Friday, February 27, 2015

Getting Ready for St. Patrick's Day

Hey guys and dolls,  how's it going? It's Angela again from over at...

The Daily Alphabet

This school year seems to be just whizzing on by!! I can't believe
that February is practically gone and it will be March before you 
know it!

For our St. Patrick's Day celebration, some things that I like to 
cover that week are the symbols of St. Patrick's Day.

Click on any of the pictures for your freebie!!

I also have this month's planning pages, click on the pictures below for your copy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Easy-Peasy Bathroom Break Management

Hello! It's Elizabeth from Learning with Lizz R!

It's almost March, and all the hard work put into procedures have been paying off swimmingly! 
One procedure that has been working like magic is my procedure for bathroom classroom breaks.
If your students are like mine, bathroom breaks are sometimes an excuse to play around. I can't tell you how many times I've sent students to the bathroom, only to hear them down the hallway laughing and doing anything but going to the restroom... Ugh! 

To help eliminate this cringing situation, I have a one boy and one girl at a time bathroom policy. This has made such a difference and has limited the time student spend in the bathroom! 

The best part is, I have a REALLY easy way to monitor who is in the bathroom!

These cute little duckies help me keep track of who is using the bathroom. When a students goes to the bathroom, they take a duck and place it on their desk.

By doing this, I can quickly spot exactly who I sent to the bathroom, and know if they're back or not. No more having to ask, "Is Johnny back from the bathroom yet?"
When a student comes back from the bathroom, they return the duck to the basket, ready for the next student to use!
My students know the procedure, too! They can quickly glance where I keep the ducks, and if their bathroom pass is missing, they know they need to wait to ask to use the restroom. 
It has made bathroom breaks so easy! I don't have a million students asking me to use the bathroom at once! 

What procedures work best in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Black History Month : Harriet Tubman

Hello Everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade Frenzy! As Black History month comes to an end this week, I always like to focus on one of my favorite Black History Heroes ... Harriet Tubman. I found her story to be such a fascinating one. Her bravery and strength allowed her to escape slavery, and help so many more people to freedom, as well!

I usually introduce her story through one of my favorite picture book biographies. I love this book from Scholastic.. it's from their "My First Biography" series. The text is simple and illustrations are bright and beautiful.

I also like to use these two picture books, too!

I then create a timeline of some of the important events that happened in her life, with my students. It's a great way to see how much they were able to absorb from her biography ... fantastic for retelling and comprehension. Then, we create a class story about her life. We use simple sentences, and each student illustrates one of the pages in the class story. The final product is always a masterpiece....

I couldn't help myself  ... I had to share their beautiful illustrations!! They worked so hard!!
 You can grab your copy of the Harriet Tubman Class Story here:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Math Activities in a Flash! {Freebie}

Hello Primary Powers Friends!
 It's Jeannine from Creative Lesson Cafe

I'm here today to share a little a life-saver of a math activity I always have ready to go to fill up those extra few minutes we might have or to mix things up a bit up when my kiddos get ants in their pants! 

I have a little FREEBIE to share with you to help you get something like this ready to go in your room too!

 All you will need are some colorful 0-10 cards.

What can you do with a card set of numbers 0-10?

 Probably more than you can possibly imagine for good, simple math fun! They can be used for addition, subtraction, comparing numbers, even/odd practice, double-digit addition and subtraction, multiplication, place value and more! The kiddos prefer this over a boring practice worksheet any day! I assign the task and the students write in spiral notebooks. There is a lot of value in having the students set up and record their own problems!

I printed and laminated a class set of the number cards above to use for a variety of math activities and partner games. They are the perfect size to store in little library pockets like these from Creative Teaching Press.

It was a little bit of work to cut them all out, so I rounded up some parent volunteers to help. Trust me, it is worth the time spent to have sets to use for years to come.

 Why not just use a deck of cards?

 I like these better than a deck of playing cards because we don't have as many face cards to take out. Besides, in math, sometimes you just need a ZERO! We teach our students that zero is something, not nothing. A zero card plays an important role.

When students manipulate numbers to set up their own problems, we often find mistakes to learn from and have some great number talks!

For the task shown above, the students were asked to turn over four cards and create a double-digit subtraction problem. It's one thing to solve a problem on a worksheet, but making up your own problem involves some different thinking skills. One student had shown 80-93. They decided to flip over some other cards to help them with their regrouping algorithm. You can see they needed to rethink their equation!

 Sound like fun? 

If you want to try these math activities too, you can download this FREEBIE set from my dropbox for your kiddos to use by clicking on the image below! 

I'm sure your class will love mixing up math practice with their own special cards! The file also includes a list of suggestions for some easy peasy activities to use in the classroom. If you want to know more, you can read an older blog post {here} to see more ideas for cards in action!

