Saturday, October 18, 2014

fun {and meaningful} number sense activities.

You've probably seen those number anchor charts on Pinterest.  I LOVE them.  I thought there was no way under the starry heavens that my kids would actually be able to make them.  Yes, I have half 1st graders this year which makes a big difference but I also have half ESL students.  And it's still basically the beginning of the year.  {I feel like this until Valentine's Day.}

But I tried it.  On a day when the Superintendent was visiting.  And was supposed to specifically visit my classroom.  Ha!  Sometimes I even amaze myself with my crazy antics.

After lots of modeling, though, it worked beautifully!  My kids worked cooperatively.  They counted accurately.  The superintendent never made it to my room - remember, my luck is that I'm only visited while on Pinterest ;) - but these anchor charts are lovely and I encourage you to make them for your own classroom!  I have them hanging in my room because my kids still refer back to them.


In my hunt for number sense activities I also found this packet by Vickie Plant.  {I love her.}  These number mats are just part of the awesome packet.  I used them as a scavenger hunt.  I passed out all of the representation cards {tallies, fingers, ten frames, shapes, number words, dice, dominoes} and put the number mats on different tables in the room.  The kids had to figure out their amount then find the number mat it belonged in.


Check out the whole packet and Vickie's blog, Primary Press.  She has the best ideas.  You're welcome.  ;)

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Apple Math {limited time only FREEBIE}

I love fall.  And not just because of pumpkin spice lattes.  Because I've only had two.  I love apples, leaves, pumpkins, cake, Thanksgiving, the smells of it, the weather...everything.  {I'm not sure how cake ended up in there but hey, let's go with it.}

My K-1 teammate and I are doing an entire integrated unit of all things fall as we compare urban and rural communities.  Starting with apples...in every content area.  That's right!  All. the. subjects.

I found these awesome apple workmats from Life Over C's.  We used them a few days, just practicing making number sentences and adding numbers together with "apples" {pom poms} on the workmats. They recorded their number sentences which helped me know who was getting it and who wasn't.


After practicing, I gave them a number sentence to glue down.  They had to tell me the answer before finding the basket with the answer on it.  Then they finger painted apples to show the amounts.  For the kinders who struggled with adding {the few that haven't mastered number ID or rote counting} I gave them a mat without the number sentence.  I just chose two numbers that I knew they needed to work on and they practiced counting the amount on individual trees.


I also used 10 Apples Up on Top for our math mentor text.  Since one of the 1st grade Common Core objectives is to order 3 numbers or amounts from least to greatest, we used this cute math activity from Kindergarten at Heart but added two more friends to help balance the apples.  We gave the students 3 number cards {primary number cards from the Investigations curriculum} for the kids to order.  Then they made fingerprint apples to represent the amounts.


For a non-math idea, I've started poetry notebooks this year and am so excited about it!  Like I said...apple everything...so an apple poem.  Obvi.  I got this one for free from What's the Buzz in First.  I'm going to make these much more interactive as we go on but for now, we're keeping it simple.  Read the poem {maybe add some hand motions if it's long or complicated}, highlight sight words {or letters, depending on ability}, illustrate it, practice reading it in all kinds of voices and then do something fun with the content.  Our fun project this week was the apple finger painting.  We'll also be sampling some apple products next week.


You're almost to the freebie.  First let's check in with Farley.  ;)

For a limited time only my brand new, literally just finished, haven't even used it yet Apple & Pumpkin tasting sheet is your treat.  I wanted to punch it up this year and do more than just graphing our favorite flavors.  Download, try it out and let me know what you think.  I'd love some great feedback on the TpT posting in return for your treaty treat.

Now I want a big ole mug of apple cider.  And a dress made of neoprene...thanks, Project Runway.  Happy October!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I see new ideas looking at me.

You knew which book I'd be referencing before you even clicked on this link, right?  You good teacher, you.  ;)

I've always thought of Brown Bear as a pre-K or early kindergarten story because of it's simplicity.  But I used it with my K-1 class this year and the simplicity and repetition lead to some awesome skill mastery and understanding.

