Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted and a snow day!

We are off for a snow day today. It snowed all day yesterday and not one flake stuck but overnight it did. It's still snowing now. I really am over snow and winter but I was suppose to go a training today at our central office so I'm happy that we're out. Next week is spring break and I can't wait. I'll be especially happy if we have some spring like weather.
Since I'm out I thought I'd join the party over at Flying into First Grade. I'm loving her weekly linky parties. I never did get around to joining the party last week.
This week's them is nouns.
This is a tough one. I have several favorite people in my life. The first is my hubby Chris. We've been together for just about 2 and half years but we knew each other in high school. He's really my best friend and biggest supporter. He also is the reason for one of my other favorite people. My other two favorites are my nieces, Sophie and Kaley. Both our sisters have little girls and I've gotten to love on them from the beginning. 
They call me KK and I hold that as being one of the greatest blessings in my life, being KK. So here are my two girls that I love so much.

I am incredibly blessed to live in a beautiful place. I live right next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I love being in the mountains and the park especially with my hubby. 
I'm not sure what my favorite thing is. Maybe my Kindle. I love being able to read books wherever I am. It was the greatest thing to have on our honeymoon to Hawaii. I didn't read the whole time, I promise. But it was such a long flight I needed to have lots to read. 
Ok so I am not sure I have admitted this on here or not, but I'm not really an animal person. Please don't throw things at me or stop being my bloggy friend. I don't hate animals I just am not really into animals. The funniest part of this is that my hubby is a vet. But I do love fish and sea animals. We hope that we can have a huge aquarium one day when we have a house. Since our honeymoon to Hawaii, I've been really partial to sea turtles. 
We stumbled upon a beach where you could see the sea turtles up close and personal. This is my favorite picture that I took of the turtles. I'm pretty excited about the day this week that I have planned to study sea turtles. 
So that is my life summed up with nouns. Be sure to head over and check out the other bloggers as nouns. 
Flying into First Grade

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Visual Plans (kind of)

So I have been admiring Mrs. Deedee Wills visual plans for a long time. She's definitely one of my favorite bloggers. She started a linky party not too long ago for sharing of the visual plans. I have been wanting to link up for a while but I've not had time to sit down and try to make some visual plans. I'm pretty excited about what I've got planned this week with oviparous animals, so I decided to give it a shot. I only did my reading plans. I figured this was a way to get my feet wet.
You can click on the link to take you to a pdf that has the plans. Within the plans there are several links you can take to find some great resources. There are a couple of freebies. One is from me and I'll talk about it a little more in a minute. There are also links to some great units on TPT that I'm using this next week.

Click here to go to the pdf to find the awesome resources.

Now a little explanation of my freebie. It's an anticipation guide. Did you learn about those in college and then promptly forget about them once you started teaching like me? No, I'm the only one. I hope not. I'm so guilty of learning some great strategies along the way and then forgetting about them once I'm back in the classroom. Our school system has bought a subscription the website www.pd360.com. Have you heard of it? We got an email about it like weeks before we received any training. We then had a day of training and playing on it and I forgot about it. It's a database of professional development videos. I'm sure there is more to it than that but that's as much as I've explored. Yesterday, I spent a little time looking at some videos about differentiated instruction. This is something I've really been wanting to work on this year. I got a couple of great ideas from the videos and I've reflected a few of them in my plans. One of the big things emphasized in several of the videos was giving kids choice. So when they recreate the life cycles of chicken and frogs, I'm going to give them some choices. They can draw it or they can use the cut and paste that is found in Kaci's units.
Then the other strategy was the anticipation guide. The idea is to get the kids to activate their prior knowledge on a topic when beginning a unit. So I created one about oviparous animals. (You can find this freebie in my plans.)
Have you ever used anything like this when starting a unit? Do you have access to professional development like this? I would love some comments, especially on my visual plans since it's my first time trying this out. Be sure to head over to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten and check everyone else linking up.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Daily Five Update

