yet...but what if I need all 150 some day and then Dollar Tree doesn't carry them any more?!  Oh the misery!!  So as I ventured into Dollar Tree this week I found some goodies.  I did have a tad bit of self-control.  They had some amazing non-fiction readers.  I had to grab a couple 100 piece puzzles for our 100th day of school celebration coming up Thursday.  The best find, and I resisted buying enough for an entire class, was the dry erase page protectors!  Oh yeah and of course all 150 of those cubes............

The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson came in this week and I am excited to begin reading it and am also participating in a book club to help push me along.  I will admit it has been on the to do list for ummm.....ok an unmentionable amount of days.  But it will happen!

This week, and actually a bit of last, we worked on understanding Martin Luther King Jr, all that he taught us, and what he stands for.  Of course MLK is a tricky subject for our firsties, but one of my FAVORITE books is Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport.  We used Amber Kotzin's Literature Unit to help us!  The questions were a bit beyond first grade so I cut them up and gave one to each kid, or group, and they listened for the answer.  Then we went over everyone's question.
I love to talk about what 'BIG' words mean in context to the story and come up with more 'BIG' words.  We sometimes do a directed drawing and decorate it with our big words.  Didn't snag a pic, but you get the idea!  This year our plans consisted of our scholastic reader, a making words activity, and some fun activities from my peacemaker unit!  You can click any of the pictures to check out my Peacemaker Mini-Unit!


My 100th day shirt came in!  Kreative Kinder did a great job!  My kids are going to love it!

My daughter painted 'polish' as she says, for the first time this week and wrote an M for the first time all alone!  Can you tell she is our first - - everything she does is magnificent! 

If you have stray happenings to share from this week - please link up with me!  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sight Words and FREEBIES

We all know how essential sight words are when it comes to reading.  Early-emergent (A-C) and emergent (D-J) readers need a good bank of words that they know automatically - in a snap, to help their fluency, confidence, and comprehension.  When I taught Kindergarten I think there was less than 30 words that were supposed to be MASTERED by the end of the year.  However, I am a firm believer in know that whole nature vs. nurture thing.  Kids at this age are like sponges and many of them are at a critical age where they can benefit greatly from building that bank of sight words.
There are some approaches that I think are appropriate for K-1 and some that are not.  Here is what I believe helps kids learn best.  

1. PLAY ~ when children are having fun, their window for learning is wide open and everyone is having a much better experience (teachers included here)
2. CHOICE ~ now I know not everything can be their choice, but if there is an opportunity to let them choose, do it (remember from child development: limit choices, make sure they are appropriate, and that any choice is an acceptable one)
3. LOGICAL ~ sight words should make sense, kids need to understand why these words are so important.  

Kindergarten is essential for number 3 and if they have been given the proper background, by first grade they get it.  They have already seen that sight words pop up EVERYWHERE.  This is usually completed by finding sight words in books/emergent readers, incorporating sight words into writing, and integrating literacy in as many academic areas and avenues as possible.   

This post I am going to share some ways, in first grade, I address numbers 1 and 2.  Many of these activities are done during work on words for daily five and small groups but can be used whole group.  We did more whole group sight word work in K, but in first there just isn't as much time.
<-----This is a bang or crash type game I got from TPT from Lessons for Little Learners that correlates to our Treasures reading series. Click the picture to take you there.
Above is the kids working with whiteboards and writing sight words
        ....this is kid is an overachiever!
We play roll a word and just read the word or sometimes we write them too.  We also play sight word bingo or sometimes use the bingo board and instead play four in a row! 

Battleship is a fun game that can really be played in a variety of ways.  Each player (2) get the same board and their boards are private.  Each player has 4 pawns (we use linking cubes) to place on any four words.  After being placed they may not be moved.  Each player takes turns trying to guess THE OTHER PLAYERS WORDS (this is the part that gets the kids). If they guess correct they claim that pawn from their opponent.  The person who claims all their opponents pawns is the winner!
Click on the picture to go to my Facebook page and download an editable version of this game in the     FAN FREEBIE section!
Highlight a Sight Word is another fun one that be played in a variety of ways.  We use this at the beginning of the year to also discuss proper use of the highlighters.  These correlate to my basal - Treasures and is FREE in my TPT store - - - - >>>> click here or on the pictures to take you there.
We read the sight words as a class everyday if we can and sometimes we spell them or say them with sight word sticks.  We also play a variety of group games such as I have, Who has or Around the World. 
A lot of our sight word practice choice is completed during daily five work on words.  The students have so many choices here.  Check out MY CLASSROOM post to see some pictures of our shelf.  Below the kids are working with the aqua doodle and play dough!  We also have a magnet board and a chalkboard table where the kids can practice words as well.  We also work on spelling words here too!

We also have a  variety of "paper products" that are choices during daily five.  You can find a lot of these in my packet on TPT - - - - >>>> click here or on the pictures to take you there.
We also use a digital photo frame as a choice to practice sight words.  The kids just use the recording sheet and record as many words as they can! I have these products in my TPT - - - - >>>> click here or on the pictures to take you there.

If you made it this far....Thank-you for taking so much time to visit and hope you have something to take back to your classroom.

But before you go:  here is how I manage sight words in K and first.  
In Kindergarten we had about 3-5 words a week depending on the words for two weeks and then the third week was review with no words.  The kids had each word on an index card in a pencil bag and that was their homework each night.  At the end of the two weeks, during the third review week, I would assess the kids and they had a sight word sticker book where the could add a sticker if they mastered the word(s).  This is a word document so you can edit it if you wish.  Click the picture for this FREEBIE!
In First I knew coming from Kindergarten and having a few of the same kids that some of them would fly through the words and some would need more time. So I took all the sight words for the entire year and broke them into sets.  I then looked through the Dolch words up to 3rd grade and crossed off any already covered by our basal and phonics and then added words starting with pre-primer. I ended up with 15 sets of 25 words = 375 words for the entire year.  I colored coded each set differently and the kids work through the sets at their own pace, one set at a time.  I have an aide who comes in to assess the kids once a week.  I also make a white copy to send home for them to practice and they keep the colored, page protected copy in their desk folder.  As they master the sets they get a popcorn kernel with that number and we keep them up in our room all year! I have over half of my 19 kids who have mastered all 15 sets already.

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