Thursday, November 29, 2012

Answers Revealed!

If you visited yesterday, I posted some pictures of the posters my kids created for our community helpers guessing game from One Extra Degree's Community Helpers pack. Hope you had a good time guessing! Here are the answers...

Hope you guessed correctly! :)

We have a storm coming in tonight. It's going to be one rainy Friday and weekend! @@

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Community Helpers Guessing Game

This week, we started our new unit on community workers or, "Our Neighborhood at Work" as our ELA curriculum calls it. Cyber Monday came at the perfect time because I took that opportunity to buy this:

Click on the image to check out the product at One Extra Degree's TpT store! Definitely a great buy! Check out her blog too!

I used this activity for my unit opener. We watched a short episode of Berenstein Bears that related to jobs and then did this activity. My students loved the top secret folders and were excited to hear that they were going to become detectives!

To summarize the activity, students are assigned a top secret case file. In the case file is the name of a community helper and four index cards. Students are to draw hints on each index card to be displayed. Then the rest of the class has to use the hints to guess who the community helper is. It's a great exercise for making our brains work hard, as I like to tell the kids. I had my students work in pairs so it also provided a good opportunity for some partner discussion and teamwork. Some kids did really well in that aspect. Others, not so much. But most of the final products came out great! See if you can guess the community helper they are supposed to be!

I had the fifth grade teacher next door try to guess each one. My kids did a pretty good job. He guessed like 3/4 correctly. 

Come back tomorrow for that answers! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Math Freebie!

Last night, I spoke with a first grade teacher from my student teaching site. Unfortunately, I didn't get to have the opportunity to student teach under her, but I still got to pick her brain once in a while! Definitely helped me get started with my career teaching first grade with some great advice, including stalking, I mean, following teacher blogs! It's great to connect with someone who shares the same interests and does the same things. We oogled over our TpT purchases from the Cyber Monday sale. Got some good suggestions from her. Thank you also for the words of encouragement, Mrs. Chidester! :)

Anyways, I definitely made some awesome purchases last night. In fact, I already used one of my purchases in class today. More about that in tomorrow's entry! For today, I wanted to share a freebie that I quickly created during my prep on Monday before math and used it. Of course, I prettied it up a little bit with some format and font changes for sharing purposes. We were learning the subtraction strategy of thinking addition doubles.

Click on the image above to download the freebie from my TpT store! Please leave some feedback if you do! :)

Freebie Fridays

PS. Another purchase was made from my store! Both of my paid products on TpT have been bought once now! More motivation to create more products to sell! :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale!

I hope everyone had a good day back from break! I most definitely did. When my kids came into the classroom, they unpacked their backpacks SILENTLY. I was in awe. Everyone, besides the usual, seemed ready to get back to learning! Didn't really realize how much I missed the kids until I came back today. Hopefully this continues until winter break!

Anyways, it's Cyber Monday today!

I only just started my TpT and don't have much in there at all but please check it out anyways! I had my first purchase from my store today. Can you imagine how excited I was to receive the notification email? So please do check it out! I hope to have more things to add in the near future! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liebster Award

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

Did anyone go crazy with Black Friday shopping?? I didn't really this year. My usual Black Friday store is Target (go figure) but the 9pm opening on Thanksgiving night was too early for me to want to go so I skipped out this year. But I did go to the mall Friday morning and got some stuff at Old Navy (my other usual store) so yay to that!

Another wonderful thing that happened on Friday was that I checked my email and saw that my blog had received two nominations for the Liebster Award! How exciting! Thank you Thirsty Firsties and Miss King's Enchanted Kingdom for the nominations! I am so honored!

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The rules:
- You most post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!

Here it goes!

