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Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's in my Sack?

For the past several years, I've done the All About Me Bag (after reading Shel Silverstein's poem...which is attached).  I put several items that tell about me in a small paper bag.  I have pictures of my kids, and our summer vacation.  I put in a monkey (as they are my favorite animal). I usually have chocolate of some kind (that I share with them later),--I will probably put in a cupcake wrapper (as I like making cupcakes), a purple pen (I like to write AND the color purple), I will put in my phone (it's a necessity), and then I always include a story book (usually Miss Nelson is Missing or Chrysanthemum and I read it after discussing the me bags) I pull the items out one at time and ask them what they think it means about me (and I fill them in).  I tell them that they will be doing the same thing tomorrow.  (This is usually their first night's homework---yes on the first day of school--I'm horrible, I know!)  I assign the me bags to everyone.  Some teachers I've heard break their me bags down through the week...but I like learning about them as soon as I can!!  I pass out their me bags at the end of the day, and remind them what they are to do.  I had a different poem the past several years that I attached, but I came up with this one (combined a few versions and modified for criteria) to tape on their lunch sacks this year.  Now that you know what will go in my sack-------What will you put in yours?  Do Share! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wild About Birthdays!

Soo--my classroom theme this year is Jungle/Safari/Adventure (yes, I know---the cow doesn't go with that at alll---but he's Sooo Stinkin' Cute).  I found an idea years ago online (not sure where the idea originated from, but if you know, tell me and I will give credit).  It was for a classroom birthday book. Basically the birthday child gets to color the front cover of his/her book, while the remainder of the class is drawing a picture for him/her.  I start out "interviewing" the birthday child.  I ask him/her about favorite everything---down to food, then what they would like to have for their birthday.  That gives the birthday child's classmates an idea of what to draw. (Yes, I've seen pink pizza before as a drawn gift..but hey, it's from the heart!) I revamped the idea that I found years ago to make it match my jungle theme.  You can click here to get it! :) 

Calendar Math

So I went into my classroom to work today (drug the WHOLE family with me---they love me for that, especially the kids), and worked on putting things away, throwing things out, and my WONDERFUL hubby was setting up the Tiki Reading Hut. He did well, I'll post pictures when it's complete.  I felt the whole time I was in there, that I was walking around in circles, just moving piles around, yet not really accomplishing anything.  Anyone know what I mean?  Anyway, I was redoing my calendar math board--making it more first grade friendly, and decided I should "cutesy" up some of the things on it, and not just use my handwriting.  So here's an oldie, but goodie poem with some DJ inkers thrown in.  :)


So, I tried out the new mango smoothie from McDonald's--YUMMY!!!  No matter how I try to make smoothies or milkshakes at home...it's always better if someone else makes it.  I did however find the recipe for the McDonald's strawberry-banana smoothie HERE.  I may have to try that later today.  All those fruits blended together reminded me that with the Treasures reading series, they are working on R-blends by week 4--AHHH!!! What a hard concept.  (I've been out of first for 3 years, and I remember how shocked I was when we first got this reading series--I was teaching first then)---so I created this game. Think I can get someone to get me the smoothie? :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disney Motivation-the Highs, and Lows

I guess I have Disney World on the brain.  I just LOVE it there.  We told our kids that we couldn't go this year (as we've already taken our summer vacation), but we're surprising (if I can keep my trap shut) in a few weeks and going right before school starts.  Magical, huh? ;) Well, all this Disney thinking has given me some inspiration to use playing cards (and dice) for a math center.  I've done the simple war games--but here's what I came up with for a recording sheet for High, Low tonight.  It's a simple game, (and similar to one I posted a few days ago) but who doesn't love rolling the dice?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Are you Ready for Some FOOTBALL? Let's Tackle Language and Math!

It's about that time of year again--and though I'm not much of a fanatic, I know that my students play Pee Wee football or cheer.  What better way to motivate them than to get on their level? I also know that my boys in years past are less eager to work....so hopefully this will get them ready! :) 

In this packet, you will find sorting activities for both math and language arts, graphing, patterning  and a game board to use with sight words.  (Click this section) **I apologize but for some reason (though it's all there) there are a few blank pages in this packet.**

OHH PAIR-A-DICE ...heavenly to share ideas--Come join the dice linky party!

