Thursday, March 31, 2011

Inference Makes Sense

The writing conference sheets are coming (that silly formatting thing is still getting to me-I think it's because anything I make on my school computer can not be converted into a pdf. Which makes it extremely difficult to upload to google docs to share with all of you.)

So instead of fun forms, I'll share an inferencing center I just made.

Click here & enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Report cards, new laptop, & under the knife..oh my!

Hey ladies (and possibly gents) sorry for the brief hiatus. I've been busy busy busy making a ton of new things for my classroom using my Lettering Delight fonts :)

I also had to invest in a new laptop. Awhile back ours went crazy & then all my pictures were saved & it was working ok & then the worst thing happened. It started denying me access to some of my favorite blogs!!!!!! No, I did not just make a typo. Something had to be done about this so away we went to the big city to upgrade!..yay for a new to kissing my income tax goodbye for it!
We got it at the perfect time.....perfect time to do report cards. Blah yea that's where I'll be for the next 4 days straight so that I can enjoy what little break I have.
 Why such a short break you ask? It's really horrible, terrible, heart-wrenching news....

Wait for it...

I'm having knee surgery.

Can you tell how excited I am for this? Not only is it cold and winter like outside but now I'll be trapped on the couch for the entire break. I can't complain though since I have been dealing with the pain for almost 2 years and I'd say that it's about high time it gets taken care of. I'm hoping the surgery makes me a brand new lady. (I used to be a runner...can't run with a bum knee though) I say this now but I'm sure when M is only being a great husband who is trying to help me rehab quickly, I will not be so excited to run again.

(Note to readers*I don't like pain. Or therapy)

So anywho..that's what I have been up to lately and what I will be up to next week. I'm hoping to post some reading and writing conference sheets tomorrow. I struggled for a long time trying to find forms that work best for me...finally I just made my own.

Until then....Happy Monday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Word Detectives

Another quick post today.
 My husband and I got some "God-timing" (also known as tough-timing for us) news and the night is going to be spent mapping out the next step in our lives. We know God has a plan for us and it's just a matter of trusting in Him to show us the way.
Sorry for sometimes sharing other parts of my life besides just teaching ideas, I should probably just start a personal blog.
I nearly have time to manage 1, not sure if I could handle 2.
So for now I will just use this as my outlet---only for a minute then I'll always get right back to teacher things.

Next week we will continue working on base words and adding the inflectional endings ed & ing. (Is anyone else out there in Unit 5 Week 3 of your Basal? I'd love to chat with you and bounce center ideas around. Sometimes I have a tough time coming up with a center that will truly engage my firsties.)

Here's a center I made using the fabulous Lettering Delights graphics. Love them!
I will copy these sheets back to back & my reading push in teacher will do a quick review w/ the kiddos before letting them try on their own.

(this is the version I will use in my class, but since I can't share any Lettering Delight alphabet letters, I changed the one I loaded in google docs for you) *BIG HINT-head to Lettering Delights to buy some great fonts, alphabets, & graphics for only $1. Yes you read that's dollar days!

Click here to download this activity
(I haven't mastered the whole direct link from the pictures yet)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Synonyms Part 2

As promised, here are the worksheets that go along with the synonym centers.

Enjoy :)


How is the weekend almost over?

 Only 2 more weeks until spring break...yahhooooo!!!

Friday night the hubby and I rented some movies and vegged out on pizza rolls and ice cream :) Saturday I went to my sister's basketball tournament (her team took 3rd!!!) and then to dinner with all of my extended family in honor of my Grandma & Grandpa's wedding anniversary. By the time I made it home, the MR. was done with work and wanted to go do something...however the MRS. was asleep on the couch within 5 minutes! And today I'll be doing school work and enjoying the sunshine, while the hubby will be playing golf and enjoying the sunshine. (Speaking of today...I just got asked when I was going to put down the computer {aka blogs} and get ready for church. I"m goingggggg hunny)

So it will be a quick post...about synonyms. This week we will do a review. I created 2 games to be done during centers. They are similar to each other but will be done on different center rotation days. I apologize for the formatting too. In an earlier post, I mentioned I'm still figuring out how to format things so everything is pretty much in different files. SORRY!! Also...another apology. The worksheets to go along witht he centers are giving me some uploading trouble. I will figure out the issue and post later.

