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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Feedly---A Google Reader Replacement

Did you know that Google Reader is going away?  I was CRUSHED when I heard the news.  Sad day it was for me especially when I love using it to follow from my phone.  I had to have a new way to follow all those GREAT blogs that are out there.  After spending some time looking for new readers, I choose to try out Feedly.  I made a quick little tutorial on Feedly.  I'm still learning about it, but so far I really like what I see.

So today's tip

Using Feedly

Monday, April 29, 2013

C is for Cupcakes of course!

 C is for Cupcake!
 Let's change that---C is for Cupcakes for ME!  :)  
As much as I love my kiddos, I took these cupcakes (pineapple based cake, cream cheese buttercream) to my neighbors and coworkers--AFTER I ate a few one ;)

SPEAKING of cupcakes--have you seen this AWESOME message?

Okay, back to school stuff--Friday was the letter C in our ABC countdown.  We did activities for If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.  I used Erica Bohrer's activities from her Laura Numeroff pack. 

We read If you Give a Cat a Cupcake, and If you Give a Moose a Muffin and completed the Venn Diagram that is in the pack.  They enjoyed both stories.

We also did the cat craft that's in the pack.  Last year when I did the stories, I was working on fractions in math.  I remember using Jen Ross's (AKA Teacher's Cauldron) example for fractions for my kiddos along with the If You Give A Cat a Cupcake Craft.  

This year, we're still reviewing fact families, so I combined Erica's and Jen's ideas again! :)  
Thanks ladies for being so full of great ideas!

I had students pick two colors they wanted for sprinkles, and I gave them some of each color.  They had to write the fact family sentences to go with their sprinkles.  

 Some of the sprinkles had doubles facts. 

We hung them up in the hallway.  They turned out cute! :)

Today, for the letter D.  We continued our fact family review using dominoes, while they were enjoying donuts as an afternoon treat.    

With the domino page, students were given a domino to start with, and then they exchanged their domino with a friend.   They repeated the process a total of 3 times.  I think they enjoyed today's activities, and I know they are looking forward to the rest of the countdown. They do love guessing what their treat is.  I posted on FB Friday night that I jokingly told my class that I think we should have a Quiet day for the letter Q.  I had one student pipe up real quickly and say well that means for the letter L we can be Loud, and for the letter P, we can have a Party.  I got a chuckle---what a fast thinker, right? :)

  If you'd like a copy of the domino page, you can click the image below.  

The cute border was made by The Bubble Blonde.  
Click HERE to see her graphics store.

Happy Monday!! 
Have a great week! :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A is for apple, B is for Bingo

We began our ABC countdown today.  What is that you ask?   Well, it's a way of keeping my sanity!:)

You know how crazy it gets at the end of the year?  I use the ABC countdown to help keep my students on task.  Then, at the end of the day, we do something fun for that day.  I don't tell them ahead of time either (Well they do know one day), so they are already predicting what's happening for the next 25 days.  It was really rather cute to hear them talk about what all it could be for each letter---Until we got to the letter Z.  They were saying, "Are we going to the zoo?" Uhm...no...On the last day, are you CRAZY (was what I was thinking), but I said no, it's not the zoo.  I think that they sometimes think we're going to go places because when we get to the letter W, we are walking to Wendy's for a Frosty.  That's one of my FAVORITE days with my students! :)

I've been doing the countdown for about 7 years now.  I try to switch some things around and do new things each year---especially since I now have coworkers doing it with me.  I want it to be something different for the kiddos each year ;)

Today was letter A.  We did some apple things.  I didn't do a lot of apple stuff in the fall, so we did some things today. It was a good day for all of us.  

We listened to The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree (I couldn't find mine, and our library doesn't have it--thank goodness for YOUTUBE) :)
(unfortunately this one won't load for me)

We made a book of the seasons of the apple tree.
One of our pages the students had to write how they enjoyed eating apples.
It's a good thing we read these books before hand because it brought about lots of discussion.

(Several of my students hadn't seen some of the kitchen utensils, or knew of all the things you could make with apples.)

 We did an apple paper craft. 
If you'd like a copy of the craft page, I found it HERE. (Thanks to Ms. Nelson's class)
 We labeled the parts. (We used stem, leaf, skin, core, and seeds)
 We glued on apple seeds.  I saved them from the apples that we used to make applesauce. 
 They all loved it!  Score 1 for the teacher/baker! :)

If you'd like a recipe for this applesauce, you can click HERE to see an old post! :)

Which brings us to tomorrow--B is for Bingo.  

My class LOVES Bingo.  

**An alternative to the real Bingo game--instead of having them find 41, I say find 4 tens and 1 one. 

Tomorrow, we are going to play a blend/digraph Bingo.  

