Saturday, November 22, 2014

Long Ago and Today

Howdy friends, Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  I hope you are having a fabulous weekend so far.  I am officially on Thanksgiving break for the whole week, so I am a happy girl.

Today I thought I would share a freebie for the concept of long ago and today that I posted on my own blog.

This week in my class we are wrapping up our unit on bats and talking about Thanksgiving.  We talked about life in the 1950's last week compared to now.  This week we are looking at life back in the early settler years.  We have been enjoying some of the activities from the Scholastic First Thanksgiving.

We have also been enjoying these books:


In class, we have talked a lot about life then and now.  I think that all of my kids agree that life is much better now in compared to life back then.  We compared and contrasted long ago and now.  I made a cute venn diagram, but didn't take a picture, sorry!  

We sorted items from long ago and today.

Next, we did some work in our interactive notebook.  We continued our sort in our notebooks.  I took down what we did as a class and used this as an assessment to see if they were understanding what we were learning.  

You can grab your long ago and today interactive notebook sort freebie below:

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Turkey Time Scoot

Hi Teaching Friends!  Quick post from me today with a little Turkey FREEBIE!  Have you played SCOOT in your classroom?  If you haven't, I highly recommend it!  This freebie has directions on how to play.  This particular Scoot Game has the students drawing the hands on the clock for time to the hour AND/OR half hour!  You can set it up for just time the hour, time to the half hour, or mixed.  It's a great way to get your kids up and moving while they are still learning!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Making Every Minute Count

Hi everyone! It's Angie here from The First Grade Scoop. I just wanted to drop by to share a couple things that have been working in my classroom to make the most of every minute! We all know teaching is a super busy job. We're constantly running in a million directions, and the little time we have with our students really needs to count.

Something I've found that helps my students get a more well-rounded exposure to math has been calendar math. We recently switched to EngageNY for math (after using Everyday Math for FOREVER), and while I love certain parts, I really miss the exposure to money, time, and other key skills that EDM taught. I know, I know, it's not CCSS for first grade, but six and seven year olds CAN work with money and time. In years past, I had a couple bulky Lakeshore pocket charts for calendar, which were nice and sturdy but took up a TON of space. So, I was inspired by this chart from The Inspired Apple:

Sooo... I created my own. It's not as pretty, but it definitely gets the job done.

What about making the most of our planning minutes? I have two little ones at home and I refuse to work on work until they're in bed... Which means it's sleep or work. So, I wanted to save time planning.

Also, we don't have a specific planning program that we HAVE to use, but I started using this year and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It's supereasy to add lessons, save lesson formatting... and the big kicker? When something happens that changes your lesson (fire drill? Unplanned assembly?), it's easy to extend or bump your lesson to the next day. Seriously... Big time saver!

I hope this helps you make the most of your time! See you next month!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reading Comprehension

Head on over to my blog and see how I'm trying to encourage reading comprehension development at home.

Click here to read how I'm using this.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Friendship's First Thanksgiving

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I love just about any book that teaches good solid content but at the same time makes an extra effort to include something that will draw in our little listeners and keep their attention.

Case in point: Friendship's First Thanksgiving, a book which teaches basic factual info about the Pilgrims' first year in America, with the twist being that the story is told by Friendship, a dog who traveled on the Mayflower.

This is a charming book for PreK- K, but I must admit that my first graders loved it, too ... especially those little sweeties who denied that they had ever heard of Pilgrims or the Mayflower. Kindergarten teachers, you who worked your fingers to the bone cutting out construction paper Pilgrim bonnets, and Native American vests, and who produced some truly amazing Thanksgiving feasts, including roasting 25 pound birds at home and hauling them in to school, I know that what those children said was not true, but every year, there were some who said it. What can I say? I shudder to think what those same children told their second grade teachers about the gaps in their first grade education. {sigh}

Two points to clarify before I go on:

1.  Was there really a dog aboard the Mayflower? Apparently, yes, likely even more than one. A piece written in 1622 relates that a mastiff and a spaniel were present for early exploration during the first winter in New England.

2.  Regarding the Indian vs. Native American issue: The author of this book uses the term "Indian".  In my materials that you can download below, I use both terms. My take is that it's the author's choice to handle it the way he wants (the book was published in 1992, by the way).  I think as teachers of young children, we can explain to our students that sometimes they may read or hear of the word Indians being used instead of Native Americans. It even makes sense to use a globe to explain the geographic reason for this misnaming.  However, according to,  "the majority of American Indians/Native Americans believe it is acceptable to use either term, or both." Bottom line: I don't mean to ruffle any feathers with this, and apologize in advance if I inadvertently have done so.