Synonym City:
Spread out the large word cards. Place the small word cards in a brown bag. Each student will pull out a small word and then have to place that word on the correct synonym. (Then write the match on the worksheet)

So Many Synonyms:
Each child takes a mat. Place the word cards face down on the floor (like memory). One child will pick a card. If they can place it on their board, they get to keep it. If not, they must put the card back on the floor. The first person to fill their board, wins! sorry for having to click on each file individually. I will figure this whole format issue out soon.
Have a great Sunday: )

p.s. I'll post the worksheets later

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lucky the Leprechaun

How great is today? I love a day that's all about my heritage! I rocked my green cardi & green skirt. Put a sticker on my cheek and had a ton o' fun at school.

Our friend Lucky the Leprechaun (aka me) came to visit today. It started on Tuesday when we wrote a friendly letter to Lucky asking if he would bring us gold and to please leave our room neat and clean. All week the kiddos have been so excited to see if Lucky would actually come. So of course he had to make a stop. I printed up these letters and left them on each desk this morning.
Of course I didn't actually put gold in their desks...yet. I knew it would be a huge distraction all day. I also started a letter on the board but made it look like Lucky had to stop writing abruptly. The morning work was to write in their journals why they thought the letter wasn't finished.

We went about our business as usual. Today was also our book buddy day where we meet up with the 5th grade class and read to each other. But instead of reading they made a cute hat craft (which I just realized I didn't take a picture of). We also chowed down on some green cupcakes, that were delicious!

I planned on having Lucky visit during lunch, however my principal was supposed to be coming in right after lunch to observe my math centers and that just would have been a huge disaster. My kiddos would have been off the wall. (side note: said principal did not come and asked to push the visit until next week)

Lucky finally made his appearance while the firsties were at gym watching the Irish Dancers that came and did an amazing job. I made sure my students saw me sitting there for awhile before I ducked out to go play Lucky. Although, that didn't stop them from badgering me about what I was doing while Lucky was ruining the class....and of course the few who just knew it had to have been me, they even went so far as to ask 2 other teachers if I was really sitting w/ them watching the dancers. Apparently I am teaching a classful of detectives:)

Needless to say, Lucky was a success.

This is looking in from the door. We had chairs tipped over, papers spilled, backpacks thrown around! (*the blue chair in the left corner is propped up on the easel where the Leprechaun had started writing his note in the morning and then finished it later...complete with green footprints on the chair)

That silly leprechaun even knocked all of the behavior cards over so Mrs. Edwards couldn't tell who had flipped their card today!

He walked on desks, tables, & the sink (yes I'm aware it looks like animal didn't matter. The firsties just thought maybe Lucky has a dog)

It was a ton o' fun. And now I'm exhausted from all the hoop-la. The hubby took me out for some dinner and now I'm busy using my fantastic dollar day deals from Lettering Delights to whip up some fun centers! Seriously you must head over there and purchase...they are a-mazing.

Happy St. Patty's Day blog friends

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My "Nest" & Jam-Packed Classroom

I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon and post pictures of my classroom. I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 3rd Grade and her Show Me Your Nest Linky Party to share my "nest" aka my desk area. (She is having a fabulous giveaway ... it's my favorite ... take a guess ... VERA BRADLEY!!!
 A-mazing :)
There she be. In all her sometimes organized glory. We just recently got laptops so I will admit to being happy about all the extra desktop space :)

This is pretty much command central. My colored bins were a fabulous purchase & always most of the time keep me organized.

I wish there was a way to make these 2 shelving units fit nicer in the corner behind my desk but they provide what I need so they'll have to do-akward and all.

That cute red and blue thing in front of my laptop is a fabulous rice pad that an adorable firsty made for me at Christmas. It is made out of Buffalo Bills pattern----> the best!

There's my "Nest". Did you hear me when I said I LOVE Vera Bradley?
Notice the bag, purse, & lunch pal resting nicely behind my nest :)

 Plus I'm linking up w/ Always First Grade to show off my classroom digs. I didn't get a chance to take any great pictures and now that I'm posting them I'm thinking of all the things I could have taken a picture of to share, but oh well. Such is the life of a teacher...never time for much.

This is a view from my door.

This a looking straight in from the door.

This is the computer station. I used to have 3 big honkin computers on a huge table that stuck out and always got in the way. When I got my laptop I had them put my old computer on a smaller table and voila I have a much more managable computer station.

OOOO Look what I got on Monday? Any guesses?? A rice table-rubbermaid tote thing. Now what am I to do with this? I don't have table space for it so it's currently living on the floor in front of my desk.