You can click HERE to see it on TpT. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Tip

I mentioned in yesterday's post that this is testing week for us.  When we have testing week, I'm always looking for little time fillers, as our specials schedule is rearranged (and sometimes nonexistent).  I shared a few read and draws yesterday.  You can click (HERE) to see them.  Regardless if it's testing week or not, it's always nice to have a few simple time fillers.  For example, have you ever been pulled to the office "for a quick minute" and need someone to cover your class?  Have you ever had to run a child to the office, or check in on a sick kiddo?  Having these time fillers makes it easy if I need to run out for a quick minute while someone watches my kiddos. 

I made a quick dice fact family game.  You can use this with Dice-in-Dice, or regular dice.
If using Dice-in-Dice, I would only use one and then one regular die. 
 They can add up the first roll with the dice-in-dice, then add on the third roll. 
You can click the image below to grab you a copy from Google Docs.
My students love math games. 
Earlier in the year, I was using activities from this packet.
(Click the image to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers.)

Today, we also did shaving cream.  We practiced our Wilson's Fundation sounds and words.   We also practiced writing math facts.  Another great time filler (And it makes the room smell so nice!)

Ohh, and see that little guy in the green shirt in the first pic?  
That's the author of this book.  
He choose the background paper, border, graphics, fonts, etc.
He made sure to tell me exactly how he wanted it to look.  
All I did was type it up and put things where he wanted. 
(If you would like to read it, you can click the cover page above.)

Okay, I had a few friends email me after the last video and asked how do I get my images I put in my blog post.  Below is a tutorial on that.

I also made a video on how to link it from Google Docs.

Have a good night everyone!!
It's almost Wednesday!!  WOOT WOOT! ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

A little Review of phonics

Testing week KILLS me---and I'm not even a testing grade level (yet!)

Our schedule is a little messed up, specials are pushed to the side, and we have our kiddos for an extra long (seems like forever) chunk of time......and the tests don't start til tomorrow EGADS!

So....today, here I was getting done to business.  I was feeling good about my lessons, students were responsive (That alone on a Monday is reason to celebrate!), I was monitoring their understanding---EVERYTHING was going well.  Then.....I looked at the clock!  OY! I thought, wait, it's broke.  That clock NEVER keeps the right time.  Let me check the time on the computer.  Uhm...wait, it says the same thing.  Maybe it's froze?  Let me check my phone....OH MAN!!! We were so productive but I needed a filler (we had already read a story, wrote, science, etc--I'm telling you were were ON. THE. BALL!)

So, we took out our journals.  I had them divide their paper into boxes.  
We ended up doing ten boxes on our notebook paper. 
 I gave them a total of ten words..one  to put in each box.
Then I had them read the words, and draw a picture. 

I used the phonics skills that we've worked on this year.  
We then went over the words together.

People, let me tell you my class was SILENT for at least FIVE WHOLE MINUTES!!  
That's incredible--because my class is NEVER quiet!  
There's always a murmur going to say the least. 

I think they enjoyed this because it is similar to my Read! Draw! Write! products I used with them.
You can click on the images below to see them on TpT. 

Since tomorrow begins our testing, and they seemed to have such a good time with this today, I made a few "filler" pages.  It's just simple, but I'm hoping it helps keep them quiet as a testing room is right on the other side of my room. 

If you click on the image above, you can grab yourself a few pages of read and draws--a word version of first grade phonics skills.

If you click the image above, you can grab a few sheets of read and draw sentences using first grade phonics skills. 

Do you find testing week stressful for you too? 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday (and related Fact Fun)

As many of you know, there's something about being in the kitchen that makes me giddy.  I don't know if it's the smells of the good food, the family time that I enjoy while being in there, or if it's the small taste I get (remember I'm dieting now ;) )---but there's something about it.  I love having my kiddos in there with me.  Sometimes, though, I HATE the clean up!  A couple weeks ago, they made a bar style cookie.  They were called Can't Leave Them  Alone bars.  We made a batch, they took some over to our neighbors (who I think of like my grandparents), and we froze the rest.  They freeze well, and they thawed out just in time for the kid's lunch at school.  It was also a nice little snack right from the freezer with a glass of milk. :)    Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the final yumminess.      I do have some pictures of my kiddos making it though ;)

 He insists on doing it all by himself!
 But sister had to help too. :)
He let her do the sweetened condensed milk while he dug into the chocolate chips!
Spreading the yummy melted chocolate over top. 

