Wednesday, February 27, 2013

6 Hours Left.....

6 hours left to enter my 100 followers giveaway!

I'm working on a Leprechaun Packet. My goal is to get it posted by tomorrow night, so stay tuned!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Manic Monday Freebie: Math

Math is my ABSOLUTE favorite subject to teach.  Sure, reading is exciting in first grade too, but I was naturally drawn to thinking of math activities when I first started teaching.

Funny thing is that I HATED math in school.  My brother remembers quizzing me on math facts and I would give him random answers.  Not even answers that made sense. I try to remember that whenever I have a student that is doing the same to me - it's like what I did as a kid coming back to bite me in the rear.

By far the hardest thing for me to teach in math is two-digit addition and subtraction with and without regrouping.  Maybe it's because it's so natural to me now as an adult, but oh my goodness! I think it's also hard for my firsties because they are used to getting a concept pretty easily and this is the first time they actually have to think.

When I had the opportunity (re: had to do an assignment for one of my M.A.T classes), I designed a unit that helped me better organize how I teach two-digit addition.  My first step was buying 2 packets from TPT.

I like this packet because it has a lot of printables for students to practice.  It even has timed basic math facts printables that you can use throughout the year.  The only thing that it did not have was two-digit addition problems with and without regrouping on the same page.  The students are smart enough to know if a worksheet is all about regrouping or just has problems where they don't need to regroup. I wanted to see if they really grasped the concept of knowing when to regroup, so I made my own printable. (Click on the picture to download.)

I used this packet to plan the majority of my unit.  The activities allowed my students to be engaged, create visual aids to help them, and practice real life problems. 

When I first introduce two-digit addition I have the students model each problem.  I was using the place value mats from earlier in the school year, but that didn't really allow the students to line up their problems in the correct manner.  My firsties don't seem to understand that if they don't line the problem up correctly they could get a completely wrong answer.

I made this chart, printed it out on colored copy paper and laminated. Click on the picture to download your own copy!

Do you have to teach regrouping in your grade level?  Are there any tips you have to share? 

Don't forget to enter by 100 Followers Giveaway

Sunday, February 24, 2013

100 Followers Giveaway!!

I finished my Digraphs Packet: Craftivities and More just in time for my 100 followers giveaway!

My students loved the craftivities from this packet.  In fact one of my students wrote a story this week in her journal about how much I love crafty things. Anything that does not involve a worksheet makes me happy! (And the students too!) Here are some real life examples of the completed crafts.

I though the speech bubble was a nice touch. This class has a thing for eyelashes!  Some of our George Washington crafts had eyelashes too.  Poor George!

We wrote digraphs ending in th, ch, and sh on each shell.  Then they had the freedom to create their own beach scene. 

There are two more crafts (a box of chocolates and a peach), a word hunt and a printable included in the packet.

You also have a chance to win my Guy Butterfly and Benny Butterfly: a mini unit for y as a vowel. You can read about how I used it in my classroom HERE.

If you're interested in either of these products, be sure to enter my 100 followers giveaway!

The giveaway started today and will end Wednesday night 2/27 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five for Friday

I was excited to have one day off this week, but when I heard that some teachers had the ENTIRE week off I was super jealous! In all honesty, that one day of rest made a difference and I felt refreshed for the rest of the week.

1. I read Nicolas Spark's Safe Haven on Monday.  Has anyone seen the movie yet?

I have this thing about reading the book before seeing the movie. I thought the Hunger Games movie did an excellent job, but I was disappointed in A Time Traveler's Wife (my favorite book ever).

A few years ago, I read Charlotte's Web aloud to my students.  I talked to them about how books and movies about books can be different.  During testing week we watched the movie and one of my students asked me if Charlotte died in the movie.  I had completely forgotten that I had told the kids how the books and movies can be different and I responded "Seriously?" Then he reminded me what I had told him and I felt bad (and a little dumb), so I gave him a huge handful of beads (my class reward at the time) for outsmarting the teacher.

2. We learned about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.


A little background on our George Washington craft: I had found an image on Pinterest of the craft I wanted to do and pre cut the faces and shirts.  When it came time to put everything together, I realized that I had no hat or cotton balls for George's hair. My solution was to put out a bunch of blue scrapbook paper and have the students make their own hat. One of George's hats may have turned into a birthday hat. I think they love scrapbook paper as much as I do!