Little Miss Kindergarten is hosting a dice linky party.  Who doesn't love dice? I love dice games.  Some people suggest rolling them on mats to prevent noises.  You can also get carpet samples (FREE) to roll them on.  I usually can tune them out, but do encourage my kids to roll them in the tops of their crayon boxes to prevent them from bouncing around.  I just recently posted a few dice games.  You can click the link here---and as the school year swings into gear, I'll be posting more. These are just beginning of the year review. ;)   Be sure to check out the other dice suggestions--whether it be for storage or games!!  Enjoy the blog hopping!

Sa-far-i see it's going to be a fun theme!! (You may need to say that again to get it)

I'm going to try to get into my room today.  I'm not even sure if my floors are waxed.....but I have to get a move on it. Yes, I know, school doesn't start for a month----but trust me----I need a good week to work on it.  (I kept telling myself, I'll go in on a rainy day. HA--it's only rained in the evenings, and it's been too pretty to go work!) I t;old my husband that I was dragging everyone in to help me today---guess that's why he's still in bed.  ;)  Again, while everyone was sleeping, I played around with some clip art and such, and came up with this.  It's more for a Jungle/Adventure/Safari Themed room...but you're more than welcome to use it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Domino Addition

If you've been reading my blog posts, you know that I'm slowly getting geared into going back to school.  I have to get in first grade mode (mind you--it's been a few years, and I've MISSED it!!).  I was going through the math stuff (we use Envisions) this morning (since everyone slept late today--geesh) and I think it's missing some "fluff".  It seems like it's missing some fun and excitement--and really not a lot of practice with addition.  So here ya go---Domino Addition for a classroom center, independent practice, an I'm done--now what--or however you choose to use it! :)

OHH--and if you didn't notice--I added a new page.  TREASURES---I've posted some words for making words activities 

All Mixed Up

I'm still thinking how some of the skills in the Treasures series are so difficult for little learners to grasp.  Sentence fragments, word order, possessives?  All within the first unit.  WOWSERS! Some of these kiddos are going to have a hard time with these skills.  I created this to place at a center.  How I would use it:
1) Laminate all pieces.
2) Cut apart the color coded sentences.  Store them each in a separate baggie or container.  I would even use one of those colored circles and number each bag/container 1-8.
3) I would either use magnetic tape and cookie sheets and have them just place the words on the lines---OR I'd give a marker (wet or dry erase) and have them copy the sentence (after they put it in order)
4) This could be used as a self-checking center if you place an answer sheet with it, or as an informal assessment.

Blogs = Giveaways

A couple days ago, I posted on how many fabulous blogs that were out there, but I hadn't taken the time to read them in a while as I was making my own things to share with all you fabulous teachers.  This morning, was a dreary morning---family is still asleep--so I took some time to look around and BOY am I glad I did.  Twelve wonderful bloggers teamed up to do a back-to-school giveaway.  There's a BUNCH of goodies for one lucky follower.  Erica Bohrer is hosting this FABULOUS giveaway.  Hop over to her blog Erica Bohrer's First Grade to see how to enter! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Purr-fect Sentences

I've been trying to plan lessons, games, centers and activities for the past few days.  I was reading through my basal (for those of you who don't know---I was teaching 2nd for the past 3 years, and now moving back to where my heart lies...first.) and there's sooo much that happens in this reading series in first grade---I almost forgot how much they were throwing at them so quickly, for example..Unit 1.1 of our Reading Series (Treasures) works on sentences, and fragments.  Personally, I feel this is a hard concept, so I thought what better way to practice than sorting them. I am planning on using this as a center or possibly an "I'm finished, now what" activity.  Purr-fect Sentences could be laminated and then use magnetic tape on them for a cookie sheet sort.  (By the way--I just LOVE this cat this one and the one on the document...they're soooo cute)  I hope someone can use it---he's too cute not to use! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I see all these FABULOUS blogs, and I just have to follow them.  I have started following so many blogs, that even using google reader, I can't keep up with them.  I admire those who can, and can follow and link to everyone's blog--follow the linky parties---follow the giveaways..but I just can't keep up with all these AMAZING blogs out there.  I guess I've been so busy in creating things for my own classroom, that I overlook the wonderful things that are created by other bloggers.  If you follow my blog, try to check in on some of those Terrific Bloggers. With that said----here's another one of my giveaways.  I've been having so much fun making these I have, who has--that I had to make one on beginning sounds before I could go to sleep lol---Here you go.  Enjoy!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Well, it's that time of year again---thinking about Back to School.  I have to get into my classroom within the next week..or knowing me, it won't get done.  I tend to talk on those teacher "work days"---and not really "WORK."  What can I say---I love to socialize! :)  Okay, that's beside the point.....Five years ago I started doing themes in my room.  I've had Bears, Stars, Monkeys (LOVE the Trend Monkey Mischief), and the past two years we had a school wide theme around sports.  This year, our school wide theme is Learning is an Adventure----so I get to save a little money, and reuse my monkeys!! YAY!!  I thought what about a SAFARI??? I played around with clip art today on PowerPoint...believe it or not, I've never really messed with PowerPoint.....so forgive my Welcome Sign.  My little inside border doesn't line up the greatest---but ahh, if I  mount it on a piece of heavy brown cardboard, maybe cut it to make it look a little jagged around the edges, it may not look so shabby.  While making the Welcome Sign, I was thinking about a little back to school treat incorporating animals.  The kids will need a snack after those long summer month, and animal crackers are a great choice. I will bag a handful up, and add this to the bags.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's my sound?

