Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fact Power!

Dunnuh nunnuh nunnuh nunnuh nunnuh nunnuh FACT POWER! 

 Wow, that was hard to type and who knows how ya spell all that?

 My students are working on developing fact fluency for addition and subtraction facts up to 18. Each of my students has their own Fact Power Folder to help them practice. I'm not sure if it's the superhero theme or cute little folders we made, but my students are more motivated than ever to develop Fact Power!

Here is a picture of the front of one of our Fact Power Folders
 I use regular 2 pocket folders. 
The instructions, labels for the folders and flashcards
 to practice the facts are included in my Fact Power Folder Set.
*The actual folders are not included.
 You can click on the image below if you'd like to check it out. 
This set and everything else in my Tpt store will be 20% off on Thursday, 2/27 and Friday, 2/28! Don't forget to use the code TPT3 for extra savings when you shop on those two days!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Technology Tuesday (8th edition)

Welcome! I'm glad you stopped by to visit.

The most exciting thing happened a few days ago when I read a post about
organizing your desktop by my friend, Kristin, A Teeny Tiny Teacher.
I quickly organized the desktop on my personal computer.
My school computer is coming soon.

I thought I'd share an app that has multiple uses today. 

 Draw and Tell HD by Duck Duck Moose, Inc.

Here's what I like about it...

1.  Students can create things with a variety of paper, blank, lined, grid, 
fancy designs and multiple colors.

2. It offers a variety of writing tools and icons for students to add to their writing/drawings.

3.  Students can make a recording about their creation.

4. The creations can be save to the camera roll and emailed to share with parents.

5. It also has a variety of coloring pages if you have a student who has limited fine motor skills.  This feature would make it easier for them to add a picture to their writing.  
It may also motivate reluctant writers or be a reward for any student.

6.  This app could be used to publish writing. 
 I think it would be a great way to publish poetry or for reading response. 
At the beginning of the year, my first graders could use this app 
to share their mental images as we read a story.

Here are a few screen shots of the three lined writing paper.  
It also includes a wide ruled notebook paper and many other paper choices.

Exciting news!
Tpt is having a sale on Thursday and Friday this week!  
Don't miss out! 

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

100th Day Photos

Between President's Day and snow/ice days, we only ended up with 2 days of school last week.  We did finally make it to the 100th day of school though!

This is Granny Gillow all dressed up for her big day in 1st grade.  
I think the Kindergarten students in my hallway 
were scared of me and some of my own students barely recognized me. 

Granny Gillow with one of her students.  

*I don't normally post pictures of my student's faces on my blog, but this cute little old man's mom is a teacher in my building.  She gave me permission to post this picture.  He is so darn cute!

Some creative granny hair...

My students made self portraits to represent what they think
 they will look like when they are 100 years old.  

My students also chose one of the 100th day writing prompts.  
I posted this freebie a couple weeks ago.
You can click on the image below if you'd like a copy for next year.
Because surely we had to be the last one to make it to the 100th day, right?

I went to school to work for a couple hours yesterday, so my planning is done.  The to do list for today includes... go to the gym, make something with my new Silhouette, bake cookies with my kids and finish at least one of the things that I need to load on Tpt...all before Downton Abbey! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nonfiction Writing (Freebie Friday!)

We are finishing up our penguin research.  Well we're trying...but we have only had 2 days of school this week.  Seriously!  (President's Day + 2 snow/ice days)  I was actually able only to teach for one day.  I did Dibels testing all day on Wednesday and returned as Granny Gillow to teach on Thursday for our 100th day of school.  I'll post about that soon. It was SO much FUN!

During reader's workshop, we're finishing up our penguin research using my Nonfiction Penguin Unit.  You can read  a post with more details about that here.

During writer's workshop, my students are working on nonfiction writing.  I'm using the Lucy Caulkins unit to teach nonfiction writing.  My district has not officially adopted the program, so I use a combination of resources to teach different writing units.

Here is a reusable anchor chart that helps guide our planning.  

I laminate my reusable charts and use giant sticky notes to add the things myself or to let the students add things.  That allows us to reuse the same chart multiple times during the same unit and I can reuse it again in the future.

