Saturday, March 29, 2014

Allow Myself to Introduce Myself!

Hey There Rounder Uppers!
I am so excited to be writing a post for Teaching Blog Round-Up!
This is such a great online space with wonderful, helpful 
and informative ideas for us teachers.

My name is Deirdre and I blog at A Burst of First.

I have been a first grade teacher for 7 years now.
Wow- that time flew!
I have been blogging for just about a year and I love it!
Being a blogger has changed me so much as a teacher.
This is the best professional development I have ever experienced.

I am a mom to three little ones of my own.
I leave 22 first graders to come home to my own private pre school (just kidding).
That's A LOT of behavior to manage in one day.
I need to take a lot of deep breaths!

This year I've had a lot of success with the ever popular clip chart.
In case you aren't familiar with it students all start on
"Ready to Learn" each day.
They then can move up and down the clip chart depending on their behavior.
Help a friend...Clip up!
Talk and talk and talk during quiet work time...Clip down.
Clean up quick and quiet...Clip up!
Continually blurt out...Clip down.
In my room if they land at the top of the Clip Chart 
at the end of the day they get to choose a sticker.
Once they earn five stickers they get a sequin.
Then when the clip is covered with sequins
they "retire" the clip to our "Hall of Fame".

This whole system has worked really well for my class this year!
They have been collecting stickers on index cards.
The index cards are pretty terrible looking.
This pic just won't flip. Sorry!

No more ugliness in my classroom.
It's the "Superstar Sticker Book"! to the rescue!

Simply staple together the number of
pages you need for your sticker book!
Of course these can be used for 
many other reasons besides a clip chart.
You can use them for a single student,
for an academic goal or even in your home!
I could use one for each of my own children (wink).
Click here or on the cover to get this in my shop.
Your kind feedback is much appreciated. 

Now that we've met I'd love for you to follow me
I promise I'll post lots of good stuff!

My TPT shop in 20% off all weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Table Top Easels

Happy Spring!  It is Teresa P from Fun in K/1 and my newest blog Technology with Class.  Today I am going to share with you how I made cheap and easy table top easels.  I have one of these easels at each of my center areas.  Our reading curriculum (we use Wonders) comes with center cards.  I use these sometimes, I also have my own center task cards I use.  I usually change my center tasks daily, and these make changing them out super easy.  Every Monday I usually have the students write their spelling words in pen, marker and crayon.  I have the card already and just flip to it.

So here is how I made the easels.  (I am sharing with you and letting you ;earn from my mistakes!)  I had a great idea to make them with a binder and duck tape.  So I set to work making them and taking pictures of all the steps to share with you.

First I took a cheap binder with the 3-rings mounted to the back cover, so it opens and folds back flat.  I folded it back bent the cover to be even with the other cover.  I also taped the top part together.  Then I made a sheet with duck tape making a base for the easel.  It didn't take long and turned out pretty well.

OK, when I was in bed trying to sleep my mind kept working as usual and I  came up with a way easier way to accomplish this same goal!  

I took the "economic" super cheap binder with the 3-rings mounted to the binder.  I then clipped a binder clip in the middle of the front and back cover.  I used ribbon to tie the binder clips together to the binder would stand by itself.  When you aren't using it you can unclip one of the clips and close it for easy storage.  I think this option is much easier!  This is actually how I did the other 5 binders for my room.

Here are a few writing center cards for you to use on these easels.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Do You Like to Camp?

Greetings to you...from Camp Comprehension! 

I'm here to share one of my latest goodies that has helped my kiddos become more familiar with non fiction text. Welcome to Camp Comprehension
I'm sure you've heard that new/old buzz phrase in teaching - Close Reading! Just in case you haven't, Close Reading is an engaging way to help students work on building their comprehension. The Common Core Standards ask students to dig deeper into informational texts by answering questions and citing evidence. 

