Monday, November 28, 2011

Product Updates

Happy {Cyber} Monday everyone . . .

We hope you made it through your first full day back at school with your kiddos after a nice long break AND have enjoyed a little online shopping time tonight.  We just wanted to give you a few updates about some new products that will be coming soon to our TpT store.

1.  We have three new sets of math and literacy centers for the month of January that will continue to build on the skills we have been working on all year with our first graders.  We spent several hours last night going over all of our favorite January activities and looking at the Common Core Standards.  Within the next few days you should start to see them being posted.  We promise to give you a few {sneak} peeks very soon!!!

2.  We have a Long Vowel FUN unit, which was made to compliment the Short Vowel FUN units that many of you have been using this year.  It will include activities for magic e words and all of the vowel pairs.  All we need to do is put the finishing touches on it!!!!

3.  We have a Long Vowel Reading AtoZ pack that is ready to be posted . . . but due to the high traffic load that TpT is experiencing tonight it doesn’t look like we will be able to get it posted until tomorrow.


4.  We also have a new set of Christmas Word-of-the-Day worksheets that we want to give you as a little FREEBIE to try out during the holiday season.


click {here} to download a set . . .

Then let us know what you think after you’ve used them with your kiddos.  If they are something you would like to have each month to supplement your thematic units we would be glad to start putting sets together in a monthly resource pack.

Many, many years ago a fellow teacher introduced us to a great resource from Scholastic called 100 Write-And-Learn Sight Word Practice Pages.  Over the years we have incorporated these worksheets into our daily routine and we now have one to go with every one of our Houghton Mifflin Sight Words.  We also have made sets to be used throughout the school year with our special thematic units.  Our Christmas set was modeled after these worksheets . . . with a few slight changes to meet our students needs.


5.  Finally . . . we have decided to extend our sale through the end of the month so you can pick up any of our new or old items at a discounted rate.  We feel bad about not getting everything posted in time for the big Cyber Monday savings.  Instead of working all weekend, we spent some much needed time with our families {away from our computers}. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday SALE

Thanks to all of you we have had an AMAZING year . . . it was exactly one year ago TODAY that we posted our very first item here on TpT.  Your support has been overwhelming with both your purchases and all of your positive comments and feedback.  We both truly love getting up each day and doing what we do to make a difference in the lives of our students.  We also love that we are able to share so many of the resources that we have created with you.

So, to say THANKS, we are teaming up with two of our new blogging first grade friends and sellers on TpT to “Kick off the Holiday Season” and offer you some BIG Black Friday savings.


Here is a quick link to all of our TpT stores . . .

Made for 1st GradeThe Inspired Apple

The First Grade Parade


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Caught You Being Good

When your kiddos return after Thanksgiving break be on the look out for good behavior and work habits. Try passing out these cute little cards and letting your students cash them in for a small candy cane or other little Christmas trinkets once they’ve earned five.


click {here} to download a copy


Monday, November 21, 2011

Last Minute Literature Activity

We have ONE more FULL day of school to go before our holiday break officially begins, so tonight we created this little writing activity to use with our kiddos tomorrow.  Even though there won’t be any turkey at our Finger Food Feast, we thought our kids would have fun creating a page for a class book to go with this story.  It was one of the *FREE* books we got in our Scholastic November book order. 


click {here} to download a copy


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gingerbread Man Literature Unit

To go along with our Sweet Batch of Gingerbread Man Centers we have put together a set of literature based activities using some of our favorite versions of the classic gingerbread story.


All of these activities are included in our newest Gingerbread Man Literature Unit.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holly Jolly Christmas Centers

We just posted our brand new set of Holly Jolly Math & Literacy Centers over on TpT.  

Here’s a little {sneak} peek . . .clip_image037

We hope everyone is having a GREAT week so far.  Thanks to a clever idea {Diane} had our kids are behaving better than ever. 

Want to know the secret . . .

Every year we make headbands during our Native American unit.  This year we are letting the kids earn feathers to add to their headband for positive behavior.  At the end of the week we will see who has the most feathers and they will be named our class “Chief”. 

The kids are all super motivated to earn feathers so we may end up with a whole classroom full of Chiefs!!!



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rhyming Activities

Do you have kids that struggle with rhyming words . . . if so, then welcome to the club.  For some reason the kids in our low intervention group are having a more difficult time this year with the concept of rhyming than ever before.  So, we’ve been trying EVERYTHING under the sun to help them.

One of the greatest {and easiest} resources that we have found is a game called Chipper Chat from Super Duper Publications.  With the help of a para we have been able to quickly assess each child to decide if they are struggling with the discrimination of rhyming words or producing rhyming words.  Then we have divided students up into small groups to get support in the specific areas where they are struggling.  As a bonus . . . the kids absolutely LOVE playing the game.

