Friday, April 24, 2015

Big Changes and I need your HELP!

It has been a VERY busy week so I am sorry I haven't been blogging very much.  I work at a private school so although there is a sense of job security, our grade levels fluctuate due to the enrollment.  Some years our numbers are up and some years our numbers are down.  I previously taught Kindergarten and am now teaching First.  Next year I will be moving to third grade!  Although I am nervous about the jump, I am excited to get a variety of teaching experience and know it will make me a better teacher in the long run.   
This is where I need help from you all!  I have used Daily Five in my classroom every year and I LOVE IT and the KIDS LOVE IT and I want to use it in my coming third grade class.  I would love to find some other teacher bloggers that use Daily Five in the upper elementary so I can get a idea of what it could look like.  It seems the world of teacher bloggers is bountiful in the lower grades, but I am having trouble finding much for third.
I have the CAFE book on the way and WORD NERDS so I can get inspiration for how I will run my literacy block too!
If you have any good advice, well wishes, or links please leave me a comment!

TOTALLY UNRELATED:

My kids did this adorable holy trinity craft this week and had a blast!  Our religion curriculum can be a bit dry, so I am always looking for ways to increase engagement.

I found this great freebie here at Sunday School Kids.com.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Easter .... a tad tardy {FREEBIES}

Ok I know that Easter was almost two weeks ago, however I teach at a Catholic school and we celebrate the SEASON of Easter.  Therefore, for the next month or so this is still relevant...he he!
Before Easter we emphasis Lent and discuss Jesus and what amazing things he did during his time on Earth.
We use this Lent pack to help us learn about this special preparation time.
We also have high school students make resurrection egg stories and come down to present them with the children.
We also had fun with some graphing and tally mark practice using jelly beans! These printables came from Simply Kinder and I copied them two to one page.  Click on the picture to grab yourself a FREE copy from her TPT store.
The following activity we had already made 1-100 number cards for a previous activity so this was super easy!  I put a few cards in a bucket on each table pod and the kids simply picked three cards and ordered them from least to greatest.  This is a FREE pack from Sparkles, Smiles, and Successful Students.  Click on either picture to head to her TPT store and grab yourself a copy.
 When the kids came back from Easter/Spring break I wanted to be sure we still discussed the true meaning of Easter with this great read aloud and craftivity.  You can click on the picture below to grab a FREE copy of the words and the egg.  
We also read the Tale of Peter Rabbit and reviewed cause and effect!
We read The Best Easter Eggs Ever!  Which is an ADORABLE book.  We have been talking about adjectives for quite sometime so they decorated an egg and wrote adjectives to describe their egg on the back.
After we read The Tale of Peter Rabbit we read a book to compare and contrast called Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming.  This book was SO FUN to read and there are two sequel books too!  I forgot to grab a copy of the compare and contrast chart that we made, but it was perfect.  The printable I used came from Kathi at Primary Possibilities.  You can see the pack in her TPT store by clicking below.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Work on Writing Daily Five Linky

Daily Five is an AMAZING and SUPER EASY approach to literacy centers.  If you haven't heard of Daily Five then you need to run now go check it out.  There is a a great book written by "The Sisters" that outlines everything you need to implement this approach in your classroom.

I am linking up with A Burst of First to share what we do for each of the fives in our classrooms.  Sadly, I missed the Word Work link up, but I do have our Word Work area in this post --> MY CLASSROOM.
Here is our word work area for my first grade class.  I did previously teach kindergarten so I want to make sure if any teachers are new to Daily Five that they know it looks much different in kindergarten.
By FAR my favorite thing in my work on writing area is our picture dictionaries and word strips.  These come in handy seriously EVERY DAY!!  I force myself to make the kids go there to find words rather than spell them for them. And very quickly, the kids become independent.  
These are the word strips I have on a ring for the kids to use:
These are the word charts I keep in page protectors in a small binder folder:
I have another set that I use with these word charts: 
The second favorite thing at my work on writing area is the stencils and how to draw books!  Kids can get SO frustrated when trying to draw so these resources are life savers.

Some of my favorite paper choices come from the following sources:

Here are some goodies I snapped that my kiddos have worked on at our writing area:




A big thanks to Deirdre from A Burst of First for hosting this linky!!

A Burst of First

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Habitats

Doing my first research project with my firsties has taught me what works well and areas that I can improve upon for next year!  I have recently been drawn to open-ended anticipatory sets to hook my kids into a new unit.  I gave each student an image of an animal and then placed the habitats around the room and let them go!  When given the freedom, the discourse between the students is so much better than a teacher centered instruction method.
As an intro to the six habitats we did a fun printable: Which Habitat Am I?
After that I paired the kids with a higher ability and a lower ability.  TIP: My most struggling students also received assistance with myself during our small group time.  I then let the partners choose which habitat they would like to learn about; making sure all six were covered.  The partners read their informational text and answered the question sheets independently.
We took this VERY slow and if any group got behind we did not move on.  After all groups had a good understanding of their habitat's basic characteristic we moved on to note taking.  Once again this process was taken VERY slow and was modeled so the kids understood the difference between notes and sentences.  The most struggling students received extra assistance in a small group here and throughout writing the research paper.  I asked them to write at least two sentences for each section; weather, animals, and plants.
I provided the students with black line images of animals found in their habitat to illustrate the cover of their research paper.  The final products were shared with a pair and share method!

Check out this pack in my TPT store!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Movement, Sun, and a Wedding?!

I hadn't planned on blogging tonight, but here I am!  A fellow teacher pal needed some fresh ideas for a phonics lesson coming up and I suggested sit on it from the amazing Kelley Dolling author of Teacher Idea Factory!  She has sooo many, like overwhelming, pin pin pin for later EVERY SINGLE THING ideas!  As I was stalking reviewing her blog I came across a linky she was once doing.  Not sure if this is an active linky party or not, but I only had two days last week due to a sick kid and this week is Spring Break so I won't have much to share for a while.
Just before my secretary came in to tell me my daughter had come down with a fever we were reviewing sums of 10!  Here in Missouri the weather can be a bit unpredictable, but don't tell anyone I said it I think it may FINALLY be SPRING!!!  There have still been sporadic cool days, but we have also had sunny and 70 as well!  I can't fight the urge to get outside and soak up the sun as much as possible, even if we all have to be at school.
 I found this game for practicing sums of 10 from Nicole Bunt at First Grade Owls.  Best of all it is free!  We played with partners then did a boys vs. girls race!
If you haven't read my ABOUT ME section then you may have guessed I got hitched.  Well, my husband and I just recently celebrated our five year anniversary!  It was my little sis that finally tied the knot.  It was a one of our beautiful sunny days and an amazing amount of fun!
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