So...what does this mean in the classroom? Kids now need to "show what they know!" As we know, most kids are SUPER into animals. I thought if I created high interest topics, the kids wouldn't mind reading and answering questions about the text.  

I used 20 different animals to create 40 reading passages.  Having two passages for the same animal allows you to differentiate for your classroom of readers! 
I should point out that Close Reading is a challenging skill for young students to master. I use these non-fiction passages WITH my students during small group reading time.

This is the easier of the two passages.  
 This is the harder of the two passages on ants. 
All of the passages are set up in a very similar way, so my hope is that the kids will soon become familiar with the questions and skills, allowing them to complete the activities independently down the road. 

If you have some smarty-pants 1st graders or independent second graders, they could probably rock these passages on their own! 

Wanna try out Camp Comprehension? Click the picture below to snag this freebie!
 Don't worry - answers are included, too :) 
If you can use it in your classroom, I hope you'll leave some TpT love! 

Stay tuned for more Camp Comprehension “Sessions!” 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Is...Freebie

Happy Spring!  Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  Has spring sprung where you live?  We never really had a winter here in northern California, so we have been enjoying spring for a while.  Our water levels are not happy, but I secretly love spring.  I am actually on spring break right now and was not organized enough to get something new poster, but I do have a fun spring poem activity from last year.  Read below to learn about my Spring Is...freebie

This was a post that originated on my blog 3/18/13:

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?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Basketball Madness with a Freebie!!

Hey everyone. I'm Nicki from Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten! It's so awesome to be a blogger over here at Teaching Blog Round Up!

In our classroom, we have a Mimio (anyone else out there have one?) and have a lot of fun practicing sight words, alphabet activities, and using it for tons of games to reinforce skills that we've already learned.

This time of year it's all about basketball! Especially in my house! Anything..ACC tournament, NCAA brackets, you name 

So of course with it being basketball season and all, I created this Mimio Activity to go along with my Basketball Madness Real Word/Nonsense Word sort.

The kiddos have to pull the basketball out from behind the player and sort them by real words or nonsense words. They want to play this game all the time. And it helps it provides more practice with those pesky nonsense words!!

I don't have the game up for you for the Mimio or the SmartBoard but you can grab it here for free! Click on the pic! 

Because we play it so much on the Mimio, this hard copy is fun in small groups or individual work stations! 

What are some ways that you practice nonsense word sorts?

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Since this is my first time posting over here at TBR I thought I would introduce myself first.  I am Amanda Pauley and I blog over at Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten.  I have been teaching for 7 years with 4 of those years in kindergarten.  I have also taught third grade and first grade.  My heart definitely belongs with the little ones.

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would show you the fun craft that my class made this year to celebrate this fun holiday.

We read a few of my favorite leprechaun stories.

Then we made our very own leprechauns.  But these weren’t just any old leprechauns….they were leprechauns with our own faces! 
(Sorry that you are unable to see their adorable faces!)

Here is an example with my daughter's face so you can see the full on adorableness of these.

Oh my goodness they turned out better than I expected.  My students loved making them and I know their parents are going to treasure these cute little crafts when they come home at the end of the week.

We also did a little writing about what we would do if we found a pot of gold.  Some of their ideas were hilarious.  Take a look:

We also made leprechaun traps in hopes that tonight we will try to catch a leprechaun in our classroom. 

(Leprechaun trap:  styrofoam cup decorated with markers, popsicle stick taped to table to hold cup up, piece of "gold" underneath)

In the morning, their traps will be shrunk and they will find a piece of edible "gold" instead!

All activities came from my Leprechaun Yourself Craft & WritingActivities.

I hope you had fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with your class.  What did you do to celebrate?  Leave us a comment to let us know!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Hi, my name is Erin and I love Pinterest.

Anybody with me?! 


Because I am a visual learner, Pinterest is AWESOME. It is easy to organize and (much too) easy to search for ideas, activities, or resources. The ability to share and collaborate online through blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. has changed and challenged my teaching!