I see {sequencing} looking at me.

One of my goals this year is to work in more fine motor activities using scissors and glue...which will in turn work in creativity & art!  So for our retell activity, my students colored pictures, cut them out & glued them in order to sequence the story.  If they finished early, they labeled the different animals.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of any of my dolls wearing their crowns but this is how they looked.

I don't know where our pictures came from - I've had them for years - but you can get an ever cuter coloring page from 2care2teach4kids:


I see {writing} looking at me.

I. love. these. books!  Teacher to the Core must've created these just for me because there's a kindergarten version and a 1st grade version!  My 1st graders created their own circle stories, writing their name on the first page then continuing the story by carrying over whatever they saw to the next page.  The number of pages depended on fast they worked but each student started with 3 and added from there.


My kindergarteners created a group book together.  We used the kindergartener page each time to minimize the sounding out frustration and only asking them to sound out one word per page.



He saw a coconut tree.  Hmmm...can you guess which book we used last week?!  ;)

I see {math} looking at me.

I chose this math activity because it takes the typical graphing activity to the next level.  I gave my students M&Ms to represent the colors of six of the animals.  {The white horse & black sheep are missing but no one seemed to mind since they were working with candy.}  The students sorted their M&Ms by color and graphed.

But then Happy Teacher, Happy Kids extended the math practice with this addition sheet that was amaze balls!

{can I say amazeballs??  I hope so because I just did...twice.}

This activity is actually 4 pages in total with a sorting page, graphing page, recording page and the addition page.  Best news: it's a free download.  Actually, everything in this post is a free download! Just click the pictures or linked text to go to the original store or blog to grab your copy.

Don't stay away too long...I see apples looking at me next!!  ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don't get caught on Pinterest.

Not that I have anything against Pinterest.  In fact, I love it.  I have a lot of school boards and about a-bazillion pins for every fun thing I find.  {You might want to follow me, I'm just saying.}  But you probably shouldn't be on Pinterest at school.

While your kids are in the room.

And your principal comes in for an observation.

Thaaaaat's right.  That was my afternoon.  But wait - let me explain!!!  You know how you pre-pre-prepare everything to be organized and productive?  Right, I did that.  I introduced Homework Notebooks to my students today but instead of passing them out one at a time, I put them in my kids' communication binders myself this morning.  All 19 of them.  The plan was for them to pull out their binders {like every day at dismissal} and they would flip to the back to see their Homework Notebooks, be thrilled that I had secretly already added them and we would move on without taking up too much time.

But did that happen?!  Nooooo.  Instead, my students pulled out their binders and every. single. homework. notebook. went. flying.

AT. THE. SAME. TIME.

There were notebooks all over the floor.  "Whose is this?!"  "Where's my journal?"  "I don't want this color!"  "I want that one!"  "That's mine!"  "You're stepping on it!!"  And then some.  In the words of Pete the Cat...did the teacher cry?  Goodness no!  I had it under control!!  I was a little frustrated but I sent them to their tables to work on our usual packing up procedure while I took a deep breath & tried to calm my frazzled nerves.  {Did I mention this was the end of a day where my kids don't go to specials?  ie. I had no break.}

So I went to the computer.  I knew if I googled Homework Notebook or Homework Journal or Homework Binder that something would pop up.  And it did!  The problem was...it took a few minutes {read: 90 seconds} to find.  And in that 90 seconds, what happened?  You got it.  Enter the principal.

Did the teacher cry?  Almost.  Goodness no!

I turned red & sputtered an explanation of what was going on.  Luckily she moved on and said she'd come back later, but still.  It happened.  And it was not fun.  Why am I telling you?  Because I don't want the same thing to happen to you.  Here are some links to some of the FREE journal covers that I use.  Download them now & be ready!

The dreaded Homework Notebook covers {lol} from First Grade Schoolhouse.

Our Science & Social studies Notebooks from Adventures in Teaching.

