Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stars and Stripes Presidents Pack WINNER!!

stars and stripes winner

Congrats to Kara! We will be sending you your winnings soon! Be looking for it! We thought your idea of your mom being president was awesome! Mom’s can do almost anything…so why not president!Thanks to everyone that entered our blog give away! If you are still wanting our Stars and Stripes unit we will put it on sale through the weekend! Enjoy!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Reading AtoZ Resources


Each Sunday we are going to begin spotlighting one of the products in our TpT store.  Not only will we link you up with previous posts about how you could use this product in your classroom, but . . . we will also offer it at a discounted price throughout the week.

As first grade teachers we know that everyone has probably dove in head first with long vowels by now.  Some kids may be swimming right along and reading everything you put in front of them . . . but let’s admit it . . . there are probably a few several who are sinking at this point.  Everything they ever knew about vowels has started to change.  It’s a lot to take in and process for their little brains!!!

Just last week Diane’s class was working on a morning job and one of her kiddos came up to her desk looking very confused.  She thought the question she had to answer on her worksheet said “What’s your favorite snake?” when really it just said “What’s your favorite snack?”.  You can imagine the confusion because she didn’t have a favorite snake!!!  Nor do we . . . unless dead ones count!!!

While our reading series {Houghton Mifflin} provides lots of take home books and guided reading books we are always looking for additional resources to use with all levels of readers to reinforce the phonics skills we are covering.  Luckily, we have access to a great database of decodable readers through Reading A-Z thanks to our school district.

Click {here} to read the post we did earlier this fall about Reading A-Z.

So, with all of this being said . . . this week’s spotlight item is our Reading AtoZ  {Long Vowel} Resource Pack.  It includes over 20+ printables that you can use with the long vowel books available on the website.  Each worksheet contains open response questions as well as a spot to record words from the story that follow the target phonics pattern. 

Here’s a little {sneak} peek . . .clip_image013

We must tell you that there is a membership fee associated with this website . . . and for a {very} limited time they are offering a discount.  It is worth every penny!!!  We would be lost at guided reading without these books.  They are such a useful resource AND once they are printed you can use them over and over again.

Reading A-Z.com - Your Reading Resource Center

Lock-in 2011 Pricing! Save $5 now through January 31, 2011.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stars & Stripes Math and Literacy Centers

We just got our new set of Stars & Stripes Math and Literacy Centers posted over on TpT.  Hopefully this will give all of you planners out there a head start on your February lesson plans.  We know first hand just how time consuming it can be to get everything laminated, cut out and organized.

Here’s a little {sneak} peek . . .stars and stripes sneak peek

We are excited to announce that we are teaming up with Rachelle over at What the Teacher Wants for a BIG President’s Day Giveaway.  One lucky winner will get a complimentary set of our Star & Stripes Math and Literacy Centers AND her {fabulous} President’s Day and U.S. Symbols Unit

President's Day Giveaway

For one chance to win leave a single comment on this post telling us who you would think would make a good president and why . . . have fun with it!!!

And, guess what? Not only are we giving away a set of these two resources to a commenter on this post, but Rachelle is doing the same!

{Contest ends on Tuesday at 9:00 pm CST.}


Friday, January 27, 2012

February Calendar & Word of the Day Worksheets

We’ve been getting lots of requests for another monthly calendar. . . so, here’s a little {sneak} peek at what’s coming up for us during the month of February.clip_image008{We are also looking forward to our special visitors who are coming up to Kansas to meet us and spend some time in our classrooms in a few weeks.  Should be so fun!!!}

In other news . . .

Diane has been hard at work ALL night getting our new set of February Word of the Day worksheets ready to post.  We know some of you are just dying to get your hands on them.  As a reminder we use an old set that was made several years ago that follows our weekly sight words from Houghton Mifflin.  Students always begin their day with a new word of the day worksheet.  We also have the word of the day displayed in our room on the Word of the Day board.  Then we supplement these thematic words in throughout the week as we begin learning more about specific topics or holidays.

We both really like the new format of our thematic word of the day worksheets . . . and our kids do too!!!    They seem to the challenge the kids a bit more since they have to unscramble the word and write both an asking and a telling sentence.  So, our next BIG project will probably involve remaking our Houghton Mifflin Word of the Day worksheets.  You may have to wait until summer for that, though!!

Here’s a little {sneak} peek at one of the worksheets and posters that are included in this set.


If you have any March/Spring word suggestions let us know . . . we will be getting to work on our next set very soon and would love to have your input.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

100th Day of School



Since the 100th Day of School is just around the corner {Friday to be exact} we decided to update a few of our favorite 100th day products that are in our TpT store and offer them to you at a discounted price through the end of the week.

If you’ve already purchased one of these items head over to TpT and grab yourself an updated copy.

