Friday, June 26, 2015

Close Reading Freebie

Hi everyone! It's Alexandria from Classroom Action with Ms. Jackson.  
I know it is summer, but I have been thinking of ways to help my students next year and decided to revisit close reading.  
I really want my students to dig deeper as they read text. 
Here are some helpful tips for the first, 
second, and third reads. 

During the first read students are getting an idea of what the text or passage is about.  I like to give a general overview before my students start reading.   The overview helps them build background and activate prior knowledge about the subject. During this read, students can tell what it is about, underline the main idea, and talk to a partner about the text.

During the second read students dig a bit deeper and try to understand the text a little more.  
Students read the text again, circle key words they may think are important, and determine the author's purpose.  I like to let my students talk with their shoulder partners about the text.  I usually circulate throughout the room to make sure my students are engaging in accountable talk about the topic.

 During the third read students usually have a good grasp of what the text is about.  I usually assign a task to them. Sometimes they answer questions, compare text, and relate it to their own life.  I also have the students write about the text. 

Students keep these bookmarks at their desk to help them work through the text.  I printed them on card stock and laminated them.  They last a long time and the students find them to be very 

I hope this gave you a brief overview of close reading and how you can use it in your classroom.  You can pick up this FREEBIE by clicking here
Have fun using these easy strategies with your class!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Earth & Martian Words! {freebie}

The end of the school year is quickly coming, but I'm already thinking about back to school.
I can't help myself!!!

This was one of my favorite games to play with my first graders at the beginning of the year!
It's called Earth & Martian Words.
It's a SUPER fun way to build fluency with CVC words.
What six year old wouldn't want to read martian words! ;)

It's really easy to play too.
You need two game with Earth words, one with Martian words.

The first option for playing is to simply take turns reading a word and covering it with a counter/penny or anything you have!  
This is how I play at the very beginning of the year.  
The kids choose whether they want to read an Earth word or Martian word.

The second way to play is to roll a dice. 
If the number is even, the player reads an Earth word and covers it.
If the number is odd, the player reads a Martian words and covers it.
Easy peasy! ;)

Your kids will be fluent little CVC readers in no time at all!
And they'll have fun doing it. :)

You can grab this FREEBIE in my store! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Tips to Avoid the Summer Slide

Summer is a favorite time of year for almost everyone. Time with family and friends, evening BBQs, a looser schedule and the best part... time to rejuvenate! 

But as a teacher and mother, summer is also a time when I want to my kids to stay sharp and not forget all the good stuff they learned during the year. That is why I dedicate one hour a day to making sure my boys are reviewing and using their reading, writing, and math skills.  This is not always one straight uninterrupted hour in the day. Sometimes it's 20 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the car, and 20 minutes later in the day. I work it into our schedule for the day, so the kids don't even know they are doing it!

Read anywhere, anytime, any place.... Read by the pool, read outside under a tree, read under a home-made fort with a flashlight...Just READ! Make it a fun and different experience. They don't need to be at a desk or table to read. The most important thing is to make sure they have a book in their hand and they are reading. If your child is not an independent reader yet, make sure to read to them for 20 minutes each day. This will help instill the love of reading and you get to spend quality time together. 

Use flash cards or a deck of cards to brush up on math skills. Playing a game of WAR or Concentration is a fun way to review basic math facts.  You can use these flash cards for addition & subtraction and multiplication & division practice too. I just cut them out and put them on a ring. Then, I time my kids to see how fast they can get through them. They love to try and beat their old time. 

Once a week, we also take a timed test to brush up on our math facts. They try to complete all 50 problems in 3 minutes with no mistakes. If they are successful, they move to the next level. My kids thrive on beating the clock!


This is a fun way to integrate reading, writing, and following directions. Yes, your kitchen and children may look like this:
Image result for kids cooking
But, I promise you, it is something they will always remember and they will feel empowered! 

Make A Summer Scrapbook:
Take pictures of all the places you go and of all the things you do over the summer. Whether it's a trip to the beach, the local zoo, or a special family adventure, make sure to take LOTS of pictures. Then, decorate a scrapbook and have your kids write captions for the pictures. This will help them brush up on their writing skills and record their memories at the same time. 

Complete A Summer Workbook:
I always have my boys complete a summer workbook to bridge their skills to the next grade level. In the past I have purchased these books from Amazon: 
My boys loved completing them and working for a prize. It may be a trip to get a Slurpee or movie of their choice. No matter how big or small the incentive, it is important to set a goal and reward them for achieving it. 
I also created a review skills packet for my own second grade students. I sent this home with them for the summer with a new book. It helps them review all their reading, writing and math skills from second grade.

Whatever you do this summer for your students or your own children, make it fun and engaging. They won't even know they are reviewing skills they have already learned and they will be ready for the upcoming school year! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Mighty Red, White, and Blue

Hi there!  Thanks for joining me today as I share some quick ideas to use in your classroom for Flag Day.  Now don't go telling me that you don't have school when it's flag day because that doesn't make me feel better. ;)  I am well aware that many people are not in school during Flag Day, but unfortunately I am not one of them.  Here I am - still teaching away for another 8 days.  So if you happen to already be out of school and you're reading this....maybe you teach about American symbols or could use these ideas at other points in the year.  I hope so!