So, on to the book, and some ideas for using it with your class.

In addition to being a great review of facts about Thanksgiving, this story is a wonderful way to introduce point of view, for both reading and writing. After reading the book once, read it again and have your students listen for specific examples that show that these are the thoughts/words of a dog. Raising their hands when they identify these parts is one way to go, but the added fun of a special signal tends to keep little ones listening more carefully. "Puppy paws begging"? Panting tongues? You know your own class and how far you can push the envelope without sending them over the added-too-much-fun edge. :)  For point of view in writing, have your students write a few sentences from the point of view of an adult or child Pilgrim or Native American. Then let volunteers read theirs to the class. If the class can tell who is speaking, the author's job has ben done well! This writing project would be a great fit for working with an older Buddy Class.

Art discussion: Accorsi, who has created his own illustrations for his text, identifies himself as a "realist" who uses artistic license to create stylized characters. Have your students point out examples of this in the book, and then find other examples of artistic license in books in your classroom.

At the end of the book, the author provides some interesting footnotes to the story. Do not miss turning to the very, very last page of the book (like I did the first few times I read it!). You and your students will be charmed when you read "the rest of the story" about Friendship!

Here's a little packet of reading, writing, and math extensions that I hope you'll enjoy using after you read Friendship's First Thanksgiving. Just click on the image to download it from Google Drive. By the way, the adorable pup in this packet is from Kari Bolt and the sweet turkey is from LitaLita, both talented artists at TpT.


I hope you'll also stop by my Primary Inspiration blog this week, where I'll be talking about some of my other favorite books for Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful November, and a Thanksgiving Day filled with the blessings of loving family, good health, and gratitude!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Easy, FUN, & Perfect for Common Core Number Order

Check Out This Blog Post:

Here is a complete description of how to use these number cards along with an additional FREEBIE of a smaller set of cards for ordering on the carpet or a table top.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE POST.

Click the image to see the blog post.  :)

FUN Attendance For ANY Grade:

Here is a fun way to take attendance each morning and get in a little Common Core Math practice.

I attached my number line to the front of this counter.
Students love to place their number on the number line.
How easy is this?

Common Core:

For kindergarten:  Common Core Math:  K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 and K.CC.A.2 Count forward beginning from a given number.

I print out these FREE number cards which have each number from 0-100 framed and underlined so the students know which way is up and which way is down.  

You are going to love the straight 4s and 9s.  :)

Cut out the cards and fold them just above the numerals.

You can print out enough for each child in your class to have one card or you can print out the entire set.  Get yourself a clothesline or a rope and string it along one side of your classroom.  I placed mine in front of a counter.  

I just attached these with those little screws that have circles on the ends.  
I know there's a name for them.  Maybe you can tell me!  :)

Scatter the folded number cards on a table and assign each child a number.  As students enter your class, have them pick up their number card and place it on the clothesline.  Encourage discussion as they problem solve and figure out where their number belongs on the number line.

I placed the zero on the clothes line.
Students 1, 5, and 9 placed their cards on the line.
The other students will have to figure out where their cards go.
Missing cards (the ones still on the table) tell me who is absent!

Here is the 0-100 FREEBIE:

 Click the image below to grab your 26 pg. FREEBIE:

Click the image for the FREEBIE.

This blog post on Rekenreks:  
CLICK HERE to see how to make this giant Rekenrek for your classroom!

Check out my:

My KFUNdamentals blog:

(Tons of FREE ideas.)

(Oh, the ideas on these boards!)

TeAcHeRs PaY TeAcHeRs:
(Did you say, "16 freebies?!")

See you all next month!
Palma :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Using Punctuation in Fluency

Hello, all!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars with a quick and easy way to help your students with fluency.

I have been working with my third graders to help them read with fluency.  They love to ramble through words or read soooo s-l-o-w-l-y that anyone that would fall asleep.  Each week we work on a new passage and different strategy to help with their fluency.  A couple of weeks ago, we worked on using punctuation to help build our fluency.

After reading the passage several times, we talked about how to read it, so it would be understood more clearly.  I read it with NO punctuation, and they laughed at me.  I made lots of mistakes and sounded awful.  I then read it as it was supposed to be read, and they "got it".

We talked about the punctuation in the passage, and they highlighted all of the punctuation.  Then when they read it, they read it with better fluency, pausing as needed to make it sound right.

Using punctuation is an important factor in fluency.  Students need it to help with prosody and inflection.  It helps to make sense of what they are reading and leads to better comprehension.

What are some ways you help your students with prosody in reading?