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Showing posts from July, 2012

First Blogger Meet Up

Today was the Oklahoma Blogger Meet Up!  Due to unfortunate circumstances several people couldn't make it, but Jennifer from Herding Kats in Kindergarten, Kaci from Mrs. Hoffer's Spot and I had a wonderful chat!  We sat in Cheesecake Factory for over 3 1/2 hours!  The food was delicious and the stories were even better.  I want to say a huge thank you to the ladies for putting it together and we will have to do it again sometime.

If you have not checked out their blogs, you must!  They are serious about this stuff!  If you mention an activity they can tell you who in "Blogland" wrote it.  I clearly have a lot of catching up to do!

Now I am off to catch up on the Olympics.  Thank heavens for DVR's!


Talk to me about consequences in your room...What happens when Johnny has to move his clothespin, turn a card etc.

I am not a fan of taking away recess due to their need to expel energy and unless I sacrifice my lunch there is no way to enforce them walking/running laps.  I need some new ideas for my little firsties!

Not 1 but 2 Awards!!!

Jessica at Tales Of A First Grade Teacher gave me 2 awards!  Thank you so much!

For the One Lovely Blog Award:  

 For receiving this award I have to...

1. Follow the person who gave me the award.

2. Link back to the person that gave me the award.

3. Pass to 5 new bloggers and then let them know they have received the award.

The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2.  Post the award to your blog.
3.  Give the award to other bloggers with less than 200 followers.

I Nominated:

The First Grade Scoop
That's So Second Grade
Schoolhouse Treasures
A Day In First Grade
Mrs. Saunders' Lovelies

Year Long Master Plan

I was wondering if everyone out there has a year long master plan or if you sort of wing it.  I am too OCD to wing it.  I had to sit down from the very beginning and outline everything.  Of course, I know I won't get through it all due to field trips, assemblies, snow days and fire drills, but at least I have a plan.  As I stated in previous posts, I am not a thematic person, I am a unit person.  I like to dive deep into a unit and cover it thoroughly so that we can reference back to it later in the year and the kiddos will still remember it.

My first step was to create a list of topics that I wanted to cover and figure out how many school days I was planning for.  Our year ended around 165 last year, so I am sticking with that number.

Math - this was simple because there are 10 units for our Everyday Math Curriculum.  Our team plans to teach math Monday-Thursday with Friday being a catch up/game day.  I also added in a day for review.  I counted the lessons, added the review day…

My First Blog Hop!

Grade Three Is The Place For Me is hosting a new blogger blog hop.  Head on over to join!

My Five Facts:
1) I'm in Oklahoma
2) I teach first grade
3) This is technically my first year teaching
4) I started blogging a couple of weeks ago
5) Check out to get help with your blog

Blog Award...I think?!

Vicky at gave me an award!  Thank you Vicky! I recommend everyone go check out her blog, it's adorable and has lot of cute ideas!

The problem is that I have no idea what I do now. :-)  I copied and pasted the picture of the award.  Hopefully that's what I'm supposed to do. 

Third Grade Homework!

I had no intention of making a third grade homework set, however someone requested it.  So here it is! 

This idea was inspired by The Lesson Plan Diva. She was unable to post her homework because her team made it. So I made my own. 

There is a page of literacy homework and a page of math homework for 32 weeks. There is also a homework helper to go along with it. Some questions repeat, but they are many weeks apart. 
It is Common Core aligned.

Literacy Topics include:*Identifying a correct sentence*Combining two simple sentences*Syllables*Contractions*Irregular Plural Nouns*Past Tense Verbs*Compound Words*Synonyms and Antonyms*Handwriting - Cursive*Analogies

Math Topics Include:*Word Problems*Rounding To The Nearest 10 and 100*Writing Numbers in Expanded Form*Writing Numbers in Word Form*Graphing*Addition and Subtraction - 2 and 3 digit*Perimeter and Area*Skip Counting - to promote multiplication facts.*Fact Families - Multiplication and Division*Fractions - dividing and shading shapes, fra…

Second Grade Homework Now Available!

Due to the popularity of the first grade homework, I have created a second grade edition. This idea was inspired by The Lesson Plan Diva.  She was unable to post her homework because her team made it.  So I made my own. 

