Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Am I really blogging the day after I just posted an entry?! Only on Halloween!!

We started the day with a quick lesson on UNICEF so that the kids could trick-or-treat for UNICEF. After that we did another quick lesson on adjectives. Many of the kids struggled with describing words on our last OCR test so I thought this would be a great opportunity to review. I got mini pumpkins for all the kids and we came up with some adjectives describing our pumpkins.

After that, we spent the rest of the day doing centers, all activities that I found online through all these lovely teacher blogs I follow. :)

We ended the day with a Halloween Luncheon in the classroom and our school parade! 

Just wanted to share some of the Halloween goodies we had at our party.
Jack-o-Lantern clementine!
Rice Krispies pumpkin!
Crazy artwork in jello!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

And it's November tomorrow, whoopee! @@

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We're Batty for First Grade!

Last week, we had a three day mini-unit on bats. It was my first time truly straying away from Open Court Reading for a bit and it was so much fun! I hope I can somehow find a way to make time for some specific thematic units, they are much more exciting to do!

Anyhow, we started the unit with a quick read of last year's Scholastic News on bats (I kept all the big book versions). We learned how to draw our own bats and then labelled all the body parts. The students also had to write one or two sentences about bats underneath their bats. Now, I am not a good artist at all. But I'm pretty good at following directions! Thank you Tadpole Blue Studios for those directions! :)

I'm pretty proud of myself if I do say so myself! :)
Some student work:

The next day, we read Stellaluna. Except, I didn't read it to the kids, actress Pamela Reed did! If you have not discovered Storyline Online yet, definitely do check it out! There are lots of videos of actors and actresses reading picture books. They have quite a good selection too. My class really enjoyed watching the video. Afterwards, we created a double bubble map comparing and contrasting birds and bats. [picture to come soon, apparently I forgot to take one]

On our last day of our mini-unit, we did some bat writing! I used a mixture of different bat writing products I found online. 

We filled out graphic organizer and then did our informative writing piece using the provided templates from Fun in First

We also wrote a bat poem, reinforcing rhyming words, provided by Richi Reynolds.

And finally, we made a quick and simple but cute bat craft! Templates provided by A Cupcake for the Teacher

All that hard work resulted in this...

The pumpkins on the bottom were an activity the students did with their 5th grade buddies.

Just in time for Halloween! I promise I'll have some pictures of the writing and other stuff up tomorrow. I filed all the stuff that didn't get posted on the bulletin board (I let the kids choose which one they wanted to post) today and didn't even think of taking pictures. I'll get it done tomorrow, I promise! 

Speaking of tomorrow, tomorrow is Halloween! What are YOU going to be for Halloween? :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Subtraction Action

Last week, we talked about the concept of subtraction. Subtraction can be difficult for little first graders, especially the just turned 6 years old, to understand subtraction so I tried to find different ways to go about it. I read some books to the class:

We watched the video and sang the song Five Little Ducks.

We talked about how subtraction means to take away or separate a whole into parts. I created an anchor chart about subtraction sentences. (Thank you pinterest!)

Some other supplemental activities we did were (all ideas found on pinterest):
Ways to Break 6, 7, 8, and 9

Subtraction Stories
The students haven't turned theirs in yet so no student examples. 
Click on the thumbnail if you want to download the template. Please leave a comment if you do!

NOW, a sneak peak of what's happening this week. We are going to be learning about bats!

P.S. Does anybody know how to get rid of the white frames around the pictures? Thanks!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still Here! Read on for a Freebie!

Oh no! It's been a week of no blogging! I'm not neglecting my blog, I swear! This past week and this current week have been crazy. Last week was a short week with Friday off for professional development. Sat through a whole day training on how to use EnVision Math with the common core standards. Fun, fun. At least the food we got for lunch was good!

This week we have three days designated for the "as needed" conferences. So, time to prepare for those!

I'm currently working on fully implementing Daily Five into the classroom. We pretty much have Read to Self and Read to Someone down. Now to combine the two and continue introducing the other things. Today, I divided the class in half and half did Read to Self while the other half did Read to Someone. We did that for ten minutes and then I introduced a part of "Work on Writing"...sticker stories!

I learned about sticker stories last year from a parent who is also a credentialed teacher. The kids really loved it and I thought it would be a perfect activity for the kids to do when they are doing "Work on Writing". The kids really enjoyed this and they all got really creative in their work, especially in the scenes they created with their stickers. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of their work right now. But I will be sure to post some soon (next entry, maybe?)!