What are your favorite worksheet-free math activities?
Leave a comment below and tell us all about them! 

Have a fantastic finish to your February!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Read Across America!

Hi friends!
It's Sarah from A Sunny Day in First Grade. :)

Read Across America Week is coming up!  
Last year (and this year!) we did a school-wide theme for each day of the week.
It was SO MUCH fun!!!
I thought I'd share some ideas with you!

Monday was Crazy Hair or Hat Day!

Each of the kids also got a little punch card this week.
For every book they read, they got a number punched!
20 means a PRIZE!
Guess how many read 20 books. ;)

Tuesday we wore red, black, and white.
We made Cat in the Hat hats.
We made Thing 1 & 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5!)
I had the kids do their classroom number as their Thing number. 

Wacky Wednesday.
BOY was it wacky!
We started the day by writing under our desks.
WHAT?!  The kids couldn't believe I was asking them to do that.
After that, they wanted to do everything under their desks.
Including eating their snacks.
I should have known! ;) 

 Our clip chart was upside down too.
So when the kids were good I had to say, "Move your clip down!" instead of up.
They thought it was the funniest thing ever!!!

Thursday was Crazy Sock Day.
We designed our own socks.

We also did a 10 Apples Up On Top activity.
They wrote facts of 10 on the apples.

Friday was Pajama Day.
And we made Oobleck!
Just kidding, HA!
It was messy, but LOTS of fun!!!
We also graphed colored fish. :)

It was so much fun!
I hope I gave you some new ideas! :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Super Time Tellers!

Hey everyone! It's Aimee from Primarily Speaking!  I'm popping in to share a quick and easy review activity with you today.

Back in December, my second graders learned to tell time to the five minute mark, and we've been working on it ever since.  Time is one of those skills that needs to be reviewed often. In other words, it takes time to learn to tell time.  With that said, we spent a few days in math last week reviewing this skill.  By this point, I've pretty much used all the resources I have, so I decided to make a quick I Spy game.

I posted the cards around the room. The kids visited each card and wrote down the time shown on each one.  Since the students are moving around and attending to a series of tasks, they are engaged and focused the whole time.  And, that always makes my teacher heart very, very happy.

I Spy is HUGE in my classroom. The kids love to get up and wander around the room as they do their work.  I tell them to pretend they are spies and have them move around the room as such.  I wish you could see them moving from one card to the next, it's pretty hilarious.  And, it makes for a super duper quiet activity.

If you're looking to add to your telling time resources, you can grab a free copy of this time activity by clicking {HERE}.  Enjoy!

Also, be sure to grab my Time Check freebie on TPT.  It's a quick and easy way to review this skill on a daily basis!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Get the Most Out of Your Planning Time

Hi there!  Melissa here again, from First Grade Smiles.  I hope you've been enjoying the many amazing ideas from my fellow superheroes of teaching.  This month I'm here to share a little something that took me 12 years of teaching to fine tune.  It's not something you would necessarily think would take 12 years to figure out, but some of us are a little slower than others.  ;)

So what I'm talking about is this:

In my 12 years of teaching I have ALWAYS brought home work to do.  Every. single. day.  It's not that I haven't been also working during my planning period, but somehow I would spend that time going from one thing to the next, really only accomplishing small tasks while the bigger ones would need to be taken home.  I can't be the only one who falls victim to this.  

So this year it got to the point that I just couldn't be bringing so much home anymore.  Mostly because I would inevitably not have enough time to do it all and have to bring it home again the next day.  My school bags were getting to go for some nice rides in the car.  

Well, not anymore people!

This year I decided to make a schedule for myself in order to stay focused during my oh-so-short 40 minutes.  Here is how I decided to split up my week:
It's not groundbreaking - I know.  In fact, some first year teachers might have already figured this out.  But like I said, I tend to get distracted and really needed something to keep me focused.  

Here's a little more detail for my reasoning in my schedule.  

In my district we send out our copies to a copy center in the district and it takes about 2-3 days for them to come back.  I wanted to be sure they would be back in time so I send them out on Monday and then they are back by Thursday.  

Tuesdays is my day to grade papers.  I had to make one day for this because I really don't enjoy it and don't want to do it everyday.  

Wednesdays is my day for writing out my plans.  I can't do this too early in the week because I need to know how things are going in my current week to get a sense for what I can plan for the following week.  

Thursday is my day to catch up on parent contact or really any communication about students, whether it's paperwork or talking to service providers.  

And finally Friday I am ready to organize my papers and materials into my Monday through Friday bins for the following week.  I switch out my centers too.  

Don't get me wrong, I do still bring home work sometimes, especially when it's cutting out laminating, but this little schedule has helped so much.  

So now it's your turn to tell me how much smarter you are than me how you get the most out of your planning time.  What works for you?  I'd love to hear.  

Thanks for stopping by with me again.  Until next month :)