Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All About Me Pennant FREEBIE!

I just posted an All About Me FREEBIE to my TPT shop. 

During the first week back to school, I love having my first graders share information about themselves with their classmates. This pennant is a quick activity to help with this! Students simply fill out the pennant, color, cut out, and share with the class. YOU can string all of the student pennants together with ribbon to make an adorable banner for your classroom or hallway. I'm thinking I might print the pennants on different bright colors, then string them together in a pattern. If my first grade teammates are on board, it would look so fun to string all 4 classes in our hallway for curriculum night.

Can you do me a favor?.... if you download this freebie, leave feedback please and thank you!!

Off to bed! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gem Shopping!

In my classroom I use a clip chart behavior system. I found a free clip chart on Pinterest that uses the seven habits language for each color. I use glittery clothespins with student numbers on them. Students begin each week on green (I am proactive and ready to learn!). Underneath the green is yellow, followed by orange, then red. Students who remain on green all week, earn a gem on Friday. I simply use a hot glue gun to glue the gems onto the student's pencil boxes (I purchase pencil boxes for everyone at the beginning of the year). I actually refer to them as "gem boxes" with my students. These gem boxes get covered with gems and the students are so proud of them! 

Gems are a big hit in first grade with the girls AND the boys. It's amazing to see how much the kids love gem shopping. I've been doing this for 8 years now, and it's probably the easiest, cheapest, most loved reward for making good choices. I buy the gems wherever I can find them! Joann's sells a big bag of them so I use a coupon and they are very reasonable. 
Because students have to stay on green EVERY. SINGLE. DAY of the week in order to gem shop... they are very conscious of their behaviors and understand from day one that it only takes one move on the clip-chart to lose out on a gem. For some students, it only takes one mistake and they learn from it real quick! For others, gem shopping may not be as important. In these cases, individual behavior plans may be necessary. But overall, gem shopping is a big motivator and is always a big hit in my classroom.
So if you're looking for an easy little reward for making good choices, try out GEM SHOPPING!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Must Read Monday- The Looking Book

The Looking Book by P.K. Hallinan is my favorite book to break out during the introduction of my poetry unit! I start teaching poetry by having my kiddos collect "notes" on ordinary things. But there's a catch... they must look at these ordinary things in "fresh new ways." On day 1, I have the kids take notes on objects I provide. On day 2, I ask kids to bring in their own objects to take notes on. On day 3, I read "The Looking Book" and we venture outside and collect notes on things we see in the environment.

The Looking Book is about 2 brothers who just want to stay inside and play. Their mom tries to get them to go outside to play but gets resistance. So the mom decides to whip out "Lookers" to encourage the boys to get out there and explore! The "lookers" are just plain black glasses but are a novelty for the brothers. The boys go outside wearing their lookers and soon discover extraordinary things in the ordinary outside! This book has rhyming text and a wonderful message about seeing the world through fresh new eyes... perfect to jumpstart any poetry unit!

I bought 25 pairs of black glasses in the party favor aisle at Target. I simply pushed out the sunglass lenses and had a class set of "lookers' for this fun lesson! The kids look so adorable wearing their "lookers" and holding their clipboards as they see the outside world in a fresh new way!

Thank you teachingmaddeness for hosting this linky party!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Father's Day FREEBIE!

This Father's Day FREEBIE is an easy, low prep card that students can make for their dads!
First I read this Scholastic book to get the kids thinking about their dads...
Then I have students make their own TOP TEN LIST...

Next, students use a TIE TEMPLATE (included in the freebie) to trace and cut out a tie on patterned/colored paper. They glue the tie to the front of a business size envelope that has been prepped by: cutting off the top, cutting a slit down the middle,  and folding down the collars. The TOP TEN LIST slides into the top of the envelope and makes the perfect thoughtful card for dad!
Click here to download this freebie. Please leave me some feedback if you download! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Learning Target Organization! & Freebie!

I've worked hard over the past 2 years creating unit learning targets for all subject areas. I print them off, laminate them, and post them on my learning targets board during each unit of study. When a unit ends, I find the next unit's learning targets to post. This has definitely been a work in progress project of mine over the past 2 years. It feels good to be able to have a strong handle on the curriculum and what I'm teaching in each subject area. These unit target sheets have really focused my teaching and make my first graders completely aware of the expectations.

This year I had one folder labeled "learning targets" on the front. I just stored all of the subject areas in this one folder. The problem was, when I went to get a particular unit, I could never find it! So I decided to organize the unit target pages by subject area. I bought 4 folders from Walmart and made labels to go on the front. These folders have really made locating a particular unit's targets a breeze! Click here to download the labels for free!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebration of Learning!

In the spring, my school does a celebration of learning instead of traditional parent/teacher conferences. This celebration varies from grade to grade, but this post is about how it works in first! The block of time is in the evening and I started this year at 4:30 and went until 7:00. I sent home 30 minute blocks of time for parents to choose from. Parents were asked to list their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice. Once I got the choices back, I created a schedule. I don't like to have more than 4 families in the classroom at a time. The children bring their parents into the classroom during their assigned block of time and just share their work. I created a page to guide the children's "sharing" of their work, see picture below:
I forgot to mention that we did a baseball theme for our celebration because it was opening day for the Detroit Tigers! So of course I did all things baseball! So the children began by sharing their leadership notebooks with their parents. Their leadership notebooks include reading, writing, math, and goals. Most of the information in their leadership notebooks is data on their individual growth in the classroom (no work samples). Then I made a cover page (baseball of course) for their published writing and the children shared their stories with mom and dad. Next, I had students grab their poetry notebooks from their book baskets and share some of their favorite poems. They absolutely loved that part! Finally, I gave them a choice to share their wise owl words (big vocabulary words), CAFE strategies and how they work, our classroom leadership jobs, or the contents of their Reader's Notebook.  It was so amazing to see my first graders taking full responsibility of their learning. My students know what's in their leadership notebooks and where they are at in their learning. I use individual tracking progress pages for every unit of study and these are also kept in the leadership notebooks.  I set up the tables with a big paper baseball in the center, a helium balloon, leadership notebooks, published writing, and the "You Just Hit a Homerun" page on top. I found baseball easter eggs and filled them with goodies for the kids when they came in. I can confidently say that this year's celebration of learning was a "hit!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fraction Fun!

I just finished a new product and posted it on my TPT store. First graders can really relate to food, so I found some fun pizza fraction clipart from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs and got busy creating! I started out just making a "scoot" fraction game and couldn't help but add more. It's called Pizza Party Fraction Scoot and MORE! Click on the link to check it out!