Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Had Sprung

Hi friends, Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  I hope you are having a wonderful start to your spring.  We just finished our spring break and I am feeling quite refreshed.  Now I am planning ahead for my spring activities that I will do in my class.  I love this time of year!

Here are some of my favorite spring books.

Spring is Here!
It's Spring
Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic
Miss Rumphius
Spring is Here
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
Kite Day
Frog and Toad Collection
And Then It's Spring
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

What are some of your favorites?

Here is a freebie I had on my blog a couple of years ago.  I do this every year and my kids love it!


Spring has definitely sprung here in northern California.  I was feeling the need to get something spring hung up.  So we went on an impromptu spring walk around school and then brainstormed things we noticed or we know that relate to spring.  

After our brainstorm session, I gave them a circle map to fill out.  They had to put one word in each circle that reminds them of spring.  They were to use this circle map to help them complete a spring writing.

(Click the Spring Is...picture to grab your freebie)

The next day, I pulled out the watercolors and just let them paint what they wanted, as long as it was a spring theme.  They loved having a chance to free paint.  
This was my favorite.  A boy flying a kite.

It was a reminder to me that I need to let them have free paint time more often.  Has spring sprung where you live?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hands-On Learning Made Easy!

Hi everyone! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop here. I wanted to share an awesome iPad app with you to help make presentations with your primary students easy-peasy!

The app is called 30 Hands. 

It's essentially a simplified PowerPoint. To use it, you'll upload photos from your camera roll or take them directly in the app. When you're done, it'll look like this. 

(Images from the 30Hands website)

Then, click on each photo. You can draw on the photos, or you can even draw your own slide. (I had students make illustrations, then upload those.) Nexg, students record their voices onto each slide. Rather than typing, your students can speak about the slide. When you're done, you can play it or export the video. We have limited tech in my school, so his was the first time my first graders used it for a presentation, and they LOVED it! 

Do you have any other kid-friendly presentation apps you'd suggest? 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Using Wordless Books

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Do you know what these books have in common?

Yep! They're wordless books {you read the title of this post, right? :)}

Do you use them in your classroom? They are a valuable resource that's easy to overlook!

For beginning readers, wordless books provide great opportunities for modeling and practicing reading strategies.

*Sequencing: Copy all the pages of a short book, or find a copy at a thrift shop or library book sale and cut it apart. Have your students work together to sequence the story before the first time you read it together. Can they explain the reasons for their sequencing decisions? Tape the story up on the walls of your classroom and walk along as you discuss it. Encourage alternative ideas for sequencing, and have your students use details in the illustrations to defend their decisions. When you read the book as the author intended, compare your class' version. This can be the basis of some great discussion!

* Making Predictions: As you do with any book, spend lots of time making predictions throughout the story. The advantage that a wordless book gives you here is that your students will need to pay very close attention to the details of the pictures since there are no words. Even those who have auditory processing issues will get lots of practice predicting, making inferences, and drawing conclusions.

Wordless books are also great as the basis of writing lessons. Have you ever tried shared writing using your document camera? It works really well for this! Show one page at a time on your screen. As a child suggests an appropriate sentence for the page, talk it through as you write it, or have kids come up and "share the pen". Hint: If you don't want to permanently mark up your book, do the writing on "oops tape", so you can peel it off eventually with no residue left.

Model writing dialogue with one page of a wordless book. As students suggest a few words or a sentence that a character might say, write them on one of those great post-its that are shaped like speech bubbles. Then it's back to the doc camera. Display the page with the speech bubbles on your screen, practice reading it a few times together (with great expression, needless to say!), and then have students come up to read the conversation. What a great motivator for fluency practice!

Beyond the primary grades, wordless books are great for continuing to model reading strategies. Because reading in the traditional sense isn't required, this is a chance for your strugglers to shine. Even as you move into more advanced comprehension strategies. these students can remain strong participants in your conversation, unimpeded by decoding or other issues that usually hold them back. What an exciting thing it is for them to have the playing field leveled, and what a  a confidence-builder, too!

What's your favorite strategy for using wordless books? Please share your idea by leaving a comment!

To read some ideas for using wordless books with pre-readers AND to find out what my three favorite wordless books are, hop over to my post at Primary Inspiration!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

St. Patrick's Day FUN & a Rainbow sight word FREEBIE.

My Leprechaun's Gold Shop:

I set up a jewelry shop each March and fill it with all of the Mardi Gras beads I got on sale after Mardi Gras was over.  You can see the necklaces hanging from shower curtain hooks.

My friend made the cute leprechaun sales uniforms for our clerks.

My students decide how much each piece of jewelry costs and they get to "shop" for jewels using play coins.

Reading Color Words:

This month, we also practice tracing, labeling, and reading, color sight words and we create this cute rainbow FREEBIE.  

Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

We Learned Math With Potatoes:

We predicted and then measured with cubes:

We guessed which weighed more:

Then we weighed the potatoes on a kitchen scale:

We made leprechaun hats, beards, and vests.  We glued 20 sight words to our vests.

Here is the vest:

Looking For More Fun?  Check These Out:

Click the image to see my FaceBook

Click the bus to see my Pinterest Boards.

Click the image to see my TPT store.

Click the image to view KFUNdamentals blog.

So, what are you doing for St. Patrick's Day?

That's if for this month!
See you all on April 4th.
Palma :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Black History Month Activities & a freebie!

This month is Black History Month and we do multiple activities in the classroom to celebrate. One project we do is send home a name of a famous African American to each student, they are required to send in 2 facts about that person as well as a picture. Some students go all out and they have huge projects, while others just send in a paper with the facts and a picture.
It doesn't matter---all that counts is that they are learning about history! So fun to see what we will get!  

We also use this book to show how important each of us is, regardless of color, here are a few books that we use within the classroom:

We used the book Shades of Black for this activity. This book went perfectly with my kiddos because it represented everyone in the class. We talked about everyone has a particular skin color, NOT just black and white. As we were reading, we would stop and find someone in the classroom who represented that particular page. You can see the inside of the book here on Amazon. 

I've always seen tons of activities where you compare their skin color to paint samples. I wanted to do that this year (with a smaller class this year---it's sooo much easier to do so much more! :) 

I started the lesson by matching up a paint sample to my skin and naming that sample--I think it was something like Natural Nutmeg Frost. They LOVED it. Then I talked about how that makes me feel. I used words such as beautiful, radiant, happy, excited, etc. And I'm a little---over dramatic shall we say! and this seems to help aid in their thought process and picture drawing.
After we matched each kid up, they were given their sample and off they went! 

Here's what we did! (I LOVE these!!!!)

And I didn't take a picture of every one of them....but they were all amazing! We did help them by writing some of the words on the board, but you can also see some inventive spelling throughout. 

They wrote the name of the sample (glued onto the page) in the top line and how it made them feel in the next line. (Don't you just love the Scrappy Kids from Graphics from the Pond??)


 hesum---handsome! (love it!)

Here's your freebie!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Those Tricky Teen Numbers!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

There are certain "sticking points" in math that are recognized by all teachers of young children, things that are just plain difficult hurdles for some of our students. Bridging the decades in counting, writing numbers greater than 100 (you know the ones I mean, like "10014" for "114"), ... and then, of course, even before those come along, there are the tricky teen numbers.

First of all, the naming of eleven and twelve is illogical.  If you want to read some truly confusing (and confused) theories about the naming of 11-13, try googling "oneteen, twoteen, threeteen".  The Spanish words seem so much more meaningful: ten and one, ten and two, ten and three, etc.  ESL teachers, I'm wondering if it's easier for your students to understand these numbers because of that.

So, we do what we can to make these numbers real for those who struggle with them, to take them from rote counting to the deeper understanding they'll need to move forward in place value.

Here's my bit of help for your strugglers, and with a seasonal twist, too! Enjoy this freebie!

After you let them have lots and lots of practice with concrete objects, try this set of 24 cards to move your students to the representational stage. Also included is a student recording page for using these cards as a Read and Write the Room activity. 

Many thanks to Teacher's Gumbo (love those love bugs!!),  Graphics From the Pond, and The Thematic Teacher for the fonts and graphics used in this set!

If you're looking for some fresh new ideas for February, I'd love it if you'd stop by my Primary Inspiration blog to pick up some goodies at this linky. You'll find nearly 100 free and paid resources for this very busy month! Just click here to see them all!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr.----Freebie!

January is the time of assessments, benchmarks, assessments, benchmarks, ugh...Does it ever end? 

So sometimes I feel as though I can't get any teaching done! Plus--we have off on MLK, Jr. day and the Tuesday and Wednesday following are teacher workdays (due to the end of the 9 weeks and report cards!). 

But despite all of the testing, I want to make sure I can at least touch base on why this day is so important and talk about MLK's dream and the legacy he left. With teaching kinders, I definitely have to put it on their level, but they get it.

Of course, while we are learning about MLK, Jr., we talk a lot about what his dream was. I talk to the kiddos I work with and explain that I wouldn't be able to be their teacher wayyy back when or even now if things had not changed because of leaders like MLK, Jr. (They are shocked about this...)

So we begin to discuss what his dream was and how things have changed and what else could change. I always ask the kiddos what their dreams might be because even in kindergarten they have one!

I thought about how some of my kiddos who struggle with writing could show their dream and of course that's to draw a picture. I created this little freebie for you that will allow for each student to depict their thoughts and dreams in writing or drawing.