Monday, September 30, 2013

Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum

Did you know the word Chrysanthemum is half as long as the alphabet?  

 My kids and I just finished reading this adorable book.  The book Chrysanthemum is a excellent book to use to teach character traits. Also how the character changes from beginning, middle, and end.   In this book, Chrysanthemum goes from a happy go lucky kid who thinks her name is perfect to a little girl who wants to change her name due to a bully.  At the end of the story, Mrs. Twinkle changes Chrysanthemum's perspective on her name and she becomes happy just being herself.

 The kids and I also discussed main idea and details while reading about this cute little mouse.  In the beginning of the book, Chrysanthemum loved her name so much.   The students had to write two details to support the main idea that Chrysanthemum loved her name.

After reading and discussing the book, I created a little assessment to see if the students truly understood the story and the skills we worked on in group.

 I also threw in a problem/solution web for the students to complete.

Followed by some vocabulary, connections, and a little visualization( with no stick figures:)

Have you read Chrysanthemum with your students?  If not you should:) 
If you have taught using this book I would love to hear your ideas!!!
 To snag this comprehension assessment please click here.

I am also linking up with Manic Monday at Classroom FREEBIES.  
Be sure to check out all the great FREEBIES shared today!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday 
Happy Reading!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Interactive Reading Notebooks - Glue DOES Matter!

I started Interactive Reading Notebooks with my 4th, 5th, and 6th graders this year. Let me tell you - glue DOES matter! We are only using liquid glue, and we have three phrases: "Just a dot, not a lot!" "No toaster strudling!" and "Baby Dots!"

It's funny how kids want to see what'll happen if they don't follow the posters. So they use huge dots and then their pages stick together. It makes me laugh that they can't just trust me, but then they learn their lesson and no further problems take place.

If you want to get your FREE labels, head over to the blog post or click on the picture below.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, September 27, 2013

All Things Apple!

Hey, TBR fans!  It's Lisa from Always an Adventure in Kindergarten . . .

It's FALL!!  This is definitely my favorite time of year.  I love football and sweaters and boots and pumpkins and doing an apple theme with my kinder kiddos!!
Next week, we will be doing a lot of apple activities in my classroom.  Friday will be apple day and we will rotate through various stations to make an apple craft, do some apple taste testing, and, of course, make applesauce! 
I thought I'd devote this post to sharing with you my favorite apple read alouds and activities.  And if you stick around, there just might be a FREEBIE at the end!
I love Gail Gibbons for non-fiction with kindergarteners.  They love her books!
Product Details
Here's another great non-fiction book.
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I also love to read The Apple Pie Tree.
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There are so many great apple units out there in Teachers Pay Teachers land.  Here's the one I use and I think it's fabulous!
It's by Vickie at Mrs. Plant's Press and it is so thorough.  Literacy Centers, Math Centers and writing activities.  It's just exactly what my kiddos need at this point in the year.  You can find it in her TpT Store HERE.  She's actually using it in her classroom right now so  you can head over to her blog and see it in action! 
And here's the promised FREEBIE!  We are working on patterns right now so I created this for a math center.  Just print and laminate the different colored apple cards and let the kids make their own patterns.  There's also a recording sheet so they can color their pattern, too!
Click the image to download your freebie!
And, on a totally non-apple related note--
Have you heard about the HUGE giveaway going on over at Meet Miss Parker?? It ends tomorrow so hurry, hurry, hurry!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Helpful Hints on Hump Day!

Howdy Y'all!  I am excited to share a few things with you today! 

First, I wanted to let you all know about a weekly link up I am starting over at Fun in K/1 !  It is "Helpful Hints on Hump Day!

It just started today, my hope is that it will grow every week.  It will be filled with links to amazing blog posts sharing ideas and hints!  (Don't get me wrong, I love freebies!  But I also love to learn from other bloggers when they share their helpful hints!)  So check it out today and every Wednesday!

The Hump Day Helpful Hint I shared today on Fun in K/1 was about my saving grace with little ones and getting them online.  Come see what I do!

Now I want to share another brain flash I had today!  It all started today during my math lesson using manipulatives while doing a worksheet and giving instruction.  Sometimes I swear they are more trouble than they are worth!  I understand they have great value and love hands-on learning; but the distraction and time it takes is overwhelming sometimes!  I work really hard to set procedures with the kids, but some take a little longer to learn them!

Then, this afternoon, I was in the Dollar Tree and BAM!  I had so many ideas and found so many things and cheap!!!  (more to come in later posts...)  On the craft aisle I found pony beads and pipe cleaners. 

I put 10 beads on each pipe cleaner and made a manipulative bracelet! I now have 20 sets of manipulatives I can quickly distribute and the students can use effectively.  All for $2.00!

We can use them to help with addition and and subtraction.  We can also use them to help us count phonemes!  

Fun in K/1

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Word Up! Work Activities for Short Vowels

Happy Fall Everyone! Are the weeks whizzing by for you at school, too? It's crazy to think we've been in school for a month! 
One of the skills I try to hit hard in the beginning of the year is phonics! I truly believe that if kids have a strong phonics foundation, they will be an incredibly successful reader! 