Our Poetry Notebook covers from Mrs. Woolwine

If you don't use binders you can just glue these to the front of a notebook.  I recommend doing this even if you don't think you need it.  Reference the story above and take my word for it!  ;)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Let's not lose them.

I think all teachers would agree that transportation is the number one biggest concern at the beginning of the school year.  Especially with kindergarteners.  Even though I check and double check and quadruple check how they're going home, there are always a few parents that I just can't reach or an 8 that could be a 3 when they write their child's bus number.

For the first day {okay, the 1st week} I hold my breath anytime there's an announcement after school.  Please don't say my name, please don't say my name, please don't say my name...whew!  Why am I sweating?!  But I've noticed a pattern - it's after those first few weeks that we start to relax and that's when simple mistakes can happen, regardless of how cute and Pinteresting your transportation chart is.

Enter good old fashioned masking tape.


How brilliant is that?!  When your kids put their backpacks on, you can see all of their numbers in one quick glance down the line.  We teach kids their bus slots (where they park on the lot) because sometimes busses break down & they have to send a replacement.  If your kids don't ride the bus, just write walk or van or AS (after school).

It doesn't mess up the backpacks so parents aren't upset.  It's super easy to change if they start going home a different way.  The kids don't play with them so they stay on for a long time AND it makes dismissal basically fool proof.  If your sub can't find your bus list, you're covered.  If you have to leave early & have another teacher take your kids to the bus, you're covered.  If you're just having one of those days where your mind can't form um...what are those things...oh, words...yeah, you're still covered!

So grab some masking tape and sharpie and don't lose your kids.  Because that probably wouldn't reflect well on your evaluation.  ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New year, new grade.

Little Miss Glamour is still going to Kindergarten...but I'm not stopping there!  I am going to teach a K-1 combo class this year with students from both grades in my classroom.  I'm going to teach both K & 1st grade curriculums.  I'll also be working with a group of ESL students like I did a few years ago.  And that's pretty much all that I know.  :)  There will be a lot of trial & error this year and probably some confusion but I'm also excited for some challenges and something new.

Most of all, I am hopeful that I will have a lot more to share with you.  It was hard to post last year due to a few, let's say...obstacles.

*I was trying to balance being mommy & teacher for the first time.
*I didn't want to mess up my manicure by typing.
*My feet grew during pregnancy & all of my free time was spent buying shoes.
*I didn't have much freedom to be creative in my lesson planning.
*My false eyelash glue was defective & the computer screen looked blurry.

Ok, so really only two of those are true.  But I'll let you work that out on your own.  ;)  Thanks for coming back, reading & learning with me.  Let's have some fun this year and come up with new and exciting things for our kids...what do you say?!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

{another} Back to School Sale!

You heard it right...Teachers Pay Teachers is adding an ADDITIONAL Back to School sale this year! So if you missed something in their annual August sale, you have one more chance to grab it at a discount on Wednesday, August 20th to start your school year off right.


They are offering 10% off with code BOOST plus E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G in my store will already be 20% off.  So for one day only, you can get all of my products for 28% off!!  Start making your wish lists now because this sale is only 3 days away!

If you haven't already, be sure to add my new monthly homework calendars to your wish list.  They're easy, fit to one page and incorporate math & literacy common core as well as general science and social studies concepts.  There's a parent letter, too, so the work is done for you.  Did I mention the motivation behind them was to make homework simple?!  Maybe my favorite thing I've ever made.  For my ownself.  ;)

My behavior clip chart is another big seller every year.  If you're looking for a new or different behavior system, I love the clip chart.  It rewards students who make great choices, students can move up & down throughout the day {i.e. fix their choices} and who am I kidding...the poster names & characters are just too cute.  :)


Also, thank you for your entries into the My Doctor and Me ABC giveaway!


The winner of Stephanie's book is Terry!  Congratulations and let us know how you're going to incorporate this book in your health unit!

The rest of you can get this cute book on Amazon in either an ebook or paperback copy.  Now to try & enjoy {not pout through} the rest of my last Sunday of the summer...  I need an emoticon that is half smiling & half sad.  Why has that not been created yet?  ;)

Blogging tips