Our word wall. I admit it's looking pretty weak-we have been so busy I haven't had a chance to update it. I put magnet on the back of the words so the kiddos are able to take the word to their seat if they need to.

My guided reading table. You can't see it (& I forgot to snap a photo) but my chair was a $10 steal from's got a cute flower pattern and it's definitely an upgrade from the hard chair I used to have.

The library. It took me forever to find a comfortable spot for my library. I honestly think it's been in about 5 different places this year. I really like where it's at now. I use a colored book mark system for my students to get a book. They take a matching bookmark to the color box or shelf they get a book from. That way they know where to return it to.

Hop into a Hoppy Morning area. Down the wall (hard to see in this photo) are the steps they have to do in the morning.

Our sink area. My leveled readers are also back here so that I can wheel my pink flower chair over to them when I'm doing my guided reading.

The writing center

The remains of my huge calendar wall. I started out with a giant calendar wall full of math fun and word fun.I quickly discovered that I never used it. Why? Because I have the fantastic item shown in the next picture. I finally decided to take most of it down and use the wall space for other things.

The carpet area. This is where I do whole group reading. It also is the listening center (bottom left corner) Notice how stacked full my easel is. I usually just write on a blank page in a SMARTboard file so my easel has become a catch-all. (I'll be upgrading that chair the next time Staples has a $10 sale!)
And finally.. this is the table I use for writing conferences & a whole bunch of other things.
My push in reading teacher runs her center here as well.
And there you have it. Don't forget to link up with Always First Grade & Oh' Boy 3rd Grade and show of your classroom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letter Placement

I don't know about ya'll but I am so ready for some sunshine! Well guess what we had today?? SO much sunshine I had to close the blinds :) I love it!

Anywho...I wanted to share how I teach letter placement with my firsties. I use the giraffe, chicken, monkey method.

 A giraffe letter is one that goes all the way to the top of the line.

A chicken letter stays between the middle line and bottom line.

A monkey letter is one that starts at the middle line and swings down past the bottom line (like a tail).

I give each parent a copy of the guide at open house & explain how it works. I also have a big poster of the guide displayed in my classroom. Each Monday, I pick a new personal assistant to help run the class. (They get to run calendar, be the leader, sit in a special desk, pass out lunch cards & papers, help enforce good behavior, etc.)

I digress...this post is not about my personal is about how I use the letter guide to reveal who is the personal assistant. Everyone stands up. I pull a stick from the Lucky Duck Bucket. I then have the students cover their last name and first initial up with their hands. Using the remaining letters in their first name, I give them clues using the different letter "animals". They love trying to figure out who gets to be the assistant and instead of just telling them (which is boring) this spices it up a bit.

Here's a picture of the big poster in my classroom:

I also uploaded the guide I send home w/ parents and the clip-art to put on the big poster! If you have any kiddos who need to work on handwriting and learning their letters this is just one of few methods that might help!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Giveway?!?!

It seems like everyone is definitely feeling a little spring fever-ish :) And I'm not complaining. The fabulous ladies over at What The Teacher Wants are offering up a $100 gift card to The Container Store!!!! read that correctly----$100!!!!!! How amazing would that be? You have 3 chances to enter so hustle yourself over there and enter away!


And a big thanks to the ladies for giving us a chance to win such a great prize :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

A little Barnes & Noble Goodness

You must check out this fabulous blog ----> the teacher wifeHow cute are the things she does in her classroom? Well anyways, Lindsey is offering up a gift card to Barnes & Noble. Who doesn't love free books? All you have to do is head over to her blog. Become a follower & leave a comment. (For some bonus entries-blog about the giveaway and post her button on your blog) She is announcing the winner on St. Patty's Day!

May the luck of the Irish help ya out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bye Bye Dr. Seuss..Hello Leprechauns

So as promised here is the overview of our Dr. Seuss Read Across America week. Last week was also our Unit test week so it worked out perfectly and was a bit chaotic but fun.

Monday we kicked off the week with some Cat in the Hat. After reading the story, we rotated through 4 centers (completed on Wed.)
1. Matched rhyming words on hats to rhyming words on cats, then created their own rhyming hat.
2. Re-read Cat in the Hat and searched for different word families
3. Created a poem about a funny cat
4. Read The Cat in the Hat Returns and answered a reading response sheet.

We also picked our favorite Dr. Seuss characters and wrote why they were our favorite.

