Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

No April fools here . . .

Our AMAZING Jayhawks pulled off another win last night and are headed to the National Championship game on Monday night.  To celebrate we have extended our sale through the end of the day on Monday.




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Space Case

After Easter we are gearing up for two full weeks of space themed fun with our first graders.  It’s always one of our favorite units to teach and the kids learn SO much about our solar system.

Here’s a little {sneak} peek at all of the activities that are included in our Out of This World Math and Literacy Centers set.

space unit {sneak} peek

*Note to buyers . . . all of these activities were sold separately last year.  We’ve just bundled them together now into one complete set.  If you’ve already purchased the set please take a minute and go back and download the revised copy.  We found a few formatting errors that are weary eyes somehow overlooked and we now have them all fixed.

Many of you have expressed an interest in seeing how we incorporate literature into every unit we do so here is a freebie we would like to share with you. It includes two creative writing lesson plans and art projects that we will be using during our space unit.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Spotlight–Gumball Math

Sunday Spotlight

Before we packed up and headed out on Friday for Spring Break there was a LOT of excitement in our first grade classrooms.  Who wouldn’t be excited about a week off of school, right???  As teachers we sure are!!!  But that actually wasn’t what was creating all of the buzz. 

It was this bulletin board display.


When we return from Spring Break we are going to begin doing Gumball Math.  It’s a series of timed math tests that we created to reinforce basic addition and subtraction fact mastery.  We will do the tests every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Students are typically given 3 minutes to complete all 50 math problems.  {We obviously have to make some slight adjustments for some students.}  As they successfully pass each test they earn a gumball to glue in their machine and a gumball to eat.


Here’s a detailed list of all the tests that our students try to successfully complete before the end of the year . . .

clip_image004      and here’s a little {sneak} peek of everything that is included Gumball Math packet.

gumball math

We also created a Gumball Math {Expansion Pack} that we use tests from to supplement specific skills we are working on.  We always call these the “BONUS” tests.  We  pass these out from time to time to give students additional opportunities to earn gumballs.  We’ve cut a baggie full of gumballs {1-inch circles} made out of bright scrapbook paper prints for students to glue in their machines each time they pass one of these “BONUS” tests.

Here’s a list of all the tests that are included in the Gumball Math {Expansion Pack} . . . 


Keeping everything organized can always be a challenge.


We would love to give away a complete set of our Gumball Math Tests to {three} of our followers to use in their classrooms.

To enter your name in the giveaway just leave us a comment telling us what your favorite flavor of gum is. 

We will accept entries until the end of the day on Wednesday, March 21st.

The winners will be notified via e-mail so make sure you leave your address in the comment.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Long Vowel SPARKLE

Now that we’ve introduced so many long vowel patterns some of our kids are having trouble applying everything they’ve learned when they get ready to decode words.  So, we’ve created a new Long Vowel SPARKLE game that incorporates all of the long vowel patterns and uses lots of blends and digraphs.  It includes over 100 words . We’ve been using it all week long with our kids in small groups and they love it. 


If you are needing a new resource head on over to our TpT store and check it out.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Egg-cited About Easter

Get your kiddos “Egg-cited About Easter” after they return from Spring Break with our newly revised set of Easter themed math and literacy centers.  We have bundled all of the activities that were previously sold individually in our store and updated them with some fun new clipart and graphics. 


Here’s a little {sneak} peek just for you . . .Easter Sneak Peek

We will also be taking some time off from our reading series right before Easter for some “Bunny Business”.  Last year we compiled a literature based unit that uses several of our favorite bunny themed books to reinforce many of the math and language arts skills we are covering at this point in the year.  There are also art activities and everything you would need to have a Bunny Day celebration with your kiddos.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Lucky Leprechaun Week

Since we will be busy next week doing all of our Laura Numeroff circle story activities . . . we spent this week doing lots of St. Patrick’s Day themed activities in our first grade classrooms.  We know it’s still a little early for leprechauns, pots of gold and rainbows, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. 

Here’s a {sneak} peek at just a few of the things we did.