For Abraham Lincoln, we completed Amy Lemons' free President's Day Pack.  I absolutely love any craftivity she makes and my students have the most fun with her things. I failed to take a picture!

3. We started two digit addition and I had the students explore the ten rods and ones for 5 minutes before the lesson. They wanted me to take pictures of their structures.

4. I finally learned how to upload documents to Google Docs and share them with you (thank you YouTube). I made three freebies this week and I hope to make many more!

5. I actually won a giveaway! Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files let me pick anything from her TPT store. I chose Kristen's Ready to Number Customizable Library Labels.

I organized my library a few years ago, but I really need to go through it and clean it out this summer. The labels are beautiful and I can't wait to add them to my classroom!

Kristen also has another blog called Haute Off the Printer that's solely dedicated to her products.

Speaking of giveaways, I hit a 100 followers this week and I'm in the mist of planning a giveaway to celebrate! Check back this weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pondering Pinterest

We started learning about two digit addition and my students are doing an amazing job following the steps to complete each problem!  For the most part, they are starting to solve the problem in the ones column before moving to the tens column.  That's a big feat if you've ever had to teach this concept before!

I'm going to do a post in a few days about how I teach two digit addition in my classroom, but I wanted to share this printable. It's a mix of problems with and without regrouping.  I'll be using it as our chapter test in two weeks. The quizzes and test from our textbook are way too confusing and, in my opinion, don't assess whether the students actually understand the concept.

Click HERE to download.

Now onto a very important topic - Pinterest! A few years ago (2009) I discovered teaching blogs and I LOVED the wonderful ideas from the other teachers.  But sometimes I would get overwhelmed with ideas and I didn't have a good system to bookmark all of the ideas I would find.

Enter Pinterest! I don't know how I found out about it, honestly. It probably was a blog, but I know when I started pinning ideas my (real life) friends really didn't know about. I sure as heck didn't even know if I was pronouncing it correctly!!

Well, I started pinning away and I can say it has made bookmarking ideas so much easier.

I have a little game going on with Pinterest - I don't want my pins to go over a certain amount (set in my head). Once I hit that magical number, I go back and delete pins that either I've printed the resource or decided that I'm not going to use that idea. FYI: If someone had repinned something from me, it doesn't delete the pin on their account when I delete my pin. 

Last summer I even declared that I was not going to pin anything school related for the month of June.  That lasted approximately 3 days. 

I'm curious - do you have any self-important Pinterest rules?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bossy R & Leprechaun ABC Order

I really love this time of year in first grade! They know the rules and they are much, much more independent than when they came to me.  I know the magic will only last a couple more weeks before they get a little antsy for spring break. I'm starting to get sad that I won't have them in my class in a few months.  But then I have to think about the wonderful thing called SUMMER. The pool will ease my pain a little. Ha!

On another note, we started studying bossy r words today.  This week the focus is "ar" words, but I wanted to introduce all of the bossy r spellings. We thought about our first and last names and made a list on the board. I didn't take a picture, but this really helped the students recognize the bossy r in words they already know.

I found this free bossy r scavenger hunt. (I can't find where it's from, so if it's yours let me know!) I put the cards up in various parts of the room.

I told the students that they were part of a crew on a pirate ship and they had to go around and check all of the pirates. There are a lot of cards in this hunt and it kept them engaged for quite some time!

I'm starting to prepare for St. Patrick's Day!  How about you? I'm ready to take down all of the hearts in my room and decorate with some pretty shamrocks. Since I got a lot of visits from my Presidential ABC Order post, I decided to make a Leprechaun ABC Order.

Click HERE to download.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidential ABC Order

I hope you've been enjoying your weekend so far! I was so surprised to hear that some of you don't have the day off on Monday. To ease your pain a little, I created a free Presidential ABC order for you!

Click here to download.

Don't worry, I won't have too much fun sleeping in. That means I'll be sleeping to about 6am due to my internal alarm (and my dogs who like to wake me up). I'm actually plan on getting some work done on my car. The joys of being a responsible adult! Pray that it doesn't cost me too much. :)

Christina from Apples, Books, and Crayons is hosting a 100 follower giveaway. You can enter to win a copy of my Landform Posters (one of my biggest sellers in my TPT store).

Hop on over to Apples, Books, and Crayons to check it out!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hello 3 Day Weekend!

