Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oh Kansas!

Happy Kansas Day everyone.  In case you didn’t know . . . today {January 29th} The Sunflower state celebrated it’s 154th birthday.  To show our true Kansas spirit we had our kiddos wear their favorite Kansas team attire and we both did a big graphing project with our class.  Students got to vote for their favorite Kansas team.  Then we used the data we collected to find out which team was the class favorite.

Here’s a peek at the graph from Diane’s class . . . as you can see there were a lot of Jayhawk fans!!!


If you are a Kansas teacher here are a few freebies just for you that we’ve created over the years.

The first one is a book that we will use at the end of the week to wrap up our unit on Kansas.  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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Long Vowel Winners, MLK, Mitten Tens and Ones Freebie, and Penguins on Parade!

We sent the long vowel unit to our winners, but had not posted it here! They were Katie Ryan, Claire Austelle, and Teresa Ayers! Congrats ladies! We loved doing the Super E packet by The Teacher Wife along with our unit. The Teacher Wife just updated her unit, so if you bought it you will want to go and download it again for the fun things she added to it!

How many of you have MLK day off? We have an in-service day so we celebrated our learning about MLK on Friday. They LOVE learning about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and MLK! They are amazed at how much our world has changed!! We made these MLK posters to celebrate our learning. (one kind of looked like Arthur!)


We have been enjoying many different versions of The Mitten and any other story we could find about mittens and added the story mapping elements to our Mitten Journals.

M is For Mitten

Many of you that have been teaching for as long as Diane has (27 years) may have seen a fun mitten activity by AIMS learning. We have updated this and added some extra mitten tens and ones fun with a freebie for you! You can go to our TPT store and download this activity for free!


Here are the kids in action using this activity! They were so engaged and LOVED traveling around the room to see how many cubes fit in their friend’s mitten!


Here are a few art projects we made. Mitten Wreaths and Mitten Pals. They sure do love art!!



Tomorrow we will enjoy endure a day of in-service and then will start our Penguins on Parade Centers!

Penguins on Parade Math & Literacy Centers

For those of you off tomorrow…ENJOY!!! You are SOOOO lucky!!

Diane & Kelly

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SUPER {Long Vowel} Giveaway

When we return from Christmas break our kiddos will finally launch into decoding and reading words with long vowels.  We are so excited to introduce this new skill with the adorable Super E unit that one of our favorite bloggers {The Teacher Wife} created starring a super hero that teaches kiddos how to change short vowel words into long vowel words by adding a silent letter.  If you haven’t seen this unit you have to go check it out . . . it’s a must have!!!  To supplement our reading curriculum we will also be using a series of activities we created called Long Vowel FUN as we introduce a new long vowel sound each week.  image

Long Vowel FUN includes a variety of activities that reinforce all of the long vowel sounds.  Each week students can practice working with long vowel words that go with the target vowel pattern you are teaching.  We use these activities each week during guided reading, during our tiered reading intervention time and as independent practice.  Our kids absolutely LOVE the decodable word games.  Once we have introduced a new skill and played the game throughout the week we leave them out for the students to play when they have spare time with a partner or small group.  Believe it or not . . . they actually fight over which game they are going to play!!!

Activities include:

(8) cut/paste real and nonsense word sorts
(8) rhyming word production worksheets
(8) cut/paste sentence scrambles with missing punctuation and capitalization
(8) decodable word games that can be played in small groups

Here’s a {sneak} peek at a sample of each activity included in the unit.


Now for the exciting news . . . we are teaming up with The Teacher Wife for a SUPER {long vowel} giveaway. Simply post a comment with your email address and tell us who your favorite SUPER hero is. 

We will choose (3) winners who will each receive a set of both long vowel units.

Good luck everyone . . . this giveaway ends Wednesday night at 8:00 pm (CST).


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

We hope you all have enjoyed the holiday break. We are very lucky to have until the 7th to relax and catch up! (finish grades, get our classrooms back in order, put away Christmas stuff, get our workouts started again, etc…) VERY MUCH needed!

Diane traveled to Iowa to see her family. It was 16 below on Christmas Eve!! But with 28 people and 5 dogs in the house, it warmed up quickly!! Diane’s new son in law enjoyed a loud and crazy Christmas Eve! Christmas morning they all packed up and headed to Diane’s mother in laws for a laid back quiet few days. Then packed up again and drove 9 1/2 hours back to Kansas. Always good to be home!!



Kelly did her best to keep her spirits bright this holiday without Jeff. She and Grant spent a lot of time with Jeff’s family and her family close by. She and her son Grant then took off to Texas to visit her best friend from high school and her sister in law’s family. Grant learned to 2 step and rode a bull! It was a much needed break with shopping and relaxing.


Both of us are gearing up for 2014! We are excited to welcome student teachers when we return from break. They will be a GREAT help with 25 first graders!

We put all of our items in our tpt store on sale for 3 days to celebrate the start of 2014!! Here are a few of the units/activities we will use when we return from break:

Freezin' Season Math & Literacy ActivitiesPenguins on Parade Math & Literacy Centers


Smitten with Mittens Math & Literacy CentersM is For Mitten


Winter Word of the DayMarvelous Mitten Morning Work


And a few freebies!

Marvelous Mitten Number OrderMitten Word Sort {Long A}

When do you all go back? We hope you have had a fantastic break and many blessings for 2014!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Diane & Kelly