I always struggle with finding fun review games for the beginning of the year for my students.  Having taught 2nd for the past 3 years (though I taught 1st for several years before that), I'm struggling even more trying to remember what first graders know (or don't know) at the beginning of the year.  I've been trying to come up with something that we can play in those first few days of school to review with them and get them up and moving.  There are several of these I HAVE, WHO HAS games out there if you look for them, but I'm finding out now that it's just as quick for me to make my own things---and ohhhh so much cheaper than going out and buying.
The rules for I Have, Who Has (and I posted one last night as well) in my classroom are
1) I give everyone their own card, or sometimes they have helpers.  I give them a few minutes to read it, and ask questions if necessary.
2) I ask who has the star card or the first card.  That person stands up and reads their card. Then sits back down.
3) The person who has the answer cards pop up, reads their card, then sits back down.  Play continues until you reach the first card.

Here's my latest I Have, Who Has---it's on ENDING SOUNDS 

Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life

Or in this case--a shoe unit by Mrs. Tabb from Another Day in First Grade.  She has put together a wonderful fun unit with sorting and classifying---with one of my favorite things SHOES!!  If you happen to have a chance, hop over to her blog and take a look around.  She has many other ideas and games for purchase as well.  Here's a sample of her cover

Back To School

Today I was thinking about what little game that I could play with my firsties when school starts.  There is always such a huge gap in abilities, that the first of the year can be a struggle.  I wanted to play an I Have,  Who Has game, but didn't want it to involve a lot of reading.  Soooo....I came up with this Rhyming version of I Have, Who Has.  It's not quite what I had hoped it to be---but it should still be something fun for them, and a little mini Kindergarten assessment at that. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Egg Cartons---Revisited

A few weeks ago (when I first started my blog, and was CLUELESS about blogging--well, I'm still clueless, but that's another story), I mentioned about using an egg carton for word families.  Here's an en example of what I was referring.  Forgive the image, it was a quick shot---but I think you can get the idea.  Well-----today I purchased some DJ Inkers adorable clip art and decorated the front cover.

But that's not enough---I need a way for them to log it....so then I created this.  Egg-sellent Work?  Tell me what you think.  :)


When I logged on this evening, I didn't expect to see that I was gaining followers.  I do believe one of my fabulous followers is my husband though (he said he's going to check it and comment daily HA!---he won't. He thinks my new found hobby is silly.) Today was a productive day---I stepped away from the computer (I know, right?) and cleaned, and made cupcakes with my kiddos. (If you've read my profile, you know that baking is one of my FAVORITE things to do.) I was craving chocolate chip something...so I attempted this
but I'm no Martha Stewart.  HOWEVER, that did get my creativity flowing, and I started thinking...hmm....cookies, chocolate chips, school-----and I thought---I need to go back to the computer. I did, and here you go:  Chocolate Chip Words   and the
Cookie Sort Sheets to go with it:---(I just saw my document on this, and my fill in is only showing a small section.  It saved fine as a PDF on my computer, but when uploaded to google docs--something crazy happened.  If you can help me figure it out, it would be FABULOUS---mind you, this is all still VERY new to me)  But I thought that for a center, with some baking sheets--this would be FUN!

Now with all that said---the cupcakes sparked my creativity----what helps get you going?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Task Cards

If you have read on the Games section, you would have read about the FABULOUS game called Scoot.  Scoot is a WONDERFUL way to review.  I first heard about it on proteacher.   I am NOT the original creator of this, so if you know who is, please let me know who is so I can give proper credit. Now that you have the directions for this wonderful game, here are some task cards to enjoy to go with it. These task cards are short a words as a Who am I game.  It is also a review for Unit 1.1 and 1.2 for Treasures users. 

