Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday, March 29


I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday linky party! 

1. Wahoo, Spring Break!  We've just been hanging out enjoying the weather.  These are pictures of flowers and veggies in our yard.

2. I've been window shopping on TpT for some time and am finally buying up my wish list.  With all the 20% discounts I am picking up several new products and some freebies!  We just started place value before Spring Break and many of my students were not comfortable with it, yet.  I found this great activity from Rebecca Anderton of  I also picked up:
And I am still shopping. =]

3.  To go with that great place value practice, I found jumbo dice in the toy aisle at Dollar Tree.  My kids are gonna flip over these!

4.  To balance a little me time, I've been knitting.  This sweater is for my boyfriend.  I started it 2 years ago.  It's going slow.   I am much better with quicker projects like hats and socks.  I will get this day.

 5. Sen has been enjoying the time in the yard.  She's tired of photo shoots, but she is so darn cute I can't put the camera down.

Back to school Tuesday, with a field trip.  It should be interesting.  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Working with Vowel Team OW


Working with Vowel Team OW! is my newest product on TpT is on sale in my store!  It is a 70 page pack for working with ow as in cow.  It includes 7 center games/activities, a printable word search (my kids LOVE word searches) and a fun and cute cow craft for a bulletin board display.

 Activities include:
*Syllable Count and Sort
*Word Families Read and Sort for -ow and -own
*Phoneme Boxes {Elkonin Boxes} and sound/letter tiles (see this post for phoneme boxes in action!)
*Matching pictures to words
*Memory Match
*Roll - Say - Keep game board and word cards
*Flowers on the Vine board game
*Word Search {with answer key}
*Cow Says, "OW!" craftivity

All the activities are in color and in black and white line drawings.  This baby is jam packed with fun learning of the ow sound.

My students like playing Memory Match and Roll-Say-Keep.  We can get a little competitive, but that's OK.  It fuels the learning fire!

Each game has an instructions page that can be printed and posted at the center area or on a document camera.  

From now until Saturday, March 30 Working with Vowel Team OW is on sale for $3.  After that it will go to the low, low, low price of $5.  =]

Mad Hatter's Spring Break Tea Party

Yea for Spring Break!  Really, I could have used it 2 weeks ago, but no one asked me.

Last week was a doosy!  I had my formal observation Tuesday.  I nearly made myself sick fretting over it.  We did a lesson on reading informational text for key details and asking and answering questions, then putting our research into informational text.  Yeah, I over planned.  We got through OK.  Some good, some...interesting moments (like someone pretending to pick her nose during the mini-lesson, then making it more dramatic when no one commented...Seriously?).  I'll have the post conference after Spring Break.  Bleh.

After I had an anxiety attack got past the observation, we could focus on fun stuff!  Another teacher and I planned to have a Mad Hatter's Spring Break Sweet Tea Party on Friday afternoon.  Talk about a hoot!

In class we did a close read of that section of Alice through the Looking Glass and watched the cartoon clip from the tea party.  Kids were encouraged to make interesting hats to wear at the tea party.  We had a few put some good effort into their hats!  We served sweet iced tea, apple juice (looks like tea) and tea sandwiches.  They were just jelly or cream cheese and cucumber with no crust and cut in quarters, but did the kids think they were fancy!

To highlight all the hats--creative, furry, baseball, beanies and even a hoodie (Miss A was not going to miss her chance to strut) the kids walked down our hatwalk...get it?  HATwalk like catwalk.  I love it!

Best of Show:
  • Photo #1 Sporting not one, but TWO Jiminey Cricket dolls laced in the brim of a classic cowboy hat
  • Photo #3 Best Hair/Hat Combo (Love his dredlocks!)
  • Photo #4 Most Creative Easter inspired hat (and a reluctant super model)
  • Photo #5 Tallest hat and by far, best hatwalk walk (Seriously, I love this kid!  He walks quietly in line, but is always doing something goofy.  He always makes me think of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks!)
  • Photo #6 Springy-est hat
  • Photo #8 Fastest model (she wanted to walk so badly, but is so shy!)
  • Photo #9 Too cool for the hatwalk aka Super Model Serious
The Mad Hatter's Spring Break Sweet Tea Party is an annual event in my class.  It is a great way to ease into Spring Break and not focus on the Easter holiday.

In other news...I put together a big packet on ow (like cow) and I'm putting it up on TpT.  It will be discounted to $3 through Saturday.  It's got lots of center and small group goodies.  The graphics are in color and in black and white.  I'm crossing my fingers for good luck on my first "for sale" product! =]

And now for something completely different...

Happy Spring Break!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

If You Give a First Grader a Compound Word...

This week our reading series basal story was If You Give a Pig a Pancake so did a little author study of Laura Numeroff and the If You Give a... series.  One of the skills of the week is compound words.  
We made a giant list of compound words, then chose a word from the list to fill in the blanks of Pig's sign.  The definition of compound words is student created.  They're getting it!