So last year I started implementing some components of daily 5 and had every intention of doing a full implementation this year in 1st grade. I use a lot of the components of Daily 5 but I had to find a way to make it work for me. I know i'm not alone in trying to figure out what works best for my kids and my class. I got as far as having the components of Read to self, Read to someone, work on writing and word work. I just couldn't get listen to reading going like I wanted. I also couldn't get  letting the kids pick what they wanted to do work for me. But I love that by trying daily five, it has forced me to spend some time on writing. I have been working on trying to implement writing workshop. So this has helped me carve out a time for this. I still need to work on the minilesson aspects but I think my kids are improving their writing and getting comfortable with writing. Usually everyday we do Read to self, Read to someone and work on writing. I try to carve out time for word work a couple of times a week. It took me a little while to figure out what would work for me and my class. I use a menu for word work. This has worked the best for me. The kids have several different options to choose from and it helps them from always picking the computer or the ipad. I took a few pictures this week during word work to share with you.
 These students are working on magnetic letters. They have the spelling word list and they build the words with the letters. I worked this summer on organizing my letters.  I think it has helped as long as they put them back like they are supposed to. I just use pizza pans I bought at walmart for them to build the words on.
 This student is working on popcorn words 3 ways. This is from my Words that Pop Up Units on TPT. (Check them out here.) These units uses the sight words from the treasures reading series for first grade.

These two students are doing write the room. This is one of my kids' favorite things to do during word work. I have tried making several different ones based on the season. This past week they were working on ai/ay from my Spring is in the Air pack. I'm in love with the clipart in this path. It is so cute and springy.
I thought I had the file on my hard drive that has my menu. I'll have to add the freebie on Monday when I get back to school. I have one that shared earlier this year but that one didn't work too well for me. There were too many choices. So I've revamped it and now there are 8 choices. So it lasts a couple of weeks. This is what works for me.
How is daily 5 going in your room? I'm not sure when I go back to kindergarten next year if I'm going to go back literacy centers or what.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I know I titled this wordless Wednesday but I think I need to add a few captions for the pictures.
These two pictures are from Greg's Basketball Math and Literacy Madness Unit.  I used the compound word match in small groups. The kids loved it. I have plans for us to do Miss Kindergarten's Compound word craftivity sometime soon. It isn't looking like it's going to happen this week.

 This is my bulletin board outside my room. Last year in Kindergarten, I let the kids pick what they wanted to go out on the board. This year, I've put a variety of things up depending on what we're doing. This is what's out today. The flowers are fact family flowers we made today. (I got the idea from a fan on facebook.) Friday I only had 7 kids and a sub so I left this I'm lucky activity for them to do. It was perfect for what I needed.

 I finally printed out Caitlin's Hot Seats to use for review. I just need to get them a little organized and then dive in with them. I'm trying to review as we add new ideas and concepts to math.
This is from my Spring is in the Air write the room pack. I am in love with this clipart. This particular picture is right by the door and it makes me smile  every time I see it.
I guess this was not very wordless at all. But I hope you enjoyed seeing a peek into our classroom.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Math Madness

I did a great job early in the week last week of blogging but then it just went downhill. We got really busy. Thursday night Chris and I went to  Gideon's dinner. He's a Gideon and I'm so proud of him for that. We are the youngest usually by about 20 years but we have a good time. My biggest issue is I'm never sure what to wear. Then Friday I spent the day with my mom and niece. Saturday was my mom's birthday so she got Friday off work. I took a personal day and we had a lot of fun. My niece is a mess. She stayed the night at my parents' Friday night and we had some more fun Saturday. It was so beautiful this weekend I had a hard time being inside and on the computer. So now that I've been to church, grocery store, went on a long walk and got all my fruit and veggies ready for the week, I'm ready to sit down and blog.(I am trying to work on having healthier eating habits and the only way I do well with this is to get ready on Sunday.)  I also created a freebie for you at the end of this post.
I wanted to share a few things I'm using with math that I am really loving. They are products I've purchased that I couldn't be happier with.
This first one is from Jen at The Teachers' Cauldron. It's here Tasty Facts - Addition and Subtraction. 

I organized a notebook with all the facts for addition and subtraction. With the addition facts, they are working on earning an ice cream sundae. We've been working on them for a couple of months now and all but 4 of my students have earned a sundae. They have this week and part of next to earn it. She has a variety of ways to let the kids keep track of their sundae. I just printed the paper that she had labeled as an example and let the kids color it. Once they earned it, they cut it out and put it together. The ones that earned ice cream are now moving on to subtraction. For the subtraction tests, they are working on earning a pizza party. I think what I'm going to do for this is let them make english muffin pizzas in a toaster oven. We're not really allowed to order pizza for the class plus I thought it would be fun.
Another unit that I'm in love with is Math Attack: First Grade Common Core Math Mega Pack from A year of Many Firsts. So I bought this as part of the cyber Monday sale and was in love with it and then kind of forgot about it until just last week. We were working on word problems and my kids were struggling with what operation to use when. So I started looking through all my files and remembered that I had this one. It has so many good things in it, I am just scratching the surface. I printed out all her word problems. I gave each pair a word problem and had them solve it and then present it under the document camera. (I forgot to take pictures.) They did a great job with this. We are working through the rest of them as a class.