Anyways, the school year is wrapping up here in SE Asia (crazy!) so I have been turning to Pinterest for some ideas and a little bit of inspiration. 

I thought I would pop in today and just share some of my latest pins! 
In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things I have pinned lately:

PS the source is linked below each picture!

Making connections with the classic paper chain:

Math journal ideas that cause little learners to think:

Encouragement in the classroom creates real community:

A new use for my Uno cards--Place Value War:

"Tabletop Twitter":

A much cuter way to use the good old plastic table cloth:

Each idea is something that I may not have thought about on my own, but because of Pinterest and the willingness of other people to share their ideas, I have grown as an educator! 

(Hello, professional development?!)

So, what about you? Do you use Pinterest? 
If so, how has it changed the way you teach?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day (3 FREEBIES)!

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

I've always loved St. Patrick's Day!  I'm not really sure why?  It started in college… unfortunately I was always the one working behind the bar while everyone else was having fun.  The restaurant that I worked at opened for kegs and eggs at 5:30am.  I didn't usually work the morning shift (thank goodness) but we needed all the man power we could get on that day.  So it was long hours and a little bit of craziness!  Even when I started teaching, I would use personal days and go back and work at the bar for one day a year.  Heck, I was making better money there than I was teaching!  
Anyway, like I said, I'm not really sure why I have always like St. Patrick's Day.  Maybe it's because you can dress up however you want and look like a fool and nobody cares!  

I have a few freebies for you today that I wanted to share!

First up- here's a Search the Room or Scoot game for telling time to the hour and half hour!

Next up, greater than, less than, equal to game!

And, some fun sound/letter boxes!

Enjoy!  Now- go enjoy a green beverage:)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lifting the Level of Writing

Hi everyone! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop. I think spring may finally be here in Chicago... And the kids and I are ready!

As my students get ready to transition to second grade, I want their writing to be the best it can be. We use Lucy Calkins' Units of Study, and the grade-level specific ones new this year are amazing. 

To help boost my students' writing levels, I've started using ladders, or learning progressions, with my students. 

We studied two pieces of writing from the CD that comes with the units. They have great student samples by genre and grade level. I selected a kindergarten and a second grade piece to compare (since the differences were more clear). We looked at the kindergarten piece after a few basic lessons, and discussed what the wetter did well. Then, we studied the second grade piece, and students discussed the improvements. We've been doing this across genres and it seems to be helping!

Some more charts from our opinion writing unit (all from Lucy):

If you are looking to learn more, check out this video from Teachers College:



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Iditarod...Alaskan teacher style!

As you probably already know (or maybe you don't, that's cool too!), I live in Alaska. Which means I am super fortunate in the fact that we have some pretty sweet scenery right in our backyard.  For instance, last year I took my class on a whale watching cruise (thanks to one seriously awesome family of a couple of siblings I've had in my class in the past) and we saw a ton of orca, humpback and some loud seals. FUN!
The Iditarod started on March 1st this year, so buckle yourself in and get ready for a sled ride because this post is a biggie!  Being the Alaskan that I am, the Iditarod holds a special place in my heart. When I did my student teaching (4th grade), my required integrated unit was on the Iditarod. I lived, breathed and dreamed Iditarod for 6 whole weeks. Craziness.

Fast forward 6 years later and I'm still slightly obsessed. If you live here in Alaska (907 holla!), chances are you know all about the Iditarod and it's hardcore-ness (or maybe you don't and could care less?), and if you're a "lower 49er" you might also know a lot about the Iditarod and be a fan of the fun! This dogsled race is called The Last Great Race for a reason!  It also happens to make for some highly engaging content and literacy/math/science/social studies for teachers worldwide. Enter: my Iditarod unit. 