If you haven’t seen this resource head on over to their website and check it out.  It’s a little pricey, but worth every cent!!!  It’s a resource you will use for years with your beginning readers.


We’ve also been playing a goofy little whole group game that we made up.  We call it “Beat the Teacher”.  The idea of the game is to have the class work together to try to produce more rhyming words than the teacher. 

Begin by giving each student a copy of the record sheet.  Then have each student record the key word in the box.  We usually pick a word that follows the phonics pattern we are working on for the week.


click {here} to download a copy of the record sheet

Then set a timer for 2 minutes and have the students record as many {real} rhyming words as they can.  Remind them to use their blends and digraphs.  While they are making a list of words you have to, too!!!

When the timer goes off have every student put away their pencils and get out a highlighter or pen.  Then have them share words they made.  We usually make a big list of them on the board.  If their word is on your list you both have to cross it off.  If they have any words that aren’t on your list they get to circle the word and vice versa.  All it takes is one kid coming up with one word you didn’t.  It’s actually harder than it seems.

Once you’ve played the game a few times and the kids are comfortable with it you could even invite a special visitor in to play.  Last year we played “Beat the Principal” and boy was it fun!!!

One more idea that we just came up with goes along with the book rhyming dust bunnies by Jan Thomas.  After two FULL weeks of rhyming word practice and games we thought we could wrap up our unit with a writing activity. 


It’s a silly little book that our kids can work on after we read the story.  On each page they will have to think of 4 {real} rhyming words to match each key word.  This will be a good indicator of who needs additional support . . . still!!!imageclick {here} to download a copy of this little book


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Sweet Batch of Centers

We have a very Sweet Batch of Gingerbread Man Math and Literacy Centers ready to share with you.  We just posted them in our little TpT store tonight.  We must warn you . . . we went a little overboard this time!!!  This is definitely the biggest (and probably our favorite) set we have EVER created.  There were so many skills that we wanted to incorporate into this sweet little set of centers and just when we would think we were done . . . we would be texting each other late at night with “one more” idea that we just HAD to include. 

We can’t wait to kick off the month of December with two FULL weeks of Gingerbread Man themed FUN with our kiddos.  Just this morning as we were getting all of these new center activities laminated and organized we were both talking about how excited we are to do all of them with our kids.  Creating and updating activities to share with all of you has definitely renewed our love for our jobs!!!  After all these years there’s something still SO exciting for both of us when we have new, improved, cute little activities that we know our kids will enjoy doing.

So enough about US . . . YOU may be wondering what’s included in this 154 page set. 

Here’s a {sneak} peek at all 18 of the math and literacy activities . . .image 




Saturday, November 5, 2011

Native American Literature Activities

As you all begin your Native American units we wanted to share a few writing activities that we found online several years ago. We would love to give the author a little “shout out” but unfortunately we can’t find the website where they originated.  We’ve actually put our own personal touches on them over the years and they have evolved into some cute little class books that we make and add to our classroom libraries.

Each writing activity goes along with a popular Native American story. There are some discussion questions available to use prior to and during the reading of the book.


click {here} to download a set of these writing activities

You can also log on to to view the book Knots On a Counting Rope.


We hope to have all of our gingerbread themed math and literacy centers ready to share with you VERY soon.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Henry and Mudge

If you are like us, you are probably always looking for new resources to use with your guided reading groups.  Several years ago we started purchasing books from the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant in sets of 6-7 through our Scholastic book orders.  Lots of times we used our bonus points!!!!

We have found that these are easy to read chapter books for our beginning readers.  Not only do they LOVE Henry and Mudge, but they LOVE the fact that they are reading chapter books.

As many of you may know, we like to have some kind of response sheet to use with ALL of the books we read during our daily guided reading time.  So, we have created a set of worksheets to use with many of the Henry and Mudge books that focus on story word recognition and comprehension. 

For each of the books there is a list of 15 story words that you can introduce to your students prior to reading the story for the first time.  Then there are 2-3 open response comprehension questions for students to answer using complete sentences.  There is also a bonus worksheet for students to practice writing meaningful sentences using the story words.

If this sounds like something you could use in your classroom head on over to TpT and check out our new Henry and Mudge Reading Resource Pack.

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Halloween FUN

Thank you so much to everyone who entered their names in our Spooktacular Halloween giveaway.  We loved reading all of your fantastic costume suggestions.

We totally intended to share pictures yesterday as well as the names of our winner.  But, after a busy day of Halloween parties and trick-or-treating we were exhausted!!! 

Thanks to the help of our families, who drove us around town shopping for accessories and helped us cut and tie tulle, we were able to pull off a last minute costume idea . . . we joined our good friend Kelsey (who was our inspiration) and we dressed as . . .

Silverlicious and Purplicious

DSC01311   DSC01309

And the winners are . . .


Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!!!