"Because he is mean" Hummm did I teach the wrong character traits at Christmas time??? Haha

Tuesday we celebrated Read Across America week with the whole school sitting in the hallway reading for 15 minutes. My firsties were so excited to be in the hall with all the other students, but they did an awesome job reading and were so behaved. After that, our first guest reader came in. Of course she read a Dr. Seuss book! Since this took up a big portion of our reading block, I decided to finish centers on Wednesday and we worked on our Unit test.  For writing, we read Horton Hatches the Egg and talked about Horton's character traits. Then we picked two traits and wrote short sentences about Horton. Glued it to an egg pattern, decorated the front, cut it crooked-ly down the middle, and wahlah a cute and educational craft; which we all know is the only way to sneak in fun crafts!
Wednesday I was out for a Thoughtful Classroom training all day so it was an easy breezy day in first grade. The superintendent was our guest reader this day and according to my sub, the kiddos were fantastic from the moment the super walked in the door to the moment she left!!!! How nice is that to hear! Then they finished centers from Monday. They also read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and talked about details and descriptions. Everyone decorated a fish and then wrote a detail paragraph about their fish.

"This is my fish her name is icarly and she is silly and cukoo but i love her."
How absolutely precious-----cukoo----I love it!!
To finish up Wednesday, they completed a fun Dr. Seuss activity packet courtesy of fabulous Rachelle over at What The Teacher Wants.

Thursday we had 2 guest readers!! We read the foot book and in groups came up with a new magic sneaker! (I had planned to use empty tissue boxes to make their sneakers, however the janitor threw all my tissue boxes away so we had to draw them.)  The sneaker that cooks, the sneaker that rocks and rolls, the surfing sneaker, the gaming sneaker....such creative ideas!

For writing we read There's A Wocket in MY Pocket and used Rachelle's pocket idea to create our own fun creatures!

We also read Yertle the Turtle and made the adorable turtles that Jodi created.

"He was a bad king because he made the poor turtles stand and build a throne"
Friday we finished up our Unit test and watched some Dr. Seuss clips from BrainPopJr. To wrap up our fun filled week, we read Oh, The Places You'll Go and wrote about where life would take us. Wait til you read what some of my imaginative firsties came up with...
He was so excited to tell me about his dreams of being the ticket man!
This sweet girl brings me about 3 pictures a how'd I know she would pick an artist?
A rockstar? By going to college? How fun :)

Wheeeew we made it through the week! Don't get me wrong, I love me some Dr. Seuss but there is so much of it and so little time to do it all. Perhaps next year we will start it a week early?  And now we are off to have lots o' Leprechaun fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weather-how fitting?

Ok it's now March. Come on Mother Nature show us some mercy here. Last week we had 40 degree weather. Saturday we had a ton of rain. Sunday we had a ton of snow. Today we have crazy winds, rain, hail, snow....basically Ms. Nature can't make up her mind. So anywho, how fitting is it that we are learning about weather in our science unit? We are all itching for badly that when we made our anchor chart, nobody even wanted to put snow or cold on the the board :(  We use a kit from our local BOCES learning center. It's nice because it comes with a bajillion ideas and pre-made plans that we can pick and choose from. We started the week building our Anchor Chart-
{there's an empty space in the corner so we can add words to it after we finish the unit}

We love Gail Gibbons, so of course we used her book to start us off. We talked about using our senses to determine the weather. We bundled up and ventured outside. In our weather booklets, we wrote down our sense observations. (I had them look at a house's chimney so they could visualize how the wind made the smoke move) 

Today we talked about thermometers. Tested the temperature in 3 different cups full of water(hot, tap, ice cold). Then we made our own thermometers.

You glue down the thermometer picture (we teach using the celsius numbers to begin with) Punch holes in the top and bottom. Have the students fold a shoelace in half and color 1 half of it red. Thread the string through to 2 holes and you've got yourself a thermometer.

Tomorrow we will learn about anemometer's and head back outside to test the wind. We'll compare the data from the anemometer to the Beaufort Scale.
Next week we'll learn all about clouds and make our own cloud shapes out of--what else--cotton balls! We'll compare daytime and nightime using our schema of the Sun and how the Earth tilts. We plan on making a season's book...students will have to draw a picture of what animals do during a certain season, what the weather is like, what types of activities they could do, or what clothing they would wear. And my favorite activity of the whole unit will be when we read Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs!!!! I planned a great SMARTBoard lesson with cloze sentences to compare the food in the book to actual weather. As the final project, we will use different weather words and pictures we find in newspapers to create a poster of our favorite season. Sorry I don't have any cute printables...we use a lot of the sheets that come with the kit. Why re-invent the wheel, right?