These are her two characters that she uses to help kids with addition and subtraction. I put them up in hopes that it would help the kids remember what operation to use when. I'm sure I'll be posting more from this unit as the year goes on. Tomorrow I have an evaluation and I'm planning on doing a math lesson. We've been working on adding 3 digits so I made a little scoot game to go with it.
So click the link under the picture and pick up your freebie.
What are some math things that are working great in your classroom right now? Please leave me some comment love especially if you download my freebie. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

Coming up with clever and catch titles has never been my forte. I was an English major with an emphasis on fiction writing for a semester or two in college and it was difficult for me then. So this is what you get. I actually took a few pictures today of somethings we did. We have had a good week so far which I was expecting for it to be crazy with the time change and all. But maybe they are too tired to be too crazy. I said yesterday I felt like I was in a slump blogging. I just don't feel like I'm doing anything all that great but then I got to thinking that maybe I should just share a piece of my world and my room.
Last week we started adjectives. I started off by letting the kids watch a Brain Pop Jr video. Our PTA bought us a subscription to both regular brain pop and brain pop Jr. I didn't utilize it enough at first but I've really been working on using it more lately. I love Moby and Annie. The kids love to watch the videos and they are short with little quizzes afterwards. So we watched the one about adjectives and adverbs. Then I tried to get them to come up with some adjectives. It was terrible. They didn't get it at all. The next day I put some items in a mystery box and gave the kids adjectives to try to figure out what could be in there. They did ok with that and were able to come up with a few adjectives of their own. Then I had them make their own mystery box. Which if I'm being honest we never finished. They were not getting it and it was frustrating me. So I was back to the drawing board for our adjective lessons this week. According to the basal, we were suppose to be working on comparing adjectives but I couldn't imagine moving on to that when they still don't get adjectives. I called on one of my trusty sources for good ideas, TPT. I bought Babbling Abby from the Inspired Apple's Let's Get Poppin Adjective Unit. I printed all the pages out which I don't do with everything I buy but Abby's things are so through and include lesson plans. It is usually easier if I print everything. She suggests reading the book, The Popcorn Book by Tomie DePaola.
 So today we read the book and then munched on some popcorn. The kids then gave me some adjectives to use to describe popcorn. It was like they finally got it. They were able to come up with quite a few adjectives.

Tomorrow we will take the adjectives and do a writing activity and a sorting activity that was included in Abby's activity. I tried having them pick out some adjectives out of our story for the week. But that was a horrible experience. So my plan is to write a couple of paragraphs for the kids to find adjectives in next week. Hopefully this will be a little more successful. Seems like adjectives are skill being taught in several classroom in the bloggy world. I found a great freebie from Lindsey at A Year of Many Firsts. It's a cute little activity for describing themselves. Check it out here.  I think it will be in the plans next week.
I have a couple more pictures of the activities we used from Greg's Basketball Math and Literacy Madness Unit.
 These are some differentiated addition problems. Greg includes a recording sheet but my copies are very limited. So I have been using them as fun flashcards this week. We've played around the world and then I use them for lining up. I usually show a card and whoever's hand goes up first gets to answer the question and then line up. The basketball ones are perfect for this time of year and all the boys I have in my class.

The next activity that I've used quite a bit are the word problem mats. These have basketball themed word problems for addition. This is something that we've been working on. There are also pictures of basketballs to use for counters. I've been using these under the document camera.
So that's my peek in my classroom for today. I'm so ready for spring time. When I took the kids outside to play I thought I was going to freeze. We had a taste of warm weather this weekend and it got my hopes up. So far I've blogged 3 days in a row. So we'll see if I can keep it up. Hope you had a great day and maybe sunshine in your part of the world. I would love to hear from you! What great adjective ideas do you have?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Linky Party Fun!

I have been in a slump lately. I think it might be spring fever hitting a bit. I just haven't felt like I've had anything great going on in my classroom. We've started some things but I haven't taken pictures or I haven't finished it. But I really wanted to blog this evening. I am on the board for our local public library and we were suppose to have a meeting tonight. It got pushed to next week so I have a few minutes of down time before going to dinner with some friends. So I'm glad for a linky party. I saw this Get Aquainted one on a couple of blogs and ventured over to take a look. The blog is Flying into First Grade. It's bright and colorful and I'm glad to have found her. So be sure to head over and check her out.
Flying into First Grade