This recipe would be simple enough to do in your classroom too if you have access to an oven.  If cooking in the classroom with your students, there are MANY educational discussions to be had. :)
Reading-reading a recipe, reading labels
Writing-Write a how to or writing using adjectives to describe
Science--baking is always science, right?
Health--food pyramid

I was once told by my old principal that I have a way of finding objectives to tie into the "fun stuff" we're doing. I hope that was a compliment! HAHA :)
If you'd like a copy of the recipe, you can click the image of the recipe below.
In school related news ;)
We are reviewing fact families and related facts.  My students love to do dice games.  I even get the big foam dice out as our intro to math lessons and let them take turns using them.  They love it.  
I thought this would become a fun morning work activity tomorrow (we have a music program tomorrow---so they're already going to be keyed up---need to keep things simple!) ;)

You can click the image below to grab the activity.  :)

 Happy Wednesday! :)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Tip--Creating Flash Cards

I've had several people ask me what program I use to create my products.  I use PowerPoint.  I used to use Word, but OHH MY!  I found it difficult to move pictures and text around.  I had never used PowerPoint prior to last year, but I'm so glad I learned.  I LOVE it! :)

I would like to show you how to make flash cards for your students. You can use this format for addition problems, subtraction problems, word cards--the possibilities are endless.  This brings me to Tuesday Tip! :)

How To Make Flashcards for your Classroom

I hope that this helps those of you that are wanting to learn how to make some things on your own, or are just wanting to play around and have fun with it.  I find that this is an outlet for me sometimes.  I love just playing around and creating some things! :)

Speaking of creating some things, I made a differentiated printable pack to go with the Hop into Spring Games.  Though the pack was designed to reinforce the games, it's great for just practice/review.  You can click the picture below to see it on TpT.

One thing that some of my students are having a hard time with is tr/ch, so I included this in the pack. There are several other ELA pages as well as math pages in this pack.  Again, it is a differentiated pack--check it out!  But below, is a copy of the tr/ch page for my struggling kiddos that you can scoop up for yourself! :)

The great graphics are from Pink Cat Studio, Scrappin Doodles, Tales from Outside the Classroom, and KG fonts.  If you would like a copy of this page for yourself, you can click HERE to grab it from google docs.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Tip (And some other things)

Are you in countdown mode yet?  I am!!  I got a catch of some spring weather (felt like summer weather)  and BOY I'm ready for some more of that sunshine!!  BUT--if you live in Ohio--you know that our weather changes at a drop of a hat.  My new mini-unit was made due to the lovely Ohio weather! :)  Check it out!

You can click HERE to see what all the unit includes, but I tried my hand at a craft again.  
Here's a picture of him.

If you hop over to my TpT store, you will also find that I uploaded some new centers too.  
I had already posted Hop Into Spring-Math Centers.

But I also put together a literacy pack very similar them. 

These centers have no recording sheets. They are games to add to your tubs, or place at a center. 
The games are similar in both packs as it makes for explaining rules so SIMPLE! :)

I know that some people like to buy "bundles"--so--
 I bundled them and am offering them at a discounted price. 

I hope you take the time to check them out.  

**I have such a hard time blogging about products. I don't want my readers to think that I'm all about selling (though the extra income is nice--as I want to do more for my own kids--so the bakery may be on hold for a while).  However, the amount of time I put into them (and the clipart--OY!)  I just never know whether to blog what I've made or just hope you run into it.....So, here's a small freebie sample from the Just Ducky pack from above. Maybe it's a happy medium? **

Click the picture above to download your copy from Google Docs.

Now for my Tuesday Tip.

It's just a simple tip--perhaps even advice. 
Last year I posted a picture similar to these bumble bees.
We are back to the same story in our basal, so I chose to do them with my class again.

This bumble bee came from a Creative Teaching Press book I think--maybe a monthly one.  I'm a teacher hoarder--I hate getting rid of stuff, because I never know what I need.  (Mind you I still have 4-6 stuff and hope to NEVER go back to those grades, but kept it just in case!)  What I do instead is take the old and make it something I can still use.  Originally this was to be a paper bag puppet. I decided to make it into a labeling activity.  You can do this with a lot of your old materials from Mailbox, Creative Teaching Press, Good Apple, etc.  All I simply did was type up some labels.  You could even choose to turn it into a writing assignment.  I've heard coworkers and friends talking about getting rid of some of their old stuff, but if you are one debating doing this, think about how you can revamp it to match the needs of your students and Common Core.    Simple enough, right? You know though, I didn't start thinking about how I could change things until I started reading blogs and blogging.  It's amazing how much I've changed as a teacher over the past year. 

One more tip---I said last year I made these bumblebees.  You know how easy it was for me to remember that?  I simply store everything for each basal story in a folder.  I label the folder and put any worksheets, sorts, flash cards for spelling words/vocabulary words, retelling cards (We have great picture prompts from Treasures), phonics decodable readers, parent homework letters, writing activities, etc. all inside of the folder.  Then each year I can see what I have, or what I need.  Though I do change what I'm doing from year to year depending on student abilities, this is a quick guide--AND helpful should I need a sub. 