I used my MEGA Alaska clipart to create this laminated anchor chart and as we learn, fill it up with important info we could refer back to throughout the unit. 
I also made this checkpoint map with both the Northern (even years) and Southern routes (odd years) so students could have easy access to the names of each checkpoint of the race.
 And of course, we have to have a word wall anchor chart!
Here the majority of my Iditarod books...I buy any I can find!
 We're waiting for the snow to melt a little so we can collect rocks to make our Iditarocks!  This is my sample from 2008 when I taught about the Iditarod during my student teaching...had to reglue some of those eyeballs on fo sho!
 Aren't these fingerprint doggies adorable?! Another page from my unit:
I printed out my entire unit and store the masters in page protectors in this binder for easier copying.

After searching 3 different stores for a paper tray that wouldn't be a lot of storage (I have lots of rubbermaid totes in various sizes already) and that I could put at each table group, I realized I already had what I needed. For the centers we used this day, I put one page in the front sleeve (so they knew what center it would be at that table group) and then put the rest inside in the time I'll just run them in the copier with the hole punch option so they stay put better (pockets don't work so well when they're turned upside down!).  Anyway, you might be able to try this out sometime...let me know how it works for you if you do!
 Each table group got a binder and students rotated through the centers when they finished each one.
 Digraph sorting and unscrambling sentences:
Story writing and labeling:
Adopt-a-Dog Journal writing has been a huge hit! They looove it! Each student has a Webkinz plush husky (I use the same ones each year) and they can choose to write to their dog, or write as their dog...either way is fine with me!
 This pack is included in my Iditarod Unit, but you can also purchase it separately in case you don't have time for more than a little bit of Iditarod!
 We made our Iditarod Husky Craftivity dogs (available separate, but also included in my Iditarod Unit)! They'll be in the hallway soon with the musher biographies *hopefully* soon!
The Red Lantern Award is given to the last musher to cross the finish line in Nome, so of course, I had to have one to stress the importance of hard work and determination! I bought this one on eBay a few years ago. I also brought in a pair of fleece dog booties to show the class what the dogs in the Iditarod wear to protect their feet from the ice! They loooved these 2 artifacts!
 We began our week by learning about the mushers that are in this year's race (I printed off biographies from the official Iditarod website). Students were responsible for writing about their musher and personalizing a mini musher to keep track of each day on the checkpoint bulletin board.
 Then, we colored these Musher Trading Cards, added neat facts we found (think Pokemon power info, but mushers!) to the back of each card, and let the exchanges begin!
This is a new page added to the Iditarod Unit, so if you already bought this unit, go download your updated version for free (go to My Purchases in TpT)!!! I stuck mine in a page protector and update it in the morning when we move our mushers.  Sadly, 2 of the mushers that were assigned scratched (dropped out), so they live in the "Scratched Zone" now!
Money games!
Multiplication and division is much more engaging when puppy food is involved!
 Brushing up on our expanded form skills again:
 Doubles and doubles +1 practice:
 We used these number bonds to practice our splitting of tens and ones:
 Reading Iditarod books and working on Adopt-a-Dog journals (available separate, but also included in my Iditarod Unit):
 Ohhh the importance of 10's Friends!!!! We can't practice this enough!
Solving for an unknown and fractions!
And YOU HAVE GOT TO CHECK THIS OUT! A super sweet volunteer made this whole thing for us to hang up! You can't tell from the photo, but each of those flags are cut out construction paper, not printed from the internet! And the letters are all bordered with black and layered on top of looks A-MAZING in real life. Trust me. I was speechless when I opened up the delivery! I promptly cut it out and laminated it so I could hug it all night hang it up in the hallway with our other Iditarod stuff.
 Terrible lighting in the hallway, as you can see from the difference in the photo below.
I printed my bookmarks, laminated them and used pawprint ribbon from JoAnn's to make them extra special and fun.
Each of these activities comes from my Iditarod: An Integrated Unit. Click below to check it out!
We still have a couple of weeks of Iditarod fun left...I'm crossing my fingers for Aliy Zirkle to win this year...she has been so close this whole race! Do you have a musher pick? Tell me! Who would you like to see win?!