Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lovin' Our Moms!

Super excited for Mother's Day.  Reason #1...I have the most awesome mom in the world!!  She's the best!  Reason #2...I'm a mommy that will be celebrating her FIRST Mother's Day!  Woohooooo!  Being a mommy is the 100%, hands-down, absolutely the best thing in the world!  Reason #3...First graders LOVE their mommas and we have so much fun working on cards, crafts, and fun stuff for them!  I've been loving all the mother's day ideas you've all been posting.  I think I might attempt the Mother's Day plates with the kiddos next week that I saw on Teacher Bits and Bobs blog.  Awesome!  As I've been trying to figure out just what to do, I came up with this little project to work on in writing.  We're going to be using "The Important Book" to use as a model for stories about our moms.  We'll brainstorm important things about our moms and adjectives to describe our mommas.  We'll wrap up our stories by publishing them in this little book to give to our moms.  I'll be sure to post pics of the finished products and the art projects we create next week.  Click on the book cover to see a copy of the book.  

What other fun things do you have planned for Mother's Day in your class?

I found cute little wooden flowers (like 10 to a pack) from Dollar Tree.  We'll be painting/glittering them up, adding a small picture of each kid to be in the center of the flower, and adding a magnet to the back for our moms to put on their fridges! 

 Click here for the additional brainstorm/adjectives pages.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Newspaper Hats

Okay....I LOVE teaching and being creative and when spring rolls around, my firsties and I get to work on my favorite project...our annual spring hat parade & performance.  Today was our last day before Spring Break (woooooohoooooo) and all the first graders at our school came decked out in their 'Sunday Best' and we paraded and performed wearing our gorgeous spring hats.  I got the idea several years ago from a coworker during my first year of teaching.  Each year since the whole process evolves and grows.  We start with newspaper, turn them into hats, and then decorate them.  I like to say they look like an Easter basket on your head!  We learned spring songs and poems and performed for our families and the rest of the school.  Directions for how to make the hats can be found at  Here are a few pics of our fun day!  

My fabulous mom came to help out!  It is quite a large undertaking to make hats, paint them, put Easter grass on them and decorate.  Takes a lot of helpers! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

SIght Word Fun Giveaway

Over at Made for 1st Grade, Kelly & Diane have come up with a great sight word packet that they have posted at their TPT store. The Sight Word Fun Pack is loaded with games and activities to teach/reinforce those oh so important sight words.  Check it out!
Happy Monday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Few of My Favorite (Non-Teacher Related) Things

Linking up with Katie from Persnickety Pickles for a few of my favorite things (NON-Teacher Related)....Here we go....
1. My hubby, BJ, and 9 month old son, Carter.  My two absolute favorite men eva!!  Watching them play every evening and hearing laughs and giggles makes my day complete.  I love being a mommy and wife!

2. Sleeping In ~ ahhhhhhhh, my bed & me snuggled up on a Saturday morning **sigh** doesn't happen too often with a 9 month old, so the mornings BJ takes Carter & I sleep in are lovely :-)
3.  Target - I'm there at least twice a week, maybe more, just don't tell my hubby :-)

4.  Blankets ~ I seriously have no less than 2 blankets per room in my house.  That's what happens when your hubby likes sub-Arctic temperatures.  A fuzzy, warm blanket + me = happiness!

5.  Strawberries - So dang excited that it is almost strawberry season here in NC! Can't wait to take Carter to pick his first strawberries.  Dip them in chocolate, sugar, whipped cream, no matter...I love me some strawberries!

6.  My mom - Seriously, I wouldn't survive without her.  I love talking to her DAILY (usually more than once) and spending time with her shopping, playing with mr. carter, or being crafty!  She is the best

7.  My Rainbow flip-flops.  I live in them.  I wear them summer, fall, winter, spring, no matter.  Just wish I could wear them to school (I keep an extra pair *hidden* in my room to wear when the 'cute' shoes start to hurt).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Going Bananas for Dollar Deals

Check out my latest little find from the Target dollar section...
I've been working on center activities for after Spring Break.  (No Spring Break for me until next week...sooooo ready) I've come up with a literacy center for the monkey container.  We will be working with the /oo/ sounds after break, so we'll be 'Goin' Bananas' to practice.  Students will sort the bananas by the oo sound like in soon and the oo sound like in book.  They will feed the monkey only the /oo/ words (like in 'book').  The bananas that make the /oo/ sound, like in soon, will be 'rotten' and the monkey can't eat them!  Then students will record words on the tree map to show how they sorted the bananas.  I use a Sound Muncher in my room weekly and these little guys will be used in the same way ~ to sort words for word study.  Click on the picture to download the bananas and tree map.

p.s.~ elephant and peanut activity for math coming soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday....Here We Go!

Lindsey at The Teacher Wife is hosting a 'Market Yourself Monday' for teachers to share their blogs.  Check it out!  She has an awesome blog with fantastic ideas!
Hope everyone has a great week!  Still new to the blogging thing, but loving all the ideas everyone shares! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Similes...We've Been As Busy As Bees!!

My firsties and I have been talking a lot about writing stories that are very descriptive so that the reader has a good mental image of their story.  This week, we worked with similes.  We read the book, "Quiet as a Cricket" and learned how to write our own similes.  I tell them I do not want 'baby-kindergarten' sentences, I want first grade sentences packed with details.  And viola...they certainly don't want to be compared to kinders, so they rise to the challenge of making their writing more descriptive.  We made these cute little simile books to help us remember what similes are.  I gave them the words at the top of each page, like hot and fluffy and they had to come up with a simile comparing two things.  They worked very hard and turned out great!  I love it when they are excited to share their work with me and beg to take it home that day to show their mommas!!  Here are a couple and I especially oh so l-o-v-e the volcano erupting one! 