Linky Party!

This is the first linky party I've done--so bare with me! I thought it would be fun to try out--and this one is perfect with all the new blogs out there!  Yearn to Learn is hosting a linky party.  A linky party (for those newbies like me) is a great way to browse other blogs!  So here's the rules for this one.

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"--someone new to blogging (less than 2 months and 200 or less followers)

Hey--that would be me!!!  :)

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level

There are SO many great first grade bloggers that it was hard to choose just one.  This blog was one that I first started looking at...and is one that I like to read.  Again, hard to choose just one.  :)  But First Grade Parade is one that's in my grade level with TONS of wonderful ideas--and guess what? Even more first grade links--how awesome and addictive is this?

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level

Mrs. Stamp is a new blogger, and a different grade level--and one of my followers.  I would have to recommend hers.  Her blog post was how I ended up posting this! :)

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.
Really???  Just one again?  WOW--who would have thought this would be so difficult?  Hmm....
I think this one is FABULOUS!! Click the cute button for another Awesome first grade website!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"App-solutely Delicious Math"

This activity reinforces skip counting. Use the apples to practice counting by 10s. Add the worm cards in to practice counting by 5s and to build a pattern. Click on the apple to get your freebie! :)

Making Words Lessons

I'm sure we are all familiar with this activity. It just so happens to be one of my favorite. What I do: I type (or handwrite) the letters in the boxes for the new spelling/phonics skill in which we are working. I make copies for all students. As the students are cutting apart their letters, I turn my board into their sheet (either numbering the board in the same manner with the columns, etc. or projecting it onto the dry erase board so they can see their paper). Students lay their letters all in a row facing them. I give them a word to make. Let's say the word is dog. Students would use their letters to make the word dog. I would monitor and assist as needed...stretching the word to give individual assistance. Then a child would go up and write the word. I would then say, change one letter in dog, to make the word "log." Students would again use their letters. My helper who wrote the word, would monitor the students to MAKE sure they are using their letters..that's a big job that they love having--being the "teacher"--and pick a new student to go up and write the word. This continues through the page. Again, I use their spelling words/phonics skill to do this activity. Here's a great page for them to record their answers:

I'm new to this blogging world. Please leave a comment, and tell me how this blog appeals to you. Feel free to leave suggestions, or comments.---Even praise! :) If I could get more followers, I'd have more motivation to make things! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Comparing Numbers

Our second unit in our Envisions Math is on comparing single digit numbers. Here is a dice game to review.

Sweet Sorting

Help the mouse find his cupcakes. This is an addition sort with facts to 10. Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

I like to open up the school year with creating our class rules together. I love reading Miss Nelson is Missing and having my class discuss what you should and shouldn't do in a classroom...and to keep the teacher happy! :) I thought that this year, they could sort rules for an activity. Click on the mouse to get the sort. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Discovery Bottles

I've read about these before, but I actually am going to attempt to get them done. (will post my pictures later). Basically, you fill a nice size bottle (Voss water bottle, Gatorade bottle-something that has a big enough opening to stick things into). You fill it with trinkets (to make an eye spy), letters, dice, or sight words. Then add rice, corn, or sand to fill it up, leaving a little room for shaking. I am going to fill mine with sight words written on foam. Then fill up with sand.However, I didn't just want the students to look for the word and write it down. I wanted to see if they could read the word, and use it in a sentence. So here's my worksheet for this center activity.

A few of my Must Haves

I love the Trend Monkey Mischief!

Love this word family book! I use it for a list of words for our making words lesson. I will post a page of that sheet later this summer! I've used this book by Scholastic for years!

If it says mailbox, chances are I own it. I love Mailbox for new ideas. It helps me become creative in the classroom!

