Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Finally posted my mini owl unit!  To start off the unit, I read the book I’m not scared! by Jonathan Allen and my students filled out the story map.

We are still working on identifying beginning, middle and end of stories.  Owl meets different animals throughout his walk in the forest and it is easy for the students to pick out the beginning, middle and end.

Next, I read I'm not cute! My kids giggled throughout the entire book!  They really love Owl!  We brainstormed a list of adjectives at the end to describe Owl.  Then each student wrote a short story "I'm cute when..."

Then we made an owl craft.  I had seen several owl pictures on Pinterest, but couldn't find a template so I made my own.

You can download the owl template and story map here (It's FREE!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Critters

I'm sure you have seen plenty of spider, bat and owl ideas across teaching blogs this month.  Is it just me or do you find the perfect idea after you finished a unit??  Drives me crazy!

My class started off the month learning about mammals, so I made sure to include bats.  We read Stellaluna and completed this bat activity inspired by First Grade Parade.

My wonderful parapro made this poster to help us with labeling.

She was afraid it looked too scary, so she added hair bows to it.

Here's another poster from the classroom next door.  Super cute!

The next unit was insects.  We made models of insects out of marshmallows and toothpicks. I also emphasized spiders and learning why spiders were not considered insects.

Love this poster!  It almost didn't make it through the laminator because I wasn't paying attention!

This week we're studying birds.  I'm right in the middle of creating a small unit based on the books by Jonathan Allen.  I can't wait to get it posted.

I've donated my first unit on TPT to O FISH ally a First Grader's 100 Follower Giveaway.  Be sure to check it out!  Winners will be announced next Sunday, October 28th.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Math Stations

This year I started having the students complete stations during math. I don't know how I've taught math for the last five years without them!  Sure, I did plenty of hands-on activities, but I never had math set up as station rotation.  I loved seeing math centers on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers and wanted to give them a shot this year.

I make 10 centers since the maximum number of students I can have is 20. This year I only have 17 students and paired them up in groups of two.  One student has to work by himself, but the student doesn't seem to mind.  I change their partners every time I change out the centers.  The students only visit one center per day.

The rainbow colored circles indicate the centers and the pink and green circles are the students' name.  Each day I rotate the the rainbow colored circles.

Each cubby is labeled with a colored circle.

The math stations are stored in these baskets.

Up close view!

Here are my current stations.  

1. Pumpkin Graph (Freebie)  
    This is pictured above. I made die cut pumpkins and a graph worksheet to go along with the activity.
2. Color by Numbers (Freebie)
4. Pumpkin Sorting (Freebie)
5. I Want Candy! (Freebie)
6. Spider Sorting (Freebie)
10. Computer Station

What do math stations look like in your classroom?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It's been awhile!  The first few months of school are always the busiest and I am now feeling like I'm hitting my grove.  After 8 weeks....

I also started my M.A.T. program through Marygrove College right after Labor Day. So far I am enjoying the layout of the program.  You take 2 classes per semester, but each class is only 7 weeks long. I love it because my focus is just on one class and the assignments are doable with a working schedule.  If you have been looking for a program, I would check it out.

My favorite subject to teach is math, probably because there are so many hands-on activities that you can do. This year I started doing math centers after the lesson of the day.  I have no idea why I didn't do this earlier! I love the setup I created, so I plan on sharing that very soon! It might involve me remembering to take pictures.  :)

Our math chapter focuses on subtraction.  At this point in the year, I don't mind if the students count on their fingers or use cubes to help them figure out the answer.  But in a few weeks I expect them to come more familiar with the problems so they don't use their fingers for every single problem.

Funny side note: We were playing Subtraction Scoot and one of the problems was 11-6.  A student held up her fingers and asked me "How am I supposed to get 11 fingers??" I told her to stick out a leg and make that number 11.

I have always taught counting up as a subtraction strategy. I found the best game on You Might Be a First Grader.  I had a few extra minutes yesterday, gave each pair of students a set of cubes, and they were learning this strategy in no time!

Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than latter to share my math centers!