11 Random Things About Me:
1. I look much younger than I really am. People are always mistaking me for a high school student. Makes dressing for work very important!
2. I grew up as a bilingual child. I speak Mandarin and English.
3. I have dual citizenship. I was born in Taiwan so I am a citizen there. Received my US citizenship later sometime as a kid.
4. I want two dogs. One small and one big. I've been wanting this for a while. Hopefully I'll be able to make this happen soon.
5. I always knew I wanted to work with children for my career. Among becoming a pediatrician, child psychologist, or teacher, I chose teacher.
6. I am the oldest child in the family. I have two younger brothers with the youngest and I being 12 years apart.
7. My goal in life has always been to make a difference in other people's lives by helping them in some way. I sure hope I am doing that right now. 
8. I secretly love singing. But definitely not confident about it. A secret wish is to record a single or an album. Just one. Nothing more.
9. I would like to teach abroad in Taiwan for a time period to see if I like living and working there. 
10. I would also like to get certified to teach Chinese. I am considering taking classes for that next year after I am done with BTSA.
11. When I was a kid, I played piano and violin.

Questions asked by Thirsty Firsties:
1. What are your favorite things about blogging? Sharing ideas! I also love it when people leave comments!
2. What's your favorite blog? Oh man, that's a tough one. I guess Classroom Freebies has been really helpful lately with getting me ready for the winter!
3. How long have you been teaching? This is my second year teaching. year and three months? :)
4. What is your favorite vacation spot? This is very cliche. But I really loved the environment and atmosphere of Hawaii both times when I visited. Also love going back to Taiwan.
5. What is your favorite thing to cook? I've recently been getting into trying different recipes with my slowcooker so I guess whatever thing that can be cooked with that!
6. What is your favorite store? I love going to Target for the dollar deals and Old Navy for the clothes.
7. What has been your best TPT purchase? All of them! Ones that relate to literature circles have been really usual for my reading groups.
8. Coke or Pepsi? Actually, I prefer clear soda so neither.
9. What's your favorite Christmas movie? Hm. I don't really know. Haven't really seen many. Does Home Alone count?
10. What's your favorite TV show? Uhoh, I watch too many tv shows to have a favorite! I like the musical shows, crime shows, medical shows, cooking shows...almost everything! One type of tv show I can't handle is reality tv (non-competitions).
11. What's been the hardest thing about blogging? Keeping up to date! There just never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything I want to get done in a day!

Questions from Miss King's Enchanted Kingdom:
1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? I love living in California! But I do want to give living in Taiwan a try too!
2. What is one thing in your classroom you can't live without? My bulletin boards! I wish I had more!
3. What is your favorite food? Noodles! Just about any type of noodles/pasta!
4. What is your favorite holiday and why? I love Christmas because I love giving people gifts and it's the perfect time to do so!
5. What was your first car? Still driving it! Green 1999 Volvo S70
6. What do you like to do in your free time? Read and watch tv.
7. When did you start blogging? August! Four months ago!
8. Have you always taught the grade you teach now? In my full-time teaching career? Yes. As a student teacher, I taught second and fourth grade.
9. Do you prefer books on electronics (ipads/nooks/kindles) or reading a real book? I much prefer reading a real book. I look the feel of holding a book and turning the pages.
10. Have you ever taught in another state or country than where you teach now? No. I would like to give it a try though!
11. Who do you most admire? Hm. Right now, Jeremy Lin. He really had to get through some hardships to get to where he is now. And even now, he still has to go through a lot of criticism because of his ethnicity. I really admire how he was able to overcome all the obstacles set in front of him. I believe that he completely deserves all the admiration and positive attention he has been getting from everyone.

Phew! That was long! But wait! There's more!

Blogs I Am Nominating:

My Questions for My Nominees:
1. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?
2. Last good movie you saw?
3. Have you always been a teacher or was this a career change?
4. What's your best piece of advice for a new teacher?
5. What else do you do during your spare time?
6. What is your favorite school break?
7. Are there other grades you would like to teach?
8. What's your favorite gift from a student?
9. What's your favorite snack?
10. Black and white or color?
11. If you had an unlimited supply of money, what would you do with it?