One of our favorite creative writing activities went with this story . . .DSCN4405

It’s about a lazy Irishman named Jamie O’Rourke who plants a magical potato seed that he gets from a leprechaun and it grows into an ENORMOUS potato. It was no ordinary potato!!!

After we read the story we let your kids make their own {ENORMOUS} potato out of a piece of brown construction paper. Then we let their imaginations and creativity run wild as they used paper from the scrap box to create a unique potato character.


Then we wrote stories about our potato people.  The kids were all SO creative!!!

click {here} to download a copy of the header we used


We are learning about telling time to the hour and 1/2 hour in math so we played this great game that we found online a few years ago called STOP THE CLOCKWe of course tried to give it a St. Patrick’s Day theme!!!  The kids got to take turns coming up to the Promethean board to match the analog and digital times on the clocks.  They tried to beat each other and set new class records.  Some of them even found the website online at home and practiced.


Here’s a record sheet we made for our kids to use at the computer center.  We have the website bookmarked for them.  They got to play 5 times and record their scores.

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


Today was our “Lucky Day”. 

We all wore green and did lots of activities that are included in our Lucky Day Mini-Unit.


To get us started we read Fluffy’s Lucky Day by Kate McMullan. Then we did a little pre-writing activity to get us thinking about what might happen to us if we had a lucky day just like Fluffy. Everyone had to finish the writing prompts about what they would eat, find, play, see, get and have on their Lucky Day.


We also read Lucky Tucker  by Leslie McGuirk.  It’s about a dog named Tucker who had a very lucky day. Then we wrote stories about a lucky day we have really had.


IMG_1154[1]   IMG_1153[1]

We also did a fun sorting/graphing/data collection activity with a box of Lucky Charms that we shared with you last year.

We began by estimating how many marshmallows we thought would be in our box of Lucky Charms and we made a class prediction about which shape of marshmallow there would be the most of in our box of Lucky Charms. Then we divided the box up evenly amongst the kids in our class and let them get to work sorting all of their marshmallows on the sorting mat.


click {here} to download a copy of the sorting mat


The next step involved having our kiddos tally how many of each marshmallow shape they had.


click {here} to download a copy of the tally mark chart


The final step was a BIG one for us . . . we used all the data we collected to make a class tally mark chart on the Promethean board.  Boy were we surprised at the results!!!  Who knew there were so many marshmallows in one box of Lucky Charms.


It was a very fun day and now we are both hoping our Kansas Jayhawks are Lucky tonight.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk. . . Go KU!!!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

April Word of the Day

We just uploaded our new April Word of the Day packet. It has 14 Easter and plant themed words that you can introduce throughout the month. It also includes 14 colorful posters for you to display each day as you introduce a new word.

image  image


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Circle Story FUN {and freebies}

This week the main story in our reading series is If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff.


We have been patiently waiting to get to this story for quite a while because last year we went ALL out and created an entire weeks worth of center activities and writing activities that went along with this story, as well as all of Laura Numeroff’s other circle stories.  We combined them into one big unit and it is available to purchase in our TpT store.


We are planning to do the same thing again this year.  Instead of moving on to a new theme the week before Spring Break, we are going to take the week off and have some circle story FUN with our kiddos!!!

Here’s a {sneak} peek at all of the math and literacy centers we will be doing.

circle story centers sneak peek

We will also be doing these writing activities . . .

circle story sneak peek 2

Our final project of the week will be to have our kiddos create a circle story of their own. They will use a graphic organizer to plan their story and then write it by modeling it after the format of the ones we had read throughout the week.  We are always amazed by their creativity!!!


This year we also made a set of circle story themed Word of the Day worksheets and posters that we can use and display throughout the week.


to download a copy of them click {here}

We’ve also got a complimentary copy of one of the creative writing activities from our unit to share with you.  It was originally created to use with our first graders, but we’ve added some additional pages to the end of it in case you teach a different grade.  You can just have your students fill in the space with the appropriate grade level.


click {here} to download a copy

We’ve received several requests about some other activities that were featured on our class blogs during our circle story week last year.  Unfortunately we don’t have the rights to share all of them with you.  One of them was created by another teacher on our team and the rest are all worksheets that we have acquired over the years from resources like Teacher’s Helper.