So do you organize your reading basal stuff? If so, what do you do?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Tip--Center Storage

For those of you that don't know already---I'm cheap! Call it thrifty if you want, but regardless I hate parting with money.  I see all these beautiful classrooms and I LOVE them, but I have kiddos that don't always take care of what I put in the room.   That's part of the reason for my center storage (well, and the fact that as I said, I'm cheap!)

 I've tried using tubs/baskets/etc---you know all those cute storage bins---but this has been the easiest for me to keep up with (as well as cost effective).

First, I don't laminate every page of my packets.  I like to use page protectors.  It's simple, and it saves me cutting time.  I slide the cover page/direction page in the front of the page protector, and then I put the recording sheet on the back side. 

When I flip it over, I should be able to see the direction side.  This makes it simple for copying as well.  I just grab the page protector and head to the copier. :)

If there are playing cards or sorting cards, I store them in a small zipper bag.  I actually prefer to use the extra large sandwich bags.  They are bigger/deeper and if I make bigger cards, they always fit in them.  (Again, being thrifty, so I only have to have one box of small zipper bags.)

 I put the sheet protector in a gallon bag. 
 I also store the cards in the gallon bag.  If I'm prepped for my centers ahead of time, I also store the recording sheets inside of the gallon bag until I'm ready to use them.

I'm fortunate enough to have great storage in my classroom--and long counters.(My room was an old junior high science lab.)  I just set my centers out on the counters in different corners of my room.  This also gives my students a sense of area--as they work in groups next to where it's laid out. 

When I'm ready for new centers, I place them in the cabinet.  The plus side is with them being stored in plastic bags, I can easily see what center activity I'm grabbing.  This makes it easier to share them with my intervention teachers or coworkers as well.  I have them arranged in my cabinets in the order I used them--which makes it easy for seasonal activities for next year as well.
Kinda messy---but you get the picture.  
I don't always "remember" everything---but I can quickly pull out what game/center I'm wanting to use with my students this way.  I know that some people store their games in binders by skill, or activity.  If I didn't have the cabinet space I have, I would DEFINITELY use binders and label them per skill. 

There you have it---my cheap way of keeping myself organized.  

Now, I'd like to share with you some of the things I've been working on.

First up---Super Reader Set 4 is complete.  This may be my last big unit like this.  
Out of the 4 sets, there are 100 words. 

 You can click HERE to see it on TpT and see the words included with this set.

I have a few students still working on Super Reader Set 3.  The word our is very difficult for several of them.  Here you can see us working on it.  
I had a big group today instead of one-on-one. 

I've also noticed that I've been selling just the sight word books.  
I made a set of just books for this set.
You can click HERE to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Then I decided to bundle all of the sight word stories, and offer them at a discount.  If you purchase the bundle, you save 20%.  Also, if I add to this set with more sight words, you will always be able to download the new sets for free.  
(Note--If I do add to it, the price may go up.)

You can click HERE to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you would like to try a sample of Set 4 Super Reader pack (remember the stories only are in the smaller sets) you can click on the images below.  **Also included in the big set are sight word sentences, flash cards, games, practice sheets, and a sight word book in which students earn stickers.

Above: This is a sight word page for the word long.
Below:  There are two versions of the sight word story.  
One students will read the story.  The other students will write in the missing sight word.  
 (Thanks to Scrappin Doodles and KPM Doodles for the graphics.)
I try to include stories that can prompt discussions.  For example, my intention of this story was to discuss different types of animals.  Many of my students haven't visited the zoo.  This helps tie in a bit of science/animals.  It also encourages them to share their experiences or knowledge with me.  If you wanted to extend the stories, you could.  You could have them use the word long to describe another animal.  For example, they could write/draw a snake.  A snake has a long body.

The last thing I have for you tonight is my Hop into Spring Set.  This pack is math games (with the exception of 120 chart puzzles).  There are no recording sheets, and they are aligned to first grade Common Core standards.  I've even included the standard on the direction sheet.  The pack  has both colored and black/white versions.  
You can print at school on colored paper if you wish to bring some color into it. 
(told you I was cheap!) :)
You can click HERE to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers.

One thing that's included in this pack that's a must for first grade teachers is a 120 chart.  
Here's a freebie of that for you.  You can click either image to download it from Google Docs.  
(Thanks to the Bubbly Blonde, Creative Clips and Pixel Paper Prints for the graphics.)

Before I go---bear with me if I'm hit and miss on the blog.
Between soccer, karate, softball, and camping season beginning---this mom is going to enjoy her family time! :)

 Ohh and we have to add some baking in the kitchen to that list! :)

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