I recently created Word Up! 20 Wonderful Word Work Mats for Short Vowel. 
This pack is filled with a variety of short vowel work mats that you can use for spelling practice, phonics enrichment or during Daily 5 Word Work!  
 Here are the word families that are included:
If you've previously purchased my Year of First Grade Spelling & Journal Homework, this pack is the perfect companion! Many of the word families from that pack have been included in Word Up! 

For each word family, I've included a color workmat, a more printer-friendly black & white version, and a recording sheet. 

To use, kids simply cut out the letters, add the onset to the rime, then read the word.  They must decide if it's a "real" or "nonsense" word and write it in the correct spot on their recording sheet.  

I've added Word Up! to our weekly phonics routine, so now the kids know exactly what to do!
The kids enjoyed stretching out some of those silly words! 

Once I introduce Word Work in Daily 5, I plan to use the colored version.  I am going to laminate a few copies of the word family mat we're focusing on and leave it out for the week.  

Check it out on TpT {here}
Check it out on TN {here}

How do you practice phonics in your classroom? 

Make sure to head over to my blog to enter for a chance to win this fabulous pencil sharpener! 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cut, Do and Glue (Freebie)

Hello there!  Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  How is your school year going so far?  I really do have a dream class in the behavior department.  I love these kind of years.  One thing I have noticed is that I have quite a few students who still have a hard time cutting things out.  I've been trying to incorporate fine motor skills into my word work:

With this activity, the students have to build their popcorn words with letter beads.  I have also been having them cut something out everyday and really having them focus on staying on the lines.  In math, I have been putting some Cut, Do and Glue activities in their math tubs.  These are a great way to practice math and cutting.  Here are the ones I have so far:

In honor of football season, I have made an addition freebie for you to try out:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Using Unifix Cubes

Unifix cubes are so much fun.
I love to use them in the classroom because they are both multi-purposeful and super simple to pull out.
Today, I want to show you just a few of my favorite ways to use them!

You can use them as building blocks, to make name patterns, to make units of ten and ones, measurement, fractions, graphing, addition/subtraction operations, and so much more.

Part-Part-Whole Mat+Unifix Cubes:

You can grab these fun plates at the grocery store!
Look how Lacey uses them!

Addition Problems with Unifix Cubes:

You can also illustrate subtraction problems, multiplication+division problems, and story problems!

Place Value with Unifix Cubes:

I created the place value mat by laminating two pieces of construction paper together.
Easy easy!

Patterning with Numbers on Unifix Cubes:

With the Common Core and the TEKS, there is more of a focus on patterns in number. 
You can still use your good ol' unifix cubes, though!
Use dry erase marker to write on the cubes--wipes right off.

Measurement Race with Unifix Cubes:

With a pile of unifix cubes in between them, two students race to see who can connect the most unifix cubes. They are timed (30 seconds-ish) and can only pick up one cube at a time. 
If you want to make it less of a competition, have the students try to beat their previous number!
Kiddos love this!

How do you use unifix cubes in your classroom? 
I'd love to know!


I also want to take some time to honor the men and women serving our country. 

We are so blessed by their sacrifice and willingness to serve!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Retelling Stories

Hi everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers.

Retelling stories is a BIGGIE in the world of Common Core so I feel like I need to start teaching it soon- very soon. 

Don't you just love when your little friends try to retell a story and they just don't quite get it?  You know what I mean- they start in the middle of the story or their retelling is all of one sentence?  Over the years, I have had many students who struggle with how to retell a story.  I have found that just having a visual for them to look at has been a big help.  I have a FREEBIE bookmark for you today that is a great visual for when you are teaching how to retell.

I just print these on tagboard, laminate, and cut.

I am going to be starting to teach my Firsties how to retell this week.  I plan on introducing it slowly- one part at a time so hopefully it will become engrained into their heads:)

If you are working with older students, here is a great information page that they would be able to use to help them out.

If you are interested in other retelling activities, I do have a Retelling Unit you may be interested in checking out:)

Have a fabulous month and I will see you on October 15th!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Document, Document, Document!: RtI and Google Forms!

Happy Friday! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop here. We've just finished our third week of school and things are busy, as expected! I've spent the past 14 days of school trying to get to know my students, help them get to know one another, and determine what they do well and what they need to work on so I can help them grow the best I can.

Our school uses RtI to help provide intervention for our students, and I always feel like I'm not 100% sure of how to best document my students' needs, particularly for those students who need behavior plans. I know I'm definitely still learning when it comes to how to best meet my students' needs and to document interventions to get them appropriate support.  I was talking about concerns I have about one of my students with an AMAZING teacher I work with, and she suggested using a Google form to help track this student's behavior. She described what she did, I set it up... And already, it's been amazing!

I hadn't made a Google form for ANYTHING before, and I was still able to get the form I needed up and running in about 15 minutes. I obviously am not sharing the form with others to keep the child's information confidential, but I can easily access the form as needed to record my anecdotal notes.