Let you students flip a coin 100 times and record if they got heads or tails OR let them roll a dice 100 times and record what number they roll each time.   Then they can color code each turn and create a math problem that should equal 100.  It’s fun to get out the calculators to let them check their work!!!

image         image

{click on pictures to view products}

We always let our students make their own book about the number 100.   On each page they have to finish the sentence to tell  about 100 things they could lift, 100 things they would like to eat, 100 things they would not like to eat, what they would do with $100, what they wished they could have 100 of and what they would never want to have 100 of.   There is also space for illustrations on each page.


click {here} for book & preview

One of our favorite books to read on the 100th Day of School is I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words by Michael Frith.  After we read the book we let students make a book about 100 words they can read and write.  They are always shocked to see that they know so many words!!!


click {here} to preview the book

graphics courtesy of Scrappindoodles


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing Showcase

This past week we found several writing opportunities for our kiddos and we thought it would be fun to show off a few.  At this point in the year all of our first graders are writing!!!  So exciting!!!  Like anything you do . . . it takes a lot of pain and practice to get to this point . . . but when you see writing samples like these you know that it was worth the work.

Diane’s class read several biographies about MLK at the beginning of the week and made these pictures of him.   Then they wrote about their dreams to make the world a better place. clip_image006

Wow, 6 and 7 year olds really do understand that we need to work together . . . they did an amazing job telling about their dreams!!!

Kelly’s class did a few winter themed writing projects.  First they read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  Then they made a cute little art project inspired by the main character in the story . . . thanks Mrs. G for the cute idea . . . and they wrote all about one of their snowy day experiences.clip_image005

Students seem to do their best writing when they can relate to the subject and can draw on their own experiences.  So, building a snowman was the perfect topic for a technical writing piece.  At the end of the week they made their first “How To” book.  They began by reading The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler.  In the story the main character, Little Nell, learned that even though she is little she can do BIG things . . . like build a snowman.


After reading the story the class worked together to create a word bank on the Promethean board.  Then they got to work in their books sequencing the four pictures and writing.  Students were encouraged to add details and descriptive words to make their writing more interesting to the reader.clip_image007[6]

When they finished their writing they got to decorate the front of their books with this cute little snowman art project.  It was inspired by a painting we found online 3 or 4 years ago.  Since then we have seen several variations of it, but are not able to find the original.  So . . . if you are the creative soul who originally designed this . . . we say “Thank You”!!!  We love it!!!

clip_image002  image

It’s been popping up all over Pinterest this week from our class blog posts from last year.  We’ve also received several requests for the dimensions so {here} is the folder cover we made with a list of everything you will need to have your kids make it.

Happy writing everyone!!!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brush Up with Math & Literacy Centers

Let your students “Brush Up” on their math and literacy skills with our brand new set of dental themed centers.  Head on over to our TpT store to check them out.

Here’s a little {sneak} peek . . .Dental Health Sneak Peek

Check back this weekend to see a preview of our February calendar and read all about the fun snowman/winter activities we’ve been doing this past week in our classroom. 


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kansas Activities

So . . . it sounds like there are a lot of you out there in blog world that are enjoying a three day weekend.  Man are we jealous!!!  We have get to spend the day attending a health fair and lots of exciting meetings in our district.  I bet you’re a little jealous now, right?!?!  As a little treat for all of you who will be at home we decided to throw a sale in our TpT store.  Through the end of the day tomorrow every item has been discounted 20%.


As we’ve mentioned before, every year we celebrate the birthday of our great state of Kansas at the end of January {January 29}.  We always do lots of activities that teach our students about the symbols of our state.   You can click on our class blog links below to see and read more about what we’ve done in the past.

diane's blog           kelly's blog 

This year, however, we are going to do things just a little bit different.  It’s always fun to mix things up a little bit, right???  So, we’ve made a new set of Wonderful Wizard of Oz Math & Literacy Centers that we will be using during center time to reinforce several of the skills we have been working on.  Then we will supplement a few of our favorite {older} activities into our schedule throughout the week.  These are activities and project that students can do independently at their desk or with a partner.

So, if you are a Kansas teacher here are a few freebies just for you!!!

The first one is a book that we will use at the end of the week.  After learning about the state symbols student will glue them in ABC order.  Then they will write a complete sentence about each picture using correct capitalization and punctuation.  We will create a word bank on the board for students to refer to that has words such as:  bird, mammal, insect, flower, tree, amphibian, reptile to use in their writing.


click {here} to download Kansas Symbols activity

We also have a cut and paste set of Kansas sentences that students can unscramble to learn facts about our state.  Students will cut out each row and arrange the words to create a complete sentence about our state symbols.  Then they will write the sentence correctly on the line using their neatest handwriting.


click {here} to download the Kansas Sentence Scramble activity

Another fun activity that students always enjoy involves using a map of the state of Kansas.  Somehow we both ended up with a class set of Kansas maps years ago.  They sat in our cabinets untouched for several years.  Then we created this little activity.  You would be surprised how much fun your students will have working with a partner to find towns on the map that begin with each letter of the alphabet.  It’s great little exploration activity to introduce basic map skills.