I don't know about your students, but my students struggle with spreading their story across the pages when writing nonfiction books.  When we are writing personal narratives or small moment stories, they are able to think of the story in terms of a beginning, middle and end.  That helps them spread their story across the pages.  That is not as easy for them when writing a nonfiction (teaching) book.

I made Sketch Across the Pages graphic organizers for my students to use to help them during the planning stage.  First, I ask them to tell the story out loud across their fingers.  Then they can choose either a 4 or 5 page graphic organizer to help them organize their ideas in the planning stage.  Some students return to me to get another copy of the graphic organizer if they realize they need to add more pages to their story.

If you click on the image below, you can check out the graphic organizers
and download your own copy if you'd like.  

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Since there is no school again today, maybe I'll get some things done at home.  Happy Friday!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Penguins as a Model for Animal Research

It felt so good to be back in my classroom with my students this week! They worked so hard and I was so wiped out by the end of the week. Glad to be back either way.

Oh how I love Saturday mornings without anything on the schedule. My son is busy doing batting practice in the basement. My daughter is using the living room as a dance floor to practice ballet.  My husband is cooking breakfast, so I thought I'd sneak in a little post.

We started our penguin research this week. We research penguins as a group so my students have a model for how to do their animal research later in the year. We started out by doing a close reading activity with this book. It's my favorite nonfiction penguin book.  We spent the whole week digging into this book during our reader's workshop lessons.  I have a whole collection of penguin books (which are available to the students), but really digging into one or two helps my students understand the importance of using good strategies with informational text.

Throughout the week, we added details to our can/have/are anchor chart.

 Any words that were new, unfamiliar or super interesting to us during our reading were added to our penguin vocabulary anchor chart.  At the beginning of reader's workshop time, I give the classroom iPads (we have 2) to students who will be in charge of recording the special vocabulary for the day.  That allows me to keep reading/teaching while they use the Educreations app as a white board to keep a list of the vocabulary we should add to the anchor chart for the day.   Then I can take a screen shot of the new vocabulary words to use it with a small group later or email it to parents so the students can discuss our new vocabulary at dinner.

This is a screen shot one of the iPads
 after one of the reader's workshop lessons this week.

Here's another one.  This student chose to write lots of words that we
discussed even though we
knew the definitions of some already. 

We'll add more to this vocabulary chart next week
as we continue our research.

When the anchor charts are complete, I'll take pictures of them and add them to our Reader's Workshop Anchor Chart book.  Then students can go back to reread and  revisit the things we've learned long after I've taken the charts down in the room.  We have a writer's workshop anchor chart book as well. They are  favorites in our room!

The students also completed their own can/have/are sheet and a vocabulary wheel for one of the words from our chart.  They choose their own word from our Penguin Vocabulary chart to use in the wheel and I ask them to write down things that will help them explain the word to a partner.  When their wheels are completed, they find a partner who has a different word and share/discuss their thinking. I move around during that time to make sure students are accurately defining the word since they may or may not have included the definition we discussed in their descriptions on the wheel.  

The resources I use for this unit are all found in my Nonfiction Penguin Unit.  It even includes pieces to make the anchor charts.  You can check it out by clicking on the image below.

When we finish this research project, the students will be well prepared to do their own animal research project.  They will choose their own animal and we'll use my Animal Research Book to guide them through the same kind of process we used to study penguins.  This was my very first Tpt product and it's my best seller.  I should probably update the cover...ha!  Add that to the to do list.

It's sunny and 10 today, so it's finally nice enough for a long dog walk. Not kidding... these poor dogs really need some exercise (and so do I)!  Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Check it out: Sight Word Poems!

I did it.  
I survived my first two days
back in the classroom after my surgery!  

How did it go?
You know your sub was awesome
 when you return and your kids behave 
exactly like they did on the day you left.

My sub = AwEsOmE!  (I'm so grateful.)
My students = super sweet, excellent behavior, didn't miss a beat
(I'm so lucky.)
My staff = very nice to keep checking in on me
 all throughout my first few days returning. 
(I'm not good at resting. They know me so well.)

My students made me welcome back cards and letters and pictures!
This sweet little note made me cry.

Today, I'm happy to be spotlighting
 a fabulous set of Sight Word Poems 
by Jodi from Fun in First Grade!

You can check them out by clicking on the image below 
and it will take you directly to Jodi's store.