There is a page of literacy homework and a page of math homework for 32 weeks.  There is also a homework helper to go along with it.  Some questions repeat, but they are many weeks apart.  It is Common Core aligned.

Literacy Topics include:
*Identifying a correct sentence
*Combining two simple sentences
*Irregular Plural Nouns
*Past Tense Verbs
*Compound Words
*Synonyms and Antonyms

Math Topics Include:
*Addition and Subtraction
*Fact Families
*Place Value

Classroom Photos!!!!

I finally got to take some photos of my room today!  Huge thank you to my mom who came to visit for a week in May and helped me get my room 99% ready!  
You can see the door at the very left of the this picture.  I am going to clockwise around my room.  The four section whiteboard will hold the four spelling lists for my four spelling groups (Words Their Way).  In the middle is my SMARTBoard. In the foreground of the photo you can see a cart with cords, speakers, and a mini whiteboard.  The cart will hold my laptop, projector, and document camera.  To the right of my SMARTBoard is a bookshelf holding supplies.  The T.V. is going to be taken down since I have a SMARTBoard and the shelf is going to be turned against that wall.  Behind this shelf is another whiteboard so that I still have a little whiteboard room if I need it.
Pretty baskets holding supplies. Uh oh I just saw the two blue baskets on the second shelf.  That will get changed the next time I go in.  Sorry OCD is kicking i…

Grading Policy - Report Cards

How many of you have to give a letter grade to your kiddos?  I was shocked when I found out we had to give our kiddos an actual percentage grade for their assignments.  And we have to have 18 grades for each subject for the marking period.  That means twice a week we have to make sure the kiddos are doing an assignment that shows their individual ability and we can actually put a grade on.  We have decided that this year we will be grading homework and spelling tests to meet our quota for language arts and math facts tests, math homework, and math unit tests to meet our quota for math.  Science and social studies get a combined grade so we only need 9 grades for each of them.  We ended up using a lot of Scholastic News and the supplemental materials last year.  This year, I'm going to try harder to create formal assessments.  Even if they are only 5 questions, at least it will be something.

I did find this rubric that I really like for writing.  You can click on the picture to tak…

Smart Board Concept of Number or Addition

10 Smart Board Files for Concept of Number or Addition!  Great for math centers or workstations.  Aligned with Common Core and easily differentiated.
These are the actual Smart Notebook files so you can edit them!
There are eleven pages for each file.  I require my students to show me 10 different ways to make the number that they are working on.  (i.e. 10 different ways to make 5)
Another way that you could use these files would be to have a child show you a way to make each number listed at the top (5-15).  This is why there are eleven pages.
Open the file that you would like to use. Slide the box to highlight the number that you would like to work on. Grab the shape that you would like to add to the scene.
Themes Include:
Christmas – scatter presents around the tree.
Easter – scatter Easter Eggs around the bunny.
Food – create a meal on the plate.
Halloween – add spiders to the spider web.
Ice Cream – build ice cream cones.
Pond – add frogs or ducks to the pond.
St. Patrick’s Day …


I just found out that not everyone knows what Smencils are!  The kids go crazy for them!  They are scented pencils made from recycle newspaper.  The individual case is biodegradable and the plastic tub is recyclable.   Yes, they are pricey but you can do a school fundraiser.  Most parents are willing to give Johnnie a $1 or $2 without too much of a fight.  My co-op used to give them out for birthdays as well.  Michaels sells them, but check around, you might be able to find them cheaper. Click on the picture and check out their website.

Lunch Date and Shopping!!

My teammates and I finally got to have a lunch date and shopping!  We hit up Target, Dollar Tree, and Michaels!  We found lots of nice little baskets at Dollar Tree along with kitchen timers.

At Michaels we found tons of $1 deals!  They had clearance aisles all over the store.  Some things to watch for are pencil top erasers - $1 for a pack of 40! Dollar Tree also had the same deal going on.  So don't bother getting them anywhere else.  Target wanted $0.99 for 15.  Michaels also had magnetic letters or numbers for $1 in these cute little clear zipper bags.  They are nearly impossible to find around here right now.  Michaels also had the little pencil know the triangle shaped things that help the kiddos hold their pencil properly...$1.99 for a whole pack, 6-8 maybe?  Sorry I'm too lazy to go look in the guest room.  And did you know that if you show your ID at Michaels teachers can get $15% off?  Of course the girl didn't bother to tell me or one of my teamm…