click {here} to download the Map of Kansas activity

We are both BIG basketball fans so we created an activity that focuses on writing numbers in expanded form for three well knows Kansas teams.  Usually at this point in the year we have just introduced this skill in our enVision math series.  On each score card are the scores for all three basketball teams.  Students have to write each teams score in expanded form.  Then there is a separate space for them to order the numbers from least to greatest and write who had the highest score for the week.clip_image006[7]

click {here} to download the Kansas Basketball activity

We also like to have a Kansas spirit day.  It’s always a lot of fun because all the kids on our team (of four classes) show up decked out in their favorite Kansas team clothing.  Several of you have seen our class blog posts and asked for copies of the tracers for our Jayhawk and Wildcat art projects that we do on this day.  We would be more than happy to share them with you.  We typically let students choose which project they would like to make and then hang them out in the hallway with a sign that says {A Classroom Divided} or {A Hallway Divided}.  This year we will be mounting them on the front of our conference folders.  Conferences just happen to fall the week of our Kansas celebration .


click {here} to download a copy of the Wildcat and Jayhawk tracers

And help us give a BIG thanks to our friend and fellow teacher Miss Keckler for letting us share the Jayhawk tracers she made.  Both art project fit nicely on an 9x12 white background to display.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Magical Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered their name in our Magical Giveaway.

And the winner is . . .clip_image004


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heart Attack Math & Literacy Centers

We are excited to announce that we just got our new set of Heart Attack Math & Literacy Centers posted tonight on TpT.

Here’s a little {sneak} peek . . .clip_image044

We also have a sweet little freebie for all of you!!!  image 

click {here} to download a complimentary copy

It’s a cut and paste number order activity.  Watch out though because we decided to mix it up a little bit this time and have our kids put the numbers in order from greatest to least.

If you haven’t entered your name in our Magical Giveaway it’s not too late yet. Tomorrow one of our lucky followers will get a complimentary copy of our Wonderful Wizard of Oz Math and Literacy Centers and Abby’s We’re Off to see the Wizard Literacy and Math Unit.

  You can also head over to The Inspired Apple to get an additional entry.


Monday, January 9, 2012

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

At the end of January we will be celebrating Kansas’ birthday  and learning lots of FUN facts about our great state and our state symbols. 

It wouldn’t be a week about Kansas if we didn’t take a little trip down the yellow brick road.  So, we will be doing lots of {new} literacy and math centers that we’ve just created that are themed around the classic Wizard of Oz fairy tale by L. Frank Baum. 

Here’s a little {sneak} peek at all 8 of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz Math and Literacy Centers that are included in our new unit.clip_image032[6]

And thanks to our blogging friend Abby over at The Inspired Teacher we will also be doing some fun writing and art project, too!!!  She was SO kind to share her popular We’re Off to See the Wizard unit with us that she created last year.

We are teaming up with Abby for a Magical Giveaway.    Magical Giveaway

One of our lucky followers will get our Wonderful Wizard of Oz Math and Literacy Centers and Abby’s We’re Off to see the Wizard Literacy and Math Unit.

To enter this giveaway all you need to do is post a single comment completing this sentence:

“There’s no place like ________!”

We will choose our winner on Wednesday.  Good luck to all of you!!!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mitten Freebies

Winter is definitely NOT in the air here in Kansas, but we have been busy all week learning about animals and how they survive in the winter.  It seems a little funny to be talking about this topic while we look out on the playground and see kids running around in short sleeves.

Despite the weather, we will still be doing lots of mitten activities next week and we just posted a few freebies over on TpT that we would like to pass on to all of you.

The first is a cut and paste number ordering activity.  Students will cut out each row of numbers and glue them in order from least to greatest on the blank record sheet.


click {here} to download a copy

The next is a cut and paste {long a} real and nonsense word sorting activity.  This set of words is included in our Long Vowel FUN unit.  Since we will be doing mitten themed activities all week we thought it would be fun to have students sort their words and glue them on mittens instead of the generic worksheet we typically use.


click {here} to download a copy

We would also like to give a little shout out to a fellow Kansas teacher {Mrs. Mackey} who just began blogging.  Head over to her blog and check out some of the fun things she is doing with her kiddos.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ringing in the New Year {Winner}

Today we returned to school and had a great time catching up with our kiddos and ringing in the new year.  We spent most of the morning learning about what it means to make a resolution.  Then we made this cute little craftivity that we ran across online from A Cupcake For the Teacher.  You definitely need to head over to her blog and check out this and lots of other cute ideas!!!


   We would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter their name in our Get Organized with Erin Condren New Year’s giveaway.  We LOVED reading all your comments about how you rang in the new year.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for . . . clip_image005signature