I tried to think of the big things I'd need to document for each behavior I wanted to record... Date, subject during which the behavior occurred, the setting (whole group, small group, independent work, or non-instructional, such as a bathroom break or other transition), what he did, my response, and his response to my redirection. He's also been struggling to answer a question appropriately, so I thought I should record this.

By setting up the subject, setting, behavior, and responses as checklists, I can quickly make a few clicks to record my most common notes. (I'm not showing you the whole form because I included the child's name on parts of the page, but hopefully you'll get the idea!)

There's also an option on the Google form to add a text box response, so I can quickly type a few notes. Obviously, I can't do this in the middle of a mini-lesson, but I've kept a pad of Post-Its to make a quick note until I can get to the computer and record the incident.

The amazing thing about this form is the ability to track percentages... And data for RtI is a biggie! By viewing the responses in graph form, I can see when behaviors tend to occur, and patterns in the data quickly and easily.

This is still very much in the early stages, and I'm already finding ways I can edit the form, such as adding in a space to record positive behaviors. But I'm excited to try this out not only with behavior documentation, but academic interventions and assessments as well.

I hope this might be helpful for you and your students! Enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Behavior Management FREEBIES and a giveaway!

Hi there! I'm so glad it's my turn to be posting on Teaching Blog Round Up! I love this collaborative blog and am so thrilled to be a part of this group of fabulous bloggers!  As some of you may know, I work at a PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) school. We are in our 4th year of implementing PBIS, and I love everything about it. The basic idea is that you change your language and attention to a positive focus. Instead of saying, "Don't run in the hall!" you say, "It's safe to walk in the hall." Basic, yet so effective.  My favorite part of working at a PBIS school though, has got to be Think Time.  Have you heard of it? I'll give you a little run-down in case you don't already know.

You know that student that is blurting out? Or doing some other "minor" thing that is disrespectful, unkind, irresponsible, or unsafe? Think Time is the perfect solution.

First, you'll need to teach your class about Think Time. We show a Powerpoint presentation that details exactly what happens step by step.  I would share the presentation, but our school contracted Dr. Gregory Benner and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to. But, feel free to follow these steps to institute Think Time in your classroom!

Step 1: give a nonverbal warning. Use "the eye of death" or "the hand on shoulder" or just plain proximity.  If behavior still persists...

Step 2: Say "Check your behavior" once. Only say this once. If behavior still persists...

Step 3: Give the student a Think Time pass.  This is the student's cue to get up, leave the room, head to your "partner Think Time teacher's room" (another teacher who has agreed to host your students when they need a Think Time) and stand in their doorway (key concept to teach little ones: open the door if it is closed). Click the image to snag this FREEBIE!
Step 4: Student waits for the Think Time teacher to acknowledge and nod their head that they can enter the classroom.  The student heads straight for the Think Time desk (an empty desk/table with nothing in or on it) and looks "bored" to show they are ready for Think Time. If the student doesn't look "bored," they aren't ready (ie if they're slamming their hands down or throwing a fit, they aren't ready to think about their behavior).
Step 5: When the teacher has a free moment (they do not stop their teaching, but rather, wait for a natural pause in instruction), they go to the student and give them a pencil and a Think Time Debriefing form (these are kept close by so the teacher has easy access to them) and WALKS AWAY. Click the image below to snag your Think Time Debriefing form and Think Time passes FREEBIES!
Step 6: The student fills out the form and waits for the teacher to return. When the teacher returns, he/she asks the questions that are right on the form. "What was your behavior?" "What do you need to do?" "Can you do it?" If the student is able to answer all of the questions, they are dismissed and ready to return to the class.  If they don't know what they did wrong, they aren't ready and need to stay and think some more.
Step 7: The student returns to the doorway of their own classroom and waits for the teacher to acknowledge them with a nod to come in.  The student turns the Think Time worksheet in to the teacher (I have my students put them in my turn-in box) and returns to their task (if they miss something due to Think Time, they must make it up during their recess).

We do not call home to parents when students get a regular Think Time. Parents are informed that our school uses Think Time and what it is, so most of them understand that blurting out is not something we will call home for.  However, if a student gets 4 Think Times in a 7 day period, we call home and students are given lunch detention.  Students are made aware that parents will not be called unless they get an Admin Think Time...

*If a student is unable to complete these steps (let's say they throw a tantrum or slam the door on their way out), they get an "Admin Think Time."  You call the office (or counselor, or principal) and that person comes to retrieve the student (ours have the student fill out an "Admin Think Time Form") until they are ready to complete the original Think Time.  

The brilliant piece of this simple concept, is that if your whole school uses it, you are all using the same language and have the same expectations.  For me, blurting out was the most annoying behavior to deal with.  It wasn't enough to consider it a major behavior, so I never felt like anything I did worked.  I basically felt the same way about every minor behavior problem.  Now, if I encounter a minor problem, the student leaves the room and we both get a break from one another.  It's a win-win!

*If you haven't already entered, I'm having a giveaway sponsored by 4 amazing Etsy sellers! You only have 1 more day to enter, so don't miss out! Stop by my blog by clicking below to enter!
I'll see you all next month!