Don't forget to leave me a link to your blog when you've answered! I can't wait to read more about you and hope you enjoyed learning a little something about me. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Product - Animal Report/Book

On the night before Thanksgiving, I finally finished a project I had wanted to complete back in October. Our OCR unit then was on animals. I always like to do some sort of writing project that relates to our OCR unit so of course we were going to make a class animal book. Last year, I had my students pick their animals, do research at the library, and then write. Mistake. Little first graders only two months in school do not really know how to do research, let alone read a book to find information.
So this year, I created a research page for them to fill out and asked their fifth grade buddies to help them out.
Then I had this brilliant idea to try and create a whole project to sell on TpT. Finally go to it. So here it is!
Click on the image above to check it out!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving!!! I am thankful for all my readers!! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful Turkeys

So my district takes the entire week of Thanksgiving off which is great! Except, with all the stuff that happened in November, there was no time to really incorporate a Veteran's day and Thanksgiving lesson. The best I could do for Veteran's day was quickly talk about veterans with the class and incorporate some reading comprehension and writing in the homework. Thanksgiving is even harder to stick in with the entire week off. So we did a quick craft and writing. My students are always asking if they could take the crafts or artwork we make in class home. Of course, I always say no because 1) I want to hang them in the classroom for display and 2) Don't want the artwork to get ruined in backpacks. But this was the perfect craft for the kids to take home just in time for Thanksgiving!

May I present you the thankful turkey!
My example. Why skittles? Read to the end to find out!
Got the turkey patterns from First Grade Fanatics. Of course, I always like to add some sort of writing to our crafts so before making the craft, I had the kids write in their journals a list of five things they are thankful for. After they made their turkeys, they were told to do their writing in pencil first. After they finished writing in pencil, they got a sharpie (oh MY were they excited) to trace over it. 

Now here are some student samples! They turned out very cute!

I took individual pictures of the kids with their turkeys to add to our memory book for the end of the year (my gift to the class at the end of the year). I also added some yarn to the back of the turkeys so that the kids could hang on the wall at home.

Another turkey activity we did was with our fifth grade buddy class (classroom next door neighbors). Roll a Turkey! Got the game from Adventures in Room 5. The kids really love the "Roll a _____" games. This resulted in the use of a bulletin board between our classrooms that has been neglected for years!

And finally, the skittles story. I am not a big chocolate fan. I can probably have two pieces of chocolate and then be done with it. Last year I discovered that chocolates are like one of the default gifts to give to teachers so I would get tons of chocolates for the gift-giving holidays and just give them to my mom to eat. So this year I decided to tell my kids and really emphasize with them that I don't like chocolate but prefer fruity candy. So I chose skittles. And now everything is about skittles. If a kid keeps forgetting something, I jokingly tell them that they owe me a bag of skittles (which I sometimes get!). The day after Halloween, around half of my kids came to school with a bag of skittles for me from their trick-or-treating stash (my desk drawer is now full!). Even during Art, when we were making collages from magazine clips, my kids thought they saw a snippet of a skittle bag and got super excited about it. So I thought I would add that on my turkey as something I'm thankful for just for fun. :)

Thanks for reading to the end! My next post will be about the different art lessons we have done in class so far. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful parent as an art docent. She comes up with the best lessons! So don't forget to stay tune for next time's post! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful for My Teacher

Linking up with another linky party!

The Resource(ful) Room's "I am Thankful for My Teacher" linky party!
There are some teachers in the past that I still have clear memories of who have all taught me something about being a teacher. I am thankful for...

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Miles, had me completing workbooks on vocabulary in addition to regular classwork. Of course, I hated doing those as a student. But after becoming a teacher, I realized what she was doing to help me grow as a student.

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Krishnamurthy, showed me that teachers can be friends with their students.   I saw her as my teacher. But I also saw her as a friend. I remember planning a secret surprise birthday party for her with a Star Wars cake (she was a big fan) and everything.