Tomorrow, I will introduce "Listening to Reading" to the kids. I have three personal cassette players and two personal cd players thanks to the generous donations from my parents. My eventual plan for Daily five is to have my students go through the rotations in their table groups. I have six table groups of 4 each. With such a small number in each group I thought it would be better to have the kids have their own player to use. I'm not sure how many of my kids actually know how to use a cd or cassette player given that technology has now updated to mp3 players and ipads. I searched around pinterest for directions on how to use these equipments but all the ones I found were with color-coded stickers on the buttons. I didn't want to do that because: 1) The buttons are way too tiny for stickers, 2) I think the kids should learn what those icons mean since they will see them with other things they may use. So, of course, I created my own. :)

Click on the images to see and download them. 

These can also be used for your listening center and you use any of these equipment. Of course the icons might be a little different from the equipment you use so if you need some things changed, feel free to leave a comment requesting it. Please also include the name of your equipment so that I can look it up and hopefully see what the icons on the buttons look on. 

Hopefully you like and find this useful! I'm also currently working on an animal research packet. Hopefully I will get it done within the next week or two. :X

Cheers! :)
Freebie Fridays

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Understanding Addition

We finished our topic on understanding addition on Friday. I think that most, if not all my students understand the concept of addition after all the different activities we did.

We use Envision Math for our curriculum and that program starts with ways to make 6 and 7. So we did a "bears in a cave" activity which I learned from my colleagues.

There are six bears in all. Zero bears are outside the cave...
So there are 6 bears inside the cave!
There are 6 bears in all. One bear is outside the cave.
So there are 5 bears inside! :)
Then we moved on to ways to make 7, 8, and 9. 

Found the "Nine Ways to Make 8" here through pinterest. I created worksheets for making 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Finally, we talked about joining stories and writing addition sentences. Remember our penguins from our Animals unit opener? Well we finished up our penguins by writing our addition stories and adding the fish on there. They are now up on our hallway bulletin for all the see. I've already received compliments from the other teachers on how cute they look! Get the templates for this from Erica Bohrer's First Grade

Not sure why this kid wrote penguin on his penguin. Haha.
Super cute! Now, moving on to understanding subtraction! Time to search pinterest for some more cute ideas! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Where Are We?

I've been wanting to have one of those signs that post in front of the classroom to let people know where we are when we are out of the classroom. I saw a whole bunch of cute ideas online from teacher blogs and pinterest but they were all diy projects that required materials and time to make. Well, as much as I like to spend on classroom thing, in general I'm not a big spender so didn't really want to spend the money on the materials needed to make a cute sign. This year, I noticed that my BTSA mentor (yep, still doing BTSA T_T) stuck a small whiteboard on her door and wrote on it: "We are: ". I thought that was a brilliant idea! However, wanting to be "original" (or creative as we shall say), I wanted to do something similar. Then I remembered that I have a laminator at home (I love my laminator!) and the idea was born.

I created a simple "Where are we?" sign to put on the wall next to my door. Just print it out, laminate it, and every time our class leaves to somewhere, I just circle or underline where we are with dry erase markder. Simple to make and all it needed was a collection of fonts that a previous teacher who owned this work laptop downloaded (most likely from Lettering Delights)!

Click on the preview for a better look and to download.

If you like this and want to use it but need some things either added or taken away, please leave a comment with your email and I will email you the revised version.

Hope you like this and find this useful! :)

Freebie Fridays

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help! Advice Needed!

Last year we did workshop using the "May Dos" and "Must Dos" format. It worked out really well and I had parent volunteers who would come in weekly to do some decodable reading with my low readers. 

This year, I am trying out Daily Five for workshop. It's progressing great right now! We have managed to build our stamina for Read to Self up to 13 minutes and are currently working on Read to Someone. There must be something about Daily Five because even though this year's crowd of kids are much chattier than last, they are training much faster in working independently QUIETLY so as not to disturb their classmates. 

BUT, here comes the problem. I already have an aide in the classroom during workshop time to do some intervention and small group work. I guess I didn't really think it through when I was coming up with my volunteer list and kept workshop volunteers on my list this year since they worked out really well last year. However, with the students working independently on Daily Five and also having students work with the teacher and aide during that time, I'm sort of at loss as to what to have my parent volunteer do when they start coming in (I'm waiting until we are 15 minutes for Read to Someone). I already have parents signed up for every day of the week and I don't want to flake out on them with nothing for them to do. 

Any suggestions on what they can do with the kids during the time? I was thinking maybe have the parent facilitate the word work station??? Or should I have the parent do the same as last year, just cycle through different kids and read decodables with them?