Tomorrow is Thursday, but it's really my kiddos Friday. No school for them Friday or Monday..staff days for me. Friday I am attending a Brian Mendler conference and Monday I'll be doing some Thoughtful Classroom things and hopefully some planning.

Can't wait to spend all next week doing fun Irish things, it's my favorite. Hope the cleaners won't mind Leprechaun footprints and a load of glitter :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Love. Love. Love.

It's time for a complete re-cap of the past week!
*brace yourselves-it's long.

  •  I got my computer back!!! My uncle was able to save every single picture & file!! Thank the Lord above...I was really having a break down about losing pictures from the past 4 yrs. *Note to self-USE a removeable hardrive to save important pictures*  (it's definitely not 100% and the hubby and I are already on the hunt for a new one when that giant teeny tiny tax refund comes back, but it will do the trick for awhile)
  • I donated my hair to Locks of Love :) So much joy in doing this. My little sister and I had decided we were going to donate it together...then I got engaged and couldn't cut off my hair so the sissy went ahead and donated over 10 inches and I kept growing. In a moment of weakness the day I returned home from my honeymoon, I chopped it all off without donating it...complete bummer. Since then, I have been growing it. Every time I went to my stylist she refused to cut it. She said I had to be 100% ready before she would go near my hair with scissors. Well the time came and I was so ready for a change...the hair needed to go. I had to look away while she cut (don't worry the sis took pictures so I could look back and enjoy the snip) I donated about 9.5 inches!!!!! I could have given more, but my stylist wanted to leave some length to clean it up nicely.
  •  I came home Friday from a very long day at work and found a fabulous package waiting for me! Thank you so much Miss Elisabeth! I absolutely love everything. I got so many compliments on the jewelry! This swap was so much fun, a fantastic way to make some new friends!! Sorry this is so late (see computer issues above for excuse)

  • We had a crazy Dr. Seuss filled week. In all the excitement, I didn't snap any pictures of final products..pinky promise I'll upload them tomorrow. I'll also share some details on how to do some of the fun things we did, even though Dr. Seuss week is over! Next year is so close so you can save them for then.
  • I created a Buzz Bumble Bee sight word game using the 1st grade Dolche words, however I can't get it to format the right way on my home computer. I'll figure it out and post soon.
  • This week is all about Olivia. Usually I just use index cards for students to manipulate to build words using the sound we are focusing on. I got bored with index cards, so I know my firsties are bored with them. I found this cute image of Olivia and put different letters on them, had them laminated & cut out,  and they were an absolute hit today. The kiddies want me to do this everyweek instead of index cards now. You can download the Olivia long O piggies here.
  • We are learning about the long i sound next week and we are reading The Kite, with Frog & Toad, so I came up with a fun center. I don't have the big kite template but it's pretty easy to make (you could make it out of construction paper) I put an i, y, igh, & ight on 4 different kite's. The students would then sort long i words and put them on the correct kite string.  Because of said format issue...the long i bows for the kite string are on 4 different downloads. Click Here for 1 Click Here for 2 Click Here for 3 Click Here for 4 Again, so sorry this is in 4 different documents. Please forgive.
  •  Funny story-Saturday the hubby & I went to my sister's basketball game. While at the game, my other sister could not stop talking about Sesame Street Live which my family was going to see that afternoon (*my sisters are 10 and 3-Sesame Street is a big deal to the 3 yr old) After some persuasion by the determined 3 yr old, her buddy (my hubby) gave in and said why don't we just go with them? So we went to Buffalo and spent the day with my family. Stopped at Build-A-Bear, saw Elmo & the Grinch, and had fantastic Olive Garden for dinner. Yes, we know how pathetic this may seem since we don't have children yet but went to see Sesame Street anyways. What can we say...when the 3 yr old talks, ya better listen :)

  • Sunday the mister and I went back to Buffalo (we had already planned on going to Buffalo to shop) We were both pretty exhausted from the day before, so there was a lot of window shopping but thanks to a Valentine's Day tradition started by my favorite guy........I did get my new purse!

And that my friends, is a very long recap of all that's happened since I so rudely got disconnected from the blog world by a computer malfunction. Hope everyone's week is off to a great start.