I did it!  I have a "Grab My Button"!  But, it's clearly too big.  What number do I need to change? Here is the code:

<div align="center" style="padding: 5px;"><img src=""  title="Who's on first?" alt="who's On First?" /></div><textarea style="background:#f0f0f0;border:solid 1px #cccccc; color: #777777; font-size:100%; height: 50px; margin:auto; text-align: left; padding: 2px 0 2px 5px; display: block;  width: 90%;">&lt;div align="center">&lt;a href="" title="Who's On First?" target="_blank"&gt;&lt;img src="" style="border:none;" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div></t…

Name It! and Everyday Math Review

Name It! Last night I finished this word work/vocabulary game.  There are 28 different categories or topics and students are asked to come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet.  Introduce a timer and it becomes a fast paced game.  This is perfect for your writing or word work center and is fun for all ages!
Everyday Math Unit Test Review Games This morning I uploaded my Everyday Math Jeopardy Games.  There is one for each first grade unit and all of the topics on the test are covered in this interactive game.  Editable!

Symmetry Monsters

Symmetry Monsters

These were made for our unit on symmetry.  I folded a piece of card stock in half and cut out a random blob.  We then took popsicle sticks, dipped them in the paint, and then tapped them on one side of our "monster".  (Do not cross the center line that you created when you folded it to cut it out) The more you tap, the bigger your paint blog becomes.  We then folded the monster in half again and rubbed like crazy to help the paint spread out.  Once they were dry I cut out some "circles" and they drew black dots in them to make them look like eyes.  
I stepped out of my comfort zone big time for this activity...I don't do paint!  Liquid glue is typically beyond my comfort zone so paint is definitely out of the question.  But they were fun and turned out adorable.
Sorry the pics are crappy, but these were taken with my old phone.  And for you OCD friends out there, I know the "R" in "Symmetry Monsters" is not technically symmet…

Grab My Button - Help!

I have been trying to make a "Grab My Button" gadget, but I'm stuck.  Do I have to have a flickr account in order to get the picture url?  I uploaded the picture to my blog, but that url doesnt seem to be working.

Common Core

This is sort of a rant...why is everyone so obsessed with Common Core?  Yes, I know the standards are "new." But, for 99.9% of the teaching population who has been doing their job, they aren't new at all.  It's the same thing you've been doing all along, just worded differently.  Honestly, I think they are pretty straight forward.

No, they are not perfect. Yes, I believe there are holes, like not having any standards about money in first grade and yet they need to be doing multiplication by the end of second grade.  Do "they" truly think that we are not going to tell our kids that 2:25 exists on the clock? Honestly though, it's a start.  We had to start somewhere.

It just boggles my mind.  Blogs created specifically for the common core, workshops for creating common core based lessons, etc.  Common core isn't a new way of teaching.  The standards are there as a tool, the way you teach it is up to you.

My recommendation is to sit down and reall…


Here's my question...If a kiddo falls asleep in class do you let them sleep?

Last year, I let them sleep.  My philosophy is that they are 6 not 16 and if they are that tired, they need their sleep.  They aren't doing it to be disrespectful or because they are bored, they are doing it because they are exhausted.  (Most of the time it was because they spent the night/weekend at daddy's house and stayed up playing video games.)

But, what do you say when the principal walks in and sees Johnnie passed out on his desk?

Data Folders and Behavior Plan Freebie

Data Binder This is just a picture of my data binder because it wouldn't apply to most people because of the sight word lists and Literacy First Skills.  However, I wanted to show you how simple it can be.  I (or possibly the students by the last half of the year) am going to color in their progress for each category.  The bold sections are the goals for first grade.  Sight words and math facts do not have a goal because the expectation is mastery.  I realize that the parents won't be able to tell what Literacy First skill 5 is, however they wouldn't know the difference between a digraph and a dipthong anyways, so why put extra words for confusion on there.  The majority of our parents are unsupportive and will probably end up throwing this away rather than returning it, so the less confusing the better.  (I am not exaggerating when I say I had an average of 5 students a week turn in homework last year.)
Behavior Log (*Freebie!)
Now this on is a freebie!  I realize everyone…

Power Towers and Supply Storage

Power Towers - take disposable bathroom cups and write a math fact or sight word on the bottom.  If the kiddo can read the word or solve the problem they can keep the cup and begin building their tower.  I used the small Pringles cans and was going to cover them with card stock, until the hubster suggested Duct Tape!  It's not the best picture, but I already took the completed ones into school.