My tenth grade math teacher, Ms. Renazco, showed me that she believed in me. She would always spend time with me after school and help me with my math. Even though I was struggling, she always believed in me and was patient with me as we worked through the various challenging math problems.

And finally, my 2nd grade master teacher, Ms. Stienstra, who helped prepare me for this teaching career. The time I spent in her classroom was much more valuable than my graduate courses. She showed me how to connect with the students, teach for the students rather than to the tests, and just provide a well-rounded education to all my students. I would've never been so prepared for my first year of teaching last year if I had not been paired up with her. I am so very thankful for her!

What teachers are YOU thankful for?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oxygen to Your Brain!

Man, having no school on Monday completely throws me off schedule. This week is going to be a CRAZY week. We had an morning assembly on water conservation today. Tomorrow, we're going on a field trip to watch a symphony concert. And somehow during this week I will need to give the kids an  end of unit OCR test and first trimester Math benchmark exam. Busy busy busy! We also have the entire week off next week so we really have to cram everything in this week.

ANYWAYS. Enough of my griping sharing, I saw a couple of linky parties recently that I wanted to join so here's the first one!

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten's Teaching Tip Linky party! Do you have students who can't seem to sit correctly on the carpet no matter how many times you remind them to criss-cross applesauce??? (Who doesn't??) Well here's a little tip you can try in the classroom!

All I have to say is "oxygen to your brains!" and immediately all 24 students of mine will be on their bottoms, legs crossed, sitting up straight and tall. I credit this idea to my master teacher. She would tell her students to sit up straight at their desks when they are taking a test so that they can get oxygen to their brains. I simply generalized it to any time the students are sitting. If I see students slouching at their desks, I just acknowledge how a specific student is ready for class because he/she is getting oxygen to his/her brain and immediately everyone is sitting up straight. I also tell students that if they sit on their knees they are cutting off their blood circulation which also keeps oxygen from getting to their brains. This makes sure they sit on their bottoms rather than on their knees. Oh the things you can tell a child. :)

Hope this tip helps! :)

Also, check out this awesome giveaway below if you want to get some gift cards to some great places! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Train Craft and Writing and TpT News!

So I'm really going all out now! First a blog makeover. Now, a Teachers Pay Teachers store! I sure hope I know what I'm doing!

This month's OCR unit is on transportation. One of our selections is a poem about trains. Last year, as a follow-up activity to this reading, I gave each of my students a picture of an empty caboose. They had to choose what item they wanted to put in their caboose, draw the item, and then write a sentence about it. I went all out with the hallway bulletin board display. Took me around two hours to get it done.

However, this year, I wanted to change it up a bit. I felt like there was too little writing and too much of me providing the students with already made art. So I changed it up and created this:
We read another train book to learn about different types of train cars. Then we created our train craft. I told the kids to come up with three things their trains would carry and to draw them in the train cars. The following day I taught a mini-lesson on using commas in a series and did a quick review on writing plurals. And our craft and writing was complete!
My example to the class
One kid decided to include a flatcar in his train.
The final product!
 The kids had a blast with this. This is also very exciting because creating this product motivated me to try a hand at selling my stuff. I have now created a TpT store and this train craft and writing activity is my first priced product on there. Please check it out here! Comments and feedback are appreciated! :)

New Template!

Once again, my blog has undergone another makeover!!

This new template came from the free template collection of Leelou Blogs!
Leelou Blogs
I really hope to one day spend some money and get a custom template made so that I can say that my blog is one of a kind. But until then, free templates we go! :)

Maybe now I'll be more likely to get my act together and create myself a blog button? Haha, we shall see. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snow in California?!?!

Apparently it hailed two nights ago because when I got to school yesterday morning, this is what I saw...

Keep in mind, this is California so we don't really see snow EVER. In fact, when I was showing all the kids the different weather cards I have, we even talked about how it doesn't snow in California. So you can image what the kids were thinking when they arrived at school. All the kids were ecstatic! I heard the some were each on the ground making "snow angels". Haha. Not quite, kids. But still pretty crazy.