Here are some of my favorites:

  "If you give a pig a bookbox she'll want a mailbox to go with it."

 Both read "If you give a pig a toothbrush, she'll want toothpaste to go with it."  The first illustration is funny.  The pig looks like the toothpaste tastes nasty.

"If you give a pig SpongeBob, she'll want Patrick to go with it."  So funny!  He even made his pig look like SpongeBob.

We got a little loose with the compound words, but the kids were having fun thinking them up.  SpongeBob is really pushing it, but they talked me into adding to the list.
Some students didn't finish their pig and I know there are more creative compound words to come.  I'll post more examples next week.
Speaking of next week, my formal observation is Tuesday.  Can you say *NERVOUS*?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm joining in on the Five for Friday Linky Party.   Boy, it was a week from you know where, but I'm keeping it positive!

1.  For our Book of the Month we did a close read of The Honest to Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack. It could not have come at a better time. Beyond the reading skills we've been practicing how to tell truths "sweetened with sugar" to make them easier to swallow. It's a social skill we'll continue to practice.

2. For the past couple years I've used to help students master math facts. I like it, the kids like it, it is free (hello), and the site uses progress tracking that's easy to read.

3. This week my class started using to practice and master math facts. I love it, the kids *LOVE* it and the site has very good progress tracking data, but it is not free. Our district put us on a Use-it-or-Lose-it period for the rest of the school year. Darlin', we are using it! It is much more video game oriented on the graphics and game side. Kids create avatars, earn tokens and use them to "buy" things like hats, clothes and accessories for the avatars. As they progress and master facts more and more games get unlocked. Reflex Math also has a math coach character that can help students practice different skills.  That's Crabby in the picture.  He's like a cruise director with silly jokes and a great accent.

4.Keeping on the math train, I read Cara Carroll's post on her math tubs and I am considering adding them to our math routine. After our late lunch (we are the last class to eat, which I love) we have RtI for about 30 minutes, math for an hour, then we back up for dismissal. The kids are often cranky, tired and wiggly after lunch. I think a math tubs rotation may be what they need to focus for the rest of the day.

5. Our school is piloting a new technology program in our district next year.  Each K-2 student will have access to a tablet in class and each 3-5 student a laptop. This morning I heard a tease for education tablets on Morning Edition on NPR. I didn't have time to wait and listen to the segment, but looked it up and did a little research tonight.  I like the look and concept of the tablet, but really dislike Murdock's comments on education in general.

...and I'm adding a sixth random thought since I couldn't get pictures added until Sunday.  This is Sen.  She's our 5 month old American Bulldog puppy.  I love her to pieces.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Build a Word *FREE* Printable Phonics Activity

My newest *FREE* product is available in my TpT store: Build a Word!

Build a Word is an easy to teach activity for practicing word recognition and phonics skills.  It is based off Elkonin boxes.  Each phoneme is put in a box so students can count the phonemes as they say the words.  Students can also start to visualize digraphs and vowel teams using Build a Word.  In the pictures the student is practicing making long a words spelled with ai and ay.

Students color, cut and unscramble spelling words.  They can do this independently, in centers, in pairs or with me in RtI and small groups.  When it is time to clean up students put the letter boxes in an envelope for safe keeping.  They can pull this out when their assignments are complete or take it home to practice.

Build a Word has been a very helpful activity during spelling and phonics instruction!  I hope you and your students enjoy it, too!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bubble Blowing Bandits!

Last week we ended our "How to..." functional writing with "How to Blow a Bubble".  Could this be more fun?  After see this on Pinterest I searched similar lessons, made a mash up of what would work from my students and our writing guidelines.

I asked the class how to blow a bubble.  Of course they yelled, "Put it in your mouth and chew!"  like I was crazy for even asking.  So I did it, wrapper and all.  First, yuck!  Second, they started to realize how explicit instructions need to be to teach the reader.  We decided to take off the wrapper and put the gum in our mouth.  Then we agreed to chew until the gum got soft.  (Pretty important step.)  Next came my favorite part of the lesson.  When asked what comes next, one boy said, "Wrap the gum around your tongue like a blanket."  What a great visual!  P.S.  All the kids blatantly stole his wording, which I loved.  Last we blow and blow until the bubble pops.

Not all the of the kids could blow a bubble, but boy did they love trying!  One girl got upset she couldn't do it.  It was fun to watch the kids who could try to teach her.

*Drum roll* I present my Bubble Blowing Bandits!

They've never been so on task all year!  The second boy pictured won the bubble blowing contest.  Right after I snapped the picture the bubble popped all over his face.

The kids used our "How to..." organizing writing paper to create a rough draft of their paragraphs.  The next day they corrected errors and edited a partner's work (checking for punctuation and capitals) and began final drafts.

After the final drafts were finished we made a "How to Blow a Bubble" craftivity using construction paper to make their faces and balloons as bubbles.  Each student pasted the final instructions under their big balloon bubble.  This was by far the best writing lesson I've ever taught.  It will definitely get repeated in coming years!