Supply Organization - Tool-turnabouts from Pampered Chef!  My mom was a PC consultant and we were able to get some through their outlet which made them affordable.  I have two for every table, one for me, and one for the writing center.  Instead of kitchen tools they hold, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, dry erase markers, and rulers.  (Markers, scissors, and glue are in baskets for supervised use.) They work great!  I have decided to turn their desks around so that they are inaccessible this year.  My first week last year, one of my teammates and I spent an entire evening cleaning out t…

Xtra Math

Have you heard of Xtra Math?  If not, you MUST sign up!  It's completely free.  Enter all of your kiddos and print off the login cards and letter for parents.  Now your kiddos can login during centers, computer lab time, or at home and play fun math games.  The best part is that they keep track of which students are using it and what they are doing.  The activities progress in a certain order getting harder once mastery is achieved. (Differentiation!)  And the kiddos love the fun games and activities.  I am planning on having my kiddos use this once a week during computer lab to give them that extra push that they need.

Back To School Math Centers

Well, I have been on the computer for almost 12 hours straight, my hand is fried and my wrist is swollen from clicking away.  The good news is I have uploaded 18 Back To School Math Centers!  Check them out!  Let me know what you think.  I am looking for suggestions of new things to make.  What are there not many of?  What type of games/activites would you like to see?

On a side note, I would love to add pictures of my room, but I can't.  They are waxing our floors, with supposedly 10 layers of wax!  They are off limits for a while.  Luckily, I was able to go in last week and make several thousand copies for the year, so I have stapling to keep me busy.  As soon as I can get in my room though I will snap some photos.  They will only be cell phone photos though because I am trying to save up my TPT and Teacher's Notebook money for a fancy camera.  I love photography and steal borrow my mom's camera whenever I can.  It's time for one of my own though. :-)

More TPT Goodies

Halloween! I have 19 Halloween Math Centers available.  The picture above is a preview.  $1 each or $15 for all 19 centers! (Over 130 Pages!)

Topics Include:
Place Value
Greater Than/Less Than
Ordinal Numbers

First Grade Common Core

Above you will see samples of my Common Core packet.  I have created editable checklists for your classroom, 16 different mini math assessments, and "We Can" signs for all of the Common Core standards. 60+ Pages - $5!
First Grade Homework
This idea was from The Lesson Plan Diva As you will see in her post, she was not able to post her document because her whole team created it.  I saw the picture and ran with it.  32 Weeks of homework.  One page of literacy homework and one page of math homework each week.  Simple, easy to follow format.  65 Pages - $5!
It's pretty straight forward.  37 pages - $3
Bump or Roll and Cover
Some people know it as Bump others call it Roll and Cover.  Either way it's a very popu…

Clip Art...How do they do it?

So I have to ask...anyone know how they make all of the adorable clip art?  I know some people have artistic genes and can sit down and draw just about anything, but...there is so much clip art out there!  And all of the digital scrapbook kits!  I have googled and googled this concept, and most of the sites tell you how to alter clip art that is already made, or take a photograph and turn it into clip art.  Just looking for your thoughts. I would love to be able to start creating some of my own clip art.


My Plan of Attack: Writing

Writing:  (45 minutes) Just as I did with Reading, I am choosing to focus on topics.  I want mastery, not hit and miss learning.  The units will include:  The Writing Process, Narrative, How To..., Descriptive, Friendly Letter, Compare and Contrast, Report, and Persuasive.  Each unit will focus on shared writing and independent writing.  Kiddos will meet with me to conference about their individual writing piece and do kid writing while I am meeting with others.

My Plan of Attack: Math

Math:  (90 minutes) Yes, I said 90!  That's what our district expects, and that's what they are going to get!  Our district is in love with Scott Foresman, however the first grade team was not.  Before I got there, they saw that it was not working and asked the principal if they could try Everyday Math.  (My co-op for student teaching was an Everyday Math trainer and the district only used Everyday Math!)  Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I got the first grade job last year and found out they were using Everyday Math.  The teachers were gushing about how much the kiddos were learning!  Picking up that Everyday Math manual that first week was comforting.  It was one time throughout the day that I truly felt like I knew what I was doing.  