The idea is to tell things about yourself using your initials. My initials are KEB. (This is one of the first times I've really written my new initials. )
K is for Kindergarten. I was having a tough time coming up with something to go with K. But here lately I've had kindergarten on my mind. It could be because I'm thinking ahead to next year. I'll be returning back to kindergarten. It is always a challenge to change grade levels espeiclaly when you do it every other year. Chris told me the other day he didn't want me to go back to kindergarten because I'm so stressed out at the beginning of the year. It is so hard. Kindergarten is literally the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I think I would like to just stay in first grade. I think I'm a better first grade teacher than kindergarten. But I love my school. It's only 10 minutes away or less from my house and it's where I want my kids to go when I have them.
E is for ELL. I spent my first three years teaching ELL students. I loved every minute of it. I had a self contained class of 3rd graders. It was so hard but I love it. I have a third of my class or maybe more that are ELL students this year. I still love working with these students. They have made such huge gains and learned so much. It just makes my heart smile to see their growth. These particular kids all have great families. They are so sweet and work so hard for their children and their education. I feel very blessed to get to be their first teacher. I really work on trying to establish a good relationship with their families so that they are not scared to come in the school.
(E was a really hard letter for me to come up with something. I know this party is suppose to be getting to know you so this is getting to know me as a teacher)
B is for books. They are my passion. I have way too many books if that is possible and I don't think it is. My classroom library is always expanding thanks to Scholastic, Books are Fun, and a Donor's choose grant. I work really hard on having my students love books and reading. It's so important to me. My assistant has been helping me get them all labeled with AR quizzes. I love how I have it organized. They are organized by authors, topics, characters and types of books. I numbered each basket and then the books are numbered. The kids do a pretty good job of keeping the books where they go. The hardest thing for me to organize is when I get new books. I tend not to put the labels on it right away and then when the kids get a book out it doesn't always go back. I also have a lot of books at home. I have 3 bookshelves in my guest room and then one bookshelf in the bedroom. The ones in the spare bedroom are all books that I've read. They are a lot of children's books and other important books. There are also cookbooks and craft books. Then the bookshelf in my room is all books I want to read. Plus there is my kindle. I have so many books on my kindle to read. I signed up for a couple of emails where they send me the good kindle deals for the day. It is trouble. Ok I've rambled on and on about books now. I am bookworm for sure.
Ok it's time to head out to dinner which is good because I'm starving. Looking forward to pizza from Mellow Mushroom. Be sure to head over to the party and join the fun.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March Madness

I can't believe it is March already. It blows my mind that we are so far into the school year. We got an email from our assistant principal today saying there were only 52 more days left of school. What!? I still have so much to do. Plus I love this group of students and their families. I've had them for almost 2 years now. It will be so hard to say good bye to them. I think I have worked this group harder and expected more than I ever had. This is in part due to the discovery of blogging and Teachers Pay Teachers. I've said it before but it really has made me a much better teacher. The best part of blogging is all the friends I've made through it. Chris is always trying to figure out if I'm talking about friends that I've actually met or ones that I just know through the computer. It's even better when I've met them in real life and we're friends through the computer. I'm so thankful for my Kinderland friends. If you don't follow this pinterest board or haven't checked out the google + community yet, you need to. There are some great ideas there.
We are currently having a sale on our TPT stores.

There was also a product swap but I was a slacker this weekend and didn't get my stuff together. Chris and I went to Bluegrass Underground. (It was a bluegrass concert in a cave. They air it on PBS and they were taping for their November shows this past weekend. I have some cool pictures I'm planning an activity for) It was so fun but about 3 and a half hours away and we spent Sunday getting caught up. I was paired up with Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasbord. If you haven't checked his blog out, you need to stop reading this post and head over there right now. He's got great ideas and great stuff. And he's a fellow Tennessean.
He sent me his Basketball Math and Literacy Madness pack. This pack has so much in it that I'm not ready to post about it fully. I don't have enough pictures to do it justice yet. But today we used his addition fact cards to play around the world and the kids had a blast.
So sometime this week, I'll be showing you all the basketball fun we're having in class. We're going to be using some of the literacy activities in small groups.  So stayed tune!
I spent some time today updating a couple of the packs I made last year. I worked on my Buggy for Words and my Sweet Treats. Buggy for Words just needed a little cleaning up but the Sweet Treats was a hot mess. It was the first unit I made. It has some good activities but it looks a lot cleaner and more put together now.
I am getting these activities out this week to use with my small groups. I have one group that still needs to be working on blending words so we're going to use the letter cards.
This is a whole math unit that has a lot of problem solving activities. There is addition, number order, graphing and a glyph activity. Be sure to check it out. I'm having a sale through tomorrow so check out the new stuff I have in my store.
I'll be back later this week with some freebies and more information on Greg's awesome Basketball Activities.