One of my favorite weeks of the year is over! I just love celebrating Valentine's Day with my students. There's still so much love to go around in first grade and it's so innocent.

You know what made be laugh even more? I was scrolling through Pinterest last night and so many of the people I follow were already pinning St. Patrick's Day ideas.  We can't even wait for one holiday to be over with! I know I'll be pinning some St. Patrick's Day ideas this weekend so I can't say too much! It's really going to throw me off that Easter is at the end of March.  Bunnies and clovers in March?

Anyhow, onto my weekly linky party post!

I don't know about you, but I adore these week in review linky parties. I don't have a lot of time or energy to blog during the week. I enjoy finding new to me blogs every week and getting some great ideas to use for the future.

1. Valentine's Day was a blast! We had a visit from the Sweetheart Snatcher and exchanged our treats.

2. Check out this Valentine's hair! Oh. My. Word. Is it not amazing??

3. We taste tested Hugs and Kisses.

4. We finished up our study of diagraphs and made 2 easy crafts.

First up was the peach craft. We brainstormed words that ended in "ch" and made an anchor chart (which I forgot to take a picture of).

(Yes, my students did say it looked like a tush, but what can you do?)

Our beach scene.

On each shell, students wrote words with ending diagraphs "ch" "sh" and "th."
I'm putting the finishing touches on my Diagraph Packet and it should be up this weekend!

5. I have *finally* figured out Google Docs! This is my first attempt uploading something to Google Docs, so if it fails let me know.  If you are looking for the Piggy Bank templates from a few weeks ago, here they are!

Click HERE for the templates.

Super excited for my 3 day weekend! I hope you have a break too!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cranky Pants & a Freebie

When I woke up this morning, I accidentally put these pants on.

All the way to school I prayed that I would not be cranky at school. I was consciously trying to turn my day around, especially since nothing bad happened to me.  

Luckily it worked!  I even overheard one of my firsties reading the directions of an assignment to herself.  That is BIG in first grade, people! I was so dramatically excited (I may have fallen on the floor) and gave her a Star Dollar (part of my reward system) for being such a smartie.

We are in the process of making our Valentine's gift for our parents. I intended to take a picture of the final product, but I had to run out of school in the middle of my after school art class due to a migraine. Those migraines are serious business! I crashed for about 2 hours and am feeling much better.

We are studying the 5 senses in Health and I figured it would be amazing to see what my firsties thought of love.

It's a freebie at my TPT store, so if you need a last minute Valentine idea go and grab it! (I am still trying to figure out how to insert Google Docs into a blog post so it's easier to grab freebies.) Let's just say some of my first graders think love feels like skin.  Ooh-la-la. You better pray for me to make it through Valentine's Day on Thursday.  They are in L-O-V-E.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Woohoo! We made it to Friday, people! It was one of those weeks where after school I came home and immediately put on my pajamas. I'm hoping this weekend my motivation to do anything will come back.

1. We started studying diagraphs and made this adorable Valentine's craft.

2. Is it just me or is inflectional endings super hard to teach? We started with past tense verbs and made it rain with those verbs. Any craft with scrapbook paper = awesome.

This craft is from Across the Hall in 2nd grade. You can purchase the templates and activities to go with the book The Day It Rained Hearts here. I used everything in the packet this week - it fit the needs of my students perfectly!

3. It's teeth time! We did the typical hard boiled egg in Coke and juice.

The smell in my room was amazing.

4. I felt like we made a zillion crafts, which leads me to tell you about my glue stick issues. I found a solution for issues with my pencils. Glue sticks are another issue. I've asked parents to send in additional glue sticks and I swear it's like my kids eat them.

I spent $20 on these big glue sticks last weekend and some students FORGET to put the lid on. Glue sticks are my new nemesis.

5. In math, I had some much fun with Michelle's Once Upon a Time Unit, I barely had time for the actual worksheets from the text.

How cute are those clocks??

I also gave my students cards numbered 1-12 and told them to make a human clock face. I should have videotaped what they did (and who became bossy). At one point I said "A clock is a circle, people." Then I selected a few students to be the short hand and long hand. They had so much fun learning about time.


I'll leave you with this little gem. Don't you love phonetic spelling sometimes? The best part of this is that it was a character trait printable.

The student said it was "shiny." ;)