Here are few books I have read to my class this time of year. 



 The Flag We Love and Our American Flag give some historical background, but is still easy to get through with little ones.  F is for Flag is a great one to explain why our flag is so important and what it stands for.  And finally, The Pledge of Allegiance is just that - the words to the pledge.  I like to show this using our document camera so students can see what the real words are for the pledge.  We all know they have their own cute variations.  :)

I made this quick little freebie to complete after we read about and discuss the flag.  It doesn't take much time, and frankly at this time of the year, we don't have much time.  So if you click on the picture below you can grab this FREEBIE too.  

And what would any holiday be without a craft???

I've done many different flag crafts over the years and of course you know Pinterest has TONS of ideas out there.  This is just one that I love displaying in the hallway.  

We actually made this flag when it was Veterans Day so I have a Thank You Veterans sign to go with it from my Proud to be an American pack.  But this is a fun way to bring the class together on a craft.  Obviously they all traced their hands on red, white, and blue paper (many times).  I cut the stars out using an Ellison cutter.  Then we all worked together to complete the project with a large piece of bulletin board paper as the background.  We wanted to be sure it was as accurate as possible.  The kids really enjoyed this project and it looks great in the hallway.  

So again, if you are out of school for summer already - I am happy for you (really I am).  But maybe these ideas will find their way into your classroom for other reasons in your school year.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Happy Flag Day!!!

First Grade Smiles

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Fun with Chalk Paint

Hey friends! It's me, Amanda from Mrs. Richardson's Class!

If summer hasn't arrived for you, it will arrive soon I hope! Here in Texas our school's are already on summer vacation and the heat is in FULL force!

A few years ago I shared one of my favorite activities to do at the end of the year with my students--CHALK PAINT!

I LOVE chalk paint.  I always do this at the end of each year and here is why, sweet friends!

If you are already out of school, you can easily do this at home with your little ones! It will keep them busy for a while and you can sit and relax for a bit! Trust me, I know that sometimes being at home with your own kids can be just as exhausting as the classroom! 

Need some ideas of how to use it in the classroom?  This is how I tied it to something educational every year!

And of course you can write about ANYTHING! Here is a How To FREEBIE so your students can write about how they made the chalk paint!

Click the image above to grab it! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It's Almost Summer!

As we're winding down the days, I'm prepping a few things to celebrate that summer is sooooooo close! And for those of you already out - wooohooo!!! 
Summer Freebies Lucky to Be in First
I plan to celebrate the uniqueness of my class this year with these fun Marvelous Medallions
Lucky to Be in First End of the Year
This pack of 36 medals is easy to prep! Simply print, laminate, punch a hole and string some yarn through it! As I was prepping these this week, I could hear the buzz spreading around the room! I can't wait to share these with my kids! 
Lucky to Be in First
Lucky to Be in First End of the YearLucky to Be in First End of the Year
As I was perusing the Dollar Tree the other day, it got my mind wandering to End of the Year treats for my kids.  

Here's a peek at what I came up with.  Click {here} to grab these FREEBIE tags! 
Lucky to Be in First Summer Gifts
Who doesn't love silly string? 
"Have a Silly Summer"
Lucky to Be in First end of the year gift
 Buy an inexpensive bug catcher & slap this tag on! 
"Don't BUG's Summer!"
Lucky to Be in First end of the year gifts
If your kiddos love to swim, this is a fun treat! 
"Dive into Summer"
Lucky to Be in First End of the Year Gifts
 A wiffle ball & bat is a great way to get kiddos movin'!
"Have a BALL this Summer"
Lucky to Be in First End of the Year Gifts
 Squirt guns are 3 for a $1 at the Dollar Tree! 
"FIRED up for Summer!"
Lucky to Be in First End of the Year Gifts
 You can snag really inexpensive buckets almost anywhere! 
"Have Buckets of Fun this Summer!"
Lucky to Be in First End of the Year Gifts
I hope you can use one of these goodies! 

As we count down the days till summer, I'm definitely trying to keep interest high and activities engaging!  I recently added this Flipping for School activity to my Grab Bag Galore {which is filled with a TON of random goodness!}
Flipping for School Freebie Newsletter Lucky to Be in First
To make sure my kiddos hold on to all that knowledge that I spent so much blood, sweat and tears drilling into them, I plan to send home the Summer B.A.T. Book
B.A.T. Book - Brains Always Thinking Lucky to Be in First
This mega version of the B.A.T. Book is filled with 40 fun, but challenging, Math and Language Arts activities to review concepts during the summer months! You could also use it during the last month of school to fill some of that "extra" time, too!

I hope you enjoy the last few days with your students!
Primary Powers