 Okay, here goes...first try at sharing something from Google Docs...let's see how it goes!  Click here if you would like a copy of the simile booklet!  Enjoy!
If you have any great ideas for teaching similes, please share!  

Next weeks writing focus...onomatopoeia!  Buzz! Zap! Ka-Boom! We'll be reading tons of Froggy Books...they're loaded with great onomatopoeia words.  Click here to download an onomatopoeia book similar to the simile book.

And for a bit of randomness to wrap things up, I have been dying to do Babbling Abby's (from The Inspired Apple) Color Word Adjective Lesson with my nice, new big box of 96 Crayola's!  So I sat on the couch Thursday evening and tortured my hubby by making him guess the colors as I picked the ones I wanted to use on Friday.  (He puts up with so much!!  I love him!!)  My favorites by far were razzmatazz and jazzberry fun to say!  Friday to wrap up our writing, we did this fun little activity.  We read the book, "The Crayon Box That Talked" first and had a little talk about the theme of the book.  

Then on to the crayons!  It tied in perfectly with our similes.  We talked about how being more descriptive with our colors allows the reader to have a more clear mental image.  A fun way to end the week.  

 Reason 1,452 I love Dollar Tree...the lovely green crayon piggy bank I stuck on the wall to display with their sentences.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunny Days = A Sunny Classroom

Besides the random snow flurries we had in NC last Monday, we are loving warmer days, no coats on the playground, and all that wonderful sunshine!!  And since I am a fan of all things cute, colorful, and creative, we've been 'blooming' in our classroom as well with spring activities.  Check out some of our latest projects.

 At a math center, students created & spelled out 'springy' words using tens and ones, then counted up how much the word was worth.
Last week we were working with money and counting sets of coins. This was a great way to end the week!  We made money flowers and put them in the polka-dot vases (wrapping paper from Target).  The students had to count up their coins to see how much their flower arrangement would cost.  SOOO bright & cheery!
 Our back bulletin board says, "Knowledge is Blooming."  Each student made a flower out of glitter and polka-dot card stock.  I absolutely love how cute these turned out! 
 For our spring acrostic poems, we brainstormed tons and tons of springy words.  They did a great job on their poems!
 Their buzzing bumble bees they made after writing a bee haiku.  We are definitely busy bees!!Thank you to Mrs. Thiessen at The First Grade Sweet Life for the quick and easy bumble bee template!

 In math we've been working on representing numbers different ways and 10 more/10 less than.  My wonderful teammate, Mrs. Gaulden came up with this cute idea.  They put 6 spots on the front and 6 on the back.  Gotta hang them up so both sides can be seen. 
A HUGE thank you to Jodi at Fun in First Grade for this idea.  We used it today to review our weekly story before our test.  
Tomorrow we will be making flowers with our -ow words on the petals and measuring how long our flowers are with rulers, unifix cubes, and paper clips.
Spring has sprung in first grade!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ouchie....Ow......Ouch That Hurts!

Who would have ever thought phonics would be so much fun!?!?!  Our spelling words this week are the -ow spelling pattern and we will be reviewing the -ou sound as well.  Firsties can have such a hard time with the -ou, whether it is the long o sound or /ou/ sound.  Well, we are lovin' some ouchies in our room.  I found this fabulous idea from Lindsey at The Teacher Wife.  I introduced my poor, wounded, hurt clown letters today - the o and u.  I gave my kids a long, drawn out story about what happened to them, how they got hurt, and of course what they keep on saying, "OW!!!  That hurts!"  I wore -ow band-aids all over me for the remainder of the day and when the kids would point to one, I gave them a sad face and said, "OW!"  I especially loved the wack-a-doodle looks I got at buses, like, "what is this crazy lady up to now?!?!"  We're going to continue with our ouchie clowns tomorrow and practice reading all our -ow and -ou words throughout the week.  A quick stop at the dollar store tonight and now my firsties will be bandaged up with their -ow and -ou words the rest of the week. 

I purchased Lindsey's Clown unit on TPT and these cute little guys were in there!  We wrote our ow and ou words on band-aids and stuck them on our chart.

Hooray for Poetry!

Last week in writing, my firsties and I kicked off a poetry unit in writing.  Each day we have been reading various poems from different authors and discussing how they make us feel, our different mental images, and the style of poetry used.  And anyone who knows their poetry knows that my firsties are dying for Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein poems!  We slide a few poems in any chance we get!  But back to writing....we learned about similes last week and created color simile poems and published them on rainbows (a nice tie-in to our ROY G. BIV too).  Then we worked on bumble bee haikus and finished up the week with a spring acrostic poem published on the cutest kites.  Our new poetry adventure for this week includes a shape poem, which we began today, and the kids totally rocked!!  We'll be finishing up with an 'I Am' poem about themselves.  Pictures of our poems to come soon....gotta remember to take that camera to school!  A big thank-you to Amanda at One Extra Degree for her awesome poetry unit! 

Click on the Spring Acrostic or Haiku to download a copy. 

As we have been discussing similes, we're working on creating our own mini-books full of similes. Check them out in my post about similes!