What do I love about Jodi's Sight Word Poems?

I'm always looking for things for appropriate reading material for my first graders to read.  Jodi's Sight Word Poems each focus on a different word.  The poems are based on the first 100 Fry words. There is one poem for each word.  They can really be used no matter which sight words you teach your students. For example, my school uses the Dolch words, but the words are so similar that I will be able to use all of her poems to fit with my sight word lessons.  In fact, I already sorted a set into my spelling bin by lesson (excuse the messy papers popping out of some folders).

The font she used is perfect for my readers and I know my students will be excited to illustrate the poems!  Here is sample that my son (who is in 2nd grade) snatched out of my pile.

I am planning to keep the poems in a folder for each student, in the order that the words are presented in my spelling program.  By keeping them all in one place (like I do with my personal reader stories),  the students will be able to reread them multiple times for extra reading practice.  

I'll also have the students highlight the "focus" sight word in each poem.  I often ask my students to highlight word family chunks and sight words before they read a passage.  That helps them focus on the words and/or chunks before they attempt the reading and it improves their decoding.

Thank you, Jodi, for another fabulous product to use with my students!  If you have not already checked them out, I recommend that you check them out soon.

Now, back to resting to save up my energy for day 3!

Friday, February 7, 2014

100th Day Writing Freebie

With all this snow, it's hard to say 
when we'll finally get to the 100th day of school.  
I'm planning on it anyway, for whenever it happens.

Our 100th day plans include:

Dressing like you are 100 years old  - complete with fashion show!

My favorite 100th day craftivity...
Here are pictures from last year's craftivity.
Oh my goodness...they are so cute I just can't stand it!

We'll also do some 100th day themed writing!  
I made several different prompts to give my students some choices.

You can grab your own copy of the prompts I made
 by clicking on the image below.
Please follow my Tpt store if you visit to download.
I'm having a competition with myself to increase my followers 
in my store by 10 before the end of the month.
I'm tellin' ya the life of a competitive person is exhausting. Ha!

I'm linking this post up with TBA for Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Informational Text Themes for Reading Month

At my school, we've been busy planning for March is Reading month. 

We decided we wanted to focus on informational texts to increase the exposure our kids are getting to nonfiction books. I created the Information Highway for my staff to use. It is full of resources to use with students as they travel on the "information highway"!

The resources are geared toward 4 different themes (food, music, exercise and animals), 1 for each week in March. The Information Highway includes teachers planning pages, a family letter, an official passport, bulletin board/anchor chart pieces, two different reading logs for each weekly theme, writing activities (how to writing, poetry, opinion writing and research writing), class book covers, a sticky fact form, a vocabulary builder and two learning snapshot forms.

Stay tuned as my class travels on the Information Highway.  I'll be sure to post pictures throughout the month!

I'm still going to take my own class camping (during March) too!  We'll use the Camp Read  a Lot resources for that adventure.  There are lots of good informational texts about camping.  So, it will go well with our Information Highway theme. Last year, lots of teachers said they used my Camp Read a Lot unit at the end of the school year as well.

 Back to resting I go...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Time for a Super (Bowl) Sale!

The groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter...that's SUPER. Ughhh...

 So, let's focus on all the Super (Bowl) Sales!

Here are some of my favorite products...

Writing My Opinion
(includes rubrics, motivating student prompts, anchor chart pieces)
 (based on the common core, but can be used even if you are not using the common core standards)

 Camp Read A Lot Classroom Campout Fun
Great for March is Reading Month and end of the year celebration!

Nonfiction Penguin Unit 
 I use this unit to introduce animal research.
We study penguins as a class in February to prepare for our animal research in March.

 Digraph Activities 
(literacy work stations, literacy centers, working with words, 
small group work, individual word work)

Animal Research Book
My students use this book as a framework for their own animal research projects.

Funky Fun Vowel Games
(literacy work stations, literacy centers, working with words, 
small group work, individual word work)

Wanna have some football themed fun with your students?
Funky Football Fan Fun
(how to writing, list making, poetry, opinion writing, making words)

Everything in my Tpt store is 20% off today (2/2) and tomorrow (2/3)!
If you stop to visit my store, please become a follower.
You'll find lots of freebies there!