Now, here's where I am twisting it a little.  Guided math is becoming insanely popular!  I love the concept, but I had a hard time wrapping my brain around how to fit all of the components of in and still meet with guided math groups. …

My Plan of Attack: Guided Reading

Quick Side Note:  Our district follows an assessment program called Literacy First.  I feel like I just committed a crime by typing their name.  Apparently, it's quite a popular program and yet, no one talks about it!  I'm serious...Google it if you don't believe me.  You won't find much of anything.  Even their company website, doesn't tell you much.  The bottom line is that there are four categories of skills that you test:  Phonemic/Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Comprehension, and Fluency.  There is a continuum of skills that are assessed from Pre-K on.  Basically, you focus on the skill that they are on until they master it before moving on.  Some teachers decided that they would only focus on the skills during guided reading rather than putting real books in the kiddos' hands.

Guided Reading:  (60 minutes) That approach that I just mentioned above, didn't work for me.  I want to see my kiddos with books in their hands everyday!  I want to know withou…

My Plan of Attack: Sight Words

Sight Words:  Literacy First has their own list of sight words.  There are three lists actually.  List A and B have 100 words each and List C has 200 words (technically a 2nd grade skill).  They are also part of the continuum and technically cannot move onto one list before they complete the previous list and skills.  Well sending home 100 sight words at a time is a little overwhelming.  I took List A and List B and broke them down into lists of 10 words.  I numbered them accordingly (A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, etc.).  I then created eight different activities for them to do and put them in a packet.

Activities Include: Pencil, Crayon, Marker Read, Trace, Write, Color Sight Word Graphing Roll, Read, Write Word Search Word Shapes ABC Order & Fancy Handwriting Unifix Cubes - The build words with Unifix Cubes and record how many cubes it took. (Almost like Legos for those hands-on boys!)
The kiddos will be assessed at the beginning of the year to see where they fall on the continuum.  I will…

My Plan of Attack: Word Work

Quick Side Note:  Our district follows an assessment program called Literacy First.  I feel like I just committed a crime by typing their name.  Apparently, it's quite a popular program and yet, no one talks about it!  I'm serious...Google it if you don't believe me.  You won't find much of anything.  Even their company website, doesn't tell you much.  The bottom line is that there are four categories of skills that you test:  Phonemic/Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Comprehension, and Fluency.  There is a continuum of skills that are assessed from Pre-K on.  Basically, you focus on the skill that they are on until they master it before moving on.  Some teachers decided that they would only focus on the skills during guided reading rather than putting real books in the kiddos' hands.
Word Work:  (20 minutes) Again, the "amazing words," "sight words," "vocabulary words," "spelling words," and "word work" from Rea…

My Plan of Attack: Reading

Reading:  (25-30 minutes) The district endorses Scott Foresman's Reading Street.  After getting to use it for a few months last  year, I was not impressed.  There were a multitude of reasons, but the bottom line is that I'm not a fan of basals.  I want real-life books in my kiddos hands.  Whole group reading, in my opinion, is the time to teach kiddos the strategies and concepts, not a time to teach everyone to read the same story.  That's memorization in my opinion, not reading.  Anywho, I chose to take a more direct approach and teach each concept for 4-5 weeks. Our units will include: Reading Strategies, Literary Elements, Main Idea and Details, Sequencing, Compare and Contrast, Cause and Effect, and Text Features.

First Year Teacher...Technically

So...I did it!  I created my first blog!  Now what?!  Does anyone really want to hear every random thought that goes through my head?

Well I guess I will start with the basics...Technically this is going to be my first year teaching.  Technically?  You ask.  Well, I graduated college in Pennsylvania in December of 2008 and substitute taught until August of 2009.  At that point I became an Emotional Support Aide for our district.  I helped students transition into and out of the emotional support classroom.  This meant that for the next year I was in  3 different schools and a total of 5 different classrooms.  At the time, I was not thrilled.  For the last half of the year my day was split between two buildings.  Then I realized how much I was learning.  Here I was, a certified teacher, getting to "snoop" in 5 different teachers' classrooms.  I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I saw what worked and what didn't.  It was priceless!

During all of this madness, the…