Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Money, Money, Money

Can you here the song?  We are working on a very short money unit in my class.  The kids are required to know the names and values of the 4 basic coins.  That is a huge step back in our curriculum.  The advantage it that the kids will REALLY know their coins before they learn how to count money.  That was always a really tough skill in first grade!  Here are some of the great resources I have been using:

Harry Kindergarten’s Money Videos on YouTube:

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Cara Carroll’s “The Great Coin Collection” from TPT – amazing activities ready to turn into centers!  Also provides for great differentiation!

Harcourt Publishers also have a great site for games!  These are wonderful to incorporate into centers.  Each of our student computers has Active Board, the Promethean Board software loaded, so I can make charts with a screen shot of the game and link directly to it.  I can lock everything is so that it is a great work board during centers!


Every New Beginning is having a Target card giveaway!  Click on the image to go to her blog and get details on the giveaway!  

Happy almost June!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Behavior Management Resources

I thought would share a couple great resources for behavior management.  If you are like me, you have a couple behavior charts or modifications all going at once and it can be tough to find both the resources and the time to get them all do.  Behavior Charts 4 Kids has great themed punch cards.  Free Printable Behavior has great charts, printable coupon and rewards, and articles for the classroom.  Check out these sites if you are looking for behavior management resources.


Toy Story Behavior Chart


Monday, May 28, 2012

A First Grade Classroom Library

Miss J at Image and video hosting by TinyPic had a post about classroom libraries and asked about favorite first grade books and where teachers get their books. I though I would share my ideas.

I have a HUGE collection of books for all elementary grades – because I have taught most of them! I get books through library sales (especially when they have the dollar a bag sale), garage sales, snagging books that teachers purge at the end of the year, and through Scholastic Sales. I don’t know about others, but we seem to have a huge table piled with all the teacher cast offs every year. I pick up as many books as I can. I have built most of my leveled library that way. Scholastic still has great deals, but a few years ago, I would buy several 6-packs of books with every order. Oh, I forgot, second hand stores are great too. In my area, most books at Goodwill are 99 cents. When I was building my collection, I would spend about $20 a month on second handbooks.

Now, what are the must haves for first grade? That is tough! It seems like my classes have different interests every year. This year has been a big dinosaur and bug year. A few years ago, it was machines and rocks. My kids LOVE the typical characters.


My favorite authors:

Patricia Polacco, Kevin Henkes, Gail Gibbons, Leo Lionni, Ellen Stoll Walsh, Mo Williams (a new favorite this year!), Ezra Jack Keats (did an impromptu author study this year), Donald Crews


And then there is my newest favorite!!! Can I get away with reading these in 3rd next year???


With the CORE curriculum and the direction of standardized testing, I have been adding non-fiction to my library and the kids are eating it up! Any books on animals are great for first graders! Fairytales are always popular too.

It is funny, but some of the most popular books are books that I read with my grandmother when I was a kid. She was a kindergarten teacher and always had the best books! The kids are always engrossed when I read these books and, though they would love to have them in their reading boxes, these go on my own reading shelf.


What are you favorite first grade books?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Linky, A Freebie, and a Giveaway!

Wow!  I can’t believe how great this 3 day weekend feels!  Some schools in my area had Friday off too, but I did not have that luck.  I feel such a sense of freedom and like that extra day just helps me recouperrate from the week in a way that 2 days just can’t do!

Kelley from the Teacher Idea Factory is hosting her first Linky Party!

Here is my list of things I can't live without in my classroom!

1. My Promethean Board!

I have had one for 4 years and have come to rely heavily on it. I am so glad that I have one in my new third grade classroom and…it’s newer!  I may have gotten one of the first ones, but now I am getting one of the new ones!

2. Teachers Pay Teachers

TPT is amazing! I have bought more things than I care to think about and it is a bummer I can’t trade them in now that I am switching grades.  I keep debating about selling some tings on there…hmmm.

3. Amazing Reading Sites!

Pebble Go and BookFlix are used daily in my classroom. They are amazing resources for the kids and to support instruction!


4. Blogs!

What an amazing resource and support system blogging has been.  I have had some many great intereactions and my blog has provided me with a chance to reflect on my practice and share what I am doing.

5. Live Writer

I downloaded Live Writer after Cara Carroll mentioned that she used it to write her blog.  It is soooo much easier to deal with than Blogger!

6. Microsoft Powerpoint

Again, the fabulous Cara Carroll mentioned that she designed all of her documents on Powerpoint.  What an amzing change!  It makes creating things for the classroom so much easier because it isn’t as fussy about placng things as Word and Publisher.  I can easily moved and add elements.

7. Document Camera

I love this little guy!  It has made teaching games and doing a worksheet as a class so much easier because I can project anything using my computer.

IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera

8. Sqworl

This is a great site for creating bookmarks using an image of the site.  I love being able to see the sites I have bookmarked!


Here’s another summer freebie! Can you tell I am making things for the last few weeks?  This watermelon project is one of those great fillers when you just need to fill a half hour with quiet work.  Enjoy!


Yearn to Learn is having a give away! Check it out!



Saturday, May 26, 2012

End of the Year Celebrations Linky!

I'm linking up with Valerie at All Students Can Shine for an End of the Year Celebrations Linky!

Every year I do some tried and true activities and I add some new ones.Here’s this years plan (so far):

1. Student journals – I by a set of little journals at the Dollar Tree.  I collect foamy stickers for the kids to decorate their journals.  I add a pencil and make journal jars with the kids.  They are just little containers from the Dollar Tree with a label on top saying Journal Jar and the directions.  The students cut up strips of prompts, fold them, and add them to their journal jars for writing over the summer. I even had a parent call one year after the kids were out to tell me her son, who was not really interested in writing, was sitting in his room writing away – a totally fist pump moment!

Jot 4-Subject Mini Spiral Notebooks

Ooh, ooh!  Added a freebie!  Click on the image to grab it!


2. I bought a snow cone making machine a couple years ago, so we make snow cones.

3.  Beach Day – the last day is most about containment!  We make it a beach day.  Kids bring in beach towels and we take books outside to read.  I think I bought them sunglasses from the dollar Tree one year.

4. Memory and autograph books.  There’s lots of options out there!

5. Over the years, I have put together these crazy summer packets.  Each on has a leveled reading list with books families can get at the library, a writing packet, a math packet, and other summer activities.  It seems to fill a need for families.

Here are some resources for book lists:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yikes…20ish Days Left!

Yes, I have less than 5 weeks left with my kiddos!  That means we are hitting that time when it feels like all we do is assessments!  I have been doing some teaching, though!  We wrap our year in first grade with an animal unit.  So far, we have worked on mammals and reptiles.

This resource from Scholastic is fantastic!  Some years, I have done more of a research/inquiry with my class.  This year we are doing it a bit more guided.  We are reading each of the books and creating a chart – this is a GREAT set if you study animals with your kids. 


I made a pretty version of the branch map organizer and a book for students to write facts about each animal group.  They’re not too fancy since I have not invested in getting the rights to any graphics yet.  Click to pick up a copy for yourself.




I have also bee teaching the concepts of theme.  The students caught on pretty quickly when I gave them some examples of themes.


We have been rereading Kevin Henkes books to brainstorm themes.  Hop on over to my other blog: Picture Books to Inspire Readers to find out more!  If you are interested in finding books to teach specific concepts, you can locate the categories on the side bar an see a list of books and ideas for mini-lessons.