Gotta have the Stinky Stinkers by Trend. I LOVE (I mean the kids love) the chocolate ones! :)

I love these Math Minute Books by Creative Teaching Press. I have them for grades 1-3.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ladybug Counting

A simple hands-on way to review numbers and sets. It can be made into a file folder center, or use clothespins to attach the sets. Enjoy-click here

Alphabet Matching

A back to school review for firsties. It's an upper and lowercase review. Help the squirrel find his acorn. This activity could become a file folder game, or you could store the pieces in a baggy for a quick review of letters. You could also use clothespins to connect them, and then you could do a quick assessment. (As I'm typing this, my son, is telling me, "Mommy, why don't you call it "Go Nuts!"--so feel free to take his idea :) Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011


As I was flipping through catalogs making my wish list---(things that I would love to have for my classroom, but can't afford due to the salary of a teacher)..I thought wouldn't it be neat if I could make some puzzles. Being new to blogging, google docs, using paint, and all this other fabulous technology, I played around with it a bit and came up with this It's rough around the edges, but the concept was what I was gunning for. I left it in word format--feel free to change it around to best suit your needs. This center can be used for number sequencing or CVC/CVCe words.

Word Family Sort

The first unit in our Treasures series focuses on the -at/-an word families. Here is a simple sort sheet to use in class as a center, homework practice, or independent work. I will probably laminate mine on heavy tagboard and use velcro for them to attach their pieces. Enjoy.

Sort Sheet:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dice Game

I use the big foam dice (from Dollar Tree) in my classroom. My kids love rolling them. I have them in different colors. It helps when working with place value. For example, the blue die is the tens place and the white die would be the ones place. I also play several dice games in class for whole group or centers. This is just a simple game for working on number order. Enjoy.

Download here

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Go Bananas Game

This is played much like Bang, Crash, Rotten Banana,etc. This was made to review the Treasures Reading Series Kindergarten sight words.

How to Play:
  1. Take turns drawing the word cards from the container and reading them.
  2. If you can read the word within 5 seconds, you get to keep the card. If you can't, your partner tries tries to read it, and if it is read correctly, the partner keeps the card.
  3. If neither of you get it right, the card goes into the "Don't Know It, Yet" pile on the floor.
  4. When a Go Bananas! card is pulled out of the container the students place all their cards back into the container. The Go Bananas! card is then placed in a separate pile on the floor or table .
  5. The game is played until all the cards are drawn, and the player with the most cards wins.

Download game here:

Hand Clappers

Corny? Yes---but What a great way to give a round of applause the next time your class has done something FABULOUS! :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recycled Math

Forgive the picture---I didn't happen to have one of these on hand, so I googled for an image.

Wouldn't this be great for teaching part/part whole? I know our math series comes with little "mats" but this would be a great way to keep manipulatives from sliding around too.

PVC Pipe

I found those cute little pocket charts at Target last year for a dollar. I wanted to find a way for my students to use them for making words activities. So here are the dimensions that we used. It was all made from 3/4" pvc pipe. The materials needed for this are:

2-22" pieces (sides)
2-16" pieces (top/bottom)
4-2" pieces (legs)
4 caps
2- 1 1/2" pieces (to connect legs to frame)
4 T-joints (2 for legs, 2 for frame)
2 Elbows (for frame)

(and a hacksaw to cut your pieces)
*I believe these can be spray painted if you seal it....I haven't done that, and may not because I don't want to mess with chipping paint.

*The Phonics Phones--there are 2 sizes here:

*The Bigger Ones were made with:
2-1 1/4" x 3/4" elbows
3/4" tube that is 1 3/4" long to connect the two elbows

*The Smaller Ones
2-3/4" elbows
1" Connector

I believe that the bigger ones are better for 1st and 2nd graders, while the smaller ones are better for PK-1. The bigger ones cost a little more to make. We made a class set (20) of the smaller ones for roughly $5.

Palm Tree Dirctions with Pictures

Add Image
Screw a 2x4x12" board into the center a 16"x16" base. Slide the carpet tube over the base as shown. You will also need an umbrella base. I happened to have a broken one on hand.

Cut the bottoms off of paper lunch bags. My carpet tube is measured at 5 1/2 feet. It used 36 paper bags. I have a taller palm tree in my classroom (about 6 1/2 foot)..it took about 50 bags. Scrunch the bags down to get the textured look. See example. Using your umbrella base, hot glue the palm leaves starting at the top. Continue working around the tree, gluing
each leaf down. Last, stick your umbrella handle into your tree.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Egg Cartons

I was fixing supper tonight when this idea hit me. I've seen egg cartons used for math games. You know put a sticker/write on number in each section and then shake up marbles or cotton balls to add the numbers together? How about putting word families into the section of the egg? Students can shake a cotton ball (it's quieter during center time). Let's say it lands on -an. Students would add a letter to create a word. For example can. Then they would write their created word on paper and draw a picture to go with it. Would be a cheap center to create--and easy to check.

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